The Air Force awarded Boeing a $326 million contract for 15,000 Joint Direct Attack Munition tailkits, according to a March 31 release. Work on the Lot 20 tailkits will be done at Boeing’s St. Louis, Mo., facility and is expected to be finished by March 29, 2018. The order also includes technical services task management, non-warranty support induction and evaluation, and system field support. The Air Force is working to rebuild its munitions stockpile to offset heavy use of preferred munitions, such as JDAMs and Hellfire missiles, against ISIS leaders and facilities in Iraq and Syria. The service’s Fiscal 2017 budget looks to fund 30,600 JDAMs and more than 1,500 Hellfire missiles, the preferred weapon on remotely piloted aircraft. (See also: Munitions Dominate Procurement).
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.