Boeing and Lockheed Martin each have won six-month contract extensions valued at $75 million to continue risk-reduction activities on the Transformational Communication Satellite space segment as part of their ongoing competition. This period of performance runs until July 7, 2008, the time by which the Air Force expects to choose the winning TSAT satellite manufacturer. Each team will have a series of deliverables through July. These include conducting a contract closeout review; reporting on its risk-reduction hardware demonstrations; and ensuring the Lasercom and Next Generation Processor Router technologies are maintained at a technology readiness level 6. USAF expects to launch the first TSAT spacecraft in 2016, but this may change as the Wall Street Journal reported last month that the Bush Administration plans to cut as much as $4 billion from the program’s budget starting in Fiscal Year 2009.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.