According to defense analyst Jeremiah Gertler, now with the Aerospace Industries Association, the Air Force isn’t just communicating its priorities poorly, it doesn’t put its money where its mouth is. He told a Heritage Foundation seminar this week that the service claims the KC-X tanker is a major procurement priority, but the budget documents don’t “necessarily” support that claim. Gertler also argues that if USAF wins its bid to become executive agent for higher flying unmanned aerial vehicles, the service must establish clear budget priorities verbally as well as on paper. “The two are often at odds,” he said.
The Collaborative Combat Aircraft will be operational in the late 2020s, several years before the Next-Generation Air Dominance family of systems, Air Force officials told the House Armed Services tactical aviation panel. The CCAs will first be “shooters,” then electronic warfare platforms, then sensors, in that order, they added.