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It's been an "interesting" week from a real aviation point of view...

Firstly, Northrop Grumman have pulled out of the KC-X competition, complaining that the request was biased towards Boeing.  Whether this is true or not remains to be seen (although the fact that then request specifically targeted a smaller aircraft than the KC-30 suggests some element of game-playing!), but it is interesting that Boeing now have a virtual shoe-in, irrespective of whether it really is the better aircraft (there's also the fact that the KC-30 already exists, whereas the Boeing KC-45 will be a brand-new and as yet unproven aircraft!).

This brings us to point 2 - the F-35 has now been delayed to 2016 from its original in service date, which I believe was to be 2011/12.  At the same time, the number of groundings of the legacy fleet continues to increase, and the USAF plan to retire over 250 expired airframes over the next year.  What does this mean - well put quite simply, there is now a real risk that the USAF and USN will run out of aircraft before the F-35 comes into service!  As if that isn't bad enough, the F-35 is now so far over budget (50%) that the entire project is on hold as it has to be re-approved by Congress!

Finally, the USAF have just confirmed that Boeing has been contracted to convert "up to 126" F-16's into QF-16 drones, with the first one due to be delivered during 2014.  All we need now is to convince Two Bobs to downscale their existing QF-16 sheet!