As reported at the DEW line (and other places), the AF sent out “a request for information on July 27 that calls for first aircraft deliveries to start in Fiscal 2012 and the first operational squadron to activate a year later.”
Let’s see, requesting information in Jul 2009, for deliveries to start in FY12 (which starts in Oct 2011, a little more than two years from now), and an operational squadron just one year later… now we’re talking! The question of course is whether we’ll be able to stick with these short timelines, well-focused mission and emphasis on simple, mature technology, but this project definitely seems to be off on the right foot.
A similar phenomenon is happening in the area of light mobility airlifters. We’re talking about picking up 60 of these “cost effective” aircraft, with an initial operational capability date of FY12.
Strikes me as precisely the approach to capability acquisition we should be taking. I hope it sticks!