fixed wing

A laser experiment at the Air Force Research Laboratory

TYSON’S CORNER: All branches of the military really want laser weapons. But they don’t all want them for the same missions. What struck me after a recent conference here was how differently the US Air Force is approaching lasers. The USAF is pursing a two-pronged approach: They want to mount lasers on both the large… Keep reading →

BF-02 Flight 197. Asymmetric External Stores Testing on 14 June 2012 with CDR Eric Buus as the pilot.

When Defense Secretary Bob Gates put the F-35B on “probation” and Sen. John McCain became his powerful echo chamber, we responded on the pages of Breaking Defense that these actions were misguided. We had spent many hours with the pilots, maintainers, builders, designers, and testers of the aircraft, and came to a very different conclusion: “The F-35B… Keep reading →

A Marine F-35B in vertical landing mode.

WASHINGTON: The first variant of the most expensive conventional weapons program ever is now officially ready for combat. In one of his last acts as Marine Corps Commandant, future Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford announced today that the Marine model of the Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35B vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) version, has… Keep reading →

Marines perform first F-35B vertical take-off, landing at Eglin

UPDATED with Frank Kendall’s vote of confidence WASHINGTON: During the Marine’s recent operational readiness test of the F-35B, four of the Marine aircraft went up against nine enemy aircraft. “It went very poorly for the bad guys,” Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, deputy commandant for aviation, told me this afternoon. Davis provided few details, saying they… Keep reading →

Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.

CAPITOL HILL: UPDATE BEGINS The administration’s nominee for Marine Corps Commandant, Lt. Gen. Bob Neller, set off a firestorm from Sen. John McCain this morning. After two hours of an otherwise congenial confirmation hearing, the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman erupted over Neller’s description of the current administration strategy against the Islamic State. That strategy relies on airpower and advisors… Keep reading →

f-35b

WASHINGTON: A select group of 12 Marines in Yuma, Ariz. began testing the first squadron of F-35B pilots, inspecting their aircraft and checking maintenance procedures and personnel yesterday as the end game for declaring Initial Operating Capability for the aircraft before the end of July. “Initial operating capability (IOC) for the Marine Corps F-35B is… Keep reading →

Bell Textron Scorpion

UPDATED: Adds Details On UK Demos; QinetiQ’s PIlots Will Fly PARIS AIR SHOW: When Textron unveiled the Scorpion I will admit I was a serious sceptic. Where was the market? Who were the likely customers? Why did they spend their own money on such a venture? The first crack in my skepticism occurred when Gen. Hawk… Keep reading →

November 23, 2011 F-35 assembly area bi-monthly photo shoot for

PARIS AIR SHOW: Critics of the F-35 have long wondered why friends and allies have stuck with the program. It can’t be, they argue, because of the aircraft’s capabilities. It is, they say, years behind schedule, billions over budget and won’t be able to deliver all its weapons for years. Ah, grasshopper, but there are… Keep reading →

F-35B

WASHINGTON: As I watched the seemingly endless string of F-35Bs take off from the deck of the USS Wasp earlier this week, I was struck by how routine it all seemed. During eight days of flying, the F-35Bs flew 108 sorties, racking up 85.5 hours, deputy Marine Commandant for aviation, Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, told us on… Keep reading →

An F-35B Joint Strike Fighter comes in to land on the USS Wasp. May 2015

ABOARD USS WASP: When you start getting bored during an operational test after watching the seventh or eighth F-35B float down the carrier deck and slip up into the air, you know the Marines and Navy are doing something right — or being very lucky. The six pilots have put their planes into the air close to… Keep reading →

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