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Inside the Air Force - February 17, 2017
  • Bogdan plugs incremental F-35 IOT&E plan, says delays driving costs

    The F-35 program manager told Congress this week the program incurs an additional $30 million in costs for every six months initial operational test and evaluation is delayed -- one of several reasons he has pushed for an early start to the key testing phase.

    606 words

  • Experts: USAF's 'Third Offset' priorities could struggle, evolve in Trump era

    Defense experts in Washington are mulling what the future of the Obama administration's "Third Offset" investments could look like under President Trump, as the Defense Department begins to shape its near-term budgets and updated national defense strategy.

    1848 words

  • AFSOC awaiting ISR AOA results, considering shrinking crews

    Air Force Special Operations Command chief Lt. Gen. Brad Webb said Tuesday the command is exploring its options for replacing the U-28A and MC-12 fleets with platforms that can be used in low- and high-intensity operations in an analysis of alternatives slated to wrap up in July.

    488 words

  • Air Force delays Huey recapitalization RFP release until summer

    The Air Force is pushing back its final RFP for the UH-1N Huey replacement effort from this month until sometime this summer, a service spokesman said this week, and will release a second draft request for proposals in April.

    473 words

  • Tracking Missiles

    The Missile Defense Agency will forge ahead with using MQ-9 Reapers for ballistic missile tracking, and plans to award General Atomics a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to continue flight testing, according to a Feb. 14 Federal Business Opportunities notice. "MDA has a requirement to continue flight test of the Discrimination Sensor Technology in relevant and realistic deployment scenarios," the notice stated, using MDA-configured Reapers to gather airborne sensor mid-wave and long-wave infrared missile track data and send it to the agency. MDA is also building and ground-testing tracking lasers that will be flight-tested alongside sensors on Reapers in 2020. The system could be fielded starting in 2026.

    113 words

  • F-35 officials report no ALIS issues during Red Flag training exercise

    The commander of the 388th Fighter Wing, which operates F-35As at Hill Air Force Base, UT, said this week that widely reported development problems with the stealthy jet's diagnostics and health management system have become a "non-event" for the wing as the system matures and new software is fielded.

    596 words

  • Air Force pursuing counter-UAS program of record in FY-18

    The Air Force expects to set up a program of record to counter small unmanned aerial systems by the end of fiscal year 2018, according to a service spokeswoman, as the threat of armed small UAS grows in the Middle Eastern theater.

    343 words

  • DOD says FCC acceptance of EU PNT system could boost resiliency

    Defense Department space policy officials told Congress in a recent report that Federal Communications Commission acceptance of Europe's Galileo positioning, navigation and timing system would help address rising concerns about resiliency in the U.S. GPS constellation.

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  • USAF concerned near-term F-35A procurement spike could drive retrofit costs

    The Air Force may consider speeding up its procurement plans for the F-35A, but has cautioned that doing so prior to the delivery of Block 4 in the early 2020s would add considerable retrofit costs to the program.

    466 words

  • Bogdan: 'Better deals' on production contracts could aid development costs

    The head of the F-35 joint program office told lawmakers this week he is 'confident' he won't be asking lawmakers for more money to complete development, stating that favorable future negotiations could free up funds to mitigate additional costs.

    578 words

  • Resolute Support commander requests more funding for Afghan Air Force

    Army Gen. John Nicholson, commander of the Resolute Support mission and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, last week pushed the Senate Armed Services Committee to approve additional funds for the Afghan Air Force, calling airborne fighters key to the continued push against the Taliban.

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  • Air Force working on B-52 re-engine AQ strategy; could issue RFP in FY-20

    Amid reports from industry and the Air Force of peaked interest in a possible B-52 engine replacement, the service recently indicated it has started developing an acquisition strategy and, if it opts to pursue the effort, may release a request for proposals in 2020.

    237 words

  • SOCOM official eyes OTA to speed information-sharing changes

    Col. Craig Miller, director of the U.S. Special Operations Command J24 intelligence capabilities and requirements division, said Tuesday the U.S. could use new acquisition techniques to speed adoption of technology that would allow coalition partners to share information securely and selectively, amid complaints that clashing approaches to intelligence hurt international combat efforts in the Middle East.

    462 words

  • CBO pegs cost of nuclear forces at $400B over next decade

    It will cost $400 billion over the next 10 years to operate, maintain and modernize U.S. nuclear forces, an average of $40 billion annually, according to a recent report from the Congressional Budget Office.

    585 words

  • Mattis seeks to calm waters in the wake of Flynn resignation

    Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, whose primary public role in the fledgling Trump administration has been the reassurance of foreign allies, stands to benefit from the exit of Michael Flynn, the president's former national security adviser, who the White House said was forced from his job by the president after an "erosion" of trust stemming from statements he made about a wiretapped conversation with Russian officials.

    718 words

  • SOCOM chief: Command's review of forces has gone through staffing

    U.S. Special Operations Command has staffed a review looking at its forces and any gaps that exist, according to the head of SOCOM.

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  • Contractors strike upbeat tone on spending in new administration

    Contracting executives said this week they continue to expect bolstered government spending under a Trump administration, but at least one executive said it may take longer than expected.

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  • Aligning with Trump priorities, AIA touts trade balance and jobs

    In an oblique appeal to the Trump administration, the Aerospace Industries Association is touting a "record trade surplus of $90 billion in 2016" and continued support of the U.S. manufacturing sector.

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  • Bogdan provides public account of phone calls with Trump, Boeing chief

    Defense Secretary Jim Mattis' directive to review the Joint Strike Fighter program stems from a pair of phone calls then-President-elect Donald Trump had in January with F-35 Joint Program Office director Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, the senior Air Force officer told lawmakers.

    606 words

  • New space vision drives Air Force to change SBSS Follow-on strategy

    The Air Force said this week it will scrap parts of its strategy to replace the legacy Space-Based Space Surveillance satellite system, attributing the change of plans to its newly adopted, largely classified Space Enterprise Vision.

    530 words