What Else You Lose

If sequester remains in effect past Fiscal 2016, the Air Force will be forced to buy fewer aircraft and retire more of the ones it already has, service Secretary Deborah Lee James said Wednesday. Specifically, USAF would be compelled to slash 19 F-35s from its five-year buying plan, she told a Bloomberg budget conference in Washington, D.C. Gone will be the 59 KC-10s, which would be phased out over five years, to the tune of $2.6 billion in savings. The airplane’s civilian counterpart, the DC-10, is now rapidly being retired from the commercial fleet, so parts and support for the KC-10 will get progressively more expensive as USAF becomes one of the few operators of the airframe, she noted. In addition, the Air Force would have to take out its Block 40 RQ-4 Global Hawks, as well as a proposed new-start engine program, which is slated now for $1 billion from Fiscal 2016 to Fiscal 2020. Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Larry Spencer said the new engine differs from today’s engines, which pull air in through fan blades. “This new technology actually pulls air inside the core and gives us a lot more power and makes it more cost effective” in range, fuel, and maintainability, he said at the conference.