Procurement: October 6, 2002


A new GAO report says that plans to cut the B-1B bomber force from 93 to 60 and consolidate the others into two bases is a sham, and that the saved money will be sucked into the F-22 Raptor program rather than be spent upgrading the B-1B as promised. Congress is also having problems with the Air Force's brilliant plan to replace all of its heavy radar, intelligence, and communications aircraft with a single design able to do everything. The MC2A (multi-sensor command and control aircraft) is supposed to replace JSTARS (radar tracking ground vehicles), AWACS (radar tracking aircraft), airborne command & control, Rivet Joint (intelligence), communications, and Compass Call (jamming and broadcasting radio and TV). The problem is that such a resulting aircraft is very expensive, and the Air Force will get about 45 of them to replace over 100 of the various other types of aircraft. How, Congress asks, can fewer planes be everywhere at once? And are the missions really compatible? Would the aircraft have to be in one location for a given mission but in a different location for another simultaneous mission?--Stephen V Cole


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