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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. Defense News 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."

Sources: DefenseNews 1, DefenseNews 2

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Saab Jas 39 Gripen good stopgap ....
By simian pete on 12/14/2011 10:23:48 PM , Rating: 2
It's a good idea working out the bugs for the F-35 ! This fighter will have many advance features, technology that can also be used in the F-22 ... Hopefully they will bring back production of the F-22 ..

It's going to take a few years before they ramp up productiuon of the F-35 ! So why not replace some F-16's with the low cost Saab Gripen ? You can buy 2 to 3 Gripens for the cost of 1 F-35 ! So how about making a deal with Saab and buying a few hundred Gripens ! We could use the Gripens in active military defense - then rotate them to the Reserve and the National Guard when the F-35 is coming online ....

The Saab Gripen ! A very viable solution to temporarily replacing some F-16's !!!

Here's a link ...

By inperfectdarkness on 12/15/2011 10:19:22 AM , Rating: 2
because the gripen is even LESS capable than the f-16. again, you're talking about rudimentary 4th-gen fighters replacing upgraded 4.2-4.5-gen fighters. why spend even MORE money on worse technology to "bridge the gap" between now and when the f-35's are online and available?

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