Only the supporters of the Joint Strike Fighter program could wave victory flags over the announcement that one of the three variants is no longer a year away from cancellation. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's Jan. 20 appearance at the NAS Patuxent River, Md., test site, where the short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing (Stovl) F-35B and carrier-based F-35C are undergoing tests, was primarily political. The program had been hit in the previous weeks by blasts of bad news from ...

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