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USAF Cuts Back C-5 Re-engining Program

Cost Overruns Nix Upgrades To Oldest Galaxy's

Faced with a program that's significantly overbudget, on the Thursday the US Air Force announced it will scale back a multi-billion dollar program to upgrade engines on C-5 Galaxy heavy-lift transports.

The Associated Press reports the Air Force will proceed to replace aging engines on 47 C-5B and two C-5C aircraft, with modern CF6-80C2L1F turbofans -- but 62 of the oldest C-5As will soldier on with their existing engines, due to cost overruns on what was originally an $11.1 billion program, when the Air Force awarded the contract to Lockheed Martin in November 2001.

However, projected costs for the Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program (RERP) have since swelled to $17.5 billion... triggering a Nunn-McCurdy violation, which requires the Pentagon to disclose to Congress when costs on a major program exceed 15 percent of the amount originally budgeted.

The contract will be scaled back to $7.7 billion, according to John Young, under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics. Under the new contract, Lockheed may only spend a maximum of $123 million per plane.

Following the announcement, Lockheed said it was pleased with the Pentagon's decision to move ahead on part of the program... and remains "committed to continuing support of the Air Force in the long-term sustainment of the C-5A fleet."

Translation -- we'll be more than happy to continue fixing those old engines.

FMI: www.lockheedmartin.com, www.af.mil

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