The People of Vermont versus the Military Industrial Complex

F-35 opponents turned out to the Bernie Sanders Labor Day Picnic in Burlington. The Coalition distributed informational leaflets to over 200 people. Picnic attendees were overwhelmingly eager to learn more about the issue.
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(See some of the great placards below.) Unfortunately Senator Sanders continues to dismiss those opposed to the basing by saying that he doesn’t need their votes anyway, and he still refuses to even meet with some of the over 6,000 people who live in the area that will be “incompatible” with residential use if the F-35 is based in Burlington. We believe meeting with us would be very helpful since he clearly doesn’t understand what the effects of the F-35 will be on residents, schools, and neighborhoods, and he continues to repeat unsubstantiated claims about jobs losses if the F-35 doesn’t come to Vermont.
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The F-35 has friends in high places.


By Sue Prent for Green Mountain Daily, August 14, 2018

Jasper Craven deserves kudos for his well-researched and insightful look (Vermont Digger, April 13) into political forces driving the rather incongruous choice of Burlington Airport for the Air National Guard’s F-35 program..

With three surrounding cities opposing the F-35 plan, a considerable grassroots opposition force, and all the issues of locating in the midst of a bustling city, one must really ask…why?

Mr. Craven’s article synthesizes the interest factors into a landscape of political blackmail, over which Governor Phil Scott bashfully presides.

Like so much that unseats environmental and ethical concerns these days, jobs are at the heart of the matter. More precisely, it is the threat of jobs disappearing.

It’s the kind of political blackmail we’re regrettably used to from DC, but it’s pretty disheartening to the good people of Chittenden County, Vermont.

FULL ARTICLE

Scott quietly sought to push back against F-35 foes

By: Jasper Craven for VTDigger, August 13, 2018

When Gov. Phil Scott traveled to Washington on April 9 for a meeting at the Pentagon with Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, the trip was not included on his public schedule, nor were there any indications his office had taken steps to publicize it.

However, the following Monday his participation in an Aerospace Innovation Forum in Montreal was noted on the calendar and followed up by an afternoon press release.

The subject of Scott’s Washington meeting was the Air Force’s plans to base F-35 fighter jets at Burlington International Airport beginning in 2019 once the current squadron of F-16s are phased out. The governor has been a long-time supporter of the basing plan.

Scott flew to the nation’s capital explicitly for the meeting, traveling on a military plane provided by the Army National Guard. Those who accompanied him included Steven Cray, the Vermont Air National Guard’s adjutant general, and Frank Cioffi, a Chittenden County businessman who has long supported the basing and is part of the Air Force’s civic leaders program.

According to emails obtained through a public records request, the meeting was described as “positive and productive.” Scott reiterated his backing for the impending basing of the 18 F-35s and provided a “statewide perspective of the support for the VT Air Guard.”

FULL ARTICLE

7/27/18 Letter from Leahy’s Office to SOS VT

A letter dated July 27, 2018 and addressed to Lt Col. Roger Bourassa (Ret.)

Download full PDF

F-35 opponents seek new environmental review

By Jasper Craven Aug 9 2018, 2:54 PM

A coalition of Chittenden County activists opposed to the basing of F-35 fighter jets at Burlington International Airport are calling on the Air Force to undertake a new environmental review of the planes’ potential impact on the area and its residents.

The opponents, organized loosely under the banner “Save Our Skies,” contend that new information calls into the question the accuracy of the original 2013 federal assessment.

They also have also filed a series of public records requests seeking more information on the impending jet basing — set to begin in fall 2019 — including whether nuclear weapons would be housed in Vermont. They say they are considering a lawsuit if their demands for a new review aren’t met.

In a letter dated Aug. 3, Save Our Skies lawyer James Dumont of Bristol says the initial Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Burlington was invalidated when Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told multiple Vermont officials this spring that the “Vermont Air National Guard would likely lose their flying mission upon the retirement of the F-16s.”

The Air Force’s EIS compared noise and other environmental factors between the current fleet of F-16s based in Vermont and the F-35, not — as would be the case following the recent Air Force statement — between the F-16s and no planes at all. The 2013 review also noted that “if there is no F-35A operational beddown at Burlington, the current mission would continue.”

“If Vermonters knew the alternative to the F-35 was going to be no fighter planes and zero jet noise, it very well might have changed the way people viewed this basing,” said Retired Col. Rosanne Greco, the de facto leader of the F-35 opposition movement. “Spending on home insulation for jet noise would not have happened and home demolition wouldn’t have occurred.”

Full Article Here

A request from Ben Mitchell who is running against Peter Welch in the Democratic Primary

Dear Comrades

Tomorrow at noon, I will be debating Peter Welch on VPR. I have challenged him on the F-35, but he still has not answered the question. Please email VPR about the F-35. Here is the question I hope to ask.

Three Vermont towns – Burlington, South Burlington, and Winooski have voted to reject the F-35 first-strike nuclear bomber from being based in our state for a host of reasons that include it’s destructive impact on human communities, its damage to the environment, it’s outrageous cost, its chronic malfunctions, its inherent danger to Vermont life – the only beneficiary of the F-35 $400 billion dollar boondoggle is the military-industrial complex – so why have you spent ten years supporting warmakers instead of the the safety and welfare of Vermont

Ben Mitchell for Congress
www.mitchellforcongress.org
[email protected]
Phone 802-289-4838
PO Box 807 Bellows Falls VT. 05101

Steve May announces opposition to F-35 deployment

News Release — Steve May
July 25, 2018

CONTACT:
STEVE MAY
T: 781-898-5296
E: [email protected]

CALLS FOR LEGISLATIVE OVERSIGHT HEARINGS

Without question the purposed change in mission for the VT Air National Guard has real and tangible consequences. For the communities which border it, the deployment of F-35’s promises to have a terrific impact across activities of daily living for scores of Vermonters. The F-35 is a much louder aircraft than the planes which have been used to date by the Air Guard in Burlington. The guard has been given the F-35 as its future mission. And as such, the guard has an obligation to offset the potential harms associated with this transition. This is has a moral obligation; to mitigate all significant harms to the community.

The F-35 is a substantially larger aircraft than the jets currently being accommodated at Burlington. The planes’ size creates substantial impacts on the community. It is imperative that any presence for the larger mission consider the need to lessen its impacts on the larger community. Mitigation may take a variety of forms, but all of them correspond to a need for the Air Guard to put in more than they take out in terms of our collective quality of life. Historically, an aircraft of this kind would not have been deployed to an urban airfield like Burlington. Just as this mission would not have been assigned to a detachment based to at New York’s LaGuardia or Boston’s Logan airports. The Air Guard has an affirmative obligation to mitigate the social impacts of introducing the F-35 to Burlington- this is a moral imperative and is not a question of law.

Full Article Here

South Burlington Progressive Party Resolution Requesting cancellation of F-35 and an alternative mission for the Vermont Air National Guard at Burlington Airport.

Whereas, on March 6, 2018, by a vote of 6,482 (55.3%) to 5237 (44.7%), the voters of the City of Burlington approved the following citizen-initiated ballot item:

“Shall we, the voters of the City of Burlington, as part of our strong support for the men and women of the Vermont National Guard, and especially their mission to ‘protect the citizens of Vermont,’ advise the City Council to:

1) Request the cancellation of the planned basing of the F-35 at Burlington International Airport, and

2) Request instead low-noise-level equipment with a proven high safety record appropriate for a densely populated area?”; and

Whereas, within weeks of that vote the City Councils of Burlington, Winooski, and South Burlington all approved similar resolutions; and

Whereas certain real estate developers and political authorities seek to force F-35 basing on three unwilling cities, creating a crisis for democracy; and

Whereas, the US Air Force Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) highlights abuse of children living in the noise danger zone of the F-35 in a section entitled, “Effects on Learning and Cognitive Abilities:”

Download full PDF

Fire and heavy smoke envelopes Vermont Air National Guard hangar slated for F-35 jets

By: Jess Aloe for the Burlington Free Press 8/6/18

Photo courtesy of Andrew Geppner

A Vermont Air National Guard hangar undergoing construction to prepare for the arrival of F-35 jets caught fire on Monday.

No planes are currently stored in the hangar, said Lt. Chelsea Clark, the Vermont Air National Guard’s public affairs officer.

The hangar is under the control of contractors who are refitting the building for the new jets, slated to arrive in 2019.

The fire appears to have been sparked by welding operations, Clark said. No one was seriously injured. An investigator is currently assessing the extent of the damage.

The Air Guard does not fly on Mondays, Clark said.

The F-35 basing decision has been controversial. Burlington voters directed their elected officials to request the basing be canceled last spring. South Burlington’s city council also voted to oppose the jets.

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger has remained firm in his support for bringing the jets to Vermont. The governor and congressional delegation have also expressed strong support for the F-35s.

Original article can be found here: LINK

Eather: The Quietest Place in America is Becoming a Warzone

By: Brian Khan 7/30/18

N 47.51575°, W 123.52133°—Amid the panoply of greenery that makes up the Hoh Rainforest, a gap in the old growth forest arises. Well, more accurately it’s a gap in a tree—a hollow inside a towering sitka spruce that stands like an open door. Beyond it, a short game trail through ankle deep mud and pools of water accumulated from the week’s rains ends in a clearing lined with ferns.

Gordon Hempton guides a group to the clearing where, on a log dotted with the tiniest plants and mosses sits a red stone, roughly one square inch. Hempton walks up to it, opens his satchel, grabs another similar red stone and places it on the log while grabbing the original one. It’s like the opening scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark and Hempton looks the part, except in a Northwest twist this Indiana Jones has swapped a leather jacket for a thick wool sweater and a whip for an umbrella. He turns and presses his meaty palm into mine, closing my hand around the burnt red stone slick with rainwater without saying a word.

Our group of nine clad in Gore-tex and soggy socks instinctively gathers in a circle around the rock, the new altar of the rainforest, a monument to One Square Inch of Silence. We had come to hear a sermon. Hands crossed, heads bowed, bodies stilled, we listen.

Seconds pass, then minutes as time starts to warp. One by one, the group of locals and the regional head of a nonprofit working with Hempton to protect the site peels back into the wall of greenery toward the trail. Eventually, I’m standing alone at One Square Inch.

After years of painstaking acoustic measurements, Hempton identified this spot on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula as the quietest place in the U.S.—the spot most free of our man-made noise pollution. He has nurtured this square inch, guided people to it, and protected it from encroaching cacophony of our modern world. But now it faces its biggest threat yet.

[FULL ARTICLE]

A-10 vs. F-35 close-air support ‘fly off’ shrouded in secrecy

By: Victoria Leoni and Kyle Rempfer for Air Force Times

The much-anticipated A-10 vs. F-35 close-air support fly-off has wrapped up before many people even realized the tests were happening, but a government watchdog group claims the tests were rigged in favor the Lightning II, a fifth-generation multirole fighter.

The Project On Government Oversight revealed Tuesday that the tests were underway at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma in Arizona and Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in California. According to a testing schedule POGO reviewed, the one-week fly-off began July 5 and concluded Thursday.

Citing sources “closely associated with the fly-off,” POGO reported that large-scale Army and Marine ground units did not participate in the fly-off. Given those services’ significant stake in receiving effective close-air support, their absence was conspicuous.

“A close-air support test should involve large numbers of ground troops in a highly fluid combat simulation in varied terrain, across many days,” wrote POGO’s Dan Grazier. “It should test the pilot’s ability to spot targets from the air in a chaotic and ever-changing situation. The test should also include a means of testing the program’s ability to fly several sorties a day, because combat doesn’t pause to wait for airplanes to become available.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

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.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

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.

[FULL ARTICLE]

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.

[FULL ARTICLE]

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.

Download full PDF

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.

[FULL ARTICLE]

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.

[FULL ARTICLE]

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.

[FULL AD]

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]

Outrage as RAF’s £100million stealth warplanes are protected by 5ft picket fence at base in Norfolk

June 10, 2018

MINISTRY OF A FENCE

Planespotters discovered the weak fencing at RAF Marham which left the four new F-35 Lightning jets vulnerable to attacks from terrorists

BRITAIN’S new £100million warplanes are protected by a flimsy 5ft picket fence in an astonishing security lapse.

The four F-35 Lightning jets at RAF Marham, Norfolk, are a sitting duck for terrorists.

Planespotters discovered that Britain’s brand new £100million F-35 Lightning jets were partly-secured by a rickety 5ft fence.

A planespotter who tipped off The Sun said: “It’s a security nightmare. I saw no guards. Anyone could get on the runway.”

Planespotters found the weakness days after the F-35 Lightnings landed at RAF Marham, Norfolk.

[FULL ARTICLE]

MG Cray says “a vote of no” shows support for the Guard

By Elizabeth Gribkoff and Mike Dougherty
February 9, 2018

Vermont National Guard officials spoke out on Friday against a ballot measure that will allow Burlington voters to signal opposition to basing F-35 fighter jets at the Burlington International Airport.

Maj. Gen. Steven Cray, Vermont’s adjutant general, said at a press conference that the question “misleads the voter into thinking they are supporting the Air Guard.”

The ballot item, which asks voters if they want the City Council to request the cancellation of the planned basing, has been a point of contention.

[FULL ARTICLE]

MG Cray claims ballot item misleads the voters

February 12, 2018

The City of Burlington has added a citizens, non-binding question on the Town Meeting Day ballot regarding whether Burlington voters support, or not, the basing of the F-35 at the Air Guard base at the Burlington Internation Airport. There was much debate about the wording of the ballot question, which eventually was left intact from the original petition (link is external). On Friday afternoon Vermont National Guard Major General Steven Cray held a press conference at the base to discuss the F-35. His opening comments and video are below, as well as the ballot resolution.

Major General Steven Cray: “My condolences to the Pomerleau family. Mr. Pomerleau was a staunch supporter of the VT National Guard and was outspoken about his respect for the men and women in uniform. He is an honorary Green Mountain Boy and will be sorely missed in our communities.

[FULL ARTICLE]

BG Clark says their press conference was held because of upcoming vote on ballot measure

By Mike Dougherty
Mar 1 2018

Vermont Air National Guard officials on Wednesday explained how they are preparing for the arrival of 18 F-35 fighter jets at the base in South Burlington next year.

Training operations and construction projects for F-35 operations at the Guard base adjacent to Burlington International Airport have been underway since 2016, guard officials said. They expect the first of the new fleet planes to arrive within 18 months.

The press event came six days before Burlington voters will weigh in on the basing in a Town Meeting Day ballot measure. Opponents are campaigning for residents to vote “yes” on a question that asks whether the City Council should request the cancellation of the F-35 basing in favor of “low-noise-level equipment with a proven high safety record appropriate for a densely populated area.”

Air Guard officials have maintained that the F-35 decision, which the U.S. Air Force handed down in 2013, is beyond the point of no return.

[FULL ARTICLE]

BG Clark says a vote of ‘no’ supports the Vermont Air National Guard

By Todd Shepherd
March 3, 2018

Residents of Burlington, Vt., go to the polls on Tuesday to vote on a non-binding resolution which, if passed, would direct the city council to ask the Air National Guard to find somewhere else to house an F-35 fighter jet base.

The primary objection from opponents of the base is jet noise, although numerous other issues play a role as well, in a struggle that stretches at least as far back as 2013. The vote comes despite the fact the Vermont Air National Guard has already invested $83 million in preparation for the jets.

“It has been ongoing for 10 years, and we’ve taken it very seriously,” Lt. Col. Daniel Finnegan told Vermont Public Radio. “When the first F-35 lands here in 18 months we intend to be fully trained and equipped to receive it.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Vermont Air National Guard gives reporters a tour of base a week before Burlington vote stepping up their outreach efforts. BG Clark called ballot item “inaccurate”

By Liam Elder-Connors
March 1, 2018

A non-binding ballot item in Burlington this Town Meeting Day would advise the City Council to request that F-35 fighter jets not be based at Burlington International Airport — but the Vermont Air National Guard says they’re still getting ready for the arrival of the aircraft.

The fight over the basing of F-35s in Burlington has been going on for years.

Charles Simpson is an activist with Save Our Skies — the group that worked to get the item on the ballot. He’s also running for Burlington City Council.

Simpson said among the concerns is the noise from the new jets.

“The old plane was the F-16. We’re bringing in the F-35 — four times louder, much bigger noise impact zone, which is going to put in jeopardy 3,000 homes,” he said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Col Harder, Wing Vice Commander talks about voting on ballot item during Burlington Neighborhood Planning Assembly

February 28,2018

Col Harder, Wing Vice Commander talks about voting on ballot item during Burlington Neighborhood Planning Assembly in Wards 4/7.
Harder speaks 28 minutes into recording.

[FULL ARTICLE]

158th Fighter Wing Statement to the Burlington City Council by Wing Vice Commander, Col Hank Harder saying ballot item does not support Guard

January 29, 2018

A typewritten statement to the Burlington City Council by Wing Vice Commander, Col Hank Harder saying ballot item does not support Guard

[FULL ARTICLE]

158th Fighter Wing Vice Commander, Col Hank Harder’s public statement before the Burlington City Council

January 29, 2018

158th Fighter Wing Vice Commander, Col Hank Harder’s public statement before the Burlington City Council

[FULL ARTICLE]

BG Clarks says he hopes ballot item is rejected by voters

By Stewart Ledbetter
March 5, 2018

Burlington voters get their first chance Tuesday to weigh in directly on whether the Pentagon’s new F-35 fighter jets belong at the city-owned airport, an advisory question that continues to generate plenty of heat.

Question 6 was placed on the ballot by a citizen petition drive this winter. It asks whether Burlington city leaders should fornally request the U.S. Air Force cancel the F-35 basing and substitute a less noisy aircraft and mission at the Vermont Air Guard instead.

Save Our Skies, an opposition group, staged a rally Monday outside City Hall.

They quoted from Air Force documents and environmental studies show the F-35 will produce significantly more noise over Vermont’s most densely populated residential neighborhoods that surround the airport compared to the current F-16 jets that fly now.

And that, they argue, risks the health of at least 1,500 children in Winooski and South Burlington.

Dr. John Reuwer, a retiring emergency department physician, said jet noise is no small matter for children.

“(It) causes all sorts of harm to children, primarily — the strongest evidence is cardiovascular risk, that is hardening of the arteries that eventually kills more people than anything else,” Reuwer said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Senior Guard leaders invite the media to base saying they hope voters will vote “no” on ballot item

By Stewart Ledbetter
February 28, 2018

Days before an F-35 advisory question goes before Burlington voters, the Vermont Air National Guard opened its base to media Wednesday afternoon, showing off some of the work now underway to upgrade facilities and taxiways, and its enthusiasm for the new fighter jets.

Senior Guard leaders left no doubt that they hope residents vote no on Question 6 on Tuesday.

The referendum, prompted by a petition drive this winter, asks voters whether Burlington’s City Council should formally request the U.S. Air Force send a safer, less noisy aircraft to Vermont to replace the aging F-16 jets.

The city owns the airport which leases space to the Vermont Air Guard.

Opponents of the F-35 said they’re not giving up, and in at least three other states the Air Force agreed to substitute aircraft long after its initial basing decision.

For now, the Air Force plans to send 18 F-35 fighter-bombers to Burlington sometime in late September 2019.

Opponents point to Air Force studies and documents showing the F-35’s louder engine will aggravate thousands of residents living in neighborhoods near the Burlington International Airport.

Vermont Air Guard Col. Henry Harder told reporters he thinks the noise will be about the same as today’s F-16 jets.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Col Harder, at Burlington city council, calls ballot item unnecessary and disingenuous

By Katie Jickling
January  30, 2018

The Burlington City Council on Monday agreed to allow voters to weigh in on the future basing of the F-35 fighter jets — but not before a lengthy discussion about ballot wording that, in the end, will remain the same.

The Town Meeting Day ballot question is advisory, and is not likely to prevent the planned 2019 arrival of the F-35s. The crux of the debate during Monday’s meeting centered not around the vote itself, but around language F-35 opponents used conveying “strong support” for the Vermont Air National Guard.

The original question, on a petition signed by 2,700 city residents, asked:

Shall we, the voters of the City of Burlington, as part of our strong support for the men and women of the Vermont National Guard, and especially their mission to ‘protect the citizens of Vermont,’ advise the City Council to:

1) request the cancellation of the planned basing of the F-35 at Burlington International Airport, and

2) request instead low-noise-level equipment with a proven high safety record appropriate for a densely populated area?

Three councilors — Jane Knodell (P-Central District), Dave Hartnett (D-North District) and Kurt Wright (R-Ward 4) — proposed an amendment to delete the phrase, “as part of our strong support for the men and women of the Vermont National Guard, and especially their mission to ‘protect the citizens of Vermont.'”

[FULL ARTICLE]

In unprecedented press conference and behind the scenes tour for the press, VTANG officials say they want the public to know their side of the story

By Timothy McQuiston
March 2, 2018

If the skies seem a bit quieter around Burlington International Airport these days, it’s because the Vermont Air National Guard’s F-16s have been flying fewer sorties. And it will keep getting quieter for about the next 18 months, which will include, starting next March, about six months of no F-16 activity. But for the next few days, the political noise will get louder, and who knows when that might quiet down.

A Burlington ballot question on Tuesday requests the cancellation of the Vermont Air National Guard’s F-35. It’s an advisory vote only. The F-35s that will replace the F-16 at Burlington International Airport are expected to start to arrive in the fall of 2019. VTANG’s F-16 mission will conclude in March of that year.

While a “yes” vote will not cancel the mission, opponents have been steadfast in saying the new aircraft will make a noisy situation even louder.

Opponents also maintain that the new jets will be more dangerous.

[FULL ARTICLE]

VTANG says to show support for the Guard, vote “no” on ballot item

By Darren Perron
March 4, 2018

A progress report on the  f-35, plus controversy  surrounding a ballot question about the fighter jet.

Vermonters will get to see and hear an f-35 fighter jet some time this year.
The guard says it’s bringing at least one or two here for training purposes and to show
its members the plane that will arrive full-time in 18 months.
We’re told the media will also get a look at the plane, so we’ll see just how loud it is.
It’s not clear when that demo will happen yet, but some time in 2018.
Construction continues at the guard to get ready for the 18 fighter jets that will be based
at the Burlington airport, a decision that has sparked nearly a decade of debate.

[FULL ARTICLE]

In-depth coverage of VTANG involvement in the F-35 basing issue

By Jasper Craven
March 1, 2018

In December 2012, Vermont’s then-Gov. Peter Shumlin squeezed into a nine-seat charter jet for a trip to Florida.

Those on board — including Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger and then-Winooski Mayor Michael O’Brien — were headed to Eglin Air Force Base. The mission: To hear the noise of the F-35 fighter jet firsthand, and report back to Vermonters.

The trip was paid for by the Greater Burlington Industrial Corp. (GBIC), a business group that has supported the basing of F-35 stealth fighter jets in the Burlington area. One of that group’s leaders, real estate magnate Ernie Pomerleau, also accompanied Shumlin on the trip.

Noticeably absent were officials from South Burlington, the city expected to shoulder the greatest burden when 18 of the jets are scheduled to arrive at Burlington International Airport next fall. They were not invited.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Adjutant General, MG Cray speaks to the Burlington City Council in uniform on 10-28-13 asking them to vote against the council resolution


October 28, 2013

Adjutant General, MG Cray speaks to the Burlington City Council in uniform asking them to vote against the council resolution during public forum. Starts at 16 minute point in video.

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

Adjutant General MG Steven Cray’s October 2013 letter to Burlington City Council

By Adjutant General MG Steven Cray
October 22, 2013

Dear Burlington City Councilors,

I am writing this letter to express my support for basing the F-35 at the Burlington International Airport. I have been involved with the basing process since the beginning and am confident the basing of the F-35 in Vermont is in our best interest as an organization, as a state, and as a community. The basing will provide continued levels of emergency capability for the governor, support national defense, secure current level of jobs, preserve economoic benefits, and secture the Vermont Air National Guard’s future for years to come.

Download full PDF

Lt Col Caputo speaks to the Burlington City Council in uniform on 10-28-13 urging the city councilors to “vote no” on a council resolution

October 28, 2013

Adjutant General, MG Cray speaks to the Burlington City Council in uniform asking them to vote against the council resolution during public forum. Starts at 46:12 minute point in video.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Citations on VTANG political engagement as cited in the administrative record of the F-35A basing process

Cray to Fick, Clark, Harris, Caputo, Baczewski, Goodrow, Irish, Kleptz (3-9-10) Subject: Media Messages for F35.  “All, Here’s some thought I have regarding the development of our community management strategy.  First I think it’s time to publish a letter to the editor in the BFP as an update on the “facts”.  It’s imperative that we get Sheryl in front of the SB council in April. An invite to the VTANG for meet and greet.  Timing TBD.”  #40684

Goodrow to Abbott (9-2-10) Subject:  Regarding Organizing Efforts for the F-35.  “There are many opportunities out there to promote the possibilities of the VTANG’s bedding down of the F-35 in the future.  That being said, there is great temptation for members of the VTANG to become engaged in a political process that is outside of our legal lanes.  As a military organization it is improper for us to utilize the email systems to push any sort of agendas as an effort to influence our public or the USAF toward any decision process.  That being said, efforts to institute or participate in any “We Support the F-35 Campaign” by way of petition or active participation in efforts toward those means would be improper.  Military Organization are prohibited from solicitation.

If individuals want to get the news out through their personal websites, facebook, email links, etc. they must do it as individuals and should not do it as a member of the Vermont Air Guard or imply that the Air Guard is driving this ship…because we CAN’T and Aren’t driving the ship.

It is totally appropriate for the Air Guard to support requests for information on the F-35 to organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, etc..but we should not be building their agenda for them.  I do believe that it is now appropriate for the VTANG to engage with the Rotary, etc in order to update them on the EIS process, etc, and update on VTANG activities.  This should NOT be an opportunity to tell folks to organize on our behalf but it purely an effort to keep the public informed on the EIS process.  Engaging with the public in this respect is not only appropriate but expected under the EIS process.  If the Chamber wants to bounce ideas off of us…we need to remember that their efforts on our behalf are THEIR efforts and we are only responding to legitimate, appropriate requests for information that could very well be used to support THEIR efforts toward supporting the F-35 in Burlington.  Offers of F-16 flights or positions of honor for organization offering support would NOT be appropriate.

We have been telling the public from day one that this is a United States Air Force Process that we did NOT solicit…although we are grateful for the  acknowledgement the USAF has given us in their selection of the 158FW as a prime location for the F-35.  If we appear to be actively soliciting and behind the scenes activists toward these means, we could impact our credibility with those who we already are on shaky grounds with.”  #44143. NOTE:  PARTS OF THIS EMAIL ARE MISSING AND ARE LABELED “PRIVILEGED”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Marine F-35B forced to land over fuel issue

By Shawn Snow
May 4, 2018

An F-35B out the Marine Corps air station at Cherry Point, North Carolina, was forced to make an emergency landing on April 23 when the aircraft fuel light came on.

Officials provided few details of the incident and referred to the event as a “precautionary” and “uneventful landing.”

The pilot landed his F-35B after “receiving a fuel-related warning light from the aircraft” and returned to Fleet Readiness Center East located aboard Cherry Point, John M. Olmstead, a spokesman for FRC East told Marine Corps Times in an emailed statement.

However, Marine Corps Times has learned the F-35 was leaking fuel when it landed, and the engine abruptly shut off before coming to a complete stop because the aircraft was out of fuel.

The F-35B can carry nearly 14,000 pounds of fuel.

The F-35B involved in the incident had “recently undergone airframe modifications,” Olmstead explained.

[FULL ARTICLE]

How War Industry Corrupts Congress (and everyone else)

By Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies
June 8, 2018

Former President Jimmy Carter has called U.S. politics a system of “legalized bribery” in which powerful interests spend billions of dollars on lobbying and campaign funding to ensure that members of Congress pay more attention to them than to the general public. With the upcoming midterm elections, we will see the full force of this tsunami of cash washing over our electoral system.

The human cost of this corrupt system has been searingly rammed home since the Parkland school shooting, as grieving high school students determined to curb America’s gun violence have found themselves in a pitched battle with the “gun lobby,” led by the National Rifle Association (NRA), one of the most entrenched and powerful interest groups in the country.

The gun lobby has already spent over $12 million on lobbying and given at least $1.1 million to members of Congress in this election cycle, 98% of it to Republicans. The gun lobby also wields power over Democrats through lobbying and public relations, and the threat of targeting individual Democrats who take a public stand for gun control.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Marine F-35B forced to land

By Shawn Snow
May 4, 2018

An F-35B out the Marine Corps air station at Cherry Point, North Carolina, was forced to make an emergency landing on April 23 when the aircraft fuel light came on.

Officials provided few details of the incident and referred to the event as a “precautionary” and “uneventful landing.”

The pilot landed his F-35B after “receiving a fuel-related warning light from the aircraft” and returned to Fleet Readiness Center East located aboard Cherry Point, John M. Olmstead, a spokesman for FRC East told Marine Corps Times in an emailed statement.

However, Marine Corps Times has learned the F-35 was leaking fuel when it landed, and the engine abruptly shut off before coming to a complete stop because the aircraft was out of fuel.

The F-35B can carry nearly 14,000 pounds of fuel.

The F-35B involved in the incident had “recently undergone airframe modifications,” Olmstead explained.

[FULL ARTICLE]

GAO.gov: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter: Development Is Nearly Complete, but Deficiencies Found in Testing Need to Be Resolved

June 5, 2018

DOD is getting closer to completing the F-35 program, but DOD’s plan to move into full-rate production without fixing key deficiencies brings into question the reliability and affordability of the aircraft.

DOD has already requested $9.8 billion for 2019 and will ask for about $10.4 billion more per year over the next two decades.

Congress should consider withholding funding from the next increment of F-35 development until DOD provides an independent cost estimate, a technology assessment, and takes other actions. In addition, we recommended that DOD resolve critical aircraft deficiencies before moving to full-rate production.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Will nukes accompany F-35s to Vermont? No one’s saying

By Jasper Craven
June 3, 2018

In an undated internal analysis of press coverage tied to the proposed basing of F-35 fighter jets at Burlington International Airport, Vermont Air National Guard leaders detailed five potential media questions “We Hope We Don’t Get.”

The first four dreaded questions were often asked throughout the years-long debate over the controversial plane’s basing, and included “Why is the F35A four times louder?” and “Why would you be in favor of bringing a plane here when the Accident Potential Zone extends two miles into Winooski?”

But the fifth and final question is one that has been rarely discussed, and is almost impossible to answer: “Where are you planning on storing the nuclear weapons that are part of the F-35 arsenal?”

Opponents of the F-35 in Burlington have long raised the specter of nuclear weapons coming to Chittenden County along with the F-35, and the plane was designed with nuclear payload capability. In May 2013, when the plane’s opponents asked the Vermont Air Guard about nuclear bombs being based in Burlington, even military officials seemed unsure of the answer.

“We haven’t talked about nuclear capabilities of the F-35A yet so this may take us some time,” wrote an Air Force public affairs officer at the Pentagon to her Vermont counterpart. “We’re asking about it.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Strong Community Bond Gives VTANG The Strength to Soar

May 2018

Brigadier General David Baczewski (Ret.) recalls how he and his family found the place they call home today

This story is produced and presented by Pomerleau Real Estate [Appeared as an ‘ad’ in this Burlington Free Press article]

David Baczewski has spent most of his life wrapped in what he calls a “blue blanket.”

The 52-year-old Westford resident was born on an Air Force base. He grew up and earned his own appointment to the Air Force Academy, where he met the woman he would marry. Fourteen years of active duty followed, as a pilot and training instructor.

Throughout his Air Force experience, Brigadier General David Baczewski (Ret.) and his family enjoyed the security and support that comes with service in the armed forces. Then he moved to vermont, where he and his family found themselves wrapped in a blanked thicker than they ever imagined.

“It’s almost hard for me to put into words, but I felt more connected to the community here than I have ever really felt, even in the Air Force,” said Baczewski, who went on to spend 12 years in the Vermont Air National Guard (VTANG) and rise to the position of Commander for the 158th Fighter Wing.

Full ad below:

BFP-Ad-Pomerleau-VTANG-5-31-18

US Air Force secretary: F-35 coming to Burlington

May 24, 2018

The secretary of the U.S. Air Force says the F-35 fighter jet is coming to Burlington.

Secretary Heather Wilson sent a letter to the city of Burlington Thursday reiterating her decision.

On Town Meeting Day voters passed a resolution opposing the F-35 basing in Vermont. Mayor Miro Weinberger sent Secretary Wilson a letter asking whether the Vermont Guard could be assigned a different mission, not including the F-35.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Despite Opponents’ Efforts, F-35s Still Scheduled for Burlington

By Katie Jickling
May 24, 2018

Citizen efforts to halt the arrival of the F-35 fighter jets appear to have come up short.

Secretary of the U.S. Air Force Heather Wilson confirmed this week that the planes are still on schedule to arrive at Burlington International Airport next year.

The letter dated May 22 from Wilson to Mayor Miro Weinberger came in response to a city council resolution that requested the Air Force find a new mission for the Vermont Air National Guard. The resolution also included a series of questions about the safety and noise of the planes.

The Air Force’s response? The basing is a done deal.

“This decision was finalized in 2013 after a 48-month review which assessed 205 locations and concluded that the Burlington International Airport was the best Air National Guard option,” Wilson wrote in a letter to 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.”

With a decreased need for Air Force bases and aircraft since the Cold War, the letter continued, “competition to secure new missions is fierce.” Wilson estimated that the Air Force would make $100 million in capital expenditures in Vermont during the next five years, and would spend $50 million on salaries annually.

Gov. Phil Scott, along with Vermont’s three-member congressional delegation, support the F-35 basing in Burlington.

Citizen opponents have been fighting the jets for five years. They have filed a lawsuit against the Air Force — which was dismissed — held protests, and, most recently, gathered signatures to get the measure on the Town Meeting Day ballot.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Report finds toxic chemicals at Burlington air base exceed state limits

May 24, 2018

The Air Force has released a report detailing chemical contaminants at the Burlington International Airport above Vermont regulatory limits.

These chemicals were found at multiple locations on the Vermont National Guard installation, but not in the base’s drinking water, or the water supply of nearby communities. Now, the Air Force is continuing the investigation, along with the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, to determine the extent of the contamination.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Decision on F-35 not up to Vermont Air National Guard: Analysis

By Aki Soga
May 24, 2018

Update: Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson sent a letter to Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger confirming “We expect the first F-35 aircraft to arrive in Burlington in 2019.”

In the letter dated May 22, and tweeted by Weinberger the following day, thanks the mayor for his “letter supporting the Air Force decision to base the F-35 at Burlington Air National Guard Base.”

Weinberger affirmed his support for the F-35 basing following the City Council passed a resolution in March by a 9-3 vote asking the Air Force to replace the F-35 with an alternative plane.

F-35 alternative not up to VT National Guard
F-35 opponents are finding a reason to hope in the words of Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson, which seem to make clear that the plan to base the stealth fighter with the Vermont Air National Guard was an all-or-nothing proposition.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Engine trouble led to F-16 crash near Luke Air Force Base

By Stephen Losey
April 25, 2018

The pilot of an F-16C from Luke Air Force Base that crashed Tuesday in Arizona tried to make an emergency landing after experiencing trouble with his engine.

An Air Force official told Air Force Times that the U.S. pilot diverted to Lake Havasu City Municipal Airport because of “engine concerns.”

Luke officials said in a release Tuesday that the F-16 “departed the prepared surface” ― or, in other words, overshot the runway — and the unidentified pilot safely ejected at about 10:35 a.m.

He was taken to Havasu Regional Medical Center and released that afternoon, Luke officials said.

The Air Force official said the jet is believed to have been coming in too fast when landing, and the pilot ejected on the ground. This is a common practice pilots are trained to do when landing with too much speed.

[FULL ARTICLE]

The Air Force is still thinking about retiring the F-15 – and it could happen sooner than you think

By Stephen Losey
April 18, 2018

The Air Force is still considering retiring many of its fourth-generation F-15 Eagle fighters — and it could happen by the end of the next decade.

Air Force officials said in March 2017 that it was considering retiring its 236 F-15 C and D fighters and replacing them with F-16 Fighting Falcons.

Lt. Gen. Jerry Harris, the Air Force’s deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and requirements, told Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., during a Senate Armed Services air land forces subcommittee hearing Wednesday that the service is still studying its options with the F-15 ― especially as it brings the newest F-35 fighters on board.

“There’s nothing off the table,” Harris said. “We’re looking at, as we bring F-35s in, can we grow our capacity rather than just replace one-for-one? If we can’t do that, what’s our least-capable asset to retire, based on the value that it would provide for us?”

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 program office wraps up final developmental flight test

By Valerie Insinna
April 12, 2018

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter on Wednesday flew its final developmental flight test, effectively capping off the development phase of the program 11 years after the aircraft took its first flight in 2006.

The F-35, built by Lockheed Martin, will now move into operational test and evaluation conducted by the Pentagon’s independent testing office. Once finished, the systems development and demonstration (SDD) portion of the program will be officially complete and the F-35 will enter full rate production.

Vice Adm. Mat Winter, F-35 joint program executive officer, said Wednesday at the Navy League’s Sea Air Space conference that he expected to finish the final SDD flight test this week “and potentially even today. … That is a significant milestone for this program.”

That test point — during which the Navy test aircraft CF-2 collected data while carrying 2,000-pound GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munitions and AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles as an external load — occurred on April 11 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Defense Department halts F-35 deliveries amid repair bill disagreement with Lockheed

By Valerie Insinna
April 11, 2018

The Pentagon has suspended acceptance of most F-35 deliveries as manufacturer Lockheed Martin and the F-35 program office debate who should be responsible for fixing jets after a production issue last year.

“While all work in our factories remains active, the F-35 Joint Program Office has temporarily suspended accepting aircraft until we reach an agreement on a contractual issue and we expect this to be resolved soon,” a Lockheed spokeswoman confirmed in a statement, adding that the company remains confident that it can meet its delivery target of 91 aircraft for 2018.

News of the delivery pause was first reported by Reuters.

The dispute is rooted in a quality control issue that caused F-35 deliveries to stop from Sept. 21 to Oct. 20. At the time, corrosion was found in fastener holes of F-35As being repaired at Hill Air Force Base in Utah.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 deliveries resume as DoD, Lockheed clear up financial disagreement

By Valerie Insinna
May 7, 2018

The Pentagon is now accepting deliveries of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter again, after resolving a disagreement with Lockheed Martin over who should pay to fix a couple hundred jets, the company confirmed Monday.

However, it’s still unknown who will ultimately be left with the repair bill.

Spokesmen from Lockheed and the F-35 Joint Program Office declined to comment on whether the company or government will be held financially responsible for the production escape. The decision to resume deliveries was first reported by Reuters.

On April 11, the Defense Department confirmed it had stopped accepting some F-35 deliveries beginning March 28. The problem, sources said at the time, is that the department and Lockheed had agreed upon a plan to repair about 200 jets that were impacted by a quality lapse — but not who should pay for it.

The initial quality control issue, which had caused a stoppage in F-35 deliveries from Sept. 21 to Oct. 20, involved corrosion found in fastener holes of F-35As being repaired at Hill Air Force Base in Utah. A Lockheed investigation had found that the company had not applied the corrosion-preventing primer to fastener holes.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Sen. Lindsey Graham pitches Trump on F-35s during visit to South Carolina’s McEntire Air Guard Base

By Jamie Lovegrove
Oct 27, 2017

In what seems to be an increasingly common occurrence for U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, the Seneca Republican was in a meeting Friday when President Donald Trump called. This time, the chat focused on airplanes.

While meeting with U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-Springdale, and Air Force Chief of Staff General David Goldfein at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, Graham used the president’s call to loop him into the conversation and pitch him on the benefits of F-35 stealth fighter jets.

Known for his hawkish stance on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Graham said he told Trump that he doesn’t want any U.S. military engagement to be a fair fight.

[FULL ARTICLE]

DoD: At least 126 bases report water contaminants linked to cancer, birth defects

By Tara Copp
April 26, 2018

The water at or around at least 126 military installations contains potentially harmful levels of perfluorinated compounds, which have been linked to cancers and developmental delays for fetuses and infants, the Pentagon has found.

In a March report provided to the House Armed Services Committee, the Pentagon for the first time publicly listed the full scope of the known contamination. The Defense Department identified 401 active and Base Closure and Realignment installations in the United States with at least one area where there was a known or suspected release of perfluorinated compounds.

These included 36 sites with drinking water contamination on-base, and more than 90 sites that reported either on-base or off-base drinking water or groundwater contamination, in which the water source tested above the Environmental Protection Agency’s acceptable levels of perfluorooctane sulfonate or perfluorooctanoic acid, also known as PFOS and PFOAs.

[FULL ARTICLE]

The F-35: The Ultimate Nuclear Bomber?

By Kris Osborn
May 23, 2018

Earlier this year, the F-35 completed a series of weapons separation tests and is currently able to be armed with the AIM-9X, AIM-120, AIM-132, GBU-12, JDAM, JSOW, SDB-1 and the Paveway IV, Lockheed Martin data states. While it is not yet clear exactly how a nuclear weapon might integrate onto the platform, the F-35 is configured to carry more than 3500 pounds of ordnance in stealth mode and over 18-thousand pounds uncontested.

The Air Force is integrating the B61 Mod 12 nuclear weapon into the F-35 this year as part of a long-range plan to deploy a nuclear-armed, dual-capable F-35 able to give commanders a wider envelope of precision nuclear attack options.

 

[FULL ARTICLE]

First combat mission for F-35

May 22, 2018

The US-made F-35 stealth fighter has seen its first ever combat action, flying in an operation for the Israeli air force.

The air force chief showed an image of jets over Beirut, Lebanon, and said the planes had “already attacked twice on two different fronts”.

Israel recently carried out scores of air strikes in Syria.

The F-35, from the world’s priciest military programme, has been criticised both for cost and combat effectiveness.

Last year, Defence Secretary James Mattis had to defend the programme after then President-elect Donald Trump tweeted criticising its huge price, said to be close to $100m (£74m) per plane.

[FULL ARTICLE]

WCAX broadcast on VTANG interference in basing process

By Darren Perron
May 20, 2018

Opponents of the F 35 Jet call for an investigation on the Vermont National Guard.
They’re alleging unethical and possible illegal conduct that resulted in Vermont landing the controversial plane.
A one on one interview with the woman making the allegations, plus we’re going to get the guard’s response. Major James Lewandowski is here, he will discuss the guard’s Charlie company, which will act as a medical evacuation unit.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Air Force head says F-35 loss could ground Vermont Guard

By Mike Dougherty
May 17 2018

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said Thursday that the Vermont Air National Guard would likely be grounded if F-35s are not based at the Burlington Air Guard Station.

During questioning by Sen. Patrick Leahy at a U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, the Air Force head told lawmakers, “If the F-35s don’t go to Vermont, the F-16s will eventually age out, and it’s highly likely that Vermont will no longer have a flying mission for its Guard.”

Opponents to the F-35 basing have raised concerns over the environmental effects of stationing the fleet of fighter jets in Vermont’s most populous city.

In public statements and court filings, opposition groups, including Save Our Skies VT, have suggested that the Air Force could assign alternative aircraft to the Guard. VTANG officials have contended that there is no other mission being planned for the Green Mountain Boys.

Wilson’s comment Thursday appears to be the first public statement clarifying the position of the Air Force.

While opponents have proposed that cargo planes like the C-130 would be viable alternatives for the Vermont Air Guard, the secretary’s statement indicates that fighter planes are the squadron’s only aircraft option.

Her statement largely reflects prior wording about the continued use of the squadron’s current F-16 fleet. The Air Force’s 2013 Environmental Impact Statement stated, “If there is no F-35 beddown at Burlington Air Guard Station, the current mission would continue.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

US Air Force: No F-35s would likely ground Vt. Air Guard

By Darren Perron
May 17, 2018

If the F-35 fighter jet doesn’t land here, the Vermont Air Guard would likely be grounded. That’s according to the U.S. Air Force.

U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson testified Thursday in front of the Senate Appropriations Committee about the 2019 budget.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, took the opportunity to ask the secretary if another mission is possible for the Vermont Air Guard without the F-35.

“If the F-35s don’t go to Vermont, the F-16s will eventually age out, and it’s highly likely that Vermont will no longer have a flying mission for its Guard,” Wilson said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Certifying the Nuclear Fleet in a Cyber World

By Amy McCullough
May 1, 2018

The Air Force is already thinking about how it will certify its nuclear systems in a cyber environment. That’s a significant challenge considering the last time it certified such a system—the B-2 in the early 1990s—the internet didn’t exist, at least not as it does today.

“We built a plan on how to execute that because the time to worry about nuclear certification of our systems is not 2020, it’s 2018. You plan for it now,” said Lt. Gen. Jack Weinstein, deputy chief of staff for strategic deterrence and nuclear integration, during an AFA Mitchell Institute event on Capitol Hill on ​Tuesday. ​

Nuclear certification is the final step before a nuclear weapon system can reach initial operational capability. In 2017, the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board conducted a study on “Nuclear Surety and Certification for Emerging Systems,” in which the board offered several recommendations, including ensuring the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, Air Force Safety Center, and the NWS Program Offices were properly resourced “to support modernization.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pentagon Classifies Study of F-35 Jet’s Challenges in Pacific

By Anthony Capaccio
April 25, 2018

The Pentagon classified an assessment of the major challenges the Marine Corps encountered in deploying the U.S.’s first F-35 jets to the Pacific, according to a new Government Accountability Office report.

An unclassified version of the study released on Wednesday suggests the problems with the Lockheed Martin Corp. fighter — which would bolster U.S. capabilities in case of a conflict with North Korea — could be significant, touching on both critical software and supply chain issues.

“While the Marine Corps recognizes the advanced warfighting capabilities the F-35 will bring to the Pacific, it is facing challenges operating in the area,” according to the unclassified version. “In particular, it is uncertain how long the F-35 can effectively operate” if its software-intensive maintenance diagnostic system — critical for keeping the jets flying — “becomes disconnected from the aircraft,” according to the report.

[FULL ARTICLE]

With Older F-35s ‘On Life Support,’ Wing Struggles to Train Pilots

By Oriana Pawlyk
May 7, 2018

One of the busiest F-35 Joint Strike Fighter training units is hoping the U.S. Air Force can help relieve some of the pressures of training student pilots with ineffective resources.

The 33rd Fighter Wing, the leading training wing for F-35 student pilots, hopes it will receive additional F-35A aircraft, along with considerable upgrades to its existing fleet, to keep up with training demands, said Col. Paul Moga, commander of the 33rd Fighter Wing here.

“Right now, production is king. We’ve got to find ways to solve this aircrew crisis, and our contribution to that is getting our students through the training program as quickly as possible,” Moga said, referring to the service’s ongoing pilot shortage.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Former Air Force leaders demand probe of ‘unethical’ conduct by Air Guard officials in F-35 basing

By Jasper Craven
May 6 2018

Two retired Air Force officials have called on federal watchdogs to investigate the Vermont Air National Guard over what they allege is unethical and, perhaps, illegal conduct.

Air Force Col. Rosanne Greco, the leader of an activist group that opposes the F-35 fighter jet, and retired Air Force Lt. Col. Roger Bourassa, submitted letters to the inspectors general of the Air Force, Department of Defense and Air National Guard demanding investigations into “unprofessional, inappropriate, and possibly illegal conduct of some senior military officers of the Vermont Air National Guard” that appear “to violate military ethics and regulations.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Airport expansion into neighborhood

By Taylor Young
May 1, 2018

The Queen City is one step closer to building a hotel at the Burlington International Airport.

Monday night city officials approved the BTV Hotel ground lease. Alpha Inn Management is partnering with DEW Properties on the project. In the agreement, the two businesses will lease the property to the city of Burlington for up to two years and give the city a $100,000 deposit.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Democrats and Progressives Push US War Machine in Vermont – World Beyond War

By William Boardman
February 1, 2018

Donald Trump loves the F-35 and so does Burlington City Council – that is the real state of the union

his is a story primarily about corrupt practices by the Burlington City Council, in its headlong determination to force a neighboring city to be the base for a weapon of mass destruction, the nuclear capable F-35 fighter-bomber (in development since 1992, first flown in 2000, still not reliably deployable in 2018, at a cost of $400 billion and counting). Yes, the premise itself is corrupt: Burlington owns the airport in South Burlington, so South Burlington has no effective say in how many housing units Burlington destroys in South Burlington to meet environmental standards for imposing the quiet-shattering F-35 jet on a community that doesn’t want it and won’t benefit from it. The entire “leadership” of the state of Vermont, mostly Democrats, has spent more than a decade making this atrocity happen, with widespread media complicity. And you wonder how we got Trump as President.

Opposition to basing the F-35 in a residential neighborhood is at least as old as the mindless official support, and the opposition has been much more articulate, thoughtful, and detailed. Senator Patrick Leahy, a Democrat and Burlington native, has been enthusiastic about militarizing his hometown from the start, treating it as if it should be seen as an honorable piece of pork from the military-industrial complex. Independent senator Bernie Sanders, like Democratic congressman Peter Welch, has hedged slightly in his support, but neither has come close to a cogently articulated position, much less opposition. Governors of both parties have been cheerleaders, especially Peter Shumlin, who took a junket to Florida to listen to an F-35 and decided it wasn’t all that loud (which was shortly before he decided universal healthcare wasn’t all that necessary).

[FULL ARTICLE]

Winooski F35 Resolution

April 16, 2018

CITY OF WINOOSKI CITY COUNCIL

RESOLUTION ON THE BASING OF THE F-35S AT THE BURLINGTON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Whereas the City of Winooski wishes to address the Air Force decision to base F-35 fighter jets at the Burlington International Airport, doing so through Secretary Dr. Heather Wilson, and ;

Whereas the City of Winooski remains steadfast in our support and commitment to the value of the Vermont Air National Guard to our community, the region, and the state, and;

Whereas the City of Winooski recognizes the bravery and sacrifice of each member of the Guard and their families, and;

Whereas the City of Winooski formally requests the Vermont Air National Guard continue to have a mission that reflects their high level of commitment and professional expertise each member brings to our service, and;

[FULL ARTICLE]

2018 F35 Resolution

March 26, 2018

Resolution Relating to

REQUESTING THE SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE PROVIDE AN ALTERNATIVE MISSION FOR THE VERMONT AIR NATIONAL GUARD AT BURLINGTON AIRPORT

CITY OF BURLINGTON

In the year Two Thousand Eighteen…
Resolved by the City council of the City of Burlington, as follows:

That WHEREAS, on March 6, 2018, by a vote of 6,482 to 5,238, the voters of the City of Burlington approved the following citizen-initiated ballot item by 55.31% of the total votes cast:

“Shall we, the voters of the City of Burlington, as part of our strong support for the men and women of the Vermont National Guard, and especially their mission to ‘protect the citizens of Vermont,’ advise the City Council to:

1) request the cancellation of the planned basing of the F-35 at Burlington International Airport, and

2) request instead low-noise-level equipment with a proven high safety record appropriate for a densely populated area?;” and

WHEREAS, the Vermont National Guard provided valuable service to the community and to the country that is gratly appreciated by the City of Burlington;

[FULL ARTICLE from Burlington Free Press, PDF also available HERE]

GAO: Bad Communication on F-35 Problems Threatens Future Deployments

By Oriana Pawlyk
April 25, 2018

The Marine Corps may struggle to support the ongoing deployment of its F-35B Joint Strike Fighter to the Pacific if the Defense Department won’t properly share the service’s operational challenges to the Navy or Air Force, according to a new Government Accountability Office report.

The GAO issued a report Wednesday saying that the Marine Corps relies too heavily on “personal relationships” with Air Force and Navy counterparts to share lessons learned from not only its first operational F-35 deployment, but also training exercises.

The Defense Department “has emphasized the need for the services to collect and share lessons learned not only at a service-specific level, but across all services, and it established the Joint Lessons Learned Program in 2000 to enhance joint capabilities through knowledge management in peacetime and wartime,” the 15-page report said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

More Problems For F35 Jet Diverted To Lubbock International Airport

March 29, 2013

A new problem for the F35 fighter jet that made an emergency landing in Lubbock two weeks ago.

Lockheed Martin officials tell us the jet tried to leave Lubbock and fly back to Ft. Worth this week, but experienced a problem with a communications channel of the flight control system and couldn’t leave.

The jet has been at Lubbock International Airport since March 11th, when a warning light forced the pilot to land here instead of Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Meaghan Emery: Replace the F-35 with a quieter, safer aircraft

By Meaghan Emery

April 25, 2018

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Meaghan Emery, of South Burlington, who is the vice chair of the South Burlington City Council.

In 2010 (I was on the council at the time), the first public meeting to discuss the proposed basing of the F-35 at Burlington International Airport was held in Winooski. Later, when the draft Environmental Impact Statement was issued in 2012, I read with consternation the data indicating a 50 percent increase in the number of homes that would fall in a zone around the airport deemed incompatible with residential use (rising from 1,900 to 2,900 homes, or over 6,600 people). Over the six years since, I have only become more convinced that the F-35 is incompatible with a densely populated, residential area. This remains the case, in spite of the federal judge’s finding last year. As history as shown us — with the suffrage and civil rights movements, for instance — because something is legal does not necessarily mean that it is right.

South Burlington residents object to, if not the noise, then the impacts of the noise and the noise compatibility programs, which have been decimating our affordable housing stock, putting the future of one of our three elementary schools in jeopardy, and overall disrupting the peace of mind and quality of life of many who reside here. We have two federal agencies at work here. Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger has stated and restated his desire to stop the buyout program and pursue other mitigation programs. The regional director of the FAA, however, has stated that, other than home acquisition, no noise mitigation exists to lessen the impact of these high-powered jets. For us in South Burlington, there is no win-win with the F-35.

[FULL ARTICLE]

US F-35 fighter makes emergency landing in Fukuoka

April 24, 2018

A US F-35 stealth fighter jet has made an emergency landing at an Air Self-Defense Force base in Fukuoka Prefecture, western Japan.

The jet landed at Tsuiki Air Base just after 11 AM on Tuesday.

The Defense Ministry says the plane belongs to the US Marine Corps at Iwakuni Air Station in Yamaguchi Prefecture.

The ministry says the jet may have had problems involving part of its body during flight. No injuries or damage have been reported.

The ministry also says the emergency landing is the first by a US F-35 in Japan but not at a US base.

The US military is investigating the cause of the incident.

[FULL ARTICLE]

South Burlington F-35 resolution as adopted 4-16-18

South Burlington City Council Resolution in Solidarity with the cities of Burlington and Winooski regarding replacing the F-35A with a safe and quiet aircraft

WHEREAS, South Burlington values the women and men of the Vermont National Guard and endorses their mission to protect the citizens of Vermont;

WHEREAS, South Burlington is the city out of which the Vermont National Guard flies;

WHEREAS, the city of Burlington owns the Burlington International Airport, which is geographically located in the city of South Burlington;

WHEREAS, South Burlington has no legal authority over the flight operations, including those of the Vermont National Guard, at the Burlington International Airport;

WHEREAS, according to the Final United States Air Forces F-35A Operational Basing Environmental Impact Statement, there are over 1,900 homes and over 4,600 people in the F-16 65dB DNL, an area the Federal Government classifies as unsuitable for residential use;

[FULL ARTICLE]

Open letter to Miro about F-35 by UVM sophomore Lena Connolly

By Lena Connolly
April 20, 2018

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Lena Connolly, a sophomore at the University of Vermont and a lifelong Burlington resident.

My name is Lena Connolly. I am a sophomore at the University of Vermont, and I have lived in Burlington for my entire life. Surrounded by a loving and compassionate community, unbeatable natural beauty, and numerous activities both in the city and the outdoors, I am sure you know that Burlington is a phenomenal place to live.

However, like any place, Burlington is not perfect.

My family’s house lies under the flight path of the F-16 fighter jets, based in Burlington since 1986. I remember one day very distinctly, when I was five years old: My sister and I were playing in the backyard of my family’s home on a cloudless day in spring. The usual sounds of a Saturday morning echoed through the neighborhood: The warm breeze blowing through the trees, dogs barking, neighbors conversing, children laughing, and just like every other Saturday morning, the locally stationed F-16 fighter jets taking off for their training drills directly above my house. The noises of the neighborhood were drowned out by the overbearing roar of the planes. The dogs barked louder, the houses shook, neighbors ceased conversation, my sister and I ran inside, covering our ears and crying.

This is just one example from a lifetime of living in the shadow of the F-16s. They have affected my summer job at the Intervale Community Farm, where the noise from the jets terminates countless conversations between my co-workers and I. They have affected the many times I have sought peaceful refuge in Centennial Woods, where the noise of the F-16s pierces the stillness of the forest, disrupting countless animals and ecosystems. They have affected my father, who is highly sensitive to loud noises and whose stress levels rise every time the F-16s fly overhead. They have affected my mother, who supports my family by teaching music lessons to children at our home; the F-16s force her to interrupt these lessons.

Now, it is 2018, I am 20 years old, and the F-16s have the same looming presence in Burlington that they have had my entire life. It baffles me that the city is currently trying to bring to our town F-35 fighter jets that are four times louder, have a higher safety risk, will affect cognitive development in children and the mental and physical health of those within the noise zone, and make thousands of homes uninhabitable, forcing eviction for countless locals.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Corrupt Democrats Trash Constituents Over F-35 Basing in Vermont

By William Boardman
April 19, 2018

Author’s Note: Since the Burlington mayor’s non-veto veto of his city council’s anti-F-35 resolution, two other affected towns have acted. On April 16, the city council in Winooski, which sits in the airport’s flight path, voted unanimously for a resolution opposing the F-35. Also on April 16, the city council in South Burlington voted 3-1 for an anti-F-35 resolution. No Vermont town is on record supporting the warplane.

Burlington mayor betrays majority of constituents for what?
And why?

On April 11, the mayor of Burlington, Vermont, announced that he was betraying a 55% majority of Burlington voters and a 75% majority of his city council that had opposed basing the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter at the Burlington Airport in South Burlington. The mayor betrayed his constituents in the limpest way, not by vetoing the popular resolution opposing the F-35, but by sending it on without his signature, while appending a dishonest and misleading cover letter inviting unelected leaders to have their way with Vermont. The third-term Democratic mayor has now asked the Air Force to impose its deafening fighter-bomber on a neighboring city for no cogently articulated reason, following a process bereft of integrity, rigor, or honor.

Earlier this year, when Miro Weinberger was in a challenging, three-way race for re-election as mayor of Burlington, he seemed to make promises. He said things that sounded like promises, things that voters reasonably understood to be promises. One of those promises was a deceptively worded non-commitment commitment to reconsider the justice of basing the nuclear-capable F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in the neighboring city of South Burlington, even though South Burlington has no say in the matter.

Weinberger was slip-sliding his way along the F-35 question because he has a long, unambiguous record of supporting the military escalation of the airport in the most populated region of Vermont, and this year voters had finally put the question on the ballot, against serious opposition from officialdom. Weinberger, a former airport commissioner, apparently needed to sidestep a question on which he had never shown any official doubt despite health, safety, military, economic and other evidence that the world’s most expensive weapons system was going to do more harm than good to Vermont.

[FULL ARTICLE]

South Burlington and Winooski city councils oppose F-35 basing

By Gail Callahan
April 18, 2018

The Winooski and South Burlington city councils have joined their Burlington counterpart in passing a resolution calling for an alternative mission to the F-35 fighter that are set to arrive at the local airport next year.

The resolution was adopted on a 3-1 vote in South Burlington and unanimously in Winooski, 5-0.

The action Monday night came nearly a month after Burlington’s City Council passed a similar measure, following a Town Meeting Day referendum in which city voters opposed the F-35 basing by 55-45 percent. The council vote was 9-3.

After a period during which Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger said he was studying the issues raised by the public and in a VTDigger investigative series, he announced he was sticking to his earlier position supporting the F-35 and declined to sign the resolution.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Two Chittenden County Communities Pass Resolutions Asking USAF To Cancel F-35 Basing

By Pat Bradley
April 18, 2018

In the wake of Burlington city voters approving a resolution asking that the U.S. Air Force cancel plans to base the F-35 fighter jet at the Vermont National Guard base, two nearby city councils this week passed similar resolutions to forward to military officials.

The Burlington City council approved the Town Meeting Day ballot item passed by city voters. Mayor Miro Weinberger refused to sign it but did forward the resolution along with an analysis of the ballot question, which calls into question its validity, and a series of questions for the Secretary of the Air Force to answer.

On Monday, both the Winooski and South Burlington city councils considered similar resolutions. Winooski Mayor Seth Leonard described their resolution mirroring the recent Burlington action.  “The city has consistently said we think Burlington should be passed over in this round of basing until those questions can be addressed or answered.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

The F-35 is the wrong fit for Vermont

By Rosanne Greco
April 16, 2018

On a recent warm sunny morning, I had a beautiful daydream. It went like this: I was sitting on my front porch peacefully gazing at the blue sky when I saw an aircraft rising into the eastern sky, after having taken off from the airport in South Burlington. It was being flown by a pilot from the Vermont Air National Guard. I knew what she was about to do … and I smiled.

In my daydream, this is a military transport/cargo aircraft with a mission to provide supplies to our military serving overseas, or to deliver humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to people in the United States and around the world. I swell with gratitude and pride, knowing our Air Guard is providing food, water, water filtration devices, clothing, bedding, home rebuilding supplies and maybe even medical assistance to people in need.

Sadly, this is only a daydream. It is not our current reality, nor will it be our future if the F-35 fighter-bomber is based in Burlington. The mission of the F-35 is to attack and destroy. Worse still is that this kind of mission sometimes kills innocent human beings. The purpose of an F-16 and an F-35 is to destroy. That is what pilots of fighter bombers do — in our name.

It doesn’t have to be that way. We can demand a change in the mission of our Vermont Air National Guard. We can demand a mission that is more in alignment with Vermonters’ values.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35: Still No Finish Line in Sight

By Dan Grazier
March 19, 2018

Jim Roche, then-Secretary of the Air Force, made an announcement on October 26, 2001, that all aviation enthusiasts had been waiting for: a winner had been picked to design and build the Joint Strike Fighter. The American people were assured the new jet would enter service in 2008 and be a high-performance replacement for the military’s aging airframes while only costing between $40 million and $50 million.

The F-35 has now entered an unprecedented seventeenth year of continuing redesign, test deficiencies, fixes, schedule slippages, and cost overruns. And it’s still not at the finish line. Numerous missteps along the way—from the fact that the two competing contractors, Lockheed Martin and Boeing, submitted “flyoff” planes that were crude and undeveloped “technology demonstrators” rather than following the better practice of submitting fully functional prototypes, to concurrent acquisition malpractice that has prevented design flaws from being discovered until after production models were built—have led to where we are now. According to the latest annual report from the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E), 263 “high priority” performance and safety deficiencies remain unresolved and unaddressed, and the developmental tests—essentially, the laboratory tests—are far from complete.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pentagon stops accepting F-35 jets from Lockheed over repair cost dispute

By Mike Stone
April 11, 2018

The U.S. Department of Defense has stopped accepting most deliveries of F-35 jets from Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) because of a dispute over who will cover costs for fixing a production error, three people familiar with the matter said.

Lockheed confirmed on Wednesday that the Pentagon had halted deliveries of the jet over a contractual issue, but did not give further details.

Last year, the Pentagon stopped accepting F-35s for 30 days after discovering corrosion where panels were fastened to the airframe, an issue that affected more than 200 of the stealthy jets. Once a fix had been devised, the deliveries resumed, and Lockheed hit its target aircraft delivery numbers for 2017.

But deliveries were paused again over a dispute as to who will pay for what will likely be a complex logistical fix that could require technicians to travel widely to mend aircraft based around the world, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Request to halt F-35 goes forward without Weinberger’s support

By Katie Jickling

April 11, 2018

Mayor Miro Weinberger will not give his blessing to a Burlington City Council resolution asking the feds for an alternative plane to the F-35 fighter jets. He announced Wednesday in a press release that he will neither sign nor veto the letter, which will be sent to the U.S. Air Force on April 16 without his support.

A veto “would serve little purpose other than extending the divisive debate indefinitely,” Weinberger wrote in a commentary published on VTDigger.org that explained his decision.

It is the first time in Weinberger’s six-year tenure as mayor that he has not signed a council resolution, according to the release. Instead, he sent a letter to U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson explaining his decision and voicing his continued support for the jets.

The council considered the resolution after 55 percent of Burlingtonians, on an advisory Town Meeting Day ballot question, voted to halt the basing of the F-35s and request a new mission for the Vermont Air National Guard at Burlington International Airport. The F-35s are currently scheduled to arrive in 2019.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Weinberger won’t sign off on Burlington City Council F-35 resolution

By Anne Galloway
April 11, 2018

Mayor Miro Weinberger announced Wednesday morning that he will not support a Burlington City Council resolution calling for an alternative mission to the F-35 fighter jets, which are slated to be based at the local airport in 2019.

Weinberger consulted with the Vermont Air National Guard and federal officials who he says satisfactorily addressed noise and public safety concerns raised by the public and a series of investigative stories by VTDigger.

Burlington voters on Town Meeting Day rejected the basing of the fighter jets at Burlington International Airport and asked that city leaders urge the Air Force to give the Vermont Air National Guard an alternative mission.

A City Council resolution passed on March 26 reflected the will of city voters.

Weinberger will not sign the resolution. While the mayor previously said he would reconsider his backing of the F-35 basing if voters opposed the fighter jets, he is now reiterating his support for the planes.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Burlington City Council Votes to Request Replacement of F-35

By James Ehlers

April 10, 2018

Here is my position on the F-35. Besides my past study and experience, the DOT&E Report and analysis from the Project On Government Oversight offers further basis for the James Ehlers for Vermont position on this controversial issue.

I applaud the Burlington City Council for their resolution to replace the basing of the F-35 at Burlington International Airport (a site that was not supported by many in the Air Force at the time).

The people of Burlington spoke out on Election Day, and it is essential that we as leaders respect and promote the will of the people. We have to work together to find a reasonable replacement.

We cannot and MUST not allow whole communities–our schools, businesses and homes– to be degraded by massive noise impacts and extreme environmental risks in the event of a crash. Many of the most affected communities had no say at all in the basing process. Let’s invest in Vermonters, not unproven, financially irresponsible weapons of war.

[FULL ARTICLE]

GAO report on F-35 Aircraft Sustainment: DOD Needs to Address Challenges

Oct 26, 2017

The Department of Defense (DOD) is sustaining over 250 F-35 aircraft (F-35) and plans to triple the fleet by the end of 2021, but is facing sustainment challenges that are affecting warfighter readiness (see table). These challenges are largely the result of sustainment plans that do not fully include key requirements or aligned (timely and sufficient) funding. DOD is taking steps to address some challenges, but without more comprehensive plans and aligned funding, DOD risks being unable to fully leverage the F-35’s capabilities and sustain a rapidly expanding fleet.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Vermont Congressional Delegation Opposes Vermont Voters

By William Boardman
March 29, 2018

What happens when the lives of citizens get in the way of political egos?

he politics of American imperialism are alive and well in Vermont, where elected officials are defending the military-industrial war-making machine against voters who reject ruling class priorities. At the symbolic center of this democratic confrontation is the notorious F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the world’s most expensive weapons system, designed to kill in many ways, including a nuclear first strike. And the few times Vermonters have had the chance to vote, they’ve voted against basing this loud, health-harming, housing-destroying offensive war machine in the state’s most densely populated area. Now it’s coming to a head in a people versus career politicians face-off.

At a Town Meeting on March 6, Burlington voters chose, by a 55% majority, to ask the Air Force to base the F-35 in some other state. On March 26, the Burlington City Council, by a 9-3 vote, forwarded that request to Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson to “replace the planned basing of the F-35 with a basing of a low-noise-level plane with a proven high safety record….” For whatever reason, the council request left out the rest of the ballot resolution’s request: “… proven high safety record appropriate for a densely populated area” (perhaps because that densely populated area is NOT Burlington). The City Council asked Secretary Wilson to respond by May 1.

Vermont’s quisling Congressional delegation – Democratic senator Patrick Leahy, Independent senator Bernie Sanders, and Democratic congressman Peter Welch – made what looks like a cheap shot effort to influence the council vote at the last minute. Late on the afternoon of March 26, Vermont’s “representatives” issued a joint statement saying they stood by their years of pushing for the F-35 basing at the Burlington Airport, which is in South Burlington (which has no voice in the decision).

[FULL ARTICLE]

Air Force Risks Losing Third of F-35s If Upkeep Costs Aren’t Cut

By Anthony Capaccio
March 28, 2018

The U.S. Air Force may have to cut its purchases of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 by a third if it can’t find ways to reduce operations and support costs by as much as 38 percent over a decade, according to an internal analysis.

The shortfall would force the service to subtract 590 of the fighter jets from the 1,763 it plans to order, the Air Force office charged with evaluating the F-35’s impact on operations and budgets, in an assessment obtained by Bloomberg News.

While the Defense Department has said it has gained control over costs for developing and producing a fleet of 2,456 F-35s for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps — now projected at $406 billion — the internal analysis underscores the current and looming challenges of maintaining and operating the warplanes.

It may cost as much as $1.1 trillion to keep the F-35s flying and maintained through 2070, according to the current estimate from the Pentagon’s independent cost unit.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Burlington city council to ask for F-35 plane alternatives

By Tom Garris
March 27, 2018

The Burlington City Council voted 9-3 in favor of a resolution to send a letter to the secretary of the United States Air Force asking for an alternative mission to the F-35 fighter jets that are set to arrive in 2019.

The measure passed after hours of public comment and council debate and requests a response from the secretary by May 1.

This comes after Burlingtonians voted in favor of a Town Meeting Day advisory question, also known as ballot question No. 6, asking the council to request a cancellation of the planes.

City Council President Jane Knodell said she voted in favor of the resolution because it’s what the voters in her district wanted, but she noted that there is a risk.

She said the Vermont Air National Guard could pull out altogether.

“But they might say that we want the Air Guard to really work very hard on noise mitigation, because people are very concerned about that,” Knodell said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Weinberger could veto city council vote on F-35

By Katie Jickling
March 28, 2018

The Burlington City Council passed a resolution on Monday night requesting an aircraft less noisy than the F-35 fighter jets — but it may be premature for opponents of the jets to celebrate.

Mayor Miro Weinberger can sign or veto the resolution, according to Katie Vane, a spokesperson for the mayor. A veto would then require two-thirds of the council to vote to override the decision.

Weinberger needs to “take action or provide a response” by the council meeting on April 16, according to Vane, and he plans to make a decision by then.

On Tuesday, the mayor indicated that he’ll be deliberate.

“I will use that time as needed to continue the further work on this issue that I promised, and to make this decision with care,” Weinberger said in a statement.

Weinberger, who has previously expressed support for the jets, “is still digging into the repercussions of the city requesting an alternative mission,” Vane said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Burlington city council approves resolution calling for F-35 cancellation

By Kelsey Neubauer
March 27, 2018

The Burlington City Council voted 9-3 Monday in support of a resolution requesting the cancellation of a planned F-35 fighter jet basing at the Burlington airport in favor of an aircraft that is quieter and has a proven safety record.

The City Council vote follows a ballot measure passed by Burlington residents on Town Meeting Day demanding that the City Council ask the Air Force to cancel plans for basing the F-35 fighter jets at the Burlington International Airport.

The motion states: “the Burlington City Council values the Air National Guard’s contributions to our community and respectfully requests the Honorable Secretary of the United States Air Force, Heather Wilson, replace the planned basing of the F-35 with a basing of a low-noise-level plane with a proven high safety record, consistent with the ballot question previously cited.”

Like the ballot measure, the letter is advisory in nature. With the basing already approved, the Air Guard has the final say on whether to cancel the basing.

“We obviously have no authority over the Air Force, but we are clear on what we’re asking,” said Councilor Joan Shannon, D-South District, who drafted the resolution.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Burlington City Council wants F-35 based elsewhere

March 26, 2018

City councilors in Burlington want the F-35 to be based somewhere else.

Public comment on the issue lasted for hours at a packed City Hall Monday night. People on both sides of the debate stepped up to share their opinions about whether the Queen City should support the Air Force’s latest fighter jet set to land in Vermont in fall 20-19.

On Town Meeting Day, voters approved a non-binding ballot item saying they do not want the jets here.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Burlington City Council could vote to request cancelation of the F-35

By Katie Jickling
March 26, 2018

The Burlington City Council will take up a resolution Monday that asks the U.S. Air Force to base a safer alternative to the F-35 fighter jets at Burlington International Airport.

The proposed measure comes after 55 percent of Burlingtonians voted on Town Meeting Day to ask the council to “request the cancellation” of the planes and find a less noisy, less risky option.

“The voters asked us to take action, so we’re going to take action,” said Councilor Joan Shannon (D-South District), who sponsored the resolution.

It includes a lengthy list of questions for Air Force secretary Heather Wilson: whether an alternative mission would be plausible, the safety and environmental risks of the F-35s, how often pilots would use afterburners and whether Burlington is the only populated area where F-35s will be deployed. The resolution asks for a written response from Wilson by May 1.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Aviation mishap rate increasing

By Jeff Martin
March 19, 2018

According to a Military Times investigation, aviation mishaps across the U.S. military have increased since the onset of sequestration. To understand why, Military Times Pentagon bureau chief Tara Copp talked with Dan Grazier from the Project on Government Oversight.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35: Still No Finish Line in Sight

By: Dan Grazier
March 19, 2018

Jim Roche, then-Secretary of the Air Force, made an announcement on October 26, 2001, that all aviation enthusiasts had been waiting for: a winner had been picked to design and build the Joint Strike Fighter. The American people were assured the new jet would enter service in 2008 and be a high-performance replacement for the military’s aging airframes while only costing between $40 million and $50 million.

The F-35 has now entered an unprecedented seventeenth year of continuing redesign, test deficiencies, fixes, schedule slippages, and cost overruns. And it’s still not at the finish line. Numerous missteps along the way—from the fact that the two competing contractors, Lockheed Martin and Boeing, submitted “flyoff” planes that were crude and undeveloped “technology demonstrators” rather than following the better practice of submitting fully functional prototypes, to concurrent acquisition malpractice that has prevented design flaws from being discovered until after production models were built—have led to where we are now. According to the latest annual report from the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E), 263 “high priority” performance and safety deficiencies remain unresolved and unaddressed, and the developmental tests—essentially, the laboratory tests—are far from complete. If they complete the tests, more deficiencies will surely be found that must be addressed before the plane can safely carry our Airmen and women into combat

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pentagon to move ahead with $3 billion F-35 upgrade program in 2018

By Andrea Shalal
March 23, 2016

The Pentagon expects to award contracts for a $3 billion, six-year effort to upgrade its newest warplane, the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jet, by the end of 2018, the Air Force general who runs the $391 billion program said on Wednesday.

Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan rejected a call by the Government Accountability Office, the research arm of Congress, to make the $3 billion project into a separate weapons program.

Michael Sullivan, director of defense weapons systems acquisition at GAO, told a hearing of the House Armed Services tactical and air land forces subcommittee that it would be difficult for Congress to oversee the upgrade unless it was carved out of the larger F-35 program.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Air Force F-35 put through its paces in first Asia-Pacific deployment

By Valerie Insinna
February 5, 2018

Look at the skies above Kadena Air Base on the Japanese island of Okinawa and twice daily you’ll get a glimpse of U.S. Air Force F-35 fighter jets taking off, only to land several hours later. Watch the base itself and you’ll see maintainers working round the clock to ensure the service’s newest fighter jets are ready to go.

It’s been about three months since more than 300 airmen relocated from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, to Japan for the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing model’s first-ever stint in the Asia-Pacific. The first of 12 jets arrived at Kadena in late October for a six-month deployment — the longest period the 34th Fighter Squadron has spent away from home.

Although the Lockheed Martin-manufactured jets haven’t made a lot of news since their arrival in Japan, the pace of operations has been relentless.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pentagon ‘Can’t Afford’ F-35’s Trillion Dollar Plus Sustainment Costs

March 3, 2018

“Right now, we can’t afford the sustainment costs we have on the F-35,” Ellen Lord, the new Defense Department undersecretary for defense acquisition and sustainment, told reporters this week. “And we are committed to changing that.”

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is the most expensive weapons program in US history and remains the Pentagon’s “most significant” program, according to Lord.

According to the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, “sustainment is a key component of performance. Including sustainment planning ‘up front’ enables the acquisition and requirements communities to provide a weapon system with optimal availability and reliability to the warfighter at value.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Testing the Impact of Jet Noise on South Burlington School

By Cory Dawson
March 20, 2018

School officials will begin conducting noise pollution tests soon at a South Burlington elementary school that sits about a half mile from Burlington International Airport runways.

For years, teachers, students and staff at Chamberlin School — with 250 students from kindergarten through 5th grade — have endured jet noise from the nearby airport, said South Burlington Superintendent David Young.

“Our teachers often have to just pause for a few minutes, because it’s just difficult to talk over,” Young said. “This is particularly when the F-16s, or prior to that when the F-4s were flying over. It was kind of known as the ‘Chamberlin pause.’”

Young said he has been asking for years to use money from a Federal Aviation Administration grant program that allows for noise insulation for buildings that are affected by high noise levels.

[FULL ARTICLE]

National Guard dismissed environmental justice

By Maria Powell
March 9, 2018

Last night the National Guard and U.S. Air Force held a “scoping” meeting for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that must be developed before “beddown” of F35s at Madison Truax military base. The National Guard Bureau (NGB) is managing the EIS process with a consulting firm. The purpose of the meeting was to gather public input on the range of issues the military should consider in the EIS. See more details in Steve Verburg’s Wisconsin State Journal article.

Unfortunately, the NGB did very little to inform or engage the people in neighborhoods very near the military base who are already negatively affected by the F-16s currently at the base, and will be most impacted by the F-35s–especially the low income Truax apartments about half a mile to the southeast the base and the trailer park about half mile west.

According to the Code of Federal Regulations ( §989.18) the NGB is required to follow for the EIS: “Where it is anticipated the proposed action and its alternatives will have disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects on minority populations or low-income populations, special efforts shall be made to reach these populations. This might include special informational meetings or notices in minority and low-income areas concerning the regular scoping process.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Military doublespeak

By Maria Powell
March 11, 2018

How loud will supersonic F-35 fighter jets be? What munitions will they carry?

Throughout the National Guard Bureau’s (NGB) Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) scoping session on March 8, a video showed clips of different kinds of F-35 jets, including the F-35A jet that the U.S. Air Force wants to “beddown” at Madison Truax Air National Guard base.

A Madison resident who lives very near the base sat next to me watching the video. Halfway through it she turned to me, noting “it’s interesting they don’t have sound, given that it’s the biggest concern.” “Good point,” I responded. Ironically, all you could hear while watching the video was people at the meeting talking. If the F-35 video had included the actual sound levels produced by these jets taking off, or even flying low overhead, nobody in the room would have been able hear anyone else—they wouldn’t even be able to tolerate being in the room for very long.

I would know. I live about 2 miles west of the base, under one of the frequent F-16 flight paths as they arrive or depart Truax field. When they fly over our house and we are outside on our screened porch (where we spend a lot of our time in warm weather), we have to stop all conversation while they pass over and are some distance away. Since they often fly over in formations of several planes, this means having to start and stop conversations many times for a while until the whole formation has gone over.

[FULL ARTICLE]

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.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Democracy 1, War Machine 0 | SocialistWorker.org

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.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

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.

[FULL ARTICLE]

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.

[FULL ARTICLE]

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.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

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.

[FULL ARTICLE]

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.

[FULL ARTICLE]

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.

[FULL ARTICLE]

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.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Seven State Legislators Call to Cancel F-35 Basing

March 2, 2018

We are pleased to announce that Burlington Representatives and Chittenden County Senators, have signed a group letter urging Burlington voters to vote “Yes” on ballot question #6 regarding the F35s. The letter follows:

To whom it may concern,

We stand together in favor of Burlington’s ballot question #6 to oppose the basing of the F-35s at the Vermont Air National Guard. The issues are as follows:

1. Noise/Housing: The F-35 is over four times louder than the current F-16, which will put over 6,600 people’s home in a high decibel noise zone that the Federal Government classifies as unsuitable for residential use.1

2. Crash rate: The planes are still new and as such have an eight times higher crash rate than the F-16s. Typically the Air Force chooses a remote base for the new military aircraft. With 1,400 homes in the crash zone, we cannot take this risk. The current runway aims directly at the largest shopping area in Vermont with two dozen big box stores one mile away in Williston. This is not an abstract issue. In 1965, a military jet crashed in Williston. Fortunately, the area was an open field at the time so the casualties were limited to the two people on board.2…

[FULL ARTICLE]

The F-35 may be heading into its faceoff with the A-10 this April

By Valerie Insinna
March 1, 2018

Before moving into operational testing, the joint strike fighter will have to prove its mettle as a close-air support plane to the Pentagon’s independent testers, the F-35 program head said Wednesday.

This April, the Defense Department’s director of operational test and evaluation will scrutinize the F-35’s close-air support and reconnaissance capabilities during a series of flights at Edwards Air Force Base and the Point Mugu Sea Range in California, said Vice Adm. Mat Winter, who leads the F-35 Joint Program Office.

Winter said he isn’t sure whether the close-air support assessment in April — the second increment of tests ahead of this September’s initial operational test and evaluation, or IOT&E — would include the much-hyped F-35 versus A-10 flyoff. But it’s coming soon.

[FULL ARTICLE]

The F-35 may carry one of the US’s most polarizing nuclear weapons sooner than expected – Business Insider

By Alex Lockie
Jan 12, 2017

The Air Force designed the F-35A with nuclear capability in mind, and a new report indicates that the Joint Strike Fighter may carry nuclear weapons sooner than expected.

The Air Force originally planned to integrate nuclear weapons in the F-35 between 2020-2022, but Air Force Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus told Defensetech.org that “it would definitely be possible,” to hasten the deployment of B-61 nuclear gravity bombs on the F-35 should the need for it arise.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 Ballot Discussion at Burlington’s North End NPAs

February 28, 2018

Each of Burlington’s neighborhoods has its own unique history, resources and problems to be solved, and the Neighborhood Planning Assemblies reflect this diversity. Because many of the Neighborhood Planning Assemblies grew out of existing neighborhood groups, each has a different character and a different approach to resolving issues.

The February meeting of the Ward 4 & 7 NPA (North End NPAs) addresses ballot items for Town Meeting Day, candidates running for office, and other neighborhood issues.

Scroll to 25:00 mark in the video above for coverage of the F-35 ballot item.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Trump’s Administration’s Dangerous New Nuclear Policy – Union of Concerned Scientists

By Stephen Young
January 12, 2018

The Trump NPR calls for a new, low-yield warhead for the Trident submarine-launched missile. The NPR premises the need for that warhead on the idea that the following systems will not be able to penetrate enemy air defenses to attack enemy targets:

  1. US dual-capable aircraft—including the new F35A stealthy fighter aircraft—armed with gravity bombs, including the new, high precision, low-yield B61-12;
  2. The dual-capable aircraft of allied countries in Europe that currently host US nuclear weapons;
  3. US B-2 stealth bombers armed gravity bombs, including the new B61-12;
  4. US B-52 bombers armed with air-launch cruise missiles and the future long-range standoff (LRSO) cruise missile, and
  5. the future B-21 “Raider” stealth bomber armed with gravity bombs and cruise missiles.
[FULL ARTICLE]

Ben & Jerry’s co-founder: I knew I was disturbing the peace

March 4, 2018

The co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream knew he was disturbing the peace with a noisy demonstration against fighter jets.

Ben Cohen told the Burlington Free Press that’s exactly the point.

Cohen was one of three activists arrested for disorderly conduct Saturday after blasting jet noise from a mobile public address system in Burlington, Vermont.

He said the goal was to simulate what it might be like for residents living under the flight path of Vermont National Guard F-35 fighters. He tweeted that if he violated the city noise ordinance then the fighter jets will, too.

[FULL ARTICLE]

A letter from South Burlington teacher, Kathy Buley, against F-35

By Kathy Buley

I have been a teacher in the South Burlington school district for over thirty years. I have taught in all three of the elementary schools, and have been here at Chamberlin for twenty years. I have also lived in the Chamberlin neighborhood since 1980. I have, therefore, had a considerable amount of time to witness the changing dynamics of the airport and military aircraft during both my work day and at home.

When I first moved into the Chamberlin neighborhood, the sounds of the airport were a slight nuisance to which one could adjust. Over time, however, the growth of the airport and the introduction of the F-16s has created a significant intrusion into the lives of those in the neighborhood. The level of disturbance has become a reality that no one could have predicted when we bought our homes or built our school.

[FULL ARTICLE]

An F-35 jet blast demonstration leads to noise complaint charges

By Dom Amato
March 3, 2018

Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s led a public service demonstration Saturday, simulating the sound of an F-35 jet blast.

Cohen and other organizers were eventually arrested by Burlington Police, and charged with disorderly conduct by noise. The protestors drove a truck with multiple speakers throughout Burlington — to allow people to hear what they say over 6,000 people in the F-35 flight path will hear multiple times a day. Burlington Police issued at least one set of tickets to the organizers for a noise violation as well. Multiple residents and businesses were heavily impacted and complained to the group about the lack of warning.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ben & Jerry’s co-founder arrested in Burlington

By Rebecca Reese
March 3, 2018

A well-known Vermont businessman was handcuffed today in front of Burlington City Hall.

Police say Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen was arrested this afternoon. He was taken into custody after leading a public service demonstration intended to simulate the sound of the F-35 jet blast.

Lt. Matthew Sullivan explained a truck with amplifiers was pulled over multiple times throughout Burlington receiving tickets for violating the city’s noise ordinance.

“Because it was the third violation it’s disorderly conduct by noise so they were arrested,” Lt. Sullivan said. “Three protesters were arrested.”

Supporters of the demonstration such as James Leas said arresting protesters for noise proved their point about F-35 jet blasts.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ben (of Ben & Jerry’s fame) arrested for noisy protest in Burlington, Vt.

By Lucas Phillips
March 03, 2018

Ben Cohen was reportedly driving around the city giving sound demonstrations, purportedly of an F-35 jet, like one that may come to a local airport. One of the founders of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream was arrested after repeatedly violating noise ordinances in Burlington, Vt., as part of a protest Saturday, police said.

From 11 a.m. until his arrest at 3:20 p.m., 66-year-old Bennett Cohen of Williston (better known to the world as Ben) was driving around the city giving sound demonstrations, purportedly of an F-35 jet, like one that may come to a local airport, according to Lieutenant Matthew Sullivan of Burlington police. Sullivan said Cohen was pulling a trailer with “speakers you’d find in a club . . . probably 6 feet . . . in height” and powered by four generators.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ben & Jerry’s cofounder arrested during F-35 protest

By Tom Garris
March 3, 2018

The cofounder of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream was arrested-along with two other people-Saturday, for disorderly conduct by noise.

Ben Cohen was among a group that staged a political demonstration in downtown Burlington.

They had a pickup truck hauling a trailer with heavy audio equipment, playing aircraft takeoff noises.

It was a form of protest to simulate F-35 aircrafts set to come to the South Burlington Airport in 2019.

“We are sorry to disturb people,” Cohen said. “We don’t want to do this, but it’s a disturbance once for people that are going to hear this demonstration.”

Sound levels peaked more than 100 decibels, and police received complaints about the noise.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ben and Jerry’s Homemade Inc. co-founder Ben Cohen arrested during F-35 protest in Vermont

By Jess Aloe
March 3, 2018

Ben and Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen was arrested Saturday in downtown Burlington for violating the city’s noise ordinances while holding a “public demonstration” about F-35 fighter planes, police said.

Activists opposed to the impending basing of the Air Force F-35s in Burlington played jet noise from speakers mounted on the back of a pickup truck at a decible level they said simulated what it would be like to be underneath the flight path of the planes

Cohen was one of three people arrested for disorderly conduct shortly after 3 p.m., said Lt. Matthew Sullivan. Cohen was escorted from a downtown intersection in handcuffs.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen Arrested for Protesting F-35 Fighter Jets – Breitbart

By Sean Moran
March 4, 2018

Burlington, Vermont police arrested Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen on Saturday after he repeatedly violated a local noise ordinance in a personal protest against the F-35 fighter jet.
Cohen, a supporter of Bernie Sander’s presidential campaign, attached several amplifiers to his car and drove through the city to simulate the sound of an F-35 fighter jet.

The protest began around 11 A.M. on Saturday and was cited numerous times before Cohen was arrested for violating the town’s noise ordinance.

Burlington Lieutenant Matthew Sullivan said, “Because it was the third violation it’s disorderly conduct by noise, so they were arrested, three protesters were arrested.”

Cohen tweeted on Saturday, “Getting ticketed. It’s either legal or it’s not, if it’s legal for the F-35 to make this noise 16 times per day, 52 wks a yr, for the next 50 yrs, it should b legal for us to do this limited demonstration of extreme jet blasts which are the subject of Item #6 on the March ballot.”

Supporters of the protest argued that by arresting the demonstrators, the police proved their point about the dangers of excessive noise pollution.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35’s Harm to kids

By Linda Ayer
January 14, 2013

Attached is the two page resolution that the Burlington Board of Health is submitting to the City Council in regard to basing the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter at the Air Guard Station at the Burlington International Airport.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Also, a link to a copy of Children’s Health and the Environment, by WHO (World Health Organization) Training Package for the Health Sector.

Save Our Skies VT March 4 Press Release

March 4, 2018

Save Our Skies VT is making public the dire health impacts—both physical and cognitive—to the
children in our area from the noise of the F-35. They will hold a press conference at 11:00 AM

on Monday, March 5, 2018 outside of Burlington City Hall (Church St side). Health care profes-
sionals, teachers, parents, Colonel Rosanne Greco, and Ben Cohen will be present to speak based on their expertise and personal experiences.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Local 22 F-35 press conference coverage

By Torrance Gaucher
March 5, 2018

Tuesday is Town Meeting Day, and Vermonters can head to the polls starting at 7 am.

In Burlington, voters will be voting to elect a new mayor, city councilors, and seven ballot items. Those items range from recommending to raise the age of sale for tobacco from 18 to 21. To the controversial ballot item, whether the F35 should be based in the community.

On Monday, concerned residents gathered outside of City Hall on Church Street to inform voters about the health impacts of the fighter jet.

Also, how the level of noise will disturb way of life.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Only Half of F-35s Available for Flight, Program Head Says

By Hope Hodge Seck
March 2, 2018

News that two-thirds of the Navy’s aging F/A-18 Hornets were stuck on the flightline lit up headlines last year. But the defense department’s brand-new 5th-generation fighter program is also struggling to ensure that its shiny new aircraft are flyable, the three-star director of the program this week.

Of the 280 operational F-35s purchased to date by U.S. and international partners, only 51 percent are currently available for flight, Vice Adm. Mat Winter, director of the F-35 Joint Program Office, told reporters Wednesday at a round-table event.

Winter added that availability rates are lowest for aircraft purchased in early lots, which were beset with a number of hardware and software issues that later production lots addressed. Low-rate initial production lots 2 through 4 have availability rates between 40 and 50 percent, Winter said. The most recent LRIP lots, 9 and 10, which include aircraft that are still rolling off the production line, have the highest availability rates, 70 to 75 percent, he said.

“If you can afford to buy something, but you have to keep it in the parking lot because you can’t afford to own and operate it, then it really doesn’t do you much good,” Winter said.

Part of the problem, Winter said, is the buggy autonomous logistics information system, or ALIS. The software, which among other things is designed to allow the aircraft to self-diagnose faulty or failing parts, sometimes creates false positives, telling maintainers a sound component had problems.

“They take it off and it’s not bad but they don’t know that, [so they] put it into the supply chain,” Winter said. “[Then they] find out it’s not bad and send it back.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ice cream mogul Ben Cohen, activists arrested for ‘jet blasts’ in Burlington

By Anne Galloway
Mar 4, 2018

Demonstrators don’t often break the law to get their point across, but on Saturday, three activists who oppose the F-35 basing in Burlington, did just that.

Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream, Ray Gonda, a military vet, and Richard Joseph broke the city’s sound ordinance to make a point: The F-35s that are coming to the Burlington area are loud. Extremely loud. So loud that when the three men blasted neighborhoods with the jet sound residents emerged from their houses (with their hands over their ears) to shout at the activists to stop the deafening roar.

The noise came from a set of speakers on the back of a pickup truck. It simulated an F-35 fighter jet flying at 1,000 feet — a booming rumble that hits a decibel level of 115 — about four times louder than the F-16, the fighter jets that have been based at Burlington International Airport since the 1980s.

“We cranked this thing up and it’s insane,” Cohen said. “A lot of people were pissed off, how could you make this much noise in front of my house?”

Cohen was apologetic. He said he knew the jet blasts were obnoxious in the extreme, but he said, “It was necessary to do this to prevent a greater harm.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Stop the F-35 March 5 Press Conference

March 5, 2018

TIME STAMPS:

Intro Rosanne Greco (Ret. Air Force Colonel): https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM

Fiona Griffin, Winooski mother: https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM?t=2m10s

Bob Walsh on behalf of Kathy Buley (Teacher at Chamberlin School): https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM?t=5m8s

Bob Walsh (Retired teacher and former Marine): https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM?t=6m16s and earlier at https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXm M?t=4m32s

Sharon Hopper on behalf or Ann Goering (Winooski doctor): https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM?t=8m21s

Dr. John Reuwer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oimxPvbGXmM&feature=youtu.be&t=11m36s

Ben Cohen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oimxPvbGXmM&feature=youtu.be&t=13m30s

Closing (Rosanne Greco): https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM?t=15m58s

Call and response (Rachel Siegel, Director of Peace & Justice Center): https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM?t=17m56s

F-35 opponents highlight children’s health risks in final ballot push

By Mike Dougherty
Mar 5, 2018

Activists opposed to the planned basing of F-35 fighter jets in Burlington made a final plea to voters Monday to consider the health effects of noise exposure on area children when they cast their ballots on Tuesday.

Question #6 on the Burlington ballot asks voters whether the City Council should request the cancellation of the planned basing and ask for quieter aircraft. Vermont Air National Guard officials and local economic development boosters have stressed that the ballot measure is non-binding and will not affect the military’s plans.

Environmental impact data compiled by the Air Force in 2013 states that the F-35 will be four times louder than the F-16s currently stationed at the Vermont Air Guard base. That volume increase will disproportionately affect young children at area homes and schools, opponents said at a press conference Monday.

Among the dozens of activists gathered at City Hall was Fiona Griffin, who lives under the airport flight path in Winooski. Griffin said that her two children, now ages 4 and 2, have been afraid of the F-16s since they were toddlers.

“Fighter jets have woken my babies while they slept, scared them while they played, and brought them to tears on more than one occasion,” Griffin said. “It’s just really disruptive.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Leahy and staff had role in F-35 basing decision

By Jasper Craven
Mar 5 2018

In December 2012, more than 100 Vermonters gathered outside U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy’s Burlington office to voice their displeasure over his support for a plan to base a squadron of F-35 fighter jets at Burlington International Airport.

While many of the activists in attendance generally agreed with the senior senator’s political philosophy and that of his two fellow Vermont congressional colleagues, they found themselves at odds on the F-35 issue. One woman’s sign read: “Leahy, Sanders, Welch, You’re Breaking My Heart.”

According to a Seven Days report, protesters entered Leahy’s office and demanded the Democratic lawmaker hold a public hearing on the F-35. Leahy’s chief of staff, John Tracy, appeared on the senator’s behalf and dismissed calls for a forum.

Jimmy Leas, a South Burlington attorney long opposed to the planes, pointed out to Tracy that “so far, (Leahy) has only made himself available to speak with supporters of the plane.”

 

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

Already battered by thunderous noise, community braces for arrival of F-35

By Jasper Craven
Feb 27 2018

Conversations in Ray Gonda’s house came to an abrupt halt whenever the F-16s started roaring. As the growling grew louder, Gonda and his wife moved away from the windows, which vibrated as if they were possessed. As the plane took off and flew over their home, family pictures hanging side-by-side on the living room wall shook violently.

“I’d often have to readjust those pictures after the plane took off,” Gonda recalled recently.

For decades now, a fleet of F-16 fighter jets have flown out of Burlington International Airport. While the noise has become routine to many, the impact of the sound hasn’t lost its potency.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 jet program budget exceeds $406 billion, yet universal healthcare too costly

By Ashley Curtin
January 5, 2018

While the F-35 jet program’s cost jumps to $406 billion from the original price tag of $379 billion, members of Congress continue to insist that the U.S. is “too broke” to increase spending on programs that intend to improve education and healthcare within the country.

In an updated draft, which will be submitted to Congress this week, Lockheed Martin is asking for an additional $27 billion for the F-35 jet program budget, which is almost a 7 percent increase, according to BloomsMag.

After Donald Trump raved about his ability to form “better deals” with weapons manufacturers, the F-35 jet program is still the U.S.’ most expensive weapons program to date, according to BloombergPolitics.

“We’re going to do some big things on the F-35 program and perhaps the F-18 program,” Trump said in a press conference last January.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Why the Pentagon Isn’t Happy With the F-35

By Anthony Capaccio
January 23, 2018

Efforts to improve the reliability of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 are “stagnant,” undercut by problems such as aircraft sitting idle over the last year awaiting spare parts from the contractor, according to the Pentagon’s testing office.

The availability of the fighter jet for missions when needed — a key metric — remains “around 50 percent, a condition that has existed with no significant improvement since October 2014, despite the increasing number of aircraft,” Robert Behler, the Defense Department’s new director of operational testing, said in an annual report delivered Tuesday to senior Pentagon leaders and congressional committees.

The F-35 section, obtained by Bloomberg News, outlined the status of the costliest U.S. weapons system as it’s scheduled to end its 16-year-old development phase this year. Starting in September, the program is supposed to proceed to intense combat testing that’s likely to take a year, an exercise that’s at least 12 months late already. Combat testing is necessary before the plane is approved for full-rate production — the most profitable phase for Lockheed.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Association between the rates of low birth-weight and/or preterm infants and aircraft noise exposure

September 2003

OBJECTIVES:
Intense noise exposure having been observed in vicinal areas around the U.S. military airfields in Okinawa, Japan, suggests the possibility of adverse effects on fetal growth, as studies have reported such effects around other airfields. This study analyzes the birth records in Okinawa prefecture and investigates whether lower birth weights of infants and shorter gestation periods are observed around the airfields.

METHODS:
The records of 160,460 births in 15 municipalities around the Kadena and Futenma airfields from 1974 to 1993 were subjected to analysis. Average WECPNL among residents in each municipality was calculated as a measure of noise exposure, since the birth records did not contain information on precise birth addresses but only the municipalities. The odds ratios of low birth weight, i.e. under 2,500 grams, and preterm birth, i.e. less than 37 weeks, were obtained by multiple logistic regression analysis with adjustment for the primary factors that would be related to fetal growth. The factors included sex, maternal age, live birth order, occupation of householder, legitimacy of the infant, year of birth and interaction between maternal age and live birth order.

RESULTS:
The logistic regression analysis showed a significant dose-response relationship between low birth weight and noise exposure. The significance probability of trend test was less than 0.0001. The adjusted odds ratio was 1.3 in the highest noise exposure area

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lockheed’s F-35 Fighters Will Cost $1.2 Trillion. After 16 Years, Only 50% Are Ready to Fly

By BLOOMBERG
January 24, 2018

Efforts to improve the reliability of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 are “stagnant,” undercut by problems such as aircraft sitting idle over the last year awaiting spare parts from the contractor, according to the Pentagon’s testing office.

The availability of the fighter jet for missions when needed — a key metric — remains “around 50 percent, a condition that has existed with no significant improvement since October 2014, despite the increasing number of aircraft,” Robert Behler, the Defense Department’s new director of operational testing, said in an annual report delivered Tuesday to senior Pentagon leaders and congressional committees.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 problems

By Chris Pocock
February 2, 2018

The annual report from the Pentagon’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) again contains serious criticism of the F-35 program. Unresolved problems in the development, plus availability and reliability issues, are all of concern. “The operational suitability of the F-35 fleet remains at a level below service expectations and is dependent on work-arounds that would not be acceptable in combat situations,” the report said.

There are “many open deficiencies” in the definitive Block 3F software, the report said. As DOT&E chief Gen. Bob Behler notes by way of introduction, the F-35’s combat effectiveness relies on software mission data files (MDFs) to identify and correlate threat versus friendly radar signals. But the Pentagon’s reprogramming laboratory that creates the MDFs “continues to operate with cumbersome software tools and outdated or incomplete hardware.” The report does note that this is the fault of the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO), not Lockheed Martin.

Testing of the F-35’s weapons has revealed various deficiencies in both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions, the report alleged. These include an aiming bias on the 25 mm internal gun on the F-35A.

[FULL ARTICLE]

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program Had A Pretty Rough Week

BY JOSEPH TREVITHICK

OCTOBER 27, 2017

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. Lastly, there were serious concerns with the status of the Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS), the cloud-based computer network that is central to keeping the aircraft going on a day-to-day basis.

[FULL ARTICLE]

GAO recommends measures to US DoD for F-35

By Srivari Aishwarya

November 1, 2017

A review conducted by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has recommended that the US Department of Defense (DoD) must address the challenges affecting readiness and cost transparency of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter sustainment programme.

The DoD is sustaining more than 250 F-35 aircraft, with plans to triple the fleet by the end of 2021.

The GAO found that the DoD’s capabilities to repair F-35 parts at military depots are six years behind schedule.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Air Force Bases & Toxic Chemicals

January 8, 2018

For 25 years, Dan Cruz delivered mail at the Peterson Air Force Base and drank the water. Then came cancer – thyroid, prostate, testicular – he said never before seen in his family.

“I’m the only one that’s been diagnosed with cancer not once, not twice, but three times. People on my route… cancer has come upon them and sometimes stage 4,” Cruz told CBS News correspondent Barry Petersen.

The cause could be firefighting foam used since the 1970s at Air Force bases and airports across the country, something meant to save lives that may have harmed them instead. The foam contains highly fluorinated chemicals, known as PFCs. It is suspected of causing some cancers and underweight births.

[FULL ARTICLE]

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.

[FULL ARTICLE]

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.

[FULL ARTICLE]

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.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

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.

[FULL ARTICLE]

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.

[FULL ARTICLE]

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.

[FULL ARTICLE]

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.

[FULL ARTICLE]

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.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 altitude restrictions lifted at Luke Air Force Base

By Valerie Insinna
August 30

A wing commander at Luke Air Force Base on Wednesday lifted an altitude restriction on F-35 flights at the Arizona base, but Air Force investigators are no closer to understanding what prompted five incidents of pilot oxygen deprivation earlier this summer.

Between May 2 and June 8, five different Luke pilots experienced symptoms similar to hypoxia, or oxygen deprivation, while conducting F-35A training flights. That prompted Brig. Gen. Brook Leonard, commander of the 56th Fighter Wing, to order a pause in flight operations in June while officials from the Air Force and the F-35 Joint Program Executive Office analyzed each incident. Although they had hoped to find a common thread linking the incidents together, no root cause has emerged.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pilot breathing issues prompt changes to F-35 mask and vest

By Lara Seligman 
September 18, 2017

The U.S. Air Force is making changes to F-35 flight equipment to make breathing easier for pilots, as the Pentagon continues searching for a root cause of five hypoxia-like cockpit incidents in the new fighter at an Arizona Air Force base…

[FULL ARTICLE]

Fate of A-10, F-15, F-16 to be decided soon

By Valerie Insinna
September 17

As the Air Force increases its F-35 buy rate and more joint strike fighters come online, the question is not if it will begin retiring its legacy combat aircraft, but when.

Air Force leaders hope to have a better answer to that question later this fall, when Air Combat Command head Gen. Mike Holmes and Lt. Gen. Jerry Harris, the deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and requirements, hash out a fighter recapitalization roadmap as part of initial budget planning meetings for fiscal year 2020, Holmes told Defense News in a Sept. 11 interview.

“We’re trying to work to get a fighter recapitalization roadmap that everybody agrees on in the Air Force so that then we can take that on to the Hill … and try to be able to show everyone that we do have a plan for the future,” Holmes said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

From Burlington to Boise, How to Fight the F-35

By Colonel Rosanne Greco Ret.

I’m writing from the Burlington, Vermont area to tell the people of the Boise, Idaho area that you are not alone. Although we are thousands of miles apart, we are close in our shared concern about a threat to our cities: the basing of the F-35. This is not hyperbole. We have seen here in South Burlington the destruction of entire neighborhoods solely because of the noise of Air Force jets. Our airport tore down over 200 homes because of the noise produced by the currently based F-16s. The F-35 is over four times louder, and its scheduled to arrive here in 2019.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-16 and F-35 Bombers Threaten Cognitive Health of Children in Vermont Town

By James Marc Leas
July 19, 2017

A crisis plagues 976 families in a working-class neighborhood of South Burlington, Vermont. Eighteen screamingly loud F-16 fighter bombers based at Vermont’s main airport are the cause. Worse, the number of families in crisis from this jet noise is set to sharply increase in two years when the Air Force says it will replace the F-16s with four-times-louder F-35 fighter bombers.

The neighboring city of Burlington owns and runs the Burlington International Airport, even though that airport is fully located within South Burlington. The city council of South Burlington has so far restricted itself to adopting a series of polite resolutions regarding the health and safety of the 976 families living in tiny affordable homes in the screeching noise zone of F-16 fighter jets. But these resolutions were all dismissed by Vermont’s political elite who instead successfully lobbied the Air Force to bring on the F-35.

Nor did Vermont Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders come to the aid of the largely working-class residents living in the airport neighborhood of South Burlington. Both senators refused even to meet with residents, declaring jet-fighter basing a matter of patriotism or jobs.

[FULL ARTICLE]

With F-35 decision looming, Boise Airport gets federal money to monitor noise

 

By Sven Berg
June 19, 2017

The Federal Aviation Administration will cover 93.75 percent of the $300,000 cost to design, acquire and install a noise-monitoring system at the Boise Airport.

The airport, which the city of Boise owns, will cover the remaining $18,750.

The monitoring system will allow the airport to compare the amount of noise planes produce when they take off and land on its runways to models that predict the impact and reach of that noise.

Some of the noise at the airport comes from military planes, including a squadron of 18 active A-10s that the Idaho Air National Guard operates. The U.S. Air Force plans to decommission all A-10s in the next five years or so, leaving the question of what aircraft, if any, will replace the A-10s at Gowen Field, the Guard’s base

[FULL ARTICLE]

Boise officials heard the F-35 up close

By Sven Berg
August 20, 2017

On Aug. 7, Elaine Clegg stood at Hill Air Force Base in Ogden, Utah, and listened to the roar of F-35s taking off and landing a couple hundred yards away.

Clegg, president of the Boise City Council, also witnessed F-16s and other planes at the base. She said she couldn’t tell that much difference between the various aircraft.

“They’re jets,” she said Wednesday. “They’re loud.”

Amid a yearslong, sometimes ugly debate over basing F-35s in Boise, the Utah trip was a rare opportunity for city officials to hear in person just how loud the jets are.

Lauren McLean, Clegg’s second-in-command on the council, was at Hill, too. Her impression of the F-35s aligned with Clegg’s.

Clegg and McLean said the F-35s in Utah were using afterburners — acceleration devices that substantially increase aircraft noise.
[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 in Boise: We don’t know what we don’t know

By George Prentice
July 19, 2017

The city of Boise and a grassroots neighborhood group are in a dogfight over proposed mission

Listen to enough people argue about the possibility of an F-35 mission coming to Gowen Field in Boise and you’ll soon realize the only common ground you hear is an agreement that only a fully vetted, Boise-based scientific analysis will reveal how the mission might impact the livability of the community. The divide of opinions over the proposed mission is already as wide as the runway at Gowen Field is long. As an example, comments on an informal online poll by Boise Weekly were strident. “Don’t like the noise? Don’t live near the base,” wrote Mark Dewey. “It’s the sound of freedom, baby,” wrote Todd Woodell.

State of Idaho and City of Boise officials—from Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter and Mayor Dave Bieter on down—have voiced full-throated support for keeping the Idaho Air National Guard airborne above Gowen Field. Both Otter and Bieter winged their way to Washington, D.C., this past March to lobby on behalf of Boise, one of five cities on the U.S. Air Force’s shortlist, each vying to be the home base for somewhere between 18 and 24 F-35 jets.

A number of citizens, primarily from the Vista neighborhood in Boise, are doing some lobbying of their own. They’ve created a group called “Citizens for a Livable Boise,” punching holes in the effort to lure the F-35 mission.

“It’s a terrible thing. We’ll never get used to it, and if it comes here it would tear this community apart,” said Monty Mericle, retired Idaho Power engineer and CLB member.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pilot training program at Davis-Monthan to lose funding, records show

By David Wichner
June 20, 2017

The National Guard Bureau plans to discontinue its “Operation Snowbird” visitor pilot training program, according to documents filed this week in a federal lawsuit aimed at stopping expansion of that program and other training at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

A May 23 memorandum from the chief of airspace and ranges for the Air Guard states that the bureau will pull funding for Operation Snowbird operations support squadrons at D-M at the end of the 2017 fiscal year, according to a stipulation cited in the suit that’s signed by the Air Force and residents who filed the lawsuit to stop the training expansion.

“Due to reductions in Air National Guard participation in the OSB program, the return of investment of continuing (Operation Snowbird) has fallen below a reasonable threshold,” Col. Brian K. Lehew wrote.

The memo said the decision, made “as part of an overall reassessment of Air National Guard training requirements,” will end support for Operation Snowbird facilities at D-M, possibly impacting other D-M training that used logistical support from the Snowbird office.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-16 crashes with ammunition on board

By Stefan Becket
June 21, 2017

An F-16 fighter jet crashed during takeoff from an airbase in Houston on Wednesday, prompting the evacuation of a one-mile area around the scene of the crash.

The aircraft from the 138th Fighter Wing at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base was embarking on a training mission for NORAD when it crashed around 10:30 a.m. local time, CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports. The F-16 was carrying ammunition when it went down.

The pilot ejected safely and is being treated, an official said.

The airport was immediately evacuated as emergency workers responded to the scene, CBS affiliate KHOU-TV reports. The one-mile evacuation area was established as a precaution due to the ammunition on board the F-16.

“The Houston Fire Department is responding to a military jet which has caught fire on the north side of Ellington Field in southeast Houston,” Houston’s Office of Emergency Management said in a statement. “Personnel from Ellington Field are being evacuated, and residents in the area can expect to see increased traffic and emergency vehicles.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Nation “Too Broke” for Universal Healthcare to Spend $406 Billion More on F-35

By Jon Queally
July 10, 2017

There is always another $27 billion lying around, it seems, when Lockheed Martin needs more money for expensive weapons system

The nation’s most expensive weapons program isn’t done showing U.S. taxpayers how much it will ultimately cost them, with Bloomberg reporting Monday that the F-35 fighter jet budget is now predicted to jump by a cool $27 billion.

“Think about [F-35’s] $405 billion price tag when a family member dies of a preventable disease. Get angry.”

Though the estimated future cost of the program had previously hovered at a mind-boggling $379 billion, an updated draft that could be submitted to Congress as early as today will reportedly exceed $406 billion—a nearly 7 percent increase.

The new cost increases may come as a hit to President Donald Trump, who has bragged about his ability to get weapons manufacturers to offer the Pentagon “better deals.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 flight suspension at Luke AFB ends; cause of hypoxia not found

By Perry Vandell
June 19, 2017

F-35s at Luke Air Force Base will scream across the sky again on Wednesday.

Officials at the Glendale base announced Monday that they will lift the flight suspension that grounded its 55 F-35s since June 9 after five pilots complained of hypoxia-like symptoms over a five-week span. Symptoms ranged from dizziness to tingling in their extremities.

The 11-day suspension was initially expected to last one day, but Luke Commander Brig. Gen. Brook Leonard extended it to give investigators more time.

Investigators have not found the specific cause of the problems, but they have narrowed down the possible causes.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Another pilot in Arizona experienced lightheadedness and breathing difficulties this week, Arizona Central reported Thursday.

July 14, 2017

Another pilot in Arizona experienced lightheadedness and breathing difficulties this week, Arizona Central reported Thursday.

The event took place on Monday, a spokesman told AZ Central, which is owned by USA Today. Last month, several squadrons of F-35 jets at Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, Arizona, were grounded following multiple episodes of hypoxia in the month of May. The oxygen flow regulators weren’t fixed, investigators didn’t know why they had malfunctioned, but the military decided to continue flying the jets anyway while safety risks loomed.

Experts were tapped to help figure out what was going on but the service has next to no idea why hypoxia is still occurring among pilots in the $1.5 trillion jet program. “No specific root cause for the physiological episodes was identified during recent visits from experts and engineers from the Joint Program Office, Lockheed Martin, the Air Force Research Laboratory,” the US Air Force 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs office said in June.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Navy presents new F-35 helmet display videos and flight test dangers

By Tyler Rogoway
July 10, 2017

Seminar by F-35 testers details tense nighttime carrier vertical landing that almost went wrong and the breaking off of a F-35B’s refueling probe tip during tanker trials.

A video from Flight Test Safety Committee’s conference early last May offers a fascinating insight into the F-35 test program. A talk put on by NAVAIR and presented by the F-35 Government Flight Test Director, Lt. Col. D. Tom Fields, goes into detail about a couple of challenges the program has faced over the last 12 months, and it’s is presented in a totally frank and unafraid manner. The open tone of the address is downright refreshing considering the usual one-sided spin we get from the F-35 Program Office and its corporate partners.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter: DOD’s Proposed Follow-on Modernization Acquisition Strategy Reflects an Incremental Approach Although Plans Are Not Yet Finalized

August 8, 2017

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter: DOD’s Proposed Follow-on Modernization Acquisition Strategy
Reflects an Incremental Approach Although Plans Are Not Yet Finalized
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is the Department of Defense’s (DOD) most expensive and
ambitious acquisition program. In April 2017, we reported that acquisition costs alone are
estimated at nearly $400 billion, and operating and sustainment costs are estimated to be over
$1 trillion.
1 Meanwhile, due to evolving threats and changing warfighting environments, DOD
has begun planning and funding the development of new capabilities for the F-35, known as F-
35 follow-on modernization.
2 The research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E) funding
needed for the first modernization phase, known as Block 4, is projected to be over $3.9 billion
through 2022, which would exceed the statutory and regulatory thresholds for what constitutes a
major defense acquisitions program (MDAP), and would make it more expensive than many of
the other MDAPs already in DOD’s portfolio.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Mattis Orders Reviews of F-35, Air Force One

By Missy Ryan and Aaron Gregg
January 27

In one of his first actions at the Pentagon, Defense Secretary retired Gen. James Mattis has ordered a review of two costly programs that President Trump has pointed out as examples of wasteful government spending.

In a pair of memorandums dated on Thursday, Mattis ordered Deputy Defense Secretary Robert O. Work to initiate reviews of plans to build new presidential aircraft and another to move forward with fielding the F-35 stealth jet.

Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said the reviews were a “prudent step” designed to assist the budget process and allocate military resources.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Force Spokesman: F-35A Hypoxia Incidents Date To 2011

By Oriana Pawlyk
June 15, 2017

More than a dozen Air Force F-35 pilots experienced oxygen deprivation symptoms between 2011 and this year, the service disclosed Thursday as it investigates a steady uptick of hypoxia-related incidents at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona.

It marked the first time many of the cases had been disclosed publicly.

In a statement Thursday, Air Force spokesman Capt. Mark Graff said that since April 2, 2011, there “have been 15 reported F-35A in-flight and ground physiological events.”

“Five of those events were reported by Luke Air Force Base pilots between May 2 and June 8th, 2017,” Graff said in an email. “In all cases, pilots were able to safely recover the aircraft via established procedures.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Harris To Replace Panoramic Display In F-35 Cockpit

By Stephen Trimble
June 28, 2017

Elbit Systems and Harris will replace the head-down panoramic display system for the Lockheed Martin F-35 after 2019, the companies have announced.

Lockheed selected Elbit’s US-based subsidiary to begin developing a new large-format, touchscreen display for the F-35 cockpit. Separately, Lockheed awarded a contract to Florida-based Harris to develop a new computer processor for the display.

The selections were made as part of Lockheed’s Technology Refresh 3 (TR3) effort for the F-35, which is installing new electronics in the 16-year-old fighter fighter programme.

As part of TR3, Lockheed also selected Harris to supply a new aircraft memory system for the F-35, updating the solid-state device used to store the aircraft’s operational flight programme software, mission data files and prognostics and health data.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pentagon Tester Warns Of High Sustainability Costs For F-35s

By Anthony Capaccio
June 28, 2017

Costs to operate and support Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 will balloon unless the deteriorating reliability of the Pentagon’s costliest program improves, according to an assessment from the Defense Department’s own testing office.

The aircraft and its parts aren’t as reliable as expected, and it’s taking longer to repair them than planned, according to the presentation by the director of operational testing for defense officials and congressional aides. About 20 percent of the jets must await spares in depots because suppliers can’t keep up with expanding production while fixing returned parts.

Past attention focused on costs and delays in what’s now a projected $379 billion program to acquire the planned fleet of 2,443 fighters for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. But operating and maintaining the advanced jets for decades to come presents another set of challenges that may strain Pentagon budgets.

The availability of spare parts for the 203 F-35s already assigned to bases “is getting worse, affecting fly rates” and pilot training, according to the presentation dated May 8 and obtained by Bloomberg News. Reliability metrics linked to “critical failures have worsened over the last year,” as improvement “has stagnated.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

New Air Force Secretary calls for end of budget caps

By Valerie Insinna
June 5, 2017

During her first speech as the civilian head of the Air Force on Monday, Secretary Heather Wilson reiterated a plea to Congress to remove mandatory budget caps that she argued hampered the service’s plans to boost the structure, improve readiness and modernize its aging aircraft inventory.

“More than anything else, we need predictability. The United States Air Force needs predictability.” she said during an Air Force Association breakfast event. “If you don’t provide relief from the Budget Control Act, we will hollow out the force and set ourselves back years. We have to get beyond the Budget Control Act.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35A engine fire at US Air Force base sparked by strong tailwinds

By Valerie Insinna
July 12, 2017

U.S. Air Force investigators have found that last September’s F-35A mishap at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, was indeed an uncontained engine fire — albeit one started because of tailwinds present during engine start, not deficiencies with the aircraft’s Pratt and Whitney F135 engine.

According to a U.S. Air Force accident investigation board, or AIB, report signed May 9 by the board’s president and obtained by Defense News, the engine fire started after tailwinds forced hot air into the inlet of the jet’s integrated power pack. A chain of factors, such as insufficient torque and slow engine rotation speed, caused the F-35 to continuously supply fuel to its engine at an increased rate.

“During this mishap, however, the fire became uncontained due to the increased amount of fuel added while the engine rotation speed was slowing,” the report stated. “Once the uncontained fire started coming out of the aircraft exhaust, the tailwind carried it rapidly along the exterior surfaces of the jet.”

The pilot escaped from the aircraft but sustained burns to his head, neck and face.

The service is still evaluating how much it will cost to repair the F-35A involved in the mishap, which was assigned to the 61st Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, and involved in a training flight at Mountain Home when the fire occurred. However, damage to the plane is estimated to amount to at least $17 million.

F-35s Grounded at Luke AFB After Pilots Report Hypoxia-Like Symptoms

By Oriana Pawlyk
June 9, 2017

The Air Force has grounded all F-35 Joint Strike Fighters at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, after pilots complained of hypoxia-related issues, officials said Friday.

“The 56th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, canceled local flying operations today for F-35A Lightning II aircraft due to a series of five incidents in which pilots have experienced hypoxia-like symptoms,” Air Force spokesman Capt. Mark Graff said in an email.

A total of 48 aircraft and 49 pilots are affected by the temporary stand-down, according to Maj. Rebecca Heyse, a spokeswoman for the base.

“Flying operations are planned to resume Monday, June 12,” she said in an email.

The incident is “limited to Luke” at this time, meaning other bases aren’t affected by the order, Graff said.

Since May 2, five F-35A pilots have experienced “physiological incidents while flying,” according to the statement from Heyse. In each case, the aircraft’s backup oxygen system kicked in and the pilot followed the correct procedures to land safely, it stated.

[FULL ARTICLE]

North Korea will be surrounded by nuclear-capable F-35s by the early 2020s

By Alex Lockie
August 24, 2017

While North Korea feverishly works to perfect intercontinental ballistic missile technology, the US and its allies are putting the finishing touches on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter that will soon be patrolling the Pacific.

Japan and South Korea, the US’s principal allies the region, will both deploy over 100 F-35s by 2021, according to Aviation Week.

This follows the US choosing Japan as the site of its first-ever deployment of operational F-35Bs, which are particularly well-suited to combat in the Pacific region.

[FULL ARTICLE]

More delays for low-flying fighters over western Maine

By David Sharp
August 19, 2017

A National Guard proposal to expand airspace for fighter jet training low over the mountains of western Maine has dragged on for so long that many of the aircraft currently used for training could be retired by the time the plans are completed.

Vermont-based F-16 fighters account for the bulk of the training flights and are due to be replaced by stealthy F-35 fighters that won’t be allowed to fly as low.

With the departure of the F-16s, the number of low-flying jets would be cut by more than two-thirds each year and the remaining low-level training flights would be dispersed over a larger area, further reducing the impact, the National Guard says.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 altitude restrictions lifted at Luke Air Force Base

By Valerie Insinna
August 30

A wing commander at Luke Air Force Base on Wednesday lifted an altitude restriction on F-35 flights at the Arizona base, but Air Force investigators are no closer to understanding what prompted five incidents of pilot oxygen deprivation earlier this summer.

Between May 2 and June 8, five different Luke pilots experienced symptoms similar to hypoxia, or oxygen deprivation, while conducting F-35A training flights. That prompted Brig. Gen. Brook Leonard, commander of the 56th Fighter Wing, to order a pause in flight operations in June while officials from the Air Force and the F-35 Joint Program Executive Office analyzed each incident. Although they had hoped to find a common thread linking the incidents together, no root cause has emerged.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Noise may raise blood pressure risk

By Nicholas Bakalar
June 13, 2017

Airport noise could raise the risk for high blood pressure, a new study suggests.

Greek researchers studied 420 people living near Athens International Airport, where an average of 600 airplanes take off and land every day. Maps made during construction of the airport divided the surrounding area by noise level: less than 50 decibels, 50 to 60 decibels (60 decibels is about the noise level of a room air-conditioner), and more than 60 decibels, so researchers could track noise exposure precisely.

About two-thirds of the residents lived in the areas that regularly experienced noise at the 50- to 60-decibel level, and almost half of them had high blood pressure when the study began. Over the next 10 years, there were 71 newly diagnosed cases of hypertension.

The study, in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, found that for each 10-decibel increase in noise at night, the risk of developing hypertension more than doubled. Cardiac arrhythmia was also associated with nighttime exposure.

[FULL ARTICLE]

US F-35 fighter jets arrive in Europe for the first time

April 15, 2017

A fleet of F-35 stealth fighter jets has arrived in Europe from the United States as part of a planned NATO exercise aimed at “deterring” Russia.

The F-35A Lightning II jets landed at Royal Air Force Base in Lakenheath, England Saturday, having made the journey from Hill Air Force Base, Utah.

“The forward presence of F-35s support my priority of having ready and postured forces here in Europe,” said NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe General Curtis M. Scaparrotti in an official statement. “These aircraft, plus more importantly, the men and women who operate them, fortifies the capacity and capability of our NATO alliance.”

This deployment marks the first time American F-35A fighter jets have made an appearance in Europe, though a few countries already use them as part of their air fleet.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 flights halted at Ariz. base over pilot health concerns

By Perry Vandell
June 10, 2017

The Air Force on Friday stopped flying F-35 fighter jets at Luke Air Force Base in Glendale after a series of incidents in which pilots reported symptoms of hypoxia, or oxygen deprivation.

Air Force spokesman Capt. Mark Graff said the temporary halt followed five separate in-flight incidents since May 2. Graff said in each case, the airplane’s backup oxygen system worked as designed and the pilot was able to land the plane safely.

“The Air Force takes these physiological incidents seriously, and our focus is on the safety and well-being of our pilots,” said Brig. Gen. Brook Leonard, 56th Fighter Wing commander at Luke. “We are taking the necessary steps to find the root cause of these incidents.”

Maj. Rebecca Heyse, a chief public affairs officer for Luke, said each of the five pilots’ symptoms were slightly different, from dizziness and disorientation to tingling in their extremities.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 grounded indefinitely at Luke Air Force Base over hypoxia reports

By Perry Vandell
June 12, 2017

Luke Air Force Base officials announced Monday that flight operations will be indefinitely suspended as its team of engineers and maintenance specialists continue to investigate the rash of hypoxia-like symptoms some pilots reported.

The high-priced jets were grounded Friday at the Glendale base after five separate in-flight incidents since May 2 in which pilots reported symptoms from dizziness and disorientation to tingling in their extremities.

Luke spokeswoman Maj. Rebecca Heyse said there aren’t any leads yet, but new information has streamed in as an investigative “action team” worked over the weekend.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Same Issue, Different State: A Very Bad Trend

ABUSE OF THE FIRST ORDER AT THE HANDS OF THE AIR FORCE

Do you know who Kim Goodman is? You should want to know Kim Goodman because her story is about ready to be repeated 2,000 times in the Wittmann area.

I was contacted by Kim Goodman who lives in the Marietta, Georgia in an area not to far from Atlanta. Kim is one of 85 homeowners who FORMERLY resided in a subdivision near Dobbins Air Force Base. In 2006, their homes were rezoned without permission, with no notice of any meetings to rezone and no subsequent notification that their properties had been the victim of rezoning. Does this sound familiar? Shortly thereafter, the F-22’s began flying into Dobbins AFB near their homes.  Today, there are only 5 out of 85 home owners left who actually maintain their homes.  What happened to these 85 families should concern every citizen in our area in the West Valley.

In reality, nobody now actually lives in the Marietta subdivision. The 5 remaining homes are merely being maintained by the residents. That’s correct, 80 out of 85 homes have been foreclosed on as their owners were forced to vacate over health effects from the jet noise effects generated from landings and takeoffs from Dobbins AFB. The remaining five residents actually live in apartments and have kept some furniture in their homes in order to keep their local county from bulldozing their homes.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Potential Health Effects of Aircraft Noise

By Hales Swift
July 2010

Past noise research has related noise impact to the perception of annoyance and interference. More recent efforts have investigated further the potential health impacts of transportation noise. This literature review considers two potential pathways between aviation noise and health outcomes by presenting research that evaluates the role of sleep disruption and noise induced stress, and their relationship to possible cardiovascular outcomes. A brief review of the relationship between aircraft noise and annoyance, disturbance of communication, and disruption of learning are also presented in this report. The report includes a synopsis of past, current and potential future research studies.

[FULL ARTICLE]

MCAS Air Show reflects value of the F-35 to Beaufort, nation

By Shannon Erickson
April 25, 2017

The Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort Air Show reminds us of our community’s proud support for America’s military, and the importance of our military both to national defense and our local economy.

Because of this impact, I led an effort for the South Carolina House and Senate to pass resolutions supporting the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and our county and city councils have joined us in clearly declaring their approval.

Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort is one of the only bases in the country to house the F-35, and more squadrons are coming.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Billboards support F-35 in Alabama

By Jalea Brooks
April 25, 2017

You may have noticed them around town – The Montgomery area Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring billboards across the city to raise awareness of the effort to get the F-35 to locate here. Leaders of the F-35 Task Force say it’s important that the community be aware Montgomery is in the running as a possible home for a fleet of F-35A jets.

Leslie Sanders, chair of the F-35 Task Force says “community support is one of the areas that is looked at when the decision makers are trying to decide where to put the next installation…it’s also important because it underscores the strong partnership and the value that our community on the military.”

Paul Hankins, co-chair of the task force explains “we’ve really ramped up our efforts to really publicize what the F-35 is all about what this competition means to us in terms of jobs and economic impact”.

The F-35 would replace the F-16 planes currently used by the 187th Fighter Wing based at Dannelly Field. Hankins says “they’re flying some of the oldest F-16’s in the Air Force, those planes are due to be retired over the next maybe 5 to 10 years or sooner”.  Hankins adds that while the community support is vital to getting the F-35 to the, “The best hometown of the Air Force”, he hopes that decision makers consider a number of other factors that set Montgomery apart from the competition.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Achieving Full Combat Capability with the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is at Substantial Risk

By Michael Gilmore
August 9, 2016

Achieving Full Combat Capability with the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is at Substantial Risk

While the Air Force recently declared Initial Operational Capability (IOC) with “basic”
Block 3i capabilities, most of the limitations and deficiencies for the F-35A with Block 3i
discussed in my FY15 Annual Report and Congressional testimonies remain and will adversely
affect mission effectiveness and suitability. In fact, the program is actually not on a path toward
success, but instead on a path toward failing to deliver the full Block 3F capabilities for which
the Department is paying almost $400 billion by the scheduled end of System Development and
Demonstration (SDD) in 2018. If Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) were
conducted today on the aircraft in the Block 3i configuration – with which the Air Force recently
declared IOC -the system would likely be evaluated as not effective and not suitable across the
required mission areas and against currently fielded threats. If used in combat, the F-35 in the
Block 3i configuration, which is equivalent in capabilities to Block 2B, will need support to
locate and avoid modem threats, acquire targets, and engage formations of enemy fighter aircraft
due to outstanding performance deficiencies and limited weapons carriage available (i.e., two
bombs and two air-to-air missiles).

[FULL ARTICLE]

Mr President, Cancel the F-35

By Mike Fredenburg
January 6, 2017

Our incoming president’s willingness to boldly challenge the status quo is arguably the main reason he was elected. And no defense project is more representative of a disastrous status quo than the 20-year-old Joint Strike Fighter program — the F-35. The F-35 program showcases all that is wrong about our military’s vendor-dominated, crony-capitalist procurement system. Unless dealt with decisively, its massive cost and its lack of capability will have a dramatically negative impact on our military’s effectiveness for decades to come. Therefore, President-elect Trump’s willingness to publicly call out this $1.5 trillion program is good news.

[FULL ARTICLE]

The F-35 is a $1.4 Trillion National Disaster

By Dan Grazier
March 31, 2017

The F-35 still has a long way to go before it will be ready for combat. That was the parting message of 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, Gilmore told Congress, the Pentagon and the public, “the operational suitability of all variants continues to be less than desired by the Services.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (DOD 2016 report)

The Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program Office (JPO) acknowledged in 2016 that schedule pressure exists for
completing System Development and Demonstration (SDD) and starting Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) by August 2017, the planned date in JPO’s Integrated Master Schedule. In an effort to stay on schedule, JPO plans to reduce or truncate planned developmental testing (DT) in an effort to minimize delays and close out SDD as soon as possible. However, even with this risky, schedule-driven approach, multiple problems and delays make it clear that the program will not be able to start IOT&E with full combat capability until late CY18 or early CY19, at the soonest.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Head of US military kit-testing slams F-35, says it’s scarcely fit to fly

By Richard Chirgwin
April 3, 2017

Now-retired Dr Michael Gilmore, until recently the Director of Test and Evaluation for the US military, has published his final evaluation of the F-35 program, and it’s a treat.

In his parting report (PDF), deliciously dated April 1*, Gilmore details a host of issues remaining with the US$391 billion-and-counting project, with everything from its combat-readiness to its wing design under the microscope.

“The Services have designated 276 deficiencies in combat performance as “critical to correct” in Block 3F, but less than half of the critical deficiencies were addressed with attempted corrections in 3FR6”, the report states.

Even Gilmore’s most optimistic scenario regarding the aircraft’s Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) is gloomy: “the program will not be ready to start IOT&E until late CY18, at the soonest, or more likely early CY19. In fact, IOT&E could be delayed to as late as CY20, depending on the completion of required modifications to the IOT&E aircraft.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

What went wrong with Lockheed’s F-35?

By Michael Hughes
June 14, 2017

The F-35 was billed as a fighter jet that could do almost everything the U.S. military desired, serving the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy — and even Britain’s Royal Air Force and Royal Navy — all in one aircraft design. It’s supposed to replace and improve upon several current — and aging — aircraft types with widely different missions. It’s marketed as a cost-effective, powerful multi-role fighter airplane significantly better than anything potential adversaries could build in the next two decades. But it’s turned out to be none of those things.

Officially begun in 2001, with roots extending back to the late 1980s, the F-35 program is nearly a decade behind schedule, and has  failed to meet many of its original design requirements. It’s also become the most expensive defense program in world history, at about $1.5 trillion before the fighter is  phased out in 2070.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Air Force grounds F-35 squadron after oxygen deprivation issues

By Ellen Mitchell
June 9, 2017

The Air Force has “temporarily” grounded a squadron of F-35s fighter jets at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona after five pilots reported symptoms consistent with oxygen deprivation, the service said Friday.

The 56th Fighter Wing cancelled local flying operations for its F-35A Lightning II fighters after five incidents since May 2 where pilots experienced symptoms similar to hypoxia, or oxygen deprivation.

In every incident the F-35’s back-up oxygen system kicked in and pilots were able to land the plane safely, the Air Force said.

The Air Force has “temporarily” grounded a squadron of F-35s fighter jets at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona after five pilots reported symptoms consistent with oxygen deprivation, the service said Friday.

The 56th Fighter Wing cancelled local flying operations for its F-35A Lightning II fighters after five incidents since May 2 where pilots experienced symptoms similar to hypoxia, or oxygen deprivation.

In every incident the F-35’s back-up oxygen system kicked in and pilots were able to land the plane safely, the Air Force said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Government watchdog: F-35 will take millions more, months longer than expected

By Alex Lockie
April 24, 2017

The Government Accountability Office released a report on Mondaywarning the Department of Defense against funding further software updates for the already $400 billion F-35 program until the current software becomes operational.

The F-35 is already operational with the Air Force and Marine Corps, but it runs a limited version of its software, called the 3i block, which only provides 89{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} of the code required for full warfighting potency.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Delayed testing could add $1 billion to cost of F-35

By Rebecca Kheel
April 24, 2017

Delayed testing could add more than $1 billion to the cost of the F-35 fighter jet program, according to a government watchdog.

In a report released Monday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommended completing developmental testing before making “significant new investments” in the program.

“Cascading F-35 testing delays could cost the Department of Defense (DOD) over a billion dollars more than currently budgeted to complete development of the F-35 baseline program,” the report says.

[FULL ARTICLE]

GAO DOD debate claim F-35 software delay will add $1.7 billion

By Kyle Jahner

Law360, Washington (April 25, 2017, 4:05 PM EDT) — Testing delays for the software for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will tack on at least another five months and $1.7 billion to the price tag of a program no stranger to overruns and delays, a government report released Monday said, as the Pentagon and F-35 maker Lockheed Martin pushed back.
In the report, the Government Accountability Office recommended the Pentagon use historical data to reassess the costs of completing the mission systems software known as Block 3F, and to complete Block 3F testing before soliciting proposals for the next phase of the software, Block 4, for a jet that the Department of Defense now projects to have a total procurement cost of around $400 billion.

“If baseline development is not prioritized and adequately funded, and costs increase as predicted by GAO and others, then the program will have less recourse for action and development could be further delayed,” the report said. “In addition, with baseline development still ongoing the program will not likely have the knowledge it needs to present a sound business case for soliciting contractor proposals for Block 4 development in fiscal year 2017.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

The F-35 is much louder than the F-16 and A-10

The Arizona Star reported that the F-35 fighter projects 121 decibels (db)
of noise to the ground, 25 decibels more than the F-16, at the same speed
and altitude. Later, the Star corrected the estimate of the F-35 noise to 98 db,
based on numbers provided by Davis-Monthan.

But D-M’s numbers are contradicted by 6 years of consistent Air Force reports.

Five independently prepared Air Force documents show that at most
altitudes and speeds, the noise on the ground below the F-35 will be
an average of 16 decibels louder than the loudest F-16 currently flying
from D-M/TIA (a difference of roughly 60 times the physical energy
& more than three times as loud perceptually).

[FULL ARTICLE]

Anti F-35 Noise Group Launches Website (Boise, ID)

April 14, 2017

In a subtle maneuver that would have any fighter pilot pulling extra G’s, a group organized to fight the noisy F-35 jet has co-opted Mayor Dave Bieter’s favorite line about making Boise the “Most livable city in America.”

CITIZENS FOR A LIVABLE BOISE” now has a central “meeting place” on-line. They even qualified for the “.org” designation.

While rather restrained in their approach, CLB presents information and news stories from around the nation not likely to be produced by local media outlets or shared by proponents of basing at least 18 of the loudest fighter jets in the Air Force at Gowen Field.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pentagon F35 review not expected to affect Vermont


By Adam Silverman
Feb. 5, 2017

A review ordered by the Trump administration of the F-35 fighter jet program is expected to have no effect on the Vermont National Guard, which remains on track to receive 18 of the aircraft in two years.

Vermont’s congressional delegation and governor agreed cost-cutting measures could prove beneficial for the Pentagon’s costliest weapons procurement program. But the political leaders added that new planes remain vital to the 158th Fighter Wing’s mission.

“The Pentagon has a long record of purchasing weapons systems from defense contractors with massive cost overruns that have wasted hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars. The F-35 is a clear example of that practice, and that corporate welfare must end,” independent Sen. Bernie Sanders said in response to questions from the Burlington Free Press.

[FULL ARTICLE}

South Burlington councilors beg for a seat at airport talks

Aviation Director Gene Richards answered questions at a Burlington International Airport presentation at the Burlington City Council meeting on March 27, 2017. (Photo: NICOLE HIGGINS DeSMET/ Free Press)

By Nicole Higgins DeSmet
March 28, 2017

Some Burlington City Councilors welcomed comments by South Burlington City Council members after a Monday presentation by Burlington International Airport officials regarding sound mitigation and finance.

“It’s been challenging to see this unfold over the years, and it’s not the solution that anyone wants,” Councilor Sharon Bushor, who represents Burlington’s Ward 1, said of the federal home buyouts in the affordable South Burlington neighborhood where the airport is located. Bushor is a member of Burlington’s Board of Finance to which airport officials report.

[FULL ARTICLE]

South Burlington councilors seek ‘seat at table’ on airport noise

By Morgan True
March 28, 2017

Two members of the South Burlington City Council pressed their Burlington counterparts to give them a greater role in deciding how Burlington International Airport mitigates the impact of noise on nearby homes.

South Burlington Councilors Meaghan Emery and Tim Barritt attended a presentation by airport Aviation Director Gene Richards at Monday’s council meeting in Burlington.

During the public comment period, the two said the longstanding practice of buying homes affected by noise using Federal Aviation Administration grant money has eroded the affordable housing stock in their city.

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger has said since first being elected in 2012 that he would end the home buyout program. He said Monday that a last round of home buyouts is necessary before the FAA will allow consideration of other options.

South Burlington officials say they were not informed when the Burlington City Council accepted a $15 million FAA grant to buy 50 more homes in South Burlington last year.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 Continues to Stumble

By Dan Grazier
March 30, 2017

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.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

2016 DOT&E Report on the F-35

David Archibald

The role of the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation at the Pentagon is to ensure that US weapons programs continue on track and that the weapons do what they are supposed to. His report for the 2016 year can be found here. The interesting observations in the report, with respect to the F-35, are listed in the

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-16 military plane crashes near Joint Base Andrews

By Tom Costello, Hans Nichols, and Erik Ortiz
April 5, 2017

An F-16C military fighter jet crashed Wednesday morning two miles south of Joint Base Andrews, shaking homes in suburban Washington, D.C., and sending thick black smoke into the skies, military officials said.

The pilot ejected successfully in a wooded area of Clinton, Maryland, at around 9:15 a.m. ET and suffered non-life-threatening injuries, Joint Base Andrews tweeted.

[FULL ARTICLE]

U.S. Navy’s Winter To Replace Bogdan As F-35 Chief

By Lara Seligman
March 28, 2017

 

Five years after taking the reins of the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO), U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan is set to retire…

 

[FULL ARTICLE]

With structural mods the F-16 will fly until 2048

By Lara Seligman
April 12, 2017

The U.S. Air Force has authorized extending the service life of Lockheed Martin’s single-engine F-16 from 8,000 t0 12,000 hr., raising questions about whether this is the first step toward retiring and replacing the long-serving F-15C/D Eagle. The planned structural modifications would keep up to 300 F-16 C/C Block 40-52 aircraft flying safely through 2048 and beyond, Lockheed said in an April 12 press release.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Trump claims F-35s flew over Japan undetected: ‘Pretty cool, right?

By Brad Lendon
May 12, 2017

US President Donald Trump thinks the F-35 fighter is “pretty cool,” but he seems to be a bit confused over what the newest US warplanes have been up to in Japan.

In a White House interview with Time magazine published Thursday, Trump said almost three dozen of the stealth jets flew over Japan undetected during a visit to Tokyo by US Defense Secretary James Mattis in February.
“They had 35 of them fly over Japan … and they were not detected by the radar. They flew over and everyone said where the hell did they come from? That’s stealth. It’s pretty cool, right,” Time quotes Trump as saying in the interview.
[FULL ARTICLE]

Delayed testing could add $1 billion to cost of F-35

By Rebecca Kheel
April 24, 2017

Delayed testing could add more than $1 billion to the cost of the F-35 fighter jet program, according to a government watchdog.

In a report released Monday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommended completing developmental testing before making “significant new investments” in the program.

“Cascading F-35 testing delays could cost the Department of Defense (DOD) over a billion dollars more than currently budgeted to complete development of the F-35 baseline program,” the report says.

Critics have long slammed Lockheed Martin’s F-35 program, estimated to cost $400 billion for 2,457 planes, as a costly boondoggle.

President Trump was among the critics, tweeting prior to his inauguration that the costs of the program were “out of control.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35s grounded over oxygen problems

By Ryan Browne and Jeremy Herb
June 20, 2017

An F-35 fighter wing has been temporarily grounded after five incidents where pilots suffered from oxygen deprivation problems, but the planes are expected to be flying again on Saturday, the Air Force said Friday.

The 56th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona suspended all F-35A flights Friday after the five pilots experienced hypoxia-like symptoms, Air Force spokesman Capt. Mark Graff said in a statement. The pilots all used their backup oxygen to land the planes safely.
“In order to synchronize operations and maintenance efforts toward safe flying operations we have canceled local F-35A flying,” said Brig. Gen. Brook Leonard, commander of the 56th Fighter Wing. “The Air Force takes these physiological incidents seriously, and our focus is on the safety and well-being of our pilots. We are taking the necessary steps to find the root cause of these incidents.”
[FULL ARTICLE]

 

Pentagon F-35 review unlikely to affect Vermont

By Adam Silverman
Feb. 5, 2017

A review ordered by the Trump administration of the F-35 fighter jet program is expected to have no effect on the Vermont National Guard, which remains on track to receive 18 of the aircraft in two years.

Vermont’s congressional delegation and governor agreed cost-cutting measures could prove beneficial for the Pentagon’s costliest weapons procurement program. But the political leaders added that new planes remain vital to the 158th Fighter Wing’s mission.

“The Pentagon has a long record of purchasing weapons systems from defense contractors with massive cost overruns that have wasted hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars. The F-35 is a clear example of that practice, and that corporate welfare must end,” independent Sen. Bernie Sanders said in response to questions from the Burlington Free Press.

[FULL ARTICLE]

FAA made maps for some cities, just not South Burlington

By Nicole Higgins DeSmet
Feb. 6, 2017

Federal Aviation Administration officials have repeatedly brushed off requests to provide maps of the F-35’s projected noise impact on surrounding neighborhoods, but the Burlington Free Press confirmed other communities were provided with F-35 data.

Scott Eaton, an FAA community planner in Helena, Montana, confirmed last month that F-35 projections were included in the appendices of plans for the purchase of homes near a civilian airport in Great Falls, Montana, that, like South Burlington, serves as a base for the U.S. Air Force. Another FAA official verbally confirmed that F-35 data was provided for Boise, Idaho. A Winooski resident and anti-F-35 activist flagged these airports at a Jan. 23 South Burlington City Council meeting.

All officials noted the F-35 sound maps for the Great Falls and Boise were informational additions and had no relation to FAA sound program funding.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Mattis defends Trump’s F-35 criticism


By Valerie Insinna
Jan. 12, 2017

President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for the next defense secretary on Thursday characterized his boss as ultimately supportive of the F-35 program, despite recent comments by Trump criticizing the high costs of the program.

Over the past month, Trump has repeatedly used Twitter as his platform of choice to trash the “out-of-control” costs of the F-35. The president-elect has also put the Air Force One program in his crosshairs, tweeting that the program should be canceled.

During a confirmation hearing in front of the Senate armed services committee, retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis said Trump has “in no way shown a lack of support for the program. He just wants more bang for the buck.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

120th Airlift Wing prepares to deploy


By Jenn Rowell
Oct. 2, 2016

After a two-year conversion period, the 120th Airlift Wing is now fully operational.

For the last two years, the unit switched from flying F-15 fighter jets to the C-130 cargo planes that required training and new facilities, created new positions and eliminated others.

During the conversion, the wing could volunteer for deployments and missions, but couldn’t be tasked from higher headquarters to go.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Holloman gets new F-16 mission

By Kent Miller
November 17, 2016

To combat the ongoing shortage of fighter pilots, the Air Force will stand up two interim F-16 pilot training squadrons at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, service officials announced Thursday.

About 40 to 45 Fighting Falcons, plus 800 training and support staff airmen, are being relocated from Hill Air Force Base, Utah.

Because the service cannot permanently base formal training units without first conducting an environmental impact analysis, cost-benefit analysis and other site surveys, service officials announced their plan for an interim solution in August. A final decision will be made in the spring or summer of 2017.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-16 training accident at Holloman AFB kills 1 and injures 1


By Stephen Losey
February 1, 2017

A civilian contractor was killed and an airman was injured in a training accident at a military range near Holloman Air Force Base in southern New Mexico Tuesday.

Capt. Bryant Davis, chief of public affairs for the 49th Wing at Holloman, said the two were part of a ground control party that was helping coordinate a live-fire training exercise at the Red Rio range, which is in the White Sands Missile Range complex. Davis said officials expect to release more information on the airman and contractor later on Wednesday.

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

More bases named to host F-35, K-46 and MQ-9 operations


January 12, 2017

The service chose Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas, for the first Air Force Reserve-led F-35 base. Three other bases were named as possible alternates if a problem arises during the environmental impact process: Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona; Homestead Air Reserve Base, Florida; and Whiteman AFB, Missouri. That environmental analysis must be completed before service officials formally announce a final decision.

[FULL ARTICLE]

South Burlington neighborhood unfit for residents

By Nicole Higgins DeSmet
Feb. 22, 2017

 

The Federal Aviation Administration’s message was clear on Thursday: Properties in the noisiest area around the airport should be bought and rezoned for commercial use.

“We have encouraged the airport to buy every home they can,” FAA Environmental Program Manager Richard Doucette said at the Burlington International Airport community meeting where about 150 residents gathered. He cited levels of noise that were incompatible with healthy living.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Federal Aviation Administration, the airport and the Air National Guard to meet with airport neighbors to discuss noise issues.

By Lisa Rathke
Feb. 15, 2017

Kim Gaboriault and her husband planned to sell their home in 2009 when Vermont’s largest airport, which adjoins their neighborhood, offered to buy properties because of aircraft noise, including the sound of F-16 fighter jets used by the Vermont Air National Guard.

But the airport never offered to buy it. Since then, she said the noise has gotten worse at their ranch house since nearby homes that once blocked some of the sound have been demolished.

The couple now has another chance to sell. Gaboriault and her husband, however, fear their city’s fight against the buyouts — in order to maintain affordable housing and to fully plan for the impact of the noise — could derail their plans.

Burlington International Airport hopes to buy 39 more homes as part of its voluntary buyout program. But the issue has created tension between the city of South Burlington, the airport and the Federal Aviation Association.

[FULL ARTICLE]

FAA made noise maps for some cities—just not South Burlington

By Nicole Higgins DeSmet
Feb. 6, 2017

Federal Aviation Administration officials have repeatedly brushed off requests to provide maps of the F-35’s projected noise impact on surrounding neighborhoods, but the Burlington Free Press confirmed other communities were provided with F-35 data.

Scott Eaton, an FAA community planner in Helena, Montana, confirmed last month that F-35 projections were included in the appendices of plans for the purchase of homes near a civilian airport in Great Falls, Montana, that, like South Burlington, serves as a base for the U.S. Air Force. Another FAA official verbally confirmed that F-35 data was provided for Boise, Idaho. A Winooski resident and anti-F-35 activist flagged these airports at a Jan. 23 South Burlington City Council meeting.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pentagon F-35 Review Unlikely to Affect Vermont

By Adam Silverman
Feb. 5, 2017

A review ordered by the Trump administration of the F-35 fighter jet program is expected to have no effect on the Vermont National Guard, which remains on track to receive 18 of the aircraft in two years.

Vermont’s congressional delegation and governor agreed cost-cutting measures could prove beneficial for the Pentagon’s costliest weapons procurement program. But the political leaders added that new planes remain vital to the 158th Fighter Wing’s mission.

“The Pentagon has a long record of purchasing weapons systems from defense contractors with massive cost overruns that have wasted hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars. The F-35 is a clear example of that practice, and that corporate welfare must end,” independent Sen. Bernie Sanders said in response to questions from the Burlington Free Press.

[FULL ARTICLE]

FAA changes story of F-35 maps

By Nicole Higgins DeSmet

The FAA could have included F-35 sound information, but chose not to due to a pending lawsuit which community members hoped would halt or at least delay the basing of the new jets.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Airport Director: SoBu Council Resolution Won’t Stop Buyouts

By Molly Walsh
Jan. 24, 2017

Burlington International Airport director of aviation Gene Richards says a resolution South Burlington city councilors passed Monday will not stop a controversial home buyout program.

“The airport will continue to administer the program until we bring it to an end,” Richards told Seven Days Tuesday.

The resolution does little more than create anxiety for neighbors who want to sell, he added.

“We’ve had people crying and we’ve had people really stressed out about this,” Richards said. “It’s unfortunate.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

South Burlington hits airport with buyout resolution

By Nicole Higgins DeSmet
Jan. 23, 2017

The City Council passed a resolution after three hours of debate late Monday night to end the airport buyout program and hold the Federal Aviation Administration accountable for what councilors said are affordable-housing and tax-revenue losses to the city.

The resolution asks the FAA and the airport to respond by Feb. 7. The council hopes the measure will open negotiations that would benefit the neighborhood. “Or at least open a seat at the table,” councilor Meaghan Emery said.

In September, the airport announced an acquisition program, when buyouts were thought to be over. This surprised the airport neighborhood and the South Burlington City Council.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Airport buyouts prompt departures

By Katie Jickling
Dec. 7, 2016

Kevin Pearo has watched his neighbors depart in a slow, steady exodus from North Henry Court in South Burlington. Seven homes that once lined the street are gone, leaving his yellow duplex a solitary sentinel between suburbia and a growing grassy expanse within walking distance of Burlington International Airport.

“It’s like living on a five- or 10-acre park,” he told Seven Days, standing on his porch last month.

Now Pearo is also leaving; he plans to relocate with his family to Colchester early next year. His property and those on his street are among the 139 houses the airport has bought since 1997 because aircraft traffic made it too loud to live there. Once Pearo’s family is gone, their old house will be, too.

Residents were just getting used to the new shape of what is known as the Chamberlin neighborhood, between Williston Road and the airport. Then, in September, BTV airport officials announced the receipt of a federal grant that would give 39 additional homeowners a chance to sell their houses to the airport.

Many were surprised to learn the sound map had been updated last year, and they were now living in spots considered uninhabitable because of noise levels in excess of 73 decibels.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 sound study now makes sense

Dec. 11, 2016

South Burlington should pursue options for a study that would show how noise from soon-to-be-deployed F-35 fighters could impact neighborhoods surrounding Burlington International Airport.

The sound contours are likely to change with the scheduled arrival of the new Air National Guard jets in 2019. The next-generation fighters are louder, but are expected to project their noise in a different pattern, than the F-16s currently based at the airport.

Everyone knows the F-35s are coming and when. Why should people and businesses have to wait two years until the jets arrive to find out exactly what living or working near the airport might mean?

Airport neighbors have a right to know how their lives might be affected by developments at Burlington International. Residents and business owners – current and those considering purchases – have a right to protect their properties, likely the biggest investment made by most families.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Residents express frustration with airport maps

By Morgan True
Nov. 10, 2015

Close to 150 residents packed the gymnasium at the Chamberlin Elementary School on Monday night to take a first look at new noise exposure maps drafted by the Burlington International Airport.

The noise maps were last updated in 2006, and the draft maps released Monday are the first to account for the afterburners on the Air National Guard’s F-16 fighter jet engines.

A public comment period is open until Dec. 10, when the new maps will be submitted the Federal Aviation Administration, which requires updated maps in order for airports to receive noise mitigation money. The maps can be viewed here.

The federal money is distributed through a voluntary grant program and will be used to help residents pay for soundproofing their homes. There are an estimated 2,200 people in more than 900 dwellings who will be eligible for mitigation money, though no specifics on how much money would be available or how it would be applied was provided at the meeting.

In the past, the airport has sought to purchase homes affected by airport noise, but it has stopped that practice because local officials and residents say the housing is important to the community, said Gene Richards, director of aviation for Burlington International Airport.

[FULL ARTICLE]

South Burlington earns grant for airport planning

By John Herrick
Dec. 9, 2013

Nearly a week after the decision was made to base the F-35 fighter jet in Vermont, communities neighboring Burlington International Airport received a state grant to begin planning noise mitigation strategies for residential areas around the airport.

With the Federal Aviation Administration’s home buyback program off the table, dozens of vacant homes awaiting demolition and the expected arrival of the louder F-35 fighter jet in 2020, regional planners must begin working on how to mitigate further burden to the affordable housing neighborhood around the airport.

During a news conference at the Chamberlin School in South Burlington on Monday, Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger said the F-35 basing decision has sparked a long-needed debate on the city-owned airport’s encroachment on the nearby South Burlington neighborhood.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Burlington mayor favors F-35

By Greg Guma
May. 22, 2012

Turnout has been high and dialogue heated at a series of public meetings held lately in Burlington and environs.

On Monday, dozens of people both in favor and opposed to a proposed health access buffer zone at Burlington reproductive health care centers brought their arguments and deeply held beliefs to the City Council. Meanwhile, 40 Vermonters showed up just to watch the South Burlington City Council, in a 4-1 vote, reject a plan to base F-35 fighter jets at the airport.

Last week more than 300 people turned out in South Burlington for a U.S. Air Force public hearing on the environmental impacts of the multi-purpose aircraft, the military’s most expensive pet project yet.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-16 Aviator must take civilian pilot exam after small plane crash

By Sasha Goldstein
Feb. 1, 2017

The Federal Aviation Administration has ordered a South Burlington-based F-16 pilot who crashed a small plane last year to retake his pilot’s exam — or lose his civilian license to fly.

John Rahill serves in the Vermont Air National Guard but was off duty when he wrecked a Piper PA-11 plane September 19 on Savage Island. The lieutenant colonel is among the hundreds of Air Guard members who deployed to Southwest Asia* in December. The Guard’s 158th Fighter Wing has been involved in retaking the Iraqi city of Mosul from the Islamic State.

Rahill will schedule a reexamination when he returns, according to the FAA, which notified the airman of the obligation in an October 11 letter. Seven Days obtained the correspondence, along with numerous other documents related to the FAA’s investigation of the crash, in mid-January — two months after it requested the materials through the Freedom of Information Act.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pentagon F-35 Review Unlikely to Affect Vermont

By Adam Silverman
Feb. 5, 2017

A review ordered by the Trump administration of the F-35 fighter jet program is expected to have no effect on the Vermont National Guard, which remains on track to receive 18 of the aircraft in two years.

Vermont’s congressional delegation and governor agreed cost-cutting measures could prove beneficial for the Pentagon’s costliest weapons procurement program. But the political leaders added that new planes remain vital to the 158th Fighter Wing’s mission.

“The Pentagon has a long record of purchasing weapons systems from defense contractors with massive cost overruns that have wasted hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars. The F-35 is a clear example of that practice, and that corporate welfare must end,” independent Sen. Bernie Sanders said in response to questions from the Burlington Free Press.

Bernie Sanders keeps Vermont press at arms length


By John Walters
Mar. 22,2017

On his way out of the St. Johnsbury Academy gymnasium last Thursday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) stopped in the hallway and faced the media.

For all of two minutes. He answered three short questions and hustled on to his next engagement.

Little did I know that this would be my one and only opportunity to ask Sanders a question. I attended five Sanders events in four Vermont towns last week without ever getting another chance.

But that’s just par for the course.

Sanders rarely interacts with Vermont news media.  He’s a constant presence in national newspapers and on cable news — the very “corporate media” he rails against at every opportunity — but not in this state’s media, most of it locally owned. I guess if you’re looking for the biggest possible audience, well, principle be damned.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 software delayed

By Gareth Corfield
Jan. 12, 2017

Key software for the troubled F-35 fighter jet has been repeatedly delayed, causing problems for the British armed forces as they wait for Americans to iron out the bugs.

The F-35’s Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) is the heart of the support offering bundled with the F-35 by its manufacturer, Lockheed Martin.

The latest version of ALIS – version 2.0.2 – has been delayed by at least six months and counting, according to the US Department of Defense’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E), and units are instead stuck with version 2.0.1.3.

“It has yet to successfully complete testing and likely will not be fielded until early 2017,” according to the F-35 section of DOT&E’s annual report [PDF, 62 pages] to the US Congress. Version 2.0.2 will allow military personnel, rather than engine manufacturers and current maintenance contractors Pratt & Whitney, to read and act upon engine health data, but has not yet been deployed.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 Combat Deployment Still Years Off

By Valerie Insinna

The Airforce will deploy the F-35A to fight the Islamic State group in the Middle East in the “not too distant future,” potentially a few years down the road, the outgoing head of Air Combat Command said Feb. 24.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Trump McCain take aim at F-35 program

By Aaron Gregg
January 11, 2017

In his first press conference since winning the presidential election in November, Donald Trump again took aim at Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

His latest comments followed a tweet last month about the F-35’s “tremendous cost and cost overruns.” The president-elect said he had asked Boeing to “price out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet.”

“We’re going to do some big things on the F-35 program and perhaps the F-18 program,” Trump reiterated Wednesday. “And we’re going to get those costs way down, and we’re going to get the plane to be even better, and we’re going to have some competition and it’s going to be a beautiful thing. So we’ve been very very much involved.”

Trump offered few details before moving on. But the 30 seconds or so he devoted to the topic jolted stocks at Lockheed Martin and Boeing, the two companies primarily responsible for the F-35 and F-18 programs respectively, though both recovered throughout the day.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lockheed Martin tells Trump F-35 costs will be lower

By Aaron Gregg
January 13, 2017

Emerging from a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York on Friday, Lockheed Martin chief executive Marillyn Hewson told reporters that the Bethesda, Md.-based defense giant is close to a new contract deal that would cut the cost of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program and also create jobs.

“We had the opportunity to talk to [Trump] about the F-35 program, and I certainly share his views that we need to get the best capability to our men and women in uniform and we have to get it at the lowest possible price,” Hewson said. “So I’m glad I had the opportunity to tell him that we are close to a deal that will bring the cost down significantly from the previous lot of aircraft to the next lot of aircraft and moreover it’s going to bring a lot of jobs to the United States.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Trump wants at least 10{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} cut in F-35 costs

January 18, 2017

The chairman of a key subcontractor in the F-35 program told Bloomberg News Tuesday that President-elect Donald Trump wants to reduce the cost of the project by at least 10 percent.

“We’ve been told through Lockheed that the president has an ambition to reduce the cost of the aircraft by a material amount of money, many percent, into the double digits over a period,” Roger Carr, the chairman of BAE Systems Plc, said. “We respect that and we’ll work towards a contribution towards that.”

Trump has been an outspoken critic of the price tag for projects like the F-35 fleet and the new Air Force One.

In December, Trump tweeted that he asked Boeing to “price-out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet.” He did not go into specific details, but aviation experts pointed out differences in the two planes…for one, the F-18 is not stealth.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Defense Secretary targets costly F-35, Air Force One

By Tom Vanden Brook
Jan. 27, 2017

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has ordered the Pentagon to launch a review on how to save costs on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, the Pentagon’s most costly weapons-buying effort in history.

Mattis’ memo, sent on Thursday, also calls on the military to determine whether the F-18 fighter can be modified to provide a “cost-effective fighter aircraft alternative.”

The Defense chief also directed the Pentagon to look for ways to save money for the Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization program, which is responsible for developing a replacement for the current presidential aircraft, which goes by the call sign Air Force One when the president is aboard.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F35 Deal-Unlikely to save $

By Mandy Smithberger
January 30, 2017

Following President Donald Trump’s announcement today that Lockheed Martin has cut $600 million from the F-35 program, Dan Grazier, the Jack Shanahan Fellow at POGO’s Straus Military Reform Project, said:

“Although this appears to be a victory for those concerned about out-of-control costs of the F-35 program, these savings don’t really exist. The American people will end up paying even more for the unproven jets in the future.

The so-called savings announced today are little more than the bulk-rate discount for the next yearly purchase of 90 aircraft. If this ‘concession’ is predicated on committing taxpayers to a multiyear buy, it will only further compound the waste of public funds on this program.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Wish List Adds Billions for Aircraft

by Valerie Insinna
January 31, 2017

An update to the US Air Force’s 2017 wish list bumps its unfunded requirements to $10.6 billion, with the service seeking funding for more F-35s and a light attack aircraft experiment, among other new efforts.

Congress has not passed a defense spending bill for 2017, opting instead to extend current funding until April — a tactic that gives the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled legislative branch time to figure out how to direct the budget for the remainder of the fiscal year. The services have responded by enlarging their own unfunded priorities lists to reflect growing demands.

[FULL ARTICLE]

UK faces massive rise in costs to fix stealth fighter


By Ewen MacAskill
Feb. 4, 2017

Britain is being forced to pour millions of pounds of new funds into the troubled F-35 stealth fighter programme being developed in America and considered a vital part of the UK’s future defences.

The F-35, being built by the US in partnership with countries including the UK, is the costliest weapon ever developed by the Pentagon. It is scheduled to go into service in the UK in 2018 and into full production in 2019, and is intended to be a cornerstone of UK defences for decades to come, flying off two new aircraft carriers.

But huge problems remain unresolved, in particular with the F-35’s advanced software, on which the whole project rests. The software is supposed to be the plane’s “brain”, running everything from ensuring a steady supply of parts to relaying masses of data to the pilot’s visor during combat.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Letters to the Editor on VTANG pilot crash (Price) and noise maps (Powell)

By Rich Price, and Ellen Powell
Feb. 8, 2017

No-Reporting Zone
I write to express my disappointment in the editor’s decision to run a story about Lt. Col. John Rahill [“F-16 Aviator Must Take Civilian Pilot Exam After Small Plane Crash,” February 1]. Poorly written and mean-spirited, the article appears to be an attempt to bring negative press upon the Vermont Army National Guard during a time when many of its men and women are deployed in the service of our country…

By Rich Price

Noise Map Needed

[Re Off Message: “South Burlington Councilors Want Airport Buyouts to Stop,” January 23; Off Message: “SoBu Council Passes Resolution Critical of Airport Home Buyouts,” January 24; Off Message: “Airport Director: SoBu Council Resolution Won’t Stop Buyouts,” January 24]: There’s a big lack of affordable housing in South Burlington. Due to increased decibels from F-16s, the airport has purchased and demolished more than 150 affordable houses in the vicinity of the airport. There are 40 more homes on the chopping block…

By Ellen Powell

[FULL ARTICLES]

 

Save the Guard – The Big Lie

By Richard Joseph
Sep. 12, 2016

In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act. — Anonymous

The truth revolution faces fierce opposition in Burlington. In fact, during the past four or five years, Burlington has been subjected to a concerted disinformation campaign touting the supposed benefits of basing the troubled F-35 Joint Strike Fighter at Burlington’s commercial airport. Lies have been told and repeated by F-35 basing proponents attempting to build public support. Now, in government documents released in conjunction with an ongoing lawsuit against the Air Force, some of the deceit has finally been exposed.
We were told Burlington is the best location for the F-35.

• But the truth revealed in government documents is that Burlington is the worst location from both an environmental and an operational perspective among the sites that were considered.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Now is the time to Rebel

By Jimmy Leas
March 5, 2017

South Burlington is being roughed up every day by a bully to the north. We must stop collaborating. Now is the time to rebel.

Burlington is the bully. Burlington hosts an otherwise well-regarded tenant at its airport that operates screamingly loud F-16 fighter jets that cause serious health and safety misery, and property losses to families in South Burlington.

The misery is visible: 200 affordable homes near the airport bulldozed since the arrival of the F-16.

The misery is also invisible: The noise is so awful it causes cognitive impairment of half the children living in the remaining 961 South Burlington homes in the F-16 extreme noise zone.

Burlington gets millions of dollars in grants, primarily from the FAA but also from the state of Vermont, to do its vicious deed on South Burlington neighborhoods.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Five-Way-Win Solution to Airport Noise Problems

By Rosanne Greco
March 8, 2017

There is a solution to the airport noise problems in which all of the entities involved — the Vermont Air National Guard, the airport, South Burlington, Burlington and the surrounding communities — will survive and thrive. It’s simple, aligns totally with Vermont values, won’t cost a dime, may result in more jobs coming to the Air Guard, and everyone wins.

Most folks would agree that airport noise is causing significant problems in our area. But to make sure we are all on the same page, I’m providing the information upon which this solution is based. All of the facts I cite are taken from official government documents and can be verified.

Facts related to the impact of the problem: The primary source of the unlivable airport noise come from military jets — not commercial airliners; because of this noise, Burlington is using FAA money to purchase and then demolish homes in South Burlington; home demolition reduces South Burlington property taxes, which then results in tax increases for the rest of the city’s homeowners.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 Noise fall on deaf ears

March 1, 2017

Gov. Butch Otter, with Boise Mayor Dave Bieter standing alongside, signed a bill Tuesday that will authorize expenditure of $100,000 in taxpayer funds to lobby on behalf of basing the admittedly noisy F-35 fighter in Boise.

Stars & Stripes, the military newspaper in Japan, recently reported a Japanese court has awarded residents near Kadena AF Base on Okinawa $265 million in compensation for health issued caused by the noise of U.S. fighter jets.

As part of our community-based news sharing effort, the GUARDIAN offers up the following links supplied by the group opposed to basing the F-35 in Boise. They feel the noisy fighter should be based at Mountain Home AFB where there are no nearby residences.

 

[FULL ARTICLE]

Competition to build new trainer begins in earnest

By Valerie Insinna
Jan. 16, 2017

The battle to build the Air Force’s $16.3 billion T-X trainer kicked off Dec. 30 with the release of the final request for proposals.

The competition pits defense contractors Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman Raytheon and Sierra Nevada Corp. against each other for one of the last major Air Force aircraft programs on the horizon.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Neighborhood Reaction to F-35 Noise

By Sven Berg
Dec. 23, 2015

Some Boiseans believe the deciders have made up their minds to bring louder military jets to Boise.

Many of these people live near the airport, so they’d be most affected by the noise. They suspect their concerns don’t matter to the city government, Idaho Air National Guard and U.S. Air Force. When the authorities reach out and ask for their opinions, they think it’s just for show.

“I don’t like that — the feeling that we’re being manipulated,” said Monty Mericle, who lives on Meriwether Drive just north of the Boise Airport’s runways.

Residents weary of jet noise worry

By Steven Verburg
Dec 26, 2016

Dane County residents who are unhappy about the roar of F-16 military jets through the skies say they are worried the noise could grow louder if F-35 warplanes are based at Madison’s Truax Field.

The Air Force maintains that the new jets usually produce sound levels that are roughly equivalent to that generated by aircraft like the F-16, but there may be fewer flights at least initially and the new jets could be quieter on takeoff because they don’t need to use afterburners as frequently as the older aircraft do.

But a full answer isn’t possible until noise studies that take into account conditions at Truax are completed next year, an Air Force spokeswoman said.

Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce president Zach Brandon is leading an effort to persuade the Air Force to select Truax over four other finalists because of the economic benefits of the hundreds of jobs at the base.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Red Flag May Affect Whether F-35s Deploy Overseas This Year

February 14, 2017

As Air Force leaders ponder whether to send F-35As overseas this year in what would be the jet’s first-ever operational deployment, officials could point to this year’s Red Flag exercise as a case study of how it can enhance both training and combat.

Red Flag 17-1 wrapped up Friday after three weeks of high-intensity air-to-air training at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. Although the final results are not in yet, F-35 operators and service officials said the jet’s performance actually got better in the last week of the exercise.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Opponents Of F-35 Denied Space Inside Open House

Jan 26, 2017

With armed police standing by, opponents of the F-35 and other noisy fighter jets being based at Gowen Field were denied space during an “open house” meeting Wednesday night at the airport, another chapter in the controversy.

Airport spokesman Sean Briggs told the GUARDIAN the opponents were allowed to display protest signs and a petition outside the room full of Air National Guard brass and pilots, but they were not allowed in the room , “So folks wouldn’t be confused.”

To us it looked like another case of the new Trump term, “Alternate Facts.” The city of Boise, the Chamber of Commerce and the ANG were armed to the teeth with charts, surveys, arguments, and opinions about why only fighters should be based in Boise and any noise was worth millions of dollars to the economy.

ANG brass and Idaho politicos have been allotted more than $100,000 in public funds to shape public opinion in favor of basing the F-35 at Gowen. Despite those efforts, they have failed to convince a growing assortment of Boise Bench residents.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 opposition in Idaho

By Sven Berg
Jan 25, 2017

Dozens of people went to the Boise Airport on Wednesday for an open house on airplane noise and ways to reduce its impact on the surrounding area.

Before entering the third-floor room where city and Idaho Air National Guard officials set up posters on the topic of airport noise, visitors passed another set of posters and a petition-signing table. These materials urged Boise residents to resist a push to land a U.S. Air Force wing of F-35 jets at the Guard’s Boise base, which uses the same runways as commercial flights.

The Guard announced in December that Boise is on the short list for the F-35, which is billed as a cutting-edge attack plane but has been besieged by technical problems.

[FULL ARTICLE]

“Growler” Draft Environmental Impact Statement: The emperor has no clothes

By Chom Greacen
Jan 21st, 2017

Quiet Skies over San Juan County

The Navy plans to add 36 EA-18G “Growler” fighter jets and roughly double the number of Growler flight operations out of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. The only thing standing in its way is completion of the Environmental Impact Statement process as per the National Environmental Protection Act.

In the Federal EIS process, there are two EIS paths. In the first, a non-federal entity seeking a permit works with a permitting agency (e.g. Army Corps of Engineers), who gathers public input and makes a final decision. In the second approach, the Navy manages the process for itself.

The EIS is prepared by the Navy, for the Navy and is approved by the Navy. The only way to hold the Navy accountable to relevant laws is through citizen participation and, as a last resort, litigation.

The Navy has produced a Draft EIS. Now the onus is on us to point out if and how the DEIS fails to comply with the law. The over-1,400 page DEIS is intimidating, and the Navy appears to act like a royalty. But in reality, the Emperor may have no clothes.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Navy Jet noise plague Washington residents

By Dahr Jamail
Feb. 6, 2017

Imagine living in a place where the loudest jets ever built regularly flew so close, your entire house vibrated, dishes rattled and fell off shelves, and the noise was so loud you became physically ill.

Your sleep was impacted, you couldn’t work, and literally every single aspect of your life was affected negatively.

“The noise has impacted my life in every conceivable way,” Cate Andrews told Truthout.

She lives in the Puget Sound region of Washington State, near Naval Air Station Whidbey on Whidbey Island. Along with thousands of others there and other islands and locations throughout the Sound, Andrews is afflicted by health-endangering levels of noise from Naval EA-18G “Growler” warplanes, the single loudest aircraft ever built.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Air Force declares F-35A ready for combat

By Valerie Insinna
August 2, 2016

The US Air Force on Tuesday declared its first squadron of F-35As ready for battle, 15 years after Lockheed Martin won the contract to make the plane.

The milestone means that the service can now send its first operational F-35 formation — the 34th Fighter Squadron located at Hill Air Force Base, Utah — into combat operations anywhere in the world. The service, which plans to buy 1,763 F-35As, is the single-largest customer of the joint strike fighter program, which also includes the US Marine Corps, US Navy and a host of governments worldwide.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 may become nuke capable sooner than expected

By Kyle Mizokami
Jan 21, 2017

The F-35A, the Air Force’s version of the Joint Strike Fighter, could be certified to carry America’s newest tactical nuclear weapon sooner earlier than planned if America’s security situation deteriorated. The F-35 is scheduled to be certified to carry the B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb in the early 2020s, but those plans could be accelerated, reports Defensetech.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Federal Contract Opportunity: F-35 Alter Maintenance Hangar Power and Install Equipment All Spots

Jan 25, 2017

The USPFO for Vermont, Purchasing and Contracting Office, may issue a solicitation and award a contract to alter Building 150 Maintenance Hangar subject to the availability of funds. Scope of the project includes the modification of an existing 49,700 SF USAF fighter hangar maintenance facility utilizing conventional design and construction methods to accommodate a new facility mission. Work includes architectural, fire protection, plumbing, mechanical, electrical, telecommunications and structural upgrades to the entire building.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 to visit Australia

By Andrew Greene
Feb. 7, 2017

Royal Australian Air Force pilots will soon fly two Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircrafts to Australia as the controversial F-35 program continues to face scrutiny for technical problems and cost blowouts.

[FULL ARTICLE]

The F-35: We need the numbers, and now

By Gen. Larry O. Spencer
Jan. 16, 2017

As the only U.S. fifth-generation stealth aircraft in production, the F-35 program’s importance is unparalleled by anything else in the defense industry, says retired Gen. Larry Spencer, president of the Air Force Association.

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

The F-35 & Air Force One Reviews

By Valerie Insinna
Feb. 13, 2017

5 Things Every Airman should know about:

1: Looking to cut costs. Defense secretary Jim Mattis has called for reviews of the F-35 and Air Force One replacement programs, hoping to find ways to drive down costs.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Bogdan F35 report 2/17/17 to Armed Services

By LT GENERAL CHRISTOPHER C. BOGDAN
February 17, 2017

The F-35 Program is a much different and improved program than it was 5 years ago.
The F-35 weapon system is now operational and forward deployed. The size of the fleet
continues to grow and we are rapidly expanding its capability…

[FULL ARTICLE]

FAA changes story about F-35 maps

By Burlington Free Press
February 4, 2017

The FAA could have included F-35 sound information, but chose not to due to a pending lawsuit which community members hoped would halt or at least delay the basing of the new jets

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 program capital would be better spent on infrastructure

By William H. Sample
December 21, 2016

There is an increasing concern about the F-35 fighter plane (identified by the Department of Defense as “fifth generation”) and its role in military readiness. Having served for three years during the Korean War, I came to appreciate and understand the armed forces’ importance in American life.

Although I did not remain in the service, I have followed military activities which have been conducted over the years (at the direction, sometimes ill-advised, of their civilian leadership) with competence, loyalty, enthusiasm and pride.

As the 21st century started, I became alarmed about the F-35. I recalled Gen. Dwight Eisenhower’s admonition for us to be wary of the excesses of the military/industrial complex. It would be clear to him, I think, that the F-35 project is the military/industrial complex run amok.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Vermont doesn’t need F-35: A Letter to Editor of Burlington Free Press

By Sophie Quest

December 21, 2016

I believe that it’s time to take another careful look at the F-35 warplane (officially called a “weapons system”). Over the 50 year life span of the F-35, America’s newest warplane, we will spend $1.4 trillion on production and maintenance of this one weapons system. That is enough to feed all the world’s hungry ($30 billion per year) and provide everyone on earth with safe drinking water ($11 billion per year).

Even short of provoking war, its production and deployment misdirects vast amounts of precious metals and fossil fuels. This stealth airplane is specifically designed for offensive use. It can carry the B61-12 nuclear weapon deep into foreign territory undetected, making its first-strike use more likely.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Why Didn’t You Ask? A Letter to Editor Seven Days

By Eileen Andreoli
November 2, 2016

It’s patently absurd that reporter Paul Heintz’s second major reflection on Sen. Patrick Leahy’s career in three years does not once mention the extremely controversial F-35 debate in Vermont [“Forty-Two Years a Senator,” October 12].
The F-35 issue has been one of the most divisive of Leahy’s campaign and has tarnished his image for thousands of Vermont residents. Heintz’s piece doesn’t ask any hard questions about Leahy’s decision to trade off the projected damage to the homes, health and safety of thousands of Vermonters for his untenable desire for the basing of the dysfunctional and dangerous F-35s in our residential neighborhoods.
Who is to blame for this glaring omission of concern to many Vermonters? Was it Leahy’s arrogance in refusing to talk about the F-35s or a lack of reporting skills on Heintz’s part?

[Full Article]

S. Burlington leader wants F-35 noise maps before 2019

By Nicole Higgins DeSmet
December 7, 2016

City Manager Kevin Dorn wants better information on how F-35 jet noise will affect neighborhoods surrounding the airport.

“One of the areas of the greatest anxiety and uncertainty in South Burlington escalates with the F-35s arrival,” Dorn said Monday during a meeting at Burlington International Airport. “People are trying to understand where they are going to be in the new line in 2019 and beyond.”

The F-16 Fighting Falcon jets based at the airport are scheduled to be replaced in 2019 by F-35 jets, which are being test-flown elsewhere. The airport’s most recent sound map from 2015 only takes into account current airport noise. Approximately 900 people are living within the current sound mitigation zone designated by the airport.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Fighter jet accidentally drops training bombs on northern Michigan

November 2, 2016

Officials say a mechanical failure is believed to have caused the release of six training bombs and a training missile from a military plane over Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula.

No one was injured due to the release, which WWTV and WPBN report happened Oct. 25 over Oscoda County.

The training weapons were on a plane heading to Camp Grayling from Selfridge Air National Guard Base in suburban Detroit when they fell off. The Michigan National Guard says the bombs and missile were found in a remote wooded area near Luzerne.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Marine Corps F-35 Caught Fire During Training Flight

By Hope Hodge Seck
November 7, 2016

The Marine Corps is investigating after an F-35B Joint Strike Fighter based out of Beaufort, South Carolina, recently caught fire in mid-air, Military.com has learned.

The incident happened Oct. 27 at Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501, a fleet replacement squadron for the Marine Corps consisting of 20 F-35B aircraft. One of the aircraft experienced a fire in the weapons bay while conducting a training mission over Beaufort, 1st Lt. John Roberts, a spokesman for 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, told Military.com.

“The aircraft landed safely and there were no injuries sustained,” he said. “An investigation is ongoing and we will provide updates as they are available.”

No estimate of damage caused by the fire was available. The incident was listed by the Naval Safety Center as a Class A mishap, meaning damage totalled $2 million or more on the $100 million aircraft.

[FULL ARTICLE]

What Keeps the F-35 Alive

By David Swanson
November 2, 2016

Imagine if a local business in your town invented a brand new tool that was intended to have an almost magical effect thousands of miles away. However, where the tool was kept and used locally became an area unsafe for children. Children who got near this tool tended to have increased blood pressure and increased stress hormones, lower reading skills, poorer memories, impaired auditory and speech perception, and impaired academic performance.

Most of us would find this situation at least a little concerning, unless the new invention was designed to murder lots of people. Then it’d be just fine.

Now, imagine if this same new tool ruined neighborhoods because people couldn’t safely live near it. Imagine if the government had to compensate people but kick them out of living near the location of this tool. Again, I think, we might find that troubling if mass murder were not the mission.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Sheriff: Pilot should face discipline for crash notification delay

By Morgan True
September 30, 2016

The sheriff who mounted a large-scale emergency response to a plane crash on a Lake Champlain island said the air national guardsmen who did not immediately notify authorities should face consequences.

The accident occurred Sept. 19 around noon on Savage Island, according to Grand Isle Sheriff Ray Allen. However, the crash of the airman’s personal plane wasn’t reported to authorities until six hours later when another pilot, flying over the privately owned island, saw the crashed single-prop Piper PA-11, and radioed the flight tower at Burlington International Airport, Allen said.

Air traffic controllers called Vermont State Police, who called in Allen. Believing he was dealing with an active crash scene, Allen dispatched two boats and called on Milton’s volunteer fire department to join the marine response.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Vermont National Guard Crashes Plane

By Sasha Goldstein
November 16, 2016

The small-plane crash on Savage Island involving two Vermont National Guard airmen in September happened as the pilot practiced an emergency landing, according to a report from the National Transportation Safety Board.

He idled the plane at an altitude of 450 feet to “simulate an engine failure,” but then experienced aerodynamic stall about 15 to 20 feet above the ground before hitting the private island “nose low and left wing down,” the NTSB’s “factual report” recounts. The pilot reported “that he misjudged the wind speed and did not realize he was completing the simulated training maneuver with a tailwind.”

The pilot and a passenger in the back seat were uninjured. The report indicates neither occupant was administered a toxicology test. The Piper PA-11 plane, built in 1947, had substantial damage.

[FULL ARTICLE]

The U.S. Military Will Bring F-35s Into Service Without Finishing Them

By Dan Grazier
November 18, 2016

When F-35 Joint Strike Fighter pilots take to the air in coming years, not only will their plane not be suitable for combat, it won’t even be fully developed.

Indeed, performance in multiple essential mission areas will be “unacceptable,” according to the Pentagon’s top weapon testing official.

In a memo obtained by the Project On Government Oversight, Michael Gilmore, Director, Operational Test and Evaluation, warns that the Joint Strike Fighter Program Office has decided to cut short the F-35’s development phase in order to pretend that schedule and cost goals are being met.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pentagon Memo: F-35 Capabilities in Jeopardy

By Dan Grazier
November 16, 2016

When F-35 Joint Strike Fighter pilots take to the air in coming years, not only will their plane not be suitable for combat, it won’t even be fully developed. Indeed, performance in multiple essential mission areas will be “unacceptable,” according to the Pentagon’s top weapon testing official.

In a memo obtained by the Project On Government Oversight, Dr. Michael Gilmore, Director, Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E), warns that the Joint Strike Fighter Program Office (JPO) has decided to cut short the F-35’s development phase in order to pretend that schedule and cost goals are being met.

Truncating Development Breeds Further Cost Overruns

Contractors, the JPO, and Pentagon acquisition officials have failed for years to deliver on their grandiose promises of program success.  Now the program appears to be out of money, with lots of development testing and re-engineering left to be done. Instead of admitting to these failures, F-35 program officials are kicking the development can into the future by arbitrarily cutting short this process now with the intention of eating into funds set aside for operational testing and production later.

Taking incompletely developed F-35s into combat will, Dr. Gilmore says, place pilots at “significant risk.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Fearing Noise Impacts, Residents demand better representation

By Monty Mericle
November 26, 2016

It was made clear again Nov. 16 to the 150 residents attending the Boise Airport Master Planning meeting that the Boise Airport and Boise City officials have no intention of addressing the noise impacts of the expanding airport operations. The recently completed FAA sponsored Noise Study projects the “Not Suitable for Residential Use” zone on private property surrounding the airport will expand from the current 105 homes to 419 homes if F-15 aircraft replace the current A-10 aircraft, and over 1,100 homes if the city is successful in attracting F-35 aircraft to Gowen Field.

Navy pollutes water system

DECEMBER 14, 2016

Navy Contaminates Coupeville Wells from Navy OLF Training Site

Residents Warned Against Drinking, Preparing Food with Their Water

The Navy has delivered bottled water and warnings to the first of what may be many homes with contaminated drinking water that are located in the area of the Navy’s Outlying Field (OLF) near Coupeville.

At least two property owners, some of the first who took the Navy up on its offer to have their water wells tested, were notified by phone that their water contained toxic chemicals above EPA Health Advisory Levels.

The Navy’s testing of private and public water wells followed the October 11 discovery of toxic chemicals in an OLF drinking water well that signaled contamination of the underlying aquifer. The fear that perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) found beneath the OLF had spread beyond Navy property prompted a November 7 letter to more than 100 private and public drinking water well owners in a one mile radius.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pentagon buries evidence of $125 Billion in Bureaucratic waste

By Craig Whitlock and Bob Woodward
December 5, 2016

The Pentagon has buried an internal study that exposed $125 billion in administrative waste in its business operations amid fears Congress would use the findings as an excuse to slash the defense budget, according to interviews and confidential memos obtained by The Washington Post.

Pentagon leaders had requested the study to help make their enormous back-office bureaucracy more efficient and reinvest any savings in combat power. But after the project documented far more wasteful spending than expected, senior defense officials moved swiftly to kill it by discrediting and suppressing the results.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Trump want to fire the F-35

By Phillip Swarts
October 29, 2015

Donald Trump wants to tell the F-35 that it’s fired.

The businessman and Republican presidential candidate questioned the wisdom of purchasing the joint strike fighter during an appearance on a conservative radio talk show Oct. 22.

“When they say that this cannot perform as well as the planes we already have, what are [we] doing, and spending so much more money?” Trump said during an appearance on the Hugh Hewitt radio show.

The host asked Trump his thoughts on the fifth generation fighter and the fact that it’s $160 billion over budget. Trump responded that he didn’t like what he had been hearing in security briefings.

“I do hear that it’s not very good,” he said. “I’m hearing that our existing planes are better. And one of the pilots came out of the plane, one of the test pilots, and said this isn’t as good as what we already have.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

AF releases F-35 candidate bases

December 7, 2016

Air Force officials announced five installations as candidate bases for the next two Air National Guard F-35A locations.

The candidate bases include: Dannelly Field Air Guard Station, Montgomery, Alabama; Gowen Field AGS, Boise, Idaho; Jacksonville AGS Florida, Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Detroit, and Truax AGS, Madison, Wisconsin.

“The Air Force is committed to a deliberate and open process to address F-35 basing,” said Jennifer A. Miller, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations. “As we progress through the basing process, we will share information so interested communities are aware of what to expect.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Boise on the short list for F-35

By Sven Berg
December 7, 2016

Boise’s Gowen Field is one of five locations the U.S. Air Force is considering as a base for about 18 F-35 fighter jets, the Idaho National Guard announced Wednesday.

If Gowen is selected, the F-35s would replace 21 A-10 warplanes now based here. A lot work has to be done before such a decision could be made, including an Environmental Impact Study and a facility validation inspection, according to the Idaho Guard.

 The new fleet likely wouldn’t arrive in Boise until 2021 or 2022.

The Air Force and Guard will face intense public dissent if they decide to base F-35s here. Hundreds of people who live near the Boise Airport — which allows the Guard to use its runways — say the F-35 and F-15, another loud Air Force Fighter jet that’s been discussed as a replacement for Boise’s A-10s, are too noisy to be taking off and landing in Idaho’s most densely populated area.

Airport officials and City Hall have spent the last year responding to angry residents who think the city and Federal Aviation Administration are manipulating information about the F-35 and F-15 to downplay the noise those aircraft produce with the goal of convincing the public to go along with basing a wing of those jets here.

Boise blogger David Frazier, one of hundreds of outspoken opponents of basing F-35s in Boise, challenged decision makers Wednesday to bring the aircraft to Boise and follow standard takeoff and landing procedures, demonstrating exactly how loud next-generation fighter is.

Trump targets F-35 program

By Damian Paletta and Doug Cameron
December 12, 2016

Donald Trump took aim at the Pentagon’s costliest program on Monday, saying on Twitter the “program and cost” of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter “is out of control.”

This is the second defense program in recent days the president-elect has unloaded on for cost issues. Last week, Mr. Trump claimed the government’s second-largest defense contractor, Boeing Co., had run up costs in the development of new Air Force One aircraft.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Trump Tweet Targets F-35 Overruns

By Kyle Midura

December 12, 2016

The battle over bringing the F-35 fighter jet to Burlington took a turn Monday with a tweet by President-elect Donald Trump.

Just before a pair of F-35s touched down in Israel, a tweet from President-elect Donald Trump sent the manufacturer’s stock into a free-fall. “The F-35 program and cost is out of control,” he wrote, “Billions of dollars can and will be saved on military (and other) purchases after January 20th.”

The F-35 accounted for 20-percent of Lockheed Martin’s total revenue last year. Morning trading saw shares in the company fall by more than 4-percent.

Some estimates place the cost of designing and building the planes at $400 billion — currently costing more than $100 million per plane.

Eighteen of the planes are set to land in Vermont in 2019. Vermont Air National Guard officials say they won’t speculate on the meaning of Trump’s tweet or what it means for the jets’ future here. They passed our request for comment to the Department of Defense.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 Sound Test Now Makes Sense

December 13, 2016

South Burlington should pursue options for a study that would show how noise from soon-to-be-deployed F-35 fighters could impact neighborhoods surrounding Burlington International Airport.

The sound contours are likely to change with the scheduled arrival of the new Air National Guard jets in 2019. The next-generation fighters are louder, but are expected to project their noise in a different pattern, than the F-16s currently based at the airport.

Everyone knows the F-35s are coming and when. Why should people and businesses have to wait two years until the jets arrive to find out exactly what living or working near the airport might mean?

[FULL ARTICLE]

Five Guard Bases in the Running to House F-35As

By Stephen Losey
December 7, 2016

The Air Force has whittled its list of potential Air National Guard bases that could host F-35A operations from 18 down to five.

In a Wednesday release, the Air Force said the remaining candidate bases are Dannelly Field Air Guard Station in Montgomery, Alabama; Gowen Field Air Guard Station in Boise, Idaho; Jacksonville Air Guard Station in Florida; Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Detroit; and Truax Air Guard Station in Madison, Wisconsin. Of those, two will be chosen sometime next year.

They will become the second and third Guard bases to host F-35As. The Air Force has already decided to base 18 F-35As at Burlington Air Guard Station in Vermont, home of the 158th Fighter Wing. On the active duty side, F-35As will also be based at Hill Air Force Base in Utah, Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska, and RAF Lakenheath in England.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 unit cost

By Winslow Wheeler
December 22, 2016

On Dec. 12, 2016, president-elect Donald Trump asserted that F-35 unit cost was “out of control” through his preferred medium Twitter. On Dec. 19, 2016, U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, in charge of the Joint Strike Fighter project, gave the press his version of things.

Multiple media outlets passed along the officer’s comments, but with no analysis of the completeness and accuracy of Bogdan’s assertions. The reports offered no context or alternative views on the stealth fighter’s actual cost per plane.

The general said each one of the Air Force’s F-35A would cost $102.1 million, while both the U.S. Marine Corps’ F-35Bs and and U.S. Navy’s F-35Cs would set the taxpayer back 132 million each. Those costs average to approximately $122 million for a “generic” F-35.

Bogdan got these numbers from the funds Congress set aside in the 2015 defense budget for what the Pentagon called “Lot 9,” just one of a number of planned F-35 purchases. In November 2016, the U.S. military was still negotiating the final deal with plane-maker Lockheed Martin.

Needless to say, the unit costs Bogdan gave the media were incomplete.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lockheed CEO discusses F-35 with Trump

By Tony Bertuca
December 22, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump met with Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson on Wednesday in Palm Beach, FL, to discuss the F-35 program, according to the presidential transition team. “They discussed the status of the F-35 program and establishing a quicker finalization of the contracting process and how we can continue to tighten up expenses on behalf of the taxpayer,” Jason Miller, a Trump spokesman, told reporters on a Thursday call.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lockheed F-35 in doubt after Trump’s tweet

Dec. 22, 2016

Donald Trump has again criticized the cost of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter jet and tweeted that he has asked Boeing to offer a price for an older aircraft that lacks the same stealth capabilities.

Trump posted his message on Thursday, a day after the president-elect met the chief executives of both aerospace companies. In after-hours trading following the tweet, Lockheed shares fell 2{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} and Boeing’s rose 0.7{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}.

 

Based on the tremendous cost and cost overruns of the Lockheed Martin F-35, I have asked Boeing to price-out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 22, 2016

[FULL ARTICLE]

Save the Guard — The Big Lie

September 12, 2016

This commentary is by Richard Joseph, who is an artist, a member of the Stop the F-35 Coalition and a plaintiff in the F-35 lawsuit against the Air Force.

In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act. — Anonymous

The truth revolution faces fierce opposition in Burlington. In fact, during the past four or five years, Burlington has been subjected to a concerted disinformation campaign touting the supposed benefits of basing the troubled F-35 Joint Strike Fighter at Burlington’s commercial airport. Lies have been told and repeated by F-35 basing proponents attempting to build public support. Now, in government documents released in conjunction with an ongoing lawsuit against the Air Force, some of the deceit has finally been exposed.

We were told Burlington is the best location for the F-35.

• But the truth revealed in government documents is that Burlington is the worst location from both an environmental and an operational perspective among the sites that were considered.

Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy said he’d “never put his finger on the scale” to convince the Air Force to select Burlington for the F-35 basing.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Vermont’s Golden Calf

The following is a letter to the editor of VTDigger.com from Roseanne Greco

August 31, 2016

As a child I believed most of the Bible stories I was taught. But there was one story I found hard to believe … until recently, that is. The story was of people (the Israelites) building a statue of a golden calf from their riches (their melted jewelry), which they then worshiped as a god and to which they sacrificed. The Israelites believed this idol would save them from their enemies. They revered those who created and paraded their idol, and criticized those who dared to doubt the idol or its high priests. How could individuals be so enamored of an inanimate object? It was difficult for me to believe that rational people actually believed something built by human beings was a god.

However, over the past few years, I’ve seen Vermonters come to worship an object made by human beings. Devotees adorn their vehicles with images of their idol and post phrases claiming that their idol will save Vermont. They contribute their riches to create their golden calf, to promote its presence, and to proselytize its message. And, they are willing to sacrifice to their god.

[FULL LETTER]

F-35 racks up weapons tests

By Colin Clark
August 22, 2016

The F-35 program completed 25 weapons tests in a month, a marked surge from the previous high of three in November 2014.

The weapons tests used the aircraft’s latest software, the 3F version.

During the tests, some 30 weapons were dropped or fired, including the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM), AIM-120 Missile, the Small Diameter Bomb (SDB), AIM-9X missile, the F-35’s Joint Program Office said in a statement.

The program performed 12 Weapons Delivery Accuracy and 13 Weapon Separation Tests. Five tests included dropping multiple weapons. The tests were performed at the Sea Test Range near Point Mugu Naval Air Station, Calif., the China Lake Weapons Range, and White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

“This was a tremendous effort by the F-35 test team,” Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, head of the F-35’s Joint Program Office, said in a statement. “They surged and worked seven days a week for more than a month to expend 30 ordnance and advance weapons testing. This testing has moved us that much closer to delivering the full F-35 capability to warfighters within the next two years.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 still falls short

By Anthony Capaccio
August 24, 2016

A week after the Air Force declared its version of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 jet ready for limited combat operations, the Pentagon’s top tester warned that the U.S. military’s costliest weapons program is still riddled with deficiencies.

“In fact the program is actually not on a path toward success but instead on a path toward failing to deliver” the aircraft’s full capabilities, “for which the Department is paying almost $400 billion by the scheduled end” of its development in 2018, Michael Gilmore, the Defense Department’s director of operational testing, said in an Aug. 9 memo obtained by Bloomberg News.

“Achieving full combat capability with the Joint Strike Fighter is at substantial risk” of not occurring before development is supposed to end and realistic combat testing begins, he said of the F-35.

[FULL ARTICLE]

The F-35 may never be ready for combat

By Dan Grazier & Mandy Smithberger
September 9, 2016

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is the most expensive procurement program in Pentagon history. It’s been plagued by schedule delays, gross cost overruns, and a slew of underwhelming performance reviews. Last month the Air Force declared its variant “ready for combat,” and most press reports lauded this as a signal that the program had turned a corner. But a memo issued from the Pentagon’s top testing official, based largely upon the Air Force’s own test data, showed that the Air Force’s declaration was wildly premature.

Dr. Michael Gilmore’s latest memorandum is damning. The F-35 program has derailed to the point where it “is actually not on a path toward success, but instead on a path toward failing to deliver the full Block 3F capabilities for which the Department is paying almost $400 billion.” The 16-page memo, first reported by Tony Capaccio at Bloomberg and then by others, details just how troubled this program is: years behind schedule and failing to deliver even the most basic capabilities taxpayers, and the men and women who will entrust their lives to it, have been told to expect.

[FULL ARTICLE]

When Pork Flies

By Angelo Young
September 14, 2016

The F-35, the Pentagon’s $1.1 trillion flying money pit, is (sort of) ready for duty
The lemon has liftoff! After 20 years, the most expensive weapon in history is being put into service

Twenty years since the Pentagon began taking bids from defense contractors, the F-35 fighter jet — the most expensive weapon ever made — is finally ready to see active duty over the Pacific Ocean. The U.S. Marine Corps expects to deploy 16 of the stealthy high-tech warplanes early next year at Iwakuni Air Station in Japan. From there, U.S. pilots will begin testing the jets in regular noncombat operations from the Navy’s USS Wasp amphibious assault vessel in what one commanding general has described as the “school of hard knocks.”

It’s a curious choice of words considering the checkered history of the much-maligned and madly over-budget F-35, which has basically been taking knocks since it was first conceived.

Years of delays, management shakeups, engine and software problems — and most important — cost overruns have made this Lockheed Martin jet initiative a punching bag and pork barrel project.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Air Force Grounds F-35s

By Ryan Browne
September 17, 2016

The US Air Force said Friday it has grounded 10 of its F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, just over a month after they were declared “combat ready.”

The decision affecting the most expensive weapons system ever was made “due to the discovery of peeling and crumbling insulation in avionics cooling lines inside the fuel tanks,” the Air Force said in a statement, describing the action as a temporary pause in flight operations.”
The faulty cooling lines affected a total of 57 aircraft, the statement said. Only 15 of those planes had been fielded with the remainder still on the production line and will be fixed there.
The plane’s manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, has delivered 108 F-35As. The Air Force plans to buy 1,763 of the jets.

Air Force halts production of 60 F-35s

September 16, 2016

The United States Air Force has halted production of nearly 60 of its F-35 fighter jets.

It comes after the discovery of peeling and crumbling insulation in cooling lines inside some of the planes’ fuel tanks. Most of the jets affected were still being built, only 15 had been completed, with 10 being called “combat ready.” Manufacturer Lockheed Martin says they are working to quickly return jets to flying status.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Achieving full combat capability for F-35 at risk

September 12, 2016

Barely a week after the US Air Force declared Aug. 3 that its F-35A fighter was ready for combat, the Pentagon’s top weapons tester warned the aircraft is “not effective and not suitable across the required mission areas and against currently fielded threats.”

In an Aug. 9 memo, the Pentagon’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E), J. Michael Gilmore, detailed the aircraft’s faults, recounted the program’s lack of progress, and warned it is fast running out of money, which will compromise attempts to fix it in time for the Operational Test & Evaluation, presently scheduled to begin sometime in 2018.

The memo, first disclosed on Aug. 24 by Bloomberg News, was addressed to Frank Kendall, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition; Deborah Lee James, the Air Force Secretary, and General David Goldfein, the Air Force chief of staff.

The US Air Force and the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) shrugged off this latest warning as they have previous ones, by claiming the report mentions deficiencies that are, or are being, fixed.

[FULL ARTICLE]

VT National Guard pilot crashed plane and left the scene

By Sasha Goldstein
September 22, 2016

An off-duty Vermont National Guard airman crashed a small private plane on a Lake Champlain island around noon Monday and left the scene with his passenger — another airman — apparently without calling police.

Local authorities found out about the badly damaged Piper PA-11 on Savage Island only after the pilot of another small plane noticed the wreckage six hours later while flying over the 207-acre island, according to Grand Isle County Sheriff Ray Allen.

That pilot radioed the tower at Burlington International Airport to report it. The tower staff contacted Vermont State Police, who in turn patched in Allen around 6 p.m.

Allen mobilized a massive response to what he thought was an active crash scene.

“There are lots of fire chiefs upset, myself included, along with other agencies, that this was an incident six hours old with no injuries — and nobody there,” Allen told Seven Days.

[FULL ARTICLE]

VT Air Guard pilot crashes plane

By Staci DaSilva

September 23, 2016

Grand Isle County Sheriff Ray Allen says he is waiting for a Federal Aviation Administration investigation to dictate whether federal investigators want the state of Vermont to press charges against two off-duty Air National Guardsmen.

Sheriff Allen says 30 people, or more, were dispatched to Savage Island in Grand Isle County Monday after reports of a plane crash.

Allen says the response effort involved multiple marine vessels, volunteer firefighters and a U.S. Customs & Border Protection helicopter. The island is not accessible by any roadway.

“The volunteers, they’re taking time away from their families, they’re volunteering their time to do out,” said Sheriff Allen.

When they got there, they found a destroyed Piper PA-11. Nobody was with the plane.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35A caught fire prior to takeoff

September 23, 2016

An F-35A Joint Strike Fighter preparing for a training mission at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, caught fire just before takeoff, according to the Air Force.

The Air Force F-35A Lightning II, assigned to the 56th Fighter Wing, experienced what the service said was a “ground emergency” at about 12:20 p.m. eastern Friday at the base, according to a statement.

Seven of the stealthy fifth
-generation fighters have been at Mountain Home since Sept. 10 to use the base’s range for surface-to-air training, the statement said.

The Air Force said the cause of fire is under investigation.

Last week, the Air Force ordered a temporary stand-down of 13 out of 104 F-35s in the fleet “due to the discovery of peeling and crumbling insulation in avionics cooling lines inside the fuel tanks,” according to a statement at the time.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 engine catches fire

By Associated Press

September 23, 2016

Authorities say an F-35A fighter jet from Arizona caught fire during an engine start at an Air Force Base in Idaho.

Officials at Luke Air Force Base in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale say a “ground emergency” occurred about 9:30 a.m. Friday as the aircraft was preparing for a training mission at Mountain Home Air Force Base.

They say the fire was quickly extinguished and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

[FULL ARTICLE]

The F35 fight is far from over

f35-protest-2016

Here we go …. Asking you for money … yet again.  I honestly thought that our fund raising effort in August 2015 would have been the last time we would have to ask for money.  At that time, Jim Dumont, our lawyer, had given us his best estimate on what the costs would be for our lawsuit until the end of the process. You were generous and we raised enough to cover all of those estimated costs. In fact, until now, we have always been able to pay all of our bills, including our legal costs.

But in May, the South Burlington city council started discussing joining the lawsuit.  This resulted in more work for Jim and more legal costs to us.  Then the federal judge assigned to our case asked to hear oral testimony from our lawyer and the Air Force lawyer regarding our challenge to the Environmental Impact Statement.  That occurred on July 5th.  On August 10th, the judge issued his ruling against us.  Within days, we decided to appeal this ruling.  However, once we pay what we currently owe Jim, we will have no further legal fees.  Here’s why.

Jim VOLUNTEERED TO DO THIS APPEAL FOR FREE!  All he asked of us is to pay the minor costs associated with making copies of the legal documents.  Jim is enlisting the help of other lawyers (also pro bono ) to help in the legal appeal.

But, currently, we still owe Jim around $12,000.  Jim has consistently billed us at the lower non-profit rate; but he has expenses and bills and staff to pay as well.  Fairness dictates that we pay Jim for the legal work he has done on our behalf.

Some of you have donated frequently.  We are especially grateful for your generosity.  Now, I am hoping that those who have never donated money to help us stop the F-35, will donate now; and that those who have donated only once or twice in the past will now donate again.

Large donations would be ideal.  But if your financial circumstances don’t allow for that, then anything you can afford will help.  Well over a thousand people have expressed opposition to the F-35 basing.  Were everyone to donate $20 we would be able to pay off all our bills, and have a cushion of money to sustain us for the next three years – until 2019 when the F-35 is scheduled to arrive.

So, we are asking for money ONE LAST TIME.  But the “last time” doesn’t mean the struggle is over.  Far from it!

We have both legal and political courses of action still available to us.  Both the courts and our senior politicians can stop the basing.  We are currently brainstorming political strategies.  More about those later.

I hate using militaristic terms like “fighting” “ battling” “battles” and “wars.” But since we ARE talking about the MILITARY basing a WEAPON SYSTEM in our midst, and the F-35 is literally a KILLING MACHINE; I think the terminology is appropriate.  I assure you that the fight is far from over.  The only way we will lose is if we stop fighting.  We have lost many battles, but we can win the war.

This is not just another “cause.”  Morality compels us to continue our efforts. The dangers and impacts to people are just too great.  We cannot accept the cognitive impairment that military jet noise might inflict on hundreds of mostly low income children.  We cannot accept the destruction of more neighborhoods.  We cannot accept the risk of a crash from an extremely toxic fighter-bomber onto a densely populated community.

Thank you for everything you do.  Your continued activism and financial support is vital to saving our citizens and cities.  This may be your last chance to contribute to stopping the impending injustice.  With the help of some money and the outspoken voices of many people, we will be able to stop the F-35.

Rosanne and the Stop the F-35 Coalition

Please make out checks to “Stop the F-35” and send to the Peace & Justice Center, 60 Lake St, Suite #1C, Burlington, VT  05401-4417.  Your check will go further (less processing fees!) or you can also donate online >>>.  Donations are tax deductible.

Tucson, AZ F-35 related information

f35noisedataedwards2013By Bob Logan
July 29 2016

In May, Consultant Lt. Gen. (Ret) Gene Santarelli traveled to Lockheed Martin Co. manufacturing
facility in Dallas to get an update on F-35 noise and safety data.

F-35 Noise data in Comparison to F-16 C/D From Edwards AFB tests Sept., 2013

[FULL ARTICLE – Pages 14-17]

F-35s in Vermont the Elephant in the room by Eileen Andreoli

By  Eileen Andreoli

July 25, 2016

Did you see it? The State of Vermont’s official website now displays the banner, “Welcome to Vermont – Future Home of the F-35 Stealth Bomber/Fighter Jet!!!”

Yes, Gov. Peter Shumlin, Sen. Patrick Leahy, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Peter Welch and all the way down to Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger — all these progressive, pro-environmental, green-loving politicians — have heartily endorsed the virtues of the F-35 basing at the Burlington Airport. They are proud of the basing decision and can’t wait to announce it in their marketing campaigns. All new state promotional and marketing material will carry the new slogan.

The F-35 basing will be the first-ever basing of a newly operational warplane in the midst of our state’s most densely populated residential community. The crash risk from any new warplane in military history is the highest in the first few years of flights. The F-35s will arrive in Vermont in 2019 as immature planes. Despite the dangers and risks to Vermont’s residential populations, these politicians have declared it “an honor” to be chosen.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lockheed says F-35 Aces Exercises

By Andrea Shalal

July 15, 2016

After 15 years of cost overruns and technical delays, the Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) F-35 fighter jet is now knocking out “enemy” forces in combat exercises and surviving attacks in a way that even U.S. military officials say they did not expect.

The new stealthy warplane wowed crowds at two UK air shows over the past week, showing off its capabilities in what U.S. officials say is part of a larger drive to boost NATO’s defenses and counter growing threats around the world.

[FULL ARTICLE]

First Operational F-35A Squadron finishes to-do list

By Valerie Insinna

August 8, 2016

The Air Force’s first F-35 squadron has completed all preparations necessary to declare the joint strike fighter combat capable, and sources say an initial operating capability declaration is due within days.

Twelve jets have received the modifications necessary for IOC, 21 combat- mission-ready pilots are available, and the maintenance infrastructure is ready to support Hill Air Force Base’s 34th Fighter Squadron, said some of those operators on July 27. With paperwork filed, all that’s left is for Air Combat Command head Gen. Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle to sign off.

“We have achieved all our milestones,” said Lt. Col. Steven Anderson, deputy commander of the 388th Maintenance Group. Anderson, along with several other maintainers and pilots from Hill Air Force Base, spoke to reporters over a conference call. “Wehave submitted all of the data to ACC for General Carlisle’s consideration on making that declaration.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 now ready to fight ISIS if called upon

By Phillip Swarts

July 25, 2016

The Air Force’s newest multi-role fighter, the F-35 Lightning II, could deploy to Iraq and Syria very soon if called upon, and before too long will be sent around the world, said Gen. Hawk Carlisle, the head of Air Combat Command.

“The minute I declare initial operational capability, if the combatant commander called me up and said we need F-35s I would send them,” Carlisle told reporters on Capitol Hill on July 13.

The much anticipated, much delayed, very advanced and very over-budget F-35 is set to finally reach IOC sometime in the last five months of the year, as the Air Force has been working to gear up training and maintenance capabilities for the new plane.

Reports indicated the plane might not reach operational capability until near the end of 2015 due to problems with its onboard software. But Carlisle said fixes have been made and the plane is almost ready to go.

“We’re not quite ready yet, but things are going very well in the program,” he said. “I see it at the front end of thatAugust to December window.”

At that point, the Air Force will officially offer the plane’s use to combatant commanders, including Central Command leader Army Gen. Joseph Votel.

“I would tell him what its capabilities were,” Carlisle said. “If he said I need that capability then I would deploy.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35s almost ready at Hill AFB

By Nate Carlisle
July 27, 2016

The United States’ newest fighter jet, and pilots and maintainers from Utah, are almost capable of deploying to a war zone, officers from Hill Air Force Base said Wednesday.

In a conference call with reporters, the commanders said the F-35 and the personnel performed well in recent mock deployments and training flights and have achieved milestones set by the Air Force.

“Every pilot here has dropped a weapon from the jet,” said Lt. Col. George Watkins, commander of the 34th Fighter Squadron commander. “Most of them inert. A couple of them live.”

The success doesn’t mean the F-35s are going into to combat anytime soon. The Air Force and observers have predicted the F-35 won’t actually be deployed until sometime between 2019 to 2022.

The first operational F-35s will be at Hill, but it still only has less than one squadron’s worth. The base is to eventually receive 72 of the jets — enough for three squadrons.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Construction Projects could hamper first overseas F-35 beddown

By Valerie Insinna

July 25, 2016

The first overseas Air Force base to get the F-35 joint strike fighter is making preparations for the jet’s arrival in the early 2020s, but its commander is worried that the service will not be able to build the new facilities needed to beddown the plane as quickly as anticipated.

Col. Robert Novotny, commander of the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath, told Defense News, a sister publication of Air Force Times, that he is eager to receive the first joint strike fighter jets, but first new facilities must be built and old ones refurbished in order to support the aircraft. The service announced earlier this year that the base — located in in Suffolk, England — had been chosen to receive 54 F-35s in 2020.

That timeline has already been pushed back to the 2021-2022 time frame, Novotny said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Hill AFB F-16s to the used for training

August 22, 2016

The Air Force will soon stand up interim F-16 training units to increase pilot output, the service announced Aug. 11.

“We need to increase our pilot production, and soon we will announce the stand up of new F-16 training units,” Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James told reporters at a State of the Air Force briefing with Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein. “We expect to select candidate locations for up to two new training locations by the end of December 2016.

“In the meantime we intend to augment up to two of our existing training units to jump-start pilot production by the end of September 2017,” she said Aug. 10.

Because the Air Force cannot permanently base formal training units, or FTUs, without first conducting an environmental impact analysis, cost benefit analysis, and other site surveys, an interim solution to increase fighter pilot training will temporarily move F-16 aircraft at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, to two of the existing F-16 training locations, the Air Force said in a release.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 targeting system can’t be used in the UK

By Gareth Corfield

August 1, 2016

US restrictions on the F-35 fighter jet’s targeting system will make it “almost impossible” for training to be carried out in the UK, the Ministry of Defence fears – but its press office insists the constraints are normal.

The F-35’s electro-optical targeting system (EOTS) includes a target designator laser and a laser rangefinder.

According to the Defence Ranges Safety Committee, the F-35 has only been cleared to use the designator laser “in the US under very tight controls”.

These include a ban on any optic devices being within 33km of the aircraft when the designator is switched on, and no observers being allowed within 9km of an F-35 operating its designator laser.

“If these restrictions stand, then training in the UK will be almost impossible,” an MoD civil servant wrote. The MoD’s F-35 project team are said to be “in discussion” with the US to have the restrictions “reviewed”.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Air Force expanding into communities

By Stephen Stuebner
Nov. 28, 1994

The Air Force’s decision Oct. 6 to back off on building a new bombing range in the Owyhee canyonlands is a victory – and therefore shocking.

Who would have thought that a coalition of local and national environmentalists, hunting groups and a few members of Congress could stop the military and Idaho’s forceful Gov. Cecil Andrus?

Members of this informal coalition enjoyed clinking glasses to their momentary success. “We toasted in hopes that we had driven the pointy end of the spear through this proposal,” said Bob Stevens, a Ketchum bighorn sheep hunter and former military pilot, who flew many opinion-makers over the remote canyon. “The problem has always been location, location, location.”

A look back at this long-debated project suggests that Andrus may indeed have doomed it by choosing the most environmentally sensitive area in Owyhee County, trying to pull an end-run on Congress and pledging Idaho’s support without asking the people first.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F35 JSF stealth fails again

June 21, 2016

The American company given a contract to provide the biggest weapons purchased in
Australia’s history has launched a public relations offensive. the controversial
F35 jet fighters have been played by big costs and big delays.

Open Meeting law violated regarding VTANG-called meeting

By Nicole Higgins DeSmet
June 30, 2016

Community members cried foul at being denied entrance to a publicly announced meeting last week.

Vaughn Altemus of Williston, who was not admitted to the Vermont National Guard meeting last Wednesday, wrote of his concerns to Free Press on Sunday following a story written by staff regarding South Burlington’s support of a sound and safety lawsuit against the U. S. Air Force.

“I continue to be unaware of any way I could have gained access to that meeting,” Altemus wrote.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 at Farnsborough

By Lars Schwetj

Lockheed Martin’s F-35B showcased both speed and maneuverability during a display at the Farnborough International Airshow, bolting across the skies before hovering above the crowd and doing a 360-degree rotation

[FULL ARTICLE]

MacKay laments not buying F-35s

By Stephanie Levitz
June 13th, 2016

Buying a fighter jet that’s different from the one used by Canada’s closest allies risks disconnecting the country from the global alliances it needs the most, a former Conservative defence minister said Monday.

Peter MacKay told a Senate committee that in his mind, there’s no question the Lockheed-Martin F-35 is the right plane for Canada — from defending the Far North to helping to confront the threat of terrorism around the world.

MacKay’s government tried to purchase that very plane but questions about its costs and capabilities forced a halt to the process — something MacKay said he regrets.

“I’m very much lamenting some of the to-ing and fro-ing that’s going on currently over the purchase of fighter aircraft,” he said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Noise information delayed

BY MORGAN TRUE
DEC. 10, 2015

City officials, the Vermont Air National Guard and the Burlington International Airport are making progress toward a joint noise mitigation commission that would include representatives from other affected communities.

Newly released noise exposure maps show more than 2,200 people fall into the area negatively impacted by excessive noise from the airport and the F-16 fighter jets now in use. The maps don’t account for louder F-35 fighter jets that are expected to be based at the airport in 2020.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Could network failure ground the F-35

By Lara Seligman
May 16, 2016

The F-35 joint program office and a top government watchdog are butting heads about a key question for the joint strike fighter: whether or not the fifth-generation plane can fly if disconnected from a key logistics system.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 bashing

March 21, 2016

In the budget proposal for fiscal 2017, the Air Force finally relented, and said it would keep the plane on board until 2022, though there are plans to retire large numbers of the aircraft in 2018 and 2019.

Welsh said he is in a difficult position, and being forced to argue for retiring the A-10 despite not wanting to do it. Yet the lack of funding and stress on airmen is forcing his hand, and the Air Force must shift resources over to newer fifth-generation planes, he told the committee.

McCain also criticized the budget proposal for the Air Force, saying that it places “an unnecessary and dangerous burden on the backs of our airmen.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Flyoff the A-10 versus the F-35

May 16, 2016

Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., is renewing her fight to keep the A-10 out of the boneyard. She wants to make retirement of the legacy attack plane contingent on a “flyoff” with the fifth-generation F-35.

McSally, a retired Air Force colonel with hundreds of hours flying the A-10 in Iraq and Afghanistan, spearheaded language in the House’s version of the fiscal 2017 defense policy bill that would tie the service’s A-10 retirement plan to a side-by-side comparisontest with the F-35.

“The official part of our proposal is to actually do a test, not just sit around drinking coffee saying: ‘This is what we think,’ ” McSally, R-Ariz., said in a recent interview.

“This is an important part of the official evaluation so that we can have a data-based, assessment-based discussion as to what to do next.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

One in three F-35 flights requires system reboot

By Lara Seligman
May 9, 2016

F-35 critics often point to the Pentagon’s decision to start building the fifth-generation fighter before design and testing is complete as the root of the program’s problems. Even now, as the Air Force prepares to declare its F-35A jets operational this year, so-called “concurrency” remains an obstacle.

These ongoing challenges were on full display at Edwards last week during a development test flight of an Air Force F-35A, when the jet’s team was on the ground troubleshooting for nearly two hours before the aircraft finally launched.

The problem, which revolves around a glitch in the next increment of F-35 software, is a recurring one that causes the plane’s systems to shut down and have to be rebooted – sometimes even mid-flight.

Officials say development test pilots here have trouble booting up their jets about once out of every three flights, but downplayed the problem, pointing out that the goal of test flights is indeed to test, find problems, and work to fix them.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pentagon delays F-35 testing due to software glitch

May 25, 2016

Despite the ongoing risks that the Lockheed Martin fighter jets will crash to the earth, the Pentagon plans to spend an additional $16 billion on another batch of F-35s.

On Tuesday, the Pentagon finally acknowledged that the beleaguered F-35 fighter jet will not be ready for its final test phase until 2018 at the earliest, the latest in a series of setbacks for the expensive next-generation aircraft.

The last major test period before full-rate production, the initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) examines whether an aircraft possesses the requisite combat specifics, and ensures that a jet can fly operational missions as intended.

Due to software problems in the F-35, Pentagon officials have postponed the test date for six months past the August 2017 target date, out of an abundance of concern that the jet will not be ready. This is the second major delay in flight-readiness testing, placing the fighter jet an entire year behind schedule.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Surprising similarities between EB-5 and F-35 programs by Eileen Andreoli

By Eileen Andreoli

May 8, 2016

With his recent reversal of his support of the EB-5 program, Sen. Patrick Leahy seemed to declare that he has realized the errors of his ways. His denouncement of the program is admission that the EB-5 project is corrupt and has harmed both the investors and everyday Vermonters.

Now is the time for Leahy to also acknowledge the same regarding his support of the F-35 basing in Vermont!

Similar to the political contributions that Leahy collected from the EB-5 investors, he has accepted thousands of dollars from Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer of the over-budget and poorly performing F-35 stealth bomber/fighter jet.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Burlington Free Press My Turn: F-35 decision followed Flint model

By James Marc Leas
June 16, 2016

The F-35 basing decision followed the Flint, Michigan, model – eyes closed to the foreseeable catastrophic consequences.

The Air Force Environmental Impact Study (EIS) says the F-35 is expected to have a crash rate like the F-22, which has a much higher crash rate than the F-16.

The number given in the EIS indicates that we can expect an F-35 crash in Burlington, on average, every 3 years.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Letter to South Burlington City Council regarding dangers of advanced composite materials

By Colonel Rosanne Greco, USAF (retired)
June 15, 2015

Dear Councilors,
Once again, I urge all of you to support joining the NEPA lawsuit, which is simply to get the Air Force to comply with federal law and provide the necessary information on the basing impacts of the F-35. Many people tried – unsuccessfully for years — to get the Air Force to provide this vital information. Legal action was the last recourse.

What we are seeking is not “nice-to-know” information. Literally, this could be life-saving data when we consider the very real possibility of an F-35 crash in our community. The noise of the F-35 will assuredly alter the lives of thousands of people in South Burlington, Burlington, Winooski, Williston and Colchester. But the consequences of an F-35 crash in any of these cities is unimaginable. As horrendous a thought as that may be, given the crash statistics for new military aircraft, the likelihood of that happening is quite real.

Last Monday, you heard from a gentlemen who told you there was no difference in crash consequences between the F-16 and the F-35…or commercial airliners…or even household items. He was wrong. Numerous scientific reports produced by the Air Force contradict his statements.
You may decide to trust him, and disregard the data produced by the Air Force which refutes his opinion. However, if you decide to go with one man’s opinion over the Air Force, then at least, do some research and verify what he said. The arms control admonition is appropriate here: “trust, but verify.”
Through Internet searches, we discovered three Air Force reports from experts in the field of composite materials. All three reports, despite the dates (1995, 2001, and 2015), come to the same conclusion on the dangers of advanced composites and advanced aerospace materials. Because many people are unlikely to actually read the reports, I’ve summarized them using direct quotes, with page references. I will gladly send this to you, if you wish.

And, keep in mind that the Air Force did not disclose these reports or their findings in the EIS or during the comment period! We found these reports on our own. Perhaps there is more information that we have not found.

This is the reason for legal action. The Air Force didn’t inform us of these impacts (and other impacts including noise mitigation measures). The Air Force did give us detailed information in the EIS about the F-35 impacts on migratory waterfowl, and what would happen if an F-35 flare ignited vegetation; but they never told us ANYTHING about what we could expect should an F-35 crash!

Military first responders on an Air Force Base in Guam were unprepared when an Air Force bomber with advanced aerospace composite materials (similar to the F-35) crashed in 2008. This mishap report (along with a link to a video of the crash) appears in the 2015 document. You may choose to believe that our first responders will be better prepared to handle the catastrophe associated with a F-35 crash than the military first responders. Perhaps you will be right. But, what if you are wrong?

Please make your decision based on the truth, the facts, and science; and not on speculation, personal opinions, or emotion. And please, don’t let politics guide your decision. Lives could be at risk. Think of the people. Thank you.

All three Air Force composite hazard reports are attached.

Letter to South Burlington City Council regarding NEPA lawsuit

By Colonel Rosanne Greco, USAF (retired)
June 11, 2016

Dear South Burlington City Councilors,

I would like to first express my gratitude to the council chair for being willing to address the serious issue of the safety and noise impacts of the F-35 basing in our city.

Secondly, I would like the council to know that I support South Burlington joining the NEPA lawsuit as a plaintiff.

Thirdly, I would like to address some of the concerns expressed by councilors, starting with informing/reminding the council of past city actions regarding seeking information from the Air Force on the impacts of the F-35 basing, particularly in light of Councilor Chittenden’s comment “Lawsuits are a last resort, not a first resort.” In light of the actions taken by municipalities and residents over the past four years, any reasonable person would come to the conclusion that every other method to acquire information on the negative impacts of this basing decision had been taken; and that filing a lawsuit was the last resort.

Specifically, on at least five occasions, local municipalities wrote to the Air Force requesting information, primarily related to noise, but also regarding other impacts of the basing. These formal letters came from the SB City Council, the SB School Board, and the SB Planning Commission. The City Council of Winooski twice requested this information from the Air Force. The Air Force did not respond to any of these requests.

Additionally, over the past four years, on numerous occasions, South Burlington and area residents from South Burlington, Burlington, Winooski, Williston, and Colchester requested assistance and intervention from our Congressional delegates, Senators Leahy and Sanders, and Representative Welch. Our elected representatives chose not to discuss the matter with any of those who were concerned with the negative consequences of the basing. I think it would be foolhardy to expect that, at this point in time, the Air Force, or our Congressional delegates would be forthcoming with information or assistance.

Regarding Councilor Chittenden’s comment that “The Vermont Air National Guard will be constricted in their permitted interactions with us on the important matters of first responder readiness & noise mitigation if we are in a lawsuit suing them on these two issues” the lawsuit is against theSecretary of the Air Force, not the Vermont Air National Guard. The lawsuit is about requiring the Air Force to comply with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) rules. This information can only come from the United States Air Force.

This same answer applies to Councilor Nowak’s comments about getting information from the Guard. The VTANG is not obligated by law, as is the Air Force, to provide this information; and in all likelihood, does not even possess the information we need. However, Councilor Nowak’s comments about our first responders’ fine reputation in past incidents is pertinent to this discussion; as they are among those the lawsuit seeks to protect. We want to insure that they are able to continue their invaluable work by making sure they have the proper information, technology, equipment, protective garments, and training to combat a totally different type of danger than they have experienced in the past.

The material composition of the new F-35 is vastly different from the current F-16. The F-16 is made up of a tiny fraction of composite materials as compared with the F-35, which the Air Force categorizes as a “high-risk aircraft” because of the amount and percentage of composite materials in its airframe. Moreover, the F-16 has no chemical stealth coating. The entire F-35 is coated with these additional toxic chemicals.

Our lawsuit is to get the information on these dangers, so that our first responders are properly equipped and trained to protect nearby civilians, the military members involved, and to protect themselves. Councilor Nowak is suggesting that the city and its taxpayers ought to be the ones to expend personnel time and money researching the magnitude of the dangers and how to address them, and then paying for the needed training and equipment. She also favors spending taxpayer money to identify noise mitigation actions, and seems to trust that the FAA will allocate all the money needed for noise mitigation work. The Air Force is the one who will be causing these dangers and burdens. It is the Air Force’s responsibility, not the residents of South Burlington, to provide noise information and remedies.
Regarding putting a lawsuit decision to a city-wide vote, in my experience on the council that has never happened. SB has never asked the voters to decide whether the city initiates, or joins, or defends itself through lawsuits. Legal matters are one category that Vermont allows councilors to discuss in executive session.

Lastly, I appreciate councilors’ concerns as to the timing of this matter. But, new information only just became available to the council. To ignore that would be a dereliction of their duties as our elected representatives. Good governance requires acting on information in a timely manner. In this case, waiting to gather more information or input, means the council would miss their last opportunity to act in a meaningful manner. As we used to say in the military, ‘complete information coming too late is useless’.

Unfortunately, councilors do not have the luxury of only working on easy issues. Governing sometimes means taking on controversial topics. Once again, thank you for taking on this controversial, but essential issue. The future of our city and citizens depends on your actions on Monday.

Pilots, maintainer on F-35 pros & cons

By Lara Seligman

As the Air Force races to declare its F-35 jets operational before the end of the year, observers are still warning about schedule delays, a faulty logistics system, and software glitches.

But here at Edwards, the pilots, maintainers and technicians of the F-35 Integrated Test Force say they are happy with the plane — in fact, in many ways the joint strike fighter is a huge improvement over legacysystems.

[FULL ARTICLE]

A day in the life of an F-35 test pilot

By Lara Seligman

Here at the F-35 Integrated Test Force, pilots spend their days simulating real missions to prepare the jets to one day operate on the battlefield.

Air Force Times got a glimpse into the day-to-day life of an F-35 test pilot during a May 4 visit to this base north of Los Angeles. We followed Maj. Raven LeClair, assistant director of operations for the 461st Flight Test Squadron, as he zipped up his flight suit, climbed into the cockpit, taxied to the runway and finally took off into the clear, desert sky.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Additional basing considered for F-35

April 12, 2016

Air Force officials announced April 12 that Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona; Homestead Air Reserve Base, Florida; Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas; and Whiteman AFB, Missouri, are candidate bases for the first Reserve-led F-35A Lightning II location.

The preferred and reasonable alternatives are expected to be selected in the fall and the F-35As are slated to begin arriving at the first Reserve-led F-35A location by the summer of 2023.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lockheed Martin to get $3 billion from F-35 sale to Denmark

By Peter Levring

Denmark’s government plans to replace its aging fleet of fighter jets with Lockheed Martin planes in an order worth 20 billion kroner ($3 billion).

The minority government of Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen, which still needs parliamentary approval before the order can be placed, wants to spend the money on 27 F-35 jets to replace old Lockheed Martin F-16s, Defense Minister Peter Christensen and Rasmussen said at a press conference in Copenhagen on Thursday. Boeing had also competed for the deal.

Denmark is revamping its fleet at a time when the “world security map has changed, producing new threats closer to Europe and Denmark,” Rasmussen said, highlighting Russia, the Middle East and Northern Africa as areas for concern.

[FULL ARTICLE]

America’s last fighter jet makers scramble to keep production alive


BY MARCUS WEISGERBER
MAY 12, 2016

In the southwest corner of a mile-long assembly plant here, an F-16 fighter jet is slowly coming to life. That plane, being built for the Iraqi Air Force, is far more sophisticated than the first Falcon to come off this production line more than 40 years ago, but it soon could become one of the last.

To the northeast by 575 miles, a similar scene is playing out inside another manufacturing facility. Here it’s the F-15 Eagle and F/A-18 Super Hornet, two more 1970s relics that have been redesigned and modernized heavily over the decades.

Without more orders by the U.S. military or its allies, production of these three planes, which gave America supremacy of the skies for more than four decades, will halt by 2020.

[FULL ARTICLE]

McCain looks to kill F-35 program

By Lara Seligman
May 16, 2016

In a surprise move, Senate Armed Service Committee Chairman John McCain is looking to eliminate the F-35 joint program office, currently the hub of the gargantuan operation that spans three US services and 12 nations.

The provision in his version of the defense policy bill, approved by the committee Thursday as part of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, would disband the joint program office (JPO) after the F-35 reaches full-rate production in April 2019

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 exceeds 50,000 flying hours

By Marina Malenic
February 12, 2016

Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters operating at 12 international locations have accumulated more than 50,000 flight hours, the company announced on 10 February.

The flight hours fell into two main categories: operational flying hours, flown by 155 jets delivered to six different nations; and System Development and Demonstration (SDD) flight test hours, flown by 18 aircraft assigned to the Integrated Test Forces at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB), California, and Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Maryland, according to a 10 February press statement released by the company. Operational jets flew approximately 37,950 hours while SDD aircraft flew 12,050 hours, according to Lockheed Martin. More than one third of the programme’s flight hours were flown in 2015. Approximately 26,000 hours were flown by the F-35A, 18,000 hours by the F-35B, and 6,000 by the F-35C.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Canadians delay tricky F-35

By Sean Gallagher
June 7, 2016

While campaigning for office, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised that his government would never buy the controversial, increasingly expensive F-35 Joint Strike Fighter for his country’s air force. That declaration came despite the previous administration’s commitment to purchase 65 of those planes from Lockheed Martin. Now, however, it appears Trudeau’s government has found a way to fulfill his campaign promise and avoid any potential legal headaches that would result from Canada dropping its commitment with Lockheed. Trudeau’s solution? Buy more fighters from Boeing now, delay an F-35 decision ’til later.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Thunderbirds not flying in RI airshow because of recent crashes

By Cierra Putman
June 7, 2016

In the wake of the Thunderbirds crash in Colorado, the military announced the team will not perform at the Rhode Island National Guard Open House Air Show.

“Our entire organization wishes the team the best and looks forward to welcoming them back in the near future,” the Rhode Island National Guard said, in part, on Facebook.

The news comes after a pilot safely ejected but crashed his plane following a flyover in Colorado last Thursday.

That same day, the Navy’s Blue Angels also suffered a crash. The pilot didn’t survive.

[FULL ARTICLE]

VTANG to spend $25 million on taxiway

By Molly Walsh
May 31, 2016

The Vermont National Guard plans to spend more than $25 million to improve the taxiway that military jets use at Burlington International Airport. The project also will replace the apron where Vermont Air National Guard planes park and refuel.

The work is expected to begin this fall and continue through 2017 at the guard base, which is on land leased from Vermont’s largest airport. The city of Burlington owns the airport, located in South Burlington.

The construction will not include the main runway, which military planes share with commercial carriers coming in and out of BTV, according to airport and guard officials.

[FULL ARTICLE]

PFOA found in water from VTANG in South Burlington

By Jess Aloe
June 9, 2016

The possible carcinogen PFOA has been found in water samples from the Vermont Air National Guard base in South Burlington and the Pittsford Fire Academy, Gov. Peter Shumlin announced on Thursday.

The contaminated water is not being used for drinking supplies, Shumlin spokesman Scott Coriell said in a news release. Both sites have used firefighting foam, one source of perflurooctanoic acid and the related substance perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, otherwise known as PFOS.

Water sampled from a groundwater collection system at the National Guard based showed a PFOA concentration of 9,300 parts per trillion and a PFOS concentration of 38,000 parts per trillion.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Suspected carcinogens in water from VTANG

By Howard Weiss-Tisman
June 9, 2016

The state says that the chemical PFOA has been detected for the first time outside of Bennington County. Gov. Peter Shumlin says PFOA and PFOS, which is also a suspected carcinogen, were found in groundwater on the Vermont Air National Guard base in South Burlington.

PFOA is a suspected cancer causing chemical that’s contaminated more than 200 wells in southwestern Vermont.

[FULL ARTICLE]

VTANG adds an active duty squadron (January 2016)

January 1, 2016

The Vermont Air National Guard has lost an active-duty Air Force detachment and gained a squadron this January as part of the Total Force Integration (TFI) when Maj. Daniel McGuire assumed command of the 315th Fighter Squadron.

Although the VTANG has had active-duty members working there for about 10 years as a detachment, it is now one of the first few Guard bases to house an active-duty squadron. The inverse, Guard components at active-duty bases, has become fairly common.

Within the program’s concept, the Guard, Reserve and active-duty play equal parts in the Air Force mission of air and space superiority with a global presence ready day and night. Interoperability is essential, and that means consistent training with one another.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lockheed F-35 service life extended to 2070

March 25, 2016
By James Drew

The projected life of the F-35 Lightning II has been extended by six years to 2070 after the US military services tweaked the number of flight hours their fleets should log before retirement.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 Program Gets 6-year service life extension (Lt Gen Bogdan)

By Jane Edwards

March 28, 2016

Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, chief of the F-35 joint program office, has said the Air Force, Marine Corps and the Navy have decided to extend the service life of the Joint Strike Fighter fleet from 2064 to 2070, Defense News reported Friday.

Lara Seligman writes Bogdan told reporters Thursday that the Defense Department‘s 2015 Selected Acquisition Report indicates a $45 billion increase in operating and support costs as a result of the six-year extension to the program’s operational life.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Update on the F-35


March 23, 2016
Committee on Armed Services Hearing: Update on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program.
Location: 2118 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515
Update on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program and the Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Request
Subcommittees:
Tactical Air and Land Forces (114th Congress)

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-16 crashes

By Oriana Pawlyk and Phillip Swarts
June 2, 2016

The F-16, assigned to the 57th Wing at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, crashed around 1 p.m. and Turner was recovered by local first responders, said Master Sgt. Chrissy Best, a Thunderbirds spokeswoman. Turner ejected south of the Colorado Springs airport.

The crash posed no hazard to the public, Best said. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

The Thunderbirds’ website says Turner has logged over 1,200 flight hours as an Air Force pilot, with more than 270 combat hours over Libya and Iraq.

When asked whether the pilot steered the aircraft towards the empty field deliberately, Best said, “Any time a pilot ejects we always try to go down into an unpopulated area.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Decades later, sickness among airmen

By Dave Philipps
June 19, 2016

It was one of the biggest nuclear accidents in history, and the United States wanted it cleaned up quickly and quietly. But if the men getting onto buses were told anything about the Air Force’s plan for them to clean up spilled radioactive material, it was usually, “Don’t worry.”

“There was no talk about radiation or plutonium or anything else,” said Frank B. Thompson, a then 22-year-old trombone player who spent days searching contaminated fields without protective equipment or even a change of clothes. “They told us it was safe, and we were dumb enough, I guess, to believe them.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 Will Fly Despite Auditor’s Fleet-Grounding Warning

By Patrick Tucker
April 17, 2016

Pentagon officials say the plane can fly without the aircraft’s enormously complex diagnostics system.

Problems with the Joint Strike Fighter’s logistics software will not keep the F-35 fleet from flying, the Pentagon says, contrary to a new Government Accountability Office, or GAO, report that hinted at a possible grounding.

In the April 14 report, GAO officials say problems with one of the jet fighter’s software suites are so severe that “it could take the entire F-35 fleet offline” if there was a failure, in part because there’s no backup to the system.

[FULL ARTICLE]

DOD F-35 program office, breaking the law

By Eric Palmer
April 18, 2016

The U.S. Government Account Office has released two reports on the troubled F-35 program.

One on the program and “new capabilities”. Another, on the F-35s faulty total logistics management system called ALIS.

The one on ALIS has no surprises. The problems have been ongoing for years and, it was years ago that fixes were promised.

The other report? Billions needed to work on Block 4 of the F-35. The problem with this is it is blue-sky marketing. The F-35 program is still in DOD procurement milestone B. That is, after all these years: early development. The primary goal of the F-35 program currently in its system design and demonstration (SDD) stage is to show a fully functional Block 3 capability. Key word: ‘demonstration.’

[FULL ARTICLE]

Flying Public Relations Blitz? Pentagon Finds Only Good Use for F-35

March 26, 2016

With its reputation effectively flown through the mud, the F-35 will seek public approval by performing alongside WWII fighters in an air show tour.

With a price tag of over $1 trillion, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has been riddled with problems that include everything from cybersecurity issues to basic flight capabilities.

“[The F-35] has already been in development for more than twenty years,” reads a report conducted by the non-profit Project on Government Oversight. “The plane is still years away from being capable of providing any real contribution to the [US] national defense if, in fact, it ever will be.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

All the ways the F-35 is screwed up, according to the Pentagon’s top weapons tester

By Dan Lamothe
February 4, 2016

The Pentagon’s top weapons tester has condemned aspects of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program in a new report, raising questions about the $1.5-trillion effort’s ability to meet its already slipped production schedule, synthesize information on the battlefield and keep aircraft available to fly.

The 82-page report was distributed to Congress last month, and released publicly this week. It was completed by Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s director of operational test and evaluation. He reports directly to Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter, and carries out independent assessments for both Carter and members of Congress.

The report raises serious questions about whether the Pentagon should initiate a three-year “block buy” of up to 450 fighter jets beginning in 2018, something that was floated last year in the Defense Department as a way to save money. Doing so would drive down the cost of each single-seat, single engine aircraft and increase fielding of the jet to both the U.S. military and international partners like Australia and Britain, defense officials said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

What it’s really like to fly the F-35

By Ian Greenhalgh
April 19, 2016

You’ve heard what the critics have to say, now let’s see what the pilots think

You must have heard about the F-35 debacle by now, a sad tale of huge cost overruns and an aircraft that has been called ‘the worst thing the USA ever procured’ by some commentators.

Aside from the obvious corruption involved in the F-35’s troubled development (is anything involving John McCain ever anything other than corrupt) and the resultant incredible sums of money spent on the project, there is the very real danger that the USA mind find itself armed with an aircraft that simply doesn’t work.

Whether it’s the gun that won’t fire or the ejector seat that is lethal to pilots that aren’t overweight, the tales of woe are endless. Even before the aircraft had entered service the jokes were well known:

How many F-35s does it take to change a lightbulb?

Three: One to change the criteria of changing a lightbulb, the second to undergo maintenance, and the third to tell the press the lightbulb has been changed.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 critical software not all that critical

By Dan Grazier
April 20, 2016

Last summer, F-35 program officer Lt. Gen. Bogdan said the F-35’s logistics systemwas “the brains and blood of operating this weapons system.” Despite many fixes, the aircraft’s Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) is so flawed that government auditors believe the computer system may not be deployable. These problems may alsodelay the Air Force’s declaration of Initial Operational Capability.  And now, in a surprising twist, General Bogdan is saying ALIS is not really critical after all, insisting the F-35 can fly without it for 30 days.

F-35 supporters enjoy telling people how the plane is a “flying computer,” as if that alone makes it worth the hundreds of billions of dollars spent so far. Lockheed Martin goes one step farther, calling it a “supercomputer” in its own promotional materials.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pentagon waste hampers military readiness: Citizen-Times Letter to the Editor

By R. Michael Erwin, PhD, Weaverville
February 5, 2016

I read retired Col. Ric Hunter’s guest column (Jan. 31 AC-T) concerning the outlook for military readiness in an era where rapid response is needed in response to rogue forces. He lists a number of serious deficiencies within the Air Force resulting largely from sequestration. Although the Air Force has suffered budget reductions, the same is true for most federal agencies. It is difficult to be sympathetic to the Pentagon when the budget for the military (including Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security) consumes about 70 percent of our annual budget.

[FULL ARTICLE]

The Truth about the F-35

By Eileen Andreoli
Apr. 18, 2016

This commentary is by a member of SaveOurSkiesVT.org.

In recent stories about the accelerated pace for the basing in Vermont of the under-tested and mechanically flawed F-35s, Gov. Peter Shumlin states, “This initiative will benefit the Vermont National Guard, create jobs, and spur economic development in Chittenden County and surrounding areas.”

Shumlin has repeated these same lies for the last three years. When challenged in 2013 to provide the source for his comments that the F-35s would create jobs, his reply was: “The specific quote you referenced should have referred to the more than one thousand direct and indirect jobs attributable to the air base that I strongly believe will be retained if we are chosen for F-35 basing.”

Retaining jobs does not equal creating jobs! Even after he was challenged on these falsehoods, and despite his excuse that he meant to say “retained” jobs instead of creating them, he is back at it again, repeating the same lies. His continued misrepresentation of the facts must be exposed for the outright lies they are.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 is a Feminist Issue

By Rosanne M. Greco
April 15, 2016

I am a feminist. For over 40 years, I have supported feminist ideals. Four years ago, I started learning about the implications of the proposal to base the military’s newest fighter-bomber, the F-35, at the Vermont Air National Guard Station in South Burlington. The more I researched, the more I began to wonder: Is the F-35 a feminist issue?

Feminists work to achieve political, economic, personal, and social rights for women. The F-35 will negatively affect the economic, personal, and social rights of women. Specifically, Vermont women (and their children) are disproportionally the ones who will be affected by the basing of the F-35 at the Burlington airport.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 Deficiencies (Press Republican Letter to the Editor)

By Joe DeMarco
Feb 18, 2016

F-35 deficiencies

This is information about the F-35 that should interest everyone.

The contract was awarded to Lockheed Martin on Oct. 26, 2001 (15 years ago) for this $1.4 trillion program — yes, $1.4 trillion for one aircraft.

After many years of development and testing, this aircraft has serious maintenance and reliability problems. Testing found that the Marine Corps did not and could not show that its variant “was operationally effective or suitable for use in any type of limited combat operation or that it was ready for real world operational deployment.”

Combat requires a readiness rate of 80 percent, but during demonstrations, the F-35 struggled to maintain a 50 percent readiness level.

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

Lockheed Seeks to Save Troubled F-35 With Exaggerated Job Claims

By William Hartung
March 8, 2016

It’s a time-tested ploy. When a weapons system can’t be justified based on cost, capabilities, and need, the manufacturer touts how many jobs the program will create. So it is with Lockheed Martin and its troubled F-35 combat aircraft.

The company’s latest official claim for F-35 jobs is that it will create full-time employment for 133,000 workers nationwide. But an analysis I did two years ago demonstrates that the company is claiming more than twice as many jobs as the program is actually likely to create. To add insult to injury, the company also asserts that many more states will benefit from the program than is actually the case.

The F-35 jobs issue arose again this week when Cleveland.com ran a piece on the F-35’s myriad problems, published well in advance of the plane’s scheduled appearance at the Cleveland Air Show on Labor Day week-end. Among the long list of problems listed in the article are the steep increase in unit costs for the aircraft, which have nearly doubled since the program’s inception; fundamental issues like poor software and engine performance; difficulty operating in bad weather; and problems with the plane’s pilot ejection seat.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pentagon Report: The F-35 Is Still a Mess

By Clay Dillow
March 10, 2016

The Air Force wants to declare the problem-prone fighter ready for combat later this year.

The U.S. Air Force plans to declare its first batch of Lockheed Martin-built F-35 Lightning II fighter jets ready for initial combat duties as early as August of this year. But a scathing new report from the Pentagon office in charge of testing and evaluating U.S. military weapons systems suggests that America’s fifth-generation, all-purpose combat jet is anything but ready for combat.

The Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) report cites a myriad of problems with the F-35, spanning design issues that negatively impact its aerodynamics in flight to countless software bugs buried in the F-35’s eight million lines of code. (The 24 million lines of code running the F-35’s maintenance and logistics software on the ground? Also buggy.)

[FULL ARTICLE]

Eielson F-35 not yet funded; has Pentagon support

By Sam Friedman
April 11, 2016

Alaska’s new F-35 Joint Strike Fighters haven’t been funded yet, but they have a good chance of making it through Congress, according to a military adviser for U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

Last week, the Air Force announced it plans to station 54 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters at Eielson Air Force Base starting in 2020. But first they have to be built at Lockheed Martin Corp.’s Fort Worth, Texas plant and funded by Congress.

The project has good prospects in Congress because senior Department of Defense leaders support the program, said Nathan Bergerbest, a senior adviser to Murkowski.

“What DoD (Department of Defense) wants is really, really, really important. It is not typical that anybody (in Congress) would take DoD’s top priority and say ‘We don’t believe you,’” he said. “You’re not going to see a reduction in the F-35 program.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 Problems

By Stephen Koff
March 08, 2016

Northeast Ohioans will glimpse the future of aerial warfare when a military fighter jet, the F-35 Lightning, flies at the Cleveland National Air Show on Labor Day weekend.

They might also get a glimpse at scandal, although the Pentagon and the plane’s developer, Lockheed Martin, say the aircraft’s troublesome days are behind it.

Amid the excitement of the end-of-summer Cleveland air show are these facts, controversies and claims about the advanced aircraft – facts and claims directly affecting Ohioans beyond the holiday weekend’s public relations display.

Why the F-35 is being built

The F-35 is also called the Joint Strike Fighter, because versions are not only being built for the Air Force, Navy and Marines but also for Great Britain and other allies. The most expensive weapons system ever built, about 500 of the aircraft have been completed so far in the program’s 14 years of existence, although they have not yet been tested in combat conditions.

The Pentagon ultimately wants 2,457 of the aircraft, because the F-35 is supposed to replace a number of earlier-era fighter models – and because China and Russia are building their air capabilities.

The program is way over budget

The F-35 program cost is now nearly $400 billion. That’s $163 billion more than anticipated, a price so high that, as Newsweek put it, industry wags call it “the plane that ate the Pentagon.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

AF names candidate bases, criteria for choosing next F-35A sites

By Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs
April 12, 2016

Air Force officials announced April 12 that Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona; Homestead Air Reserve Base, Florida; Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas; and Whiteman AFB, Missouri, are candidate bases for the first Reserve-led F-35A Lightning II location.

The preferred and reasonable alternatives are expected to be selected in the fall and the F-35As are slated to begin arriving at the first Reserve-led F-35A location by the summer of 2023.

The Air Force also released basing criteria that will be used to select candidate bases for two Air National Guard squadrons, which are planned to receive their first aircraft in the summer of 2022.

“The Air Force is committed to a deliberate and open process to address F-35 basing,” said Jennifer A. Miller, the deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations. “As we progress through the basing process, we will share information so interested communities are aware of what to expect.”

The basing criteria for the Air National Guard bases include mission requirements (weather, airspace and training range availability), capacity (sufficient hanger and ramp space, and facility considerations), environmental requirements, and cost factors.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Air Force says combat-ready F-35 on track for 2016

By Andrea Shalal
April 13, 2016

The U.S. Air Force said on Wednesday said it still expected to declare an initial squadron of Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets ready for combat between August and December, despite delays in the jets’ computer-based logistics system.

The four-star generals who run Air Combat Command and Air Force Materiel Command reviewed flight milestones and other aspects of the $379 billion F-35 program at Hill Air Force Base in Utah last week. The Pentagon’s F-35 program office, Lockheed, pilots and maintenance specialists also took part.

Colonel Tad Sholtis, spokesman for Air Combat Command, said the conference affirmed that the jet’s complex Autonomic Logistics Information System was behind schedule.

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

Dutch F-35 Being Primed For Noise Evaluations

By Tony Osborne
April 15, 2016

Dutch deployment will test whether use of the F-35 will bother local communities

While the first eastbound transatlantic crossing of a Dutch F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) in May will be a major coup for the program as a whole, the visit will be more about building community relations.  The Netherlands defense ministry wants to prove the F-35 will be a good neighbor to the communities surrounding the two air bases that will host the fighter from 2019, Volkel and Leeuwarden.

Those living near Volkel, an air station between the cities of Nijmegen and Eindhoven, and Leeuwarden, in the very north of the country, have long been familiar with the noise levels produced by the F-16 Fighting Falcon. But the F-35 is an unknown quantity.

It has already been established that the JSF produces higher noise levels than the F100 engines of the F-16A/Bs currently in operation. But noise-management studies released by the F-35 Joint Program Office state F-35As produce more noise in some configurations than even later F-16 models fitted with the more powerful F100-200/220.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Glitch could ground F-35

By Tyler Dumont
April 25,2016

The F-35 is called the most ambitious and expensive weapon system in the Department of Defense’s history, costing hundreds of billions.

Eighteen of the planes are set to land in Vermont in just three years.

At the core of the F-35 is a software system known as ALIS, essentially, the aircraft’s brain and just as important as the engine and airframe.

“Quite simply, if you don’t have a functioning ALIS, you really don’t have an F-35, the way it’s designed,” said Cary Russell, the director of defense capabilities and management with the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

The Autonomic Logistics Information Systems monitors almost everything, from engine diagnostics to navigation and target data coming from servers that are not on board.

Now, a report from a federal watchdog group says there’s a chance the connection to those external servers could fail, with no backup.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pentagon to test F-35 against A-10

By Travis J. Tritten
April 26, 2016

A showdown might soon settle one of the U.S. military’s biggest air power controversies.

The high-tech and expensive F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will face off in upcoming testing with the Air Force’s aging close-air-support stalwart, the A-10 Thunderbolt II, the director of the Defense Department operational test and evaluation office said Tuesday.

The battlefield comparison “makes common sense” and will pit the two airframes against each other in a variety of war scenarios this year, Michael Gilmore said during Senate testimony.

[FULL ARTICLE]

McCain: F-35 is both a scandal and a tragedy

By Ryan Browne
April 27, 2016

Sen. John McCain slammed the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s troubled history Tuesday, saying it “has been both a scandal and a tragedy with respect to cost, schedule and performance.”

The development of the Joint Strike Fighter, a fifth-generation stealth jet, has been beset by spiraling costs and schedule delays. The program’s price tag is nearly $400 billion for 2,457 planes — almost twice the initial estimate.

GAO report cites continued need for F-35 oversight

Apr 26, 2016

Development of New Capabilities Requires Continued Oversight

What GAO Found

Although the estimated F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (F-35) program acquisition costs have decreased since 2014, the program continues to face significant affordability challenges. The Department of Defense (DOD) plans to begin increasing production and expects to spend more than $14 billion annually for nearly a decade on procurement of F-35 aircraft. Currently, the program has around 20 percent of development testing remaining, including complex mission systems software testing, which will be challenging. At the same time, the contractors that build the F-35 airframes and engines continue to report improved manufacturing efficiency and supply chain performance.

DOD plans to manage F-35 modernization as part of the existing program baseline and is exploring the use of a single contract to procure multiple lots of future aircraft. Both courses of action have oversight implications. DOD has begun planning and funding significant new development work to add to the F-35’s capabilities. Known as Block 4, the funding needed for this effort is projected to be nearly $3 billion over the next 6 years (see figure below), which would qualify it as a major defense acquisition program in its own right.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 Fails Testing

By Clay Dillow
April 28, 2016

Software glitches continue to dog the nation’s newest fighter jet.

Five of six Air Force F-35 fighter jets were unable to take off during a recent exercise due to software bugs that continue to hamstring the world’s most sophisticated—and most expensive—warplane.

During a mock deployment at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho, just one of the $100 million Lockheed Martin LMT 0.63{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} F-35s was able to boot its software successfully and get itself airborne during an exercise designed to test the readiness of the F-35, FlightGlobal reports. Nonetheless, the Air Force plans to declare its F-35s combat-ready later this year.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Military Admits Billion-Dollar War Toy F-35 Is F**ked

By David Axe
March 17, 2016

Officials are finally admitting the F-35 fighter has turned into a nightmare—but it’s too late to stop the $400 billion program now.

Way back in the early 2000s, the U.S. military had a dream. To develop a new “universal” jet fighter that could do, well, pretty much everything that the military asks its different fighters to do.

But the dream of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter turned into a nightmare. The program is six years behind schedule and tens of billions of dollars over budget. And now, 16 years after the JSF prototypes took off for their first flights, top officials are finally owning up to the trauma the $400 billion fighter program has inflicted on America’s finances and war readiness.

In a remarkable period, beginning in February and lasting several weeks, senior officers and high-ranking bureaucrats finally publicly copped to the warplane program’s fundamental failures.

[FULL ARTICLE]

U.S. military officials consider alternatives if troubled F-35 program can’t move forward

March 23, 2016

U.S. military officials reportedly are considering alternatives that include restarting the F-22 advanced tactical fighter line or developing advanced versions of the F-15 or F/A-18 combat aircraft if the F-35 joint strike fighter program fails. The National Interest reports.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 engines have recurring flaws

By Anthony Capaccio
March 31, 2016

United Technologies Corp.’s performance building engines for the F-35 fighter has been beset by “recurring manufacturing quality issues,” according to the Defense Department’s annual report on its costliest weapons program.

The contractor’s Pratt & Whitney military aircraft unit met the goal for delivering engines last year, but quality deficiencies in “turbine blades and electronic control systems resulted in maintenance activity to remove suspect hardware from the operational fleet,” according to the latest Selected Acquisition Report sent to Congress and obtained by Bloomberg News.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 is still a shocking disaster

By Charles P. Pierce
March 30, 2016

It’s been a while since we checked in with the F-35 Flying Swiss Army Knife, the airplane that ate the federal budget. Let’s see if they’ve gotten all the bugs out of the system yet.

Nope.

“While Pratt & Whitney has implemented a number of design changes that have resulted in significant reliability improvements, the F-35A and F-35B engines are still at about 55 percent and 63 percent, respectively, of where the program expected them to be at this point,” said the report by the Government Accountability Office. The F-35A is the Air Force version of the plane, and the F-35B is the Marine Corps version, which is capable of short takeoffs and vertical landings. There is also an F-35C Navy version designed for carrier operations.

[FULL ARTICLE]

AF gets more time to respond to lawsuit in Arizona

March 23, 2016

The Air Force has been given an extra month, until late April, to respond to a federal lawsuit alleging that the service failed to adequately study the environmental effects of expanding a military training program at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

Three Tucson residents filed the lawsuit Jan. 22, challenging the Air Force’s finding last year that the expansion of its Total Force Training program would create ‘no significant impact’ and asking the court to order a detailed environmental impact statement.

The Air Force said it needed more time to file a detailed response.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Winooski seeks $5,000 for F-35 lawsuit

By Elizabeth Murray
March 28, 2016

The Winooski City Council unanimously approved spending $5,000 more on a lawsuit the city entered last year regarding the U.S. Air Force’s environmental impact statement regarding F-35 fighter jets.

The additional money was an agenda item at Monday’s council meeting at Winooski City Hall.

The City Council initially approved spending $7,500 on the lawsuit when the city decided to enter the case in April 2015. The council said at the time that if additional money were needed, a motion would come back before the council for public discussion and a vote.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 opposition respects the Guard

By James Marc Leas
March 31, 2016

Supporting our Vermont Air National Guard is one thing. Supporting particular items of equipment is another.

Supporting our Green Mountain Boys does not require supporting the Air Force decision to base F-35 warplanes at the airport in South Burlington.

If our Guardsmen were lousy at their jobs, poor learners, lackadaisical, unprofessional and could only do one thing right, all right, to support them we might have to accept them doing just that one thing, whatever it is.

But, as is indeed the case, our Green Mountain Boys are “the best of the best.” Their skills and achievements mean they will do very well no matter what equipment or mission they are given.

Unlike Air Force bases immediately adjacent to wide open spaces and/or large bodies of water, the airport in South Burlington is immediately surrounded by thousands of homes and tens of thousands of people. Does anyone seriously believe the best of the best will be disbanded if they obtain a mission compatible with their location in the most densely populated part of Vermont?

[FULL ARTICLE]

VTANG has a future without the F-35

By Roger Bourassa
March 31, 2016

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Roger Bourassa, of Colchester, who served in the Marines and is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel. He flew in the F-89, the C-97, and the F-101 and flew all over the world including several missions to Vietnam.

recent letter to a South Burlington newspaper from a retired Air Force colonel who claims to be an expert on base closings predicts the worst for the Vermont Air National Guard (VTANG) if the F-35A takes a pass on this first round of basing. He predicts a closing of the Guard and a local economic recession while offering nothing to support these claims.

A lawsuit against the secretary of the Air Force is on the docket for later this spring in the Federal District Court in Rutland concerning this issue. The decision may result in a reconsideration by the Air Force on basing the F-35 at VTANG.

The primary arguments used by supporters of the F-35A basing are that opponents are either, 1) unpatriotic and anti-military and, 2) without the F-35A, VTANG would be without a mission. The first argument is plain nonsense. There are many veterans numbered among the opponents to the basing of the F-35A, many of whom have served their country with honor with some serving during wartime, including Vietnam.

The second argument is without evidence and, to the contrary, is challenged by official Air Force statements. The Air Force Revised Environmental Impact Statement (RDEIS) states “… if there is no F-35A operational bed-down at Burlington the current mission would continue” (RDEIS Page PA-47). No public official (military, government, or politician) has EVER said the base will close if the F-35A is not based here.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Airplane Noise

By John Vogel
March 29, 2016

Recently I’ve been spending time in the Burlington area and wondering why we have to put up with the ear splitting noise of military planes as they take off and land. The good news is that they’re phasing out the F-16s. The bad news is they’ll be replacing them with F-35s.

In 1951 when the Air National Guard moved to Burlington, it was probably a sensible decision. But 65 years later, the community has changed and so have the planes.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Group vows to fight F-35 delivery

By Keele Smith
April 6, 2016

F-35 jets expected to arrive in Burlington in 2019f16

Air Force officials announced Monday that the first F-35 fighter jets are expected to arrive in Vermont in fall of 2019. But those fighting to keep them from coming here are not giving up hope.

“There are no benefits to the F-35 coming here. All negatives. One more risky and dangerous than another,” F-35 opponent Rosanne Greco said.

Greco has done her homework when it comes to bringing F-35s to Vermont.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Marines to consider vertical landing of F-35 at UK airshow

By Lara Seligman
March 31, 2016

The US Marine Corps is looking into the possibility of demonstrating an F-35B vertical landing during a major international air show in the United Kingdom this summer.

The Marine Corps F-35Bs, an aircraft unique in its ability to takeoff and land at short distances with no runway, will open the Royal International Air Tattoo and Farnborough air shows in July, according to Marine Corps spokeswoman Capt. Sarah Burns. The two jets will join a pair of Air Force F-35As at the UK shows, Defense News reported in January.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pentagon wants autonomous jets to fly in combat

By Clay Dillow / Fortune
March 31, 2016

The pilotless aircraft could take to the skies before driverless vehicles hit the road

The U.S. Air Force Research Lab is moving ahead with an initiative to turn aging F-16 fighter jets into unmanned, autonomous combat aircraft. The pilotless planes will fly alongside the newer aircraft like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Speaking at a forum in Washington, Wednesday, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work said he expects to see the autonomous aircraft plying the skies alongside manned jets before driverless vehicles enter service on the ground. Work spoke specifically about U.S. Air Force efforts to create autonomous wingmen for its fighter pilots that gave new life to older planes imbued with autonomous piloting technologies and teamed with next-generation aircraft.

“You take an F-16 and make it totally unmanned,” Work said. “The F-16 is a fourth-generation fighter, and pair it with an F-35, a fifth-generation battle network node, and have those two operating together.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Bogdan, GAO at odds over F-35 upgrades

By Lara Seligman
March 24, 2016

The chief of the F-35 joint program office (JPO) is at odds with a prominent government watchdog over how to manage a follow-on modernization effort for the fifth-generation fighter jet.

Michael Sullivan of the Government Accountability Office called on the Pentagon to establish a standalone acquisition program for the Block 4 modernization effort, which is projected to cost $3 billion over the next six years. If the JPO continues to manage Block 4 as part of the existing F-35 program rather than establishing a separate business case and acquisition baseline, it will be more difficult for Congress to keep the program office accountable for achieving cost, schedule and performance requirements, he argued.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 to fly until 2070 or longer

By Lara Seligman
March 25, 2016

The F-35 joint strike fighter will fly until 2070, reflecting a decision by the US armed services to extend the operational life of the fleet by six years.

All three services that operate the F-35 — the US Air Force, US Navy and US Marine Corps — increased the total flight hours for the fleet by 1.6 million, F-35 Joint Program Office Chief Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan told reporters March 24 at the Pentagon. Of the total, the Air Force added 1.3 million flight hours, while the Navy added 300,000 flight hours, according to the JPO.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Air Force to deliver F-35 to Burlington ahead of schedule

By Brad Evans
April 4, 2016

Air Force officials announced Monday the Burlington Air Guard will receive its first F-35A aircraft in the fall of 2019.

The Air Force said the aircraft will be used by the Vermont Air National Guard to grow its active-duty maintenance force.

“The Air Force is experiencing a shortage of experienced, active-duty fighter aircraft maintainers,” Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Installations and Mission Support Lt. Gen John B. Cooper said. “Delivering F-35s to an Air National Guard base before standing up a new active duty unit will allow us to take advantage of Burlington’s experienced fighter aircraft maintenance force as we transition from legacy aircraft to the F-35A.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 still failing to impress

By: Dan Grazier & Mandy Smithberger
March 7, 2016

The Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) recently released a scathing assessment of the F-35 program as part of his annual report. Buried inside 48 pages of highly technical language is a gripping story of mismanagement, delayed tests, serious safety issues, a software nightmare, and maintenance problems crippling half the fleet at any given time.

The report makes clear just how far the F-35 program still has to go in the development process. Some of the technical challenges facing the program will take years to correct, and as a result, the F-35’s operationally demonstrated suitability for combat will not be known until 2022 at the earliest.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Congress may restore purchase of F-35

March 21, 2016

Top Air Force acquisitions personnel who went to Capitol Hill on March 8 seemed to find friendly support from Congress for restoring cut F-35 buys to the fiscal year 2017 budget.

The service had delayed purchasing five F-35 Lightning IIs that were set for 2017 – a move the service said would save close to $700 million – and dropping the Air Force’s buy for the year from 48 aircraft down to 43.

Yet despite hammering the Air Force on the A-10 retirement, RD-180 Russian- made rocket engines, and B-21 bomber contract, lawmakers seemed inclined to agree with top brass that delaying F-35 purchases could hurt national security readiness.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 radar software fails in the air

By Richard Chirgwin
March 8, 2016

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has run into yet another software bug, according to a report in IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly.

The glitch is in the software that operates the fighter’s radar. During flight, Jane’s reckons, the radar software becomes unstable.

The report quotes US Air Force Major General Jeffrey Harrigian as saying “What would happen is [pilots would] get a signal that says either a radar degrade or a radar fail – something that would force us to restart the radar”.

He said the problem was discovered in 2015, and that Lockheed-Martin is now running a fix through its test labs, with a patch due this month.

The USAF believes the glitch won’t get in the way of it reaching “initial operational capability” for the F-35 between August and December this year.

The F-35’s software has been raised again in Australia courtesy of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Background Briefing program over the weekend.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 remains plagued by deficiencies

By Jim W. Dean
Feb. 5, 2016

[ Jim Dean’s Note: Yes, I know this is an old story, but with an important new twist, in that the continued deficiencies of the F-35 are detailed by the Pentagon’s own testing expert. This is no anti-war, America haters bashing the program. For the program to be stopped from more billions being wasted on this disaster, it will take a coalition of inside and outside people to do it.

And work needs to get started, scrapping what we have, and frankly trying to copy what the Russian have, if they can do it — a modular build where upgrades, especially hardware, can be added later without a ground-up rebuild, which the defense contractors prefer, as it is hugely more expensiveJim W. Dean ]

_____________

– First published  …  February 05,  2016 –

The US Defense Department has warned that the highly advanced F-35 fighter jet remains plagued by dangerous problems that will further complicate the most expensive weapons project in history.

The report, which was prepared by Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s director of operational test and evaluation, raises serious questions about whether the US military should risk committing itself to buying billions of dollars of the F-35s before they have demonstrated they are fit for combat.

The fifth-generation stealth warplanes, which are being built in three different versions by Lockheed Martin Corp, will form the backbone of the us military’s future fighter fleet.

In the latest blow to the program, engineers uncovered numerous technical problems during extensive testing of the newest versions of the F-35, the Pentagon report found, adding to a list of issues including software bugs, technical glitches and cost overruns.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 still failing to impress

By Dan Grazier & Mandy Smithberger
March 7, 2016

The Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) recently released a scathing assessment of the F-35 program as part of his annual report. Buried inside 48 pages of highly technical language is a gripping story of mismanagement, delayed tests, serious safety issues, a software nightmare, and maintenance problems crippling half the fleet at any given time.

The report makes clear just how far the F-35 program still has to go in the development process. Some of the technical challenges facing the program will take yea
rs to correct, and as a result, the F-35’s operationally demonstrated suitability for combat will not be known until 2022 at the earliest. While rumors that the program office would ask for a block buy of nearly 500 aircraft in the FY 2017 budget proposal did not pan out, officials have indicated they may make such a request next year. The DOT&E report clearly shows any such block commitments before 2022 are premature.

[FULL ARTICLE]

US Voters Favor Cutting Carrier, F-35, Overall Defense Spending

By Andrew W. Clevenger
March 8, 2016

A majority of Americans favor cutting the US defense budget in five out of seven key areas, including nuclear weapons and missile defense, according to a new University of Maryland survey released March 9.

Nationally, a majority supports modest budget cuts to air power ($2 billion), ground forces ($4 billion), naval forces ($2 billion), nuclear weapons ($3 billion) and missile defense ($1 billion). No majority emerged for either cutting or increasing the budgets of the Marine Corps or Special Ops forces.

In total, a majority of respondents would cut the defense budget by $12 billion. When broken down by party, a majority of Republican respondents would leave the defense budget as is, while the majority of Democrats would cut it by $36 billion (including $11 billion cuts to both air power and ground forces), a larger cut than the $20 billion cut supported by a majority of Independents.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Future operations and opposition to the F-35 at Davis-Monthan AFB

By Emily Bregel
March 10, 2016

As Davis-Monthan Air Force Base faces dual threats of cuts to its primary mission – its fleet of A-10 close-air support jets – and the specter of base closures nationally, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said its’future is bright.’

‘I couldn’t be more impressed with what I have seen so far,’ she told local reporterson Wednesday, during her first visit to D-M. ‘This is a very, very busy base.’

James praised the A-10 mission here and said proposals to retire the fleet nationally were rooted in budget constraints. She pointed to D-M’s new drone unit, which remotely flies MQ-1 Predator drones, and nearby training areas as platforms for expansion.

‘I think there’s room for growth, in terms of missions’ at D-M, she said.

James’ whirlwind visit to Tucson comes as D-M supporters tout a new survey showing strong local support for the base and for the controversial prospect of high-decibel F-35s flying more frequently in Southern Arizona.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 for Canada; maybe yes, maybe no

By Defense Industry Daily staff
March 8,2016

Canada’s participation in the F-35 program continues to be shrouded in confusion. The government plans to pay an installment external link of $32.9 million in May to continue its involvement in procuring the Joint Strike Fighter. This runs contrary to promises made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to abandon the project during the run-up to the federal election in October. Trudeau had pledged that a cheaper alternative could be found as a replacement to the country’s aging CF-18 fighters, however, the F-35 has been allowed to participate in the latest replacement competition. The payment will ensure Canada’s place in the program until September 30, 2016, when a more concrete decision on the CF-18 competition may have been made.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 to tour in air shows

By Thom Patterson
March 17, 2016

Adele, Beyonce and Springsteen are planning tours this summer. Now you can add another pricey attention-grabber to the list: The F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter.

America’s newest and most technologically sophisticated fighter jet kicks off a tour of airshows in the West, Midwest, South and Northeastern United States in April alongside 20th century war birds, like the F-86 Sabre, the P-38 Lightning and the P-51 Mustang.

The F-35 Heritage Flight Team tour will feature precision flying in tight formation just a few feet apart. Combining the newest fighter with some of the classics is a way to honor the past, present and future of the U.S. Air Force, organizers said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Top officer takes heat over the A-10

By Phillip Swarts
March 21, 2016

The service is ignoring the facts about the effectiveness of the A-10 “Warthog,” says Sen. John McCain, who lit into Air Force leadership on March 3. The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee launched a fiery exchange with the Air Force’s top officer in the latest round of conflict over the retirement of the workhorse Thunderbolt II.

The A-10 Thunderbolt II.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Australian Investigative Report on JSF F35

by Jonathan Green
Mar. 6, 2016

Is the Joint Strike Fighter the right plane for Australia?

The JSF is not terribly fast and it’s not terribly agile, and the high tech helmet could take the pilots head off if there is a mishap. Sarah Dingle investigates the over budget and over due Joint Strike Fighter

[FULL ARTICLE]

Danish pilots talk about the F-35

By Solomon
Feb. 25, 2016

Listen to what the pilots say about the F-35? How about this retired LTCol from the Danish Air Force!

via Australian Senate Submission on the F-35 (Link and item 35).

“We also simulated Joint Strike Fighter against Russian fighter aircraft where we flew two against two.
In the forenoon I and the Danish test pilot was flying Joint Strike Fighters against two Russian fighters. Inthe afternoon we swapped, so we flew Russian fighter aircraft against the Joint Strike Fighter.
In the afternoon the first thing the test pilot and I noticed was that the Russian fighters was not loaded with the best air-to-air missiles as the Russians have in real life. We therefore asked about getting some better. It was denied us. We two pilots complained but it was not changed.
My test pilot and I decided in our simulated Russian combat aircraft to fly “line abreast”, but with 25 nautical miles distance. Then at least one of us could with radar look into the side of the Joint Strike Fighter and thus view it at long distance. The one who “saw” the Joint Strike Fighter could then link the radar image to the other. Then missiles could be fired at long distance at the Joint Strike Fighter.
It was also denied us, although we protested this incomprehensible disposition.
It was now quite clear to us that with the directives and emotional limitations simulations would in no waygive a true and fair view of anything. On the other hand, it would show that the Joint Strike Fighter was a good air defense fighter, which in no way can be inferred from the simulations. We spoke loudly and clearly that this way was manipulating with the Joint Strike Fighter air defence capability.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Money for lobbyists to find military missions

By David Wichner
Feb. 28, 2016

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base would start losing its A-10 Thunderbolt II attack jets as soon as the fall of 2018 under a new plan to retire the entire A-10 fleet by 2022.

The Air Force said in early February it would delay its proposed retirement of the A-10 ‘Warthog’ – a close-air-support jet that represents a mainstay of D-M operations – until 2022. Earlier attempts by the Air Force to mothball the jet by 2019 were turned back by Congress.

That announcement was cheered by A-10 backers in Congress, including Arizona Sen.John McCainand Rep. Martha McSally ,a Tucson Republican and former A-10 combat pilot, who led efforts that halted A-10 retirements the Air Force had initially sought to start in 2015.

[FULL ARTICLE]

New planes but no more airmen

By Phillip Swarts
Feb. 22, 2016

The Air Force is asking for an increase of $1.3 billion to its main operating budget in fiscal 2017, but it doesn’t increase end strength, according to budget documents released Feb. 9.

Top brass has requested $120.4 billion for FY2017, leaving Air Force end strength to about 490,000 airmen; the service will remain the smallest it has been since it was created. But the Air Force sounded the alarm Feb. 9 about its increasing responsibilities and the budget’s inability to keep up.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Sanders’ position on the F-35 contradicts his views on defense spending

By Sarah Sicard
Jan. 14, 2016

Though Sen. Bernie Sanders advocates for spending cuts, he also supports the costliest program ever funded.
Democratic candidate for president and Vermont senator, Bernie Sanders, seems to have contradictory policies regarding the Defense Department.

Within his platform regarding the military, he suggests that the U.S. military spends too much money on defense, and is known to staunchly oppose military engagement unless absolutely necessary.

In a town hall meeting in Iowa City, Sanders said, “We know that there is massive fraud going on in the defense industry. Virtually every major defense contractor has either been convicted of fraud or reached a settlement with the government …We need a strong military, it is a dangerous world. But I think we can make judicious cuts.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Bernie Backs Trillion Dollar Weapon System

By Ben Armbruster
Feb. 17, 2016

As we all know by now, Bernie Sanders is campaigning on a promise to change American politics in such a way that benefits the middle class and working families at the expense of corporate greed and influence.

“I am asking you to be part of a political revolution,” Bernie told his supporters last summer. “A revolution which transforms our country economically, politically, socially, and environmentally.”

While some have wondered how Bernie’s revolution will stand up to the realities of governing should he win the White House, what’s often been overlooked is the fact that the Vermont Independent has had plenty of opportunities to buck the system as a U.S. Senator. He has not always taken those opportunities, instead siding with big corporations at the expense of the taxpayer.

Nowhere is this more evident than his unwavering support for one of the biggest boondoggles in U.S. military history: the F-35.

[FULL ARTICLE]

The Comanche and the Albatross

By Col Michael W. Pietrucha, USAF
May-June 2014

The Air Force intended eventually to replace much of the post-Vietnam fighter fleet with the F-35A. This stealthy aircraft possesses advanced technology and was intended to be no more expensive than the aircraft it was designed to supplant. The Air Force sought to buy 1,763 F-35As—the number required to replace every F-16, A-10, and F-117 then in service. Rather than an affordable, capable fighter aircraft operational in large numbers by 2015, the F-35 continues to arrive late and cost more than anticipated. Program delays, unmet performance requirements, and spiraling costs have recently run full tilt into an austere budgetary environment. Budgetary realities should serve as an impetus to reexamine the Air Force’s participation in the F-35 program and the future of the fighter force.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Thunder without Lightning: The high costs and limited benefits of the F-35

By Bill French

August 2015

The National Security Network (NSN) is pleased to release a new policy report, Thunder without Lightning: The High Costs and Limited Benefits of the F-35. According to our analysis, the F-35 lacks the capabilities to execute its primary mission, and costs too much relative to its predecessors. The Department of Defense should examine ways to reduce its commitment to this albatross of an acquisition program.

From the report:

“To perform against near-peer adversaries, the F-35 will have to be capable of executing a range of missions, from defeating enemy aircraft to penetrating enemy air defenses to strike surface targets. But the F-35 will struggle to effectively perform these missions due to shortcomings in its design and program requirements, despite costing between three and nine times more than the 4th-generation aircraft it is designed to replace.

The F-35 will find itself outmaneuvered, outgunned, out of range, and visible to enemy sensors. Going forward, full investment in the F-35 would be to place a bad trillion-dollar bet on the future of airpower based on flawed assumptions and an underperforming aircraft. To avoid such a catastrophic outcome, Congress and DOD should begin the process of considering alternatives to a large-scale commitment to the F-35. Staying the present course may needlessly gamble away a sizable margin of American airpower at great expense and unnecessary risk to American lives.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Mountain Home AFB testing to determine if F-35 ready for combat

By John Sowell

Feb. 24, 2016

Flying the next generation F-35A Joint Strike Fighter jet is like stepping out of a Toyota Camry into a Lamborghini, a U.S. Air Force pilot told reporters Wednesday.

“That’s as close as I can give you as an example,” Maj. Chris White said.

When you take off, it gives you a shove into the back of the pilot’s seat, he said.

“It gives you the butterflies right before every single takeoff,” said White, a commander with the 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron from Edwards Air Force Base outside Lancaster, Calif. “I smile every time I take off.”

For the past three weeks, six F-35As from Edwards have been undergoing testing at the bombing range at Mountain Home Air Force Base. They are being evaluated under simulated combat conditions to see if the planes are ready for use by pilots at Hill Air Force Base outside Ogden, Utah.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pentagon postpones retirement of A-10s

By John Sowell

Feb. 26, 2016

The Islamic State unwittingly forced the U.S. Air Force to continue flying one of ISIS’ fiercest enemies: the A-10 Thunderbolt II.

The Air Force was all set to retire the jet, known affectionately among its crews as the Warthog. Then it was pressed into service last year against the Islamic State in the Mideast, where it drew rave reviews.

“I saw some of the A-10s that are flying bombing missions against ISIL (the Pentagon’s term for Islamic State) when I was at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey last December,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter told members of a House appropriations subcommittee during testimony Thursday on the Pentagon’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget.

The A-10, Carter told the committee, will continue flying until at least 2022.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Trial F-35A deployment

By James Drew
Feb. 23, 2016

Six F-35As of the 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron have deployed to Mountain Home AFB in Idaho this month for an “operational deployment test” that will clear the way for 10 operational jets from the first combat-coded squadron, which will follow this summer.

Normally based at Edwards AFB in California, the six test aircraft are flying training sorties alongside locally housed Fairchild Republic A-10s and Boeing F-15E Strike Eagles at a nearby weapons range.

The air force announced this week that the F-35s arrived on 8 February, and a base spokesman confirms the six jets are still there.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 still a train wreck

BY ALLAN BOURDIUS
Feb. 5, 2016

Now that votes are finally being cast, most Hot Air content is going to be revolving around the ongoing campaign, but it’s important we don’t lose sight of issue details that could wind up affecting the race, especially in areas where traditional Republican stances could leave one or more candidates very, very vulnerable.

National defense is a perennial Republican running point. More troops, more ships, more planes, more dollars is pretty much the mantra of every candidate. The worrisome story of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) – a.k.a. the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II – has been addressed here before by Jazz Shaw (July 1, 2015 and August 15, 2015), and since then, has gotten worse, not better. The F-35 is the most expensive defense acquisition project ever with projected costs exceeding $1.3 trillion.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lockheed, Boeing decide not to sue Air Force

By Aaron Mehta and Lara Seligman
February 26, 2016

Hours before the Boeing announcement, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James officially designated the LRS-B program the B-21 bomber and unveiled an artists concept of the plane. The Air Force said in a statement it choose the B-21 designation as recognition that LRS-B is the first bomber of the 21st century.

Following the announcement, James told reporters she had received an “encouraging” phone call from Boeing’s CEO earlier this week, and had “high hopes” that the Boeing-Lockheed team would decide not to pursue further action.

James emphasized the Air Force’s “valuable” relationship with Boeing on other programs, and stressed the importance of moving forward with engineering and development work on the B-21.

“Boeing is a very valuable partner, we have a lot going on with boeing, and we need to get on with the bomber,” she said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

FDA Nominee Califf Gave Questionable Answers to Senate

By POGO
February 4, 2016

As President Obama’s nominee for FDA Commissioner, former Duke University researcher Robert Califf has faced questions about the independence of clinical trials he conducted for drug companies.

At a confirmation hearing in November and in a written response to later questions from Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Califf offered comforting answers. He said that plans for clinical trials are subject to FDA review.

But those answers omitted some history that might be less reassuring: a clinical trial Califf had co-chaired was conducted in defiance of FDA guidance.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Despite Decades of Stealth, Sticking Points Bedevil F-35 Jet

By CLYDE HABERMAN
JAN. 24, 2016

One of the earliest stealth weapons on record was a stone used by the young Israelite David to kill the Philistine giant Goliath. In the biblical account, David shunned the conventional armaments of his time: sword, helmet, armor. Instead, he went forth with a slingshot and a few stones, kept undetected in a pouch. As any schoolchild knows, one well-aimed fling was all it took to put Goliath down for good. The big guy never saw it coming.

It is not clear to what extent David tested his weapon before doing battle, but he presumably had experimented. The first Book of Samuel tells how he had earlier struck and killed a lion and a bear that menaced the sheep he tended.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Sanders position on the F-35 contradicts his views on defense spending

Sarah Sicard
January 14, 2016

Though Sen. Bernie Sanders advocates for spending cuts, he also supports the costliest program ever funded.
Democratic candidate for president and Vermont senator, Bernie Sanders, seems to have contradictory policies regarding the Defense Department.

Within his platform regarding the military, he suggests that the U.S. military spends too much money on defense, and is known to staunchly oppose military engagement unless absolutely necessary.

In a town hall meeting in Iowa City, Sanders said, “We know that there is massive fraud going on in the defense industry.  Virtually every major defense contractor has either been convicted of fraud or reached a settlement with the government …We need a strong military, it is a dangerous world.  But I think we can make judicious cuts.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Bernie Sanders Loves this $1 Trillion War Machine

Tim Mak
February 9, 2016

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire — Sen. Bernie Sanders has railed against big defense corporations at rallies, but he has a more complex history with the military-industrial complex. Most notably, he’s supported a $1.2 trillion stealth fighter that’s considered by many to be one of the bigger boondoggles in Pentagon history.

Sanders has made his opposition to Hillary Clinton’s hawkishness a cornerstone of his campaign. But he hasn’t exactly been antiwar all his career. When it has come time to choose between defense jobs and a dovish defense policy, Sanders has consistently chosen to stand with the arms-makers rather than the peaceniks—leading to tension with some of the most adamant adherents of progressive ideology.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 total disaster

By Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry
January 27, 2016

The F-35 is an absolute disaster, and it needs to go. The scandals around it are legion.

The supersonic stealth plane called the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was supposed to be the greatest and best military plane the world has ever seen. While the United States’ stealthy F-22 is an “air superiority” plane, ensuring the country’s dominance over the skies, which is why exporting it is illegal, the F-35 was supposed to be able to do everything, and be the standard fighter-bomber of the U.S. and most countries with which the U.S. has friendly relations. It was supposed to be stealthy, to be able take off and land vertically, and to know everything about everything thanks to its amazing software and sensors. It can’t do any of those things so far.

The program has cost $1.3 trillion so far. By comparison, the Apollo Program, which actually sent people to the moon, cost about $170 billion in 2005 dollars. The F-35 is literally the most expensive military project in history. By 2014, the program was $163 billion over budget, and seven years behind schedule.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ground Hog Day: De-bugging the F-35

By BP
February 8, 2016

It seems the F-35 fighter; aka the most expensive weapons system ever, hasn’t been in the news too often lately. And most of the news out that is out there is awful, according to reports in early February. If or when the jet fighters do fly on a regular basis, at some point in the future some will be used by the Vermont Air National Guard and based at the Burlington airport. This is over objections from residents in nearby towns over possible noise levels during take-off and landings — so, here’s a heads up for Vermonters.

If you care to read more details, that can be done here. But these three descriptive headlines provide a more than adequate, quick summary: The Version That the Marines Are Using Is Very Buggy; ALIS [Autonomic Logistics Information System] Is Still Terrible, Perhaps Even Getting Worse; and my favorite, Lockouts, Confusion, etc.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pentagon to cut purchase of F-35 jets

By Zacks Equity Research

The U.S. Department of Defense has announced that it plans to purchase fewer F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT – Analyst Report) over the next five years, than it had originally planned.

Pentagon’s Plans for the F-35 Jets

Importantly, the Pentagon was forced to cut approximately $4 billion from the F-35 program and other aircraft programs in fiscal 2017, and slash billions of dollars from other procurement accounts to meet the Congress budget deal.

The Pentagon remains committed to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, worth $391 billion, which is the single largest weapons program. However, purchases for the program are expected to slow down a little over the next five years. The Pentagon’s next five-year plan, beginning fiscal 2017 through fiscal 2020, covers the purchase of 299 jets (down by 37 units from the previous expectation). However, the major spurt in orders is not expected to come until the projected purchase of 105 fighter jets in fiscal 2021.

[FULL ARTICLE]

AF plans to keep A-10s and buy fewer F-35s

By Bryant Jordan
Feb 09, 2016

The Air Force on Tuesday released a 2017 budget geared to rebalance the force and counter readiness problems resulting from years of deployments, personnel shortages and sequester-forced spending caps that have cut into modernization programs across the board.

At $167 billion, the service’s budget is roughly $5 billion more than was appropriated for fiscal 2016, according to Air Force figures that show end strength will remain unchanged from the current year at 317,000 airmen.

[FULL ARTICLE]

An intrusion on our home

By Bruce S. Post
FEB. 1, 2016

The passionate disagreements about the F-35 and industrial wind share a commonality: the meaning of home.

“Home is the place,” wrote Robert Frost, “where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” Home and hearth are rooted in our soul, private places of respite and retreat from the grinding gears of public life. The expression “if these walls could talk” symbolizes that our dwellings are more than simply structures; they are storehouses of memories, giving us a sense of our individual and familial selves.

That is the romantic vision. Less romantically, we are never completely safe in our homes. We are wary of the stranger at the door, fearful of the burglar and the thief. We fear the sense of violation that comes with a lock pried, window broken and drawers thrown about indiscriminately. We arm ourselves with dead-bolt locks, alarm systems, barred windows and bullets and guns. The claim “I never lock my door” seems naïve and foolhardy. “Be careful,” we caution, “you never know.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 exceeds 50,000 flying hours

By Marina Malenic
February 11, 2016

Key Points

  • F-35s have accumulated more than 50,000 flight hours
    The 25,000 flight-hour milestone occurred in December 2014, and that number doubled in just more than one year
  • Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters operating at 12 international locations have accumulated more than 50,000 flight hours, the company announced on 10 February.

The flight hours fell into two main categories: operational flying hours, flown by 155 jets delivered to six different nations; and System Development and Demonstration (SDD) flight test hours, flown by 18 aircraft assigned to the Integrated Test Forces at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB), California, and Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Maryland, according to a 10 February press statement released by the company. Operational jets flew approximately 37,950 hours while SDD aircraft flew 12,050 hours, according to Lockheed Martin. More than one third of the programme’s flight hours were flown in 2015. Approximately 26,000 hours were flown by the F-35A, 18,000 hours by the F-35B, and 6,000 by the F-35C.

[FULL ARTICLE]

AF General passes out during F-35 briefing

By Blake Stilwell
Feb. 11, 2016

Normally, James Martin is the very model of a modern major general.

But the Air Force officer, who is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Budget, recently collapsed at the podium while answering questions about the F-35.

Air Force Deputy for Budget Carolyn Gleason held Maj. Gen. Martin up, while aides came to help Martin, who regained his senses seconds later.

[FULL ARTICLE]

DOT&E Concerns about the F-35

by Bryan Myers & Sheila MacVicar
February 2, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The bad news for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter – the most expensive weapons program in history, with an estimated price tag of $1.4 trillion – continues to pile up.

In a stark new assessment, a Pentagon report documents significant and on-going problems with the F-35 program. America Tonight has obtained a copy of that report in advance of its release.

The findings [PDF], which were made by Dr. J. Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E), include:

[FULL ARTICLE]

Decades of Stealth Sticking Points Bedevil F-35

Despite Decades of Stealth  Sticking Points Bedevil F 35 JetBy CLYDE HABERMAN
JAN. 24, 2016

One of the earliest stealth weapons on record was a stone used by the young Israelite David to kill the Philistine giant Goliath. In the biblical account, David shunned the conventional armaments of his time: sword, helmet, armor. Instead, he went forth with a slingshot and a few stones, kept undetected in a pouch. As any schoolchild knows, one well-aimed fling was all it took to put Goliath down for good. The big guy never saw it coming.

It is not clear to what extent David tested his weapon before doing battle, but he presumably had experimented. The first Book of Samuel tells how he had earlier struck and killed a lion and a bear that menaced the sheep he tended.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Letter to the Editor of the Idaho Statesman, January 26, 2016

“We are among “those that live by the airport.” However, we have never complained about the noise, until this past summer (and only to each other). We’ve lived here 15 years, love the area and being close to everything. We moved in from Meridian after 17 years of the sprawl out there. Our home was built in 1954, 10 years before the first jet service to Boise. We expected airport noise: we did spend eight years on SAC and TAC air bases. But, the noise from the F-15s this summer was terrible. And the City of Boise potentially wants to allow F-35s with considerably more noise at Gowen? There is a reason for Mountain Home AFB: put them there. We tried to read the noise study, but not being a government bureaucrat, we were unable to decipher the data. Has the City of Boise become so dollar hungry that they are willing to sacrifice the quality of life for an expanded tax base? Finally, anyone familiar with USAF aircraft, must be aware of the noticeable noise difference between an F-15 and an A10.”

Al and Patti Crager, Boise

Tucson Residents file lawsuit against AF

By Bud Foster
Jan 26, 2016

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -Three residents who live in midtown Tucson in the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base flight path have filed a suit against the U.S. Air Force.

The suit, filed by the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Intereston behalf of Gary Hunter, Anita Scales and Rita Orneles, states the Air Force did not follow required federal protocols in preparing an environmental assessment on the impact its new training schedule would have on neighborhoods in the flight path.

[FULL ARTICLE]

David-Monthan residents sue over F-35 noise

By Caitlin Schmidt
January 23, 2016

Three residents of neighborhoods near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base have filed for an injunction in federal court, seeking to require the Air Force to conduct a more detailed analysis of how increased training flights from the base will affect the community.

Rita Ornelas, Gary Hunter and Anita Scales filed the complaint Friday with the U.S. District Court of Arizona, saying that the Air Force failed to follow federal guidelines when it approved a plan last year to increase the number of operations.

The Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest, a nonprofit firm that focuses on government accountability, is representing the plaintiffs.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Boise airport noise concerns

BY SVEN BERG
DECEMBER 23, 2015

Some Boiseans believe the deciders have made up their minds to bring louder military jets to Boise.

Many of these people live near the airport, so they’d be most affected by the noise. They suspect their concerns don’t matter to the city government, Idaho Air National Guard and U.S. Air Force. When the authorities reach out and ask for their opinions, they think it’s just for show.

“I don’t like that — the feeling that we’re being manipulated,” said Monty Mericle, who lives on Meriwether Drive just north of the Boise Airport’s runways.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 Sonic Booms heard from NJ to CT

By Associated Press
Jan 28, 2016

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Sonic booms heard and felt along the eastern shoreline were caused by military fighter jets conducting tests, officials said.

An F-35C, which has a top speed of nearly 1,200 mph, and an F-18 from Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland were conducting supersonic testing off the coast Thursday afternoon, according to a Navy spokeswoman.

Residents reported hearing loud booms and feeling the ground and buildings shake from New Jersey to Long Island. The booms were heard as far away as Connecticut.

[FULL ARTICLE]

McCain praises A-10

By Joe Ferguson
January 16, 2016

Arizona Sen. John McCaincredits the fight against the ISIS terror group for postponing the retirement of the military’s A-10 Thunderbolt II jet, which has a huge presence at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

‘If you had to give the majority of credit somewhere, I would give it to Mr. Baghdadi in ISIS, because we had to go into Syria. We had to go after ISIS. The A-10 is still the most capable weapon to do that,’McCain, R-Arizona, told the Arizona Daily Star during a meeting Friday, citing the head of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

‘This is probably the first and last time that I am in league with Mr. Baghdadi.’

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lawmaker requests funding for A-10 replacement

By Lara Seligman
January 28, 2016

WASHINGTON — Ahead of President Barack Obama’s budget rollout next week, an influential Air Force pilot-turned lawmaker called on the commander-in-chief and his defense secretary to request full funding for the legacy A-10 until plans for its replacement take shape.

“As you finalize the Department of Defense’s (DOD) budget request for fiscal year 2017, I ask that you fully fund the A-10 ‘Warthog’ in a manner consistent with Congressional intent,” Rep. March McSally, R-Ariz., a retired Air Force colonel with 325 hours flying the A-10 in Iraq and Afghanistan, wrote in a Jan. 28 letter to Obama and Defense Secretary Ash Carter. “Because there is no replacement for these unique and crucial capabilities, either currently available or in development, we must maintain and improve the A-10 fleet until a real A-10 replacement exists.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Countdown to operational F-35

By Phillip Swarts
December 28, 2015

After 15 years in development and a planned $1.5 trillion investment in the program, the Air Force’s divisive, longawaited fifth-generation fighter is expected to finally be ready for limited operations in 2016.

Once the F-35 Lightning II, built by Lockheed Martin, reaches initial operating capability, the Air Force will have the advanced stealth aircraft leaders say the service desperately needs to replace aging F-15s and F-16s and bolster the curtailed buy of F-22s.

Here’s what you need to know:

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lockheed Martin says F-35 is back on track

By Thad Moore
December 14, 2015

PINELLAS PARK — Daniel Conroy knows the F-35 Lightning II program has had its problems, delayed for years and costing far more than first expected.

But the Pentagon’s ambitious fighter jet project is finally back on track, says Conroy, director of the Air Force F-35 program for Lockheed Martin, which is building the plane.

“The program has been challenging, flight test has been difficult, but we’ve worked through a lot of issues,” Conroy said Monday at Lockheed Martin’s facility here. “We can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Handshake agreement on F-35 engine

By Lara Seligman
January 15, 2016

WASHINGTON – The Pentagon and engine maker Pratt & Whitney have reached a handshake agreement on the ninth and tenth batches of F135 engines to power the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the department announced today.

The ninth and tenth low rate initial production (LRIP) contracts will cover 66 and 101 engines, respectively, according to a Jan. 15 statement from the Joint Program Office.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Industry Rethinking how to build military aircraft

By Sandra I. Erwin
January 18, 2016

PALMDALE, Calif. — “Exploratory teams” of government officials periodically are seen in this part of southern California, checking the pulse of the aerospace industry at a time when the Pentagon is under growing pressure to innovate and can no longer afford to do business as usual.

The changing defense market is putting the squeeze on companies that design and build cutting-edge aircraft. The focus is now on rapid prototyping and other techniques that let buyers experiment with new systems before they commit to major investments.

“I’ve been hearing about a paradigm shift,” says Kevin Mickey, vice president of advanced design at Northrop Grumman.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-22 and F-35 can’t share data

By Phillip Swarts
December 14, 2015

If the Air Force wants to be effective in future conflicts, it must rethink the way it handles electronic warfare, a retired general said Dec. 1.

“Currently there’s no data link between the F-22 and F-35 that would allow them to share targeting data,” said retired Lt. Gen. David Deptula. “Instead, these two fifth-gen aircraft — built by the same company, I might add — operate separate networks riding on proprietary links.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 production may have to slow

By Aaron Mehta
December 14, 2015

ThePentagonexpectstomake“disproportionate” cuts to modernization and research and development funding in its fiscal 2017 budget request, while personnel and readiness remain stable, according to the department’s top acquisition official. Those cuts may well include a slowdown in F-35 production.

Overall, the cuts could slow down the much ballyhooed “Third Offset” strategy, identified by Defense Secretary Ash Carter as key to maintaining America’s military technological dominance.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Boise airport noise concerns

BY SVEN BERG
DECEMBER 23, 2015

Some Boiseans believe the deciders have made up their minds to bring louder military jets to Boise.

Many of these people live near the airport, so they’d be most affected by the noise. They suspect their concerns don’t matter to the city government, Idaho Air National Guard and U.S. Air Force. When the authorities reach out and ask for their opinions, they think it’s just for show.

“I don’t like that — the feeling that we’re being manipulated,” said Monty Mericle, who lives on Meriwether Drive just north of the Boise Airport’s runways.

Countdown to operational F-35

By Phillip Swarts
December 28, 2015

After 15 years in development and a planned $1.5 trillion investment in the program, the Air Force’s divisive, longawaited fifth-generation fighter is expected to finally be ready for limited operations in 2016.

Once the F-35 Lightning II, built by Lockheed Martin, reaches initial operating capability, the Air Force will have the advanced stealth aircraft leaders say the service desperately needs to replace aging F-15s and F-16s and bolster the curtailed buy of F-22s.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Network of Communities Oppose Military Expansion on Public Lands

The network of communities standing up to current and proposed military activity continues to grow. Organizers from many communities share information, undertake joint projects and focus on the need for fiscal and programmatic accountability from the Pentagon.

Join us in demanding accountability from the Pentagon. It is past time for the Pentagon to pass an audit like every other federal agency. A recent study by Reuters found that the Pentagon cannot document what happened to more than $8 trillion in taxpayer money dating back to 1996.

[FULL ARTICLE]

USAF denies seeking more F-16 or F-15 combat jets

BY: JAMES DREW
November 25, 2015

The US Air Force has denied any plans to purchase another tranche of Lockheed Martin F-16 or Boeing F-15 combat jets following reports it could seek bids for up to 72 new aircraft.

According to comments attributed to a senior US Air Combat Command official at an international fighter conference in London last week, the current Lockheed F-35 procurement plan could prove unaffordable, and another fighter wing of F-15s, F-16s or perhaps even F/A-18s is being considered to supplement the current fleet – which will serve into the 2040s as F-35s are delivered.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Netherlands Prepare for F-35

By Tony Osborne
Dec 8, 2015

With plans to purchase just 37 aircraft, the Netherlands fleet of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters (JSF) is likely to be one of the world’s smallest. Yet the fighter’s introduction is seen as a catalyst for change, transforming not only the way the Netherlands thinks about airpower but also prompting cohesion, with bilateral and trilateral discussions with other European operators. “We need to be suitable to operate in a modern agile and ever-changing environment,” Gen. …

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pentagon might cut 2017 F-35 Budget

By Larry Darrell
Dec 3, 2015

Lockheed Martin Corporation’s (NYSE:LMT) F-35 project has come under renewed question, as the Pentagon mulls a reduction in its budget for fiscal year 2017 (FY17). The Congress is expected to propose some budget caps that might directly impact the F-35’s budget, as the government spreads its finances toward other projects as well.

Although the total defense budget is not expected to be reduced, the F-35, among various other projects would receive reduced government spending. Frank Kendall, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, announced in an industry conference, “Dollar for dollar it probably gives us more combat capability than any other investment that we’re making, but we’ve got a lot of other things that we need to do as well.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Resident frustration with airport noise maps

BY MORGAN TRUE
November 10, 2015

SOUTH BURLINGTON — Close to 150 residents packed the gymnasium at the Chamberlin Elementary School on Monday night to take a first look at new noise exposure maps drafted by the Burlington International Airport.

The noise maps were last updated in 2006, and the draft maps released Monday are the first to account for the afterburners on the Air National Guard’s F-16 fighter jet engines.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Bernie and the Jets

by JEFFREY ST. CLAIR
NOVEMBER 13, 2015

As Clintons are wont to do, Hillary laid a political trap and Bernie Sanders, in his Schlemiel-like way, stumbled right into it. In the wake of Jeremy Corbyn’s smashing victory as the new leader of Britain’s Labour Party, Hillary’s super-PAC, Correct the Record, tarred Sanders as a Corbyn-lite renegade who has cozied up to untouchable figures like Hugo Chavez.

About a decade ago, Sanders was part of a delegation that negotiated a sensible deal to bring low-cost heating oil from Venezuela to poor families in the northeastern United States. But instead of defending his honorable role in this ex parte negotiation, Sanders wilted. In a fundraising email to his legions of Sandernistas, Bernie fumed at being “linked to a dead Communist dictator.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Bernie Sanders continues to support the military-industrial complex over Vermonters

From: “U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders” <[email protected]>

Date: November 9, 2015, 5:41:22 PM EST

Subject: Email from Senator Sanders

bernie-sanders

Thank you for contacting me about the U.S. Air Force’s decision to base the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters in South Burlington.  I appreciate the opportunity to respond to your concerns on this very important issue.

Let me begin by stating that I believe it speaks to the commendable record of the Vermont National Guard that the Air Force decided to base its newest generation of planes in South Burlington.  The Vermont Guard played a critical role responding to the September 11 attacks in New York, Tropical Storm Irene in Vermont, and Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast.  And, while I personally have deep concerns about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, there is no question that Vermont Guard members have served admirably and honorably – often at enormous personal cost – when called to active duty.

I do not want to see the role of the Vermont Air National Guard diminished or eliminated, and this decision ensures the mission of the Vermont Air Guard far into the future.  It protects the jobs and educational opportunities for more than a thousand Vermonters while securing the Guard’s significant contribution to the local economy for years to come.  Moreover, a failure to be chosen in the first F-35 basing round would have exposed the Burlington Air Guard Station to the Base Realignment and Closure process, and that is why the Vermont Guard leadership unequivocally believed the best way to ensure their mission was to get the F-35.  I supported that position.

There are residents near the airport who are very legitimately concerned about noise, and I share that concern.  Along with Senator Leahy and Congressman Welch, I have asked the Air Force to address noise concerns.  We have also urged the Guard to work closely with its airport neighbors to reduce noise to the extent possible through operational measures such as limiting afterburner use, flying at less than full military power, modifying take-off and landing patterns, etc.

And, like many Vermonters I have serious concerns about the cost of this plane.  Throughout my career, I have called for cutting military spending and rooting-out fraud, waste and corruption in the defense industry.  At the very least, I believe Lockheed Martin must cover cost overages, rather than the U.S. taxpayer. 

However, whether one likes the F-35 or not, the Air Force is moving forward with plans to replace the F-16 with the F-35.  As long as the F-35 is deployed anywhere, I would rather protect the mission of the citizen soldiers of the Vermont Guard, and maintain 1100 jobs here in Vermont, rather than in South Carolina or Florida. 

Thank you again for contacting me, and please feel free to stay in touch about this or any other subject of interest to you.  For up-to-date information on what I am working on, please sign-up for my e-newsletter, the Bernie Buzz, at http://sanders.senate.gov/buzz/.

Sincerely,

BERNARD SANDERS

United States Senator

US considers purchasing more F-15s or F-16s

By Bill Sweetman
November 19, 2015

LONDON — The U.S. Air Force may solicit bids for 72 new Boeing F-15s, Lockheed Martin F-16s or even Boeing F/A-18E/Fs as budget issues put planned production rates for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter out of reach, according to senior service and industry officials at the Defense IQ International Fighter Conference …

[FULL ARTICLE]

A-10 Retirement Could be Delayed

By Phillip Swarts
November 23, 2015

The Air Force could delay retirement of the A-10 Thunderbolt II by a few years to meet demand for close-air support missions, Gen. Hawk Carlisle, head of Air Combat Command, said Nov. 10.

“I think we would probably move the retirement slightly to the right,” he said at a Defense Writers Group breakfast. “Eventually we will have to get there. We have to retire airplanes. But I think moving it to the right and starting it a bit later and keeping the airplane a bit longer is something to consider, based on things as they are today and what we see in the future.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Bomber cost could upset F-35 plans

By Jeff Schogol
November 10, 2015

The F-35 is going to eat up so much of the Air Force’s procurement budget going forward that the service will likely have to reduce the number of joint strike fighters it buys to pay for other things, such as the Long Range Strike-Bomber, experts said on Tuesday.

As part of the Defense Department’s proposed budget for fiscal 2016, the Air Force would purchase 44 F-35s this fiscal year, 48 in fiscal 2017 and 60 each year from fiscal 2018 through 2020, budget documents show. The total procurement cost of the 1,763 F-35s is about $215 billion.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Denmark and Belgium close to F-35 decision

By Bill Sweetman
November 18, 2015

LONDON—Denmark’s government is expected to recommend the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) in December as the replacement for the F-16, according to industry executives attending the Defense IQ International Fighter …

[FULL ARTICLE]

US considers purchasing more F-15s or F-16s

By Bill Sweetman
November 19, 2015

LONDON — The U.S. Air Force may solicit bids for 72 new Boeing F-15s, Lockheed Martin F-16s or even Boeing F/A-18E/Fs as budget issues put planned production rates for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter out of reach, according to senior service and industry officials at the Defense IQ International Fighter Conference …

[FULL ARTICLE]

Canadian investment in the F-35

By Phil Stewart
November 21, 2015

But Canada, one of the nine countries in the initial F-35 partnership, pledged to invest $150 million in the program’s development when it signed up in February 2002.

Those funds would not be reimbursed if Canada exits the program. Many Canadian firms that supply parts worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Lockheed each year could also lose those orders.

 

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 fuselage delivery to Israel

By CompositesWorld
November 23, 2015

Northrop Grumman Corp. (Falls Church, VA, US) has delivered the center fuselage for the first F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to be purchased by Israel, an F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant designated AS-1. The center fuselage was produced on Northrop Grumman’s F-35 Integrated Assembly Line at its Palmdale Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence.

“The delivery of the AS-1 center fuselage is a significant addition to the growing list of allied countries that have invested in owning and fielding the fifth generation F-35 aircraft,” said Brian Chappel, vice president and F-35 program manager of Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. “It also adds momentum to the success of our highly automated Integrated Assembly Line, which is helping increase the production rate, quality and affordability of the F-35 program.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 Opponents Appeal to U.S. Supreme Court

BY MARK DAVIS
OCT 29, 2015

Opponents of the U.S. Air Force’s decision to base next-generation F-35 fighter planes at Burlington International Airport have taken their case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Activists have asked the high court to hear their appeal of a March Vermont Supreme Court ruling, which said the airport did not need to obtain state land use permits to base the new jets at the airport.

[FULL ARTICLE]

South Boise, Idaho residents concerned about F-35

BY SVEN BERG
November 7, 2015

People who live near the Boise Airport are worried the Idaho Air National Guard’s next flying mission will damage their lives, though that new mission is probably years away.

They’re worried the U.S. Air Force will replace Gowen Field’s 21 A-10s, which are low-speed warplanes designed to attack ground targets, with F-15s or F-35s.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Dougherty LTE in Boise Idaho on F-35

This appeared in today’s Idaho Statesman newspaper (Boise) and relates to the Idaho Air National Guard’s operations at the Boise airport, also known as Gowen Field.

Michael DeJulis’ letter, Oct.18, confuses me. He talks of F-15s/ F-35s “higher altitude take offs,” “turning left upon exiting the runway,” “deafening noise” and “black exhaust droplets.” I am an Air Force brat, and served 20 years in USAF working as a Crew Chief on fighters, to include the F-15. First, Gowen and the airport share the runways. Keep in mind flight patterns and traffic. The E model 15’s require afterburner longer due to take off weight. Landing requires very little throttle adjustments at or near idle, same as airliners, for proper glide slope. If Michael lives three miles away, then how does he know they don’t turn until Nampa? Black exhaust droplets? If they are from jet exhaust, airliners are now in the jet age too. After a lifetime of living, working, and parking near these jets, I have never seen such droplets on clothes, cars or houses. I have however seen ash from range fires. Now the F-35. The F-15 has two engines, F-35 has one. It can takeoff vertically. Maybe louder on vertical takeoff, landings, and hovering, which would be at Gowen, not on Michael’s street. I have yet to see it fly. Have you?

Bruce Dougherty, Mountain Home

Garritano LTE on Canadian new Prime Minister’s intention to stop participating in F-35 buy

Hooray for Canada!

Liberals have won the majority in Canada’s election which should be front page news in America. These liberals walk the walk unlike the neoliberals that have taken over our Democratic party.

Canada’s new prime minister immediately called for an end to their participation in U.S. misadventures in the Middle East and the wasteful boondoggle that is the F-35 bomber.

Decades of military failure have not changed U.S. policy only strengthened our idiotic resolve. Canada has decided to focus on domestic issues with the money saved. What a concept!

Too bad Bernie Sanders, Patrick Leahy and Peter Welch don’t see things this way. They appear to have a military industrial complex.

PETER GARRITANO

Shelburne

Andreoli LTE in Seven Days on Rabbi Chasan and Clergy opposition to F-35

[Re “Mitzvot Accomplished,” October 14]: Your article on Rabbi Chasan and his leadership of Ohavi Zedek Synagogue mentioned the 2013 open letter to U.S. senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders, Congressman Peter Welch, and Gov. Peter Shumlin, in which Chasan and 15 other area clergy and religious leaders expressed concern over the proposed basing of the F-35 stealth bomber/fighter jet in Vermont.

These spiritual leaders beseeched our political representatives to advocate on behalf of the thousands of Vermonters who will be negatively affected by the planned F-35 basing, especially middle- and low-income, minority, and refugee populations. They urged the politicians to use their influence to withdraw Burlington from this first selection process and wait until the next round of basing, by which time the F-35s would have developed a track record on their impact on safety, health and property values.

Sadly, the politicians did not listen and they refused to meet with the clergy or any of those who would be impacted by the basing!

Then in February 2015, Rabbi Chasan and 45 other religious leaders again contacted these representatives to ask for a delay in the basing. “Common sense would direct the placement of these planes to airports with far fewer people in the vicinity; far fewer children whose young ears would be blasted, their learning disrupted,” Chasan said.

And again they were ignored. Shame on our elected officials for refusing to even discuss the clergy’s concerns about the morality and the social justice impacts of the F-35 on the poor and marginalized.

My sincere gratitude and heartfelt appreciation to Rabbi Chasan for repeatedly speaking out about this planned injustice to our residential communities.

Eileen Andreoli
Winooski

Navy to continue buying F-18 because F-35 is delayed

BY: JAMES DREW
NOVEMBER 5, 2015

US Navy officials have reaffirmed plans to procure an additional 24 to 36 Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets through fiscal year 2018 while also boosting F/A-18C life-extension rates, primarily due to delays in fielding the carrier-based Lockheed Martin F-35C.

Boeing has been trying desperately to shore up Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler production in St Louis, Missouri, but the company’s difficulty in securing international sales has raised doubts.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lockheed gets $5.37 billion for F-35

By Christopher P. Cavas
November 4, 2015

WASHINGTON — With a preliminary agreement in hand, negotiations between Lockheed Martin and the Pentagon for the Joint Strike Fighter Lot IX Joint Strike low-rate initial production contract continue, and a final agreement is expected next month, JSF Joint Program Office spokesman Joe DellaVedova said Wednesday.

Under an “undefinitized contractual action” (UCA) agreed on Tuesday, $625 million in fiscal year 2015 money is being moved to Lockheed to cover company expenses spent thus far on the Lot IX aircraft. The full contract is being negotiated under a not-to-exceed limit of $5.37 billion.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Trump confuses B-3 with F-35

Trump Confuses Long Range Strike Bomber With F 35  VIDEO    The Daily CallerBy STEVE GUEST
November 5, 2015

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who claims to be the “the best in terms of the military,” confused the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program with the B-3 Long Range Strike Bomber program.

Radio host Hugh Hewitt asked Trump if America needs a strategic bomber or “should we just stick with submarines and missiles?” Trump then criticized the beleaguered F-35 program.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pentagon Re-considers F-35 Buy

By ANA RADELAT
November 5, 2015

WASHINGTON — For years, the Pentagon was inflexible when talking about the number of F-35s it wants to buy — 2,443 — pushing back against any suggestions that it should trim that shopping list. But no more.

The high price tag of the F-35, a Lockheed Martin aircraft whose engine is made by Pratt & Whitney, based in East Hartford, Conn., has made some Pentagon officials consider whether the Defense Department can afford as many of the Joint Strike Fighters as they had once planned.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Trump wants to fire F-35

By Tyler Rogoway
October 30, 2015

Presidential candidate Donald Trump is finally offering some specifics when it comes to defense policy, and on conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt’s program today he floated the possibility of cancelling the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program if he gets elected.

According to the Air Force Times, Trump said: “When they say that this cannot perform as well as the planes we already have, what are [we] doing, and spending so much more money?” He continued, “I do hear that it’s not very good… I’m hearing that our existing planes are better. And one of the pilots came out of the plane, one of the test pilots, and said this isn’t as good as what we already have.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

UK to buy more F-35s

By Gareth Jennings
November 3, 2015

The United Kingdom has signed up for a further six operational Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft, in addition to the four already contracted last year.

The six new F-35Bs form part of the Lot 9 production contract, which was awarded by the US Department of Defence (DoD) on 3 November. The UK had ordered its first four operational aircraft as part of the Lot 8 production contract announced in November 2014.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 fires gun for the first time

By Lara Seligman
November 2, 2015

WASHINGTON — For the first time, a US Air Force F-35 fighter jet has successfully fired its internal gun from the air.

The aerial gun test marks another milestone in the Pentagon’s effort to certify the F-35A’s internal 25mm Gatling gun. Lockheed Martin released avideo Monday of F-35 test pilot Maj. Charles “Flak” Trickey firing the first aerial gun burst from the four-barrel weapon.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lockheed promotes F-35 Lead

By Lara Seligman
October 29, 2015

WASHINGTON — In a major leadership change for Lockheed Martin’s F-35 program, the company has promoted Lorraine Martin while naming her deputy to succeed her as F-35 lead.

Martin has been promoted to the newly created position of deputy executive vice president for mission systems and training, while Jeff Babione will succeed her as executive vice president and general manager of the F-35 program, effective Jan. 1, Lockheed Martin announced Thursday.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Trump wants to Fire the F-35

By Phillip Swarts
October 30, 2015

Donald Trump wants to tell the F-35 that it’s fired.

The businessman and Republican presidential candidate questioned the wisdom of purchasing the joint strike fighter during an appearance on a conservative radio talk show Oct. 22.

“When they say that this cannot perform as well as the planes we already have, what are [we] doing, and spending so much more money?” Trump said during an appearance on the Hugh Hewitt radio show.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 Helmet is Too Heavy

By Phillip Swarts
November 2, 2015

The F-35 helmet is back in the news again, after Defense News, sister publication of Air Force Times, reported that F-35 pilots weighing under 136 pounds have been grounded due to concerns with the plane’s ejection seat.

Tests showed that a lighterweight pilot’s neck could snap during an ejection at slow speeds. While the ejection-seat issue is separate from the helmet, there are concerns that the heavy headgear is contributing to the problem of neck injuries during ejections.

“What we found was if the pilot has a helmet on his head or her head and that helmet weighs more than 4.8 pounds, then the neck loads on that light-weight pilot — by a very little bit — exceed what we would consider to be perfectly safe,” said Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, program executive officer for the F-35 Joint Program Office. “Today our helmets weigh about 5.4 pounds, so we’re talking about six ounces of weight to get out of the helmet,” Bogdan told the HouseArmed Services subcommittee on tactical air and land forces Oct. 21. “We need a lighter helmet, it’s as simple as that.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Airmen See Better Ways to Spend Scarce Resources

By Phillip Swarts
November 2, 2015

Questions about the cost of the F-35 helmet come at a time when budget pressures have forced the Air Force to make radical cuts to end strength, modernization and training. The result is a concern that more than half of the force is “not sufficiently ready” for highend battle, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said.

What’s more, due to forced drawdowns, airmen are struggling to keep up with the pace required to keep planes in the air after more than a dozen years of war.

The result is a weary force aching for a break. That’s led some airmen to look for expensive projects that siphon off the resources they could use to spread the workload, get the proper training — or just relax a bit.

[FULL ARTICLE]

McCain: Have to Reduce F-35 Total Buy

By Aaron Mehta
November 2, 2015

The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, John McCain, R-Ariz., said Oct. 21 the U.S. will have to cut the numbers of F-35 fighter jets it will purchase.

In a brief comment to reporters, McCain seemed to signal that the total projected buy for the Pentagon’s most costly and ambitious program — 2,443 in total, spread across three models for the Air Force, Marines and Navy — is out of whack with budget realities. He said that cost growth in the program will mean fewer jets overall.

“We’re going to have to reduce the buy,” he said. “The number they are now quoting — there’s just not going to be that many.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 Helmet Costs $400,000

By Phillip Swarts
November 2, 2015

When the Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35 Lightning II, finally takes to the skies on its first official mission, it will be one of the most advanced and one of the most expensive planes ever.

And the pilots flying the aircraft will be wearing the most advanced and most expensive helmet ever.

The helmet will give pilots quicker access to the information they need to see and has special cameras to “see” through the bottom of the plane. But it will cost an estimated $400,000 per helmet — more than four times as much as the Air Force paid for head wear for other aircraft such as the F-16.

Helmets for all the F-35s scheduled to be purchased will cost at least $1billion, Air Force Times estimates.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pilots praise survivability and stealth of F-35

By Phillip Swarts
October 5, 2015

Some pilots who have flown the F-35 Lightning II say its capabilities are “unmatched.”

“This is by far the easiest airplane I’ve ever flown in my life,” said Col. Todd Canterbury, chief of the F-35 Integration Office Operations Division, during a Sept. 18 showing of the aircraft at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.

“What does that mean? That means that I can now focus on the battlefield, focus on the tactics at hand, rather than try to manipulate and fly the aircraft to where I need it to be,” Canterbury said. “The increased situational awareness that this brings increases my survivability on the battlefield. That’s really what it’s all about. It’s protecting the men and women that are going to fly these airplanes every single day and bringing themback home safely.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

AF to airmen: Defend the F-35

By Phillip Swarts
October 5, 2015

Air Force leaders are telling airmen to “explain why we need the F-35,” according to a leaked internal document from Secretary Deborah Lee James’ office.

The eight-page internal memo, marked “Not for Public Release,” gives airmen a step-by-step guide on how to “debunk false narratives and inaccuracies reflected in news media reporting” about the military’s controversial new plane.

[FULL ARTICLE]

AF tests ways to help F-35 survive in dogfights

By Phillip Swarts
October 5, 2015

Though designed for long-range engagements, there may be times when the F-35 Lightning II will be forced to get visual confirmation of a target, said Gen. Hawk Carlisle, the head of Air Combat Command.

“Will there ever be a time where you’ll have to put your eyeball on somebody to make sure he’s what you think he is? There may well be,” Carlisle said during a Sept.18 speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 ejection seat fears ground lightweight pilots

By Lara Seligman
October 12, 2015

Concerns about increased risk of injury to F-35 pilots during lowspeed ejections have prompted the military services to temporarily restrict pilots who weigh less than 136 pounds from flying the aircraft, Defense News, a sister publication of Air Force Times, has learned.

During August tests of the ejection seat, built by Martin-Baker, testers discovered an increased risk of neck injury when a lightweight pilot is flying at slower speeds. Until the problem is fixed, the services decided to restrict pilots weighing under 136 pounds from operating the plane, Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, F-35 integration office director, told Defense News in a Sept. 29 interview.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Full-year CR could stifle modernization

By Lara Seligman
October 12, 2015

Top Air Force officials have continued to hammer home the message that if the Pentagon is forced to operate under a stopgap spending measure next year, the service’s ability to buy new aircraft and modernize its existing fleet is in peril.

Congress passed a 10-week continuing resolution Sept. 30 to keep the government operating until Dec. 11. But if the next step is a fullyear continuing resolution, the Air Force’s nightmares may come true.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lockheed Martin contracted to deliver Block 3F software for F-35

By Gareth Jennings
September 1, 2015

Lockheed Martin has been contracted to deliver Block 3F software for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter for the US and UK militaries.

The USD311.4 million contract announced by the Department of Defense (DoD) on 1 September covers delivery of the aircraft’s full combat software to the US Air Force (USAF) (46{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}), US Marine Corps (USMC) (27{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}), US Navy (20{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}), and the United Kingdom (7{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}). According to the notification, work is expected to be competed in September 2021.

The F-35’s software and capability blocks are broken down into Block 1A – initial training, Block 1B – advanced training 1, Block 2A – advanced training 2, Block 2B (initial combat capability), Block 3i (initial full capability), and Block 3F (full combat capability).

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lockheed Martin, Roketsan to develop cruise missile for F-35s

By Richard Tomkins
Sept. 17, 2015

LONDON, Sept. 17 (UPI) — A mid-range standoff cruise missile for use on F-35 fighters is being developed by Lockheed Martin and its Turkish partner, Roketsan.

The SOM-J will feature GPS guidance, aided by inertial, terrain-referenced and image-based navigation systems and an imaging infrared seeker. It will be based on the SOM missile developed by the Defense Research and Development Institute of Turkey and operational with the Turkish Air Force.

[FULL ARTICLE]

The Department of Defence can neither close bases nor keep them working

THE cinema at Dyess Air Force Base, in central west Texas, is a splendid facility. It is entirely free for airmen and their families. Outside, there is a smart café selling snacks, sodas and, in the evenings, when children are not present, alcohol. Yet for more than two years, this centre for social life on the base sat empty, because it did not have the equipment to project films. Just a few months after the air force paid a hefty sum to refurbish the building, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, the government-owned firm which ran the cinema, switched from analogue to digital distribution of films. When it did so, it decided it could not afford to buy a new digital projector for Dyess.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Norway, Australia Team To Upgrade Missile for F-35

By Lara Seligman
September 21, 2015

FORT WORTH, Texas — Norway and Australia have minted a deal to develop a new seeker capability for the Joint Strike Missile, a core weapon planned for integration onto Norway’s F-35.

Under the Sept. 15 agreement, Australia will finance the development of a new RF-seeking capability, which will enable the missile to locate targets based on electronic signature. BAE Australia will develop and integrate the capability, according to a Sept. 21 statement from Norway’s Ministry of Defense.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Dutch MOD, P&W sign contract to stand up F135 maintenance site

BY: JAMES DREW
SEPTEMBER 22, 2015

The Dutch Ministry of Defence has formalised an agreement with Pratt & Whitney to establish an organic F135 engine maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade (MRO&U) shop at the Royal Netherlands Air Force’s Woensdrecht Logistics Centre with the goal of supporting Lockheed Martin F-35 operations by 2019.

The depot at Woensdrecht Air Base currently maintains the Pratt-built F100 powerplant for the F-16 and is now preparing for the introduction of the F135-powered F-35.

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

Finmeccanica-Selex ES to provide F-35 targeting systems

By Michael Peck
September 21, 2015

Finmeccanica–Selex ES has been awarded a contract by Lockheed Martin to provide advanced targeting lasers for the F-35.

Finmeccanica-Selex will supply 165 lasers for the F-35’s electro-optical targeting system (EOTS), according to a company news release.

“The laser, integrated into the EOTS, allows fighter aircraft crews to perform precision ranging and targeting functions,” Finmeccanica-Selex said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Italian KC-767 Air-To-Air Refueling Tests With F-35A

By Guy Norris
Sep 21, 2015

Aviation Week was invited to observe one of the final air-to-air refueling tests in the recently completed program to certify the Italian air force Boeing KC-767 tanker with the U.S. Air Force’s Lockheed Martin F-35A. Given the imminent flight of the first military-configured KC-46A Boeing tanker for the Air Force, the Italian testing also attracted wider interest as a useful preview of what to look out for when the U.S. begins tests of its own new tanker.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lockheed Martin unveils first Royal Norwegian Air Force F-35A

By Dario Leone
September 24, 2015

The aircraft, designated AM-1, represents an important production milestone for both the F-35 program and the Norwegian Armed Forces, where 52 Lightning IIs are expected to replace the Royal Norwegian Air Force ageing F-16s, bringing the country national defense into a new era.

Norwegian Minister of Defense, Her Excellency Ine Eriksen Søreide, who was the guest of honor at the event, remarked the importance of the Lightning II for the future of Norwegian Armed Forces. She pointed out in fact that, being a 5th generation aircraft, the F-35 is the only platform able to give Norway the capabilities to face future surface and airborne threats.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Norway’s Defence Review Underscores F-35 Commitment

By Lara Seligman
October 5, 2015

Norway’s ministry of defence is using a strategic defence review to push for significant funding increases for the country’s armed forces, as well as underscore the importance of the F-35 joint strike fighter to the Norwegian Air Force.

Presenting the review last week, Norwegian Chief of Defence Adm. Haakon Bruun-Hanssen reconfirmed Norway’s support for the F-35 program, saying he intends to stick to the full 52-aircraft buy. The F-35 provides a number of unique capabilities that no other platform can offer, Bruun-Hanssen said, according to an Oct. 2 statement from the Norwegian F-35 program office.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lockheed considering laser weapon concepts for F-35

BY: JAMES DREW
OCTOBER 6, 2015

Lockheed Martin’s F-35 has not yet seen combat, but already the defence manufacturer is exploring “concepts” for installing and employing a high-power fibre laser weapon on the new-generation combat jet for shooting down missiles and other airborne threats.

The company believes it finally has the right technology to produce modular and scalable fibre laser weapons for trucks, ships and aircraft, and a high-power, 60kW example will enter production for the US Army later this month.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Northrop builds first F-35 centre fuselage for assembly in Japan

BY: JAMES DREW
OCTOBER 6, 2015

Northrop Grumman has built the first F-35 centre fuselage destined for Japan’s domestic joint strike fighter assembly plant, operated by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI).

The company says the centre fuselage is the core of AX-5, Japan’s fifth example, and will become the first to enter Japan’s Nagoya final assembly and checkout plant instead of prime contractor Lockheed Martin’s facility in Fort Worth, Texas.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lasers Could Be Coming To The F-35

BY PATRICK TUCKER
OCTOBER 6, 2015

Lockheed Martin’s new modular fiber lasers now convert fully 40 percent of input energy to output, which means that — along with advances in manufacturing, targeting, and size-weight-power minimization — the company’s now talking about putting a laser weapon on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

“We are absolutely looking at concepts for integration,” Robert Afzal, the company’s senior fellow of laser systems and sensors, told reporters yesterday.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Alcoa supplying parts for military jets under $1.1B pact with Lockheed Martin

By Alex Nixon
Oct. 7, 2015

Alcoa Inc. landed a $1.1 billion contract to supply titanium parts to Lockheed Martin for the military’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet program.

Alcoa said the nine-year deal was enabled by its $1.5 billion acquisition of Moon-based titanium manufacturer RTI International Metals this year.

It’s the second high-profile win for Alcoa’s fast-growing parts manufacturing business this week. The company on Monday said it secured a $1 billion contract to supply fasteners to airplane maker Airbus.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Election Will Determine Canadian Role in F-35 Program

By David Pugliese
October 11, 2015

VICTORIA, British Columbia — Whether Canada withdraws from the F-35 program will be decided next week as Canadians select a new political party to form the country’s next government.

Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau says if elected on Oct. 19, his government would remove Canada from the F-35 program and select a less costly aircraft to replace the Royal Canadian Air Force’s CF-18 fighter jets. The savings from such a move would be redirected into naval shipbuilding, according to Trudeau.

[FULL ARTICLE]

General Blasts A-10 vs. F-35 Debate as ‘Ludicrous’

By Richard Sisk
September 15th, 2015

Air Force Gen. Herbert. J. “Hawk” Carlisle said Tuesday the raging debate over whether the A-10 or the F-35 is better equipped to perform close air support was totally missing the point on the future of the mission.

“What we’ve got to talk about is how you do UCAS (unconventional close air support) better,” rather than which aircraft can do it better, the head of Air Combat Command said. “The discussion of what platform is going to replace the A-10 is ludicrous. We have to talk about how to do it better, and we do it better with technology.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Canada’s Liberals Against F-35 Purchase

Agence France-Presse
September 20, 2015

OTTAWA, Canada— Canada’s Liberal leader Justin Trudeau said on the campaign trail Sunday that he would scrap the purchase of F-35s — the apparent frontrunner to replace the nation’s aging fleet of fighter jets.

“We will not buy the F-35 fighter jet,” he told a rally in Halifax ahead of Oct. 19 elections.

Taking Lockheed Martin’s F35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters off the table would leave Ottawa with three options: the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Dassault Rafale and Boeing’s Super Hornet.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Kendall: Canadian Suppliers Will Continue To Support F-35

By Lara Seligman
September 23, 2015

FORT WORTH, Texas — Amid renewed questions about Canada’s commitment to the F-35 fighter jet, the Pentagon’s top acquisition official said the Canadian supply base will remain an essential part of the program, even if the nation does not buy the aircraft.

“I believe those suppliers are part of the team, I don’t see any reason why they would not continue to be part of the team whether Canada [buys jets] or not,” Frank Kendall, the Pentagon’s undersecretary of defense for acquisition, told reporters here during a ceremony to celebrate the roll out of Norway’s first F-35. “We make our decisions on participation based on best value, and if Canadian firms are still best value, then they will be part of the program.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Increase Air Force budget or face consequences: Column

By Deborah Lee James
September 25, 2015

At a time when our nation is slashing defense budgets, we face a security environment that is extraordinarily complex and volatile, and our Air Force is busier than ever.

Over the last year, 25,000 Airmen deployed in support of contingencies around the world. They flew almost 20,000 close air support missions and dropped over 3,800 bombs with a 99{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} hit rate. Airmen flew more than 100,000 mobility and tanker sorties offloading almost 200 million gallons of fuel to joint and coalition forces and performed over 900 medical evacuations, including critical lifesaving surgeries in flight. Airmen collected and analyzed 18 million images and 1.6 million hours of video garnered by our air patrols, performed over 9,000 cyber operations protecting critical networks and launched 11 space missions.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Baloney Meter: Will cancelling F-35 ‘crater’ the Canadian aerospace industry?

By The Canadian Press
September 22, 2015

OTTAWA — “He’s not giving shipbuilding anything; he’s merely talking about cratering our aerospace industry, which is, as I say, bad policy…. I don’t understand where they’re going with this.” — Conservative Leader Stephen Harper on Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s promise to scrap the F-35 stealth fighter program and channel the savings into naval shipbuilding.

One of the cornerstones of the Liberal defence policy is to formally opt out of the Conservative government’s plan to acquire 65 F-35 stealth fighter jets to replace the Air Force’s aging fleet of 1980s vintage CF-18s.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lockheed considering laser weapon concepts for F-35

BY: JAMES DREW
OCTOBER 5, 2015

Lockheed Martin’s F-35 has not yet seen combat, but already the defence manufacturer is exploring “concepts” for installing and employing a high-power fibre laser weapon on the new-generation combat jet for shooting down missiles and other airborne threats.

The company believes it finally has the right technology to produce modular and scalable fibre laser weapons for trucks, ships and aircraft, and a high-power, 60kW example will enter production for the US Army later this month

[FULL ARTICLE]

Election Will Determine Canadian Role in F-35 Program

By David Pugliese
October 11, 2015

VICTORIA, British Columbia — Whether Canada withdraws from the F-35 program will be decided next week as Canadians select a new political party to form the country’s next government.

Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau says if elected on Oct. 19, his government would remove Canada from the F-35 program and select a less costly aircraft to replace the Royal Canadian Air Force’s CF-18 fighter jets. The savings from such a move would be redirected into naval shipbuilding, according to Trudeau.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Competition in Canadian fighter jet project would benefit taxpayers, industry, says former procurement chief

By DAVID PUGLIESE
October 4, 2015

On Sept. 24 Richard Shimooka had an opinion piece in the National Post arguing that the F-35 is still the best bet for Canada. He stated that a competition would be a costly and largely pointless process “with the outcome likely to be the reselection of the F-35.”

 

Alan Williams, who signed the original MOU committing Canada to the research and development aspect of the F-35 disagrees.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pentagon Testing Office Calls Foul on F-35B “Operational Test”

By: Mandy Smithberger and Dan Grazier
September 14, 2015

The Marine Corps triumphantly declared its variant of the F-35 combat ready in late July. In the public relations build-up, the recent demonstration of its performance on the USS Wasp was heralded as a rebuttal to the program’s critics. But a complete copy of a recent memo from the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E)—obtained by the Project On Government Oversight through the Freedom of Information Act—reveals that a number of maintenance and reliability problems “are likely to present significant near-term challenges for the Marine Corps.”

The Marine Corps named this demonstration “Operational Test One,” but it turns out it wasn’t actually an operational test, “in either a formal or an informal sense of the term.” To count as an operational test, conditions should closely match realistic combat conditions. But DOT&E found the demonstration “did not—and could not—demonstrate that Block 2B F-35B is operationally effective or suitable for use in any type of limited combat operation, or that it was ready for real-world operational deployments, given the way the event was structured.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Comparison tests to pit A-10 Warthog vs. new F-35 fighter

One of the biggest battles between Congress and the Pentagon during the past year has been over a snub-nosed grunt of an airplane, a jet so ugly (and fierce) it’s nicknamed the “Warthog.”

It is beloved by the troops, particularly those who have been saved when the A-10 Thunderbolt II, and its huge 30mm cannon, swooped in to save them in combat.

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

Carlisle: F-35s won’t dogfight, F-22s will

By Phillip Swarts
September 16, 2015

The F-35 Lightning II will excel at air interdiction, but was not created to engage in visual dogfights, according to Gen. Hawk Carlisle, the head of Air Combat Command.

The general’s comments at the annual Air Force Association’s Air and Space Conference came in response to a series of reports that have criticized the F-35’s inability to win dogfights with current fourth-generation aircraft.

[FULL ARTICLE]

China’s Copycat Jet Raises Questions About F-35

BY MARCUS WEISGERBER
SEPTEMBER 23, 2015

New technical specs about China’s new J-31 fighter, a plane designed to rival the American-made F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, popped up on a Chinese blog last week. So who has the advantage — the U.S. or China?

[FULL ARTICLE]

The F-35 Is Still the Worst Military Investment Ever

BY CHARLES P. PIERCE
October 1, 2015

​It’s been a while since we checked in on the F-35, the Flying Swiss Army Knife, which may be a floor wax or a dessert topping, but which sure as hell isn’t an viable aircraft, but is one of the epic money pits of all time, even by Pentagon standards, which are higher than the plane thus far has been able to get off the ground. How are things going, anyway?

China’s twin-engine design bears a striking resemblance to the single-jet F-35. Still, the Joint Strike Fighter is expected to fly slightly farther and carry a heavier load of weapons, according to the data, which was first reported by Jane’s.

[FULL ARTICLE]

More Bad News for the F-35, the Plane That Ate the Pentagon

BY JONATHAN BRODER
September 30, 2015

The warplanes took off vertically, dipping and diving as they intercepted enemy aircraft, suppressed enemy fire and supported troops on the ground. Then they landed on the deck of an amphibious assault ship, in the same way they took off: vertically.

For 10 days in May off the coast of Virginia, a half dozen F-35 fighter jets tested their capabilities under what military officials called real world combat conditions. The Pentagon was trying to see if the Marine Corps’ version of the next-generation fighter plane—its most expensive weapons project ever—was ready for battle. In July, after analyzing the test results, Marine Commandant General Joseph Dunsford triumphantly declared that it was.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ten Things You Should Know About the Air Force’s F-35 Propaganda Effort

By Tony Carr
Sept 23, 2015

WASHINGTON — Recently, the Air Force’s F-35 program has been facing fresh skepticism and new scrutiny. Interestingly, it’s not the program’s trillion-dollar price tag, dubious design, or stunted development raising new doubts, but something more fundamental: senior officials speaking for the program are hemorrhaging public credibility with transparently desperate misrepresentations aimed at putting a positive face on a failing program.

Media, members of Congress, thought leaders, and even airmen themselves are growing uncomfortable with the risks lurking in the program, notwithstanding endless streams of reassuring propaganda, much of it paid for with public funds.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 Fatal Ejection Fear Riles Congress

By Lara Seligman
October 5, 2015

WASHINGTON — Concern is mounting on Capitol Hill after recent tests revealed a lightweight F-35 pilot’s neck could snap when ejecting at certain speeds.

The fears focus on the Martin-Baker US16E ejection seat. During testing of the new Generation 3 helmet this summer, testers discovered the risk of fatal neck injury when a lighter pilot ejects during slower-speed flights, according to a source with knowledge of the program. Testers discovered the ejection snapped the necks of lighter-weight test dummies, the source said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Newsweek and Washington Post Pick Up POGO’s F-35B Story

By: Daniel Van Schooten
October 5, 2015

Newsweek has followed The Washington Post in picking up our important story regarding the operational readiness of the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter. Though declared to be operational, the plane was not tested in real-world combat scenarios. The deck had been cleared, critical onboard systems had not been installed, and various other factors combined to make the test easier to pass. Used as more of a publicity stunt than any confirmation of actual combat readiness, the declaration of operational readiness is misleading.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 Fatal Ejection Fear Riles Congress

By Lara Seligman
October 5, 2015

WASHINGTON — Concern is mounting on Capitol Hill after recent tests revealed a lightweight F-35 pilot’s neck could snap when ejecting at certain speeds.

The fears focus on the Martin-Baker US16E ejection seat. During testing of the new Generation 3 helmet this summer, testers discovered the risk of fatal neck injury when a lighter pilot ejects during slower-speed flights, according to a source with knowledge of the program. Testers discovered the ejection snapped the necks of lighter-weight test dummies, the source said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

USAF: Expanded Risk of Neck Damage to F-35 Pilots

By Lara Seligman
October 19, 2015

WASHINGTON — Weeks after Defense News revealed that the military services had restricted lightweight pilots from flying the F-35 joint strike fighter, the US Air Force officially acknowledged an increased risk of neck damage during ejection to middleweight pilots as well.

In a news release issued Oct. 16, the Air Force confirmed a Defense News report that pilots under 136 pounds are currently barred from flying the fifth-generation aircraft, expected to be the backbone of American airpower for decades to come. It also acknowledged an “elevated level of risk” for pilots between 136 and 165 pounds.

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

Cost of F-35 Mentioned on The Ring Of Fire

The cost of the F-35 starts at the 6:10 minute point.

Vago’s Notebook: F-35 Progress

The challenges tend to obscure progress for major programs like the joint strike fighter, but the JSF has been on a winning streak.

[FULL VIDEO]

Canada’s Liberals Against F-35 Purchase

By Agence France-Presse
September 20, 2015

OTTAWA, Canada— Canada’s Liberal leader Justin Trudeau said on the campaign trail Sunday that he would scrap the purchase of F-35s — the apparent frontrunner to replace the nation’s aging fleet of fighter jets.

“We will not buy the F-35 fighter jet,” he told a rally in Halifax ahead of Oct. 19 elections.

Taking Lockheed Martin’s F35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters off the table would leave Ottawa with three options: the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Dassault Rafale and Boeing’s Super Hornet.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Increase Air Force budget or face consequences: Column

By Deborah Lee James
September 25, 2015

At a time when our nation is slashing defense budgets, we face a security environment that is extraordinarily complex and volatile, and our Air Force is busier than ever.

Over the last year, 25,000 Airmen deployed in support of contingencies around the world. They flew almost 20,000 close air support missions and dropped over 3,800 bombs with a 99{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} hit rate. Airmen flew more than 100,000 mobility and tanker sorties offloading almost 200 million gallons of fuel to joint and coalition forces and performed over 900 medical evacuations, including critical lifesaving surgeries in flight. Airmen collected and analyzed 18 million images and 1.6 million hours of video garnered by our air patrols, performed over 9,000 cyber operations protecting critical networks and launched 11 space missions.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Court’s Decision Ignores Serious Health Impacts – Allows Harmful “Growler” Jet Operations

By Port O Call
Aug 13, 2015

Seattle, WA Citizens claiming to be harmed by the Navy’s low-level flight operations expressed disappointment, but not surprise at U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Zilly’s denial of their Motion for an Injunction. The Citizens of the Ebey’s Reserve (COER) sought to halt the harmful F-18 “Growler” over-flights until a required Environmental Impact Statement is completed.

“We believe the judge’s decision flies in the face of the facts and common sense,” said Maryon Attwood, COER board member. “It allows the loudest jets ever built to fly low over homes and places of business while emitting hazardous levels of noise. These flights will be allowed to continue even before the Navy completes a required Environmental Impact Study to assess the harms done to people and the environment,” she added.

[Full Article]

After sprawl threatened relocation, plan to keep Oceana deemed a success

By John Holland
August 19, 2015

Predictions of doom bounced around City Hall in the summer of 2005 and landed on the front page in bold, desperate headlines. People were scared, and for good reason.

Oceana Naval Air Station and its 12,000 jobs were on the Defense Department’s critical list, threatened with closure in large part because the surrounding area had become too residential, too commercial and, ultimately, too dangerous: too dangerous for the fighter pilots who practiced landings and maneuvers that they’d use fighting two wars, and too dangerous for the residents who could be wiped out if anything went wrong on those training missions.

[Full Article]

County should approve ‘navigator’ to protect D-M

Arizona Daily Star
August 9, 2015

OUR VIEW: Appointee would advocate for area, be point person on military matters

The Pima County Board of Supervisors will consider a new economic development plan at its Tuesday meeting. Within the plan’s 14 chapters is an item that will help our community strengthen its connection to Davis- Monthan Air Force Base, the Air Force and other military operations.

The proposal to create a ‘navigator’ position as our area’s point person on military matters, similar to what other communities have done, should be approved. Our region must be forward-thinking in how we can work to protect D-M as the A-10 fighter jets are phased out and national military leaders seek to close bases.

[Full Article]

Arizona military sites may be protected by expanded public land management

by Eric Jay Toll
Jul 31, 2015

Buffering most military sites in Arizona is a banner of public land. The extra space helps preserve the multi-billion boost to the Arizona economy the military bases bring home.

Protecting the public land and military facilities has mutual benefits, according to a study by the Sonoran Institute. The organization is taking its findings to the public to help spread the word and encourage steps to maintaining both the public lands and the Arizona defense economy.

[Full Article]

F-117 Stealth Fighter Back in the Sky

By David Axe
August 24, 2015

The U.S. Air Force officially retired its 52 surviving F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighters in 2008, transferring their radar-evading attack mission to B-2 bombers, F-22s and — eventually — F-35s.

The Air Force claimed it would preserve the F-117s for future use, but it’s possible most of the Nighthawks actually wound up in a landfill inside the Air Force’s highly secure Tonopah Test Range in Nevada. But the flying branch has held on to at least two of the sensor-dodging F-117s, which first entered service in the early 1980s.

[Full Article]

First F-35 refueling by KC-767 Tanker

By: JAMES DREW
Aug 6, 2015

Italy’s F-35 programme has passed a key test, with an Italian Air Force KC-767A taker refuelling aLockheed Martin F-35A for the first time.

The milestone comes as Italy prepares to flight test its first domestically-assembled F-35A, which rolled off the Cameri assembly line in March and will eventually be flown to the US to support pilot training at Luke AFB in Arizona.

The joint strike fighter top-up took place 29 July over Edwards AFB in California, with 25 boom contacts and 7,259kg (16,000lb) of fuel offloaded to the US Air Force F-35 (AF-4).

[Full Article]

F-35 Court Hearing on Public Health Risk in Vermont

By ERIN MANSFIELD
AUG. 24 2015

RUTLAND — A group of Vermonters continued to battle the scheduled deployment of next-generation fighter jets to the Vermont Air National Guard base in federal court Monday.

Thousands have told the U.S. Air Force during a public comment period in 2013 that basing the U.S. Air Force’s F-35 fighter jets at Burlington International Airport in South Burlington would create noise problems in the state’s most densely populated area.

[Full Article]

Military Operations Damage Communities and Environment

By Steven Aftergood
Aug.11, 2015

The environmental impacts of military operations are increasingly becoming factors in the planning and execution of military activities.

“The military has a new appreciation for the interdependence between military missions, the global community, and the environment,” according to a newly revised and reissued Army doctrinal manual. See Environmental Considerations, ATP 3-34.5, August 10, 2015.

Of course, military operations by their nature are not environment-friendly. “The primary mission of the military is to fight and win wars. Warfare is destructive to humans and to the natural environment.”

[Full Article]

After sprawl threatened relocation, plan to keep Oceana deemed a success

By John Holland
August 19, 2015

Predictions of doom bounced around City Hall in the summer of 2005 and landed on the front page in bold, desperate headlines. People were scared, and for good reason.

Oceana Naval Air Station and its 12,000 jobs were on the Defense Department’s critical list, threatened with closure in large part because the surrounding area had become too residential, too commercial and, ultimately, too dangerous: too dangerous for the fighter pilots who practiced landings and maneuvers that they’d use fighting two wars, and too dangerous for the residents who could be wiped out if anything went wrong on those training missions.

[Full Article]

Lockheed Received $431 million to support F-35 Production Ramp Up

By: JAMES DREW
Aug 5, 2015

Lockheed Martin has received $431 million for special tooling and test equipment to support the ramp up of F-35 production over the coming years.

The hefty sum was awarded as a modification to the current Lot 8 production contract, and comes as Lockheed and the Pentagon negotiate the purchase of approximately 150 domestic and international aircraft in Lots 9 and 10.

[Full Article]

More F-35 Training Systems Ordered from Cubic Global Defense

By Richard Tomkins
Aug. 20, 2015

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 20 (UPI) — Cubic Global Defense is to produce and enhance the Air Combat Training System in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the company has announced.

Included in the work contracted by Lockheed Martin Aerospace is the addition of an internally mounted sub-system of the P5 Combat Training System, or P5CTS, that enables the F-35 to maintain its stealth characteristics while training.

[Full Article]

Pentagon denies F-35 numbers

By Aaron Mehta
August 25, 2015

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is not conducting a formal review of F-35 planned procurement numbers, a spokesman said Tuesday, despite comments by the incoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that indicate otherwise.

In written testimony for his nomination hearing last month, Gen. Joe Dunford seemed to signal that a review of the total projected buy of the F-35 — 2,443 in total, spread across three models for the Air Force, Marines and Navy — was underway.

[Full Article]

A-10 Standoff commentary

By John Michael Loh
August 10, 2015

The best way to resolve the interminable A-10 retirement debate is to satisfy both sides with a solution that eliminates the operational and economic arguments driving it.

The primary vocal critics of the Air Force decision to retire the A-10 close-support aircraft are Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., and freshman Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz. All three have strong ties to the A-10. Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona, is home to the largest A-10 base. Closure of the base would have serious economic impact. Ayotte’s husband is a formerA-10 pilot. McSally flew A-10s in the Air Force.

[Full Article]

Leaked F-35 Report Confirms Deficiencies

By: Mandy Smithberger and Dan Grazier
July 27, 2015

A new leaked test, which was first exposed by War is Boring, provides more evidence that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s demonstrated performance is inferior to the current fighters it is designed to replace. Specifically, the report finds that, in a series of 17 dogfights, the F-35 was consistently outmatched by an aging F-16.

An F-35A test pilot with extensive dogfighting experience in F-16s and F-15s wrote the report, detailing his cockpit observations during the January 2015 maneuvering combat tests of the F-35 against a 30-year-old F-16 at Edwards Flight Test Center in California. The report, marked for official use only (FOUO), highlighted serious concerns about the plane’s performance in this key mission.

[Full Article]

Congress must re-evaluate F-35 in light of deficiencies

By: Iulia Gheorghiu
July 28, 2015

A Project On Government Oversight (POGO) analysis of the F-35’s capabilities describes how the fighter can’t perform one of its key advertised missions—a failure that POGO says should prompt Congress and the Pentagon to conduct a complete re-evaluation of the $1.4 trillion program.

POGO’s analysis, which relied on a recent report by an F-35 test pilot, provides more evidence that the F-35’s demonstrated performance is inferior to the current fighters it is designed to replace. Specifically, the test pilot’s report, which was first cited by War is Boring, finds that, in a series of 17 dogfights, the F-35 was consistently outmatched by an aging F-16.

[Full Article]

A-10 versus the F-35

By Anthony Capaccio
August 27, 2015

Opponents of U.S. Air Force efforts to retire its A-10 have said the 40-year-old close-air support plane can outperform the Pentagon’s most advanced aircraft.

It turns out the lumbering old plane, nicknamed the Warthog, will get a chance to prove it.

The Air Force’s top general and the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester confirmed Thursday that Lockheed Martin Corp.’s new F-35 fighter, equipped with its most modern software, will be tested against the A-10 in 2018 in a comparative evaluation of their capabilities for close-air support, as well as other missions such as air-to-air combat.

[Full Article]

F-35 vs. the A-10

By Christian Davenport
August 27, 2015

One of the biggest battles between Congress and the Pentagon over the past year has been over a snub-nosed grunt of an airplane, a jet so ugly (and fierce) it’s nicknamed the “Warthog.” It is beloved by the troops, particularly those who have been saved when the A-10 Thunderbolt II, and its huge 30 mm cannon, swooped in to save them in combat.

But despite the aircraft’s revered status, the Air Force has said it has no choice but to retire the fleet at a time of budget constraints. The A-10, officials have said, is designed for a single purpose—taking out enemy ground troops at such close range—a mission that could be taken over by the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the Pentagon’s $400 billion next-generation fighter jet.

[Full Article]

The most expensive weapon in history must get more affordable – The Boston Globe

By The Editorial Board
July 30, 2015

THINKING BIG doesn’t always pay, especially when it comes to military procurement. Complex, aspirational weapons systems are irresistible to military brass, because they keep budget dollars flowing for years on end. Members of Congress like them too, especially when they can locate a manufacturing facility inside their district.

But weapons systems with too many new bells and whistles get mired in cost overruns, delays, and technical challenges. All too often, they take so long to develop that they are no longer cutting edge when they come on line. That’s the case with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, a state-of-the-art radar-eluding plane set to take to the skies this month after several years of delay. The plane, which was commissioned in 2001, has been beset with engine problems, software glitches, and flaws in its fuel system. Each issue that had to be fixed drove up the cost. Today, the F-35 costs roughly twice what the US military thought it would back in 2001.

[Full Article]

Serious Air Combat Deficiencies in F-35

By Dan Grazier and Mandy Smithberger
July 27, 2015

A new leaked test, which was first exposed by War is Boring, provides more evidence that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s demonstrated performance is inferior to the current fighters it is designed to replace. Specifically, the report finds that, in a series of 17 dogfights, the F-35 was consistently outmatched by an aging F-16.

An F-35A test pilot with extensive dogfighting experience in F-16s and F-15s wrote the report, detailing his cockpit observations during the January 2015 maneuvering combat tests of the F-35 against a 30-year-old F-16 at Edwards Flight Test Center in California. The report, marked for official use only (FOUO), highlighted serious concerns about the plane’s performance in this key mission.

[Full Article]

Last manned fighter

By Gareth Jennings
July 27, 2015

With the US Marine Corps set to declare initial operating capability for its Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) before the end of July, many are again asking if there will ever be another manned fighter, or if the JSF truly is the last of its kind.

The history of military aviation is littered with false predictions pertaining to the demise of the traditional notion of the fighter aircraft. In the United States the Vought F-8 Crusader developed in the mid-1950s was nicknamed ‘the last gunslinger’ in the mistaken belief that all fighters to follow would carry missiles only.

[Full Article]

F-35 Reliability Found Wanting

by Anthony Capaccio
July 28, 2015

The Marine Corps’ version of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 fighter demonstrated poor reliability in a 12-day exercise at sea, according to the U.S. military’s top testing officer.

Six F-35Bs, the most complex version of the Pentagon’s costliest weapons system, were available for flights only half of the time needed, Michael Gilmore, the Defense Department’s director of operational testing, said in a memo obtained by Bloomberg News. A Marine Corps spokesman said the readiness rate was more than 65 percent.

[Full Article]

China and Russia could destroy F-35 battle

By Malcolm Davis
July 26, 2015

After the leaking of a report about the recent failure of an F-35 to win in a dogfight against an F-16D, debate has intensified about the future nature of air to air combat. In a recent Strategist post, Andrew Davies identifies the importance of combining long-range air-to-air engagement using ‘Beyond-Visual Range Air to Air Missiles’ (BVRAAMs), with the advantage bestowed by stealth technology to reduce detectability of the aircraft, as well as exploiting superior sensors, information processing and electronic warfare capability.

Davies also notes that it is yet to be demonstrated how effective these capabilities will be in a future operational environment, stating “…there are reasons to wonder how effective the F-35’s bag of tricks will be into the future, especially as counter-stealth systems evolve, and I’d like to see it carry more and longer-ranged weapons…” Clearly the F-35 was designed to undertake a particular approach to air-to-air combat in mind (long-range attacks) rather than close-in dogfighting. This highlights a key question that is now generating significant debate: “Are our current assumptions about future air combat—that BVR engagement will dominate and ‘dogfights’ have had their day
“—correct?

[Full Article]

Warplanes Produce Deadly Noise

By Dahr Jamail, Truthout
July 27, 2015

“This is a public health emergency that is literally killing people.”

This stark, shocking warning about the US Navy’s war-gaming in the Pacific Northwest comes from Dr. James Dahlgren, a doctor of occupational and environmental medicine who is also a diplomat of the American Board of Internal Medicine.

He spoke with Truthout about how Navy warplanes flying in and out of Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island, as well as the Navy’s OLF [Outlying Field] Coupeville in Washington State’s Puget Sound, are generating chronic exposure to noise levels well in excess of 80 decibels.

[Full Article]

 

Secretary of the Air Force acknowledges wide range of problems with the F-35

By Richard Sisk
Jul 28, 2015

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James has admitted to a wide range of past and present problems with the F-35 while maintaining that the fifth-general will eventually guarantee the U.S. continued air supremacy over rivals.

“The biggest lesson I have learned from the F-35 is never again should we be flying an aircraft while we’re building it,” James said at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado last week.

[Full Article]

Marine Corp declares F-35B Operational

By Aaron Mehta
July 31, 2015

WASHINGTON — In a milestone for the F-35 joint strike fighter, the US Marine Corps today declared the F-35B jump-jet model to have achieved initial operational capability (IOC).

The news means that the Marines consider the F-35B model – one of three designs of the multi-role fighter — to be an active plane that can perform in operations the same way any other active aircraft in its arsenal can.

[Full Article]

Military Carbon Footprint

By Lisa Savage
July 12, 2015

I oppose wars and militarism of policing because they are morally wrong. People suffer from state-sponsored violence in their lives and I do not want to fund it, tolerate it or ignore it.

But “join me in opposing war because it is wrong” is not a very effective message in these times.

One must counter immense spending on propaganda constantly persuading fellow citizens that investment in weapons of mass destruction, and basing an economy on “security” and surveillance, makes everyone safer. Along with regularly orchestrated (and well-funded) terror events and squads designed to keep fear high.

[Full Article]

Okinawins pay residents for military aircraft noise

June 11, 2015

The Okinawa branch of the Naha District Court ordered the government on Thursday to pay some ¥754 million in damages to residents near the Futenma air base because of aircraft noise.

Some 2,200 plaintiffs who live close to the controversial U.S. base in Ginowan complained of mental distress, poor sleep and disruption to their daily lives.

[Full Article]

New F-35 Radar

By Joe Zieja
July 19, 2015

EGLIN AFB, Fla. — Lockheed Martin has announced a new, cutting-edge technology that will be outfitted in future iterations of the F-35 Lightning II, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter. The new technology, code-named “radar” may allow the fifth-generation fighter to spot other objects in the sky.

“It’s like, these beams, see?” Lauren Ramirez, spokeswoman for Lockheed Martin said during a press conference that announced the space-age technology. “And they shoot out of an invisible cannon at the nose of the aircraft. And they bounce back, and then something catches them and reads them — like two guys throwing a paper airplane back and forth, but the paper airplane has the locations of stuff in the sky on them. It’s really neat.”

[Full Article]

F-35 Flight Test Failure

By Eric Pianin
July 10, 2015

For more than a dozen years, the Pentagon has steadfastly stood behind the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program as the next generation of jet fighters for the Air Force, Navy, and Marines, despite nightmarish development problems and daunting cost overruns.

The overall cost of developing and purchasing the jets currently is projected at $400 billion, while operating and maintenance costs could boost the overall price tag to nearly $1.5 trillion in the coming years. Lockheed Martin has weathered a vast array of design problems, most recently concerns over software and its computer system’s vulnerability.

[Full Article]

Is the F-35 worth the cost?

By Zachary Cohen
July 16, 2015

Three years behind schedule and some $200 billion over its original budget, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is finally set to become operational this month.

The fighter jet has been in development for nearly 15 years, weathered half a dozen years of testing and experienced myriad hardware malfunctions and software glitches along the way. Once it’s declared ready for combat, it will be the most expensive weapons system in world history.

[Full Article]

Pentagon to purchase $47 billion F-35

By the Motley Fool
July 12, 2015

For all its troubles, Lockheed Martin’s (NYSE:LMT) F-35 joint stealth fighter remains a very popular warplane — both here and abroad.

Over the next 60 years, Lockheed Martin aims to sell as many as 5,100 F-35s to customers around the globe. And as we just learned from DoDBuzz, one single Pentagon contract could bring Lockheed 10{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} of the way toward scoring that goal.

What’s the buzz? In the course of last month’s Paris Airshow, reports DoDBuzz, Lockheed revealed that it’s currently negotiation with the U.S. Pentagon to win an order for 500 F-35 stealth fighter jets. This “block buy” of fighter jets would cover more planes than the Pentagon needs right now. In fact, it would stretch across three years’ worth of orders, from 2018 through 2021.

[Full Article]

F-35 pilot unimpressed

By Tyler Rogoway
July 13, 2015

F-35 pilot Maj. John Wilson is back in the second part of his interview with our friends at Krigeren.dk. This time the conversation moved from the F-35’s capabilities, especially those as a close air support platform, to the jet’s much-touted half a million dollar helmet with quasi-X-Ray vision, a feature the Major seems less than impressed with.

The Major’s lackluster enthusiasm for the technology is understandable. Clearly, it still has a long way to go to be fully integrated into the F-35’s concept of operations and the clarity of the F-35’s Distributed Aperture System, which has been a major sticking point in the past, along with the aircraft’s Electro Optical Targeting System (EOTS), remains a major issue.

[Full Article]

F-35 to participate in WI airshow

By Meg Jones
July 18, 2015

The military’s long-awaited, years-in-development F-35 fighter jet will roar across the skies of Oshkosh this week in its first civilian U.S. air show appearance.

Military aircraft have long been a staple at EAA AirVenture, but this year visitors can see the brand-new F-35 Lightning II as well as rare World War II planes such as a Royal Air Force de Havilland Mosquito and a Canadian Lancaster bomber, which will take part in commemorations of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

[Full Article]

F-35 Update from Colonel Greco (July 2015)

F-35 UPDATE:  Help crossing the finish line

Dear F-35 activists,

I’m writing to ask your help in crossing the finish line and completing the job many of you started back in 2010 opposing the basing of the F-35A in the midst of our residential communities.  We have been phenomenally successful, and the end of our struggle is almost in sight.

While we were unable to convince our elected officials, we DID convince the U. S. Air Force.  They were about to choose another base, until Leahy forced them to select us.  It is deplorable that despite overwhelming evidence that basing the F-35A in the Burlington area will result in grave harm to the people living near the airport, Senators Leahy and Sanders, and Representative Welsh favored the military-industrial-political complex over the people of Vermont!

So, we took legal action — perhaps not the course most of us would have chosen – but it was the only viable option available to us.  Fortunately, we have the highly respected lawyer Jim Dumont, who is working for us at a reduced rate.  Jim has developed strong arguments and strategies.  Our case is powerful, and we have a good chance of winning.  Let me explain why.

We have two ongoing lawsuits.  The first was filed against the City of Burlington for failing to have the F-35A basing reviewed under Vermont’s Act 250.  Our case was appealed to the Vermont Supreme Court, where the judges ruled against us.  But in an unprecedented move, one of the judges wrote a separate document saying (in lay-terms) that they sympathized with us; but had to rule against us, as they believe Federal government rights trump states rights, BUT that we have a good chance of winning a lawsuit if we sue under the Public Nuisance statute.  (See link below)

However, this loss was actually a win in that it gave us an incredible opportunity.

Jim Dumont was able to convince a prestigious Washington, DC legal firm, which specializes in arguing cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, to take our case – pro bonoWOW!  It is hard to over-emphasize the significance of this.  This firm routinely argues cases before the Supreme Court, and wins.  Their legal fees for a typical case are in the $350,000 range.

And, while it is astounding that they are going to handle our case pro bono, equally amazing is the fact that legal firms of this high caliber don’t take cases pro bono unless they think they can win the case.  DOUBLE WOW!   It gets even better.  Representing us before the U.S. Supreme Court is David Frederick — a former assistant U.S. Solicitor General, an expert in federal preemption law, and someone who has tried over 40 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.  He will be assisted by a team of lawyers at the Supreme Court Clinic of the University of Texas Law School. Each of these lawyers has served as a clerk to a U.S. Supreme Court justice.  To say the least, this represents an unusually high level of experience and expertise in matters before the Supreme Court.

Our second lawsuit against the Air Force is ongoing.  Jim identified nine counts in which the Air Force in its Environmental Impact Statement violated requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act.  We expect the judge to rule on our case later this year.  And, our success in getting the City of Winooski to join the lawsuit against the Air Force will definitely help.

And, we’ve had more than just legal successes.  A few months ago, over 45 members of our local clergy signed a letter and about 20 of them held a press conference, urging our elected officials to re-think their support for the F-35A basing.

But, wait… there’s morewe received more national media attention.  In January, Al Jazeera America came to Burlington to cover our story, and they broadcast it on their “America To