Brace for Lightning

The Air Force is “getting ready” to deploy its F-35As on an overseas deployment, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies Thursday. He didn’t elaborate, but said the F-35 “performed brilliantly” in recent Red Flag exercises, and the Marine Corps had a successful deployment to Japan recently, also. “This is not a ‘PowerPoint’ aircraft. It’s flying and ready for combat,” Goldfein said of the F-35A. In separate commentary, he also said the F-35 will never fight “by itself,” but as part of a joint force, supplying and receiving information from the “multi-domain, multi-component” combat enterprise. The F-35 will “control … and dominate” the combat network, he said. Goldfein supported buying “as many” F-35s as possible, “as quickly as possible,” to beef up anemic fighter squadrons that have been reduced to levels that don’t allow USAF to be everywhere it needs to be. His job is to make sure USAF manages the program well and keeps up the numbers so both other services and allies can afford the jet, and add their aircraft to the joint enterprise.