F-35 Is Now the Air Force’s Second-largest Fighter Fleet

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spazsinbad

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Unread post08 May 2021, 08:43

F-35 Is Now the Air Force’s Second-largest Fighter Fleet
07 May 2021 Brian W. Everstine

"The F-35A fleet is now the second-largest in the Air Force’s inventory, behind the F-16, surpassing F-15s and A-10s.

There are now 283 Joint Strike Fighters in the Air Force’s arsenal, compared to 281 A-10s, 234 F-15C/Ds, and 218 F-15Es. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. told the House Appropriations defense subcommittee on May 7 the F-35 reached the milestone within the last week.... [more at jump]

...The F-35 has come under intense scrutiny from lawmakers recently. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Smith (D-Washington) called the Joint Strike Fighter a “rathole” during a March virtual event with the Brookings Institution, suggestion DOD leaders should consider cutting the overall buy. For years Congress has bought more F-35s than the Defense Department requested in its budgets, causing HASC readiness subcommittee chair Rep. John Garamendi (D-California) to cite “enormous concern” about the F-35 fighter’s sustainment, saying Congress may cut back on purchases of the jet to let the sustainment enterprise catch up."

Source: https://www.airforcemag.com/f-35-is-now ... ter-fleet/
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ricnunes

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Unread post08 May 2021, 16:41

Which only proves how absurd this level of criticism regarding the F-35 have become! :roll:

I do have a request for the US government/USAF:
- Please accelerate the B-21 and NGAD programs ASAP so that the media and politicians can focus on these programs instead (by spelling all sorts of criticism, some probably deserved other clearly not) and thus leave the criticism about the F-35 program behind which I'm personally sick and tired of reading/hearing about :roll:
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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Unread post09 May 2021, 14:54

ricnunes wrote:Which only proves how absurd this level of criticism regarding the F-35 have become! :roll:

I do have a request for the US government/USAF:
- Please accelerate the B-21 and NGAD programs ASAP so that the media and politicians can focus on these programs instead (by spelling all sorts of criticism, some probably deserved other clearly not) and thus leave the criticism about the F-35 program behind which I'm personally sick and tired of reading/hearing about :roll:


I like that idea! Honestly though, it makes me wonder if the media would really ease up on the F-35 and focus on these other programs. Tough to find fault with the need for the B-21, so they'll hopefully move on to NGAD. When NGAD "shoots down" aggressor F-35's though, prepare for another round of F35 bashing!
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Unread post10 May 2021, 02:45

USAF Officials Urge Congress to Allow for More Fleet Cuts, Reinvestment in New Systems
May 7, 2021 | By Brian W. Everstine


Top Department of the Air Force leaders told lawmakers May 7 they need to divest aging aircraft to make room for more advanced systems, setting up a now familiar budget fight on Capitol Hill.

America cannot wait to modernize the Air Force any longer, not one year, one month, or one week,” Acting Air Force Secretary John P. Roth and Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. wrote in testimony to the House Appropriations defense subcommittee. “To deter and defeat today’s competitors and tomorrow’s adversaries, we must re-capitalize our Air Force, and we must do it now … The call to accelerate change or lose is not hyperbole—it is a requirement.”

USAF officials face an uphill battle, as Congress in recent years has largely blocked efforts to retire aircraft such as A-10s, legacy refueling tankers, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft. Lawmakers also have been critical of new efforts such as the Advanced Battle Management System to replace the E-8C Joint STARS. But with budgets expected to fall in coming years, USAF officials are pressing the urgency.

“We’re going to have to probably make some hard choices and some difficult decisions concerning trying to invest in the future versus continuing to support some of our legacy systems,” Roth told lawmakers during the hearing. “And so we’ve actually been talking about that for two or three years in terms of focusing on the future and taking some additional risks with some of our current systems and some of our legacy capability. My sense is the budget you’ll see is a balanced budget that can support the National Security Strategy with some reasonable risk.”

Because the Biden administration’s 2022 budget request has not been released, USAF officials did not discuss many specifics, so it’s not clear what aircraft would be cut or what future investment plans will be requested.

In prepared testimony, USAF officials once again pressed to allow them to retire old refueling aircraft. Last year, Congress mostly blocked the Air Force from cutting KC-135s, but Air Force officials said getting rid of the aircraft is necessary as the KC-46 comes online.

“The inability to phase the divestiture of the legacy tanker fleet shackles funding and manpower resources and hampers the fielding of the more capable KC-46 at the rate required to support combatant commanders,” the testimony states. “This negatively impacts air refueling capacity and tanker advancement. Offsets from legacy tanker divestment in both funding and manpower are critical to the success of the KC-46 and air refueling as a whole.”

USAF leaders also indicated that they have their sights on the RQ-4 Global Hawk fleet for cuts, citing the need for more survivable ISR aircraft. The service wants to cut the RQ-4 Block 30 aircraft, a move that Congress also has blocked before, to repurpose that money for a “penetrating ISR capability.” Future ISR needs to be done by a “family of systems,” including nontraditional assets, sensors, commercial platforms, and a “hybrid force” of fifth- and sixth-generation capabilities, officials said.

“Current ISR platforms have been able to accomplish this task with relative ease because they operated in uncontested and low-threat environments where the United States enjoys superiority across all domains of warfare,” Roth and Brown said in testimony. “Such freedom of action will not be the case in the future. Future threats will challenge the ability of legacy ISR platforms to successfully execute their missions.”

In what is shaping up to be one of the biggest fights of the budget process, Brown and Roth urged lawmakers to continue to support the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent program to replace the aging Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile as some in Congress are looking to cut back on the nuclear triad.

Delayed nuclear modernization means there needs to be a “comprehensive weapon replacement,” the leaders said in testimony. Brown told lawmakers during the hearing that the Minuteman III’s overall infrastructure is aging and that there are not vendors available to rebuild parts needed.

“With the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent, what you will get, then, is something that’s more safe, more secure, more reliable, and then also paces the threat we’re up against to provide that deterrence value,” he said. “The reason why we actually have the ICBM in the first place is provide that nuclear and strategic deterrence.”

In a sign of the upcoming challenge, multiple lawmakers warned the leaders about the dangers of cutting aging aircraft. Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) highlighted an effort by the Air Force in 2014 to cut E-3 AWACS and a Reserve unit at Tinker Air Force Base in his district.

“I know you sometimes got to make changes to reinvest, but please don’t give up capabilities that you might need in the immediate future,” Cole said. “It’s a very dangerous world, as you know better than me, and sometimes you’re going to need those legacy systems.”

Multiple representatives with Guard C-130 units in their districts also warned the Air Force about cutting Hercules aircraft, as the service looks to modernize the fleet and cut old C-130Hs. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Illinois) said she is “deeply concerned” with plans to cut “our mobility flexibility and responsiveness, to decrease the number of our tactical airlift workhorses in the inventory.” She said the upcoming, yet-to-be-released Mobility Capabilities Requirements Study would support an Air Force request to lower the number of C-130s needed to 255, down from the 2018 study’s recommendation of 300.

Brown said it is the Air Force’s intent to work closely with the National Guard “to ensure we are doing a good analysis.” National Guard Bureau chief Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson told the same committee earlier in the week that he also would not want to see the number of C-130s in the Guard drop.

“We do have to make some tough decisions, and what I want to be able to do is commit that we’re going to work very closely with the Guard as we start to make decisions going forward with our C-130s,” Brown said.

https://www.airforcemag.com/usaf-offici ... w-systems/
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ricnunes

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Unread post10 May 2021, 14:33

mixelflick wrote:Tough to find fault with the need for the B-21, so they'll hopefully move on to NGAD.


Do not underestimate the power of the media's and politicians stupidity! :wink:

With this in mind, I would say there's 'a lot' of potential 'issues' that they (media and/or politicians) can or could pick up and nitpick about even regarding the B-21. For instance the initial higher maintenance costs that a B-21 when started to be fielded may have compared for instance with current B-1 or even B-2 maintenance costs.
On top of that they can also 'nitpick' that for example the B-1 can carry more weapons specially when including external weapons.
The above surely reminds you of something, eh?

mixelflick wrote:When NGAD "shoots down" aggressor F-35's though, prepare for another round of F35 bashing!


And then again and today as we speak, F-35s "shoots down" aggressors of all types and yet this doesn't prevent major F-35 bashing, does it?

I would venture to say and regarding the above that the NGAD won't be that superior (or so superior) compared to the F-35 or more precisely that the NGAD's 'superiority' compared to the F-35 will be much, much smaller/narrower than the F-35 compared to 4th/4.5th gen fighter aircraft.
What I mean is that I don't believe that NGAD will necessarily be superior to the F-35 when for instance both aircraft meet each other with full or near full fuel and weapons - NGAD will IMO be a 5th gen fighter aircraft and not something very revolutionary that would warrant a generation of its own (6th gen). Or resuming, I believe that NGAD's advantages will be range and likely more internal Air-to-Air missiles carriage while Stealth will be similar between both aircraft and the F-35 will probably be more agile than NGAD, which may give the media and/or some politicians enough 'ammo' to bash the NGAD program in the future (like again, it currently happens with the F-35).
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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Unread post10 May 2021, 15:28

You bring up a good point: The F-16 vs. F-35 "dogfight" got plastered all over the media. The F-35's 15-1 and 20:1 kill ratios in realistic combat exercises? Crickets...

If they haven't already, Lockheed and other defense contractors should have a department solely to manage the PR for their aircraft, or at the very least rebut unfair criticisms. The cycle is not just predicatable with every major weapons system, it's snowballing given the media don't report the news anymore. They're there for a singular purpose: to advance the left's agenda...
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Unread post10 May 2021, 15:42

That is sad. What has the 'left's agenda' got to do with 'F-35 is Now the Air Force's Second-largest Fighter Fleet'? Clickbait?
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Unread post10 May 2021, 15:54

Salute!

Same old, same old......

I can prolly find this whine bu the Chief and Secretary in most of the last 50 years of testimony concerning the budget and such:

America cannot wait to modernize the Air Force any longer, not one year, one month, or one week,” Acting Air Force Secretary John P. Roth and Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. wrote in testimony to the House Appropriations defense subcommittee. “To deter and defeat today’s competitors and tomorrow’s adversaries, we must re-capitalize our Air Force, and we must do it now … The call to accelerate change or lose is not hyperbole—it is a requirement.”


The clueless polytickians will focus on the big budget programs, as usual, but ignore the low hanging fruit they could use to divert less $$$$ to one of their social programs or another useless effort to save the planet or build a high speed train or .....

Hence, the F-35 interest. It will not take long to see the $$$ for the new bomber become under scrutiny, even tho it will likely be cheaper to maintain once mature than the B-2. Meanwhile the original BUFF just keeps on rolling along, LOL.

Oh well, new folks in charge and more crazy stuff is coming.

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Unread post10 May 2021, 18:29

mixelflick wrote:If they haven't already, Lockheed and other defense contractors should have a department solely to manage the PR for their aircraft, or at the very least rebut unfair criticisms. The cycle is not just predicatable with every major weapons system, it's snowballing given the media don't report the news anymore. They're there for a singular purpose: to advance the left's agenda...


Yeah, I fully agree with you above.

I always thought (and still have this opinion) that when it comes to PR and the F-35, Lockheed Martin did a pretty bad job (again IMO, others I believe will probably disagree with me). And I have the idea that it took long (several years) for LM to take PR more seriously. I guess a good example of this would be the F-35 'can't turn' rhetoric which the immediate response was something in the lines of - The F-35 doesn't need to dogfight - and took several years for finally LM try to dismiss this 'can't turn' by putting Billie Flynn in the controls of a F-35 during an airshow to demonstrate the aircraft's agility (but then again and IMO, this took way too many years to happen).

So for the better or worse the world has changed and now most people have access to all sorts of info (many of it being garbage) so yes, aerospace companies will need to take PR much more seriously than ever before and like you said perhaps creating dedicated PR departments (in case they don't have it already).

I guess a very good example of how important PR can be is the Saab Gripen E/F - An aircraft which isn't in service yet and by everything we know about it, it will be clearly inferior to its competition (and I'm talking about other 4.5th gen fighter aircraft) and yet look at the 'popularity' of it!
Many may argue here that this is due to the aircraft being Swedish and Sweden being a neutral and 'underdog' nation and there would be valid points here but the fact is that Saab clearly bet on PR and the only reason why all this PR still didn't pay dividends is because the aircraft is, sorry to say - a pile of crap!
If the Gripen E/F was a better aircraft and with all the PR around it then I'm sure that it would have secured more order than it currently has.
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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Unread post10 May 2021, 23:09

PR... PR...

An entire F-35 PR department just to handle...

How much does said department employ? How much does it cost? Does the contract cover these costs? Or do all these costs come out of the contractor's pocket(s)? Shouldn't the customer, the one doing the buying be covering these type expenses anyway, if really needed?

If LM operated like Saab... we might not have an F-35.
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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Unread post11 May 2021, 00:45

Seems we have drifted OFF TOPIC so why not SET SAIL? NaySayers seem to insist that LM PR convinces buyer countries to buy. WHY IS THIS SO? I guess the inference is that F-35 buyers are numnuts or bribery involved or LM PR LIES we are not privy to know about. For sure as has been mentioned now many times by military personnel there is a lot more to the F-35 that the general public will not be allowed to know for the time being for security reasons. So a POX on PR restrictions.
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Unread post11 May 2021, 09:13

So, when will F-35 be the largest fighter fleet in USAF? There are currently about 938 F-16C/Ds in USAF according to this:
https://www.airforcemag.com/air-force-c ... 0th-f-35a/

So it might take 10 years until that happens depending on if there is any change in procurement rate or in phasing out F-16s.
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Unread post11 May 2021, 11:25

steve2267 wrote:PR... PR...

An entire F-35 PR department just to handle...

How much does said department employ? How much does it cost? Does the contract cover these costs? Or do all these costs come out of the contractor's pocket(s)? Shouldn't the customer, the one doing the buying be covering these type expenses anyway, if really needed?


Welcome to the modern days!
I don't like how things work nowadays but PR is unfortunately extremely important for something or someone to have success and often even more important than talent itself.
A small example of this would be female singers (male also but here I digress) to have success nowadays - they must be "hot" or at least pretty or else they won't have success even if they have be world's best voice.
PR capitalize on stuff like this.


steve2267 wrote:If LM operated like Saab... we might not have an F-35.


I would say that if LM was more competent at PR then the F-35 wouldn't suffer from such criticism (or at least not at this level) and perhaps even more countries would order it by now.
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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Unread post11 May 2021, 15:10

The reality is this: Perception IS reality..

And PR can sway perception. Pierre Sprey and others went on major news outlets and gave their 2cents on various shows (the Fifth Estate, maybe 60 minutes I can't remember now), but they were right there, front and center bad mouthing the F-35.

Where were the Lockheed designers, USAF people who wrote the specs (and more importantly, WHY the specs are what they are)? There was no balance, and no historical context. This has happened to virtually every major US weapons system in recent memory - so it was predictable/inevitable.

APA might be a joke to people in the know, but to the public? They don't know, so only know what they hear. And politicians aren't immune, they watch the same programs and form the same opinions. Will it cost money for a PR dept? Absolutely. But I think at least in the F-35's case, it would have been money well spent...
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Unread post11 May 2021, 19:44

mixelflick wrote:The reality is this: Perception IS reality..

And PR can sway perception. Pierre Sprey and others went on major news outlets and gave their 2cents on various shows (the Fifth Estate, maybe 60 minutes I can't remember now), but they were right there, front and center bad mouthing the F-35.

Where were the Lockheed designers, USAF people who wrote the specs (and more importantly, WHY the specs are what they are)? There was no balance, and no historical context. This has happened to virtually every major US weapons system in recent memory - so it was predictable/inevitable.

APA might be a joke to people in the know, but to the public? They don't know, so only know what they hear. And politicians aren't immune, they watch the same programs and form the same opinions. Will it cost money for a PR dept? Absolutely. But I think at least in the F-35's case, it would have been money well spent...


From what I understand based on conversations with people with more contact with the LM sales team, they prefer to let the performance evaluations do the talking instead of the hype packs other manufacturers put out.

As a counterpoint there's the Gripen E, which has the backing of all the credulous idiots with a Twitter account in addition to Saab's slickly produced PR materials "SMAAAART FIGHTER", and has so far completely failed to land any export orders outside of Brazil.
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