Saturday, July 30, 2011

Officials say Joint Strike Fighter program is on track

by Master Sgt. Amaani Lyle, Air Force Public Affairs Agency

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The Joint Strike Fighter Program Office deputy director expressed confidence in the progress of the JSF program at an Air Force Association breakfast program here July 27.
The upgrades and acquisitions, particularly the completion of the new Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., training facility, helps to advance the fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II program, said Maj. Gen. C.D. Moore.

"The F-35 is at the nexus of concurrency where we are building production aircraft, conducting developmental tests, and starting to build a cadre of future Joint Strike Fighter maintainers and pilots," Moore said. "We're approaching the point where we (are) flight testing and delivering aircraft simultaneously ... with two at Eglin and four more in the works ... three of which at Ft. Worth, (Texas) are finished and ready to go."

He also discussed the sizeable training center located at Eglin AFB.

"The 33rd Fighter Wing ... has amazing capability that's been put in place and a 250,000-square-foot pilot and maintenance training facility," Moore said, adding that its size equates to about six football fields.

Moore described plans for Pilot Training Center-1, a future facility where the services and their international partners will be able to train and interact. The location of the center has not been determined.

The general reported that F-35 flight science testing is making good progress at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., and Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The program is building mission avionics confidence with Block 1 software. Also, AF-6 and AF-7 conventional takeoff and landing aircraft are completing maturity flights to strengthen and verify the training syllabus that will be used at Eglin AFB.

Building momentum and maintaining affordability will ensure the JSF program's longevity into 2035 and beyond, he said.

"Flight test production roll outs are helping us build confidence in this plan and the weapons system," Moore said. "Now it's just a matter of getting into a good battle rhythm in terms of production rate."

The Joint Strike Fighter Program Office is the Department of Defense's agency responsible for developing and acquiring the F-35A/B/C, the next generation strike aircraft weapon systems for the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and many allied nations.

The AFA Air Force breakfast program is a monthly series that provides a venue for senior Air Force and Department of Defense leaders to communicate directly with the public and press.

Moderating Moore's question and answer session was retired Lt. Gen. Michael Dunn, AFA's current president and chief executive officer.