The Air Force expects to be able to make a decision on the winning CSAR-X helicopter “by the spring timeframe,” according to Maj. Gen. Randy Fullhart, director of global reach programs in the Air Force Secretariat. Appearing Feb. 1 on This Week in Defense News, a CBS TV news show, Fullhart also said the Air Force hopes to get out a new request for proposal for the KC-X tanker sometime this year. The Air Force, he said, is “still going to press forward with the idea of one aircraft” being chosen via a winner-take-all competition between Boeing and Northrop Grumman and is against a split-buy strategy (i.e., buying both Boeing and Northrop tankers) because, as Defense Secretary Robert Gates has stated, a split buy “doubles the cost up front” of the acquisition. The Air Force is also planning to issue a new request for information to industry this month on fee-for-service aerial refueling services, said Fullhart. This could potentially lead to a request for proposal later this year. As for the future of the C-17 production line, Fullhart said service officials “see the end in sight” and have no intention of continuing production beyond the current 205-aircraft program of record.
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.