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F-35s Delayed; F-16s Step Up

Written by on Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Lockheed Martin has been working tirelessly to promote the F-35 as the ideal aircraft for the Joint Strike Fighter Program, and they have been showing off the various models of the F-35 to prospective buyers overseas. As it turns out, Lockheed may have bitten off more than they can chew. The enormous military contractor is not pumping out F-35s as quickly as they promised.

These delays are leaving Air Force officials and tax payers a bit miffed, as Air Force leaders are paying $2.8 billion to perform the necessary maintenance to keep older F-16s in the air.

While this production hiccup has tarnished the reputation of Lockheed Martin, don’t lose any sleep over this multi-billion dollar corporation. The Air Force is still committed to the F-35 for the JSF program and intends to purchase the full lot of 2,443 F-35s.

While the Pentagon might forgive Lockheed Martin for the delays, the taxpayers are going to have to pick up the slack. Considering recent doubts regarding the effectiveness of the F-35 in aerial combat and the current development of Russian and Chinese aerial superiority fighters, Lockheed Martin cannot afford to become lazy and supply the American Air Force with anything less than a superior product.

Hopefully, Lockheed Martin will pick up the pace and deliver the remainder of the expected aircraft within its five year window.

In the meantime, though, the F-16 is a solid replacement for the F-35. Developed by General Dynamics and built by Lockheed Martin, the F-16 is an excellent aerial superiority fighter that has slowly evolved to fill more of a multi-purpose role. While the F-16 can certainly serve in a variety of capacities, it completely lacks the STOVL capabilities of the F-35B and is not designed for carrier usage like the F-35C. The F-16 will only truly be able to serve as a replacement for the F-35A until Lockheed Martin picks up the pace and delivers more of its promised aircraft.

If you want advice about the world of military aviation, there’s no better people to turn to than men and women who have sat in the cockpit and flown some of the world’s most advanced aircraft. With over 50 current and ex-warfighters on call, Strike Fighter Consulting Inc. can give you access to up-to-date, first-hand technical and tactical expertise.

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