The Civil Reserve Air Fleet:

An Effective Program To Meet Defense Emergency Airlift Requirements

LCD-78-239: Published: Dec 7, 1978. Publicly Released: Dec 7, 1978.

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The Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) program is designed to provide the Department of Defense (DOD) with commercial aircraft to augment military airlift during peacetime and wartime emergencies. CRAF is composed of civil air carriers that contract not only their aircraft but also their operating and support personnel and facilities. The program is economically feasible because it provides DOD with emergency airlift capability without buying the aircraft, paying personnel costs, or flying and maintaining aircraft during peacetime.

Since its inception in 1952, CRAF has been tested numerous times in exercises designed to evaluate its responsiveness to airlift emergencies without actually activating the fleet. The most recent comprehensive exercise, Scarlet Scarf, showed that normal peacetime airlift management procedures for CRAF were adequate for management in wartime. Improvements instituted as a result of the exercise should assure continued responsiveness of the program. The Military Airlift Command has identified 220 airfields in or near North America, Europe, and the Eastern Pacific that are suitable, to some extent, for CRAF operations. Considering military and civilian assets, it appears that equipment will be available and adequate to support CRAF operations. Major CRAF modification programs are being directed toward production of wide-body passenger-type aircraft. Action is being taken to ensure the availability of NATO civil aircraft in emergencies. (RRS)

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