Although “there is no alternative” to the F-35, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said he doesn’t believe it must be acquired “at any cost.” In a press conference, Schwartz said “I don’t believe in anything ‘at any cost,’” but he quickly added that “Lockheed’s got to perform,” and the Air Force has to manage the F-35A responsibly. “We’re concerned about cost of operation,” Schwartz said, and said he’s satisfied that Lockheed Martin is taking it seriously, too. Schwartz noted that the C-17 was once “a very troubled program” and went on to be the “premiere airlift program on the planet.” Schwartz said, “I think the F-35 has the potential of following in that path.”
Three B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing flew over the Indo-Pacific alongside F-16s from the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force as part of a joint large force exercise. The mission began and ended in the continental U.S. The bombers flew 31 hours and landed Jan. 11.