A U.S. Air Force general has told a House committee that Air Force aircraft will not be compliant with the requirement to have Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast position reporting equipment onboard until “shortly after 2020.” The FAA set 2020 as a deadline for all aircraft operating in the air traffic control system to install ADS-B that broadcasts aircraft position. The news was first reported by AvWeb.
Lt. Gen. James “Mike” Holmes, deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and requirements, told the House Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces March 4 that there isn’t sufficient money for the Avionics Modernization Program. The modernization includes 8.33-kHz radios with a cockpit video recorder, a digital flight recorder, ADS-B Out (transmitting from the aircraft) with enhanced Mode S, and an enhanced traffic alert and collision avoidance system. It will cost $2.5 million for the aircraft that need it, such as the transport aircraft most likely to enter the nation’s air traffic control system.
The cost of the Avionics Modernization Program is $2.8 billion, an amount, the general said, equivalent to retiring all the KC-10 tanker aircraft, or all the C-5 giant transport fleet, or retiring 150 KC-135 tanker air-refueling aircraft.
Under questioning from Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), Assistant Secretary of the Air Force Dr. William LaPlante admitted funds authorized and appropriated for C-130 avionics modernization by Congress were not spent in 2012, 2013, or 2014. The funds were obligate again in 2015. LaPlante said Department of Defense attorneys' interpretation of the laws differs from that of Congress.