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Paris Airshow a Win for the F-35, CT’s Defense Sector

June 21, 2017 By Staff
Paris Airshow a Win for the F-35, CT’s Defense Sector

The strong demonstration at the Paris Air Show, was a much-needed win for the F-35 program

The defense industry is a cornerstone of Connecticut’s economy, even scoring a shoutout from Gov. Dan Malloy (D-Conn.) at the 2016 “State of the State.”

That’s why the Paris Air Show was a big deal for Connecticut.

The Paris Air Show is the world’s oldest airshow. Established in 1909, it’s the premier event for the aviation, defense and space industries to globally showcase their capablities. America has long been an international powerhouse for aviation, and the F-35’s strong demo flight has quieted many of its detractors:

For the first public demonstration of combat-style flight in Paris, a Lockheed pilot put an F-35A (the US Air Force variant) through an aggressive display of capabilities and maneuverability, all designed to showcase the abilities of the airframe and the Pratt and Whitney engine that puts out 40,000 pounds of thrust.

Showcasing the F-35, America’s most expensive weapon system ever attempted, the Lockheed Martin fifth-generation combat aircraft will provide America and allies with a dominating edge in current and future conflicts:

Lockheed Martin is close to winning the orders it needs to rapidly produce the F-35 fighter, the most expensive weapons system in U.S. history. The aircraft maker is nearing a deal worth between $35 billion and $40 billion to supply 440 F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter jets to the United States and 10 allied nations over the next several years, Lockheed (LMT) executive Jeff Babione said on Monday at the Paris Air Show.

Since 2016, Connecticut officials have defended the F-35 program and the jobs it represents for the state. Just this year, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) hit back at President Trump’s tough talk about cutting F-35 costs. The senator, citing Connecticut jobs and national security, said:

The F-35 means thousands and thousands of jobs for Connecticut at Pratt & Whitney, where its unrivaled engines are made, but it is also a technological wonder vital to national security.

The strong demonstration at the Paris Air Show, was a much-needed win for the trillion-dollar-plus program some have openly called a mistake:

While the Pentagon’s official line is that, after years of difficulties, the F-35 is meeting high expectations, skeptics both outside and within the military say it’s turning out to be a two-decades-in-the-making, trillion-dollar mistake.

With Connecticut’s current fiscal state, the loss of major defense programs like F-35 would be a devastating blow to a already fragile economy.