Lockheed Martin appears willing to bite the bullet to bolster the F-35 program, saying last week they had discussed with top Pentagon buyer Ash Carter—who has said he wants the company to share cost and schedule pain—putting future award fees toward more test aircraft, reports Reuters. CFO Bruce Tanner told Bloomberg News that Lockheed likely would recoup those lost fees by keeping the program on schedule and possibly selling additional fighters. Meanwhile, BF-1, the first test short takeoff/vertical landing variant, which arrived Nov. 15 at NAS Patuxent River, Md., for testing, has remained on the ground pending replacement of some faulty parts, reports Aviation Week. Initial tests at Pax River, expected to begin this week, will be baby steps, with the aircraft performing shorter takeoff runs and slower landings as Marine operators build toward the aircraft’s first vertical landing, according to a USMC release.
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.