Rep. Calvert Introduces Legislation to Transfer 14 C-27J Aircraft to U.S. Forest Service
Aircraft Scheduled to be Scrapped Would Boost Firefighting Efforts
Wednesday, August 01, 2012 -
Today Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) introduced the Wildfire Suppression Aircraft Act of 2012, would transfer 14 C-27J Spartan Aircraft from the Department of Defense (DoD) to the U.S. Forest Service if DoD declares the aircraft to be excess to Defense operations. The bill, H.R. 6248, is a companion bill to S. 3441 introduced by Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL).
“The U.S. Forest Service needs increased firefighting capacity,” said Rep. Calvert. “Its fleet has gone from 44 air tankers six years ago to just nine today. If the DoD decides that there is no need for the C-27Js, it makes absolutely no sense to send these aircraft to the Bone Yard when the Forest Service has stated that they would like to take 14 of them. As a Californian and westerner, I understand how badly the Forest Service needs air tankers and the important role they play in both directly fighting fires and building a fire line with fire retardant to indirectly protect homes, businesses and communities.”
The U.S. Air Force recently announced that it no longer needs its current fleet of 12 C-27J aircraft, or the additional 9 that are to be delivered over the coming months. If these aircraft are, in fact, declared to be unnecessary for Defense operations, they become available for other agencies’ use or will be sent to long-term storage in the “Bone Yard.”
Currently, the House-passed version of the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4310) requires the Air Force to keep these aircraft until 180 days after the Congressional Budget Office and DoD submit operational and utilization study results. If those results confirm that the Air Force and the Air National Guard no longer need the C-27Js, H.R. 6248 would transfer 14 of them to the U.S. Forest Service.
Original cosponsors of the bill include: Rep. Brian P. Bilbray (R-50/CA), Rep. Mary Bono-Mack (R-45/CA), Rep. John Campbell (R-48/CA), Rep. Judy Chu (D-32/CA), Rep. Paul Gosar (R-1/AZ), Rep. Rubén Hinojosa (D-15/TX), Rep. Darrell Issa (R-49/CA), Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-41/CA), Rep. Betty McCollum (D-4/MN), Rep. Michael McCaul (R-10/TX), Rep. Gary G. Miller (R-42/CA), Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-46/CA), Rep. Ed Royce (R-40/CA), Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-29/CA).