The development of the F-35A has been a long, arduous one entangled with controversy, but all that is behind us now as the U.S. Air Force, following the U.S. Marine Corps, declares the F-35A joint strike fighter ready for combat by Gen. Hawk Carlisle, commander of Air Combat Command on August 2, 2016. The first squadron of F-35A, designated 34th Fighter Squadron of the 388th Fighter Wing, is based in Hill Air Force Base in Utah. Naturally, the chief has nothing but good to say about the fifth-generation fighter jet. Then again, the aircraft have to be better than good cos’ gazillions of bills was sunk into it to ensure the United States maintains air superiority.
The Air Force was given five months to claim IOC (Initial Operational Capability, not the International Olympic Committee) where the squadron has to prove its worth with 12-24 aircraft meeting key criteria including airmen trained, manned and equipped to conduct basic close air support et cetera. Long story short, the 34th Fighter Squadron made it and moving forward, the Airmen from the 34th will be flying and maintaining the F-35A with Air Force Reservists from the base’s 419th Fighter Wing. So, for Americans, the F-35A combat-readiness also means that your money is not gone to waste after all. Granted, the program has sucked more money than it really should and that’s not to mention it took a hell lot of time to come to what it is today.
Fifteen.freaking.years. Can you imagine that? Throughout the development, the team essentially has to keep evolving to keep up with the technologies available at the point in time and therefore, it is not hard to understand the compounding cost. Keep going to for video to learn more about the F-35A program.
Image: U.S. Air Force.