Many Air Force jets have tailhooks, just like the Navy’s. But they’re used only when something is wrong aboard the plane – no brakes, for example – that keeps it from landing safely.
The service was looking for a second source to supply the runway nylon straps – the Textile Aircraft Arresting System — that the tailhooks grab.
But that didn’t work out too well.
“The first articles [from the second contractor] failed testing and contract is currently being terminated,” the Air Force says. “As a result of this failure and subsequent contract termination, we have no due in assets to support our immediate needs.”
The Air Force explains its procurement pickle here. Don’t tell Congress, but apparently the only nylon webbing that seems to work comes from…France.