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 →
WASHINGTON: Lockheed Martin’s planned purchase of Sikorsky Aircraft, the biggest U.S. helicopter manufacturer, is a natural fit that will mean a lot more to buyer Lockheed and seller United Technologies Corp. than it will for the military rotorcraft industry, present or future. Here’s why. First, the two companies have worked together on military helicopter programs for decades.… Keep reading →
In the 1934 film “It Happened One Night,” fictional slime ball “King” Westley shows off by floating to a landing on the lawn of his fiancée’s daddy’s estate in a newfangled autogiro – an airplane with a rotor to enable short take offs and landings. Today, two Defense Department programs are striving to meet the… Keep reading →
Boeing and Lockheed are locked in an enduring struggle over the sale of advanced fighters to the U.S. Navy and to other countries. The cost increases and schedule delays that have beset the Joint Strike Fighter program offered Boeing an appealing opening and they have leapt in. The F-18, they argue is a combat-proven aircraft with excellent capabilities, ready for almost immediate sale at a “reasonable” price. The nine F-35 partner nations are watching closely to see if costs will continue to grow past the $900 million increase announced recently by the F-35 program office, Chris Chadwick, president of Boeing’s military aircraft division, told us in late July. “Where is it going to end? Is it going to end?” Chadwick said. “I think that will drive the decisions by the international customers.”
This podcast — delayed by technical issues for some time — includes a detailed description by Tom Burbage, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin for the F-35, about why he and the company think the F-35 is the superior choice. Now there’s no surprise in Burbage claiming his plane is superior, but the interview offers a rare and detailed discussion of the F-35 and its competition, one we think Breaking Defense readers will find compelling.
While it didn’t take off from a pitching and rolling carrier deck, the F-35C flown today by Navy test pilot Lt. Christopher Tabert did undergo most of the stresses and strains associated with a carrier launch when a steam catapult launched it into the sky today for the first time.
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Paris: Aerospace reporters began grumbling about the paucity of U.S. defense news at this year’s Paris Air Show by the end of the second day.
While defense companies don’t go to air shows to make news, they are important venues for them to gain bragging rights and to set the tone of the debate about the competitions in which they are engaged. Keep reading →