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F35 arrives at Eglin  (Source: Lockheed Martin)
Lockheed Martin finally delivers F-35 JSF aircraft to Eglin AFB

Lockheed Martin made an important stride towards proving the financial burden of its F-35 program is worthwhile, when it recently delivered a production jet at Eglin Air Force Base. The private contractor believes the F-35 will help modernize the U.S. military, and help allies keep their airspace safe (for a hefty price). 

The F-35 model Eglin took delivery of was the F-35 Lightning II model, and the jet requires a traditional takeoff and landing. Eglin first expected to receive the fighter in November, but design and engineering issues forced a delay until July.

"We're incredibly proud of our government/industry team whose steadfast dedication to this program led to the successful delivery of AF-9 today,” noted Larry Lawson, Lockheed Martin F-35 program manager. "The exceptional capabilities of this 5th generation fighter are now in the very capable hands of the men and women of the 33rd Fighter Wing who are ushering in a new era of F-35 training. We look forward to delivering our full complement of F-35s to the Emerald Coast in the months and years ahead.”

The F-35's introduction at Eglin AFB has led to excitement in the region, with base officials anxiously waiting since late 2009. 

Even though Eglin personnel had to wait longer than expected, preparation work continued in simulators and in classrooms. Flight operators are now trying to figure out how to split up flight and training time among an anxious staff hoping to jump into the cockpit and have wrench time with the aircraft.

The F-35 Lightning II and other variations of the pricey fighter jet will be utilized by the Marine Corps, Air Force, Navy, and several other allied nations.

Despite being a program with extremely high hopes, the F-35 has endured a bumpy road as budget issues and continued delays plague the military. Lockheed recently told the Senate Armed Services Committee that some models will cost a whopping $771 million per aircraft -- with a $264M down payment requested to the Pentagon.

To make matters worse, necessary F-22 upgrades also are overbudget, and U.S. lawmakers are growing tired of Lockheed Martin's development issues.

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RE: $771 million my ass
By Mudhen6 on 7/19/2011 6:43:29 PM , Rating: 2
Uhhh duh? Maybe because the A-10 was specifically designed and equipped to hunt tanks? It's not a coincidence that the A-10 gets the nod anytime we need a strike against enemy armor. If you were correct, we would have used F-15's exclusively.

Haha, "duh"? You completely miss the point - we can't use F-15Es because they were tasked with other missions. Unlike the A-10, which is more specifically tasked to hunting tanks. So of course the A-10 would score more tank kills.

You also clearly did not check out my link (which is a coloring book that tells real A-10 pilots what parts of an enemy tank to aim for). Otherwise, you wouldn't engage in such crazy talk. It takes two seconds to check out, and you can't even do that.

Only in the front. Guess what? Tank treads aren't armored. And every A-10 jockey knows the rear of a tank is the sweet spot. The armor is thinner and the engine and fuel are there too. Claiming the 30mm cannon with depleted uranium penetrates and exploding rounds cannot decimate tanks is hilarious. Truly ignorant.

You have to be an idiot if you think a tiny little hole punched into the treads of a tank are going to hamper its mobility. These are tracked vehicles bud, they don't use tires. A hole is going to do zilch.

What is hilarious is claiming that a weapon that is only effective at killing tanks from the rear as an "anti-tank" weapon. Are the 25/30mm cannons on the modern APCs/IFVs "tank-busters" then? They are just as effective as the GAU-30 at taking out tanks in this respect.

What is also hilarious is your F-16 data. Not only are they irrelevant (these are "clean" configurations), but they are also wrong (the corner speed of the F-16 is not 600 kts, so why that specific performance parameter is used makes no sense and merits no further thought).

Furthermore, in the non-CAS, anti-armor/"tank-plinking" role, I fail to see why you would want the A-10's slow-speed agility, which only counts for CAS. There are no troops at risk on the ground, so there is no pressing need to provide a sustained battlefield presence. It's much safer to lob laser-guided bombs from 20-30 000 ft then do strafing runs at 2-8000 ft when you don't have to.

RE: $771 million my ass
By Manch on 7/19/2011 7:03:27 PM , Rating: 2
The 30mm cannon on the A10 fires at a higher rate of speed. It's projectiles also fly a hell of a lot faster than an APC's.

RE: $771 million my ass
By Mudhen6 on 7/19/2011 7:35:29 PM , Rating: 2
Muzzle velocity of the GAU-30 is inferior to the 25mm M242 cannon used in the M2/3 Bradley.

RE: $771 million my ass
By Manch on 7/19/2011 8:35:57 PM , Rating: 2
I stand corrected, they are slightly slower, but the rate of fire is ridiculous compared to the M242. That combined with 30mm vs 25mm it's no contest and not even comparable.

RE: $771 million my ass
By Mudhen6 on 7/20/2011 1:04:08 AM , Rating: 2
I think you are vastly over-estimating the penetration capabilities of the GAU-30, which is rated at 38mm at 1000m (which is extremely short range for a strafing run).

In comparison, the 25mm 25x137 Oerlikon round achieves a penetration of 36mm at 1000mm. The difference is negligible.

Furthermore, the faster fire rate of the GAU-30 comes at the cost of a higher dispersion (e.g. a "cone" of bullets vs. a beam of bullets).

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