posted on Nov, 23 2005 @ 10:27 AM
It is expected that U.S. Deputy Def Sec Gordon England will propose to kill the Air Force variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in order to fund
more F/A-22 Raptors and instead direct the USAF to buy the Navy's carrier variant (CV).
While I am all for getting more Raptors this is a bad move no matter how you look at it.
It is not going to save any money, just displace the spending of the money further down the acquisition timeline and will end up costing more because
the carrier variant is more expensive, the Navy's variant is also heavier and is potentially less of a performer than the CTOL variant.
Loren Thompson, chief operating officer of the Lexington Institute states that;
" Killing the CTOL variant also would "enrage" several U.S. allies who have been planning to buy the CTOL variant and have contributed billions of
dollars to JSF's development..."
"Eliminating it (the CTOL variant) means walking away from the global aircraft markets that America has dominated for two generations..."
Present plans (Gordon England's proposal notwithstanding) call for the USAF to acquire 1,763 F-35s, although the USAF has proposed trimming the
budget by anywhere forom 200-600 aircraft. The Marine Corps and Navy would get a total of 680 jets, with the Marine Corps getting its own
short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing (STOVL) version.
On the week of Dec. 5 2005 in Baltimore, MD officials from the US and the F-35's 8 foreign partners are scheduled to have the final round of
negotiations on an agreement that will, among other things, indicate the number of aircraft each country will buy.
Considering Gordon England's proposal, this meeting is sure to be an "interesting" exchange of ideas...
"Raptor May Shoot Down JSF Production", Aviation Week & Space Technology 11/14/2005
"USAF's JSF Variant May Be Killed", Aerospace Daily & Defense Report, 11/21/2005