Sunday, May 12, 2019

The "fine print" on the USAF standing up the F-35 Aggressor Squadron...

Love Tyler at the Drive.  Dude is down the middle with the F-35 and doesn't hesitate to give the good or the bad with the program.  His story on the F-35 Aggressor Squadron being stood up is good to go but I need to pop out the fine print that he dutifully posted.
UPDATE: 6:45pm PDT—

The USAF has now put out a release on the news. We were correct, they will be repurposing early-build jets for this role. Nine of them to start, all of which will come from Eglin AFB in Florida. Eglin is the schoolhouse for USAF F-35 training. This is probably a good thing because they can get creative and modify these jets specifically for the mission as they will never see combat.

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson states:

"This move will allow us to repurpose early production F-35s to help train Airmen for the high end fight."

The release is not precise in its wording, but the aircraft may not be transferred until 2022, when new planes will replace them at Eglin. You can see the confusing statement below:

Aircraft transferring from Eglin AFB to Nellis AFB will not occur until newly produced aircraft arrive at Eglin AFB to replace them. New aircraft are planned to arrive at Nellis AFB beginning in early 2022.

This is in line with our thinking that standing up a unit like this as the force is trying to expand its front-line F-35 force will be more protracted than doing so with 4th generation fighters. It will also allow time for industry and the USAF to figure out the unique aggressor configuration for these jets. 
Story here. 

My take.

This allows the USAF an out when it comes to updating early built aircraft.  They get to call them aggressors, push the idea that they're performing important work while at the same time getting new planes that are of the latest standards without paying for the upgrades of the oldest models...planes that they said would be upgraded when the GAO told us that they were all but useless and would probably be discarded.

Pure genius.

Diabolical smart.

Even better?  It gives the illusion that the first planes bought by the service are good to go without admitting the painful reality that they were nothing but prototypes.

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