Let's see if we can define this pedigree.
- Waste a few years chasing a DC PPT centric ACS program that Line 13XX told everyone who would listen would not work - and then try to get on the P-8 program.
- Wait until the last minute to do actual airframe testing using realistic and sound engineering principals on the P-3 airframe and discovering - shock - that all our rosy scenario fatigue life predictions were fried air.
- Our closest ally got rid of their Maritime Patrol Aircraft after the Dutch did: precedent.
- No one wants to talk about unsexy "High Demand - Low Density" aircraft - a hesitancy that has nothing to do with their "Dare Not Speak Its Name" whatevertheydo.
- Huge budget crunch coming.
- All other Navy Air programs bunching-up and bloating.
- 13XX Senior Leadership looking for something to throw under the TACAIR lov'n bus.
.... and then; someone has a friend in Congress.
(b) REQUIREMENT TO MAINTAIN CAPABILITIES.—Of course, the fun question will be how good the VQ/VPU/VP folks will be in protecting their Command slots - Skippy can brief you.
(1) PROHIBITION ON RETIREMENT OF PLATFORMS.—The Secretary of the Navy may not retire (or to prepare to retire) the EP-3E Airborne Reconnaissance Integrated Electronic System II or Special Projects Aircraft platform.
(2) MAINTENANCE OF PLATFORMS.—The Secretary of the Navy shall continue to maintain, sustain, and upgrade the EP-3E Airborne Reconnaissance Integrated Electronic System II and Special Projects Aircraft platforms in order to provide capabilities necessary to operate effectively against rapidly evolving threats and to meet combatant commander operational intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance requirements.
(3) CERTIFICATION.—Not later than February 1, 2011, and annually thereafter, the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff shall jointly certify to Congress the following:
(A) The Secretary of the Navy is maintaining and sustaining the EP-3E Airborne Reconnaissance Integrated Electronic System II and Special Projects Aircraft platform in a manner that meets the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance requirements of the commanders of the combatant commands.
(B) Any plan for the retirement or replacement of the EP-3E Airborne Reconnaissance Integrated Electronic System II or Special Projects Aircraft platform will provide, in the aggregate, an equivalent or superior capability and capacity to the platform concerned.
(4) TERMINATION.—The requirements of this subsection with respect to the EP-3E Airborne Reconnaissance Integrated Electronic System II or the Special Projects Aircraft platform shall expire on the commencement of the fielding by the Navy of a platform or mix of platforms and sensors that are, in the aggregate, equivalent or superior to the EP-3E Airborne Reconnaissance Integrated Electronic System II (spiral 3) or the Special Projects Aircraft (P909) platform.