AvObserver
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Posts: 2392
Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2002 7:40 am

Push For R&D On New Bomber, 23 B1-Bs To Be Spared

Sat May 10, 2003 10:30 am

This is GOOD news EXCEPT for the FA/22 program being in jeopardy.

From: Aerospace Daily

New Bomber, Cruise Missiles Get Boost From House Panel
By Marc Selinger

The House Armed Services projection forces subcommittee approved a fiscal 2004 defense authorization bill May 7 that adds hundreds of millions of dollars to the Bush Administration's budget request to jumpstart development of a new bomber aircraft, boost procurement of the Affordable Weapon and Tactical Tomahawk cruise missiles, and partially undo a decision to retire part of the B-1B Lancer bomber fleet.

The bill provides $100 million for a new research and development initiative for a next-generation, deep-strike, stealthy bomber. Subcommittee Chairman Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) said the Air Force needs to start efforts now to replace its aging fleet of bombers. The Air Force is not scheduled to begin the bomber replacement process until about 2013.

The subcommittee also increased the Administration's request by $376 million to buy more Raytheon Tactical Tomahawks, though it included language by subcommittee ranking Democrat Gene Taylor (Miss.) that would shift up to $200 million of that money to the purchase of long-lead items for an LPD-17 class ship if more Tomahawk funds are provided in a future war-related supplemental appropriations request.

The authorization bill endorses a multi-year procurement of Tactical Tomahawks that would begin in FY '04 and provide "a quantity of missiles to be determined by the secretary of the Navy," according to language that has not been publicly released but that was obtained by Aerospace Daily.

Navy officials have said they could use more Tomahawks to replenish inventories depleted by recent military operations.

"They have to be built back up," Bartlett told reporters.

The subcommittee increased the Administration's request by $178 million so the Navy could speed up procurement of the Titan Corp.-developed Affordable Weapon, a new, relatively low-cost cruise missile.

23 B-1s spared

The bill also adds $20 million to sustain 23 of the 32 B-1s that the Air Force plans to retire. Retiring all 32 would reduce the B-1 fleet to 60 aircraft, an inventory Bartlett said is too small.

The bill contains $229 million that could be used to sustain the Air Force's aging KC-135E air refuelers or to prepare for a purchase or lease of new Boeing 767 tankers. The Air Force is considering a proposal to lease 100 767 tankers.

The subcommittee approved language that would block the retirement of C-5As until the Air Force completes a study to determine whether it makes sense to re-engine the aging transports.

As expected, the bill adds $182 million to the request to increase the Air Force's procurement of Boeing C-17 transports from 11 planes to 12 (DAILY, May 7).

In the ship area, the bill would authorize a multi-year procurement for seven Virginia-class submarines. The legislation also calls for several studies on potential future fleet architectures for the Navy.

F/A-22 'tweak' planned

Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.), chairman of the House Armed Services tactical air and land forces subcommittee, told The DAILY that he plans to "tweak" the Air Force's F/A-22 Raptor program when his subcommittee considers its portion of the FY '04 defense authorization bill May 9.

Weldon said details are not final, but he indicated in late April that he was considering cutting two aircraft from the Air Force's FY '04 request for 22 F/A-22s (DAILY, May 1).

The Lockheed Martin-built F/A-22 has been plagued by cost, schedule and technical problems. If those problems are not resolved, then "next year, we'll cancel the program," Weldon warned late May 6.

Weldon also said his portion of the bill makes no significant changes in the Administration's request for the Army RAH-66 Comanche helicopter and the multi-service V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft.

Senate Armed Services subcommittees continued to meet behind closed doors May 7 to consider their version of the FY '04 defense authorization bill.








 
charleslp
Posts: 321
Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2001 9:33 am

RE: Push For R&D On New Bomber, 23 B1-Bs To Be Spared

Sat May 10, 2003 12:03 pm

I all can say is that it will be a VERY BAD idea to cancel the F-22 program.
 
jwenting
Posts: 9973
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2001 10:12 pm

RE: Push For R&D On New Bomber, 23 B1-Bs To Be Spared

Sat May 10, 2003 4:49 pm

Well, the F-22 was never a favourite of powerful members on the comittee for several years now.
IMO it's the wrong winner from the competition (which I think was biassed for political reasons), but that's another matter.

But overall it's good news, now to see which other programs suffer as a result or whether it's an addition to the overall budget instead of a shift of funds.
I wish I were flying
 
flyf15
Posts: 6633
Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 11:10 am

RE: Push For R&D On New Bomber, 23 B1-Bs To Be Spared

Sun May 11, 2003 2:53 am

Well, if the F-22 is cancelled, it looks like the F-15 will be staying for quite some time. New updated (and more capable) versions? Hopefully. Hey, maybe we'll get lucky and they'll bring back the F-23.  Big thumbs up
 
PPGMD
Posts: 2398
Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2001 5:39 am

RE: Push For R&D On New Bomber, 23 B1-Bs To Be Spared

Sun May 11, 2003 4:47 am

Doubt it, the Lockheed has already delivered a few F-22's, upgrading the F-15's, or restarting the YF-23 program would cost more than continuing the F-22 program considering it's current state.
At worst, you screw up and die.
 
CX747
Posts: 5566
Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 2:54 am

RE: Push For R&D On New Bomber, 23 B1-Bs To Be Spared

Sun May 11, 2003 4:54 am

It is good to hear that the B-1 fleet will not be reduced by the numbers originally sought. 60 Airframes is too little, thankfully Congress overturned the Air Force's and Rumsfield's decision. I also agree with the decision because the Air Force cancelled the B-1 upgrade plan which was the reason why they were retiring some airframes in the first place.
"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." D. Eisenhower

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