The U.S. Air Force said the upcoming changes to the Civil Reserve Air Fleet program are the result of a review and industry-military consultations, meant "to ensure the nation's capability to rapidly airlift service members and military supplies around the world at a reasonable cost to taxpayers."
Currently, 26 carriers are involved in the program, with 552 aircraft allotted.
The Air Force said one change concerns initial commitment of aircraft. Each participant will be required to commit just one mandatory aircraft in the program's initial stage. Carriers can later decide to devote more planes for increased access to the Department of Defense peacetime business.
"We require less up-front commitment from carriers in order to mitigate their risks, because our military-owned airlift fleet is more flexible than it used to be," Lyman said. "We can now handle more capacity before we call upon the assistance of civilian carriers"
A second change is for activation of civilian aircraft. In Stage I activation, carriers are guaranteed the activation will be for a minimum of seven days, with at least a seven-day notice of deactivation. Also, the carriers are guaranteed their committed aircraft will get 12 hours of use daily during the activation period.
In the Civil Reserve Air Fleet program, civilian airlines are activated in three stages. Stage I is for minor regional crises and humanitarian assistance/disaster relief efforts. Stage II would be used for major theater war and Stage III provides for periods of national mobilization.
"Industry spoke, and we listened," said Gen. Darren McDew, commander of Air Mobility Command. "The study highlighted the need for the right balance of organic and commercial capability and capacity to meet future requirements.
"We value the commitment of our civilian carriers and their ability to provide the majority of commercial augmentation capacity for wartime airlift requirements. Their flexibility and agility to respond to short-notice taskings and go anywhere in the world is a service that enables our country to respond rapidly when our national needs are greatest."