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Fixed Winged Army

What, they couldn't wait for the Zoomies for a hitch?


USARAK Airborne operations: on 19 December 2011, members of the U.S. Army Alaska staff board a C 12 Sherpa provided by the Alaska National Guardand execute parachute operations over Malamute Drop Zone on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. Colonel Mark Lowe, the Deputy Commander of U.S. Army Alaska logged his 400th military jump during the training. (Source: USARK Flikr Page)

Boq

10 Comments

Looks like a flying conex box.
 
They were originally purchased by US Air Force Europe to move MICAP parts around Europe in the later days of the Cold war. They were produced in Northern Ireland with one of the specifications being that the cargo bay had to hold 1 each F-111 engine, as that was the largest spare part USAFE had at the time. They weren't preasurized so they stayed below 10K feet. The rivets on the skin weren't counter-sunk, but it was one of the first operational USAF aircraft to have a glass cockpit.  It had a crew of 3: pilot, co-pilot and enlisted guy; who was a combination crew chief, load master, supply clerk. I flew on one from Ramstein to Zaragoza once (1987); we had to stop in France to re-fuel.   
 
 The Army ordered about 30 C-27s. The Army has had trouble getting their cargos moved around the AFG (AF tasks such things out of Scott in Illinois for some reason). Thus the 27s. The AF managed to steal them, just as they did with the Caribous, and gave them to the Air National Guard.
 
Quartermaster - That's true of the C-27s, but not the Sherpas.  Here's a link for a pic of the C-27J Spartan: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C-27J_Spartan .  The Army Nat'l guard aquired the Sherpas after USAFE had downsized to where they were no longer required.  For most of the Cold War there were around 14 operational US air bases in the ETO (including Turkey).  Today, there are less than 5.  BTW, when the USAF took over operation of the C-7 Caribou, the MC rate was less than 50%, after one year of USAF maintenance, it was greater than 80%...  
 
 I know the Sherpas were basically abandoned by the AF. Personally, I don't think it's much of an excuse, but I was told by some Army types back in the 70s that the Army knew the AF was goign to take the Caribou from the Army, so maintenance efforts went slack.

Frankly, fixed wing TACAir should be organic to the army. The AF doesn't love it, but they defend it like she Bear defends her cubs. Still, we get the troubles we see in the AFG and when the Army takes steps to cure a problem, the AF steps in and says "non, no NO!" and usually gets its way. I don't quite agree with Jerry Pournelle who is of teh opinion that AF has forfeit its right to a separate existence, because an independent Strategic AF makes sense. Give it OPCON of the heavy bombers and all ICBMs (which would include the Boomer Subs) and leave the tactical AF to the Army. The Army would then be placed on notice that they are responsible for it and heads will roll if they don't take care of it.

The independent TACs of WW2, which were assigned to Army level, worked well, and would work well again, if allowed.
 
One of these aricraft types is flown by the Army for the Multi-national force in the Sinai.
 
This is easy.  No Zoomie will ever make General flying one of those, so over to the Army Warrants. 
 
 The Army has had fixed wing aircraft forever - just not enough of the right type at the right time, usualy. The C-27 would have been great and made up for many of the C-23's limitations - as we used to say, it is the only airplane in the world that gets bird strikes on the trailing edges...
 
I rode a Sherpa (Flying Winnebago) from Ft Lewis to Camp Guernsey, Wyoming, once. I showed the pilots the Little Big Horn Battlefield, they 'diverted' to a lower altitude to see it. We could see the grave markers. The C-23 was built by Short Brothers, a successor company to Harland and Wolff, the builders of the Titanic.
 
MM---Is that the same Short who did the Short Sutherland flying boat? I think I rode in a commercial Short two engine turboprop a few times here or there.

As far as the Air Force, I think they do a great job at their main missions--making sure no one drops bombs on US troops and making sure no one even wants to push the nuclear button because Uncle Sam would make them pay way too high a cost.

As far as "trash hauling" goes, well that's their nickname for cargo flights and that kinda says it all with regard to the lack of esteem for essential services--logistics and waste disposal both, now that I think about it.