DID has offered a lot of C-17 coverage recently, including the Lexington Institute’s scathing characterization of the impending production line shutdown as “The Dumbest Weapons Decision of the Decade” as well as international orders by NATO (13-nation pool), Australia, Britain, and Canada. Past coverage has also included the Talent-Lieberman bill, which passed in the Senate as part of Congressional efforts to keep C-17 production alive and fund a larger fleet than the reduced figure of 180 aircraft that the Pentagon was willing to settle for. Now Senator Talent [R-MO] announced that he has secured funding for a total of 10 more C-17s in the Senate-House Defense Appropriations Conference Report for FY 2007. This $2.1 billion addition will be popular back home, as the C-17 supply chain and production lines include several thousand workers in Missouri. See Sen. Talent’s release.
The Pentagon was going to request 8 planes to finish up production, and initial talk was for another 3 to provide extra replacements given the fleet’s accelerated wear. This new bill adds 7 more planes to make 18, bringing the US fleet to 191 (Sen. Talent also secured $227.5 million for the purchase of an additional C-17 aircraft in the 2006 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act). Foreign production (4 Australia, 5 Britain, 4 Canada, 4 NATO) will bring the lifetime production total to about 208, though there aren’t all that many more foreign customer expected. With new orders set at 32 more planes (1+8+10+4+1+4+4), the Long Beach, CA plant has just over 2 more years of production left before its closure. This stretches its shut-down date from mid-2008 to early 2009.
Beginning on October 1, 2006, the USAF has announced that Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) will assume responsibility for sustainment across the force, becoming the USAF executive agent for programming, budgeting and execution. In practical terms, it means that money previously allocated to each major command to cover costs such as fuel (a growing issue), replacement parts and scheduled maintenance will eventually be funneled into one central pot and managed by AFMC. The program used to be called the Future Financials Initiative, but was broadened to “Centralized Asset Management” (CAM) to reflect its widened focus.
Last September, DID’s “Robins AFB Wins Shingo Gold Prize” covered the C-5 Programmed Depot Maintenance workforce’s receipt of an award that BusinessWeek magazine referred to as the “Nobel prize of manufacturing,” awarded annually to companies that demonstrate world-class business results through the implementation of Lean Manufacturing principles and practices. Robins AFB were the first public sector winner of the Shingo (Gold level) prize.
This year, 3 groups from the 402nd Maintenance Wing of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center accepted awards at the Shingo Public Sector Conference on September 7th…
On September 21, 2006, The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress [PDF format] of the Netherlands’ request for logistics support for F-16 aircraft and related systems, as well as associated equipment and services.
The estimated cost is $150 million, and the contractors will be United Technologies in West Palm Beach, FL (subsidiary Pratt & Whitney makes the F100 engine); Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, TX (F-16 manufacturer); and Westinghouse Electric Corp. in Baltimore, MD. The DSCA notes that implementation may require the assignment of 2 U.S. Government personnel and 1 contractor representative to the Netherlands for a period of up to 5 years, and adds: