F-35 Getting Ready For Combat


By Debbie Gregory.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the next generation fighter jet, is getting closer to full service. The program has been running years behind schedule and is billions over budget.

The single-engine F-35 comes in three variants. The A version is flown by the U.S. Air Force, the B version by the Marines, and the C version will become part of the U.S. Navy’s fleet.

Last year, the Air Force claimed the F-35 was “combat ready,” having reached a stage called “initial operating capability.” Recently, a squadron of Air Force F-35A Joint Strike Fighters was deployed to the Baltics as part of the European Reassurance Initiative.

The deployment is meant to send a message, and puts the F-35 as close to the action as it’s ever been, underscoring U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s belief that U.S.-Russian relations were at a “low point.”

The F-35 deployment to Europe comes after the Marine Corps’ deployment of F-35s to Asia to train with the South Korean military.

The F-35’s cost issues were addressed at the end of last year when then-president-elect Donald Trump tweeted about the “tremendous cost and cost overruns of the Lockheed Martin F-35.”

Trump has claimed that he was directly responsible for helping save $700 million on a February order of 90 F-35s, adding that costs will continue to shrink as more planes are delivered.

“Now you know that’s a saving of billions and billions of dollars, many billions of dollars over the course of – it’s between 2,500 and 3,000 planes will be the final order,” Trump said in an interview, projecting additional savings as the aircraft ramps up production.

The $400 billion price tag for the program is double the original budget, prompting Defense Secretary James Mattis to commission a review of the program in an effort to cut costs. But the Pentagon has also worked with Lockheed Martin to bring the costs down.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.