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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 8:38:15 PM , Rating: 2
Anti-Armor is part of CAS! Read the links in my post below. Both of yall are correct about some aspects of the A-10 role, but yall are hoplessly fixed on different aspects.

Anti-armor missions can and often are separate from CAS missions. The objective of the former is to destroy as much enemy equipment as possible; the objective of the latter is to support ground troops as best as possible.

To illustrate, a platoon of T-72 sitting 20 km from the front-line would not be a threat to friendly ground troops, and thus will be considered targets-of-opportunity for CAS aircraft. However, this platoon will be mission objective targets for a flight of F-15Es tasked with "preparing" that sector of the battlefield.

For more reading on the F-15Es and tank-plinking in Operation Desert Storm:

"F-15Es flew 2,172 sorties during Desert Storm for only two losses. They delivered a total of 1,700 GBU-10 and GBU-12 500 pound and 2,000 pound laser-guided bombs. On several occasions, two F-15Es configured with the full LANTIRN system destroyed a confirmed total of 16 armored vehicles, using eight laser-guided bombs, each on a single mission . F-15Es with LANTIRN sometimes hit targets within a 10-foot area, and even destroyed one Iraqi helicopter using a laser guided bomb. The superior all-weather capabilities of the F-15E also made them the key fighter attacking the Iraqi forces fleeing towards Basra on the so-called "road of death."

"In particular, the advent of routine around-the-clock laser bombing of fielded enemy forces in the Gulf War constituted a new phase in the history of air warfare. These attacks were not classic close air support, or battlefield air interdiction, but, instead, given the level of accomplishment over time, went far beyond the levels of effectiveness traditionally implied by such terms. Indeed, the vast majority were made in the 39 days prior to the ground operation when the coalition's land forces were, for the most part, waiting for their war to begin. Yet the Iraqi army was, in effect, mortally wounded in this time. These attacks, against Iraq's mechanized formations and artillery, can best be described as a form of strategic attack directed against unengaged but fielded enemy forces, what might be termed DEA: "Degrade Enemy Army." The combination of laser-guided bombs from F-111F's and F-15E's, together with Maverick missiles using imaging infrared thermal sensors fired by A-10's and F-16's were devastating, as were laser-guided bombs from British Tornadoes and Buccaneers, and AS-30L laser-guided missiles fired from French Air Force Jaguars. Particularly deadly were F-111F night "tank plinking" strikes using 500 lb. GBU-12 laser-guided bombs. On February 9, for example, in one night of concentrated air attacks, forty F-111F's destroyed over 100 armored vehicles. Overall, the small 66-plane F-111F force was credited with 1,500 kills of Iraqi tanks and other mechanized vehicles. Air attacks by F-15E's and Marine A-6E's in the easternmost section of the theater averaged over thirty artillery pieces or armored vehicles destroyed per night. "

RE: $771 million my ass
By Manch on 7/19/2011 9:54:52 PM , Rating: 2
yeah I replying to reclaimers counter argument:

You just want to keep diminishing the A-10's anti-tank specialty in an effort to convince us it's a "close air support" craft exclusively. Keep dreaming. For CAS it doesn't need that uber cannon, it's such overkill.

Just like the every other AC in our arsenal, it has been adapted to perform enhanced roles, but this whole argument came about the intended design/role of the A10 which is CAS and which anti-armor is very much apart of, hence the 30mm cannon is not overkill.

Like reclaimer said to you and I said, both of yall are splitting hairs.

RE: $771 million my ass
By Mudhen6 on 7/20/2011 1:10:48 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not splitting hairs. Killing enemy tanks that are not threatening friendly troops is by definition not "close air support."

Battlefield Interdiction missions may also involve killing enemy tanks. These are also not considered CAS missions.

I've presented proof/links multiple times already, but you and Reclaimer insist on being absolutely rigid in your beliefs. You specifically cannot seem to grasp the concept that killing enemy tanks does not automatically equate to "Close Air Support."

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