A swarm of US military business jets sank in Southern California


While the Pentagon‘s huge stall of tactical planes, bombers, cargo planes, helicopters, and tankers draws most of the attention, another fleet exists whose main job is to move the brass. These aircraft, from C-40 variants of the 737 to C-37 variants of the Gulfstream 5 family, as well as smaller jets and turboprops, operate around the world any day, but on some occasions they migrate en masse to one common goal, like a flock of gilded birds. That was certainly the case today when aircraft trackers spotted one military bizjet after another descending in Southern California.

With the majority landing at Point Mugu Naval Air Station and Van Nuys Airport, this mass movement of executive transports, which included the Secretary of Defense on board an E-4B, was promoted by the Reagan National Defense Forum taking place today and tomorrow at, advanced the National Reagan Library in the Simi Valley.

The high-profile event is a who’s who of the top players in America’s military-industrial complex, including politicians, generals and executives of large defense-related companies. You can see the impressive program of the event here.

Most of these people do not Travel advertising.

14 of the Pentagon’s most prestigious VIP transporters, mostly C-37s and some C-40s, were involved in this type of airlift. Here is the full list by aircraft trackers and contributors Matt Hartmann:

There is always debate about the cost of such travel at the expense of the taxpayer and the return on non-critical events like this, especially at a time when teleconferencing and teleworking can be done by anyone with a simple cell phone. These aircraft cost many thousands of dollars an hour to operate and many tens of millions of dollars to purchase. Some scream badly when the Pentagon leadership laments the lack of funds for critical combat capabilities but continues to use these planes constantly. At the same time, time is very valuable to America’s top military leaders, and some need access to secure communications to make the most of that time. For some, requirements for secure communication are considered particularly critical in an emergency. They also frequently travel with entourage, which can help justify the cost.

Regardless, it’s breathtaking to see how many of these military-owned and operated flying limousines go to the same location at the same time.

The big question now is, has anyone thought of jet pooling?

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