Tag Archives: F-35

Marine Corps F-35Bs depart USS Wasp after carrier tests

Six US Marine Corps F-35B Joint Strike Fighters have departed the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp following a one-and-a-half-week trial that included 108 test sorties and an F135 engine delivery from a V-22 Osprey as the first combat fighter squadron stationed in Yuma, Arizona, prepares to declare initial operational capability this July.

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CSBA Study Finds Large, Long-Range Aircraft Would Do Better In Combat

Air combat going beyond visual range

A future fighter aircraft is likely to need more range and payload than speed and agility as countries like Russia, China and Iran invest in long-range air defenses that can keep high-value support assets including aerial refueling tankers up to 1,000 nautical miles away from their military installations, but stealth remains critical despite advances in radar technology, according to a new Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments study.

Advances in beyond-visual-range weapons make it increasingly unnecessary to have highly maneuverable fighter jets like the F-22 Raptor, and first-strike aircraft are unlikely to have support of large, unstealthy bombers, tankers, and airborne surveillance and early warning aircraft, according to John Stillion, an air power analyst with CSBA.

Those are just some of the findings presented in Stillion’s new report on trends in air-to-air combat — unveiled at an Air Force Association event in Washington April 14.

The report comes as Air Combat Command explores its requirements for a sixth-generation air dominance platform to come after the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and F-22. Senior service officials have emphasized that the future platform might not be another fighter jet, and that it could be manned or unmanned.

According to Stillion’s assessment, next-generation aircraft would benefit greatly from having a larger combat radius than current fighter designs, and an increased loadout of long-range, air-to-air weapons.

“The aerial combat lethality of large combat aircraft may be competitive or even superior to more traditional fighter aircraft designs emphasizing speed and maneuverability,” Stillion’s report states.

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F-35 PEO: Joint Strike Fighter To Escape Concurrency ‘Rut’ Around 2018

The head of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program expects the $400 billion fighter jet program to lift itself out of the concurrency “rut” by about 2017 or 2018 as the number of aircraft and engine faults discovered during developmental testing continues to decline.

Last week, the Government Accountability Office warned that the costs associated with retrofitting already-built Joint Strike Fighters will likely increase as the Defense Department ramps up procurement quantities over the next five years. The services plan to purchase another 339 aircraft through 2019 at a cost of $54 billion, despite 40 percent of the developmental test program remaining.

Speaking at the Norwegian-American Defense Conference in Washington April 17, Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan said the concurrency overlap and the number of new discoveries has come down significantly over the last few years, but conceded that the 130 airplanes already in the field will all need to be retrofitted at some point.

“This program started with an immense amount of concurrency,” the general said. “We are going to find other things wrong with this airplane because we have testing left. Our job is to figure out how, once we find those things, we get it into the production line and stop building airplanes that are not appropriate for what we found — and then putting a program in place to get all of the other airplanes out in the field upgraded to that new capability or to remove those deficiencies.”

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