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Waver Free Zone: Orlando, February 18, 2010—The Air Force remains “confident and committed to the ultimate success” of the F-35 strike fighter despite the challenges that the program is currently facing, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium. Those issues have led the Pentagon to restructure the program as part of its Fiscal 2011 budget proposal, essentially extending the aircraft’s developmental phase by about 13 months and slowing its production ramp-up. (Defense Secretary Robert Gates early this month expected to quickly name a new head for the F-35 program.) Donley said these changes are “the most prudent course of action” after the concurrency of the aircraft’s development and production “finally reached unacceptable levels.”