It’s the dog days of August here in River City, but reporters still have to earn a living. Maybe that explains why there is so much nonsense floating around about Air Force weapons programs. Anyway, here are three rumors you can safely ignore.
First, there will be no two-year delay in the F-35 joint strike fighter program. That rumor is based on a 2008 Joint Estimating Team extrapolation of F-22 development experience to F-35 that was misleadingly written up recently as breaking news by a Capitol Hill reporter. Nobody can say for sure whether there will be a delay because we are only at the beginning of the flight test program, but the latest update given to DepSecDef Bill Lynn suggests the program might end up about three months behind schedule.
Second, the decision to cancel a Defense Acquisition Board “Milestone C” meeting about the C-130 Avionics Modernization Program (AMP) does not mean the program has run into performance problems. An authoritative Air Force source says the meeting cancellation had nothing to do with how the contractor is performing. It may just mean that key participants had other business to attend to — like taking long-overdue vacations.
Third, the Air Force isn’t planning to delay its re-competition of the tanker program by two years. Not after all the work the Air Force has done to draft a revised RFP and kill Congressman Murtha’s idea of splitting the contract. With so many other air power programs on the budgetary chopping block, service leaders can’t kill their top modernization priority without also killing their own credibility in the process. So the tanker effort goes forward as planned.
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