No F-35 Contingency Plan

Noting that Congress has reduced funding for the F-35 program, Adm. Michael Mullen, Chief of Naval Operations, told reporters in St. Louis Tuesday at the rollout of the Navy’s EA-18G Growler jamming aircraft, said he has not yet started working on “contingency planning” on how to bridge a gap between F/A-18E/F Super Hornet production and F-35 production. Mullen prefers to wait until the House-Senate conference reports out to start worrying, but he said he hopes the JSF is restored. “The JSF is a critical program,” Mullen said. “We need its stealth, range, and payload.” He acknowledged that being on the verge of low-rate production, the F-35 is at a “critical point … but we will support it.”