Use of the C-27J Fixed-Wing Aircraft for Conducting Army Mission Critical, Time Sensitive Missions in Counterinsurgency Operations

by Kenneth Horn, Elvira N. Loredo, Steven Cram, Lewis Jamison, Christopher F. McLaren, William Phillips, Jeffrey Sullivan


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The Army believes that it needs a replacement for the C-23 Sherpa aircraft that provides transport of mission critical, time sensitive (MCTS) cargo and passengers to brigade combat teams conducting combat operations. This issue is particularly relevant in counterinsurgency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan where ground forces are widely dispersed across long resupply distances. This occasional paper concludes that the C-27J Spartan is a reasonable replacement for the MCTS cargo and passenger mission in all performance categories. The Army's direct support approach for moving MCTS shipments using its organic aircraft is inherently more responsive than that of the Air Force. But both services should be able to improve the responsiveness of delivering MCTS shipments, but the Army should be in a better position to do so if it retains direct control of its fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft.

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The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Army and conducted by the RAND Arroyo Center.

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