The C-21A is a twin turbofan engine aircraft used for cargo and passenger airlift. The aircraft is the military version of the Learjet 35A business jet. In addition to providing cargo and passenger airlift, the aircraft is capable of transporting litters during medical evacuations.


The turbofan engines are pod-mounted on the sides of the rear fuselage. The swept-back wings have hydraulically actuated, single-slotted flaps. The aircraft has a retractable tricycle landing gear, single steerable nose gear and multiple-disc hydraulic brakes.

The C-21A can carry eight passengers and 42 cubic feet (1.26 cubic meters) of cargo. The fuel capacity of the C-21A is 931 gallons (3,537.8 liters) with refueling accomplished at ground level through each wingtip tank. The safety and operational capabilities of the C-21A are increased by the autopilot, color weather radar and tactical air navigation system, as well as high frequency, very high frequency and ultra high frequency radios.

The aircraft has a crew of two and may be flown from either cockpit seat. It is equipped with an automatic navigation system to enhance crew efficiency. Four cathode ray tubes display essential information to the pilots.

Delivery of the C-21A fleet began in April 1984 and was completed October 1985. .

On April 1, 1997, all continental U.S.-based C-21s were realigned under Air Mobility Command, with the 375th Airlift Wing at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., as the lead command. C-21s stationed outside the continental United States are assigned to the theater commanders.

General Characteristics

Primary Function: Passenger and cargo airlift

Power Plant: Two Garrett TFE-731-2-2B turbofan engines

Thrust: 3,500 pounds each engine

Length: 48 feet, 7 inches (14.71 meters)
Height: 12 feet, 3 inches (3.71 meters)
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 18,300 pounds (8,235 kilograms)
Wingspan: 39 feet, 6 inches (11.97 meters)

Maximum Speed: 530 mph (Mach 0.81, 461 knots at 41,000 feet (12,496.8 meters)
Ceiling: 45,000 feet (13,716 meters)

Fuel Capability: 931 gallons (3,537.8 liters) [1,120 gallons (4,256 liters) with ferry tanks]
Maximum Range: 2,306 miles (3,689.6 kilometers)

Maximum Load: Eight passengers and 3,153 pounds (1,433.18 kilograms) of cargo
Crew: Two (pilot and co-pilot)