Return of Lend-Lease

Even though it’s short of “preferred munitions” for the war on ISIS, the Air Force is also providing them to its coalition allies in Operation Inherent Resolve, because they’re running dry, too, said Lt. Gen. John Raymond, deputy chief of staff for operations. Speaking with defense reporters in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Raymond noted that “almost 100 percent” of the weapons being used in the anti-ISIS fight are precision-guided types—either laser- or GPS-guided—and they’re being used “in great abundance.” He admitted that USAF is “concerned” about its own stockpiles and is looking to “expand the procurement” of PGMs “for future needs,” although he insisted that USAF has “what we need to accomplish … near-term … efforts.” The issue is one of usage rate versus contractor capacity, he observed. “We do supply coalition partners” who use the same munitions and are also suffering shortages, Raymond added, but it’s not aid. “We get reimbursed for that,” Raymond said. The consumption of munitions by the coalition is something USAF is having to manage “very closely,” he added. USAF doubled its previous request for munitions spending in its Fiscal 2017 budget request, emphasizing Hellfire missiles fired from remotely piloted aircraft, JDAM, and laser-JDAM bombs. USAF also provided munitions to NATO allies who went Winchester during the Libyan campaign in 2011.