New C-27J Spartan cargo planes ordered by the U.S. Air Force are being delivered ... directly to a storage "boneyard" in the Arizona desert. There are reportedly nearly a dozen new Spartans sitting on the ramp at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, AZ.
The Dayton Daily News reports that the Air Force has spent some $567 million to acquire 21 new Spartans since 2007, but has found that the Air Force does not have missions for many of the aircraft.
The planes had originally been acquired because of their ability to operate from unimproved runways. But sequestration forced the Air Force to re-think the airplane's mission, and it determined that they were not a necessity, according to an analyst with the Project for Government Oversight.
The airplanes supported up to 800 jobs at Mansfield National Guard Base in Ohio, which led the state's congressional delegation to strongly support the continued acquisition of the airplanes, even though former Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz said in a congressional hearing that the C-130 can do everything the C-27J can at nearly $100 million less per airplane.
President Barak Obama said during a campaign stop in Mansfield during the last election cycle said he promised to "find a mission" for the base there, which led to the transfer of several C-130 airplanes to Ohio.
But the C-27J Spartans are parked in the desert, and more are being built and delivered into storage. An Air Force spokesman said the program was "too near completion" to be able to terminate the program in a way that does not cost the taxpayers more than building the airplanes and sending them immediately to the boneyard.