F-18

F-35 stealth fighter factory

AIR FORCE PLANT 4, FORT WORTH: No one should believe that the battle between Boeing and Lockheed for the right to build Navy fighters is over. Boeing keeps pushing the low cost, readiness and availability of the F-18. It’s here, it’s proven, and, they say, a new F/A-18E/F Super Hornet will cost just over $50… Keep reading →

Navy Captain Francis Morley, program manager for the F-18 family of jets, and his boss Rear Adm. Donald Gaddis at today's ceremony celebrating the 35th anniversary of the first Hornet.

PATUXENT RIVER NAVAL AIR STATION: “My job is to preserve options and that’s what I do,” said Capt. Francis Morley, Navy program manager for the F-18 fighter family. Will the Navy press ahead to buy more F-18s in the face of what seems pretty determined opposition from the Office of Secretary of Defense, eager to… Keep reading →

A Navy F-35C and the plane it will replace, the F/A-18E Super Hornet, sit together on a runway.

WASHINGTON: The Boeing Super Hornet might have a new best friend in Congress. A year after the Saint Louis-built fighter jet’s biggest backer in Congress, then-Rep. Todd Akin, went down in electoral flames because of controversial remarks about “legitimate rape,” the influential chairman of the House Armed Services subcommittee on Seapower, Rep. Randy Forbes, has… Keep reading →

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[UPDATED with Navy retraction] So is the Navy buying more Super Hornets or not? A solicitation notice posted on FedBizOps.gov sparked heated media speculation this week that the service might extend production of the current F/A-18E/F Super Hornet as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program struggles. It’s true the US Navy is the least enthusiastic of… Keep reading →

F-18Glanding

WASHINGTON: The second comprehensive report to Congress on the Pentagon’s aviation fleet paints a pretty robust picture of the fleet in most respects all the way out to 2043. But there’s a rub: like the Obama Administration’s budget request, the report doesn’t take sequestration into effect. (You can read the report below.) DoD Aircraft Report… Keep reading →

PENTAGON: The Navy would get the largest budget share among the three military services in the 2014 budget submitted Wednesday, but would still see a drop in total funding from what Congress provided for this year in the final version of the continuing resolution.

The $155.8 billion requested for the Navy Department in the president’s proposed defense budget of $526.6 billion is level with the president’s 2013 request but is $11.4 billion above the request for the Air Force and $26.1 billion larger than that for the Army. Keep reading →

WASHINGTON: As the government hurtles towards the latest fiscal cliff, March 1st, the Marine Corps‘ deputy commandant for resources outlined a host of painful potential consequences, from reduced rifle training to cancelled deployments to grounded fighter squadrons. Lt. Gen. John Wissler appealed to Congress for so-called reprogramming authority that would at least let the Marines move around the money they do have to mitigate the worst effects.

[Click here to read about the readiness problems for the Army, Air Force, and Navy]

“Our money’s just in the wrong places in some instances,” Wissler told reporters after his speech this morning to the Navy League. But they can’t move it without explicit permission from Congress, he explained: “What we would need is to move things between appropriations, and they would need to help us there.” Keep reading →


[Corrected 9:35 pm with a note about the EC-130 Compass Call] Is stealth still America’s silver bullet? Or are potential adversaries’ radars getting too smart for US aircraft to keep hiding from them?

That’s literally the trillion-dollar question, because the US military is investing massively in new stealth aircraft. At stake in this debate are not just budgets but America’s continued ability to project power around the world. Keep reading →


Iran. Gaza. Syria. Political opposition in the Emirates and adjoining states. The Persian Gulf region simmers and America may have only one carrier group deployed there at the end of this year. Should we worry?

Let’s examine the puzzle. The USS Nimitz’s planned deployment to the Persian Gulf may be delayed. That is raising concern, since the Navy will be down to just one carrier in the region during the months of December and January. Keep reading →

WHIDBEY ISLAND, WASHINGTON: “Every two weeks, we get another Growler,” Cmdr. Christopher Middleton said at the Navy’s electronic warfare hub here. The Navy target is to buy 114 EA-18G Growler aircraft. And it’s those Growler aircraft that will be the cutting edge of future Naval strikes against future “anti-access area denial” defenses like those being built by China.

To break through such defenses, the Navy is very publicly working on a joint “AirSea Battle” concept with the Air Force, but the two services have taken starkly different approaches to defeating enemy radar. Keep reading →

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