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F-22 upgrade is over budget and behind schedule

F-35 operating costs will reach $1T
Officials think management will get the operating costs of the F-35 down

Any time the USAF or other branches of the armed service need a replacement for an aging aircraft, the cost of the development and maintenance are a huge budgetary issue for the military and lawmakers in Washington. Two of the most expensive weapons programs in the last several decades have been the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning II.

The F-22 is due for an incremental upgrade to its hardware and software that some officials say is already behind on delivery and over its cost projections. The update in question is called Increment 3.2.

Air Force procurement Chief David Van Buren told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, "The Increment 3.2 that we're currently working on for the F-22 for our war-fighting customer is taking too long to implement. We are working with the company [Lockheed Martin] to try to speed that up and make it more affordable."

The cause of the delay in delivery stems from the programming language used called Ada. The Ada language was once a DoD standard, but the use of the language has waned in the last 15 years. Analyst Loren Thompson from the Lexington Institute said, "It tends to impede quick upgrades to the system to which it is the base software." Thompson also said, "The affordability of any upgrade becomes debatable when you purchase a relatively small number of upgrades."

The new upgrade is being applied to the 187 Raptors built by Lockheed, two of which have been lost to accidents. The upgrade will allow the F-22 to carry the AIM-9x infrared-guided air-to-air missile and the AIM 120D medium-range Air-to-Air missile and attack up to eight different targets with the 250-pound Small Diameter Bombs. Lockheed is looking for ways to reduce the cost of the upgrade right now.

The F-35 program is also again the center of focus on costs. This time lawmakers and military commanders are looking at the long-term costs of maintaining and operating the F-35 fleet. The Pentagon has estimated that the cost to operate the F-35 fighters through 2065 will be more than $1 trillion.

Procurement Chief Ashton Carter said, "Over the lifetime of this program, the decade or so, the per-aircraft cost of the 2,443 aircraft has doubled in real terms. That's what it's going to cost if we keep doing what we're doing. That's unacceptable. That's unaffordable."

However, he noted that the massive $1 trillion number can’t be taken at face value because management steps over the life of the aircraft will bring costs down. Carter said, "I truly believe that we can manage out a substantial number of the production and sustainment costs."

There has been technology sharing between the F-22 and the F-35 with some stealth coatings developed for the F-35 being applied to the older F-22 aircraft. The F-35 fleet was grounded in March when an in-flight failure of the generator aboard a test aircraft occurred.



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This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By FauxNews on 5/23/2011 8:33:25 PM , Rating: 0
I think you neglect some major facts:

Social security, while a major expense - is directly paid for by taxes.
Look at your paycheck. There's a tax on there funding social Security.
Look at your paycheck. There's a tax on there funding Medicare.
Look at your paycheck. Where are the taxes covering defense spending? The $4 Trillion dollar wars in Iraq/Afghanistan?
It's not there. There is no tax money directly dedicated to covering defense spending, DHS, etc, etc.

Wave your hands all you want, those programs are directly linked with supporting taxes.
Looking at page 117 is only part of the picture - programs like Social Security and Medicare have been running budget SURPLUSES for years now.
That SURPLUS is what's going to be getting burned into, once the baby boomers start collecting.

And the solution for fixing Social Security is to raise the SS tax by 0.1%. Magic, it's fixed. Nobody has the guts to raise taxes, though. (Medicaid is a whole other problem, though - being nowhere near fiscally solvent as SS or Medicare)

The reason people call it "entitlement spending" is because those people are indeed ENTITLED to it. They've paid for it. The money for SS and Medicare comes out of every paycheck. Why SHOULDN'T I be entitled to that money? I PAID FOR IT.

Taking it away is simply another word for theft.

Second, a lot of that "entitlement" spending is linked with defense spending. You put 100,000 troops in Iraq and then they all become veterans. Guess which bucket they get their veteran's benefits from? Hint: it's not the defense bucket.

When you correctly apportion the budget, you see that defense spending is RESPONSIBLE for over 50% of our budget.

It only seems fair, since you can "group" Social Security with Welfare into the same "entitlement spending" umbrella.

So, we're back to how to fix defense spending - which gets almost double digit increases in spending every year?

The day you have "Iraq/Afghanistan tax" on your paycheck, along with "Defense spending" is the day people start PAYING for the defense budget.

Another parent's reference to "% of GDP from 2001" isn't relevant, given that military spending has more than doubled since 2001 (during which time we've doubled military spending).

The fact is,
We have more troops in Europe than we did during WWII.
We have 11 super carrier groups, while other nations have one.
We're reaching the point of spending more on our defense than all other countries in the world do - COMBINED.
We outspend China, the second biggest military spender, by a factor of 6.

It's out of control. And it's just getting worse.
When people talk about "defense cuts", they're talking about "cuts to RAISES", not actual "cuts".

The way some people tell it, the DOD getting the same massive amount of money as they did last year would be the end of the world.
It wouldn't be. But it might be the end of some of our budget woes, given that it's the biggest "unfunded" item in our budget.


"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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