‘The Jet Doesn’t Care:’ 1st Female F-35 Demo Pilot Says She’s Focused on Excellence

Capt. Kristin “Beo” Wolfe, the new face of the U.S. Air Force‘s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter demonstration team, is “used to” being outnumbered as a female pilot.

Wolfe, of the 388th Fighter Wing at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, has served in the Air Force for nearly a decade. But now, as the first woman ever to hold her job, she knows there’s an additional expectation to perform with superiority and excellence.

“A lot of people have [misconceptions] still about either females flying or females being fighter pilots, all the way from little kids … to adults,” she said in a recent interview with “So that’s probably the most important part, is that they get to see it … for them to see that anything’s possible.”


Lockheed?s stealthy F-35 breaks down too often, Pentagon says

The Pentagon?s chief weapons tester said the next-generation F-35 jet continues to fall short of full combat readiness targets and, despite some progress on reliability issues, all three versions of the fighter are breaking down ?more often than planned.?

None of the Air Force, Marines and Navy variants of the Lockheed Martin fighter is meeting its five key ?reliability or maintainability metrics,? Robert Behler, the Pentagon?s director of operational testing, said in prepared remarks Wednesday before two House Armed Services Committee panels.

The House subcommittees are reviewing the $428 billion program?s status and progress recovering from years of cost overruns and production delays.


In First, Air Force Will Send Secure Data Between an F-22 and F-35

The U.S. Air Force will soon test out a gateway that could finally allow the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and F-22 Raptor to share data during missions without compromising the fighters’ stealth, a service official said Thursday.

It would be the first time the Air Force will test how the two highly capable fifth-generation fighters can exchange battlespace information after years of incompatibility, said Preston Dunlap, the Air Force’s chief architect serving the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.


Wisconsin GOP backs F-35s at Truax Field, despite noise concerns

MADISON, Wis. ? Republican legislators waded into the debate over whether defense officials should station new F-35 jet fighters in Madison on Tuesday, passing a resolution supporting the idea despite neighborhood concerns about the noise and the effects it would have on property values.

The Air Force in 2017 selected Truax Field in Madison and Dannelly Field in Montgomery, Alabama, as two preferred sites to house F-35s. The jets would replace Truax?s aging fleet of F-16s.


Meet the first female Marine F-35B pilot

Marine Capt. Anneliese Satz just made a name for herself June 27 at the Marine air station at Beaufort, South Carolina, for being the first female Marine to complete the F-35B syllabus. It?s a historic feat for the Corps, as she joins a relatively small field of Marine F-35 pilots.

The Corps? high-tech stealth fighter pilots were only manned with 86 pilots as of February, according to data obtained through a government records request. The field is authorized to have 263 pilots.

Satz arrived at Beaufort, South Carolina, with Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 in July 2018 and took her first flight in the F-35 in October, according to a Marine Corps release.


?Top Gun? Memoir Warns American Military Air Superiority Is In Danger

In his engaging and succinct memoir Top Gun: An American Story, Topgun?s original commanding officer Dan Pedersen argues that ?what matters is the man, not the machine,? and because of this truism, pilot training will always be far more important than the technology of jet fighters for winning battles in the sky. At present, says Pedersen, ?Something is rotten in Washington, and one day, sadly, we will lose a war because of it.?

Pedersen claims that the Navy lacks relatively cheap fighter jets for training such as the old F-14 Tomcats (the ?Top Gun? jets in the movie) and others. He cites a price tag for the new F-35 as $330 million per plane. The service can?t buy and maintain a large number of trainers at those prices, he says. As a consequence, much of fighter pilot training must be done on simulators, which, in Pedersen?s view, are an inadequate substitute for real flight time.


Despite training range flaws, Red Flag-Alaska challenged pilots, Air Force says

Despite ongoing issues with antiquated electronic warfare systems at the 67,000-square-mile Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, Red Flag-Alaska 19-2 was able to challenge the pilots who took part, according to the Air Force. But that may have been because U.S. Air Force fifth-generation aircraft, F-22s and F-35s, were noticeably absent from the proceedings.

The two-week multinational training exercise is meant to provide realistic combat experience to pilots in a controlled environment, which increases their survivability on actual combat missions, Senior Airman Eric Fisher, with the 354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs Office at Eielson Air Force Base, said in an email.


Lockheed hypes F-35?s upgrade plan as interest in ?sixth-gen? fighters grows

LE BOURGET, Paris ? As European defense firms drum up publicity about the sixth-generation fighters they plan to build, Lockheed Martin executives promoted the F-35 as the proven fifth-gen option that could blur the lines with sixth-gen planes as it is upgraded into the 2020s and beyond.

?It?s a compliment to the F-35 that many countries are looking to replicate fifth gen and then extending that to sixth gen,? Michele Evans, Lockheed?s head of aeronautics, told Defense News at the Paris Air Show on June 19. ?I think it really does reflect on the value of what F-35 is bringing to the pilots and the battlespace. In terms of technology, we?re not going to let F-35 go static.?


A US Marine F-35 Squadron Will Deploy on a British Aircraft Carrier in 2021

A?Marine Corps?F-35B Joint Strike Fighter?squadron will make history by deploying aboard the British Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carrier — the first?deployment?of its kind and one that could serve as a model for the new normal, a three-star general said.

Members of a Marine F-35B squadron are preparing to deploy on the aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth in 2021. The deployment has long been in the works, Lt. Gen. Steven Rudder, head of Marine Corps aviation, said at the annual Sea-Air-Space conference just outside Washington, D.C.

“It’s going to be a wonderful new way — and I will offer, potentially a new norm — of doing coalition combined allied operations with a maritime partner,” Rudder said.


Sale of F-35s to Turkey in Trouble, Dunford Confirms

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford said Thursday that it will be difficult to proceed with the sale and delivery of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters to Turkey given Turkey’s insistence on acquiring a Russian system designed to shoot them down.

“It’s a tough issue,” Dunford said, and the U.S. “would have a hard time” justifying the F-35 sale to a nation that has Russia’s S-400 advanced anti-air system.