Aerospace & Defense News - Defense North America.

Nov 24, 2008

President George W. Bush and Defense Secretary Robert Gates are advising the incoming Obama administration to increase defense spending for at least five years, according to Pentagon acquisitions chief John Young, who refused to give a dollar amount. Young said the recommendations were "a template for the next team" and that much of the proposed increase is needed to fight the war on terror. Shortly after taking office, the Obama administration will face decisions on more than $100 billion in weapons spending. Nov 21, 2008

Military officials, unable to get enough unmanned aerial vehicles into the skies over Iraq and Afghanistan, are turning to specially equipped civilian planes like the Beechcraft King Air 350. Though the planes of "Project Liberty" do require pilots in the cockpit, they provide a quick source of airborne surveillance in the absence of Predator and Reaper UAVs. The Air Force's 645th Aeronautical Systems Group reportedly ordered 23 of the extended-range King Airs on Tuesday. Nov 21, 2008

The Pentagon's chief weapons buyer told a congressional subcommittee on Wednesday that taxpayers will "not pay significant additional costs" if the Obama administration decides to continue the F-22 fighter program. John Young defended the decision to spend just $50 million of a $140 million appropriation to keep assembly lines running, though Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii, said such a move violated the intent of Congress. A spokesman for Lockheed Martin Corp. said the company is "supporting the U.S. government to preserve the decision for the next administration on the continued production of the F-22." Nov 20, 2008

Boeing, Northrop Grumman

The US Air Force tanker controversy had died down, pending the arrival of the Obama administration and a new Pentagon competition between The Boeing Co. and Northrop Grumman Corp., well, think again. It is still heated -- at least on the Northrop side, which may feel its odds of supplying an Airbus plane as the next Air Force tanker are longer with Barack Obama in the White House, as he was outspoken during the campaign about keeping jobs and work in America. Last week, Northrop ran a full-page ad in The Washington Post that prompted an unusually strong rebuke from John Young, the Pentagon's top weapons buyer. It was Young's previous comments about the difference in price between the Boeing and Northrop tankers that Northrop used in the ad. Nov 23, 2008

Boeing, Northrop Grumman

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