Friday, October 31, 2008

What you didn't see

Sometimes, there are interesting regional aerospace stories that appear in the media that just don’t make it to our aerospace news digest for a variety of reasons. Two from this week really stand out.

One concerns that controversy at Eglin Air Force Base over the noise from the F-35. Eglin will be home of a Joint Strike Fighter training center, but some people have expressed concerns about noise. Residents of Valparaiso, just outside Eglin, are concerned because the plane is much louder than the F-15s they replace. The issue led to the city of Valparaiso filing a lawsuit to get more information from the military. That info, according to the Air Force, will cost more than $1 million because of the time it will take to compile.

Well the latest news from this front has to do with a confidential memo and a note supposedly put on the bottom by an Eglin general. The note says local "rednecks" need to understand the nation needs the JSF. It goes on to say a few "cracker houses" shouldn't get in the way of an important mission.

Air Force officials Thursday called the note a "reprehensible" forgery. Despite questions about its authenticity, Valparaiso Mayor Bruce Arnold complained about the note in a letter to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and other officials.

The Northwest Florida Daily News reports a copy of the memo it received didn't have the note. (Story)

The other story we didn't post appeared in Aerospace Weekly. It concerns a compromise that had been discussed in the Pentagon to try to resolve the Air Force tanker project.

You'll recall the Northrop Grumman/EADS North America team was awarded a contract in late February to assemble 179 tankers in Mobile, Ala. But Boeing's protest was upheld by the General Accountability Office, which cited flaws in the Air Force process. The Pentagon later opted to cancel the project and leave it to the next administration.

There have been a lot of twists and turns since then, including voices from some quarters saying a split buy is becoming more possible. In this latest story, the Pentagon came up with an approach that would make the entire issue more of a cost shootout between the two competitors. The story says the next administration might go with this option. (Story)

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