The F-35 partner nations are watching the development and testing of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) very closely, Gen. Roger Brady told defense reporters on Thursday (see above). The US Air Forces in Europe commander is pressing hard to make sure his own squadrons get their aircraft concurrently with their allies—and that would mean speeding up delivery of the fifth-generation fighter. “We have nations that have planned and programmed for this, and we are trying to transition in USAFE at the same time the allies do,” he said. “It’s very important for interoperability.” From bed down procedures to training and the development of tactics, techniques, and procedures, the issue of coordinating efforts with the six F-35 partners in Europe is becoming “more of a topic of discussion than it was in the past,” Brady added. “We have to have them the same time the allies have them,” Brady said of the JSF. “I’ve been un-shy about that,” he continued and explained that he believes the upcoming defense budget will show his efforts have paid off.
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.