Don reposted a link to this 2015 Navy Times article (here) and while everyone was going ga ga over the statement made by Greenert with regard to stealth not being the end all be all and the repeat of his "payloads over platforms" meme we missed something huge. Check this out...
"There are some officers in the Navy who would like to see stealth brought to carriers, but quite a few who wouldn't, who would rather stick with something they know, at a price they know, with two engines that they know and perhaps, shift all funding to the sixth generation [F/A-18]," Aboulafia said.Roughly 200? The programmed buy was 260. Additionally if the Navy is buying fewer F-35C's than projected then that will increase the buy of those planes for the USMC.
He said the Navy's buying pattern is telling as to how it sees it integrating into the fleet.
"They are just not acting like the F-35 will be a major part of their force structure in the future," he said, noting he estimated that the Navy might end up buying roughly 200.
Trump has an option to find a middle ground on the F-35. He can cut the F-35C completely, let the Navy buy an advanced Super Hornet and still squeeze Lockheed Martin to get the best price possible on the A and B models.
One thing is obvious though. The Pentagon is in panic mode. Real cuts to this program are on the horizon and we've already seen the first hints of it...we just all missed it when it came out.