Deputy Secretary of Defense John White announced today that the McDonnell
Douglas C-17 Globemaster III will continue to be acquired as the Defense
Department's core airlifter. The decision to plan, program and budget for the
120 C-17s culminated a series of Defense Acquisition Board (DAB) meetings and
signals the end of a two-year probationary period for McDonnell Douglas. The
production contract is valued at approximately $18 billion.
The Acquisition Decision Memorandum (ADM) signed by Paul Kaminski, under
secretary of defense for acquisition and technology and DAB chairman, follows
two days of intense discussion in the Defense Acquisition Board. The ADM
directed the Air Force to obtain multi-year procurement options for a buy in
lots of 120 C-17s or 86 C-17s through the Future Years Defense Program (FYDP).
The 86 option would be at a reduced procurement rate to insure program
stability and could serve to be the first multi-year procurement increment of
the C-17 program. It also deferred further effort on a modified Boeing
747-400 Non-Developmental Airlift Aircraft (NDAA), until completion of Civil
Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) enhancement studies due in June 1996.
The CRAF studies will consider both commercial and modified versions of the
Boeing 747-400 for use in the CRAF fleet. Kaminski acknowledged in his
decision memorandum that "the CRAF has served us exceedingly well, providing
great benefit at a relatively low cost."
During the past two years, the Department has been engaged in a comprehensive
process to refine airlift requirements, analyze various aspects of airlift, and
prepare for an airlift fleet mix decision. The DAB review satisfied
congressional direction to conduct a Cost And Operational Effectiveness
Analysis, to consider the C-17 and mixes of alternative aircraft, and to
preserve intertheater airlift capacity.
Initial material solutions considered included: buy a modified Boeing 747-400
NDAA, restart the C-5 production line, extend the C-
service life, and continue C-
production. The field eventually narrowed to: the Boeing 747-400, the
Lockheed-Martin C-5D, and the McDonnell Douglas C-
The Department's decision process looked, as a first step, to evaluate the
health of the C-
program in terms of cost, schedule and performance. The DAB then established
military unique requirements. Finally, it assessed the cost-effectiveness of a
range of fleet mixes.
Based on a dramatic turnaround of the C-17 program, this comprehensive analysis
of the Nation's airlift requirements and capabilities, and the military
capability and flexibility the C-17 provides, the DAB determined that planning
for a buy of 120 C-17s provides the best value and best means to improve our
ability to rapidly apply U.S. military power throughout the world.
The C-17 will bring enormous capability in an ever changing national security
environment. The C-17's ability to deliver outsize cargo during major regional
contingencies will enable DoD to meet the requirements established by the 1995
Mobility Requirements Study Bottom-Up Review Update. Additionally, Department
analyses indicated that the C-17's easy loading and unloading, ability to carry
outsized equipment, increased ground maneuverability, and short runway
capability are force enablers for world-wide operations.
The decision further directs the Air Force and the Army to identify funding
requirements and develop a joint test plan to certify the existing fleet of
C-5A/Bs for heavy equipment airdrop.
Kaminski gave approval for eight C-17 aircraft in Lot VIII and advanced
procurement for Lot IX. Approval of the specific acquisition strategy for
subsequent lots is expected when multi-year options and CRAF enhancement
opportunities are evaluated in June 1996.