The F-35 Numbers

Maj. Gen. David Scott told the House Appropriations defense panel Feb. 24 that the Air Force still plans to purchase 1,763 F-35 strike fighters despite the planned program restructure because it is “the critical to the backbone of our Air Force.” Testifying at the same hearing, Rear Adm. David Philman said the Navy’s total buy—Navy and Marine Corps—would be 680. Asked by one lawmaker when the program would now reach a steady-state annual production rate, Scott replied that USAF had expected to see 80 aircraft annually beginning in 2015, but that now would be 2016. The Navy’s steady state, said Philman, would be 50 aircraft annually “but when that will occur we’ll have to see.”