Five aerospace leaders pleaded Tuesday for greater budget certainty, clarity of requirements, and easing of export restrictions to help the industry get through the current budget downturn. Speaking during a panel discussion at AFA’s Air & Space Conference in National Harbor, Md., Sikorsky President Mick Maurer said the military’s desire for unrestricted use of industry’s intellectual property or data makes it harder to bring innovation from the private sector. Darryl Davis, president of Boeing’s Phantom Works, said the export restrictions also make it hard to “leverage technology on a global scale.” Christopher Jones, President of Northrop Grumman Technical Solutions, said they need “more clarity in what [the Defense Department] and the services really need.” Robert Weiss, general manager of Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works, also said it was difficult to shape investment in new technologies without knowing that the Air Force’s future requirements. Aerospace Industries Association President Marion Blakey said “the current budget is simply unacceptable,” given threats from ISIS terrorists, Russia, and China. “Now, more than ever, we need a strong aerospace industry,” said Blakey, who urged other industry representatives in the audience to join AIA’s “Second to None” campaign to repeal sequestration so the defense budget can better support aerospace.
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.