We describe a large-scale linear programming model for optimizing strategic (intercontinental) airlift capability. The model routes cargo and passengers through a specified transportation network with a given fleet of aircraft subject to many physical and policy constraints. The time-dynamic model captures a significant number of the important aspects of an airlift system in a large-scale military deployment, including aerial refueling, tactical (intracontinental) aircraft shuttles, and constraints based on crew availability. The model is designed to provide insight into issues associated with designing and operating an airlift system. We describe analyses for the U.S. Air Force system concerning fleet modernization and concerning the allocation of resources that affect the processing capacity of airfields.

This article appears in INFORMS Analytics Collections Vol. 12: Military O.R.: The Science of a Secure Nation.

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This article also appears in INFORMS Analytics Collections Vol. 15: 25 Years of INFORMS.

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