The C-21A, the military version of the Learjet 35A, provides cargo and passenger airlift and can transport litters during medical evacuations. The C-21A's turbofan engines are pod-mounted on the sides of the rear fuselage. The swept-back wings have hydraulically actuated, single-slotted flaps. The aircraft has a retractable tricycle landing gear, single steerable nose gear and multiple-disc hydraulic brakes. The C-21A can carry eight passengers and 42 cubic feet (1.26 cubic meters) of cargo. The fuel capacity of the C-21A is 931 gallons (3,537.8 liters) carried in wingtip tanks. The safety and operational capabilities of the C-21A are increased by the autopilot, color weather radar and tactical air navigation (TACAN) system, as well as HF, VHF and UHF radios. The aircraft has a crew of two and may be flown from either cockpit seat. It is equipped with an automatic navigation system to enhance crew efficiency. Four cathode ray tubes display essential information to the pilots.
Delivery of the C-21A fleet began in April 1984 and was completed in October 1985. The C-21 (Gates LearJet 35) fleet is dispersed throughout the Air Force and consists of 73 active duty and 4 Air National Guard aircraft stationed at 14 worldwide locations. On 01 April 1997, all continental U.S.-based C-21s were realigned under Air Mobility Command, with the 375th Airlift Wing at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., as the lead command. C-21s stationed outside the continental United States are assigned to the theater commanders.
The C-21A aircraft provides operational support airlift for Air Force Commanders, the Superintendent of the Air Force Academy, key federal officials, members of Congress and senior-ranking military leaders. The aircraft also provide a 24-hour alert for time-sensitive medical evacuation missions which could be required to go anywhere in the United States. In wartime, the C-21A provides worldwide time-sensitive movement of people and cargo.
Glasco, a subsidiary of Learjet, Inc., provides full contractor logistics support at 16 worldwide locations. Aircraft maintenance for the active duty C-21 fleet is provided through contractor logistics support (CLS); the ANG C-21s at Andrews AFB use organic AF maintenance. Overall management for the C-21 is the responsibility of the Systems Program Director (SPD) at Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center. The SPD coordinates FAA-mandated airworthiness directives and service actions with using commands and directs actions to comply with requirements. Annually, the SPD hosts a Program Management Review (PMR) to provide an overview of program status to include safety, modifications, program issues, and user concerns.
The current C-21 contractor, Raytheon Corporation of Madison, MS, provides supply and aircraft maintenance support at each operating location. On 01 October 2000 Raytheon Aerospace was awarded a $44.4 million option to a firm-fixed-price contract to provide for fiscal 2001 contractor logistics support for the C-21A aircraft. Expected contract completion date was 30 September 2004. The Air Force uses Quality Assurance Representatives (QAR) at each unit to monitor contract compliance and ensure the contractor supports the mission in accordance with the CLS contract statement of work. All QAR personnel receive initial academic training from Air Education and Training Command (AETC) and aircraft familiarization training from the contractor. Two maintenance performance indicators are mission capability rate (the percentage of time an aircraft is available for mission tasking) and departure reliability rate (the percentage of on time departures).
The Air Force is replacing two C-21A transports with the C-38A, a military version of an Israel transport.
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