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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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ABOARD USS NIMITZ: The first F-35C seemed to float through the air toward the slowly pitching deck of the USS Nimitz, looking as if it was hanging by a wire and heading implacably to the ship’s arresting wires. The weather was gorgeous, with the massive carrier sailing some 40 miles off the San Diego coast through… Keep reading →

F-35C with wings up

WASHINGTON: The next two weeks will be enormously important for the Navy’s carrier-based version of the Joint Strike Fighter as two F-35Cs undergo extensive testing operating from the USS Nimitz. The Navy has been the least committed of the three services buying versions of the Joint Strike Fighter, so if the two planes being tested… Keep reading →

Dave "Doc" Nelson 1 st flight in AA1

F-35 JOINT PROGRAM OFFICE: When Sen. Kelly Ayotte and her supporters blocked retirement of the A-10 fleet, it’s not likely they knew the F-35 program might suffer. But that’s exactly what Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, head of the huge F-35 program, told reporters this afternoon will happen unless something changes. In the conference room where the F-35 program… Keep reading →

Navy E-2D Advanced Hawkeye

NORFOLK: The famed “eyes of the fleet” are getting sharper. The Navy has declared the latest variant, the E-2D radar plane, ready for real-world operations just in time for the 50th anniversary of the original E-2 Hawkeye. The first five-plane squadron will deploy on the USS Theodore Roosevelt next year. Meanwhile, the current E-2C models are… Keep reading →

A Navy electronic warfare technician.

WASHINGTON: The Navy is crafting a battle plan to retake control of the electromagnetic spectrum, which the Pentagon’s chief of research says we’ve lost. First of all, if adversaries can exploit rapid advances in commercial electronics to run circles around America’s multi-billion dollar arsenal, our slow-moving procurement process needs to be more open to civilian innovation.… Keep reading →

F-35 Japan concept

NATIONAL PRESS CLUB: It hasn’t been tested yet, and the “root cause” for the problem has not yet been identified, but Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, head of the F-35 program, expects upcoming tests to demonstrate a fix for the engine problem discovered when an Air Force F-35A engine exploded early this summer. The fix will be… Keep reading →

A-10 from below

In this article, one of the Air Force’s own, longtime Breaking Defense contributor Lt. Col. Dan Ward, runs the numbers on his service’s plan to scrap the beloved A-10 Warthog and – now that Congress has thoroughly rejected the idea – suggests an alternative: a modest trim to the massive F-35 program might just save… Keep reading →

The Navy's UCAS demonstrator made history as the first drone to take off and land from an aircraft carrier. Its proposed successor is called UCLASS.

WASHINGTON: August is the month of decision for UCLASS, the Navy’s controversial program to build armed drones that fly off aircraft carriers. At stake: whether the “Unmanned Carrier-Launched Surveillance & Strike” aircraft will be primarily a scout (surveillance) or a bomber (strike). The new Deputy Secretary of Defense, Bob Work, delayed the Navy’s release of… Keep reading →

The Navy's X-47B drone becomes the first unmanned aircraft to launch from an aircraft carrier.

FARNBOROUGH AIR SHOW: The Navy’s carrier-based drone known as UCLASS continues to face challenges from the Joint Staff, parts of the Navy and, perhaps most importantly, Capitol HIll. While the head of the program, Rear Adm. Mat Winter, told reporters here yesterday that a Request for Proposal will be issued “very soon,” the program’s requirements… Keep reading →

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