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Oct 10, 2013 8:28 PM by Nathan O'Neal

$50 million new cargo planes grounded due to sequestration

TUCSON - A dozen military cargo planes, valued at $50 million apiece, have been grounded at the bone yard at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, an apparent victim of the federal sequestration.

The C-27J Spartan cargo planes are known for their capability of being able to take off and land in tough terrain. However, the Air Force hardly got to use a dozen of these planes before they were parked in a desert lot, anchored to the ground and sealed off to the elements.

"The bone yard does not typically receive airplanes with as few hours on them as this, but in this particular case, we're not going to bring the aircraft here and hold them for a long period of time," said Commander Robert Lepper of the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group.

The Department of Defense was forced to trim down on its budget as a result of the sequestration. Instead of using the planes immediately, the feds will use a smaller model of plane to perform the missions that were originally slated for the C-27Js.

"The Air Force had a financial issue it had of how to reduce its budget - to do so, one of the methods it chose to take was to divest itself of C-27J," Lepper said.

Five additional aircrafts, which are currently being manufactured, are scheduled to arrive at D-M by April 2014.

"We're merely going to hold them until the federal government determines who's going to take possession and use them in their next mission," Lepper said.

The feds could decide to allocate the planes to other agencies or sell them internationally.

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