A proposal to move portions of a test wing from Florida to Edwards Air Force Base is still alive, but requires more study because of potential risks of losing test and evaluation capabilities, according to congressional and Air Force leaders. Air Force officials said an initial study of the idea conducted by the Rand Corp. showed potential savings in moving the 46th Test Wing from Eglin Air Force Base to Edwards. The Air Force would not release the study, but did issue a statement stating the proposal would require further analysis. “The analysis results confirmed that consolidation may provide some cost benefit to the (Air Force),” said John Manclark, director of Air Force Test and Evaluation. “But we can’t afford not to get this right, so we will take the time to further study the risks to the warfighter before considering implementation.” The proposal to move portions of the test wing is one of several options being looked at by Air Force Materiel Command to cut costs. After leaks to the news media, the Air Force acknowledged the proposal was under consideration, prompting Florida civic leaders to rally against the idea. The 46th Test Wing performs test and evaluation work on air-launched systems and uses A-10, F-15, and F-16 aircraft. The unit also operates a climatic laboratory in which aircraft can be tested in a variety of simulated weather conditions. The unit has roughly 3,500 personnel, with about 960 of that total being military service members. The proposal would involve moving about 700 of those military positions. “Given the insight provided by the analysis, the Air Force will continue to study the issue and work with Congress to find the right way ahead for Air Force test,” said Gen. T. Michael Moseley, Air Force chief of staff. “Budget pressures and 16 years of continuous Air Force combat operations leave us with little choice but to consider serious options to gain efficiencies.” Before any consolidation action can be taken, two additional reports required by the 2007 Defense Authorizations Act Conference Report must be delivered to Congress, the Air Force statement said. Florida lawmakers were able to put the proposal on hold last year by inserting language into the 2007 defense appropriations bill blocking any funds from being used to transfer test and evaluation assets from Eglin. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said the Rand study shows the Air Force was moving too hastily with the proposal. “And the study says there are long-term risks that might outweigh potential cost savings from moving the 46th Test Wing,” Nelson said. “When it comes to maintaining military readiness, we should not undertake a move the study says could lead to reduced testing or a greater reliance on costly private contractors.” U.S. Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, issued a statement Thursday that took no position. “I am pleased to see that Air Force Materiel Command is taking the necessary steps to fully examine and evaluate any potential savings in Test and Evaluation,” McKeon said. james.skeen@dailynews (661) 267-5743 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
Bob Wilson has told talkSPORT he is excited by the prospect of seeing Petr Cech in an Arsenal shirt.Cech is closing in on a £11million switch to the Gunners after Chelsea reluctantly agreed to allow the wantaway 33-year-old goalkeeper to join their north London rivals.Wilson believes the Czech Republic international will be a terrific signing for his former club and claims he will help push Arsenal, third in the Premier League last season, closer to the title.“I think he is one of the three best goalkeepers in the world,” the goalkeeping great told Hawksbee and Jacobs.“As of this moment, I think Thibaut Courtois is the best goalkeeper in the world. I think he is ahead of Manuel Neuer. Petr Cech is right up there with those two.“At 33 years of age, you are absolutely still in your prime as a goalkeeper with your experience and everything. I think there is five, six seasons minimum from Petr Cech. He brings authority, complete calm in the way he keeps goal, and presence.“Pat Jennings, David Seaman, Peter Schmeichel, all these goalkeepers had an incredible presence. You look at Petr Cech and, from the time he arrived at Chelsea, he has had this presence and the ability to win games almost single-handedly.“If Arsenal manage to get hold of Petr Cech and get another one or two players I think they will challenge [for the title]. With regards to the rest of the squad, they are nearly now as good as Manchester City and Chelsea.“I am a huge admirer of Petr Cech. He has clearly been the best goalkeeper in this country until young Courtois arrived on the scene. I am really excited if this thing goes through.”Blues skipper John Terry believes Cech could be worth an extra 15 points to Arsenal, and Wilson claims Jose Mourinho will not be happy at losing the veteran shot-stopper to a title rival.“Petr Cech has won 13 trophies, including four Premier League titles, four FA Cups and a Champions League,” he added.“I can only think it is the chairman, Mr Abramovich, who is rewarding him for his service and his loyalty to Chelsea.“I cannot see Jose Mourinho wanting him to go to Arsenal. He knows his football Jose, he is an amazing manager, but deep down I don’t think he wants him to go.”