MAKE UP OUR MINDS ON RUSSIA—HELPING US OR WHAT?

6/19/12

First we go after them for Human Rights against one of their lawyers, then we turn our backs (until today) on them sending weapons into Syria so why are we doing the following business with them still?
The USAF has been using Russian airlift (mostly AN-124’s) into and out of Afghanistan for the war.
The USAF has been chartering An-124 and IL76 aircraft for a number of years and the amount grows each year. Now someone showed me a recent press release where Volga-Dnepr demands to be first in line for flying DOD equipment to and from Afghanistan (over Russian airspace) using the An-124.
The Volga-Dnepr Group, Russia’s largest heavy air freight carrier, is planning to take part in the transit of U.S. military supplies to Afghanistan, the company said on Thursday. Russia and the United States signed during U.S. President Barack Obama’s first visit to Russia on July 6-9 an agreement on U.S. military transit, both overland and by air, via Russian territory to Afghanistan.
Heavy-lift transport missions carried out by An-124-100 planes,” Gabriel said. “We believe that our participation in the [U.S. military] transit is absolutely necessary,” he added.
The DOD has been chartering them fairly heavily out of Charleston moving the new MRAP vehicles into Iraq and Afghanistan as quickly as possible. The’ve also used them recently to ferry the Navy’s “new” F-5s from Switzerland to California, as well as moving Apaches around.
It’s probably cheaper to charter these aircraft.
If you want to fly over Russia with an airplane carrying US goods to Afghanistan, better to do it utilizing a Russian airplane. It’s a diplomatic thing; an effort to strengthen ties with Russia instead of antagonizing them.
These charters have been going on for years. Many of them don’t even involve Afghanistan or overflights of Russia.
For the Kremlin, Russian carriers mean a degree of control over these shipments. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia reserves the right to inspect all cargo flown across its territories. The U.S. Transport Command said it has awarded Volga-Dnepr and another Russian company, Polet, $400 million in contracts up to September 2009 in the past year.
Why do that when you have a captive market / consumer who pays for everything, design, development, production, profit. The C-17 was developed using US Government money.
Well the USAF covers all of those airframe specific costs of the C-17 and C-5. Then you have to add in the massive cost of USAF staff and refueling, and their retirements and lifetime medical care and so on. As a result you get an operational comparison in which the military cost of flying 10,000 tons of material is going to be much higher than other kinds of vendors. The USAF probably needs freight ability for wartime, mostly for training purposes in case of a world war. Otherwise, it’s just pissing money away. You could hire FedEx or Atlas for a fraction of the price of moving the military wings around.

SOURCE: RIA NOVOSTI

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