The US Air Force sharpens its strategy to reduce the number of F-35As it will buy

For nearly 15 years, the US Air Force had only one answer to all questions concerning its fighter fleet, the F-35A. Decked out with almost mystical capabilities of discretion and combat power, the aircraft had to respond to all the challenges they could face in the next 30 years. But since the first pranks of Will Roper, then director of developments and acquisitions of the US Air Force on this program in 2018, until the most recent statements of General Brown, Chief of Staff of the USAF, and General Kelly, who commands the American fighter , the reserves of the first world air force concerning its fetish device did not stop growing. But much more than simple reservations and isolated attempts at negotiation in favor, for example, of an extension of the Next Generation Air Dominance program which is to replace the F-22 by 2028, it now appears that the US Air Force, helped in this by part of the Congress, has undertaken a real strategy aimed at reduce the number of F-35As with which it will be equipped, so as to free up space, and credits, for new devices that better meet their needs.

As we know, attacking Lockheed-Martin's Lighting II program was anything but easy. The program represents more than 400.000 jobs in the United States., cleverly distributed in the most influential states in the House of Representatives by Lockheed, and therefore has parliamentary support, and more generally political, of prime importance. The mere mention of a possible reduction in the volumes ordered by the Pentagon therefore leads to an immediate outcry coming from a hundred American senators and representatives, just like the powerful union of American aviation workers, always quick to put pressure on elected officials to preserve the jobs of its members. In addition, the program has been at the heart of the strategy of international influence of the United States for nearly twenty years, Washington distilling with parsimony and force communication the export authorizations of its precious device, making it all the more desirable in the eyes of its partners and nevertheless customers.

With more than 400.000 jobs spread across 49 states, the F-35 program is an industrial monster that is very difficult to waver on its political and economic bases.

To succeed in breaking into this breastplate, it was therefore essential to put in place a sufficiently diffuse and spread out strategy in time not to come up against an impassable wall of opposition, and sufficiently effective to guarantee its success. In terms of strategy, the American soldiers have, it is true, some notions, and we now perceive all the skill, while the fate of the program now seems, if not sealed, in any case noticeably undercut. In fact, in recent months, the program has come under attack from all sides, whether it be its excessive maintenance and modernization costs incompatible with US budget planning on the part of the GAO and the defense committee of the House of RepresentativesOn its industrial and technological structure or its operational limitations during numerous simulations of a possible conflict with China. Other factors, such as his inability to resolve some technological problems, its plethora of reservations and poor workmanship which does not manage to be absorbed, its software instability or even the faults of its ALIS / ODIN maintenance system, have experienced a much larger media explosion than previously, eroding the image of the device's superiority in public opinion, particularly in the United States.


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