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  (Source: Lockheed Martin)
After ten years and billions invested some in the Senate want alternatives to F-35

It's well known that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) has turned into the most costly weapons program in history for the armed forces. When complete, multiple branches of the armed forces will use the F-35 and it will be sold abroad to allies.

The problem for some in Washington is that the delays in delivering the aircraft are mounting, as are the costs to build and maintain the aircraft over its lifespan. The F-35 program has been going for ten years now and some in the Senate Armed Services Committee are now indicating it's time to start looking for a backup plan. Most will find little sense in considering an alternative to the F-35 when it is finally so close to completion.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said, "It seems to me [prudent that] we at least begin considering alternatives."

The reason some in the Senate want to start looking for alternatives is the report published last week showing the costs to maintain the F-35 through 2065 spiraling to $1 trillion. Top acquisition official Ashton Carter has maintained that the $1 trillion figure will be reduced when he completes a "should-cost" review of the F-35 in the next few months. Carter is aiming at a 20% to 50% reduction in that $1 trillion figure.

Christine Fox, Director of the Pentagon cost assessment and program evaluation office, is skeptical of the cost reduction goals.

Fox said, "O&S [operation and sustainment] is hard. Whether we can get it all the way down to legacy [O&S cost levels] is something that I in my office doubt.” Fox points to the cost of fuel being hard to reduce over the life of the aircraft.

Lockheed Martin's general manager for the F-35 program, Tom Burbage, says that the sustainment costs for the F-35 can’t be fairly compared to the costs of older aircraft. He says that the F-35 was developed on performance-based logistics plan that is different from legacy sustainment process. He also notes that the F-35 O&S estimates are susceptible to ground rules legacy aircraft are not bound to.

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Good Direction.
By Amedean on 5/23/2011 1:01:08 PM , Rating: 1
I think that it is good for legislators to show the defense industry that we are not bound to their broken promises. I am skeptical of how the F22 and YF23 competition was conducted forcing the government to commit so much resources to an unfinished product. The prototype was practically made in a relative short period of time but as soon as Lockheed won the competition bid, it seems their commitment went down hill because they won the bid. There was not enough competition to pressure Lockheed after an early commitment and now here we are with the program dragging its feet as the cost quotes get higher and higher.

RE: Good Direction.
By FITCamaro on 5/23/2011 2:00:56 PM , Rating: 2
As I've said many times. Blame the bidding process, not the contractor.

These things are always bid at "if everything goes f*cking perfect this is what'll cost". Which it never even comes close to.

RE: Good Direction.
By kattanna on 5/23/2011 2:31:51 PM , Rating: 1
all this is is more election year political theater.

do you really think that a program this far along would get cut in favor a something brand new and not even talked about yet? LOL no.

no, this is nothing more then politicians looking to try to portray themselves as fiscally concerned. remember, this is also the same congress that was trying to add cost to this very program via a alternate engine program the military itself didnt want.

once elections are over, this will quietly fade into the background, like the rest of their political theater issues they are suddenly inventing right now.

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson

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