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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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By btc909 on 5/23/2011 1:49:41 PM , Rating: 1
Ehhhh just do what everyone else does here in America, buy planes from China. Us Walmartians buy everything from China anyways.

RE: Walmart
By Jeffk464 on 5/23/2011 5:23:35 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah that's what I said, the Chinese j-10 could probably drop bombs as well as an f16.

RE: Walmart
By Jeffk464 on 5/23/2011 5:27:59 PM , Rating: 1
Or how about a saab gripen.

RE: Walmart
By inperfectdarkness on 5/25/2011 8:24:14 PM , Rating: 2
yes, that's a teriffic idea.

let's buy planes from a COMMUNIST AUTOCRACY whose production plants have a history of producing lead-painted children's-toys, faulty integrated-circuits, and electronics which blow up spontaneously. not to mention their storied record of cyber-attacks in recent years.

i'm sure nothing could go wrong with this equation. i'm sure china would be happy to deliver us parts/airframes in the midst of open conflict with us. i'm certain they would NEVER booby-trap the electronics on their jets to mysteriously "fail" at a completely critical point when we needed them the most.

most of all, i'm sure that the j-10, cloned from the lavi, cloned from the f-16 is somehow FAR, FAR superior to our feeble attempt at creating an f-35.


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