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US Air Force F-35 Crashes During Routine Exercise in Florida Just Days After Similar Incident

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According to Eglin Air Force Base, the pilot ejected from the aircraft and is currently in stable condition. The crash did not cause any casualties or damage on the ground, the base added.

A US Air Force F-35 Lightning II combat warplane has crashed in Florida during a routine training exercise, Eglin Air Force Base said on Twitter.

The plane belonging to the 58th Fighter Squad crashed around 9:30 pm local time and did not cause any damage or loss of life. The base has launched an investigation into the matter.

The incident comes just days after a F-22 Raptor fighter crashed while performing a test flight last Friday. Similarly to the latest crash, there were no casualties or damage caused by the incident and the pilot ejected to safety.

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US Air Force F-35 crashes during ‘routine’ training flight in Florida, 2nd loss for base in several days — RT USA News

A US Air Force F-35 Lightning II combat aircraft was lost during a training mission in Florida. The incident comes just days after another military jet crashed near the same airbase.

The jet belonging to the 58th Fighter Squad crashed at around 9:30pm local time while conducting a “routine” night training flight, Eglin Air Force Base in Florida said.

The pilot ejected to safety and is in stable condition. The crash did not cause any damage on the ground, the airbase noted. An investigation has been launched into the incident.

This is the second aircraft lost at Eglin after a F-22 Raptor fighter crashed on the test and training range last Friday. The pilot also successfully ejected and was rescued.




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F-22 Raptor CRASHES in Florida, pilot in stable condition



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Finnish Defence Command Blamed for Favouring F-35 in Fighter Jet Procurement

The Armed Forces’ senior leadership has been accused of favouring US firm Lockheed Martin’s F-35 in the ongoing competition for Finland’s fighter jet fleet upgrade.

Former Armed Forces commander Jarmo Lindberg allegedly instructed his subordinates to ensure that the choice in the competition falls on the F-35, the Finnish newspaper Suomen Kuvalehti reported, citing anonymous sources with insight in the process.

According to Suomen Kuvalehti, both Lindberg and other top military officials have tried to ignore and downplay the weaker sides of the F-35 in various reports and other contexts, while emphasising the weaknesses of the other four candidates.

Jarmo Lindberg left his command post in the summer of 2019, but in April 2020 it emerged that he had signed a consulting agreement with Lockheed Martin. Just days later, Lockheed Martin terminated the contract over lobbying.

The F-35 is marketed as a fifth-generation fighter jet with stealth features and advanced sensor technology. The plan’s operating costs are generally considered to be higher compared to the other competitors, and the question is whether Finland’s acquisition would be viable in the long run.

According to Suomen Kuvalehti’s sources, the F-35 is significantly more expensive to operate than the other competitors, as the user country commits itself to paying a fixed annual fee covering service and spare parts. The agreement is similar to a lease, and ultimately becomes disproportionately expensive.

Suomen Kuvalehti also anonymously interviewed members of the parliamentary defence committee, who admitted that they have not received sufficient information on imporLauri Puranentant details, such as the jets’ operating costs.

Both Jarmo Lindberg himself and other members of the defence team refuted Suomen Kuvalehti’s information. Defence Ministry programme director  described the allegations as “absurd”.

Puranen confirmed that Lockheed Martin has a service and operating cost model that differs from the other four candidates, but refused to go into detail as negotiations with the plane manufacturers are still ongoing.

“Our goal is to negotiate as favourable a deal as possible”, Puranen told national broadcaster Yle.

The final cost level for all five plane types will not be fixed until the final, binding offer round, which is scheduled to begin this fall. Puranen and his colleagues will conduct a final round of negotiations with the five manufacturers during the late summer and early autumn.

Lockheed Martin is one of five fighter jet manufacturers vying for the up to €10 billion ($10.9 billion) contract to replace Finland’s ageing fighter jet fleet.

In Finland’s so-called HX Competition, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 is pitted against Boeing’s Super Hornet, Eurofighter’s Typhoon, Saab’s Gripen, and Dassault’s Rafale.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has reportedly put a damper on the negotiations, as these talks are only held face-to-face due to the sensitive nature of the issues discussed.

 

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Defence News

Lockheed Martin delivers 500th F-35 Center Wing from Marietta facility – Defence Blog

The Lockheed Martin facility in Marietta delivered 500th F-35 Center Wing, marking a major milestone.

According to the F-35.com, the milestone Center Wing, or CW, will be incorporated into CF-55, an F-35C aircraft that will be delivered to the U.S. Navy at NAS Lemoore, California, in 2021.

The CW is a major structural component and represents approximately one quarter of the aircraft’s fuselage. The aircraft’s wings are attached to the CW during final assembly, which takes place at the Lockheed Martin facility in Fort Worth.

Nearly all of the aircraft’s F135 engine case is enclosed in the CW.

The Marietta team builds CWs for all three F-35 variants, the Conventional Takeoff and Landing (CTOL) F-35A, the Short Takeoff/Vertical Landing (STOVL) F-35B, and the Carrier Variant (CV) F-35C.

“What this team has accomplished since assembly began a decade ago and now reaching 500 Center Wings delivered is phenomenal,” said Caleb Hendrick, the Marietta F-35 program director. “The hallmarks of this team have been innovation, flexibility, spirit, and results – all aligned around the expectations of our customers. This team should be proud of the way it works together to support the Warfighters. I want to thank everyone for the job they have done and continue to do.”

Production has ramped up from five Center Wings delivered in 2011, to 21 in 2012 (the first full year of production), to 112 CWs in 2019. The Marietta team is currently scheduled to deliver more than 120 CWs in 2021.

Earlier this year, Pentagon’s No.1 weapons supplier Lockheed Martin Corp. also delivered the 500th F-35 Lightning II stealth multirole combat aircraft.

According to the company, the 500th F-35A fighter jet has been delivered to the Green Mountain Boys at the Vermont Air National Guard.

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Vermont Air National Guard completed 500th F-35 Lightning II sortie – Defence Blog

The Lockheed-Martin F-35A Lightning II stealth fighter fleet at Vermont Air National Guard Base, passed a significant milestone on May 6th when Maj. Michael Cady took to the sky for a training mission.

“Today, the Vermont Air National Guard flew our 500th sortie with the F-35 Lightning II. This is a huge achievement for our operations and maintenance groups, and a testament to the work ethic of the men and women of the #VTANG,” said in a statement on an official Vermont Air National Guard’s Facebook page. “Let’s get after the next 500!”

A pilot assigned to the 134th Fighter Squadron, flew the 500th sortie since the F-35 first arrived at Vermont.

“I’m just a pilot on any given day, flying an airplane. It just so happened that I ended up in the jet for the 500th sortie. That’s pretty cool, it’s special to be a part of not only this unit [but also] such a milestone as 500 sorties. I thought it was also cool that I had my dedicated crew chief Joe there with me launching out… It was cool to share that moment with him as well,” said Cady.

Maj. Michael Cady, chief of weapons and tactics for the 134th Fighter Squadron, Vermont Air National Guard, was piloted Tail 5278 fighter aircraft.

The first F-35 fighter jets arrived in Vermont in September 2019.

Currently, more than 490 aircraft, including 134 in 2019, have been delivered and are operating from 21 bases around the globe. More than 975 pilots and 8,585 maintainers have been trained and the F-35 fleet has surpassed more than 240,000 cumulative flight hours.

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