Typed frantically between evening cocktail receptions:
Best contractor quote #1:
George Muellner, Boeing’s loquacious president of advanced systems, was speaking about the dual role air dominance missile (DRADM), which the air force wants to develop to replace the AMRAAM and the HARM. I mentioned that the navy seems to think this idea is a little dumb, and asked for his response.
Muellner replied: “The navy is always smart enough to not join these programs until it’s very mature, so the can buy off the production lots.”
Best contractor quote #2:
Harry Heimple, one of Northrop Grumman’s B-2 guys, was talking about why commercial operators have bumped the bomber off the slice of the spectrum it uses for radar signals. My question: at the end of the day, the B-2 is a nuclear bomber, so why can’t it use any part of the spectrum that it wants to use? Heimple answered that there were a lot of air force generals who asked the same question.
He added: “It took a roomful of lawyers to explain to them who was going to jail if they didn’t get out of the frequency.”
Most quizzical contractor exhibit:
Boeing’s exhibit includes a wall illustrated with a photo of the X-48 Blended Wing Body. Just below is it a an aircraft that I’ve never seen before, but looks utterly ridiculous. Think of a scaled-up version of Boeing’s air-dropped Dominator loitering munition, but with at least three people pictured sitting inside. No one in the Boeing exhibit, including George Muellner, knew anything at all about the vehicle. It remains a mystery.