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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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no real need
By Seagrave on 5/23/2011 10:07:38 PM , Rating: 3
they dont build planes to counter planes anymore.. our old F's, A's, and B's already are superior to most planes other countries possess. we fight defenses, so we always want to push stealth, yet stealth planes are being phased out before they reach full deployment. F22 wha? we dont need new planes as much as we spend for them, the F22s would have fit the needs, barring vtol and stol. with current war structure,

we don't need single all doing aircraft.

we use guided missle tech to destroy hardened defenses, old stealth tech to destroy infrastructure and very old tech (b52) to lay the smacketh down, as we have planned and tested for the past 3 decades. we crow about new badass fighters(f22) yet replace them before they see any real service. f15s are slowly phasing out, but are not gone, neither are f16s. we bring in planes that are needless due to organization and truly effective tech we already have. even planes who are almost all older then their pilots still serve use.

i remember the navy tried to extend the service life of the f14 by proving its value as an attack fighter. yet the f18 already in force was all we needed. now the want stealthy carrier based planes, yet nothing moves forward without the airforce, so we always will have f117 and f22 on hand ready to deal with all the threats currently out there.

we need better anti missile tech, and better threat detection, not trillion dollar jets that spin training sortee after sortee, while workhorses do the dirty work.

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