Rapid Fire April 11, 2012: 30-Year Aviation Funding Plan
- The Pentagon’s 2013-2042 annual aviation inventory and funding plan is available via Bloomberg, in a context of aging aircraft. It says 5th generation assets will go from 7% of the current force of manned fighter aircraft to about 25% by FY 2022 based on a F-35 production ramp up. Fighter spending is about equal between the Air Force and Navy in FY 2013 but the next years see a gap in favor of USAF. Total spending (i.e. RDT&E, procurement, MILCON, and O&M) is projected to $770B in then-years over the next 10 years. See data tables and charts of DoD’s projected aicraft inventory at the bottom of this entry.
- DoD’s long term aicraft plan include a T-X trainer replacement “envisioned to begin production around FY18 with a planned IOC in FY20”, and replacements for T-45Cs and T-44s to be identified next decade. They expect the V-XX new presidential helicopter to begin operating in 2023. Further out, the 30-year plan mentions in passing F-X and FA-XX replacements to the F-22 and F/A-18, respectively.
- The Chinese Navy has begun using UAVs, deploying them on exercises around the South China Sea. Perhaps this will prod the US Navy, which has been the slowest adopter of the 3 services.
“Being able to supply products to the Department of Defense in the United States, it is something that has always been one of our most important strategic objectives. For us, it is an opportunity to develop a relationship.”
- India’s Telegraph wonders whether Defence Minister AK Antony is part of the problem or the solution with regards to India’s often slow, sometimes insular procurement process. At the very least, a relatively small request from DID: can the MoD update its website from its circa-1996 design?
- The Center for Strategic & International Studies published its 2012 Global Forecast [PDF], a big-picture overview of current geostrategic and economic challenges. They’re urging the US Congress to get its act together.
- J.L. Granatstein, a Senior Research Fellow at the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute, after staying a few days at a US Air Force base:
“The lavish scale of the American defence complex simply boggles the mind. […] Had I been a serviceman taking my family on vacation or one of the 800 airmen and women due to be assigned there in the near future, I could have used the kilometres of private and pristine white sand beach on the base shoreline or stored my runabout at the base marina. For those posted there, the golf course was available, as was the superbly equipped new gymnasium, skeet shooting, bowling, and hunting on the base’s wooded area. My young children could get day care on the base and the teenagers could go to programs run by the youth centre. […]
How much of this will survive the coming cuts is unclear. […] Canadian Forces Bases are spartan by comparison, smaller in size and in the numbers of personnel they support and the amenities they can offer.”