The Air Force is adding $100 million to its Penetrating Counter-Air or Next-Generation Air Dominance spending request for 2017, but the added funds don’t signal a change in the program, the service’s top uniformed acquisition official said Wednesday. Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch said the plus-up will be divided among a number of science and technology efforts “across the spectrum” of things that have to do with air dominance, such as mission systems, electronic warfare, and weapons. The money is “an investment on multiple fronts,” he said, to try to multiply the choices available to the Air Force and help it define what the program will be all about. Some of those efforts are duplicative, Bunch said, so “if they don’t pan out, we can go to the alternative.” The Air Force wants to have a new PCA aircraft available starting in about 2030. If the money isn’t approved, USAF will try again, but it will mean “a year’s delay,” Bunch said.
After a long period in which munitions were almost an afterthought and sacrificed to pay for other priorities, the Air Force needs to focus on them in order to have the right “package” of capabilities for future conflicts, Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. said June 7.