US lawmakers permit USAF to acquire [6] F-35A test aircraft

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spazsinbad

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Unread post05 Jan 2021, 18:10

US lawmakers permit US Air Force to acquire F-35A test aircraft -- [in a pinch they could also be AGGRESSORS?]
05 Jan 2021 Pat Host

"The fiscal year (FY) 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which became law on 1 January 2021, allows the US Air Force (USAF) to utilise, modify, and operate six Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) conventional variant test assets.

This is subject to written approval by the Secretary of Defence, currently Christopher Miller. The six F-35A test assets are aircraft AT-1 through to AT-6, which are currently held by the federal government in long-term storage at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB) in California.

The USAF and the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) did not return requests for comment prior to publication.

An expert believes this legislation benefits the USAF because it may be able to modify and use these aircraft in situations where using new, operational F-35As would be cost-prohibitive. A retired USAF pilot, who was given anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to reporters, told Janes on 4 January that these situations include exercises and maintenance training.

They also include using the aircraft to experiment with new technologies or to train new test pilots. Using test aircraft in these situations would be much cheaper than using “full-up” F-35As, the retired pilot said.

These original test aircraft are in long-term storage because they are the oldest version of the F-35 and do not resemble the current A-model versions. These test assets have older avionics and test instrumentation, for example, and thus have very limited utility in their current configuration."

Source: https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news ... t-aircraft
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Unread post06 Jan 2021, 02:51

"AT-01 to AT-06" are the Turkish aircraft stored in the USA.
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Unread post06 Jan 2021, 03:19

I get where the report may be incorrect (Turkish AT) however the last paragraph seems to suggest otherwise (ALAS JANES is no longer such a reliable source for military aviation information as it once claimed to be - before the internet).
"...These original test aircraft are in long-term storage because they are the oldest version of the F-35 and do not resemble the current A-model versions. These test assets have older avionics and test instrumentation, for example, and thus have very limited utility in their current configuration."

"...In October 2001, an international team led by Lockheed Martin was awarded the contract to build JSF. An initial 22 aircraft (13 flying test aircraft and eight ground-test aircraft) are built in the programme’s system development and demonstration (SDD) phase...." https://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/jsf/

Perhaps there is a muddle because of this (IIRC Janes are good at the muddle ups of info):
F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program
Updated May 27, 2020 CRS Congressional Research Service

"...Summary...
...FY2020 defense appropriations bill: The final omnibus budget bill funded F-35 procurement at $11.1 billion for 98 aircraft (62 F-35As, 16 F-35Bs, and 20 F-35Cs, an increase of 20 aircraft and $.3 billion below the Administration’s request), including $1.4 billion in advance procurement, the requested level. The joint explanatory statement accompanying the bill included language

- restricting funds to deliver F-35s or related equipment to Turkey, except in accordance with Section 1245 of the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act;

- designating savings resulting from F-35 cost reductions to fund alternate sourcing of F-35 parts manufactured in Turkey and to convert F-35As previously designated for Turkey for United States Air Force use;

- requiring a certification that the Department of Defense has submitted a formal request for proposal (RFP) for provisioning and cataloguing F-35 cost data; and

- allowing modification of up to six F–35s to a test configuration.

Source: https://fas.org/sgp/crs/weapons/RL30563.pdf (1.7Mb)
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Unread post06 Jan 2021, 04:32

So it would appear that six 'formerly for Turkey' F-35As will be acquired by the USAF to be probably turned into test A/C.
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Unread post06 Jan 2021, 06:55

Maybe good deal for Turkey. As when they finally make up with the US. They will get later block and much more capable F-35's.
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Unread post06 Jan 2021, 20:11

:doh: Now I get the last paragraph in the original report. The comment tells us why the original test aircraft are no longer useful, explaining why 6 NEW test (after suitable modification) aircraft (the Turkish 6) will be relevant for testing today.
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