VIDEO: F-35 press conference at Singapore airshow



Lockheed Martin today bravely faced a packed briefing room fully of reporters inside their chalet at the Singapore Airshow. I will give Lockheed VP Steve O’Bryan credit for taking our onslaught of skepticism. It would have been easier to cancel the event given the F-35 program’s leadership and development turmoil that started on Monday. There is no other way to say it: A gap is growing between the facts we know and the statements we hear from Lockheed’s representatives. The video above provides a glimpse of the exasperation — presumably felt on both sides — as the press conference went along. 

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2 Responses to VIDEO: F-35 press conference at Singapore airshow

  1. Obamanite 3 February, 2010 at 8:06 am #

    Steve, if it was you asking that question about numbers as I believe it was, I think you are reading too much, or too little, into the putative numbers outlined in the QDR. The numbers were quite vague regarding actual, well, numbers. That is, WHAT is going to make up each of the wings mentioned in the report (the air superiority wings, after all, could be made up of thus-assigned F-35s rather than F-15s), and what about the wings NOT mentioned (training), and all the attrition, depot and testing aircraft? Where are the A-10s? Are they considered strike or ISR? Or both? Do the numbers, critically, take the ANG and AFRES into account? There are too many questions in such vague numbers. More importantly, perhaps, is the fact that the force outline would seem to apply only for the 2011 to 2015 timeframe. A more specific report on the matter may be found in the first-ever 30-year aviation plan, which quite specifically states that there will be an about 10% reduction in manned fighter and attack aircraft by 2020. According to the Air Force Times:

    “The aviation plan projects the military‚Äôs manned fighter inventory will decline ‘by 10 percent’ between 2010 and 2020. The plan envisions a combined fighter and attack aircraft fleet composed of 3,264 planes in 2011. The fleet would shrink to 2,929 by 2020, with a low point of 2,883 in 2018.”

    This is for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. Given that the F-35 will form the backbone of all three services fighter and attack fleets, it would not be unreasonable to assume that the DoD is now contemplating a similar 10% reduction in the F-35′s overall numbers, which although not insignificant, is not catastrophic, or so far fewer as the vague numbers in the QDR would seem to suggest. Now, we are talking about a plane that is slated to still be in procurement by 2030. Consider that. I don’t think anyone has the faintest idea what the US military will or will not be procuring at that point, let alone in 2036. Indeed, I will eat my shorts if UCAVs will not have totally supplanted F-35 procurement completely by 2030 at the latest.

  2. alloycowboy 4 February, 2010 at 3:39 am #

    You will be eating your shorts because once a couple UCAV’s get shot down, manned aircraft will be appealing again.

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