Only half of the fighter fleet The Pentagon’s F-35 is fit for war missions, which is considered well below the 65% target set by the US Department of Defense. In addition, they are in a state of readiness that the F-35 program director describes as “unacceptable“, according to Bloomberg reports. Currently, the US fleet of stealth aircraft manufactured by Lockheed-Martin is 540 units. Worldwide, a total of 890 aircraft have already been delivered.
In February, the average monthly rate for these mission-capable fifth-generation aircraft rose to 53.1%, according to Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael Schmidt, program director. This means that the available stealth fighters can be flown for combat missions, show-of-force flights, training and testing.
A preliminary report from the US Audit Office indicates that the system of cooling of F-35 engine “is not effective enough, which leads to a reduction in engine life“. The Pentagon has recently announced that it will abandon its plans to develop a next-generation adaptive engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Instead the manufacturer Pratt & Whitney It will upgrade the existing F-135 engine so the planes have enough power to use future weapons, the Defense One website reports.
The Department of Defense and Lockheed Martin closed a $30 billion contract earlier this year to deliver up to 398 F-35 Lightning II jets. The first F-35A cost $221 million when it rolled off the production line in 2007. Since then, production quantities and know-how have increased, helping the fifth-generation fighter’s price drop to $79. million while adding clients, reports Reuters.
The F-35 is integrated into three branches of the us army. He marine corps (Marine Corps) currently operates the short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) variant and plans to purchase 353 F-35B and 67 F-35C aircraft.
The Air Force is the largest operator of the F-35 Lightning II. Plans are to acquire up to 1,763 F-35A aircraft with conventional takeoff and landing variants in the coming years. The F-35 will operate alongside the Air Force’s first fifth-generation fighter, the F-22 Raptor.
For its part, the Navy (US Navy) wants to have a total of 260 F-35C aircraft.
Lockheed Martin has had good news with the F-35 in recent months winning international bids in Finland, Switzerland and Germany. Greece and the Czech Republic could be the next customers.