Aircraft Selection Modeling: A Multi-step Heuristic to Enumerate Airlift Alternatives

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We consider the use of the new C-130J-30 aircraft for long distance (strategic) cargo movement. Currently, only large aircraft, the C-5 and the C-17, are identified as strategic airlift assets by the United States Air Force. Our mathematical model identifies all logical airframe combinations to perform a cargo movement given a set of constraints. Using previously developed routing algorithms and fuel metrics, we evaluated the combinations and calculated the potential savings had the most fuel efficient combination been selected. Analyzing 1 month of historic data for four long distance routes, our proposed model suggests that savings could have been more than one million dollars.


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Annals of Operations Research