Wednesday, September 21, 2016

USAF begins additional repairs on grounded F-35s

The U.S. Air Force will soon begin additional repairs on the grounded F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets. The USAF ordered a temporary stand-down of 13 out of 104 F-35s in the fleet due to the discovery of peeling and crumbling insulation in avionics cooling lines inside the fuel tanks on September 16. Two additional aircraft, belonging to Norway and currently stationed at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, have also been affected.

Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, executive officer for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office, said maintenance crews will begin additional repairs next week on the grounded aircraft.
The Joint Strike Fighter program cost has reached nearly $400 billion for more than 2,400 planes. The Air Force plans to buy 1,763 F-35As over 20 years. In a separate briefing earlier in the day, Carlisle said the service has recently halved the number of squadrons expected to be in place in the next decade.

“A lot of things have changed since but in 2010 we estimated by the year 2028 we were going to have 32 F-35 squadrons. But in the 2016 budget we estimate by the year 2028 we will only have 14 … that’s a pretty drastic reduction.”