Space Acquisition with EASE

Air Force leaders expect to save at least 10 percent off the often multi-billion-dollar price tag of new satellites with the implementation of the evolutionary acquisition for space efficiency, or EASE, strategy. They say it’s a completely new approach to...

Preventing Another AEHF Anomaly

The Air Force is still working out the financial and operational implications of the anomaly that has delayed the first Advanced Extremely High Frequency communications satellite, AEHF-1, from reaching its intended orbit, said Air Force Undersecretary Erin Conaton Tuesday during...

The F-35 Bottom Line

An estimate of $4.6 billion in additional cost for extending the flight test and development program of the F-35 strike fighter is solid, Vice Adm. David Venlet, F-35 program executive officer, said Tuesday. Speaking at a National Aeronautics Association event in Arlington, Va.—his first public speech since taking over the F-35 program last year—Venlet said the additional cost pays for more flight test aircraft, production slowdowns, and "a 10 percent management reserve, across the board." The $4.6 billion figure "used to be more," but Venlet put program personnel through two exhaustive, bottom-up drills to ascertain what a reliable figure would be. Both drills found some twice-counted costs, he said. Whereas previous F-35 cost and schedule estimates have proven to be unreliable, Venlet said the current one has worked for five months, absorbing developments such as "snow days," engine-delivery problems, and additional setbacks. Accordingly, he's confident this estimate will hold up in the long term. F-35 flight sciences, development, and missions systems testing will be wrapped up in Fiscal 2016, he asserted. But each service will decide on its own what constitutes initial operating capability for its respective F-35 variant. Some operational testing will continue beyond declaration of IOC, Venlet said. (See DOD's F-35 fact sheet from January for description of the changes Venlet described)

No Change in Quantity

Production quantities for the F-35 strike fighter will not be cut, despite speculation to the contrary, said Vice Adm. David Venlet, F-35 program executive officer, Tuesday. Even though some 240 aircraft have been moved out of the production schedule from Fiscal 2012 to Fiscal 2016 and deferred to later years, production quantities remain at 1,763 for the Air Force, 680 for the Navy/Marine Corps, and an estimated 3,100 for foreign partners, said Venlet during his National Aeronautics Association address in Arlington, Va. For Fiscal 2011 and Fiscal 2012, production will be 32 F-35s per year. He said international partners have been apprised of changes and the increased cost of about $4 million per aircraft. The partners will decide whether to stick with the program, but Venlet said he senses they will remain with it. (For background, see DOD's F-35 fact sheet issued in January)

Spangdahlem Recognized for Installation Excellence

Spangdahlem AB, Germany, has garnered the coveted laurel as the Air Force’s top installation. Secretary Michael Donley and Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz on Tuesday announced that Spang is USAF’s recipient of the 2011 Commander in Chief’s Installation Excellence...

Grand Forks Expands Unmanned Aircraft Presence

Officials from Grand Forks AFB, N.D., and the University of North Dakota have signed the lease to convert a large building at the base into a state-of-the-art training area for the university’s unmanned aircraft system center of excellence. The facility,...

Recruiting Remains Strong

The Air Force active and reserve components have all met their recruiting goals so far in Fiscal 2011. Further, the Army, Marine Corps, and Navy and their reserve components also have met or surpassed their accession goals for the fiscal...

C-17 is Stage for Diplomatic Incident

Argentine officials seized and impounded cargo from a USAF C-17 at Argentina’s Ezeiza International Airport in Buenos Aires, provoking a diplomatic fight with the United States. “It’s absolutely necessary that they immediately return that material. It makes no sense for...

Mud Mover’s Club Med

F-15Es of the 494th Fighter Squadron at RAF Lakenheath, England, pounded simulated targets on the Italian island of Sardinia in the Mediterranean, giving NATO joint terminal attack controller trainees their first experience handling live aircraft. “Students need to have practice...