05 Aug 2010
Yesterday, the Air Force Times ran a story about the House Armed Services Committee denying a recent Pentagon request to cut hundreds of millions of dollars from several key UAV programs. Specifically, the committee ordered the Defense Department to keep $71 million for the RQ-4 Global Hawk strategic spy jet. Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo. and committee chairman recently stated in a letter that the “program has been consistently underfunded in the area of spare parts.” The letter also stated that “the committee encourages the Air Force to obligate these funds as soon as possible in order to support ongoing operations in” Iraq and Afghanistan. One of the key issues that the Air Force has with the program is that the Northrop Grumman-run Global Hawk program per-plane cost keeps rising. While Northrop Grumman officials say thay the costs are rising because the military keeps increasing the requirements while also buying the UAVs in small batches.