F-35 Production on pace

Really kind of hard to judge how well the program is on pace, as only the first few aircraft have rolled off the line, with only the first two flying (a test Conventional landing variant, and a Marine Vertical Landing variant). Not enough data points achieved at this phase to find the "hidden surprises" that ussualy occur in a brand new airframe, especially one this complex.

2009 will be the first BIG hurdle in the development of the F-35. The first year the aircraft will really start to roll off the line in appreciable numbers (9), and the flight testing will really kick into high gear. Not to mention, we got a band new President taking office in a week, and HIS first test will be to try to find the money somewhere to pull America and the rest of the world out of the biggest financial crisis we've seen in almost 3 generations. One hiccup in the F-35 deveopment program at this point can have some serious ripple effects in the public's desire to invest the kind of money this program is calling for.

BUT, the testing is going well so far, with only a few minor glitches at this point, which is to be expected. Keeping my fingers crossed until the Marine variant (short take-off and vertical land version) starts doing it's hover profile test flights in a few short months. You'll see a LOT of people (in Texas and DC) holding their breath for a while as that gets under way!
If the President-elect was smart, he would see that rebuilding and modernizing our aging military forces as well as replenishing the military supplies depleted during this conflict would provide a lot of stimulus to the economy as defense building tends to do (think WWII!).
First F-35 Squadron Plans Detailed

The first three squadrons of F-35s -- with at least 59 aircraft -- will be formed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., between 2010, when the first aircraft arrives, and mid-2013 when No. 60 is due.

Of the three training squadrons to be stood up, one will be U.S. Air Force with 24 conventional takeoff aircraft, one will be Marine Corps with 20 short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing aircraft and the last, with 15 aircraft, will belong to the Navy.

The Air Force's bed-down decision involves temporary operational limitations on flight training to minimize noise impact in the nearby town of Valparaiso. Meanwhile, supplemental environmental studies will be conducted as the Air Force works on a final study on F-35 noise.

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