22 Jun 17. F-35 Grounding. “Maj. Gen. Mark Wise, Commanding General of 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, made the decision to temporarily suspend VMFA-211 flight operations pending fixes to a recent ALIS software upgrade within version 2.0.2 that has presented some anomalies. ALIS is short for the Autonomic Logistic Information System Standard and it is the IT backbone of the F-35. ALIS is an off-board mission support system that manages operations, training, maintenance and the supply chain. There is nothing wrong with the performance or safety of the aircraft itself, but it is imperative that we ensure the ground-based ALIS system is working properly before flight operations continue. The Joint Program Office and Lockheed Martin have dispatched system engineers to help resolve these issues associated with the ALIS software update. The specific anomalies are related to maintenance codes not being reflected properly in the system and only affect VMFA-211 in Yuma, AZ and no other F-35 units.
The F-35B is a highly capable aircraft with an excellent test and developmental safety record.”
(defense-aerospace.com EDITOR’S NOTE: This latest grounding of Marine Corps F-35Bs comes very shortly after the US Air Force on June 9 grounded 55 of its F-35A, used for training at Luke air force base, also in Arizona, over hypoxia concerns.
Taken together, they show that, 16 years into its full-scale development, and two years after reaching Initial Operational Capability, these two F-35 variants are still not ready for combat, and continue to put their pilots’ lives at risk, even as prime contractor Lockheed Martin continues to tout its product, and is now lobbying for a massive, $37bn order for 449 more aircraft.) (Source: (Source: defense-aerospace.com/3d Marine Aircraft Wing)
23 Jun 17. House poised to add billions to Trump’s military budget. The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee says it’s not President Donald Trump’s fault his defense budget proposal is billions below what the military needs. The commander in chief just doesn’t know better, in large part because he still hasn’t staffed up the Pentagon.
“I believe the president is very committed to rebuilding the military and repairing the damage,” Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, told reporters on Thursday. “I think our budget does a lot more of that than the one (the White House) sent over.”
On Friday, the House Armed Services Committee will formally unveil plans for a $640bn base defense budget authorization for fiscal 2018, a figure that’s $37bn above the military budget that Trump has repeatedly touted as the largest in American history and a dramatic rebuilding of the armed services. The plan still faces numerous hurdles before becoming law, not the least of which are congressional spending caps that limit defense spending to $91bn less than what House lawmakers are proposing. But the House fund boost still represents a significant disconnect between what Trump’s Pentagon believes is needed to “make the military great again” and the much larger figure that members of Congress see as a realistic starting point.
Lawmakers are pushing for a higher military pay raise than Trump requested (2.4 percent vs. 2.1 percent), a larger Army than Trump proposed (10,000 active duty and 7,000 guardsmen and reservists), and more munitions and missile defense funding than Trump has planned. When asked to reconcile the two plans, Thornberry blamed Trump’s inexperience, administration gridlock, and former President Barack Obama.
“What came up here … was really the Obama budget plus 3 percent, a lot of which was eaten up by our (end strength) increases last year,” he said. “But there wasn’t anyone at the Pentagon to make a real Trump budget request.”
Thornberry in recent months has lamented the slow pace of appointments to key military posts, a problem that Trump blames on “obstructionist Democrats” but many lawmakers attribute to the administration’s own inexperience and mistakes wi