Well, yesterday I went to a helicopter speech, but was treated to an impromptu debate by two key founders of what became the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.
The event was the monthly local chapter meeting of the American Helicopter Society. The two JSF figures were James "Raleigh" Durham and Michael Hough (USMC Lt Gen retired).
He recalled how JAST was originally supposed to transition to a real acquisition program in 1994, but was downgraded to a technology maturation project in the last hours of the 1993 Bottom-Up Review.
out it was the best thing that ever happened to us,"
But Hough was having none of it. He rose up in the question and answer period. JAST wasn't saved by the worthiness of the analytical case, he said. Case or no case, the program would have died in 1995 without the direct intervention by Congress, which ordered the Pentagon to label JAST as an "ACAT-1D" program, Hough said. This timely designation legally required the services to start spending money on it.
"So I ask
you," Hough said, questioning
An anonymous voice in the audience called out: "Tacair!"Hough, a fighter jock, laughed with the rest of the room: "I'm retired. Great answer!"
Hough still didn't back down. He said he's talked
to Rep Joe Sestak, a retired vice admiral, who desperately wants the
Pentagon to propose funding to for a new vertical lift aircraft so he
can approve it. It's time now for the vertical lift community to
capitalize on the urgent need created by the military's dependence on
helicopters to fight the war on terrorism, Hough said.