Air Force looks to slash C-5s from fleet

Pentagon officials plan to retire 17 of the Air Force’s C-5 cargo aircraft in Fiscal Year 2011 and five more in Fiscal Year 2012, an Air Force spokesman confirmed Thursday.

The decision could have an impact on Robins Air Force Base. The Robins-based 402nd Maintenance Wing is charged with maintaining many of the Air Force’s C-5 aircraft.

The Air Force currently flies 111 C-5 aircraft. If the planned retirements are carried through, the Air Force will keep 89 C-5s in the fleet after 2012, a reduction of roughly 20 percent.

The C-5 is the largest airlifter in the Air Force, capable of carrying 36 pallets of cargo with 81 troops on board, according to an Air Force fact-sheet on the aircraft.

The decision to retire the C-5s from the Air Force’s fleet is not a surprise to most observers.

Pentagon officials have strongly urged lawmakers not to fund additional airlifters in recent months. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has warned that he will recommend President Obama veto any defense spending bill that includes funds for additional C-17 aircraft.

To contact writer Thomas L. Day, call 744-4489.