HASC Panel Wants Global Hawk Block 30s around Longer

The House Armed Services Committee’s tactical air and land forces panel blocked the “premature” retirement of the Air Force’s RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 30 remotely piloted aircraft fleet in its mark-up of the Fiscal 2014 defense authorization bill. The panel’s mark states that the Air Force Secretary must take “all actions necessary” to maintain the operational capability of the Block 30 Global Hawks through 2016. That means retaining the Block 30 airplanes for two additional years; Congress directed the Air Force in Fiscal 2013 defense legislation to keep these Global Hawks flying through 2014. The subcommittee also requires the Pentagon’s acquisition executive to create an independent team of experts to review the F-35 strike fighter’s software program and provide lawmakers with a report of its findings by March 3, 2014, according to May 21 HASC release. The mark-up language also requires the Pentagon to prepare an assessment of the vulnerabilities of tactical data link systems, “specifically in an anti-access or area-denial environment,” states the release. (HASC tacair mark; caution, large-sized file.)