ALTUS, Okla. (AP) _ The U.S. Air Force would bring eight more C-17 Globemaster III cargo airplanes to the Altus Air Force Base for maintenance and transfer a fleet of eight C-5 Galaxy planes elsewhere under a proposal made public this week.
Gwen Brewer, public affairs director for the base's 97th Air Mobility Wing, said the maintenance group for the C-5 aircraft would remain at the base to work on the C-17s.
``People here would have to be found to do the C-17 work,'' Brewer said. ``It'll probably balance out.''
The additional C-17 aircraft would mean a total of 18 of the $240 million cargo planes would be stationed at the base.
The proposal also calls for existing C-5 facilities to be converted for use by C-17 planes and for new facilities to be built for the C-17s. The C-5 planes, which are nearly as long as a football field and as tall as a six story building, are slightly bigger than the newer C-17s.
Due to airspace considerations, 24 KC-135 Stratotanker refueling planes would do transition training at other airfields but continue to be maintained at Altus Air Force Base.
Under the proposal, C-17 aircrews would conduct low-level navigation training on 14 existing routes in Oklahoma and Texas, and night vision training would be carried out at Clinton-Sherman Industrial Park at Burns Flat.
One proposal includes creating a short assault strip for the C-17s at the Sooner Drop Zone near Gould in Harmon County to be used for ``touch and go'' exercises. The drop zone is currently used for airdrop exercises for the training of C-17 pilots and loadmasters.
The proposals are laid out in a draft environmental assessment and proposed Finding of No Significant Impact prepared by the 97th Air Mobility Wing.
Brewer said it is ``only a proposal'' and public input would be welcomed.