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No contract after nearly a year of negotiations

Negotiations between the U.S. government and Lockheed Martin over the $400 billion F-35 Lightning II program have been tense. Defense News reports that one deputy program manager said that the relationship between the Department of Defense and Lockheed is "the worst I have ever seen." 
After that comment was made, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta stated, "I don't know that I would portray it in those terms. These are difficult negotiations, as they always are when you're dealing with the amount of money and the complexity that's involved with the Joint Strike Fighter."
Defense News reports that last week Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter put his support behind comments made by Air Force Major General Christopher Bogdan. Bogdan had harsh words for Lockheed Martin’s failure to sign a contract with the Pentagon for 32 F-35 fighters after almost a year of negotiations.
However, Panetta does not agree that the relationship between the U.S. government Lockheed is the worst he's ever seen.

Lockheed F-35B Lightning II fighters [Source: Lockheed Martin]
“I don't share it, number one, because … I don't know the history of just how much has gone on in the past,” Panetta said. “But at least from what I have seen at this point, my view of it is these are very tough negotiations, but they aren't a reflection that either side has given up or thinks that the other side, you know, is in a more difficult state at all.”
Panetta is also reportedly unhappy that Congress won't be back in session until after the elections in November. An initial round of budget cuts in defense spending is set to begin in January. With Congress out of session until the elections are over, there is no chance of avoiding or delaying the defense spending cuts.
Panetta said, "I'll take whatever the hell deal they can make right now to deal with sequestration. The problem now is that they've left town and all of this has now been put off into the lame duck session."
“We need stability,” he said. “You want a strong national defense for this country? I need to have some stability. And that's what I'm asking the Congress to do: Give me some stability with regards to the funding of the Defense Department for the future.”

Source: Defense News

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RE: Out to lunch, be back in December
By Reclaimer77 on 9/29/2012 6:03:26 AM , Rating: 2
Urgh - unfortunately that confidence is at times horribly misplaced.

We haven't lost a serious air engagement since, what, WWII? Okay maybe early Vietnam. But still, it's pretty hard to NOT be confident in our Air Force.

Also our last generation frontline fighter, the F-15, has NEVER been shot down in combat to this day. And that's all F-15's, including those sold to our allies. 104 (known confirmed) A2A kills, zero losses.

The last time we went up against a 'fearsome' Russian fighter, the MIG-29, it had it's ass thoroughly handed to it over Iraq. We also shot six down in the Kosovo War. Yet the paper scenarios said an entirely different thing.

Until I see some hard data on the PAK that points otherwise, I'll just assume it's another one-off copy of 20 year old American tech.

By Bubbacub on 9/29/2012 8:59:34 AM , Rating: 2
iraqi pilots dont really have a great reputation.

got to compare like with like.

the best example would be provided by exercises performed by a newly united germany in the early nineties.

east german mig29's (their second rung mass export fighter) vs west german f16 (our second rung mass export fighter).

the mig29's annihilated the f16's in simulated combat.

is a mig29 a more advanced aircraft than an f16? - in many ways no - in some ways yes.

who knows what would have happened with a full blown war.

im glad we never found out.

i wouldnt dismiss USSR designed war material out of hand - they were a pragmatic and bloody effective bunch of psychos.

the current bunch of corrupt assclowns runnning russia fill me with much less confidence in their ability to build modern cutting edge things - for instance they have managed to take a bullet proof uber reliable rocket in soyuz and through sheer ineptitude made it into something decidedly risky (the cargo variant at any rate).

RE: Out to lunch, be back in December
By Jeffk464 on 9/29/2012 9:28:59 AM , Rating: 2
Not exactly a perfect example of fighter superiority. In Iraq the US Air Force had massive air superiority, and probably most importantly AWACS keeping track of everything happening in the air. Basically as soon as a Mig 29 started taxiing, AWACS was vectoring F15's onto their 6. Its basically a situational awareness thing, the mig pilot flying blind and the F15 pilots aware of everything going on. And as previously mentioned US air force pilots having much better training. Like I mentioned before when put in a more "fair" situation where they were flying highly trained german pilots in mig 29's against F18 pilots it was not a slam dunk for the f18 pilots at all.

RE: Out to lunch, be back in December
By Reclaimer77 on 9/29/2012 1:39:27 PM , Rating: 2
Like I mentioned before when put in a more "fair" situation where they were flying highly trained german pilots in mig 29's against F18 pilots it was not a slam dunk for the f18 pilots at all.

We help train the German air force, provide logistics, and equipment. So to say they are a step above the average Russian pilot is an understatement.

Secondly, I would hardly call the F-18 an "air superiority" fighter equal to the Mig-29. And even then, it held it's own admirably. It's the worst fighter in our inventory at this point.

By Jeffk464 on 9/29/2012 3:52:09 PM , Rating: 2
Like the F35 the f18 is a multi-role plane so its a compromise design, but I think its pretty good for what it is. Its definitely solid in the attack role.

P.S. Yeah, I would assume German pilots have excellent training.

By Jeffk464 on 9/29/2012 3:54:35 PM , Rating: 2
Also the mig 29 is obsolete by Russian standards, and has been superseded by the SU32 and SU37.

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