Burlington group seeks to put F-35 challenge on March ballot

By Cory Dawson

January 5, 2018

A group of city residents is gathering signatures for a petition that would put an item on the March ballot asking the City Council to oppose basing F-35 fighter jets at the Burlington International Airport.
The move is the latest in a long-running dispute over the new warplanes. Since the Air Force first sent notice in 2009 that it was considering the airport as one of the locations it would send F-35’s, groups of residents have sought to oppose them.

Charles Simpson, a local activist, retired professor and Progressive City Council candidate, is leading the charge to get the ballot item to voters in March. Simpson is part of a group opposed to basing the planes in Burlington.

Several members of that group, along with the City of Winooski, lost a court battle in 2016 challenging the findings of a U.S. Department of Defense environmental study that gave a green light to deploying the planes at the airport.

The Vermont Air National Guard’s current fleet of 18 F-16 aircraft will begin to be replaced with new F-35’s as early as next year. The F-35 will be used in Burlington nearly 5,500 times per year — a slower pace than current F-16 flights — and will be significantly louder than F-16s. Houses closest to the airport have been vacated and sold through a Federal Aviation Administration program that buys homes severely affected by noise pollution.

The ballot item language, which is advisory and non-binding, asks the City Council to request cancelling the warplanes coming to Burlington and to request quieter military equipment.


Toward a Livable City: the F-35 Question (filmed on 12-12-17)

Charles Simpson, retired professor of sociology, sits down with Jimmy Leas, activist with Save Our Skies, Rosanne Greco, retired Air Force Colonel and Save Our Skies activist, and Carol Miller, of the New Mexico based Peaceful Skies Coalition, to pokes a few holes in the message to which Vermont’s political establishment is wed: that the U.S. Air Force’s F-35 fighter plane is a wise investment and an appreciable factor in Greater Burlington’s livability.

Air Force F-35s in Japan

December 25, 2017

In what could be a major change in Japan’s policy on aircraft carriers, the Defense Ministry is mulling a plan to buy F-35B stealth fighter jets for use on its helicopter carriers, government sources said.

The introduction of F-35Bs, which have short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) capability, will be useful in countering China’s growing maritime assertiveness. They are expected to bolster Japan’s ability to defend far-flung islands in the southwest, where only short runways exist, the sources said Sunday.

The move, however, is likely to trigger a backlash from China and Japan’s other neighbors because it could be viewed as contradicting Japan’s so-called “exclusively defense-oriented policy” under the pacifist Constitution.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government has altered the nation’s postwar security policy over the past few years, most notably through new security laws that largely expand the range of activities permissible by the Self-Defense Forces.


Air Force selects locations for next two Air National Guard F-35 bases

December 21, 2017

The Air Force has selected Truax Field Air National Guard Base, Wisconsin and Dannelly Field, Alabama as the preferred locations for the next two Air National Guard F-35A bases.

“Selecting Truax Field and Dannelly Field will increase Air National Guard F-35A units providing 5th Generation airpower around the world,” said Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson. “As F-35As arrive at these locations, we will use the existing aircraft at these fields to replace the aging F-16s at other Air National Guard units.”

F-35As will eventually replace many of the 4th generation Air Force aircraft. However, the Air Force will continue to fly a mix of 5th and 4th generation fighters into the 2040s, in order to maintain enough fighters to meet combatant commander requirements, provide required training and allow a reasonable deployment tempo for the force.

“Putting F-35s at these two Air National Guard bases continues our transition into the next generation of air superiority,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein. “It helps ensure we can always offer the Commander-in-Chief air power options and be ready to penetrate any enemy air defenses, hold any target at risk and go when and where the president tells us to go. We’re the options guys. The F-35 is critical to the family of systems we need to accomplish this mission for the nation now and in the future.”


GAO report shows a rough week for the F-35

By Joseph Trevithick
October 27, 2017

Reports of hypoxia, cyber security concerns, and the need for cost review, followed the leak of highly critical review.

Whatever you might think of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, it’s safe to say that the Joint Program Office hasn’t had a particularly good week. Reports of hypoxia, cyber security concerns, and the need for a major cost review followed the appearance of a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit, detailing significant and increasingly expensive maintenance issues, which leaked its way to the press ahead of an official public release.

By far the biggest story is the GAO report, which Bloomberg was first to reveal on Oct. 23, 2017, paints a distinctly unflattering picture of the U.S. Air Force and Marine Corps abilities in particular to keep their existing F-35s flyable, breaking down its findings into five core challenges. There’s a major delay in getting depot-level maintenance facilities up and running and a massive spare parts shortage. Beyond that, the Joint Program Office hadn’t even figured out what technical data it would need to support the aircraft going forward and the U.S. Navy and Marines didn’t have vital intermediate maintenance capabilities in place to support planned operational deployments.


Air Force bypasses Boise ID in current F-35 base selection process

December 21,2017

Citizens for a Livable Boise (CLB)agrees with the United States Airforce’s F35 Air National Guards’ Site Selections decision announced today.For over two years, thousands of Boise Citizens have voiced concerns about the potential, negative environmental and economic impacts basing F 35 aircraft at Gowen Field might have. Hundreds of residents have not only expressed their concerns to public officials (Boise City, State of Idaho and Federal Offices) but also have asked pertinent questions with limited responses.Based on the best information attainable for the F 35 site selection decision, Citizens for a Livable Boise agrees that Gowen Field should be eliminated as a viable choice.We now need to push for better, more environmentally friendly mission choices, such as cargo planes, transport planes, drones, etc., Cybersecurity is another possible option which the Air Force would like to see more Guard Units involved in could provide valley wide business and educational growth potential.


What Every Vermonter Should Know about the Decision to Base the F-35s in Chittenden County

The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) conducted by the U.S. Air Force, on the planned F-35 basing
in Vermont states that:

Our area would be negatively affected in the following categories:

Noise, Safety, Climate Change, Air Quality, Socioeconomics, Land Use, Transportation, Environmental
Justice, and the Protection of Children.

More information available in this brochure in PDF format.

F-35s in Boise Idaho

By Sven Berg
October 14, 2017

The first F-35s ever to land in Boise arrived Friday from Hill Air Force Base in Salt Lake City, crew members said.

The two jets were parked Saturday on the tarmac at Gowen Field, the Idaho Air National Guard base that shares the Boise Airport’s runways, for thousands of Gowen Thunder 2017 air show spectators to see.

And the cutting-edge warplanes were a big attraction, even when popular aerial performances were taking place, such as the show put on by the Royal Canadian Snowbirds and the Air Force Thunderbirds. Pilots, mechanics and maintenance experts chatted with people who stopped to ask questions about the F-35s. Security forces monitored the taped-off area around the planes to make sure the public didn’t get too close.

The crowd didn’t hear the F-35s on Saturday, though, because they remained parked for the duration of the show. In order to fly in air shows, the F-35s and their pilots must be part of a demonstration team, Idaho Air National Guard spokeswoman Cassidy Morlock said. Such a team exists and has performed at 14 events this year, Morlock said. Gowen Thunder’s organizers requested that the team come to Gowen Thunder, she said, but were unsuccessful.


USAF to soon select two additional bases for the F-35A

By Daniel Wasserbly
September 19, 2017

The Pentagon is shortly to determine the location of a base for an additional Air National Guard unit with new Lockheed Martin F-35A Joint Strike Fighters.

A review is now complete, and its results are being analysed. A basing decision is expected “in the next couple of months”, Air Force General Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau, told reporters during a 19 September Defense Writers Group breakfast meeting.

USAF officials announced five candidate installations for the next two Air National Guard F-35A locations late in 2016: Dannelly Field Air Guard Station (AGS) in Montgomery, Alabama; Gowen Field AGS in Boise, Idaho; Jacksonville AGS in Florida; Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Detroit; and Truax AGS in Madison, Wisconsin.


Northrup’s fix to the F-35 and F-22 communications problem involves Global Hawk drones

By Valerie Insinna
August 23

 Northrop Grumman has a pitch to solve communications problems between the F-35 and F-22: Put a new radio on a Global Hawk drone and have it act like a translator between the two assets.

The U.S. Air Force’s two most advanced fighter jets, the F-35 and F-22, cannot currently transmit and receive information between each other because both use different secure data links: the Multifunction Advanced Data Link, or MADL, on the F-35; and the Intra-Flight Data Link, or IFDL, on the F-22. Both MADL and IFDL allow for stealthy communication that has a low probability of detection, but that information cannot be transferred to aircraft using different waveforms.

Northrop’s proposed fix involves integrating its Freedom 550 radio aboard the RQ-4 Global Hawk UAV — which is already used as a communications node in the Middle East and elsewhere — thus providing a near-term way to allow both jets to talk to each other, said Mike Lyons, the company’s head of Global Hawk business development.

“We’ve got a solution that we’ve identified and made a pitch to the Air Force. We’re just waiting for the requirements to basically say: ‘Go do [that],’ ” he said during an interview at Northrop’s facilities in Palmdale, California.


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