Officials: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program is on Track but Key Milestones Remain
June 20, 2013 9:07 AM
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F-35 software block and high-tech helmet still pose challenges
After years of delays and running over budget, officials are finally reporting some good news on the F-35 Lightning II program. Back in May, the program had reportedly
reduced its costs
by $4.5 billion. Key Pentagon officials have stated the F-35 project is now on target despite key milestones that must still be met.
The announcement came when Pentagon officials addressed the Senate panel this week.
“On the whole, the F-35 design today is much more stable [than in previous years],” Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, told the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee.
Kendall also stated that the F-35 program would be ready for an increase in production during the fiscal 2015 budget. However, he did add that deadlines for software blocks and the
special high-tech helmet
required to support the F-35 technology suite still pose challenges.
“There are a number of technical issues that need to be resolved,” Kendall said, including the tail hook for the Navy’s F-35C carrier variant that will undergo testing within the next few months.
Senator Dick Durbin, D-III, who chairs the subcommittee, said, "I think that this project is stronger today than it’s been. I think a fifth-generation aircraft is needed for our future, and I think we made mistakes along the way in the acquisition process. I hope today’s hearing will help us learn from those mistakes."
Supporters of the F-35 program still believe the aircraft is critical to allowing the U.S. to maintain air superiority. Maintaining air superiority is even more important with new fifth-generation aircraft emerging from countries such as China. The Chinese have been showing off a stealth fighter called the
over the last year.
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6/20/2013 1:33:00 PM
The F-35 can't replace the A-10 in its role as a close support platform. The F-35 simply flies way too fast. The A-10 is more or less a flying tank, and it is slow, giving it impressive loiter time when dealing with ground targets. There was a theory that the Apache would take over that role but then we realized any idiot with an AK-47 could shoot it down. The A-10 can be shot to pieces and STILL fly home.
6/20/2013 2:50:27 PM
Please note: My above post was completely sarcastic.
I completely agree with you.
6/20/2013 4:07:59 PM
The F-35 can't replace the A-10 in its role as a close support platform.
Well the VTOL variant could. You know...hypothetically.
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