A look back at USAFE's C-23A Sherpa operations

Keeping valuable frontline fighters flying is always a high priority. In the early 1980s the US Air Force was aware its European wartime supply plans needed rethinking. Its own studies revealed that the equivalent of 300 fighters, 600 to 800 wartime sorties per day, could be lost without an adequate supply of essential spare parts. The solution was the European Distribution System (EDS).

C-23A Sherpa [Peter R Foster]
On approach the C-23A generally maintained maximum speed until just two miles from touchdown to reduce air traffic delays at major airfields. Peter R Foster

The vital components would be stored at dispersed bases to ensure survivability and reduce dependence on direct airlift from the continental US. Linked by a computer system, the parts would be delivered to required locations by a new, robust intra-theatre airlift capability.

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