Monday, August 03, 2015

F-35 news. Your Monday morning challenge.

Let me take a few to show you why the media annoys me so much.  via DefenseOne this morning...
The battle-ready milestone marks the most significant moment for the $400 billion program, the most expensive project in Pentagon history.
“The weapons system is now in the warfighters’ hands and can be called upon to do its mission,” Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, the F-35 program manager said in a statement.
To obtain battle-ready status, which the military dubs initial operational capability, a new weapon must meet a series of benchmarks. The Marines wrung the jet out in a recent five-day, live-fire evaluation. The verdict: today’s jets can perform basic military missions effectively in combat.
“It is capable of conducting close air support, offensive and defensive counter air, air interdiction, assault support escort and armed reconnaissance as part of a Marine Air Ground Task Force, or in support of the joint force,” Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford said in a statement. Future versions of the F-35, of course, will receive various improvements.
Wow.  So you have the Commandant of the Marine Corps and a Lt Gen in the Air Force that's managing the F-35 program all saying that the plane is ready for combat.

If I glanced at the F-35 and wasn't following its trials and tribulations carefully I'd think that all was well.  But wait.  Check this out from DefenseOne back in May of this year....
“[I]f I had my druthers, I’d rather not deploy it right away, because I’d like to build some momentum in the program and build the instructor base,” Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, the Marine Corps deputy commandant for aviation, said Tuesday at a Defense Writers Group breakfast.
The Marines plan to declare 10 of their F-35B jets battle-ready in July. But the Corps is still racing to train instructor pilots on the short-takeoff-vertical-landing aircraft, and sending any of them off to war would disrupt the carefully planned training pipeline.
Davis didn’t completely rule out the possibility that the F-35s might be quickly deployed against the Islamic State in Iraq. “It could have a very great capability out there against the ISIS targets out there,” Davis said. “If they wanted to deploy it that way [and] we want to deploy it that way, we could.”
Build momentum?  After sacrificing the Ground Combat Element on the altar of the F-35 they still need to build momentum?  We'll come back to this later in the week.  I'm following a little hint and crunching numbers on manpower requirements and where billets are going and its going to shock many....early hint?  The Aviation side of the house is about to gobble up the Marine Corps in money and staffing.  But back on task.....

Your Monday morning challenge is simple.

When has the USMC ever declared a weapon system combat ready and not sent it to war with the new car smell still on it?  Name one other system and you'll win the prize, but be warned.  I took a half hour on this and couldn't come up with a thing.  Can you?

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