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January 12, 2011

The go-to-war date for the Air Force version of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is likely to slip even further as the Pentagon restructures the program yet again, a senior defense official said today.

Asked whether the initial operational capability date for the JSF would be delayed, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said: “I think that's implied with the additional dollars and time required in system development. Details to follow.” His comments came during a speech at an Air Force Association-sponsored breakfast in Arlington, VA.

January 7, 2011

The Pentagon yesterday drastically expanded the scope of remedial actions initiated last year to the Joint Strike Fighter program, bringing the total amount of additional funding pumped into the development effort since last February to $7.4 billion, the number of aircraft cut from near-term production plans to 246, and the amount of time tacked on to the development schedule to nearly two years.

January 6, 2011

The Pentagon has put the Marine Corps' troubled version of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter on probation, pledging to terminate that variant if it fails to overcome its problems in the next two years, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said today.

January 6, 2011

Several months after an internal audit warned the Navy planned to waste hundreds of millions of dollars on unneeded training planes, the service has decided buy 20 fewer aircraft, according to documents obtained by Inside the Pentagon.

January 5, 2011

The Navy is planning to fill the gap left by the cancellation of the EPX spy plane program with a family of systems that may include surface ships but is not likely to feature the P-8, according to the head of the service's intelligence directorate.

December 23, 2010
The Navy successfully launched an F/A-18E Super Hornet using the new Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System, and the program will begin testing it on T-45, C-2 and E-2 aircraft in the spring, according to program officials.
December 23, 2010

The final version of the defense authorization bill for fiscal year 2011 backs a Senate provision barring the Navy from retiring its EP-3 aircraft until they can be adequately replaced.

The Navy scrapped plans for building a new EPX follow-on spy plane early this year, and sources previously told Inside the Navy that the service would probably seek to use an existing platform, such as a P-8A Poseidon, to carry a signals intelligence payload.

December 22, 2010

The Senate and the House today agreed to a modified fiscal year 2011 defense authorization bill that is silent on the issue of funding an alternate engine for the Joint Strike Fighter after the House receded to the Senate position on the F136 program, removing a provision that the White House repeatedly warned would draw a presidential veto.

December 22, 2010

The Pentagon has told Congress it has shifted nearly $300 million within the Air Force budget to free up funds needed to award the much-anticipated KC-X next-generation tanker contract, according to budget documents.

December 21, 2010

The Obama administration will continue to pursue the Joint Strike Fighter alternate engine under a stopgap spending measure that would fund the Pentagon through March 4, electing not to invoke rules set by the White House budget office in September under which the Defense Department could begin to starve the F136 program of money, according to a senator who backs the engine effort.

December 17, 2010
Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA), incoming head of the House Armed Services Committee, threw his weight behind both the Marine Corps version of the Joint Strike Fighter and the F-35's second engine last week.
December 17, 2010
The Navy has decided to base 11 operational Marine Corps F-35B Joint Strike Fighter squadrons at two locations on the East Coast and 11 squadrons at two locations on the West Coast, the service announced in two Dec. 15 notices on the Federal Register.
December 16, 2010

The Government Accountability Office is urging the Pentagon to monitor and assess corrective actions stemming from a Defense Department corrosion study of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The Pentagon's F-35 and F-22 Raptor corrosion study, submitted to Congress in September, “highlights important lessons learned” from the Raptor's corrosion problems and “identifies ongoing corrosion concerns” for both aircraft, as well as implications for other current and future weapon systems, GAO writes in a report released today.

December 16, 2010

The Senate Appropriations Committee's recently completed omnibus appropriations package includes one more short take-off and landing Joint Strike Fighter variant and one more carrier variant than the defense bill the panel proposed earlier this year, as well as one more Littoral Combat Ship.

December 16, 2010

The Pentagon's strong desire to avoid the House's proposed year-long continuing resolution (CR) trumps the department's previous objections to funding the continued development of an alternate engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, according to Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

December 15, 2010

With the Air Force poised to make significant investments in its long-range strike program this fiscal year, lawmakers want assurances that the service will be able to keep the effort on time and on budget, a top House lawmaker said today.

Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-CA), the incoming chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said the service and the Defense Department must assure Congress that the LRS acquisition would not suffer the same pitfalls that have delayed the Air Force's top procurement program, the KC-X aerial tanker.

December 15, 2010

Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-CA), incoming head of the House Armed Services Committee, today threw his weight behind both the Marine Corps version of the Joint Strike Fighter and the F-35's second engine.

December 6, 2010

The Defense Department is poised to continue developing the Joint Strike Fighter alternate engine through the end of next week, according to Pentagon officials.

December 6, 2010

The Army has awarded Boeing an engineering and manufacturing development contract for its Enhanced Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System, according to a Defense Department notice.

The $88 million firm-fixed-price contract, awarded Nov. 30, encompasses a 24-month EMD phase. The award includes a base effort of four EMD units with an option for additional units, as well as options for six low-rate initial production EMARSS units and interim contractor logistics support.

December 3, 2010
About a week after the Pentagon's acquisition executive said he was unhappy with the Joint Strike Fighter's situation and that he would not "pay more for the airplane," a Pratt & Whitney executive told reporters that a reduction in buys or more delays for the Marine Corps variant could further jeopardize the program's affordability.