This paper describes an analysis process directed to the understanding and identification of the mission/system needs for a next generation tactical airlifter, and presents preliminary findings and observations resulting from the application of that process. The mission area analysis is conducted in the context of “AirLand Battle Doctrine” with the threat environment set in the year 2000 time period. The global nature of tactical airlift is a vital concern and is addressed in terms of three scenarios: Central America, Southwest Asia and the Central Region of NATO. These scenarios serve as the base from which mission/systems needs are determined. Emphasis is placed on examining capabilities of the currently planned airlift fleet. Specific issues addressed include mission, payload, boxsize, field length, survivability and productivity.