Senior U.S. Air Force leaders recently reemphasised their support for the F-35, calling the fighter the “cornerstone” of the U.S Air Force’s tactical capability.
The remarks were intended to clarify “recent erroneous media coverage” incorrectly claiming that the ‘U.S. Air Force has admitted the F-35 program has failed’.
During a February 25th news conference at the U.S. Air Force Association’s Aerospace Warfare Symposium, Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr., Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, debunked this claim, stating that “the F-35 is the cornerstone of the U.S. Air Force fighter fleet” today and in the future.
Brown, the U.S. Air Force’s top uniformed officer, confirmed that the programme of record is 1,763 F-35As, and clarified that the U.S Air Force is “not going to take money from the F-35” to fund the Air Force’s Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) plans.
On February the 26th, Acting Secretary of the U.S Air Force John Roth added that the F-35 is “the core airplane going forward”.
The F-35 project office are keen to stress that the jet is delivering transformational capabilities “today”, and that the programme is mature and growing.
“The vital interoperability of the 5th Generation F-35 binds 13 allies and partners with the United States in air dominance and enabling critical joint capabilities. The ability of the F-35 to forward-deploy and operate in hostile environments, side-by-side with our allies, is critical to maintaining a credible deterrent posture and reassuring front-line allies.
The 5th Generation F-35 is more than a fighter jet, it’s a powerful force multiplier with advanced sensors and communications suites that significantly enhance the capabilities of networked airborne, surface and ground-based platforms – sharing critical information in the Joint-All Domain Operations (JADO) battlespace.”
Nine nations are currently operating F-35s on home soil; 10 services have declared F-35 Initial Operational Capability; six services, including the U.S. Air Force, have employed the F-35 in operational missions.