Jun 30th, 2015
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A. T. Still University
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Over the next several years the US Department ofDefense has some very hard decisions to makeregarding strategic airlift. If funding is not availableto meet 54.5 MTM/D or more with conventional airlift,either sacrifices in capability must be made or analternative will have to be found.Back to the Future: Airships and the Coming Revolution in Strategic AirliftThe last major study of US airliftrequirements, Mobility RequirementsStudy 2005 , concluded the UnitedStates requires an airlift fleet c a p a b l eo f t r a n s p o r t i n g 5 4 . 5 million tonmiles per day. Recent developmentsindicate when the latest mobilitycapability study is released in May2005 the requirement will be evenhigher, perhaps up to 60 MTM/D.According to General JohnHandy, commander of AMC andVolume XXIX, Number 3/4USTRANSCOM, even meeting thelower requirement requires a C-17 fleetof 222 aircraft, 42 more than the 180currently under contract. This articleproposes an alternative aircraft, ahybrid aircraft, half airship/half airplane,which would cost about the same as aC-17 to acquire but would potentially bethree times as productive and cost onehalf to one-third as much to operate perton-mile.47Lessons from History | Colonel Walter O. Gordon, USAFRColonel Chuck Holland, USAF, RetiredThe RequirementArticle AcronymsAAA Antiaircraft ArtilleryACLS Air Cushion LandingSystemAMC Air Mobility CommandATG Advanced TechnologyGroupCBD Commerce Business

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