As has been the practice the past several years, the Pentagon’s Fiscal 2011 budget proposal, which is due to Congress next week, is expected to include no funds to buy more C-17 transports or continue work on the F136 engine for the F-35 strike fighter, according to press reports. Congress has kept both programs alive through funding add-ons in recent budgets over Pentagon objections. A Reuters news wire service piece indicates that Defense Secretary Robert Gates has terminating both projects in his sights once again as part of the new $708 billion spending plan. Meanwhile, Bloomberg news reports (via Business Week) that the new budget will include funding for two Air Force projects that appeared late last year to be on the chopping block: C-130 avionics modernization and a new radio system. (For more budget news, see What to Expect.)
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.