Critics of the F-35 fail to recognize that the Joint Strike Fighter program is writing a new chapter in history as the Free World’s fighter of choice. It has overcome numerous technical challenges while lowering the price of individual aircraft and significantly improving maintainability and sustainment. Ultimately, the value of the F-35 is reflected in the fact that 17 nations are currently flying or have decided to acquire the aircraft. They did so based on independent analyses of the platform’s effective, price, and sustainability. The F-35 offers unparalleled capabilities, future growth options, and continuous improvements in maintainability and sustainability. In one U.S Red Flag exercise, the fifth generation F-35 achieved kill ratio against fourth generation fighters if 15 to 1. Equally important is that with the number of deployed JSFs approaching one thousand, a community is being created that can not only share tactics, techniques, and procedures but, in the event of conflict, move data across military services and between countries. This ability to share critical information will be of incalculable value in Joint and Coalition operations. I have written more on this subject here.
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