Friday, 30 October 2020
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F 35

Articles taken from Flight International magazine:

8th July: Ninth F-35 joins flight test fleet

Nine of the original 14 F-35 flight test aircraft have flown after the debut on 6 July of the fourth conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) variant, known as AF-3.

The 42min sortie began at 18:20, local time, outside Lockheed Martin's final assembly plant in Fort Worth, Texas, with company test pilot Bill Gigliotti at the controls. Area storms stopped the flight short, Lockheed says.

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Articles taken from Flight International Magazine.

May 27th: Lockheed waits on Dutch JSF decision

Lockheed Martin is facing a tense several weeks on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter programme, with the Netherlands' continued involvement in the project in limbo because of political instability.

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Articles taken from Flight International magazine.

1st June:  Israel conducts study on size of F-35 fleet

The Israeli air force is preparing a long-term forecast on its fleet requirements, as part of the decision process leading to its planned procurement of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. In its forecast, the service will attempt to assess its needs for manned combat aircraft 30 years from now. The work is intended to determine whether it has a need for more than the 22-25 F-35s being eyed for purchase.

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Articles taken from Flight International magazine.

Monthly audits show F-35 production plagued by parts shortages

US government auditors monitoring the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter programme have warned that Lockheed Martin expects delays of aircraft deliveries will continue for at least another year.

The Defense Contracts Management Agency (DCMA) also has expressed fears Lockheed Martin will never fully recover, citing parts shortage trends indicating the F-35 assembly line in Fort Worth, Texas, "will not be able to achieve or sustain [full] rate production".

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By Christopher Newton

In 1981 it was naval power. Now thirty years later, it seems that the UK's air assets and the RAF in particular will bear the brunt of the government's cuts in another defence review. If the news reports are right, then the RAF is heading to be smaller than when it was in its infancy in 1918. There could be considerable reductions in the number of Typhoon and Joint Strike Fighter orders, and the Tornado fleet could be withdrawn earlier than planned. Reports also suggest that an aircraft carrier could be the price of the government's policy to fund the Vanguard class successor submarines from the defence budget and not from the treasury, although this now seems unlikely. Either way, the number of aircraft in the Navy looks set to be reduced considerably.

The logic behind cutting aircraft numbers is understandable enough. The war in Afghanistan is largely consuming the energy and resources of the ground forces, so they need to be preserved as much as possible. The Navy will always be required to protect British sea lanes and wider interests abroad, and it will probably be required to conduct counter-piracy and patrolling missions for the foreseeable future. And today Britain faces no threat from an opposing air force. If one of the three services has to face savage cuts, then surely it makes sense that it is the RAF?

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