Defense

September 5, 2012

Budget cuts loom over plans for F-35 at Nellis

The potential for defense budget cuts and layoffs at Lockheed Martin loom over plans to deliver the first F-35 fighter jets to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., early next year, though no decision has been announced about which programs might get cut and where.

The base in southern Nevada is set to get 36 Joint Strike Fighter jets over 10 years. Automatic defense budget cuts of nearly $500 billion are set to take effect in January unless Congress agrees on another deficit-reduction plan or suspends the current plan.

Some Republican senators say it would be a mistake to cut the defense budget so steeply.

The cuts set for January would be the first round of 10 annual reductions. The cuts would be split between national security and other programs and aimed at reducing the federal deficit.

“We don’t know how sequestration will affect any individual program or facility but, as we’ve consistently said, we will follow the law with respect to sequestration and the WARN Act,” Lockheed Martin corporate spokesman Christopher Williams said Aug. 31.

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act requires most employers with 100 or more employees to notify workers 60 days before mass layoffs.

Without action by Congress, Lockheed Martin would be forced to issue layoff notices at the end of October to many of its 120,000 workforce. They would include workers involved in manufacturing, testing and delivering the Joint Strike Fighter.

The Sequestration Transparency Act, signed by President Barack Obama on Aug. 7, requires the administration to reveal details about the $1.2 trillion in cuts. Williams said Lockheed Martin hopes to know some of those details by Sept. 8.

Last August, congressional Republicans demanded spending cuts in response to Obama’s plea to raise the nation’s borrowing authority by $2.1 trillion. As part of the negotiated deal, the two sides agreed on spending cuts and the creation of the bipartisan Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. When that so-called “supercommittee” was unable to reach a consensus on a deficit-cutting plan last November, the countdown toward sequestration began.

Speculation about how the cuts could affect Nellis is premature because details of those cuts haven’t been decided yet, a spokeswoman for the southern Nevada base told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“We expect to have up to 36 F-35s assigned here between 2013 and 2022,” Maj. Mae-Li Allison told the Review-Journal.

She said four F-35s are expected at the base in the first three months of next year.

Last month, Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte met with Air Force leaders at Nellis to discuss the potential effects of sequestration.

They suggested a plan that would postpone the automatic cuts for four months while the Obama administration worked out a deficit reduction plan. After the meeting, they said generals told them the cuts could devastate the top Air Force fighter pilot training program.

“Obviously, they are brave, strong people, and they can do anything. But there’s no doubt that cuts would have a draconian effect on their ability to do their jobs,” McCain said.

Graham said the future of Nellis would be “very dismal” if the cuts occur as currently planned.

The single-engine F-35, which is currently being test flown, can fly at 11/2 times the speed of sound and evade radar detection with stealth technology. Versions developed for the Navy and Marine Corps can take off from short runways and aircraft carriers and land vertically. AP

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Air Force photograph by MSgt. J. Scott Wilcox

Aerial target QF-16 takes to the sky

Air Force photograph by MSgt. J. Scott Wilcox The first unmanned QF-16 Viper struck down over the Gulf of Mexico Sept. 5, 2014, was part of a joint effort between the Test and Training Division at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., an...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Annie Edwards, Utah Air National Guard

DRAGON ‘fires up’ for flight

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Annie Edwards, Utah Air National Guard A NATO E-3A AWACS aircraft approaches a Utah Air National Guard KC-135R Stratotanker for air refueling during a training exercise over Germany in May 2014. Th...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Ethan Wagner

C-17 treads into new territory

Air Force photograph by Ethan Wagner A C-17 Globemaster III performs a wet-runway performance test Aug. 20, 2014, on the flightline at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Since Dunlop Tire was selected as the replacement tire for th...
 

 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Damon Kasberg

C-17 crew gets Army Strykers into the ‘fight’

Air Force photograph by SrA. Damon Kasberg An Army Stryker assigned to the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, off loads from a C-17 Globemaster III in support of Steadfast Javelin II on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Sept. 4, 2014. Steadfast J...
 
 
Navy photograph

Navy integrates common software into next-generation unmanned carrier-based system

Navy photograph Navy flight test pilot demonstrates functionality of new software for the future Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike system at the program’s Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. lab...
 
 
Air Force photograph by TSgt. Christopher Marasky

Investing in the Army’s future

Army photograph An M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, fires a missile downrange. The U.S. Army vision for lethality science and technology investment is to enable overmatch in weapon systems for both offensi...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>