Fighter Jet News

F-35 Lightning II News

F-35 on Life Support and needing Life Support

October 19, 2011 (by Jason Hodgkiss) - With reports of the cost of the F-35 program growing to about $385 billion, according to U.S. news sources, this has given rise to reports of one of the F-35 models could be cut due to budget limits.

F-35B BF-02 conducts initial sea trials over the Atlantic Ocean. The F-35B is the USMC Joint Strike Force variant of the JSF and is designed for short takeoff and vertical landing on Navy amphibious ships. The aircraft is operating with the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1). [Lockheed Martin photo by Andy Wolfe]

Speaking before a House Armed Services Committee meeting (13 Oct 2011), Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, stated in part "I am concerned about the three variants..., whether we can afford all three".

What indications are that the US Marine Corp's short-take off, vertical landing (STOVL) version of the F-35B model, will fall with the need for the Defense Department (DOD) seeking ways to save $450 billion.

How this effects, foreign partners like United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, Turkey, Australia, Norway and Denmark who have agreed to contribute US$4.375 billion to program, with increased pressure's to find fault with F-35 involvement.

Both Canada and Australia - existing F-18 Hornet users - have had pressure to review the possible stop gap purchase for the Super Hornet Version, and in the RAAF case to purchase more, while cancelling current involvement.

With continued success - despite the recent grounding - in the testing program alongside the early production model, arriving at training base's the Fleet has achieved several first from carrier steam catapult launch milestone toward initial ship trials in 2013, to the landing of BF-2 safely on USS Wasp's (LHD-1) flight deck, the first at sea vertical landing for the Marine Corps' F-35 JSF version.

Related articles:
Forum discussion:
  • Start a discussion about this article in the F-35 forum.


Additional images:

Lt. Col. Fred Schenk lifts off in F-35B Lightning II BF-02 from the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp on October 4th, 2011. [USNavy photo by PO3. Andrew M. Rivard]

The Navy and Marine Corps Team made more remarkable naval aviation history as the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) test aircraft BF-02 landed safely on USS Wasp's (LHD-1) flight deck on October 20th, 2011. The first at sea vertical landing for the Marine Corps' F-35 JSF version. [Lockheed Martin photo]