Ehlers, as governor, says he’d ‘unequivocally’ work to stop the F-35 jets slated for Vermont

By Stewart Ledbetter
July 13, 2018

The F-35 controversy is now a campaign issue in the race for governor.

Democrat James Ehlers said Friday if he’s elected this November, he’ll “absolutely, unequivocally” work to oppose the F-35 fighter jets from coming to the Vermont Air National Guard base in late 2019.

The candidate said residents living in the region most directly impacted by airport noise have voted to oppose the new jets, and Ehlers agrees they are a poor fit for the urban neighborhood.

A former Navy officer, Ehlers said he’s also concerned about the F-35’s nuclear-weapon capability, something he said Russia’s military would be well aware of.

“I don’t think it’s good for the people of Burlington, Winooski, Essex Junction, Colchester and South Burlington, and many of those people have gone on record in the form of a ballot,” Ehlers said. “As governor it’d be my responsibility to find the common ground. That is the way to support our men and women in uniform and advocate for an alternative mission.”

Ehlers said he’s spoken with a number of Vermont Guard members and is convinced the Air Force’s plan to send 18 F-35 fighters to South Burlington next year is “far from a done deal.”

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U.S. Air Force Is Hiding Its Controversial Flyoff Between the A-10 and F-35

By Joseph Trevithick
July 10, 2018

The U.S. Air Force has, without any apparent public announcement, begun a much-awaited comparative evaluation of the close air support capabilities of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter versus the venerable A-10 Warthog. The event was already controversial before it even began and there is now evidence to suggest the service maybe be manipulating the test parameters to favor the stealthy fifth-generation fighter jet.

The Straus Military Reform Project at the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) was the first to reveal the tests have already started, according to a copy of the schedule that it got a chance to review. The evaluation began on July 5, 2018, and will last just one week, ending on July 12, 2018. Only four of those days involve actual flying. The Air Force had previously said the event would occur sometime in 2018, but did not offer a fixed timeline.

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Noise Isn’t Just Annoying — It Can Kill – WhoWhatWhy

July 7, 2018

When considering the long list of pressing public health problems, a number of examples may come to mind — air pollution, drug addiction, contaminated water. Not getting enough exercise. Maybe even too much screen time. But one issue in particular may not seem immediately obvious — a noisy environment.

It’s no secret that being around constant noise can affect our hearing — hearing loss is the number one disability in America, affecting 25 percent of the population. But scientists from the University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz have shown that changes in our blood biochemistry from exposure to traffic noise can have life-threatening consequences.

It is thought that exposure to sudden loud noises triggers the release of the stress hormone cortisol, which damages blood vessels over time, leading to high blood pressure, heart attacks, and coronary heart disease.

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Response from Secretary of the Air Force

June 26, 2018
By John W. Henderson, P.E. Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Installations, Environment, and Energy)

Dear Mr. Dorn:

Thank you for your April 17, 2018 letter addressing the Air Force decision to base the F-35 at Burlington Air National Guard Base and sharing the South Burlington City Council resolution. The Secretary of the Air Force has asked me to respond on her behalf.

The Air Force Finalized the decision to base the F-35 in Burlington in 2013 after a throrough 48-month review of the 205 locations. We expect the first aircraft to arrive in 2019. If the Air Force were to honor the Council’s request to cancel basing the F-35 at the National Guard Base, the Vermont Air National Guard would likely lose their flying mission upon the retirement of the F-16s.

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F-35 – new snafu

July 3, 2018

A Senate committee has slammed the Pentagon’s beleaguered F-35 fighter jet program, for claiming that a $661mn spend on bulk-buying parts would help it save some $1.2 billion. The real amount is half that, it has been revealed.

The Senate Appropriations Committee, which has recently greenlighted a boost in spending for the F-35 program, despite it being plagued by delays and cost overruns, raised the issue last week, after the Defense Department’s Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation office report revealed that the Pentagon had greatly exaggerated the economic effect from its attempt to cut the F-35 program costs.

Last year, the program’s office asked for some $661 million to procure, in bulk, material and equipment that had undergone hardware qualification testing for the F-35, claiming the bulk buy would allow it to save some $1.2 billion in costs. The parts to be supplied would be fitted into the aircraft to be purchased in 2019 and 2020. Last month, Lockheed Martin Corp. received the contract with the appropriate adjustments.

The new report, however, argues that the buying strategy is much less cost-efficient than Pentagon officials had initially claimed when they presented their case to Congress.

According to the new report, the measure will generate savings of some $600 million, which is a half of the designated amount.

While the committee did not object in principle to what has turned into the most expensive US weapons program ever, the lawmakers have said they were “dismayed by the inaccuracy of the initial estimates,” the report states, as cited by Bloomberg.

Last year, the program’s office asked for some $661 million to procure, in bulk, material and equipment that had undergone hardware qualification testing for the F-35, claiming the bulk buy would allow it to save some $1.2 billion in costs. The parts to be supplied would be fitted into the aircraft to be purchased in 2019 and 2020. Last month, Lockheed Martin Corp. received the contract with the appropriate adjustments.

The new report, however, argues that the buying strategy is much less cost-efficient than Pentagon officials had initially claimed when they presented their case to Congress.

According to the new report, the measure will generate savings of some $600 million, which is a half of the designated amount.

While the committee did not object in principle to what has turned into the most expensive US weapons program ever, the lawmakers have said they were “dismayed by the inaccuracy of the initial estimates,” the report states, as cited by Bloomberg.

[FULL ARTICLE]

US Air Force orders freeze on public outreach

By Valerie Insinna , David B. Larter , and Aaron Mehta
March 12, 2018

The U.S. Air Force is slashing access to media embeds, base visits and interviews as it seeks to put the entire public affairs apparatus through retraining — a move it says is necessary for operational security, but one which could lead to a broader freeze in how the service interacts with the public.

According to March 1 guidance obtained by Defense News, public affairs officials and commanders down to the wing level must go through new training on how to avoid divulging sensitive information before being allowed to interact with the press.

The effort, which represents the third major Defense Department entity to push out guidance restricting public communication over the past 18 months, creates a massive information bureaucracy in which even the most benign human-interest stories must be cleared at the four-star command level.

Before settling on retraining its public affairs corps and commanders, the service considered an even more drastic step: shutting down all engagement with the press for a 120-day period, a source with knowledge of the discussions said.

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Unmanned flights are the future of the F-35?

By Alex Lockie
June 5, 2018

China released images of a new, unmanned, stealth-fighter-style jet, and they present a shocking look into how close Beijing has come to unseating the US as the dominant military air power.
An expert who examined the pictures said the drone, called the “Dark Sword,” could give China a big advantage in a fight with the US.
The Dark Sword looks like an unmanned stealth fighter jet that could overwhelm the US with quantity and supersonic speed.
The US thought about making a jet like this, but instead turned it into a tanker, and now it could be falling behind.
China released images of a new, unmanned, stealth fighter-style jet, and they present a shocking look into how close Beijing has come to unseating the US as the dominant military air power.

China has already built stealth fighter jets that give US military planners pause, but the images of its new unmanned plane, named the “Dark Sword,” suggest a whole new warfighting concept that could prove an absolute nightmare for the US.

Justin Bronk, an air-combat expert at the Royal United Services Institute, said the Dark Sword “represents a very different design philosophy” than US unmanned combat jet plans.

Bronk examined the photos available of the Dark Sword and concluded it appeared optimized for fast, supersonic flight as opposed to maximized stealth.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Air Force, state officials stand firm on F-35 basing

By Jasper Craven
June 4, 2018

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson has told federal and local leaders that the Vermont Air National Guard has essentially one viable flying mission — the F-35 fighter jet.

Wilson told Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., in an interview last month at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing that it was “highly likely” Vermont would lose the Guard base if Burlington doesn’t host the F-35.

Shortly after, Wilson reiterated her position in a letter to Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger.

“If that decision were to be reversed, the Vermont Air National Guard would likely lose their flying mission upon the retirement of the F-16s,” Wilson wrote to Weinberger. “The Air Force is much smaller than it was at the end of the Cold War.

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VTANG pilots look forward to new F-35 fighter jets

This story is produced and presented by Pomerleau Real Estate

Following his dreams has taken Captain Clay Shaner to unimaginable heights.

Shaner, 36, already had a successful career in finance on Wall Street in 2008. But when he daydreamed at his desk at Morgan Stanley or drifted off to sleep at night, his imagination didn’t conjure blue-chip stocks and financial windfalls.

He dreamed, like so many of us, of flying.

“It’s something I’ve always been fascinated with, and wanted to do,” he said. “I’ve always been the guy in the window seat on the plane, watching the earthbound world fade away. There’s a sense of freedom to it.”

Now a member of the Vermont Air National Guard, Shaner’s dreams have taken him to the absolute height of military aviation, to a point where he has a clear view of its future. Shaner is on exchange assignment to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida’s panhandle, in a replacement training unit geared toward integrating the very latest in military aircraft technology — the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter — into the U.S. arsenal.

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Is the F-35 About to Be Delayed (Again)? — The Motley Fool

By Lou Whiteman
June 10, 2018

The Pentagon could go ahead with a huge F-35 order before all the problems with the plane are resolved. An important government watchdog says that’s a bad idea.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has advised the Pentagon to hold off moving into full-rate production with the F-35 fighter until the plane’s crucial issues are resolved, a potential new delay before lead contractor Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) is able to fully cash in on the long-troubled program.

The GAO, in an annual report on the program, lists 966 open deficiencies in the F-35 as of January, and said that about 20% of them will not be resolved before full-rate production under the Pentagon’s current schedule. The Department of Defense is currently testing the F-35s that have been built, and is scheduled to decide on whether to formally move the program into full production in October 2019.

“In its rush to cross the finish line, the program has made some decisions that are likely to affect aircraft performance and reliability and maintainability for years to come,” the GAO wrote, referring to plans to resolve crucial deficiencies after full-rate production begins. “Resolving these deficiencies outside of the developmental program may contribute to additional concurrency costs, which also carries affordability implications.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

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