If all stays on track, the Air Force technical community could see an advanced composite cargo aircraft flight demonstrator (see above) by Sept. 30, 2008. Barth Shenk, program manager, told us earlier this week, that AFRL’s Air Vehicles Directorate is now evaluating proposals submitted last month and expects to finalize its recommendation by the end of this month. Besides asking for a “detailed design description,” the only constraint placed upon contractors was to be innovative and use close to production-ready composite materials. Schenk said that AFRL wants contractors to be free to build aircraft by unconventional means, and in unconventional ways.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.