The U.S. Air
Force is looking into adopting the freighter version of the new Airbus 380, as
a replacement for the three decade old (and costly to keep in shape) C-5
transports (which can carry up to 120 tons of cargo). The 380 can carry up to
150 tons of cargo on three decks (containing 1,134 cubic meters of cargo
space.) Airbus already has 25 orders for the freighter version, and many more
are expected. The first passenger version of the 380 just entered service, and
13 more will be delivered next year. The 380 can be configured to carry up to
800 passengers, but most are laid out to carry about 500 more profitable First
and Business Class customers.
Boeing is offering the latest
version of the 747, the 747 8F, as a C-5 replacement. This aircraft can carry
140 tons in 854 cubic meters of cargo space. Boeing has 90 orders for this
aircraft. Boeing is also offering the passenger version of the 747 8 as a
candidate for the new Air Force One. The U.S. Air Force is also considering the
Airbus 380 for this job, because it is the largest aircraft available.