Fri, Feb 29, 2008
Line Scheduled To Close In 2010
Officials with the US Air Force
aren't sure whether they want to order more Lockheed Martin C-130J
turboprop transports in the near future. They want to have the
option, however, and that may not be available if the production
line closes down as scheduled in 2010.
USAF Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Moseley told the House Armed
Services Committee this week the service is still negotiating an
offer, presented last year by Lockheed, for 120 new C-130Js. The
multi-year contract could be worth more than $6 billion, reports
"We must maintain and extend the existing production lines,"
Moseley told the committee. "This aircraft represents
America’s best technology and capability."
In statements to the press, however, USAF Secretary Michael
Wynne told reporters the Air Force is "trying to make sure we have
a need" for all those aircraft... especially as the service is also
battling lawmakers to authorize more funding in the fiscal year
2009 budget for more C-17 Globemaster III transports, and high-tech
F-22 Raptor fighters. Wynne concedes Lockheed's offer does
represent "an attractive opportunity."
The Air Force came under criticism during Wednesday's hearing
for submitting nearly $19 billion in additional, unfunded requests
to lawmakers -- above and beyond the money proposed by President
Bush earlier this month.
California Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher called out the
administration for its mode of operation -- noting the White House
has left the Air Force to scramble for more money from lawmakers in
the past. She termed the practice "a nasty little habit the
administration has gotten into," adding it leaves the Air Force
little choice but to purchase fewer planes, at more expensive
prices, than a larger deal would allow.
The USAF has asked Congress for eight C-130Js in its unfunded
requirements list, as well as 15 C-17s. As ANN has reported, the
service also hopes lawmakers will approve funding for more
than the 183 F-22s currently authorized for the Air Force.
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