Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James has directed service officials to streamline foreign military sales of Air Force equipment by pre-approving the sales of certain types of equipment and identifying what types of equipment allies should buy. James, speaking Dec. 2 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., said she had returned from a recent trip to partner nations in the Middle East, where allies said they want faster approval to buy more US-made equipment. While speeding up the process requires congressional action, the Air Force can find ways to streamline sales. James has directed Heidi Grant, the service’s deputy undersecretary for international affairs, to develop a strategy to identify capabilities the Air Force would like partners to acquire and find ways to pre-approve some sales. This move could “cut the process down by weeks,” James said. During the recent visits to partner countries, allied services said they also would want more joint training and exercises to build capability for operations, such as the ongoing battle against ISIS. (For more from James’ speech, see also Airmen Integral Part of Expeditionary Targeting Force and Protecting LRS-B.)
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.