FARNBOROUGH: The US Navy has wobbled in its commitment to buy the F-35C over much of the last five years, though the service has increasingly spoken warmly of the aircraft’s capabilities, especially after its first and flawless landings on the USS Nimitz.
So I asked Sean Stackley, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition whether the service might escalate the rate at which it bought the F-35C now that the Marines have declared the plane combat ready and the Air Force looks poised to do that same. His answer can be heard in the video.
Also, I’ve learned that the third round of operational testing for the F-35B — OT-3 — will involve the potentially complex and dangerous first try to replace a Rolls Royce-made lift fan, Marine Col. G.B. Powell told me . The Marines demonstrated the ability to fly the largest part of the nine on a V-22 out to the USS Wasp during earlier operational testing and they made sure they could safely move it inside the ship’s relatively close quarters.