* Having vacillated back and forth, the Pentagon will reportedly now ask for both its cake and to eat it too in the 2016 budget, reversing the decision to mothball the U-2 spy plane program, but also to start research and design work (about $150 million over three years) on a replacement. The Office of Secretary of Defense ordered the Air Force to pursue both avenues, and is funding it with a topline service increase. The RQ-4B Global Hawk UAV from Northrop Grumman has been locked in paper combat with the Lockheed Martin U-2. Home scorekeepers will remember that the Air Force rather suddenly asked for permission to kill the Block 30 Global Hawk – the one with U-2-like capabilities – three years ago. Lobbying resurrected it and reversed the momentum between the two camps, until now.
* As part of its effort to institute cost reforms, the U.S. Air Force will weaken requirements for its T-X trainer procurement program, the replacement for the T-38 jet trainers. Also on the requirements chopping block are the space-based infrared system (SIBRS), multi-domain adaptable processing system (MAPS), and the long-range standoff weapon.
* General John Campbell who runs the Resolute Support mission, said in an interview with Army Times that his intelligence assets are concentrating on evidence that ISIS is recruiting in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
* Israel is pulling the trigger on a $117 million C4I revamp led by Elbit Systems.
* Belgium is surveying options to replace its F-16s. Thought to be on the list is the F-35, the F/A-18, Typhoon, Rafale and Gripen.
* A Frost & Sullivan report on the naval platform markets reportedly predicts slow growth maintained by several conflict areas and an increased swagger from China, coupled with an increasing supply situation as Japan’s military export reticence recedes and China increases its production capacity for export.
* It is axiomatic that a pilot and crew grow to love an air platform, no matter the warts. Most times, at least. But now fans of obsolete systems have access to cheap and easy 3-D video rendering. Couple that with a half-hearted lobbying effort of Facebook, and even a 1957 airframe can appear to have new life: