The Defense Acquisition Board met with Pentagon acquisition guru Ken Krieg last week, as planned, to consider the Joint Cargo Aircraft, endorsing the selection made by the Army and Air Force, reports George Talbot of the Mobile Press-Register. The DAB decided to postpone an announcement until it completed its formal paperwork; however, Pentagon officials did notify the competing teams—L-3 Communications, Alenia North America, and Boeing for the C-27J and Raytheon and EADS CASA for the C-295. A Reuters news service report quoted Pentagon spokesperson Cheryl Irwin as saying release of the winning aircraft would come within a week to 10 days. Lawmakers have complicated matters: House authorizers want to withhold JCA funding pending an intratheater airlift review, while Senate defense authorizers called for one service—the Air Force—to take over the joint program.
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.