After years of fretting over a potential fighter gap caused by delays in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Navy officials are saying everything’s gonna be ok, thanks to the Super Hornet.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead repeatedly said during a House Armed Services Committee hearing yesterday that the sea service is in “a very good position” with regards to its fighter fleet due to the recent buys of dozens of F/A-18E/F Super Hornets that are set to come on line in the next few years combined with life extensions the service will perform on 150 of its older F/A-18s and the gradual introduction of the F-35.
All of this means the sea-service will avoid the, so called, fighter gap of 100 to 177 tactical jets it has been worrying about for several years now, at least that’s what the CNO says. Well, that’s nice to know.
Still, we don’t know when the F-35C is going to come on line or in what numbers. We’ll only know the answer to that once the Navy has thoroughly poured over the results of the F-35 program’s Technical Baseline Review that took place over the last year following the dramatic restructuring of the entire JSF program. Many in DoD call that review, known as the TBR, the most in-depth scrubbing the program has ever seen. Basically, it’s meant to determine everything that’s good, bad and ugly with the program. Something that’s desperately needed for the Pentagon to determine how much the jet will cost, how long it will really take to field and, in the case of the B Vs. C-model, how many of each type of jet to buy.