Feb 3, 2016

US Air Force Cuts Five F-35 Fighter Jets From Budget Request

The Air Force reduced the F-35A buy in FY-17 from a planned 48 aircraft to just 43, while fully funding the Long Range Strike-Bomber and KC-46 tanker. It is not clear if the Air Force will reduce the overall planned buy of 1,763 aircraft. These figures do not take into account the total F-35 buy across the US armed services or purchases by international partners.
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.

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