The STOVL version of the Joint Strike Fighter is not too hot and is not too loud, Marine Commandant Gen. James Conway told DoD Buzz during an editorial board session.
The most troubling operational challenge that appeared to face the F-35B, next to weight, was reports that it would not be suitable for a carrier or other ship because its exhaust would melt the flight deck. Not so, Conway told reporters from Military.com. The plane, at 1,500 degrees, is just 18 degrees hotter than a Harrier, he said Thursday.
He also debunked persistent reports that the JSF will blow the ears off of people living near their flight paths, Conway said that noise levels for the plane are “well in range of legacy aircraft” like the F-22 and the F/A-18 E/F. Bottom line, the JSF ain’t a whisper jet, but communities familiar with existing aircraft shouldn’t have much to worry about.
On the negative side, Conway noted that “we will lose 28 aircraft over the FYDP” but said he thought the “news for us on JSF is relatively positive” given the recent test successes at Patuxent River.
On an issue dear to his heart, Conway again praised the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle. Recent blast tests give him “a high degree of confidence” that the flat-bottomed amphib can protect its crew almost as well as an MRAP.
He also said he had spoken with Reps. Gene Taylor and Roscoe Bartlett, senior members of the House Armed Services Committee who have expressed strong concerns about EFV, and believed he had convinced them that the flat-bottom design is “an absolute need” to cope with requirements for a vehicle capable of handling Category 4 sea states as it plows in to shore. The EFV must be able to plane, he said, and only a flat bottom lets it do that.
The Corps expects to take delivery of seven EFVs this summer, he said.