Cost Implications of Transferring Strategic Airlift C-141s to the Air Reserve Forces

by A. A. Barbour

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The Military Airlift Command's C-141 fleet presently is operated under an arrangement whereby each squadron is manned by both active duty and reserve personnel on an approximately 55 percent active to 45 percent reservist basis. This Note compares the cost of operating these C-141 squadrons under the present arrangement with the cost of a wholly reservist operation. It was found that when the costs of the present combined operation are calculated with the usual cost factors for C-141 squadrons there appears to be a potential to save one-third of the annual cost per squadron by transferring the C-141s to the Air Reserve Forces (ARF). However, the relatively high cost of the present C-141 operation stems largely from peacetime airlift requirements which would not be reduced by a transfer of C-141s to the ARF. As a result, the potential savings of a transfer become negligible when the cost of providing this peacetime airlift service by other means is added back in. The author emphasizes that when another cargo aircraft is acquired that can adopt the peacetime missions of the C-141s at comparable cost, these side-effects of the C-141 active/ARF comparison will disappear.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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