27 Jul 17. One Big F-35 Contract: $2.8bn Of $3.7bn For Foreign Planes. After the markets closed on a sleepy and rainy summer Friday afternoon, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus was ousted and DHS Secretary John Kelly named to take his place, and, oh, by the way, a $3.69bn contract was awarded Lockheed Martin for 50 foreign F-35s and work on the Lot 11 LRIP.
What’s in play here?
Most of the money, $2.2bn, goes to buy one British F-35B, one Italian F-35A, eight Australian F-35As, eight Dutch F-35As, four Turkish F-35As, six Norwegian F-35As aircraft, and 22 F-35As for Foreign Military Sales customers. Separately, Lockheed won an interim payment of $5.6bn in early July to help pay for the 91 American F-35s jets in LRIP 11. The F-35 Joint Program Office said the Pentagon would continue to negotiate the 11th low rate initial production contract with Lockheed Martin and expected an agreement by the end of 2017. The full contract should be finished by the end of the year, the JPO said in a statement. At the same time, they said they are negotiating a separate deal with Pratt & Whitney for the F135 engines, which should be done about the same time. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
26 Jul 17. Hyten Outlines STRATCOM Overhaul; Nukes Sooner For F-35? Strategic Command chief Gen. John Hyten today confirmed, more than two months after news first broke of a shift, that he’s ordered a series of sweeping changes at STRATCOM.
Basically, he got rid of the Joint Functional Component Commands for space, global strike, cyber, integrated missile defense, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and whittled them down to one for space, one for air, one for maritime and one for missile defense. (Actually, Congress got rid of one component for him by making Cyber Command independent). They are also now called Joint Force Component Commands, so we’ve got the same acronym but a different name. That will drive people mad until Hyten, with his crystal clear mind, realizes they must be changed.
In addition to the JFCCs, Hyten abolished the six nuclear task forces that were responsible for airborne tankers, Atlantic and Pacific nuclear missile submarines, strategic communications, bombers and reconnaissance aircraft, and land-based ICBMs. Instead, they are grouped, logically, within the four commanders now responsible to him.
The biggest command change involves Gen. Jay Raymond, the head of Air Force Space Command. As Breaking D readers know, the position was elevated to a four-star billet and became the space JFCC. The current setup has the Joint Functional Component Commander, Lt. Gen. David Buck, reporting to the head of Strategic Command, Gen. Hyten. This is how STRATCOM serves as the combatant commander for space. Gen. Raymond sets the requirements for new space weapons, oversees Space and Missile Systems Command (which actually buys the satellites, sensors, launch and ground systems) and trains, equips and builds the space warfighting cadre. Once the changes are complete, which Hyten said probably won’t be until early next spring, Gen. Raymond will directly advise Hyten on space forces and keep doing the space command job.
Similarly, Gen. Robin Rand, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command at Barksdale Air Force Base, will now serve as JFCC to Hyten for all things relevant to the E-4B flying command posts, B-2 and future Bp21 bombers, and KC-135, KC-10 and KC-46 tankers.
Adm. Phil Davidson of Fleet Forces Command will now be responsible for all nuclear subs.
Interestingly, missile defense remains a Joint Functional Component Command (not a Joint Force Component COmmand). I asked several people what this meant and didn’t get a really clear answer.
All this will be watched very closely by both our allies and our competitors because of the centrality of nuclear forces to both deterrence and assurance.
In related news, Hyten told me that the he met two weeks ago with the head of European Command, Gen. Curtis Scaparotti, and di