F-35 faces more cost issues

The embattled F-35 Lightning II recently has been succeeding in most flight-testing benchmarks. However, concerns over cost continue to mount for the program both at home and abroad. The Pentagon Defense Acquisitions Board (DAB) noted at a February 21 meeting that it might call for a further slowdown in the production of the F-35 to trim program costs.
slowdown in production had previously been called for due to some issues with the aircraft needing to be addressed before they were built and sent into service. A further slowdown in production could happen because of high sustainment costs that would either force the Pentagon to slow production or trim flight hours for aircrew.
The Pentagon has previously said it wants to increase flight testing hours, not reduce them.
More work has to be done on cost according to a senior defense official because affordability is still an issue with aircraft. According to the official, F-35 purchases in the near-term could be reduced further or alternatively flight hours will have to be cut to save money for the program. Other costs for construction are also still not completely nailed down.

A formal memorandum will be issued on the F-35 in the coming weeks reports Defense News.
“The actual decision of the acting [undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics] will come in a signed acquisition decision memorandum in the next few weeks, as soon as all the required certifications and documents are finalized,” Defense Department spokeswoman Cheryl Irwin wrote in an email to Defense News.
“Among these are an updated acquisition strategy reflecting the business plan going forward, as well as a new acquisition program baseline, which will set cost, schedule and performance parameters for the life of the program.”
For now the USAF, Navy, and Marine Corps still intend to by 2,443 F-35s. That number would be broken down with 1,763 F-35As going to the Air Force, and 680 F-35B and F-35C versions between the Navy and the Marine Corps.

Source: Defense News

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