Friday, January 27, 2017

F-35C review ordered by Mattis...the Navy gets its backdoor out!

via DoD Buzz
In two memorandums signed and effective immediately, Mattis said Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work will “oversee a review that compares the F-35C and F/A-18E/F operational capabilities and assess the extent that the F/A-18E/F improvements [an advanced Super Hornet] can be made in order to provide a competitive, cost effective fighter aircraft alternative,” according to a statement from Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis.
For the Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization program, known as Air Force One, Mattis said Work’s review should “identify specific areas where costs can be lowered,” such as “autonomous operations, aircraft power generation, environmental conditioning [cooling], survivability, and military [and] civilian communication capabilities,” the memo said.
The memos didn’t specify if the review will reduce the planned number of aircraft.
“This is a prudent step to incorporate additional information into the budget preparation process and to inform the secretary’s recommendations to the president regarding critical military capabilities,” Davis said in an email statement.

“This action is also consistent with the president’s guidance to provide the strongest and most efficient military possible for our nation’s defense, and it aligns with the secretary’s priority to increase military readiness while gaining full value from every taxpayer dollar spent on defense,” he said.
Consider the F-35C dead.

There is no real role on the carrier for it when the Navy is pursuing stealthy UAVs that will act in the surveillance role.  All the talk about the F-35 acting as a sensor node has seriously backfired. The Navy will have one unmanned airplane, the E-2D, the P-8 and then networked fires (which in essence means networked surveillance) to protect the fleet.

What will be interesting will be what the Marine Corps does.  They're all in on the F-35B but if the Navy dumps the "C" then does that mean the Marine Corps gives up the Carrier mission or does it swallow hard and buy Super Hornets?

This is about to get good!

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