Pentagon acquisition czar John Young has approved a restructured plan for the C-5 reliability enhancement and re-engining program, under which only the Air Force’s B and C models will be upgraded and not its older A models. Young called it a “good news story,” in a statement provided through a spokesman Feb. 15. He added, “We have saved the taxpayers $9.8 billion dollars, and we have an aggressive new plan to manage this program.” Under the changes, which came about as the result of a Nunn-McCurdy recertification, the Air Force will add the new engines and enhancements to a total of 52 of its 111 C-5 strategic airlifters and not all 111 as originally planned, Air Force acquisition official Lt. Gen. Donald Hoffman told reporters in the Pentagon on Feb. 15. Since three aircraft (one C-5A and two C-5Bs) already have been fitted with the new equipment and are in testing, this leaves 47 C-5Bs and the two C-5Cs in the fleet yet to upgrade, he said. The remaining Galaxies in the fleet, 59 C-5As, will not receive the RERP modifications. But all 111 C-5s will still get state-of-the-art cockpits under a separate avionics modernization initiative, the service said in a written statement. Asked if the Air Force is pleased with the decision, Hoffman said: “We are.” Young’s office led a review of RERP after the program breeched Congressionally mandated Nunn-McCurdy cost-monitoring thresholds last year by rising to an estimated total cost of $17.5 billion from its original estimate of about $11.1 billion in 2001. With the restructure, the cost of the pared-down RERP is now pegged at $7.7 billion, based on Young’s statement. As part of the changes, Young has also re-designated the RERP as an acquisition category 1D program, meaning his office and not the Air Force will retain executive oversight.
More than 100 B-21s will be needed if the nation is to avoid creating a high demand/low capacity capability, panelists said on a Hudson Institute webinar. The B-21's flexibility, stealth, range and payload will be in high demand for a wide range of missions, both traditional and new.