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Air Force Fact Sheets
Civil Reserve Air Fleet
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A unique and significant part of the nation's mobility resources is the Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF). 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 (AMC) long-range intertheater C-141s, 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. 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 CRAF segments, ready for activation when needed. To provide incentives for civil carriers to commit these aircraft to the CRAF program and to assure the United States of adequate airlift reserves, AMC awards peacetime airlift contracts to civilian airlines which offer aircraft to the CRAF. The International Airlift Services contract is the largest of these. For fiscal year 1999, the guaranteed portion of the contract is $345 million. AMC estimates that throughout fiscal year 1999 it will also award more than $362 million in additional business that is not guaranteed.

To join CRAF, carriers must maintain minimum long-range international fleet commitment levels (30 percent for passenger and 15 percent for cargo). Aircraft committed must be U.S.-registered aircraft capable of overwater operations, at least 3,500 nautical mile range and 10 hours per day utilization rate. Carriers must also commit and maintain at least four complete crews for each aircraft.

Short-range international section aircraft must be capable of overwater operations and at least a 1,500 nautical mile range. National segment aircraft must be capable of carrying 75 passengers or 32,000 pounds (14,515 kilograms) of cargo. Carriers with aircraft too small to be eligible for the CRAF program are issued a certificate of technical ineligibility so they can compete for government airlift business.

As of Oct. 1, 1998, 35 carriers and 657 aircraft were enrolled in the CRAF. This includes 573 aircraft in the international segment (494 in the long-range international section and 79 in the short-range international section), and 56 and 28 aircraft, respectively, in the national and aeromedical evacuation segments. These numbers are subject to change monthly.

Three stages of incremental activation allow for tailoring an airlift force suitable for the contingency at hand. Stage I is for minor regional crises, Stage II would be used for major regional contingencies and Stage III for periods of national mobilization.

The commander in chief, U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM), 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 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, DOD carriers must demonstrate that they have provided substantially equivalent and comparable commercial service for one year prior to flying for DOD. All carriers must be fully certified Federal Aviation Administration carriers and meet the stringent standards of federal aviation regulations pertaining to commercial airlines (FARS 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 and quality control practices to maximize the likelihood that the carrier would safely perform for DOD. After passing this survey, the carrier is certified as DOD-approved.

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 Air Carrier Survey and Analysis 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:

Long-Range International Section:

Air Transport International
American International Airways
American Airlines
American Trans Air
Arrow Air
Continental Airlines
Delta Airlines
DHL Airways
Emery Worldwide
Evergreen International
Federal Express Airlines
Fine Airlines
North American Airlines
Northwest Airlines
Polar Air Cargo
Sun Country Airlines
Tower Air
Trans Continental Airlines
United Airlines
United Parcel Service
World Airways

Short-Range International Section:

Alaska Airlines
American Trans Air
DHL Airways
Evergreen International
Express One
Miami Air International
Sun Country Airlines
Sun World
USAir Shuttle

Aeromedical Evacuation Segment:

Delta Airlines

Domestic Section:

America West Express
Reno Air
Southwest Airlines

Alaskan Section:

Northern Air Cargo
Reeve Aleutian
Lynden Air Cargo

Point of Contact

Air Mobility Command, Public Affairs Office; 503 Ward Street, Suite 214; Scott AFB, IL 62226-5335; DSN 576-5003 or (618) 256-5003.

Above Information Courtesy of United States Air Force

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