Jeffrey LewisCommon Aero Vehicle Restrictions

In my August 6 post regarding the award of a contract to develop a hypersonic technology vehicle under DARPA/’s FALCON/Common Aero Vehicle program, I neglected to mention the restrictions on the Common Aero Vehicle program that emerged from conference.

The Appropriators agreed to $29.1 M for two programs supporting the development of the Common Aero Vehicle: Common Aero Vehicle (PE 0604856F) and Space Programs and Technology (PE 0603285E), Common Aero Vehicle.

The Senate Appropriators completely eliminated funding for both PE 0603285E Space Programs and Technology and PE 0604856F Common Aero Vehicle. House Appropriators added $10. M for the latter. The Conferees appropriated about 2/3 the original request ($29.1 M out of $46.6 M)

The Appropriators also expressed concern that Russia or China might misinterpret the intent or use of the FALCON/CAV program. The Appropriators restricted use of the funds for “non-weapons related research, such as micro-satellite or other satellite launch requirements and other purposes as listed under the conferees recommendations.” Specifically:

The conferees direct that none of the funds provided in this Act may be used to develop, integrate, or test a CAV variant that includes any nuclear or conventional weapon. The conferees further direct that none of the funds provided in this Act may be used to develop, integrate, or test a CAV for launch on any Intercontinental Ballistic Missile or Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile. [H. Report 108–622, 240.]

Given the program of work suggested by the Air Force for CAV, these restrictions appear to impose significant constraints on CAV related work in FY 2005. Here is the work program:

[PS: Thanks to Andy Lichterman for getting on my case about this …]

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