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Aircraft

March 17, 2021

The F-35 Joint Program Office and Lockheed Martin have created a software-focused integrated review team aimed at helping the program identify and implement agile development and delivery processes that will improve the quality and cadence of future software releases.

March 11, 2021

China is expected by 2025 to introduce as many as 200 operational hypersonic missiles to its force as part of a sweeping modernization program to challenge U.S. dominance in the Asia-Pacific region that also includes growing the People's Liberation Army's fighter and bomber fleets by 56% and 29% respectively while also ratcheting up the size of its maritime surface combatant fleet.

March 10, 2021

A debate is brewing in Congress and the Pentagon about whether to cut spending on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the most expensive weapon system in U.S. history.

March 9, 2021

The Office of the Secretary of Defense has waived key survivability testing requirements for the F-15EX, approving a test plan the Air Force expects will save $108 million and reduce the testing schedule by at least one year.

March 5, 2021

The Pentagon has turned to software engineers at three different universities to conduct an independent technical assessment of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, a move that signals failure of a 2012 recovery plan for the fifth-generation fighter in the wake of a December decision to indefinitely postpone a full-rate production review required no later than this month.

March 5, 2021

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) said today it is time for Congress and the Pentagon to begin a debate to "cut our losses" on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, meaning the most expensive weapons program in U.S. history could be nearing a major inflection point.

March 2, 2021

The head of Air Combat Command would like to move forward with an experiment that could change the way the Air Force trains fighter pilots, but he told reporters last week he needs a more stable funding plan in place beyond fiscal year 2022 to prove out the new concept.

March 1, 2021

The head of Air Combat Command said Friday he isn't confident the F-35 program can meet its target to reduce the F-35A's cost-per-flying-hour to $25,000 by 2025, and said he will meet with program officials and contractors this week to discuss affordability, availability and capability concerns.

February 26, 2021

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Brown is considering several options to replace the service's aging fleet of E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft, including Boeing's E-7 Wedgetail, he told reporters Thursday.

February 26, 2021

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Brown said this week the service will request a similar slate of legacy aircraft retirements in its fiscal year 2022 budget despite pushback from lawmakers last year, telling reporters he's been ramping up congressional engagement to start earlier conversations about the strategy behind the service's force structure proposals.

February 24, 2021

Air Mobility Command is working on a plan to approve the KC-46 for limited operational missions beginning later this year, despite remaining deficiencies that have delayed full mission capability until 2024.

February 24, 2021

The Defense Department and Lockheed Martin have negotiated a significantly smaller scope for a forthcoming performance-based logistics sustainment contract for the F-35, opting for a "bridge" contract the company expects will yield less savings but instill confidence in its performance and set a foundation for a full PBL.

February 19, 2021

The new executive vice president of Lockheed Martin's aeronautics business told reporters today that as the Air Force evaluates the makeup of its tactical aircraft portfolio -- and considers a clean-sheet 4.5-generation fighter to replace the F-16 -- he thinks the three fighter aircraft the company already builds for the service provide a holistic, family-of-systems approach to meet a spectrum of capability needs.

February 17, 2021

The Air Force is working with the Pentagon's cost assessment office to consider options for a future tactical fighter aircraft mix -- one of which is buying a clean-sheet, "4.5-generation" fighter with an open mission systems architecture to help the service counter low-end threats.

February 11, 2021

Despite continued interest overseas, the COVID-19 pandemic is placing pressure on the foreign military sale program for Lockheed Martin's F-16 Block 70/72 variant -- slowing down negotiations with new customers and work at the new production line in South Carolina, according to multiple sources who spoke with Inside Defense.

February 10, 2021

A new RAND study of the Air Force's training range investment plan found that funding advanced capability upgrades would have a greater effect on readiness if the service also re-stationed certain fighter squadrons to provide greater access to high-end ranges.

February 2, 2021

The Air Force has resolved two new KC-46 Category 1 deficiencies involving the auxiliary power unit, the commander of Air Mobility Command told reporters Monday, emphasizing that the service is working closely with Boeing to make progress on remaining development issues.

January 14, 2021

A new report from the Pentagon's director of operational test and evaluation labels the F-35 joint program office's test schedule for the Operational Data Integration Network "high risk" and questions the program's ability to deliver a fully functional system by this September.

January 13, 2021

The Pentagon's chief weapons tester says the government needs to spend the next 10 years updating weapons testing processes and infrastructure, paying special attention to space and cyber capabilities.

December 31, 2020

The Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System program will soon begin testing a new key engine component and install updated pylons on the E-8C aircraft as part of a broader effort to mitigate the 1960s-era jet's many sustainment challenges.

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