Rep. Curt Weldon says the cancellation of the Joint Strike Fighter alternate engine is one of the two “most significant issues”—the other is the F-22’s new procurement plan—facing the House Armed Services TacAir subcommittee this year. In Weldon’s view, the decision to “sole source an estimated 5,000 to 6,000 JSF engines” defies logic. He noted that the competition for just 1,800 F-15 and F-16 engines delivered a “21 percent savings in life cycle costs” and maintained that it is “intuitive” that a much larger program would return at least similar savings, as well as potential engine performance increases. Weldon maintained that the decision may “look like the right one” over the “short term” but could cost more over the life of the program.
Three B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing flew over the Indo-Pacific alongside F-16s from the Japanese Air Self Defense Force recently, as part of a joint large force exercise. The mission began and ended in the continental U.S., as the bombers flew 31 hours and landed Jan. 11.