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    Reuters: Pratt says next F-35 engine deals will cut costs by 7-8 pct

    Pratt & Whitney announced this week an expected price drop of 7 to 8 percent with its Pentagon contracts for their next two batches of F-35 Lightning II engines. They further announced that a fix for the engine issues that temporarily grounded the fighter jet fleet earlier this year should be in place for some test aircraft by the end of 2014. From Reuters: Bennett | Read More »

    Luke AFB On Track To Becoming Main F-35 Training Site

    Arizona’s Luke Air Force Base is well on its way to becoming the primary U.S. pilot training center for the F-35 Lightning II program, according to Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher C. Bogdan, the Pentagon’s top F-35 program official. When complete, Luke will host six squadrons of 24 F-35 jets, with 144 total aircraft. According to coverage in the Arizona Republic: “We have asked them | Read More »

    Australia Taking Delivery of F-35; Plans to Buy 72

    An Australian defense spokesperson has confirmed that the country will accept delivery of its first F-35 Lightning II fighter on Thursday. Australia plans to purchase 72 F-35s, joining the United Kingdom, Japan, and six other nations partnered with the U.S. in the production of the fifth-generation fighter program. The purchase of the F-35, according to Australia’s defense force statement, will complement the Royal Air Force’s | Read More »

    Defense News Editorial: Full Speed Ahead on F-35

    The Pentagon announced this week that while the recently grounded F-35 fleet will be returning to limited flight, it will not be participating in this month’s Farnborough Air Show. The fighter jets had already missed the other prominent European air show of the summer, the Royal International Air Tattoo. While the program has taken criticism in the weeks following the grounding, which was due to | Read More »

    ‘Workhorse’ Becomes First F-35 to Reach 1,000 Flight Hours

    The F-35 reached another testing milestone this month, as the second production F-35A for the Air Force became the first F-35 Lightning II to reach 1,000 flight hours. The aircraft, due to be operational for the Air Force in 2016, reached the milestone while undergoing testing at Edwards Air Force Base. From the release: “AF-2′s nickname is ‘Workhorse,’” said Randy Thompson, the F-35 Integrated Test | Read More »

    Gen. Mike Hostage Discusses F-35 Combat Capabilities

    Gen. Mike Hostage is Commander, Air Combat Command, Langley Air Force Base, Va. The command operates more than 1,000 aircraft, 22 wings, 14 bases, and more than 300 operating locations worldwide with 79,000 active-duty and civilian personnel. In this role, Gen. Hostage will command the largest group of F-35′s in the world. Gen. Hostage recently conducted an extensive interview on Breaking Defense, outlining the capabilities | Read More »

    F-35 Flies First Training Sortie at Luke AFB

    An F-35 Lightning II took to the skies over the West Valley on May 5 in what was the first local training sortie for the fifth-generation fighter jet. The jet, tail number LF 5031, is currently the only F-35 at the base. Additional jets are expected to arrive at Luke within the next few weeks. “The ability to conduct local flight operations demonstrates the commitment | Read More »

    Australian Air Force to Begin Training on F-35s at Luke AFB

    Luke Air Force Base continues to build up its F-35 operations this week, with the news that the first international partner to train at Luke will be arriving to train on F-35A Lightning II aircraft at Luke by the end of 2014. The 61st Fighter Squadron and 61st Aircraft Maintenance Unit will house the RAAF personnel. The goal is to build a cohesive, working understanding | Read More »

    Hill’s F-16s Take First Flights Alongside F-35s

    Photo: U.S. Air Force Late last week, F-16 pilots from Hill’s 419th and 388th Fighter Wings flew air-to-air combat training missions with F-35As assigned to Eglin’s 33rd Fighter Wing for the first time. Three operational F-35A squadrons are planned for Hill, with the aircraft expected to be delivered over the next three years, completing in 2019. From the release: “This was a great opportunity for | Read More »

    F-35 Fleet Surpasses 15,000 Flying Hours

    (Photo: Lockheed Martin) “Flying 15,000 hours itself demonstrates that the program is maturing, but what I think is even more impressive is the fact that operational F-35s accounted for more than half of those flight hours,” said J.D. McFarlan, Lockheed Martin’s vice president for F-35 Test & Verification. “While the fleet continues to train, we are actively flight testing the software and mission systems that | Read More »