USAF wants a new fighter to fill in for the F-35?

Discuss the F-35 Lightning II
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doge

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Unread post06 May 2021, 18:43

Everett Wipro Givon USA will support the F-35. 8)
https://www.heraldnet.com/opinion/evere ... t-program/
Everett jobs depend on military’s F-35 fighter jet program
Friday, April 30, 2021
The F-35 fighter is first and foremost keeping America and more than a dozen of our allied nations safe. But it is also helping Wipro Givon USA in Everett and other members of the global supply chain keep their doors open as we work through the aircraft industry’s double whammy of the 737 MAX and covid-19 issues. It is essential that our U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen and all of Congress back the F-35 and see that it is fully funded.
Wipro Givon USA is one of 1,800 U.S. suppliers to the F-35, which requires more than 300,000 precisely manufactured components. Our company makes critical complex machined components, and that work represents about 75 percent of our revenue and accounts for a similar amount of the time of our 38 employees. There is no room for error in our work as it is highly detailed and requires the use of expensive materials. Fortunately, we have a veteran team dedicated to the project, delivering components that are consistently rated as best-in-class by our customers.

One challenge for us is developing the next generation of skilled workers. For our part, we are exploring a new talent development and acquisition program with local colleges and technical schools. But we need Congress to do its part and provide sustained funding to the F-35 so we will have sufficient work that will continue to attract highly skilled workers who can keep a company, and surrounding community, growing.
All of us in Everett know the importance of the aerospace industry to our region and our state. The F-35 is backed by 34 Washington companies representing 4,600 jobs and more than a half- billion dollars in economic impact. We hope that Larsen and the rest of the Washington delegation will support the program, particularly as the House Armed Services Committee is set to discuss the F-35 in a hearing this week.

Bob VonBargen
Wipro Givon USA
Everett
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Unread post06 May 2021, 18:46

Opinion of MAJ. GEN. (RET.) LARRY STUTZRIEM USAF fighter pilot. 8)
https://thehill.com/opinion/national-se ... needs?rl=1
Get real: The F-35 is the combat power America needs
BY MAJ. GEN. (RET.) LARRY STUTZRIEM, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR — 05/03/21
THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY CONTRIBUTORS ARE THEIR OWN AND NOT THE VIEW OF THE HILL

Never in the history of air combat has a pilot landed back at base, after putting their life on the line flying a grueling combat mission and remarked, “Thank goodness my jet met its life cycle sustainment cost estimates.”
While this may sound absurd, it reflects the line of inquiry pursued during a recent House Armed Services Committee (HASC) hearing in which the F-35 was excoriated. Like most defense acquisition programs, aspects of the F-35 program need to improve, but the hearing manufactured a distortion of context by omitting details about the growing threat, the geriatric Air Force, or even a discussion of how Congress can chart improvement paths. Balance is needed before the hatchets cause irrecoverable wounds to the nation’s security.
Essential to know, the F-35 meets a key requirement for the entire joint team: securing air superiority. No ship at sea, forces on land, space installation, or rear base will remain viable for long without protection from enemy air attack. While congressional leaders must oversee, their efforts should not undermine fundamental capabilities. What is the cost of failing to secure the sky? It is a price of lives lost, campaign objectives failed, and key American interests damaged. The truth is that America needs the F-35 to succeed, and it needs it in high volume now. So do our allies who stake their nations’ security on this program.

First and foremost, oversight requires superior units of measure. Today, frothing about total life sustainment costs over the anticipated 66-year operational span of the aircraft reflects an absurd measure. According to the Government Accounting Office (GAO), this figure now stands at $1.27 trillion and literally measures every nut, bolt, software upgrade, set of tires and depot visit every aircraft may ever require. Do we buy a house by adding up every possible cost we could incur during the decades of ownership to include stocking the fridge? No. We buy based on meeting our needs — that is, the effects we desperately seek — location, good schools, security and a better life. As a preeminent factor, the 66-year life cycle cost of the home is ludicrous. Measures need to focus on cost per effect.
The F-35 is not some newer version of the old. It is the only fighter in production that affords the combination of stealth, information dominance, and combat attributes necessary to fight, win and get home safely against modern threats.
Members of the HASC were quick to berate the F-35’s operating cost yet failed to assert that a few F-35s can accomplish what would take over a dozen or more older types of aircraft to accomplish — and at lower risk. Mathematical genius is not required to see that the F-35 drives real-world life-cycle savings because it is so much more capable.

Current F-35 challenges are teething challenges common in any program’s early years. The GAO F-35 report, which informed much of the HASC hearing’s debate, highlighted very real problems — problems with too few spare parts, slow depot engine repair, software coding speed bumps, and more. None of these challenges is novel for any new program.
Take the F-16, for example — early jets were involved in mishaps with alarming regularity where the aircraft was either lost, had over $1 million damage, or the pilot was killed. In the program’s first two decades, F-16s crashed an average of 11 times a year, losing roughly a quarter of the pilots along the way. In stark contrast, the F-35 is a superior performer. In the first four years of its initial operational capability, from 1979 through 1982, the F-16 experienced 29 such mishaps. In the same relative period, from 2016 to 2019, the F-35 experienced a mere two. Nonetheless, those dark days of the F-16 are forgotten and the program is now viewed as a fantastic success.
For those who remain skeptical of the F-35, what else is there? To kill or radically curtail the program now — one of the pathways suggested by the GAO — would cede billions of dollars in sunk costs, create a requirements crisis, and lead to a new program that would cost more and take longer to field. Consider previous shortsighted decisions, such as the premature cancellation of the F-22 in 2009. The Air Force was left flying the fighter force Ronald Reagan bought them. Those aircraft are literally worn out and becoming obsolescent against modern threats that both China and Russia pose. The service has no choice but to double down on its F-35 buy.

Congressional leaders would do well to heed the wisdom of Sir Frederick Handley Page, a British aviation pioneer: “Nobody has ever won a war by trying to run it on the cheap. Nothing is so expensive as losing a war by saving money. If you want the cheapest possible Air Force today, it is very easy to standardize on a whole lot of aircraft that will be of no use when the war comes.”
Get real and solve the challenges. The United States and our allies need the F-35 to win.
Retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Larry Stutzriem served as a fighter pilot and held various command positions. He concluded his service as the director of plans, policy and strategy at North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command. He currently holds the General T. Michael Moseley Chair at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.
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Unread post06 May 2021, 18:49

Says Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby. 8)
https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/Transc ... -briefing/
Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby Holds a Press Briefing
MAY 3, 2021 Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby

Q: On the budget, when the budget does come out, one of the items that's going to get a lot of scrutiny is the F-35 fighter. Two weeks ago Congress had a hearing -- two congressional committees had a hearing, nobody from OSD was invited. But can you talk a little bit about the level of scrutiny the aircraft program has received in the '22 budget drill, not specific on numbers but the level of scrutiny it's receiving?

MR. KIRBY: Again, without getting to specific budget issues, this is a critically important program to the department. You know that. And the department remains committed to the F-35 going forward, as do so many of our allies and partners. The secretary and the deputy secretary are certainly mindful of problems within the program. We take those problems and those challenges seriously. And, again, I think you will see reflected in the budget going forward our continued commitment to this program.
And, again, without getting into specifics, I can assure you that program difficulties are being fleshed out and dealt with in the budget preparatory process, OK?

I think that's all -- you had one more one, right?

Q: When will development be completed -- I mean interceptor missiles so when would the bottom line be completed like...
(CROSSTALK)
MR. KIRBY: I'm not prepared to speak to specifics about completion. We're just -- we're not at that stage yet, OK?
All right. Thanks, everybody.
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Unread post06 May 2021, 20:55

Over the page the VENABLES article Russia and China Would Love to See the F-35 Fail. But It Won't. appears here: https://www.heritage.org/defense/commen ... il-it-wont and published first at: [best read at HERITAGE.org] https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/ ... ont-183247
A4G Skyhawk: www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ & www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/videos?view_as=subscriber
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Unread post04 Jun 2021, 15:55

Opinion of Matthew R Bartlett of New Hampshire, who recently served in the U.S. Department of State. 8)
https://www.unionleader.com/opinion/op- ... 06cd5.html
Matthew R Bartlett: How the F-35 connects New Hampshire to the world
May 10, 2021
A STRONG national defense has always been our country’s best and last resort to keep us safe from adversarial countries and nonaligned violent terrorist groups. Diplomacy and soft power help strengthen alliances and build coalitions but we must ultimately be prepared for an escalation not of our choosing.
For generations, the men and women of New Hampshire have supported our national defense both in uniform and industry. Our aerospace and defense sector has manufactured critical infrastructure and designed technological systems that power the world’s most advanced defense capabilities.
Arguably the greatest, most sophisticated, and consequently the most expensive system the United States government has ever supported is the 5th generation F-35 Lighting II, whose components are manufactured all over the state from large contractors to small family-run businesses. The F-35 generates $3.4 billion in annual revenue to New Hampshire and supports more than 4,200 direct and indirect jobs. This program helps sustain family households and leads to greater individual economic opportunity and mobility.
And for years the F-35 has enjoyed strong bipartisan support in Congress. In the Senate, this program has been championed by our Senator Jeanne Shaheen. She has worked across the aisle with Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn and a host of other senators to ensure that America maintains its unmatched advantage in the air.

Recently though, a Congressional hearing in Washington criticized some aspects of the F-35 and questioned future funding for the program. Yet despite this ongoing domestic debate, outside the U.S., there is no question that the F-35 is the most advanced stealth fighter aircraft in the world. There is no debate about the F-35 in other countries, just envy.
And as the F-35 has developed over time, so too have our relationships with other countries and coalitions. No longer can the American service member be asked to police the world, and no longer can the U.S. taxpayer be expected to solely foot the bill for global security. The good news is we have strong allies and new partnerships who share our vision and who are ready to invest in their own protection. This shift in defense and foreign policy is no better illustrated than in our ability to manufacture the F-35 and partner with other countries.
Already the F-35 has been purchased by 14 international allies, and over the next five years it is projected that 50% of total F-35 production will be purchased by international partners. It only makes sense that as countries stand up in their own active defense they step up in cost sharing too. Those who share our values and goals should be trusted with the capabilities to defend themselves. This will serve America’s interests, enhance security, and mitigate both the cost to taxpayers and sacrifice of servicemembers.
There is also a stark reality that if we do not partner with other countries and allow them to invest in their own security that we are making the world far more dangerous. Without these partnerships through the F-35, we may drive foreign countries straight to Russia or China, who would be more than happy to develop or strengthen military and diplomatic ties. Our loss is their gain — and only compounded more when the decision is ours to make.

Moving forward as more efficiencies are made and partnerships are enhanced, our country will reap the returns on our investment in the F-35. We have greater leverage with a country who works with us and our systems than when they work with systems designed by our adversaries. These new strategic relationships we create when working together with partners will increase international trade and help ensure global security.
The F-35 is more than just a fighter jet, more than just a technological global security system — it is a true global partnership and tool of diplomacy as we structure deals that encourage other nations to respect allies and realize regional and global threats.
Here in New Hampshire, we have a vibrant and dynamic aerospace and defense industry which has protected us, created jobs and prosperity, and spun off countless other businesses. We proudly play our role to meet the demands of our nation’s safety, and we only stand to benefit further when we partner with countries around the world who stand with us as equals in global security.

Nashua native Matthew Bartlett is cofounder and principal at Darby Field Advisors, a bipartisan public affairs firm in New Hampshire. He previously worked for U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, and recently served in the U.S. Department of State.
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Unread post04 Jun 2021, 15:59

Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Roger Zakheim says. 8)
https://govmatters.tv/national-defense- ... e-delayed/
National Defense Authorization Act completion will likely be delayed
Published, May 6, 2021
The Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee Senator Jack Reed says he will hold off on marking up this year’s National Defense Authorization Act until July. The Senate will use the extra time to consider nominees for top posts in the Defense Department.
    ・Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Roger Zakheim said the delay, along with debate over issues that will come up, could push the entire timeline later into calendar year 2021.
    ・Points of contention will probably include the United States nuclear triad (deterrence platforms and weapons), the F-35 aircraft program and legacy systems, said Zakheim.
    ・Zakheim also commented on his recent conversation with House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith about the F-35 program, reiterating his argument that finding a replacement for the plane would be difficult.
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Unread post04 Jun 2021, 16:02

Twenty U.S. senators from both parties support the F-35. 8)
https://www.goiam.org/wp-content/upload ... r-vfin.pdf
United States Senator WASHINGTON, DC 20510
May 5, 2021
Dear Chairmen and Ranking Members:
As you consider the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 defense authorization and appropriations bills, we strongly urge your continued support for the F-35 Lightning II program.We would urge the committee to support investments in relevance (modernization), readiness (sustainment) and rate(any service unfunded requirement).
Today, the United States Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force,together with our allies, are flying morethan 620+aircraft operating from 27 locations around the world.The F-35 strengthens national security, enhances global partnerships, and powers economic growth. The program leverages economies of scale, both in production and sustainment, to drive down cost and increase efficiencies while improving interoperability with our partners around the world.
As you know, near-peer adversaries like China and Russia continue to advance their air defensesystems, develop their own 5thgeneration fighters,and invest heavily in emerging technologies that threaten America’s military edge. It is with this in mind that we urge the committee to ensure that a robustmodernization plan is supported to continue to insert advanced technologies and capabilities into the F-35. This may require additional funds to restore previous funding reductions, address performance challenges tied to TR-3, and support critical capabilities tied to Block 4 modernization to keep the F-35 ahead of our adversaries.
We further urge the committee to support funding to increase readiness and aircraft availability, help drive down sustainment costs, and increase repair capacity across the F-35 enterprise, including the air vehicle and engine. In order to prevent a capacity shortfall, we urge the committee to support additional funding to increase repair capacity for the both the industry teams and organic depots as it will require both to meet the total demand of the program.

Further, adequateinvestments in the Reliability and Maintainability Improvement Program (RMIP) and Component Improvement Program (CIP) will increase readiness,bring costs down over the life of the program, and maintainflight safety.
It isthusessential that we continue toward full rate production of our nation’s only5th generation stealth fighter to recapitalize our fighter fleet and ensure the United States maintains air dominance. The F-35 is the only fighter in production that can produce aircraft in the numbers required to recap our aging fighter forceand stay ahead of our adversaries.
The F-35 industrial base of more than 1,800 suppliers and more than 254,000 direct and indirect jobs across the country is ready to support production and while maintainingfocus on driving down operations and sustainment costs across the enterprise.
Thank you for your continued support of the F-35 program and for your leadershipon defense and national security issues.
United States Senator
/s/Jeanne Shaheen /s/John Cornyn
/s/Richard Blumenthal /s/Richard Burr
/s/Susan Collins /s/Catherine Cortez Masto
/s/Mike Crapo /s/Diane Feinstein
/s/Margaret Wood Hassan /s/Mark Kelly
/s/Christopher S. Murphy /s/Gary C. Peters
/s/Jacky Rosen /s/James E. Risch
/s/Kyrsten Sinema /s/Tim Scott
/s/Debbie Stabenow /s/Thom Tillis
/s/Reverend Raphael Warnock /s/Todd Young

132 members of the U.S. House of Representatives support the F-35. 8)
https://www.goiam.org/wp-content/upload ... _FINAL.pdf
Congress of the united states washington DC 20515
April 28, 2021
Dear Chairs and Ranking Members:
As you consider the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 defense authorization and appropriations bills, we strongly urge your continued support for the F-35 Lightning II program.
As you well know, our adversaries continue to advance surface-to-air missile systems and develop their own stealth fighters. Thus, it is essential that we continue to increase production of our nation’s only 5th generation stealth fighter to recapitalize our fighter fleet and ensure the United States maintains air dominance. The F-35 is the only fighter in production that can produce aircraft in the numbers required to recapture our aging fighter force.
The F-35 strengthens national security, enhances global partnerships and powers economic growth. The premise of the program is built on the US services and those of our allies buying these aircraft in large number to leverage economies of scale, both in production and sustainment.
Today, the three US Services and our allies are flying more than 615 aircraft operating from 27 locations around the world. The program is beginning to reach maturity and warrants continued support and investment to keep our fighter fleets relevant for decades to come.

It is critical that the DoD and our allies stay the course and invest in the readiness, rate and relevance of the F-35 and F135 propulsion system. Global threats continue to rise. This requires that we continue to advance our 5th generation F-35 fleet through proper investment. Today, the procurement of the F-35 is below the cost of any new 4th generation tactical fighter. The F-35 industrial base of more than 1,800 suppliers and more than 254,000 direct and indirect jobs across the country is ready to continue the ramp to full rate production (80As, 24Bs, and 30Cs), while maintaining focus on driving down sustainment costs across the enterprise.
Last December, in the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act, Congress appropriated $9.6 billion for purchase of 96 F-35s (60As, 10Bs, and 26Cs). We are concerned that any cuts in the Fiscal Year 2022 will leave the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps with a capability gap that legacy aircraft or new variants thereof cannot fulfill, while also reducing the enterprise’s ability to continue cost reduction activities at the planned rates, ultimately adding unnecessary life cycle cost into the system.
The F-35 is a great deterrent for the near peer threats of China and Russia; and as such, we urge the committees to support readiness (sustainment), rate (production ramp) and relevance (modernization) for both the airframe (F-35) and the propulsion system (F135).

Relevance (Modernization): Support robust investment for continued capability enhancements for the air vehicle and engine to meet the evolving threats. This may require additional funds to restore previous funding reductions and to address performance challenges to support the integration of new weapons and critical capabilities necessary to keep the F-35 ahead of our adversaries. Invest in propulsion growth to ensure the capabilities of the F135 (thrust, fuel efficiency, power and thermal management) are commensurate with the air vehicle and weapons systems requirements.

Readiness (Sustainment): Support funding to increase readiness and aircraft availability, help drive out sustainment costs, and increase repair capacity across the F-35 enterprise, including the air vehicle and engine. Current forecasts predict that the organic depots may only be able to meet approximately 42% of the required repair capacity. Options exist to make up for this capacity shortfall including additional funding in Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) repair capacity, as well as expansion of existing Engine Repair Facilities (ERFs) to supplement the maintenance and repair capacity of organic depots. As such, we would urge the committees to consider additional funding for OEM and ERF maintenance and repair capacity.
Further, additional funding is required for the F-35 test system spares and the F135 propulsion system spares, in order to adequately support the USG depot component repair capabilities and the F135 engine availability. The reliability of the depot repair throughput and F-35/F135 mission availability are at risk without these critical spares.
In addition, adequate investments in the Reliability and Maintainability Improvement Program (RMIP) and Component Improvement Program (CIP) will not only increase readiness but also bring costs down over the life of the program – the F-35 RMIP program has been dramatically under-funded compared to legacy platforms. Investments in the F135 CIP are critical to maintaining flight safety and improving system operational readiness while reducing life cycle cost. Historically, investments in RMIP and CIP have yielded greater than a 7:1 return on investment.
Lastly, we believe that an F-35 long-term, outcome-based sustainment contract will guarantee performance metrics at a fixed-price — a win-win for our men and women in uniform and the American taxpayers.

Rate (Production): Support the budget request and any service unfunded requirements to incrementally fund a production ramp toward full rate production (80As, 24Bs, and 30Cs) as well as initial spare parts and spare engines.

Thank you for your continued support of the F-35 program and for your leadership on defense and national security issues.
FY22 F-35 Request Signatories
1. Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01) 2. Rep. Marc A. Veasey (TX 3. Rep. Michael R. Turner (OH-10)
4. Rep. Chris Stewart (UT-02) 5. Rep. Colin Z. Allred (TX-32) 6. Rep. Don Bacon (NE-02)
7. Rep. James R. Baird (IN-04) 8. Rep. Jim Banks (IN-03) 9. Rep. Andy Barr (KY-06)
10. Rep. Cliff Bentz (OR-02) 11. Rep. Jack Bergman (MI-01) 12. Rep. Stephanie I. Bice (OK-05)
13. Rep. Gus M. Bilirakis (FL-12) 14. Rep. Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02) 15. Rep. Mike Bost (IL-12)
16. Rep. Kevin Brady (TX-08) 17. Rep. Anthony G. Brown (MD-04) 18. Rep. Julia Brownley (CA-26)
19. Rep. Larry Bucshon, M.D. (IN-08) 20. Rep. Cheri Bustos (IL-17) 21. Rep. G.K. Butterfield (NC-01)
22. Rep. Kat Cammack (FL-03) 23. Rep. Tony Cárdenas (CA-29) 24. Rep. Jerry L. Carl (AL-01)
25. Rep. André Carson (IN-07) 26. Rep. Earl L. "Buddy" Carter (GA-01) 27. Rep. Steve Chabot (OH-01)
28. Rep. Andrew S. Clyde (GA-9) 29. Rep. Joe Courtney (CT-02) 30. Rep. John R. Curtis (UT-03)
31. Rep. Sharice Davids (KS-03) 32. Rep. Val Butler Demings (FL-10) 33. Rep. Michael F. Doyle (PA-18)
34. Rep. Neal P. Dunn, M.D. (FL-02) 35. Rep. Tom Emmer (MN-06) 36. Rep. Veronica Escobar (TX-16)
37. Rep. Ron Estes (KS-04) 38. Rep. Pat Fallon (TX-04) 39. Rep. A. Drew Ferguson IV (GA-03)
40. Rep. Brian K. Fitzpatrick (PA-01) 41. Rep. C. Scott Franklin (FL-15) 42. Rep. Matt Gaetz (FL-01)
43. Rep. Ruben Gallego (AZ-07) 44. Rep. Andrew R. Garbarino (NY-02) 45. Rep. Mike Garcia (CA-25)
46. Rep. Bob Gibbs (OH-07) 47. Rep. Jared F. Golden (ME-02) 48. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15)
49. Rep. Jenniffer González-Colón (PR) 50. Rep. Lance Gooden (TX-05) 51. Rep. Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04)
52. Rep. H. Morgan Griffith (VA-09) 53. Rep. Diana Harshbarger (TN-01) 54. Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (FL-20)
55. Rep. Jahana Hayes (CT-05) 56. Rep. Kevin Hern (OK-01) 57. Rep. Jody B. Hice (GA-10)
58. Rep. James A. Himes (CT-04) 59. Rep. Steven Horsford (NV-04) 60. Rep. Bill Huizenga (MI-02)
61. Rep. Ronny L. Jackson (TX-13) 62. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18) 63. Rep. Chris Jacobs (NY-27)
64. Rep. Bill Johnson (OH-06) 65. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30) 66. Rep. Henry C. "Hank" Johnson, Jr. (GA-04)
67. Rep. John Katko (NY-24) 68. Rep. Trent Kelly (MS-01) 69. Rep. Young Kim (CA-39)
70. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (IL-16) 71. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-02) 72. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08)
73. Rep. Anne McLane Kuster (NH-02) 74. Rep. Doug LaMalfa (CA-01) 75. Rep. Conor Lamb (PA-17)
76. Rep. Doug Lamborn (CO-05) 77. Rep Jake LaTurner (KS-02) 78. Rep. Al Lawson, Jr. (FL-05)
79. Rep. Debbie Lesko (AZ-08) 80. Rep. Mike Levin (CA-49) 81. Rep. Barry Loudermilk (GA-11)
82. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) 83. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11) 84. Rep. Brian J. Mast (FL-18)
85. Rep. Lucy McBath (GA-06) 86. Rep. Michael T. McCaul (TX-10) 87. Rep. Lisa C. McClain (MI-10)
88. Rep. A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) 89. Rep. Daniel Meuser (PA-09) 90. Rep. Alexander Mooney (WV-02)
91. Rep. Barry Moore (AL-02) 92. Rep. Blake D. Moore (UT-01) 93. Rep. Markwayne Mullin (OK-02)
94. Rep. Gregory F. Murphy, M.D. (NC-03) 95. Rep. Richard E. Neal (MA-01) 96. Rep. Troy E. Nehls (TX-22)
97. Rep. Ralph Norman (SC-05) 98. Rep. Burgess Owens (UT-04) 99. Rep. Jimmy Panetta (CA-20)
100. Rep. Chris Pappas (NH-01) 101. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-09) 102. Rep. Greg Pence (IN-06)
103. Rep. Scott H. Peters (CA-52) 104. Rep. August Pfluger (TX-11) 105. Rep. Bill Posey (FL-08)
106. Rep. Kathleen M. Rice (NY-04) 107. Rep. David Rouzer (NC-07) 108. Rep. Bradley S. Schneider (IL-10)
109. Rep. David Schweikert (AZ-06) 110. Rep. Austin Scott (GA-08) 111. Rep. David Scott (GA-13)
112. Rep. Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (VA-03) 113. Rep. Pete Sessions (TX-17) 114. Rep. Terri A. Sewell (AL-07)
115. Rep. Brad Sherman (CA-30) 116. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI-08) 117. Rep. Christopher H. Smith (NJ-04)
118. Rep. Darren Soto (FL-09) 119. Rep. Greg Stanton (AZ-09) 120. Rep. Pete Stauber (MN-08)
121. Rep. Haley M. Stevens (MI-11) 122. Rep. Claudia Tenney (NY-22) 123. Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (PA-15)
124. Rep. William R. Timmons, IV (SC-04) 125. Rep. Jefferson Van Drew (NJ-02) 126. Rep. Juan Vargas (CA-51)
127. Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) 128. Rep. Brad R. Wenstrup (OH-02) 129. Rep. Bruce Westerman (AR-04)
130. Rep. Roger Williams (TX-25) 131. Rep. Joe Wilson (SC-02) 132. Rep. Don Young (AK-At Large)

IAM supports the F-35. 8)
https://www.goiam.org/news/machinists-u ... 5-program/
Machinists Union Advocacy Grows Bipartisan Support for F-35 ProgramI
May 6, 2021
The IAM’s advocacy on Capitol Hill is paying dividends with growing bipartisan support for the F-35 program, which is proudly built by Machinists Union members. As Congress begins consideration of their Fiscal Year 2022 defense authorization and spending bills, the Machinists Union is working to ensure that Congress continues their investment in this vitally important defense program.
A bipartisan group of 132 House Representatives and 20 U.S. Senators recently penned their support of the F-35 program to House and Senate heads of the Appropriations and Armed Services committees.
IAM members work up and down the supply chain to build the F-35, which strengthens national security, enhances global partnerships and powers economic growth.

The IAM and allies in Congress are emphasizing the critical need to maintain course towards the F-35’s full rate of production and an increased investment in modernization and sustainment in order to improve readiness and repair capacity as the program continues to grow.
“Machinists Union members take great pride in building the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter for three U.S. military services,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “The F-35 program creates a powerful economic impact for our nation and it produces a game-changing aircraft that keeps our fighter pilots safe. Now is the time to invest in the best air-to-air fighter by ramping up the production line to reduce unit costs and continue to handle the world’s current and emerging threats.”
The F-35 industrial base consists of more than 1,800 suppliers and more than 254,000 direct and indirect jobs across the country.
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Unread post04 Jun 2021, 16:06

Air Force secretary, Frank Kendall changed had a change of mind and supports the F-35. :shock: (!?) :doh:
https://insidedefense.com/insider/kenda ... ning-costs
Kendall: Steady F-35 procurement key to containing costs
By Courtney Albon / May 25, 2021
The Biden administration's nominee to serve as Air Force secretary, Frank Kendall, told lawmakers today that one of the Defense Department's best options for reducing F-35 sustainment costs is to continue to buy the aircraft in sufficient quantities.
"The key to keeping the cost down in an air fleet is getting the numbers up," Kendall said during his nomination hearing today before the Senate Armed Services Committee. "There's a very strong correlation between the size of the fleet and the cost to sustain that fleet. So, if there were one thing that I think will drive costs down overall, it's continue to buy."

Kendall's comments come as some prominent House lawmakers have challenged the notion that the Defense Department should buy more aircraft while the program continues to face development challenges and long-term sustainment costs loom large. Most notably, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) called the program "a rathole" and set the stage for a debate over whether Congress and the Pentagon should "cut our losses" on the program.
The department is also in the midst of a broader review of the tactical aircraft portfolio, and the Air Force has its own review that will consider, among a number of variables, how many F-35s it should ultimately buy. That work isn't expected to have a significant impact on the service's fiscal year 2022 budget request.

However, the Pentagon's acting acquisition chief Stacy Cummings has indicated the department is prioritizing modernization over procurement, arguing at a recent Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that it may not be in DOD's best interest to buy older Block 3F jets that will eventually have to be modernized to the Block 4 configuration.
"Accelerating or increasing procurement quantities of Block 3F variants is counterproductive and wastes scarce resources as such planes will need to be pulled from the flight line and retrofitted when Block 4 capabilities deliver," she said.

Kendall noted today that while there has been a long-running discussion about the total F-35 requirement to buy 2,443 aircraft across the Army, Navy and Air Force, DOD is far from reaching that target and has more pressing issues to address.
"I know there's an issue with the total number that's been on the table for some years, what the requirement is," he said. "My own view is that at this point in time is that we're well short of that number, and . . . what we should really be working on most is getting the cost down and keeping the procurement at a rate that makes sense."

https://thehill.com/policy/defense/5553 ... 35-program
Air Force secretary nominee threads needle on future of F-35 program
BY REBECCA KHEEL - 05/25/21
President Biden’s nominee to lead the Air Force on Tuesday walked a fine line on the future of the F-35 fighter jet program, expressing concern about sustainment costs and future upgrades but also calling the jet the “best tactical aircraft of its type in the world.”
“The F-35 is the best tactical aircraft of its type in the world and will be so for quite some time,” Frank Kendall, the Air Force secretary nominee, said at his Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing. “It's a complex, expensive weapon, unfortunately, but it is a dominant weapon when it goes up against earlier-generation aircraft.”
Kendall previously served in the Pentagon as its top weapons buyer during the Obama administration.
In that job, Kendall had some harsh words for the F-35 program, saying in 2012 that the decision to put it into production before flight tests was “acquisition malpractice.” However, later on in his tenure in 2016, Kendall said there had been “continuing progress in all aspects” of the program.
Known as the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons system ever, the F-35 program is expected to cost $1.7 trillion over its lifetime, and flying one right now costs $36,000 per hour.

The program has been plagued by a host of cost overruns and technological issues, and as of January, just 69 percent of the completed jets can meet at least one assigned mission, far below the military’s 80 percent goal.
Earlier this year, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) said he wants to “stop throwing money down that particular rathole,” raising the prospect of political fights over whether to make cuts to the program in this year’s defense budget.
Since Smith’s comments, Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member James Inhofe (R-Okla.) has been pushing those who appear before his panel to voice support for the program.
“It’s had problems, but there is no other aircraft that offers that capability and capacity of the F-35. Now, at least, that's what we hear from the people who fly them,” Inhofe said Tuesday.
Kendall told Inhofe he believes the Air Force needs an “affordable mix” of aircraft to meet the National Defense Strategy but also suggested he believes buying more F-35s will help drive down sustainment costs.

“I have a long history with the F-35. It has struggled, certainly, and since I left government four years ago, I understand the sustainment costs are a concern,” he said.
“Also, there is concern with the upgrade to the most recent version, and it's having trouble there, which I've heard about through press accounts only and I'll have to take a look at if I'm confirmed,” he added. “The key to keeping the cost down in an air fleet is getting the numbers up. There's a very strong correlation between the size of the fleet and the cost to sustain that fleet.”
Meanwhile, Kendall pledged to senators he would work to end Turkey’s manufacturing of parts of the F-35.
The Pentagon formally kicked Turkey out of the F-35 program in 2019 over Ankara’s purchase of a Russian air defense system. But the department still plans to continue buying some parts for the jet from Turkey through 2022 in order to avoid costs from ending those contracts early.
“Under the current situation with Turkey, I think we should not be building F-35 parts in Turkey,” Kendall said, also answering in the affirmative when pressed by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) whether he would work to end that practice “as soon as possible.”


https://breakingdefense.com/2021/05/buy ... e-kendall/
Buy Big F-35 Fleet To Lower Program Costs: SecAF Nominee Kendall
"I know there's an issue with the total number that's been on the table for some years," Frank Kendall said. "What we should really be working on most is getting the cost down and keeping the procurement at a rate that makes sense."
By PAUL MCLEARY on May 25, 2021
WASHINGTON: The likely Secretary of the Air Force today suggested that continuing to buy more F-35s is the best way to keep overall program costs down.
“The key to keeping the cost down in an air fleet is getting the numbers up,” Frank Kendall told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “There’s a very strong correlation between the size of the fleet and the cost to sustain that fleet. So, if there were one thing that I think will drive costs down overall, it’s continue to buy.”
Kendall’s comments come as the Pentagon and Air Force are studying how many F-35s to buy, as the Biden administration tries to modernize across the services in the face of rapid Chinese military modernization, and flat defense budgets at home.
There have been rumblings for some time that the department might lower the total F-35 requirement below current plans for 2,443 aircraft across the Air Force, Navy and Marines Air Force as costs to build and sustain the fleet are already straining budgets.
“I know there’s an issue with the total number that’s been on the table for some years, what the requirement is,” Kendall acknowledged. “What we should really be working on most is getting the cost down and keeping the procurement at a rate that makes sense.”

While the Pentagon may be reconsidering the size of the F-35 fleet, it’s not at all clear if Congress would support fewer planes.
SASC Ranking Member Sen. Jim Inhofe said during the hearing that the year 2025 is “when our combatant commanders tell us the Chinese will have more fifth-generation stealth fighters on the frontline than we do. Our days of airpower dominance are long gone. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
While he wouldn’t acknowledge what the procurement rate might be, Acting Pentagon acquisition chief Stacy Cummings told senators last month that the Pentagon is looking at “modernizing” the F-35s it already has, as opposed to ramping up its scheduled buys of new planes.
“The department currently prioritizes modernization over accelerating production and delivering an aircraft that maintains dominance across its service life has always been the focus of the program,” Cummings said.
The huge cost of sustaining the fleet has been weighing heavily on military leaders.

“I see cost as the program’s greatest enemy,” Lt. Gen. Eric Fick, F-35 program manager, at the McAleese and Associates annual conference earlier this month. “I see high costs as an existential threat to the F-35 as an enterprise.” To be clear, he was not talking about the so-called fly-away cost, the cost per aircraft. He was talking about the overall costs of the program.
Some of those costs are associated with the problematic Technology Refresh 3, which is holding up the move to Block 4 capabilities like software upgrades. “Now we have a cost overrun and we’ve got some schedule slips on TR3,” Fick said. “As a result of the cost overrun driven by TR3, we’ve had to slow development and, in some cases, stopped development on some of those Block 4 capabilities.”
A recent Government Accountability Office report found that estimated sustainment cost estimates have remained above an estimated $1.1 trillion over the plane’s estimated 66-year lifecycle. “The services,” the GAO said, “will collectively be confronted with tens of billions of dollars in sustainment costs that they project as unaffordable during the program.”
Kendall supported the program overall, saying “the F-35 is the best tactical aircraft of its type in the world and will be so for quite some time. It’s a complex, expensive weapon, unfortunately, but it is a dominant weapon when it goes up against earlier-generation aircraft.”
That support was tempered somewhat by his call for an “affordable mix” of 4th and 5th generation aircraft going into the future “that meets our needs as driven by the National Defense Strategy — that’s what should guide those investments.”

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/20 ... d-f-35-pr/
'Continue to buy': Air Force secretary nominee backs troubled F-35 program despite growing backlash
By Ben Wolfgang - The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 26, 2021
President Biden’s nominee to lead the Air Force said Tuesday that the best way to combat cost overruns with the troubled F-35 fighter jet program is to “continue to buy” more of them, setting up a potential clash with lawmakers who are deeply frustrated with the aircraft and its rising price tag.
Frank Kendall III, who previously has held numerous positions inside the Pentagon, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that the F-35 is a “dominant weapon” and strongly suggested that he opposes a growing movement on Capitol Hill to slash funding for the program.

The $1.7 trillion F-35 initiative is designed to replace a number of legacy aircraft across the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy over the coming years.
“The F-35 is the best tactical aircraft of its type in the world and will be so for quite some time. It’s a complex, expensive weapon, unfortunately, but it is a dominant weapon when it goes up against earlier-generation aircraft,” Mr. Kendall said at his confirmation hearing before the Senate panel.

Pressed on higher-than-expected prices and lengthy production delays, he argued that the Defense Department’s best option to lower staggering maintenance and upkeep costs is to buy more F-35s.
“The key to keeping the cost down in an air fleet is getting the numbers up,” he said. “There’s a very strong correlation between the size of the fleet and the cost to sustain the fleet. If there were one thing that I would think would drive cost down overall, it’s continue to buy.”

The Pentagon had planned to ultimately purchase as many as 2,500 planes from Lockheed Martin over the coming decades, though that number could change.
As of last month, there were about 400 F-35s in the air, according to Pentagon officials. That figure includes planes in the American military and partner nations that also have invested heavily in the aircraft.

Mr. Kendall’s strong backing of the F-35 puts him on a collision course with prominent lawmakers. Earlier this year, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Smith, Washington Democrat, said the F-35 has become a “rat hole” of endless spending, and that it’s time to move on to other projects.
Other lawmakers have warned that after this year, Congress is prepared to pull the plug on F-35 funding.

“Don’t expect more money. Do not expect to have more planes purchased than authorized in the president’s budget [this year]. That’s not going to happen,” Rep. John Garamendi, California Democrat, said at a House hearing last month.
Still, the program has many vocal defenders on Capitol Hill.

“The F-35, I believe, is the most capable and cost-effective aircraft that’s available out there today,” Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee, said at Tuesday’s hearing. “It has had its problems, but there is no other aircraft that offers the capability and capacity of the F-35 — at least that’s what we hear from the people who fly them.”
It’s billed as a fighter plane, but the F-35 also can handle surveillance and reconnaissance missions, provide close air support, take on enemy aircraft in the sky, conduct electronic warfare, and undertake a host of other tasks that make it a far more technologically advanced plane than virtually anything else in the world today.

https://defensecommunities.org/2021/05/ ... secretary/
Kendall Gives Measured Support of F-35 at Hearing to Become Air Force Secretary
by ADC | May 25, 2021 | Congress/DoD, On Base
The military is “people first and foremost,” Frank Kendall told senators Tuesday at his confirmation hearing to become Air Force secretary.
“We have to do everything we can to ensure that our people have the training, the equipment and the support they need to do their jobs, and we have to ensure that they can do those jobs in an environment that treats everyone with dignity and respect and maximizes their potential to grow and serve the nation,” Kendall said.
The committee’s ranking Republican, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), asked Kendall – the former chief weapons buyer at the Pentagon – about the future of the F-35 fighter, which Kendall had once called “acquisition malpractice.”
He told Inhofe Tuesday the “F-35 is the best tactical aircraft of its type in the world and will be so for quite some time. It’s a complex, expensive weapon, unfortunately. But it is a dominant weapon when it goes up against earlier generation aircraft.”
Inhofe supports keeping a robust F-35 fleet, while House Armed Services Committee Chair Adam Smith (D-Wash.) has advocated cutting back on the costly program. Friday’s budget release will shed more light on which way the Pentagon is leaning.

Defense Contract Management Agency photo by Misha King

https://www.defenseone.com/policy/2021/ ... ys/174290/
US Air Force Will Cut Turkey from F-35 Production, Kendall Says
The service secretary nominee also signals he’s not in favor of reducing U.S. F-35 purchases.
MAY 26, 2021 TARA COPP Senior Pentagon Reporter, Defense One
The United States will press forward with ending Turkey’s role in producing parts for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Air Force secretary nominee Frank Kendall said at his Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday.
Turkey was officially kicked out of the F-35 program in 2019 under the Trump administration for agreeing to purchase Russia’s S-400 air defense system in 2017. U.S. officials had repeatedly warned the purchase would jeopardize Turkey’s role in the multinational fighter program because operating both systems could expose F-35 vulnerabilities to Russia.
The Biden administration had renewed efforts to try and get Turkey to reverse course as recently as this March, but Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told Secretary of State Anthony Blinken the purchase was a “done deal,” Voice of America reported.
Turkey is also banned from obtaining any of the fighters it had previously ordered.

“Under the current situation with Turkey, I think we should not be making F-35 parts in Turkey,” Kendall said, telling Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., that if confirmed he would see that the production is halted as soon as possible.
Turkey is a member of NATO, and the potential integration of the S-400 platform into the alliance’s defense architecture had concerned other member countries.
The U.S. is scheduled to halt manufacturing in Turkey for F-35 engine and fuselage components in 2022.
During the hearing, lawmakers pressed Kendall on many other aspects of the F-35 program. The fighter’s rising sustainment costs and recent upgrade challenges have driven a renewed debate as to whether the total buy should be curtailed.

Kendall, who previously served as the acquisition undersecretary in the Obama administration, hinted he is not in favor of a cut to F-35 procurement, even though the Air Force is in the middle of a tactical fighter study to determine if a different fleet makeup that relied on additional 4th-generation fighters might better meet their needs.
“The key to keeping the costs down in an airfleet is getting the numbers up,” Kendall said. “There’s a very strong correlation between the size of the fleet and the cost to sustain that fleet. So if there were one thing that I think would drive costs down, it’s continuing to buy. I know there’s an issue with the total number, it’s been on the table for some years,” Kendall said. “My own view is we’re a little short of that number.”
Kendall acknowledged the challenges ahead for either recapitalizing or replacing the E4-B 747 “doomsday” nuclear command and control aircraft that are nearing the end of their useful life, and said he will refocus on how to bridge the service’s 2,000-pilot shortage.
The committee also considered the nominations of Heidi Shyu to serve as the undersecretary of defense for research and engineering and Susanna Blume to be director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation at the Pentagon.
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Unread post04 Jun 2021, 16:08

Governors of U.S. states that represent both political parties, supports the F-35. 8)
https://www.reuters.com/business/aerosp ... 021-05-27/
U.S. state governors urge Biden to support Lockheed’s F-35 jet
Mike Stone May 28, 2021
Governors of U.S. states that represent both political parties have written letters to President Joe Biden supporting the purchase of F-35 jets made by Lockheed Martin Co (LMT.N).
Biden's $753 billion national security budget request, expected by Congress on Friday, will boost research and development spending to prepare for future warfare.

The separate letters, seen by Reuters, were penned by four Democrats and one Republican and point out that the jet is made in 48 states and Puerto Rico, and is responsible for more than 254,000 direct and indirect jobs.
The stealthy jet is the most expensive Pentagon weapons program that will cost over $1.7 trillion over its multi-decade expected service life.

Earlier this month, Senators from both parties wrote letters to the heads of the Appropriations and Armed Services committees supporting the purchase of the jets.
At a Senate hearing on Tuesday, Frank Kendall, Biden's nominee for Secretary of the Air Force, said "the key to keeping the cost down in an air fleet is getting the numbers up. There is a strong correlation between the size of the fleet and the cost of the fleet. In my view we should get the cost down and keep the procurement at a rate that makes sense."

Biden's 2022 budget will request 85 of the jets for the U.S. armed services, with 48 going to the U.S. Air Force, people familiar with the requests say. The jets would be delivered in 2024.
Lockheed plans to deliver between 133 and 139 of the jets this year to both U.S. and international customers and partners.
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Unread post04 Jun 2021, 16:10

The Air Force tops give priority to the F-35. 8)
https://www.477fg.afrc.af.mil/News/Arti ... -congress/
Roth, Brown, Raymond present Air, Space Forces priorities to Congress
By Charles Pope, Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs / Published May 07, 2021

Answers by Roth, Brown and Raymond throughout the hearing reflected the Department’s overarching priorities. The practices and priorities, they said, include a mixture of imperatives such as modernizing the nation’s air and land-based nuclear deterrent, ensuring continued “air superiority,” nurturing strong and capable leaders, and continuing to lock arms with allies and partners.
It means continuing to rollout F-35 (Lightning II) aircraft into the fleet. The F-35, according to Air Force senior leaders, “is the cornerstone of our future fighter force and air superiority.” It means continuing to introduce the KC-46 (Pegasus) into the fleet, while also continuing to revamp the service’s “career field” categories to match personnel and leadership philosophies to the needs of national security and modern warfare.
They also said it requires a new focus, fresh thinking and speed.
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Unread post25 Jun 2021, 19:25

IAM is working hard. :salute:
https://breakingdefense.com/2021/06/mac ... itol-hill/
Machinists Union Presses F-35 Jobs Campaign On Capitol Hill
"We've been applying pressure to members of Congress to make sure that this program is adequately funded," Hasan Solomon, IAM's political and legislative director, said of the union's campaign to support the F-35.
By THERESA HITCHENS on June 11, 2021
FORT WORTH: In the immortal words of the inestimable Tip O’Neill, “all politics is local.” That is never more true than with major weapons programs, with US defense primes traditionally sprinkling facilities and the jobs that come with them across as many of the 50 states as possible. And it is true in spades with DoD’s most expensive current program, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter — which has suppliers in 45 states and Puerto Rico, according to prime contractor Lockheed Martin.
In that tradition, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) has launched a full-court lobbying campaign to shore up wavering congressional support for the long-troubled program.
“The Machinist Union will use every political and legislative legislative tool at its disposal to make sure this program is a continued success. Now when we talk about ‘make something in America,’ when we talk about ‘Build Back Better’ with this administration, the F-35 program is an example of that,” Hasan Solomon, IAM political and legislative director, said during a briefing here.
He said that while Lockheed Martin is under “a lot of pressure” to keep costs down, “as the Machinists Union, as a representative of workers, we’re not under that pressure — we apply pressure. And we’ve been applying pressure to members of Congress to make sure that this program is adequately funded. We tell them point blank: ‘You can’t say that you support veterans,’ and then you don’t support their jobs, those good jobs here at Lockheed.”

The head of the union, Robert Martinez, issued a statement provided to reporters here at Lockheed Martin’s F-35 production facility making clear how much that map can mean:
“The F-35 program supports more than 250,000 direct and indirect jobs at nearly 2,000 suppliers nationwide. Continued investment in the F-35 program, and the Machinists Union families and communities who make it all possible, is an investment in not only our national security, but our economic security as well.”
The interesting twist, however, is that as a labor union, the group arguably has more clout than any one defense company, no matter how big, or even the defense industry as a whole, with progressive Democrats — who have been pushing strongly to slash the F-35’s trillion dollar budget to fund a broad domestic agenda.
This year, they have more sympathy among their congressional colleagues than ever, with key Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) who have blasted the JSF’s astronomical operations and sustainment costs. HASC Chair Rep. Adam Smith is himself no fan of the F-35 program, which he has called a “rat hole” for taxpayer dollars.

The congressional queasiness over the JSF’s estimated $1.2 trillion lifetime sustainment costs is also being felt by the Air Force. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown has intimated that the service’s ongoing study of its tactical aircraft fleet may reduce the service’s currently planned purchase of 1,763 fighters — re-optimizing the F-35 fleet to take on high-end adversary threats while a new F-16 successor fills in for other missions.
The IAM hopes to press home to Democratic leaders that there is political peril in cutting back the F-35. It includes a large number of union jobs, and high-paying ones at that, in a number of states — such as Texas and Georgia — where Dems are working hard to gain or keep legislative footholds. Martinez pointed out in his letter that there are “more than 55,000 direct and indirect jobs at 111 suppliers” in Texas alone.
Union reps are realistic about the fact that it looks uncertain that Congress will boost DoD’s $12 billion 2022 budget request to buy 85 F-35 JSF aircraft. The Air Force accounts for the bulk of the procurement plan with 48 jets at $4.5 billion. But even the Air Force has given up that ghost, leaving out its traditional yearly call for more F-35As in this year’s unfunded priorities list.
IAM’s goal is to protect the planned Pentagon total buy of 2,456 aircraft for the Air Force, Navy and Marines, and to speed up the ramp to full-rate production. And to that end they’ve been spending a lot of time on Capitol Hill, including with House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi, to point out that in a mid-term election — when the party holding the White House often loses ground in Congress — keeping union workers sweet is a must.

For example, IAM back in March helped to circulate and urge lawmakers to sign the April 28 letter of support for the program by the bipartisan House F-35 Caucus, led by Democrat Rep. John Larson and Republican Rep. Mike Turner.
The group also is echoing the sentiment expressed by the Biden administration’s nominee for Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall in his Senate confirmation hearing last month that buying more F-35s, not less, is one way to drop the per-plane costs of the JSF. Kendall’s nomination was approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday.
“You can’t say that you want to lower costs, but you want to cut back to production,” Solomon said.
Lockheed’s new F-35 program manager, Bridget Lauderdale, told reporters yesterday that the company expects to roll out between 133 and 139 JSFs this year. How that rate ramps up, however, she said is up to DoD’s Joint Program Office (JPO) led by Lt. Gen. Eric Fick. And his decision is based on service customer desires.

She noted that even if the Air Force slows its acquisition plans the company intends to continue its push to reduce costs of the jet to “as low as we can take it.” (The current price tag is about $80 million per plane.) This will be enabled in part by strong demand from foreign militaries that will keep quantities up, she explained.
“In terms of US costs, it is dependent on the quantities,” she said, “but with the interest internationally, we believe there will be a strong demand that will allow us to continue to keep moving forward at the kind of quantities we’re talking about.”
Lauderdale said that despite the current turmoil in the US program, there has been no slacking of international interest in buying F-35s. She noted that Lockheed feels pretty confident about the ongoing competitions in Canada, Finland and Switzerland, and that are other countries expressing interest. (While Lauderdale didn’t mention specific examples, Greek defense officials last year made clear their interest in F-35 as part of a planned build up in the country’s air forces.)
“We really haven’t seen any sort of diminishing interest,” she said. “In fact, as the jet performs” Lockheed Martin is “seeing a stronger conviction” about the value of the F-35. In particular, she noted, European allies participating in recent exercises that have showed off the jet’s capabilities, especially in allowing allies and the US to interoperate more smoothly, are ever more impressed with its performance.

Such exercises include the June 7-15 Falcon Strike exercise, hosted by Italy this year, which includes US Air Force F-35As and Marine Corps F-35Bs, UK Royal Air Force F-35Bs, and Italian F-35A and B aircraft, according to a press release from the Air Force 31st Fighter Wing. (The annual exercise also involves Israel.)
“So, I would say the airplane is doing its job and selling itself in terms of its capabilities,” Lauderdale said. “So the more of them we can see out in the field, and the more the warfighting community experiences that, we continue to see strong, strong support.”
With only two months on the job, however, Lauderdale has not yet had any meetings with lawmakers (including Smith) to press Lockheed Martin’s case — although of course the company has an active legislative affairs office at its Bethesda, Maryland headquarters. In answer to my question about what she would say to Smith to help convince him that the F-35 program is worthy, she echoed the company’s high-level talking points.
“We appreciate every opportunity we have to engage with the chairman and bring the facts and data around the performance of the airplane, the affordability of the airplane, the availability of the airplane — and I have confidence in those dialogues that we’re bringing forward the best information to inform perspectives for decisions going forward,” she said.
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Unread post25 Jun 2021, 19:27

Kendaaaaall. 8)
https://thehill.com/policy/defense/over ... minee?rl=1
Senate panel advances Air Force secretary nominee
BY REBECCA KHEEL - 06/10/21
The Senate Armed Services Committee has advanced President Biden’s nominee to lead the Air Force.
The panel approved Frank Kendall to be Air Force secretary in a voice vote Thursday that also included six other Pentagon nominees, sending all seven to the Senate floor for approval.
Kendall previously served in the Pentagon as its top weapons buyer during the Obama administration.

In that job, Kendall had some harsh words for the F-35 fighter jet program, saying in 2012 that the decision to put it into production before flight tests was “acquisition malpractice.” However, later on in his tenure in 2016, Kendall said there had been “continuing progress in all aspects” of the program.
At his confirmation hearing to be Air Force secretary last month, Kendall walked a fine line on the F-35 program, expressing concern about sustainment costs and future upgrades but also calling the jet the “best tactical aircraft of its type in the world.”

“The F-35 is the best tactical aircraft of its type in the world and will be so for quite some time,” Kendall told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “It's a complex, expensive weapon, unfortunately, but it is a dominant weapon when it goes up against earlier-generation aircraft.”
Kendall also said he believes the Air Force needs an “affordable mix” of aircraft to meet the National Defense Strategy but further suggested he believes buying more F-35s will help drive down sustainment costs.

“I have a long history with the F-35. It has struggled, certainly, and since I left government four years ago, I understand the sustainment costs are a concern,” he said.
“Also, there is concern with the upgrade to the most recent version, and it's having trouble there, which I've heard about through press accounts only and I'll have to take a look at if I'm confirmed,” he added. “The key to keeping the cost down in an air fleet is getting the numbers up. There's a very strong correlation between the size of the fleet and the cost to sustain that fleet.”

In addition to Kendall, the Armed Services Committee on Thursday advanced Heidi Shyu to be under secretary of Defense for research and engineering; Susanna Blume to be director of the cost assessment and program evaluation office; Jill Hruby to be administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA); Frank Rose to be NNSA’s principal deputy administrator; Deborah Rosenblum to be assistant secretary of Defense for nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs; and Christopher Maier to be assistant secretary of Defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict.

:doh:
https://insidedefense.com/daily-news/se ... ing-center
Senators holding Kendall nomination over defense contractor ties and F-35 training center decision
By Tony Bertuca / June 24, 2021
Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Gary Peters (D-MI) and Mike Lee (R-UT) are holding the nomination of former Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall to become Air Force secretary, according to sources close to the matter. Warren's office declined to comment, while Peters' and Lee's offices did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Sources said Warren is holding Kendall's nomination in a bid to extract additional ethics and recusal pledges from him, while Peters is unhappy with a recent Air Force...
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Unread post25 Jun 2021, 19:28

Increase the number of F-35s? :devil:
https://www.spaceforce.mil/News/Article ... al-hearin/
Air, Space Forces leaders discuss, defend budget requests in congressional hearings
By Charles Pope, Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs / Published June 17, 2021
WASHINGTON (AFNS) --
With a couple of notable exceptions, House and Senate lawmakers on a pair of influential committees expressed general agreement June 16 and 17 with the Air and Space Forces’ strategic priorities and budget choices as well as the services’ plans for confronting modern-day challenges and threats.
Across two days of hearings before the House Armed Services Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee, Acting Secretary of the Air Force John P. Roth, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., and Chief of Space Operations Gen. John “Jay” Raymond laid out both the near term and longer range budget and operational plans.


The most frequent complaint was about problems continuing to slow the full use of KC-46 Pegasus tankers and the sustainment costs of the F-35 Lightning II fifth-generation fighter. Three times during the House hearing, the leaders were asked if the contract for the KC-46 should be rebid.
Roth responded each time that an Air Force analysis has concluded it is both more cost effective and faster to continue working with the primary contractor, Boeing Co., to resolve the problems than to start over.

Similar questions were asked both days about the cost of maintaining F-35s and how to increase the plane’s “mission capable” rate. Brown said addressing those issues is a high priority, noting that the F-35 “is the cornerstone of our fighter fleet” and the aircraft’s mission capable rate is currently “on par with the rest of our fighter fleet.”
He said there are continuous discussions with the contractor to find ways to drive maintenance costs down while also ensuring there are enough maintainers – with the proper training and certification – to service the aircraft.
Roth noted to House lawmakers the cost will also come down as more planes are added to the fleet.
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doge

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Unread post07 Jul 2021, 14:09

kendaaaaaaalls article. 8)
https://www.airforcemag.com/why-frank-k ... s-on-hold/
Why Frank Kendall’s Nomination to be Air Force Secretary Remains on Hold
July 1, 2021 | By Abraham Mahshie
Michigan Democratic Sen. Gary Peters is holding up Frank Kendall’s nomination for Air Force Secretary over the Pentagon’s decision to award the F-35 international training center to Arkansas’s Ebbing Air National Guard Base, Air Force Magazine has learned.
Michigan’s Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Township possessed “superior qualifications” in the bid, a Peters spokesperson told Air Force Magazine on July 1 in response to inquiries as to why Peters, along with Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren and Utah Republican Mike Lee, have put holds on the nomination vote.

Warren has yet to respond to a request for comment, and Lee’s office declined to confirm or deny that a hold was in place.
“Senator Peters wants—and Michigan deserves—additional information and data from the Air Force and the Department of Defense regarding its process surrounding the recent F-35 international training center decision,” the Peters spokesperson said.

At Kendall’s May 25 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Peters sought a commitment from the nominee for a fair and transparent selection process, should he be confirmed before the Air Force decision was made.
“Its location clearly exceeds all of the mission requirements,” Peters told Kendall, highlighting the existing infrastructure, runway length, and number of aircraft shelters.

“Michigan hosts the largest contiguous joint overland service range airspace complex east of the Mississippi River,” Peters added. “In addition, the folks on the ground in Macomb County have been enthusiastic hosts of this base for over 100 years.”
The Air Force announced June 3 that Ebbing Air National Guard base in Fort Smith, Ark., would be the preferred location for the F-35 Lightning II training center.

The training center initiative stems from a request by allies for a U.S.-based F-16 and F-35 training center.
In testimony, Peters said Singapore would train its F-16 and F-35 pilots there, while F-35 pilots from Finland, Poland, and Switzerland would also use the base. Meanwhile, the Swiss government announced June 30 a $5.5 billion award to Lockheed Martin to make the F-35A its preferred fighter aircraft.

Selfridge was chosen as an alternate location for the training center should Ebbing fail an environmental assessment study.
The Republic of Singapore’s F-16 Fighting Falcon training unit is currently based at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, but ramp and airspace capacity constraints do not allow an expansion.

The new training center will have a capacity for up to 36 fighter aircraft.
“The reasoning provided so far does not add up,” the Peters spokesperson said. “Senator Peters is fighting for Michigan and to get to the bottom of how and why the Air Force made this decision.”

The spokesperson did not immediately respond to a question as to when the senator might lift his hold and whether he intends to allow a vote before the August recess, which is slated for Aug. 9-Sept. 15.
In the meantime, John P. Roth, who has served more than 160 days as acting Air Force Secretary, will remain in that role. He is already the service’s fourth-longest-serving acting secretary and is three weeks away from becoming the longest-serving acting secretary since 1999.
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Unread post07 Jul 2021, 14:10

Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute writes an article in support of the F-35 at forbes. 8)
https://www.forbes.com/sites/lorenthomp ... o-operate/
Five Ways The Air Force’s F-35A Fighter Is Becoming More Affordable To Operate
Jun 25, 2021 Loren Thompson Senior Contributor
In the two decades since Lockheed Martin was awarded the contract to develop the F-35 fighter, the industrial team it formed has had to overcome many engineering challenges.
Each of the three variants—for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps—had to be nearly invisible to enemy radar.
They had to be not just better, but several times better, at accomplishing wartime missions than the fourth-generation fighters they were destined to replace.

They had to be easier to maintain and operate, even in austere combat conditions.
And they had to be affordable—preferably no more expensive to manufacture than the legacy planes previously populating the joint fleet.
No fighter program in history has been expected to reconcile so many divergent goals.

One by one, though, the goals have been met. All three versions of the fighter are as survivable as planned. All three are as lethal as planned. All three provide unprecedented situational awareness and versatility.
However, as risk was gradually retired, one problem persisted: the F-35 effort was so complicated and unusual that few people outside the program office understood it.
This problem, which afflicts many cutting-edge technology projects, has resulted in frequent controversies about program issues that either didn’t exist, or were greatly exaggerated.

The latest controversy is about what professionals call “sustainment”—the challenge of keeping the fighters in a high state of readiness once they are operational.
With hundreds of F-35s now delivered to three U.S. military services and a dozen overseas allies, it was inevitable that critics would shift their focus to sustainment.
And so they have: the Government Accountability Office (GAO) put out a report in April warning U.S. military services would be confronted with “tens of billions of dollars in sustainment costs that they project as unaffordable during the program.”

The data supporting that conclusion was already outdated by the time the report was published, and no allowances were made in the findings for the fact that F-35 will be far more effective at accomplishing missions than the fighters it will replace.
But the biggest defect in GAO’s report is that it presented a misleading picture of how the program is faring in meeting key sustainment objectives.
Just as the cost of building each F-35 has fallen faster than the government predicted in each new production lot, it is already out-performing legacy aircraft in many sustainment metrics.

What follows is data from five areas measuring aircraft reliability and maintainability, focusing on the Air Force’s F-35A variant—the variant that will make up 70% of the domestic production run and populate most allied air fleets.
The data clearly indicates F-35 is doing fine at meeting sustainment objectives.
I should mention that Lockheed Martin and several other companies engaged in producing F-35 contribute to my think tank.

Reliability surpasses requirements. The Air Force requires that the mean number of hours between failure of key components on F-35 should be no less than six hours; the actual performance of F-35A, the Air Force variant, is ten hours and improving. Similar performance above requirement is exhibited by the sea service variants. Over 90% of F-35 parts are proving to be more reliable than required, and a majority never fail at all despite the rigors of combat training.
A critical metric of reliability is the “break rate,” meaning the percentage of fighters that return from missions in a non-mission capable state. About 94% of F-35A sorties are completed with no breaks—by far the best performance of any Air Force fighter.

Cost per flight hour is declining steadily. Some critics decry the fact that it will likely cost about $33,000 per hour to operate an F-35A during the first year of the Biden administration. Lockheed has plans to get that number down, but it is worth noting that during the first year of the Trump administration, 2017, the fighter cost $47,000 to operate per flight hour.
At $33,000 per flight hour, F-35A only costs $10,000 more to operate than the much more mature F-16, a fighter that offers a fraction of the wartime effectiveness. F-35A is already in the range of most F-15 fighters in the fleet, which vary in cost per flight hour from $29,000 to $38,000.

Maintenance hours per flight hour are low. The F-35 was designed to be more maintainable than legacy fighters, and it is. The Air Force variant requires far fewer hours of maintenance per flight hour than the F-15 or F-16.
In fact, the number of maintenance hours per flight hour on legacy fighters is a multiple of what F-35A is demonstrating today. The Air Force’s stated requirement for F-35A is no more than nine hours and the actual is five hours, making it the most easily maintained tactical aircraft in the Air Force fleet.

F-35A outperforms other fighters in speed of fixes. All fighters require repairs, especially if training missions successfully mimic wartime conditions. A key metric of sustainability is whether fighters in need of repair can be fixed in a single eight-hour shift. F-35A has consistently outperformed all other Air Force fighters in achieving this goal, thereby speeding return of aircraft to the operational force.
It is worth noting that legacy fighters can often look more maintainable than they actually are in statistics, because their external pods are detached and repaired separately from the airframe and thus downtime is not fully assessed to the aircraft. That is not the case with F-35, where all components are integrated internally rather than being routinely removed for repairs.

Global network speeds support—and learning. Unlike in the case of legacy, fourth-generation fighters, the F-35A operates in a system where every operating and support site around the world continuously reports sustainment data. Lockheed Martin has spent $400 million over the last three years developing digital tools to exploit this data in order to anticipate needs and learn useful lessons.
For instance, mean time to repair F-35s is increased by its composite construction, which makes fixes more demanding than repairs of metal airframes. Using data collected from the global network, though, maintainers can learn ways of compressing the time required to cure composite fixes and thus accelerate the return of fighters to the force.
The bottom line is that F-35A, and the other variants being built for the sea services, are making good progress in becoming just as affordable at operations as they already are at being built.
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