No F-15, F-16 SLEPS Until Next POM

A service life extension program and capability upgrade for the F-15 and F-16 fleets is being studied by the Air Force acquisition shop, but might have to wait for the fiscal year 2018 budget and beyond, Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch said Thursday. Bunch, military deputy to USAF acquisition chief William LaPlante, told reporters after an AFA-sponsored Air Force breakfast that “we’re looking at the technology, we’re looking at how fast” the threat is evolving, and when F-35s are being delivered. “It’s a discussion we’re having right now, and right now we’re discussing the ’18 POM [program objective memoranda] … But there’s no granularity to it,” Bunch said. Air Combat Command chief Gen. Hawk Carlisle told reporters last week that the too-small size of the F-22 force and the slow rate of delivery of F-35s compel him to upgrade his existing F-15Cs and Es with new radars and other sensors, and replace life-of-the-airplane parts like wing spars and longerons, which have structurally aged out. Despite the need, “it doesn’t mean we can go do it,” Bunch said. “We may not be able to afford it. We have to do that analysis.”