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RUMINT of Canada wanting more C-17's

Kirkhill

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DAP - please don't take my exasperation with "the system" as anything personal.  Far from it.

dapaterson said:
While the military enjoys playing the "woe is me" game, there is more than adequate blame to go to the military and not to PWGSC, Treasury Board, or anyone else. Inevitably, trying to game the system results in delays.  Then the APS rolls around, new people come in with new ideas on how to game the system, further delays are realized... and the grownups (inside and outside DND) have even less trust in the products rolled out.

When I heard you reference "the grown ups" I "heard" everybody involved in the decision making chain.  I too believe/understand that there is much blame to be spread around and everybody deserves a fair share. 

Actually, I think, you have put your finger on the nub of the problem: "new people come in with new ideas".  That applies to all levels of the decision making chain.  And it starts with the politicians and the lack of a proper, serious, all-party defence committee in parliament that is willing to promulgate, or at least sign off, on a defence plan that reflects a "national consensus".  The Aussies and the Brits manage it and while there is some partisan sniping round the edges there seems to be a general agreement on the centre of mass.

That results in the uniformed personnel having more confidence in long term planning and more confidence that they will likely be employed in manners in keeping with their capabilities.  It also means a more utilitarian force for the government which results in more real world employment time for the personnel, engaged in ops, and less time conducting thought experiments for scenarios that will never happen.  That in turn impacts decisions on what equipment is necessary vice what equipment is desired.

dapaterson said:
Again, it requires a continued commitment of resources to do so.  Don't say "we can stop things", say precisely what you will stop.  Notice that with the purchase of tail #5 there was no mention of an increase in YFR for the fleet; that's why the lifecycle costs are so low.  Much of the extra flyign being done this year is in support of operations, and therefore that YFR, and related increase in maintenance costs, is funded separately.  There is no more money in the baseline to bring on more CC177s and fly them.

Point taken on the need for resources.  Agreed entirely.

I would buy tails 6, 7 and 8 and rent them out. Just like any other airline.  First priority customer - DND.  Second priority customer - DFAIT.  Third priority customer - NATO Corporate.  4th priority customer - NATO nations.  Etc.

The tails would sit on the runway unless funded.  They would each get some of the available YFRs alloted for O&M and Training to keep them checked out and warm.  In the meantime the fleet life expectancy is increased.

As for pilots - add in "retired" Reserve pilots to the mix with an allotment of annual hours to those that bradley247 is suggesting.

dapaterson said:
Variable costs include the number of flight crews, training for that number of crews on a replacement basis, O&M to support those additional personnel, fuel, maintenance and overhaul for the fleets... again, what are you going to stop doing to fund this.  And don't engage in the perpetual armchair quarterback of "we'll find it somewhere" - I want you to say precisely what you will stop doing to fund this.  Of course, to do so you need to do a detailed assessment of what you want to do - how many flight hours you're planning etc.  That is, come up with a real plan.  Which, again, is what the grownups insist upon - not a whining five year old's plea of "But it's shiny and I want it!"

With respect to the specific issues of this fleet I hope to have addressed them above.

I do want to take issue with the constant rejoinder I sense when anything other than "the plan" is proposed of "where are you going to find the money and what are you going to give up".  To be honest I am starting to resent it as I find it an excuse to dodge free and open debate about capabilities and requirements and how business might be done.  To my mind it puts the cart firmly before the horse and is declarative of the mire in which the CAF finds itself.  Internal politics and budget drive the structure and capabilities of an organization that has little clue as to what its purpose is.  And that is more true of the RCN than the RCAF, more true of the CA than the RCN and even more true of the Militia (Army Reserves) than the Army.  To be clear, the RCAF and the RCN operate every day.  Most of the Army, apparently, doesn't.

I also want to note that, prior to 2007 and the engagement in Afghanistan, this site was a lot more open and engaged than it has been since then.  There was much more free exchange of ideas then than there has been recently.  In the Afghanistan the cry was "Opsec and Persec" to shut off debate.  And I understood that.  I thought it was often overblown given what was freely available from other forces and the open press but I accepted it. 

But that was then and now that you are not engaged I would expect the flow of ideas to be freer.

Having said that, with respect to the general case of the budget, I'm afraid that my personal preferences are more likely to develop into a flamewar than being productive but I will dip my toe.

I am a utilitarian and a pragmatist.  With that I would spend my money where it benefits me most immediately and directly.  As a government looking out at its inventory of tools I would be asking which tools to I use every day and which have the least utility.  Based on those criteria I suggest these would be my priority funding requirements.

Domestic ISR - Satellites, Listening Stations, Floating OPs
Domestic Response - To Find, Fix, Determine COA and Assist, Arrest or Destroy.
International Presence - To build stature, to keep an eye on events, to be able to influence events, to be preserve a stable international environment, to protect Canadians and Canadian interests.

In all of those activities I find great utility for civilian agencies like MDA and the Canadian Space Agency.  I find utility for CCSE and for any HUMINT agencies.  There is utility in anything that floats and anything that flies.  Anything that floats couples enduring presence with the flexible ability to relocate where and as needed, both domestically and internationally.  Likewise anything that flies has utility in that it too is flexible and while it may not be able to stay airborne very long it can remain in reach, on the ground, indefinitely and react very quickly.  I also find utility in small bodies of disciplined people willing to go in harms way, people like JTF2 and CSOR.

And then there is the Army, and the Militia......casting around for a purpose.

To be quite honest I find Twin Otters and Globemasters, and even CF188s and 35s more utilitarian than tanks and artillery.  Likewise for the navy's ships and submarines.  Tanks and artillery were awfully quiet from 1952 to 2006. 

Perhaps that is why many nations prefer to hold their heavy gear in "Reserve".

If I were to usurp Thucydides claim to Emperor Pro Tem I would redefine the Canadian Army (Regular Force) as an air transportable force of marine light infantry equipped with such support gear as could be lifted by medium (5 tonne) helicopters.

The Medium/Heavy Force I would lump together with the Reserves and the CADTC.  The primary role of the CADTC would be to train the Reserves as a uniformed disciplined force, equipped with small arms, cell phones, pick up trucks and transportation gear like Bv206s, RHIBs and Mexeflottes/Pontoons that could be called out on short notice for domestic response when their local community was at risk and daily life was interrupted.  They would also train to work with the light forces of the Regular Force in those types of situations.

The third role of the Reserves would be to man the machines of the heavy force in conjunction with the strong cadre of Regular Force personnel available to supply small detachments of Heavy Equipment to support the deployed Light Forces.  The Reserves would supply the mass of personnel available for long term commitments.  And for mass mobilization.

I trust that sets my priorities and answers your question as to where I, personally, would find the funds for the capabilities. I also would suggest it is one heck of a diversion from the discussion point of this thread, the prospect of acquiring additional C17s.

Cheers, and yours aye, Chris.
 

ringo

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Boeing has 5 unsold C-17, will Oz take 2 more, 2 for RNZAF ?, IMHO Canada should buy all 5 but I would be happy with just 1 more aircraft. 
 

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ringo said:
Boeing has 5 unsold C-17, will Oz take 2 more, 2 for RNZAF ?, IMHO Canada should buy all 5 but I would be happy with just 1 more aircraft.

More to back up what was said above and earlier:

Defense News

Boeing: Five C-17As Still for Sale

MELBOURNE, Australia — Boeing said it still had five C-17A Globemaster transports for sale following confirmation that the Royal Australian Air Force would take another two.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced April 10 the purchase of the two strategic airlifters at RAAF Base Amberley, southwest of Brisbane. The two aircraft will bring the total number of C-17s in Australian ownership to eight.

(...SNIPPED)
 

Loachman

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Kirkhill said:
The Aussies and the Brits manage it and while there is some partisan sniping round the edges there seems to be a general agreement on the centre of mass.

That results in the uniformed personnel having more confidence in long term planning and more confidence that they will likely be employed in manners in keeping with their capabilities.

Green Grass Syndrome. I seriously doubt that either of them - or most others - would see their governments as any better than ours, or have any more confidence in them. The British Armed Forces are certainly suffering from ever-reducing capabilities with no fewer expectations placed upon them.

Kirkhill said:
As for pilots - add in "retired" Reserve pilots to the mix with an allotment of annual hours to those that bradley247 is suggesting.

From where do these Reserve Pilots come, and where do they live and work? Trenton is a long commute from where most Reserve-eligible Pilots live. That was a major factor in the decline in the number of Reserve Pilots at 400 Squadron when we moved from Downsview to Borden, and it affected the techs and other support pers as well. 438 Squadron went through the other two transformations that occurred simultaneously (loss of Kiowa and infliction of Griffon and a restructure from a Wing with an HQ, two flying and one support Squadrons) but did not move from St-Hubert. The distance between Toronto and Borden is a lot less than the distance between Toronto and Trenton, or Montreal and Trenton. I presume that you have simply forgotten to factor Reservists into the tech and other support function requirements, but the same principles apply: Reserve units without sufficient suitable populations are doomed to failure.

Kirkhill said:
I do want to take issue with the constant rejoinder I sense when anything other than "the plan" is proposed of "where are you going to find the money and what are you going to give up".  To be honest I am starting to resent it as I find it an excuse to dodge free and open debate about capabilities and requirements and how business might be done.

Resent away. It is annoying to all, but, unfortunately, it is reality.

A large number of the PYs that were reassigned to 450 Squadron came out of other parts of 1 Wing, and another large number came from the Army and elsewhere. Until a government decides to expand the CF, and is willing to put the required resources into that expansion, we are stuck with the numbers and budgets that we have.

Kirkhill said:
To be clear, the RCAF and the RCN operate every day.  Most of the Army, apparently, doesn't.

More of that Green Grass.

I view the R**F as the most dysfunctional of the lot. Others' perspectives may differ widely.

In truth, I suspect that if such dysfunctionality was an olympic event, the three levels of the podium would all be the same.

Kirkhill said:
I also want to note that, prior to 2007 and the engagement in Afghanistan, this site was a lot more open and engaged than it has been since then.

Morale was generally higher then, and people more enthusiastic. Real things were happening, new kit was appearing, money was available, and there was purpose. Then DODII happened, just like DODI after the Cold War evaporated. We're back to no-after-market kit regardless of empty shelves at Base Supply and toque police again.

Kirkhill said:
With that I would spend my money where it benefits me most immediately and directly.  As a government looking out at its inventory of tools I would be asking which tools to I use every day and which have the least utility.  Based on those criteria I suggest these would be my priority funding requirements.

If I did that, I'd have no fire extinguishers or smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in my house, and I could save a bundle on insurance premia.

The CF does not exist to provide a stable function from day-to-day. It exists to deter and/or handle major violent outbursts, with a secondary role of dealing with unintentional disasters. Failure to man, equip, and train for those is about as complete a failure as one can imagine.

Kirkhill said:
To be quite honest I find Twin Otters and Globemasters, and even CF188s and 35s more utilitarian than tanks and artillery.  Likewise for the navy's ships and submarines.  Tanks and artillery were awfully quiet from 1952 to 2006.

You never went to Germany, then.

That was the focus of our military efforts for over four decades.

See "deter and/or handle major violent outbursts" again.

And we had three Squadrons of CF18s there during the last few years of that, and twelve Squadrons of Sabres/CF100s/CF104s before that.

Kirkhill said:
I would redefine the Canadian Army (Regular Force) as an air transportable force of marine light infantry equipped with such support gear as could be lifted by medium (5 tonne) helicopters.

Of what utility is "marine light infantry", air transportable or not (any light infantry would be air transportable)? Massive beach assaults are rather passe these days. What would distinguish "marine light infantry" from any other variety of light infantry"?

Kirkhill said:
The Medium/Heavy Force I would lump together with the Reserves and the CADTC.  The primary role of the CADTC would be to train the Reserves as a uniformed disciplined force

CA Doctrine and Training Centre. Why? That is more the role for Combat Training Centre. And to what degree would whatever organization carry this out?

Kirkhill said:
equipped with small arms, cell phones, pick up trucks and transportation gear like Bv206s, RHIBs and Mexeflottes/Pontoons that could be called out on short notice for domestic response when their local community was at risk and daily life was interrupted.  They would also train to work with the light forces of the Regular Force in those types of situations.

Cellphones are hardly a suitable means of mass tactical communication. One-to-one, yes, maybe, but trying to run a large and dispersed group dealing with an adverse situation? And what if the cellphone infrastructure has been inundated or damaged by whatever triggered the response?

This is the role of the Provinces and Territories anyway. Combat-equipped and combat-trained forces, Regular and Reserve, can always augment Provincial capabilities, but will rightfully remain a last resort. Organizations structured, equipped, and trained for domestic relief can do nothing else. Military forces exist for worst-case situations.

Kirkhill said:
The third role of the Reserves would be to man the machines of the heavy force in conjunction with the strong cadre of Regular Force personnel available to supply small detachments of Heavy Equipment to support the deployed Light Forces.  The Reserves would supply the mass of personnel available for long term commitments.  And for mass mobilization.

The ability to do that requires much more of an investment from government and Reservists than either are willing or able to commit. You could do this with a small number of people - this works reasonably well for the Air Militia - but "mass", "long term", "commitment", and technically-complex equipment or roles are incompatible with the concept of part-time service, and it costs more than one might think.
 

Kirkhill

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Loachman said:
Green Grass Syndrome. I seriously doubt that either of them - or most others - would see their governments as any better than ours, or have any more confidence in them. The British Armed Forces are certainly suffering from ever-reducing capabilities with no fewer expectations placed upon them.

Fair point - and my comments are coloured by more than a little frustration - but having followed ABCA defence policies (as an amateur) for more than 35 years my sense is that others have made better, and more consistent, decisions more frequently than our Canadian politicians and defence establishment have managed.

Loachman said:
From where do these Reserve Pilots come, and where do they live and work? Trenton is a long commute from where most Reserve-eligible Pilots live. That was a major factor in the decline in the number of Reserve Pilots at 400 Squadron when we moved from Downsview to Borden, and it affected the techs and other support pers as well. 438 Squadron went through the other two transformations that occurred simultaneously (loss of Kiowa and infliction of Griffon and a restructure from a Wing with an HQ, two flying and one support Squadrons) but did not move from St-Hubert. The distance between Toronto and Borden is a lot less than the distance between Toronto and Trenton, or Montreal and Trenton. I presume that you have simply forgotten to factor Reservists into the tech and other support function requirements, but the same principles apply: Reserve units without sufficient suitable populations are doomed to failure.

I understand the point but I guess I was thinking along the lines by which civilian airlines manage their flying staff - maybe it is a poor model but I didn't realize that their crews were tied to living in particular locations.  Also, I was under the impression that civilian aircraft maintenance was not a local affair but was a mixture of airline depots and third-party (including OEM) providers.  I thought that some aspects of that system were already in place in the RCAF.

Loachman said:
Resent away. It is annoying to all, but, unfortunately, it is reality.

I thank you for your permission to be resentful.  ;D  I know it is not a core concern but it is important to me.  >:D

And I am sure that the budget process is annoying to those that live with it.

Loachman said:
A large number of the PYs that were reassigned to 450 Squadron came out of other parts of 1 Wing, and another large number came from the Army and elsewhere. Until a government decides to expand the CF, and is willing to put the required resources into that expansion, we are stuck with the numbers and budgets that we have.

That I fully understand. But is it really a problem if 1 Wing has two pools of helicopters and only one pool of pilots? Yes the pilots can only fly one aircraft at a time but can't it be Griffons today and Chinooks tomorrow (or a years time)?

Loachman said:
More of that Green Grass.

I view the R**F as the most dysfunctional of the lot. Others' perspectives may differ widely.

In truth, I suspect that if such dysfunctionality was an olympic event, the three levels of the podium would all be the same.

You're there. I'm not.  But from where I sit I see aircraft in the skies and ships at sea every day of the week and contributing to standing forces and extraordinary operations like the Horn of Africa anti-piracy patrols, Libya, Kosovo, the Gulf and Iraq, not to mention Sovpats, STANAVFORLANT etc.

Meanwhile the army, and I agree it is probably due to politicians weighing political risk, seems to be the last to be considered for deployment.  The same cannot be said of JTF2 or CSOR.

Loachman said:
Morale was generally higher then, and people more enthusiastic. Real things were happening, new kit was appearing, money was available, and there was purpose. Then DODII happened, just like DODI after the Cold War evaporated. We're back to no-after-market kit regardless of empty shelves at Base Supply and toque police again.

No argument.

Loachman said:
If I did that, I'd have no fire extinguishers or smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in my house, and I could save a bundle on insurance premia.

Actually I find utility in all those things as well.  Which is why I support having a functioning CAF with a balanced force.

Loachman said:
The CF does not exist to provide a stable function from day-to-day. It exists to deter and/or handle major violent outbursts, with a secondary role of dealing with unintentional disasters. Failure to man, equip, and train for those is about as complete a failure as one can imagine.

I thought the CF existed to provide BOTH day-to-day operations and scale-able crisis response.  I agree that there needs to a large Force Majeure capability to manage the unthinkable.  But equally there needs to be mid range response capabilities.  And I would suggest that it is in those mid range responses that the opportunities are presented to hone the skills of the CAF so that they can manage the unthinkable more easily.

Loachman said:
You never went to Germany, then.

Nope - at least not on duty.

Loachman said:
That was the focus of our military efforts for over four decades.

I believe I've heard that.  :)

Loachman said:
See "deter and/or handle major violent outbursts" again.

See response above.  :)

Loachman said:
And we had three Squadrons of CF18s there during the last few years of that, and twelve Squadrons of Sabres/CF100s/CF104s before that.


Loachman said:
Of what utility is "marine light infantry", air transportable or not (any light infantry would be air transportable)? Massive beach assaults are rather passe these days. What would distinguish "marine light infantry" from any other variety of light infantry"?

What I was getting at is that I would like, in the spirit of Jointery, to see the Army provide standing forces at sea, on board the Navy's ships, that could be rapidly reinforced by additional bodies and equipment transported by fixed and rotary wing assets.  To my way of thinking we have soldiers with weapons (their suite of weapons should be upgraded) that can be carried aboard the forthcoming CSCs and AOPSs if berthing is supplied.  We have the aircraft that can support the capability.  We have a Forward Support Base structure that is being built. The remaining piece of the puzzle is ensuring that the CSC and the AOPS can carry soldiers and take large helicopters on board - not hangar them necessarily but at least land them.  The AOPS has already taken this into account.  Hopefully the CSC will as well.

The forward deployed soldiers at sea would contribute to deterrence, in conjunction with allies, in exactly the same way that 4 CMBG did.  Only it would be more agile, more easily reinforced and less vulnerable in that they would not be locked in place and could retire more easily.

Loachman said:
CA Doctrine and Training Centre. Why? That is more the role for Combat Training Centre. And to what degree would whatever organization carry this out?

What I am saying there is that the bodies in the CADTC, CTC and CMTC would be well served actually being held responsible for the quality of the personnel they are training and the best way to ensure that is to put those bodies in command of the troops they have trained. 

In related news I would hold them responsible for ensuring that the reserve troops that are supposed to fill in the blanks on long deployments are their responsibility as well.  If you are going to have a 10-90 or 30-70 army then the COs of those units should be given the authority and the budgets to fulfill their tasks and the responsibility to ensure that the product is useful. 

It should not be an option that the CO of a deployed unit can blame CADTC or the recruiting system or the reserves for his failure to complete his assigned tasks.

Loachman said:
Cellphones are hardly a suitable means of mass tactical communication. One-to-one, yes, maybe, but trying to run a large and dispersed group dealing with an adverse situation? And what if the cellphone infrastructure has been inundated or damaged by whatever triggered the response?

I was under the impression that group calls, speed dialling and Push-To-Talk services were all broadly available and made cell phones considerably more flexible.  As to the infrastructure - which is easier?: To repair damaged infrastructure or to build infrastructure from new for every emergency?  Cell phones by definition are nodal systems with redundancy.  Damaged nodes, usually located on high ground with long line of site sight, are generally immune from flooding and have local generators - which could be flown-in in any event.  If the Sigs were provided with the ability to tap into that existing system with additional nodes then the system could be extended to follow operations or blind spots could be infilled.  As to the inundation of the system - surely that is a system management issue that could be handled by deactivating all but emergency service accounts?

Loachman said:
This is the role of the Provinces and Territories anyway. Combat-equipped and combat-trained forces, Regular and Reserve, can always augment Provincial capabilities, but will rightfully remain a last resort. Organizations structured, equipped, and trained for domestic relief can do nothing else. Military forces exist for worst-case situations.

Agreed entirely - which is why a partially trained reservist in uniform with a cell phone and a pair of night vision binoculars has more utility than just filling a seat in a tank in a hangar. If he has the time available to train to be a tanker, or is a mechanic that wants to be a soldier then great.  But not everybody in uniform needs to be trained to that standard before he or she can be usefully employed.



Loachman said:
The ability to do that requires much more of an investment from government and Reservists than either are willing or able to commit. You could do this with a small number of people - this works reasonably well for the Air Militia - but "mass", "long term", "commitment", and technically-complex equipment or roles are incompatible with the concept of part-time service, and it costs more than one might think.

You want the guy in the tank to be fully trained and that should be the responsibility of the "system" to ensure that.  Just like the Swedes, amongst many others do with their Leopard crews.  The equipment that is purchased is purchased to match the capabilities of the available personnel. Not the reverse.
 

Edward Campbell

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It seems to me that the most potent argument for adding a 6th C-17 is political: there's not much the government can point to as an immediate boost to the CF; there are lots of plans and there's a wee, tiny bit more money in the future, but nothing to which an election campaign can point to as "right now." If the last buy is any indication it takes about 15 weeks from decision to buy until delivery; the government could spend $200 million in cash any time between now and say, mid summer (and budget a billion in life cycle costs over the next few decades) and have Jason Kenney standing in front of a shiny new C-17 in, say, September ... saying "see, folks, this government is getting new stuff for our men and women in the CF."
 

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Feb 2014, group of us at 3CFFTS were told - straight from the mouth of Lt. Gen Blondin - that with the funds available, it was going to have to be a choice btwn a 5th C-17, or a 'convertible' full-motion simulator base in Trenton with slide-out cockpits for both C-17 and Polaris.  Looks like that the 5th transport option won shortly thereafter, and we got it on the ground as mentioned in just a few short weeks after that! 

Yes, I absolutely agree that a white-tail could be had at a good price, especially without needing it then ridiculously custom 'Canadianized', but *if* just over a year ago there was a genuine spending priority toss-up and the airplane won that day, then I would assume we'd now be leaning towards the big Sim as the next item on the ol' wish list before buying yet more airframes.

Yes, would free up a 130J or two, but that's not a good FWSAR platform anyways... total overkill = eating up precious resources. See great CASR articles on the matter.
 

ringo

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Has anyone bought the last production C17 yet, IMHO Canada should grab this aircraft if still available.
 

OTR1

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The four earmarked for sale to Qatar are on the cusp of being released back on the market.

The Qatari govt doesn't seem interested in parting with actual money, and all concerned in US have had enough.
 

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It would be logistically wise to acquire 2 - 3 more of the C-17's.  Once they are all sold the only hope to extend our fleet would be trying to buy them from the USAF.  I have read that certain quarters of the USAF consider that they have too many of them---bought by Congressional considerations rather than military requirements.

Bearpaw
 

captloadie

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And where would we get the crews to fly the aircraft? And the space to put them? And the funding to keep them going?

 

Colin Parkinson

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captloadie said:
And where would we get the crews to fly the aircraft? And the space to put them? And the funding to keep them going?

Store them in the US, rotate airframes to spread the hours.
 

ringo

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On a side note UK's review will reduce Herc numbers from 24 to 14, are they likely to retire 10 short fuselage models?, if so they might be a good pick up for FWSAR.
 

CougarKing

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The end of the line:

Press Telegram

Last vestige of Boeing workforce signs off on final C-17 made in Long Beach

By Karen Robes Meeks, Long Beach Press Telegram

Posted: 11/28/15, 3:13 PM PST | Updated: 10 hrs ago

(...SNIPPED)

In September 2013, Boeing officials announced that the company did not have enough foreign orders to justify keeping the plant open. The announcement came a week after Boeing delivered its 223rd — and final — C-17 to the U.S. Air Force.

The closure affects 2,200 workers in Long Beach, many of whom have retired or transferred to other jobs within Boeing.

At the time of the closure announcement, 13 C-17s had no committed orders. Today, all but one of the C-17s have been sold to foreign customers. Four of the five aircraft that have yet to be delivered are intended for Qatar, said Nan Bouchard, vice president and C-17 program manager.

(...SNIPPED)

 

ringo

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If the last C-17 is still unsold Canada should snap it up ASAP, a fleet of 6 a/c of this size would serve Canada well.
 
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