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Operational Air Lifters?

Thu Mar 24, 2011 2:53 pm

I am writing a seminar about military transport aircraft (fixed and rotary wings). I am stuck with categorising aircraft - classifying them as strategic, operational or tactical. I know that strategic airlift is an airlift over long distances (intercontinental, for example), and tactical is air transport to forward bases. I would like to know, if someone can help me with classification of operational air lifters. I have searched the topic on the Internet but so far I have not found any good material. If someone has knowledge about this topic or some useful links I would very much appreciate it.

Thank you for your help,
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RE: Operational Air Lifters?

Fri Mar 25, 2011 8:48 pm

An operational airlifter is any airlifter (strategic or tactical) that is in an active fleet, and the type is not retired. For example, the C-141 was a strategic airlifter, but it is no longer operational as the entire fleet has retired, and most of them have been scrapped. The C-5 is also a strategic airlifter but it is also an operational airlifter. It is still in the active fleets of the USAG, ANG, and USAFR. Yes, many of them have been retired and some of those have been scrapped. But until the last C-5 goes to the bone yard, it is still operational. The same can be said for the tactical airlifter the C-130. Many of them have retireed and been scrapped, but it is still in several different Air Forces around the world.

The A-400 is said to be both a strategic and tactical airlifter (like the C-17), but it is not an operational airlifter, yet, as no one has any in their fleets, except EADS and those are flight test aircraft.

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RE: Operational Air Lifters?

Fri Mar 25, 2011 10:21 pm

Not sure if it is the case for the Air Force and Army, but in the Navy and Marine Corps there is a category called "operational support aircraft." This includes aircraft such as C-12, C-9, C-40, etc.
Phrogs Phorever
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RE: Operational Air Lifters?

Sat Mar 26, 2011 9:19 pm

Thank you both for your explanations, I really appreciate it. It helped sort some things out.

Thanks again 
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