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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Inside the Air Force focused on the latest developments in air and space warfare, including the Joint Strike Fighter and F-22 Raptor programs, strategic airlift and satellites, unmanned systems and the evolving relationship between the Air Force and Congress.