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[H.A.S.C. No. 108–3]



FOR FISCAL YEAR 2004—H.R. 1588






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APRIL 2, 2003




CURT WELDON, Pennsylvania, Chairman
W. TODD AKIN, Missouri
JEB BRADLEY, New Hampshire
HOWARD ''BUCK'' McKEON, California
WALTER JONES, North Carolina
JIM RYUN, Kansas
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ROB SIMMONS, Connecticut
JOE WILSON, South Carolina

JOHN SPRATT, South Carolina
LANE EVANS, Illinois
ADAM SMITH, Washington
MIKE McINTYRE, North Carolina
ROBERT BRADY, Pennsylvania
JOHN LARSON, Connecticut
JIM COOPER, Tennessee

Douglas Roach, Professional Staff Member
Roger Smith, Professional Staff Member
Bob Lautrup, Professional Staff Member
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John Sullivan, Professional Staff Member
JJ Gertler, Professional Staff Member
Jesse Tolleson, Research Assistant




    Wednesday, April 2, 2003, Fiscal Year 2004 National Defense Authorization Act—Air Force and Navy Tactical Weapon System Acquisition Programs and Future Technology Initiatives


    Wednesday, April 2, 2003



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    Weldon, Hon. Curt, a Representative from Pennsylvania, Chairman, Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces

    Abercrombie, Hon. Neil, a Representative from Hawaii, Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces


    Corley, Lt. Gen. John D.W., USAF, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Acquisition)

    Fitzgerald, Rear Adm. Mark P., Deputy Director, Air Warfare Division, United States Navy

    Hough, Lt. Gen. Michael A., Deputy Commandant for Aviation, United States Marine Corps

    Keys, Lt. Gen. Ronald E., Deputy Chief of Staff for Air and Space Operations, United States Air Force

    Lewis, Brig. Gen. Rick, Air Force Program Executive Officer

    Li, Allen, Director, Acquisition sourcing Management, U.S. General Accounting Office
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    Sambur, Dr. Marvin R., Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Acquisition), Department of the Air Force

    Young, John J., Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Development and Acquisition), Department of the Navy

[The Prepared Statements can be viewed in the hard copy.]

Corley, Lt. Gen. John D.W.

Li, Allen

Sambur, Dr. Marvin

Weldon, Hon. Curt

Young, John J., Jr., Lt. Gen. Hough, and Adm. Fitzgerald

[The Documents submitted can be viewed in the hard copy.]

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[The Questions and Answers can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. LoBiondo
Mr. McIntyre
Mr. Schrock
Mrs. Wilson


House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee,
Washington, DC, Wednesday, April 2, 2003.

    The panel met, pursuant to call, at 2:55 p.m. in room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Curt Weldon (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.


    Mr. WELDON. The subcommittee will come to order. I apologize to our witnesses for our delay. I have been given word that our distinguished Ranking Member has officially given his blessing that we start the hearing without a member of the minority side here. So since Congressman Skelton was here, we will proceed and try to get this hearing moving since Secretary Rumsfeld is due over to the House at 4 o'clock.
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    This afternoon we will receive testimony from Departments of the Navy and the Air Force witnesses on the President's fiscal year 2004 budget request for tactical programs. Before we proceed, I want to again commend our men and women serving in all of our military services, coalition personnel and those supporting them for their dedication and professionalism in the ongoing war on terrorism and elimination of weapons of mass destruction. We wish all of our personnel Godspeed and congratulate them on the outstanding job that they are currently involved in and doing.

    In following the war in Iraq, one has to be impressed with how well our people are performing and how well the equipment that has been provided them is performing under the most stressing of environments. Yet in some instances we can and must do better, specifically in the area of friendly fire. With the complexity of the operation, accidents are to be expected, but we certainly can never and should never accept them. Unfortunately, we pay a great deal of attention to the friendly fire issue during wars, but insufficient attention to them between wars.

    While we have intense interest in how events are unfolding on the battlefield, our objective must be to provide the weapons systems of the future that will deter potential enemies and, failing that, will decisively win tomorrow's battles. We must seek to provide the proper resources that will achieve the right balance of affordable force structure and capabilities to meet the new challenges that surely lie ahead.

    As has been demonstrated too often, acquiring affordable systems is a difficult challenge. The list of issues that result in broken programs is well known; to reiterate a few, the failed requirements process, inadequate funding, moving forward with incomplete designs and immature technologies, failed leadership and bad management, and lack of competition.
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    I am confident that leadership of the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and the military services is trying to avoided missteps of the past that have yielded failed programs. Yet in reviewing the budget request before us, many of the reasons for past failures are evident in proposed programs. To mention just a few, the F–35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program has cut development funding for the competing engine program. Funds are being requested for new electronic combat programs without an agreed-to electronic combat architecture or development plan. The Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) program lacks an agreed-to requirement, with the current budget request being different than the recently published Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) road map. And the F–22 request proposes increasing production with outstanding development problems.

    To address these and other important issues today, we will have two panels. The first will address Navy and Air Force acquisition issues, and the second will focus on the status of the F/A–22 program.

    I would like to welcome today's witnesses for the first panel: The Honorable John J. Young, Jr., Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition; Rear Admiral Mark P. Fitzgerald, Air Warfare Division, Navy Warfare Requirements and Programs; Lieutenant General Michael A. Hough, Deputy Commandant for Aviation Headquarters, Marine Corps; the Honorable Dr. Marvin R. Sambur, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition; and finally, Lieutenant General Ron E. Keys, Deputy Chief of Staff for Air and Space Operations, United States Air Force.

    Usually at this point in time I would ask the gentleman from Hawaii, our ranking member, for any remarks he would make. I would reserve the opportunity for him to make those remarks, and the same thing would apply to Mr. Skelton, who usually shows up at these hearings.
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    And we now will begin, and, Secretary, we would ask you to keep your comments as brief as possible. Your statements will be entered in the record without objection, and we invite you to make whatever comments that you would so desire.

    Secretary Young, the floor is yours.

    [The prepared statement of Mr. Weldon can be viewed in the hard copy.]


    Secretary YOUNG. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much for the opportunity to testify on our tactical aviation programs for fiscal year 2004.

    I recently visited our sailors and marines in the Persian Gulf area, and I am proud to report that the commitment that we made and Congress supported in fiscal year 2003 to focus our taxpayers dollars towards improving current readiness has yielded strong dividends. Today we have over 70 ships, 370 tactical aircraft, more than 55,000 sailors and 60,000 marines in theater who are trained, equipped and carrying out the Nation's will, and our prayers are with them.

    The fiscal year 2004 budget sustains the enormous strides we have made in personnel and readiness accounts and also maintains a balanced approach to new procurement and modernization. By cultivating promising aircraft technologies, efficiently acquiring mature systems, and improving maintenance of existing systems, we have been able to increase the number of airplanes from 89 indicated in the fiscal year 2003 budget to 100 in fiscal year 2004.
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    The 2004 request proposes innovative and creative approaches to achieving greater combat air capability. First the Department's initiative to integrate Navy and Marine Corps tactical aircraft will achieve significant reductions in procurement and operating support costs while achieving combat requirements and readiness levels. Integration is enabled by improving the reliability and maintainability of current and future systems, reducing the maintenance pipeline by properly funding spares and depot maintenance, and enhancing support of our deployed systems. Our plan will enable us to reduce procurement objectives for the F–18E/F and the JSF, promising savings of almost a billion dollars in fiscal year 2004 through 2009, and approximately $19 billion beyond and through 2012.

    Another innovative step, the Department has worked with the Air Force, OSD and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to forge a joint unmanned combat air vehicle program. Clearly unmanned air vehicles will play a significant role in our future operations. The fiscal year 2004 budget reflects the Navy's commitment to a coherent program, bringing that capability as quickly as possible.

    We have developed a joint strategy with a program that meets common requirements while maintaining the flexibility to support service-unique functions. The structure of this effort will provide competition among UCAV contractors and with the goal of a JSF-like acquisition strategy that results in a selection of a common platform with service-unique variants.

    We also are continually advancing the current and future combat value of our airplanes. The mid—multifunction information distribution system, or MIDS, provides the capability to share the airspace picture amongst all link-16 capable ships and aircraft. The next system is evolving cooperative engagement capability (CEC) to provide an enhanced high-confidence air picture for systems like the E–2C. A CEC-equipped E–2C with the radar modernization upgrade and the evolving extended-range active missile provides a transformational enabler against current and future cruise missile targets, particularly those operating over land.
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    The budget, as you know, sir, includes $3 billion for 42 F/A–18E/F Super Hornets, constitutes the final installment of the 2000 through 2004. Multiyear deliveries of this system remain ahead of schedule. Two hundred twenty-eight million is requested for two E–2C Hawkeyes as the first of a 4-year multiyear procurement. This effort keeps the production line viable as we move to the advanced hawkeye.

    Finally, we are initiating the airborne electronic attack efforts on the F–18E/F. That is an evolutionary approach to leverage the existing systems and replace our aging EA–6B aircraft. The Super Hornet allows the acquisition process to field the product to the fleet sooner and meet this critical capability need.

    Finally our partnership with the Air Force and Lockheed Martin, Pratt & Whitney, and General Electric has made affordability the cornerstone of the JSF. The program is on track to deliver operational Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) variants to the Marine Corps in 2008 and the Navy variant in 2010.

    At Secretary England and Secretary Aldridge's urging, we formed a configuration steering board for JSF. Secretary Sambur and I have a mandate to reject changes in the core program to give JSF a chance to deliver the initial system within the time and the dollars available. To further realize acquisition efficiencies, we recently signed with the Air Force a multiyear contract to procure KC–130Js to replace the Marine Corps' fleet of KC–130F/Rs. The Marines has taken delivery of nine aircraft and will have procured a total of 38 by the end of the Future Years Defense Program (FYDP).

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    I believe we have crafted a balanced and properly focused budget request that ensures our Nation will have an efficient and appropriately sized infrastructure. Our Navy and Marine Corps team is the most professional and capable and able force in the world. With your assistance we will continue to provide maximum capability for our sailors and marines and maximum security for America.

    Thank you again for the chance to testify.

    Mr. WELDON. Thank you for your statement.

    [The joint prepared statement of Secretary Young, General Hough, and Admiral Fitzgerald can be viewed in the hard copy.]

    Mr. WELDON. Admiral.


    Admiral FITZGERALD. Mr. Chairman, distinguished members, it is a privilege to be here today to report to you on the status of naval tactical aviation, and I thank you for your continued support.

    I would like to begin by providing a brief overview of the role naval tactical aviation is playing in our war in Iraq, and then I would like to go through very quickly our Navy TACAIR handbook. In Operation Iraqi Freedom, Navy-Marine TACAIR are continuing to be a critical part of the sorties flown against the Iraqi regime. I will address carrier TACAIR, and General Hough will address the Marine expeditionary contributions to the war.
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    The Navy currently has forward-deployed seven aircraft carriers, five in support of Iraqi Freedom, and naval aircraft are flying approximately 50 percent of the sorties, utilizing about 75 percent precision weapons in support of the combined Air Force commander. We are using our Hornets and Tomcats in a multitude of roles, including strike, close air support (CAS), suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD), and the addition of the Super Hornet has added additional range, on-station time and refueling capability. And what is important to point out here is the versatility and flexibility of Navy TACAIR. The Super Hornet is playing a true multirole aircraft.

    I would like to shift very quickly to the TACAIR handout and talk—and highlight a few areas in there. First of all, in support of our warfighting and capitalization goals, the TACAIR Roadmap has formalized and strengthened Navy and Marine Corps TACAIR integration. We have reduced strike fighter procurement from 1,637 to 1,140 aircraft, retired 444 legacy aircraft, and delivered 257 modern aircraft within the FYDP. We will integrate six Marine Corps squadrons into our carrier air wings, and three Navy F–18 squadrons will be integrated in the Marine Corps units deployment plan. The cornerstone of TACAIR integration is to sufficiently fund readiness and modernization accounts in order to achieve these goals by using the recapitalization money available through these savings.

    On the next page, the strike weapons roadmap continues, we continue to transition a more reliable and accurate lethal strike weapons inventory designed to enhance warfighting effectiveness while simultaneously working to reduce collateral damage. Our future weapons are listed on the right side of this handout, and a description of each is in the back of our handout.
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    On the air-to-air roadmap, the worldwide proliferation of modern fighter and attack aircraft along with the emerging cruise missile threat requires our constant attention. This roadmap focused on the complementary capabilities of the AIM–9X high oversight infrared missile and the radar-guided advanced medium-range air-to-air missile (AMRAAM). AMRAAM ensures air superiority for the U.S. warfighter and both beyond visual and within visual range.

    I will quickly highlight our tactical aircraft. The Navy's Super Hornet E/F is our principal strike fighter aircraft production program. It replaces both the F–18C and the F–14 fighter aircraft. The larger weapons payload, increased range, greater carrier recovery, its sensors, links and weapons are the key to its success. The AESA radar and FLIR MIDS digital control system, which allows us to link to the ground controller SHARP Reconnaissance Pod, all contribute to the capabilities of this aircraft.

    On the next page the Navy/Marine Corps EA–6B Prowler has served us well for over 30 years. However, it has structural and engine challenges, and 56 of these aircraft are G-limited. The ICAP III system will be a pacing threat technology incorporated into this aircraft as a risk-reduction measure for the EA–18G, which will receive this system.

    On the next pages the Navy EA–18G is our sea-based airborne electronic aircraft of the future. It is a graceful rendezvous taking the ICAP III technology forward from the EA–6B and using the proven F–18E/F platform. The EA–18G is a key component in the DOD system of systems approach to airborne electronic attack.

    On the next page the Navy F–35C carrier-based JSF aircraft is our affordable next generation strike fighter weapon system to meet the advanced threat of 2010 and beyond. As you can see, milestones listed on the chart, we plan on flying it in the second quarter of—excuse me, the second quarter of 2007.
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    On the next page the Navy UCAV–N as addressed by Secretary Young is our UCAV of the future primarily targeted initially at the ISR focus and spiraling to a capability to attack—suppress enemy air defenses and then as a strike role.

    On the next page the Navy E–2C Hawkeye provides a significant improved detection capability in littoral and overland environment. Our advanced Hawkeye, called the radar modernization program, will be equipped with cooperative engagement capability and digital voice analog technology to greatly enhance the integrated air picture and expanding battle space.

    Sir, we appreciate the support of your committee and yield the floor.

    Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Admiral.

    General, the floor is yours.


    General HOUGH. Good afternoon, sir. Chairman Weldon, Congressman Abercrombie, distinguished members of the committee, thank you. It is a privilege to be able to speak to you today on the tactical aviation of your Marine Corps. On behalf of all the marines and families, I want to thank you for your continued support to marine aviation and the Corps as a whole. Your commitment to increasing the warfighting crisis and response capability of our Nation's Armed Forces and improving the quality of life for our men and women in uniform is central to the strength of the Marine Corps, has contributed immeasurably to our accomplishment in the global war on terrorism.
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    Today 85 percent of marine aviation is deployed or committed. Worldwide 59 percent of Marine TACAIR and 58 percent of our rotary wing aircraft are committed to the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan with 84 Hornets, 88 Harriers, 10 Prowlers and 259 helicopters. Three F–18 squadrons are deployed with carrier wings, and one additional F–18 squadron in the workup cycle preparing to deploy very shortly.

    Since the commencement of operations in Iraq, which has not been too long, Marine TACAIR from a sea base and from land has flown over 2,500 sorties and has dropped almost every type of air-to-ground munitions in naval aviation inventory. Our rotary wing has added another 800 sorties, bringing the total to over 3,300 sorties. Our 88 Harriers, there are six of them at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, equipped with a Litening targeting pod with its phenomenal capability has flown over 600 sorties and over 1,800 hours supporting Special Ops for Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), and has demonstrated expeditionary flexibility of Short Take-Off/Vertical Landing, STOVL, aircraft.

    Marine aviation is healthy. I couldn't be prouder of the job our aviation marines are doing, and I thank you for your support to marine aviation. The Marine Corps aviation provides the Marine Air/Ground Task Force (MAGTF) and the joint force commander of aviation combat element capable of conducting air operations as part of the naval expeditionary force through the six functions of Marine aviation. When combined, our assets create scalable response of high force joint operations, and they are doing that today, every day.

    The unique expeditionary, adaptable nature of Marine aviation is an integral part of the MAGTF and allows us to operate efficiently across the full spectrum of basing operations; makes us adaptable, highly responsive and a lethal force, as you can witness every day on your television screen. But currently we are facing a period of great change, and over the course of the next 10 to 15 years, everything that we have in Marine aviation, in fact almost everything we have in the entire Marine Corps, will change.
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    One thing is certain: Marine aviation is transforming and transitioning. The one thing that will not change, however, is the professionals and our expeditionary culture. This change includes TACAIR integration, aircraft transformation and transition, Marine air and command/control modernization, and the implementation of our semilinear master plan. We make every effort to increase our efficiencies and effectiveness as we go through this transformation and transition.

    TACAIR integration retains our culture. It is not a new concept. It has been around for a long, long time. It is just that now we are doing it. Smaller, more capable, more affordable force ensures TACAIR support to the MAGTF. Flexibility allows global sourcing of TACAIR. We are doing it today. It makes the whole greater than the sum of the parts; bigger bang for the buck to the taxpayer, more efficiency for the warfighter, increased combat capability. Naval TACAIR, with a smaller, more efficient force, will continue to provide combatant commanders and joint force commanders with a flexible, scalable, full-spectrum response capability from the sea.

    Aircraft transformation and transition: every airplane we own is going to be turned out. We are going from 23 platforms, starting 20 years ago, to 7. It is starting now, and in a mere 3 or 4 years will be in full swing, and in 12 years or so we will have completed the transition. As we transition this new aircraft, we continue to modernize our existing aircraft to ensure readiness and warfighting relevance. That is very, very important. Our key to success will be the careful balance of people, equipment that allows us to maintain combat readiness throughout as long as our readiness and transition to these new aircraft. The overarching intent is to maintain relevant forces while reducing the logistics burden on the commander.
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    Marine air command and control system modernization leading the fleet. Combat command and control in the expeditionary forces is absolutely mandatory to glue up the capabilities that we are transitioning to in the future. Everything in our command and control is changing. Aviation command and control continues to be a decisively engaged in support of coalition. Joint MAGTF operation has embraced a bold vision for 2008, at which time we will begin initial operating capability (IOC) all this capability.

    Marine simulator master plan, a system of network trainers that allow the aides to conduct mission rehearsal training on the terrain with actual threats they would likely encounter.

    Twenty-first-century technology. It is here. We are embracing it. It makes us more efficient, more relevant and saves a lot of money. The Marine Corps and Marine aviation have clearly lived up to the reputation of first to the fight and the first to fight, and we remain ready for combat when and wherever the needs arises. Marine aviation has been and will continue to be ready to deploy a scalable, highly trained, task-organized expeditionary ace capable of conducting missions across the continuum of conflict in support of the MAGTF joint force or combatant commander, both the joint coalition environments.

    In a world of diminishing host nation support and basing options and sovereignty, the ability to provide the Nation with a self-contained MAGTF capable of executing a wide range of missions at a moment's notice from a variety of locations remain the Marine Corps' hallmark. For all that and more, we thank you, and I look forward to answering your questions.

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    Mr. WELDON. Thank you, General, for your statement.

    Dr. Sambur, the floor is yours.


    Secretary SAMBUR. Thank you Mr. Chairman. Since we have a limited time for your subcommittee to ask the questions that are of interest to them, and since my oral statement is a subset of the written statement that I have given you for the record, I would like to forego my oral statement in the interest of time. But General Keys has a very brief one, and since he has not given a written statement, I would like to ask your permission for him to give his oral statement.

    Mr. WELDON. You just scored a ton of points with the subcommittee, Dr. Sambur. That is worth special consideration of any requests you have in this year's authorization process. Thank you very much.

    [The prepared statement of Secretary Sambur can be viewed in the hard copy.]

    Mr. WELDON. General Keys, it is all yours.

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    General KEYS. Good afternoon, Chairman Weldon and members of the subcommittee. It is my pleasure here to be representing the over 700,000 total force members of your Air Force, 55,000 of whom are deployed, and many of whom are in harm's way as we speak right now as they execute CENTCOM's mission, and support and operate over 750 aircraft with over 4,800 combat sorties to date, with thousands more in combat support across the joint force.

    As we face the challenges of today and tomorrow's world, we are focused on continuing to provide our Air Force with a blend of the best training, equipment and organization possible. Clearly our asymmetrical edge is our people and our technology. Every day we make the hard choices to ensure we continue to pursue three things: a balanced force; the right faces in the right spaces with the training and organization to be successful; and the right equipment to provide a balanced, modernized force, leveraged integration, building a force that can truly plug and play, whether across individual legacy systems, or clever new ideas, or hooking old things together in new ways. We must pursue the common architecture that makes us a seamless joint force.

    Technology. As our adversaries turn to asymmetric strategies, we must leverage our lead in air, space and information technology to forge new asymmetric strengths of our own, whether manned, unmanned, airborne, landborne or spaceborne. These are tough issues with much debate, but you can be assured that we are engaged and will remain engaged. We will work together in continuing to forge the most professional and most powerful Air Force in the world.

    Thank you for the opportunity to provide this statement, and I am ready to answer your questions.

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    Mr. WELDON. Thank you, General. We appreciate also your brevity.

    And we will operate under the 5-minute rule because we have a second panel, and we are going to try to push this hearing along.

    For all of you, what is the average age of our current tactical fighters? We know that they have been the workhorse of our air superiority over in Iraq. What is the average age? I have been using a figure of 17 years, but I would say some of you probably will come in and say it is a higher number. What is the—just go right down the line. What is the average age?

    Admiral FITZGERALD. Sir, the average age of the naval aircraft are 18.4 years.

    Mr. WELDON. 18.4.


    General HOUGH. Sir, TACAIR is about the same, but our helicopters are much older. For instance, the 46 is about 35 plus or minus in the 53.

    Mr. WELDON. We had a hearing on that about three weeks ago, General. We made that case that our helicopter capability is woefully inadequate. Average age?

    General KEYS. Depending on how you count, how they count them, but about 21 years, including trainers.
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    Mr. WELDON. What is the optimum age of a tactical fighter? Is it in the 10- to 12-year age range? Admiral, 10 to 12?

    Admiral FITZGERALD. I would have to say it was, sir.

    Mr. WELDON. Ten to twelve.

    General HOUGH. Yes, sir, or greater. If you have got the older F-18s, they are approaching 20.

    Mr. WELDON. So all of you have testified that the optimal age for a tactical fighter is 10 to 12 years. And we have no service providing fighters that are younger than 18 years. Is that because we didn't properly plan, or is it because there just wasn't enough money given to the services? What is the reason why our tactical fighter inventory is so old? Each of you, in your own opinion. I am trying to recollect some history here.

    Admiral FITZGERALD. Sir, I would have to say that we just haven't been procuring at the rate to do that. The Navy owns about 4,100 airplanes, and we procure about 100 airplanes a year.

    Mr. WELDON. A hundred a year. What was our low point in procurement for the Navy over the past 10 years?

    Admiral FITZGERALD. I don't have that number, sir, but it is below 100.
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    Mr. WELDON. Below 100. How far below? Wasn't there one year that Switzerland or Sweden bought more fighter aircraft than we did? Wasn't that the case? General, what is——

    General HOUGH. Sir, in 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, we—just a few.

    Mr. WELDON. Just a few.

    General, what is the reason why our planes are so old? You said 21 years old. What is the reason? Was it because the services didn't properly plan, execute, or is it because we didn't have enough money?

    General KEYS. Well, I think it is a—as I said, it is a balanced force, and so there's only X amount of money, and it has got to be—we have got to take risks in certain areas, and as you plus up one area, you take risks in another area. And so as we have continued to build the fine aircraft we have, we have taken the opportunity to simply upgrade them rather than replenishing.

    Mr. WELDON. Thank you. I try to make a point that we cannot go through a period like we just went through where we starve major acquisition platforms like tactical aviation and expect to be able to do the job with the full safety and reliability in a situation like Iraq when we basically have neglected the upgrade of our tactical aviation platforms over the past 12 to 15 years. And we in the Congress have to learn from this lesson and realize that we just can't go through another procurement holiday as we did over the past decade and expect not to pay the price for that down the road.
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    Let's talk about the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). One of the successful things you are doing is bringing in the allies. I understand we have eight partners now, level 1, 2, and 3. Who are the eight partners? I know Great Britain and the Australians are involved. Who else is involved? Whoever wants to answer it.

    General HOUGH. Sir, you have got Great Britain, you have got Italy, you have Turkey, you have Norway, you have Denmark, you have the Dutch. You have foreign military sales (FMS) customers which you are bringing on, and also you have Canada. And you have the FMS customers which are looking for Israel and Singapore and Australia.

    Mr. WELDON. And I am supportive of that effort, and I applaud the services and the OSD for going out and getting our allies to be involved, but are we going to have any variants that are exclusively dependent on overseas sources for critical JSF parts or development activities? Can you assure us that that is not going to be the case? Secretary Young, can you assure us of that?

    Secretary YOUNG. The acquisition strategy has the partner countries where they have best capabilities earning the right to build portions of those airplanes. So in some cases we will have backup plans, but I believe we will be dependent on partner countries in some areas of the airplane to reduce the work that they have rightfully won on the airplanes.

    Mr. WELDON. Critical JSF parts. These are critical?

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    Secretary YOUNG. That depends on the definition of critical. But again, we are holding competitions in some areas. As you know, this country will only produce elements of that airplane because of the software and mission flight control systems and other pieces, but in another areas there will be at least important components where if they have the skills, they will produce parts of the airplane.

    Mr. WELDON. No, don't get me wrong. I am a big supporter of what you are doing, but that is a major concern of mine that we look at the long-term strategy of the key component parts for this aircraft as well as development activities.

    I now yield to Mr. Abercrombie, if he is ready, for 5 minutes.

    The gentleman from Hawaii, Ranking Member.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Thank you. Thank you all for your service. In some ways, Mr. Chairman, I kind of wish that the GAO section of the hearing could already be included. But let me move to the—and so I may make some reference by—I may make some references in that direction.

    I am a little disappointed—I am not quite sure exactly what the position of the Marines is here. I don't know who wrote the statement, but I am sorry, it was essentially useless for this hearing. It is what my journalism teacher would have called glittering generalities. It doesn't tell us anything.

    Now, the position, if I understand this correctly, particularly under the Navy's idea of new operational concepts, is that the—there is supposed to be TACAIR integration of the Navy and the Marines, right? Now, if the official position of both services is that integration of the air assets will enhance their readiness and the seamlessness of their operations, I am not quite sure how this affects the Marine Corps operations. How do we ensure that the marines on the ground get the support when requested? Will the marines on the ground be in control of the tactical air support under this concept, this new operational concept?
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    General HOUGH. Sir, the concept that has been in vogue for many, many years, and it is a proven concept, is going to be continued. It is just that in those cases when we do not have sovereignty, we don't have host nation support, we cannot go ashore, we are going to be able to do it from the sea. The same concept will prevail, close air support, the way we call in close air support, the hand-in hand, hand-in-glove relationship between the infantry and the aviation component. The only difference is we may have to come from the sea and the sea only, but we always have the flexibility to go ashore. So there is basically no difference. In fact, what we are really doing is expanding our versatility and ability to go to war.

    For instance, in Afghanistan, if we did not come from the sea, in a sea-basing concept, we would not have been able to go to war. The only airplanes that flew those 2,000 sorties over there, they came from three Marine Expeditionary Units (MEUs) that came from the sea. We only put two airplanes ashore for 3 days the entire time simply because the distance and the availability of the runways was not there.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. So in the judgement of the Marines, then, this is not budget-driven at all? This is strictly a question of doctrine and modernization of doctrine, if you will, particularly where tactical air is concerned?

    General HOUGH. That is correct. In fact, I think we are the winners, and I will tell you why. We are going to continue doing the things we have done for, I don't know, 40, 50 years in our MAGTF, our air/ground team, for sure. We acquire a new partner, the Navy. The Navy is going to become expeditionary. They are going to sit there and prepare, if necessary, to go to war against Korea.
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    Also, and within the concept, going to expeditionary strike groups, where we have got expeditionary capability, where we have got not 6 Harriers, but 10 to 20, I envision the Navy is going to be there flying right alongside of us, and the whole idea behind TACAIR integration wasn't that I am going do some of their work; they are going to do some our work. As you know, the Marine Corps is always ready, and we fund that readiness. It is expensive, but it has paid off in spades because we are the first to the fight and the first to fight. What the Navy is going to do, and the CNO said, I am going to do this, put the money there. It is all about the money and ensuring the United States Navy, and the United States Marine Corps is always ready.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Excuse me. I don't doubt your resolve for a moment, but that really wasn't my question. My question is this is not budgetary, because the Navy testimony—and maybe it is not fair to put this to you. I should ask the Navy. The Navy testimony essentially keeps talking about lower overhead, and this will be cost-effective and so on, but it doesn't tell me, nor does your testimony tell me, exactly what does this mean. How are you going to do this integration? How do we authorize these funds? What precisely should we be authorizing? Are you going to—do you have a plan, a tactical plan, for this integration, because that is not in this testimony?

    General HOUGH. Yes, sir, we do. As far as putting the squadrons aboard the ships, that is being worked out 5, 6, 8 years in advance. That is being done in a dynamic plan that evolves every day.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay. The reason I am asking is that still it is theoretical. This includes the JSF, right?
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    General HOUGH. Absolutely.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay. But the JSF, even when I look at the GAO report, is further behind than the F–22 is in terms of us being able to actually believe that you are going to be able to do the things that you are talking about. Right now the F–22 operates before—requires maintenance at such a low number of minutes, let alone hours, that it is virtually useless. So I want to understand what the heck are we exactly supposed to authorize? What do you have in mind to actually integrate? What do you really think practically you are going to have as opposed to the generalities that are in the testimony, both the Navy and yourself, with respect to what the TACAIR integration will actually mean to the fighting men and women that you are referring to?

    General HOUGH. TACAIR integration in a nutshell means funding readiness to a level that is unprecedented 100 percent of the time. When the Navy comes back from deployment, they are funded to a readiness, flight hours, and equipment and so forth where they don't take a dip, but they stay right there at that.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Let me ask you this then. Do you have confidence in the capacity of what is on paper right now with respect to the JSF—I will use that as a case in point—do you have confidence that that actually is going to happen?

    General HOUGH. As we transition the JSF, the JSF goes aboard the boat, goes aboard ship, it is just another platform that is hopefully a leap ahead of everything else. And then the other thing is if you assume that it is late, then you are right. We have got some problems.
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    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Well, not if we fund what we know works.

    General HOUGH. That is correct.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. And what is apparently working very, very well.

    I am not trying to trick you. I am not trying to catch you up on something.

    General HOUGH. Oh, no. I know.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. I am trying to figure out what we should realistically do in this committee to be helpful to you and the Navy in accomplishing what seems to me on paper here to be a very commendable approach and something that is not only worthy of consideration, but we should try to accomplish. But I don't want to get off on a situation where I feel some of us on the committee feel we are, where year after year we have gone along with authorizing and appropriating money for platforms that never seem to actually make their appearance and work, whereas we already have planes, we already have systems that are working and actually have been improved, actually have had their capabilities enhanced, and maybe we should stick with that, because I am not certain that any other country, or any other power, is going to be able to match that. And maybe that is the best use of the dollar and would be most useful to you in accomplishing this interrogation.

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    General HOUGH. Sir, the greatest service—Congress has done a wonderful job with this, I thank you for that—is ensuring that the funds are available; that the naval air capabilities—and I am sure the Air Force, with our legacy airplanes so we can bring ourselves to the future—that those funds are made available for us to continue to keep our legacy platforms at a high state of readiness, and that the flight hours are there to fly those things, keep our pilots trained until we bridge that gap until the JSF comes back in.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Give me a moment more, Mr. Chairman.

    In the Navy, at what point do you tell us that we should give up on these dream jobs?

    General HOUGH. Sir, the JSF is going to happen.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. I have heard that. This is my 13th year on this.

    Mr. WELDON. Your 9th minute, too.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. I am sorry.

    General HOUGH. The JSF, I would absolutely strongly recommend that you get the two service secretaries and their program director over here and sit them down and bring Lockheed and Pratt & Whitney in here. Bring those guys in here and say, how are you doing, where are you, and let them answer that question.
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    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Thank you.

    Mr. WELDON. I thank the gentleman from Hawaii for his excellent line of questions and his usual toughness. He is a lot nicer than he appears in his questions, General.

    The gentleman from Georgia, Dr. Gingrey.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Everything I do I do under your orders. Why don't you tell them that?

    Dr. GINGREY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And, gentlemen, thank you so much for your testimony.

    And, you know, it sounds like to me that while I firmly believe that, as Teddy Roosevelt once said, we should in this country speak softly, but carry a very big stick, we may not be doing a great job of speaking softly, but now with this Administration finally, we are—after 10 years of not carrying a very big stick, we are getting there. And I appreciate your testimony and what you are doing, and I, too, truly believe that F/A–22 and JSF will be here, and I look forward to that, and I thank you very much.

    Mr. WELDON. That is it. Thank you.

    The gentleman from—Mr. McIntyre is recognized.
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    Mr. MCINTYRE. Yeah. North Carolina. Thank you.

    Mr. WELDON. I was going to say that, but——

    Mr. MCINTYRE. Thank the gentleman for your testimony. I have three or four just to-the-point questions I wanted clarification on.

    I noticed on page 7 of Assistant Secretary Young's report, you are talking about the JSF and the Harrier; that the JSF program is on track to deliver the STOVL variants to the Marine Corps in 2008, and the remanufacture also of the Harriers is scheduled for the last delivery in September 2003. So I guess that means there is going to be a 5-year gap from the last remanufactured Harrier to the first STOVL for the JSF. Is that correct, and do you feel comfortable with what you are going to have in that 5-year period?

    Secretary YOUNG. Yes, sir. As you know, there have been significant investments, including mission computer upgrades to the AV-8B and the work, as the Congressman referenced, to make sure those systems can perform while we make sure the JSF is delivered on time.

    Mr. MCINTYRE. All right. And I guess the great standby of the F-14 Tomcat, it has been reconfigured, I understand, from air superiority to also include the strike fighter bombing that it has been doing and has been very successful in its missions; is that correct?

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    Admiral FITZGERALD. Yes, sir. We put a land pod on the Tomcat in the early 1990s. That airplane has been extremely effective dropping precision-guided munitions, laser-guided bombs, and we have just recently added a GPS capability, so it also drop the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) 2,000-pound weapon.

    Mr. MCINTYRE. What is the average age of the F–14 Tomcat in service now?

    Admiral FITZGERALD. Sir, they were put in service in the—starting in the early 1970s, the last ones built in the mid-1980s. So you have a whole swing of age there, but somewhere earliest probably about 18 years old; the oldest, 25, 26 years old.

    Mr. MCINTYRE. So we would still have some F-14s in service that are 25- to 26-year-old planes; is that correct?

    Admiral FITZGERALD. I have to take that one for the record, but somewhere in that vicinity.

    [The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]

    Mr. MCINTYRE. Okay. All right. And a technical question. The JSF is designated F–35, which is quite a jump from F–22. Are there several other variants that were not adopted? Why there is such a big gap in the F designation? Nobody's ever been able to tell me the answer to that.
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    General HOUGH. Sir, I will tell you the truth. When they made the announcement, and Secretary Roche said, what is the name of this airplane, they said, it is F–35.

    Mr. MCINTYRE. There was no reason as to why it jumped from F–22?

    General HOUGH. None whatsoever.

    Mr. MCINTYRE. Okay. Appreciate the honesty. And I am also pleased to see the efforts for the airborne electronic attack on the F–18F to replace the Prowler.

    Let me ask you, are the efforts to do that going well? EA–18 would be the new designation of that; is that correct?

    Admiral FITZGERALD. Yes, sir. It is the EA–18G, and what we are doing is a spiral development where the pods for that airplane are being developed and put on EA–6BS, called the ICAP III. Those pods and about 75 percent of the avionics will transfer over to the EA–18G. The EA–18G is actually an F–18F airframe that has got additional equipment on it.

    Mr. MCINTYRE. All right. And one last question, Dr. Sambur. Page 11 you mention about the F–35 replacing the F–16 and A–10. We have quite a lot of A–10s out of Polk Air Force Base down in my part of North Carolina, and Congressman Hayes and I share representation of that area. What is the average age of the A–10s, the Warthogs or Thunderbolts that are being used now; do you know?
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    Secretary SAMBUR. We will take that for the record. We don't have that.

    [The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]

    Mr. MCINTYRE. Okay. But their capability is still performing quite well despite their age in the current conflict, correct?

    Secretary SAMBUR. Yes.

    Mr. MCINTYRE. Okay. Thank you very much.

    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. WELDON. Thank the gentleman.

    The gentleman from South Carolina Mr. Wilson is recognized for five minutes.

    Mr. WILSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to thank all of you for what you have done and what you are doing to provide for a strong country. And then the particular efforts, I have been particularly impressed in that I had the opportunity to be aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln in November, and that was an extraordinary opportunity for me, and I am also very proud with Navy, Marine and Air Force personnel that I have a son who is in the U.S. Navy at Bethesda, and I have a nephew at Langley. And that is pretty self-admissioned on my part because I am with the National Guard and have two other sons in the Army National Guard, but——
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    Mr. WELDON. What about the Marines?

    Mr. WILSON. I don't cover the Marines as well as I should. Okay. But my late father-in-law was a Marine captain and was awarded the Navy Cross at Okinawa.

    Mr. WELDON. What about the Coast Guard?

    Mr. WILSON. I don't cover the Coast Guard. I grew up next to the Coast Guard in the holy city of Charleston.

     But what you are doing is so important, and I am really proud, too, to represent the Marine Air Station there in Buford, and I have had the opportunity to participate in the flight simulator for the F-18. With this background, I—and, General Hough, you in particular mentioned change. Part of that would be with the JSF and the new capability of unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAVs). And with that capability, what would be—do you see, or anyone else who might want to answer this, the balance between the JSF and UCAVs?

    General HOUGH. Sir, the future there of course has been looked at, and it has been envisioned as a concept, but you have got to build the JSF to make it fly. It is about interoperability, it is about controllability, and it is not, I don't think, this day and age to think that you could take a JSF with its interoperational capabilities to, say, command a fleet of four UCAVS to do the kinds of things—put them in harm's way instead of putting a person in an airplane. And people have looked at that. What they must do first is the 10-year leap with the technology and so forth. I firmly believe they are on good track to develop that airplane on time, but, however, UCAVS may be a little ways out there past that, and it is—they are working very aggressively, from what I understand.
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    I went out to Edwards and took a look at it, looked at the controllability. They are doing great work, but until they get the two capabilities—you have to have them. Then you can mesh the concept of what can you do to these things together to make them more efficient.

    Mr. WILSON. Would anybody else like to comment?

    Admiral FITZGERALD. Sir, if I could comment, the UCAV has to earn its way onto an aircraft carrier is our view in the Navy. In order to earn its way on, we first looked at what the initial was where the UCAV could play an active role in our tactical concept, and we saw that role as being in the intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance (ISR) area in a high-threat area. So that is the first area that we want to look at with the UCAV, and that is where it is being designed right now.

    We see the capability to spiral that capability to going after enemy air defenses, and then ultimately in delivering strike weapons. That is going to take an awful lot of onboard processing and artificial intelligence to do, which that capability just isn't here today. So, as General Hough was saying, you still need a man in the loop, particularly in the cockpit, to make some of these rapid battlefield decisions, and we see the JSF being that capability and complementing that capability, with the UCAV being able to provide that battlefield intelligence. And also, as I said, in further capability, developing the strike weapons and that capability, ultimately you may end up with a totally unmanned force, but that is not in the near future.

    Mr. WILSON. Thank you very much.
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    And for General Hough, too, I am really proud that we have the Marine Aircraft Group 31 at Buford, and I was there last weekend for a support rally. Additionally, the community there is just so supportive of providing gifts for the children of the persons deployed. And I want to reiterate something that you brought out a minute ago, and that is that the Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 251 and Navy Strike Fighter Squadrons 82 and 86 performed so well in Afghanistan and delivered to the Taliban and al Qaeda 1.3 million pounds of ordnance.

    With that, I would like to know, General, about how the Navy and Marine Corps TACAIR integration plans could impact the Marine air station at Buford?

    General HOUGH. Sir, it is only going to make it better. As you well know, there is two Navy squadrons, Cecil, at Buford. Sailors and marines have demonstrated that TACAIR integration works very, very well. Those are all boat-bound squadrons. They drink from the same trough whether they are ashore or they are afloat. They are brothers in harm's way. They have learned to work with each other integrally across the board. They understand how each other works. But the most important thing is they have respect for each other's culture in that the Navy understands the expeditionary needs of the Marine Corps, and the Marine Corps understands the boat needs of the Navy.

    They can swing either way, given the versatility and flexibility that we have not had for years. I see only a furthering of this, and that is a matter of leadership, and for Mr. Abercrombie, money.

    Mr. WELDON. Well, they greatly appreciate it.
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    I thank the gentleman. The gentleman from the great State of Corpus Christi, Mr. Ortiz, is recognized.

    Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am sorry I was late, but we are marking up in the Natural Resources Committee. We want to welcome you to this committee hearing today.

    Mr. Secretary Young and Admiral Fitzgerald, you know, it is imperative for us to keep the training of our naval aviators current. In this regard, I am pleased to see a push in the budget to purchase more—I don't know how many T–45s—but I think it is a few of them. And I agree with this effort because it would allow us to make the most of our funding by obtaining a lower cost per unit because we are buying more planes.

    At the same time we are running into obsolescence issues with the T–45 that dramatically increases our maintenance costs. The current fiscal year 2004 budget funds 339 million for the purchase of 15 T–45s. It is my understanding that this is 13 million short of the funding necessary for the purchase of the 15 T–45s.

    I am also under the impression that there is no funding in the budget for addressing the overall obsolescence issue. I understand that $22 million is needed to begin the upgrade. I don't know how we stand in that funding, whether you are going to be able to find what is needed.

    Then my next question would be, since we are at war, is the training that we are providing them now under the old means adequate, once they move to a fighter from the carrier? Maybe you can explain that to me. I was in the Army.
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    Admiral FITZGERALD. I will try to explain it for you, sir.

    Everything you say is true. We have a shortfall in ancillary equipment. The equipment that actually goes on the airplanes for the T–45s. We have an obsolescence issue, which we unfortunately are not able to address in this budget for affordability reasons, but is on our unfunded requirements list.

    I believe that those issues are all going to be—we have to address all of those issues with the TACAIR integration plan.

    We know that we have to relook at how many T–45s we need to buy to make our pilot throughput work for that plan. We also know that the T–45As have an obsolescence problem, as to the T–45Cs. We need to address that issue so that we have a digital cockpit in the future for that airplane. As I said, those issues were deferred in this budget and are on our unfunded list.

    Mr. ORTIZ. By waiting until the next budget, how much more are you going to have to pay? Because every time you wait and don't buy these planes, there is an increase in cost. It could be the material that they build them with, it could be the labor factor.

    So I think that by waiting it is going to be more expensive. It might be more than $339 million. How are you going to address this problem?

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    Secretary YOUNG. I think, as was pointed out earlier, it is a resource issue. We budgeted what we believe we can fund, and with some effort, the number in fiscal year 2004 is higher than was in the fiscal year 2003 Future Years Defense Program (FYDP). And we will continue to look at the issue as the Admiral said. The requirement is more substantial, but we believe we have taken a step in increasing the number this year. We have priced them as reasonably as we can.

    You are right. Future years it could cost more, but we will work with the company. We have worked with them very successfully to keep the price down at these rates of procurement, so we can try to buy to the needs as funds are available.

    Mr. ORTIZ. So let me see if I understand this correctly. We have been talking about 15 planes. None of them would be for this year's budget?

    Secretary YOUNG. The 15 planes are in this year.

    Mr. ORTIZ. They are in the budget?

    Secretary YOUNG. Right. There are eight planes in 2005. So there are additional planes continuing.

    Mr. ORTIZ. I guess I have a yellow light.

    Now, when they finish their training at either Kingsville or wherever, you know, are those young pilots assigned to an aircraft carrier? Are they ready to go fight a war?
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    Admiral FITZGERALD. Yes, sir. We have been training pilots on these airplanes for a long time. We have very high confidence in the T–45, in fact, our entire training system. When those pilots graduate from that airplane, they go out and get additional training in the airplane that they are going to fly in the fleet. By the time they get to the squadron, they are a full-up round, they are ready to go to war.

    Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you so much. We appreciate the fine work that you gentlemen are doing for our country.

    Mr. WILSON [presiding]. I want to recognize the next person, the great Representative from New Jersey, Mr. LoBiondo.

    We are very proud that it is his air Guard/Reserve units that are providing the air cover for Washington.

    Mr. LOBIONDO. Thank you, Mr. Wilson. Welcome to our panel. Thank you for being here.

    The foregone conclusion is that missions in Afghanistan and Iraq are increasing the tactical number of hours per year on our airframes, not to mention what we are doing with homeland security.

    I know in the case of the 177th Fighter Wing, the tremendous increase again in the number of hours that they are flying. I have serious concerns about the future status of our F–16 fleet, and the fact that it comprises, as I understand, about 50 percent of the precision fighter force right now.
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    The Air Force, and correct me if I'm wrong please, General Keys or Dr. Sambur, is no longer buying or has the line up and running on the F–16s. We are looking at the JSF, but coming on line further down the line. Because of the number of hours on the F–16 airframes, and just because of almost normal attrition, we are losing a number of them every year.

    I think we have got a problem, and I can't seem to get an answer from anyone of what, if anything, are we doing to fill the gap for the service life extension. There is going to be a point at which, unless I am wrong, that we are not going to be able to keep F–16s in the air. Domestic or homeland security or overseas missions, whatever the case may be, these birds are going to come out of service, and what is our plan to keep them up, or how are our Guard units going to react?

    Can you give me any insight into that, General Keys, Dr. Sambur.

    General KEYS. I would say that the data that we get daily, which we track very closely, on the Fully Mission Capable (FMC) rates, the supply rates, the maintenance hours per flying hour rates, in fact, don't indicate to us that the F-16 is going to drop off the operating world any time soon.

    In fact, we have put a good amount of money into upgrading the capabilities of the F–16 so that we have a more uniform capability across the force when it comes to delivering precision weapons. That is including the SADL, the Link-16, the precision targeting pods, so that we can blend those forces together much more easily.

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    We believe that the F–16 will be viable until we get the JSF. That is our current assessment of the health of the fleet.

    Secretary SAMBUR. The data that we have suggests that it will be available through 2020.

    Mr. LOBIONDO. Well, what I would like to do, Mr. Chairman, if it is possible, is submit to Dr. Sambur, General Keys a follow-up, maybe a little more in-depth question from my understanding of presentations that I have received, about where we are, the bath tub that we are going to be facing, and how we address that gap on the in-between.

    Because either I have been—I have misunderstood what has been presented to me or there is some kind of a disconnect between what I have been told and what I am hearing from you, and I would just like to try to resolve the differences.

    I don't think we can do it today, but if it is possible I would like to submit for the record, and then maybe we can engage in a little bit of dialogue after that.

    Secretary SAMBUR. Right. If you feel it necessary, we will come to your office and give you a more in-depth briefing and answer your specific questions, if that is agreeable.

    Mr. LOBIONDO. That may very well be the case. That would be helpful. Thank you.

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    Mr. WILSON. Thank you. And now, Mr. Abercrombie.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. I pass.

    Mr. WILSON. Secretary Sambur, the Air Force is requesting $12 million for a new start called the Common aero Vehicle program. Can you explain what the program is intended to accomplish?

    Secretary SAMBUR. I would have to take that question for the record.

    [The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]

    Mr. WILSON. And Secretary Young, could you tell me about the High-Fly Program, what it is and the budget for the program?

    Secretary YOUNG. I can answer in more detail on that for the record. I know what it is.

    An OSD initiative, that is joint with the Navy and the Air Force for a hypersonic flight demonstration vehicle. We will get the details of the budget requests and the timeline for it. I don't have that with me.

    [The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]

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    Mr. WILSON. Now, I will defer back to the actual Chairman.

    Mr. WELDON [presiding]. I thank my friend and colleague representing all services for sitting in.

    And, gentlemen, I want to thank you.

    We do have some questions that we are going to submit for the record in the interest of time. So you get off easy today because we were late starting, and so all of the tough questions will be in the record. We ask you to respond to us.

    We appreciate your continued efforts and your service to the country. We really appreciate that. And on behalf of all of my colleagues, we say thank you. So you are all dismissed.

    Our second panel will address the F/A–22 program. The F–22 has been in development for nearly 12 years, with a low-rate production decision having been made in 2001.

    While intended to provide a number of impressive combat capabilities, the program continues to face difficult development and production issues. In 1992, the approved program, in constant 2003 dollars, was programmed to deliver 648 aircraft at a program unit cost of $115 million per aircraft.

    Now, 11 years later, the program buy is projected to be 276 aircraft, at a program unit cost exceeding $250 million per aircraft. This constitutes a nearly 60 percent decrease in the number of aircraft and well over a hundred percent increase in price.
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    The development costs recently was reported to have increased another $876 million. This has impacted the fiscal year 2003 planned procurement, reducing it by three aircraft from 23 to 20.

    In addition to cost problems, development problems persist. The avionic software continues to be unstable, and excessive vertical stabilizer vibrations are experienced in certain flight regimes that if uncorrected would reduce aircraft service life.

    The Air Force continues to state that it has planned production investments that will result in efficiencies, that will result in reduced costs, and ultimately to the procurement of more aircraft. Yet the Air Force reportedly has underfunded the investments required to achieve the promised production efficiencies.

    With us to address these and other issues are Lieutenant General John Corley, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, and Allen Li, Director Acquisition Sourcing Management, U.S. General Accounting Office.

    Before beginning, does the gentleman from Hawaii have any additional comments he would like to make?

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. No, sir.

    Mr. WELDON. General Corley, without objection I would give you the floor time, as well as Mr. Li, and ask you to make whatever comments that you would like to make. Thank you.
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    General CORLEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the subcommittee.

    We appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today and discuss the progress, demonstrated progress to date, on the F/A–22 program.

    Clearly, I want to thank you for your continued support of the F/A–22 program, and your broader over arching support of the Air Force modernization roadmap.

    I also believe it important to underscore and thank you, sir, for the support of our Air Force airmen as well as all service members that continue to contribute in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

    Joining me today, on my right is, Brigadier General Rick Lewis. He is the Air Force Program Executive Officer (PEO) for the fighter/bomber programs. He brings a wealth of operational and strategic experience to the program. He is going to lead us through the remaining challenges on the F/A–22 program, and with your support, toward a full rate-production decision and our declared initial operational capability (IOC), sir.

    My comments today are very brief. I will limit those. We will focus exclusively on the over-arching principles behind combat that have driven the F/A–22 program's requirements and its successful development to date.
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    General Lewis will then take you through the program specifics. He will provide a snapshot of the development, the tests and the production aspects of our efforts.

    Clearly, sir, this great Nation has afforded me some wonderful opportunities. Those opportunities include the chance to command at squadron, group and wing levels, plus a unique chance to serve in the combined air operations center at Prince Sultan Air Base.

    I can assure you from these experiences that achieving air dominance is really the first priority of any combatant commander, because with air dominance, our forces are given the freedom from attack, the freedom to maneuver, and the freedom to attack.

    Absent the F/A–22, our ability to execute future joint and coalition war plans will be placed in jeopardy, sir. As you are very much aware, the world has changed. It continues to change very rapidly with potential adversaries who have not stood idly by. Enhancements and new technology have created a cache of inexpensive and new technologies that provide deadly weapons that are available in the world market today to regimes that will, if they have the money, pay for them.

    Advanced surface-to-air missile systems, along with high-powered radars, weapons that could provide a variable curtain, if you will, around highly sensitive targets. This is principally due to the fact, and the inability of legacy aircraft to evade detection and, unfortunately, possible destruction from the surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems.

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    The F/A–22, however, has the unique ability to not only penetrate those anti-access threat arenas, but also to suppress and to destroy these systems and thus open the door, sir, for follow-on forces of the joint and coalition variety.

    The same is really true of advanced enemy fighters that were discussed previously in the panel. Some aircraft, enemy aircraft, advanced enemy aircraft, have reached parity with our legacy aircraft. The F/A–22, however, can outperform, it can outclimb, it can outmaneuver, even the most robust enemy aircraft that are envisioned and are arriving in quantity today.

    The F/A–22, coupled with its robust weapons-carriage capabilities, advanced avionics will provide the dominance this Nation needs from day one. That is going to enable us to further target elimination of weapons of mass destruction. It also applies to theatre ballistic missiles, classically guarded by concentric rings and depth. No viable target will be safe from destruction from F/A-22s or the forces it enables.

    This rings true of homeland defense, sir, as it does elsewhere around the globe. Nothing is more important than keeping our Nation safe. Rapid reaction times and high-speed cruise capabilities unique to the F/A–22 make it the capable air defense platform. It can detect, it can intercept and destroy enemy cruise missiles at sufficient ranges to maintain a safeguard for our cities and our populations.

    We must also leverage the time and the money already spent on this aircraft to fulfill that priority mission for our citizens. I have alluded to the anti-access threats, sir, that the F/A–22 brings to the combatant commander, but what I haven't mentioned, is the leverage of previous dollars of investment you have so graciously afforded us from the Congress; investment in aircraft like the B–2 and the F–117 that continue to perform so magnificently.
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    We need to no longer force them to be relegated only to night operations, but to bring their stealth and their capabilities into the daylight. By the fielding of the F/A–22, stealth will now enter the daylight, and the deployment of our fighter and bomber fleet, without regard to time or condition, will further open the door for joint and coalition efforts and the rapid destruction of enemy defenses.

    The F/A–22 is the linchpin for this Nation, sir, in ensuring air dominance.

    Now, with your permission, sir, I would like to ask General Lewis to provide you with the details of our ongoing efforts that demonstrate the success of this critical weapons system and getting it into the warfighters.

    [The prepared statement of General Corley can be viewed in the hard copy.]

    Mr. WELDON. General.


    General LEWIS. Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to share the status of the F/A–22 Raptor Program. I would also like to share my status for just a moment. I am just a fighter pilot with war time experiences from Desert Storm and Allied Force.
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    The Secretary of the Air Force and Chief of Staff of the Air Force put me in this job last November, 5 months ago, in order to reestablish confidence and credibility in the F/A–22 program. And every day I strive just to do that.

    I will confine my opening comments to the two charts up on my right. Both the development and production aspects of the program are doing well. We have seven Raptors flying almost daily at Edwards Air Force Base. In fact, these jets have accumulated over 3,000 hours to date.

    In the summer of last year, we recognized the need to make changes in how we are executing the envelope-expansion, testing in order to clear the full 9–G envelope before the end of the scheduled development program.

    Working with Lockheed-Martin, we put a new plan in place, and we have been executing a two-and-a-half fold increase to our testing rate over the past six months.

    Of course, the Raptor is first and foremost a weapons system. To date, we have successfully fired 16 missiles, four of which were guided. It is important to note that one of these shots last November was an Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) shot at supercruise.

    In the future, we will drop JDAM, a precision-guided, air-to-ground weapon at supercruise. It is these unique capabilities that will make this aircraft so deadly.

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    To prove the robustness of the airframe itself, we have completed static and first-lifetime fatigue testing. We have dedicated an airframe that we use for these tests. In static testing, we load the airframe up to one and a half times its designed strength requirement and observe over long period of time how well the airframe holds up.

    In fatigue testing, we simulate hours and hours of flying loads and movements to determine durability. These tests are done early in an aircraft's development to uncover potential redesign or retrofit issues up front. We have found no major issues from either test. In the case of lifetime testing, we are already 38 percent complete on the second life.

    The challenge that confounded us for a while and ended up requiring additional flight test hours was the characterization of the jet's fin buffet response. Fin buffet is the air flow phenomena that occurs in all twin-tailed fighters. It is a complex issue. We studied it, we tested it, and we fixed it. The fix resulted in minor and inexpensive modifications.

    The only thing we need to do on fin buffet is verify the region below 10,000 feet. We also resolved an issue with window noise, something we called canopy howl, and that also, at first, looked tough.

    This program is tackling technologies others have never faced, and we are getting it done. Today we are attacking an avionic stability issue the same way. Recently, we made fundamental changes in our avionics development efforts. I am confident, that like fin buffet and canopy howl, resolution of avionic stability is not a matter of if but when. Resolution will be in the months ahead.
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    In our production program, we are also getting it right. The operation on the production floor at Marietta is rapidly gaining momentum. As expected in any production program in its infancy, we have had growing pains which have manifested themselves in late aircraft deliveries.

    To address these late deliveries, we have been working closely with Lockheed-Martin to implement a number of initiatives to reduce build-cycle time. The changes we have put in place are making very visible impacts. During the calendar year 2002 alone, Lockheed reduced late aircraft deliveries from 12 months late to 7 months late.

    At the current rate of improvement, we expect aircraft deliveries to be back on contract schedule by July 2004. In January, we took delivery of the first operational aircraft, 4012, which was delivered to air combat command at Nellis Air Force Base. We launched, flew and recovered 4012 using only operational personnel.

    But aircraft deliveries are just one part of the picture. Cost is very important to us. That is why we are focused on production affordability. In September 2001, as part of his low rate initial production decision, the defense acquisition executive, Secretary Aldridge, approved the Raptor production programs buy-to-budget strategy, along with the production budget cap of $43 billion.

    We are fully committed to this buy-on-the-budget strategy. Our current production projection is that we can procure 276 Raptors for $43 billion. This estimate is based on actual lots on contract through lot 3, and a set of conservative cost-estimated assumptions that include realistic return multiples for our future cost-reduction initiatives, known risk areas, as well as a 5 percent factor for unknown unknowns.
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    While our current estimate is 276 Raptors, we are not satisfied, we need more, and we are pursuing ways to improve program affordability. Production stability is vital to achieving future program affordability goals. Supplier confidence is an absolute got-to-have for the program's success, because 65 percent of the Raptor lies with the suppliers.

    Now, would be the worst time to decrement production funds. We are at a critical stage in the production ramp and the affordability learning curve. For the first time, the tools, training and people are in place for an orderly ramp-up to max-rate production.

    We need to keep the momentum going and show commitment. I want to thank the committee for your steadfast support to that end.

    The second key to achieving affordability is much more explicit, we call it the production cost reduction program. It is a key enabler for maximizing quantity. To show our commitment to this program, we have invested $475 million, including $85 million in fiscal year 2004 in producibility improvements.

    When we first established this program, we said we would invest $475 million. We have not wavered from that commitment. I think it is important to recognize that the ground we are paving on the Raptor, in many ways, enables our future force. The F/A–22 is developing and implementing state-of-the-art technology, fusing leading-edge capabilities and pioneering manufacturing techniques that will ultimately yield not only the world's greatest aircraft, but also establish an invaluable set of lessons learned for developing future complex weapons systems.
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    The F/A–22's kick-down-the-door weapon system is the pathfinder. We have to get it right. Of point, this is the only U.S. aircraft that will put a weapon on target this decade. The F/A–22 program is gaining momentum. We can't let up now. I would like to personally commit to maintaining an open dialogue with this committee.

    Thank you for this opportunity to provide you this update.

    Mr. WELDON. We thank you for your statement.

    Mr. Li, we will enter your statement in the record. You may make whatever comments you would like to.


    Mr. Li. Chairman Weldon, Ranking Member Abercrombie and Dr. Gingrey, members of the subcommittee, I am pleased to be here today to discuss GAO's work reviewing the F/A–22 development and production programs.

    With me today are Don Springman and Marvin Bonner from my Dayton team. As requested, I will highlight my prepared statement. I understand and can appreciate General Corley's and General Lewis's enthusiasm for the F/A–22. The Raptor certainly has the potential for being the most advanced air-superiority aircraft ever to join the Air Force's inventory.
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    The Fiscal Year 1998 Defense Authorization Act requires GAO to annually assess the F/A–22 development program and determine whether the program is meeting key performance, schedule and cost goals.

    We have issued six of these annual reports to the Congress. We have also reported on production program costs over the last 3 years. Most recently, we reported on production and development activities in February and March of this year respectively. My remarks today stem from this body of work. I will make four points this afternoon.

    Point number one, progress is being made to demonstrate performance, but testing is needed to verify that fixes will work. Estimated performance in the areas of supercruise, acceleration, maneuverability, radar observability, combat radius and range in searching targets have to date been met or exceeded by the Air Force.

    However, problems have surfaced related to overheating during high-speed flight testing, reliability, avionics and excess movement of the vertical tails. Modifications are being made to some test aircraft to address these problems. The Air Force needs to complete operational testing to ensure that it has these problems under control.

    Point number two. Continuing to acquire aircraft before adequate testing is a high-risk strategy that could serve to further increase production costs. Despite continuing development problems and challenges, the Air Force plans to continue acquiring production aircraft at increasing annual rates.

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    Since 2001, we have reported this as a risky strategy. The Air Force runs the risk of higher production costs by acquiring significant quantities of aircraft before adequate testing is complete. Late testing could identify problems, requiring costly modifications to achieve satisfactory performance.

    Point number three. Increasing costs underline the importance of taking full advantage of all opportunities for gaining manufacturing efficiencies during production. Currently, the F/A–22 program is both in development and production. A congressional cap was initially put on both development and production.

    The cap on development was removed in December of 2001, the cap on production remains and today stands at $36.8 billion. DOD's current production estimate of $42.2 billion for 276 aircraft exceeds the production limit by $5.4 billion.

    Over the last 6 years, the Air Force identified about $18 billion in estimated production cost growth. To counter that growth, the Air Force and its contractors have identified and implemented a number of cost-offsetting efforts known as production cost reduction plans. Cost offsets of over $1.9 billion have already been implemented in the first four production contracts awarded.

    One type of production cost reduction plan is the production improvement program. Examples of production improvement programs previously implemented by the Air Force include manufacturing process improvements for avionics and improvements in fabrication and assembly processes for the airframe.

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    We reported in February that the Air Force reduced funding for production improvement programs in fiscal year 2001 and 2002 to cover cost growth in the first two production lots, but this reduced funding can have a negative effect on future production costs.

    Now, why is that? Well, these cost-offsetting efforts focus specifically on improving production processes. For the majority of these programs, the government makes an initial investment to realize savings. So the earlier the Air Force implements them, the greater the impact on reducing the cost of production.

    Our concern is that such reductions do not occur in fiscal year 2003 and beyond, since the Air Force is counting on the billions of dollars in cost offsets these programs would generate. I am heartened to read this afternoon, in the general's statement, that the Air Force is currently addressing this concern.

    My last point. F/A–22 cost increases may have a broader effect. Since development has started, the projected number of aircraft to be produced has decreased from 648 to 276. This reduction may have a negative effect on the service's long-term plans to modernize its tactical aircraft fleet.

    In 2001, we reported that even factoring in the acquisition of F/A–22s, the average age of the Air Force's tactical fleet would be 21 years in 2011. This is almost twice the Air Force's average age goal of 11 years.

    Aging aircraft in general take more time, work and money to keep airworthy and mission ready. The F/A-22 will be operational late 2005 at the earliest. The rate of replenishment, F/A-22s, replacing F-15s for example, will be substantially lower due to the decrease in the number of aircraft to be purchased.
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    If I can deviate for just a moment from my written short statement. A question was raised by several Members in the earlier panel about the average age of aircraft. About 2 years ago, Mr. Chairman, I had a team that actually looked at that just before the Quadrennial Defense Review, (QDR) was completed. We issued that report to Secretary Rumsfeld because we felt that he should have some data on what those average ages were.

    For example, for the F–14 A B and D, the average age with 1999 data was 15 years. That was the average age. Another question was asked about the A–10 Warthog. That was 18 years in 1999.

    Mr. Chairman, that concludes my statement. I would be pleased to respond to any questions you or other Members may have at this time.

    Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Mr. Li, for your statement and for your excellent work at the GAO. We really appreciate the efforts. It helps us better understand the concerns that we have to address.

    [The prepared statement of Mr. Li can be viewed in the hard copy.]

    Mr. WELDON. General Corley, the congressional cost cap on the F/A–22 is $36.8 billion, yet the current program estimated cost is $42.2 billion. If the Congress does not remove its cost cap, how many F/A–22s, given current cost projections, will the Air Force be able to procure?

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    General CORLEY. Less than the requirement, sir. And clearly, after that Defense Acquisition Board (DAB) in August of 2001 that examined a potential for $43 billion, the Air Force does recognize that that is $5.4 billion above the current congressional cap.

    We have informed the defense committees. We have been working with OSD, and we continue to request your consideration of relief from that cap, sir.

    Mr. WELDON. But how many aircraft would it be? Have you done that estimate?

    General CORLEY. I have not, personally, sir. We can take that for the record. It would be some number less than the requirement.

    Mr. WELDON. Mr. Li, have you done that analysis?

    Mr. Li. We have done just a back-of-the-envelope assumption. And my assumption, sir, would be in the 220 range.

    Mr. WELDON. Two hundred twenty. General Corley, in 2002 the Air force announced it uncovered further cost growth in the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) program of $876 million. Do you believe that this cost overrun will capture all additional costs to complete development?

    General CORLEY. Sir, we have a great degree of confidence that $876 million will complete our EMD program. Again, that is an estimate at completion of the engineering manufacturing and development on the aircraft itself.
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    Further, sir, I would like to, with regard to cost on both development and most especially with production, these are all estimates, sir. The one thing that we have seen is the instability in the program.

    We believe that is a great contributor to the increases in the cost itself of the program and ultimately drives down the number of aircraft that you can procure for a fixed number of dollars.

    Mr. WELDON. Mr. Li, do you agree that the 876 is a valid number?

    Mr. Li. I believe——

    Mr. WELDON. Do you believe that will capture all additional costs, or do you believe it is going to be higher than that?

    Mr. Li. I believe that we would still need to take a look at their burn value management reports in order to make that particular projection. My last look at those particular reports indicates that the contractor is still exceeding that amount which was projected.

    Mr. WELDON. My third question, General, deals with the software development program. This is an amazing amount of money that we are spending on this aircraft. I understand that—I think I was told that there is a mean time between failure of 1 hour, where the software just cuts out.
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    Is that, in fact, correct? And what is your estimate of time and cost to correct it?

    General CORLEY. Sir, I would like to ask General Lewis to talk about the specifics of the progress we have made to date and where we stand with regard to the hours on avionic stability.

    General LEWIS. Sir, the 1 hour we initially—it is two steps to this answer. One, in December, we had—the objective was 1 hour in the airplane. We took the software to the laboratory. We got 1 hour in the lab. Sure enough we got 1 hour in the airplane.

    Our objective in the January release was to have—we thought we would get 8.8 hours. When we got to the airplane, we still had 1 hour, and so we have a difference between the aircraft hardware and the labs.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Excuse me, General. Can you tell me what you mean exactly by 1 hour?

    General LEWIS. That is the time that you have a stability such that the avionics hardware will have to be reset. In other words, a function will have to be turned off and turned back on.

    Mr. WELDON. So in other words, as I understand it, the avionics crashes within an hour?
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    General LEWIS. Yes, sir. There are various levels of crashes, and we consider these the significant ones in an hour right now, today.

    Now, what we found out——

    Mr. WELDON. Who is the software developer for the platform? I know it is Lockheed in general, but who is developing——

    General LEWIS. Lockheed/Boeing is the integration, and also Northrop Grumman are the key folks in this.

    Mr. WELDON. They better get their act together, because this is outrageous that it crashes. When we are spending all of this money for an airplane, and the software system crashes within an hour, I mean, cut me a break. Are they in the room? I mean, good grief.

    General LEWIS. Sir, it is not all their fault. What we found——

    Mr. WELDON. Whose fault is it?

    General LEWIS. We formed a special team in OSD to help us, with Dr. Sega. And we took the industry's best on the science and technology from the universities, plus all of the industry, people off SBIRS, Joint Stars, all of that. They went and looked at our procedures for software development. They are helping us today.
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    We found down in—the main contributor was the interpretation of the National Security Agency (NSA) regulations for how you can capture data off the F/A–22. The data it generates is so supersecret that the software developers felt they could not put in the computer development tools built into the software, because the NSA said you can't capture that data in realtime.

    So they have been living with this for 2 years. When a bug comes up, they have been trying to sort out, without the proper tools, of how to fix it. We have turned that around.

    It was a bad interpretation of the NSA laws guiding in this software development. The tools are being implemented right now as we speak. We have them on one jet.

    So on this one jet, we have gone from 1.24 hours up to 3 hours, and we don't have all of the development tools in there. We are back on the track now to get this resolved, and we will have this fixed here very soon.

    Mr. WELDON. So has it been NSA's problem?

    General LEWIS. It wasn't an NSA problem. It was an interpretation of the rules for software development by the company.

    Mr. WELDON. Maybe it is because I am not a scientist, but this whole thing sounds ridiculous to me, that the software for this brand new aircraft crashes after an hour and we can't get it straightened out. We keep seeing the cost increase for this program drive through the ceiling. It is beyond the ceiling, it is up in outer space.
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    How long have we had this problem? Two years?

    General LEWIS. Sir, this problem was identified last summer. As part of the—as part of the management schedule changes is that $876 million, and we have management reserve in there with time to fix this problem, and we are confident that we can do that.

    Mr. WELDON. When we designed the program, they knew what they were going to have to deal with. We know that it was going to be NSA data coming in, and the contractors knew that, right? It is not some new development.

    General LEWIS. Not new.

    Mr. WELDON. We ought to hold them accountable. What do you think, Mr. Li? What is your comment, candidly, on this whole issue?

    Mr. Li. The avionics problem did crop up earlier than last summer, and the issue, and I am trying to give you a balanced view of this. I think this is an extremely complex system that they are trying to build in terms, from software perspective. The integration of communications, navigations, electronic warfare, even vehicle health systems is extremely complex. We have never done that before.

    That said, we are talking about a process right now where the system goes down when everything is playing together. I am trying to kind of talk about it in English. Everything works okay by itself, but when you turn everything together the system goes down. Now, the good thing is that the airplane can still fly. Their flight control system still works.
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    The problem is stability. They cannot get that software to work together for an extended amount of time. Some of the fixes that——

    Mr. WELDON. So you have got a $270 million Piper Cub up there because you have no integration of the data, which is what it is supposed to have.

    Mr. Li. I think a Piper Cub is not quite as complex as the F/A-22.

    Mr. WELDON. If you have don't have the software, what is it?

    Mr. Li. I think that the Air Force should respond to that question.

    Mr. WELDON. I am telling you, I am a little upset right here, right now. You know, the contractors, didn't they know, going in, what they were going to have to do?

    Well, they ought to be paying for a large cost and eat this cost themselves, rather than throw $876 million back on the taxpayers, when they knew in advance what they were being tasked to do. If they couldn't do it, they shouldn't have bid on it.

    General LEWIS. The $876 million, that is not all software. That was——

    Mr. WELDON. How much of it is software?
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    General LEWIS. Probably about a $100 million of that.

    Mr. WELDON. Do you agree with that, Mr. Li?

    Mr. Li. I thought it was a little bit more.

    Mr. WELDON. How much more?

    Mr. Li. I thought it was half.

    Mr. WELDON. Well, that is a big difference between a $100 million and $400 million.

    General LEWIS. No. The biggest part was the actual testing on the aircraft. But, sir, let me give you an idea, when—this aircraft can go out there and fly a full mission and not have an avionics reset; for the stability on the particular flight.

    There are other times, though, when it fails five times in one flight. So it is erratic, but we take the average between those two flights, and that is where you get 1 hour. So they are getting a lot of training done, they are working at operational procedures.

    What we found out was really that we had two problems, one was a lab problem, and one was the interpretation of the software development tools. We are fixing both of those now. We will get this rapidly fixed.
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    Mr. WELDON. My problem is that the contractors when they bid on this aircraft, knew the challenge that they were going to face, and they told us that they could do it. Now, as they come back and ask for more and more money, which under our cap decreases the amount of aircraft we can procure, they want more money out of the taxpayers. I think that they ought to start eating some of this money themselves.

    We have had this same thing occur with other programs. We had it occur with the Theater High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) program. We finally had to tell the contractors, if you don't get the test program straightened out, we are going to fine you $10 million out of every test you make that is unsuccessful. They got the program straightened out.

    I mean, this is not—my point is, this is not just a cash cow where they can come back, and whatever they want, we are going to pay. We are going to raise the cap whenever they want it raised, and they just keep adding more money in. Those contractors are all, as companies, friends of mine, but this is disgusting.

    General CORLEY. Mr. Chairman, if I can comment again with regard to this, sir. Collectively, within the United States Air Force, our government team on this, and with our contractor, we share this grave concern, even outrage over the current status of avionics. I will also tell you that our previous approach to avionics was dreadfully flawed, sir. We have changed that approach, as General Lewis has told you.

    We brought in entirely new people. We have brought in individuals, both inside and outside of government, to further assess this program to find a better way, because you are right, Mr. Chairman, this has broad implications to not just this program, but to other programs that follow.
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    Further, sir, you are seeing, perhaps in a way, from some of your opening remarks, the unintended consequences of too few dollars within a program. If you begin to restrict the dollars, you begin to restrict your opportunities for investment in avionics interrogation labs. You begin to restrict the number of dollars you have in terms of other aircraft that fly and test.

    Those items, all taken in concert, sir, suggest to us why it was critical for us to change, totally, leadership within this program, both with the military and on the contractor's side, as well as our approach to dealing with this. But, sir, I would still like to recall that this is the development phase of the program, and not unlike fin buffet, which we experienced, we were able to overcome that. I have confidence that we will overcome this avionics stability issue as well.

    Mr. WELDON. Well, General, I understand your statement. But staff has just pointed out to me, you are saying that we starved the program or that cost was an issue. I said at the beginning that we don't have enough money for all of our tactical aviation needs, but I will use this figure from the GAO Report. Over the last 6 years, DOD has identified $18 billion in estimated production cost growth, bringing the total estimate to $42.2 billion, $18 billion of increased production cost growth.

    That is a heck of a lot of money over what the original estimate was. Mr. Abercrombie.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. I want to make sure that I understand. You understand we are asking you questions, you are the ones on the hot seat. I don't expect you to have answers. You have come in, I want to say, at a late date to try and scramble to make this right, and I am sure I speak for the chairman when I say we recognize that. The reason we are asking the questions as we are, you heard me during the first panel, is we have got to make some real hard-nosed decisions in here about where we are going to put money to marry up technology and military platforms and the people in mission.
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    Because we are the only ones that can decide it, not the newspapers, not Mitch Daniels down at the White House or the rose garden or wherever the hell he spends his day. We have got to make that decision in here. I am still not clear about this NSA question, because I hadn't heard that before.

    Are you saying that the NSA can tell you or tell the manufacturer what they can or cannot do with respect to collecting intelligence in realtime and then translating that, say into the tactical air operations that were mentioned in the previous testimony by the Navy and the Air Force, that kind of thing, the Navy and the Marines?

    In other words, when you were integrating or coordinating the F–22 into actual operations, the NSA is telling you that you can't do some things in realtime and then translate that into mission accomplishments?

    General LEWIS. They don't tell you that you can't do something. They just put restrictions on how you encrypt software and how you handle the software, the actual——

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay. Then I will follow up on the Chairman. Surely something like that didn't come up in the last year or the last 6 months.

    General LEWIS. We didn't realize—we knew last summer they were unable to find the root cause of some of these stability bugs that are in the software. And so we——
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    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Aren't the stability bugs that you are referring to NSA admonitions to you, or am I misinterpreting what you are saying?

    General LEWIS. No. You are misinterpreting it. It is just the way we develop the software. You usually put in ways to capture data so you can go to the root cause. When a malfunction occurs, you can trace it all the way back and say, okay, this line of code needs to be fixed.

    They dropped out some of those software development tools because they thought they were unable to capture realtime data because of the security of the data itself. And so——

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. That was just discovered?

    General LEWIS. In January, yes, sir. This has been a 2-year problem with it, and we didn't realize that until we sent this OSD special team under Dr. Sega, out to TRW, now Northrop Grumman in San Diego, who was one of the key labs in this.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. You mean they were developing this the whole time and the Air Force was not aware that they were developing it under these restrictions from the NSA?

    General LEWIS. That is correct, sir.

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    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. How the hell could that happen?

    General LEWIS. I am not sure.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Have any heads rolled? Has anybody been brought into account for it?

    General LEWIS. Yes, sir. The head avionics developer on the Lockheed Martin team has been——

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. I appreciate that. Thank you for your candidness on that. But, Mr. Chairman, I think we have to follow up a little bit on this.

    General LEWIS. One other point, sir, is they are working this EMD, it is no fee. It is basically cost, we pay them cost and maybe an award fee, but that is it.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. I think the committee should have been informed of that then, because that dramatically affects what is happening.

    In any event, GAO says that the plans to complete the avionics testing can't be completed before the first quarter of 2005. Do you agree with that?

    General LEWIS. They are saying the avionics testing?

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. They said the plans to complete avionics testing, which includes the question of software and all of the other elements involved with software stabilization and so on, that the expectation is, and I presume that the GAO is quoting the Air Force here, that the avionics schedule to accommodate avionics stability testing plans to be completed in the first quarter of 2005. Do you agree with that estimation?
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    General LEWIS. No, sir. All of the stability issues that we are talking about now, the 1 hour mean time between failure, we are going to get resolved now over the next few months.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. I am not sure we are talking about the same thing. I am talking about the avionics. Let me—do you happen to have that report handy, the GAO report? I don't want to——

    Mr. Li. The statement itself, General Lewis.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay. I will let it slide, but maybe for the record you can—Mr. Li, you know what I am talking about?

    Mr. Li. Yes, sir. You are referring to the actual complete test of the avionics.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Of avionics. Which includes——

    Mr. Li. What we were told——

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Which includes the stability?

    Mr. Li. That is correct, sir. It was the complete test that they have to perform on avionics. We were told that that would occur in the first quarter of 2005.
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    General LEWIS. There are some additional combat functions that will be added on later, but the stability portion, the fundamental essence of the software and capability of this airplane, will be done in the near months, not 2005.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay. What about the vertical fin buffeting? There is no time line in the GAO report with respect to that.

    General LEWIS. Sir, that is fixed. We have actually gone out and tested the fix. It goes into the production aircraft. And we—it is very little money. It is only $60,000.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. When was that fixed? Did you inform the GAO? Because the date of GAO report here is April 2nd, today. That is the date of the report. And that doesn't reflect.

    Mr. Li. Mr. Abercrombie, our point was that we recognized the flights, and that the fix had been done above 10,000 feet. Under 10,000 feet, which is that part of the envelope where I would anticipate a lot of dog-fighting to occur, we want that aircraft to be able to perform the best it can.

    And they have not completed testing of that yet. They do not have that done yet.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. I was going to get to that.
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    General CORLEY. Sir, can I clarify just a couple of moments? This aircraft, as I said in my opening statement, is about air dominance. It is not just about air superiority. In fact, the focal point of this aircraft, what it pivots around is its air-to-surface capability. You have to be able to deal with those anti-access threats, because no other way of being able to deal with them does exist now or into the future. It is not just about dog-fighting, number one.

    Number two, as far as dog-fighting below 10,000 feet, within the Air Force concept of operations, that is not where we are going to fly this airplane.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. What if you have to?

    Admiral CORLEY. Yes, sir, exactly right. What if you have to? Number one, we folded into Lot 2, as far as the production on this aircraft, changes to the aircraft itself. We removed a composite spar in those vertical tails. We added strengthening and fasteners to a rudder hinge. So those have already been incorporated into, and we have examined those portions of the envelope most critical that could potentially impact structurally on the tail of the aircraft.

    And as far as——

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Excuse me, General, because of the limited time. I appreciate what you are saying. But what I was told, as a lay person, I am not an aviator, I am not an aeronautical engineer, but I am a legislator. What I was told, as a legislator, what I was voting on was a plane that could do everything that every other plane did plus.
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    Now, what you are telling me is you can do the plus but you are not sure that it can do what every other plane is supposed to do.

    Admiral CORLEY. No, sir. If I have in any way misrepresented that, then I should not, sir. You are going to get an aircraft that is pluses across the board.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Is it ready now? Are you saying—is this fixed, this vertical fin buffeting.

    General LEWIS. Sir, we have flown test flights below 10,000 feet. The engineers have projected those out and said that this fix will work below 10,000 feet. By August, we will have that 10,000 foot cleared for our modifications.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Well, Mr. Li, has the Air Force had access to your presentation to us?

    Mr. Li. Yes, sir. This is on the basis of our two reports. And——

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay. The reason I am asking the question, is that they should have been able to respond to your report and say, okay, we heard what you said, here is our response to that, but we are getting it in the hearing. That is why we have hearings. This is good.

    Let me move on. Overheating concerns. The GAO says to prevent the heat build-up during flight testing, the aircraft is restricted to flying just over 500 miles per hour. Is that correct?
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    General LEWIS. It was correct, sir. But, again, we have designed—first of all, this came up on our instrumentation on our test airplanes out at Edwards. We designed a fix and we have actually gone and put the fix into the airplane and tested it, it works. Now, those fixes are also going into production aircraft. And the total cost was less than $3 million.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. So that is not an issue? You don't fly at less than 500 knots now?

    General LEWIS. No, sir. We no longer have restrictions with this modification.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. All right. I wish we would have had a response to this beforehand, but that is okay. I will take your word for it. Okay. Well, let me just go to the end, because I am sure my time is up, and we will give you some questions for the record.

    I want to make sure I understand the flying hours time, the impact of the maintenance needs. This is particularly true given the different kinds of atmospheres and terrains and so on that we might be dealing with, different climatological conditions that we may have to deal with worldwide.

    Here is what the GAO says. The Air Force estimates the F/A–22 should at this point in its development be able to complete 1.67 flying hours between maintenance actions, and 1.9 flying hours by the end of the development. Is that a fair statement?
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    Is that a fair statement? Do you agree with that?

    General LEWIS. Sir, at this stage, with 2,681 hour—flight test hours, we should be at 1.4. I do agree with the 1.95 at the end of EMD, and it is actually 3 hours at 100,000 hours.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay. Unfortunately, the aircraft now requires five times the maintenance actions expected at this point in the development. Are you telling me that that has been reduced?

    General LEWIS. It has been reduced a little bit. It is now about four times. There are certain fixes out there we have identified; and once we get those in, then we will be back on track. We are below the learning curve right now, and we have fixes identified which we have not fielded yet.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay. My last point then, so, again, taking into account that I am not as familiar as you might be with the terminology and what it exactly relates to, if I understood you correctly you say you can fly an hour now?

    General LEWIS. No.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. With respect to the question of software and——

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    General LEWIS. No. What they are saying is that an airplane will fly in the meantime between maintenance required. That could be in addition to software. It could be low absorbable restoration, tires, light bulbs, all those things.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Yes, sir, I understand that.

    General LEWIS. Yes, sir. But the avionics, obviously, severely limits that right now today. As the avionics get better, this number will improve dramatically.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. So is it fair to say then, because of that, that the GAO says as of November of last year, approximately five months ago—when you came on board, right, if I remember correctly.

    General LEWIS. Yes, sir.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Approximately when you came on board the developmental test aircraft had been completing about .29 flying hours between maintenance actions. Was that true about 5 months ago?

    General LEWIS. Yes, sir.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. And you say that has improved then over the last 5 months.

    General LEWIS. Yes, sir.
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    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Mr. Abercrombie.

    Dr. Gingrey.

    Dr. GINGREY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    General Corley, General Lewis, this aircraft, the F/A–22—and even Mr. Li in his testimony says, and I will read from the first line of his conclusion, the F/A–22 has the potential for being the most advanced air superiority aircraft ever to join the Air Force inventory—using several advanced technologies and capabilities.

    General, you talked earlier about the current F–15 and the fact that, at this point in time, that we have air superiority over our adversaries, not so much because we have the best tactical fighter in the sky today but because we have the best trained pilots and that gives us superiority, but equipmentwise we don't—there are countries, China possibly, and others, that have tactical fighters that could outperform the current inventory, the F–15 in particular—and how important it is to maintain going forward with that air superiority and we can only do it with the F/A–22.

    You don't have to convince me at all of that. And it is—I am sure nobody on this committee is more concerned about this program going forward. Yet there are some real, serious concerns expressed—and certainly my chairman has brought those out very strongly at this hearing—concerning the avionics; and I just want to maybe hear from you once again a little bit of reassurance that—and I know you have been trying to do that over the last hour and a half. But I want to hear you make some very positive statements about the need for this aircraft to maintain that air superiority and that you are satisfied that we have made the changes, both from the manufacturer and from the Air Force—obviously, General Lewis is a big part of that—that we are going to solve this avionics problem and we are on track to do that.
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    General CORLEY. Thank you for the opportunity, sir. I would like to respond very positively to both aspects of your question.

    First, in terms of the need—very critical need for this aircraft, it goes without question unless we want to cede the lead in fighter aviation, unless we want to cede anti-access areas around the world to someone else, we must have the F/A–22 and the critical capabilities that it delivered.

    The second point, sir, is also a very fair assessment, and the chairman has appropriately pointed out lessons from the past that we must learn on this program. We have made a dramatic change in our approach to this program, not just in our approach to trying to resolve the avionic stability issue but our approach to dealing with the fin buffet issue as we have moved ourselves through development. I am very confident in the new leadership team both within the Air Force as well as within the contractor, that they will push aside these issues.

    We have passed our first fatigue life. We have resolved our fin buffet issue. We are showing some opportunity to demonstrate to you and successfully come back to you and inform you on our success with avionics. Because this Nation has to have the F/A–22, sir.

    Dr. GINGREY. Thank you, General.

    The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.

    Mr. Wilson from South Carolina is recognized for five minutes.
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    Mr. WILSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman; and, really, it is a restatement of what Congressman Gingrey was asking, in a way in that, as I hear people expressing concern about a new age of fighters like the F/A–22, the questions that come from the public really relate that the future threats as exhibited by Iraq, which was not even able to provide any ability to even depart from their air bases, why would we need to have something better than what is already obviously the best currently?

    General CORLEY. Sir, that is an excellent point; and one that I would propose the following answer to you. It is why I also began with a discussion on these advanced surface-to-air missiles that are out there today in some of the countries that were mentioned here in previous testimony by members of the committee. These advanced surface-to-air missile systems have the potential to render our legacy aircraft force impotent to be able to do anything in the future. That is a very dangerous precedent for us to be able to follow.

    I would very much love the fact that an F–15, which I have more than two decades worth of experience with, could continue to be viable as far as being able to project power into those threat areas or to be able to deal at the supercruise speed capabilities with potential cruise missile threats against the United States. But, regrettably, our legacy fighter force cannot do that. That is one very important thing for me to say. We are not projecting into the future.

    We are also saying that this is an admission that these threats exist today, and they are proliferating, and for an adversary country it would be a reasonably wise investment for them to do because they could push aside our magnificent air power from our Marines, our Navy and our Air Force that we have been able to use so effectively in the conflicts in the past. That is, in my opinion, why it is critical also for us to have the F/A–22, sir.
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    Mr. WILSON. I appreciate that very much. Because as we are observing daily what is going on, air power is again proving itself and to enable our ground combatants to proceed forward.

    I appreciate your answer very much, and I yield the balance of my time.

    Mr. WELDON. I thank the gentleman.

    General, there was a test aircraft nose wheel strut that reportedly recently collapsed. Can you describe what happened and tell us if that was an isolated incident or what?

    General LEWIS. Sir, that was an aircraft out of Edwards. It happened last week a week ago. It came back from flying and was shutting down one engine and then the other; and, as the second engine was shutting down the hydraulic system, the hydraulic was taken off and the nose gear retracted. We grounded the F–22 for 3 days until we had a work-around fix.

    There is an accident investigation going on right now. It was an unsolicited retraction, you know, somehow in the system. But we have a work on right now. There are other fighters out there today. We pin the nose gear before we shut down just for that reason. We are doing that now with the other aircraft, and we don't have the results yet from the accident investigation.

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    Mr. WELDON. How much damage was done to the aircraft?

    General LEWIS. It was minimal. Just a little bit on it. The doors were open, and therefore it hit on the doors and just scraped a little bit down there. So it was just minimal.

    Mr. WELDON. Mr. Abercrombie.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. General Keys, I recognize and admire your zeal in defending the program that you are now associated with. Surely you didn't mean to say, just for the record, that China and Russia are currently spending this kind of money in developing a fighter airplane. You said we were going to cede to them. I have no information, I mean, that would outstrip the budgets that they have, let alone for the development of an airplane like—they are not spending $42 billion on a fighter plane.

    General CORLEY. Sir, I hopefully did not explicitly mention any specific country, especially not those that you mentioned here. What I talk about as far as ceding is this ceding of access into an area and also talking about the investment that countries could make this the type of double-digit surface-to-air missiles that could deny the F/A–18.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. That is a separate issue.

    General CORLEY. Absolutely.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. What we are talking about here then is stealth capabilities, is that correct?
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    General CORLEY. Sir, I think it is the combination of attributes that make this aircraft so unique. It is the unprecedented maneuverability.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Let's concentrate on the missile for the moment. Are you saying the maneuverability of this plane is so superior that it can avoid the missiles that you are talking about?

    General CORLEY. Clearly, sir, it is taken in concert. All of these unique aspects of this aircraft, bring them together. Because you see, as I listen to your question, I think you are framing this right. There are other countries that do possess current and advanced fighter aircraft that have or possess some attribute or some aspect of what an F/A–22 does, or they have achieved parity with our legacy aircraft. Maneuverability might be one aspect.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. At least in terms of their proposed design.

    General CORLEY. Or with regards to what they have already demonstrated today, sir.

    I know you have heard our leadership from the Air Force talk in the past in testimony that our pilots flying their aircraft beat our aircraft every day. That is our legacy aircraft that is out there. And the reason that is, sir, is because they have achieved and reached parity in items like maneuverability with us.

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    With F/A–22, we, again, take that leap ahead, if you will. We are able to outdistance them in terms of maneuverability. We are able to leverage our stealth attributes. Whether it is an advanced fighter or whether it is a surface-to-air missile that is potentially fired against us, we can maneuver to survive and then we are lethal enough to go back and destroy that and leverage another force to come in, sir.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. All right. Are you presuming that surface-to-air missiles won't improve?

    General CORLEY. No, sir. In fact, we are planning that they will. That is, once more, why we have that combination of attributes. That is why we are examining not just today's missile.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. You don't think current aircraft can be modified, as we have been modified in one instance after another, some of which you enumerated today, to be able to deal with surface-to-air missiles as you anticipate them being?

    General CORLEY. Not to the degree that these threats potentially pose, sir.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Well, then let me ask you one final question. Are we trying to make the F/A–22 too fancy then?

    General CORLEY. No, sir.

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    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. And I am not trying to be sarcastic when I say that. I meant that you are overproducing it and overdesigning.

    If the principle thing is surface-to-air missiles that you see as the prime capacity of countries who aren't going to be building any aircraft of this capability, who are looking for ways to—let me start over again. If it was me and I was in some other country taking on the United States, I would use your technology against you. I would try to find simple things that I could afford to do that could mess you up—throw sand in the gears. You know, I don't care. There's not an engine yet that doesn't have sand in the engine that wouldn't bring it to a halt.

    General CORLEY. I think you have got that exactly right, sir. I think that is, in fact, what we are seeing potentially play out around the world. Using technology, where someone recognizes that they potentially cannot develop an aircraft with all of the attributes of the F/A–22, so they might turn to a surface-to-air system to try to deal with legacy aircraft, deny us. That is why we need this aircraft, sir.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Well, I will take your word on that for right now. But still, you get my point. You can overdesign something. The time and when we can actually get it into somebody's hands is getting further and further away.

    General CORLEY. Yes, sir. We still see ourselves for this initial operation capability in 2005.

    If I can, sir, our thought process as far as the design goes this way. As opposed to just sitting and talking about what we would like to have on the aircraft, instead we have said, what do we need to have on the airplane to meet within the concept of operations to insure that we can deal with anti-access threats, with advanced fighter threats that are around the world today? What are the enduring attributes, the one—the most important of which is the supercruise capability? That supercruise maneuverability, stealth, those are the attributes that allow us to be able to survive and then also be lethal, sir.
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    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay. Thank you.

    General LEWIS. Just on that advanced SAM, just one other thing. You talked about legacy platforms. The problem with the advanced SAMs is they can shoot down cruise missiles. They can shoot down any of our aircraft and any cruise missile that goes after the advance SAM. What the F/A–22 can do at supercruise with that speed and stealth is get close enough to deliver a supersonic weapon which it has never been able to shoot down. It is the key enabler in the future.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Is that prepared today?

    General LEWIS. Sir?

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Is that capable today?

    General LEWIS. That is what we are designing in it for IOC.

    Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay. All right. Thanks, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. WELDON. I thank my colleague.

    Gentlemen, we thank you for being here; and we did not mean to be offensive to you personally. But we have to make some tough decisions. We have our colleagues that want us to kill one of the attack programs because of the cost problems that we have. We don't want to do that. I mean, I think you would find that almost everyone here agrees that we want the best air superiority and air dominance that we can give our services. But we don't want to give the contractors a free holiday.
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    All of us are friendly with the contractors. But I am going to tell you right now, and I will say it publicly, my primary word goes out to the prime contractors. They had better get their act together. This is not what they said they would deliver within the cost they said they could provide to do the job they said they could do. This is no longer the cash cow where they come back in and say, give us another couple of $100 million and we will solve your problem for you. This is as much their problem as it is our problem.

    So, for any media here, you can quote me. We are going to be watching the contractors very aggressively. They are going to be coming, and they already are, asking for more bucks in the annual mark-up process, already begging for the money. All of them, including the primes here.

    What I am going to say now is, Mr. Li, how much money do you need as an add-on? Because I want to give you more assets to watch the hide of these people that are asking us for all the pluses. How much do you need to do the job you are doing?

    Mr. Li. Sir, since we are on the hook for an annual review of the EMD program, we will be vigilant in doing that.

    Mr. WELDON. But how much more do you need? They are asking for hundreds of millions. How much do you need for more assets?

    Mr. Li. I am not asking for any more money.

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    Mr. WELDON. We want you to come back to us.

    Mr. Li. We will.

    Mr. WELDON. Even though you don't come under directly our committee, we will make the case to the Government Reform Committee, who I think has jurisdiction over GAO. I will talk to Chairman Tom Davis. We will give you what you need in the way of new assets. Because now, more than ever, we need the oversight and the critical questions that you are asking to be there so that we can, in fact, monitor the cost growth of this program.

    In the end, we hopefully will have a program that all of us can support that will accomplish the objectives of the distinguished leaders here from the services who I know their hearts are in the right place. I know they are working their tails off to give us the product we want. We all know that and don't question it.

    But I will tell you the anger I am showing today is aimed at the contractor base.

    This hearing stands adjourned. I thank you all for coming in.

    [Whereupon, at 5:15 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]