Dan Crowley, Lockheed Martin’s point man for F-35 Joint Strike Fighter manufacturing, had an interesting story about the recent ups and downs of the new fighter. He told reporters visiting the Fort Worth facility that the company was asked by DOD to provide data on the cost impact of eliminating one of the three JSF variants. Those variants are (1) a conventional takeoff version for the Air Force, (2) a vertical take-off/landing model for the Marine Corps, and (3) a tailhooked carrier version for the Navy. Lockheed did as it was asked. Later, said Crowley, someone in the F-35 Joint Program Office told him the data proved that the elimination of a variant would yield, at best, only “modest” savings. Such information could—repeat, could—mean DOD has abandoned the idea of killing the Air Force version (DR 11/18/05)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.