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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 nafhan on 2/19/2010 1:56:32 PM , Rating: 3
There's still a role for the F-35, and the fact that they aren't the fastest and best doesn't make them out of date. You're comparing it to the F-22 for goodness sake - one of our own aircraft.
The F-22 will be tasked with fighting the enemies frontline fighters while the F-35 does... everything else. It was designed as a cheaper, more versatile, compliment to the F-22. It's not intended to replace it, and definitely not intended to fight it.

RE: A Lost Cause
By zmatt on 2/19/2010 6:28:30 PM , Rating: 3
Exactly, people are missing the point. The USAF works on a two fighter system, one expensive air superiority fighter that is produced in smaller numbers and is flown by our best pilots, the second is a cheaper, small, and more versatile multi mission fighter. For the past 30 years the F-15 and F-16 have filled those roles. The F-15 has to this day been undefeated in air to air combat, and the efficiency that the Viper C can handle strike missions is astounding. And for those of you who doubt the F-16's AA ability you should read up on what the Israelis have done with them, and that was before the F-16 could carry anything but sidewinders. Going off of this, anyone who thinks that AAM capability and top speed make a fighter doesn't know the fist thing about air combat. The most important aspects are training, tactics and CnC. This is what made the Air Force have a perfect kill/loss ratio in ODS and what allowed the Israeli pilots in the 6 day war to be successful in the Mirage 3 which compared to the MiG-17 and -19 is an inferior dog fighter.

The F-22 is the F-15s replacement, but due to the recession and budget cuts, and likely the overwhelming superiority of the F-22, we are replacing 500 F-15s with 189 F-22s. The Viper will be replaced by the F-35. The F-22's lethality and survivability have already been proven with outstanding numbers at Red Flag events, and the combat capability of the F-35 has never been in question. The issue is, can they keep from letting the program get too far behind and too expensive as do most long term government projects?

The truth is the Vipers are old. I got to visit the 20th Fighter wing at Shaw AFB last week and as good as our crew chiefs are, those planes are old. The demonstration jets looked brand new, but the rest of them were dirty and old. We need the F-35 today, and quite frankly the way this program has been handled is a shame. The F-15 and F-16 were developed side by side in a few years time right after the Vietnam conflict. We should be able to do the same with the F-35.

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997
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