Eglin’s F-35Bs Take to the Skies

Here you have it, the Marine Corps’ first training variant (well, kinda) F-35B Joint Strike Fighter taking off on its maiden flight from the F-35 schoolhouse at Eglin Air Force Base, Fl., yesterday.

Keep in mind that the Marines were supposed to be flying their short take-off and vertical landing F-35Bs operationally by this year. However, production delays, redesigns and cost overruns mean that the Marines, along with everyone else who is buying F-35s, aren’t likely to be flying their jets operationally until the latter half of this decade.

Click here for the F-35 programs most recent flight test update.

  • Pilgrimman

    Where is Elgin AFB? Is that near EGLIN?

    On topic, I’m glad the F-35B is finally making some real progress!

    • Richard

      Yeah its right next door and looks exactly the same.

      • Pilgrimman

        There is another base that’s a mirror image called Nilge AFB.

        • A. Nonymous

          Where all of the pilots have goatees so that you know they are from an AFB in a parallel universe.

  • Not amused

    DEFENSETECH: Where people come to read shit that’s never proofread.

    • Jayson

      Troll haters will be troll haters. nothing substantial to waste time reading on this comment.

    • Morty

      Dont neend two b a Grrammer NAZI.

  • Michael

    This is actually kina awesome. Yeah, this thing is really expensive, but we’re going to need it. We’re making headway, and we still are ahead in the 5th gen fighter aircraft race!

  • Wild Bill

    I would like to know what the bomb load and range is of the F-35 compared with our current Harrier jump jets with a full fuel load.

    • 4FingerOfBouron

      In a nutshell…

      Combat Rad: 300nmi
      Max Speed: 662mph
      Maximum Take Off Weight (Rolling): 31000lbs
      Range: 1200nmi
      Loaded Weight: 22950

      CR: 469mi
      Speed: 1200mph
      MTW: 60000lb
      Range: 1200nmi
      Loaded Weight: 49540

      I think one of the requirments was to out perform current tech. I’m betting the 35 is easier to fly than the AV8 as well. Who knows!

      I’m sure Black Owl will chime in anytime to compare this to the F18EF

      • Technoweapon

        Keeping in mind the 35 is stealthy where you can probably spot the AV8 the second it gets off the deck.

        Don’t forget the 35 could, probably, literally, fly circles around the AV8. :]
        And who knows what kind of sensors and other goodies it has over the AV8.

      • Sgt_Buffy

        In addition to that the Harrier is a VTOL, while the F-35 is only up to STOVL. This difference accounts largely for the differences between the two.

  • zillionlinesocode

    probably blue-screened out the tow rope

  • Pat

    The later the better…

  • Black Owl

    Lockheed Martin acquired the contract in 2001. The fighter enters service in 2019. It should never take 18 years to develop a fighter jet and get it to IOC. It should also never take $400 billion dollars to make any fighter jet. That’s enough money to fight a high intensity war for 2 years. If it did then that fighter should be the best fighter in the world, which the F-35 is obviously not. This fighter design is weak and flawed, despite having consumed obscene amounts of resources. It doesn’t deliver nearly the amount of worth in firepower or capability that it cost us to create. $400 billion could have paid off almost HALF of our debt to China. This is the most unwise use of defense dollars in the 21st century to date.

    • herpderp

      i thought us debt to china was around 3 billion?

      • Black Owl

        No, It’s nearing $900 billion right about now.

  • Skyepapa

    Black Owl, please take an extra moment out of your day to qualify your 400 billion dollar claim without writing the words lifecycle, lifetime, service life, or anything else that attaches tangential costs to this plane that aren’t attached to cost discussions about other planes, like your precious F-18. And if you’re just tired of waxing crap about the F-35, please provide validated service life costs for the F-18. And when you don’t, I will.

    • Black Owl

      Provide the costs right now. Let’s compare. What have these planes done with money used on them? One took three years to develop after the first prototype, fought in three wars, and did the job extremely well. The other hasn’t done one live fire test, hasn’t done an arrested landing, hasn’t conducted departure from controlled flight spins testing, or done anything worthy of note.

      • tiger

        We could say the same about about a lot of projects.

  • seeker6079

    HAve y’all stepped back here and evaluated these threads as a stranger would?

    This is a defense tech blog, filled with defence-tech-oriented readers; we are, as a general rule, more comfortable with high-tech defence spending than the average man or woman sitting with us on the crosstown bus. And, even here, people are rolling their eyes at the cost, delays and problematic capabilities of the F35. Can you imagine what jus’ folks think?

    • Black Owl

      Are you kidding? That’s why I love arguing on this site! People here are the audience that I want to address first!

  • So, what is this? Have the Marines’ Lightnings been released for flight training? It would be a little earlier than expected if they had.

    • 4FingerOfBourbon

      Instructor training yes.

  • jamFRIDGE

    So Jacksonville, FL Air National Guard is supposed to get an F-35 base in the near future.

  • Sgt_Buffy

    People are complaining about development time and costs. But remember, not only is it the first semi-stealth fighter, but we’re also developing three separate variants. The actual contract was awarded to LMT in 2001 after defeating Boeing, and is expected to be introduced to the service sometime around 2016. This is 15 years, compared to the 9 to 12 years for the F-16, F-18, and F-15. 15 years (estimated) from contract to battlefield. Not bad for three planes with a new way of looking at things.

    • seeker6079

      That may be so. But I can’t shake the feeling that the US (and other) taxpayers are paying dollars / being patient with deadlines for an aircraft that is supposed to be an exponential leap forward, while being increasingly concerned at a flood of data which seems to indicate that all they are getting is some incremental improvements.

      I take no position one way or the other. I just note that increasing numbers of analysts, the politicians that sign the cheques and other folks are stating that the plane just isn’t as good as advertised, at a much greater cost.

      There’s an increasing number of people like Black Owl who are stating, in effect, “if all we’re going to get is something somewhat better but still roughly comparable to the most modern of the so-called 4th gen, why not just buy more of the 4th gen?”.

  • Michael McGaw

    I always love how everyone complains about costs. Lets look at the costs of some social programs. the Great Society has costs trillions over the 40 plus years of budgeting; but the returns never seem to matter. How much money are we going to spend on Obama Care? and what will be the return? Has the rebuild after Katrina ever gotten finished; and how many billions have been spent there? Or the BP spill. Have we gotten the return on our investment there. This is not apples and oranges; Money spent is money gone. The deafest is 14trillion. At least with the F 35 we get something to fly and scare the hell out of our adversaries. And I think the OX system seems to be working?

    • Joeblow

      Gee, I dunno, spending our tax dollars on the American people to help them with their healthcare needs VS. buying gold-plated Edsels for fancy flyboys (not a majority of the population) so they can look cool, it is kind of a tough call.

      From the attitude that some people have, you’d think the country exists to serve the military and not the other way around.

      • harharhar

        bingo, but guys like this love to get the rest of us into wars. kinda like that little asshole who is friends with the biggest baddest guys at the bar. please take your America’s Ffing NUMBER ONE! shit and go play in the street.

  • Leroy

    Sorry I call BS on the 3 Separate planes rubbish. Its the Same Airframe with minor modifications, it should not cost more than the F18, F16 and F15 programs combined! it should be cheaper. The Ddifference between the A dn C versions is what strengned landing gear and replacment of those metals vulnreable to salt water corrosion.

    The Sea Harrier and Land Harrier is an exmaple of this, Making a carrier version of an Aircraft is in no way a new Aircraft . The vstole version requires more work, but internal reconfig for liftign engine and the doors to cover them. and the software to control that the swiverling the tail pipe exhaust.

    Its not like they howvere have to redo the airfow studes or control software or armanment control etc?

    Lockheed are the US version of BAE , piss takers! America is being ripped off big time!

    I mean seriously 220 Million a pop and no one thinks that a joke? they were supposed to by 40-50 Million range total utter rip off!

    • Praetorian

      Dont forget the F-35C also has larger wings, with foldable wingtip sections, It also has larger wing and tail control surfaces as well. The C model will also carry about 1500 lbs more fuel then the A model. IMO, all of this plus the landing gear means more then minor modifications.

      I dont think the US can buy a F-18E/F Super for 40-50 million, that might be in the ballpark for a new F-16.

      • 4FingerOfBouron

        Leroy is wrong. The 35B and C are practically totaly different airframes. They may look the same but the engineering and design that goes into them is far from the same.

  • Brian

    We heard the same stuff about the F-22 (too expensive, blah blah bla). I think the avionics alone are a game changer. Adding F-22’s already makes us untouchable, F-22 + F-35 puts us that much farther out. Being #1 has a price, but I think its worth it.

  • tee

    If Obama gets re-elected you can count on big defense cuts his main Think Tank wants to cut the JSF buy in half, get rid of the LCS, just to name a few read it for your self.

    • Joeblow

      I thought all the RepubliCONs were against govt spending, no? Reduce the size of govt, reduce the deficit and all of that blah blah..

      Oh but that doesn’t count when it comes to blowing things up?

  • Speedy

    Out of interest… who is the idiot that writes the contracts you chaps use for getting military items?

    I was under the impression that the successful bidder says how much it will cost to make, they then make it TO THAT COST!!! If they do not make it to that cost, tough luck, you meet your promised costs and deadlines, or you do not apply to do the work in the first place. Why is it so hard? Why do we always hear about defence contracts going 200+% over budget and time??

    Either the people in charge are idiots, (Gullible) or corrupt.

    • F35DesignerBro

      OBVIOUSLY you have NEVER worked on a contract in your entire life. Your provide ESTIMATES based on the costs at the time of contract inception not unknown cost estimates for the future.

  • Zspoiler

    I thought this was supposed to be cheaper Ha Ha

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