Thu, Mar 06, 2008
Inquiry Came At Request Of Senators, Including McCain
The Pentagon's chief weapons buyer said this week that despite
the Air Force putting more C-17 Globemaster III transport planes on
its "dream list" to Congress, the Pentagon's position remains the
same as it's been for two years -- the planes are not needed.
Reuters reports John Young was addressing reporters' questions
about the Air Force's $18.7 billion "unfunded priorities" list,
that included 15 more C-17s. The list is an annual attempt at an
end-run around the Pentagon's official budget request. It usually
works, as lawmakers look for pork to bring home to districts in
which there would be economic impact.
But it might not this time. "We have no requirements base for
more aircraft," Young said.
Congress already funded 18 C-17s beyond Pentagon requests in the
past two years to keep production going, at the urging of the Air
Allowing the production lines for a military aircraft to be shut
down would be very expensive to reverse. The Pentagon's inspector
general's office is trying to determine whether the Air Force has
wrongfully encouraged Boeing to spend hundreds of millions of
dollars maintaining suppliers for C-17 production in anticipation
of congressional approval of unfunded priorities.
The Pentagon inquiry was requested by a group of US Senators,
including the evident Republican Presidential nominee, John McCain.
The Arizona lawmaker is on record backing the Pentagon in opposing
extended C-17 production.
Instead of purchasing new aircraft, Young supports modifying
much of the Air Force's current fleet of C-5 Galaxy heavy-haulers.
As ANN reported, in February
the Air Force scaled back plans to re-engine the entire 109-plane
C-5 fleet, due to cost overruns. Under the new plan, only the
newest C-5B and C-5C aircraft will get new engines, while 62 aging
C-5As will soldier on with older powerplants.
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