The Ares technology blog enjoys offering a platform for voices in the community, and the following opinion is from William V. Hill Jr. of Redding, Calif., a longtime Aviation Week reader.
My question is why is there not a serious look at producing another 300 C-17’s and providing roll on, roll off refueling kits (install in each aircraft the hardware in the wings/pods for air to air re-fueling) that would allow the C-17 to operate as a tanker or a logistic aircraft when needed.
It would seem to me that the model of what Southwest Airlines have done over the past 40 years would be a good one to follow. If the Air Force had all C-17's, then aircraft maintenance, pilot training, engines, etc, etc, would be standardized, each crew could accomplish whatever mission was assigned to them and the aircraft would be available to serve whatever mission was asked of them. It sure seems to me that this scenario would provide 40-50 years of benefits, cost savings, jobs and give the military commanders a versatile tool to apply where necessary.
I do not pretend to be an expert in anything, however I spent 26.5 years in the active and reserve; started as an E-1 and retired as an O4; honor graduate of command and general staff college; as well as a year in Vietnam as a crew chief and door gunner on a helicopter.
I know this is probably too late to generate any serious discussion, but I just cannot believe all the crap that has taken place so far regarding the selection of a new tanker for the Air Force. If the air force chooses the C-17 because it was the best aircraft for the logistic mission, is not the refueling mission another logistic mission? Is not the current thinking in the puzzle palace to be cost effective and to be adaptable to support any mission world wide?
It just seems to me that doing the right thing to insure our men and women have the best tools available has not been kept at the top of the priority list.