This week’s performance by the F-35 fighter at the Paris Air Show underscores the progress that program has made in assuring America’s joint force will retain global air dominance through mid-century. This year the F-35 will wrap up the most comprehensive flight test program in aviation history having met all of its “signature” (stealth) specifications while encountering no show-stoppers. Over 200 of the planes have been delivered and 400 pilots trained at a dozen operational bases. The Air Force version of the plane has achieved a 20-1 kill ratio in Red Flag exercises while being available over 90% of the time. The price-tag for an F-35 is falling with each new production lot, and the most common version will soon cost barely 10 minutes of federal spending to build. Not surprisingly, demand for the fighter is growing among U.S. allies. Pilots who have flown the plane say it is so survivable and lethal that adversaries won’t have a chance in aerial engagements. I have written a commentary for Real Clear Defense here.
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