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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: A Lost Cause
By jonmcc33 on 2/19/2010 1:03:04 PM , Rating: 2
It's not the plane, it's the pilot. Iraqi pilots were idiots with very little air-to-air experience.

RE: A Lost Cause
By ipay on 2/19/2010 2:57:35 PM , Rating: 3
Exactly - the best military hardware in the world is worth nothing if you don't have people who can operate it correctly. It's hardly Russia's fault that the Iraqi pilots lacked the experience and flight hours of their American counterparts.

Also, I find this article depressing and amusing at the same time, considering that the F-22 program - which is IMO a far superior platform to the F-35 - was effectively halted for the same reasons as stated in this article.

RE: A Lost Cause
By bigdawg1988 on 2/21/2010 8:50:41 PM , Rating: 2
The F35 is not a replacement for the F22, it's basically a cheaper version, sort of like the F16 is a cheaper version of the F15, not a replacement.
Piloting is nothing if you can't see what you're shooting at. Our pilots are guided by AWACS controllers who can vector them in to the best route to minimize detection and maximize kill capability.
Instead of the F35 though we ought to be developing remote controlled missile carriers. Make them VERY stealthy and high flying and use the radar from AWACS to guide the missiles. Sort of like a predator with AA missiles. The F22s will still be around just in case.

RE: A Lost Cause
By Reclaimer77 on 2/19/2010 3:15:41 PM , Rating: 1
They weren't all Iraqi pilots.

RE: A Lost Cause
By MrBlastman on 2/19/2010 3:16:36 PM , Rating: 2
If they weren't Iraqi, who were they? Osama's crew?

Pilot training is paramount to success in any modern fighter. The amount of auditory, visual and tactile input a pilot has to process is staggering. Only the genetically perfect can even hope to be a fighter pilot and succeed at it. I have utmost respect for any man or woman who can become one of these pilots.

Speaking of pilots, I'd wager a dollar that the Israeli Airforce could trounce ours if pitted head to head versus each other in equal aircraft. Those guys are hardcore.

RE: A Lost Cause
By monomer on 2/19/2010 3:11:55 PM , Rating: 2
I agree completely. I seem to remember a story from over a decade ago where a Canadian pilot won a Top-Gun competition in his CF-18, against Americans in F-15's and F-16's.

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke
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