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.

This isn’t that significant for the United states, but the first ski-jump takeoffs for the F-35B were an important milestone for the British and Italians. For those who wonder why anyone uses the ski jump, it allows planes to take off with heavier loads and to do it more efficiently than they would taking off… Keep reading →

Kai Boyce makes a repair in the APU compartment on the aft right side of an F/A-18 hornet at Cecil Commerce Center.

CAPITOL HILL: Marines pride themselves on being ready for anything. But as of today, 19 percent of their air fleet is out of action “long-term” awaiting repairs and spares, the deputy commandant for aviation said today. “It’s 158 — actually, today, 159 aircraft — that the taxpayer paid $8.4 billion dollars for,” said Lt. Gen.… Keep reading →

F-35B

ABOARD USS WASP: When the Marines decided to bring the press aboard the USS Wasp for the F-35B’s first set of operational tests — takeoffs, landings and flights designed to nearly simulate combat conditions — they provided the world with a glimpse of how they will fight using amphibious ships, F-35Bs and V-22 Ospreys. We… 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 →

F35overWaspbow

ABOARD USS WASP: The continuous sorties of F-35Bs flying on May 26, watched by British and US press, was almost numbing. Six planes aboard the ship flew sortie after sortie, four from the Green Knights squadron at Yuma and two from the Warlords at Beaufort. As Lt. General Davis, deputy Marine Commandant for aviation, said in response to… 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 →

A sailor aboard the USS Wasp (LHD-1) signals to the pilot of an F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter to land as it arrives for the first phase of operational testing, May 18, 2015.  The short take-off, vertical landing capabilities of the F-35B are crucial to the mission of the Marine Corps and necessary for operation aboard a Navy amphibious ship. The aircraft are stationed with Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501, Marine Aircraft Group 31, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, Beaufort, South Carolina and Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121, Marine Aircraft Group 13, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Yuma, Arizona. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Remington Hall/Released)

WASHINGTON: As the Marines started doing operational testing of the F-35B aboard the USS Wasp, the head of Marine Aviation is visibly and demonstrably confident the aircraft will meet the date for the plane’s Initial Operational Capabiility. “To me the F-35 program is right on track where it should be,” Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, the head… Keep reading →

John McCain

WASHINGTON: The Navy won and the Air Force lost in the markup of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Sens. John McCain and Jack Reed presided over the SASC markup of the defense policy bill, cutting $860 million from three Air Force programs — including the two of the service’s top three priorities — and moving the money… Keep reading →

Paris Air Show 2015

WASHINGTON: Frank Kendall, the head of Pentagon acquisition, will not visit the Paris Air Show next month. In contrast to the flurry of senior American leaders who made it to the Farnborough Air Show last year when the F-35 was expected to make its first public appearance overseas, the Paris show looks to be a considerably… Keep reading →

Selected plus-ups in the HASC draft of the National Defense Authorization Act

WASHINGTON: If anyone at the White House had hoped the new chairman of the House Armed Services Committee would be more compliant than his predecessor, the defense bill out today should end their illusions. Sure, Rep. Mac Thornberry has consulted closely with the Pentagon and his ranking member on issues like acquisition reform. But Thornberry’s draft… Keep reading →

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