View Full Version : Lockheed moves Navy’s JSF to test phase

07-29-2009, 02:33 PM
Lockheed moves Navy’s JSF to test phase

By Antonie Boessenkool - Staff Writer
Posted : Wednesday Jul 29, 2009 12:43:07 EDT

FORT WORTH, Texas — Lockheed Martin rolled out the first Joint Strike Fighter for the Navy in a ceremony at its JSF facility here Tuesday, officially moving the plane from the production phase to the test phase.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead said the high operational pace of the Navy in recent years makes getting the plane to the Navy on time and on budget crucial, saying there is “no time to lose” in Joint Strike Fighter production.

“They must, they absolutely must, enter the fleet on time and on budget,” Roughead told reporters, military members and JSF production workers at the roll-out ceremony.

“If we don’t get this airplane on time, we’re going to realize a gap in the number of airplanes we take to sea,” Roughead said. “So that’s why this airplane is so important. But the environments that it will operate in are also becoming a lot more challenging. And that’s why the stealth, the range and the payload is so important.

“I do not believe that the pace of operations is likely to let up anytime in the near future,” he added. “Our carriers and the air power that they project are all too useful in a world where sometimes the sovereign sensitivities and interests of countries around the world will preclude the basing of tactical aviation ashore. And that is where this airplane will play its role.”

Roughead also said the F-18s the Navy has relied on as the backbone of its fighter force may be “extended” as the Navy waits for its F-35s.

“We have been looking at the numbers of airplanes that we have and how we fill out the carrier decks with those airplanes. We are working through the Quadrennial Defense Review with the Air Force, with the Marine Corps, to take a look at tactical aviation writ large,” Roughead said. “But this airplane has to come in on time. We’re looking at the possibility of extending those F-18s that we can, and we can only extend about half of the F-18A through Ds. But that’s a matter of discussion that we’re currently engaged in.”

Extension of those planes could include “putting the airplanes back into a rework, doing structural work, doing system upgrades to them,” he added. “That’s what we have to determine is that the best way forward, how many and to what extent.”