New airplanes for AFSOC


Lone wolf on run...
Jan 3, 2007

AFSOC to get first 10 Skytrucks

By Michael Hoffman - Staff writer
Posted : Friday Feb 13, 2009 6:03:19 EST

Air Force Special Operations Command will receive its first of 10 M-28 Skytrucks — a light cargo and passenger plane — in June.

The Skytruck will shuttle small groups of special operators to areas with unimproved landing strips, said Col. JD Clem, deputy director of plans, programs, requirements and assessments for AFSOC. It will be based at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., like AFSOC’s other non-standard aviation assets including the PC-12 Pilatus, he said.

“If I need to carry six guys some place, I don’t want to have to send a C-130,” Clem said. “But, if I want six guys to land on an unimproved strip the PC-12 is not the plane to use.”

AFSOC plans to receive the Skytrucks over the next couple years, he said. A twin engine high-wing strutted monoplane, the Skytruck can carry 19 people in the back with a maximum take-off and landing weight on 16,534 pounds and a maximum cruise speed of 223 knots, according to Skytruck Company’s Web site.

What it won’t carry is any intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sensors, Clem said.

“The non-standard aviation is simply to haul people around. There is nothing really cosmic about it at all,” he said.

Nice thing but missing in article is the aircrafts are from Poland :)
How many planes are they planning in total. It would seem very costly to maintain a fleet of only 10 AC? Would seem to be a nice fit though.
The M28 aircraft is very much similar to C212. It is possible to jump from it, and to drop equippment. It has excellent STOL capabilities, and might be armed although this option had not been exercised so far. It is on inventory of armed forces of Poland, Venezuela, Nepal, Vietnam (1 pcs) and in service with Indonesian police.
I do not believe AFSOC could have any problems with in-service maintenance as aircraft will be supported by a US-based company engaged also in PC-12 (U-28A) in-service support (you know which one :) ). And it is manufactured in the company owned by Sikorsky Aircraft Company, so all standards will be fulfilled.
The question is only when those aircraft have been ordered by AFSOC, the most likely from that company I mentioned before - or maybe these will remain in ownership of that company, this is not clear so far.
Does anybody know what is the status of U-28As?
Why buy more if you only need 10? I bet it costs more to maintain 20 airframes then it does 10.

It's not just the airframe cost I would be looking at. It supply chain, support personal staffing, and training cost etc etc. All the cost associated with maintaining a small fleet of planes. Could another platform serve the same purpose maybe not as well but the ROI makes it more justifiable. I don't know the answer and more thinking out-loud.
I disagree with the initial poster's mention that the PC-12 is not the aircraft of choice for an unimproved airstrip... they do it all the time up here.

Are they bringing 6 guys with rucksacks in?

My take was the PC-12 wasn't big enough to bring six guys in on one lift, not that the PC-12 wasn't rough field capable.
G. Holdanowicz - yes you're right - seems i was looking at title not text ;-)

Thanks for correction :)
This one surprised me when they annouced it; I didn't know they were even looking at it. I'm guessing here, but I think the reason AFSOC is only going to get ten is to buy time to set up the C-27s. Just a hunch, but it seems to me there is a lot of overlap in capability between the two. I will say that it's nice to see AFSOC getting back to modding proven airframes to do the mission rather than developing new ones.
What was wrong with the Twin Otter, or the C-123, or the C-113? Nothing. STOL, and heavy lift on the second 2 ; The otter will get 6 guys where they need to go, even on a 40* slope called a mountain LZ...

123 and 113(?) are probably beer cans by now. Twin Otter would work, but how many countries fly a twin otter, this (my guess) was a quick, cheap solution, and the plane is flown by many of our new allies. My guess is that it's easier to maintain too.