ORLANDO — I’m reporting today from the AFA Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, searching for clues on the US Air Force’s many new and ongoing acquisition programs. Of great interest are the USAF’s plans for the F-35 fighter, KC-X tanker, CSAR-X helicopter, and next generation bomber (which I’d prefer the air force call B-X, but that sounds too much like their on-base department stores).
“We do not have resources available to ramp up a 6th generation fighter while we’re still working on 5th generation. We do continue R&D in AFRL and other dimensions of our ongoing R&D work relative to advance components, avionics, weapons that will eventually support that work. So the early peices of what would constitute a future program are already out there. What we’ll be looking at is how to focus that work at a relatively low level on an extended timeline so that we understand how those various research programs are developing and might interact.”
“The broad message … is we’re living with flat budgets … They may go down a little bit. We already have a significant challenge to implement the programs that are on our plate. … We have a very full plate of acquistion priorities. We can already see requirements that are not funded — T-X, presidential aircraft replacement. Some other special niche smaller fleet kind of assets that will eventually need to be repalced. Even the Minuteman will need to be replaced. So that’s those issues that are out there byeond the FYDP and beyond the FYDP-FYDP. We have a lot of issues in front of us.”