The USAF plans to use cargo planes not just to deliver cargo but to launch a strike using palletised munitions/weapons that could include stand-off missiles.
Business Insider notes that the USAF plans to use cargo aircraft to deliver palletised munitions/weapons. See also AFRL, AFSOC launch palletized weapons from cargo plane. The Author Christopher Woods makes the following points:
- Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost, head of Air Mobility Command, has stated that cargo and tanker aircraft need to do more than deliver cargo and fuel in future conflicts.
- Aircraft that are currently in support roles will be equipped with pods (a device that is externally mounted on aircraft) to provide the aircraft with enhanced war-fighting capabilities.
- Pods will enable transport aircraft to digitally connect with other units in the battlespace.
- Mobility command will utilise current antenna technology to enhance capability by allowing cargo planes to operate more effectively in the battlespace.
- Cargo aircraft will be provided with the capability to protect themselves when operating in the battlespace.
- Apr 2021 Intelligent Aerospace Lockheed Martin selects Curtiss-Wright for COTS modules onboard F-22 Raptor
- Mar 2021 Breaking Defense AMC Eyes Self-Defense For Cargo, Tanker Planes
- Apr 2021 Air Force Magazine How Air Mobility Command Wants its Airlifters and Refuelers to Fight
- Apr 2021 National Interest Why the Air Force Is Arming Its Cargo Planes for Bombing Runs