Cover: Air Transport Systems

Air Transport Systems

A Comparison of Alternatives and a Methodology for Contextual Analysis

Published 1993

by Richard Robinson

Download eBook for Free

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 4.8 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

This dissertation examines military airlift capacity provided by 18 alternative airlift concepts in 11 representative cases. Each concept is evaluated for its development risks and its performance over thirty days of delivering cargo. An equal cost method is used to examine the performance of airlift, identify specific performance niches for different system designs, and focus policymaker attention on a specific set of cases. A contextual mathematical program is then designed to assess performance on the margin and provide a flexible tool for assessing program-level airlift acquisition in the post-Cold War era. The results suggest: (1) policymakers should focus their attention on large regional scenarios such as occurred in Operation Desert Shield (ODS); (2) a mixed C-17 and long-range civil design fleet is suggested to augment the current airlift fleet if force build-up requirements are higher and operational constraints are more extensive than experienced in ODS; (3) the C-17 has better access in constrained environments, while long-range civil designs provide more capacity of the sort likely to be required in the future; (4) C-17 can be expected to continue to exhibit cost escalation but has no complete substitute in either the civil designs or the C-5; and (5) in both the long and short term no new military airlift is required unless force build-up requirements are higher than the deliveries achieved in ODS and ground constraints are more extensive than those experienced in ODS.

This publication is part of the RAND dissertation series. Pardee RAND dissertations are produced by graduate fellows of the Pardee RAND Graduate School, the world's leading producer of Ph.D.'s in policy analysis. The dissertations are supervised, reviewed, and approved by a Pardee RAND faculty committee overseeing each dissertation.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.