Over the course of late summer and fall, Congress appeared to cool to the idea of forcing the Pentagon to award two KC-X tanker contracts—the so-called split-buy approach—in the face of continued Pentagon resistance to the notion. Now, however, the Press-Enterprise reports that Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.) says he can “sense growing support for a dual source, particularly within the Democratic caucus.” Davis believes, “The reason is simple: You’d start building tankers sooner and create an economic stimulus in multiple cities.” The Pentagon maintains the split-buy approach would cost more; lawmakers have said it may be the only way out of a political quagmire. Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), chairman of the House defense appropriations panel and long-time proponent of the split-buy, was expected to try to resurrect the idea earlier this month with Pentagon leaders.
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.