EIS: F-35 has a maximum loudness that is more than 4 times louder than maximum loudness of the F-16

Sound level, sound intensity, and loudness are explained in the Air Force draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

The bottom line is, according to figures in the EIS, the maximum loudness of the F-35 is more than four times louder than the the maximum loudness of the F-16 both at takeoff and landing.

The EIS explains the difference between three concepts: sound level, sound intensity, and perceived loudness

Here are the numbers and explanation, all from the EIS:

Table BR3.2-1 on page BR4-18 of the EIS gives the Lmax for the F-16C and the F-35A

Lmax is the maximum sound level

for takeoff:
Lmax is 94dBA for the F-16 and 115dBA for the F-35, a difference of 21 dBA

for landing:
Lmax is 73dBA for the F-16 and 95dBA for the F-35, a difference of 22 dBA

The second volume of the EIS explains on page C6 that dBA is an adjustment made to the measurement to correspond to the frequency sensitivity of the human ear. Pages C5 and C6 explain how sound level is related to sound intensity and perceived loudness.

On page C-6 of the EIS we read: “A change in sound level of about 10dB is usually perceived by the average person as a doubling (or halving) of the sound’s loudness, and this relation holds true for loud sounds and for quieter sounds.”

The F-35 has a maximum sound level that is 21dBA higher on takeoff and 22dBA higher on landing. Under that rule of thumb provided in the EIS we can consider that the first 10dB of the 21dB is perceived as a doubling of the loudness from the F-16 level. The second 10dB of the 21dB is perceived as a doubling from that doubling, or four times louder than the F-16. OK, there is an additional 1 or 2 dBA difference. So we can say “according to the numbers given in the Air Force EIS, the F-35 has a maximum loudness that is more than 4 times louder than maximum loudness of the F-16.”

For those also interested in sound intensity, the numerical difference between the F-16 and F-35 is much greater.

The formula for the difference in sound level in dB = 10 x log (A1/A2) where A1 and A2 are the sound intensities (also called sound amplitudes and sound pressures).

The difference in maximum sound level is 21 dB on takeoff so

10 log (A1/A2) = 21 dB
log (A1/A2) = 2.1
and A1/A2 is 126
where A1 is the maximum sound intensity of the F-35 and A2 is the maximum sound intensity of the F-16.

That means the maximum sound intensity of the F-35 is 126 times the maximum sound intensity of the F-16.
The human ear perceives that 126 times more intense, or higher pressure, sound as being more than four times louder.

For more on sound, decibels, sound intensity, and loudness go to http://www.animations.physics.unsw.edu.au/jw/dB.htm
at this site you can click on the graphs and hear the different sound levels displayed

Noise may raise blood pressure risk

By Nicholas Bakalar
June 13, 2017

Airport noise could raise the risk for high blood pressure, a new study suggests.

Greek researchers studied 420 people living near Athens International Airport, where an average of 600 airplanes take off and land every day. Maps made during construction of the airport divided the surrounding area by noise level: less than 50 decibels, 50 to 60 decibels (60 decibels is about the noise level of a room air-conditioner), and more than 60 decibels, so researchers could track noise exposure precisely.

About two-thirds of the residents lived in the areas that regularly experienced noise at the 50- to 60-decibel level, and almost half of them had high blood pressure when the study began. Over the next 10 years, there were 71 newly diagnosed cases of hypertension.

The study, in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, found that for each 10-decibel increase in noise at night, the risk of developing hypertension more than doubled. Cardiac arrhythmia was also associated with nighttime exposure.

[FULL ARTICLE]

US F-35 fighter jets arrive in Europe for the first time

April 15, 2017

A fleet of F-35 stealth fighter jets has arrived in Europe from the United States as part of a planned NATO exercise aimed at “deterring” Russia.

The F-35A Lightning II jets landed at Royal Air Force Base in Lakenheath, England Saturday, having made the journey from Hill Air Force Base, Utah.

“The forward presence of F-35s support my priority of having ready and postured forces here in Europe,” said NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe General Curtis M. Scaparrotti in an official statement. “These aircraft, plus more importantly, the men and women who operate them, fortifies the capacity and capability of our NATO alliance.”

This deployment marks the first time American F-35A fighter jets have made an appearance in Europe, though a few countries already use them as part of their air fleet.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 flights halted at Ariz. base over pilot health concerns

By Perry Vandell
June 10, 2017

The Air Force on Friday stopped flying F-35 fighter jets at Luke Air Force Base in Glendale after a series of incidents in which pilots reported symptoms of hypoxia, or oxygen deprivation.

Air Force spokesman Capt. Mark Graff said the temporary halt followed five separate in-flight incidents since May 2. Graff said in each case, the airplane’s backup oxygen system worked as designed and the pilot was able to land the plane safely.

“The Air Force takes these physiological incidents seriously, and our focus is on the safety and well-being of our pilots,” said Brig. Gen. Brook Leonard, 56th Fighter Wing commander at Luke. “We are taking the necessary steps to find the root cause of these incidents.”

Maj. Rebecca Heyse, a chief public affairs officer for Luke, said each of the five pilots’ symptoms were slightly different, from dizziness and disorientation to tingling in their extremities.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 grounded indefinitely at Luke Air Force Base over hypoxia reports

By Perry Vandell
June 12, 2017

Luke Air Force Base officials announced Monday that flight operations will be indefinitely suspended as its team of engineers and maintenance specialists continue to investigate the rash of hypoxia-like symptoms some pilots reported.

The high-priced jets were grounded Friday at the Glendale base after five separate in-flight incidents since May 2 in which pilots reported symptoms from dizziness and disorientation to tingling in their extremities.

Luke spokeswoman Maj. Rebecca Heyse said there aren’t any leads yet, but new information has streamed in as an investigative “action team” worked over the weekend.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Same Issue, Different State: A Very Bad Trend

ABUSE OF THE FIRST ORDER AT THE HANDS OF THE AIR FORCE

Do you know who Kim Goodman is? You should want to know Kim Goodman because her story is about ready to be repeated 2,000 times in the Wittmann area.

I was contacted by Kim Goodman who lives in the Marietta, Georgia in an area not to far from Atlanta. Kim is one of 85 homeowners who FORMERLY resided in a subdivision near Dobbins Air Force Base. In 2006, their homes were rezoned without permission, with no notice of any meetings to rezone and no subsequent notification that their properties had been the victim of rezoning. Does this sound familiar? Shortly thereafter, the F-22’s began flying into Dobbins AFB near their homes.  Today, there are only 5 out of 85 home owners left who actually maintain their homes.  What happened to these 85 families should concern every citizen in our area in the West Valley.

In reality, nobody now actually lives in the Marietta subdivision. The 5 remaining homes are merely being maintained by the residents. That’s correct, 80 out of 85 homes have been foreclosed on as their owners were forced to vacate over health effects from the jet noise effects generated from landings and takeoffs from Dobbins AFB. The remaining five residents actually live in apartments and have kept some furniture in their homes in order to keep their local county from bulldozing their homes.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Potential Health Effects of Aircraft Noise

By Hales Swift
July 2010

Past noise research has related noise impact to the perception of annoyance and interference. More recent efforts have investigated further the potential health impacts of transportation noise. This literature review considers two potential pathways between aviation noise and health outcomes by presenting research that evaluates the role of sleep disruption and noise induced stress, and their relationship to possible cardiovascular outcomes. A brief review of the relationship between aircraft noise and annoyance, disturbance of communication, and disruption of learning are also presented in this report. The report includes a synopsis of past, current and potential future research studies.

[FULL ARTICLE]

MCAS Air Show reflects value of the F-35 to Beaufort, nation

By Shannon Erickson
April 25, 2017

The Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort Air Show reminds us of our community’s proud support for America’s military, and the importance of our military both to national defense and our local economy.

Because of this impact, I led an effort for the South Carolina House and Senate to pass resolutions supporting the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and our county and city councils have joined us in clearly declaring their approval.

Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort is one of the only bases in the country to house the F-35, and more squadrons are coming.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Billboards support F-35 in Alabama

By Jalea Brooks
April 25, 2017

You may have noticed them around town – The Montgomery area Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring billboards across the city to raise awareness of the effort to get the F-35 to locate here. Leaders of the F-35 Task Force say it’s important that the community be aware Montgomery is in the running as a possible home for a fleet of F-35A jets.

Leslie Sanders, chair of the F-35 Task Force says “community support is one of the areas that is looked at when the decision makers are trying to decide where to put the next installation…it’s also important because it underscores the strong partnership and the value that our community on the military.”

Paul Hankins, co-chair of the task force explains “we’ve really ramped up our efforts to really publicize what the F-35 is all about what this competition means to us in terms of jobs and economic impact”.

The F-35 would replace the F-16 planes currently used by the 187th Fighter Wing based at Dannelly Field. Hankins says “they’re flying some of the oldest F-16’s in the Air Force, those planes are due to be retired over the next maybe 5 to 10 years or sooner”.  Hankins adds that while the community support is vital to getting the F-35 to the, “The best hometown of the Air Force”, he hopes that decision makers consider a number of other factors that set Montgomery apart from the competition.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Achieving Full Combat Capability with the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is at Substantial Risk

By Michael Gilmore
August 9, 2016

Achieving Full Combat Capability with the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is at Substantial Risk

While the Air Force recently declared Initial Operational Capability (IOC) with “basic”
Block 3i capabilities, most of the limitations and deficiencies for the F-35A with Block 3i
discussed in my FY15 Annual Report and Congressional testimonies remain and will adversely
affect mission effectiveness and suitability. In fact, the program is actually not on a path toward
success, but instead on a path toward failing to deliver the full Block 3F capabilities for which
the Department is paying almost $400 billion by the scheduled end of System Development and
Demonstration (SDD) in 2018. If Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) were
conducted today on the aircraft in the Block 3i configuration – with which the Air Force recently
declared IOC -the system would likely be evaluated as not effective and not suitable across the
required mission areas and against currently fielded threats. If used in combat, the F-35 in the
Block 3i configuration, which is equivalent in capabilities to Block 2B, will need support to
locate and avoid modem threats, acquire targets, and engage formations of enemy fighter aircraft
due to outstanding performance deficiencies and limited weapons carriage available (i.e., two
bombs and two air-to-air missiles).

[FULL ARTICLE]

Mr President, Cancel the F-35

By Mike Fredenburg
January 6, 2017

Our incoming president’s willingness to boldly challenge the status quo is arguably the main reason he was elected. And no defense project is more representative of a disastrous status quo than the 20-year-old Joint Strike Fighter program — the F-35. The F-35 program showcases all that is wrong about our military’s vendor-dominated, crony-capitalist procurement system. Unless dealt with decisively, its massive cost and its lack of capability will have a dramatically negative impact on our military’s effectiveness for decades to come. Therefore, President-elect Trump’s willingness to publicly call out this $1.5 trillion program is good news.

[FULL ARTICLE]

The F-35 is a $1.4 Trillion National Disaster

By Dan Grazier
March 31, 2017

The F-35 still has a long way to go before it will be ready for combat. That was the parting message of Michael Gilmore, the now-retired Director of Operational Test and Evaluation, in his last annual report.

The Joint Strike Fighter Program has already consumed more than $100 billion and nearly 25 years. Just to finish the basic development phase will require at least an extra $1 billion and two more years. Even with this massive investment of time and money, Gilmore told Congress, the Pentagon and the public, “the operational suitability of all variants continues to be less than desired by the Services.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (DOD 2016 report)

The Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program Office (JPO) acknowledged in 2016 that schedule pressure exists for
completing System Development and Demonstration (SDD) and starting Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) by August 2017, the planned date in JPO’s Integrated Master Schedule. In an effort to stay on schedule, JPO plans to reduce or truncate planned developmental testing (DT) in an effort to minimize delays and close out SDD as soon as possible. However, even with this risky, schedule-driven approach, multiple problems and delays make it clear that the program will not be able to start IOT&E with full combat capability until late CY18 or early CY19, at the soonest.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Head of US military kit-testing slams F-35, says it’s scarcely fit to fly

By Richard Chirgwin
April 3, 2017

Now-retired Dr Michael Gilmore, until recently the Director of Test and Evaluation for the US military, has published his final evaluation of the F-35 program, and it’s a treat.

In his parting report (PDF), deliciously dated April 1*, Gilmore details a host of issues remaining with the US$391 billion-and-counting project, with everything from its combat-readiness to its wing design under the microscope.

“The Services have designated 276 deficiencies in combat performance as “critical to correct” in Block 3F, but less than half of the critical deficiencies were addressed with attempted corrections in 3FR6”, the report states.

Even Gilmore’s most optimistic scenario regarding the aircraft’s Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) is gloomy: “the program will not be ready to start IOT&E until late CY18, at the soonest, or more likely early CY19. In fact, IOT&E could be delayed to as late as CY20, depending on the completion of required modifications to the IOT&E aircraft.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

What went wrong with Lockheed’s F-35?

By Michael Hughes
June 14, 2017

The F-35 was billed as a fighter jet that could do almost everything the U.S. military desired, serving the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy — and even Britain’s Royal Air Force and Royal Navy — all in one aircraft design. It’s supposed to replace and improve upon several current — and aging — aircraft types with widely different missions. It’s marketed as a cost-effective, powerful multi-role fighter airplane significantly better than anything potential adversaries could build in the next two decades. But it’s turned out to be none of those things.

Officially begun in 2001, with roots extending back to the late 1980s, the F-35 program is nearly a decade behind schedule, and has  failed to meet many of its original design requirements. It’s also become the most expensive defense program in world history, at about $1.5 trillion before the fighter is  phased out in 2070.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Air Force grounds F-35 squadron after oxygen deprivation issues

By Ellen Mitchell
June 9, 2017

The Air Force has “temporarily” grounded a squadron of F-35s fighter jets at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona after five pilots reported symptoms consistent with oxygen deprivation, the service said Friday.

The 56th Fighter Wing cancelled local flying operations for its F-35A Lightning II fighters after five incidents since May 2 where pilots experienced symptoms similar to hypoxia, or oxygen deprivation.

In every incident the F-35’s back-up oxygen system kicked in and pilots were able to land the plane safely, the Air Force said.

The Air Force has “temporarily” grounded a squadron of F-35s fighter jets at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona after five pilots reported symptoms consistent with oxygen deprivation, the service said Friday.

The 56th Fighter Wing cancelled local flying operations for its F-35A Lightning II fighters after five incidents since May 2 where pilots experienced symptoms similar to hypoxia, or oxygen deprivation.

In every incident the F-35’s back-up oxygen system kicked in and pilots were able to land the plane safely, the Air Force said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Government watchdog: F-35 will take millions more, months longer than expected

By Alex Lockie
April 24, 2017

The Government Accountability Office released a report on Mondaywarning the Department of Defense against funding further software updates for the already $400 billion F-35 program until the current software becomes operational.

The F-35 is already operational with the Air Force and Marine Corps, but it runs a limited version of its software, called the 3i block, which only provides 89% of the code required for full warfighting potency.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Delayed testing could add $1 billion to cost of F-35

By Rebecca Kheel
April 24, 2017

Delayed testing could add more than $1 billion to the cost of the F-35 fighter jet program, according to a government watchdog.

In a report released Monday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommended completing developmental testing before making “significant new investments” in the program.

“Cascading F-35 testing delays could cost the Department of Defense (DOD) over a billion dollars more than currently budgeted to complete development of the F-35 baseline program,” the report says.

[FULL ARTICLE]

GAO DOD debate claim F-35 software delay will add $1.7 billion

By Kyle Jahner

Law360, Washington (April 25, 2017, 4:05 PM EDT) — Testing delays for the software for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will tack on at least another five months and $1.7 billion to the price tag of a program no stranger to overruns and delays, a government report released Monday said, as the Pentagon and F-35 maker Lockheed Martin pushed back.
In the report, the Government Accountability Office recommended the Pentagon use historical data to reassess the costs of completing the mission systems software known as Block 3F, and to complete Block 3F testing before soliciting proposals for the next phase of the software, Block 4, for a jet that the Department of Defense now projects to have a total procurement cost of around $400 billion.

“If baseline development is not prioritized and adequately funded, and costs increase as predicted by GAO and others, then the program will have less recourse for action and development could be further delayed,” the report said. “In addition, with baseline development still ongoing the program will not likely have the knowledge it needs to present a sound business case for soliciting contractor proposals for Block 4 development in fiscal year 2017.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

The F-35 is much louder than the F-16 and A-10

The Arizona Star reported that the F-35 fighter projects 121 decibels (db)
of noise to the ground, 25 decibels more than the F-16, at the same speed
and altitude. Later, the Star corrected the estimate of the F-35 noise to 98 db,
based on numbers provided by Davis-Monthan.

But D-M’s numbers are contradicted by 6 years of consistent Air Force reports.

Five independently prepared Air Force documents show that at most
altitudes and speeds, the noise on the ground below the F-35 will be
an average of 16 decibels louder than the loudest F-16 currently flying
from D-M/TIA (a difference of roughly 60 times the physical energy
& more than three times as loud perceptually).

[FULL ARTICLE]

Anti F-35 Noise Group Launches Website (Boise, ID)

April 14, 2017

In a subtle maneuver that would have any fighter pilot pulling extra G’s, a group organized to fight the noisy F-35 jet has co-opted Mayor Dave Bieter’s favorite line about making Boise the “Most livable city in America.”

CITIZENS FOR A LIVABLE BOISE” now has a central “meeting place” on-line. They even qualified for the “.org” designation.

While rather restrained in their approach, CLB presents information and news stories from around the nation not likely to be produced by local media outlets or shared by proponents of basing at least 18 of the loudest fighter jets in the Air Force at Gowen Field.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pentagon F35 review not expected to affect Vermont


By Adam Silverman
Feb. 5, 2017

A review ordered by the Trump administration of the F-35 fighter jet program is expected to have no effect on the Vermont National Guard, which remains on track to receive 18 of the aircraft in two years.

Vermont’s congressional delegation and governor agreed cost-cutting measures could prove beneficial for the Pentagon’s costliest weapons procurement program. But the political leaders added that new planes remain vital to the 158th Fighter Wing’s mission.

“The Pentagon has a long record of purchasing weapons systems from defense contractors with massive cost overruns that have wasted hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars. The F-35 is a clear example of that practice, and that corporate welfare must end,” independent Sen. Bernie Sanders said in response to questions from the Burlington Free Press.

[FULL ARTICLE}

South Burlington councilors beg for a seat at airport talks

Aviation Director Gene Richards answered questions at a Burlington International Airport presentation at the Burlington City Council meeting on March 27, 2017. (Photo: NICOLE HIGGINS DeSMET/ Free Press)

By Nicole Higgins DeSmet
March 28, 2017

Some Burlington City Councilors welcomed comments by South Burlington City Council members after a Monday presentation by Burlington International Airport officials regarding sound mitigation and finance.

“It’s been challenging to see this unfold over the years, and it’s not the solution that anyone wants,” Councilor Sharon Bushor, who represents Burlington’s Ward 1, said of the federal home buyouts in the affordable South Burlington neighborhood where the airport is located. Bushor is a member of Burlington’s Board of Finance to which airport officials report.

[FULL ARTICLE]

South Burlington councilors seek ‘seat at table’ on airport noise

By Morgan True
March 28, 2017

Two members of the South Burlington City Council pressed their Burlington counterparts to give them a greater role in deciding how Burlington International Airport mitigates the impact of noise on nearby homes.

South Burlington Councilors Meaghan Emery and Tim Barritt attended a presentation by airport Aviation Director Gene Richards at Monday’s council meeting in Burlington.

During the public comment period, the two said the longstanding practice of buying homes affected by noise using Federal Aviation Administration grant money has eroded the affordable housing stock in their city.

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger has said since first being elected in 2012 that he would end the home buyout program. He said Monday that a last round of home buyouts is necessary before the FAA will allow consideration of other options.

South Burlington officials say they were not informed when the Burlington City Council accepted a $15 million FAA grant to buy 50 more homes in South Burlington last year.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 Continues to Stumble

By Dan Grazier
March 30, 2017

The F-35 still has a long way to go before it will be ready for combat. That was the parting message of Dr. Michael Gilmore, the now-retired Director of Operational Test and Evaluation, in his last annual report.

The Joint Strike Fighter Program has already consumed more than $100 billion and nearly 25 years. Just to finish the basic development phase will require at least an extra $1 billion and two more years. Even with this massive investment of time and money, Dr. Gilmore told Congress, the Pentagon, and the public, “the operational suitability of all variants continues to be less than desired by the Services.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

2016 DOT&E Report on the F-35

David Archibald

The role of the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation at the Pentagon is to ensure that US weapons programs continue on track and that the weapons do what they are supposed to. His report for the 2016 year can be found here. The interesting observations in the report, with respect to the F-35, are listed in the

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-16 military plane crashes near Joint Base Andrews

By Tom Costello, Hans Nichols, and Erik Ortiz
April 5, 2017

An F-16C military fighter jet crashed Wednesday morning two miles south of Joint Base Andrews, shaking homes in suburban Washington, D.C., and sending thick black smoke into the skies, military officials said.

The pilot ejected successfully in a wooded area of Clinton, Maryland, at around 9:15 a.m. ET and suffered non-life-threatening injuries, Joint Base Andrews tweeted.

[FULL ARTICLE]

U.S. Navy’s Winter To Replace Bogdan As F-35 Chief

By Lara Seligman
March 28, 2017

 

Five years after taking the reins of the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO), U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan is set to retire…

 

[FULL ARTICLE]

With structural mods the F-16 will fly until 2048

By Lara Seligman
April 12, 2017

The U.S. Air Force has authorized extending the service life of Lockheed Martin’s single-engine F-16 from 8,000 t0 12,000 hr., raising questions about whether this is the first step toward retiring and replacing the long-serving F-15C/D Eagle. The planned structural modifications would keep up to 300 F-16 C/C Block 40-52 aircraft flying safely through 2048 and beyond, Lockheed said in an April 12 press release.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Trump claims F-35s flew over Japan undetected: ‘Pretty cool, right?

By Brad Lendon
May 12, 2017

US President Donald Trump thinks the F-35 fighter is “pretty cool,” but he seems to be a bit confused over what the newest US warplanes have been up to in Japan.

In a White House interview with Time magazine published Thursday, Trump said almost three dozen of the stealth jets flew over Japan undetected during a visit to Tokyo by US Defense Secretary James Mattis in February.
“They had 35 of them fly over Japan … and they were not detected by the radar. They flew over and everyone said where the hell did they come from? That’s stealth. It’s pretty cool, right,” Time quotes Trump as saying in the interview.
[FULL ARTICLE]

Delayed testing could add $1 billion to cost of F-35

By Rebecca Kheel
April 24, 2017

Delayed testing could add more than $1 billion to the cost of the F-35 fighter jet program, according to a government watchdog.

In a report released Monday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommended completing developmental testing before making “significant new investments” in the program.

“Cascading F-35 testing delays could cost the Department of Defense (DOD) over a billion dollars more than currently budgeted to complete development of the F-35 baseline program,” the report says.

Critics have long slammed Lockheed Martin’s F-35 program, estimated to cost $400 billion for 2,457 planes, as a costly boondoggle.

President Trump was among the critics, tweeting prior to his inauguration that the costs of the program were “out of control.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35s grounded over oxygen problems

By Ryan Browne and Jeremy Herb
June 20, 2017

An F-35 fighter wing has been temporarily grounded after five incidents where pilots suffered from oxygen deprivation problems, but the planes are expected to be flying again on Saturday, the Air Force said Friday.

The 56th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona suspended all F-35A flights Friday after the five pilots experienced hypoxia-like symptoms, Air Force spokesman Capt. Mark Graff said in a statement. The pilots all used their backup oxygen to land the planes safely.
“In order to synchronize operations and maintenance efforts toward safe flying operations we have canceled local F-35A flying,” said Brig. Gen. Brook Leonard, commander of the 56th Fighter Wing. “The Air Force takes these physiological incidents seriously, and our focus is on the safety and well-being of our pilots. We are taking the necessary steps to find the root cause of these incidents.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

Pentagon F-35 review unlikely to affect Vermont

By Adam Silverman
Feb. 5, 2017

A review ordered by the Trump administration of the F-35 fighter jet program is expected to have no effect on the Vermont National Guard, which remains on track to receive 18 of the aircraft in two years.

Vermont’s congressional delegation and governor agreed cost-cutting measures could prove beneficial for the Pentagon’s costliest weapons procurement program. But the political leaders added that new planes remain vital to the 158th Fighter Wing’s mission.

“The Pentagon has a long record of purchasing weapons systems from defense contractors with massive cost overruns that have wasted hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars. The F-35 is a clear example of that practice, and that corporate welfare must end,” independent Sen. Bernie Sanders said in response to questions from the Burlington Free Press.

[FULL ARTICLE]

FAA made maps for some cities, just not South Burlington

By Nicole Higgins DeSmet
Feb. 6, 2017

Federal Aviation Administration officials have repeatedly brushed off requests to provide maps of the F-35’s projected noise impact on surrounding neighborhoods, but the Burlington Free Press confirmed other communities were provided with F-35 data.

Scott Eaton, an FAA community planner in Helena, Montana, confirmed last month that F-35 projections were included in the appendices of plans for the purchase of homes near a civilian airport in Great Falls, Montana, that, like South Burlington, serves as a base for the U.S. Air Force. Another FAA official verbally confirmed that F-35 data was provided for Boise, Idaho. A Winooski resident and anti-F-35 activist flagged these airports at a Jan. 23 South Burlington City Council meeting.

All officials noted the F-35 sound maps for the Great Falls and Boise were informational additions and had no relation to FAA sound program funding.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Mattis defends Trump’s F-35 criticism


By Valerie Insinna
Jan. 12, 2017

President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for the next defense secretary on Thursday characterized his boss as ultimately supportive of the F-35 program, despite recent comments by Trump criticizing the high costs of the program.

Over the past month, Trump has repeatedly used Twitter as his platform of choice to trash the “out-of-control” costs of the F-35. The president-elect has also put the Air Force One program in his crosshairs, tweeting that the program should be canceled.

During a confirmation hearing in front of the Senate armed services committee, retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis said Trump has “in no way shown a lack of support for the program. He just wants more bang for the buck.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

120th Airlift Wing prepares to deploy


By Jenn Rowell
Oct. 2, 2016

After a two-year conversion period, the 120th Airlift Wing is now fully operational.

For the last two years, the unit switched from flying F-15 fighter jets to the C-130 cargo planes that required training and new facilities, created new positions and eliminated others.

During the conversion, the wing could volunteer for deployments and missions, but couldn’t be tasked from higher headquarters to go.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Holloman gets new F-16 mission

By Kent Miller
November 17, 2016

To combat the ongoing shortage of fighter pilots, the Air Force will stand up two interim F-16 pilot training squadrons at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, service officials announced Thursday.

About 40 to 45 Fighting Falcons, plus 800 training and support staff airmen, are being relocated from Hill Air Force Base, Utah.

Because the service cannot permanently base formal training units without first conducting an environmental impact analysis, cost-benefit analysis and other site surveys, service officials announced their plan for an interim solution in August. A final decision will be made in the spring or summer of 2017.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-16 training accident at Holloman AFB kills 1 and injures 1


By Stephen Losey
February 1, 2017

A civilian contractor was killed and an airman was injured in a training accident at a military range near Holloman Air Force Base in southern New Mexico Tuesday.

Capt. Bryant Davis, chief of public affairs for the 49th Wing at Holloman, said the two were part of a ground control party that was helping coordinate a live-fire training exercise at the Red Rio range, which is in the White Sands Missile Range complex. Davis said officials expect to release more information on the airman and contractor later on Wednesday.

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

More bases named to host F-35, K-46 and MQ-9 operations


January 12, 2017

The service chose Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas, for the first Air Force Reserve-led F-35 base. Three other bases were named as possible alternates if a problem arises during the environmental impact process: Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona; Homestead Air Reserve Base, Florida; and Whiteman AFB, Missouri. That environmental analysis must be completed before service officials formally announce a final decision.

[FULL ARTICLE]

South Burlington neighborhood unfit for residents

By Nicole Higgins DeSmet
Feb. 22, 2017

 

The Federal Aviation Administration’s message was clear on Thursday: Properties in the noisiest area around the airport should be bought and rezoned for commercial use.

“We have encouraged the airport to buy every home they can,” FAA Environmental Program Manager Richard Doucette said at the Burlington International Airport community meeting where about 150 residents gathered. He cited levels of noise that were incompatible with healthy living.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Federal Aviation Administration, the airport and the Air National Guard to meet with airport neighbors to discuss noise issues.

By Lisa Rathke
Feb. 15, 2017

Kim Gaboriault and her husband planned to sell their home in 2009 when Vermont’s largest airport, which adjoins their neighborhood, offered to buy properties because of aircraft noise, including the sound of F-16 fighter jets used by the Vermont Air National Guard.

But the airport never offered to buy it. Since then, she said the noise has gotten worse at their ranch house since nearby homes that once blocked some of the sound have been demolished.

The couple now has another chance to sell. Gaboriault and her husband, however, fear their city’s fight against the buyouts — in order to maintain affordable housing and to fully plan for the impact of the noise — could derail their plans.

Burlington International Airport hopes to buy 39 more homes as part of its voluntary buyout program. But the issue has created tension between the city of South Burlington, the airport and the Federal Aviation Association.

[FULL ARTICLE]

FAA made noise maps for some cities—just not South Burlington

By Nicole Higgins DeSmet
Feb. 6, 2017

Federal Aviation Administration officials have repeatedly brushed off requests to provide maps of the F-35’s projected noise impact on surrounding neighborhoods, but the Burlington Free Press confirmed other communities were provided with F-35 data.

Scott Eaton, an FAA community planner in Helena, Montana, confirmed last month that F-35 projections were included in the appendices of plans for the purchase of homes near a civilian airport in Great Falls, Montana, that, like South Burlington, serves as a base for the U.S. Air Force. Another FAA official verbally confirmed that F-35 data was provided for Boise, Idaho. A Winooski resident and anti-F-35 activist flagged these airports at a Jan. 23 South Burlington City Council meeting.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pentagon F-35 Review Unlikely to Affect Vermont

By Adam Silverman
Feb. 5, 2017

A review ordered by the Trump administration of the F-35 fighter jet program is expected to have no effect on the Vermont National Guard, which remains on track to receive 18 of the aircraft in two years.

Vermont’s congressional delegation and governor agreed cost-cutting measures could prove beneficial for the Pentagon’s costliest weapons procurement program. But the political leaders added that new planes remain vital to the 158th Fighter Wing’s mission.

“The Pentagon has a long record of purchasing weapons systems from defense contractors with massive cost overruns that have wasted hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars. The F-35 is a clear example of that practice, and that corporate welfare must end,” independent Sen. Bernie Sanders said in response to questions from the Burlington Free Press.

[FULL ARTICLE]

FAA changes story of F-35 maps

By Nicole Higgins DeSmet

The FAA could have included F-35 sound information, but chose not to due to a pending lawsuit which community members hoped would halt or at least delay the basing of the new jets.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Airport Director: SoBu Council Resolution Won’t Stop Buyouts

By Molly Walsh
Jan. 24, 2017

Burlington International Airport director of aviation Gene Richards says a resolution South Burlington city councilors passed Monday will not stop a controversial home buyout program.

“The airport will continue to administer the program until we bring it to an end,” Richards told Seven Days Tuesday.

The resolution does little more than create anxiety for neighbors who want to sell, he added.

“We’ve had people crying and we’ve had people really stressed out about this,” Richards said. “It’s unfortunate.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

South Burlington hits airport with buyout resolution

By Nicole Higgins DeSmet
Jan. 23, 2017

The City Council passed a resolution after three hours of debate late Monday night to end the airport buyout program and hold the Federal Aviation Administration accountable for what councilors said are affordable-housing and tax-revenue losses to the city.

The resolution asks the FAA and the airport to respond by Feb. 7. The council hopes the measure will open negotiations that would benefit the neighborhood. “Or at least open a seat at the table,” councilor Meaghan Emery said.

In September, the airport announced an acquisition program, when buyouts were thought to be over. This surprised the airport neighborhood and the South Burlington City Council.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Airport buyouts prompt departures

By Katie Jickling
Dec. 7, 2016

Kevin Pearo has watched his neighbors depart in a slow, steady exodus from North Henry Court in South Burlington. Seven homes that once lined the street are gone, leaving his yellow duplex a solitary sentinel between suburbia and a growing grassy expanse within walking distance of Burlington International Airport.

“It’s like living on a five- or 10-acre park,” he told Seven Days, standing on his porch last month.

Now Pearo is also leaving; he plans to relocate with his family to Colchester early next year. His property and those on his street are among the 139 houses the airport has bought since 1997 because aircraft traffic made it too loud to live there. Once Pearo’s family is gone, their old house will be, too.

Residents were just getting used to the new shape of what is known as the Chamberlin neighborhood, between Williston Road and the airport. Then, in September, BTV airport officials announced the receipt of a federal grant that would give 39 additional homeowners a chance to sell their houses to the airport.

Many were surprised to learn the sound map had been updated last year, and they were now living in spots considered uninhabitable because of noise levels in excess of 73 decibels.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 sound study now makes sense

Dec. 11, 2016

South Burlington should pursue options for a study that would show how noise from soon-to-be-deployed F-35 fighters could impact neighborhoods surrounding Burlington International Airport.

The sound contours are likely to change with the scheduled arrival of the new Air National Guard jets in 2019. The next-generation fighters are louder, but are expected to project their noise in a different pattern, than the F-16s currently based at the airport.

Everyone knows the F-35s are coming and when. Why should people and businesses have to wait two years until the jets arrive to find out exactly what living or working near the airport might mean?

Airport neighbors have a right to know how their lives might be affected by developments at Burlington International. Residents and business owners – current and those considering purchases – have a right to protect their properties, likely the biggest investment made by most families.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Residents express frustration with airport maps

By Morgan True
Nov. 10, 2015

Close to 150 residents packed the gymnasium at the Chamberlin Elementary School on Monday night to take a first look at new noise exposure maps drafted by the Burlington International Airport.

The noise maps were last updated in 2006, and the draft maps released Monday are the first to account for the afterburners on the Air National Guard’s F-16 fighter jet engines.

A public comment period is open until Dec. 10, when the new maps will be submitted the Federal Aviation Administration, which requires updated maps in order for airports to receive noise mitigation money. The maps can be viewed here.

The federal money is distributed through a voluntary grant program and will be used to help residents pay for soundproofing their homes. There are an estimated 2,200 people in more than 900 dwellings who will be eligible for mitigation money, though no specifics on how much money would be available or how it would be applied was provided at the meeting.

In the past, the airport has sought to purchase homes affected by airport noise, but it has stopped that practice because local officials and residents say the housing is important to the community, said Gene Richards, director of aviation for Burlington International Airport.

[FULL ARTICLE]

South Burlington earns grant for airport planning

By John Herrick
Dec. 9, 2013

Nearly a week after the decision was made to base the F-35 fighter jet in Vermont, communities neighboring Burlington International Airport received a state grant to begin planning noise mitigation strategies for residential areas around the airport.

With the Federal Aviation Administration’s home buyback program off the table, dozens of vacant homes awaiting demolition and the expected arrival of the louder F-35 fighter jet in 2020, regional planners must begin working on how to mitigate further burden to the affordable housing neighborhood around the airport.

During a news conference at the Chamberlin School in South Burlington on Monday, Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger said the F-35 basing decision has sparked a long-needed debate on the city-owned airport’s encroachment on the nearby South Burlington neighborhood.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Burlington mayor favors F-35

By Greg Guma
May. 22, 2012

Turnout has been high and dialogue heated at a series of public meetings held lately in Burlington and environs.

On Monday, dozens of people both in favor and opposed to a proposed health access buffer zone at Burlington reproductive health care centers brought their arguments and deeply held beliefs to the City Council. Meanwhile, 40 Vermonters showed up just to watch the South Burlington City Council, in a 4-1 vote, reject a plan to base F-35 fighter jets at the airport.

Last week more than 300 people turned out in South Burlington for a U.S. Air Force public hearing on the environmental impacts of the multi-purpose aircraft, the military’s most expensive pet project yet.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-16 Aviator must take civilian pilot exam after small plane crash

By Sasha Goldstein
Feb. 1, 2017

The Federal Aviation Administration has ordered a South Burlington-based F-16 pilot who crashed a small plane last year to retake his pilot’s exam — or lose his civilian license to fly.

John Rahill serves in the Vermont Air National Guard but was off duty when he wrecked a Piper PA-11 plane September 19 on Savage Island. The lieutenant colonel is among the hundreds of Air Guard members who deployed to Southwest Asia* in December. The Guard’s 158th Fighter Wing has been involved in retaking the Iraqi city of Mosul from the Islamic State.

Rahill will schedule a reexamination when he returns, according to the FAA, which notified the airman of the obligation in an October 11 letter. Seven Days obtained the correspondence, along with numerous other documents related to the FAA’s investigation of the crash, in mid-January — two months after it requested the materials through the Freedom of Information Act.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pentagon F-35 Review Unlikely to Affect Vermont

By Adam Silverman
Feb. 5, 2017

A review ordered by the Trump administration of the F-35 fighter jet program is expected to have no effect on the Vermont National Guard, which remains on track to receive 18 of the aircraft in two years.

Vermont’s congressional delegation and governor agreed cost-cutting measures could prove beneficial for the Pentagon’s costliest weapons procurement program. But the political leaders added that new planes remain vital to the 158th Fighter Wing’s mission.

“The Pentagon has a long record of purchasing weapons systems from defense contractors with massive cost overruns that have wasted hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars. The F-35 is a clear example of that practice, and that corporate welfare must end,” independent Sen. Bernie Sanders said in response to questions from the Burlington Free Press.

Bernie Sanders keeps Vermont press at arms length


By John Walters
Mar. 22,2017

On his way out of the St. Johnsbury Academy gymnasium last Thursday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) stopped in the hallway and faced the media.

For all of two minutes. He answered three short questions and hustled on to his next engagement.

Little did I know that this would be my one and only opportunity to ask Sanders a question. I attended five Sanders events in four Vermont towns last week without ever getting another chance.

But that’s just par for the course.

Sanders rarely interacts with Vermont news media.  He’s a constant presence in national newspapers and on cable news — the very “corporate media” he rails against at every opportunity — but not in this state’s media, most of it locally owned. I guess if you’re looking for the biggest possible audience, well, principle be damned.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 software delayed

By Gareth Corfield
Jan. 12, 2017

Key software for the troubled F-35 fighter jet has been repeatedly delayed, causing problems for the British armed forces as they wait for Americans to iron out the bugs.

The F-35’s Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) is the heart of the support offering bundled with the F-35 by its manufacturer, Lockheed Martin.

The latest version of ALIS – version 2.0.2 – has been delayed by at least six months and counting, according to the US Department of Defense’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E), and units are instead stuck with version 2.0.1.3.

“It has yet to successfully complete testing and likely will not be fielded until early 2017,” according to the F-35 section of DOT&E’s annual report [PDF, 62 pages] to the US Congress. Version 2.0.2 will allow military personnel, rather than engine manufacturers and current maintenance contractors Pratt & Whitney, to read and act upon engine health data, but has not yet been deployed.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 Combat Deployment Still Years Off

By Valerie Insinna

The Airforce will deploy the F-35A to fight the Islamic State group in the Middle East in the “not too distant future,” potentially a few years down the road, the outgoing head of Air Combat Command said Feb. 24.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Trump McCain take aim at F-35 program

By Aaron Gregg
January 11, 2017

In his first press conference since winning the presidential election in November, Donald Trump again took aim at Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

His latest comments followed a tweet last month about the F-35’s “tremendous cost and cost overruns.” The president-elect said he had asked Boeing to “price out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet.”

“We’re going to do some big things on the F-35 program and perhaps the F-18 program,” Trump reiterated Wednesday. “And we’re going to get those costs way down, and we’re going to get the plane to be even better, and we’re going to have some competition and it’s going to be a beautiful thing. So we’ve been very very much involved.”

Trump offered few details before moving on. But the 30 seconds or so he devoted to the topic jolted stocks at Lockheed Martin and Boeing, the two companies primarily responsible for the F-35 and F-18 programs respectively, though both recovered throughout the day.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lockheed Martin tells Trump F-35 costs will be lower

By Aaron Gregg
January 13, 2017

Emerging from a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York on Friday, Lockheed Martin chief executive Marillyn Hewson told reporters that the Bethesda, Md.-based defense giant is close to a new contract deal that would cut the cost of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program and also create jobs.

“We had the opportunity to talk to [Trump] about the F-35 program, and I certainly share his views that we need to get the best capability to our men and women in uniform and we have to get it at the lowest possible price,” Hewson said. “So I’m glad I had the opportunity to tell him that we are close to a deal that will bring the cost down significantly from the previous lot of aircraft to the next lot of aircraft and moreover it’s going to bring a lot of jobs to the United States.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Trump wants at least 10% cut in F-35 costs

January 18, 2017

The chairman of a key subcontractor in the F-35 program told Bloomberg News Tuesday that President-elect Donald Trump wants to reduce the cost of the project by at least 10 percent.

“We’ve been told through Lockheed that the president has an ambition to reduce the cost of the aircraft by a material amount of money, many percent, into the double digits over a period,” Roger Carr, the chairman of BAE Systems Plc, said. “We respect that and we’ll work towards a contribution towards that.”

Trump has been an outspoken critic of the price tag for projects like the F-35 fleet and the new Air Force One.

In December, Trump tweeted that he asked Boeing to “price-out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet.” He did not go into specific details, but aviation experts pointed out differences in the two planes…for one, the F-18 is not stealth.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Defense Secretary targets costly F-35, Air Force One

By Tom Vanden Brook
Jan. 27, 2017

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has ordered the Pentagon to launch a review on how to save costs on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, the Pentagon’s most costly weapons-buying effort in history.

Mattis’ memo, sent on Thursday, also calls on the military to determine whether the F-18 fighter can be modified to provide a “cost-effective fighter aircraft alternative.”

The Defense chief also directed the Pentagon to look for ways to save money for the Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization program, which is responsible for developing a replacement for the current presidential aircraft, which goes by the call sign Air Force One when the president is aboard.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F35 Deal-Unlikely to save $

By Mandy Smithberger
January 30, 2017

Following President Donald Trump’s announcement today that Lockheed Martin has cut $600 million from the F-35 program, Dan Grazier, the Jack Shanahan Fellow at POGO’s Straus Military Reform Project, said:

“Although this appears to be a victory for those concerned about out-of-control costs of the F-35 program, these savings don’t really exist. The American people will end up paying even more for the unproven jets in the future.

The so-called savings announced today are little more than the bulk-rate discount for the next yearly purchase of 90 aircraft. If this ‘concession’ is predicated on committing taxpayers to a multiyear buy, it will only further compound the waste of public funds on this program.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Wish List Adds Billions for Aircraft

by Valerie Insinna
January 31, 2017

An update to the US Air Force’s 2017 wish list bumps its unfunded requirements to $10.6 billion, with the service seeking funding for more F-35s and a light attack aircraft experiment, among other new efforts.

Congress has not passed a defense spending bill for 2017, opting instead to extend current funding until April — a tactic that gives the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled legislative branch time to figure out how to direct the budget for the remainder of the fiscal year. The services have responded by enlarging their own unfunded priorities lists to reflect growing demands.

[FULL ARTICLE]

UK faces massive rise in costs to fix stealth fighter


By Ewen MacAskill
Feb. 4, 2017

Britain is being forced to pour millions of pounds of new funds into the troubled F-35 stealth fighter programme being developed in America and considered a vital part of the UK’s future defences.

The F-35, being built by the US in partnership with countries including the UK, is the costliest weapon ever developed by the Pentagon. It is scheduled to go into service in the UK in 2018 and into full production in 2019, and is intended to be a cornerstone of UK defences for decades to come, flying off two new aircraft carriers.

But huge problems remain unresolved, in particular with the F-35’s advanced software, on which the whole project rests. The software is supposed to be the plane’s “brain”, running everything from ensuring a steady supply of parts to relaying masses of data to the pilot’s visor during combat.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Letters to the Editor on VTANG pilot crash (Price) and noise maps (Powell)

By Rich Price, and Ellen Powell
Feb. 8, 2017

No-Reporting Zone
I write to express my disappointment in the editor’s decision to run a story about Lt. Col. John Rahill [“F-16 Aviator Must Take Civilian Pilot Exam After Small Plane Crash,” February 1]. Poorly written and mean-spirited, the article appears to be an attempt to bring negative press upon the Vermont Army National Guard during a time when many of its men and women are deployed in the service of our country…

By Rich Price

Noise Map Needed

[Re Off Message: “South Burlington Councilors Want Airport Buyouts to Stop,” January 23; Off Message: “SoBu Council Passes Resolution Critical of Airport Home Buyouts,” January 24; Off Message: “Airport Director: SoBu Council Resolution Won’t Stop Buyouts,” January 24]: There’s a big lack of affordable housing in South Burlington. Due to increased decibels from F-16s, the airport has purchased and demolished more than 150 affordable houses in the vicinity of the airport. There are 40 more homes on the chopping block…

By Ellen Powell

[FULL ARTICLES]

 

Save the Guard – The Big Lie

By Richard Joseph
Sep. 12, 2016

In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act. — Anonymous

The truth revolution faces fierce opposition in Burlington. In fact, during the past four or five years, Burlington has been subjected to a concerted disinformation campaign touting the supposed benefits of basing the troubled F-35 Joint Strike Fighter at Burlington’s commercial airport. Lies have been told and repeated by F-35 basing proponents attempting to build public support. Now, in government documents released in conjunction with an ongoing lawsuit against the Air Force, some of the deceit has finally been exposed.
We were told Burlington is the best location for the F-35.

• But the truth revealed in government documents is that Burlington is the worst location from both an environmental and an operational perspective among the sites that were considered.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Now is the time to Rebel

By Jimmy Leas
March 5, 2017

South Burlington is being roughed up every day by a bully to the north. We must stop collaborating. Now is the time to rebel.

Burlington is the bully. Burlington hosts an otherwise well-regarded tenant at its airport that operates screamingly loud F-16 fighter jets that cause serious health and safety misery, and property losses to families in South Burlington.

The misery is visible: 200 affordable homes near the airport bulldozed since the arrival of the F-16.

The misery is also invisible: The noise is so awful it causes cognitive impairment of half the children living in the remaining 961 South Burlington homes in the F-16 extreme noise zone.

Burlington gets millions of dollars in grants, primarily from the FAA but also from the state of Vermont, to do its vicious deed on South Burlington neighborhoods.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Five-Way-Win Solution to Airport Noise Problems

By Rosanne Greco
March 8, 2017

There is a solution to the airport noise problems in which all of the entities involved — the Vermont Air National Guard, the airport, South Burlington, Burlington and the surrounding communities — will survive and thrive. It’s simple, aligns totally with Vermont values, won’t cost a dime, may result in more jobs coming to the Air Guard, and everyone wins.

Most folks would agree that airport noise is causing significant problems in our area. But to make sure we are all on the same page, I’m providing the information upon which this solution is based. All of the facts I cite are taken from official government documents and can be verified.

Facts related to the impact of the problem: The primary source of the unlivable airport noise come from military jets — not commercial airliners; because of this noise, Burlington is using FAA money to purchase and then demolish homes in South Burlington; home demolition reduces South Burlington property taxes, which then results in tax increases for the rest of the city’s homeowners.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 Noise fall on deaf ears

March 1, 2017

Gov. Butch Otter, with Boise Mayor Dave Bieter standing alongside, signed a bill Tuesday that will authorize expenditure of $100,000 in taxpayer funds to lobby on behalf of basing the admittedly noisy F-35 fighter in Boise.

Stars & Stripes, the military newspaper in Japan, recently reported a Japanese court has awarded residents near Kadena AF Base on Okinawa $265 million in compensation for health issued caused by the noise of U.S. fighter jets.

As part of our community-based news sharing effort, the GUARDIAN offers up the following links supplied by the group opposed to basing the F-35 in Boise. They feel the noisy fighter should be based at Mountain Home AFB where there are no nearby residences.

 

[FULL ARTICLE]

Competition to build new trainer begins in earnest

By Valerie Insinna
Jan. 16, 2017

The battle to build the Air Force’s $16.3 billion T-X trainer kicked off Dec. 30 with the release of the final request for proposals.

The competition pits defense contractors Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman Raytheon and Sierra Nevada Corp. against each other for one of the last major Air Force aircraft programs on the horizon.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Neighborhood Reaction to F-35 Noise

By Sven Berg
Dec. 23, 2015

Some Boiseans believe the deciders have made up their minds to bring louder military jets to Boise.

Many of these people live near the airport, so they’d be most affected by the noise. They suspect their concerns don’t matter to the city government, Idaho Air National Guard and U.S. Air Force. When the authorities reach out and ask for their opinions, they think it’s just for show.

“I don’t like that — the feeling that we’re being manipulated,” said Monty Mericle, who lives on Meriwether Drive just north of the Boise Airport’s runways.

Residents weary of jet noise worry

By Steven Verburg
Dec 26, 2016

Dane County residents who are unhappy about the roar of F-16 military jets through the skies say they are worried the noise could grow louder if F-35 warplanes are based at Madison’s Truax Field.

The Air Force maintains that the new jets usually produce sound levels that are roughly equivalent to that generated by aircraft like the F-16, but there may be fewer flights at least initially and the new jets could be quieter on takeoff because they don’t need to use afterburners as frequently as the older aircraft do.

But a full answer isn’t possible until noise studies that take into account conditions at Truax are completed next year, an Air Force spokeswoman said.

Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce president Zach Brandon is leading an effort to persuade the Air Force to select Truax over four other finalists because of the economic benefits of the hundreds of jobs at the base.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Red Flag May Affect Whether F-35s Deploy Overseas This Year

February 14, 2017

As Air Force leaders ponder whether to send F-35As overseas this year in what would be the jet’s first-ever operational deployment, officials could point to this year’s Red Flag exercise as a case study of how it can enhance both training and combat.

Red Flag 17-1 wrapped up Friday after three weeks of high-intensity air-to-air training at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. Although the final results are not in yet, F-35 operators and service officials said the jet’s performance actually got better in the last week of the exercise.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Opponents Of F-35 Denied Space Inside Open House

Jan 26, 2017

With armed police standing by, opponents of the F-35 and other noisy fighter jets being based at Gowen Field were denied space during an “open house” meeting Wednesday night at the airport, another chapter in the controversy.

Airport spokesman Sean Briggs told the GUARDIAN the opponents were allowed to display protest signs and a petition outside the room full of Air National Guard brass and pilots, but they were not allowed in the room , “So folks wouldn’t be confused.”

To us it looked like another case of the new Trump term, “Alternate Facts.” The city of Boise, the Chamber of Commerce and the ANG were armed to the teeth with charts, surveys, arguments, and opinions about why only fighters should be based in Boise and any noise was worth millions of dollars to the economy.

ANG brass and Idaho politicos have been allotted more than $100,000 in public funds to shape public opinion in favor of basing the F-35 at Gowen. Despite those efforts, they have failed to convince a growing assortment of Boise Bench residents.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 opposition in Idaho

By Sven Berg
Jan 25, 2017

Dozens of people went to the Boise Airport on Wednesday for an open house on airplane noise and ways to reduce its impact on the surrounding area.

Before entering the third-floor room where city and Idaho Air National Guard officials set up posters on the topic of airport noise, visitors passed another set of posters and a petition-signing table. These materials urged Boise residents to resist a push to land a U.S. Air Force wing of F-35 jets at the Guard’s Boise base, which uses the same runways as commercial flights.

The Guard announced in December that Boise is on the short list for the F-35, which is billed as a cutting-edge attack plane but has been besieged by technical problems.

[FULL ARTICLE]

“Growler” Draft Environmental Impact Statement: The emperor has no clothes

By Chom Greacen
Jan 21st, 2017

Quiet Skies over San Juan County

The Navy plans to add 36 EA-18G “Growler” fighter jets and roughly double the number of Growler flight operations out of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. The only thing standing in its way is completion of the Environmental Impact Statement process as per the National Environmental Protection Act.

In the Federal EIS process, there are two EIS paths. In the first, a non-federal entity seeking a permit works with a permitting agency (e.g. Army Corps of Engineers), who gathers public input and makes a final decision. In the second approach, the Navy manages the process for itself.

The EIS is prepared by the Navy, for the Navy and is approved by the Navy. The only way to hold the Navy accountable to relevant laws is through citizen participation and, as a last resort, litigation.

The Navy has produced a Draft EIS. Now the onus is on us to point out if and how the DEIS fails to comply with the law. The over-1,400 page DEIS is intimidating, and the Navy appears to act like a royalty. But in reality, the Emperor may have no clothes.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Navy Jet noise plague Washington residents

By Dahr Jamail
Feb. 6, 2017

Imagine living in a place where the loudest jets ever built regularly flew so close, your entire house vibrated, dishes rattled and fell off shelves, and the noise was so loud you became physically ill.

Your sleep was impacted, you couldn’t work, and literally every single aspect of your life was affected negatively.

“The noise has impacted my life in every conceivable way,” Cate Andrews told Truthout.

She lives in the Puget Sound region of Washington State, near Naval Air Station Whidbey on Whidbey Island. Along with thousands of others there and other islands and locations throughout the Sound, Andrews is afflicted by health-endangering levels of noise from Naval EA-18G “Growler” warplanes, the single loudest aircraft ever built.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Air Force declares F-35A ready for combat

By Valerie Insinna
August 2, 2016

The US Air Force on Tuesday declared its first squadron of F-35As ready for battle, 15 years after Lockheed Martin won the contract to make the plane.

The milestone means that the service can now send its first operational F-35 formation — the 34th Fighter Squadron located at Hill Air Force Base, Utah — into combat operations anywhere in the world. The service, which plans to buy 1,763 F-35As, is the single-largest customer of the joint strike fighter program, which also includes the US Marine Corps, US Navy and a host of governments worldwide.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 may become nuke capable sooner than expected

By Kyle Mizokami
Jan 21, 2017

The F-35A, the Air Force’s version of the Joint Strike Fighter, could be certified to carry America’s newest tactical nuclear weapon sooner earlier than planned if America’s security situation deteriorated. The F-35 is scheduled to be certified to carry the B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb in the early 2020s, but those plans could be accelerated, reports Defensetech.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Federal Contract Opportunity: F-35 Alter Maintenance Hangar Power and Install Equipment All Spots

Jan 25, 2017

The USPFO for Vermont, Purchasing and Contracting Office, may issue a solicitation and award a contract to alter Building 150 Maintenance Hangar subject to the availability of funds. Scope of the project includes the modification of an existing 49,700 SF USAF fighter hangar maintenance facility utilizing conventional design and construction methods to accommodate a new facility mission. Work includes architectural, fire protection, plumbing, mechanical, electrical, telecommunications and structural upgrades to the entire building.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 to visit Australia

By Andrew Greene
Feb. 7, 2017

Royal Australian Air Force pilots will soon fly two Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircrafts to Australia as the controversial F-35 program continues to face scrutiny for technical problems and cost blowouts.

[FULL ARTICLE]

The F-35: We need the numbers, and now

By Gen. Larry O. Spencer
Jan. 16, 2017

As the only U.S. fifth-generation stealth aircraft in production, the F-35 program’s importance is unparalleled by anything else in the defense industry, says retired Gen. Larry Spencer, president of the Air Force Association.

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

The F-35 & Air Force One Reviews

By Valerie Insinna
Feb. 13, 2017

5 Things Every Airman should know about:

1: Looking to cut costs. Defense secretary Jim Mattis has called for reviews of the F-35 and Air Force One replacement programs, hoping to find ways to drive down costs.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Bogdan F35 report 2/17/17 to Armed Services

By LT GENERAL CHRISTOPHER C. BOGDAN
February 17, 2017

The F-35 Program is a much different and improved program than it was 5 years ago.
The F-35 weapon system is now operational and forward deployed. The size of the fleet
continues to grow and we are rapidly expanding its capability…

[FULL ARTICLE]

FAA changes story about F-35 maps

By Burlington Free Press
February 4, 2017

The FAA could have included F-35 sound information, but chose not to due to a pending lawsuit which community members hoped would halt or at least delay the basing of the new jets

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 program capital would be better spent on infrastructure

By William H. Sample
December 21, 2016

There is an increasing concern about the F-35 fighter plane (identified by the Department of Defense as “fifth generation”) and its role in military readiness. Having served for three years during the Korean War, I came to appreciate and understand the armed forces’ importance in American life.

Although I did not remain in the service, I have followed military activities which have been conducted over the years (at the direction, sometimes ill-advised, of their civilian leadership) with competence, loyalty, enthusiasm and pride.

As the 21st century started, I became alarmed about the F-35. I recalled Gen. Dwight Eisenhower’s admonition for us to be wary of the excesses of the military/industrial complex. It would be clear to him, I think, that the F-35 project is the military/industrial complex run amok.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Vermont doesn’t need F-35: A Letter to Editor of Burlington Free Press

By Sophie Quest

December 21, 2016

I believe that it’s time to take another careful look at the F-35 warplane (officially called a “weapons system”). Over the 50 year life span of the F-35, America’s newest warplane, we will spend $1.4 trillion on production and maintenance of this one weapons system. That is enough to feed all the world’s hungry ($30 billion per year) and provide everyone on earth with safe drinking water ($11 billion per year).

Even short of provoking war, its production and deployment misdirects vast amounts of precious metals and fossil fuels. This stealth airplane is specifically designed for offensive use. It can carry the B61-12 nuclear weapon deep into foreign territory undetected, making its first-strike use more likely.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Why Didn’t You Ask? A Letter to Editor Seven Days

By Eileen Andreoli
November 2, 2016

It’s patently absurd that reporter Paul Heintz’s second major reflection on Sen. Patrick Leahy’s career in three years does not once mention the extremely controversial F-35 debate in Vermont [“Forty-Two Years a Senator,” October 12].
The F-35 issue has been one of the most divisive of Leahy’s campaign and has tarnished his image for thousands of Vermont residents. Heintz’s piece doesn’t ask any hard questions about Leahy’s decision to trade off the projected damage to the homes, health and safety of thousands of Vermonters for his untenable desire for the basing of the dysfunctional and dangerous F-35s in our residential neighborhoods.
Who is to blame for this glaring omission of concern to many Vermonters? Was it Leahy’s arrogance in refusing to talk about the F-35s or a lack of reporting skills on Heintz’s part?

[Full Article]

S. Burlington leader wants F-35 noise maps before 2019

By Nicole Higgins DeSmet
December 7, 2016

City Manager Kevin Dorn wants better information on how F-35 jet noise will affect neighborhoods surrounding the airport.

“One of the areas of the greatest anxiety and uncertainty in South Burlington escalates with the F-35s arrival,” Dorn said Monday during a meeting at Burlington International Airport. “People are trying to understand where they are going to be in the new line in 2019 and beyond.”

The F-16 Fighting Falcon jets based at the airport are scheduled to be replaced in 2019 by F-35 jets, which are being test-flown elsewhere. The airport’s most recent sound map from 2015 only takes into account current airport noise. Approximately 900 people are living within the current sound mitigation zone designated by the airport.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Fighter jet accidentally drops training bombs on northern Michigan

November 2, 2016

Officials say a mechanical failure is believed to have caused the release of six training bombs and a training missile from a military plane over Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula.

No one was injured due to the release, which WWTV and WPBN report happened Oct. 25 over Oscoda County.

The training weapons were on a plane heading to Camp Grayling from Selfridge Air National Guard Base in suburban Detroit when they fell off. The Michigan National Guard says the bombs and missile were found in a remote wooded area near Luzerne.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Marine Corps F-35 Caught Fire During Training Flight

By Hope Hodge Seck
November 7, 2016

The Marine Corps is investigating after an F-35B Joint Strike Fighter based out of Beaufort, South Carolina, recently caught fire in mid-air, Military.com has learned.

The incident happened Oct. 27 at Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501, a fleet replacement squadron for the Marine Corps consisting of 20 F-35B aircraft. One of the aircraft experienced a fire in the weapons bay while conducting a training mission over Beaufort, 1st Lt. John Roberts, a spokesman for 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, told Military.com.

“The aircraft landed safely and there were no injuries sustained,” he said. “An investigation is ongoing and we will provide updates as they are available.”

No estimate of damage caused by the fire was available. The incident was listed by the Naval Safety Center as a Class A mishap, meaning damage totalled $2 million or more on the $100 million aircraft.

[FULL ARTICLE]

What Keeps the F-35 Alive

By David Swanson
November 2, 2016

Imagine if a local business in your town invented a brand new tool that was intended to have an almost magical effect thousands of miles away. However, where the tool was kept and used locally became an area unsafe for children. Children who got near this tool tended to have increased blood pressure and increased stress hormones, lower reading skills, poorer memories, impaired auditory and speech perception, and impaired academic performance.

Most of us would find this situation at least a little concerning, unless the new invention was designed to murder lots of people. Then it’d be just fine.

Now, imagine if this same new tool ruined neighborhoods because people couldn’t safely live near it. Imagine if the government had to compensate people but kick them out of living near the location of this tool. Again, I think, we might find that troubling if mass murder were not the mission.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Sheriff: Pilot should face discipline for crash notification delay

By Morgan True
September 30, 2016

The sheriff who mounted a large-scale emergency response to a plane crash on a Lake Champlain island said the air national guardsmen who did not immediately notify authorities should face consequences.

The accident occurred Sept. 19 around noon on Savage Island, according to Grand Isle Sheriff Ray Allen. However, the crash of the airman’s personal plane wasn’t reported to authorities until six hours later when another pilot, flying over the privately owned island, saw the crashed single-prop Piper PA-11, and radioed the flight tower at Burlington International Airport, Allen said.

Air traffic controllers called Vermont State Police, who called in Allen. Believing he was dealing with an active crash scene, Allen dispatched two boats and called on Milton’s volunteer fire department to join the marine response.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Vermont National Guard Crashes Plane

By Sasha Goldstein
November 16, 2016

The small-plane crash on Savage Island involving two Vermont National Guard airmen in September happened as the pilot practiced an emergency landing, according to a report from the National Transportation Safety Board.

He idled the plane at an altitude of 450 feet to “simulate an engine failure,” but then experienced aerodynamic stall about 15 to 20 feet above the ground before hitting the private island “nose low and left wing down,” the NTSB’s “factual report” recounts. The pilot reported “that he misjudged the wind speed and did not realize he was completing the simulated training maneuver with a tailwind.”

The pilot and a passenger in the back seat were uninjured. The report indicates neither occupant was administered a toxicology test. The Piper PA-11 plane, built in 1947, had substantial damage.

[FULL ARTICLE]

The U.S. Military Will Bring F-35s Into Service Without Finishing Them

By Dan Grazier
November 18, 2016

When F-35 Joint Strike Fighter pilots take to the air in coming years, not only will their plane not be suitable for combat, it won’t even be fully developed.

Indeed, performance in multiple essential mission areas will be “unacceptable,” according to the Pentagon’s top weapon testing official.

In a memo obtained by the Project On Government Oversight, Michael Gilmore, Director, Operational Test and Evaluation, warns that the Joint Strike Fighter Program Office has decided to cut short the F-35’s development phase in order to pretend that schedule and cost goals are being met.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pentagon Memo: F-35 Capabilities in Jeopardy

By Dan Grazier
November 16, 2016

When F-35 Joint Strike Fighter pilots take to the air in coming years, not only will their plane not be suitable for combat, it won’t even be fully developed. Indeed, performance in multiple essential mission areas will be “unacceptable,” according to the Pentagon’s top weapon testing official.

In a memo obtained by the Project On Government Oversight, Dr. Michael Gilmore, Director, Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E), warns that the Joint Strike Fighter Program Office (JPO) has decided to cut short the F-35’s development phase in order to pretend that schedule and cost goals are being met.

Truncating Development Breeds Further Cost Overruns

Contractors, the JPO, and Pentagon acquisition officials have failed for years to deliver on their grandiose promises of program success.  Now the program appears to be out of money, with lots of development testing and re-engineering left to be done. Instead of admitting to these failures, F-35 program officials are kicking the development can into the future by arbitrarily cutting short this process now with the intention of eating into funds set aside for operational testing and production later.

Taking incompletely developed F-35s into combat will, Dr. Gilmore says, place pilots at “significant risk.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Fearing Noise Impacts, Residents demand better representation

By Monty Mericle
November 26, 2016

It was made clear again Nov. 16 to the 150 residents attending the Boise Airport Master Planning meeting that the Boise Airport and Boise City officials have no intention of addressing the noise impacts of the expanding airport operations. The recently completed FAA sponsored Noise Study projects the “Not Suitable for Residential Use” zone on private property surrounding the airport will expand from the current 105 homes to 419 homes if F-15 aircraft replace the current A-10 aircraft, and over 1,100 homes if the city is successful in attracting F-35 aircraft to Gowen Field.

Navy pollutes water system

DECEMBER 14, 2016

Navy Contaminates Coupeville Wells from Navy OLF Training Site

Residents Warned Against Drinking, Preparing Food with Their Water

The Navy has delivered bottled water and warnings to the first of what may be many homes with contaminated drinking water that are located in the area of the Navy’s Outlying Field (OLF) near Coupeville.

At least two property owners, some of the first who took the Navy up on its offer to have their water wells tested, were notified by phone that their water contained toxic chemicals above EPA Health Advisory Levels.

The Navy’s testing of private and public water wells followed the October 11 discovery of toxic chemicals in an OLF drinking water well that signaled contamination of the underlying aquifer. The fear that perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) found beneath the OLF had spread beyond Navy property prompted a November 7 letter to more than 100 private and public drinking water well owners in a one mile radius.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pentagon buries evidence of $125 Billion in Bureaucratic waste

By Craig Whitlock and Bob Woodward
December 5, 2016

The Pentagon has buried an internal study that exposed $125 billion in administrative waste in its business operations amid fears Congress would use the findings as an excuse to slash the defense budget, according to interviews and confidential memos obtained by The Washington Post.

Pentagon leaders had requested the study to help make their enormous back-office bureaucracy more efficient and reinvest any savings in combat power. But after the project documented far more wasteful spending than expected, senior defense officials moved swiftly to kill it by discrediting and suppressing the results.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Trump want to fire the F-35

By Phillip Swarts
October 29, 2015

Donald Trump wants to tell the F-35 that it’s fired.

The businessman and Republican presidential candidate questioned the wisdom of purchasing the joint strike fighter during an appearance on a conservative radio talk show Oct. 22.

“When they say that this cannot perform as well as the planes we already have, what are [we] doing, and spending so much more money?” Trump said during an appearance on the Hugh Hewitt radio show.

The host asked Trump his thoughts on the fifth generation fighter and the fact that it’s $160 billion over budget. Trump responded that he didn’t like what he had been hearing in security briefings.

“I do hear that it’s not very good,” he said. “I’m hearing that our existing planes are better. And one of the pilots came out of the plane, one of the test pilots, and said this isn’t as good as what we already have.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

AF releases F-35 candidate bases

December 7, 2016

Air Force officials announced five installations as candidate bases for the next two Air National Guard F-35A locations.

The candidate bases include: Dannelly Field Air Guard Station, Montgomery, Alabama; Gowen Field AGS, Boise, Idaho; Jacksonville AGS Florida, Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Detroit, and Truax AGS, Madison, Wisconsin.

“The Air Force is committed to a deliberate and open process to address F-35 basing,” said Jennifer A. Miller, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations. “As we progress through the basing process, we will share information so interested communities are aware of what to expect.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Boise on the short list for F-35

By Sven Berg
December 7, 2016

Boise’s Gowen Field is one of five locations the U.S. Air Force is considering as a base for about 18 F-35 fighter jets, the Idaho National Guard announced Wednesday.

If Gowen is selected, the F-35s would replace 21 A-10 warplanes now based here. A lot work has to be done before such a decision could be made, including an Environmental Impact Study and a facility validation inspection, according to the Idaho Guard.

 The new fleet likely wouldn’t arrive in Boise until 2021 or 2022.

The Air Force and Guard will face intense public dissent if they decide to base F-35s here. Hundreds of people who live near the Boise Airport — which allows the Guard to use its runways — say the F-35 and F-15, another loud Air Force Fighter jet that’s been discussed as a replacement for Boise’s A-10s, are too noisy to be taking off and landing in Idaho’s most densely populated area.

Airport officials and City Hall have spent the last year responding to angry residents who think the city and Federal Aviation Administration are manipulating information about the F-35 and F-15 to downplay the noise those aircraft produce with the goal of convincing the public to go along with basing a wing of those jets here.

Boise blogger David Frazier, one of hundreds of outspoken opponents of basing F-35s in Boise, challenged decision makers Wednesday to bring the aircraft to Boise and follow standard takeoff and landing procedures, demonstrating exactly how loud next-generation fighter is.

Trump targets F-35 program

By Damian Paletta and Doug Cameron
December 12, 2016

Donald Trump took aim at the Pentagon’s costliest program on Monday, saying on Twitter the “program and cost” of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter “is out of control.”

This is the second defense program in recent days the president-elect has unloaded on for cost issues. Last week, Mr. Trump claimed the government’s second-largest defense contractor, Boeing Co., had run up costs in the development of new Air Force One aircraft.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Trump Tweet Targets F-35 Overruns

By Kyle Midura

December 12, 2016

The battle over bringing the F-35 fighter jet to Burlington took a turn Monday with a tweet by President-elect Donald Trump.

Just before a pair of F-35s touched down in Israel, a tweet from President-elect Donald Trump sent the manufacturer’s stock into a free-fall. “The F-35 program and cost is out of control,” he wrote, “Billions of dollars can and will be saved on military (and other) purchases after January 20th.”

The F-35 accounted for 20-percent of Lockheed Martin’s total revenue last year. Morning trading saw shares in the company fall by more than 4-percent.

Some estimates place the cost of designing and building the planes at $400 billion — currently costing more than $100 million per plane.

Eighteen of the planes are set to land in Vermont in 2019. Vermont Air National Guard officials say they won’t speculate on the meaning of Trump’s tweet or what it means for the jets’ future here. They passed our request for comment to the Department of Defense.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 Sound Test Now Makes Sense

December 13, 2016

South Burlington should pursue options for a study that would show how noise from soon-to-be-deployed F-35 fighters could impact neighborhoods surrounding Burlington International Airport.

The sound contours are likely to change with the scheduled arrival of the new Air National Guard jets in 2019. The next-generation fighters are louder, but are expected to project their noise in a different pattern, than the F-16s currently based at the airport.

Everyone knows the F-35s are coming and when. Why should people and businesses have to wait two years until the jets arrive to find out exactly what living or working near the airport might mean?

[FULL ARTICLE]

Five Guard Bases in the Running to House F-35As

By Stephen Losey
December 7, 2016

The Air Force has whittled its list of potential Air National Guard bases that could host F-35A operations from 18 down to five.

In a Wednesday release, the Air Force said the remaining candidate bases are Dannelly Field Air Guard Station in Montgomery, Alabama; Gowen Field Air Guard Station in Boise, Idaho; Jacksonville Air Guard Station in Florida; Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Detroit; and Truax Air Guard Station in Madison, Wisconsin. Of those, two will be chosen sometime next year.

They will become the second and third Guard bases to host F-35As. The Air Force has already decided to base 18 F-35As at Burlington Air Guard Station in Vermont, home of the 158th Fighter Wing. On the active duty side, F-35As will also be based at Hill Air Force Base in Utah, Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska, and RAF Lakenheath in England.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 unit cost

By Winslow Wheeler
December 22, 2016

On Dec. 12, 2016, president-elect Donald Trump asserted that F-35 unit cost was “out of control” through his preferred medium Twitter. On Dec. 19, 2016, U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, in charge of the Joint Strike Fighter project, gave the press his version of things.

Multiple media outlets passed along the officer’s comments, but with no analysis of the completeness and accuracy of Bogdan’s assertions. The reports offered no context or alternative views on the stealth fighter’s actual cost per plane.

The general said each one of the Air Force’s F-35A would cost $102.1 million, while both the U.S. Marine Corps’ F-35Bs and and U.S. Navy’s F-35Cs would set the taxpayer back 132 million each. Those costs average to approximately $122 million for a “generic” F-35.

Bogdan got these numbers from the funds Congress set aside in the 2015 defense budget for what the Pentagon called “Lot 9,” just one of a number of planned F-35 purchases. In November 2016, the U.S. military was still negotiating the final deal with plane-maker Lockheed Martin.

Needless to say, the unit costs Bogdan gave the media were incomplete.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lockheed CEO discusses F-35 with Trump

By Tony Bertuca
December 22, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump met with Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson on Wednesday in Palm Beach, FL, to discuss the F-35 program, according to the presidential transition team. “They discussed the status of the F-35 program and establishing a quicker finalization of the contracting process and how we can continue to tighten up expenses on behalf of the taxpayer,” Jason Miller, a Trump spokesman, told reporters on a Thursday call.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lockheed F-35 in doubt after Trump’s tweet

Dec. 22, 2016

Donald Trump has again criticized the cost of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter jet and tweeted that he has asked Boeing to offer a price for an older aircraft that lacks the same stealth capabilities.

Trump posted his message on Thursday, a day after the president-elect met the chief executives of both aerospace companies. In after-hours trading following the tweet, Lockheed shares fell 2% and Boeing’s rose 0.7%.

 

Based on the tremendous cost and cost overruns of the Lockheed Martin F-35, I have asked Boeing to price-out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 22, 2016

[FULL ARTICLE]

Save the Guard — The Big Lie

September 12, 2016

This commentary is by Richard Joseph, who is an artist, a member of the Stop the F-35 Coalition and a plaintiff in the F-35 lawsuit against the Air Force.

In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act. — Anonymous

The truth revolution faces fierce opposition in Burlington. In fact, during the past four or five years, Burlington has been subjected to a concerted disinformation campaign touting the supposed benefits of basing the troubled F-35 Joint Strike Fighter at Burlington’s commercial airport. Lies have been told and repeated by F-35 basing proponents attempting to build public support. Now, in government documents released in conjunction with an ongoing lawsuit against the Air Force, some of the deceit has finally been exposed.

We were told Burlington is the best location for the F-35.

• But the truth revealed in government documents is that Burlington is the worst location from both an environmental and an operational perspective among the sites that were considered.

Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy said he’d “never put his finger on the scale” to convince the Air Force to select Burlington for the F-35 basing.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Vermont’s Golden Calf

The following is a letter to the editor of VTDigger.com from Roseanne Greco

August 31, 2016

As a child I believed most of the Bible stories I was taught. But there was one story I found hard to believe … until recently, that is. The story was of people (the Israelites) building a statue of a golden calf from their riches (their melted jewelry), which they then worshiped as a god and to which they sacrificed. The Israelites believed this idol would save them from their enemies. They revered those who created and paraded their idol, and criticized those who dared to doubt the idol or its high priests. How could individuals be so enamored of an inanimate object? It was difficult for me to believe that rational people actually believed something built by human beings was a god.

However, over the past few years, I’ve seen Vermonters come to worship an object made by human beings. Devotees adorn their vehicles with images of their idol and post phrases claiming that their idol will save Vermont. They contribute their riches to create their golden calf, to promote its presence, and to proselytize its message. And, they are willing to sacrifice to their god.

[FULL LETTER]

F-35 racks up weapons tests

By Colin Clark
August 22, 2016

The F-35 program completed 25 weapons tests in a month, a marked surge from the previous high of three in November 2014.

The weapons tests used the aircraft’s latest software, the 3F version.

During the tests, some 30 weapons were dropped or fired, including the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM), AIM-120 Missile, the Small Diameter Bomb (SDB), AIM-9X missile, the F-35’s Joint Program Office said in a statement.

The program performed 12 Weapons Delivery Accuracy and 13 Weapon Separation Tests. Five tests included dropping multiple weapons. The tests were performed at the Sea Test Range near Point Mugu Naval Air Station, Calif., the China Lake Weapons Range, and White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

“This was a tremendous effort by the F-35 test team,” Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, head of the F-35’s Joint Program Office, said in a statement. “They surged and worked seven days a week for more than a month to expend 30 ordnance and advance weapons testing. This testing has moved us that much closer to delivering the full F-35 capability to warfighters within the next two years.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 still falls short

By Anthony Capaccio
August 24, 2016

A week after the Air Force declared its version of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 jet ready for limited combat operations, the Pentagon’s top tester warned that the U.S. military’s costliest weapons program is still riddled with deficiencies.

“In fact the program is actually not on a path toward success but instead on a path toward failing to deliver” the aircraft’s full capabilities, “for which the Department is paying almost $400 billion by the scheduled end” of its development in 2018, Michael Gilmore, the Defense Department’s director of operational testing, said in an Aug. 9 memo obtained by Bloomberg News.

“Achieving full combat capability with the Joint Strike Fighter is at substantial risk” of not occurring before development is supposed to end and realistic combat testing begins, he said of the F-35.

[FULL ARTICLE]

The F-35 may never be ready for combat

By Dan Grazier & Mandy Smithberger
September 9, 2016

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is the most expensive procurement program in Pentagon history. It’s been plagued by schedule delays, gross cost overruns, and a slew of underwhelming performance reviews. Last month the Air Force declared its variant “ready for combat,” and most press reports lauded this as a signal that the program had turned a corner. But a memo issued from the Pentagon’s top testing official, based largely upon the Air Force’s own test data, showed that the Air Force’s declaration was wildly premature.

Dr. Michael Gilmore’s latest memorandum is damning. The F-35 program has derailed to the point where it “is actually not on a path toward success, but instead on a path toward failing to deliver the full Block 3F capabilities for which the Department is paying almost $400 billion.” The 16-page memo, first reported by Tony Capaccio at Bloomberg and then by others, details just how troubled this program is: years behind schedule and failing to deliver even the most basic capabilities taxpayers, and the men and women who will entrust their lives to it, have been told to expect.

[FULL ARTICLE]

When Pork Flies

By Angelo Young
September 14, 2016

The F-35, the Pentagon’s $1.1 trillion flying money pit, is (sort of) ready for duty
The lemon has liftoff! After 20 years, the most expensive weapon in history is being put into service

Twenty years since the Pentagon began taking bids from defense contractors, the F-35 fighter jet — the most expensive weapon ever made — is finally ready to see active duty over the Pacific Ocean. The U.S. Marine Corps expects to deploy 16 of the stealthy high-tech warplanes early next year at Iwakuni Air Station in Japan. From there, U.S. pilots will begin testing the jets in regular noncombat operations from the Navy’s USS Wasp amphibious assault vessel in what one commanding general has described as the “school of hard knocks.”

It’s a curious choice of words considering the checkered history of the much-maligned and madly over-budget F-35, which has basically been taking knocks since it was first conceived.

Years of delays, management shakeups, engine and software problems — and most important — cost overruns have made this Lockheed Martin jet initiative a punching bag and pork barrel project.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Air Force Grounds F-35s

By Ryan Browne
September 17, 2016

The US Air Force said Friday it has grounded 10 of its F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, just over a month after they were declared “combat ready.”

The decision affecting the most expensive weapons system ever was made “due to the discovery of peeling and crumbling insulation in avionics cooling lines inside the fuel tanks,” the Air Force said in a statement, describing the action as a temporary pause in flight operations.”
The faulty cooling lines affected a total of 57 aircraft, the statement said. Only 15 of those planes had been fielded with the remainder still on the production line and will be fixed there.
The plane’s manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, has delivered 108 F-35As. The Air Force plans to buy 1,763 of the jets.

Air Force halts production of 60 F-35s

September 16, 2016

The United States Air Force has halted production of nearly 60 of its F-35 fighter jets.

It comes after the discovery of peeling and crumbling insulation in cooling lines inside some of the planes’ fuel tanks. Most of the jets affected were still being built, only 15 had been completed, with 10 being called “combat ready.” Manufacturer Lockheed Martin says they are working to quickly return jets to flying status.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Achieving full combat capability for F-35 at risk

September 12, 2016

Barely a week after the US Air Force declared Aug. 3 that its F-35A fighter was ready for combat, the Pentagon’s top weapons tester warned the aircraft is “not effective and not suitable across the required mission areas and against currently fielded threats.”

In an Aug. 9 memo, the Pentagon’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E), J. Michael Gilmore, detailed the aircraft’s faults, recounted the program’s lack of progress, and warned it is fast running out of money, which will compromise attempts to fix it in time for the Operational Test & Evaluation, presently scheduled to begin sometime in 2018.

The memo, first disclosed on Aug. 24 by Bloomberg News, was addressed to Frank Kendall, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition; Deborah Lee James, the Air Force Secretary, and General David Goldfein, the Air Force chief of staff.

The US Air Force and the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) shrugged off this latest warning as they have previous ones, by claiming the report mentions deficiencies that are, or are being, fixed.

[FULL ARTICLE]

VT National Guard pilot crashed plane and left the scene

By Sasha Goldstein
September 22, 2016

An off-duty Vermont National Guard airman crashed a small private plane on a Lake Champlain island around noon Monday and left the scene with his passenger — another airman — apparently without calling police.

Local authorities found out about the badly damaged Piper PA-11 on Savage Island only after the pilot of another small plane noticed the wreckage six hours later while flying over the 207-acre island, according to Grand Isle County Sheriff Ray Allen.

That pilot radioed the tower at Burlington International Airport to report it. The tower staff contacted Vermont State Police, who in turn patched in Allen around 6 p.m.

Allen mobilized a massive response to what he thought was an active crash scene.

“There are lots of fire chiefs upset, myself included, along with other agencies, that this was an incident six hours old with no injuries — and nobody there,” Allen told Seven Days.

[FULL ARTICLE]

VT Air Guard pilot crashes plane

By Staci DaSilva

September 23, 2016

Grand Isle County Sheriff Ray Allen says he is waiting for a Federal Aviation Administration investigation to dictate whether federal investigators want the state of Vermont to press charges against two off-duty Air National Guardsmen.

Sheriff Allen says 30 people, or more, were dispatched to Savage Island in Grand Isle County Monday after reports of a plane crash.

Allen says the response effort involved multiple marine vessels, volunteer firefighters and a U.S. Customs & Border Protection helicopter. The island is not accessible by any roadway.

“The volunteers, they’re taking time away from their families, they’re volunteering their time to do out,” said Sheriff Allen.

When they got there, they found a destroyed Piper PA-11. Nobody was with the plane.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35A caught fire prior to takeoff

September 23, 2016

An F-35A Joint Strike Fighter preparing for a training mission at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, caught fire just before takeoff, according to the Air Force.

The Air Force F-35A Lightning II, assigned to the 56th Fighter Wing, experienced what the service said was a “ground emergency” at about 12:20 p.m. eastern Friday at the base, according to a statement.

Seven of the stealthy fifth
-generation fighters have been at Mountain Home since Sept. 10 to use the base’s range for surface-to-air training, the statement said.

The Air Force said the cause of fire is under investigation.

Last week, the Air Force ordered a temporary stand-down of 13 out of 104 F-35s in the fleet “due to the discovery of peeling and crumbling insulation in avionics cooling lines inside the fuel tanks,” according to a statement at the time.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 engine catches fire

By Associated Press

September 23, 2016

Authorities say an F-35A fighter jet from Arizona caught fire during an engine start at an Air Force Base in Idaho.

Officials at Luke Air Force Base in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale say a “ground emergency” occurred about 9:30 a.m. Friday as the aircraft was preparing for a training mission at Mountain Home Air Force Base.

They say the fire was quickly extinguished and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

[FULL ARTICLE]

The F35 fight is far from over

f35-protest-2016

Here we go …. Asking you for money … yet again.  I honestly thought that our fund raising effort in August 2015 would have been the last time we would have to ask for money.  At that time, Jim Dumont, our lawyer, had given us his best estimate on what the costs would be for our lawsuit until the end of the process. You were generous and we raised enough to cover all of those estimated costs. In fact, until now, we have always been able to pay all of our bills, including our legal costs.

But in May, the South Burlington city council started discussing joining the lawsuit.  This resulted in more work for Jim and more legal costs to us.  Then the federal judge assigned to our case asked to hear oral testimony from our lawyer and the Air Force lawyer regarding our challenge to the Environmental Impact Statement.  That occurred on July 5th.  On August 10th, the judge issued his ruling against us.  Within days, we decided to appeal this ruling.  However, once we pay what we currently owe Jim, we will have no further legal fees.  Here’s why.

Jim VOLUNTEERED TO DO THIS APPEAL FOR FREE!  All he asked of us is to pay the minor costs associated with making copies of the legal documents.  Jim is enlisting the help of other lawyers (also pro bono ) to help in the legal appeal.

But, currently, we still owe Jim around $12,000.  Jim has consistently billed us at the lower non-profit rate; but he has expenses and bills and staff to pay as well.  Fairness dictates that we pay Jim for the legal work he has done on our behalf.

Some of you have donated frequently.  We are especially grateful for your generosity.  Now, I am hoping that those who have never donated money to help us stop the F-35, will donate now; and that those who have donated only once or twice in the past will now donate again.

Large donations would be ideal.  But if your financial circumstances don’t allow for that, then anything you can afford will help.  Well over a thousand people have expressed opposition to the F-35 basing.  Were everyone to donate $20 we would be able to pay off all our bills, and have a cushion of money to sustain us for the next three years – until 2019 when the F-35 is scheduled to arrive.

So, we are asking for money ONE LAST TIME.  But the “last time” doesn’t mean the struggle is over.  Far from it!

We have both legal and political courses of action still available to us.  Both the courts and our senior politicians can stop the basing.  We are currently brainstorming political strategies.  More about those later.

I hate using militaristic terms like “fighting” “ battling” “battles” and “wars.” But since we ARE talking about the MILITARY basing a WEAPON SYSTEM in our midst, and the F-35 is literally a KILLING MACHINE; I think the terminology is appropriate.  I assure you that the fight is far from over.  The only way we will lose is if we stop fighting.  We have lost many battles, but we can win the war.

This is not just another “cause.”  Morality compels us to continue our efforts. The dangers and impacts to people are just too great.  We cannot accept the cognitive impairment that military jet noise might inflict on hundreds of mostly low income children.  We cannot accept the destruction of more neighborhoods.  We cannot accept the risk of a crash from an extremely toxic fighter-bomber onto a densely populated community.

Thank you for everything you do.  Your continued activism and financial support is vital to saving our citizens and cities.  This may be your last chance to contribute to stopping the impending injustice.  With the help of some money and the outspoken voices of many people, we will be able to stop the F-35.

Rosanne and the Stop the F-35 Coalition

Please make out checks to “Stop the F-35” and send to the Peace & Justice Center, 60 Lake St, Suite #1C, Burlington, VT  05401-4417.  Your check will go further (less processing fees!) or you can also donate online >>>.  Donations are tax deductible.

Tucson, AZ F-35 related information

f35noisedataedwards2013By Bob Logan
July 29 2016

In May, Consultant Lt. Gen. (Ret) Gene Santarelli traveled to Lockheed Martin Co. manufacturing
facility in Dallas to get an update on F-35 noise and safety data.

F-35 Noise data in Comparison to F-16 C/D From Edwards AFB tests Sept., 2013

[FULL ARTICLE – Pages 14-17]

F-35s in Vermont the Elephant in the room by Eileen Andreoli

By  Eileen Andreoli

July 25, 2016

Did you see it? The State of Vermont’s official website now displays the banner, “Welcome to Vermont – Future Home of the F-35 Stealth Bomber/Fighter Jet!!!”

Yes, Gov. Peter Shumlin, Sen. Patrick Leahy, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Peter Welch and all the way down to Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger — all these progressive, pro-environmental, green-loving politicians — have heartily endorsed the virtues of the F-35 basing at the Burlington Airport. They are proud of the basing decision and can’t wait to announce it in their marketing campaigns. All new state promotional and marketing material will carry the new slogan.

The F-35 basing will be the first-ever basing of a newly operational warplane in the midst of our state’s most densely populated residential community. The crash risk from any new warplane in military history is the highest in the first few years of flights. The F-35s will arrive in Vermont in 2019 as immature planes. Despite the dangers and risks to Vermont’s residential populations, these politicians have declared it “an honor” to be chosen.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lockheed says F-35 Aces Exercises

By Andrea Shalal

July 15, 2016

After 15 years of cost overruns and technical delays, the Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) F-35 fighter jet is now knocking out “enemy” forces in combat exercises and surviving attacks in a way that even U.S. military officials say they did not expect.

The new stealthy warplane wowed crowds at two UK air shows over the past week, showing off its capabilities in what U.S. officials say is part of a larger drive to boost NATO’s defenses and counter growing threats around the world.

[FULL ARTICLE]

First Operational F-35A Squadron finishes to-do list

By Valerie Insinna

August 8, 2016

The Air Force’s first F-35 squadron has completed all preparations necessary to declare the joint strike fighter combat capable, and sources say an initial operating capability declaration is due within days.

Twelve jets have received the modifications necessary for IOC, 21 combat- mission-ready pilots are available, and the maintenance infrastructure is ready to support Hill Air Force Base’s 34th Fighter Squadron, said some of those operators on July 27. With paperwork filed, all that’s left is for Air Combat Command head Gen. Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle to sign off.

“We have achieved all our milestones,” said Lt. Col. Steven Anderson, deputy commander of the 388th Maintenance Group. Anderson, along with several other maintainers and pilots from Hill Air Force Base, spoke to reporters over a conference call. “Wehave submitted all of the data to ACC for General Carlisle’s consideration on making that declaration.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 now ready to fight ISIS if called upon

By Phillip Swarts

July 25, 2016

The Air Force’s newest multi-role fighter, the F-35 Lightning II, could deploy to Iraq and Syria very soon if called upon, and before too long will be sent around the world, said Gen. Hawk Carlisle, the head of Air Combat Command.

“The minute I declare initial operational capability, if the combatant commander called me up and said we need F-35s I would send them,” Carlisle told reporters on Capitol Hill on July 13.

The much anticipated, much delayed, very advanced and very over-budget F-35 is set to finally reach IOC sometime in the last five months of the year, as the Air Force has been working to gear up training and maintenance capabilities for the new plane.

Reports indicated the plane might not reach operational capability until near the end of 2015 due to problems with its onboard software. But Carlisle said fixes have been made and the plane is almost ready to go.

“We’re not quite ready yet, but things are going very well in the program,” he said. “I see it at the front end of thatAugust to December window.”

At that point, the Air Force will officially offer the plane’s use to combatant commanders, including Central Command leader Army Gen. Joseph Votel.

“I would tell him what its capabilities were,” Carlisle said. “If he said I need that capability then I would deploy.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35s almost ready at Hill AFB

By Nate Carlisle
July 27, 2016

The United States’ newest fighter jet, and pilots and maintainers from Utah, are almost capable of deploying to a war zone, officers from Hill Air Force Base said Wednesday.

In a conference call with reporters, the commanders said the F-35 and the personnel performed well in recent mock deployments and training flights and have achieved milestones set by the Air Force.

“Every pilot here has dropped a weapon from the jet,” said Lt. Col. George Watkins, commander of the 34th Fighter Squadron commander. “Most of them inert. A couple of them live.”

The success doesn’t mean the F-35s are going into to combat anytime soon. The Air Force and observers have predicted the F-35 won’t actually be deployed until sometime between 2019 to 2022.

The first operational F-35s will be at Hill, but it still only has less than one squadron’s worth. The base is to eventually receive 72 of the jets — enough for three squadrons.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Construction Projects could hamper first overseas F-35 beddown

By Valerie Insinna

July 25, 2016

The first overseas Air Force base to get the F-35 joint strike fighter is making preparations for the jet’s arrival in the early 2020s, but its commander is worried that the service will not be able to build the new facilities needed to beddown the plane as quickly as anticipated.

Col. Robert Novotny, commander of the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath, told Defense News, a sister publication of Air Force Times, that he is eager to receive the first joint strike fighter jets, but first new facilities must be built and old ones refurbished in order to support the aircraft. The service announced earlier this year that the base — located in in Suffolk, England — had been chosen to receive 54 F-35s in 2020.

That timeline has already been pushed back to the 2021-2022 time frame, Novotny said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Hill AFB F-16s to the used for training

August 22, 2016

The Air Force will soon stand up interim F-16 training units to increase pilot output, the service announced Aug. 11.

“We need to increase our pilot production, and soon we will announce the stand up of new F-16 training units,” Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James told reporters at a State of the Air Force briefing with Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein. “We expect to select candidate locations for up to two new training locations by the end of December 2016.

“In the meantime we intend to augment up to two of our existing training units to jump-start pilot production by the end of September 2017,” she said Aug. 10.

Because the Air Force cannot permanently base formal training units, or FTUs, without first conducting an environmental impact analysis, cost benefit analysis, and other site surveys, an interim solution to increase fighter pilot training will temporarily move F-16 aircraft at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, to two of the existing F-16 training locations, the Air Force said in a release.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 targeting system can’t be used in the UK

By Gareth Corfield

August 1, 2016

US restrictions on the F-35 fighter jet’s targeting system will make it “almost impossible” for training to be carried out in the UK, the Ministry of Defence fears – but its press office insists the constraints are normal.

The F-35’s electro-optical targeting system (EOTS) includes a target designator laser and a laser rangefinder.

According to the Defence Ranges Safety Committee, the F-35 has only been cleared to use the designator laser “in the US under very tight controls”.

These include a ban on any optic devices being within 33km of the aircraft when the designator is switched on, and no observers being allowed within 9km of an F-35 operating its designator laser.

“If these restrictions stand, then training in the UK will be almost impossible,” an MoD civil servant wrote. The MoD’s F-35 project team are said to be “in discussion” with the US to have the restrictions “reviewed”.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Air Force expanding into communities

By Stephen Stuebner
Nov. 28, 1994

The Air Force’s decision Oct. 6 to back off on building a new bombing range in the Owyhee canyonlands is a victory – and therefore shocking.

Who would have thought that a coalition of local and national environmentalists, hunting groups and a few members of Congress could stop the military and Idaho’s forceful Gov. Cecil Andrus?

Members of this informal coalition enjoyed clinking glasses to their momentary success. “We toasted in hopes that we had driven the pointy end of the spear through this proposal,” said Bob Stevens, a Ketchum bighorn sheep hunter and former military pilot, who flew many opinion-makers over the remote canyon. “The problem has always been location, location, location.”

A look back at this long-debated project suggests that Andrus may indeed have doomed it by choosing the most environmentally sensitive area in Owyhee County, trying to pull an end-run on Congress and pledging Idaho’s support without asking the people first.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F35 JSF stealth fails again

June 21, 2016

The American company given a contract to provide the biggest weapons purchased in
Australia’s history has launched a public relations offensive. the controversial
F35 jet fighters have been played by big costs and big delays.

Open Meeting law violated regarding VTANG-called meeting

By Nicole Higgins DeSmet
June 30, 2016

Community members cried foul at being denied entrance to a publicly announced meeting last week.

Vaughn Altemus of Williston, who was not admitted to the Vermont National Guard meeting last Wednesday, wrote of his concerns to Free Press on Sunday following a story written by staff regarding South Burlington’s support of a sound and safety lawsuit against the U. S. Air Force.

“I continue to be unaware of any way I could have gained access to that meeting,” Altemus wrote.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 at Farnsborough

By Lars Schwetj

Lockheed Martin’s F-35B showcased both speed and maneuverability during a display at the Farnborough International Airshow, bolting across the skies before hovering above the crowd and doing a 360-degree rotation

[FULL ARTICLE]

MacKay laments not buying F-35s

By Stephanie Levitz
June 13th, 2016

Buying a fighter jet that’s different from the one used by Canada’s closest allies risks disconnecting the country from the global alliances it needs the most, a former Conservative defence minister said Monday.

Peter MacKay told a Senate committee that in his mind, there’s no question the Lockheed-Martin F-35 is the right plane for Canada — from defending the Far North to helping to confront the threat of terrorism around the world.

MacKay’s government tried to purchase that very plane but questions about its costs and capabilities forced a halt to the process — something MacKay said he regrets.

“I’m very much lamenting some of the to-ing and fro-ing that’s going on currently over the purchase of fighter aircraft,” he said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Noise information delayed

BY MORGAN TRUE
DEC. 10, 2015

City officials, the Vermont Air National Guard and the Burlington International Airport are making progress toward a joint noise mitigation commission that would include representatives from other affected communities.

Newly released noise exposure maps show more than 2,200 people fall into the area negatively impacted by excessive noise from the airport and the F-16 fighter jets now in use. The maps don’t account for louder F-35 fighter jets that are expected to be based at the airport in 2020.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Could network failure ground the F-35

By Lara Seligman
May 16, 2016

The F-35 joint program office and a top government watchdog are butting heads about a key question for the joint strike fighter: whether or not the fifth-generation plane can fly if disconnected from a key logistics system.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 bashing

March 21, 2016

In the budget proposal for fiscal 2017, the Air Force finally relented, and said it would keep the plane on board until 2022, though there are plans to retire large numbers of the aircraft in 2018 and 2019.

Welsh said he is in a difficult position, and being forced to argue for retiring the A-10 despite not wanting to do it. Yet the lack of funding and stress on airmen is forcing his hand, and the Air Force must shift resources over to newer fifth-generation planes, he told the committee.

McCain also criticized the budget proposal for the Air Force, saying that it places “an unnecessary and dangerous burden on the backs of our airmen.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Flyoff the A-10 versus the F-35

May 16, 2016

Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., is renewing her fight to keep the A-10 out of the boneyard. She wants to make retirement of the legacy attack plane contingent on a “flyoff” with the fifth-generation F-35.

McSally, a retired Air Force colonel with hundreds of hours flying the A-10 in Iraq and Afghanistan, spearheaded language in the House’s version of the fiscal 2017 defense policy bill that would tie the service’s A-10 retirement plan to a side-by-side comparisontest with the F-35.

“The official part of our proposal is to actually do a test, not just sit around drinking coffee saying: ‘This is what we think,’ ” McSally, R-Ariz., said in a recent interview.

“This is an important part of the official evaluation so that we can have a data-based, assessment-based discussion as to what to do next.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

One in three F-35 flights requires system reboot

By Lara Seligman
May 9, 2016

F-35 critics often point to the Pentagon’s decision to start building the fifth-generation fighter before design and testing is complete as the root of the program’s problems. Even now, as the Air Force prepares to declare its F-35A jets operational this year, so-called “concurrency” remains an obstacle.

These ongoing challenges were on full display at Edwards last week during a development test flight of an Air Force F-35A, when the jet’s team was on the ground troubleshooting for nearly two hours before the aircraft finally launched.

The problem, which revolves around a glitch in the next increment of F-35 software, is a recurring one that causes the plane’s systems to shut down and have to be rebooted – sometimes even mid-flight.

Officials say development test pilots here have trouble booting up their jets about once out of every three flights, but downplayed the problem, pointing out that the goal of test flights is indeed to test, find problems, and work to fix them.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pentagon delays F-35 testing due to software glitch

May 25, 2016

Despite the ongoing risks that the Lockheed Martin fighter jets will crash to the earth, the Pentagon plans to spend an additional $16 billion on another batch of F-35s.

On Tuesday, the Pentagon finally acknowledged that the beleaguered F-35 fighter jet will not be ready for its final test phase until 2018 at the earliest, the latest in a series of setbacks for the expensive next-generation aircraft.

The last major test period before full-rate production, the initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) examines whether an aircraft possesses the requisite combat specifics, and ensures that a jet can fly operational missions as intended.

Due to software problems in the F-35, Pentagon officials have postponed the test date for six months past the August 2017 target date, out of an abundance of concern that the jet will not be ready. This is the second major delay in flight-readiness testing, placing the fighter jet an entire year behind schedule.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Surprising similarities between EB-5 and F-35 programs by Eileen Andreoli

By Eileen Andreoli

May 8, 2016

With his recent reversal of his support of the EB-5 program, Sen. Patrick Leahy seemed to declare that he has realized the errors of his ways. His denouncement of the program is admission that the EB-5 project is corrupt and has harmed both the investors and everyday Vermonters.

Now is the time for Leahy to also acknowledge the same regarding his support of the F-35 basing in Vermont!

Similar to the political contributions that Leahy collected from the EB-5 investors, he has accepted thousands of dollars from Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer of the over-budget and poorly performing F-35 stealth bomber/fighter jet.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Burlington Free Press My Turn: F-35 decision followed Flint model

By James Marc Leas
June 16, 2016

The F-35 basing decision followed the Flint, Michigan, model – eyes closed to the foreseeable catastrophic consequences.

The Air Force Environmental Impact Study (EIS) says the F-35 is expected to have a crash rate like the F-22, which has a much higher crash rate than the F-16.

The number given in the EIS indicates that we can expect an F-35 crash in Burlington, on average, every 3 years.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Letter to South Burlington City Council regarding dangers of advanced composite materials

By Colonel Rosanne Greco, USAF (retired)
June 15, 2015

Dear Councilors,
Once again, I urge all of you to support joining the NEPA lawsuit, which is simply to get the Air Force to comply with federal law and provide the necessary information on the basing impacts of the F-35. Many people tried – unsuccessfully for years — to get the Air Force to provide this vital information. Legal action was the last recourse.

What we are seeking is not “nice-to-know” information. Literally, this could be life-saving data when we consider the very real possibility of an F-35 crash in our community. The noise of the F-35 will assuredly alter the lives of thousands of people in South Burlington, Burlington, Winooski, Williston and Colchester. But the consequences of an F-35 crash in any of these cities is unimaginable. As horrendous a thought as that may be, given the crash statistics for new military aircraft, the likelihood of that happening is quite real.

Last Monday, you heard from a gentlemen who told you there was no difference in crash consequences between the F-16 and the F-35…or commercial airliners…or even household items. He was wrong. Numerous scientific reports produced by the Air Force contradict his statements.
You may decide to trust him, and disregard the data produced by the Air Force which refutes his opinion. However, if you decide to go with one man’s opinion over the Air Force, then at least, do some research and verify what he said. The arms control admonition is appropriate here: “trust, but verify.”
Through Internet searches, we discovered three Air Force reports from experts in the field of composite materials. All three reports, despite the dates (1995, 2001, and 2015), come to the same conclusion on the dangers of advanced composites and advanced aerospace materials. Because many people are unlikely to actually read the reports, I’ve summarized them using direct quotes, with page references. I will gladly send this to you, if you wish.

And, keep in mind that the Air Force did not disclose these reports or their findings in the EIS or during the comment period! We found these reports on our own. Perhaps there is more information that we have not found.

This is the reason for legal action. The Air Force didn’t inform us of these impacts (and other impacts including noise mitigation measures). The Air Force did give us detailed information in the EIS about the F-35 impacts on migratory waterfowl, and what would happen if an F-35 flare ignited vegetation; but they never told us ANYTHING about what we could expect should an F-35 crash!

Military first responders on an Air Force Base in Guam were unprepared when an Air Force bomber with advanced aerospace composite materials (similar to the F-35) crashed in 2008. This mishap report (along with a link to a video of the crash) appears in the 2015 document. You may choose to believe that our first responders will be better prepared to handle the catastrophe associated with a F-35 crash than the military first responders. Perhaps you will be right. But, what if you are wrong?

Please make your decision based on the truth, the facts, and science; and not on speculation, personal opinions, or emotion. And please, don’t let politics guide your decision. Lives could be at risk. Think of the people. Thank you.

All three Air Force composite hazard reports are attached.

Letter to South Burlington City Council regarding NEPA lawsuit

By Colonel Rosanne Greco, USAF (retired)
June 11, 2016

Dear South Burlington City Councilors,

I would like to first express my gratitude to the council chair for being willing to address the serious issue of the safety and noise impacts of the F-35 basing in our city.

Secondly, I would like the council to know that I support South Burlington joining the NEPA lawsuit as a plaintiff.

Thirdly, I would like to address some of the concerns expressed by councilors, starting with informing/reminding the council of past city actions regarding seeking information from the Air Force on the impacts of the F-35 basing, particularly in light of Councilor Chittenden’s comment “Lawsuits are a last resort, not a first resort.” In light of the actions taken by municipalities and residents over the past four years, any reasonable person would come to the conclusion that every other method to acquire information on the negative impacts of this basing decision had been taken; and that filing a lawsuit was the last resort.

Specifically, on at least five occasions, local municipalities wrote to the Air Force requesting information, primarily related to noise, but also regarding other impacts of the basing. These formal letters came from the SB City Council, the SB School Board, and the SB Planning Commission. The City Council of Winooski twice requested this information from the Air Force. The Air Force did not respond to any of these requests.

Additionally, over the past four years, on numerous occasions, South Burlington and area residents from South Burlington, Burlington, Winooski, Williston, and Colchester requested assistance and intervention from our Congressional delegates, Senators Leahy and Sanders, and Representative Welch. Our elected representatives chose not to discuss the matter with any of those who were concerned with the negative consequences of the basing. I think it would be foolhardy to expect that, at this point in time, the Air Force, or our Congressional delegates would be forthcoming with information or assistance.

Regarding Councilor Chittenden’s comment that “The Vermont Air National Guard will be constricted in their permitted interactions with us on the important matters of first responder readiness & noise mitigation if we are in a lawsuit suing them on these two issues” the lawsuit is against theSecretary of the Air Force, not the Vermont Air National Guard. The lawsuit is about requiring the Air Force to comply with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) rules. This information can only come from the United States Air Force.

This same answer applies to Councilor Nowak’s comments about getting information from the Guard. The VTANG is not obligated by law, as is the Air Force, to provide this information; and in all likelihood, does not even possess the information we need. However, Councilor Nowak’s comments about our first responders’ fine reputation in past incidents is pertinent to this discussion; as they are among those the lawsuit seeks to protect. We want to insure that they are able to continue their invaluable work by making sure they have the proper information, technology, equipment, protective garments, and training to combat a totally different type of danger than they have experienced in the past.

The material composition of the new F-35 is vastly different from the current F-16. The F-16 is made up of a tiny fraction of composite materials as compared with the F-35, which the Air Force categorizes as a “high-risk aircraft” because of the amount and percentage of composite materials in its airframe. Moreover, the F-16 has no chemical stealth coating. The entire F-35 is coated with these additional toxic chemicals.

Our lawsuit is to get the information on these dangers, so that our first responders are properly equipped and trained to protect nearby civilians, the military members involved, and to protect themselves. Councilor Nowak is suggesting that the city and its taxpayers ought to be the ones to expend personnel time and money researching the magnitude of the dangers and how to address them, and then paying for the needed training and equipment. She also favors spending taxpayer money to identify noise mitigation actions, and seems to trust that the FAA will allocate all the money needed for noise mitigation work. The Air Force is the one who will be causing these dangers and burdens. It is the Air Force’s responsibility, not the residents of South Burlington, to provide noise information and remedies.
Regarding putting a lawsuit decision to a city-wide vote, in my experience on the council that has never happened. SB has never asked the voters to decide whether the city initiates, or joins, or defends itself through lawsuits. Legal matters are one category that Vermont allows councilors to discuss in executive session.

Lastly, I appreciate councilors’ concerns as to the timing of this matter. But, new information only just became available to the council. To ignore that would be a dereliction of their duties as our elected representatives. Good governance requires acting on information in a timely manner. In this case, waiting to gather more information or input, means the council would miss their last opportunity to act in a meaningful manner. As we used to say in the military, ‘complete information coming too late is useless’.

Unfortunately, councilors do not have the luxury of only working on easy issues. Governing sometimes means taking on controversial topics. Once again, thank you for taking on this controversial, but essential issue. The future of our city and citizens depends on your actions on Monday.

Pilots, maintainer on F-35 pros & cons

By Lara Seligman

As the Air Force races to declare its F-35 jets operational before the end of the year, observers are still warning about schedule delays, a faulty logistics system, and software glitches.

But here at Edwards, the pilots, maintainers and technicians of the F-35 Integrated Test Force say they are happy with the plane — in fact, in many ways the joint strike fighter is a huge improvement over legacysystems.

[FULL ARTICLE]

A day in the life of an F-35 test pilot

By Lara Seligman

Here at the F-35 Integrated Test Force, pilots spend their days simulating real missions to prepare the jets to one day operate on the battlefield.

Air Force Times got a glimpse into the day-to-day life of an F-35 test pilot during a May 4 visit to this base north of Los Angeles. We followed Maj. Raven LeClair, assistant director of operations for the 461st Flight Test Squadron, as he zipped up his flight suit, climbed into the cockpit, taxied to the runway and finally took off into the clear, desert sky.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Additional basing considered for F-35

April 12, 2016

Air Force officials announced April 12 that Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona; Homestead Air Reserve Base, Florida; Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas; and Whiteman AFB, Missouri, are candidate bases for the first Reserve-led F-35A Lightning II location.

The preferred and reasonable alternatives are expected to be selected in the fall and the F-35As are slated to begin arriving at the first Reserve-led F-35A location by the summer of 2023.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lockheed Martin to get $3 billion from F-35 sale to Denmark

By Peter Levring

Denmark’s government plans to replace its aging fleet of fighter jets with Lockheed Martin planes in an order worth 20 billion kroner ($3 billion).

The minority government of Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen, which still needs parliamentary approval before the order can be placed, wants to spend the money on 27 F-35 jets to replace old Lockheed Martin F-16s, Defense Minister Peter Christensen and Rasmussen said at a press conference in Copenhagen on Thursday. Boeing had also competed for the deal.

Denmark is revamping its fleet at a time when the “world security map has changed, producing new threats closer to Europe and Denmark,” Rasmussen said, highlighting Russia, the Middle East and Northern Africa as areas for concern.

[FULL ARTICLE]

America’s last fighter jet makers scramble to keep production alive


BY MARCUS WEISGERBER
MAY 12, 2016

In the southwest corner of a mile-long assembly plant here, an F-16 fighter jet is slowly coming to life. That plane, being built for the Iraqi Air Force, is far more sophisticated than the first Falcon to come off this production line more than 40 years ago, but it soon could become one of the last.

To the northeast by 575 miles, a similar scene is playing out inside another manufacturing facility. Here it’s the F-15 Eagle and F/A-18 Super Hornet, two more 1970s relics that have been redesigned and modernized heavily over the decades.

Without more orders by the U.S. military or its allies, production of these three planes, which gave America supremacy of the skies for more than four decades, will halt by 2020.

[FULL ARTICLE]

McCain looks to kill F-35 program

By Lara Seligman
May 16, 2016

In a surprise move, Senate Armed Service Committee Chairman John McCain is looking to eliminate the F-35 joint program office, currently the hub of the gargantuan operation that spans three US services and 12 nations.

The provision in his version of the defense policy bill, approved by the committee Thursday as part of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, would disband the joint program office (JPO) after the F-35 reaches full-rate production in April 2019

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 exceeds 50,000 flying hours

By Marina Malenic
February 12, 2016

Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters operating at 12 international locations have accumulated more than 50,000 flight hours, the company announced on 10 February.

The flight hours fell into two main categories: operational flying hours, flown by 155 jets delivered to six different nations; and System Development and Demonstration (SDD) flight test hours, flown by 18 aircraft assigned to the Integrated Test Forces at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB), California, and Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Maryland, according to a 10 February press statement released by the company. Operational jets flew approximately 37,950 hours while SDD aircraft flew 12,050 hours, according to Lockheed Martin. More than one third of the programme’s flight hours were flown in 2015. Approximately 26,000 hours were flown by the F-35A, 18,000 hours by the F-35B, and 6,000 by the F-35C.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Canadians delay tricky F-35

By Sean Gallagher
June 7, 2016

While campaigning for office, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised that his government would never buy the controversial, increasingly expensive F-35 Joint Strike Fighter for his country’s air force. That declaration came despite the previous administration’s commitment to purchase 65 of those planes from Lockheed Martin. Now, however, it appears Trudeau’s government has found a way to fulfill his campaign promise and avoid any potential legal headaches that would result from Canada dropping its commitment with Lockheed. Trudeau’s solution? Buy more fighters from Boeing now, delay an F-35 decision ’til later.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Thunderbirds not flying in RI airshow because of recent crashes

By Cierra Putman
June 7, 2016

In the wake of the Thunderbirds crash in Colorado, the military announced the team will not perform at the Rhode Island National Guard Open House Air Show.

“Our entire organization wishes the team the best and looks forward to welcoming them back in the near future,” the Rhode Island National Guard said, in part, on Facebook.

The news comes after a pilot safely ejected but crashed his plane following a flyover in Colorado last Thursday.

That same day, the Navy’s Blue Angels also suffered a crash. The pilot didn’t survive.

[FULL ARTICLE]

VTANG to spend $25 million on taxiway

By Molly Walsh
May 31, 2016

The Vermont National Guard plans to spend more than $25 million to improve the taxiway that military jets use at Burlington International Airport. The project also will replace the apron where Vermont Air National Guard planes park and refuel.

The work is expected to begin this fall and continue through 2017 at the guard base, which is on land leased from Vermont’s largest airport. The city of Burlington owns the airport, located in South Burlington.

The construction will not include the main runway, which military planes share with commercial carriers coming in and out of BTV, according to airport and guard officials.

[FULL ARTICLE]

PFOA found in water from VTANG in South Burlington

By Jess Aloe
June 9, 2016

The possible carcinogen PFOA has been found in water samples from the Vermont Air National Guard base in South Burlington and the Pittsford Fire Academy, Gov. Peter Shumlin announced on Thursday.

The contaminated water is not being used for drinking supplies, Shumlin spokesman Scott Coriell said in a news release. Both sites have used firefighting foam, one source of perflurooctanoic acid and the related substance perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, otherwise known as PFOS.

Water sampled from a groundwater collection system at the National Guard based showed a PFOA concentration of 9,300 parts per trillion and a PFOS concentration of 38,000 parts per trillion.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Suspected carcinogens in water from VTANG

By Howard Weiss-Tisman
June 9, 2016

The state says that the chemical PFOA has been detected for the first time outside of Bennington County. Gov. Peter Shumlin says PFOA and PFOS, which is also a suspected carcinogen, were found in groundwater on the Vermont Air National Guard base in South Burlington.

PFOA is a suspected cancer causing chemical that’s contaminated more than 200 wells in southwestern Vermont.

[FULL ARTICLE]

VTANG adds an active duty squadron (January 2016)

January 1, 2016

The Vermont Air National Guard has lost an active-duty Air Force detachment and gained a squadron this January as part of the Total Force Integration (TFI) when Maj. Daniel McGuire assumed command of the 315th Fighter Squadron.

Although the VTANG has had active-duty members working there for about 10 years as a detachment, it is now one of the first few Guard bases to house an active-duty squadron. The inverse, Guard components at active-duty bases, has become fairly common.

Within the program’s concept, the Guard, Reserve and active-duty play equal parts in the Air Force mission of air and space superiority with a global presence ready day and night. Interoperability is essential, and that means consistent training with one another.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lockheed F-35 service life extended to 2070

March 25, 2016
By James Drew

The projected life of the F-35 Lightning II has been extended by six years to 2070 after the US military services tweaked the number of flight hours their fleets should log before retirement.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 Program Gets 6-year service life extension (Lt Gen Bogdan)

By Jane Edwards

March 28, 2016

Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, chief of the F-35 joint program office, has said the Air Force, Marine Corps and the Navy have decided to extend the service life of the Joint Strike Fighter fleet from 2064 to 2070, Defense News reported Friday.

Lara Seligman writes Bogdan told reporters Thursday that the Defense Department‘s 2015 Selected Acquisition Report indicates a $45 billion increase in operating and support costs as a result of the six-year extension to the program’s operational life.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Update on the F-35


March 23, 2016
Committee on Armed Services Hearing: Update on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program.
Location: 2118 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515
Update on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program and the Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Request
Subcommittees:
Tactical Air and Land Forces (114th Congress)

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-16 crashes

By Oriana Pawlyk and Phillip Swarts
June 2, 2016

The F-16, assigned to the 57th Wing at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, crashed around 1 p.m. and Turner was recovered by local first responders, said Master Sgt. Chrissy Best, a Thunderbirds spokeswoman. Turner ejected south of the Colorado Springs airport.

The crash posed no hazard to the public, Best said. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

The Thunderbirds’ website says Turner has logged over 1,200 flight hours as an Air Force pilot, with more than 270 combat hours over Libya and Iraq.

When asked whether the pilot steered the aircraft towards the empty field deliberately, Best said, “Any time a pilot ejects we always try to go down into an unpopulated area.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Decades later, sickness among airmen

By Dave Philipps
June 19, 2016

It was one of the biggest nuclear accidents in history, and the United States wanted it cleaned up quickly and quietly. But if the men getting onto buses were told anything about the Air Force’s plan for them to clean up spilled radioactive material, it was usually, “Don’t worry.”

“There was no talk about radiation or plutonium or anything else,” said Frank B. Thompson, a then 22-year-old trombone player who spent days searching contaminated fields without protective equipment or even a change of clothes. “They told us it was safe, and we were dumb enough, I guess, to believe them.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 Will Fly Despite Auditor’s Fleet-Grounding Warning

By Patrick Tucker
April 17, 2016

Pentagon officials say the plane can fly without the aircraft’s enormously complex diagnostics system.

Problems with the Joint Strike Fighter’s logistics software will not keep the F-35 fleet from flying, the Pentagon says, contrary to a new Government Accountability Office, or GAO, report that hinted at a possible grounding.

In the April 14 report, GAO officials say problems with one of the jet fighter’s software suites are so severe that “it could take the entire F-35 fleet offline” if there was a failure, in part because there’s no backup to the system.

[FULL ARTICLE]

DOD F-35 program office, breaking the law

By Eric Palmer
April 18, 2016

The U.S. Government Account Office has released two reports on the troubled F-35 program.

One on the program and “new capabilities”. Another, on the F-35s faulty total logistics management system called ALIS.

The one on ALIS has no surprises. The problems have been ongoing for years and, it was years ago that fixes were promised.

The other report? Billions needed to work on Block 4 of the F-35. The problem with this is it is blue-sky marketing. The F-35 program is still in DOD procurement milestone B. That is, after all these years: early development. The primary goal of the F-35 program currently in its system design and demonstration (SDD) stage is to show a fully functional Block 3 capability. Key word: ‘demonstration.’

[FULL ARTICLE]

Flying Public Relations Blitz? Pentagon Finds Only Good Use for F-35

March 26, 2016

With its reputation effectively flown through the mud, the F-35 will seek public approval by performing alongside WWII fighters in an air show tour.

With a price tag of over $1 trillion, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has been riddled with problems that include everything from cybersecurity issues to basic flight capabilities.

“[The F-35] has already been in development for more than twenty years,” reads a report conducted by the non-profit Project on Government Oversight. “The plane is still years away from being capable of providing any real contribution to the [US] national defense if, in fact, it ever will be.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

All the ways the F-35 is screwed up, according to the Pentagon’s top weapons tester

By Dan Lamothe
February 4, 2016

The Pentagon’s top weapons tester has condemned aspects of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program in a new report, raising questions about the $1.5-trillion effort’s ability to meet its already slipped production schedule, synthesize information on the battlefield and keep aircraft available to fly.

The 82-page report was distributed to Congress last month, and released publicly this week. It was completed by Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s director of operational test and evaluation. He reports directly to Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter, and carries out independent assessments for both Carter and members of Congress.

The report raises serious questions about whether the Pentagon should initiate a three-year “block buy” of up to 450 fighter jets beginning in 2018, something that was floated last year in the Defense Department as a way to save money. Doing so would drive down the cost of each single-seat, single engine aircraft and increase fielding of the jet to both the U.S. military and international partners like Australia and Britain, defense officials said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

What it’s really like to fly the F-35

By Ian Greenhalgh
April 19, 2016

You’ve heard what the critics have to say, now let’s see what the pilots think

You must have heard about the F-35 debacle by now, a sad tale of huge cost overruns and an aircraft that has been called ‘the worst thing the USA ever procured’ by some commentators.

Aside from the obvious corruption involved in the F-35’s troubled development (is anything involving John McCain ever anything other than corrupt) and the resultant incredible sums of money spent on the project, there is the very real danger that the USA mind find itself armed with an aircraft that simply doesn’t work.

Whether it’s the gun that won’t fire or the ejector seat that is lethal to pilots that aren’t overweight, the tales of woe are endless. Even before the aircraft had entered service the jokes were well known:

How many F-35s does it take to change a lightbulb?

Three: One to change the criteria of changing a lightbulb, the second to undergo maintenance, and the third to tell the press the lightbulb has been changed.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 critical software not all that critical

By Dan Grazier
April 20, 2016

Last summer, F-35 program officer Lt. Gen. Bogdan said the F-35’s logistics systemwas “the brains and blood of operating this weapons system.” Despite many fixes, the aircraft’s Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) is so flawed that government auditors believe the computer system may not be deployable. These problems may alsodelay the Air Force’s declaration of Initial Operational Capability.  And now, in a surprising twist, General Bogdan is saying ALIS is not really critical after all, insisting the F-35 can fly without it for 30 days.

F-35 supporters enjoy telling people how the plane is a “flying computer,” as if that alone makes it worth the hundreds of billions of dollars spent so far. Lockheed Martin goes one step farther, calling it a “supercomputer” in its own promotional materials.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pentagon waste hampers military readiness: Citizen-Times Letter to the Editor

By R. Michael Erwin, PhD, Weaverville
February 5, 2016

I read retired Col. Ric Hunter’s guest column (Jan. 31 AC-T) concerning the outlook for military readiness in an era where rapid response is needed in response to rogue forces. He lists a number of serious deficiencies within the Air Force resulting largely from sequestration. Although the Air Force has suffered budget reductions, the same is true for most federal agencies. It is difficult to be sympathetic to the Pentagon when the budget for the military (including Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security) consumes about 70 percent of our annual budget.

[FULL ARTICLE]

The Truth about the F-35

By Eileen Andreoli
Apr. 18, 2016

This commentary is by a member of SaveOurSkiesVT.org.

In recent stories about the accelerated pace for the basing in Vermont of the under-tested and mechanically flawed F-35s, Gov. Peter Shumlin states, “This initiative will benefit the Vermont National Guard, create jobs, and spur economic development in Chittenden County and surrounding areas.”

Shumlin has repeated these same lies for the last three years. When challenged in 2013 to provide the source for his comments that the F-35s would create jobs, his reply was: “The specific quote you referenced should have referred to the more than one thousand direct and indirect jobs attributable to the air base that I strongly believe will be retained if we are chosen for F-35 basing.”

Retaining jobs does not equal creating jobs! Even after he was challenged on these falsehoods, and despite his excuse that he meant to say “retained” jobs instead of creating them, he is back at it again, repeating the same lies. His continued misrepresentation of the facts must be exposed for the outright lies they are.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 is a Feminist Issue

By Rosanne M. Greco
April 15, 2016

I am a feminist. For over 40 years, I have supported feminist ideals. Four years ago, I started learning about the implications of the proposal to base the military’s newest fighter-bomber, the F-35, at the Vermont Air National Guard Station in South Burlington. The more I researched, the more I began to wonder: Is the F-35 a feminist issue?

Feminists work to achieve political, economic, personal, and social rights for women. The F-35 will negatively affect the economic, personal, and social rights of women. Specifically, Vermont women (and their children) are disproportionally the ones who will be affected by the basing of the F-35 at the Burlington airport.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 Deficiencies (Press Republican Letter to the Editor)

By Joe DeMarco
Feb 18, 2016

F-35 deficiencies

This is information about the F-35 that should interest everyone.

The contract was awarded to Lockheed Martin on Oct. 26, 2001 (15 years ago) for this $1.4 trillion program — yes, $1.4 trillion for one aircraft.

After many years of development and testing, this aircraft has serious maintenance and reliability problems. Testing found that the Marine Corps did not and could not show that its variant “was operationally effective or suitable for use in any type of limited combat operation or that it was ready for real world operational deployment.”

Combat requires a readiness rate of 80 percent, but during demonstrations, the F-35 struggled to maintain a 50 percent readiness level.

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

Lockheed Seeks to Save Troubled F-35 With Exaggerated Job Claims

By William Hartung
March 8, 2016

It’s a time-tested ploy. When a weapons system can’t be justified based on cost, capabilities, and need, the manufacturer touts how many jobs the program will create. So it is with Lockheed Martin and its troubled F-35 combat aircraft.

The company’s latest official claim for F-35 jobs is that it will create full-time employment for 133,000 workers nationwide. But an analysis I did two years ago demonstrates that the company is claiming more than twice as many jobs as the program is actually likely to create. To add insult to injury, the company also asserts that many more states will benefit from the program than is actually the case.

The F-35 jobs issue arose again this week when Cleveland.com ran a piece on the F-35’s myriad problems, published well in advance of the plane’s scheduled appearance at the Cleveland Air Show on Labor Day week-end. Among the long list of problems listed in the article are the steep increase in unit costs for the aircraft, which have nearly doubled since the program’s inception; fundamental issues like poor software and engine performance; difficulty operating in bad weather; and problems with the plane’s pilot ejection seat.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pentagon Report: The F-35 Is Still a Mess

By Clay Dillow
March 10, 2016

The Air Force wants to declare the problem-prone fighter ready for combat later this year.

The U.S. Air Force plans to declare its first batch of Lockheed Martin-built F-35 Lightning II fighter jets ready for initial combat duties as early as August of this year. But a scathing new report from the Pentagon office in charge of testing and evaluating U.S. military weapons systems suggests that America’s fifth-generation, all-purpose combat jet is anything but ready for combat.

The Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) report cites a myriad of problems with the F-35, spanning design issues that negatively impact its aerodynamics in flight to countless software bugs buried in the F-35’s eight million lines of code. (The 24 million lines of code running the F-35’s maintenance and logistics software on the ground? Also buggy.)

[FULL ARTICLE]

Eielson F-35 not yet funded; has Pentagon support

By Sam Friedman
April 11, 2016

Alaska’s new F-35 Joint Strike Fighters haven’t been funded yet, but they have a good chance of making it through Congress, according to a military adviser for U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

Last week, the Air Force announced it plans to station 54 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters at Eielson Air Force Base starting in 2020. But first they have to be built at Lockheed Martin Corp.’s Fort Worth, Texas plant and funded by Congress.

The project has good prospects in Congress because senior Department of Defense leaders support the program, said Nathan Bergerbest, a senior adviser to Murkowski.

“What DoD (Department of Defense) wants is really, really, really important. It is not typical that anybody (in Congress) would take DoD’s top priority and say ‘We don’t believe you,’” he said. “You’re not going to see a reduction in the F-35 program.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 Problems

By Stephen Koff
March 08, 2016

Northeast Ohioans will glimpse the future of aerial warfare when a military fighter jet, the F-35 Lightning, flies at the Cleveland National Air Show on Labor Day weekend.

They might also get a glimpse at scandal, although the Pentagon and the plane’s developer, Lockheed Martin, say the aircraft’s troublesome days are behind it.

Amid the excitement of the end-of-summer Cleveland air show are these facts, controversies and claims about the advanced aircraft – facts and claims directly affecting Ohioans beyond the holiday weekend’s public relations display.

Why the F-35 is being built

The F-35 is also called the Joint Strike Fighter, because versions are not only being built for the Air Force, Navy and Marines but also for Great Britain and other allies. The most expensive weapons system ever built, about 500 of the aircraft have been completed so far in the program’s 14 years of existence, although they have not yet been tested in combat conditions.

The Pentagon ultimately wants 2,457 of the aircraft, because the F-35 is supposed to replace a number of earlier-era fighter models – and because China and Russia are building their air capabilities.

The program is way over budget

The F-35 program cost is now nearly $400 billion. That’s $163 billion more than anticipated, a price so high that, as Newsweek put it, industry wags call it “the plane that ate the Pentagon.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

AF names candidate bases, criteria for choosing next F-35A sites

By Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs
April 12, 2016

Air Force officials announced April 12 that Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona; Homestead Air Reserve Base, Florida; Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas; and Whiteman AFB, Missouri, are candidate bases for the first Reserve-led F-35A Lightning II location.

The preferred and reasonable alternatives are expected to be selected in the fall and the F-35As are slated to begin arriving at the first Reserve-led F-35A location by the summer of 2023.

The Air Force also released basing criteria that will be used to select candidate bases for two Air National Guard squadrons, which are planned to receive their first aircraft in the summer of 2022.

“The Air Force is committed to a deliberate and open process to address F-35 basing,” said Jennifer A. Miller, the deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations. “As we progress through the basing process, we will share information so interested communities are aware of what to expect.”

The basing criteria for the Air National Guard bases include mission requirements (weather, airspace and training range availability), capacity (sufficient hanger and ramp space, and facility considerations), environmental requirements, and cost factors.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Air Force says combat-ready F-35 on track for 2016

By Andrea Shalal
April 13, 2016

The U.S. Air Force said on Wednesday said it still expected to declare an initial squadron of Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets ready for combat between August and December, despite delays in the jets’ computer-based logistics system.

The four-star generals who run Air Combat Command and Air Force Materiel Command reviewed flight milestones and other aspects of the $379 billion F-35 program at Hill Air Force Base in Utah last week. The Pentagon’s F-35 program office, Lockheed, pilots and maintenance specialists also took part.

Colonel Tad Sholtis, spokesman for Air Combat Command, said the conference affirmed that the jet’s complex Autonomic Logistics Information System was behind schedule.

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

Dutch F-35 Being Primed For Noise Evaluations

By Tony Osborne
April 15, 2016

Dutch deployment will test whether use of the F-35 will bother local communities

While the first eastbound transatlantic crossing of a Dutch F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) in May will be a major coup for the program as a whole, the visit will be more about building community relations.  The Netherlands defense ministry wants to prove the F-35 will be a good neighbor to the communities surrounding the two air bases that will host the fighter from 2019, Volkel and Leeuwarden.

Those living near Volkel, an air station between the cities of Nijmegen and Eindhoven, and Leeuwarden, in the very north of the country, have long been familiar with the noise levels produced by the F-16 Fighting Falcon. But the F-35 is an unknown quantity.

It has already been established that the JSF produces higher noise levels than the F100 engines of the F-16A/Bs currently in operation. But noise-management studies released by the F-35 Joint Program Office state F-35As produce more noise in some configurations than even later F-16 models fitted with the more powerful F100-200/220.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Glitch could ground F-35

By Tyler Dumont
April 25,2016

The F-35 is called the most ambitious and expensive weapon system in the Department of Defense’s history, costing hundreds of billions.

Eighteen of the planes are set to land in Vermont in just three years.

At the core of the F-35 is a software system known as ALIS, essentially, the aircraft’s brain and just as important as the engine and airframe.

“Quite simply, if you don’t have a functioning ALIS, you really don’t have an F-35, the way it’s designed,” said Cary Russell, the director of defense capabilities and management with the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

The Autonomic Logistics Information Systems monitors almost everything, from engine diagnostics to navigation and target data coming from servers that are not on board.

Now, a report from a federal watchdog group says there’s a chance the connection to those external servers could fail, with no backup.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pentagon to test F-35 against A-10

By Travis J. Tritten
April 26, 2016

A showdown might soon settle one of the U.S. military’s biggest air power controversies.

The high-tech and expensive F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will face off in upcoming testing with the Air Force’s aging close-air-support stalwart, the A-10 Thunderbolt II, the director of the Defense Department operational test and evaluation office said Tuesday.

The battlefield comparison “makes common sense” and will pit the two airframes against each other in a variety of war scenarios this year, Michael Gilmore said during Senate testimony.

[FULL ARTICLE]

McCain: F-35 is both a scandal and a tragedy

By Ryan Browne
April 27, 2016

Sen. John McCain slammed the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s troubled history Tuesday, saying it “has been both a scandal and a tragedy with respect to cost, schedule and performance.”

The development of the Joint Strike Fighter, a fifth-generation stealth jet, has been beset by spiraling costs and schedule delays. The program’s price tag is nearly $400 billion for 2,457 planes — almost twice the initial estimate.

GAO report cites continued need for F-35 oversight

Apr 26, 2016

Development of New Capabilities Requires Continued Oversight

What GAO Found

Although the estimated F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (F-35) program acquisition costs have decreased since 2014, the program continues to face significant affordability challenges. The Department of Defense (DOD) plans to begin increasing production and expects to spend more than $14 billion annually for nearly a decade on procurement of F-35 aircraft. Currently, the program has around 20 percent of development testing remaining, including complex mission systems software testing, which will be challenging. At the same time, the contractors that build the F-35 airframes and engines continue to report improved manufacturing efficiency and supply chain performance.

DOD plans to manage F-35 modernization as part of the existing program baseline and is exploring the use of a single contract to procure multiple lots of future aircraft. Both courses of action have oversight implications. DOD has begun planning and funding significant new development work to add to the F-35’s capabilities. Known as Block 4, the funding needed for this effort is projected to be nearly $3 billion over the next 6 years (see figure below), which would qualify it as a major defense acquisition program in its own right.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 Fails Testing

By Clay Dillow
April 28, 2016

Software glitches continue to dog the nation’s newest fighter jet.

Five of six Air Force F-35 fighter jets were unable to take off during a recent exercise due to software bugs that continue to hamstring the world’s most sophisticated—and most expensive—warplane.

During a mock deployment at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho, just one of the $100 million Lockheed Martin LMT 0.63% F-35s was able to boot its software successfully and get itself airborne during an exercise designed to test the readiness of the F-35, FlightGlobal reports. Nonetheless, the Air Force plans to declare its F-35s combat-ready later this year.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Military Admits Billion-Dollar War Toy F-35 Is F**ked

By David Axe
March 17, 2016

Officials are finally admitting the F-35 fighter has turned into a nightmare—but it’s too late to stop the $400 billion program now.

Way back in the early 2000s, the U.S. military had a dream. To develop a new “universal” jet fighter that could do, well, pretty much everything that the military asks its different fighters to do.

But the dream of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter turned into a nightmare. The program is six years behind schedule and tens of billions of dollars over budget. And now, 16 years after the JSF prototypes took off for their first flights, top officials are finally owning up to the trauma the $400 billion fighter program has inflicted on America’s finances and war readiness.

In a remarkable period, beginning in February and lasting several weeks, senior officers and high-ranking bureaucrats finally publicly copped to the warplane program’s fundamental failures.

[FULL ARTICLE]

U.S. military officials consider alternatives if troubled F-35 program can’t move forward

March 23, 2016

U.S. military officials reportedly are considering alternatives that include restarting the F-22 advanced tactical fighter line or developing advanced versions of the F-15 or F/A-18 combat aircraft if the F-35 joint strike fighter program fails. The National Interest reports.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 engines have recurring flaws

By Anthony Capaccio
March 31, 2016

United Technologies Corp.’s performance building engines for the F-35 fighter has been beset by “recurring manufacturing quality issues,” according to the Defense Department’s annual report on its costliest weapons program.

The contractor’s Pratt & Whitney military aircraft unit met the goal for delivering engines last year, but quality deficiencies in “turbine blades and electronic control systems resulted in maintenance activity to remove suspect hardware from the operational fleet,” according to the latest Selected Acquisition Report sent to Congress and obtained by Bloomberg News.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 is still a shocking disaster

By Charles P. Pierce
March 30, 2016

It’s been a while since we checked in with the F-35 Flying Swiss Army Knife, the airplane that ate the federal budget. Let’s see if they’ve gotten all the bugs out of the system yet.

Nope.

“While Pratt & Whitney has implemented a number of design changes that have resulted in significant reliability improvements, the F-35A and F-35B engines are still at about 55 percent and 63 percent, respectively, of where the program expected them to be at this point,” said the report by the Government Accountability Office. The F-35A is the Air Force version of the plane, and the F-35B is the Marine Corps version, which is capable of short takeoffs and vertical landings. There is also an F-35C Navy version designed for carrier operations.

[FULL ARTICLE]

AF gets more time to respond to lawsuit in Arizona

March 23, 2016

The Air Force has been given an extra month, until late April, to respond to a federal lawsuit alleging that the service failed to adequately study the environmental effects of expanding a military training program at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

Three Tucson residents filed the lawsuit Jan. 22, challenging the Air Force’s finding last year that the expansion of its Total Force Training program would create ‘no significant impact’ and asking the court to order a detailed environmental impact statement.

The Air Force said it needed more time to file a detailed response.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Winooski seeks $5,000 for F-35 lawsuit

By Elizabeth Murray
March 28, 2016

The Winooski City Council unanimously approved spending $5,000 more on a lawsuit the city entered last year regarding the U.S. Air Force’s environmental impact statement regarding F-35 fighter jets.

The additional money was an agenda item at Monday’s council meeting at Winooski City Hall.

The City Council initially approved spending $7,500 on the lawsuit when the city decided to enter the case in April 2015. The council said at the time that if additional money were needed, a motion would come back before the council for public discussion and a vote.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 opposition respects the Guard

By James Marc Leas
March 31, 2016

Supporting our Vermont Air National Guard is one thing. Supporting particular items of equipment is another.

Supporting our Green Mountain Boys does not require supporting the Air Force decision to base F-35 warplanes at the airport in South Burlington.

If our Guardsmen were lousy at their jobs, poor learners, lackadaisical, unprofessional and could only do one thing right, all right, to support them we might have to accept them doing just that one thing, whatever it is.

But, as is indeed the case, our Green Mountain Boys are “the best of the best.” Their skills and achievements mean they will do very well no matter what equipment or mission they are given.

Unlike Air Force bases immediately adjacent to wide open spaces and/or large bodies of water, the airport in South Burlington is immediately surrounded by thousands of homes and tens of thousands of people. Does anyone seriously believe the best of the best will be disbanded if they obtain a mission compatible with their location in the most densely populated part of Vermont?

[FULL ARTICLE]

VTANG has a future without the F-35

By Roger Bourassa
March 31, 2016

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Roger Bourassa, of Colchester, who served in the Marines and is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel. He flew in the F-89, the C-97, and the F-101 and flew all over the world including several missions to Vietnam.

recent letter to a South Burlington newspaper from a retired Air Force colonel who claims to be an expert on base closings predicts the worst for the Vermont Air National Guard (VTANG) if the F-35A takes a pass on this first round of basing. He predicts a closing of the Guard and a local economic recession while offering nothing to support these claims.

A lawsuit against the secretary of the Air Force is on the docket for later this spring in the Federal District Court in Rutland concerning this issue. The decision may result in a reconsideration by the Air Force on basing the F-35 at VTANG.

The primary arguments used by supporters of the F-35A basing are that opponents are either, 1) unpatriotic and anti-military and, 2) without the F-35A, VTANG would be without a mission. The first argument is plain nonsense. There are many veterans numbered among the opponents to the basing of the F-35A, many of whom have served their country with honor with some serving during wartime, including Vietnam.

The second argument is without evidence and, to the contrary, is challenged by official Air Force statements. The Air Force Revised Environmental Impact Statement (RDEIS) states “… if there is no F-35A operational bed-down at Burlington the current mission would continue” (RDEIS Page PA-47). No public official (military, government, or politician) has EVER said the base will close if the F-35A is not based here.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Airplane Noise

By John Vogel
March 29, 2016

Recently I’ve been spending time in the Burlington area and wondering why we have to put up with the ear splitting noise of military planes as they take off and land. The good news is that they’re phasing out the F-16s. The bad news is they’ll be replacing them with F-35s.

In 1951 when the Air National Guard moved to Burlington, it was probably a sensible decision. But 65 years later, the community has changed and so have the planes.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Group vows to fight F-35 delivery

By Keele Smith
April 6, 2016

F-35 jets expected to arrive in Burlington in 2019f16

Air Force officials announced Monday that the first F-35 fighter jets are expected to arrive in Vermont in fall of 2019. But those fighting to keep them from coming here are not giving up hope.

“There are no benefits to the F-35 coming here. All negatives. One more risky and dangerous than another,” F-35 opponent Rosanne Greco said.

Greco has done her homework when it comes to bringing F-35s to Vermont.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Marines to consider vertical landing of F-35 at UK airshow

By Lara Seligman
March 31, 2016

The US Marine Corps is looking into the possibility of demonstrating an F-35B vertical landing during a major international air show in the United Kingdom this summer.

The Marine Corps F-35Bs, an aircraft unique in its ability to takeoff and land at short distances with no runway, will open the Royal International Air Tattoo and Farnborough air shows in July, according to Marine Corps spokeswoman Capt. Sarah Burns. The two jets will join a pair of Air Force F-35As at the UK shows, Defense News reported in January.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pentagon wants autonomous jets to fly in combat

By Clay Dillow / Fortune
March 31, 2016

The pilotless aircraft could take to the skies before driverless vehicles hit the road

The U.S. Air Force Research Lab is moving ahead with an initiative to turn aging F-16 fighter jets into unmanned, autonomous combat aircraft. The pilotless planes will fly alongside the newer aircraft like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Speaking at a forum in Washington, Wednesday, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work said he expects to see the autonomous aircraft plying the skies alongside manned jets before driverless vehicles enter service on the ground. Work spoke specifically about U.S. Air Force efforts to create autonomous wingmen for its fighter pilots that gave new life to older planes imbued with autonomous piloting technologies and teamed with next-generation aircraft.

“You take an F-16 and make it totally unmanned,” Work said. “The F-16 is a fourth-generation fighter, and pair it with an F-35, a fifth-generation battle network node, and have those two operating together.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Bogdan, GAO at odds over F-35 upgrades

By Lara Seligman
March 24, 2016

The chief of the F-35 joint program office (JPO) is at odds with a prominent government watchdog over how to manage a follow-on modernization effort for the fifth-generation fighter jet.

Michael Sullivan of the Government Accountability Office called on the Pentagon to establish a standalone acquisition program for the Block 4 modernization effort, which is projected to cost $3 billion over the next six years. If the JPO continues to manage Block 4 as part of the existing F-35 program rather than establishing a separate business case and acquisition baseline, it will be more difficult for Congress to keep the program office accountable for achieving cost, schedule and performance requirements, he argued.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 to fly until 2070 or longer

By Lara Seligman
March 25, 2016

The F-35 joint strike fighter will fly until 2070, reflecting a decision by the US armed services to extend the operational life of the fleet by six years.

All three services that operate the F-35 — the US Air Force, US Navy and US Marine Corps — increased the total flight hours for the fleet by 1.6 million, F-35 Joint Program Office Chief Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan told reporters March 24 at the Pentagon. Of the total, the Air Force added 1.3 million flight hours, while the Navy added 300,000 flight hours, according to the JPO.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Air Force to deliver F-35 to Burlington ahead of schedule

By Brad Evans
April 4, 2016

Air Force officials announced Monday the Burlington Air Guard will receive its first F-35A aircraft in the fall of 2019.

The Air Force said the aircraft will be used by the Vermont Air National Guard to grow its active-duty maintenance force.

“The Air Force is experiencing a shortage of experienced, active-duty fighter aircraft maintainers,” Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Installations and Mission Support Lt. Gen John B. Cooper said. “Delivering F-35s to an Air National Guard base before standing up a new active duty unit will allow us to take advantage of Burlington’s experienced fighter aircraft maintenance force as we transition from legacy aircraft to the F-35A.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 still failing to impress

By: Dan Grazier & Mandy Smithberger
March 7, 2016

The Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) recently released a scathing assessment of the F-35 program as part of his annual report. Buried inside 48 pages of highly technical language is a gripping story of mismanagement, delayed tests, serious safety issues, a software nightmare, and maintenance problems crippling half the fleet at any given time.

The report makes clear just how far the F-35 program still has to go in the development process. Some of the technical challenges facing the program will take years to correct, and as a result, the F-35’s operationally demonstrated suitability for combat will not be known until 2022 at the earliest.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Congress may restore purchase of F-35

March 21, 2016

Top Air Force acquisitions personnel who went to Capitol Hill on March 8 seemed to find friendly support from Congress for restoring cut F-35 buys to the fiscal year 2017 budget.

The service had delayed purchasing five F-35 Lightning IIs that were set for 2017 – a move the service said would save close to $700 million – and dropping the Air Force’s buy for the year from 48 aircraft down to 43.

Yet despite hammering the Air Force on the A-10 retirement, RD-180 Russian- made rocket engines, and B-21 bomber contract, lawmakers seemed inclined to agree with top brass that delaying F-35 purchases could hurt national security readiness.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 radar software fails in the air

By Richard Chirgwin
March 8, 2016

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has run into yet another software bug, according to a report in IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly.

The glitch is in the software that operates the fighter’s radar. During flight, Jane’s reckons, the radar software becomes unstable.

The report quotes US Air Force Major General Jeffrey Harrigian as saying “What would happen is [pilots would] get a signal that says either a radar degrade or a radar fail – something that would force us to restart the radar”.

He said the problem was discovered in 2015, and that Lockheed-Martin is now running a fix through its test labs, with a patch due this month.

The USAF believes the glitch won’t get in the way of it reaching “initial operational capability” for the F-35 between August and December this year.

The F-35’s software has been raised again in Australia courtesy of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Background Briefing program over the weekend.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 remains plagued by deficiencies

By Jim W. Dean
Feb. 5, 2016

[ Jim Dean’s Note: Yes, I know this is an old story, but with an important new twist, in that the continued deficiencies of the F-35 are detailed by the Pentagon’s own testing expert. This is no anti-war, America haters bashing the program. For the program to be stopped from more billions being wasted on this disaster, it will take a coalition of inside and outside people to do it.

And work needs to get started, scrapping what we have, and frankly trying to copy what the Russian have, if they can do it — a modular build where upgrades, especially hardware, can be added later without a ground-up rebuild, which the defense contractors prefer, as it is hugely more expensiveJim W. Dean ]

_____________

– First published  …  February 05,  2016 –

The US Defense Department has warned that the highly advanced F-35 fighter jet remains plagued by dangerous problems that will further complicate the most expensive weapons project in history.

The report, which was prepared by Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s director of operational test and evaluation, raises serious questions about whether the US military should risk committing itself to buying billions of dollars of the F-35s before they have demonstrated they are fit for combat.

The fifth-generation stealth warplanes, which are being built in three different versions by Lockheed Martin Corp, will form the backbone of the us military’s future fighter fleet.

In the latest blow to the program, engineers uncovered numerous technical problems during extensive testing of the newest versions of the F-35, the Pentagon report found, adding to a list of issues including software bugs, technical glitches and cost overruns.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 still failing to impress

By Dan Grazier & Mandy Smithberger
March 7, 2016

The Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) recently released a scathing assessment of the F-35 program as part of his annual report. Buried inside 48 pages of highly technical language is a gripping story of mismanagement, delayed tests, serious safety issues, a software nightmare, and maintenance problems crippling half the fleet at any given time.

The report makes clear just how far the F-35 program still has to go in the development process. Some of the technical challenges facing the program will take yea
rs to correct, and as a result, the F-35’s operationally demonstrated suitability for combat will not be known until 2022 at the earliest. While rumors that the program office would ask for a block buy of nearly 500 aircraft in the FY 2017 budget proposal did not pan out, officials have indicated they may make such a request next year. The DOT&E report clearly shows any such block commitments before 2022 are premature.

[FULL ARTICLE]

US Voters Favor Cutting Carrier, F-35, Overall Defense Spending

By Andrew W. Clevenger
March 8, 2016

A majority of Americans favor cutting the US defense budget in five out of seven key areas, including nuclear weapons and missile defense, according to a new University of Maryland survey released March 9.

Nationally, a majority supports modest budget cuts to air power ($2 billion), ground forces ($4 billion), naval forces ($2 billion), nuclear weapons ($3 billion) and missile defense ($1 billion). No majority emerged for either cutting or increasing the budgets of the Marine Corps or Special Ops forces.

In total, a majority of respondents would cut the defense budget by $12 billion. When broken down by party, a majority of Republican respondents would leave the defense budget as is, while the majority of Democrats would cut it by $36 billion (including $11 billion cuts to both air power and ground forces), a larger cut than the $20 billion cut supported by a majority of Independents.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Future operations and opposition to the F-35 at Davis-Monthan AFB

By Emily Bregel
March 10, 2016

As Davis-Monthan Air Force Base faces dual threats of cuts to its primary mission – its fleet of A-10 close-air support jets – and the specter of base closures nationally, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said its’future is bright.’

‘I couldn’t be more impressed with what I have seen so far,’ she told local reporterson Wednesday, during her first visit to D-M. ‘This is a very, very busy base.’

James praised the A-10 mission here and said proposals to retire the fleet nationally were rooted in budget constraints. She pointed to D-M’s new drone unit, which remotely flies MQ-1 Predator drones, and nearby training areas as platforms for expansion.

‘I think there’s room for growth, in terms of missions’ at D-M, she said.

James’ whirlwind visit to Tucson comes as D-M supporters tout a new survey showing strong local support for the base and for the controversial prospect of high-decibel F-35s flying more frequently in Southern Arizona.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 for Canada; maybe yes, maybe no

By Defense Industry Daily staff
March 8,2016

Canada’s participation in the F-35 program continues to be shrouded in confusion. The government plans to pay an installment external link of $32.9 million in May to continue its involvement in procuring the Joint Strike Fighter. This runs contrary to promises made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to abandon the project during the run-up to the federal election in October. Trudeau had pledged that a cheaper alternative could be found as a replacement to the country’s aging CF-18 fighters, however, the F-35 has been allowed to participate in the latest replacement competition. The payment will ensure Canada’s place in the program until September 30, 2016, when a more concrete decision on the CF-18 competition may have been made.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 to tour in air shows

By Thom Patterson
March 17, 2016

Adele, Beyonce and Springsteen are planning tours this summer. Now you can add another pricey attention-grabber to the list: The F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter.

America’s newest and most technologically sophisticated fighter jet kicks off a tour of airshows in the West, Midwest, South and Northeastern United States in April alongside 20th century war birds, like the F-86 Sabre, the P-38 Lightning and the P-51 Mustang.

The F-35 Heritage Flight Team tour will feature precision flying in tight formation just a few feet apart. Combining the newest fighter with some of the classics is a way to honor the past, present and future of the U.S. Air Force, organizers said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Top officer takes heat over the A-10

By Phillip Swarts
March 21, 2016

The service is ignoring the facts about the effectiveness of the A-10 “Warthog,” says Sen. John McCain, who lit into Air Force leadership on March 3. The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee launched a fiery exchange with the Air Force’s top officer in the latest round of conflict over the retirement of the workhorse Thunderbolt II.

The A-10 Thunderbolt II.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Australian Investigative Report on JSF F35

by Jonathan Green
Mar. 6, 2016

Is the Joint Strike Fighter the right plane for Australia?

The JSF is not terribly fast and it’s not terribly agile, and the high tech helmet could take the pilots head off if there is a mishap. Sarah Dingle investigates the over budget and over due Joint Strike Fighter

[FULL ARTICLE]

Danish pilots talk about the F-35

By Solomon
Feb. 25, 2016

Listen to what the pilots say about the F-35? How about this retired LTCol from the Danish Air Force!

via Australian Senate Submission on the F-35 (Link and item 35).

“We also simulated Joint Strike Fighter against Russian fighter aircraft where we flew two against two.
In the forenoon I and the Danish test pilot was flying Joint Strike Fighters against two Russian fighters. Inthe afternoon we swapped, so we flew Russian fighter aircraft against the Joint Strike Fighter.
In the afternoon the first thing the test pilot and I noticed was that the Russian fighters was not loaded with the best air-to-air missiles as the Russians have in real life. We therefore asked about getting some better. It was denied us. We two pilots complained but it was not changed.
My test pilot and I decided in our simulated Russian combat aircraft to fly “line abreast”, but with 25 nautical miles distance. Then at least one of us could with radar look into the side of the Joint Strike Fighter and thus view it at long distance. The one who “saw” the Joint Strike Fighter could then link the radar image to the other. Then missiles could be fired at long distance at the Joint Strike Fighter.
It was also denied us, although we protested this incomprehensible disposition.
It was now quite clear to us that with the directives and emotional limitations simulations would in no waygive a true and fair view of anything. On the other hand, it would show that the Joint Strike Fighter was a good air defense fighter, which in no way can be inferred from the simulations. We spoke loudly and clearly that this way was manipulating with the Joint Strike Fighter air defence capability.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Money for lobbyists to find military missions

By David Wichner
Feb. 28, 2016

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base would start losing its A-10 Thunderbolt II attack jets as soon as the fall of 2018 under a new plan to retire the entire A-10 fleet by 2022.

The Air Force said in early February it would delay its proposed retirement of the A-10 ‘Warthog’ – a close-air-support jet that represents a mainstay of D-M operations – until 2022. Earlier attempts by the Air Force to mothball the jet by 2019 were turned back by Congress.

That announcement was cheered by A-10 backers in Congress, including Arizona Sen.John McCainand Rep. Martha McSally ,a Tucson Republican and former A-10 combat pilot, who led efforts that halted A-10 retirements the Air Force had initially sought to start in 2015.

[FULL ARTICLE]

New planes but no more airmen

By Phillip Swarts
Feb. 22, 2016

The Air Force is asking for an increase of $1.3 billion to its main operating budget in fiscal 2017, but it doesn’t increase end strength, according to budget documents released Feb. 9.

Top brass has requested $120.4 billion for FY2017, leaving Air Force end strength to about 490,000 airmen; the service will remain the smallest it has been since it was created. But the Air Force sounded the alarm Feb. 9 about its increasing responsibilities and the budget’s inability to keep up.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Sanders’ position on the F-35 contradicts his views on defense spending

By Sarah Sicard
Jan. 14, 2016

Though Sen. Bernie Sanders advocates for spending cuts, he also supports the costliest program ever funded.
Democratic candidate for president and Vermont senator, Bernie Sanders, seems to have contradictory policies regarding the Defense Department.

Within his platform regarding the military, he suggests that the U.S. military spends too much money on defense, and is known to staunchly oppose military engagement unless absolutely necessary.

In a town hall meeting in Iowa City, Sanders said, “We know that there is massive fraud going on in the defense industry. Virtually every major defense contractor has either been convicted of fraud or reached a settlement with the government …We need a strong military, it is a dangerous world. But I think we can make judicious cuts.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Bernie Backs Trillion Dollar Weapon System

By Ben Armbruster
Feb. 17, 2016

As we all know by now, Bernie Sanders is campaigning on a promise to change American politics in such a way that benefits the middle class and working families at the expense of corporate greed and influence.

“I am asking you to be part of a political revolution,” Bernie told his supporters last summer. “A revolution which transforms our country economically, politically, socially, and environmentally.”

While some have wondered how Bernie’s revolution will stand up to the realities of governing should he win the White House, what’s often been overlooked is the fact that the Vermont Independent has had plenty of opportunities to buck the system as a U.S. Senator. He has not always taken those opportunities, instead siding with big corporations at the expense of the taxpayer.

Nowhere is this more evident than his unwavering support for one of the biggest boondoggles in U.S. military history: the F-35.

[FULL ARTICLE]

The Comanche and the Albatross

By Col Michael W. Pietrucha, USAF
May-June 2014

The Air Force intended eventually to replace much of the post-Vietnam fighter fleet with the F-35A. This stealthy aircraft possesses advanced technology and was intended to be no more expensive than the aircraft it was designed to supplant. The Air Force sought to buy 1,763 F-35As—the number required to replace every F-16, A-10, and F-117 then in service. Rather than an affordable, capable fighter aircraft operational in large numbers by 2015, the F-35 continues to arrive late and cost more than anticipated. Program delays, unmet performance requirements, and spiraling costs have recently run full tilt into an austere budgetary environment. Budgetary realities should serve as an impetus to reexamine the Air Force’s participation in the F-35 program and the future of the fighter force.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Thunder without Lightning: The high costs and limited benefits of the F-35

By Bill French

August 2015

The National Security Network (NSN) is pleased to release a new policy report, Thunder without Lightning: The High Costs and Limited Benefits of the F-35. According to our analysis, the F-35 lacks the capabilities to execute its primary mission, and costs too much relative to its predecessors. The Department of Defense should examine ways to reduce its commitment to this albatross of an acquisition program.

From the report:

“To perform against near-peer adversaries, the F-35 will have to be capable of executing a range of missions, from defeating enemy aircraft to penetrating enemy air defenses to strike surface targets. But the F-35 will struggle to effectively perform these missions due to shortcomings in its design and program requirements, despite costing between three and nine times more than the 4th-generation aircraft it is designed to replace.

The F-35 will find itself outmaneuvered, outgunned, out of range, and visible to enemy sensors. Going forward, full investment in the F-35 would be to place a bad trillion-dollar bet on the future of airpower based on flawed assumptions and an underperforming aircraft. To avoid such a catastrophic outcome, Congress and DOD should begin the process of considering alternatives to a large-scale commitment to the F-35. Staying the present course may needlessly gamble away a sizable margin of American airpower at great expense and unnecessary risk to American lives.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Mountain Home AFB testing to determine if F-35 ready for combat

By John Sowell

Feb. 24, 2016

Flying the next generation F-35A Joint Strike Fighter jet is like stepping out of a Toyota Camry into a Lamborghini, a U.S. Air Force pilot told reporters Wednesday.

“That’s as close as I can give you as an example,” Maj. Chris White said.

When you take off, it gives you a shove into the back of the pilot’s seat, he said.

“It gives you the butterflies right before every single takeoff,” said White, a commander with the 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron from Edwards Air Force Base outside Lancaster, Calif. “I smile every time I take off.”

For the past three weeks, six F-35As from Edwards have been undergoing testing at the bombing range at Mountain Home Air Force Base. They are being evaluated under simulated combat conditions to see if the planes are ready for use by pilots at Hill Air Force Base outside Ogden, Utah.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pentagon postpones retirement of A-10s

By John Sowell

Feb. 26, 2016

The Islamic State unwittingly forced the U.S. Air Force to continue flying one of ISIS’ fiercest enemies: the A-10 Thunderbolt II.

The Air Force was all set to retire the jet, known affectionately among its crews as the Warthog. Then it was pressed into service last year against the Islamic State in the Mideast, where it drew rave reviews.

“I saw some of the A-10s that are flying bombing missions against ISIL (the Pentagon’s term for Islamic State) when I was at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey last December,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter told members of a House appropriations subcommittee during testimony Thursday on the Pentagon’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget.

The A-10, Carter told the committee, will continue flying until at least 2022.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Trial F-35A deployment

By James Drew
Feb. 23, 2016

Six F-35As of the 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron have deployed to Mountain Home AFB in Idaho this month for an “operational deployment test” that will clear the way for 10 operational jets from the first combat-coded squadron, which will follow this summer.

Normally based at Edwards AFB in California, the six test aircraft are flying training sorties alongside locally housed Fairchild Republic A-10s and Boeing F-15E Strike Eagles at a nearby weapons range.

The air force announced this week that the F-35s arrived on 8 February, and a base spokesman confirms the six jets are still there.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 still a train wreck

BY ALLAN BOURDIUS
Feb. 5, 2016

Now that votes are finally being cast, most Hot Air content is going to be revolving around the ongoing campaign, but it’s important we don’t lose sight of issue details that could wind up affecting the race, especially in areas where traditional Republican stances could leave one or more candidates very, very vulnerable.

National defense is a perennial Republican running point. More troops, more ships, more planes, more dollars is pretty much the mantra of every candidate. The worrisome story of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) – a.k.a. the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II – has been addressed here before by Jazz Shaw (July 1, 2015 and August 15, 2015), and since then, has gotten worse, not better. The F-35 is the most expensive defense acquisition project ever with projected costs exceeding $1.3 trillion.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lockheed, Boeing decide not to sue Air Force

By Aaron Mehta and Lara Seligman
February 26, 2016

Hours before the Boeing announcement, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James officially designated the LRS-B program the B-21 bomber and unveiled an artists concept of the plane. The Air Force said in a statement it choose the B-21 designation as recognition that LRS-B is the first bomber of the 21st century.

Following the announcement, James told reporters she had received an “encouraging” phone call from Boeing’s CEO earlier this week, and had “high hopes” that the Boeing-Lockheed team would decide not to pursue further action.

James emphasized the Air Force’s “valuable” relationship with Boeing on other programs, and stressed the importance of moving forward with engineering and development work on the B-21.

“Boeing is a very valuable partner, we have a lot going on with boeing, and we need to get on with the bomber,” she said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

FDA Nominee Califf Gave Questionable Answers to Senate

By POGO
February 4, 2016

As President Obama’s nominee for FDA Commissioner, former Duke University researcher Robert Califf has faced questions about the independence of clinical trials he conducted for drug companies.

At a confirmation hearing in November and in a written response to later questions from Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Califf offered comforting answers. He said that plans for clinical trials are subject to FDA review.

But those answers omitted some history that might be less reassuring: a clinical trial Califf had co-chaired was conducted in defiance of FDA guidance.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Despite Decades of Stealth, Sticking Points Bedevil F-35 Jet

By CLYDE HABERMAN
JAN. 24, 2016

One of the earliest stealth weapons on record was a stone used by the young Israelite David to kill the Philistine giant Goliath. In the biblical account, David shunned the conventional armaments of his time: sword, helmet, armor. Instead, he went forth with a slingshot and a few stones, kept undetected in a pouch. As any schoolchild knows, one well-aimed fling was all it took to put Goliath down for good. The big guy never saw it coming.

It is not clear to what extent David tested his weapon before doing battle, but he presumably had experimented. The first Book of Samuel tells how he had earlier struck and killed a lion and a bear that menaced the sheep he tended.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Sanders position on the F-35 contradicts his views on defense spending

Sarah Sicard
January 14, 2016

Though Sen. Bernie Sanders advocates for spending cuts, he also supports the costliest program ever funded.
Democratic candidate for president and Vermont senator, Bernie Sanders, seems to have contradictory policies regarding the Defense Department.

Within his platform regarding the military, he suggests that the U.S. military spends too much money on defense, and is known to staunchly oppose military engagement unless absolutely necessary.

In a town hall meeting in Iowa City, Sanders said, “We know that there is massive fraud going on in the defense industry.  Virtually every major defense contractor has either been convicted of fraud or reached a settlement with the government …We need a strong military, it is a dangerous world.  But I think we can make judicious cuts.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Bernie Sanders Loves this $1 Trillion War Machine

Tim Mak
February 9, 2016

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire — Sen. Bernie Sanders has railed against big defense corporations at rallies, but he has a more complex history with the military-industrial complex. Most notably, he’s supported a $1.2 trillion stealth fighter that’s considered by many to be one of the bigger boondoggles in Pentagon history.

Sanders has made his opposition to Hillary Clinton’s hawkishness a cornerstone of his campaign. But he hasn’t exactly been antiwar all his career. When it has come time to choose between defense jobs and a dovish defense policy, Sanders has consistently chosen to stand with the arms-makers rather than the peaceniks—leading to tension with some of the most adamant adherents of progressive ideology.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 total disaster

By Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry
January 27, 2016

The F-35 is an absolute disaster, and it needs to go. The scandals around it are legion.

The supersonic stealth plane called the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was supposed to be the greatest and best military plane the world has ever seen. While the United States’ stealthy F-22 is an “air superiority” plane, ensuring the country’s dominance over the skies, which is why exporting it is illegal, the F-35 was supposed to be able to do everything, and be the standard fighter-bomber of the U.S. and most countries with which the U.S. has friendly relations. It was supposed to be stealthy, to be able take off and land vertically, and to know everything about everything thanks to its amazing software and sensors. It can’t do any of those things so far.

The program has cost $1.3 trillion so far. By comparison, the Apollo Program, which actually sent people to the moon, cost about $170 billion in 2005 dollars. The F-35 is literally the most expensive military project in history. By 2014, the program was $163 billion over budget, and seven years behind schedule.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ground Hog Day: De-bugging the F-35

By BP
February 8, 2016

It seems the F-35 fighter; aka the most expensive weapons system ever, hasn’t been in the news too often lately. And most of the news out that is out there is awful, according to reports in early February. If or when the jet fighters do fly on a regular basis, at some point in the future some will be used by the Vermont Air National Guard and based at the Burlington airport. This is over objections from residents in nearby towns over possible noise levels during take-off and landings — so, here’s a heads up for Vermonters.

If you care to read more details, that can be done here. But these three descriptive headlines provide a more than adequate, quick summary: The Version That the Marines Are Using Is Very Buggy; ALIS [Autonomic Logistics Information System] Is Still Terrible, Perhaps Even Getting Worse; and my favorite, Lockouts, Confusion, etc.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pentagon to cut purchase of F-35 jets

By Zacks Equity Research

The U.S. Department of Defense has announced that it plans to purchase fewer F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT – Analyst Report) over the next five years, than it had originally planned.

Pentagon’s Plans for the F-35 Jets

Importantly, the Pentagon was forced to cut approximately $4 billion from the F-35 program and other aircraft programs in fiscal 2017, and slash billions of dollars from other procurement accounts to meet the Congress budget deal.

The Pentagon remains committed to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, worth $391 billion, which is the single largest weapons program. However, purchases for the program are expected to slow down a little over the next five years. The Pentagon’s next five-year plan, beginning fiscal 2017 through fiscal 2020, covers the purchase of 299 jets (down by 37 units from the previous expectation). However, the major spurt in orders is not expected to come until the projected purchase of 105 fighter jets in fiscal 2021.

[FULL ARTICLE]

AF plans to keep A-10s and buy fewer F-35s

By Bryant Jordan
Feb 09, 2016

The Air Force on Tuesday released a 2017 budget geared to rebalance the force and counter readiness problems resulting from years of deployments, personnel shortages and sequester-forced spending caps that have cut into modernization programs across the board.

At $167 billion, the service’s budget is roughly $5 billion more than was appropriated for fiscal 2016, according to Air Force figures that show end strength will remain unchanged from the current year at 317,000 airmen.

[FULL ARTICLE]

An intrusion on our home

By Bruce S. Post
FEB. 1, 2016

The passionate disagreements about the F-35 and industrial wind share a commonality: the meaning of home.

“Home is the place,” wrote Robert Frost, “where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” Home and hearth are rooted in our soul, private places of respite and retreat from the grinding gears of public life. The expression “if these walls could talk” symbolizes that our dwellings are more than simply structures; they are storehouses of memories, giving us a sense of our individual and familial selves.

That is the romantic vision. Less romantically, we are never completely safe in our homes. We are wary of the stranger at the door, fearful of the burglar and the thief. We fear the sense of violation that comes with a lock pried, window broken and drawers thrown about indiscriminately. We arm ourselves with dead-bolt locks, alarm systems, barred windows and bullets and guns. The claim “I never lock my door” seems naïve and foolhardy. “Be careful,” we caution, “you never know.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 exceeds 50,000 flying hours

By Marina Malenic
February 11, 2016

Key Points

  • F-35s have accumulated more than 50,000 flight hours
    The 25,000 flight-hour milestone occurred in December 2014, and that number doubled in just more than one year
  • Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters operating at 12 international locations have accumulated more than 50,000 flight hours, the company announced on 10 February.

The flight hours fell into two main categories: operational flying hours, flown by 155 jets delivered to six different nations; and System Development and Demonstration (SDD) flight test hours, flown by 18 aircraft assigned to the Integrated Test Forces at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB), California, and Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Maryland, according to a 10 February press statement released by the company. Operational jets flew approximately 37,950 hours while SDD aircraft flew 12,050 hours, according to Lockheed Martin. More than one third of the programme’s flight hours were flown in 2015. Approximately 26,000 hours were flown by the F-35A, 18,000 hours by the F-35B, and 6,000 by the F-35C.

[FULL ARTICLE]

AF General passes out during F-35 briefing

By Blake Stilwell
Feb. 11, 2016

Normally, James Martin is the very model of a modern major general.

But the Air Force officer, who is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Budget, recently collapsed at the podium while answering questions about the F-35.

Air Force Deputy for Budget Carolyn Gleason held Maj. Gen. Martin up, while aides came to help Martin, who regained his senses seconds later.

[FULL ARTICLE]

DOT&E Concerns about the F-35

by Bryan Myers & Sheila MacVicar
February 2, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The bad news for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter – the most expensive weapons program in history, with an estimated price tag of $1.4 trillion – continues to pile up.

In a stark new assessment, a Pentagon report documents significant and on-going problems with the F-35 program. America Tonight has obtained a copy of that report in advance of its release.

The findings [PDF], which were made by Dr. J. Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E), include:

[FULL ARTICLE]

Decades of Stealth Sticking Points Bedevil F-35

Despite Decades of Stealth  Sticking Points Bedevil F 35 JetBy CLYDE HABERMAN
JAN. 24, 2016

One of the earliest stealth weapons on record was a stone used by the young Israelite David to kill the Philistine giant Goliath. In the biblical account, David shunned the conventional armaments of his time: sword, helmet, armor. Instead, he went forth with a slingshot and a few stones, kept undetected in a pouch. As any schoolchild knows, one well-aimed fling was all it took to put Goliath down for good. The big guy never saw it coming.

It is not clear to what extent David tested his weapon before doing battle, but he presumably had experimented. The first Book of Samuel tells how he had earlier struck and killed a lion and a bear that menaced the sheep he tended.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Letter to the Editor of the Idaho Statesman, January 26, 2016

“We are among “those that live by the airport.” However, we have never complained about the noise, until this past summer (and only to each other). We’ve lived here 15 years, love the area and being close to everything. We moved in from Meridian after 17 years of the sprawl out there. Our home was built in 1954, 10 years before the first jet service to Boise. We expected airport noise: we did spend eight years on SAC and TAC air bases. But, the noise from the F-15s this summer was terrible. And the City of Boise potentially wants to allow F-35s with considerably more noise at Gowen? There is a reason for Mountain Home AFB: put them there. We tried to read the noise study, but not being a government bureaucrat, we were unable to decipher the data. Has the City of Boise become so dollar hungry that they are willing to sacrifice the quality of life for an expanded tax base? Finally, anyone familiar with USAF aircraft, must be aware of the noticeable noise difference between an F-15 and an A10.”

Al and Patti Crager, Boise

Tucson Residents file lawsuit against AF

By Bud Foster
Jan 26, 2016

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -Three residents who live in midtown Tucson in the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base flight path have filed a suit against the U.S. Air Force.

The suit, filed by the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Intereston behalf of Gary Hunter, Anita Scales and Rita Orneles, states the Air Force did not follow required federal protocols in preparing an environmental assessment on the impact its new training schedule would have on neighborhoods in the flight path.

[FULL ARTICLE]

David-Monthan residents sue over F-35 noise

By Caitlin Schmidt
January 23, 2016

Three residents of neighborhoods near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base have filed for an injunction in federal court, seeking to require the Air Force to conduct a more detailed analysis of how increased training flights from the base will affect the community.

Rita Ornelas, Gary Hunter and Anita Scales filed the complaint Friday with the U.S. District Court of Arizona, saying that the Air Force failed to follow federal guidelines when it approved a plan last year to increase the number of operations.

The Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest, a nonprofit firm that focuses on government accountability, is representing the plaintiffs.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Boise airport noise concerns

BY SVEN BERG
DECEMBER 23, 2015

Some Boiseans believe the deciders have made up their minds to bring louder military jets to Boise.

Many of these people live near the airport, so they’d be most affected by the noise. They suspect their concerns don’t matter to the city government, Idaho Air National Guard and U.S. Air Force. When the authorities reach out and ask for their opinions, they think it’s just for show.

“I don’t like that — the feeling that we’re being manipulated,” said Monty Mericle, who lives on Meriwether Drive just north of the Boise Airport’s runways.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 Sonic Booms heard from NJ to CT

By Associated Press
Jan 28, 2016

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Sonic booms heard and felt along the eastern shoreline were caused by military fighter jets conducting tests, officials said.

An F-35C, which has a top speed of nearly 1,200 mph, and an F-18 from Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland were conducting supersonic testing off the coast Thursday afternoon, according to a Navy spokeswoman.

Residents reported hearing loud booms and feeling the ground and buildings shake from New Jersey to Long Island. The booms were heard as far away as Connecticut.

[FULL ARTICLE]

McCain praises A-10

By Joe Ferguson
January 16, 2016

Arizona Sen. John McCaincredits the fight against the ISIS terror group for postponing the retirement of the military’s A-10 Thunderbolt II jet, which has a huge presence at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

‘If you had to give the majority of credit somewhere, I would give it to Mr. Baghdadi in ISIS, because we had to go into Syria. We had to go after ISIS. The A-10 is still the most capable weapon to do that,’McCain, R-Arizona, told the Arizona Daily Star during a meeting Friday, citing the head of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

‘This is probably the first and last time that I am in league with Mr. Baghdadi.’

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lawmaker requests funding for A-10 replacement

By Lara Seligman
January 28, 2016

WASHINGTON — Ahead of President Barack Obama’s budget rollout next week, an influential Air Force pilot-turned lawmaker called on the commander-in-chief and his defense secretary to request full funding for the legacy A-10 until plans for its replacement take shape.

“As you finalize the Department of Defense’s (DOD) budget request for fiscal year 2017, I ask that you fully fund the A-10 ‘Warthog’ in a manner consistent with Congressional intent,” Rep. March McSally, R-Ariz., a retired Air Force colonel with 325 hours flying the A-10 in Iraq and Afghanistan, wrote in a Jan. 28 letter to Obama and Defense Secretary Ash Carter. “Because there is no replacement for these unique and crucial capabilities, either currently available or in development, we must maintain and improve the A-10 fleet until a real A-10 replacement exists.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Countdown to operational F-35

By Phillip Swarts
December 28, 2015

After 15 years in development and a planned $1.5 trillion investment in the program, the Air Force’s divisive, longawaited fifth-generation fighter is expected to finally be ready for limited operations in 2016.

Once the F-35 Lightning II, built by Lockheed Martin, reaches initial operating capability, the Air Force will have the advanced stealth aircraft leaders say the service desperately needs to replace aging F-15s and F-16s and bolster the curtailed buy of F-22s.

Here’s what you need to know:

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lockheed Martin says F-35 is back on track

By Thad Moore
December 14, 2015

PINELLAS PARK — Daniel Conroy knows the F-35 Lightning II program has had its problems, delayed for years and costing far more than first expected.

But the Pentagon’s ambitious fighter jet project is finally back on track, says Conroy, director of the Air Force F-35 program for Lockheed Martin, which is building the plane.

“The program has been challenging, flight test has been difficult, but we’ve worked through a lot of issues,” Conroy said Monday at Lockheed Martin’s facility here. “We can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Handshake agreement on F-35 engine

By Lara Seligman
January 15, 2016

WASHINGTON – The Pentagon and engine maker Pratt & Whitney have reached a handshake agreement on the ninth and tenth batches of F135 engines to power the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the department announced today.

The ninth and tenth low rate initial production (LRIP) contracts will cover 66 and 101 engines, respectively, according to a Jan. 15 statement from the Joint Program Office.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Industry Rethinking how to build military aircraft

By Sandra I. Erwin
January 18, 2016

PALMDALE, Calif. — “Exploratory teams” of government officials periodically are seen in this part of southern California, checking the pulse of the aerospace industry at a time when the Pentagon is under growing pressure to innovate and can no longer afford to do business as usual.

The changing defense market is putting the squeeze on companies that design and build cutting-edge aircraft. The focus is now on rapid prototyping and other techniques that let buyers experiment with new systems before they commit to major investments.

“I’ve been hearing about a paradigm shift,” says Kevin Mickey, vice president of advanced design at Northrop Grumman.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-22 and F-35 can’t share data

By Phillip Swarts
December 14, 2015

If the Air Force wants to be effective in future conflicts, it must rethink the way it handles electronic warfare, a retired general said Dec. 1.

“Currently there’s no data link between the F-22 and F-35 that would allow them to share targeting data,” said retired Lt. Gen. David Deptula. “Instead, these two fifth-gen aircraft — built by the same company, I might add — operate separate networks riding on proprietary links.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 production may have to slow

By Aaron Mehta
December 14, 2015

ThePentagonexpectstomake“disproportionate” cuts to modernization and research and development funding in its fiscal 2017 budget request, while personnel and readiness remain stable, according to the department’s top acquisition official. Those cuts may well include a slowdown in F-35 production.

Overall, the cuts could slow down the much ballyhooed “Third Offset” strategy, identified by Defense Secretary Ash Carter as key to maintaining America’s military technological dominance.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Boise airport noise concerns

BY SVEN BERG
DECEMBER 23, 2015

Some Boiseans believe the deciders have made up their minds to bring louder military jets to Boise.

Many of these people live near the airport, so they’d be most affected by the noise. They suspect their concerns don’t matter to the city government, Idaho Air National Guard and U.S. Air Force. When the authorities reach out and ask for their opinions, they think it’s just for show.

“I don’t like that — the feeling that we’re being manipulated,” said Monty Mericle, who lives on Meriwether Drive just north of the Boise Airport’s runways.

Countdown to operational F-35

By Phillip Swarts
December 28, 2015

After 15 years in development and a planned $1.5 trillion investment in the program, the Air Force’s divisive, longawaited fifth-generation fighter is expected to finally be ready for limited operations in 2016.

Once the F-35 Lightning II, built by Lockheed Martin, reaches initial operating capability, the Air Force will have the advanced stealth aircraft leaders say the service desperately needs to replace aging F-15s and F-16s and bolster the curtailed buy of F-22s.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Network of Communities Oppose Military Expansion on Public Lands

The network of communities standing up to current and proposed military activity continues to grow. Organizers from many communities share information, undertake joint projects and focus on the need for fiscal and programmatic accountability from the Pentagon.

Join us in demanding accountability from the Pentagon. It is past time for the Pentagon to pass an audit like every other federal agency. A recent study by Reuters found that the Pentagon cannot document what happened to more than $8 trillion in taxpayer money dating back to 1996.

[FULL ARTICLE]

USAF denies seeking more F-16 or F-15 combat jets

BY: JAMES DREW
November 25, 2015

The US Air Force has denied any plans to purchase another tranche of Lockheed Martin F-16 or Boeing F-15 combat jets following reports it could seek bids for up to 72 new aircraft.

According to comments attributed to a senior US Air Combat Command official at an international fighter conference in London last week, the current Lockheed F-35 procurement plan could prove unaffordable, and another fighter wing of F-15s, F-16s or perhaps even F/A-18s is being considered to supplement the current fleet – which will serve into the 2040s as F-35s are delivered.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Netherlands Prepare for F-35

By Tony Osborne
Dec 8, 2015

With plans to purchase just 37 aircraft, the Netherlands fleet of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters (JSF) is likely to be one of the world’s smallest. Yet the fighter’s introduction is seen as a catalyst for change, transforming not only the way the Netherlands thinks about airpower but also prompting cohesion, with bilateral and trilateral discussions with other European operators. “We need to be suitable to operate in a modern agile and ever-changing environment,” Gen. …

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pentagon might cut 2017 F-35 Budget

By Larry Darrell
Dec 3, 2015

Lockheed Martin Corporation’s (NYSE:LMT) F-35 project has come under renewed question, as the Pentagon mulls a reduction in its budget for fiscal year 2017 (FY17). The Congress is expected to propose some budget caps that might directly impact the F-35’s budget, as the government spreads its finances toward other projects as well.

Although the total defense budget is not expected to be reduced, the F-35, among various other projects would receive reduced government spending. Frank Kendall, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, announced in an industry conference, “Dollar for dollar it probably gives us more combat capability than any other investment that we’re making, but we’ve got a lot of other things that we need to do as well.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Resident frustration with airport noise maps

BY MORGAN TRUE
November 10, 2015

SOUTH BURLINGTON — Close to 150 residents packed the gymnasium at the Chamberlin Elementary School on Monday night to take a first look at new noise exposure maps drafted by the Burlington International Airport.

The noise maps were last updated in 2006, and the draft maps released Monday are the first to account for the afterburners on the Air National Guard’s F-16 fighter jet engines.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Bernie and the Jets

by JEFFREY ST. CLAIR
NOVEMBER 13, 2015

As Clintons are wont to do, Hillary laid a political trap and Bernie Sanders, in his Schlemiel-like way, stumbled right into it. In the wake of Jeremy Corbyn’s smashing victory as the new leader of Britain’s Labour Party, Hillary’s super-PAC, Correct the Record, tarred Sanders as a Corbyn-lite renegade who has cozied up to untouchable figures like Hugo Chavez.

About a decade ago, Sanders was part of a delegation that negotiated a sensible deal to bring low-cost heating oil from Venezuela to poor families in the northeastern United States. But instead of defending his honorable role in this ex parte negotiation, Sanders wilted. In a fundraising email to his legions of Sandernistas, Bernie fumed at being “linked to a dead Communist dictator.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Bernie Sanders continues to support the military-industrial complex over Vermonters

From: “U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders” <[email protected]>

Date: November 9, 2015, 5:41:22 PM EST

Subject: Email from Senator Sanders

bernie-sanders

Thank you for contacting me about the U.S. Air Force’s decision to base the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters in South Burlington.  I appreciate the opportunity to respond to your concerns on this very important issue.

Let me begin by stating that I believe it speaks to the commendable record of the Vermont National Guard that the Air Force decided to base its newest generation of planes in South Burlington.  The Vermont Guard played a critical role responding to the September 11 attacks in New York, Tropical Storm Irene in Vermont, and Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast.  And, while I personally have deep concerns about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, there is no question that Vermont Guard members have served admirably and honorably – often at enormous personal cost – when called to active duty.

I do not want to see the role of the Vermont Air National Guard diminished or eliminated, and this decision ensures the mission of the Vermont Air Guard far into the future.  It protects the jobs and educational opportunities for more than a thousand Vermonters while securing the Guard’s significant contribution to the local economy for years to come.  Moreover, a failure to be chosen in the first F-35 basing round would have exposed the Burlington Air Guard Station to the Base Realignment and Closure process, and that is why the Vermont Guard leadership unequivocally believed the best way to ensure their mission was to get the F-35.  I supported that position.

There are residents near the airport who are very legitimately concerned about noise, and I share that concern.  Along with Senator Leahy and Congressman Welch, I have asked the Air Force to address noise concerns.  We have also urged the Guard to work closely with its airport neighbors to reduce noise to the extent possible through operational measures such as limiting afterburner use, flying at less than full military power, modifying take-off and landing patterns, etc.

And, like many Vermonters I have serious concerns about the cost of this plane.  Throughout my career, I have called for cutting military spending and rooting-out fraud, waste and corruption in the defense industry.  At the very least, I believe Lockheed Martin must cover cost overages, rather than the U.S. taxpayer. 

However, whether one likes the F-35 or not, the Air Force is moving forward with plans to replace the F-16 with the F-35.  As long as the F-35 is deployed anywhere, I would rather protect the mission of the citizen soldiers of the Vermont Guard, and maintain 1100 jobs here in Vermont, rather than in South Carolina or Florida. 

Thank you again for contacting me, and please feel free to stay in touch about this or any other subject of interest to you.  For up-to-date information on what I am working on, please sign-up for my e-newsletter, the Bernie Buzz, at http://sanders.senate.gov/buzz/.

Sincerely,

BERNARD SANDERS

United States Senator

US considers purchasing more F-15s or F-16s

By Bill Sweetman
November 19, 2015

LONDON — The U.S. Air Force may solicit bids for 72 new Boeing F-15s, Lockheed Martin F-16s or even Boeing F/A-18E/Fs as budget issues put planned production rates for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter out of reach, according to senior service and industry officials at the Defense IQ International Fighter Conference …

[FULL ARTICLE]

A-10 Retirement Could be Delayed

By Phillip Swarts
November 23, 2015

The Air Force could delay retirement of the A-10 Thunderbolt II by a few years to meet demand for close-air support missions, Gen. Hawk Carlisle, head of Air Combat Command, said Nov. 10.

“I think we would probably move the retirement slightly to the right,” he said at a Defense Writers Group breakfast. “Eventually we will have to get there. We have to retire airplanes. But I think moving it to the right and starting it a bit later and keeping the airplane a bit longer is something to consider, based on things as they are today and what we see in the future.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Bomber cost could upset F-35 plans

By Jeff Schogol
November 10, 2015

The F-35 is going to eat up so much of the Air Force’s procurement budget going forward that the service will likely have to reduce the number of joint strike fighters it buys to pay for other things, such as the Long Range Strike-Bomber, experts said on Tuesday.

As part of the Defense Department’s proposed budget for fiscal 2016, the Air Force would purchase 44 F-35s this fiscal year, 48 in fiscal 2017 and 60 each year from fiscal 2018 through 2020, budget documents show. The total procurement cost of the 1,763 F-35s is about $215 billion.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Denmark and Belgium close to F-35 decision

By Bill Sweetman
November 18, 2015

LONDON—Denmark’s government is expected to recommend the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) in December as the replacement for the F-16, according to industry executives attending the Defense IQ International Fighter …

[FULL ARTICLE]

US considers purchasing more F-15s or F-16s

By Bill Sweetman
November 19, 2015

LONDON — The U.S. Air Force may solicit bids for 72 new Boeing F-15s, Lockheed Martin F-16s or even Boeing F/A-18E/Fs as budget issues put planned production rates for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter out of reach, according to senior service and industry officials at the Defense IQ International Fighter Conference …

[FULL ARTICLE]

Canadian investment in the F-35

By Phil Stewart
November 21, 2015

But Canada, one of the nine countries in the initial F-35 partnership, pledged to invest $150 million in the program’s development when it signed up in February 2002.

Those funds would not be reimbursed if Canada exits the program. Many Canadian firms that supply parts worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Lockheed each year could also lose those orders.

 

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 fuselage delivery to Israel

By CompositesWorld
November 23, 2015

Northrop Grumman Corp. (Falls Church, VA, US) has delivered the center fuselage for the first F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to be purchased by Israel, an F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant designated AS-1. The center fuselage was produced on Northrop Grumman’s F-35 Integrated Assembly Line at its Palmdale Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence.

“The delivery of the AS-1 center fuselage is a significant addition to the growing list of allied countries that have invested in owning and fielding the fifth generation F-35 aircraft,” said Brian Chappel, vice president and F-35 program manager of Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. “It also adds momentum to the success of our highly automated Integrated Assembly Line, which is helping increase the production rate, quality and affordability of the F-35 program.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 Opponents Appeal to U.S. Supreme Court

BY MARK DAVIS
OCT 29, 2015

Opponents of the U.S. Air Force’s decision to base next-generation F-35 fighter planes at Burlington International Airport have taken their case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Activists have asked the high court to hear their appeal of a March Vermont Supreme Court ruling, which said the airport did not need to obtain state land use permits to base the new jets at the airport.

[FULL ARTICLE]

South Boise, Idaho residents concerned about F-35

BY SVEN BERG
November 7, 2015

People who live near the Boise Airport are worried the Idaho Air National Guard’s next flying mission will damage their lives, though that new mission is probably years away.

They’re worried the U.S. Air Force will replace Gowen Field’s 21 A-10s, which are low-speed warplanes designed to attack ground targets, with F-15s or F-35s.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Dougherty LTE in Boise Idaho on F-35

This appeared in today’s Idaho Statesman newspaper (Boise) and relates to the Idaho Air National Guard’s operations at the Boise airport, also known as Gowen Field.

Michael DeJulis’ letter, Oct.18, confuses me. He talks of F-15s/ F-35s “higher altitude take offs,” “turning left upon exiting the runway,” “deafening noise” and “black exhaust droplets.” I am an Air Force brat, and served 20 years in USAF working as a Crew Chief on fighters, to include the F-15. First, Gowen and the airport share the runways. Keep in mind flight patterns and traffic. The E model 15’s require afterburner longer due to take off weight. Landing requires very little throttle adjustments at or near idle, same as airliners, for proper glide slope. If Michael lives three miles away, then how does he know they don’t turn until Nampa? Black exhaust droplets? If they are from jet exhaust, airliners are now in the jet age too. After a lifetime of living, working, and parking near these jets, I have never seen such droplets on clothes, cars or houses. I have however seen ash from range fires. Now the F-35. The F-15 has two engines, F-35 has one. It can takeoff vertically. Maybe louder on vertical takeoff, landings, and hovering, which would be at Gowen, not on Michael’s street. I have yet to see it fly. Have you?

Bruce Dougherty, Mountain Home

Garritano LTE on Canadian new Prime Minister’s intention to stop participating in F-35 buy

Hooray for Canada!

Liberals have won the majority in Canada’s election which should be front page news in America. These liberals walk the walk unlike the neoliberals that have taken over our Democratic party.

Canada’s new prime minister immediately called for an end to their participation in U.S. misadventures in the Middle East and the wasteful boondoggle that is the F-35 bomber.

Decades of military failure have not changed U.S. policy only strengthened our idiotic resolve. Canada has decided to focus on domestic issues with the money saved. What a concept!

Too bad Bernie Sanders, Patrick Leahy and Peter Welch don’t see things this way. They appear to have a military industrial complex.

PETER GARRITANO

Shelburne

Andreoli LTE in Seven Days on Rabbi Chasan and Clergy opposition to F-35

[Re “Mitzvot Accomplished,” October 14]: Your article on Rabbi Chasan and his leadership of Ohavi Zedek Synagogue mentioned the 2013 open letter to U.S. senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders, Congressman Peter Welch, and Gov. Peter Shumlin, in which Chasan and 15 other area clergy and religious leaders expressed concern over the proposed basing of the F-35 stealth bomber/fighter jet in Vermont.

These spiritual leaders beseeched our political representatives to advocate on behalf of the thousands of Vermonters who will be negatively affected by the planned F-35 basing, especially middle- and low-income, minority, and refugee populations. They urged the politicians to use their influence to withdraw Burlington from this first selection process and wait until the next round of basing, by which time the F-35s would have developed a track record on their impact on safety, health and property values.

Sadly, the politicians did not listen and they refused to meet with the clergy or any of those who would be impacted by the basing!

Then in February 2015, Rabbi Chasan and 45 other religious leaders again contacted these representatives to ask for a delay in the basing. “Common sense would direct the placement of these planes to airports with far fewer people in the vicinity; far fewer children whose young ears would be blasted, their learning disrupted,” Chasan said.

And again they were ignored. Shame on our elected officials for refusing to even discuss the clergy’s concerns about the morality and the social justice impacts of the F-35 on the poor and marginalized.

My sincere gratitude and heartfelt appreciation to Rabbi Chasan for repeatedly speaking out about this planned injustice to our residential communities.

Eileen Andreoli
Winooski

Navy to continue buying F-18 because F-35 is delayed

BY: JAMES DREW
NOVEMBER 5, 2015

US Navy officials have reaffirmed plans to procure an additional 24 to 36 Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets through fiscal year 2018 while also boosting F/A-18C life-extension rates, primarily due to delays in fielding the carrier-based Lockheed Martin F-35C.

Boeing has been trying desperately to shore up Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler production in St Louis, Missouri, but the company’s difficulty in securing international sales has raised doubts.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lockheed gets $5.37 billion for F-35

By Christopher P. Cavas
November 4, 2015

WASHINGTON — With a preliminary agreement in hand, negotiations between Lockheed Martin and the Pentagon for the Joint Strike Fighter Lot IX Joint Strike low-rate initial production contract continue, and a final agreement is expected next month, JSF Joint Program Office spokesman Joe DellaVedova said Wednesday.

Under an “undefinitized contractual action” (UCA) agreed on Tuesday, $625 million in fiscal year 2015 money is being moved to Lockheed to cover company expenses spent thus far on the Lot IX aircraft. The full contract is being negotiated under a not-to-exceed limit of $5.37 billion.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Trump confuses B-3 with F-35

Trump Confuses Long Range Strike Bomber With F 35  VIDEO    The Daily CallerBy STEVE GUEST
November 5, 2015

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who claims to be the “the best in terms of the military,” confused the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program with the B-3 Long Range Strike Bomber program.

Radio host Hugh Hewitt asked Trump if America needs a strategic bomber or “should we just stick with submarines and missiles?” Trump then criticized the beleaguered F-35 program.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pentagon Re-considers F-35 Buy

By ANA RADELAT
November 5, 2015

WASHINGTON — For years, the Pentagon was inflexible when talking about the number of F-35s it wants to buy — 2,443 — pushing back against any suggestions that it should trim that shopping list. But no more.

The high price tag of the F-35, a Lockheed Martin aircraft whose engine is made by Pratt & Whitney, based in East Hartford, Conn., has made some Pentagon officials consider whether the Defense Department can afford as many of the Joint Strike Fighters as they had once planned.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Trump wants to fire F-35

By Tyler Rogoway
October 30, 2015

Presidential candidate Donald Trump is finally offering some specifics when it comes to defense policy, and on conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt’s program today he floated the possibility of cancelling the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program if he gets elected.

According to the Air Force Times, Trump said: “When they say that this cannot perform as well as the planes we already have, what are [we] doing, and spending so much more money?” He continued, “I do hear that it’s not very good… I’m hearing that our existing planes are better. And one of the pilots came out of the plane, one of the test pilots, and said this isn’t as good as what we already have.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

UK to buy more F-35s

By Gareth Jennings
November 3, 2015

The United Kingdom has signed up for a further six operational Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft, in addition to the four already contracted last year.

The six new F-35Bs form part of the Lot 9 production contract, which was awarded by the US Department of Defence (DoD) on 3 November. The UK had ordered its first four operational aircraft as part of the Lot 8 production contract announced in November 2014.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 fires gun for the first time

By Lara Seligman
November 2, 2015

WASHINGTON — For the first time, a US Air Force F-35 fighter jet has successfully fired its internal gun from the air.

The aerial gun test marks another milestone in the Pentagon’s effort to certify the F-35A’s internal 25mm Gatling gun. Lockheed Martin released avideo Monday of F-35 test pilot Maj. Charles “Flak” Trickey firing the first aerial gun burst from the four-barrel weapon.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lockheed promotes F-35 Lead

By Lara Seligman
October 29, 2015

WASHINGTON — In a major leadership change for Lockheed Martin’s F-35 program, the company has promoted Lorraine Martin while naming her deputy to succeed her as F-35 lead.

Martin has been promoted to the newly created position of deputy executive vice president for mission systems and training, while Jeff Babione will succeed her as executive vice president and general manager of the F-35 program, effective Jan. 1, Lockheed Martin announced Thursday.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Trump wants to Fire the F-35

By Phillip Swarts
October 30, 2015

Donald Trump wants to tell the F-35 that it’s fired.

The businessman and Republican presidential candidate questioned the wisdom of purchasing the joint strike fighter during an appearance on a conservative radio talk show Oct. 22.

“When they say that this cannot perform as well as the planes we already have, what are [we] doing, and spending so much more money?” Trump said during an appearance on the Hugh Hewitt radio show.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 Helmet is Too Heavy

By Phillip Swarts
November 2, 2015

The F-35 helmet is back in the news again, after Defense News, sister publication of Air Force Times, reported that F-35 pilots weighing under 136 pounds have been grounded due to concerns with the plane’s ejection seat.

Tests showed that a lighterweight pilot’s neck could snap during an ejection at slow speeds. While the ejection-seat issue is separate from the helmet, there are concerns that the heavy headgear is contributing to the problem of neck injuries during ejections.

“What we found was if the pilot has a helmet on his head or her head and that helmet weighs more than 4.8 pounds, then the neck loads on that light-weight pilot — by a very little bit — exceed what we would consider to be perfectly safe,” said Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, program executive officer for the F-35 Joint Program Office. “Today our helmets weigh about 5.4 pounds, so we’re talking about six ounces of weight to get out of the helmet,” Bogdan told the HouseArmed Services subcommittee on tactical air and land forces Oct. 21. “We need a lighter helmet, it’s as simple as that.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Airmen See Better Ways to Spend Scarce Resources

By Phillip Swarts
November 2, 2015

Questions about the cost of the F-35 helmet come at a time when budget pressures have forced the Air Force to make radical cuts to end strength, modernization and training. The result is a concern that more than half of the force is “not sufficiently ready” for highend battle, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said.

What’s more, due to forced drawdowns, airmen are struggling to keep up with the pace required to keep planes in the air after more than a dozen years of war.

The result is a weary force aching for a break. That’s led some airmen to look for expensive projects that siphon off the resources they could use to spread the workload, get the proper training — or just relax a bit.

[FULL ARTICLE]

McCain: Have to Reduce F-35 Total Buy

By Aaron Mehta
November 2, 2015

The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, John McCain, R-Ariz., said Oct. 21 the U.S. will have to cut the numbers of F-35 fighter jets it will purchase.

In a brief comment to reporters, McCain seemed to signal that the total projected buy for the Pentagon’s most costly and ambitious program — 2,443 in total, spread across three models for the Air Force, Marines and Navy — is out of whack with budget realities. He said that cost growth in the program will mean fewer jets overall.

“We’re going to have to reduce the buy,” he said. “The number they are now quoting — there’s just not going to be that many.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 Helmet Costs $400,000

By Phillip Swarts
November 2, 2015

When the Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35 Lightning II, finally takes to the skies on its first official mission, it will be one of the most advanced and one of the most expensive planes ever.

And the pilots flying the aircraft will be wearing the most advanced and most expensive helmet ever.

The helmet will give pilots quicker access to the information they need to see and has special cameras to “see” through the bottom of the plane. But it will cost an estimated $400,000 per helmet — more than four times as much as the Air Force paid for head wear for other aircraft such as the F-16.

Helmets for all the F-35s scheduled to be purchased will cost at least $1billion, Air Force Times estimates.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pilots praise survivability and stealth of F-35

By Phillip Swarts
October 5, 2015

Some pilots who have flown the F-35 Lightning II say its capabilities are “unmatched.”

“This is by far the easiest airplane I’ve ever flown in my life,” said Col. Todd Canterbury, chief of the F-35 Integration Office Operations Division, during a Sept. 18 showing of the aircraft at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.

“What does that mean? That means that I can now focus on the battlefield, focus on the tactics at hand, rather than try to manipulate and fly the aircraft to where I need it to be,” Canterbury said. “The increased situational awareness that this brings increases my survivability on the battlefield. That’s really what it’s all about. It’s protecting the men and women that are going to fly these airplanes every single day and bringing themback home safely.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

AF to airmen: Defend the F-35

By Phillip Swarts
October 5, 2015

Air Force leaders are telling airmen to “explain why we need the F-35,” according to a leaked internal document from Secretary Deborah Lee James’ office.

The eight-page internal memo, marked “Not for Public Release,” gives airmen a step-by-step guide on how to “debunk false narratives and inaccuracies reflected in news media reporting” about the military’s controversial new plane.

[FULL ARTICLE]

AF tests ways to help F-35 survive in dogfights

By Phillip Swarts
October 5, 2015

Though designed for long-range engagements, there may be times when the F-35 Lightning II will be forced to get visual confirmation of a target, said Gen. Hawk Carlisle, the head of Air Combat Command.

“Will there ever be a time where you’ll have to put your eyeball on somebody to make sure he’s what you think he is? There may well be,” Carlisle said during a Sept.18 speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 ejection seat fears ground lightweight pilots

By Lara Seligman
October 12, 2015

Concerns about increased risk of injury to F-35 pilots during lowspeed ejections have prompted the military services to temporarily restrict pilots who weigh less than 136 pounds from flying the aircraft, Defense News, a sister publication of Air Force Times, has learned.

During August tests of the ejection seat, built by Martin-Baker, testers discovered an increased risk of neck injury when a lightweight pilot is flying at slower speeds. Until the problem is fixed, the services decided to restrict pilots weighing under 136 pounds from operating the plane, Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, F-35 integration office director, told Defense News in a Sept. 29 interview.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Full-year CR could stifle modernization

By Lara Seligman
October 12, 2015

Top Air Force officials have continued to hammer home the message that if the Pentagon is forced to operate under a stopgap spending measure next year, the service’s ability to buy new aircraft and modernize its existing fleet is in peril.

Congress passed a 10-week continuing resolution Sept. 30 to keep the government operating until Dec. 11. But if the next step is a fullyear continuing resolution, the Air Force’s nightmares may come true.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lockheed Martin contracted to deliver Block 3F software for F-35

By Gareth Jennings
September 1, 2015

Lockheed Martin has been contracted to deliver Block 3F software for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter for the US and UK militaries.

The USD311.4 million contract announced by the Department of Defense (DoD) on 1 September covers delivery of the aircraft’s full combat software to the US Air Force (USAF) (46%), US Marine Corps (USMC) (27%), US Navy (20%), and the United Kingdom (7%). According to the notification, work is expected to be competed in September 2021.

The F-35’s software and capability blocks are broken down into Block 1A – initial training, Block 1B – advanced training 1, Block 2A – advanced training 2, Block 2B (initial combat capability), Block 3i (initial full capability), and Block 3F (full combat capability).

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lockheed Martin, Roketsan to develop cruise missile for F-35s

By Richard Tomkins
Sept. 17, 2015

LONDON, Sept. 17 (UPI) — A mid-range standoff cruise missile for use on F-35 fighters is being developed by Lockheed Martin and its Turkish partner, Roketsan.

The SOM-J will feature GPS guidance, aided by inertial, terrain-referenced and image-based navigation systems and an imaging infrared seeker. It will be based on the SOM missile developed by the Defense Research and Development Institute of Turkey and operational with the Turkish Air Force.

[FULL ARTICLE]

The Department of Defence can neither close bases nor keep them working

THE cinema at Dyess Air Force Base, in central west Texas, is a splendid facility. It is entirely free for airmen and their families. Outside, there is a smart café selling snacks, sodas and, in the evenings, when children are not present, alcohol. Yet for more than two years, this centre for social life on the base sat empty, because it did not have the equipment to project films. Just a few months after the air force paid a hefty sum to refurbish the building, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, the government-owned firm which ran the cinema, switched from analogue to digital distribution of films. When it did so, it decided it could not afford to buy a new digital projector for Dyess.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Norway, Australia Team To Upgrade Missile for F-35

By Lara Seligman
September 21, 2015

FORT WORTH, Texas — Norway and Australia have minted a deal to develop a new seeker capability for the Joint Strike Missile, a core weapon planned for integration onto Norway’s F-35.

Under the Sept. 15 agreement, Australia will finance the development of a new RF-seeking capability, which will enable the missile to locate targets based on electronic signature. BAE Australia will develop and integrate the capability, according to a Sept. 21 statement from Norway’s Ministry of Defense.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Dutch MOD, P&W sign contract to stand up F135 maintenance site

BY: JAMES DREW
SEPTEMBER 22, 2015

The Dutch Ministry of Defence has formalised an agreement with Pratt & Whitney to establish an organic F135 engine maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade (MRO&U) shop at the Royal Netherlands Air Force’s Woensdrecht Logistics Centre with the goal of supporting Lockheed Martin F-35 operations by 2019.

The depot at Woensdrecht Air Base currently maintains the Pratt-built F100 powerplant for the F-16 and is now preparing for the introduction of the F135-powered F-35.

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

Finmeccanica-Selex ES to provide F-35 targeting systems

By Michael Peck
September 21, 2015

Finmeccanica–Selex ES has been awarded a contract by Lockheed Martin to provide advanced targeting lasers for the F-35.

Finmeccanica-Selex will supply 165 lasers for the F-35’s electro-optical targeting system (EOTS), according to a company news release.

“The laser, integrated into the EOTS, allows fighter aircraft crews to perform precision ranging and targeting functions,” Finmeccanica-Selex said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Italian KC-767 Air-To-Air Refueling Tests With F-35A

By Guy Norris
Sep 21, 2015

Aviation Week was invited to observe one of the final air-to-air refueling tests in the recently completed program to certify the Italian air force Boeing KC-767 tanker with the U.S. Air Force’s Lockheed Martin F-35A. Given the imminent flight of the first military-configured KC-46A Boeing tanker for the Air Force, the Italian testing also attracted wider interest as a useful preview of what to look out for when the U.S. begins tests of its own new tanker.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lockheed Martin unveils first Royal Norwegian Air Force F-35A

By Dario Leone
September 24, 2015

The aircraft, designated AM-1, represents an important production milestone for both the F-35 program and the Norwegian Armed Forces, where 52 Lightning IIs are expected to replace the Royal Norwegian Air Force ageing F-16s, bringing the country national defense into a new era.

Norwegian Minister of Defense, Her Excellency Ine Eriksen Søreide, who was the guest of honor at the event, remarked the importance of the Lightning II for the future of Norwegian Armed Forces. She pointed out in fact that, being a 5th generation aircraft, the F-35 is the only platform able to give Norway the capabilities to face future surface and airborne threats.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Norway’s Defence Review Underscores F-35 Commitment

By Lara Seligman
October 5, 2015

Norway’s ministry of defence is using a strategic defence review to push for significant funding increases for the country’s armed forces, as well as underscore the importance of the F-35 joint strike fighter to the Norwegian Air Force.

Presenting the review last week, Norwegian Chief of Defence Adm. Haakon Bruun-Hanssen reconfirmed Norway’s support for the F-35 program, saying he intends to stick to the full 52-aircraft buy. The F-35 provides a number of unique capabilities that no other platform can offer, Bruun-Hanssen said, according to an Oct. 2 statement from the Norwegian F-35 program office.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lockheed considering laser weapon concepts for F-35

BY: JAMES DREW
OCTOBER 6, 2015

Lockheed Martin’s F-35 has not yet seen combat, but already the defence manufacturer is exploring “concepts” for installing and employing a high-power fibre laser weapon on the new-generation combat jet for shooting down missiles and other airborne threats.

The company believes it finally has the right technology to produce modular and scalable fibre laser weapons for trucks, ships and aircraft, and a high-power, 60kW example will enter production for the US Army later this month.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Northrop builds first F-35 centre fuselage for assembly in Japan

BY: JAMES DREW
OCTOBER 6, 2015

Northrop Grumman has built the first F-35 centre fuselage destined for Japan’s domestic joint strike fighter assembly plant, operated by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI).

The company says the centre fuselage is the core of AX-5, Japan’s fifth example, and will become the first to enter Japan’s Nagoya final assembly and checkout plant instead of prime contractor Lockheed Martin’s facility in Fort Worth, Texas.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lasers Could Be Coming To The F-35

BY PATRICK TUCKER
OCTOBER 6, 2015

Lockheed Martin’s new modular fiber lasers now convert fully 40 percent of input energy to output, which means that — along with advances in manufacturing, targeting, and size-weight-power minimization — the company’s now talking about putting a laser weapon on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

“We are absolutely looking at concepts for integration,” Robert Afzal, the company’s senior fellow of laser systems and sensors, told reporters yesterday.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Alcoa supplying parts for military jets under $1.1B pact with Lockheed Martin

By Alex Nixon
Oct. 7, 2015

Alcoa Inc. landed a $1.1 billion contract to supply titanium parts to Lockheed Martin for the military’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet program.

Alcoa said the nine-year deal was enabled by its $1.5 billion acquisition of Moon-based titanium manufacturer RTI International Metals this year.

It’s the second high-profile win for Alcoa’s fast-growing parts manufacturing business this week. The company on Monday said it secured a $1 billion contract to supply fasteners to airplane maker Airbus.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Election Will Determine Canadian Role in F-35 Program

By David Pugliese
October 11, 2015

VICTORIA, British Columbia — Whether Canada withdraws from the F-35 program will be decided next week as Canadians select a new political party to form the country’s next government.

Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau says if elected on Oct. 19, his government would remove Canada from the F-35 program and select a less costly aircraft to replace the Royal Canadian Air Force’s CF-18 fighter jets. The savings from such a move would be redirected into naval shipbuilding, according to Trudeau.

[FULL ARTICLE]

General Blasts A-10 vs. F-35 Debate as ‘Ludicrous’

By Richard Sisk
September 15th, 2015

Air Force Gen. Herbert. J. “Hawk” Carlisle said Tuesday the raging debate over whether the A-10 or the F-35 is better equipped to perform close air support was totally missing the point on the future of the mission.

“What we’ve got to talk about is how you do UCAS (unconventional close air support) better,” rather than which aircraft can do it better, the head of Air Combat Command said. “The discussion of what platform is going to replace the A-10 is ludicrous. We have to talk about how to do it better, and we do it better with technology.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Canada’s Liberals Against F-35 Purchase

Agence France-Presse
September 20, 2015

OTTAWA, Canada— Canada’s Liberal leader Justin Trudeau said on the campaign trail Sunday that he would scrap the purchase of F-35s — the apparent frontrunner to replace the nation’s aging fleet of fighter jets.

“We will not buy the F-35 fighter jet,” he told a rally in Halifax ahead of Oct. 19 elections.

Taking Lockheed Martin’s F35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters off the table would leave Ottawa with three options: the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Dassault Rafale and Boeing’s Super Hornet.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Kendall: Canadian Suppliers Will Continue To Support F-35

By Lara Seligman
September 23, 2015

FORT WORTH, Texas — Amid renewed questions about Canada’s commitment to the F-35 fighter jet, the Pentagon’s top acquisition official said the Canadian supply base will remain an essential part of the program, even if the nation does not buy the aircraft.

“I believe those suppliers are part of the team, I don’t see any reason why they would not continue to be part of the team whether Canada [buys jets] or not,” Frank Kendall, the Pentagon’s undersecretary of defense for acquisition, told reporters here during a ceremony to celebrate the roll out of Norway’s first F-35. “We make our decisions on participation based on best value, and if Canadian firms are still best value, then they will be part of the program.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Increase Air Force budget or face consequences: Column

By Deborah Lee James
September 25, 2015

At a time when our nation is slashing defense budgets, we face a security environment that is extraordinarily complex and volatile, and our Air Force is busier than ever.

Over the last year, 25,000 Airmen deployed in support of contingencies around the world. They flew almost 20,000 close air support missions and dropped over 3,800 bombs with a 99% hit rate. Airmen flew more than 100,000 mobility and tanker sorties offloading almost 200 million gallons of fuel to joint and coalition forces and performed over 900 medical evacuations, including critical lifesaving surgeries in flight. Airmen collected and analyzed 18 million images and 1.6 million hours of video garnered by our air patrols, performed over 9,000 cyber operations protecting critical networks and launched 11 space missions.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Baloney Meter: Will cancelling F-35 ‘crater’ the Canadian aerospace industry?

By The Canadian Press
September 22, 2015

OTTAWA — “He’s not giving shipbuilding anything; he’s merely talking about cratering our aerospace industry, which is, as I say, bad policy…. I don’t understand where they’re going with this.” — Conservative Leader Stephen Harper on Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s promise to scrap the F-35 stealth fighter program and channel the savings into naval shipbuilding.

One of the cornerstones of the Liberal defence policy is to formally opt out of the Conservative government’s plan to acquire 65 F-35 stealth fighter jets to replace the Air Force’s aging fleet of 1980s vintage CF-18s.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lockheed considering laser weapon concepts for F-35

BY: JAMES DREW
OCTOBER 5, 2015

Lockheed Martin’s F-35 has not yet seen combat, but already the defence manufacturer is exploring “concepts” for installing and employing a high-power fibre laser weapon on the new-generation combat jet for shooting down missiles and other airborne threats.

The company believes it finally has the right technology to produce modular and scalable fibre laser weapons for trucks, ships and aircraft, and a high-power, 60kW example will enter production for the US Army later this month

[FULL ARTICLE]

Election Will Determine Canadian Role in F-35 Program

By David Pugliese
October 11, 2015

VICTORIA, British Columbia — Whether Canada withdraws from the F-35 program will be decided next week as Canadians select a new political party to form the country’s next government.

Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau says if elected on Oct. 19, his government would remove Canada from the F-35 program and select a less costly aircraft to replace the Royal Canadian Air Force’s CF-18 fighter jets. The savings from such a move would be redirected into naval shipbuilding, according to Trudeau.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Competition in Canadian fighter jet project would benefit taxpayers, industry, says former procurement chief

By DAVID PUGLIESE
October 4, 2015

On Sept. 24 Richard Shimooka had an opinion piece in the National Post arguing that the F-35 is still the best bet for Canada. He stated that a competition would be a costly and largely pointless process “with the outcome likely to be the reselection of the F-35.”

 

Alan Williams, who signed the original MOU committing Canada to the research and development aspect of the F-35 disagrees.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pentagon Testing Office Calls Foul on F-35B “Operational Test”

By: Mandy Smithberger and Dan Grazier
September 14, 2015

The Marine Corps triumphantly declared its variant of the F-35 combat ready in late July. In the public relations build-up, the recent demonstration of its performance on the USS Wasp was heralded as a rebuttal to the program’s critics. But a complete copy of a recent memo from the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E)—obtained by the Project On Government Oversight through the Freedom of Information Act—reveals that a number of maintenance and reliability problems “are likely to present significant near-term challenges for the Marine Corps.”

The Marine Corps named this demonstration “Operational Test One,” but it turns out it wasn’t actually an operational test, “in either a formal or an informal sense of the term.” To count as an operational test, conditions should closely match realistic combat conditions. But DOT&E found the demonstration “did not—and could not—demonstrate that Block 2B F-35B is operationally effective or suitable for use in any type of limited combat operation, or that it was ready for real-world operational deployments, given the way the event was structured.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Comparison tests to pit A-10 Warthog vs. new F-35 fighter

One of the biggest battles between Congress and the Pentagon during the past year has been over a snub-nosed grunt of an airplane, a jet so ugly (and fierce) it’s nicknamed the “Warthog.”

It is beloved by the troops, particularly those who have been saved when the A-10 Thunderbolt II, and its huge 30mm cannon, swooped in to save them in combat.

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

Carlisle: F-35s won’t dogfight, F-22s will

By Phillip Swarts
September 16, 2015

The F-35 Lightning II will excel at air interdiction, but was not created to engage in visual dogfights, according to Gen. Hawk Carlisle, the head of Air Combat Command.

The general’s comments at the annual Air Force Association’s Air and Space Conference came in response to a series of reports that have criticized the F-35’s inability to win dogfights with current fourth-generation aircraft.

[FULL ARTICLE]

China’s Copycat Jet Raises Questions About F-35

BY MARCUS WEISGERBER
SEPTEMBER 23, 2015

New technical specs about China’s new J-31 fighter, a plane designed to rival the American-made F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, popped up on a Chinese blog last week. So who has the advantage — the U.S. or China?

[FULL ARTICLE]

The F-35 Is Still the Worst Military Investment Ever

BY CHARLES P. PIERCE
October 1, 2015

​It’s been a while since we checked in on the F-35, the Flying Swiss Army Knife, which may be a floor wax or a dessert topping, but which sure as hell isn’t an viable aircraft, but is one of the epic money pits of all time, even by Pentagon standards, which are higher than the plane thus far has been able to get off the ground. How are things going, anyway?

China’s twin-engine design bears a striking resemblance to the single-jet F-35. Still, the Joint Strike Fighter is expected to fly slightly farther and carry a heavier load of weapons, according to the data, which was first reported by Jane’s.

[FULL ARTICLE]

More Bad News for the F-35, the Plane That Ate the Pentagon

BY JONATHAN BRODER
September 30, 2015

The warplanes took off vertically, dipping and diving as they intercepted enemy aircraft, suppressed enemy fire and supported troops on the ground. Then they landed on the deck of an amphibious assault ship, in the same way they took off: vertically.

For 10 days in May off the coast of Virginia, a half dozen F-35 fighter jets tested their capabilities under what military officials called real world combat conditions. The Pentagon was trying to see if the Marine Corps’ version of the next-generation fighter plane—its most expensive weapons project ever—was ready for battle. In July, after analyzing the test results, Marine Commandant General Joseph Dunsford triumphantly declared that it was.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ten Things You Should Know About the Air Force’s F-35 Propaganda Effort

By Tony Carr
Sept 23, 2015

WASHINGTON — Recently, the Air Force’s F-35 program has been facing fresh skepticism and new scrutiny. Interestingly, it’s not the program’s trillion-dollar price tag, dubious design, or stunted development raising new doubts, but something more fundamental: senior officials speaking for the program are hemorrhaging public credibility with transparently desperate misrepresentations aimed at putting a positive face on a failing program.

Media, members of Congress, thought leaders, and even airmen themselves are growing uncomfortable with the risks lurking in the program, notwithstanding endless streams of reassuring propaganda, much of it paid for with public funds.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 Fatal Ejection Fear Riles Congress

By Lara Seligman
October 5, 2015

WASHINGTON — Concern is mounting on Capitol Hill after recent tests revealed a lightweight F-35 pilot’s neck could snap when ejecting at certain speeds.

The fears focus on the Martin-Baker US16E ejection seat. During testing of the new Generation 3 helmet this summer, testers discovered the risk of fatal neck injury when a lighter pilot ejects during slower-speed flights, according to a source with knowledge of the program. Testers discovered the ejection snapped the necks of lighter-weight test dummies, the source said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Newsweek and Washington Post Pick Up POGO’s F-35B Story

By: Daniel Van Schooten
October 5, 2015

Newsweek has followed The Washington Post in picking up our important story regarding the operational readiness of the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter. Though declared to be operational, the plane was not tested in real-world combat scenarios. The deck had been cleared, critical onboard systems had not been installed, and various other factors combined to make the test easier to pass. Used as more of a publicity stunt than any confirmation of actual combat readiness, the declaration of operational readiness is misleading.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 Fatal Ejection Fear Riles Congress

By Lara Seligman
October 5, 2015

WASHINGTON — Concern is mounting on Capitol Hill after recent tests revealed a lightweight F-35 pilot’s neck could snap when ejecting at certain speeds.

The fears focus on the Martin-Baker US16E ejection seat. During testing of the new Generation 3 helmet this summer, testers discovered the risk of fatal neck injury when a lighter pilot ejects during slower-speed flights, according to a source with knowledge of the program. Testers discovered the ejection snapped the necks of lighter-weight test dummies, the source said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

USAF: Expanded Risk of Neck Damage to F-35 Pilots

By Lara Seligman
October 19, 2015

WASHINGTON — Weeks after Defense News revealed that the military services had restricted lightweight pilots from flying the F-35 joint strike fighter, the US Air Force officially acknowledged an increased risk of neck damage during ejection to middleweight pilots as well.

In a news release issued Oct. 16, the Air Force confirmed a Defense News report that pilots under 136 pounds are currently barred from flying the fifth-generation aircraft, expected to be the backbone of American airpower for decades to come. It also acknowledged an “elevated level of risk” for pilots between 136 and 165 pounds.

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

Cost of F-35 Mentioned on The Ring Of Fire

The cost of the F-35 starts at the 6:10 minute point.

Vago’s Notebook: F-35 Progress

The challenges tend to obscure progress for major programs like the joint strike fighter, but the JSF has been on a winning streak.

[FULL VIDEO]

Canada’s Liberals Against F-35 Purchase

By Agence France-Presse
September 20, 2015

OTTAWA, Canada— Canada’s Liberal leader Justin Trudeau said on the campaign trail Sunday that he would scrap the purchase of F-35s — the apparent frontrunner to replace the nation’s aging fleet of fighter jets.

“We will not buy the F-35 fighter jet,” he told a rally in Halifax ahead of Oct. 19 elections.

Taking Lockheed Martin’s F35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters off the table would leave Ottawa with three options: the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Dassault Rafale and Boeing’s Super Hornet.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Increase Air Force budget or face consequences: Column

By Deborah Lee James
September 25, 2015

At a time when our nation is slashing defense budgets, we face a security environment that is extraordinarily complex and volatile, and our Air Force is busier than ever.

Over the last year, 25,000 Airmen deployed in support of contingencies around the world. They flew almost 20,000 close air support missions and dropped over 3,800 bombs with a 99% hit rate. Airmen flew more than 100,000 mobility and tanker sorties offloading almost 200 million gallons of fuel to joint and coalition forces and performed over 900 medical evacuations, including critical lifesaving surgeries in flight. Airmen collected and analyzed 18 million images and 1.6 million hours of video garnered by our air patrols, performed over 9,000 cyber operations protecting critical networks and launched 11 space missions.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Court’s Decision Ignores Serious Health Impacts – Allows Harmful “Growler” Jet Operations

By Port O Call
Aug 13, 2015

Seattle, WA Citizens claiming to be harmed by the Navy’s low-level flight operations expressed disappointment, but not surprise at U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Zilly’s denial of their Motion for an Injunction. The Citizens of the Ebey’s Reserve (COER) sought to halt the harmful F-18 “Growler” over-flights until a required Environmental Impact Statement is completed.

“We believe the judge’s decision flies in the face of the facts and common sense,” said Maryon Attwood, COER board member. “It allows the loudest jets ever built to fly low over homes and places of business while emitting hazardous levels of noise. These flights will be allowed to continue even before the Navy completes a required Environmental Impact Study to assess the harms done to people and the environment,” she added.

[Full Article]

After sprawl threatened relocation, plan to keep Oceana deemed a success

By John Holland
August 19, 2015

Predictions of doom bounced around City Hall in the summer of 2005 and landed on the front page in bold, desperate headlines. People were scared, and for good reason.

Oceana Naval Air Station and its 12,000 jobs were on the Defense Department’s critical list, threatened with closure in large part because the surrounding area had become too residential, too commercial and, ultimately, too dangerous: too dangerous for the fighter pilots who practiced landings and maneuvers that they’d use fighting two wars, and too dangerous for the residents who could be wiped out if anything went wrong on those training missions.

[Full Article]

County should approve ‘navigator’ to protect D-M

Arizona Daily Star
August 9, 2015

OUR VIEW: Appointee would advocate for area, be point person on military matters

The Pima County Board of Supervisors will consider a new economic development plan at its Tuesday meeting. Within the plan’s 14 chapters is an item that will help our community strengthen its connection to Davis- Monthan Air Force Base, the Air Force and other military operations.

The proposal to create a ‘navigator’ position as our area’s point person on military matters, similar to what other communities have done, should be approved. Our region must be forward-thinking in how we can work to protect D-M as the A-10 fighter jets are phased out and national military leaders seek to close bases.

[Full Article]

Arizona military sites may be protected by expanded public land management

by Eric Jay Toll
Jul 31, 2015

Buffering most military sites in Arizona is a banner of public land. The extra space helps preserve the multi-billion boost to the Arizona economy the military bases bring home.

Protecting the public land and military facilities has mutual benefits, according to a study by the Sonoran Institute. The organization is taking its findings to the public to help spread the word and encourage steps to maintaining both the public lands and the Arizona defense economy.

[Full Article]

F-117 Stealth Fighter Back in the Sky

By David Axe
August 24, 2015

The U.S. Air Force officially retired its 52 surviving F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighters in 2008, transferring their radar-evading attack mission to B-2 bombers, F-22s and — eventually — F-35s.

The Air Force claimed it would preserve the F-117s for future use, but it’s possible most of the Nighthawks actually wound up in a landfill inside the Air Force’s highly secure Tonopah Test Range in Nevada. But the flying branch has held on to at least two of the sensor-dodging F-117s, which first entered service in the early 1980s.

[Full Article]

First F-35 refueling by KC-767 Tanker

By: JAMES DREW
Aug 6, 2015

Italy’s F-35 programme has passed a key test, with an Italian Air Force KC-767A taker refuelling aLockheed Martin F-35A for the first time.

The milestone comes as Italy prepares to flight test its first domestically-assembled F-35A, which rolled off the Cameri assembly line in March and will eventually be flown to the US to support pilot training at Luke AFB in Arizona.

The joint strike fighter top-up took place 29 July over Edwards AFB in California, with 25 boom contacts and 7,259kg (16,000lb) of fuel offloaded to the US Air Force F-35 (AF-4).

[Full Article]

F-35 Court Hearing on Public Health Risk in Vermont

By ERIN MANSFIELD
AUG. 24 2015

RUTLAND — A group of Vermonters continued to battle the scheduled deployment of next-generation fighter jets to the Vermont Air National Guard base in federal court Monday.

Thousands have told the U.S. Air Force during a public comment period in 2013 that basing the U.S. Air Force’s F-35 fighter jets at Burlington International Airport in South Burlington would create noise problems in the state’s most densely populated area.

[Full Article]

Military Operations Damage Communities and Environment

By Steven Aftergood
Aug.11, 2015

The environmental impacts of military operations are increasingly becoming factors in the planning and execution of military activities.

“The military has a new appreciation for the interdependence between military missions, the global community, and the environment,” according to a newly revised and reissued Army doctrinal manual. See Environmental Considerations, ATP 3-34.5, August 10, 2015.

Of course, military operations by their nature are not environment-friendly. “The primary mission of the military is to fight and win wars. Warfare is destructive to humans and to the natural environment.”

[Full Article]

After sprawl threatened relocation, plan to keep Oceana deemed a success

By John Holland
August 19, 2015

Predictions of doom bounced around City Hall in the summer of 2005 and landed on the front page in bold, desperate headlines. People were scared, and for good reason.

Oceana Naval Air Station and its 12,000 jobs were on the Defense Department’s critical list, threatened with closure in large part because the surrounding area had become too residential, too commercial and, ultimately, too dangerous: too dangerous for the fighter pilots who practiced landings and maneuvers that they’d use fighting two wars, and too dangerous for the residents who could be wiped out if anything went wrong on those training missions.

[Full Article]

Lockheed Received $431 million to support F-35 Production Ramp Up

By: JAMES DREW
Aug 5, 2015

Lockheed Martin has received $431 million for special tooling and test equipment to support the ramp up of F-35 production over the coming years.

The hefty sum was awarded as a modification to the current Lot 8 production contract, and comes as Lockheed and the Pentagon negotiate the purchase of approximately 150 domestic and international aircraft in Lots 9 and 10.

[Full Article]

More F-35 Training Systems Ordered from Cubic Global Defense

By Richard Tomkins
Aug. 20, 2015

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 20 (UPI) — Cubic Global Defense is to produce and enhance the Air Combat Training System in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the company has announced.

Included in the work contracted by Lockheed Martin Aerospace is the addition of an internally mounted sub-system of the P5 Combat Training System, or P5CTS, that enables the F-35 to maintain its stealth characteristics while training.

[Full Article]

Pentagon denies F-35 numbers

By Aaron Mehta
August 25, 2015

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is not conducting a formal review of F-35 planned procurement numbers, a spokesman said Tuesday, despite comments by the incoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that indicate otherwise.

In written testimony for his nomination hearing last month, Gen. Joe Dunford seemed to signal that a review of the total projected buy of the F-35 — 2,443 in total, spread across three models for the Air Force, Marines and Navy — was underway.

[Full Article]

A-10 Standoff commentary

By John Michael Loh
August 10, 2015

The best way to resolve the interminable A-10 retirement debate is to satisfy both sides with a solution that eliminates the operational and economic arguments driving it.

The primary vocal critics of the Air Force decision to retire the A-10 close-support aircraft are Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., and freshman Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz. All three have strong ties to the A-10. Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona, is home to the largest A-10 base. Closure of the base would have serious economic impact. Ayotte’s husband is a formerA-10 pilot. McSally flew A-10s in the Air Force.

[Full Article]

Leaked F-35 Report Confirms Deficiencies

By: Mandy Smithberger and Dan Grazier
July 27, 2015

A new leaked test, which was first exposed by War is Boring, provides more evidence that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s demonstrated performance is inferior to the current fighters it is designed to replace. Specifically, the report finds that, in a series of 17 dogfights, the F-35 was consistently outmatched by an aging F-16.

An F-35A test pilot with extensive dogfighting experience in F-16s and F-15s wrote the report, detailing his cockpit observations during the January 2015 maneuvering combat tests of the F-35 against a 30-year-old F-16 at Edwards Flight Test Center in California. The report, marked for official use only (FOUO), highlighted serious concerns about the plane’s performance in this key mission.

[Full Article]

Congress must re-evaluate F-35 in light of deficiencies

By: Iulia Gheorghiu
July 28, 2015

A Project On Government Oversight (POGO) analysis of the F-35’s capabilities describes how the fighter can’t perform one of its key advertised missions—a failure that POGO says should prompt Congress and the Pentagon to conduct a complete re-evaluation of the $1.4 trillion program.

POGO’s analysis, which relied on a recent report by an F-35 test pilot, provides more evidence that the F-35’s demonstrated performance is inferior to the current fighters it is designed to replace. Specifically, the test pilot’s report, which was first cited by War is Boring, finds that, in a series of 17 dogfights, the F-35 was consistently outmatched by an aging F-16.

[Full Article]

A-10 versus the F-35

By Anthony Capaccio
August 27, 2015

Opponents of U.S. Air Force efforts to retire its A-10 have said the 40-year-old close-air support plane can outperform the Pentagon’s most advanced aircraft.

It turns out the lumbering old plane, nicknamed the Warthog, will get a chance to prove it.

The Air Force’s top general and the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester confirmed Thursday that Lockheed Martin Corp.’s new F-35 fighter, equipped with its most modern software, will be tested against the A-10 in 2018 in a comparative evaluation of their capabilities for close-air support, as well as other missions such as air-to-air combat.

[Full Article]

F-35 vs. the A-10

By Christian Davenport
August 27, 2015

One of the biggest battles between Congress and the Pentagon over the past year has been over a snub-nosed grunt of an airplane, a jet so ugly (and fierce) it’s nicknamed the “Warthog.” It is beloved by the troops, particularly those who have been saved when the A-10 Thunderbolt II, and its huge 30 mm cannon, swooped in to save them in combat.

But despite the aircraft’s revered status, the Air Force has said it has no choice but to retire the fleet at a time of budget constraints. The A-10, officials have said, is designed for a single purpose—taking out enemy ground troops at such close range—a mission that could be taken over by the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the Pentagon’s $400 billion next-generation fighter jet.

[Full Article]

The most expensive weapon in history must get more affordable – The Boston Globe

By The Editorial Board
July 30, 2015

THINKING BIG doesn’t always pay, especially when it comes to military procurement. Complex, aspirational weapons systems are irresistible to military brass, because they keep budget dollars flowing for years on end. Members of Congress like them too, especially when they can locate a manufacturing facility inside their district.

But weapons systems with too many new bells and whistles get mired in cost overruns, delays, and technical challenges. All too often, they take so long to develop that they are no longer cutting edge when they come on line. That’s the case with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, a state-of-the-art radar-eluding plane set to take to the skies this month after several years of delay. The plane, which was commissioned in 2001, has been beset with engine problems, software glitches, and flaws in its fuel system. Each issue that had to be fixed drove up the cost. Today, the F-35 costs roughly twice what the US military thought it would back in 2001.

[Full Article]

Serious Air Combat Deficiencies in F-35

By Dan Grazier and Mandy Smithberger
July 27, 2015

A new leaked test, which was first exposed by War is Boring, provides more evidence that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s demonstrated performance is inferior to the current fighters it is designed to replace. Specifically, the report finds that, in a series of 17 dogfights, the F-35 was consistently outmatched by an aging F-16.

An F-35A test pilot with extensive dogfighting experience in F-16s and F-15s wrote the report, detailing his cockpit observations during the January 2015 maneuvering combat tests of the F-35 against a 30-year-old F-16 at Edwards Flight Test Center in California. The report, marked for official use only (FOUO), highlighted serious concerns about the plane’s performance in this key mission.

[Full Article]

Last manned fighter

By Gareth Jennings
July 27, 2015

With the US Marine Corps set to declare initial operating capability for its Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) before the end of July, many are again asking if there will ever be another manned fighter, or if the JSF truly is the last of its kind.

The history of military aviation is littered with false predictions pertaining to the demise of the traditional notion of the fighter aircraft. In the United States the Vought F-8 Crusader developed in the mid-1950s was nicknamed ‘the last gunslinger’ in the mistaken belief that all fighters to follow would carry missiles only.

[Full Article]

F-35 Reliability Found Wanting

by Anthony Capaccio
July 28, 2015

The Marine Corps’ version of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 fighter demonstrated poor reliability in a 12-day exercise at sea, according to the U.S. military’s top testing officer.

Six F-35Bs, the most complex version of the Pentagon’s costliest weapons system, were available for flights only half of the time needed, Michael Gilmore, the Defense Department’s director of operational testing, said in a memo obtained by Bloomberg News. A Marine Corps spokesman said the readiness rate was more than 65 percent.

[Full Article]

China and Russia could destroy F-35 battle

By Malcolm Davis
July 26, 2015

After the leaking of a report about the recent failure of an F-35 to win in a dogfight against an F-16D, debate has intensified about the future nature of air to air combat. In a recent Strategist post, Andrew Davies identifies the importance of combining long-range air-to-air engagement using ‘Beyond-Visual Range Air to Air Missiles’ (BVRAAMs), with the advantage bestowed by stealth technology to reduce detectability of the aircraft, as well as exploiting superior sensors, information processing and electronic warfare capability.

Davies also notes that it is yet to be demonstrated how effective these capabilities will be in a future operational environment, stating “…there are reasons to wonder how effective the F-35’s bag of tricks will be into the future, especially as counter-stealth systems evolve, and I’d like to see it carry more and longer-ranged weapons…” Clearly the F-35 was designed to undertake a particular approach to air-to-air combat in mind (long-range attacks) rather than close-in dogfighting. This highlights a key question that is now generating significant debate: “Are our current assumptions about future air combat—that BVR engagement will dominate and ‘dogfights’ have had their day
“—correct?

[Full Article]

Warplanes Produce Deadly Noise

By Dahr Jamail, Truthout
July 27, 2015

“This is a public health emergency that is literally killing people.”

This stark, shocking warning about the US Navy’s war-gaming in the Pacific Northwest comes from Dr. James Dahlgren, a doctor of occupational and environmental medicine who is also a diplomat of the American Board of Internal Medicine.

He spoke with Truthout about how Navy warplanes flying in and out of Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island, as well as the Navy’s OLF [Outlying Field] Coupeville in Washington State’s Puget Sound, are generating chronic exposure to noise levels well in excess of 80 decibels.

[Full Article]

 

Secretary of the Air Force acknowledges wide range of problems with the F-35

By Richard Sisk
Jul 28, 2015

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James has admitted to a wide range of past and present problems with the F-35 while maintaining that the fifth-general will eventually guarantee the U.S. continued air supremacy over rivals.

“The biggest lesson I have learned from the F-35 is never again should we be flying an aircraft while we’re building it,” James said at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado last week.

[Full Article]

Marine Corp declares F-35B Operational

By Aaron Mehta
July 31, 2015

WASHINGTON — In a milestone for the F-35 joint strike fighter, the US Marine Corps today declared the F-35B jump-jet model to have achieved initial operational capability (IOC).

The news means that the Marines consider the F-35B model – one of three designs of the multi-role fighter — to be an active plane that can perform in operations the same way any other active aircraft in its arsenal can.

[Full Article]

Military Carbon Footprint

By Lisa Savage
July 12, 2015

I oppose wars and militarism of policing because they are morally wrong. People suffer from state-sponsored violence in their lives and I do not want to fund it, tolerate it or ignore it.

But “join me in opposing war because it is wrong” is not a very effective message in these times.

One must counter immense spending on propaganda constantly persuading fellow citizens that investment in weapons of mass destruction, and basing an economy on “security” and surveillance, makes everyone safer. Along with regularly orchestrated (and well-funded) terror events and squads designed to keep fear high.

[Full Article]

Okinawins pay residents for military aircraft noise

June 11, 2015

The Okinawa branch of the Naha District Court ordered the government on Thursday to pay some ¥754 million in damages to residents near the Futenma air base because of aircraft noise.

Some 2,200 plaintiffs who live close to the controversial U.S. base in Ginowan complained of mental distress, poor sleep and disruption to their daily lives.

[Full Article]

New F-35 Radar

By Joe Zieja
July 19, 2015

EGLIN AFB, Fla. — Lockheed Martin has announced a new, cutting-edge technology that will be outfitted in future iterations of the F-35 Lightning II, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter. The new technology, code-named “radar” may allow the fifth-generation fighter to spot other objects in the sky.

“It’s like, these beams, see?” Lauren Ramirez, spokeswoman for Lockheed Martin said during a press conference that announced the space-age technology. “And they shoot out of an invisible cannon at the nose of the aircraft. And they bounce back, and then something catches them and reads them — like two guys throwing a paper airplane back and forth, but the paper airplane has the locations of stuff in the sky on them. It’s really neat.”

[Full Article]

F-35 Flight Test Failure

By Eric Pianin
July 10, 2015

For more than a dozen years, the Pentagon has steadfastly stood behind the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program as the next generation of jet fighters for the Air Force, Navy, and Marines, despite nightmarish development problems and daunting cost overruns.

The overall cost of developing and purchasing the jets currently is projected at $400 billion, while operating and maintenance costs could boost the overall price tag to nearly $1.5 trillion in the coming years. Lockheed Martin has weathered a vast array of design problems, most recently concerns over software and its computer system’s vulnerability.

[Full Article]

Is the F-35 worth the cost?

By Zachary Cohen
July 16, 2015

Three years behind schedule and some $200 billion over its original budget, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is finally set to become operational this month.

The fighter jet has been in development for nearly 15 years, weathered half a dozen years of testing and experienced myriad hardware malfunctions and software glitches along the way. Once it’s declared ready for combat, it will be the most expensive weapons system in world history.

[Full Article]

Pentagon to purchase $47 billion F-35

By the Motley Fool
July 12, 2015

For all its troubles, Lockheed Martin’s (NYSE:LMT) F-35 joint stealth fighter remains a very popular warplane — both here and abroad.

Over the next 60 years, Lockheed Martin aims to sell as many as 5,100 F-35s to customers around the globe. And as we just learned from DoDBuzz, one single Pentagon contract could bring Lockheed 10% of the way toward scoring that goal.

What’s the buzz? In the course of last month’s Paris Airshow, reports DoDBuzz, Lockheed revealed that it’s currently negotiation with the U.S. Pentagon to win an order for 500 F-35 stealth fighter jets. This “block buy” of fighter jets would cover more planes than the Pentagon needs right now. In fact, it would stretch across three years’ worth of orders, from 2018 through 2021.

[Full Article]

F-35 pilot unimpressed

By Tyler Rogoway
July 13, 2015

F-35 pilot Maj. John Wilson is back in the second part of his interview with our friends at Krigeren.dk. This time the conversation moved from the F-35’s capabilities, especially those as a close air support platform, to the jet’s much-touted half a million dollar helmet with quasi-X-Ray vision, a feature the Major seems less than impressed with.

The Major’s lackluster enthusiasm for the technology is understandable. Clearly, it still has a long way to go to be fully integrated into the F-35’s concept of operations and the clarity of the F-35’s Distributed Aperture System, which has been a major sticking point in the past, along with the aircraft’s Electro Optical Targeting System (EOTS), remains a major issue.

[Full Article]

F-35 to participate in WI airshow

By Meg Jones
July 18, 2015

The military’s long-awaited, years-in-development F-35 fighter jet will roar across the skies of Oshkosh this week in its first civilian U.S. air show appearance.

Military aircraft have long been a staple at EAA AirVenture, but this year visitors can see the brand-new F-35 Lightning II as well as rare World War II planes such as a Royal Air Force de Havilland Mosquito and a Canadian Lancaster bomber, which will take part in commemorations of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

[Full Article]

F-35 Update from Colonel Greco (July 2015)

F-35 UPDATE:  Help crossing the finish line

Dear F-35 activists,

I’m writing to ask your help in crossing the finish line and completing the job many of you started back in 2010 opposing the basing of the F-35A in the midst of our residential communities.  We have been phenomenally successful, and the end of our struggle is almost in sight.

While we were unable to convince our elected officials, we DID convince the U. S. Air Force.  They were about to choose another base, until Leahy forced them to select us.  It is deplorable that despite overwhelming evidence that basing the F-35A in the Burlington area will result in grave harm to the people living near the airport, Senators Leahy and Sanders, and Representative Welsh favored the military-industrial-political complex over the people of Vermont!

So, we took legal action — perhaps not the course most of us would have chosen – but it was the only viable option available to us.  Fortunately, we have the highly respected lawyer Jim Dumont, who is working for us at a reduced rate.  Jim has developed strong arguments and strategies.  Our case is powerful, and we have a good chance of winning.  Let me explain why.

We have two ongoing lawsuits.  The first was filed against the City of Burlington for failing to have the F-35A basing reviewed under Vermont’s Act 250.  Our case was appealed to the Vermont Supreme Court, where the judges ruled against us.  But in an unprecedented move, one of the judges wrote a separate document saying (in lay-terms) that they sympathized with us; but had to rule against us, as they believe Federal government rights trump states rights, BUT that we have a good chance of winning a lawsuit if we sue under the Public Nuisance statute.  (See link below)

However, this loss was actually a win in that it gave us an incredible opportunity.

Jim Dumont was able to convince a prestigious Washington, DC legal firm, which specializes in arguing cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, to take our case – pro bonoWOW!  It is hard to over-emphasize the significance of this.  This firm routinely argues cases before the Supreme Court, and wins.  Their legal fees for a typical case are in the $350,000 range.

And, while it is astounding that they are going to handle our case pro bono, equally amazing is the fact that legal firms of this high caliber don’t take cases pro bono unless they think they can win the case.  DOUBLE WOW!   It gets even better.  Representing us before the U.S. Supreme Court is David Frederick — a former assistant U.S. Solicitor General, an expert in federal preemption law, and someone who has tried over 40 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.  He will be assisted by a team of lawyers at the Supreme Court Clinic of the University of Texas Law School. Each of these lawyers has served as a clerk to a U.S. Supreme Court justice.  To say the least, this represents an unusually high level of experience and expertise in matters before the Supreme Court.

Our second lawsuit against the Air Force is ongoing.  Jim identified nine counts in which the Air Force in its Environmental Impact Statement violated requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act.  We expect the judge to rule on our case later this year.  And, our success in getting the City of Winooski to join the lawsuit against the Air Force will definitely help.

And, we’ve had more than just legal successes.  A few months ago, over 45 members of our local clergy signed a letter and about 20 of them held a press conference, urging our elected officials to re-think their support for the F-35A basing.

But, wait… there’s morewe received more national media attention.  In January, Al Jazeera America came to Burlington to cover our story, and they broadcast it on their “America Tonight” show on 14 May.  “America Tonight” is a half-hour news program like 60 Minutes, during which they report on two or three stories.  Our story led the broadcast, and took up half of the show that night.  (See link below)

All of this looks very promising…and the end is in sight.  You have done so much with your voices and letters and demonstrations.  But, the time for that is over.  What we need now is money.

To date we have raised over $75,000 in donations from a lot of individuals of modest means.  Your generosity has allowed us to pay all of our bills and legal fees.  Jim estimates that his costs for the rest of this year are between $25,000 and $35,000 depending on whether the U.S. Supreme Court decides to hear our case.

In order to complete what we have started, and win this struggle for justice in our community, we need your donations now.  If you are able, please increase the amount you have given in the past.  And, remember donations are tax deductible Donate at www.stopthef35.com.   Or send a check made out to “Stop the F-35” to  The Peace and Justice Center, 60 Lake St, #1C, Burlington, VT  05401-4417.

Victory is in front of us.  We are approaching the finish line.  Your dollars can help us cross it.  Let’s stop the F-35 FOR GOOD!

Colonel Rosanne M. Greco, USAF (retired)

Link to the Al Jazeera America report:

AF to use Reserves as F-35 Maintainers

By Brian Everstine
July 9, 2015

The Air Force plans to turn to the Air Force Reserve for manpower to bring the F-35 online after Congress blocked the service’s attempt to free up maintainers through retirement of the A-10, the head of Air Force Reserve Command said Tuesday.

“The active duty has a pretty significant shortage in maintainers, and keeping the A-10 means that those maintainers will have to stay with those [units] and not be able to retrain,” Lt. Gen. James Jackson said at an Air Force Association speech in Arlington, Virginia.

[Full Article]

F-35 Can’t Dogfight Well

By LEE FERRAN
July 1, 2015

The makers of one of the most expensive weapons programs in history went on the defensive today, saying a recent report on the F-35 fighter jet’s failures in old-school dogfighting against a decades-old, much cheaper legacy fighter “does not tell the whole story.”

The report in question, posted on the national security news website War Is Boring, was based on an internal five-page brief in which an F-35 test pilot wrote a scathing criticism of the next-generation jet’s abilities in a January dogfight with an F-16, one of the planes the F-35 is designed to replace. Essentially, the pilot reportedly wrote, the F-35 was no match for the F-16 in close-up, high maneuvering fighting — whether the F-35 was trying to get the F-16 in its sights or trying to evade the F-16’s mock weapons.

[Full Article]

F-16 midair crash with small plane

“Military aircraft usually are involved in at least one mishap a month on average, military aviation which is relatively safe can still be dangerous especially for the fighter community no matter how sophisticated an aircraft can be.”

— Facebook comment from Christopher Bucy, USAF Air Transportation

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“The point of my initial statement is that the DoD needs to investigate why military aircraft are having so many mishaps. This as you stated is almost a monthly occurrence. Billions of dollars are spent on these aircraft and millions to train the pilots. F-16s, F-22s and the Chinook helicopter are plagued with problems.

The government recalled millions of cars because of a handful of faulty air bags yet they are doing relatively nothing about aircraft that collide in mid air or simply fall out of the sky. If commercial aircraft had the same rate of crashes as the military, there would be thousands of deaths every year.  Do a google search on the number of military aircraft crashes in the past 10 years. Not all of them are making the nightly news or USA Today.”

–Facebook comment from Jerry Suttles responding to Christopher Campbell

Vermont’s opposition to the F 35 reported on by international news company, Al Jazeera America

by Sheila MacVicar
May 15, 2015

BURLINGTON, Vt. – After years of delays and busted budgets, America’s most expensive weapons system – the F-35 fighter jet – is starting its service.

With its stealthy design and millions of lines of computer code that act as a kind of artificial intelligence, it’s being hailed as the future of combat aviation.

But many Burlington residents don’t see the jet as the future of defense. Instead, they see it as an imminent danger to their safety. The Vermont Air National Guard, based at Burlington International Airport, will be the first unit in the country to get the plane, replacing its aging F-16s. It’s scheduled to receive 18 of the fighter jets by 2020.

[Full Article]

Winooski files to join F-35 lawsuit

Elizabeth Murray
April 30, 2015

The City of Winooski officially filed Wednesday to join a lawsuit regarding an environmental impact statement issued by the U.S. Air Force for the F-35 fighter jets.

The City Council had voted unanimously 10 days prior to join the U.S. District Court lawsuit after residents who voted on Town Meeting Day urged the council to consider the action.

[Full Article]

Runway shift may lead to higher noise levels in Val-P

By KELLY HUMPHREY
April 28, 2015

EGLIN AFB — What a difference a few years make.

In 2008, the city of Valparaiso sued the Air Force over access to information about the proposed stationing of F-35s at Eglin Air Force Base. At that time, the city was concerned about the possible negative impact of high noise levels on the community.

On Tuesday, however, Mayor Bruce Arnold, the face of the city’s previous opposition, had nothing but good things to say about the Air Force, even after an announcement that a temporary shift in the F-35s’ runways might lead to higher noise levels in the city.

[Full Article]

House Panel punts on A-10, Wants F-35 engine study

By Brian Everstine
April 30, 2014

The House Armed Services Committee’s version of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill ignores the biggest budget fight of the year: the Air Force’s proposal to retire the A-10 attack jet and U-2 reconnaissance aircraft.

The tactical air and land subcommittee’s markup of the bill, released Wednesday, does not mention A-10 or U-2 retirement. The Air Force recommends retiring the fleets to save money, but a group of lawmakers has vowed to block the move.

[Full Article]

Air Force would like to replace the A-10 but doesn’t have the funds

By Brian Everstine
April 22, 2015

The Air Force wants a less costly next-generation aircraft for close air support to replace the A-10, but there is no funding available for it and there likely will not be in the future, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said Wednesday .

Given a better budget environment, the service would want a new aircraft that could primarily focus on providing close support for ground troops, carry a lot of ordnance and do so more cheaply than other aircraft in the service’s fleet, Welsh said. But it is not a realistic proposal today, he said.

[Full Article]

Keeping A-10 means F-35 delays, F-16 cuts

By Brian Everstine
April 28, 2015

If not allowed to retire the A-10, the Air Force says it will have to send F-16s to the boneyard and delay plans for the F-35 because there aren’t enough airmen to maintain both fighters.

If lawmakers succeed in passing a bill requiring the Air Force to keep the A-10 in its fleet for another year, too few maintenance personnel would available to stand up the first operating unit of the F-35 at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, and even fewer to continue maintenance of the F-16, the service told congressional staff in a recent briefing. The base is expected to begin receiving F-35s later this year.

[Full Article]

Netherlands to conduct engine maintenance for Italian F-35s

By Marina Malenic
April 26, 2015

The Netherlands signed an agreement with Italy to provide engine maintenance for the latter’s F-35s, the Netherlands Ministry of Defence announced on 22 April.

The Netherlands signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Italy in 2006 whereby Dutch F-35s would be assembled in Cameri, Italy, while Italian F-35 engine maintenance would be performed in Woensdrecht, the Netherlands. Both Dutch and Italian aircraft engines would begin flowing into the factory in 2019, the ministry said.

[Full Article]

People speak out against Navy War Games in their community

By Rosalind Peterson
March 11, 2014

U.S. Navy Escalates Warfare Testing in the Pacific, Atlantic & Gulf of Mexico 2013-2015 – In the above video Rosalind Peterson, on March 11, 2014, discusses the escalation and expansion of U.S. Navy Warfare Testing and the areas in which the U.S. Navy is current conducting Live-Fire Warfare Experimental Testing in the Pacific, Atlantic & Gulf of Mexico.

“Shock & Awe” Bomb Blasts, Sonar use, Missile Exercises, Live-Fire Weapons Testing, Lasers, Electromagnetic and ElectronicWeapons, and Experimental Weapons Testing all negatively impact marine life and our oceans.

[Full Article]

New Red Alert for Billions-Over-Budget F-35 Fighter

By Brianna Ehley
April 27, 2015

Federal auditors are once again sounding alarms over the Pentagon’s embattled F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which has soared hundreds of billions of dollars over budget.

Besides being the Defense Department’s most expensive weapons program ever, countless problems with the F-35, including design and systematic issues, have continually pushed back the ready-for-combat date. It is now years behind schedule.

[Full Article]

David Axe Summarizes the F-35 Experience

By David Axe
April 25, 2015

From all the recent sounds of celebrating coming out of Washington, D.C., you might think the Pentagon’s biggest, priciest and most controversial warplane development had accelerated right past all its problems.

The price tag —currently an estimated $1 trillion to design, build and operate 2,400 copies—is steadily going down. Production of dozens of the planes a year for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps is getting easier. Daily flight tests increasingly are hitting all the right marks.

[Full Article]

F-35 Maintenance Software Comes Under Fire

By Sandra I. Erwin
April 24, 2015

The subpar performance of the F-35 logistics information system has been a concern for years. But it has now drawn the attention of key lawmakers who got an earful from Joint Strike Fighter maintenance crews during a recent visit to Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

“The committee received numerous complaints and concerns by F-35 maintenance and operational personnel regarding the limitations, poor performance, poor design, and overall unsuitability of the ALIS software in its current form,” said the House Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee on tactical air and land forces in its markup of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act.

[Full Article]

F-35 Engines Unreliable

by Anthony Capaccio
April 27, 2015

F-35 engines from United Technologies Corp. are proving so unreliable that U.S. plans to increase production of the fighter jet may be slowed, according to congressional auditors.

Data from flight tests evaluated by the Government Accountability Office show the reliability of engines from the company’s Pratt & Whitney unit is “very poor (less than half of what it should be) and has limited” progress for the F-35, the costliest U.S. weapons system, the watchdog agency said in a report sent to lawmakers this month.

[Full Article]

F-35 exec’s plea to critics: look at jet’s full mission

By Brian Everstine
April 15, 2015

Decision-makers on Capitol Hill have lost sight of the full mission set of the F-35, and instead have focused on its inability to fully replicate the A-10 in close air support, the head of the Joint Strike Fighter program said Tuesday.

The F-35 cannot do close air support as well as the A-10, acknowledged Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, the F-35 program executive officer. It doesn’t have the time on station in a battle, or a gun as venerable as the Warthog’s GAU-8 Avenger. But it flies other missions, and it will improve, he said.

[Full Article]

Another F-35 Delay? Highly touted maintenance software doesn’t deliver

By Brian Everstine
April 15, 2015

The F-35’s highly touted, next-generation software system designed to detail maintenance issues on the jet is plagued with problems that could lead to more delays with the jet’s development.

The F-35’s Autonomic Logistics Information System is a program that a maintainer plugs into the jet, and it is expected to outline what is wrong and what is working, and to streamline the process of identifying replacement parts. It has been a touted as a game-changing technology to simplify the maintenance process for the new jet.

[Full Article]

Winooski joins lawsuit against USAF

By Elizabeth Murray
April 21, 2015

Applause could be heard throughout the Winooski City Council meeting room Monday after the council unanimously approved the city’s joining as a full party to a lawsuit regarding the U.S. Air Force’s environmental impact statement of F-35 fighter jets.

The decision followed a third heated discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of entering the lawsuit against Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James.

As a full party, the city would retain its own lawyer in the lawsuit, forgoing representation by the current plantiffs’ lawyer, James Dumont. The council also approved the expenditure of $7,500 beginning after the meeting. This amount would be capped, and if the city planned on spending more, it would bring that issue back before the public and City Council for discussion.

[Full Article]

American security psychosis

By Stephen Kinzer
APRIL 12, 2015

WHEN AMERICANS look out at the world, we see a swarm of threats. China seems resurgent and ambitious. Russia is aggressive. Iran menaces our allies. Middle East nations we once relied on are collapsing in flames. Latin American leaders sound steadily more anti-Yankee. Terror groups capture territory and commit horrific atrocities. We fight Ebola with one hand while fending off Central American children with the other.

In fact, this world of threats is an illusion. The United States has no potent enemies. We are not only safe, but safer than any big power has been in all of modern history.

[Full Article]

Ship built by Navy for F35 needs significant upgrades

By Tyler Rogoway
April 13, 2015

The Navy’s USS America, the first of her class, was controversially optimized to handle the F-35, leaving out the multi-purpose well deck traditionally found on ‘Gator Navy’ flattops. Now, just months after her commissioning, she already needs 40 weeks of upgrades just to handle the very aircraft she was designed for.

The F-35 program has become something of a dark comedy. Yes, it has huge fiscal and national security implications, but sometimes you just have to laugh at how big of a fumbling mess it really is.

[Full Article]

USAF Plans for Radical F-35 Upgrade Reveal Obsolescence

By Giovanni de Briganti
April 8, 2015

PARIS — US Air Force plans to replace the F-35 fighter’s avionics, radar and engines are an implicit admission that the current aircraft is already obsolete and that, despite a unit cost of over $250 million, it cannot match the latest foreign fighters coming into service.

This is the first time a customer acknowledges that the obsolescence of the F-35’s sensors has degraded the aircraft’s still unproven nominal capabilities to the point that a radical upgrade is necessary, more than a year before it enters service.

[Full Article]

The battle to kill the A-10

By Brian Everstine, Staff writer
March 23, 2015

The Air Force is on the attack to eliminate the beloved A-10, insisting that the venerable Warthog is not the only airframe up to the close-air support task.

To press the point, service leaders showcased a group of fighter pilots, who described their CAS missions in other aircraft. But opponents on Capitol Hill, and troops on the ground, aren’t having it, and the service faces an uphill battle to cut the jet and bring its beleaguered F-35 online in time.

[Full Article]

F-35 needs a bigger, more powerful engine

Dave Majumdar, Chris Kjelgaard
March 27, 2015

Upgraded future versions of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter could replace the stealthy jet’s Pratt & Whitney F135 turbofan with a new adaptive cycle engine. The current F135 engine is at the limits of its capabilities and can’t push the jet out to the outer edges of its airframes capabilities—especially at low speeds.

“Our adaptive cycle design architecture is designed around F-35, and we’re designing it somewhat more aggressively than today’s standard F-35 requirements,” Dan McCormick, general manager of General Electric Aviation’s Advanced Combat Engine program, told The National Interest. “They want higher speeds and they just can’t get the heat off the airplane. They’ve told us they want unrestricted flight envelope operation.”

[Full Article]

Winooski: Council weighs cost of F-35 lawsuit

The City of Winooski has sought legal advice as it explores options for joining a lawsuit regarding the basing of F-35 fighter planes in Chittenden County — though legal opinions conflict as the city moves closer to making its decision.

Plaintiffs who filed the case in U.S. District Court say the Air Force failed to provide enough information in the report it released in April 2014. At issue is whether the Air Force underestimated the level of noise and its potential impact on health, property values and safety for those in the flight locations.

[Full Article]

Anon F35 letter from Washington DC area

Anon F35 letter from Washington DC area

F-35 still years away from being ready for combat

By: Mandy Smithberger
March 12, 2015

The F-35 continues to fail the most basic requirements for combat aircraft and commonsense. Despite reforms, the F-35 continues to be unaffordable, its engines continue to be susceptible to fire, and the Pentagon continues to misrepresent its performance. Below are just a few of the issues identified in a recent report from the Defense Department’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E)

[Full Article]

The F-35 is Still FUBAR

By AJ Vicens
Mar. 17, 2015

Originally slated to cost $233 billion, the Pentagon’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program could end up being costing more than $1.5 trillion. Which might not be so bad if the super-sophisticated next-generation jet fighter lives up to its hype. A recent report from the Defense Department’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation paints a pretty damning picture of the plane’s already well documented problems. The report makes for some pretty dense reading, but the Project on Government Oversight, a watchdog group that’s long criticized the F-35 program, has boiled down the major issues.

[Full Article]

Not Ready for Prime Time DOT&E Report: The F-35 is not ready for IOC and won’t be any time soon

March 12, 2015

Inside-the-Beltway wisdom holds that the $1.4 trillion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program is too big to cancel and on the road to recovery. But the latest report from the Defense Department’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) provides a litany of reasons that conventional wisdom should be considered politically driven propaganda. The press has already reported flawed software that hinders the ability of the plane to employ weapons, communicate information, and detect threats; maintenance problems so severe that the F-35 has an “overdependence” on contractor maintainers and “unacceptable workarounds” (behind paywall) and is only able to fly twice a week; and a high-rate, premature production schedule that ignores whether the program has demonstrated essential combat capabilities or proven it’s safe to fly. All of these problems are increasing costs and risks to the program. Yet rather than slow down production to focus resources on fixing these critical problems, Congress used the year-end continuing resolution omnibus appropriations bill—termed the “cromnibus”—to add 4 additional planes to the 34 Department of Defense (DoD) budgeted for Fiscal Year 2015. The original FY2016 plan significantly increased the buy to 55, and now the program office is further accelerating its purchase of these troubled planes to buy 57 instead.

[full article]

Little “Fighter” That Couldn’t: Moral Hazard and the F-35

By Tony Carr
March 16, 2015

As Air Force senior officials prepare for posture hearings this week with the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, the subject of modernization promises to be front and center. Core to that discussion will almost certainly be the limping, $1.4 trillion F-35 program.

Belying the conventional wisdom, which touts the Joint Strike Fighter as something of a futuristic aerial Swiss army knife, the F-35 is proving to be little more than a dull, bent, and unwieldy butter knife — a jack of no trades, master of only one: burning through taxpayer dollars at a rate that would embarrass Croesus.

[full article]

Is the F-35 a trillion dollar fiasco?

by Bryan Myers & Sheila MacVicar
March 26, 2015

The biggest story this year so far in the F-35 joint strike fighter world is not the soaring cost of the aircraft — a problem that appears to have been contained, according to the program manager — but the determination of the Marine Corps to put the aircraft into service even though its mission software is unfinished and cracks surfaced in one of its main bulkheads.

[full article]

Marine Corp to put flawed F-35 into service

SANDRA I. ERWIN, NATIONAL DEFENSE MAGAZINE
MAR. 27, 2015

The biggest story this year so far in the F-35 joint strike fighter world is not the soaring cost of the aircraft — a problem that appears to have been contained, according to the program manager — but the determination of the Marine Corps to put the aircraft into service even though its mission software is unfinished and cracks surfaced in one of its main bulkheads.

[full article]

 

These planes could someday replace the A-10 Warthog

By Dan Lamothe | The Washington Post
March 11, 2015

WASHINGTON — The impending mothballing of the A-10 Thunderbolt II attack jet has prompted outrage among its advocates in the active-duty military, hand-wringing on Capitol Hill and questions from analysts about whether the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter can be operated cheaply enough to support ground troops on a regular basis.

But it also has sparked a question: Which plane could the U.S. military adopt if it ultimately decides it needs a new, designated plane to provide close-air support?

[full article]

Aircraft noise linked with heart problems

Aircraft noise linked with heart problems,” a Harvard  School of Public Health and Boston University School of Public Health study linking aircraft noise to increase in cardiovascular disease in older people.

Physiological, Motivational, and Cognitive effects of Aircraft Noise on Children

Physiological, Motivational, and Cognitive effects of Aircraft Noise on Children,” by Sheldon Cohen, et al, American Psychologist, Vol. 35 No. 3, March 1980, Describes a peer reviewed study showing that children attending noisy schools – in an air corridor of Los Angeles International Airport – have higher blood pressures and perform more poorly on cognitive tasks than do children attending quiet schools. The study also shows that the negative effects of aircraft noise on the performance and health of these school children do not diminish over time.

A follow-up study of effects of chronic aircraft noise exposure on child stress responses and cognition

A follow-up study of effects of chronic aircraft noise exposure on child stress responses and cognition,” Mary M Haines, et al, International Journal of Epidemiology (2001)  30 (4): 839-845. “Results and Conclusions: At follow-up chronic aircraft noise exposure was associated with higher levels of annoyance and perceived stress, poorer reading comprehension and sustained attention, measured by standardized scales after adjustment for age, social deprivation and main language spoken.”

Santa Monica Airport Health Impact Assessment

Santa Monica Airport Health Impact Assessment,”  UCLA Community Health and Advocacy Training Program, Adrian Castro, et al, February 2010, “Levels of noise due to plane and jet take-offs from Santa Monica Airport are above Federal Aviation Airport thresholds. Excessive noise is associated with: hearing loss, higher levels of psychological distress, and impaired reading comprehension and memory among children.”

Report Endangered Health- Threat From F-35 Basing

Report Endangered Health- Threat From F-35 Basing… 50% of the children in the 65 dB noise zone will suffer cognitive impairment. Additionally, altering neurotransmitter levels can lead to psychiatric disorders later in life for these children.” Endangered Health: The Threat to Public Health from the Proposed F-35 Basing at Burlington International Airport Current scientific consensus confirms that health effects of aviation noise, in both children and adults, are far more severe than the Air Force acknowledges

Low Frequency Noise:A Major Risk Factor in Military Operations

Low Frequency Noise:A Major Risk Factor in Military Operations,” Low frequency (below 500HZ) military jet noise: a major problem that has received little attention, “Usually the concern is with the higher frequency bands (> 500 Hz) that cause hearing damage or interfere with speech. Protection against noise is thus focused on these higher frequencies, while the bands of lower frequencies (< 500 Hz) are neglected, and non-audible bands, infrasound (< 20Hz) are ignored. In reality, long-term exposure to low frequency noise (<500 Hz, including infrasound) (LFN) can be quite detrimental to one’s health… Immediate effects of LFN-exposure can include a) decreased capacity for cognitive functions, which implies a decline in performance, the consequences of which can be minor to devastating; b) sudden onset of acute respiratory problems, neurological disturbances, and mood alterations, such as, rage reactions. Cumulative effects of LFN-exposure can include triggering of early aging processes, and the development of vibroacoustic disease in susceptible (70%) individuals. Early compulsory retirement is a frequent situation.

Characterization of Ambient Air Toxics in Neighborhoods Abutting T. F. Green Airport [Rhode Island] and Comparison Sites

Characterization of Ambient Air Toxics in Neighborhoods Abutting T. F. Green Airport [Rhode Island] and Comparison Sites,” Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Office of Air Resources, April 2008, results indicate aircraft air pollution and increased cancer risk in neighborhoods abutting T. F. Green Airport.

F-35 pilots are seeing double, but it’s the plane that’s drunk

by Daniel Cooper
March 25th 2015

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter may be stealthy, powerful and expensive, but the plane’s greatest threat isn’t the enemy. Instead, engineers have discovered a software glitch that gives these new super fighters the technological equivalent of double vision. F-35s are equipped with Advanced Sensor Fusion, a system that’s designed to collate sensor data from all of the planes and combine them into one big picture. If you have 10 jets zooming around, all of the allied pilots and commanders will, theoretically, be able to see everything that’s going on.

[Full Article]

Domestic Military Expansion Spreads Through the US, Ignites Dissent

By Dahr Jamail, Truthout | Report

What if you lived in a country that allowed its Navy to fly the loudest aircraft in the world over your home day and night, generating sonic booms that rattled the windows of people living in a neighboring country, and test new weapons in areas that would knowingly harm, or possibly kill, humans and wildlife?

Welcome to the United States, which has a military with an increasing domestic expansion that may soon be coming to your town, city or national forest.

That the US military knowingly tested new weapons on US citizens (possibly in the thousands), wildlife or even its own soldiers is nothing new. Publicly available documents reveal how the US military has even released nerve gas in public areas, as well as farms, to see the effects on civilians and animals. This occurred during the 1960s, when the United States secretly tested both chemical and biological weapons on US soil, including releasing deadly nerve agents in Alaska and spraying bacteria over Hawaii.

Full Article

Noise Exposure Standards to Prevent Hearing Loss

Occupational Noise Exposure,”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) noise exposure standards to prevent hearing loss. For the 115 decibel noise level of the F-35 (Air Force Environmental Impact Statement ES-11) the maximum exposure to prevent hearing loss is 28 seconds. These are adult standards. Children are far more vulnerable.

noise-exposure-durations solve-puzzle-noise

Children and Noise – World Health Organization

Children and Noise,” World Health Organization

The Revised Environmental Impact Statement Errors Discount F-35 Noise Health Impacts

What the Air Force tells us in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)

F-35 in VT: How Blind Patriotism Struck Leaders Blind, Deaf, and Dumb

By William Boardman [May 30, 2014]

In the real world, on 9/11, the Vermont Air National Guard defended nothing against nobody, and managed to provide no real protection for anyone anywhere.  When it mattered most in 2001, our Air Guard was on the ground.

But that’s not the official story.

The official story is framed to make this abject failure to provide any actual defense look like some sort on non-specific heroic saga.  Here’s U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, 74, a Democrat and part-time Vermonter, with his version of the official story in a letter to constituents:

“Vermont’s 158th Fighter Wing [the Air Guard] is of outstanding and proven ability, and in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, scrambled many of their [sic] F-16s in protective missions. For 122 days, the unit provided continuous air patrols over Washington, D.C., and New York City. No Air Force unit did more than the Vermont Guard to reestablish control of our skies after that awful day.”

Read full article:  http://2vr.org/2014/05/30/f-35-in-vt-how-blind-patriotism-struck-leaders-blind-deaf-and-dumb-by-william-boardman/

Open letter to Winooski City Council from George Cross

There are approximately 3,713 residential units in Winooski found in 1,591 buildings. These include single family houses, residences with an extra apartment or two, large apartment complexes, and condos. Over the last few years many of us have struggled with the potential impact on these residences by the basing of the F-35 military jet at the Vermont Air Guard Station located at the Burlington Airport. Currently a group of Winooski citizens combined with our neighbors in surrounding towns have entered into legal actions to prevent this deployment. Why?

The Air Force in its Environmental Impact Statement related to deploying the F-35 here has stated that the F-35 is four times as loud as the F-16 which is the plane currently in use. The EIS also states that the defined 65db DNL noise area around the airport is “not suitable for residential use.” Recently the area real estate association has clarified that agents should provide potential buyers with a disclosure form that indicates when a residence is within the 65db DNL noise zone. It follows, that ethically renters should be told about the potential noise prior to signing a lease.

That is why. But, here is the real problem. About 70% of those residential units, 2,589 of them, fall in the noise area that the Air Force has defined as “not suitable for residential use.” Stated another way, 70% of the places where Winooski residents now live will be compromised by the F-35.

Thus, the time has come for the Winooski City Council to stand up for the city’s residents by joining the legal actions being taken to prevent this injustice. If you agree, it is suggested that you contact the City Council, the Mayor and the City Manager to register your concern about the deployment of the F-35 at BTV. You can find contact information for all of them at www.winooskivt.org.

To learn more about the F-35 and the many issues surrounding the deployment of the plane in a residential area go to www.stopthef35.com or www.saveourskiesvt.org.

George Cross is a former Winooski State Representative, Interim Winooski City Manager, and Superintendent of the Winooski School District

How Would You Spend 1.4 Trillion Dollars?

Published in Seven Days 10/29/14 (Click to enlarge)how would you spend 1.4 trillion

A Message of Hope

A letter from Col. Rosanne Greco (USAF Ret.)

Dear Friends of Save Our Skies VT:

Many of you have worked so hard for so long to stop the basing of the F-35A in our community. I know many of you are discouraged and disillusioned, and have dropped out of the struggle. But, I am writing today to urge you to come back to help…just for a very short period of time, because we are close to the end of the struggle-one way or the other.

First a little background: I don’t think many of you realize how VERY successful we were. We actually changed the Air Force’s position on basing the F-35 here. Based on the overwhelming number of comments in opposition to the basing, all the opposition noise we made, and the threat of a lawsuit, the AF actually had decided to skip Burlington (on two occasions!). In mid-August 2013, the AF decided to delay making any basing choices for the Air Guard bases. They were going to select an active duty Air Force Base (Hill AFB), and then revisit the Guard base decision in a few years. But, a few weeks later, Leahy made a personal phone call to General Welsh (the four-star General in charge of the AF) telling the General that he would not support this.

Despite this, in mid-October 2013, the AF again decided against Burlington. They were going to select McEntire Air Guard Base in South Carolina! This was mostly because they feared being sued. The Air Force lawyers were very concerned that they could not legally support the rationale for basing the F-35A at Burlington. They were also concerned about what would be made public in legal proceedings. But certain folks convinced the AF leadership that we would not sue. Leahy had told the AF that he had heard from thousands of people who supported the basing, and from only a handful who opposed; and he convinced the AF they had nothing to fear from us.

Despite warnings and objections from the AF lawyers, the AF leadership caved to political demands. Imagine their shock when we did sue them! And, now they are very nervous about our lawsuit.

Our ONLY hope to stop the basing is to continue our lawsuit. And, we DO have hope. Recently, the Air Force backed down TWICE in lawsuits against them by the little city (about 5,000 people) of Valparaiso Florida. If they acquiesced to the folks in Florida, there is reason to believe they will also want to avert our lawsuit by dropping plans to base the F-35A here. We are far more vocal than the residents of Valparaiso. Plus, the AF can now legitimately use our lawsuit as a reason to back off of the basing, and rationalize their decision to Leahy.

BUT…and this is the real reason for this letter…the ONLY way this will happen…. and our only realistic hope of stopping the basing…. is by paying our attorney Jim Dumont’s legal fees. Jim has made great legal arguments, and he has been very generous to us in his fees; but he needs to be paid, or he will have to stop working on our behalf. If that happens, then we have truly lost…and the F-35 will come here and destroy our communities.

You are the people who banded together and through your grassroots efforts convinced the AF to try to avoid Burlington as an F35 basing site. Now, we need to finish the job to eliminate it entirely. And to do that, we must raise money for legal costs…or else all that we have worked for, and sweat and cried over will have been for nothing.

In the larger context of lawsuits, the costs for ours are not very much-due in large part to Jim’s generosity toward us. Nonetheless, it would be beyond sadness to think we lost for lack of a few thousand dollars.

Personally, I have been working this issue for a few years-not because the F-35 basing affects me personally, but because as an elected official, I felt I had an obligation to support the people I represented. I also see this as another example of social injustice in our society.

There is another powerful lesson from history: social justice changes happened mainly because people did not give up the fight!

I hate to give up the fight against something as ethically corrupt as this is…. but, if we don’t raise enough money to pay Jim, it is over. Please help today!

Together we can stop this monster from coming to our neighborhoods. But, it will take money to do it. If we all give according to our ability, it would make a huge difference. Please consider donating what you can: $35 or $70, or $135, $350, $3,500, or more. And please get the word out to others you know who oppose this gross injustice. Our fundraising goal for the end of 2014 is $20,000 and with your help we will continue our fight to protect what we love – our homes and community, our health, and the goodness of Vermont. It’s the right thing to do!

We were incredibly successful in the past. Are you able to help again? Please help us – in these last critical efforts to stop the F-35s!

Sincerely,

Colonel Rosanne Greco, USAF (Ret.)

PS In case you may have forgotten, your donations are tax-deductible. Make checks payable to “Save Our Skies VT/P&JC” and mail it to:
PO Box 191, Winooski, VT 05404 OR donate online at www.SaveOurSkiesVT.org/donate

Protect what you love – Save Vermont – Stop the F35s!

New Data: How Much Does an F-35 Actually Cost?

By Winslow Wheeler
An Air Force F-35A costs $148 million, each.
A Marine Corps F-35B costs $251 million.
A Navy F-35C costs $337 million.
A “generic” F-35 costs $178 million (the average for the three models).
These are production costs only; additional expenses for research, development, test and evaluation are not included.  The dollars are 2015 dollars.
Explanation and elaboration follow.
Find this piece at Medium.com’s War Is Boring at https://medium.com/war-is-boring/how-much-does-an-f-35-actually-cost-21f95d239398 and below.
How Much Does an F-35 Actually Cost?
The F-35 is not just the most expensive warplane ever, it’s the most expensive weapons program ever. But to find out exactly how much a single F-35 costs, we analyzed the newest and most authoritative data.
Here’s how much we’re paying.
A single Air Force F-35A costs a whopping $148 million. One Marine Corps F-35B costs an unbelievable $251 million. A lone Navy F-35C costs a mind-boggling $337 million. Average the three models together, and a “generic” F-35 costs $178 million.
It gets worse. These are just the production costs. Additional expenses for research, development, test and evaluation are not included. The dollars are 2015 dollars. This data was just released by the Senate Appropriations Committee in its report for the Pentagon’s 2015 appropriations bill.
Except for the possibility that the F-35 Joint Program Office might complain that the F-35A number might be a little too low, these numbers are about as complete, accurate and authoritative as they can be.
Moreover, each of the other defense committees on Capitol Hill agree or-with one exception-think each model will be more expensive. The Pentagon’s numbers for these unit costs-in every case-are higher.
The methodology for calculating these F-35 unit costs is straightforward. Both the president’s budget and each of four congressional defense committees publish the amounts to be authorized or appropriated for each model of the F-35, including the number of aircraft to be bought.
The rest is simple arithmetic: Divide the total dollars for each model by the quantity.
Purchase price
There are just two things F-35 watchers need to be careful about.
First, it’s necessary to add the funding from the previous year’s appropriation act to the procurement money the government allocated for 2015. This is “advance procurement” for 2015 spending, and pays for “long lead” components that take longer to acquire.
Second, we have to add the cost of Navy and Air Force modifications.
For the F-35, these costs are for fixing mistakes already found in the testing process. With the aircraft still in its initial testing, the modification costs to existing aircraft are very low. But the 2015 amounts for modifications are surrogates for what the costs for this year’s buy might be. If anything, this number can be an under-estimate.
The Senate Appropriations Committee sent its report to the printer on July 17, and that data is informed by the latest advice from the Pentagon, which is routinely consulted for the data the committee is working with. The Pentagon is also given an opportunity to appeal to change both data and recommendations.
Accordingly, of the four congressional defense committees, the Senate Appropriations Committee numbers are the most up to date. For the most part, these numbers are also the lowest.
The data from all four defense committees, the Pentagon’s budget request, and the final 2014 appropriations-all for the F-35 program-are in the table at the end of this article. This data is the empirical, real-world costs to buy, but not to test or develop, an F-35 in 2015.
They should be understood to be the actual purchase price for 2015-what the Pentagon will have to pay to have an operative F-35.
It’s very simple, and it’s also not what program advocates want you to think.
In a briefing delivered to reporters on June 9, F-35 developer Lockheed still advertised the cost of airplanes sans engines. Highly respected Aviation Week reported on July 22 that taxpayers put up $98 million for each F-35A in 2013.
In reality, we actually paid $188 million.
Some of these numbers are for the airframe only. In other cases, you get a “flyaway” cost. But in fact, those airplanes are incapable of operative flight. They lack the specialized tools, simulators, logistics computers-and much, much more-to make the airplane useable. They even lack the fuel to fly away.
Rising costs
Here’s another curious fact. The unit costs of the Marines’ short-takeoff, vertical-landing B-model and the Navy’s aircraft-carrier-capable C-model are growing.
The cost of an F-35B grew from $232 million in 2014 to a bulging $251 million by 2015. The cost of the Navy’s F35C grew from $273 million in 2014 to a wallet-busting $337 million by 2015.
The quantity numbers for the F-35B have not changed, remaining at six per year. The number of F-35Cs to be produced has slipped from four to two, but surely learning processes on the F-35 line have not been going so far backward as to explain a 23 percent, $64 million per unit cost increase.
Something else is going on.
That something just might be in the F-35A line. Note the 15 percent decline in the F-35 unit price from 2014: from $174 million to $148 million. The units produced increase from 19 to 26, which Bogdan repeatedly explained will bring cost reductions due to “economy of scale.”
However, is that what’s really occurring in the F-35A line, while F-35B and F-35C costs are ballooning? Should not some of the benefit in F-35A production efficiency also show up on the F-35B and F-35C? Lockheed builds all three on the same assembly line in Fort Worth.
It could be that the F-35B and F-35C are bearing the overheard-or other costs-of the F-35A.
Why else would an F-35B with a stable production rate increase by $19 million per unit, and how else could the cost to build an F-35C-in production for six years-increase by $64 million per unit?
Even those who reject that someone might be cooking the books to make F-35A costs look as good as possible to Congress-and all-important foreign buyers-there should be a consensus that the program needs a comprehensive, fully independent audit.
Surely, an audit will help Congress and Pentagon leadership better understand why F-35B and F-35C prices are going up when they were supposed to be going down-and to ensure there is nothing untoward going on in any part of the program.
The defense world is full of price scams, each of them engineered to come up with the right answer for whoever is doing the talking.
Next time an advocate tells you what the current unit cost is for a program, ask: “What is Congress appropriating for them this year?” And, “How many are we buying?” Then get out your calculator. The result might surprise you.
The aforementioned mentioned table follows:
2015 Congressional Defense Committee and DOD Recommendations for F-35 Procurement
($Millions, 2015 Dollars)
2014 Appropriations
(2014 Dollars)
2015 DOD Request
HASC
2015
SASC
2015
HAC
2015
SAC
2015
F-35A Procurement
(19)
2,889
(26)
3,553
(26)
3,553
(26)
3,553
(28)
3,777
(26)
3,331
Previous Year AP
293
339
339
339
339
339
Modification of Aircraft
127
188
188
188
156
188
Subtotal $
3309
4080
4080
4080
4272
3858
F-35A
Unit Cost
174
157
157
157
153
148
F-35B Procurement
(6)
1,176
(6)
1,200
(6)
1,200
(6)
1,200
(6)
1,200
(6)
1,200
Previous Year AP
106
103
103
103
103
103
Modification of Aircraft
111
286
286
286
210
205
Subtotal $
1393
1589
1589
1589
1513
1508
F-35B
Unit Cost
232
265
265
265
252
251
F-35C Procurement
(4)
1,028
(2)
611
(2)
611
(2)
611
(4)
866
(2)
594
Previous Year AP
33
79
79
79
79
79
Modification of Aircraft
30
20
20
20
20
1
Subtotal $
1091
710
710
710
965
674
F-35C
Unit Cost
273
355
355
355
241
337
Grand Total $
5793
6379
6379
6379
6750
6040
Generic F-35 Unit Cost
200
188
188
188
178
178

Petition – Please Sign!

 

Click Here to Sign!

The entire F-35 fleet was recently grounded due to an engine fire, making the F-35 a no-show at a high profile international air show, while Canada just hit pause on their F-35 purchase to evaluate other options.

Over budget and years behind schedule, it’s time to put an end to the most expensive weapons system in history. Tell Congress to ground the F-35 forever.

Lockheed Martin, Pratt & Whitney and other Pentagon contractors are profiting off the taxpayer’s dime and funneling money into campaign coffers and lobbying. Even war hawk Senator John McCain describes the F-35 as the “worst example of the military-industrial-congressional complex.”1

They’re rigging the system so the F-35 wins and working families lose as vital programs like food assistance, infrastructure repair and education are slashed again and again.

So what could we have invested in instead of the most wasteful program in the history of the military? Our friends at Think Progress recently broke down the numbers and found that we could buy every homeless person in the U.S. a mansion, feed every school kid in the country or boost infrastructure funding needed to rebuild America.2

Sign the petition to tell Congress: End the F-35 program so we can invest in an America that works for all of us, not just Pentagon contractor CEOs.

Thanks,

Ross Wallen
USAction

 

1. Foreign PolicyThe Pentagon’s $399 Billion Plane to Nowhere: The next-generation F-35, the most expensive plane ever built, may be too dangerous to fly. Why is Congress keeping it alive?2. ThinkProgressAmericans Have Spent Enough Money On A Broken Plane To Buy Every Homeless Person A Mansion

 

Harvard School of Public Health: Aircraft noise linked with heart problems

Harvard School of Public Health: Aircraft noise linked with heart problems

Current research confirms an increase in illness linked to extreme airport noise (at the levels produced by the F-16 and the much louder F-35 (if based here) warplanes in communities surrounding the Burlington Airport)

Read article:  http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/aircraft-noise-linked-with-heart-problems/

Stop the F-35 Coalition on Vermont Edition: F-35 Landing In Burlington. Now What?

Rather than ending the debate, the decision may just change the discussion. Supporters and opponents of the decisions will weigh in on the Air Force’s choice.

Listen to full show at http://digital.vpr.net/post/f-35-landing-burlington-now-what

Government watchdog group wants delay in Vermont F-35 basing decision

An independent government watchdog group in Washington D.C. has asked the Air Force to put off a decision to base a squadron of F-35s in Vermont because of ongoing safety concerns regard about the fledgling fighter jet.

“It is irresponsible for you to rush to beddown this immature aircraft in a residential zone,” Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, wrote in a Nov. 6 letter to the acting Air Force secretary and chief of staff. “If you believe there is indeed some urgency, then you should not endanger the local population and should follow past precedent and place the F-35A in a less dangerous location,” Brian said in the letter. One of the group’s founding advisers is Pierre Sprey, a former designer of military aircraft who has made two appearances in Burlington on behalf of foes of the F-35. The Air Force has designated the Vermont Air National Guard facility at Burlington International Airport in South Burlington as the preferred Air Guard site over Guard bases in South Carolina and Florida. A final basing decision by the Air Force is expected shortly.

Brian’s letter said her organization obtained information from an Air Force official indicating the F-35 will have logged only 300,000 hours of training and operational flight time by 2020, when the basing in Vermont would begin. Vermont Air National Guard officials have said they believe the plane will have flown 750,000 hours by 2020. “We strongly urge you to delay selecting a location for the F-35A’s operational beddown until the aircraft has logged a significant number of flying hours and until its safety record has been demonstrated,” Brian wrote.

Full article: http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20131125/NEWS02/311250033/Government-watchdog-group-wants-delay-in-Vt-F-35-basing

“Mayor” Weinberger–F-35 Booster and CEO for the military-industrial-real estate complex

“He’s a politician, but he’s grounded in business — and in the end you need an economic base to have a successful community,” says Pomerleau, who contributed at the host level. Pomerleau, whose family has long dominated the Chittenden County real estate scene, backed Weinberger’s Republican opponent, Kurt Wright, in the 2012 election. But he says he’s been impressed by the Democratic mayor’s efforts to boost Burlington International Airport, reimagine the Moran Plant, build the Champlain Parkway and help the Vermont Air National Guard acquire a squadron of F-35 fighter jets.  Last year, Pomerleau flew Weinberger and other Vermont politicians to Florida to hear the jets firsthand. And he helped bankroll a campaign to support Weinberger’s so-called “fiscal stability bond,” which voters approved last November.  “He is the mayor,” Pomerleau says. “I didn’t support him in the beginning, but I’ve come to appreciate his efforts and his challenges. Therefore, when he asked me to contribute for a get-together, it was as much a thank-you for what he’s doing.”

A “Fresh Start”: Sixteen Months Before Election Day, Weinberger Courts Big Burlington Donors
Fair Game

By Paul Heintz [11.20.13]
He won’t face the voters again until March 2015, but Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger is already collecting cash for a potential reelection bid. Last Wednesday, roughly 100 supporters packed the Bluebird Tavern for Weinberger’s first campaign fundraiser since he was elected in March 2012. Tickets to the schmooze fest started at $250 per person. Sponsors paid $500. And members of the event’s host committee, which included several top real estate developers with business before the city, ponied up $1000.

Read full article: http://www.7dvt.com/2013fresh-start-sixteen-months-election-day-weinberger-courts-big-burlington-donors

PUTTING PLANES BEFORE PEOPLE: HOW DEMOCRACY LOST TO THE F-35

WHENEVER a politician instructs you—as Council President Joan Shannon did at the close of a controversial Burlington City Council meeting—that although we may strongly disagree on this issue remember that “we are all Vermonters”, know that she is playing you for a fool. Because there are clearly two classes of Vermonters—those who wield political and economic power, can stack meetings, issue misinformation at will and call out the military to support their plans (the side that won the City Council vote)—and ordinary people in the majority who suffer the consequences of the establishment’s decisions, and who must campaign and organize for their future, for their rights and for their dignity.

Nearly 500 people marched into the City Council meeting on October 28 to testify for or against the basing of the boondoggle F-35 warplane at Burlington International Airport. Many were from airport neighborhoods threatened by the extreme noise of the jets. The City Council planned to hear testimony before voting on two resolutions initiated by the Stop the F-35 Coalition that would bar the plane. One would have banned the plane outright–the other would have imposed noise and crash rate regulations that would have effectively kept the warplane out as well.

See full article  at   http://www.stopthef35.com/putting-planes-before-people-how-democracy-lost-to-the-f-35/

Important Update – Please Read This!

 

Dear SOSVT Allies and Friends:

The official USAF Record of Decision was announced on December 2, 2013 to locate the first-ever basing of a new warplane, the F35s, with an Air Guard unit that is situated in a densely populated residential area in South Burlington, VT.   Defying all measures of common sense and safety, this marks the first time that a new warplane has ever been based in a residential area.

The manipulation of data, misinformation, and dismissal of scientific studies, which predict significant environmental damage to our Vermont communities and its people, by well-appointed politicians, corporate proponents, and the local military were key factors in this decision.  But most influential of all was Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, who was determined to bring home this pork “prize” for the Vermont Air National Guard, despite the destructive damage from the F35s that will be felt most intensely in the communities surrounding the airport.

Although substantial scientific evidence,  including studies from the USAF itself, points to damage to the health, safety and property values of Vermont citizens, Sen. Leahy merely tells us that, in his opinion, it won’t be too bad or cause harm, and that we are “just going to have to trust him on this”.

But according to the World Health Organization, the damage will disproportionately impact thousands of Vermonters, whereby 50% of those impacted children will suffer cognitive learning disabilities.   In addition, the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke for all who are subjected to the F35s impact will increase.

No problem, say Sen. Leahy!   He says the “honor” of bringing the F35s to Vermont is worth it, despite the health impact on vulnerable populations and loss of property values.   What a tragedy for our state and its people!

Once the basing decision was announced, our best means to continue fighting this inappropriate and out-of-scale basing are our legal options.

F-35 opponents in December 2012 requested that Burlington, which owns the airport, obtain an Act 250 permit in order to require the Air Force to mitigate the noise impacts of the new jet.   The Act 250 permitting process is Vermont’s landmark land-use law that is designed to “mitigate the effects of development through an application process that addresses the environmental and community impacts of projects.”

Recently, Vermont State’s Environmental court judge denied the request by F35 opponents that Burlington obtain a land-use permit to host the fleet of F-35 fighter jets.  The judge decided that proposed changes at the Vermont Air National Guard base that would be made to accommodate the jets do not warrant an Act 250 permit.

In reality, according to the US Air Force’s study, the F35s will make over half of the city adjoining the airport “unsuitable for residential use”!  If ever there was a case for Vermont’s Act 250 law addressing an environmental impact of a project on a community, this is it!

We will continue this fight to the Vermont Supreme Court to appeal the decision, as well as working to raise the awareness of the fraudulent, corrupt waste of the F35s program on a national level.   Please click here to donate to help fund this fight! 




We are not alone in our fight!  We are encouraged to note that opposition from other densely-populated residential communities against these loud, untested aircraft is being organized in places like Valparaiso, FL., Boise, ID., Tucson, El Mirage and Wittman, AZ, Beaufort, SC, Key West and N. Tampa, FL, as well as western Maine.   The list is growing as other states organize to protect their neighborhoods against the projected intense damage from the proposed basing of the F35s in their areas.

In addition, anti-F35 campaigns are being waged internationally as seen in protests in Italy, Australia and the Netherlands that have been attended by thousands of residents fighting against the colossal waste of the over-budget, under-performing, problem-plagued F35s program that is corporate welfare for the military defense contractor, Lockheed Martin.

So please keep voicing your opposition, and keep our mission of stopping the F35s basing alive with your words and donations!   By signing petitions, contacting your Congressional delegation and newspapers, the Governor of Vermont, the Mayor of Burlington and your local elected representative to give your feedback and concerns, you will continue to work towards protecting Vermont and its people from the devastation of the F35s.

Give money for the legal campaign, keep your voices strong, and don’t give up the fight!  




SOSVT.org

  1. If you haven’t seen it yet, even Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart have highlighted the waste and fraud of the F35 and wasteful military spending on their shows.  We are reaching out to more national media outlets to continue to expose this flawed and unnecessary squandering of your taxpayer monies and our country’s misplaced priorities.

Stephen Colbert looks at the latest examples of this absurd way of spending money, especially a fighter jet called the F-35:

http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/433286/february-25-2014/the-word—jobsolete

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”  Margaret Mead

Burlington City Council Meeting 10-28-13 Speaker Doug Dunbebin

October 28, 5:15 pm: Rally, Public Hearing and Vote

Stop the F-35 Basing

WHAT:          Burlington City Council Public Hearing and Vote on 

Prohibiting the   F-35 Basing

WHEN:          Monday, October 28. Come early for the “People  and the Planet Before                                        Planes” rally at 5:15 pm. Public hearing begins at 6:00 pm

WHERE:        Burlington City Hall, corner of Church and Main

                            WHY:             This is one of the most significant local decisions of a generation

The People Versus the Military Industrial Complex

3-year campaign comes to a head this Monday

The improbable campaign against the basing of the F-35 in Burlington began as early as 2010.

That year, a local official described himself to a Seven Days reporter as “100 percent receptive” to having F-35s at Burlington International.  He infamously said, “I hear the noise the F-16 makes, I think it’s exciting.  I think it’s part of being in a lively community. If you want quiet all the time, you should move to Montgomery.”

This was Gene Richards, a former chair of the Burlington-run Airport Commission—who has now been promoted to Airport Director.  Media reports described Richards as a local mortgage broker, banker, and real estate entrepreneur.  Regional officials, downtown business leaders, airline representatives, and the Vermont National Guard all endorsed Richard’s nomination by Burlington Mayor Weinberger to Airport Director. He has no doubt continued to work closely with Mayor Weinberger and other F-35 boosters, including the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation, the Chamber of Commerce, and Commercial Real Estate baron Ernie Pomerleau.  All these boosters share 2 things in common: They all stand to economically or politically benefit from the basing, and they all had taken for granted they can decide important matters like the F-35 basing without public involvement and without suffering any of the negative impacts.

Read rest of article:  http://www.stopthef35.com/the-people-versus-the-military-industrial-complex/

Let’s Make History on the 28th! All Out For the City Council Meeting to Stop the F-35

Stop the F-35 Basing

The Law is on Our Side

Let’s Make History on the 28th!

 

WHAT:          Burlington City Council Public Hearing and Vote on Prohibiting the   F-35 Basing

WHEN:          Monday, October 28. Come early for the “People Before Planes” rally at 5:15. 

                            Public hearing begins at 6:00.

WHERE:        Burlington City Hall, corner of Church and Main

WHY:            This is one of the most significant local decisions of a generation

 

On Monday, October 28, the Burlington City Council will vote on a binding resolution (amended and strengthened based on the recent City Attorney’s legal opinion) to bar the basing of the F-35.

See Resolution to Bar Basing Approved by City Attorney

This is our best chance to stop the basing.

The Stop the F-35 Coalition will hold a rally for People and the Planet Before Planes at 5:15 pm

The public hearing on the resolution begins at 6:00 pm at Burlington City Hall.

A large attendance of people opposed to the F-35 basing from Burlington, Chittenden County, and beyond is essential and will make a difference. We expect a close vote. Bring friends, neighbors, and anyone else you can to stand up for priorities that put people before boondoggle warplanes.

Contact Burlington City Councilors now Ask the City Council to vote for the resolution to bar the basing and oppose sacrificing over 8,000 residents in airport neighborhoods.

Please go to www.stopthef35.com for more information.

New Tactic To Restrict F-35 Gets City Attorney Approval

After reviewing the language, Blackwood said “I don’t see any legal impediment for them to pass that.”
VPR News
Wed October 23, 2013

New Tactic To Restrict F-35 Gets City Attorney Approval

 

By 

A new proposal by Progressives on Burlington’s city council could effectively block the F-35, opponents say.

The resolution, crafted by Councilor Vince Brennan with input from F-35 opposition attorney Jim Dumont and City Attorney Eileen Blackwood, calls on Burlington International Airport director Gene Richards to develop noise and safety standards for the airport.

The resolution (seen here with Blackwood’s markups, which Brennan said he had no problems with) says the new standards must establish that “except for grandfathered uses, no commercial or government airplane using the airport shall have noise impacts from its routine use as measured by the federally recognized DNL noise impact measurement method that significantly exceed present noise levels at the airport. Including any significant expansion of the land area or number of residences within the 65 db or 75 db DNL day-night averages.”

Full article:  http://digital.vpr.net/post/new-tactic-restrict-f-35-gets-city-attorney-approval

 

Former Pentagon Jet Designer Warns of Risks of Basing F-35s at Burlington Airport

Pierre Sprey

 

Pierre Sprey, a defense analyst and co-designer of some of the military’s toughest and most reliable warplanes, was in Burlington Tuesday warning of the potential dangers of basing the F-35 attack jets at Burlington International Airport.

Sprey charged that it would be both “dangerous” and “irresponsible” for the Air Force to base these new and sophisticated jets in a highly populated area such as South Burlington before they’ve logged enough flight time to work out all the bugs.

Sprey further warned that an F-35 crash in or around Chittenden County would produce dangerous levels of highly toxic gases and fibers, due to the burning of all its plastic components and stealth coating materials. He suggested that such a crash would be “a catastrophe of major proportions” that could “potentially blanket blocks and blocks” of residential neighborhoods in deadly gases for days, likening the effects to a “chemical warfare attack” in Syria.

Full Story:  http://7d.blogs.com/offmessage/2013/10/defense-analyst-and-warplane-designer-warns-burlington-of-f-35-safety-risks.html

Pierre Sprey report–Facts about the safety of F-35 Basing in Burlington

FACTS ABOUT THE SAFETY OF F-35 BASING IN BURLINGTON

Pierre Sprey is an internationally recognized expert on military aircraft and critic of the F-35. He was in Burlington on October 22, 2013.

                                                                                                Pierre Sprey   

Download full report here:  Pierre Sprey report–Facts about the safety of F-35 Basing in Burlington-1

 

  1. 1.    All new fighters have high accident rates, much higher than mature fighters and much, much higher than scheduled airliners.
  2. 2.    Basing a new fighter with significantly less than 1 million fleet hours of safety experience in an urban area is likely to expose the residents to accident probabilities that are irresponsibly high.

 

Discussion:

 

The F-16 at 100,000 fleet hours had a cumulative major accident rate (i.e., officially termed Class A Mishap Rate) of 17 per 100,000 hours. By 1 million hours (almost exactly the point when F-16s started operating from Burlington) its cumulative rate was down to 7 and the current cumulative rate at 12,000,000 fleet hours is 3.55. (Note that the current F-16 fleet major accident rate, that is, the non-cumulative rate, is actually running about 1.59, as averaged over the last 5 years).

 

Statistically speaking, there is not much point in looking at the accident rates of fighters with less than 100,000 fleet hours, simply because with such small accident sample sizes, the estimated rates bounce around too much, rendering the estimates too uncertain to be useful.

 

Thus, with only 4500 cumulative fleet hours for the F-35A (10,000 hours for all three variants), no useful direct estimate of the F-35A accident rate can be projected. Note that only F-35A fleet hours are germane to estimating the accident probabilities for Burlington; the accident experience of the F-35B and C is irrelevant because they only have 20% commonality with the F-35A. The fact that, so far, the F-35A has had zero Class A Mishaps is certainly commendable but uninformative. And the zero major accident score is certainly offset by having more early fleet-wide groundings to cure safety problems than any other fighter of the last 50 years.

 

 

The Air Force’s EIS agrees that the F-35 accident rate can’t be directly estimated because of the fighter’s newness.  Reasoning by analogy, the USAF does go on to say that the F-35 major accident rate may be similar to that of the F-22 because the size and technology are roughly comparable. This reasoning overlooks two relevant facts, both of which would increase the likely accident rate relative to the F-22. First, the F-35 has only one engine while the F-22 has two. Second, the F-35 flight computer, weapons system, cockpit/helmet display, control system, and cooling system are significantly more complex than the F-22 (for instance, 9 million lines of computer code versus 1.7 million for the F-22).

 

The F-22 cumulative accident rate, whether germane or not, is now running at about 7.34 major accidents per 100,000 hours with a fleet total of about 130,000 hours. At 16 years since first flight, these fleet total hours are remarkably low (at 16 years after first flight, the F-16 had 4 million hours). The F-35A will have similarly low total hours by 2020 for similar reasons: first, because both airplanes are so complex, they spend so much time in maintenance that they fly less than 12 hours per month; secondly, both are so expensive that the DoD budget can only afford to produce them at a slow rate (20 per year maximum for the F-22 at 11 years after first flight and only19 F-35As per year for the USAF out through at least 2014, with probably no production increase for 3 years longer under sequestration).

 

From the point of view of Burlington area residents, the real issue is the probability of a major accident in any given year. That, of course, depends on the fighter’s actual accident rate and how often it flies per year.

 

The current VtANG F-16s fly 2550 sorties per year (same as 5100 flight operations/yr) from Burlington at 1.3 hours per sortie and have a current (not cumulative) major fleetwide accident rate of 1.59 per 100,00 hours over the last 5 years. That yields a .051 probability of at least one major accident per year (Poisson probability calculation)—or roughly 1 accident every 20 years.

 

Just as an illustrative comparison, a guesstimate for the F-35A accident rate could assign it the same major accident rate as the F-16, since the F-16 is the single engine fighter that is closest in size and performance to the F-35.  When it came to Burlington in early1986 with 1 million hours of worldwide fleet flight time, the F-16 non-cumulative rate was about 7 per 100,000 hours, based on accidents experienced during the next million worldwide flight hours.  Assuming this rate for the F-35A and with the F-35A flying 2250 sorties per year (according to the USAF’s EIS Scenario 1) and about 1.54 hours per sortie (current average), the probability of at least one major accident per year would be .215—or nearly one accident every 4 years.

 

For scheduled airliners (no smaller than 10 passengers), the official NTSB Major + Serious accident rate (the rough equivalent of the military Class A Mishap) is .1217 accidents per 1 million hours over the last 5 years reported (2007 to 2011), about 132 times less than the F-16 hourly rate. These scheduled airliners flew 5681 flights (landing + departure) out of Burlington in 2012, averaging 1.53 hours per flight. That yields a .0011 probability of a major accident in a year—or roughly 1 accident every 945 years.

 

There are, of course, large numbers of flights out of Burlington by much smaller airplanes: air taxis (most of them well under 9 seats) flew 8862 flights (landing + takeoff) and private airplanes (most under 4 seats) flew 18522 flights in 2012, according to Sky Vector. These smaller planes need to be considered separately because their major accidents represent far less of an urban area disaster potential than the much larger scheduled airliners or fighters. Just to give a rough indication of accident likelihood for these smaller aircraft, the air taxi accident rate per flying hour is about 8 times that of scheduled airliners, so air taxis would still have a considerably lower major accident probability than F-16 fighters. Small private airplanes, however, have an accident rate about 40 times greater than scheduled airliners and fly 8 times as many flights out of Burlington, so their accident probability would significantly exceed that of the F-16s.

 

 

 

3. The VtANG claims that by 2020 the F-35 fleet will have accumulated 750,000 hours of safety experience and that will be adequate maturity to a) provide a good estimate of the fighter’s accident rate and b) ensure acceptably safe accident probabilities for basing in Burlington. Statistically speaking, 750,000 fleet hours is marginally adequate for purpose a). Purpose b) would be served if and only if the F-35A fleet demonstrated less than 10 Class A Mishaps in the interval between 250,000 and 750,000 hours.  

 

4. The arithmetic that led to the claim of 750,000 F-35 fleet hours by 2020 is wildly in error. In truth, a decision to base F-35As in Burlington in 2020 would be exposing the Burlington area to a fighter with only about 90,000 to 110,000 fleet hours of safety experience.

 

 

Discussion:

 

 

Given that current F-16 operations in Burlington are exposing the area to a Class A Mishap risk of about 1 every 20 years, it would be hard to argue that it is acceptable for a new F-35 fighter to significantly increase that risk, say by a factor of 2 or 3 or more—most particularly if that new fighter also adds the risk of a major toxicity disaster to any crash in a residential area (as will be discussed below).  The success of the F-16 basing in Burlington—arriving with 1 million hours of fleet experience and demonstrating steady and satisfying accident rate reductions thereafter—sets a convincing precedent for a conservative approach to the fleet hours needed to estimate and mitigate the risk to area residents. Thus, 750,000 hours of fleet experience is marginally acceptable.

 

To keep the risk of the new F-35A fighter close to the 1.59 accident rate of the currently flying F-16s means that the new fighter needs to demonstrate less than 2 Class A Mishaps per 100,000 hours during an adequately long period before the date the F-35 is to be based in Burlington. From a statistical viewpoint, a sample of 10 accidents is barely acceptable for forming an adequately accurate estimate of the true accident rate. Thus, to ensure with adequate confidence an accident rate of no more than 2 per 100,000, it is essential to set a threshold of no more than 10 F-35A accidents in the 500,000 hours before the decision date for basing in Burlington.

 

With regards to correctly estimating the number of F-35 fleet hours accumulated by 2020, the arithmetic is quite simple. Our starting point is the 10,000 hours reported this October 13 by Lockheed for all three variants; the F-35A comprises 42% of the 63 F-35A/B/Cs flying in October and about 45% of the hours or 4500 hours. For those in-service 27 F-35As–plus for every newly produced F-35A delivered thereafter–we calculate that 10 hours per month (present fleet average) gets added to the 4500 hour starting point. The delivery schedule is fixed out to 2017 by the existing LRIP (Low Rate Initial Production) contracts. LRIP-5 delivers 22 F-35As (includes export planes) by second quarter 2014, LRIP-6 delivers 23 by second quarter 2015, LRIP-7 delivers 24 by 2Q 2016 and LRIP-8 delivers 21 by 2Q 2017 (these deliveries may well get cut back by the exigencies of sequestration). For our arithmetic, we assume a slight increase to 25 F-35As per year for the following years, 2018, 2019 and 2020 (even this slight increase may not materialize due to continuing budget pressures and large competing programs in USAF procurement plans). The total F-35A fleet hours by second quarter 2020 therefore total 89,460 hours. Should the monthly F-35 hours improve to 12, the 2020 total would be 107,352 hours. Note that only a quarter of the factor of 8 error in the 750,000 hour calculation is due to the VtANG’s mistake of counting all three F-35 variants as providing relevant accident experience.

 

 

 

5.  All largely composite-based  (that is, laminated plastic and carbon fiber cloth) aircraft—whether new generation airliners or fighters—release large volumes of extremely toxic gases and fibers when the flammable plastic burns unextinguishably in a crash. These gases and fibers can blanket an entire neighborhood or can touch down in “hot spots” as far away as 10 to 50 miles, depending on atmospheric conditions.  

 

Discussion:

 

There is a large and growing body of research and technical papers on the fire dangers of composite airplanes, authored by engineers, toxicologists, chemists and combustion scientists. Based on both laboratory experiments plus the real world experience of the 2013 Dreamliner fire in London and the disastrous 2008 B-2 crash on Guam (which burned for two days despite massive fire fighting efforts), there is direct evidence of the flammability of composite fuselages and wings, and of the dangerous toxicity of the clouds of resulting combustion products.

 

The aircraft that pose this new crash danger are the latest generation airliners (Boeing 787 and Airbus A350) and military aircraft (F-22, F-35, B-2 and almost all current drones), all with 30% to 60% or more of composite structure. Many older planes (F-16, F-18) have small composite parts—wing and tail tips, fairings and housings–comprising 2% to 5% of the structure; these planes are not at issue here.

 

The composite fire problem is simple: the plastic adhesives that glue the carbon fiber cloth layers together (mostly related to epoxies or polyurethanes), unlike aluminum structure, can be ignited at well below the temperature of burning fuel. And once ignited, the inner layers continue to smolder (sometimes for 24 to 48 hours) even after firefighters have extinguished the external fires. Epoxies and polyurethanes and their solvents are high on OSHA’s list of dangerously toxic industrial chemicals, even at room temperature; after burning, the combustion products of these same chemicals can become significantly more toxic and corrosive to the lungs and other organs, as well as more carcinogenic. A further risk comes from the clouds of tiny carbon fibers, breathable like asbestosis fibers and laden with adsorbed toxic combustion products.

 

Viewing a video of any crashed airliner or military aircraft burning immediately establishes that there are towering clouds of smoke from the burning fuel that can easily blanket dozens or even hundreds of blocks of residential neighborhoods—particularly in still weather or, even worse, during an inversion. Then consider the effect of mixing in the toxic fumes of 12,300 pounds of burnt F-35 plastic composites (42% of the 29,300 pound empty weight of the F-35 is composites). Just the prompt evacuation problem for residents downwind of such a crash is a nightmare, not to mention the subsequent disastrous load on local medical facilities.

 

Less obvious is the problem of  “hot spots”; these are touchdowns of the crash site’s smoke plume that create locally toxic concentrations many, many miles downwind. Such hot spots have been widely observed in situations as diverse as toxic releases from incinerators or smelters, radioactive plumes from Fukushima and toxic smoke from the Twin Towers of 9/11.

 

At this early point in the history of composite aircraft crashes, the health consequences for people exposed to these toxic gases and fibers are, needless to say, poorly understood or quantified. But the OSHA and toxicological literature do establish some rough safety thresholds for some of the toxins involved, with respect to effects such as pulmonary tissue damage, neurotoxicity and cognitive dysfunction, liver damage, asthmatic crises, kidney damage and/or carcinogenicity.

 

 

 

6. All stealth coatings are highly toxic during manufacture and even more so when they burn, much more so than the already dangerous toxicity of standard composite fires.

 

 

Discussion:

 

There is a long history, dating back to before 1988, of stealth production line workers sickened and sometimes permanently disabled after breathing the toxic fumes of assembly line stealth materials. Some of this history is documented in dozens of lawsuits brought by afflicted workers, most of them unsuccessful because the defendant companies and government agencies invoked national security classification to withhold evidence. The 1980s open pit burning of failed F-117 stealth coating panels at the then-secret Area 51 airbase in Nevada killed two of the pit workers and permanently disabled at least five more who were working at the pits or downwind. This turned into a high profile lawsuit that won a favorable federal court ruling, ultimately blocked by a secrecy directive issued by President Clinton.

 

After the disastrous F-117 experience, the USAF started taking somewhat more responsible health precautions for mechanics repairing B-2 and, subsequently, F-22 coatings. Stealth aircraft manufacturers, however, varied greatly in taking responsible precautions. According to whistleblowers working there, Lockheed was notably irresponsible in exposing F-22 workers, engineers and even office workers to alarmingly toxic fumes from stealth constituents.   As is to be expected, the exact toxic constituents are kept secret by high classification levels. However, it is known that di-isocyanates  and mercury at particularly dangerous levels were involved in the F-22 stealth coatings. Di-isocyanates are one of the most important OSHA listed toxins in the plastics and fiberglass industries, with known long term pulmonary, asthmatic and neurotoxic/cognitive function effects at concentrations so minute that their usually acrid odor can’t even be detected. The F-35 uses yet another generation of stealth coatings, different than the F-22 but known to be very toxic—even though, once again, the constituents are classified.

 

The classification/secrecy problem, in itself, considerably increases the already seriously elevated risks and health consequences of a crash involving the F-35’s stealth coatings. Doctors treating people exposed to known toxins from an unclassified aircraft crash can focus on therapies for specific chemical pathways, particularly as toxicological and medical research in this area continues to make progress. But when a classified aircraft crashes, the doctor is denied knowledge of the toxins released and thus can only treat victims with generic, all-purpose therapies.

Update on the Burlington Resolution:

The law is on our side: Let’s make history on the 28th!

On October 17, the Burlington City Attorney issued a legal opinion on the proposed resolution to bar the basing of the F-35 warplane at the Burlington Airport. With the corrections to the Burlington City Attorney’s memo and the revision to the text of the resolution provided by Stop the F-35 Coalition attorney Jim Dumont, the problems identified in the City Attorney’s memo are easily overcome.  With the corrections, the City Attorney’s memo actually provides a very strong legal basis for stopping the F-35 basing. The amended resolution to bar the basing will be considered by the City Council on October 28th.

 

*Monday, October 28th*

What: Come stand for democratic rights and stopping the F-35 basing

5:15 pm: Rally for People before Planes

6:00 pm: Public Hearing and Council Meeting

Where: Burlington City Hall corner of Main and Church

 

Here are the details for the amended resolution:

By revising the resolution to block all aircraft that make more noise than the F-16 or that pose a greater crash risk than the F-16, the problem of loss of FAA airport funding identified by the city attorney is eliminated. The FAA expressly allows a municipal government to set noise limits and block aircraft from landing that exceed those noise limits so long as the rules are applied fairly to all aircraft without discrimination.

 

Second, the revised resolution will also be consistent with court rulings under which a city can take action consistent within the traditional role of municipal governments to protect the health and safety of citizens, even if there is an effect on the military if that effect is negligible. The Air Force has many alternative locations available for basing F-35 jets, and there is no identified strategic reason for prioritizing basing the F-35 in Burlington. The Air Force itself included several of those alternatives in the Environmental Impact Statement. Because the Air Force itself identified alternatives, there is no possibility that the basing in Burlington can be found to be anything other than of militarily negligible importance. But protecting the health and safety of nearby residents is of immense importance.

And third, the corrections also mean that Burlington will be liable for paying thousands of residents if it shirks its responsibility to do everything it can to protect the health, safety, and home values of thousands of people and permits F-35 basing.

The Burlington City Council has the responsibility and the legal authority to prevent the F-35 basing and its severe harms to many thousands of people.

October 22: Pierre Sprey on F-35 crash and safety risks, Burlington City Hall

Public talk by Pierre Sprey, Co-Designer of the F-16 and the A-10 military jets, international expert, and leading critic of the F-35.

 

What: Mr. Sprey will speak on the crash risk of the F-35, the dangers of composite aircraft fires, and the failings of the boondoggle F-35 program.*

 

When: Tuesday, October 22 @ 7 p.m.

 

Where: Contois Auditorium, Burlington City Hall, Church and Main St.

 

Who: Everyone who wants to learn more about the problems with the F-35 program and the plan to base the warplanes in Burlington.

 

Free and Open to the Public

 

Sponsored by the Stop the F-35 Coalition  www.stopthef35.com  

The law is on our side: Let’s make history on the 28th!

Update on the Burlington Resolution:

 

The law is on our side: Let’s make history on the 28th!

On October 17, the Burlington City Attorney issued a legal opinion on the proposed resolution to bar the basing of the F-35 warplane at the Burlington Airport. With the corrections to the Burlington City Attorney’s memo and the revision to the text of the resolution provided by Stop the F-35 Coalition attorney Jim Dumont, the problems identified in the City Attorney’s memo are easily overcome.  With the corrections, the City Attorney’s memo actually provides a very strong legal basis for stopping the F-35 basing. The amended resolution to bar the basing will be considered by the City Council on October 28th.

 

*Monday, October 28th*

What: Come stand for democratic rights and stopping the F-35 basing
5:15 pm: Rally for People before Planes
6:00 pm: Public Hearing and Council Meeting
Where: Burlington City Hall corner of Main and Church

 

Here are the details for the amended resolution:  (See Jim Dumont’s response and corrections:   Dumont Response to City Attorney 10 18 13-1)

 

By revising the resolution to block all aircraft that make more noise than the F-16 or that pose a greater crash risk than the F-16, the problem of loss of FAA airport funding identified by the city attorney is eliminated. The FAA expressly allows a municipal government to set noise limits and block aircraft from landing that exceed those noise limits so long as the rules are applied fairly to all aircraft without discrimination.

 

Second, the revised resolution will also be consistent with court rulings under which a city can take action consistent within the traditional role of municipal governments to protect the health and safety of citizens, even if there is an effect on the military if that effect is negligible. The revised resolution will be similar to the Cambridge municipal ordnance that the highest court in Massachusetts found lawful because it protected the health and safety of residents while the effect on the military was negligible. The Air Force has many alternative locations available for basing F-35 jets, and there is no identified strategic reason for prioritizing basing the F-35 in Burlington. The Air Force itself included several of those alternatives in the Environmental Impact Statement. Because the Air Force itself identified alternatives, there is no possibility that the basing in Burlington can be found to be anything other than of militarily negligible importance. But protecting the health and safety of nearby residents is of immense importance.

 

And third, the corrections also mean that Burlington will be liable for paying thousands of residents if it shirks its responsibility to do everything it can to protect the health, safety, and home values of thousands of people and permits F-35 basing.

The Burlington City Council has the responsibility and the legal authority to prevent the F-35 basing and its severe harms to many thousands of people.

Some comments.

 

Here are the public comments made at that same meeting, urging the Council to act on the Resolutions against the basing before the 30-day waiting period is over.

Watch This

This is a video of the speakers at the Rally to support Resolutions before the Burlington City Council – Resolutions that would block the basing.

Welcome to Vermont…

F35 Poster Cover your Ears-1

SEPTEMBER FUND RAISING RESULTS

GOAL – $11,000”

RESULT – “$10,458.50”

This is absolutely AWESOME!!  We barely fell short of our goal, but we were able to pay our attorney, Jim Dumont $10,000.  A heartfelt thank you to all who donated. Your donations in September made a sizable dent in our legal fees. As you know, our legal challenges are critical to oppose the F-35 and they continue until it is over and it isn’t over until the F-35 will not bed down at BTV for at least the first round.

 

The bicycle donated by Rosanne was won by Igor Zbitnoff, a long time, consistent and generous contributor. I will be delivering the bike to Igor today. A big “shout out” to Rosanne for her gift to our cause.

 

Our fundraising effort must continue. Fifty-four people donated in September. We have attorney fees due, our future printing cost, our security fee for our web site and other expenses are necessary to remain viable.

 

We welcome ideas for future fundraising and, of course, donations at anytime on our web site and/or by sending a check to the Peace & Justice Center.

 

Make your tax-deductible donation online at:  www.stopthef35.com/donate or send a check made payable to:Stop-the-F-35/PJC and mail to:

 

Peace & Justice Center
STOP-THE-F-35
60 Lake St. Ste 1c
Burlington, VT 05401

 

Respectfully Submitted,

Roger Bourassa

Treasurer

F-35 OPPONENTS RALLY AT BURLINGTON CITY HALL: URGE COUNCIL TO BAR THE BASING

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See video:  http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/VideoNetwork/2728206744001/F-35-opponents-rally-at-Burlington-City-Hall&odyssey=mod%7Cvideo

F-35 is destroying jobs

Ask a Keynesian: With U.S. Borrowing Capped, Won’t More Pentagon Spending Destroy Jobs?

Robert Naiman, Huffington Post

I claim that the following is a basic economic fact, which all Keynesian economists should readily acknowledge: in the current federal budget political context, in which federal borrowing is capped under the Budget Control Act, and repealing the BCA’s borrowing cap is not under serious consideration; and in which increased taxes on the super-rich, like a Wall Street speculation tax, are not considered politically viable in Washington, unnecessary Pentagon spending destroys American jobs.

Before explaining why we know this fact to be the case, let’s consider two related reasons why this fact matters a great deal right now: the Burlington F-35 basing fight and the apparent return of the proposed federal budget “Grand Bargain.”

In Burlington, Vermont, the city council, which owns Burlington International Airport, is considering a resolution to ban the basing of the noisy, dangerous, problem-plagued F-35 warplane at the city-owned airport.

Read rest of article at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/ask-a-keynesian-with-us-b_b_4059484.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

FROM JOSHUA ROONEY – SOUTH BURLINGTON

I have to say, I have grown weary of being on the other end of the “that jet noise is the sound of freedom” argument every time I express my concern over the basing of the F-35 here in Burlington.
It is not the sound of freedom. Freedom is a concept, an intellectual construct, and it has no sound. Saying that it is the sound of freedom is a way to make dissenters like myself look unpatriotic and as if we do not care about those who choose to serve in our armed forces. I love the United States and I have the highest respect for those who choose to put themselves on the firing line. I also don’t want the F-35 roaring over my community with any regularity.
The F-35 is louder than the F-16. The Air Force does not dispute this fact. This is from an article on VT Digger:
“The Green Ribbons postcards [in favor of basing the F-35 here] state that the F-35 will create noise levels similar to the current F-16, that there will be 2,613 fewer operations per year, and there will be no health effects on citizens.
The Air Force responded that while this comment will be noted in the decision-making process, the content is proven false by the EIS. The Air Force’s response states that the F-35s are projected to create more noise than the F-16s, and that there would be fewer operations only if 18 F-35 jets were based in Burlington.”
(http://vtdigger.org/2013/09/27/air-force-eis-addresses-public-comments-f-35/)
Anyone who says that the F-16’s don’t fly everyday, or thinks that it’s only noisy for 6 minutes a day clearly doesn’t spend enough time in the flight paths of these jets. I work in Williston, directly in flight path of the F-16 squadrons when they take-off and land. It is consistent; at least two jets, usually four, spaced about 30 seconds apart, and it happens about three or four times a day, during the work week. The sound is totally overwhelming. If you are having a conversation, even inside, you have to stop and wait until the jets are far enough way. It is frustrating and intrusive. Each squadron, coming and going, eats up about 5 minutes per take-off or landing. That is my experience.
The idea that this noise would get louder is hard to imagine. My co-worker jokes when the F-16’s go overhead, that “these are the quiet ones.” Sure, we also hear the commercial air traffic going overhead; however, the noise and disruption of the non-military aircraft produces is nowhere near that of the fighter jets. It’s comparable to the noise of being near a busy roadway.
So, let me say this: Stop with the sound of freedom nonsense. I support our troops. My father is an Air Force veteran. This is not about the quality of the job they do or making sure they have the best equipment. To imply that I don’t support our service men and women is inaccurate and mean spirited. This is about quality of life and whether or not this particular jet belongs in the heart of Vermont’s most populated and prosperous county. This is a highly populated area. It’s too loud for this area and has too unproven a safety record for this area. This jet does not have to be based here. It can be deployed in an area that is not as densely populated as Chittenden County.
There are other ways to support our troops and the VTANG without bringing in the F-35.
If we must assign a sound to freedom, I would like to see more sounds on the list than only those generated by combat vehicles.

F35: “Loads up like a bomb truck”

“It loads up like a bomb truck with the world’s deadliest air to ground weapons.”

As F-16 designer Pierre Sprey said in 2013, the F-35 will be used as a high altitude bomber.

Watch this 3 minute F-35 promotion video to learn more.

Watchdog report deals another blow to F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

By M. Alex Johnson, Staff Writer, NBC News

Hundreds of problems continue to plague the troubled Joint Strike Fighter, potentially calling into question the basic performance and reliability of the costliest weapons program in U.S. history, the Defense Department’s inspector general charges in a new report.

In a 16-month investigation that began in February 2012, the inspector general’s office — an agency within the Pentagon responsible for investigating allegations of waste, fraud, security lapses and other misconduct — identified more than 360 quality “issues” with the F-35 Lightning II — with 147 of them classified as “major.”

Read full article:

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/10/01/20777728-watchdog-report-deals-another-blow-to-f-35-joint-strike-fighter?lite

Cohen: The Myth of Mitigation

THE MYTH OF MITIGATION

The Free Press’ September 28 editorial on the F-35 – which essentially said, learn to live with it— plays into the disinformation campaign that has been waged by politicians and the GBIC.

They consistently talk about “mitigating” the dangers to our area from basing this fighter-bomber in a densely populated neighborhood.

But the whole problem is that the dangers cannot be mitigated. That’s not an opinion. That’s a fact.

The reason why the Air Force states that 8,000 people will end up living in a zone that is “incompatible for residential use” is because mitigation is impossible. That’s why they conclude, “land acquisition and relocation is the only alternative.”

The fact that intense noise blasts from existing F-16s cannot be mitigated is the reason why many homes near the airport are now vacant. The noise blast from F-35’s will be 3 to 4 times louder.

Not one of the politicians or the GBIC has offered any facts to dispute the harm to residents that is detailed in both the Air Force and World Health Organization reports. They have chosen to stonewall and refuse to meet with residents in the area.

But extreme noise blasts are not the only problem. Newly designed fighter jets have a very high crash rate during the first years after they become operational. The Air Force has confirmed this.

That’s why a newly designed fighter-bomber has never before been based at a residential airport such as Burlington’s. They have always been based at military bases in remote areas until the bugs have been worked out.

The F-35 is particularly problematic should a crash occur because it is loaded with 18,000 pounds of fuel and is made from highly flammable composite materials–42% by weight–that emit very toxic fumes and fibers when burned. Moreover, the fire produced from composite materials is far different from fire from a burning metal aircraft.

As the Boston Globe reported, Burlington would not have been selected were it not for political pressure from Senator Leahy. He has stated that he believes it is an honor for the Vermont Guard to be the first recipient of the new Joint Strike Fighter.

I support and respect the men and women in the Guard. However, if being the first to have this plane is an honor, it is one that dishonors the people who live near the airport. This is not being a good neighbor. This is not something whose dangers and noise can be “mitigated”. And it’s a strange kind of honor that seeks to have Vermont be the first base for a botched fighter-bomber that Senator John McCain has called “one of the great national scandals.”

I don’t know if it’s a developer’s bonanza, or honor, or pride, or politics that has caused Leahy/Sanders/Welch/Shumlin/Weinberger to act in lockstep, but I am actually shocked at their callousness in failing to protect the children and adults that will be harmed physically, cognitively, and financially.

The Air Force will not be liable for all of these damages, and neither will the politicians. The City of Burlington will be left holding the bag.

As the landlord of the airport, the City of Burlington has the right to prevent its tenant, the Air Force, from basing F-35s on the City’s property. On October 7, the Burlington City Council has the opportunity, the responsibility, and the obligation to act on a resolution to protect the health and welfare of the citizens living near its airport. May they act in a spirit of care and compassion and reason.

–Ben Cohen, Burlington

AIR FORCE: BURLINGTON IN LINE TO RECEIVE F-35S

It’s Definitely Not Over: The Burlington City Council can still bar the basing, the EIS has major omissions that can challenged, several other legal challenges are in play, and a political decision made at Leahy’s demand can be changed just as quickly.

AIR FORCE: BURLINGTON IN LINE TO RECEIVE F-35S

The Vermont Air National Guard has all but won its bid to obtain a squadron of new F-35 fighter jets, the Burlington Free Press has learned.

“I can confirm on record that Burlington AGS remains the preferred alternative for the first ANG operational bed-down location,” Nicholas M. Germanos, the project manager for studies on F-35 basing, wrote in an email to the newspaper Wednesday.

Read more at : http://www.stopthef35.com/air-force-burlington-in-line-to-receive-f-35s/

Leahy concerned Air Force might pick active-duty base over Guard for F-35s

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., is concerned the U.S. Air Force might go forward with basing some F-35 fighter jets with an active military base and make no decision on the question of whether a National Guard facility, such as Vermont’s, would receive the plane.

“This isn’t the first time the Air Force or one of its major commands has tried to put the active force ahead of the Air National Guard,” the senator’s spokesman, David Carle, told the Burlington Free Press.

Click here to read the full article in Burlington Free Press.

Will It Fly?

The Joint Strike Fighter is the most expensive weapons system ever developed. It is plagued by design flaws and cost overruns. It flies only in good weather. The computers that run it lack the software they need for combat. No one can say for certain when the plane will work as advertised. Until recently, the prime contractor, Lockheed Martin, was operating with a free hand—paid handsomely for its own mistakes. Looking back, even the general now in charge of the program can’t believe how we got to this point. In sum: all systems go!

 

Greco: A Letter to Vermont’s Congressional Delegation on the F-35

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Rosanne Greco, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel who is now a member of the South Burlington City Council.

Dear Sen. Leahy, Sen. Sanders, and Rep. Welch,

For years, people have been asking you to meet with those who will live in the noise zone of the F-35A, and who have grave concerns about its impact on their lives. Most of us are trying to understand why such caring, social justice-minded men, such as yourselves, are acting so out of character by supporting the basing of the F-35A in our neighborhoods; and why you refuse to meet with us. It is baffling to many to think that you would choose the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned us about, over the health and financial well-being of thousands of average Vermonters.

People are guessing at reasons for your position. Here are some of them:

Assumption 1: You don’t know the facts, since your statements contradict what the Air Force has stated unequivocally.

Read full article

Video: Burlington City Council Meeting 8/12/13

Watch This!

South Burlington City Council meeting 8/19

The South Burlington City Council will be holding a council meeting this coming Monday, August 19 2013 at the Chamberlin School, starting at 7:00 PM.  The focus of the council meeting is to meet with the residents of the airport neighborhood to present information on the long-range plans for the airport, the FAA Home Buy-Out Program and demolition, noise mitigation, and other topics pertinent to the neighborhood, including using the abandoned homes for police, fire, etc training.  (The full agenda can be found by clicking here)
Anyone who now lives in the F-16 noise zone, and/or will live in the F-35A noise and crash zones is strongly encouraged to attend this very important meeting. Even more important is that these people, either in person or through an email, make their concerns known to So. Burlington elected officials.
Come in person, or email your comments and concerns to one, some, or all of the City Councilors, and the interim city manager:
Pam Mackenzie ([email protected]), Pat Nowak ([email protected]), Chris Shaw ([email protected]), Helen Riehle ([email protected]), and Rosanne Greco ([email protected]), interim city manager, Kevin Dorn ([email protected])
Other Important Upcoming Events:
Tuesday, August 20 at 7:00 pm – Save Our Skies VT meeting to organize and help support activities to oppose the F35 basing in collaboration with the STF35 Coalition.  Please RSVP for directions to:  [email protected]
Wednesday, August 21 at 6:30 pm – Stop The F35 Coalition meeting at Burlington College – Learn about the planned efforts to oppose the basing and volunteer opportunities to help.  For more info go to:  www.StopTheF35.com
We’re very grateful to everyone who can participate in this movement, and these meetings will be an opportunity for you to find out what kinds of contributions we need.
Please join us!
If you are unable to attend the meetings or volunteer your time, please consider sending us a monetary donation.  We are always in need of financial support to produce flyers and brochures and to support educational opportunities about this inappropriate and unjust proposal!
You can donate online at www.SOSVT.org or make a check out to: Save Our Skies VT c/o PJC, and send it to:
Save Our Skies VT
PO Box 191
Winooski, VT 05404
Thanks so much, and we hope to see you on at one or more of these upcoming events!
SaveOurSkiesVT.org

Residents Speak Out to Stop the F-35 Warplane Basing in Burlington

In coming months the Burlington City Council will be deciding whether to authorize the basing of the F-35 warplane at its airport. The basing of this super loud plane would be in the middle of Vermont’s most populated and diverse residential community. Residents asked the City Council to take action at this August 2013 meeting.

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Success Depends on Grassroots Leaders

Frank Cioffi, president of the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation (GBIC), opined in the Burlington Free Press that we should applaud the “leadership” of Vermont’s political establishment for their support of the F-35 basing in Burlington. Cioffi says these politicians have recognized the economic benefits, dealt with “complex” issues, and have stood up to the “bullying,” and fear-based “emotional arguments” of “Forty or 50” people who oppose the basing.

Such a mischaracterization would be laughable if the stakes weren’t so high.

For the record: No one from the Vermont Air Guard (VTANG), Congressional delegation, or the GBIC has commented to the Air Force contesting the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), including that the F-35 is four times louder than the F-16, that the extreme noise zone will expand to half the houses in Winooski and a portion of Burlington, and that 8,000 people will live in homes not “suitable for residential use.”

Read full article

What to Believe:

Click here to download pdf.

WHAT (AND WHO) TO BELIEVE

ABOUT THE F-35A BASING

Positions on the F-35A can be based on objective facts or subjective opinions. Listed below are the facts and opinions as stated by the opponents and supporters of the F-35A.

 

The facts, as stated by the opponents, come from government documents and professional health organizations, which are based on research and scientific studies. All references are cited.

 

The opinions come from ads, letters, and statements in the press from individuals. Since no source documents were provided to substantiate their statements, one can regard their views as being their own personal opinions or conjecture.

 

 

HEALTH AND LIFESTYLE

Opinions

 

I would unquestionably object to the potential F-35 basing in Vermont if I believed F-35 noise would make Winooski or South Burlington unlivable. But I don’t believe that will be the case. I am not willing to sacrifice any Vermont community for a new fighter jet….In fact, I support the F-35 because I believe its impacts, taken together, will make local communities more vibrant through increased investment.”

(Senator Patrick Leahy, June 22, 2012)

 

When asked by reporter, Mark Johnson “Is there anything you could hear that would change your mind and make you oppose this?” Leahy responded “Sure, if it was, if it came, if the report showed that this was a danger to our communities then, ah, of course, I would.”

(Senator Patrick Leahy, May 2013)

 

“…F-35 flight operations may represent 6 minutes of minimal inconvenience 4 days a week….”

(Open letter in BFP, October 4, 2012, signed by Pomerleau, Davis, Boardman, MacKenzie, Russell, Nedde, Simoneau, Reilly, Fay, Weisburgh, Michaels)

 

 

 

 

Facts

 

There is sufficient evidence from large-scale epidemiological studies linking the population’s exposure to environmental noise with adverse health effects. Therefore, environmental noise should be considered not only as a cause of nuisance but also a concern for public health and environmental health.”

(WHO p. xvii)

 

There is overwhelming evidence that exposure to environmental noise has adverse effects on the health of the population.” (WHO p. 105)

 

Noise is generally described as unwanted sound….Noise analysis thus requires assessing a combination of physical measurements of sound, physical and physiological effects, plus psycho-and socio-acoustic effects. The response of different individuals to similar noise events is diverse and influenced by the type of noise, the perceived importance of the noise, its appropriateness in the setting, the time of day, the type of activity during which the noise occurs, and the sensitivity of the individual.” (RDEIS p. 3-6)

 

There are several points of interest in the noise annoyance relation. The first is DNL of 65 dB. This is a level most commonly used for noise planning purposes and represents a compromise between community impact and the need for activities like aviation which do cause noise. Areas exposed to DNL about 65 dB are generally not considered suitable for residential use. The second is DNL of 55 dB, which was identified by USEPA as a level ‘…requisite to protect the public health and welfare with an adequate margin of safety,’ (USEPA 1974) which is essentially a level below which adverse impact is not expected. The third is DNL of 75 dB. This is the lowest level at which adverse health effects could be credible (USEPA 1974). The very high annoyance levels correlated with DNL of 75 dB make such areas unsuitable for residential land use.” (DEIS p. C-14/15)

 

“…Federal Interagency Committee (Department of Defense, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, Environmental Protection Agency, and Veterans Administration) published guidelines relating DNL to compatible land uses…In general, residential land uses normally are not compatible with outdoor DNL values above 65 dB…” (RDEIS p. C-12-13)

 

The Air Force recognizes that some individuals may feel that they have experienced a reduction in quality of life; however, impacts to quality of life are not possible to quantify, since any potential measurement would be based on a set of subjective experiences that are highly variable among individuals. The EIS does provide several indicators, such as the percentage of the population that would be highly annoyed by noise, as an estimate to predict quality of life impacts.” (RDEIS p GO-17)

 

The EIS quantifies areas and residential populations subject to noise levels of 65 dB DNL or greater in this manner because land use compatibility guidelines, as defined by FICUN and adopted by the DoD, indicate that residential areas subject to these noise levels would be considered incompatible unless additional noise level reduction measures were implemented. Individuals within areas designated as incompatible have an increased potential for annoyance….” (RDEIS p. GO-17)

 

Other studies have reported hearing losses from exposure to aircraft noise.”

(RDEIS p. 30)

 

Since the CHABA (a NIOSH and USEPA commissioned group) report (in 1981), there have been further studies that suggest that noise exposure may cause hypertension and other stress-related effects in adults.” (RDEIS p. C-26)

 

 

 

 

NOISE-RELATED HEALTH AND COGNITIVE EFFECTS ON CHILDREN

 

 

Opinions

 

When asked by reporter, Mark Johnson “Is there anything you could hear that would change your mind and make you oppose this?” Leahy responded “Sure, if it was, if it came, if the report showed that this was a danger to our communities then, ah, of course, I would.”

(Senator Patrick Leahy, May, 2013)

 

If the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) or the Department of Education felt there was any impact on children…they would have closed down Chamberlin long ago.”

(Pam Mackenzie, South Burlington City Council Chair, July 2013)

 

…there will be no adverse health effects on citizens.”

(Green Ribbon postcard, July 2013)

 

 

 

Facts

 

Children who were chronically exposed to aircraft noise…had modest (although significant) increases in blood pressure, significant increases in stress hormones, and a decline in quality of life.” (RDEIS p. 30)

 

The research reviewed does suggest that environments with sustained high background noise can have variable effects, including noise effects on learning and cognitive abilities and reports of various noise-related physiological changes. “ (RDEIS p. C-28)

 

In 2002 ANSI refers to studies that suggest that loud and frequent background noise can affect the learning patterns of young children. “ (RDEIS p. C-28)

 

It is generally accepted that young children are more susceptible than adults to the effects of background noise. Because of the developmental status of young children (linguistic, cognitive, and proficiency), barriers to hearing can cause interference or disruptions in developmental evolution.” (RDEIS p. C-28-29)

 

It has been suspected for many years that children’s learning and memory are negatively affected by noise. Over 20 studies have shown negative effects of noise on reading and memory in children…” (WHO p. 45-53)

 

Exposure during critical periods of learning at school could potentially impair development and have a lifelong effect on educational attainment.”

(WHO p. 45-53)

 

The Haines and Stansfield study indicated that there may be some long-term effects (to children) associated with exposure….” (RDEIS p. C-29)

 

“…there is increasing awareness that chronic exposure to high aircraft noise levels can impair learning. This awareness has led the WHO and a NATO working group to conclude that daycare centers and schools should not be located near major sources of noise, such as highways, airports, and industrial sites.”

(RDEIS p. 29)

 

A growing body of scientific knowledge demonstrates that children may suffer disproportionately from environmental health risks and safety risks.”

(Executive Order 13045)

 

PROPERTY VALUES

 

Opinions

 

In my opinion, based on local history, a subjective assessment that it will not have negative impact in the future can be made.”

(Brigadier General Steve Cray, Assistant Adjutant General-Air, 16 July 2012)

 

We have concluded that the basing of the F-35 will not add any significant negative impact to real estate values…”

(Open letter in BFP, October 4, 2012, signed by Pomerleau, Davis, Boardman, MacKenzie, Russell, Nedde, Simoneau, Reilly, Fay, Weisburgh, Michaels)

 

A GBIC analysis of data over a ten-year period showed “that property values within the current 65 DNL area have followed and reflected the overall trend of the County and of the real estate markets outside of the 65 DNL areas.”

(GBIC letter to SB City Council Chair, 24 July 2012)

 

Facts

 

In general, residential land uses normally are not compatible with outdoor DNL values above 65 dB, and the extent of land areas and populations exposed to DNL of 65 dB and higher provides the best means for assessing the noise impacts of alternative aircraft actions.” (RDEIS p. C-13)

 

The study concludes that noise by itself has been shown to decrease property values by a small amount.” (RDEIS p. SO-67)

 

Property within a noise zone (or Accident Zone) may be affected by the availability of federally guaranteed loans. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Veterans Administration (VA) guidance, sites are acceptable for program assistance, subsidy, or insurance for housing in noise zones of less than 65 dB DNL, and sites are conditionally acceptable with special approvals and noise attenuation in noise zones greater than 65 dB DNL. … HUD, FHA, and VA recommend sound attenuation for housing in the higher noise zones and written disclosures to all prospective buyers or lessees of property within a noise zone (or Accident Potential Zone). (RDEIS p. C49-50)

 

One paper…suggested a 1.8 to 2.3 percent decrease in property value per dB (increase)….their reviews found that decreases in property values usually range from 0.5 to 2 percent per dB increase of cumulative noise exposure. “

(RDEIS p. C-50)

 

“…the EIS acknowledges the potential and extent of noise from the F-35A has to affect property values.” (RDEIS p. GO-17)

 

Regarding the GBIC study: “The data on which the Winooski analysis rests are ‘extremely small’ and thus ‘statistically unreliable’. In seven of the 10 years studied, no more than five residential properties changed hands (in Winooski). Only nine homes in (South Burlington) were sold to private buyers during the years included in the GBIC study….Over the past decade, the FAA has purchased about 90 houses in that designated excessive-noise zone. Subsequently, they were either demolished or slated for demolition.” Thus, virtually all of the homes used in the GBIC study were purchased with federal money for demolition because of the noise. Dozens of legitimate studies on the impact of airport noise on property values all come to the same conclusion: property values are damaged by high noise.

(Allen & Brooks Inc.)

 

NOTE: “The appraisal of the property to be acquired shall disregard any decrease or increase in the fair market value of the real property caused by the project for which the property is to be acquired…”

(FAA)

 

An analysis of 110 home sales in and outside the Burlington noise zone found the average difference in sale prices was 15% or $33,534. Homes within the noise zones sold for 15% — or on average $33,534 — less than comparable homes outside the noise zone. “The difference is identified as the average amount per property attributable to the negative impact of airport noise on residential property value.”

(Larson Appraisal Company)

 

The seller has a duty to disclose any issues he or she may be aware of….the seller should disclose any problems as truthfully and accurately as possible (on the Seller’s Property Information Report—SPIR). The SPIR was developed by the Vermont Association of Realtors as a way to cut down on lawsuits by buyers against sellers. Whether or not a SPIR is filled out, if it is later discovered the seller was aware of problems and did not disclose them to the buyer, it could be considered misrepresentation or omission under Vermont Consumer Fraud Act, 9 V.S.A. 2451-2480” (Vermont Property Owners Report, Feb-March 2013)

 

A real estate disclosure policy would be developed for land uses within the 65 dB DNL contour, and implemented through revisions to zoning ordinances (ROA Section II. C. 15). Status: Not implemented. The Airport has not actively encouraged the use of Real Estate Disclosures for properties within the 65 dB DNL contour but will be working with the City of South Burlington and the City of Winooski in that regard.” (FAA Part 150 Report p. 16)

 

 

 

NOISE LOUDNESS AND TIME

 

Opinions

 

One fact that is known is that that the F35 will be somewhat louder during take-off for approximately six minutes a day, four days a week.”

(Brigadier General Steve Cray, Assistant Adjutant General, 16 July 2012)

 

It’s going to be similar to the annoyances and impacts we’ve had with the F-16 for the past 25 years.”

(Brigadier Dick Harris, Assistant Adjutant General for Air, VTANG, June 6, 2013)

 

“…I do not believe that the F-35 is significantly louder than the F-16, especially when the afterburner is not deployed.”

(Governor Peter Shumlin, February 13, 2013)

 

“…the F-35 will create sound similar to the F-16, there will be 2,613 fewer operations per year…”

(Green Ribbon postcard, July 2013)

 

Cioffi said he did not think the noise level of the F-35 would be any different from that of the F-16s that the new jets would replace, based on research by GBIC and on his own personal observation. ‘The two aircraft are so similar that we expect the experience of the F-35 to be the same as the F-16.’

(Frank Cioffi, Greater Burlington Industrial Corp. President, June 4 2013)

 

“…F-35 flight operations may represent 6 minutes of minimal inconvenience 4 days a week….”

(Open letter in BFP, October 4, 2012, signed by Pomerleau, Davis, Boardman, MacKenzie, Russell, Nedde, Simoneau, Reilly, Fay, Weisburgh, Michaels)

 

Facts

 

Table 6.7 in the Executive Summary shows the F-35A would be between 17 dB and 20 dB greater in SEL and between 21 dB and 25 dB greater in Lmax than the F-16 during takeoff and arrival, directly over the receiver at an altitude of 1,000 ft and at an altitude of 1,500 ft over the receiver on a downwind leg of a local pattern operations. As explained in Appendix C, Section C1.1 a change in (single-event) sound level of 10 dB is usually perceived by the average person as a doubling (or halving) of the sound’s loudness. Concur regarding sound pressure doubling with every 3 dB change and by a factor of 10 for every dB change.”

(RDEIS p. NS-40)

 

The effect of the reduction in flight operations (referring to scenario 2) would be offset by the F-35A producing a single-event departure SELs 17 dB greater than the F-16s at Burlington AGS…The contribution of civilian aircraft would be negligible compared to the military aircraft contribution.” (RDEIS p. BR4-33)

 

The effect of the reduction in flight operations (referring to scenario 1) would be offset by the F-35A producing a single-event departure SELs 7 to 17 dB greater than the F-16s at Burlington AGS…The contribution of civilian aircraft would be negligible compared to the military aircraft contribution.” (RDEIS p. BR4-28)

 

A change in sound level of about 10 dB is usually perceived by the average person as a doubling (or halving) of the sound’s loudness, and this relation holds true for loud sounds and for quieter sounds. “ (RDEIS p. C-2)

 

The cumulative nature of DNL means that the same level of noise exposure can be achieved in an essentially infinite number of ways….Areas exposed to noise levels between DNL 65 dB and 75 dB are “normally unacceptable,” and require special abatement measures and review. Those at 75 dB and above are “unacceptable” except under very limited circumstances.”

(FAA Part 150 Report p. 5)

 

Pages C1 through C58 of the RDEIS explain noise, noise modeling, noise metrics, and noise effects. Damage from noise is based on amplitude, frequency, time averaging, maximum sound level, peak sound level, sound exposure level, equivalent sound level, day-night average sound level, number of events above a threshold level, time above a specified level, duration, intensity, unpredictability and the cumulative effect of the noise. (RDEIS p. C1-58)

 

USEPA (in 1974) identified DNL of 55 dB as ‘ requisite to protect public health and welfare….” (RDEIS p, C-18)

 

When considering intermittent noise caused by aircraft overflights, a review of the relevant scientific literature and international guidelines indicates that an appropriate criteria is a limit on indoor background noise levels of 35 to 40 dB Leq, and a limit on single events of 50 dB Lmax.” (RDEIS p. C-20)

 

The Time Above (TA) metric quantifies the amount of time the noise level would be equal to or greater than a selected threshold Maximum Sound Level (Lmax); but the DoD noise model used for this EIS is not yet capable of estimating TA. The EIS provides Maximum Sound Level (Lmax) data for the F-35 and F-16; Table BR3.2.1 as an example.” (RDEIS p. NS-32)

 

There are several points of interest in the noise annoyance relation. The first is DNL of 65 dB. This is a level most commonly used for noise planning purposes and represents a compromise between community impact and the need for activities like aviation, which do cause noise. Areas exposed to DNL about 65 dB are generally not considered suitable for residential use. The second is DNL of 55 dB, which was identified by USEPA as a level ‘…requisite to protect the public health and welfare with an adequate margin of safety,’ (USEPA 1974) which is essentially a level below which adverse impact is not expected. The third is DNL of 75 dB. This is the lowest level at which adverse health effects could be credible (USEPA 1974). The very high annoyance levels correlated with DNL of 75 dB make such areas unsuitable for residential land use.” (DEIS p. C-14/15)

 

 

JOBS AND THE ECONOMY

 

Opinions

 

Basing the F-35A in our state would create jobs, spur economic growth, and increase investment opportunities for Vermont businesses.”

(Governor Peter Shumlin, February 13, 2013)

 

Job losses are always hard, but it is important to remember that Vermont currently has the third lowest unemployment rate in the country. Many employers in Vermont are ready to hire those with the skills and education….”

(Governor Peter Shumlin, June 12, 2013 regarding the IBM layoffs)

 

My opinion on the F-35 has not changed…All I can tell you is my support for the F-35 is based upon the thousands of jobs it creates.”

(Governor Peter Shumlin, June 4, 2013)

 

 

Facts

 

Under ANG Scenario 1 there would be no net change in the number of military personnel. Therefore, there would be no change to military payrolls or any subsequent impacts to regional employment or income …Additional taxes would accrue…as a result of the increase on construction activities. These impacts, while beneficial, would be minor.” (RDEIS p. BR 4-77)

 

ANG Scenario 2 would result in an increase of 266 military personnel: an increase of 83 full-time and 183 part-time traditional guardsmen…Traditional guardsmen generally hold full-time jobs outside the ANG and train at least one weekend per month and two additional weeks per year with the ANG. …As any increases in secondary employment as a result of the increase in personnel would also be minor and ….would not affect short-or-long-term regional employment and income trends.… Additional taxes would accrue…as a result of the increase on construction activities. These impacts, while beneficial, would be minor (RDEIS p. BR4-78-79)

 

MG Dubie said that the Air Guard would lose maintainer jobs if the F-35A were to be based at the VTANG. At least half of the full-time Air Guard jobs are maintainer jobs.

(Public Hearing, April 19, 2010 at the 45-minute period of the hearing)

 

 

MITIGATION OF THE NOISE

 

Opinions

 

We feel strongly that we can mitigate those impacts (noise problems) by working with the community on the noise issues.”

(Brigadier Dick Harris, Assistant Adjutant General for Air, VTANG, June 6, 2013)

 

Facts

 

Land acquisition and relocation is the only alternative that would eliminate the residential incompatibility.” (FAA Part 150 Report p. 29)

 

“…noise barriers provide little, if any reduction, of noise from aircraft that are airborne and can be seen over the barrier.” (FAA Part 150 Report p. 35)

 

Therefore noise barriers are not recommended for inclusion in the Part 150 program at this time.” (FAA Part 150 Report p. 36)

 

Therefore, soundproofing is considered the least desirable alternative for addressing sound in residential dwellings.” (FAA Part 150 Report p. 46)

 

“…the Air Force and Air National Guard have no plans to acquire or demolish residences as part of the F-35A beddown.” (RDEIS p. BR4-17)

 

“…the Burlington AGS would continue to undertake the voluntary restrictions outlined in the Burlington Noise Compatibility Program Update (BTV NCP 2008). The F-35As would maintain the quiet hours, keep within the specified arrival and departure routes and procedures, as well as ensure that single F-35A flights are flown out of the airport as opposed to simultaneous (or formation) takeoffs.” (RDEIS p. BR4-17)

 

No other extra-ordinary mitigation measure are required beyond those prescribed under existing federal and state laws, regulations, and permit requirements to minimize, avoid, or reduce impacts. “ (RDEIS p. BR4-18)

 

“…the Air National Guard is one of the dominant noise contributors to the DNL contours, as documented in the August 2006 NEW Update…”

(FAA Part 150 Report p. 21)

 

 

FUTURE OF THE VERMONT AIR GUARD

 

Opinions

 

“…over six hundred members of the Air Guard live in the surrounding communities of the airport….and there are over four hundred full time jobs and six hundred part time jobs at the VT Air Guard.”

(Brigadier General Steve Cray, Assistant Adjutant General, 16 July 2012)

 

I would rather protect the mission of the citizen soldiers of the Vermont Guard and maintain 1,100 jobs here in Vermont rather than in South Carolina or Florida.”

(Senator Bernie Sanders, April 20, 2013 and July 26, 2013)

 

The Vermont Air National Guard is a key driver of Vermont’s economy with 1,500 jobs currently attributable to its strong presence.”

(Representative Peter Welch, July 26, 2013)

 

Although I cannot predict what will happen to the Air Guard if the F35 is not based in Vermont, I can definitely say that the unit’s mission will be different and most likely will require a lot less personnel.”

(Brigadier General Steve Cray, Assistant Adjutant General, 16 July 2012)

 

 

 

Facts

 

Therefore, if there is no F-35A operational beddown at Burlington AGS the current mission would continue.” (RDEIS p. PA-47)

 

At each location, there are on-going and currently planned activities and programs that would continue, whether or not the location is chosen for beddown of the F-35A operational aircraft.” (RDEIS p. 2-29)

 

The Air Force plans to upgrade all 1,018 of its F-16s and 175 F-15C/D Eagles to keep them flying until the F-35A joint strike fighter is fully operational and new weapons systems on the F-22 Raptor are installed, according to the 2014 budget request released April 10. In the fiscal 2014 budget request, the Air Force states the service life extension for all F-16s will add eight to 10 years to each airframe, along with upgrades to the fighter’s radars, cockpit displays and other communications interfaces.” (Air Force Times, April 23, 2013)

 

The Air Force is already using service life extension programs to keep F-16s flying while the F-35A are delayed. These jets have seen extensive use in Iraq and Afghanistan and will continue to fly until at least 2030 while the F-35As stand up.” (Air Force Times, May 13, 2013)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

POLITICAL INFLUENCE

Opinions

I feel strongly that none of our state’s Congressional delegation should put our fingers on the scale. All Vermonters deserve to be heard, and I do not want to tamper with the fair and open public comment process.”

(Senator Patrick Leahy, June 22, 2012)

 

What I’ve seen of it, there’s nothing that changes my mind.”

(Senator Patrick Leahy, June 4, 2013, responding to the Revised Draft EIS)

 

My opinion on the F-35 has not changed…All I can tell you is my support for the F-35 is based upon the thousands of jobs it creates.”

(Governor Peter Shumlin, June 4, 2013)

 

Facts

 

Other basing factors include, but are not limited to; aircraft production, government budget constraints, national defense policy and political considerations.” (RDEIS p. PI-54)

Prior to the scoping meetings, the Air Force initiated contact with possible interested and affected government agencies, government representatives, elected officials, and interested parties in the states potentially affected…” (RDEIS p. 1-8)

The Air National Guard and the Air Force are working with local and state officials to address specific questions and issues associated with the proposed basing of the F-35A at Burlington International Airport.” (RDEIS p. PI-51)

“…federal, state and local agencies, as well as members of the public, are invited to comment on the Draft EIS.” (RDEIS p. PI-55)

 

 

 

 

 

Source documents for facts:

  • WHO: World Health Organization: Burden of Disease from Environmental Noise, 2011
  • DEIS and RDEIS: Revised 2013 Draft (and 2012 Draft) United States Air Force F-35A Operational Basing Environmental Impact Statement
  • Executive Order 13045: Presidential Order on the Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks, 2003
  • USEPA: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • FAA: Federal Aviation Administration
  • Vermont Property Owners Report
  • Air Force Times
  • Allen & Brooks, Inc.
  • Larson Appraisal Company (July 2013)

Source documents for opinions:

  • GBIC Report (July 2012)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The facts come from government and health care organizations. The U.S. Air Force Environmental Impact Statement took years to prepare, and millions of dollars to complete. It was prepared by “resource and technical experts in their various fields as noted by their education and years of experience.” (RDEIS p. PI-54) The WHO report contains over 300 scientific meta-analysis studies, which then underwent peer reviews.

The opinions come from those who would benefit economically or politically from the F-35A basing.

The opinions contradict the facts. Both cannot be correct.

Believe government and health organizations — or politicians, big businesses, and developers.

It is your choice. Make an informed one. (August 2013)

Download the F-35A Basing Fact Sheet

Click here to download the pdf: Fact Sheets on F-35A Basing 8-9-2013

Burlington Vermont Air Guard Station

F-35A Basing

Fact Sheets

_________________

(August 2013)

 

 

I. NEGATIVE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS of F-35A Basing at Burlington Air Guard Station

 

A. BASIC FACTS2013 Revised Draft Environment Impact Statement (RDEIS)

 

  1. McEntire JNGB in South Carolina is the environmentally preferable alternative base (Page 2-30).

 

  1. There are negative impacts to the Burlington area in the following categories: noise, air quality, land use, socioeconomics, environmental justice/protection of children, community facilities and public services, ground traffic and transportation, climate change, cumulative effects, and irreversible commitment of resources (RDEIS).

 

  1. LAND USE

 

  • Noise levels increase under both scenarios (scenario 1 bases 18 F-35As; scenario 2 bases 24 F-35As). “In general, residential land uses normally are not compatible with outdoor DNL values above 65 dB….” (Page C-13).

 

  1. Baseline conditions (current F-16s) and F-35A impacts (based on 2010 U.S. census data) are as follows:

 

  • Baseline (F-16s) affects 1,963 acres; 371 residential acres; 1,966 households; 4,602 people; 463 (10%) low-income and 581 (13%) minorities; 11 receptors
  • Scenario 1: 2,252 acres; 564 residential acres; 2,963 households; 6,663 people; 1,064 (16%) low-income and 748 (11%) minorities; 16 receptors
  • Scenario 2: 2,635 acres; 667 residential acres; 3,410 households; 7,719 people; 1,224 (16%) low-income and 856 (11%) minorities; 17 receptors

 

NOTE: AF reports that 4,692 children live in South Burlington and Winooski; but they did not report how many children live and/or go to school in the noise zone. Local assessors estimate there are about 1,500 children in the noise zone.

 

  • Today: 1,963 acres; 1,966 households; 4,602 people; 463 low-income; 581 minorities; 11 receptors
  • Scenario 1: 2,252 acres; 2,963 households; 6,663 people; 1,064 low-income; 748 minorities
  • Scenario 2: 2,635 acres; 3,410 households; 7,719 people; 1,224 low-income; 856 minorities

(Pages BR 4-22, 4-28, 4-33, 4-66, 4-80-83)

 

  1. Of the other Air Guard bases under consideration in the RDEIS, only Burlington has an increase in base residential land use impacts. For example, the residential impact increases by 80% in Burlington. It decreases by 100% at McEntire, SC, and decreases by 71%at Jacksonville, FL (Page ES-70).

 

    • At Jacksonville AGS: 45 households and 170 people (scenario 1); or 57 households and 210 people (scenario 2) will be affected by the F-35A basing (Page ES-29).
    • At McEntire JNGB: 91 households and 245 people (scenario 1); or 120 households and 321 people (scenario 2) will be affected by the F-35A basing (Page ES-37).

 

 

 

B. SAFETY IMPACTS

 

  1. The F-35A is a new type of aircraft; historical trends show that mishaps rates of all types decrease the longer an aircraft is operational and as flight crews and maintenance personnel learn more about the aircraft’s capabilities and limitations….” (Page ES-12).

 

  1. Accident Protection Zones are established at military airfields to delineate recommended surrounding land uses for the protection of people and property on the ground.” These areas in the vicinity of an airfield “have the highest potential to be affected if an aircraft mishap were to occur.” “Similar to APZs, but used at civilian airports, RPZs (Runway Protection Zones) are trapezoidal zones extending outward from the ends of active runways at commercial airports and delineate those areas recognized as having the greatest risk of aircraft mishaps (crashes), most of which occur during take-off or landing” (Page 3-26).

 

  1. “…there have not been enough flight hours to accurately depict the specific safety record for this new aircraft” (Page 3-28).

 

 

C. HEALTH IMPACTS of Noise on Adults and Children

 

  1. The RDEIS uses decades old studies regarding the health impacts to adults and children. More recent studies show overwhelming evidence that noise causes physical and psychological harm to human beings. In the case of children, there is convincing evidence that noise, in particular, aircraft noise, cause cognitive impairment in children.

 

  1. A growing body of scientific knowledge demonstrates that children may suffer disproportionately from environmental health risks and safety risks” (Executive Order 13045, Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks, 2003).

 

  1. Even using old data, the RDEIS still cites studies reporting physical harm from noise.

 

  • Other studies have reported hearing losses from exposure to aircraft noise” (RDEIS Page 30).

 

  • Since the CHABA (a NIOSH and USEPA commissioned group) report (in 1981), there have been further studies that suggest that noise exposure may cause hypertension and other stress-related effects in adults” (RDEIS Page C-26).

 

  • Children who were chronically exposed to aircraft noise…had modest (although significant) increases in blood pressure, significant increases in stress hormones, and a decline in quality of life” (RDEIS Page 30).

 

  • The research reviewed does suggest that environments with sustained high background noise can have variable effects, including noise effects on learning and cognitive abilities and reports of various noise-related physiological changes“ (RDEIS Page C-28).

 

  • In 2002 ANSI refers to studies that suggest that loud and frequent background noise can affect the learning patterns of young children“ (RDEIS Page C-28).

 

  • It is generally accepted that young children are more susceptible than adults to the effects of background noise. Because of the developmental status of young children (linguistic, cognitive, and proficiency), barriers to hearing can cause interference or disruptions in developmental evolution” (RDEIS Page C-28-29).

 

  • The Haines and Stansfield study indicated that there may be some long-term effects (to children) associated with exposure….” (RDEIS Page C-29).

 

  • “…there is increasing awareness that chronic exposure to high aircraft noise levels can impair learning. This awareness has led the WHO and a NATO working group to conclude that daycare centers and schools should not be located near major sources of noise, such as highways, airports, and industrial sites” (RDEIS Page 29).

 

  • More recent studies including those compiled and reviewed in the 2011 World Health Organization Report, “Burden of Disease from Environmental Noise” show overwhelming evidence of harm caused by noise.

 

  • There is sufficient evidence from large-scale epidemiological studies linking the population’s exposure to environmental noise with adverse health effects. Therefore, environmental noise should be considered not only as a cause of nuisance but also a concern for public health and environmental health” (WHO Page xvii).

 

  • There is overwhelming evidence that exposure to environmental noise has adverse effects on the health of the population” (WHO Page 105).

 

  • It has been suspected for many years that children’s learning and memory are negatively affected by noise. Over 20 studies have shown negative effects of noise on reading and memory in children…” (WHO Page 45-53).

 

  • Exposure during critical periods of learning at school could potentially impair development and have a lifelong effect on educational attainment” (WHO Pages 45-53).

 

 

D. ECONOMIC IMPACTS of Noise on Residents

 

  1. In general, residential land uses normally are not compatible with outdoor DNL values above 65 dB…” (RDEIS Page C-13).

 

  1. HUD, FAA, and VA recommend written disclosures to all prospective buyers or lessees of property within this noise area (RDEIS Pages C-49-50).

 

NOTE: “The seller has a duty to disclose any issues he or she may be aware of….the seller should disclose any problem as truthfully and accurately as possible (on the Seller’s Property Information Report—SPIR). The SPIR was developed by the Vermont Association of Realtors as a way to cut down on lawsuits by buyers against sellers. Whether or not a SPIR is filled out, if it is later discovered the seller was aware of problems and did not disclose them to the buyer, it could be considered misrepresentation or omission under Vermont Consumer Fraud Act, 9 V.S.A. 2451-2480” (Vermont Property Owners Report, Feb-March 2013).

 

  1. Properties in noise areas over 65 dB DNL may not be eligible for federally guaranteed loans, program assistance, subsidy, or insurance (RDEIS Pages C-49-50).

 

  1. One study showed a 1.8 to 2.3% decrease in property values per dB increase of cumulative noise exposure (RDEIS Page C-50).

 

  1. Another study showed decreases in property values usually range from 0.5 to 2% per dB increase of cumulative noise exposure (RDEIS Pages C-50).

 

6. “…the EIS acknowledges the potential and extent of noise from the F-35A has to affect property values” (RDEIS Page GO-17).

 

7. There are dozens of economic studies related to noise on property values. Virtually every study, including an FAA study, concludes that airport noise has a negative impact on property values.

 

    • Locally, an independent appraisal company conducted an analysis of 110 South Burlington homes purchased under the FAA buyout program. The average home in the 65 dB DNL noise zone lost 15% (approximately over $33,000) in value because of its location (Larson Appraisal, Airport Noise Impact on Residential Property Values, July 2013).

 

    • A study, conducted by the GBIC, who has been outspoken in favor of the F-35A basing, concluded that noise levels did not affect property values. The study was seriously flawed.

 

      1. It did not address whether the homes were located in the noise zone.

 

      1. Its sample size was extremely small: (15 homes in 10 years in Winooski and 9 homes in 10 years in South Burlington sold to private individuals).

 

      1. It included the FAA buy-out sales in South Burlington as “evidence” that homes are selling well and at market value.

 

        • FAA buyouts require market value purchases; and the appraisal value of the house specifically excludes the fact that the house is located near an airport.
        • These homes were purchased because they were the noise zone of the F-16.

 

      1. It grouped all sales (condo, single family homes, etc) together, thus distorting the sale price of single-family homes.

 

 

8. In South Burlington, 180 homes were identified as being in the 65 and higher dB DNL noise zones for the F-16 (2008 FAA report Page 29).

 

  • The FAA Part 150 Update, dated April 2008, states “…the Air National Guard is one of the dominant noise contributors to the DNL contours, as documented in the August 2006 NEM Update….” (FAA Page 21).

 

  • Land acquisition and relocation is the only alternative that would eliminate the residential incompatibility” (FAA Page 29).

 

  • “…noise barriers provide little, if any, reductions of noise from aircraft that are airborne and can be seen over the barrier” (FAA Page 35).

 

9. The FAA report states what the Burlington airport was required to do…and then finds it did not take the appropriate action. “A real estate disclosure policy would be developed for land uses within the 65 dB DNL contour, and implemented through revisions to zoning ordinances (ROA Section II. C. 15). Status: Not implemented. The Airport has not actively encouraged the use of Real Estate Disclosures for properties within the 65 dB DNL contour but will be working with the City of South Burlington and the City of Winooski in that regard” (FAA Part 150 Report Page 16).

 

  1. To date, over 127 affordable homes in South Burlington have been demolished because of their proximity to the airport and the noise from military aircraft. Another 54 are awaiting demolition because of F-16 noise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

MYTHS

 

II. ECONOMIC MYTH: It will bring jobs and benefit the area economically.

 

  1. RDEIS states there is NO economic gain under scenario 1. There would be no increase in jobs (Page BR4-77).

 

  1. RDEIS states there would be only “minor” economic effect from the 266 additional military persons (83 full-time and 183 part-time) that would be added under scenario 2 (Page BR4-78 and 4-79).

 

        1. Some or all of the 83 full-time military could be transferred here from other places around the U.S. (Page BR4-78).
        2. The 183 part-time jobs would likely be filled through local recruitment (Page BR4-78).

 

  1. MG Dubie said that the Air Guard would LOSE maintainer jobs if the F-35A were to be based here, but he did not say how many jobs would be lost (public hearing, April 19, 2010).

 

    1. The F-35A will not be maintained at the Burlington Air Guard Station, as is the F-16. The F-35A will be maintained at a centralized location.
    2. At least half of the full-time VT Air Guard jobs are maintainer jobs.

 

 

III. NOISE MYTHS

A. TIME MYTH: The F-35A will cause noise for only six minutes a day, four days a week, and this is a minor inconvenience.

 

  1. The RDEIS spends 58 pages, and cites 184 references and studies explaining noise, noise modeling, noise metrics, and noise effects (Pages C1-58). The noise metrics include:
  • maximum sound level (Lmax)
  • peak sound level
  • equivalent sound level (Leq)
  • sound exposure level (SEL)
  • day-night average sound level (DNL)
  • onset-rate-adjusted monthly day-night average sound level (Ldnmr)
  • number-of-events above a threshold level (NA)
  • time above a specified level (TA)

 

2. The RDEIS analyzes noise effects on the following:

  • non-auditory health
  • annoyance
  • speech interference
  • sleep disturbance
  • hearing impairment
  • performance
  • learning and cognitive abilities
  • children
  • domestic animals and wildlife
  • property values
  • structures
  • terrain
  • cultural resources

 

3. The F-35A will fly 7,296 operations annually under scenario 2, and 5,486 operations annually under scenario 1, with all occurring during environmental daytime hours (between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.) 260 days per year (Page BR4-4).

 

4. Using Air Force projections of 7,296 F-35A operations over 260 days per year, residents will experience unsafe noise levels 28 times per flying day, or one-to-two times per waking hour.

 

5. Ads claiming six minutes of noise per day count only F-16 takeoff noise, ignoring noise produced on landing and during overhead pattern events from F-16s and other aircraft. But even just six minutes a day is more than 12 times the safe standard.

 

 

 

B. NOISE LOUDNESS MYTH: The F-35A will sound similar to the F-16.

 

1. The RDEIS states the F-35A would be between 17 dB and 20 dB greater in SEL; and between 21 dB and 25 dB greater in Lmax than the F-16 during takeoff and arrival….” (Page NS-40). F-16 take-off noise in military power setting is 94 dB Lmax; F-35A take-off noise in military power setting is 115 dB Lmax (Page BR4-21).

 

2. “A change in sound level of about 10 dB is usually perceived by the average person as a doubling (or halving) of the sound’s loudness….” (Page C-2).

 

3. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that the safe time for 115 dB (assessed F-35A noise on take-off) is 14 seconds. 

 

4. The RDEIS says even though F-35A flight operations would be less than the F-16 flight operations, “The effect of the reduction in flight operations would be offset by the F-35A producing a single-event departure SELs 17 dB greater than the F-16s at Burlington AGS” (Pages BR4-28 and 4-33).

 

5. Any claim that draws conclusions from a single incident of noise ignores science and health studies that show damage from noise is cumulative; and even just a few minutes of tremendous noise, repeated over time, has significant health consequences.  Recent scientific analysis clearly shows that extended exposure, even at small intervals, to excessive noise causes irreparable health damage. 

 

  • Damage from noise is based on amplitude, frequency, time averaging, maximum sound level, peak sound level, sound exposure level, equivalent sound level, day-night average sound level, number of events above a threshold level, time above a specified level, duration, intensity, unpredictability and the cumulative effect of the noise (RDEIS Pages C1-58).

 

  • The cumulative nature of DNL means that the same level of noise exposure can be achieved in an essentially infinite number of ways….Areas exposed to noise levels between DNL 65 dB and 75 dB are “normally unacceptable,” and require special abatement measures and review. Those at 75 dB and above are “unacceptable” except under very limited circumstances” (FAA Part 150 Report Page 5).

 

  • When considering intermittent noise caused by aircraft overflights, a review of the relevant scientific literature and international guidelines indicates that an appropriate criteria is a limit on indoor background noise levels of 35 to 40 dB Leq, and a limit on single events of 50 dB Lmax” (RDEIS Page C-20).

 

  • USEPA (in 1974) identified DNL of 55 dB as ‘ requisite to protect public health and welfare’….” (RDEIS Page C-18).

 

 

 

 

C. NOISE MITIGATION MYTH: The Vermont Air Guard can mitigate the noise.

 

  1. According to the FAA Part 150 Report, “Land acquisition and relocation is the only alternative that would eliminate the residential incompatibility” (FAA Part 150 Report Page 29).

 

  1. Neither the Air Force nor the Air Guard has “plans to acquire or demolish residences as part of the F-35A beddown” (RDEIA Page BR4-17).

 

  1. The only mitigation measures listed in the Air Force report are to operate the F-35A in the same manner as the F-16s: keeping the same flight schedule, employing single takeoffs, and not flying at night (Page BR4-17).

 

  1. Yet, F-35A supporters claim the Air Guard pilots can fly the F-35A quieter than the F-16.

 

  • The Air Force report clearly states the F-35A is 3-4 times louder than the F-16.
  • The Air Guard cannot reduce the noise of the F-16, which they have flown for decades.
  • In fact, the noise of the F-16 has increased in recent years, and the pilots are unable to mitigate the noise of the plane they now fly.
  • How credible then is their claim to alter the noise of a plane they have never flown?

 

 

 

IV. FUTURE OF THE VERMONT AIR GUARD MYTH: If the F-35A does not come here, the

Guard Station will close.

 

  1. The Air Force stated that “…if there is no F-35A operational beddown at Burlington AGS the current mission would continue” (RDEIS Page PA-47).

 

  1. No public official (military, government, or politician) has EVER said the base will close if the F-35A is not based here. (Scare tactics imply the base will close.)

 

  1. MG Dubie said in a press conference in July 2012, that if the F-35A does not come here, the base MAY get SMALLER (meaning the Air Guard).

 

  1. BG Cray stated at a press conference in July 2013 that he could not predict what would happen to the Air Guard if the F-35A is not based in Vermont, but he did say that the unit’s mission would be different and most likely would require a lot less personnel.

 

  1. However, in April 2013, the Air Force announced it was upgrading all of the F-16s to keep them flying until the F-35A is fully operational. The Air Force stated it intends to keep the F-16s flying until at least 2030.

 

  1. Nonetheless, there are other missions for the Air Guard, including drones, anti-terrorism missions, and cyber security.

 

  1. The F-35A basing does not affect the VT Army Guard, which comprise the majority of the Vermont National Guard.

 

    • The Army Guard has approximately 4,000 members.
    • VT Air Guard is authorized 1,130 members: 730 part-time military (one weekend a month), and 400 full-time military and civilians members. BG Cray stated that over six hundred members of the Air Guard live in the surrounding communities of the airport.
    • Guard members often come from other states to serve their monthly weekend Guard duty. It is unclear how much of the reported $53 million in salaries are paid to Vermonters.

 

  1. Even were the Air Guard Station to close, it’s doubtful that it would have a significant economic impact on our area. Over the past three years, our area added 4,250 new jobs (1,400 new jobs per year).

 

9. Two possible outcomes are:

 

  • The Air Guard Station closes entirely 20 years from now, and 400 Air Guard members lose their full-time jobs, and 730 Air Guard members lose their part-time (one weekend a month) jobs.
  • The F-35As arrive here five years from now, and 1,500 of our children suffer physical and cognitive impairment, over 7,719 local residents lose their quality of life, a decrease in home values, and are trapped in houses that the federal government labels unsuitable for residential use.

 

10. Comparison to the closing of the former Plattsburg AFB is absurd.

 

    • Plattsburgh was an active duty base with over 5,000 full-time active duty personnel, in an area (Plattsburg) with a population of around 20,000.
    • The Burlington Air Guard Station has 400 full-time personnel, in an area with a population (Burlington and South Burlington) of around 60,000.
    • The economy of Plattsburgh recovered in half of the time expected (12 years versus the estimated 25 years).

 

 

 

V. NATIONAL SECURITY/ GUARD SUPPORT/ PATRIOTISM MYTHS: National Security, Guard Support, Patriotic duty depend on the F-35A being based here

 

A. National Security

  1. Military experts, politicians, and academics agree that the current major threats to the U.S. are terrorism and cyber-warfare.
  • Fighter-bombers have no role in countering these threats in the U.S.

 

  1. The only threat from military aircraft comes from Russia and China.
  • Vermont is a poor location to respond to these threats.
  • Current F-16s are more than sufficient to defend the U.S.; are more reliable, have better performance characteristics, and cost 75% less than the F-35A.

 

  1. The F-35A can and might carry nuclear weapons.
    • This makes an F-35A base a huge target for terrorists/other enemies.
    • AF has had recent problems with nuclear weapons security.

 

 

B. Vermont Air Guard Support

 

  1. Supporting the Guard means looking long-term. Actively recruiting and accepting new missions which counter current and future threats to our democracy is the best way to ensure a stable future for the VT Air Guard.

 

  1. Supporting the Guard means providing all the services our Guard families need when their Guard member is deployed, and most importantly all the services the guardswomen and guardsmen and their families need when they return to Vermont from war zones.

 

 

C. Patriotism

 

  1. Patriotism does not mean blindly accepting whatever weapon system defense contractors propose and politicians support.

 

  1. Patriotism does not mean bankrupting our country so huge defense contractors can stay in business.

 

  1. Patriotism does not mean that defense contractor executives and shareholders should be the ones who profit most from astronomically expensive weapon systems.

 

  1. Patriotism means supporting what is best for our citizens, including a good job for all who can work, a health system that cares for all regardless of economic status, education that allows all individuals to reach their potential, social security in their old age, and safe housing for everyone.

 

  1. Patriotism means supporting our troops and ensuring that they and their families are taken care of financially and medically. Yet our government is planning to pay for costly and questionable weapon systems, such as the F-35A, by reducing (firing) military personnel; eliminating civilian jobs; freezing military salaries; cutting our troops’ benefits; slashing their families’ benefits; increasing veterans’ health care costs; and cutting programs for homeless, disabled, and unemployed veterans.

 

 

 

VI. SCORING SHEET Problems

 

A. PURPOSE of the Scoring Sheet

 

  1. The Air Force devised a scoring methodology to explain how bases were chosen. This was done to preclude future disputes and lawsuits such as the one filed against the F-35A basing at Eglin AFB, in Florida. It was intended to bring more transparency to the process.

 

  1. The scoring sheet rated the bases in four areas: Mission, Capacity, Environment and Cost (Page 2-25).

 

    • Mission related principally to whether the airspace around the facility would be able to accommodate the flying sorties of the F35A, and how the weather impacted visibility. {60%}
    • Capacity related to whether the existing facilities (hangers, maintenance units, simulator bays, munitions, runways, etc.) would be able to accommodate the F-35A. {25%}
    • Environment related to existing air quality, zoning and land use controls, and existing encroachment (meaning “incompatible development”). {5%}
    • Cost related to the base’s construction costs and is tied to the cost-of-living. {10%}

 

B. PROCESS Problem

 

  1. Unlike the other criteria, which evaluated whether the airspace and facilities could accommodate the futureneeds of F-35A, the encroachment area (under environment) was related to the current situation—what exists now for theF-16.

 

  1. Rather than ask if there would be incompatible development in the F-35A accident and noise zones around the airport, they asked if there was currently incompatible development in the F-16 accident and noise zones around the airport.

 

    • Since there are different accident and noise zones for the F-16 and the F-35A, (the F-35A noise and crash zones are much larger than the F-16s) it is not logical to assume that the presence or absence of buildings, or the numbers of buildings, for the current F-16 would be the same for the F-35A.

 

C. DATA Problem

 

  1. Two questions in the ‘Encroachment’ area under the ‘Environmental’ category were answered incorrectly. Those questions were:

 

    • Is there incompatible development in clear zones and/or accident potential area?” and
    • Is there incompatible development in noise contours above 65 dB DNL?”

 

  1. The answer marked for both questions was ‘No’ meaning that there were NO incompatible buildings in either area (accident and noise). Burlington thus received 3 points for each question (6 total).

 

  1. But, there is incompatible development in both areas (accident and noise); meaning Burlington should not have received 6 points.

 

  1. Burlington Air Guard Station received a total score of 91.021 on the scoring sheet given to Senator Sanders in June 2012.

 

  1. For over a year, citizens, the media, and lawyers have been requesting to see the scores of the other Air Guard Stations, especially Jacksonville Air Guard Station in Florida and McEntire Joint National Guard Base in South Carolina, to confirm whether or not another Guard base scored higher than Burlington.

 

    • South Burlington City Council requested this from the Vermont Congressional Delegates in July 2012, and was told that the Air Force would not release it to them.
    • The Air Force denied two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to get the scoring sheets for other bases.

 

6. In June 2013, a slide from an Air Force briefing was leaked. This showed the scores of all six bases (three active duty Air Force bases, and three Air Guard bases) under consideration. According to a New York Times press report, this slide (and score) came after the scoring sheet that was provided to the VT congressional delegation in June 2012. And, both scoring sheets preceded the creation of the EIS. On this slide, Burlington received an overall score of 87.1, which was lower than either of the other two Air Guard bases, Jacksonville and McEntire. No explanation was given for why Burlington’s scores were lowered, or why an outdated scoring sheet was given to Senator Sanders.

 

Canceling Lockheed F-35 Said to Be Among Pentagon Options

Canceling the $391.2 billion program to build Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT)’s F-35 fighter jet is among options the Pentagon listed in its “strategic review” of choices if forced to live with automatic budget cuts, according to people familiar with Defense Department briefings.

Read full story

We won’t let the F-35 take off

Stop the F35 Demo in BurlingtonThe Vermont Air National Guard, the state’s Congressional delegation and leading business forces are campaigning to win the basing of Lockheed Martin’s new F-35 warplane at Burlington International Airport. But this has been met with a growing grassroots movement to stop the basing that has gained national attention. The Stop the F-35 Coalition opposing the basing has been gaining ground.

Read full article

July 13th Rally Photos

 

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July 13th Rally Video

VT Digger: F-35’s in Vermont 10 Reasons to say no

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

South Burlington VT

In his Op-Ed, Steve Allen writes, “The Air Force recently released a revised Draft Environmental Impact Statement, relating to proposed basing of the F-35s in Vermont, and are soliciting input from the public until July 15. There are passionate advocates on both sides of this debate and everyone is encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to express their views. I oppose the basing. Here are 10 reasons why.”

Click here to read Mr. Allen’s complete article.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

WPTZ-TV NBC Affiliate: F-35 Opponents Take Message To The Street

Saturday, July 13th, 2013

Burlington Vermont

WPTZ-TV reporter, Vanessa Misciagna, reports “hundreds march against the (F-35) fighter jet” (today in a Rally held at Burlington City Hall aimed at Mayor Miro Weinberger. The protestors then marched down Main Street to Congressman Peter Welch’s office, back up Main Street to Senator Patrick Leahy’s office, and down Church Street to Senator Bernie Sanders office before concluding back at City Hall).

Click here to watch Ms. Misciagna’s complete video report here.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

 

BFP: Protesters rally in Burlington against the basing of F-35s

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Saturday, July 13th, 2013

Burlington VT

Burlington Free Press reporter, Matt Ryan, reports, “The rally began with a collective booing of Vermont’s congressional delegation, Burlington’s mayor and the South Burlington City Council, who have all voiced support for the basing of the F-35 at Burlington International Airport. When a woman in the crowd shouted out, “And Shumlin!” the protesters proceeded to also boo Gov. Peter Shumlin.

They also cheered for the Winooski City Council, which voted unanimously Friday to ask the Air Force to remove the South Burlington airport from a first-round list of basing options for a fleet of F-35s.”

Please click here to read Mr. Ryan’s complete article.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

 

Call to Action! [email protected]

The day after the Citizens’ Hearing at the UU Church in Burlington, the United States Air Force issued their revised Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) thus triggering a 45 day legal window for public comment that closes July 15th, 2013!!! Everyone MUST email Nicholas Germanos at the email address below and tell him why THE F-35’s SHOULD NOT BE BASED IN VERMONT. Please tell everyone you know: your kids, your spouse, family, neighbors, people you work with, and get them all to send emails as well! THIS IS ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL!! Click on the following link to email to Mr. Germanos at Langley AFB. [email protected]

Mailing address: (in case you can’t email)
Mr. Nicholas Germanos
HQ ACC/A7PS
129 Andrews Street, Suite 332
Langley AFB, VA 23665-2769
or email him at: [email protected]

Here is a recap of the most significant issues facing our Vermont communities from the proposed F35 basing:
· It will harm 1,500 of our children: physically, emotionally and cognitively
· It will lower home values of 4,000 households
· It will degrade and possibly destroy the quality of life of 8,000 people
· It will risk the lives of thousands of people because of a greater probability of crashes from an warplane with no established safety record
· It disproportionally negatively affects minorities and low-income people
· It will pollute our environment
· The AF says the F-35 will bring environmental harm to our communities
· The AF says that Burlington is NOT the environmentally preferred base
· Substantive errors were made in the scoring process
· Substantive errors were made in the Draft EIS
· There are many unanswered questions about the base selection process
For more information about the negative effects of the basing, please review the Talking Points section on this website.
Thank you for your courage and conviction in opposing this attack on our Vermont values of environmental stewardship, protection of our people, children and the Vermont quality of life.
Please help protect Vermont – act now to Save Our Skies from the F35s!
Ask your friends and family, whether they live in Vermont or not, to support you in opposing this proposed basing and to send in their comments. We desperately need as many voices of opposition as possible. The proponents have launched an amazingly expensive mail campaign offensive to drown out our voices, and we need your help to spread the word.
Act Now! DEADLINE: JULY 15, 2013

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BFP: Winooski City Council finalizes vote against F-35 basing

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Friday, July 12th, 2013

Winooski VT

Burlington Free Press journalist, Joel Banner Baird, reports from tonights Winooski City Council meeting that, “The Winooski City Council voted 5-0 Friday evening to ask the Air Force to remove the South Burlington airport from its first-round list to base a fleet of F-35 fighter jets.

The council’s decision — finalized after meetings Monday and Wednesday nights — does not preclude the possibility of basing F-35s in the future, but rejects basing the aircraft at this time. Winooksi Mayor Michael O’Brien also said that he would vote against basing F-35s while the issue is still debated.”

Click here to read Mr. Baird’s entire article here.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

 

BFP: F-35 Debate on Noise grows louder as critics challenge Guard comments

Friday, July 12th, 2013

Burlington VT

Burlington Free Press journalist, Sam Hemingway, quotes Progressive Party Chairman, Martha Abbott, stating, “(on Friday), the state Progressive Party urged its members to join Saturday’s (2pm downtown Rally & March at City Hall in BTV) against the F-35.

“The Air Force’s own studies say basing the F-35 in South Burlington could leave up to 3,000 homes and 7,000 people in a zone ‘generally not considered suitable for residential use,’” Progressive Party Chairman Martha Abbott said in a statement. “A disproportionate number of those affected would be low-income and immigrant Vermonters.”

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

 

 

Seven Days: The Scoreboard This Week’s Winners and Losers

Friday, July 12th, 2013

Burlington VT

In his weekly roundup scoreboard of Winners and Losers in the State of Vermont, journalist Paul Heintz reports the Winner, “F-35 coverage — The South Burlington City Council said it now supports basing F-35s in town. The Winooski City Council said it now opposes the planes. A group of medical professionals said they’re “bad for our children’s health.” And the Vermont Air Guard said they’re “the right fit” for Vermont. Like ’em or not, America’s next fighter jets were the talk of the town in Chittenden County this week.”

AND

A tie goes to “The kids — Shumlin had an adorable audience of little kiddies Wednesday when he announced a new public-private partnership to expand access to pre-school in Vermont (They even kept us reporters on our best behavior). Asked during the presser at Williston’s Heartworks School whether he worried about the potential health impacts of F-35s on children, the gov said he didn’t know enough to comment. But when WPTZ’s Stewart Ledbetter asked Heartworks founder Louise Piche how kids at the pre-school react when F-16s fly overhead, she said some are “fascinated,” but others “really feel anxiety” and “cover their ears.”

Click here for Mr. Heintz’s complete article.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

 

Center For Media And Democracy: Video Interview of Dr. Jean Szilva on F-35’s Health Concerns to local populations around BIA

Friday, June 12th, 2013

Burlington, VT

Richard Kemp interviews Dr. Jean Silva on F-35 health concerns and health impacts to the local populations around the Burlington International Airport.

Please click here to watch this video interview.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

WPTZ-TV NBC Affiliate: F-35 opponents question military’s environmental review

Friday, July 12th, 2013

Burlington VT

Journalist David Charns reports, “According to the revised EIS, Burlington is the only spot on the Pentagon’s radar where more people would be affected with the F-35 than the F-16. Burlington is the only community of six proposed alternatives where the number of people affected by noise increase. The EIS also stated a South Carolina base as the preferred environmental alternative, making Burlington not preferred.”

Click here to read the entire article.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

VT Digger: both sides gear up as deadline for public input on F-35 report looms

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Burlington Vermont

VT Digger reporter, John Herrick, reports, “Videos, petitions, fliers, hearings and protests are marking the final days before the public comment period on the F-35’s environmental impact statement closes Monday.

Opponents are making noise, staging protests and holding public forums. Supporters, for the most part, are quieter, circulating petitions and distributing postcards addressed to the U.S. Air Force.”

Click here to read Mr. Herrick’s full article here.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

BFP: Winooski mayor says not so fast: not opposed to F-35

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Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Winooski VT

Free Press reporter, Joel Banner Baird, states, “(Mayor) O’Brien doesn’t want his vote against the basing of F-35’s to be construed as opposition.

A day after the Winooski City Council unanimously voted to inform the U.S. Air Force it disapproves of local basing for its new, noisier F-35 jets, the mayor (who votes with the council) said his stance has been misinterpreted.

“My interest was not to oppose the F-35,” O’Brien said. “I was trying to reach a compromise with different factions out there.”

Click here to read Mr. Baird’s entire article here.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

Seven Days: Air Guard Sticking to Its Guns on Basing F-35 in Vermont

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Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Colchester VT

Seven Days journalist, Kevin Kelley, reports from Camp Johnson interviewing both General Dick Harris and Lieutenant Col. Finnegan who say, “The F-35 remains “the right fit” for the Vermont Air Guard, its top officer declared on Thursday — one day after the Winooski city council voted unanimously to oppose local basing of the plane.

During a 90-minute press briefing at Camp Johnson in Colchester, Gen. Dick Harris (pictured) and other Air Guard officers disputed that the F-35 would be significantly louder than the existing fleet of F-16s.

They also challenged the assertion by Vermont medical experts that many local residents exposed to noise levels now produced by the F-16 will suffer negative health effects.”

Click here for the entire article.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

WRUV Radio: Interviews Chris Hurd on all things F-35 and upcoming events

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Burlington VT

Click here to listen to the entire radio interview.

Deb Reger’s interview on University of Vermont radio’s WRUV with Chris Hurd from the local Burlington community is part of the Stop the F-35 group that is resisting the military expansion of the Burlington International Airport to house the F-35 military planes. The Burlington City Council has voted to support this and citizens are concerned. He tells us a personal story about a neighbor that is affected and tells about a rally and March on Pomerleau Real Estate, Senator Patrick Leahy, Senator Bernard Sanders, Congressman Peter Welch this Saturday, July 13 at Burlington City Hall at 2pm. This is a permitted AND Family Friendly Event. You are urged to attend and have your collective voices heard!

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

VPR: Winooski City Council Unanimously Against F-35

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Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Winooski, VT

Vermont Public Radio journalist, Sarah Harris, reports in both this written and radio report.

Click here to read and listen to what she witnessed.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

Seven Days: After Public Forum, Winooski City Council Opposes Basing of F-35s

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Winooski, VT

Seven Days journalist, Taylor Dobbs, reports, “Winooski’s city council voted 4-0 Wednesday against basing F-35 fighter jets at Burlington International Airport. The council will formally request that the Air Force take Vermont out of consideration for this round of basing decisions for the next-generation warplane.

The crowd erupted into applause, though, after Councilor Seth Leonard introduced language that took a clear stand.

Leonard read from a prepared document what he hoped the council would say: “In the interest of protecting the public health, quality of life, and economic rights of its citizens, the City of Winooski resolves that the Burlington Airport be removed from consideration for the current basing of F-35 fighter jets.”

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

BFP: winooski city council votes against F-35 basing

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Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Winooski, VT

Free Press reporter, Joel Banner Baird, states, “City Council opposes basing of F-35 Jets at Burlington International Airport. The vote is NO. Unanimous. 4-0.

To cheering and applause, Winooski’s City Council decided unanimously Wednesday night to oppose the military’s consideration of deploying new, noisier F-35 fighter jets to the Vermont Air National Guard base at Burlington International Airport.

Health and property-value issues topped the resolution’s list of why the warplane belongs elsewhere.”

Click here to read Mr. Baird’s complete article here.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

BFP: Winooski council weighs F-35 response tonight

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Winooski VT

Freeps reporter, Joel Banner Baird, reports “The Winooski City Council is expected to announce tonight its degree of support for the local basing of new, louder F-35 jets at Burlington International Airport.”

Click here to read Mr. Baird’s complete article here.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

Seven Days: F-35 Foes Pile on the Data as Battle Builds over Local Basing Plan

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

South Burlington

Click here for the entire article.

Seven Days Journalist, Kevin Kelley, reports on last night’s “At a forum entitled “Last Call for Kids,” three Vermont medical experts warned that the F-35 will have potentially acute physical and mental consequences for those living in areas subject to the highest decibel outputs.”

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

VT Digger: New Members Turn the tide as South Burlington City Council Votes to Back the F-35 Basing

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Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

South Burlington VT

Click here to read the entire article.

VT Digger journalist, John Herrick, reports, “In May 2012, the council voted 4-1 to oppose the basing of the F-35 with the Vermont Air Guard at Burlington International Airport. In response to a recent request that the council restate its position since adding two new members since the previous vote, the council voted 3-2 in support Monday night in a session attended by about 200 residents.

“Therefore, my vote against basing the F-35 in South Burlington, is a vote for our children,” Greco said, before receiving a standing ovation from other opponents in the room.”

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

Seven Days: SoBu Council Supports F-35 Despite Strong Opposition at Noisy Meeting

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

South Burlington VT

Click here to read Mr. Kelley’s entire article here.

Journalist, Kevin Kelley, reports on last night’s contentious SO BU City Council Meeting. “But as the opposition slowly swelled, speaker after speaker decried the feared impact of a plane that the Air Force acknowledges is significantly noisier than the F-16. Neighborhoods abutting BTV have already been devastated by the din of airport operations, several opponents said, citing the federal government’s purchase and demolition of scores of homes inside a high-noise zone deemed unfit for human habitation.”

Asked after the meeting whether the council’s vote represents a setback for the anti-F-35 coalition, Chris Hurd, one of its leaders, insisted, “We don’t look at it that way. We look at what happened here as more fuel for our fire.”

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

WPTZ-TV NBC Affiliate: Neighbors unleash for and against F-35

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

South Burlington VT

David Charns, a reporter for WPTZ-TV says, “Both City councils in South Burlington and Winooski heard from neighbors and business owners about whether or not the panels should support or oppose the basing of the F-35 at Burlington’s airport.

Click here to read the article and watch the video.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

BFP: F-35 critics who say noise harms kids will hold public meeting Tuesday 7pm Chamberlin School in SB

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

South Burlington VT

Burlington Free Press reporter, Sam Hemingway, reports, “Greco and other F-35 opponents are hosting a public meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Chamberlin Elementary School in South Burlington to discuss the studies and hear from several area doctors on the impact of aircraft noise on young children.

Chamberlin School, on White Street, is less than a half-mile from Burlington International Airport, the closest of five schools in the designated noise zone for the F-35”

Click here to read the entire article.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

BFP: Winooski council postpones official stance on F-35

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Monday, July 8th, 2013

Winooski Vermont

Burlington Free press reporter, Joel Banner Baird reports, “At the end of a two-hour public forum that delivered a decidedly unfavorable verdict on the new, noisier plane, the council voted unanimously to postpone discussion of an official response until 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Concerns over possible health risks posed by regular, even brief episodes of high noise levels — particularly to children — dominated the list of concerns voiced by residents Monday.

Other opponents of a local F-35 “bed-down” in the area cited a likely erosion of property values and of the city’s precarious claim to an improved economic outlook, as well as apparent inconsistencies in how the Air Force scored Burlington’s suitability.

Of about 50 speakers, only a handful praised the possibility of the aircraft upgrade at the Vermont Air National Guard.”

Click here to read the entire article.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

BFP: S. Burlington council reverses itself, now supports F-35 basing at airport

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Monday, July 9th, 2013

South Burlington, VT

Burlington Free Press reporter, Sam Hemingway, reports that, “Among those that spoke, opponents outnumbered supporters by a 3 to 2 margin.

When the speeches ended, the council did what nearly everyone in the room expected: It voted 3-2 to endorse having the F-35s replace the Vermont Air National Guard’s aging F-16 fleet.

“We will be sending a letter to the Air Force in favor of the bed-down,” Pam Mackenzie, chairwoman of the council, said later Monday night.”

Click here to read the entire article.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

Seven Days: After Heated Public Debate, Winooski City Council Still Undecided on F-35s

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Monday, July 8th, 2013

Winooski, VT

Seven Days journalist, Taylor Dobbs reports, “The council delayed any action until Wednesday after hearing from more than 50 Winooski residents, only five of whom voiced explicit support for the basing. The vast majority said the warplanes, which would replace F-16s currently based at Vermont Air National Guard base at Burlington International Airport, threatens health and quality of life in the city.”

Please click here to read the entire article.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

Seven Days: The New York Times reports on Vermont’s F-35 Story

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

Burlington VT

Seven Days reporter Paul Heintz reports that “The New York Times on Friday became the latest national news outlet to cover Vermont’s long-simmering fight over whether the state will host a squadron of F-35 fighter jets.

Click her to read the entire article.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

Seven Days: Posts The Scoreboard – The Week’s Winners and Losers

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

Burlington VT

Seven Days journalist, Paul Heintz, reports that one of this week’s “Winners” is the ongoing spotlight on the negative effects of basing F-35 Warplanes in Vermont read on… “F-35 publicity — First came the Boston Globe. Then Harper’s. Now the New York Times.”

Click here for the full article.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

Last Call For Kids