The US Government Accountability Office releases its latest report covering the F-35 Lightning II, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter program. They offered their assessment and made their recommendations, but the USAF agreed to disagree and will continue as planned. GAO writes:
In September 2006, QinetiQ was assigned the system integrator role for an Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) program to integrate RAFAEL’s LITENING III surveillance and targeting pods onto the RAF’s Tornado GR4 attack aircraft in support of Operation Telic in Iraq.
Wintara-Salihi Group Inc. in Fort Washington, MD received an $8.7 million firm-fixed-price contract for the combustion inspection, re-commissioning and start-up of 2 Siemens gas turbine units (V64 and V94) including the associated auxiliary systems and equipment at the Kirkuk/Taza power plant in Kirkuk, Iraq. Work is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2007. Bids were solicited via the World Wide Web on Jan. 3, 2007, and 4 bids were received by the U.S. Army Joint Contracting Command-Iraq/Afghanistan in Baghdad, Iraq (W91GXY-07-C-0012).
Iraq’s power system was discovered to be in terrible shape post-invasion, and built mostly for the benefit of the area around Baghdad. Improving power distribution has been a long process marked by slow progress, with a growing focus on improving regional power capabilities as a key lever for building local support and stability. Kirkuk is a northern city that has always been something of a mix, with a large Kurdish majority population and significant Turkomen and Arab minorities. A large number of additional Arabs were later settled there by Saddam in order to displace the Kurds, a fact which complicates the current political situation. Kirkuk’s status going forward remains a live political issue within Iraq, and beyond.