Although most often associated with wealthy celebrities and business executives, the U.S. military uses a number of Learjets to help meet its transportation needs.
Learjets are most frequently used as private aircraft to transport business professionals and celebrities around the world. However, the U.S. military uses Learjet Model 35 aircraft to transport a limited number of soldiers and equipment in global hot spots. When used by the U.S. Air Force, the Learjet uses the designation "C-21A." Learjets are often used by the Air Force to help with medical evacuations.
The Learjets used by the U.S. military are powered by two Garrett TFE731-2 turbofan engines and can hold up to eight passengers. The Learjet is used by the U.S. Air Force primarily because it is a longer range aircraft and can fly for extended periods of time. In 1976, professional golfer Arnold Palmer set a world record by traveling nearly 23,000 miles in 57.5 hours in a Learjet.
When configured for military duties, the Learjet C-21A can hold 42 cubic feet of cargo. The U.S. Air Force began using Learjets in 1984. About 35 Learjets were in active service with the U.S. military in 2011. The Learjet still remains a popular luxury aircraft with wealthy business executives, movie stars and professional athletes.