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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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RE: No surprise...
By wiz220 on 5/23/2011 3:58:26 PM , Rating: 0
By "skyrocketing entitlement costs" I'm going to assume that you mean the defense industry since the defense industry is the biggest entitlement program out there.

What I really don't understand is why we need to continue this ridiculous notion that we need to have a military as big as the next 15 or so combined. Anyways, all of this bickering about "more F-22's" and "spend a-bagillion more dollars on multiple new planes" is pointless. UAV's are the future. They will be cheaper and you can have 50 different variants for far, far less than these bloated defense contractor welfare programs.

RE: No surprise...
By FITCamaro on 5/23/11, Rating: 0
RE: No surprise...
By SPOOFE on 5/23/2011 6:49:14 PM , Rating: 2
the defense industry is the biggest entitlement program out there

Defense budgets are argued and debated, often vociferously, every single year. Senators scramble for cash, companies scramble for answers, lobbyists scramble for support. You may not like that they're so influential, but there's nothing "entitled" to Defense: They're constantly at a gallop to keep their funding.

Conversely, SS entitlements were set in stone almost a century ago and continue to be mindlessly paid out, with nary a whisper of protest except from the instantly-marginalized.

Yeah... Defense is the problem.

RE: No surprise...
By Nfarce on 5/23/2011 7:41:58 PM , Rating: 2
You tell me how the military is an "entitlement program" and I'll tell you how something like social security is great to depend on for our retirement.

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