Ryan Insists USAF Supports
Joint Strike Fighter
by Robert Wall
05/23/00 11:54:39 AM U.S. EDT
Under fire for the perceived lack of U.S. Air Force support for the Joint Strike Fighter program, the service’s Chief of Staff, Gen. Michael Ryan, today insisted JSF enjoys full support and full funding in the USAF’s long-term budget plans.
“I can’t show greater support than that,” Ryan said at a DFI International-sponsored event in Washington. The multi-role JSF is supposed to replace A-10s and F-16s for the Air Force.
Ryan also presented an update on the Lockheed Martin F-22 fighter’s progress, noting that the development of the critical Block 3 software the service has to fly this year is still on track. However, the chief expressed frustration that a canopy cracking problem being experienced on the stealth fighter is hindering flight test progress. Several canopies have cracked and flight-testers will have to wait several weeks for replacements. But Air Force acquisition officials at this point aren’t overly worried about the effect on the development program, noting the focus right now is on getting the software developed – and that can continue without worrying about the canopy problem.