¡á In April nearly 5,000 Air Force reservists received letters telling them they have to make career decisions because of authorization reductions. To help pay for force modernization, the Air Force Reserve Command will reduce its manpower authorizations by 7,700 over the next four years. Part of that reduction will come from not funding close to 5,000 individual mobilization augmentee positions. ¡°We tried to make this whole process as individualized as possible,¡± said Col. Roxane Towner, the commander of AFRC¡¯s Readiness Management Group. ¡°Our people are important to us and we¡¯re going to do everything possible to ensure we maintain our unrivaled wingman commitment both to our reservists and their gaining major commands.¡±
¡á Air Force officials have announced plans for the replacement combat search and rescue helicopter, the CSAR-X. To foster open communications and a fair and open competition, Air Force officials expect to release a draft Request For Proposal amendment to the CSAR-X offerors this month, and will conduct meetings with the offerors to address comments and answer questions prior to the release of the official RFP amendment. ¡°We believe the RFP amendment will meet both the letter and spirit of the (Government Accountability Office) recommendation,¡± says Sue C. Payton, the service acquisition executive.
¡á In May, the Democratic-controlled House failed to override President Bush¡¯s veto of an Iraqi war spending bill with timetables for troop withdrawals. The 222-203 vote, far short of the two-thirds majority needed for a veto override, occurred just ahead of a White House meeting that Bush called to begin compromise talks with congressional leaders of both parties on new legislation to finance the war, now in its fifth year. ¡°The president has turned a tin ear to the wishes of the American people,¡± Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said during the hour-long debate before the vote. ¡°The president wants a blank check. The Congress will not give it to him.¡± Negotiations for a new spending bill could prove difficult. Both parties agree it should include benchmarks for progress in Iraq, but many Democrats insist they be tied to timelines for U.S. troop withdrawals if they are unmet. Bush and his congressional allies say such links are unacceptable.
¡á On April 23, Ellis Air Force Base in Nevada, celebrated the groundbreaking for the construction of North America¡¯s largest solar photovoltaic power system. The Nellis Solar Energy System, once operational, will generate 25 million kilowatt-hours of ¡°clean¡± electricity for the base. The project is scheduled for completion in early 2008. Rated at about 15 megawatts, the array will supply the base with more than 25 percent of its energy during peak summer months. The 70,000 solar panels that makeup the array are expected to save the Air Force more than $1 million in annual energy costs. ¡°This savings allows the Air Force to apply these funds toward higher priority mission requirements,¡± says Col. Michael Bartley, 99th Air Base Wing commander. ¡°The array provides a semi-secure and independent power source, a capability other military installations will soon move to acquire.¡±
¡á The first four two-seat training L-159T1 aircraft for the Czech Air Force (CzAF) took off from the factory airport of Aero Vodochody a.s. and made its maiden flight. The two-seat training aircraft, s/n 6069, was rebuilt from the original single-seat CzAF L-159A aircraft. The prototype is the first off-the-shelf L-159T1. Test pilots Rostislav Stroin and Vladimir Kvarda climbed to 33,000 feet during the initial flight.
¡á Premier Engineering & MFG., Inc. has recently concluded production of four deicing trucks, Model MT43P21-EA, for the Canadian Department of National Defense. The contract was awarded in December of 2006 based on cost, simplicity of design, maintenance and ease of operation, among other factors.
¡á The Canadian Air Force has selected the Predator B UAV for domestic and international surveillance missions, but the government has balked at the proposed sole-source purchase and ordered the service to re-examine whether other UAVs can be considered. The government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper is uneasy after allowing similar noncompetitive deals for the purchase of billions of dollars of equipment in the last year, according to defense industry sources. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, San Diego, had teamed with General Dynamics Canada to propose the Predator B for the Air Force¡¯s 500 million Canadian dollar ($420 million USD) Joint Unmanned Surveillance and Target Acquisition System (JUSTAS) program. MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates (MDA), Richmond, British Columbia, has joined forces with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Lod, Israel, to propose the Eagle 1 and 2 UAVs.
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In 2006, the university was able to leverage $1 million in funding and turn that into $5.6 million in funding for unmanned aircraft research.
At issue is whether unmanned aerial systems (UAS) will ever provide "an equivalent level of safety" to manned aircraft operating in the NAS.