F-35 Joint Strike Fighter News, Videos and pics Thread


Tyrant King
Technically it's A400M-180 Atlas but the naming nomenclature makes no sense to me. Airbus has other military products both inherited though CASA with 144-200 numbers and it's Tankers that don't sport a "M" MRTT yes but that is an Acronym for Multi Role Tanker Transport and there main civilian line is in the 300 sequence not 400. the only other branded similar is the C295M but other versions were produced without the "M". A400 should be fine as there is no other bird sporting that other than the Prototype.
here's DefenseNews What went wrong with Lockheed's F-35? [Commentary]
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The F-35 was billed as a fighter jet that could do almost everything the U.S. military desired, serving the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy — and even Britain’s Royal Air Force and Royal Navy — all in one aircraft design. It’s supposed to replace and improve upon several current — and aging — aircraft types with widely different missions. It’s
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significantly better than anything potential adversaries could build in the next two decades. But it’s turned out to be none of those things.

Officially begun in 2001, with roots extending back to the late 1980s, the F-35 program is nearly a decade behind schedule, and has
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. It’s also become the most expensive defense program in world history, at about $1.5 trillion before the fighter is
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The unit cost per airplane, above $100 million, is roughly twice what was promised early on. Even after U.S. President Donald Trump lambasted the cost of the program in February, the price per plane dropped just $7 million — less than 7 percent.

And yet, the U.S. is still throwing huge sums of money at the project. Essentially, the Pentagon has declared the F-35 “
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.” As a retired member of the U.S. Air Force and current university professor of finance who has been involved in and studied military aviation and acquisitions, I find the F-35 to be one of the greatest boondoggles in recent military purchasing history.

Forget what's already spent

The Pentagon is trying to argue that just because taxpayers have flushed more than $100 billion down the proverbial toilet so far, we must continue to throw billions more down that same toilet. That violates the most elementary financial principles of capital budgeting, which is the method companies and governments use to decide on investments. So-called sunk costs, the money already paid on a project, should never be a factor in investment decisions. Rather, spending should be based on how it will add value in the future.

Keeping the F-35 program alive is not only a gross waste in itself: Its funding could be spent on defense programs that are really useful and needed for national defense, such as
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Part of the enormous cost has come as a result of an effort to share aircraft design and replacement parts across different branches of the military. In 2013, a study by the think tank Rand found that it would have been cheaper if the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy had simply
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to meet their specific operational requirements.

Not living up to top billing

The company building the F-35 has made grand claims. Lockheed Martin said the plane would be far better than current aircraft — “four times more effective” in air-to-air combat, “eight times more effective” in air-to-ground combat and “three times more effective” in recognizing and suppressing an enemy’s air defenses. It would, in fact, be “
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.” In addition, the F-35 was to have better range and require less logistics support than current military aircraft. The Pentagon is still calling the F-35 “
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But that’s not how the plane has turned out. In January 2015, mock combat testing pitted the F-35 against an F-16, one of the fighters it is slated to replace. The F-35A was flown “clean” with empty weapon bays and without any drag-inducing and heavy, externally mounted weapons or fuel tanks. The F-16D, a heavier and somewhat less capable training version of the mainstay F-16C, was further encumbered with two 370-gallon external wing-mounted fuel tanks.

In spite of its significant advantages, the F-35A’s test pilot noted that the F-35A was less maneuverable and markedly inferior to the F-16D in a visual-range dogfight.

Stealth over power

One key reason the F-35 doesn’t possess the world-beating air-to-air prowess promised, and is likely not even adequate when compared with its current potential adversaries, is that it was designed first and foremost to be a stealthy airplane. This requirement has taken precedence over maneuverability, and likely above its overall air-to-air lethality. The Pentagon and especially the Air Force seem to be relying almost exclusively on the F-35’s stealth capabilities to succeed at its missions.

Like the F-117 and F-22, the F-35’s stealth capability greatly reduces, but does not eliminate, its radar cross-section, the signal that radar receivers see bouncing back off an airplane. The plane looks smaller on radar — perhaps like a bird rather than a plane — but is not invisible. The F-35 is designed to be stealthy primarily in the X-band, the radar frequency range most commonly used for targeting in air-to-air combat.

In other radar frequencies, the F-35 is not so stealthy, making it vulnerable to being tracked and shot down using current — and even obsolete — weapons. As far back as 1999 the same type of stealth technology was not able to prevent a U.S. Air Force F-117 flying over Kosovo from being located, tracked and shot down using an outdated Soviet radar and surface-to-air missile system. In the nearly two decades since, that incident has been studied in depth not only by the U.S., but also by potential adversaries seeking weaknesses in passive radar stealth aircraft.

Of course, radar is not the only way to locate and target an aircraft. One can also use an aircraft’s infrared emissions, which are created by friction-generated heat as it flies through the air, along with its hot engines. Several nations, particularly the Russians, have excellent passive infrared search and tracking systems that can locate and target enemy aircraft with great precision — sometimes using lasers to measure exact distances, but without needing radar.

It’s also very common in air-to-air battles for opposing planes to come close enough that their pilots can see each other. The F-35 is as visible as any other aircraft its size.

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the rest of What went wrong with Lockheed's F-35? [Commentary]
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Analysts weigh in

Lockheed Martin and the Pentagon say the F-35’s superiority over its rivals lies in its ability to remain undetected, giving it “
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.” Hugh Harkins, a highly respected author on military combat aircraft, called that claim “a marketing and publicity gimmick” in his book on Russia’s Sukhoi Su-35S, a potential opponent of the F-35. “In real terms an aircraft in the class of the F-35 cannot compete with the Su-35S for out and out performance such as speed, climb, altitude, and maneuverability,” he wrote.

Other critics have been even harsher. Pierre Sprey, a co-founding member of the so-called
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at the Pentagon and a co-designer of the F-16, calls the F-35 “
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” that is the product of “an exceptionally dumb piece of Air Force PR spin.” He has said the F-35 would likely lose a close-in combat encounter to a well-flown MiG-21, a 1950s Soviet fighter design. Robert Dorr, an Air Force veteran, career diplomat and military air combat historian, wrote in his book “Air Power Abandoned”: “The F-35 demonstrates repeatedly that it can’t live up to promises made for it. … It’s that bad.”

How did we get here?

How did the F-35 go from its conception as the most technologically advanced, do-it-all military aircraft in the world to a virtual turkey? Over the decades-long effort to meet a real military need for better aircraft, the F-35 program is the result of the merging or combination of several other separate and diverse projects into a set of requirements for an airplane that is trying to be everything to everybody.

In combat, the difference between winning and losing is often not very great. With second place all too often meaning death, the Pentagon seeks to provide warriors with the best possible equipment. The best tools are those that are tailor-made to address specific missions and types of combat. Seeking to accomplish more tasks with less money, defense planners looked for ways to economize.

For a fighter airplane, funding decisions become a balancing act of procuring not just the best aircraft possible, but enough of them to make an effective force. This has lead to the creation of so-called multi-role fighter aircraft, capable both in air-to-air combat and against ground targets. Where trade-offs have to happen, designers of most multi-role fighters emphasize aerial combat strength, reducing air-to-ground capabilities. With the F-35, it appears designers created an airplane that doesn’t do either mission exceptionally well. They have made the plane an inelegant jack-of-all-trades, but master of none — at great expense, both in the past and, apparently,
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I believe the F-35 program should be immediately canceled; the technologies and systems developed for it should be used in more up-to-date and cost-effective aircraft designs. Specifically, the F-35 should be replaced with a series of new designs targeted toward the specific mission requirements of the individual branches of the armed forces, in lieu of a single aircraft design trying to be everything to everyone.
according to a blogger
F-35B the right choice and the only choice for the Royal Navy January 13, 2017
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The F-35 Lightning II has proved highly controversial since the program’s conception in the 1990s. There are still those in the UK who would be happy to see the back of it, but the arguments in favour of the aircraft that is an essential part of the RN’s future are overwhelming.

The F35 has problems, all aircraft have problems
The scope of the project is incredibly ambitious; producing a 5th generation, multi-role aircraft to replace many different aircraft types and meet the needs of multiple international partners was always going to be costly and technically demanding. The F-35 has attracted an army of critics, including President-elect Donald Trump, calling for its cancellation during his election campaign, even as the aircraft is coming into service. The F35 hate mob, armed with half-truths and simplistic alternatives can be found across the internet, and their influence extends to high places. As a complex, multi-faceted project, it does not sit well with those who want to live in a world of easy-to-understand, quick solutions and sound bites. Every aircraft design project has to overcome unexpected hurdles. Innovating at the cutting edge will always involve risk.

During the development of the much-admired F-15 (In production for 45 years and over 1,200 built), it was continually criticised as too big, too complicated and too expensive. Many very successful aircraft designs experienced major issues along the way but the discussion was mostly confined to aviation experts and specialist analysts. In contrast, today’s online world allows the detail of F-35’s problems to be quickly put in the public domain and subject to the instant judgement of anyone with an internet connection.

It is undeniable that the F-35 is late, around seven years behind the original schedule and the price is approximately double that quoted in 1997. There have been mistakes in the program and a ‘conspiracy of optimism’ in the early days that has been a regular feature of many UK and US defence projects. Because of the scale and ambition of the project, failures are inevitably magnified. Those who still advocate axing the F-35 entirely fail to explain how it could be replaced more cheaply. Billions of dollars have already been spent on three decades of research, development and manufacture. It would be madness to throw that away. The entire lifetime cost of the F-35 will supposedly be around $1.5 Trillion dollars which seems staggering, but replacing each of the 4th generation aircraft designs in the US inventory, is estimated at $3 Trillion. Unfortunately, some of the expected cost savings through large-scale production has been more than offset by growth in development cost. The F-35 will never be cheap, but the unit costs are falling and will continue to fall, to date more than 220 aircraft have been built, already making it the most numerous 5th generation aircraft in exitance. The predicted cost-death spiral has not materialised with international partners sticking with the project, even cash-strapped Britain intends to buy 138 eventually.

The latest
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on the F-35 project highlights significant on-going problems. Most notably the Block 3F software which is critical to many of the aircraft’s capabilities will not be ready until 2018. There are also a variety of other issues with the Automated Logistics System, the new pilot’s helmet and the safety of the ejector seat. These are serious concerns, but with at least 11 nations buying more than 3,000 aircraft, it is too big to be allowed to fail, there is such momentum and finance behind it that the problems will eventually be solved. This situation is not ideal but the RN does not expect to deploy HMS Queen Elizabeth operationally until at least 2021 by which time more of the F-35’s issues will have been fixed. Aircraft are operating under some restrictions and is far from full its full potential, but the US Marines already have enough confidence in its ability to forward-deploy F-35Bs to Japan in 2017.

A networked aircraft for a networked age
The majority of the critics of the F-35 have limited aviation experience or are retired pilots who flew 3rd or 4th generation aircraft. The F-35 is not just an upgrade on earlier aircraft, but is conceptually quite different, drawing its greatest strength from its situational awareness. The older generation may question its close-range dogfighting capability, but it will be very hard to kill an F-35 when it can see you in any direction at great distances, while itself almost invisible to radar. It can manoeuvre hard, but shouldn’t need to. Early beyond-visual-range missiles were unreliable, so all good fighter pilots believed in having an aircraft and the skill for the dogfights that were inevitable. Radar and missile technology has moved on to the point where the F-35 pilot can reliably expect to engage the enemy from a distance almost every time.

If recent history is a guide, the F-35 will probably spend more time on strike missions than in air-air combat. Its situational awareness, stealth and networking capabilities will make it exceptionally capable and its mere presence will act as a significant deterrent. The perception that F-35B is just an upgraded Harrier is entirely wrong. Vastly superior to the Harrier, its has longer range, is supersonic and can penetrate advanced air defence systems which the Harrier could never have contemplated. Even when only a handful of F-35s are embarked aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth, the RN will have a step-change in capability that can even mitigate for some of the weaknesses in its undersized fleet. Effectively a flying networked ‘data node’, the aircraft can not only fight but share intelligence and vast amounts of sensor data with ships and other aircraft. By buying into a massive international program, the RN will benefit from interoperability with the US and other NATO allies. Its potential will still be being expanded into the 2030s and 40s as new software and weapons are developed.

Royal Navy CATOBAR is dead, long live VSTOL
There is no question that a conventional aircraft carrier (CATOBAR) with catapults and arrestor gear would be more flexible and powerful than the Vertical Short Take Off and Landing (VSTOL) configuration of the QEC. CATOBAR offers the ability to operate a much greater variety of aircraft than just helicopters and the F-35B.

With more money and more time, pinning the success of the QEC project on the F35-B could have been avoided. Although we could have purchased F-18 Super Hornets much more cheaply than the F-35, the F-18 will look out of date in 10-15 years while the F-35 is a generation ahead. As a Tier-1 partner, the UK has a significant financial stake in the F-35 project, worth around £1Bn a year to the British economy and sustaining around 24,000 jobs, a fact that government just cannot ignore. Alternative imported carrier aircraft such as the Super Hornet or Rafale would have no such benefit.

Many believe that the costs quoted by BAE Systems in 2012 for fitting EMALS (Electromagnetic launch system developed by the US Navy) were inflated as it was not in their commercial interest to allow anything but F-35B to fly from the QEC. The US Navy was even willing to subsidise the cost of EMALS to some extent. What is certain is that 2010 CATOBAR plan was adding costs and significant further delays to the QEC program. In 2017 the RN budget is still stretched to breaking point, the pound is weak against the dollar and the US Navy having teething problems with the EMALS, while at the same time F-35B has achieved Initial Operating Capability with the US Marines. CATOBAR operations require more manpower, involved greater complexity and more training. Against this background, it looks sensible for the UK to have compromised on the VSTOL concept, at least in the short-medium term. Only the unlikely prospect of Donald Trump cancelling the F35 puts this at risk.

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the above post goes on:
Trump won’t cancel the F-35
Axing the F-35 would have a worldwide impact on the defence planning of many US-aligned nations. Trump may be rather less bothered about international partnerships than his predecessors but fortunately, from a NATO and UK perspective, the appointment of hardened US Marine Corp veteran James Mattis as his defence secretary, seems to indicate the F-35B at least will be safe. The USMC has bet the farm on the aircraft and Mattis is a big supporter. Trump campaigned on a platform of protecting American workers. Around 150,000 US jobs depend on the F-35, Trump would have a hard time explaining why he was making thousands redundant. As Trump seems to be more of a businessman than a politician, he may ultimately see the bottom line is that it will cost more to cancel F-35, than continue. His actions may at least help drive down the price by forcing Lockheed Martin to reduce their profit margin and find further efficiencies.

The F-35C is probably the most vulnerable of the variants. The US Navy has never been as enthusiastic about the aircraft as the Airforce or Marines, and the C variant is having the most development problems. Lobbying by Boeing and delays to the F-35 has kept the F-18 Super Hornet production lines open. In 2013 Boeing revealed the Advanced Super Hornet concept with new engines, radar, conformal fuel tanks and a more stealthy design. Although an evolved 4th generation aircraft, lacking real stealth/low observability characteristics, it would offer maybe 70% of the F35’s capabilities at 50% of the cost. Perhaps a compromise will be reached where Trump shows he delivered something by axing the F-35C and the US Navy is content to get the cheaper Advanced Super Hornet instead.

On 11th January 2017 Trump rather optimistically stated “we’re going to do some big things on the F-35 program and perhaps the F-18 program. And we’re going to get those costs way down, and we’re gonna get the plane even better, and we’re going to have to competition. And it’s going to be a beautiful thing.”

VSTOL is the now only realistic option for the RN and accepting that means accepting the F35-B is the only credible fixed wing aircraft choice. Any change to this plan would be unaffordable with the current defence budget and would involve delays measured in years. It is pretty safe to predict that F-35Bs will continue to be delivered to the UK, albeit more slowly than everyone would like. It is also safe to say that the introduction into service will see more problems emerge but they will be overcome. In the next decade, we should expect the aircraft’s negative reputation to recover as it fulfils its potential. Ultimately the F-35B Lightning II and the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carriers will give the UK a very powerful tool of foreign policy.
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I tried 1 minute ago
WebMaster please increase the size-limit above 10000 characters, pretty normal articles don't fit, thanks (I know nothing will happen but I tried LEL)
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Jeff Head

Staff member
Super Moderator
What went wrong wth the F-35? Nothing out of the ordinary given what they are accomplishing.

The program is going great guns now, despite whatever small bumps in the road.

Detractors here in the states constantly want to blow the slightest think completely out of proportion.

Many of them simply do not know what it takes to bring such a program forward, either technically, or economically, or program wise.

Some are simply so anti-US Military that they do not care.

But the fact is, the F-35 program is shaping up to be a fantastic program with fantastic capabilities for all three services, and will (as I have said many times here) produce the most prolific fifth generation stealth fighter in the world...hands down and bar none.

More aircraft, more nations using it, and more capability overall than any other that is apt to come out in our life time in 5th gen aircraft.

Watch and see if it is not so.

...the beat goes on.
"It is a bit unusual to ask for seven vice five ..."
I've recently heard they use vice for instead of (somebody in a discussion said it should be versus, but somebody else explained that's what Military uses :)

anyway they try to squeeze as much money as they still can:
NAVAIR Commander Proposes Cost Savings Strategies for F-35, V-22
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The commander of Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) said that the Navy could save millions of dollars by use of a seven-year multiyear procurement of the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft and “pulling forward” advance procurement of materials for the F-35 Lightning II strike fighter.

Regarding the idea of an economic order quantity (EOQ) for the F-35, Vice Adm. Paul A. Grosklags, testifying June 13 on the fiscal 2018 budget proposal before the Senate Armed Services seapower subcommittee, said, “What we’re specifically asking for is taking approximately 4 percent of the [fiscal] ’19 and 4 percent of the [fiscal] ’20 EOQ and pulling it forward and executing with the [fiscal] ’18 EOQ. It’s a total across all the services, about $660 million, that we would pull forward.”

Grosklags said the move would enable “Lockheed and the other vendors to buy those long-lead materials and get the economic order quantity cost savings. What outside agencies have told us is the savings associated with pulling that money forward would be about $800 million across the three services, with the reduction in aircraft unit cost. So, it’s not additional money.

“It’s money that would already be spent in [fiscal] ’19 or [fiscal] ’20 for those lots of airplanes,” he said. “It does not commit the services nor the Congress to actually buying a set number of aircraft in those years. So, it is not a multiyear procurement. We are committing to absolutely nothing, other than a cost savings.”

Grosklags also touted the savings that could accrue with a seven-year multiyear program to complete the procurement of the Osprey.

“Typically, we ask for five years for a multiyear,” he said. “Seven years would enable us to buy the remaining total of 67 Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force aircraft that are currently in the three services’ plans, notwithstanding increasing the Marine Corps requirement. Otherwise, if we just got the five-year multiyear, we would have about 20-plus aircraft hanging out two years.

“The savings get us to 10 percent per aircraft,” he said. “We’re looking at about $650-plus millions of savings across that seven-year multiyear. It is a bit unusual to ask for seven vice five, but we think it’s justifiable giving the savings and the fact that if we leave two years hanging out at the end, those aircraft will certainly cost us more than if we were able to include them in the multiyear.”
Monday at 9:40 PM
Today at 8:18 PM

now when I was about to log off, noticed
Luke Air Force Base extends cancellation of F-35 flight operations
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Still no answer for F-35 oxygen deprivation issues, US Air Force says
After a week of analyzing recent physiological incidents involving F-35A pilots at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, a team of engineers and medical personnel have not been able to identify a single root cause linking all five events, a U.S. Air Force official said Friday.

But while F-35As at Luke AFB will remain grounded going into next week, Brig. Gen. Brook Leonard, 56th Fighter Wing commander, believes flight operations could be resumed as early as Tuesday afternoon, he told reporters during a conference call.

Base officials announced June 9 that it would halt F-35 flights after five pilots experienced hypoxia-like symptoms over the course of about a month. Five different pilots and five separate aircraft were affected, including one international operator and jet, Leonard said. Since then, a team of engineers, maintainers and aeromedical specialists from the F-35 Joint Program Office have been called in to analyze the occurrences.

“We did not find a specific cause that we could put our finger on and just fix,” Leonard said. “In many ways, it was unsatisfying, but in other ways, it was very satisfying. … We scrubbed our maintenance practices, and we had the engineers and the folks from Lockheed [Martin] looking at those, and we found nothing we were doing incorrectly on the maintenance side as well as on the aircrew flight equipment side that would cause a physiological incident”

At this point, the U.S. Air Force and JPO have not been able to rule out a larger problem with the F-35’s On-Board Oxygen Generating System, or OBOGS.

“We do think the OBOGS system is not as robust as it can be, however, according to all of our testing, it meets the minimum standard, and then if you look at the number of sorties that we’ve had in the program overall, over 86,000 of them, it’s performed well in many cases,” he said.

The F-35 will make some changes to the OBOGS system, which is produced by Honeywell, although Leonard declined to describe potential modifications.

Restoring flight operations

Although a root cause still remains a mystery, the Air Force is finalizing initial criteria that the base must meet before returning to normal flight operations. Over the weekend, base officials and the JPO team will review the criteria and will begin putting them in place on Monday.

“If everything is deemed to lead us to safe flight, and the pilots have confidence in it, the soonest the pilots would be able to return to flying would be Tuesday afternoon,” Leonard said.

The tentative criteria are :

  • Temporarily restricting the F-35A’s flight envelope, as all five aircraft were operating at a similar altitude when symptoms occurred. Leonard declined to detail how the jet’s flight profile could be altered.
  • Having pilots wear sensors that measure his or her oxygen levels, which would allow analysts to make correlations between what the jet is doing with the operator’s physiological experience. Leonard said no decision has been made on this point yet, but the U.S. Air Force used similar measures when it dealt with hypoxia incidents involving the F-22.
  • Ensuring backup oxygen systems are kept “as full and capable as they can be” before every flight.
  • Mitigating physiological risk to pilots as they perform operations on the ground, so they aren’t exposed to excessively high heat or harmful exhaust gases on the ramp.
  • Improving pilot training on how to respond to physiological events and increasing communication across the medical and operations community.
On the final point, Leonard noted that hypoxia symptoms are similar to other conditions like oxygen contamination as well as hypercapnia and hypocapnia, terms referring to the state of having too much or too little carbon dioxide in the blood.

"While we don't know exactly what the pilots experienced,” he said. “It's important to talk through each one. Because, for example, hypoxia symptoms go away pretty quickly when you get on 100 percent oxygen where hyper or hypocapnia does not necessarily do that. And if there is contamination on your oxygen source, while you think you might be applying 100 percent pure and good oxygen to help you recover, if there is contamination in that source, that will obviously not help you.”

A wider problem?

Leonard said the overall F-35 program has documented 23 physiological events, including three involving B-model and five with the C-model. Of those 23, the program office was able to determine the causes of 13 incidents, but 10 — including the five recent episodes at Luke — have not been explained. Only the incidents at Luke were assessed by the JPO this week, but future analysis will involve expanding the data pool to include the other unsolved occurrences.

Aside from the five recent occurrences at Luke, there have been 10 physiological events in F-35As since 2011, but because they were spread out over a period of six years, they have been viewed as isolated incidents, said Capt. Mark Graff, a U.S. Air Force spokesman. Graff’s statement did not make it clear whether pilots in all 10 incidents suffered from oxygen deprivation or other conditions.

“Overall, physiological events occur at low rates in all Air Force aircraft. The Air Force reviews all physiological events to learn from them and to ensure the safety and well-being of our pilots,” he said.

All quiet on Capitol Hill

Over the past week, response from lawmakers has been relatively subdued. Usually, technical or operational issues concerning the F-35 prompt immediate concern from the top members of defense committees, especially if they pose a safety issue to servicemembers. However, lawmakers have kept mum about the reports of hypoxia emanating from Luke AFB, even as Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joe Dunford made multiple appearances to Capitol Hill.

Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican who chairs the powerful Armed Services Committee and one of the F-35’s biggest critics, didn’t issue a statement about the incidents until Wednesday. More surprisingly, it expressed support of Luke AFB officials handling the problem and did not allude to any larger concerns with the health of the program.

“I am in close communication with Air Force officials as they continue to conduct a technical analysis of the F-35A program at Luke Air Force Base, which has been suspended following reports of physiological incidents in recent weeks,” he said. “I share the concerns of our military commanders, and believe it is critical they identify the root cause of these incidents and take the necessary steps to ensure our pilots return to safe flying operations.”
source is DefenseNews
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Lieutenant General
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Special report

USAF F-35A Lightning II First Deployment to Europe
In April 2017, the U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II fifth generation multi-role stealth fighters from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, started the F-35's first operational deployment to Europe. The F-35 deployed to RAF Lakenheath in the United Kingdom to fly exercises with the 48th Fighter Wing.
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