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.


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Airman 1st Class Rachel Loftis

CDOS 2014 comes to a close

U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Airman 1st Class Rachel Loftis Many people view the Labor Day weekend as the end of summer and a last chance to travel, hit Lake Mead, fire up the grill or indulge in their favorite outdoor ...
 
 

Lomie G. Heard Elementary School faculty looking forward to new school year

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mikaley Towle Dominga Romero (left), special programs teacher assistant, and Terri Gravnitz (right), early childhood special education teacher, prepare their classroom for the start of the new school year at Lomie G. Heard Elementary School on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Aug. 21. The new school year...
 
 

Revisiting, examining four elements of leadership

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — Whenever I see a new revision of the Professional Development Guide, I find myself reflecting on an experience I had meeting an awards board almost 20 years ago. I was a young staff sergeant and my flight chief was a panel member. He came up with a question from the 1993...
 

 

Deeds, not words make ‘quiet professionals’

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — As I was preparing for my assumption of command of the 60th Aerial Port Squadron, I was learning as much as I could about the squadron. One thing I immediately looked at was our squadron patch, because I wanted to see the emblem that represents the squadron to the rest of...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Spangler

Joint U.S. forces train together during integrated Green Flag exercise

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Spangler An F-16 Fighting Falcon from the 309th Fighter Squadron, Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., taxis to the runway during Green Flag-West 14-10 at Nellis AFB, Nev., Aug. 21. Green ...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nadine Barclay

Get your caffeine at Coolbeans café

U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nadine Barclay The Coolbeans Café, a coffee shop serving Starbucks is now open in Hangar 1003 to serve the Airmen of Creech Air Force Base. Airmen interested in getting out of their work cent...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin