The Air Force is expected to complete by mid-August the acquisition strategy for the Defense Department’s next-generation weather satellite, says Gil Klinger, director for space and intelligence in the Pentagon’s acquisition office. The new satellite, now called the Defense Weather Satellite System, will fill the void left by the cancellation of the NPOESS weather satellite in February. The first DWSS spacecraft is planned to be available for launch in 2018, Klinger told House lawmakers during a recent oversight hearing. The Obama Administration axed NPOESS after the joint Defense Department-Commerce Department-NASA program became untenable due to management woes, cost spikes, and major schedule slips. In its place, the Air Force will pursue DWSS, while Commerce’s NOAA develops the Joint Polar-Orbiting Satellite System for climate monitoring. The first JPSS launch is anticipated around 2014. (Klinger written testimony)
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.