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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 →

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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 →

The Navy's new EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft during sea trials.

CAPITOL HILL: Pentagon leaders are pushing hard to keep up the momentum of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Many in the Navy, though, still look longingly back at the Boeing-built F-18 Hornet, whose St. Louis production line faces closure in 2017. There are two independent trends that together could save the St. Louis line and the Navy’s favorite plane. The first… Keep reading →

EA-18G Growler

CAPITOL HILL: The Pentagon has launched a wide-ranging study of electronic warfare, looking across the services at major platforms such as the EA-18G Growler and the F-35’s three versions. “We are doing right now in the Department of Defense a study that looks at all electronic attack[:] what is the situation in electromagnetic warfare across… Keep reading →

MGen Jeffrey L. Harrigian Bio Photo

PENTAGON: In a clear sign of the growing importance of the F-35 to the Air Force as the aircraft nears IOC, the service is boosting the profile and office of the person working with the Joint Strike Fighter’s Joint Program Office from a colonel to a two-star general. The service announced today that Maj. Gen. Jeffrey… Keep reading →

Collaboration Addresses AFSOC Need for Functional Spotting Charge

WASHINGTON: Sometimes smart bombs aren’t the smart choice. Sometimes you just need a big bad flying gun. That’s why the aging AC-130 gunship is still revered by ground troops for its ability to fire a 105mm cannon — a weapon normally mounted on light tanks. That’s why the head of Air Force Special Operations Command, Lt.… Keep reading →

Bold Alligator

CRYSTAL CITY: Nudge nudge, wink wink, we love V-22s, Navy officials said here today. We couldn’t possibly confirm the Breaking Defense report that the service’s 2016 budget request buys V-22 Ospreys for the Carrier Onboard Delivery mission, they said, but if hypothetically the Navy happened to choose the V-22 to shuttle people and supplies to… Keep reading →

A-10 gun

UPDATED: With Targeting Details; Clarification About Syria WASHINGTON: The armored and inimitable A-10 Warthog is being used to destroy ISIL targets in Iraq — but not Syria. “They’ve been flying for a few weeks and have conducted multiple strikes in central and northwestern Iraq,” an Air Force source says. “No missions in Syria.” Kristina Wong of… Keep reading →

f-35cproduction

WASHINGTON: Lockheed and the government made it official today, signing the $4.7 billion eighth Low Rate Initial Production contract for the F-35. Here’s the full price and the official language: “Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $4,123,746,486 modification to a previously awarded fixed-price-incentive firm-target contract (N00019-13-C-0008) for… Keep reading →

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Sen. Kelly Ayotte, leader of the congressional push to keep the A-10 flying, is calling out the Air Force. The service claims it won’t have enough mechanics to keep both F-35A Joint Strike Fighters and A-10 Warthogs flying safely and thus may miss the F-35’s politically important Initial Operating Capability milestone for the F-35A because Congress won’t retire the A-10.… Keep reading →

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