After overcoming cost overruns and development concerns, the F-35A has officially been declared ready for combat, 15 years after Lockheed Martin originally won the contract. As a result of achieving the initial operational capability (“IOC”) milestone, the first F-35 operational formation can now be deployed anywhere in the world.
Boeing announced it may end production of its 747 aircraft if it continues to experience a decline in orders and an increase in pricing pressure. For the time being, Boeing has decided to continue with the plan of halving the production rate to 6 aircraft per year starting in September.
The KC-46 tanker program has completed its flight tests and is now expected to request approval from the Pentagon to start low-rate initial production. In advance of its Milestone C decision in August and a week after refueling the C-17 Globemaster II and the F-16, the KC-46A successfully transferred 1,500 pounds of fuel to the A-10 Warthog.
Airbus and Boeing had a modest showing at this year’s Farnborough Air Show with a combined $62 billion in deals, especially in comparison to last year’s historic $116 billion in orders. The Farnborough Air Show is typically a high point for aircraft orders and the commercial-aviation industry as a whole. During the air show, Airbus outpaced Boeing, with $35 billion in orders, bringing its YTD total orders to 380 aircraft.
The Pentagon has submitted approximately $2.6 billion in funding shifts within its reprogramming request to Congress. The funding shifts include $1.2 billion in fiscal 2016 appropriations, $583 million in the Defense Working Capital Fund, and $499 million in fiscal 2015 overseas contingency operation funding.
After months of discussion, Airbus and Safran have reached an agreement to create Airbus Safran Launchers, a European rocket joint venture. The two companies have been working together since 2014 to build the Ariane 5 space launcher and are establishing the new joint venture in order to develop the next generation rocket, the Ariane 6, which is expected to complete its first flight in 2020.
Southwest Airlines announced it is postponing the delivery of 67 Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft for up to six years to focus on technology and operational improvements. The delay of $1.9 billion in spending comes as delivery plans shift back from 2019 – 2022 to 2023 – 2025.
On Tuesday the Senate approved the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, which allocates $602 billion in base defense and war spending. The bill proposes aggressive acquisition reforms, which include reduced spending on cost-plus contracts and inclusion of more contractors outside the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area (“DMV”) on Federal contracts.