Air Force North has reported in an Oct. 29 release that the six Modular Airborne Firefighting System-equipped C-130s detailed to support California wildfire operations have flown a total of 64 missions, dropping more than 180,600 gallons of fire retardant. (An earlier report cited considerably fewer sorties.) And, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has weighed in on the issue of whether the fire-fighting tankers were late to arrive and go to work, saying in an Oct. 27 press conference, “If the federal government didn’t respond fast enough with their airplanes, … we will go into that and fix that right away.”
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.