Why is the US Air Force pulling away from the F-35 now?

As we saw in our article “ The US Air Force could develop a new fighter to replace its F16s February 18, the US Air Force distances itself from the F35 program. In question, prices that are too high and that will not be expected to drop according to the analyzes of the Air Force services, aeronautical performance and sometimes disappointing operational, maintenance et too chaotic availability, and questionable reliability, considering the almost 800 problems that the device still suffers from. According to the speech of the American officials, it is now essential, in order to face the Chinese rise in power, to replace the US Air Force's fleet of F-16s by devices with the characteristics, namely an economic device to both purchase and use, reliable, efficient while avoiding excess technological ambitions, and lying on the borderline between the fourth and the fifth generation. In short, everything the F35A is not. Note that lextreme stealth, long touted as the Alpha and Omega of air warfare to come, and the main asset of the F35, is no longer mentioned in the least.

It must be said that such an announcement has major consequences for the F-35 program. With an order target of more than 1700 aircraft, the US Air Force was the program's first customer, and alone had to acquire nearly half of the aircraft produced, all versions combined. The US Air Force's F-35As were then supposed to replace the A-10s, part of the F-15s and the F-16s that it uses, the latter representing the largest part of the aircraft to be replaced. By considering replacing its F-16s with a new aircraft, the US Air Force therefore suggests that its involvement in the program will decrease considerably, and therefore that the overall envelope of the number of aircraft will do the same.

A large number of F16 user countries chose the F35A, with the promise that Lockheed-Martin's new aircraft was the worthy heir of the Fighter Mafia.

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