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The F-35 Saga


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From AOL Defense

 

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Navy, Marines Eye JSF Dough to Keep F-18s Flying

By Carlo Munoz

Published: September 29, 2011

 

Arlington, Va: The Navy and Marine Corps have a plan in place to squeeze more flight time from their older F-18 Hornets, and could use funding for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program to pay for it.

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From Marine Corps Gazette

 

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F–35B Needs a Plan B

Options to rising costs of the aircraft

Maj Christopher J. Cannon

 

In December 2010 the Commandant was quoted as stating “there is not a plan B” to the F–35B program.1 In effect our Marine Corps has “derivatives of plan A,” based on a 1998 decision, that all rely on the short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) F–35B being produced.

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From Aviation Week

 

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F-35B Lands On USMC Amphibious Ship

Oct 3, 2011

By Amy Butler

WASHINGTON

 

The F-35B, which a year ago was in the midst of major scrutiny for dismal testing performance, has taken a major step with its first landing on the U.S. Marine Corps’ USS Wasp amphibious ship.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

From AOL Defense

 

[excerpt]

 

Joint Chiefs Chair Leaves F-35B Hanging

By Carlo Munoz

Published: October 13, 2011

 

Washington: The new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff put Capitol Hill on notice today, telling lawmakers that DoD may not be able to afford all three versions of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

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If I were king and somehow liked the F-35 I'd axe the F-35A and keep the B&C models. I'm sure someone could find a way to put a gun in the C and with the numbers the price gap would narrow somewhat. In exchange you could over time increase range or carry with that added wing area.

 

But as we all know, if I were king the F-35 would be long dead or vastly different.

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From Defense Aerospace

 

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Some Suggested (and Unreported) Issues on the F-35

(Source: Center for Defence Information; issued October 20, 2011)

(by Winslow Wheeler, director of CDI’s Strauss Military Project)

 

Last week, on October 13, the Chairman of the JCS, General Martin Dempsey, scared F-35 advocates with the statement, “I am concerned about the three variants, whether as we go forward in this fiscal environment, whether we can afford all three.”

 

This week (after a senior official’s visit on Saturday to the USS Wasp, where the F-35B has been conducting “sea trials,” and where a decision was made to gin up a “media day” to booster the F-35), the Marines invited a gaggle of reporters out to the Wasp to show them how wonderfully well the F-35B was doing in its sea trials. Several media writers dutifully wrote about what they were shown and told—and little else. In fact, what they wrote would have you think the F-35B’s problems are all a thing of the past.

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From Defense Aerospace

 

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F-35B Completes First Sea Trials on USS Wasp

(Source: US Naval Air Systems Command; issued Oct. 24, 2011)

 

USS WASP At Sea --- The amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) heads back toward homeport Oct. 21 after spending three weeks at sea hosting the initial sea trials of the F-35B Lightning II, Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

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From Aviation Week's Ares blog

 

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Concurrency & The 10th Anniversary of the F-35 Contract...

Posted by Amy Butler at 10/26/2011 9:29 AM CDT

 

Despite talk earlier this year that the government and Lockheed Martin, the F-35 prime contractor, were hoping for less contentious negotiation for low-rate initial production (LRIP) 5 than last year's protracted LRIP 4 talks, it seems the battle lines are being drawn.

 

CV32: I suppose apparently generally successful testing aboard Wasp might prod LM to maneuver for more money, but I am not sure the general fiscal climate will be all that accommodating.

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From Aviation Week

 

[excerpt]

 

Pentagon Slices F-35 Buy To Pay For Overruns

Oct 31, 2011

By Amy Butler

 

The Pentagon is reducing the next buy of Lockheed Martin F-35s to 30 from 35 aircraft in order cover cost overruns incurred in earlier production lots, according to the Joint Program Office (JPO).

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