CIVIL RESERVE AIR FLEET|
Printable Fact Sheet
A unique and significant part of the nation's mobility resources is the Civil Reserve Air Fleet. Selected aircraft from U.S. airlines, contractually committed to CRAF, support Department of Defense airlift requirements in emergencies when the need for airlift exceeds the capability of military aircraft.
The CRAF has three main segments: international, national and aeromedical evacuation. The international segment is further divided into the long-range and short-range sections and the national segment into the domestic and Alaskan sections. Assignment of aircraft to a segment depends on the nature of the requirement and the performance characteristics needed.
The long-range international section consists of passenger and cargo aircraft capable of transoceanic operations. The role of these aircraft is to augment the Air Mobility Command's long-range intertheater C-5s and C-17s during periods of increased airlift needs, from minor contingencies up through full national defense emergencies.
Medium-sized passenger and cargo aircraft make up the short-range international section supporting near offshore airlift requirements.
The aircraft in the Alaskan section provide airlift within U.S. Pacific Command's area of responsibility, specific to Alaska needs. The domestic section is designed to satisfy increased DOD airlift requirements in the U.S. during an emergency.
The aeromedical evacuation segment assists in the evacuation of casualties from operational theaters to hospitals in the continental United States. These aircraft are also used to return medical supplies and medical crews to the theater of operations. Kits containing litter stanchions, litters and other aeromedical equipment are used to convert civil B-767 passenger aircraft into air ambulances.
The airlines contractually pledge aircraft to the various segments of CRAF, ready for activation when needed. To provide incentives for civil carriers to commit aircraft to the CRAF program and to assure the United States of adequate airlift reserves, the government makes peacetime airlift business available to civilian airlines that offer aircraft to the CRAF. DOD offers business through the International Airlift Services Contract. For fiscal 2007, the guaranteed portion of the contract is $379 million. AMC estimates that throughout fiscal 2007 it will also award more than $2.1 billion in additional business that is not guaranteed.
To join CRAF, carriers must maintain a minimum commitment of 30 percent of its CRAF capable passenger fleet and 15 percent of its CRAF capable cargo fleet. Aircraft committed must be U.S. registered and carriers must also commit and maintain at least four complete crews for each aircraft.
Carriers with aircraft whose performance does not meet minimum CRAF requirements are issued a certificate of technical ineligibility so they can still compete for government airlift business.
As of May 2007, 37 carriers and 1,3764 aircraft were enrolled in the CRAF. This includes 1,273 aircraft in the international segment (990 in the long-range international section and 283 in the short-range international section), and 37 and 50 aircraft, respectively, in the national and aeromedical evacuation segments, and four aircraft in the Alaskan segment. These numbers are subject to change on a monthly basis.
Three stages of incremental activation allow for tailoring an airlift force suitable for the contingency at hand. Stage I is for regional crises, Stage II would be used for major theater war and Stage III for periods of national mobilization.
The commander, U.S. Transportation Command, with approval of the secretary of defense, is the activation authority for all three stages of CRAF. During a crisis, if AMC has a need for additional aircraft, it would request the commander of USTRANSCOM to take steps to activate the appropriate CRAF stage.
Each stage of the CRAF activation is only used to the extent necessary to provide the amount of civil augmentation airlift needed by DOD. When notified of call-up, the carrier response time to have its aircraft ready for a CRAF mission is 24 to 48 hours after the mission is assigned by AMC. The air carriers continue to operate and maintain the aircraft with their resources; however, AMC controls the aircraft missions.
Safety is the paramount concern, and numerous procedures are in effect to ensure that the air carriers with which AMC contracts afford the highest level of safety to DOD passengers. Prior to receiving a contract, all carriers must demonstrate that they have provided substantially equivalent and comparable commercial service for one year before submitting their offer to fly for the Defense Department. All carriers must be fully certified Federal Aviation Administration carriers and meet the stringent standards of Federal Aviation Regulations pertaining to commercial airlines (Part 121).
A DOD survey team, composed of experienced AMC pilots and skilled maintenance personnel, performs an on-site inspection of the carriers. This team conducts a comprehensive inspection that includes carrier's aircraft, training facilities, crew qualifications, maintenance procedures, quality control practices and financial status to maximize the likelihood that the carrier would safely perform for DOD. After passing this survey, the carrier is certified by the Commercial Airlift Review Board as DOD-approved before receiving a contract.
AMC analysts then continue to monitor the carrier's safety record, operations and maintenance status, contract performance, financial condition and management initiatives, summarizing significant trends in a comprehensive review every six months. In addition to this in-depth review, there are several other surveillance initiatives. These include safety preflight inspections of commercial aircraft by DOD designated inspectors, periodic cockpit observations on operational flights by highly experienced pilots from AMC's DOD Commercial Airlift Division, and an increase in the frequency of on-site surveys. These initiatives and the surveys are further supplemented by an open flow of information on all contract carriers between AMC and the FAA through established liaison officers.
The following air carriers are members of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet (subjecto to change).
Long-Range International Section:
Air Transport International
Astar Air Cargo
Delta Air Lines
FEDEX Express Airlines
Gemini Air Cargo
North American Airlines
Polar Air Cargo
Ryan International Airlines
United Parcel Service Airlines
Short-Range International Section:
Astar Air Cargo
Jet Blue Airways
Lynden Air Cargo
Miami Air International
Northern Air Cargo
Aeromedical Evacuation Segment:
Air Trans Airways
America West Airlines
Lynden Air Cargo
Northern Air Cargo
Point of Contact
Air Mobility Command, Public Affairs Office, 503 Ward Drive Ste 214, Scott AFB, IL 62225-5335, DSN 779-7843 or 618-229-7843.