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For Air Force, F-35 IOC May Come Next Month

The commander of Air Combat Command was bullish about the upcoming declaration of initial operational capability for the F-35A, telling reporters on the first day of the Farnborough International Airshow that it could happen as early as August or as late as December.

"IOC, we always use that term," Air Force Gen. Herbert "Hawk" Carlisle said. "It really means those airplanes are ready for combat. They are ready to be in combat and ready to move forward."

The Air Force remains committed to its target of buying 1,763 of the conventional takeoff and landing variant of the 5th-generation fighter, Carlisle said.

A June "deployment" of seven aircraft to Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, was declared a success by the Air Force after the planes completed all 88 planned sorties.Carlisle said the deployment involved about 180 personnel and gave the service the chance to test out the ability of the F-35's Autonomous Logistics Information System, or ALIS, to function in a deployed environment.

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