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Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II   (Source: Lockheed Martin)
In addition, USAF Bomber Program Office created to prepare for bomber replacement

The most expensive weapons program on the budget for the U.S. Armed Forces is the F-35 Lightning II program. The fighter jets are plagued with cost overruns and issues that have lead to delays and many fights in Washington. Despite all the turmoil, the first production F-35 Lightning II was delivered to the USAF marking an important milestone in the program.

One of the components of the F-35 program that was killed to save money was the development of an alternate engine for the aircraft. The second engine was being developed by General Electric and Rolls Royce, but he House recently voted to pull funding.

Despite the pulled funding, the secondary engine for the F-35 came up again in The House Armed Services Committee with a new amendment to the 2012 defense authorization bill. The amendment didn't approve any new funding for the second engine, but left the door open for GE and Rolls Royce to continue the development of the second engine at their own expense. GE announced that it would like to continue development of the engine.

The amendment dictates that the Pentagon cannot destroy any data relating to the second engine and to support the continued development. Committee Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon said the development of the second engine at no cost was a "no brainer."

Another amendment was voted down that would have cut the buy of F-35 jets in 2012 from six aircraft to four. The Amendment was withdrawn when it didn't have the votes to pass.

While the second engine for the F-35 is cropping up again in the House, the DoD is also moving forward on its plan to seek a replacement for the aging bomber fleet in the USAF toady.

The DoD has approved a USAF Bomber Program Office that will work to get plans in place for the branch’s next generation bomber. Air Force undersecretary Erin Conaton said, "We've got a general mandate from the Secretary of Defense to go forward with standing up the program office, so we're just at the beginning of that work."

Currently the estimate for the number of bombers needed is 80 to 100. One of the first things that will be done is to set firmer requirements on the number of bombers needed.

Conaton said, "Eighty to 100 is our current best estimate of what we think we'll need, but that estimate will be refined over time as we see the capability and what we think we can afford." She continued, " We don't have a full life-cycle cost [for the bomber] yet. That's the work that'll be done now by the program office as they stand up."

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RE: Poor
By Solandri on 5/12/2011 2:29:39 PM , Rating: 3
That $1200 keyboard isn't 99% profit like you're thinking. The reason it costs $1200 is because the government orders 1000 keyboards, but specifies that they have to comply with a ridiculously long list of specifications. Things you'd never think about requiring from a regular keyboard. Has to work after 30 minutes of immersion in 3 feet of salt water. Must survive -100 to +250 F temps. Continues to function after having 5 pounds of gravel and dirt dropped on it, then shaken upside-down 3 times. Keys must provide 0.1 Newtons of friction when covered with a 0.01 mm layer of 10W-5 motor oil. etc.

The keyboard company gets these specs and the guy in charge of the proposed contract scratches his head. He's pretty sure his keyboards can meet the specs, but the government wants proof before it'll pay him. So he tallies up the cost to actually conduct these tests on a dozen of his keyboards, with an allowance for redesign in case they fail a couple tests.

Total price for all these tests, safety margins, and labor comes out to $1.18 million. Add in the $13 cost per keyboard and you're at $1.193 million. Call it $1.2 million even. Divide it over 1000 keyboards, and you're at $1200 per keyboard.

The government isn't being ripped off by these $1200 keyboards and $800 hammers. They're getting exactly what they requested; they're just a lot more (a whole lot more) specific about what they request than the typical buyer. (To be fair, the military operates on the assumption that if a keyboard breaks in combat, you're not going to be able to run down to Staples and pick up another one for $13. That keyboard has to work, period.)

RE: Poor
By youdope on 5/12/2011 2:39:33 PM , Rating: 2
The keyboard broke from being typed on too much. It's just an ordinary keyboard.

RE: Poor
By Manch on 5/12/2011 2:57:21 PM , Rating: 2
link please

RE: Poor
By youdope on 5/12/2011 2:53:58 PM , Rating: 2

It looks like this one. I would of rather used this one anyways since the miilitary mandatory keyboard breaks all the time.

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