Keep ‘Em Flying

Attempting to dispel a possible misunderstanding from Air Force Secretary Michael Donley’s remarks Monday, Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said Tuesday that the Air Force plans to pursue extensive upgrades to legacy fighters given the reductions in the overall fighter fleet and termination of the F-22. “We’ll make sure … the ones we’re going to keep are very, very good platforms,” equipped with active electronically scanned array radars, infrared search-and-track systems, datalinks, and other improvements, Schwartz told reporters at a press conference. Donley had suggested that such programs might be cut back with the funds going to the F-35 program instead. Asked about a planned cut in the C-130 Avionics Modernization Program, Schwartz said that it’s probable, and that instead, there will be piecemeal improvements to C-130 avionics to make the aircraft compatible with global air traffic requirements rather than an “integrated … glass cockpit” modification, Schwartz said. “It’s an affordability issue,” Schwartz said, and if there was more money available, the AMP wouldn’t be cut.