The Air Force was forced to make many “tough choices” as it put together its Fiscal 2015 budget request, including the termination of the F-16 Combat Avionics Programmed Extension Suite, or CAPES, program, said Maj. Gen. Jim Martin, USAF deputy assistant secretary for budget, on Tuesday. Under the CAPES program, F-16s were to be upgraded with new AESA radar and a new cockpit display, along with data link enhancements and an improved defensive suite in an effort to keep the aging fighters viable until the F-35 strike fighter comes online. “[Termination of] that program did save us money over the [Future Years Defense Program], but let me be very clear that we still invested money in our legacy aircraft to keep them viable,” said Martin during an AFA-sponsored, Air Force breakfast event in Arlington, Va. “We did provide some upgrades and modifications for our F-15s, for example, so we did our best in the legacy aircraft to keep those platforms capable.” The Air Force’s Fiscal 2015 budget requests $240.947 million for the APG-82(V) radar modernization program for F-15E Strike Eagles, up significantly from the $182.927 million for the program in Fiscal 2013. In addition, USAF will continue to fund the APG-63(V)3 radar upgrade for its F-15C/D Eagles, according to budget documents. (For a full list of Fiscal 2015 budget documents, click here.)
Three B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing flew over the Indo-Pacific alongside F-16s from the Japanese Air Self Defense Force recently, as part of a joint large force exercise. The mission began and ended in the continental U.S., as the bombers flew 31 hours and landed Jan. 11.