Training Begins on Stealth Jet
Image Credit: Office of the U.S. Defense Secretary

Training Begins on Stealth Jet

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The U.S. military just took a big step towards fielding a new, stealthy jet fighter that proponents say will revolutionize U.S. combat power in the Pacific. The U.S. Air Force’s training command reportedly gave approval for a pair of experienced pilots to being flying F-35A stealth fighters on limited missions in the vicinity of Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, home to the 33rd Fighter Wing. The Wing will train Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps pilots on their different versions of the fighter. The test flights, approved on Friday, are meant to pave the way for full-scale training.

The Lockheed Martin-made F-35 is still in testing at sites across the United States; the Air Force expects the jet and its pilots to be fully combat-ready no earlier than 2018. In all, the Pentagon plans to purchase around 2,500 F-35s for all three branches of the military. Foreign customers include the United Kingdom, Turkey and Japan, among many others – and potentially South Korea, depending on the results of a new fighter competition.

The F-35 is a large, complex aircraft, with sophisticated sensors, a high degree of radar and infrared stealth and, in its “B” model, the ability to take off and land vertically. Problems with testing and manufacture have delayed the F-35 program by years and added billions to its roughly $400-billion acquisition cost.

But the Pentagon is determined to stick with the controversial jet. The Obama administration’s five-year defense plan, released last month, cut back many other programs and retired 150 existing fighters, but left the F-35 plan intact. Marine Corps Commandant James Amos said there is no viable alternative to the fighter. “To do the things that our nation requires of this Marine Corps, we need this airplane.” With Marine F-35s on board, each of the Navy's nine large-deck amphibious assault ships – similar in size and appearance to a World War II aircraft carrier – can function as a back-up for the 11 full-size nuclear super-carriers, Amos said.

Robbin Laird, a prominent military analyst, wrote that the F-35 “will revolutionize air combat operations, especially in the Pacific,” where Russia and China are acquiring new fighters. In China’s case this includes the J-20 stealth fighter, and at least one aircraft carrier.

Comments
88
RONALDO
October 17, 2012 at 10:15

To that person who question China`s invention!!!! of course…many things, perhaps you are not all enough or literate enough to know about it and Lets be honest IT IS NOT AMERICANS is many renegates in the UNITED STATES which is the right name for a country; is not AMERICA and for many this is something we have to correct  once and for all, to those who suffer from grandious delusions.  AMERICA IS A CONTINENT and is very much lack of respect to call americans so many inhabitants in USA.  Americans are those real natives  from patagonia to the strech of Bering.
Any suggestion of how to call those citizens of the USA? rather than offending a mexican, Argentian , Canadian, Cuban or any other nationality within the American Continent. I would like to suggest to call them STATEMEN / STATEWOMAN OR JUST LIKE THE WAY SPPEDY GONZALEZ CALLS THEM "GRINGOS".

berlin
September 3, 2012 at 16:47

  one of the best replies i've read so far, so simple and true…

ari
March 12, 2012 at 18:46

Liang1a and John Chan has made many good points.

Just as a united China is prepared to defend itself against America and its half-proxy lackeys with an misplaced sense of “great power” ego like India in particular (Japan is not really antagonistic .. just playing kabuki for Washington’s consumption!), China is Russia’s red line against America’s aggression, as N Korea and N Vietnam was China’s red line against America.

So, let not Washington assume it has a free hand and rein to run amuck around the world, particularly the Far East as it pleases.

When the next war ignites, America’s homeland and heartland will not be spared. It might just see a global uprising against the despotic and authoritarian ‘rule” of Washington. Al Qaeda and Iranian might also take the opportunities to attack America and America interests all over the world. It seems the current bellicostic and war mongering Obama Administration is in a state of denial of the amount of hate and antagonism towards the U.S.

Not only that, it, like the way it govern itself, it is also increasingly polarizing the world for no good reason except to extend its rule by divide and conquer. Only problem is people of the world are now wise to Washington’s shenanigans. How long can it force its bullying ways through sheer physical force and incrimination via its financial and trading system?

So, as Liag1a, John Chan, even Passerby, and many others have said, Washington should re-draw its red line back to East of Hawaii and middle of the Atlantic Ocean; A red line that would be acceptable to the rest of world. And yes, close down its more than 900 military bases in more than 135 countries around the world and send its troops home.

a_canadian_observer
March 8, 2012 at 17:29

@Scdad07: English is the international language that everyone can understand. Let keep it that way.

@John Chan: Is that why your first name is non-chinese?

I bet both of you are wearing western clothing as well, instaed of chinese costumes?

a_canadian_observer
March 8, 2012 at 17:25

I’ve been watching John Chan for a while. His last 2 posts (signature rants) really meant that he had lost the debate.

Oro Invictus
March 8, 2012 at 05:06

@Cyrus

Generally I dislike simplifying my diction too much out of the fear that I may come off as condescending; instead, I generally only do so when a person specifically asks, thus reducing the risk of any unintended and inadvertent insult to said other. Personally, I don’t really see anything that “highfalutin” in my vocabulary here but, then again, I am not always the best judge of such things. Indeed, if my word-choice and grammatical structuring seems over-complicated, I apologize; my doing so is borne primarily out of psychological compulsion rather than any desire to render these proceedings esoteric in nature.

Wendy Wang
March 8, 2012 at 04:11

Liang1 is really off medicine today. His imaginary, fictional story would have you believe that China’s “mighty” copycat machine is going to churn out so many J-20 in the next 5 years that would put the American F-35 to shame…

That’s why the J-20 is still only flying a few flights every few months (just to make the domestic mass excited and proud) and with only a couple prototypes. That’s why China is now negotiating with the Russian to buy Su-35s because there are certain technology on that jet that China really really really want. Right, Liang1?

Wendy Wang
March 8, 2012 at 04:06

That’s an attempt to call a frog a cow and you know it. Your so-called attempt to calculate the “real” GDP is silly at best. China’s economy is still just barely above that of Japan and about 1/3 that of the U.S.

This is about as silly as saying China will be producing 2000 new generation fighter planes by 2015. It’s not going to happen when you are still begging the Russian to sell the Su-35.

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