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Even though the project is overbudget and still delayed, the USAF will continue to show faith in the Lockheed Martin F-35

The United States Air Force confirmed it will move forward with F-35 Joint Strike Fighter adoption in the future, despite numerous delays and budget issues related to development. The F-35 is expected to push the F-15, F-16 and A-10 programs closer to retirement, with the Air Force currently uninterested in launching additional programs to extend the lifeline of any of the fighters.

Recent Air Force budget outlines indicates $70 billion will be used to purchase 602 F-35 Lightning II aircraft over the net 10 years.  

The F-35 was expected to enter operational capability in 2013, but has been pushed back until 2016.  Until the F-35 is available, the Air Force will continue to repair and maintain its F-15s, F-16s and A-10s, according to military testimony in front of the air-land subcommittee controlled by the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"The Air Force is committed to the [F-35] Joint Strike Fighter to be our solution to recapitalization," noted Lt. Gen Mark Shackleford, USAF military deputy for acquisition.  "We are focused on the fifth-generation fighter."

Lockheed Martin is under additional scrutiny to get the struggling JSF program back on track, as the USAF, Navy and Marine Corps anxiously await F-35 rollout.

The Marine Corps also said it will stay committed to the JSF program -- USMC is expected to receive the F-35B Lightning II -- but also urged the military contractor to make improvements.





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