Air Transportation: January 30, 2003


The Army has a stated goal of deploying a medium brigade mounted in Stryker armored cars to any point in the world in four days. This requires one C-17 airlifter to take off every 15 minutes for 96 consecutive hours. The problem isn't loading the planes or even finding that many planes, but landing them. Very few airports in the 3rd World could handle that many aircraft landing in such rapid succession. There is simply not enough space to park the aircraft for as long as it takes to unload them. It could easily take two weeks to move a brigade to a remote airfield due to this unloading problem. It gets worse. The runways of 3rd World airports that could handle a C-17 could (and many would) crumble under the weight of 96 of the huge airlifters. --Stephen V Cole


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