Phasing the T-X, the Bomber, and the Rest

To afford all the new Air Force programs that are in the pipeline, the service employs a master sand chart that carefully dovetails the start of some programs with the decline of others, service acquisition chief William LaPlante said in an interview with Air Force Magazine. The T-X trainer, for example, is in perfect position ramping up at 2017, because “it was a very nice opportunity when we had money available.” Five years earlier or later, “it wouldn’t work,” he said. USAF also is hoping to gradually phase programs in and out in the most efficient way, he said. The factory for the Long-Range Strike Bomber won’t be facilitized to build all 80-100 in a hurry, but at the most efficient rate, given predicted learning curves, “and stick to it,” LaPlante said. The bomber will likely be built “over five to 10 years, so … you could do the math, it’s probably in the ballpark of 10-12-14 a year … But that’s the idea. It’s not to start and stop or do an early spike, it’s actually to do the most efficient learning.” A “stable and constant production line” will save money versus trying to build the jets too fast or slow, he said. This lesson has been learned the hard way. “Witness some of the stuff that’s happened to us with permissive ISR,” he said.