Slip the C-17 SLEP

There’s no service life extension program in the future years defense program for the C-17 transport, Air Mobility Command chief Gen. Paul Selva told defense reporters on Thursday. While “on a micro level,” there are C-17s that have dramatically flown past their planned usage rates during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, “on a macro level,” the fleet is about at the 1000-hours annual usage rate expected, and “we haven’t found a need for a SLEP yet,” he said. More worrisome to him is the “vanishing vendor” problem in that the C-17 production line is winding down and some suppliers are exiting the business. AMC will be putting effort at achieving a common configuration for the C-17s—and indeed, all its aircraft types—to eliminate separate engineering teams and logistics trains for each block variant, he said. “Ten years ago, we had five ‘blocks’ of C-17s,” said Selva during the April 11 meeting with the press. That number is now down to four and he wants it down to one.