Shorting the F-35

The Pentagon is contemplating terminating production of the F-35B short takeoff and landing version, the Daily Report has learned. Britain’s decision to back out of buying its planned 138 F-35Bs—and substitute the F-35C carrier model in yet-undetermined numbers—will cause the unit cost of the Marine Corps’ short takeoff and vertical landing specialty model to go up, possibly enough to make it unaffordable. Britain’s defection leaves the Marines and Italy as the only planned F-35B operators. The F-35B has less range and payload than the Air Force F-35A variant and the Navy C model due to the need to accommodate the lift-fan apparatus. The recent British defense and security review said that country would reduce F-35 operating costs 25 percent by dropping the STOVL model. Continue