By Otto Kreisher The Pentagon’s most expensive weapon program emerged largely unscathed perhaps its most intensive review yet before the crucial congressional subcommittee that pays the military’s bills. As over budget and behind schedule as the $391 billion, 2,443-plane F-35 program has fallen since initial promises of a low-cost, multi-service Joint Strike Fighter, two high-powered… Keep reading →
PARIS AIR SHOW: “The word commitment should mean something. When I give you my commitment you should be able to trust that I’m going to do what I said I’m going to do.” That’s the message Orlando Carvalho, new head of Lockheed Martin’s iconic aeronautics business wants to send the US Navy, the service most… Keep reading →
This year’s Paris Air Show promises to be one of the most lackluster for the defense sector in at least a decade. America is sending virtually no military aircraft to fly the all-important afternoon displays: no F-22s, no F-35s, no C-17s, no C-130s. American companies have scaled back their executives’ participation, not because it saves any… Keep reading →
[UPDATED with video & Winslow Wheeler comment] WASHINGTON: It’s been a tough week for critics of the F-35. Concurrency costs dropped an impressive half billion dollars — note to Winslow Wheeler — and the Air Force version launched an air to air missile for the first time. The F-35A launched the AMRAAM missile on Wednesday (it… Keep reading →
Watch the F-35B, the Marines’ fighter of choice, execute a very cool maneuver in this video, taking off straight up into the sky. While very cool, this is not something the Joint Strike Fighter is actually expected to do very often. For one thing, it requires enormous amounts of fuel. Instead, the B model is… Keep reading →
An aircraft carrier is nothing without aircraft, and a Navy aircraft is worth little without a carrier. It’s ships and planes in synergy that revolutionized war at sea in the 1930s and with new systems now entering service – the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter and the Ford-class carrier – they can do it again. On… Keep reading →
NATIONAL HARBOR: The top officers in the Navy and Marine Corps defended their most expensive program, Lockheed Martin‘s troubled F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, while acknowledging the way the Pentagon buys such weapons is not merely broken but “constipated.”
“There’s no alternative for the United States Marine Corps to the F-35B,” Commandant Gen. James Amos said at the opening session of the Navy League’s annual Sea-Air-Space conference. “I want to make that crystal clear to everybody in the audience.” All the great aircraft of the past have gone through teething troubles in development, said Amos, a pilot himself. Keep reading →
We have heard much about the anti-access/area denial threat China poses to American and allied forces in the Pacific. We have read much about new Chinese missiles such as the DF-21, which supposedly can destroy maneuvering ships at sea — especially US aircraft carriers. We have read that Pacific allies wish to deploy substantial fleets of F-35s, and then critics decide that these “short range” assets can not meet the crucial needs of warfighting in the Pacific.
We have also learned in the press that core competencies like amphibious assault have now become virtually impossible because of the A2/AD capabilities of China. What is lost in all of this hyperbole is what the United States and its allies are doing to shape a new combat capability appropriate to the 21st century. It may be true that a linear airpower force would find it difficult to cope with such threats. One deploying what we call S-cubed evolution capabilities — sensors, stealth, and speed — can create a powerful distributed force in the Pacific, one that so complicates Chinese military planning as to greatly enhance US deterrence. Keep reading →
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has had more than its share of ups and downs, but this week the jump-jet variant of the JSF had an up and down of historic significance: On April 2nd, a Marine Corps F-35B conducted the first ever short take-off and vertical landing that aircraft has ever done at night. In a flight at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, the famous test site nicknamed Pax River, Marine pilot Maj. C.R. Clift put the long-awaited aircraft through its paces after dark.
The Marines have fought long and hard for a replacement for their venerable AV-8B Harrier jump-jet. Their sheer determination and outsize political clout have kept the F-35B going despite the fact that the vertical-landing variant is by far the most technically difficult to develop of the three F-35 models. (The Air Force’s F-35A and the Navy’s F-35C take off and land like any other aircraft). Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: The entire F-35 fleet has been cleared to resume flying only one week after being grounded for the second time this year. In vintage Pentagonese, this is how the return to flight was announced today to Capitol Hill:
“Upon completion and compliance with the immediate action Time Compliant Technical Directive (TCTD) issued this week to borescope inspect the LPT stage 3 turbine blades, F-35 LRIP aircraft are returned to flight status. Additionally, a 25 Effective Flight Hour (EFH) reporting cycle of creep damage will now be implemented to monitor and limit turbine creep exposure.” Keep reading →