F-35C

F-35A climbing at Eglin Air Force Base

WASHINGTON: Frank Kendall signaled in December that the F-35 was no longer immune from budget cuts and it looks as if he knew what he was talking about. The story out this afternoon is that five Air Force F-35As will be cut from the fiscal 2017 budget request. Mackenzie Eaglen said at a Brookings Institution… Keep reading →

The X-47B drone plugs into an aerial refueling tanker for the first time.

CORRECTED: Navy says new drone will have “limited strike” capability PENTAGON: After more than a year of intense debate over whether the Navy’s future UCLASS drone should be a long-range stealth bomber or a lightly armed scout, the Defense Department has chosen — neither. Instead, the 2017 budget proposes a program that is less ambitious… Keep reading →

Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet

SURFACE NAVY ASSOCIATION: Navy Secretary Ray Mabus wants the arms export bureaucracy to get a move on and approve Boeing‘s “crucial” sale of Super Hornet fighters to Kuwait. The Kuwait deal is for 28 fighters, with an option for 12 more. That’s not a huge sale, but in and of itself, it’s enough to keep the… Keep reading →

A Navy cruiser launches a Harpoon anti-ship missile, a 1977 design unsuited for long-range war in the Pacific.

2016 will be challenging for the Navy. At sea the fleet will continue to face demands that exceed its supply of forces, while at home the fiscal 2017 budget is likely to make difficult choices that prioritize high quality over adequate quantity. Most significantly for sailors, the supply-demand mismatch will get worse next year. While… Keep reading →

A Navy F-35C conducts its first-ever arrested landing aboard the carrier USS Nimitz

The sea and the sky above it are becoming more dangerous for US forces. Even terrorist groups like Hezbollah and the Islamic State have access to anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles, let alone great powers like Russia and China. But the US Navy and Marines recognize this “anti-access/area denial” challenge and are reshaping their forces to… Keep reading →

The two Littoral Combat Ship variants, LCS-1 Freedom (far) and LCS-2 Independence (near).

UPDATED: Adds SecDef Carter Memo, Rep. Forbes Questioning Carter Decision, Navy Statement WASHINGTON: The Navy is not yielding to Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s memo cutting the Navy’s much-maligned Littoral Combat Ship program from 52 of the small ships to 40 and dumping one of the two shipyards building them. Carter plans to use the savings for other… Keep reading →

CNAS graphic

WASHINGTON: The high-cost, high-controversy centerpieces for the future Navy fleet — the Ford-class aircraft carrier and the F-35C fighter — not only take it in the wrong direction, says a report out today. They double down on a strategic mistake made 20 years ago, when the Navy shortchanged range, argues Jerry Hendrix, a retired Navy captain now… Keep reading →

IMG_4340

ABOARD USS EISENHOWER: After all the talk from senior Navy leaders about the life cycle costs of the Joint Strike Fighter program and the limits of stealth over the last five years, it was intriguing to hear top Navy commanders and pilots praising the performance of the F-35Cs being tested here. The pilots were using the… Keep reading →

Rear Adm. David Johnson

WASHINGTON: When the Navy named its next top sub-builder, Rear Adm. Michael Jabaley, back in July, I wondered where the submariner he was replacing would surface. Now we know: The Pentagon announced late yesterday that Rear Adm. David Johnson will pin  on his third star and become the top uniformed acquisition official in the Navy… Keep reading →

F-35B

CAPITOL HILL: The House Armed Services Committee wants to add up to six F-35B STOVL jets to the Marine Corps budget, even as it demands new oversight into Lockheed Martin’s long-troubled F-35 program. The House draft National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2016 would not add any F-35Cs, the Navy variant. Instead, it will include up to a… Keep reading →

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