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Weekend wrap: Expeditionary links

Here in the National Capital Region, we've been making sure everything is rigged for sea just in case we get slammed by -- of all things -- a hurricane. It would be our second natural disaster in less than a week, after the earthquake, so there were many things we didn't get a chance to write about. Here are a few of them:

• No surprise, but here it is: The undersecretary of the Navy, Bob Work, asked service officials this summer to do a budget exercise to determine what would happen if the F-35B and C models of the Lightning II were cancelled, reports Bill Sweetman in AvWeek. The jet's prospects are probably solid even with all the talk of budget cutting, but you never know. What's more, there's a certain appropriateness about learning the Navy was the service where serious analytical groundwork for cancellation began -- observers have noted a strong anti-F-35 strain in the naval aviation world for years ...

• ... but unless or until the F-35C actually is cancelled, its testing continues apace: The jet completed its jet blast deflector tests on Thursday, the Navy announced.

• Texas Sen. John Cornyn is on a tear this week looking out for the airpower interests of his home state. Not only did he remonstrate the Pentagon's new deputy secretary to do a better job selling the F-35, he reassured locals near Dyess AFB not to worry, its beloved B-1 bombers aren't going anywhere.

• So when will Iraqi government officials make a formal, final request for U.S. non-combat personnel to stay past the end of this year? "In our own sweet time," Iraq's ambassador says.

• Australia is talking with Boeing and and the U.S. government over the prospects for buying another batch of Super Hornets -- exactly what Boeing has been counting on. Every problem or delay for the F-35 could be an opportunity and a sale for Big B, company officials believe.

• For your enjoyment, we now bring you another sentence out of context from a U.S. Air Force official story. Whether you decide to click the link to read the full version is entirely within your discretion: "If the planes could talk, they might be asking, 'Who's the new guy?'" Read on.

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