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Air Force officials buy 'offices in the air'

by Staff Sgt. J.G. Buzanowski
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

7/17/2008 - WASHINGTON (AFPN) -- Air Force officials recently approved the purchase of pallets that will provide work and rest areas for senior leaders traveling aboard mobility aircraft.

The service is purchasing two types of removable mobile command workspaces for use by military and senior civilian leaders who are required to use military aircraft for travel. One is the Senior Leaders In-transit Conference Capsule, or SLICC, and the other is the SLIP, or Senior Leaders In-transit Pallet.

"Having these pallets on airlift and refueling aircraft provides an 'office in the air' and will allow senior leaders and dignitaries to perform their duties while traveling," said Air Force Director of Maintenance Maj. Gen. Robert McMahon.

The new equipment also expands the Air Force's ability to provide airlift support by using cargo and refueling aircraft in addition to the limited VIP transport fleet. It leverages the investment the Air Force has already made in its 500-plus fleet of airlift and refueling aircraft, General McMahon said.

In addition, because the pallets are on aircraft already equipped with defensive systems, and the fact that the planes don't look like they're carrying VIPs, travel will be safer into high-risk regions of the world, the general added.

"Commercial flights aren't a viable option for flying our leaders into combat or sensitive security areas," General McMahon said. "Also, commercial air providers can't adapt to the fluid scheduling requirements dictated by frequent, short-notice travel."

The SLIP is a lighted conference table with reclining chairs and is already in use with plans to purchase three more. It's designed to be used in the C-17 Globemaster III, KC-10 Extender and the KC-135 Stratotanker.

The SLICC is an enclosed pod with work and rest areas that can be equipped with a secure communication capability. It fits inside C-130 Hercules aircraft as well as C-17s and KC-10s. The first SLICC is expected to be completed before the end of the year, General McMahon said.

Because the work areas are palletized, unused space will be available for cargo or other passengers, General McMahon said.

The initial SLICC will cost $2.7 million, while two planned additional SLICCs will cost approximately $1.9 million apiece. The four SLIPs cost $290,000 each, General McMahon said.

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