The Baseline F-35 Special Report
The F-35 represents a new approach to the development, production, system and sustainment of a fleet of combat aircraft.
Additionally, the F-35 takes an innovative approach to collaborative upgrades over the airframe and global fleet’s life cycle.
Too often an understanding of the basic aircraft rolling out of production right now is lost in the shuffle. With one exception, the jets in assembly at Lockheed Martin’s F-35 facility in Fort Worth are not test aircraft.
They are production aircraft are the immediate forerunners of the IOC USMC aircraft.
Put another way, what will the F-35B as a flying sensor system be able to do right out of the box?
And one must remember that the upgrading capability is built into the aircraft, or put another way the aircraft both as platform and FLEET is inherently upgradeable.
But not fully grasped is that the first F-35s are already superior aircraft to any plane they are designed to replace.
This report looks at the capabilities of the baseline aircraft, and is built around an interview with a senior Lockheed engineer.
It also reflects extensive leg work by the Second Line of Defense team talking with partners, industry, the USN, USMC and USAF personnel involved in shaping the F-35 program. Although there are many words flying about concerning the F-35, very few folks have actually talked to pilots, maintainers and others involved in the operations and performance of current aircraft. We certainly have and have spent many weeks, and travelled many miles doing so.
After the interview, several Lockheed White papers published on the Website are brought together to further explain and examine the key elements of the aircraft as a weapon system.
This report looks at the PLATFORM; the most transformational aspect of the program comes from the fleet consequences from operating the plane across all U.S. services as well as the partners. These aspects of transformation will be addressed in a later report, but have been written about in various articles already on the website and owes much to the visionary leadership of Secretary Wynne, Lt. General (retired) Deptula and other members of the SLD team.