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LRIP5 purchase may be smaller than wanted  (Source: Lockheed)
The Pentagon is asking for $151 million to cover cost overages

The F-35 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 (LRIP) buys.

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."

The 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.

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RE: Odd
By TSS on 8/9/2011 5:14:30 PM , Rating: 3
Avionics: Since this jet is newer the onboard systems are bound to be more complex. And unlike windows, i doubt these systems are allowed to blue-screen in mid air. Nobody likes a reboot under fire. Thus, it'll take more time to get it right. Don't count on this improving with the next generation fighters either, Electronics are expensive. But effective.

Business: You can't build jets according to spec if the contractor keeps changing the specs. Now i don't know this for sure but i hear it's pretty common for the US government to change the specs for what they actually want quite often.

Politics: If you order 2000 planes at $50 million then later when already designed around this change it to <1000 planes, of course the cost is going to go up. You're not helping when costs are then cut further to make up for the increased price per plane.

Physics: This one is a bitch because no matter how much a politician likes otherwise it's gonna cost money to get F22ish stealth capabilities while being able to carry 6 times the payload while still being able to beat current generation fighter jets in dog fights while being designed to replace 5-6 fighter aircraft each with 5-6 different loadouts.

Inflation: The F/A 18 hornet cost $29 million per unit in 1983. In 2010 dollars, that's $62,6 million per unit. Or about half as much as the F35. but then again it's got no stealth of any kind and it carries less of a payload. It has less range (at alot less payload) and of course less of the fancyest electronics by todays standards. So all in all the costs aren't that far apart. This isn't counting the development cost, but see politics as to why that cost is higher then expected.

And of course, our good friend bureaucracy, who needs no indroduction nor explaining.

This project was doomed from the start. Not to fail, just to get insanely expensive.

RE: Odd
By John Kai on 8/10/2011 2:21:49 PM , Rating: 2
I would rate your comment up, but can't seem to figure out how to do that...

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