is the most expensive acquisition program in the history of the U.S. armed
forces. The overall price tag for the program is pegged at somewhere in the
$380 billion range and the costs keep moving upward. The Pentagon is making
moves to cut the costs of the program and that means that fewer aircraft will
be purchased as a result.
The Pentagon has asked congress to approve a $151 million funding transfer to cover the
increased development costs that were associated with the program before most
of the new cost cutting measures were in place. The cost overruns were incurred
with the first 31 of the aircraft to be built and purchased over the last five
years. The aircraft were part of the first three low-rate initial production
The Pentagon made the request for the funding transfer to Congress in a 91-page
document dated June 30. The document stated, "If the reprogramming request
is not approved, additional funding within the JSF program will be diverted to
cover these costs." That diversion could result in fewer of the jets being
purchased in the coming LRIP 5 contract.
The document also notes that the funding transfer of $151 million would cover
additional costs to develop both the airframe and the propulsion system. Defense
News points out that the cost increase came before the F-35 plan was
restructured by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
The document presented to Congress also noted, "The JSF program is already
working to cover most of the cost overruns internally."
Pentagon expects to publish an updates cost estimate for the program this fall.
While costs are still a concern for the F-35 Program things have been moving
forward with flight tests being completed. This is despite some other issues
with the program that have surfaced recently.
Earlier this month the F-35 fleet was grounded due to a failure of
the aircraft's integrated power supply. The Pentagon is also pushing hard to
further reduce the costs of the program and is seeking to cut the costs of subcontractors.