The final JSTARS Recap request for proposal is “ready to release,” but “we continue our engagement” with Capitol Hill to resolve the acquisition strategy before it can go out, Darlene Costello, Air Force acquisition chief, told reporters at ASC16. The Senate Armed Services Committee says JSTARS “must be a fixed-price” contract, and the production phase will be, Costello said at a press conference, but the Air Force needs the “flexibility” to award development as a cost-plus arrangement. “We need to make sure we have an executable risk reduction plan” for the system and the radar, Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, Costello’s deputy, said. If the SASC language is not modified, the RFP would probably have to be re-written and “contractors would have to revise their proposals,” a process likely to take three to six months, Costello noted. That would push the JSTARS award well into 2017 or later. “We’ve shared the impact with the Hill,” she said, adding USAF needs unambiguous, non-contradictory language about what the Senate really intends.
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.