The F-35 Ramp

The Air Force is hoping to buy “not less than 80” F-35s per year at the presently planned maximum rate, Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said Wednesday at a Pentagon press conference . Over the future years defense plan, he said, the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps will collectively buy “in the neighborhood of 500” F-35s, of which the Air Force share would be about 350. Schwartz wants more, though. “Ideally, we’ll be able to increase above that level,” he said. How? “It’s a matter of resources,” he said. “We’ll adjust priorities as required.” He added that programs “ebb and flow” and as one winds down, another can ramp up. “That would certainly be my expectation for the F-35,” he said. Schwartz said it hasn’t been decided yet how the service will dole out its F-35s among the various commands and Air National Guard. “That’s still a work in progress,” he said, predicting some answers will be forthcoming in about a year.