Feb 3, 2016
US Air Force Cuts Five F-35 Fighter Jets From Budget Request
The cut was purely budget driven, the source said, as the F-35 joint strike fighter program has made strides in recent years. The Marine Corps declared initial operational capability on time last summer with its F-35Bs, and the Air Force is on track to do the same with its conventional takeoff and landing F-35A this summer.
The F-35A cut is not a surprise. Analysts and top government officials have hinted for months that changes could be ahead for the JSF as part of the Pentagon’s effort to balance its books.
Cutting F-35As in FY17 will likely yield millions in savings over the next several years. The Air Force planned to buy 44 F-35As in FY16 and 48 in FY17, before ramping up to 60 a year starting in FY18. But reducing that to 48 a year would free up approximately $1 billion per year for other priorities.