Sunday, August 25, 2013

Whither the F-35 (Joint Strike Fighter)?

Budget cutting and sequestering is sniffing around the massive F-35 program.  F-35 is supposed to be THE jet fighter for the entire free world, for the next 25 years.  It's computerized, it's stealthy, it's almost operational.  And it costs like crazy.
   F-35 has three versions, F35A is the regular air force version, designed to operate off concrete runways.  F35B is the vertical takeoff version for the Marine Corps, and F35C is the carrier version for the Navy, essentially the Air Force version beefed up to survive carrier landings and catapulting.
   Aviation Week suggests saving money by cancelling the Marine Corps and Navy versions, and concentrating on the Air Force version.  The Navy could get by using  the F/A 18 Hornet (currently in service) and the Marines could keep flying their Harrier VTOL fighter.  In short, new fighters for the Air Force and let the Navy and Marines suck hind teat. 
   I don't know how this will fly in Congress, but the Navy and Marine viewpoint is not hard to imagine.

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