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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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This isn't really the story though...
By Amiga500 on 2/19/2010 8:45:14 AM , Rating: 2
The program has breached Nunn-McCurdy:

US Air Force chief of staff Gen Norton Schwartz has warned that cost-overruns on the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter are likely to breach a statutory cap that would force the Department of Defense to formally re-certify the programme to Congress and invite a fresh wave of scrutiny.

Which means you can expect F-35 numbers to be cut further. But that could potentially extrapolate right up to a total cancellation!

It is also worth bearing in mind this new schedule (which has slipped 13 months - as reported here), was only adopted in early 2008, after the slip of the 2005 plan!

Once more, Lockheed Martin shaft the US taxpayer, and once more, they will be defended by the "die hard patriots" that don't realise the security and defence of their country is being exchanged for company dividends and manager bonuses. A sad, if ironic, state of affairs.

RE: This isn't really the story though...
By MrPoletski on 2/19/2010 9:22:00 AM , Rating: 2
wont get cancelled, too many other nations want to buy it.

you will make a profit from this thing in the end, im sure.

By Amiga500 on 2/19/2010 9:52:46 AM , Rating: 2
too many other nations want to buy it.

I wouldn't be so sure of that.

I don't know of many potential customers that are not re-evaluating other options...

The UK, The Netherlands, Norway, Turkey... all looking other directions.

I'm not sure on Israel (are they really a customer anyway since US money will pay for most of it?) and Australia... but there are some very vocal elements within the Aussie airforce not one pit pleased at the F-35.

By TerranMagistrate on 2/19/2010 12:15:46 PM , Rating: 2
Seeing as how it takes decades to develop a new generation of fighter aircraft, there is literally no chance that the JSF program will be canceled, none. Any true alternative would be really down the line and not to mention cost prohibitive if you take into account the funding that has been sunk into this program.

The bottom line is that the aging fourth generation airframes of multiple types of planes are expiring and the F-35 is the only viable successor. Cancellation is not an option no matter the cost.

By Amiga500 on 2/19/2010 3:26:21 PM , Rating: 2
I think I've been read the wrong way with the above.

I personally am not of the opinion it will be cancelled - a lot of credibility of the US defence industry is now on the line. I am saying it is a potential option on the table for Congress.

I think the JSF has went too far to become another A-12.

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