Navy F/A-18 jet crashes off coast of Key West – CNNPolitics

By Barbara Starr and Ryan Browne
March 15, 2018

Two naval aviators have been declared dead after their FA-18 fighter jet crashed off the coast of Key West, Florida, on Wednesday around 4:30 p.m., the US Navy announced on Twitter.

The two-person crew ejected, Navy Cmdr. Mike Kafka said. The Navy added that the jet, which was on a training flight, is part of Strike Fighter Squadron 213, known as the Blacklions.
Rescue crews recovered both aviators from the water, the Navy said in a tweet. They were taken by ambulance to Lower Keys Medical Center.
The jet crashed on approach to Naval Air Station Key West, and the cause of the crash is under investigation, according to the tweet.
“We are sad to report that both aviators have been declared deceased,” the Naval Air Forces’ tweet said. “Their families are in our prayers. Per policy, we will withhold notification pending NOK notification.”


Democracy 1, War Machine 0 |

By Paul Fleckenstein
March 14, 2018

Burlington, Vermont, last week approved a referendum directing local officials to oppose the basing of the F-35 warplane at the Vermont Air National Guard Station in Burlington.

While majority opposition to the basing has been clear in neighboring towns, the referendum marked the first time the issue has been put to a popular vote. “This is a huge victory for democracy,” said organizer Jimmy Leas, “All the congressional delegation, the entire political establishment of Vermont was addressed by this electorate today that, with 55 percent of the vote, said ‘Yes,’ we want to cancel the F-35.”


New F-35 modernization plan could come with hefty $16B price tag

By Valerie Insinna
March 9, 2018

Under the F-35 joint program office’s latest plan, follow-on modernization for the Joint Strike Fighter could add up to a total of $16 billion, the Defense Department’s program head confirmed Wednesday.

Responding to questions from lawmakers about the price of implementing the new Continuous Capability Development and Delivery strategy, or C2D2, Vice Adm. Mat Winter acknowledged that U.S. and international customers could pay up to $10.8 billion for development and $5.4 billion for procurement of upgrades to the F-35 between fiscal years 2018 through 2024.

Last September at the Defense News conference, Winter announced that the JPO had re-envisioned the F-35’s follow on-modernization plan, also known as Block 4, as a more iterative process where software updates would be pumped out every six months. New computing systems, sensors and weapons would also be incorporated during the period.

Lawmakers to military: don’t buy another money pit like the F-35

By Matthew Cox
March 7, 2018

Lawmakers on Wednesday put senior military officials on the spot to explain how current acquisition reform efforts will prevent costly programs such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter from becoming “too big to fail.”

Members of the House Armed Services Committee met with acquisition chiefs from the Army, Navy and Air Force to assess how the services are using new congressional authorities to streamline the bureaucratic policies and procedures that often prevent combat systems from being fielded efficiently.


F-35 Jet: Most Expensive Weapon Ever Will Need Another $16 Billion in Upgrades

By David Brennan
March 9, 2018

The F-35 stealth jet will need an additional $16 billion worth of upgrades and development, the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee has been told.

The F-35, made by Lockheed Martin, is already the most expensive weapons program of all time. It has now been revealed that the F-35 will need even more cash to stay at the front of fifth-generation fighter pack, Reuters reported.

The costs are part of a strategy to perform incremental software and modernization updates on the fighters, meaning they would not have to be taken out of service for several months at a time. It is estimated that the project will cost a total of $406.5 billion.


The F-35 Still Has a Long Way to Go before It Will Be Ready for Combat | The National Interest Blog

By Dan Grazier
March 8, 2018

The F-35 still has a long way to go before it will be ready for combat. That was the parting message of Dr. Michael Gilmore, the now-retired Director of Operational Test and Evaluation, in his last annual report.

The Joint Strike Fighter Program has already consumed more than $100 billion and nearly 25 years. Just to finish the basic development phase will require at least an extra $1 billion and two more years. Even with this massive investment of time and money, Dr. Gilmore told Congress, the Pentagon, and the public, “the operational suitability of all variants continues to be less than desired by the Services.”


So. Burlington Public Hearing on F-35 Lawsuit | Center for Media and Democracy

June 22, 2016

South Burlington City Council Special Meeting Public Hearing on F-35 Lawsuit.


Half of all F-35s delivered by Lockheed Martin are non-operational as negotiation continues on new contract

By Alex Hollings
March 8, 2018

Just under half of the $100 million a piece F-35 Joint Strike Fighters delivered by Lockheed Martin thus far are non-operational, according to statements made by Vice Adm. Mat Winter, head of the Defense Department’s F-35 Joint Program Office.

The F-35 program, which has received significant political support thanks to development and manufacturing operations tied to the program employing people in nearly all of America’s fifty states, has suffered repeated delays, setbacks and cost overruns since its inception. Now, with only 51% of the 280 aircraft delivered actually functional, much of the blame can once again be placed on mismanagement of the program at its onset.

The culprit behind many of the non-operational F-35s was a policy called “concurrency,” wherein F-35 production began before testing of the aircraft was completed.


VPR VT Edition on F-35 Burlington vote

By Jane Lindholm & Matthew F. Smith
March 12, 2018

Eighteen F-35 stealth fighter jets are set to come to Vermont next year, but on Town Meeting Day, a ballot question with language rejecting the fighters passed with wide support in Burlington. We’re looking at what that vote means and what happens next for the F-35s in Vermont.

Fifty-five percent of Burlington voters called for canceling the basing of the F-35s at the Burlington International Airport. Ballot Measure 6 now tasks the Burlington City Council to “request the cancellation” of the F-35 basing decision, and “request instead” alternate “low-noise-level equipment” for the Burlington Air Guard station.

After surviving past council efforts to vote down the fighters and a legal challenge to the site selection process, the Vermont National Guard says the vote won’t change their plans to bring 18 F-35s to Burlington starting in 2019.


South Burlington school officials race to test for noise ahead of F-35 arrival


By Nicole Higgins DeSmet
March 11, 2018

An elementary school near the Vermont Air National Guard base will be tested for sound levels in April, a year after a federal manager warned that the 1960s-era structure required modifications to protect students from jet noise.

“So long as sound insulation is provided and the windows are shut in the school it should be fine,” Federal Aviation Administration Environmental Program Manager Richard Doucette said at a Burlington International Airport community meeting on Feb. 21, 2017.

Doucette surprised the school district that evening when he told airport neighbors that the FAA was looking into the safety of the 65-decibel sound level for children. Chamberlin Elementary School, four blocks or 2,000 feet from one of the airport’s runways, sits within that sound level zone. Residents within the 70-decibel noise zone in 2016 were offered federal funds to abandon their homes because the government believes that level of sound to be unlivable.


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