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AF Wants 60 Light Airlifters


In yet another sign of the Air Force's commitment to new aspects of warfare, my colleague Stephen Trimble has broken the story that there's a Request for Information out to industry asking for "fixed-wing platforms available for passenger and cargo transport in support of Irregular Warfare."

Steve says there are a couple of likely candidates including "the Hawker Beechcraft King Air 350 [pictured], Cessna 208 Grand Caravan and EADS CASA C-212."

If you put this together with the Air Force secretary's support for a counter-insurgency air wing, and his persistent touting of the exploits of air men and women who fight on the ground or otherwise in support of the joint force it seems Gen. Norton Schwartz really is intent on remaking the service. It helps, of course, that Defense Secretary Robert Gates has, as Trimble notes, plans eventually to commit 10 percent of military resources to irregular warfare.

I'm sure some perceptive readers have noted I did not mention the service's recent UAS plan as part of Schwartz's commitment. That, from what I've heard, was much more a product of pressure from Defense Secretary Robert Gates on the service to show its support for unmanned systems than it was the product of the service.

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