Sunday, April 20, 2014
Aircraft
News on the F-22, Joint Strike Fighter, the future tanker and more aircraft programs
Inside the Air Force - 04/18/2014

No emergency or homeland defense scenario associated with the president's 2012 defense strategic guidance would require the Air Force to maintain a mobility fleet of 358 C-130s, as previously directed by Congress, according to the unclassified summary of a 2013 Pentagon mobility capabilities assessment provided to Inside the Air Force this week.

Inside the Air Force - 04/18/2014

The Air Force wants to issue a contract as soon as September to revamp the A-10 Warthog's systems engineering process -- even as the service leads a campaign to retire the close-air-support platform beginning in fiscal year 2015.

DefenseAlert - 04/17/2014

The size of the Pentagon's major weapon system acquisition portfolio held steady over the last year at $1.6 trillion, with seven programs added and six programs removed because they are near the end of the procurement cycle.

DefenseAlert - 04/17/2014

The latest Selected Acquisition Report for the Joint Strike Fighter program shows marginal cost growth for F-35 procurement and reductions in cost estimates for life-cycle sustainment, lowering the total projected cost by 2 percent over last year's data -- but still estimating a price tag of $921 billion in fiscal year 2012 dollars.

Inside the Pentagon - 04/17/2014

The Air Force has released a new set of draft bidding documents for a competition to sustain two fleets of VIP airlift aircraft -- an acquisition program the service has already pushed back by at least a year to give it time to prepare a better request for proposals.

DefenseAlert - 04/16/2014

The Air Force has yet to settle on a time line for basing F-35A aircraft in the Pacific theater, according to a service spokeswoman, but a congressional delegation with a keen interest in the service's decision expects an announcement in the next several months.

DefenseAlert - 04/14/2014

The Air Force intends to halve its fleet of highly deployed EC-130H Compass Call aircraft after fiscal year 2015 due to budget constraints and reduced demand for the mission, Air Combat Command has confirmed.

DefenseAlert - 04/11/2014

The Air Force vice chief of staff has denied the service is violating the law by taking actions to retire its fleet of A-10 close-air-support aircraft, such as cutting pilot training hours and canceling modernization work in calendar year 2014.

DefenseAlert - 04/11/2014

The Navy and Marine Corps are proposing new development projects for their respective Joint Strike Fighter variants, setting aside more than $1 billion in their new five-year spending plans -- including a combined $28 million in fiscal year 2015 -- to begin work on capabilities expected to come online in 2022.

Inside the Air Force - 04/11/2014

U.S. Special Operations Command wants to consolidate its MC-12 Liberty aircraft operations with Air Force Special Operations Command as SOCOM prepares to take control of 33 additional MC-12 aircraft from the Air Force's 9th Reconnaissance Wing.

Inside the Air Force - 04/11/2014

In an effort to combat and preempt future obsolescence issues, Air Education and Training Command is pursuing an avionics retrofit of its mobility trainer, the T-1.

Inside the Air Force - 04/11/2014

The Air Force plans to formalize its plans to name Altus Air Force Base, OK, as the home site for the KC-46 Pegasus' formal training unit, and McConnell Air Force Base, KS, as the tanker's main operating base as soon as the end of April.

Inside the Air Force - 04/11/2014

Senators this week expressed skepticism about two of the Air Force's most high-profile recommendations in the fiscal year 2015 budget request, with one lawmaker saying the service would have to "break all records" to field a new Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System on the current time line.

Inside the Air Force - 04/11/2014

The first of seven repurposed Coast Guard HC-130H search-and-rescue aircraft is being transferred to the U.S. Forest Service later this year, a USFS fire and aviation spokeswoman said this week, referring to an interservice airplane swap authorizes by Congress.

Inside the Pentagon - 04/10/2014

Government and industry Joint Strike Fighter program officials are stepping up preparations for the first-of-its-kind integrated and pooled pilot training system set to open at Luke Air Force Base, AZ, next year, with the base preparing to grow its F-35 fleet and welcome the first internationally owned jets to the desert.

DefenseAlert - 04/09/2014

The Pentagon's top F-35 official has rejected reports that South Korea will receive F-22 technical information as part of the country's deal to buy 40 F-35 fighter aircraft.

DefenseAlert - 04/08/2014

While the Coast Guard has received 14 C-27J Spartan aircraft from the Air Force this year, the Coast Guard will be unable to put them to use until fiscal year 2016 due to a lack of pilots trained on the aircraft, according to service Commandant Adm. Robert Papp.

Inside the Army - 04/07/2014

The Army plans to build its future fleet of Enhanced Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System aircraft using platforms the Defense Department has already procured, according to the military deputy to the service's top acquisition official.

Inside the Air Force - 04/04/2014

Despite early estimates from the Air Force that Boeing may exceed the $4.9 billion cap on KC-46 development by about $1 billion, Maj. Gen. John Thompson told reporters this week that he is confident the program will not slip on schedule or cost the service anything beyond the negotiated price.

Inside the Air Force - 04/04/2014

The Office of the Secretary of Defense has cleared the Air Force to proceed with a $10 million study to assess the technical feasibility of migrating the U-2 spy plane's unique imaging sensors onto the RQ-4 Global Hawk, the service's top intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance acquisition official said.

Inside the Air Force - 04/04/2014

Air Force officials said this week that the service's fiscal year 2015 budget lays out its lowest-risk plan for the makeup of its tanker fleet and includes a proposal to reduce that risk over time.

Inside the Air Force - 04/04/2014

The Air Force has stopped buying new targeting pods for its fighter and bomber aircraft even though years of investment have produced units with capabilities far superior to the legacy systems currently being employed.

Inside the Air Force - 04/04/2014

The Air Force's top official for installations, environment and logistics has emphasized the service's commitment to improving the energy efficiency of its aircraft and military installations even as budget realities force service leaders to make deep cuts to force structure and modernization programs.

Inside the Air Force - 04/04/2014

Gulfstream last week received a long-expected contract award to sustain the Air Force's fleet of executive transport C-20 and C-37 aircraft, a contract delayed significantly by a protest from a rival company that was dismissed in 2012.

Inside the Pentagon - 04/03/2014

Final disposition of the Joint Strike Fighter's high-profile second-engine program, which was terminated in April 2011, may finally come to a conclusion this summer, according to one of the participants on the effort.

Inside the Pentagon - 04/03/2014

The director of the Air National Guard said Wednesday that he is in favor of the Air Force's scaled-down C-130H modernization plans provided the service makes key investments in a timely manner to comply with air traffic control regulations the Federal Aviation Administration plans to implement in 2020.

DefenseAlert - 04/01/2014

A Pentagon assessment has determined that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter could miss one of eight key performance parameters deemed "critical or essential," and that the aircraft will conclude development in 2018 unable to demonstrate nearly 40 percent of the originally envisioned operational capabilities.

Inside the Navy - 03/31/2014

The Marine Corps, in its fiscal year 2015 wartime funding request, is asking Congress to buy six Joint Strike Fighter aircraft after losing six AV-8B Harriers, which were damaged by Taliban attackers in Afghanistan.

Inside the Navy - 03/31/2014

The Marine Corps' aviation fleet combat readiness could drop as low as 27 to 30 percent by 2021 if faced with further across-the-board sequestration cuts, according to a top service official.

Inside the Navy - 03/31/2014

The Navy is looking to buy 22 additional EA-18G Growler aircraft, included in its fiscal year 2015 unfunded priority list on its way to Congress, in order to improve the Navy's carrier strike capability and lower the duration and increase the effectiveness of its campaigns, according to a service official.

Inside the Navy - 03/31/2014

Joint Strike Fighter software challenges threaten to delay Navy and Marine Corps initial operating capability schedules for the aircraft, the F-35 program executive officer said last week.

Inside the Air Force - 03/28/2014

While the details of the Air Force's near-term plans to develop a more capable and fuel-efficient engine for next-generation aircraft remain hazy, a General Electric executive said this week that the service's plans to invest $1.4 billion in the effort across the next five years are the next step toward bringing advanced engine technology to the warfighter.

DefenseAlert - 03/27/2014

Air Force officials this week shared the limited details available about the service's plan to replace the current fleet of presidential aircraft, centered on an initial operational capability date of 2023 and with an acquisition strategy that remains quite vague.

Inside the Pentagon - 03/27/2014

Even as the F-35 program strives to deliver an interim software capability to the Marine Corps next year, the program will submit its follow-on software development plans -- some parts of which will not be fielded until the mid-2020s -- to the Pentagon for validation in a matter of months.

DefenseAlert - 03/26/2014

The Navy is considering expanding its airborne electronic attack requirements, which could build a case for more Boeing-built EA-18G Growler and Raytheon-developed Next-Generation Jammer pods, in a bid to extend the aircraft's production line and add capacity to assist the Air Force and partner nations during operations in contested, anti-access environments.

DefenseAlert - 03/26/2014

Joint Strike Fighter software challenges threaten to delay Navy and Marine Corps initial operating capability schedules, the F-35 program executive officer said today.

DefenseAlert - 03/26/2014

The program executive officer for the Joint Strike Fighter today gave Congress new details on the F-35's development, noting an infusion of money from foreign partners has lowered the Pentagon's fiscal year 2015 funding needs for the program by $400 million.

DefenseAlert - 03/26/2014

The Joint Strike Fighter program office believes modifying early-production Air Force F-35As from a basic configuration to a capable warfighting level will cost $6 million per jet, plus other associated expenses not included in that figure.

Inside the Air Force - 03/21/2014

Lockheed Martin has put on hold all ongoing work on a major domestic F-16 upgrade program after receiving a stop-work order from the Air Force, company officials told Inside the Air Force this week.

Inside the Air Force - 03/21/2014

An Air Force effort to allow its two fifth-generation fighter aircraft to better connect with each other and legacy jets like F-15s looks likely to speed up this spring, with several important acquisition events approaching and evidence from industry that numerous technological options exist to create a communications gateway between those aircraft.

Inside the Air Force - 03/21/2014

The Coast Guard is standing up an asset project office at its air station in Elizabeth City, NC, in order to oversee the service's acquisition of 14 C-27J Spartan airlifters from the Defense Department as part of a wider inter-service plane swap deal, a service spokesman has confirmed.

Inside the Air Force - 03/21/2014

Preparations for the transfer of the Air Force's fleet of MC-12W Liberty aircraft to the Army and U.S. Special Operations Command are finally underway following the release of the department's budget request to Congress last month.

Inside the Air Force - 03/21/2014

Building a next-generation Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System platform which is smaller and cheaper to operate and sustain remains the Air Force's fourth major acquisition priority and is therefore more likely to be shielded from future budget cuts, according to the program executive officer for battle management.

Inside the Air Force - 03/21/2014

Air Combat Command said the service's plan to retire seven E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft in order to drastically cut modernization funding and shield other programs from deep cuts was "strategy-based and informed by fiscal realities."

Inside the Air Force - 03/21/2014

Air Force Global Strike Command will accept a one-year delay in receiving a new B-2 bomber upgrade without any short-term gapfiller improvement while continuing to advocate for the development of a new long-range bomber.

Inside the Pentagon - 03/20/2014

Air Education and Training Command's lead Joint Strike Fighter program officials are continuing to fight through the problems associated with the F-35's Autonomic Logistics Information System, with some recent improvement, while comfortably working to meet their portion of the requirements needed for the jet's initial operational capability.

Inside the Pentagon - 03/20/2014

U.S. Special Operations Command is launching several new programs to improve its aviation capability, with one effort going toward enhancing the command's psychological operations.

Inside the Pentagon - 03/20/2014

The Joint Strike Fighter training community at Eglin Air Force Base, FL, has so far done minimal instruction involving aircraft other than the F-35, especially adversary-style training -- but plans are being put in place to enable that "Red Team" type of activity later this decade.

DefenseAlert - 03/18/2014

The F-16 could become a target for steep budget cuts should Congress deny the service's wish to divest its entire A-10 fleet, according to a senior Air Force official.

Inside the Navy - 03/17/2014

The Navy will include 22 additional EA-18G Growler aircraft as well as the refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH) of the aircraft carrier George Washington (CVN-73), among other priorities, in a fiscal year 2015 unfunded priority list it plans to send to Congress soon, the service has confirmed.