Air Force Magazine

Air Force Magazine

In This Issue

April 23, 2021

Check out the May 2021 issue of Air Force Magazine.

Make-or-Break Time for the F-35

Despite solid combat performance, the F-35’s high maintenance costs and ongoing parts supply problems continue to be a drag on the fifth-generation fighter aircraft, giving critics ammunition as Congress readies to receive the Biden administration’s first budget. Lockheed Martin is delivering F-35s at a rate of roughly 11 a month—about five of which go to the Air Force—and largely on schedule. Operators seem satisfied with its combat performance. But parts problems, engine support issues that will take years to correct, and an evolving performance-based logistics concept suggest a program overhaul may be coming, once the Biden administration installs its new defense acquisition team.

Master of the Globe

As the Globemaster III racks up its 4 millionth flight hour, planners ready upgrades and begin to imagine what comes next. The Air Force’s 222 C-17s are the major portion of a global fleet of 275 aircraft flown by nine nations, including an international consortium. They are the go-to airframe to transfer personnel and materiel to combat zones and remote locales around the world, enduring conditions from dirt airstrips in the Syrian desert to ice and snow in Antarctica. Air Mobility Command anticipates keeping “the Moose” relevant out to around 2060, while it develops requirements for a “family of systems” that someday will replace it.

Editorial: True Jointness Requires Hard Choices on Roles and Missions, Trusting Commanders

Jointness is not about ensuring every service gets a piece of every mission. That’s a waste of money and resources. Jointness is about using the right service component forces—at the right places at the right times. It’s about making hard choices on roles and missions and then sticking to them, trusting the joint force commanders to combine the individual service components to best meet the needs of a particular contingency. The objective: To deter and dissuade rival forces such that no foe on Earth would risk challenging the combined power and prowess of the world’s most effective armed forces.

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