The Lockheed (now Lockheed Martin) C-141 was the first jet aircraft designed to meet military standards as a troop and cargo carrier. It was also the first military aircraft to be developed with a requirement for FAA type certification in the contract. The Starlifter is the workhorse of the Air Mobility Command. It fulfills a vast spectrum of airlift requirements through its ability to airlift combat forces over long distances, place those forces and their equipment either by conventional landings or airdrops, resupply employed forces, and extract the sick and wounded from a hostile area.
President John F. Kennedy's first official act after his inauguration was to order the development of an all-jet transport to extend the reach of the nation's military forces. Lockheed's C-141 StarLifter was the result. The C-141 Starlifter was the workhorse of the Air Mobility Command during the Cold War. The Starlifter fulfilled the vast spectrum of airlift requirements through its ability to airlift combat forces over long distances, inject those forces and their equipment either by airland or airdrop, re-supply employed forces, and extract the sick and wounded from the hostile area to advanced medical facilities.
The C-141B is a stretched version of the original C-141A with in-flight refueling capability. The C-141B is about 23 ft longer than the C-141A, with cargo capacity increased by about one-third. The C-141 force, nearing seven million flying hours, has a proven reliability and long-range capability.
To slow aircraft aging of the active duty fleet, 56 PAI aircraft were transferred to the UE Guard and Reserve as of FY95. Additionally, the process of retiring high flight hour equivalent aircraft will culminate with the retirement of the entire AMC active duty fleet by FY03. The Air Force plans to retire Unit Equipped (UE) ARC C-141C aircraft by FY06. There were a total of 99 C-141s in service worldwide as of the end of 2001. The Air Force did not used the C-141 in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, relying instead on the newer and larger C-17.
The C-141s were scheduled to retire from the active duty inventory before 2004 and from the Reserves and Air National Guard before 2006.
The last two active-duty C-141B Starlifter transport aircraft were retired on Sept. 16, 2004 at McGuire Air Force Base, N.J. As of that date, C-141s were only on duty with Reserve units at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, and March Air Reserve Base, Calif.
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