Saturday, March 20, 2010
Wright-Patterson's 445th AW to fly the C-17 Globemaster III
On March 12th, the Secretary of the Air Force and the Air Force Chief of Staff approved the replacement of the C-5As flown by the 445th Airlift Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base with the C-17 Globemaster III. The first four of eight C-17s are expected to arrive in fiscal year 2011 after five C-5As are retired from service.
Delivery of the four newer aircraft are expected in FY 2012 when the rest of the C-5 fleet is retired. The Air Force Reserve Command unit has been flying the C-5As since the retirement of the C-141 Starlifter in May 2006. The last C-141C (serial 66-0177) known as the "Hanoi Taxi" is now housed at the National Museum of The United States Air Force adjacent to WPAFB.
While the C-17 is smaller and carries a lighter payload, it has the ability for rapid deployment, less maintenance and can land on shorter airfields. The C-17 first went into service in the early 90s. The C-5 Galaxy has been flying for over 40 years and is now less cost effective to maintain.
The 445th Airlift wing will become the Air Force Reserve Command's 4th C-17 Unit and the second to fly its own Globemaster III aircraft.