Clearly, the US Air Force now has a hard tooth against the F35. After letting it leak that she intended to lower the number of F35As that she will order from 48 to 43 units each year for the next 3 yearshere she hears get rid of the first copies received which cannot be upgraded to the current standard without very significant investments, almost identical to those represented by the purchase of a new device. Like the US Navy and its first 4 LCS, these aircraft have so far been reserved for training missions. But the maintenance costs are such that the US Air Force believes today that it can no longer afford the luxury of having weapon planes reserved for training missions, and unable to come and reinforce the fighting forces if necessary.
The hypothesis of the withdrawal of the first batches of F35A had already been issued 2 years ago, while the estimated costs to bring them to the Block 3b standard were $ 60m per device, or 75% of the price of a new device. But decision was made from ckeep these devices in the delivery standard, and reserve them for training missions, allowing the passage to encourage Congress to maintain its annual effort to over-order devices to compensate for devices that have left the operational circuit. Now, while the F35A fleet has become the second most important fleet in the US Air Force, and tensions continue to grow with China, this principle is obviously no longer relevant. And the announcement of the desire to withdraw these devices considered non-operational and non-scalable is now perfectly in line with the effort to rationalize and modernize the hunting fleet announced a week ago by USAF Chief of Staff General Brown.
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