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The government and Lockheed Martin are scrambling to get back on schedule while fixing the overbudget project

The Pentagon confirmed a one-year delay of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, with Deputy Defense Secretary Bill Lynn facing increased pressure to get spending under control on the project.

"The development was originally projected to last an additional 30 months; we think with the additional test aircraft it will be closer to a delay of about 12 or 13 months, but I can't give you the cost numbers," according to Lynn's statement to the media.

Pentagon officials didn't say if this one-year delay will push back final release dates, but it likely will, military experts have noted. 

The Marine Corps is expected to receive the first batch of F-35s in two years, while the Air Force and Navy are expected to receive the next-generation fighter aircraft in 2013 and 2014.  Prior to Lynn's recent announcement, Lockheed Martin officials noted they were about six months behind schedule, but still expect to be able to meet the USMC release date.

Last November, a report said the program is drastically overbudget and behind schedule, which led the government to rethink its strategy moving forward.  Actual demand for the aircraft remains unknown, but there have been at least 2,500 orders placed for the U.S. military branches, with several other nations also expected to receive the aircraft in years to come.

Due to costly delays and budget miscues, the DOD will also withhold $614 million that will eventually be paid to Lockheed Martin.

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RE: True F-14 successor?
By psychmike on 2/19/2010 8:41:20 AM , Rating: 2
The F-14 was never directly replaced. The role of fleet air defense shifted from an airborne platform (the F-14) to a surface platform (Aegis). The Navy has said that the F-18E will perform the fighter role (CAP, BARCAP, STRIKECAP). I'm not sure this makes a lot of sense either. In my opinion, the Navy might have said that to create relevance for -18 purchases when the F-35 was much further down the developmental pipeline. Once and if the F-35 proves itself, the Navy might have well hoped to order it in larger numbers for the fighter role. Things seem to be moving in the direction of UCAVs faster than many people believed, however.

RE: True F-14 successor?
By zmatt on 2/19/2010 6:36:30 PM , Rating: 3
The F-18 is a very capable fighter in it's own right. It's not a dedicated one, but the Navy's doctrine has changed and it doesn't have to be. We are the only nation with a large carrier strike force. The UK has some small ASW carries with harries, and India has a very old British carrier, but that's about it. The Russian Naval fighter program was never as successful as ours and the Chinese navy at this point is a joke. The last time we had to worry about other aircraft in the middle of the ocean was 1945. Because of this the navy guys decided it was silly to have a dedicated air superiority fighter if there isn't much to shoot down. The super hornet can hold it's own and Aegis can defend the fleet with it's SAMs. In the past 20 years and even back in Vietnam you saw the navy doing most of their work as a mobile strike force. Since we really aren't challenged at sea, you can more or less put the carriers where you need them and deliver surgical strikes and many times go around air defense sites that have been placed along geographic or political borders. On top of that the carries have an added layer of protection in that after the mission is over they can move on. An air field can't move and because of this it's always a target, a carrier group can do it's mission and sail out of range of land based aircraft.

RE: True F-14 successor?
By LordanSS on 2/21/2010 6:07:01 PM , Rating: 2
Brazil also has a carrier for fixed-wing aircrafts...

...aircrafts which, for a very long time, were grounded due to lack of funding for maintenance and fuel . They are all scrapped nowadays though, don't fly anymore, and all our carrier does is sit pretty at the Navy docks here in Rio.

Sure is a pretty sight for us crossing the Guanabara Bay through the bridge, though. =)

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