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September 28, 2010

The Navy has awarded a $5.3 billion contract modification to Boeing for a multiyear deal for 124 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers, the sea service announced today.

The long-expected contract will last through May 2015 and will save the government an estimated $600 million on the aircraft, a Naval Air Systems Command statement said. The buy, which breaks out to 66 Super Hornets and 58 Growlers, will cover the remainder of the Navy's planned purchase of 515 Super Hornets and 114 Growlers by the end of fiscal year 2013, according to the statement.

September 28, 2010

General Electric and Rolls-Royce are trying to determine what caused an "abnormality" that damaged a Joint Strike Fighter engine during testing last week, according to company officials.

The incident occurred three hours into a mechanical check-out on Sept. 23 at a GE facility in Evendale, OH. At the time, the endurance engine was “at near maximum fan speed,” according to G.E. spokesman Rick Kennedy. “All indications are that the cause of the incident is unique to this engine, and the other test engines are continuing to run,” he said in an e-mail today.

September 27, 2010

The Air Force will be forced to trim nearly $4.1 billion from its fiscal year 2011 budget request if recommendations made by a powerful House defense subcommittee are made law.

Members of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee are looking to cut a total of $3.1 billion from the Air Force's procurement and research and development accounts -- $2.3 billion in procurement and $900 million in R&D --  in the upcoming fiscal year, according to a draft version of the panel's recommendations.

September 27, 2010

The House Appropriations defense subcommittee wants to terminate the most advanced variant of the Air Force's Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system and has slashed $1.2 billion from previously appropriated modernization programs, some of which have not adhered to full-funding financial regulations, according to previously unreported details of the panel's new military spending proposal.

September 27, 2010

The House Appropriations defense subcommittee has added nine F/A-18E/F Super Hornets to mitigate a projected strike fighter shortfall and inserted funding for a Mobile Landing Platform to bump shipbuilding procurement to 10 vessels, according to a draft report on the panel's mark of the fiscal year 2011 defense spending bill.

The committee increased procurement of Super Hornets from 22 to 31 aircraft in the bill, which the panel passed in July. InsideDefense.com obtained a copy of the bill report late last week. The full committee has not considered the bill yet.

September 24, 2010
The Marine Corps could absorb a possible delay in the Joint Strike Fighter initial operational capability by rearranging its existing F/A-18 contingent, the president's nominee for commandant of the Marine Corps told lawmakers today.
September 24, 2010

The Defense Department has notified Congress of a potential $4.2 billion sale of F-16s and munitions to Iraq, a deal that could extend production of the Lockheed Martin-built aircraft through the summer of 2014.

September 23, 2010

Britain's defense ministry is wading into the domestic political battle over the fate of the F-35 alternate engine, challenging the wisdom of the Obama administration's bid to kill the F136 engine program despite widespread support in Congress.

The United Kingdom has invested $2 billion in the Joint Strike Fighter's development and is the first foreign partner to commit to purchasing the aircraft.

September 23, 2010

A Navy advisory panel is slated today to unveil its recommendations on the status and the future of the naval research and development enterprise after uncovering various problems in a review that has spanned months.

September 23, 2010

Senate appropriators are declining to approve $85.6 million the Pentagon requested for special operations forces to lease intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft until there is a review of the acquisition strategy.

September 22, 2010

The Defense Department and Joint Strike Fighter prime contractor Lockheed Martin have hammered out an agreement for a new batch of F-35 aircraft, concluding months of negotiations during which the U.S. government sought to reallocate the balance of risk between the Pentagon and contractor for development of the new fighter aircraft.

September 21, 2010

The Marine Corps could absorb a delay to its Joint Strike Fighter initial operational capability date by tweaking its  F/A-18 plans, the president's nominee for commandant of the Marine Corps told lawmakers today.

Gen. James Amos told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the Marines began an effort about seven years ago to extend the lives of its existing planes by calculating the types and amount of strain they have been under and reassigning them accordingly.

September 21, 2010

Gen. James Amos, President Obama's pick to be the next Marine Corps commandant, told lawmakers today the service could abide a delay in fielding the short-take-off-and-landing variant of the Joint Strike Fighter but stressed the Marine Corps is holding fast to its long-standing desire to field an F-35B squadron as soon as December 2012.

September 16, 2010

Pillorying the Pentagon for lacking "budget discipline," a Senate defense panel has voted to redirect $8 billion in the Defense Department's fiscal year 2011 budget request because it believes funding requested by DOD for key programs, including the Joint Strike Fighter, has not been "adequately justified."

The Senate Appropriations Committee, in its report on the fiscal year 2011 defense bill, says JSF is “perhaps” the “most disturbing” example of a military program with budget management problems.

September 15, 2010

The development of an alternate Joint Strike Fighter engine may require less time and money than the Pentagon projects, according to the Government Accountability Office.

September 14, 2010

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD -- The Air Force's latest attempt to develop a long-range strike capability will feature a mix of legacy and next-generation technologies that will be able to address myriad threat scenarios while keeping the effort cost-effective, according to the service's top uniformed official.

September 14, 2010

(Editor's Note: This story has been updated to correct the total amount of fiscal year 2011 defense spending approved by the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee. The subcommittee originally issued an incorrect number. )

The Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee announced today that it would not allocate any funds for the Joint Strike Fighter alternate engine, laying the groundwork for tensions between the House and Senate over the fiscal year 2011 defense bill. The House Appropriations subcommittee allotted $450 million for the alternate engine in July.

September 13, 2010

In a bid to shoot down a set of legislative provisions that could limit fiscal year 2011 Joint Strike Fighter procurement funding by nearly 30 percent, Defense Secretary Robert Gates last week sent key senators a letter explaining why he believes the House version of the FY-11 defense authorization bill would render the program "essentially unexecutable."

September 13, 2010

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD -- The Air Force is bracing for a slate of fiscal year 2011 budget cuts that correspond with top-down Pentagon guidance, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said today.

The service has implemented fiscal guidance from Defense Secretary Robert Gates into its internal six-year investment plan, the FY-11 program objective memorandum.

September 9, 2010

The top Pentagon official overseeing the defense of the United States believes light-attack aircraft could play a beneficial role in the homeland defense mission.

To that end, Adm. James Winnefeld, the commander of U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command, is contemplating creating a requirement for such an aircraft. The four-star believes the aircraft, when paired with higher-flying, faster aircraft such as the F-16 fighter, could fill critical capability gaps in the Air Sovereignty Alert mission conducted by the Air National Guard.