Apr 12 2002
DOVER, DE - Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Senator Thomas Carper, and Representative Michael N. Castle announced today that the Air Force plans to base 12 new C-17s at Dover Air Force Base. In order to accommodate the new planes, the Air Force also plans to invest $90 million in military construction funding. The changes are to be in place by 2008. "This is excellent news for Dover Air Force Base," said Senator Biden. "There is no doubt that the investments in a second major weapons system at the base and the necessary military construction to go along with it, bode very well for the base's future and endurance." "The future of Dover Air Force Base has never been brighter. The bases in Southeast Asia I flew out of during the Vietnam War have all been closed, replaced by C-5s and C-17s. Dover may soon feature both," Carper said. "Airlift capacity has been a key in our war against terrorism and Dover has been a leader in providing it. The base is now even better positioned. I salute the Air Force for this decision." "Dover will have a mix of C-5s and C-17s which extends the future and importance of the base. As some of the older C-5s are moved to the reserves and the National Guard, this new mission improves the viability of the base and confirms what we have known all along-that Dover Air Force Base is here to stay," Castle said. "We are moving forward into the next generation of airlift." Dover currently houses one-quarter of the Air Force's strategic airlift capability, which consists of 36 C-5s. The Delegation explained that the changes at Dover AFB will be implemented over the next six years and that there is still room for modifications to the plan. Some aspects of the plan will also be modified as the Air Force evaluates the success of C-5 Modernization programs and total strategic airlift needs. Right now, the plan is for Dover to keep at least one squadron of 16 C-5 B-models and remain the major East Coast hub for transiting C-5s that load and unload at the Aerial Port. The new C-17s will have a complementary mission, just as they were in our recent Afghanistan operations. C-5s carried 46% of the cargo in Operation Enduring Freedom. In most missions, C-17s or C-130s then took that cargo the final leg, so it was a complete team effort. The Air Force is expected to announce their new plan in briefings in the Senate and House next Monday.