Air Force Maj. Gen. Charles Davis, head of the multinational F-35 stealth fighter program, minced no words in criticizing Boeing executives for what he alleges are disingenuous attacks by the aerospace giant on the F-35. Flight reported July 14 that Davis claims Boeing is “spreading lies and half-truths” about the health of the F-35 program in a “desperate and disgraceful” attempt to bolster sales of its own forth-generation F/A-18E/F multirole fighter at the expense of the fifth-generation F-35’s international sales. Davis cited recent articles in the US and international press that quoted Boeing executives forecasting delays and significant additional cost spikes for the F-35 as the cause of his irritation, according to Flight. A Boeing official defended the company’s performance record on the F/A-18E/F program to date and the international interest it has spawned, but told the magazine that he was unaware of the specific comments that triggered Davis’ outburst. Davis earlier this year came out strongly in rebuking the analysis of the Government Accountability Office that prophesized an increase in F-35 program overall costs by $38 billion when subsequent DOD estimates showed that they actually decreased by nearly one billion dollars.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.