US Air Force commitment to F-35A programme of record wavering

by Pat Host

The US Air Force’s (USAF’s) commitment to buying 1,763 Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters (JSFs), the programme of record, is wavering over concerns about the aircraft’s high cost, sources tell Janes.

The service announced in late February that it would pursue a tactical air, or fighter, study to develop a better understanding of the advanced aircraft fleet it will need in 10–15 years. When asked if this study would make a recommendation on the F-35A programme of record, General Charles Brown, the service’s chief of staff, said ambiguously on 25 February that he asked for options including continuing to buy 1,763 aircraft as already outlined.


        An F-35A assigned to the 134th Fighter Squadron, Vermont Air National Guard, takes off during a training exercise on 12 March 2021. Sources tell 
        Janes
         the USAF’s commitment to buying 1,763 F-35As is wavering due to the aircraft’s high cost.
       (US Air National Guard)

An F-35A assigned to the 134th Fighter Squadron, Vermont Air National Guard, takes off during a training exercise on 12 March 2021. Sources tell Janes the USAF’s commitment to buying 1,763 F-35As is wavering due to the aircraft’s high cost. (US Air National Guard)

Gen Brown said that the intent is to continue on the number that has been laid out and use the study on how best to get there. He also said the F-35, the Pentagon’s most expensive weapon system, is the cornerstone to the future of the USAF. Service spokesperson Ann Stefanek said on 29 March that the USAF remains fully committed to the F-35 and its fifth-generation capabilities and that the programme of record remains 1,763 F-35As.

However, sources who spoke with Janes

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news-detail/us-air-force-commitment-to-f-35a-programme-of-record-wavering

The US Air Force’s (USAF’s) commitment to buying 1,763 Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Stri...

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