Eleven PZL M28 Skytruck aircraft used by the Special Operations Command of the US Army have been decommissioned and withdrawn from the active service. M28 is also known as C-145A in the US Armed Forces. The aircraft are going to be stored within the Arizona Davis-Monthan storage yard. USAF unit is going to continue its use of only 5 examples of the Skytruck.
The information was released in the light of the organizational changes within the 919th Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (919 SOAMXS), which has been using the Mielec-manufactured aircraft so far. The unit going to go through a transformation and it is going to use, starting from the next year, the larger Dornier C-146 Wolfhound aeroplanes. Training activities regarding the transition are scheduled to be started in November.
Transfer of the Skytrucks to the Davis-Monthan bone-yard began in May and is going to last until late August. Only 5 airframes are going to remain in the active service – they are going to be used primarily for training and for maintaining the capabilities of using this type of the aircraft. What is interesting, C-145A Skytrucks have been withdrawn just two years, after the unit which used them was reorganized, and after the New Mexico Cannon AB infrastructure was transferred to to the Duke AB, in Florida.
16 examples of the M28 Skytruck aircraft were delivered to the US-units between 2009 and 2013, however, a single example was delivered to the US as early as in 2004. It shall be noted though that initially, within the scope of the offset requirements related to acquisition of the F-16 fighters by the Polish Air Force, USA agreed to acquire 100 examples of the M28 aircraft. This number was quickly cut down to 40, then to 16 examples plus one example which was acquired for promotional purposes. One M28 was lost in Afghanistan, in December 2011, when it was crashed during landing.
Due to the Rough-Field STOL capabilities, the PZL-Mielec airframes were well-suited to carry out operations in Iraq or Afghanistan. The M28 were also used to carry out sky-diving training for the foreign soldiers. Most probably, withdrawal of the Skytrucks from the active service is caused by completion of the foreign deployment in Afghanistan and Iraq. Secondly, the fact that these airframes are being stored may also stem from economic and logistical reasons.