Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., could propose decreasing the Marine Corps' KC-130J aerial tanker buy in 2006 from 12 planes to four, to make room in the budget for at least nine C-130Js.
With no word yet from Pentagon officials about whether they want to continue with plans to scrap the C-130J cargo aircraft multiyear procurement program, the transport aircraft's biggest supporter in the Senate could use the authorization process to ward off program cancellation.
When the Senate Armed Services Committee marks up the fiscal 2006 defense spending bill next week, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., could propose decreasing the Marine Corps' KC-130J aerial tanker buy in 2006 from 12 planes to four planes. That would make room in the budget for at least nine C-130Js. Both planes are assembled in Marietta, Ga.
The move "would keep the multiyear intact just for this year," said a Senate aide with knowledge of the C-130J program.
As part of a broader attempt to slash $30 billion from defense budgets through 2011, top defense officials in December proposed canceling C-130J buys after 2005 and KC-130J procurement in 2007 after speeding up several tanker buys in 2006.
Since then, Air Force brass and the Georgia delegation have said killing the C-130J program would cost between $500 million and $2 billion, forcing the department to re-evaluate its original decision.