Report: DoD Could "Stretch Out" F-35 Lightning II Purchases
December 12, 2011 12:20 PM
Final value of the contract will be determined in 2012
The F-35 program is facing more delays, this time at the urging of some military officials that want to
slow down production
in an effort to fix issues on the aircraft before there are large numbers in service.
reports that the DoD now wants to stretch out its F-35 buy according to General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Dempsey said, "We are committed, that is to say, the U.S. military, to the development of the fifth-generation fighter, clearly. There are some fact-of-life changes that we'll probably have to make based on the ability to procure it on timelines that we'd like to have."
The F-35 program is now feeling the threat of an issue from across the pond with European partner nations feeling the economic pinch that could result in reduced purchases of the F-35.
In addition, main F-35 contractor Lockheed Martin has signed a contract with the Pentagon that is “undefinitzed” and establishes a price ceiling for the F-35 aircraft. The Pentagon has granted the contract to Lockheed martin worth $4 billion to build 30 F-35 fighters for the USAF, Navy, and Marines.
Lockheed Martin spokeswoman Laurie Quincy wrote in an email, "Lockheed Martin has signed an undefinitized contract that establishes the funding for Lot 5 up to the level announced by the DoD today. The final Lot 5 contract amount will not be known until we have a definitized contract sometime in 2012."
The fixed price contract is for 21 conventional F-35A fighters, three F-35B STOVL aircraft, and six F-35C carrier fighters. The contact also allows for associated ancillary mission equipment and flight test instrumentation for the aircraft that will allow for flight test instrumentation for the UK.
Quincy wrote, "This [contract] … will help ensure we continue to meet production schedules outlined by the program. This is an important first step in paving the way for full LRIP 5 production contract negotiations with our government customer."
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