F-35A’s OK

The Air Force is satisfied there’s been enough time to solve concurrency problems with the F-35 strike fighter—at least with its own F-35A version, Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz told the Daily Report June 11. Asked if the slowdown and extension of the F-35’s development had been sufficient to allow the aircraft’s design to catch up to production, Schwartz answered in the affirmative “for the A model.” He quickly added, “there’s always going to be some retrofit,” and that is true for any combat aircraft. However, the F-35B and F-35C models may not be out of the woods yet, he said. “I think the other versions have some more serious issues, such as the tailhook for the C, and there’re some structural issues with the B,” said Schwartz. However, the F-35A is generally meeting Air Force expectations for this stage of the program, he said. He pointed to the recent launch of “local area operations” at the F-35 schoolhouse at Eglin AFB, Fla., as evidence of this. “We have a good sense of how it’s going,” he said. Schwartz spoke to the Daily Report on the margins of his Air Force Association-sponsored Air Force Breakfast Program speech in Arlington, Va.