The Air Force would like to spend about $5.6 billion to buy roughly 7,700 missiles and bombs in Fiscal 2009, according to USAF budget officials and documents. This includes 275 AIM-9X Sidewinders and 281 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles, 260 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles, and 642 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles for MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicles. USAF also wants to procure 3,647 Joint Direct Attack Munitions and 2,612 Small Diameter Bombs. The Air Force can request the purchase of additional JASSMs even though the missile program is still undergoing the process of recertification per Nunn-McCurdy laws that kick into place once the cost of a weapons program increases significantly. USAF may request the additional cruise missiles because the 2009 budget proposal reflects the current program of record for JASSM and the requested purchase is not a deviation from that, Air Force budget officials said.
The F-35 Joint Program Office has officially announced plans to issue multiple sole-source contracts to Pratt & Whitney to upgrade the fighter’s F135 engine—a widely expected move after Pentagon officials indicated they would do so earlier this year instead of developing an entirely new engine.