f-35b

A computer-generated image of a Royal Navy F-35B taking off vertically from the new carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, which will be commissioned July 4th.

WASHINGTON: The United Kingdom is committed to a high-end battle fleet centered on two aircraft carriers, a senior Ministry of Defense official made clear yesterday. Just as important, the UK is committed to funding adequate crews to sail them — something that had been in doubt after much discussion about cutting costs by effectively mothballing the… Keep reading →

Marine V-22 in Monrovia for Ebola support

PENTAGON: The head of Marine aviation is talking with Boeing about costs and ways to upgrade more than half of the service’s 239 V-22 Ospreys to improve readiness. The basic plan would be to improve all 131 of the A and B models of the V-22 to the C level,  Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, told me in an interview… Keep reading →

An American JSF AF-4 from the 461 FLTS, Edwards AFB, CA, piloted by Maj. Charles "FLAK" Trickey performs the first contact and fuel transfer from a KC-767 foreign partner Italian Tanker.

This is one of those intriguing benchmarks that illustrates several things about both the F-35 program — it means a lot to allies — and to the Italian tanker program — it works. Irritatingly, I knew this was supposed to happen but it’s hard to write about something that may happen until it does. We have… 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 →

A computer-generated image of a Royal Navy F-35B taking off vertically from the new carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, which will be commissioned July 4th.

WASHINGTON: Prompted by the recent increase in aggressive actions by Russia, Britain’s head of defense procurement says his country is shifting its strategy in reaction. “We are refreshing our national risk assessment, which is influencing our national security strategy,” said Philip Dunne. It is the first time since 2010 that the U.K. has reviewed its strategy,… 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 →

Osprey formation

The V-22 Osprey will reach the eight-year mark in its operational deployment history this September. The Osprey-enabled assault force is redefining ways to think about the insertion and withdrawal of force and new ways to engage, prevail and disengage. The program has reached a critical turning point – can the Osprey be purchased by allies, and be… 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 →

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