Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics
The U.S. Air Force is exploring how it will oversee its share of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter program in light of the U.S. Defense Department’s recent decision to give the military services more control over the maturing fighter jet.
The Air Force plans to set up an F-35 “fleet management office” and is in the “early stages” of looking at how that new entity will be organized, said Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, head of Air Force Materiel Command.
The Air Force is coordinating its efforts with the overall F-35 team “to make sure that we do this seamlessly,” Pawlikowski told the Defense Writers Group.
Pentagon acquisition chief Ellen Lord notified Congress in March that the F-35, which is currently managed by a joint program office (JPO), will eventually transition to service-run program offices. The change is designed to give the services a greater role as the program ramps up to full-rate production, conducts follow-on development and implements long-term sustainment.
The Air Force office will oversee the F-35A conventional-takeoff-and-landing variant and a Marine Corps/Navy office will handle the F-35B short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing variant and the F-35C carrier variant.
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