Monday, September 03, 2012

'A game changer': State-of-the-art F-35 listens to pilots, speaks with authority

PENSACOLA -- Some of the speculation about looming federal budget cuts for the military has focused on Eglin Air Force Base, but Col. Andrew Toth sees a solid 50-year future there for his burgeoning training command.

Toth is executive officer of the Air Force’s 33rd Fighter Wing, the global center for learning to fly and fix the next-generation Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning.

The brand-new jets, $70 million each, are arriving at Eglin regularly — roaring in directly from the factory in Dallas.

“We’re at about 1,000 people in the wing right now — contractors and uniformed personnel,” Toth said.

By 2015, he expects the wing to grow to about 1,600 as a joint command, which includes the Navy and Marine Corps, and to remain at that level.

The F-35 is a gorilla in the room when it comes to the national defense budget. There are $500 billion in across-the-board defense budget cuts over 10 years scheduled to start in 2013 unless Congress finds a plan to stop them. Meanwhile, the Department of Defense has estimated the total cost of the F-35 program at more than $1 trillion, and there’s plenty of momentum.

Read more here:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.