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January 20, 2012 | Inside the Navy
The fixes made to the Marine Corps' short-takeoff, vertical-landing variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter actually improved the weight margin on the aircraft by 270 pounds, despite concerns by the Pentagon's acquisition chief last year that it would add to the aircraft's weight, a Lockheed Martin official told reporters Jan. 20.
January 20, 2012 | Inside the Army

The Army has
been directed by acquisition chief Heidi Shyu to transfer all responsibility
for fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft and non-tethered lighter-than-air platforms
to its aviation program executive office by the end of the fiscal year,
according to an Oct. 28 memo.

January 20, 2012 | Daily News

(Editor's Note: This story was updated at 3:30 p.m. to include a statement from the F-35 program office.)

The Marine Corps variant of the Joint Strike Fighter is no longer on probation, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced today.

In a speech to F-35 personnel and other troops at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, MD, Panetta said that results of developmental testing conducted on the F-35B throughout 2011 prove that the aircraft is making good enough progress in testing to merit a continued commitment from the Defense Department.

January 18, 2012 | Daily News

Turkey this month announced plans to purchase just two Joint Strike Fighters in the program's seventh early production lot, two-thirds less than planned, according to Pentagon sources.

On Jan. 5, Turkey's Defense Industry Executive Committee authorized its under secretary for defense industry to proceed with negotiations to purchase the aircraft, a green light that signals Turkey's commitment to procure the stealthy fighter. The initial order is smaller than the six originally planned for the seventh low-rate initial production (LRIP) lot.

January 13, 2012 | Inside the Navy
Ongoing issues with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter are also causing problems for Navy ship programs, according to the most recent annual report from the Pentagon's top weapons tester, which also knocked the Littoral Combat Ship, LPD-17 amphibious assault ship, MQ-8B Fire Scout and other programs.
January 13, 2012 | Daily News

The Joint Strike Fighter program -- subjected by DOD leaders to a comprehensive technical review and restructured twice in the last two years in a bid to manage cost growth and development challenges -- is unlikely to meet two crucial operational criteria pivotal to future production decisions, according to the Pentagon's top weapons tester.

January 13, 2012 | Daily News

Military leaders are rushing new weapons into operational testing despite signs the systems are not ready, the Pentagon's top tester warns in a new report that spotlights big problems threatening to undermine an array of major programs.

The latest annual report from J. Michael Gilmore, the Defense Department's operational testing chief, counsels the armed services to conduct rigorous developmental testing, aimed at early detection of software and hardware problems, before moving on to trials in an operationally realistic environment.

January 13, 2012 | Daily News

Boeing and the Air Force's military flight test program for the KC-46A next-generation tanker is far too aggressive and should be extended by eight months or more, according to the Defense Department's director of operational test and evaluation.

January 10, 2012 | Daily News

Senior Pentagon officials next week will conduct the first of two Joint Strike Fighter program reviews that are expected to lead to a formal revision of the F-35's cost estimate next month, according to defense officials.

That cost estimate could mushroom beyond the current $382 billion projection if the program is restructured as part of broad spending cuts expected to be part of the Defense Department's fiscal year 2013 budget plan.

January 06, 2012 | Daily News

The F-35 joint program office is girding for a surge of international orders that would boost manufacturing rates for the seventh and eighth Joint Strike Fighter production runs by more than 40 percent above currently planned buys for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, according to Defense Department officials.

On Jan. 4, a government official with knowledge of Pentagon plans for foreign F-35 sales said the Joint Strike Fighter program office expects as many as 44 F-35 aircraft will be purchased by foreign partners in deals that would be funded in fiscal years 2013 and 2014.

January 04, 2012 | Daily News

A Kansas lawmaker is frustrated by Boeing's decision to close a facility in Wichita, KS, and move a portion of work on KC-46 refueling tankers to Puget Sound, WA.

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) said in a Jan. 4 statement that he was notified two weeks ago that KC-46 tanker work would not continue in Wichita.

“Today's statement from Boeing is terrible news,” Pompeo said. “It is a confession that it will not honor its commitment in Kansas.”

January 03, 2012 | Daily News

The Pentagon's acting acquisition chief has assured defense industry executives that last year's negotiations with Lockheed Martin over F-35 purchases, which involved "concurrency" rules that would shift costs for additional work on early production aircraft to the company, are not intended to be precedent-setting for future procurement programs.

December 23, 2011 | Inside the Navy
The fiscal year 2012 defense appropriations bill passed by both the House and Senate restores funding for the Combat Dragon II light attack aircraft demonstration effort for the Navy and Air Force, and U.S. Central Command will get back to work on it right away once the president's signature is on the bill.
December 23, 2011 | Inside the Navy
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program executive office is busy implementing corrections to deal with arresting hook problems on the Navy's carrier variant, the F-35C, but did not give a time line on when those corrections would be in place, according to a Dec. 20 statement from the PEO.
December 23, 2011 | Inside the Navy
The Office of Naval Research is spearheading a project that seeks to autonomize both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft -- whether manned or unmanned -- when landing on a ship, John Kinzer, research program officer in the aerospace research division at ONR, told Inside the Navy in a Dec. 21 interview.
December 23, 2011 | Inside the Navy
The Navy has released a broad agency announcement that calls for engineering studies for the third increment of P-8A Poseidon anti-submarine warfare and maritime surveillance aircraft, which will be the most advanced versions of the aircraft.
December 23, 2011 | Inside the Army

While congressional authorizers and appropriators zeroed out the service's $540 million request for more Enhanced Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System aircraft, the Army still has other platforms in the pipeline it is considering for meeting intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance needs, according to a service official.

December 21, 2011 | Daily News

In a sign that Congress plans to vigilantly monitor government costs in the Boeing-led effort to develop the Air Force's KC-46A aerial refueling tanker, House and Senate lawmakers have agreed to a provision in the fiscal year 2012 defense appropriations bill requiring the Pentagon to regularly report all contract modifications exceeding $5 million.

December 20, 2011 | Daily News

Japan's decision to purchase the F-35A will allow the country's industry to be involved in the construction and final assembly of its new stealth fighters, according to a Japanese statement and comments from a Lockheed Martin executive.

The move also marks the first win for the Joint Strike Fighter in competition. The F-35 -- offered as a foreign military sale by the U.S. government and Lockheed Martin -- beat out Boeing's F-18 Super Hornet and the Eurofighter Typhoon.

December 19, 2011 | Daily News

House and Senate defense appropriators have taken the unusual step of setting aside $100 million to help finance anticipated modifications of yet-to-be-built Joint Strike Fighter aircraft to resolve design problems expected to be uncovered during future F-35 flight tests.