Uncategorized

June 21, 2013

Joint strike fighter on track, costs coming down, Kendall says

A U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II assigned to the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron taxis down the runway before a training mission April 4, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Indications are that the F-35 joint strike fighter program – the most expensive aviation program in Defense Department history – is on track, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics told a Senate panel June 19.

Testifying before the Senate Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee this morning, Frank Kendall said the F-35A Lightning II will be the premier strike aircraft for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.

“The department’s and my focus has been on the efforts to control costs on the program, and to achieve a more stable design so that we could increase the production rate to more economical quantities,” Kendall told the senators. “Indications at this time are that these efforts are succeeding.”

The program, begun in President George W. Bush’s administration, is about 90 percent through the development program and 40 percent through flight testing.

Kendall said he anticipates being able to complete the development effort within the planned cost and schedule.

“However, we may need to make some adjustments as events unfold,” he added. “On the whole, however, the F-35 design today is much more stable than it was two or three years ago.”

Production of the aircraft was in real jeopardy in 2011 amid uncertainty in how design issues would be solved, the undersecretary said.

“The F-35 is one of the most concurrent programs I have ever seen, meaning that there is a high degree of overlap between the development phase and the production phase of the program,” he said.

Kendall said he believes those questions have been answered, and he told the committee he will review the program later this year to decide whether to increase the production rate significantly in 2015, as is currently planned.

“At this point, I am cautiously optimistic that we will be able to do so,” he said.

Costs per aircraft are coming down, Kendall said. “Since 2010, production costs have been stable and are coming down, roughly consistent with our estimates,” he said. “We have been tightening the terms of production contracts.”

The aircraft builder, Lockheed Martin, is required to share costs associated with design changes due to concurrency, and the Defense Department is negotiating the next two buys.

“In these lots, and all future lots, Lockheed will bear all of the risks of overruns,” Kendall said. “At this point we have a solid understanding of the production costs, and believe that they are under control.”

The undersecretary said he believes sustainment costs represent the greatest opportunity to reduce life cycle costs of the F-35 going forward.

“We are now focused on ways to introduce competition, and to take creative steps to lower those costs as well,” he said. “The bottom line is that since 2010, we have been making steady progress to complete development, stabilize the design, and control costs.”

Much remains to be done with the program, and surprises may still happen, Kendall acknowledged, but he added that he is “cautiously optimistic that we will be able to increase production to more economical rates beginning in 2015 as planned.”

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

First enlisted Airmen awarded Weapons School graduate patches

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — History was made June 27, when five graduates of the U.S. Air Force Weapons School’s Joint Terminal Attack Controller Weapons Instructor Course became the first enlisted Airmen in the school’s 66-year mission to be awarded the Weapons School’s graduate patch. These graduates will now be recognized as subject matter...
 
 

Staying safe during flash flood season

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — July is here with high temperatures and a high chance of flash flooding. The months with the highest probability for thunderstorms are July through September. Las Vegas’ annual rainfall is approximately 4.13 inches, and while this may not seem like a lot of rain, the elevation of Las Vegas...
 
 

Conquer fear, live your dream

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. — Are you living the dream? Do you wake up with energy each morning or do you need an energy drink to get you going? If you constantly hit the snooze button on your alarm, wake with no energy and low self-esteem, need lots of coffee, soda or energy drinks...
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joshua Kleinholz

Weapons School honors newest graduates

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joshua Kleinholz Gen. Lori Robinson, Pacific Air Forces commander, delivers the keynote speech during the U.S. Air Force Weapons School Class 15-A graduation ceremony in Las Vegas, Nev., Ju...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Tech. Sgt. Nadine Y. Barclay

Hunters save lives through RPA Human Performance Team

U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Tech. Sgt. Nadine Y. Barclay Considering the demands facing the remotely piloted aircraft enterprise, Team Creech has formed their own human performance team to meet the needs of those suppo...
 
 
Courtesy photo

Employment Assistance Program aids military members’ transition

Courtesy photo Members of the Nellis community attend a job fair as part of the Airman and Family Readiness Center’s Employment Assistance Program at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., April 23. The Employment Assistance Program he...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>