The costs and benefits of high speed vessels relative to traditional C-17 military airlift
Ralston, Kevin W.
Gue, Kevin R.
Henderson, David R.
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This cost-benefit analysis conducted on behalf of MSC compared HSVs against C-17 aircraft. Using financial and operational data garnered from the WestPac Express, as well as third-party research, the researchers investigated the following questions: Is the HSV a better choice for intra-theater lift than AMC? Should DoD buy or lease? Should the crew be military or civilian? What other theaters require an intra-theater lift platform? How many HSVs does DoD need? The results indicate that in ranges of up to 1,500 nautical miles, HSVs have a speed advantage over C-17 airlift. One HSV can move a single battalion of Marines, whereas AMC requires seventeen C-17 aircraft, a number rarely available for such a mission. Additionally, during routine FY03 operations, WestPac Express incurred costs of $1 2 million. This saved $8 .7 million compared to an estimated AMC cost of $2 0.7 million. The study also recommends bareboat leasing to take advantage of the increased operational flexibility. In the absence of significant cost differences, civilian manning is superior to military manning due to organizational fit. The study concludes with a recommendation that MSC institutionalize HSV service in the III MEF AOR and expand the service to all other maritime theaters.
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