Thursday, March 4, 2010

F-35 IOC with USAF Slips 2 Years

The USAF has announced that IOC (Initial Operational Capacity) for its first unit of F-35 fighters has slipped by over 2 years. IOC for that first unit is now thought to be late in 2015. Now remember, we are five and a half years away from that date, so no one with any knowledge of defense procurement would place any kind of a bet for that date being met. It will slip, and then it will slip again. The budget problems in the F-35 program that caused 112 aircraft to be dropped from the production total will likely continue - it should surprise no one if the total number of aircraft built is cut again.

Pile this on top of the rampant aircraft retirement (supposedly to pay for all those F-35s that are so far in the future), and the USAF is going to be shooting spitballs from paper airplanes at our enemies in a couple of years.

The only hope I see of this becomming anything but a complete disaster for the Air Force is for the Air Guard to go off on its own to procure aircraft - new build versions of proven designs like the F-16, F-15, and maybe even the F-18 to fill the gaps.

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