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 by Henry Hancock

Weapons school grad challenges Airmen as new AU commander

U.S. Air Force photo by Henry Hancock Lt. Gen. Steven Kwast, Air University commander and 1994 outstanding graduate from Fighter Weapons School at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., addresses Airmen Nov. 12 at Maxwell-Gunter Air Forc...
 
 

AF closes FY14 force management programs

WASHINGTON — Airmen who met the service’s reduction in force board were notified of the board’s results Nov. 19, bringing the fiscal 2014 force management programs to an end. The RIF board selected 354 captains and majors across the Air Force for non-retention, half of the number the service previously projected it would separate. Line...
 
 
Courtesy graphic

Blowing away ashes

Courtesy graphic Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the U.S., yet more than 45 million Americans still smoke cigarettes. However, more than half of these smokers have atte...
 

 

479 selected for CMSgt promotion

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas – Of the 2,525 senior master sergeants eligible for promotion to chief, 479 were selected for an 18.97 percent selection rate, Air Force Personnel Center officials announced today. To see the selection list, go to the Air Force Portal at https://my.af.mil, or myPers at https://mypers.af.mil. Airmen will be able to access their score...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christian Clausen

Creech chiefs welcome finest Airmen into top enlisted tier

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christian Clausen Senior Master Sgt. Matthew Saugstad, center left, poses with his wife Senior Master Sgt. Carissa Saugstad, Chief Master Sgt. Butch Brien, 432nd Wing command chief, and ...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Siuta B. Ika

Creech commandeers career counseling capability

U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Siuta B. Ika Senior Master Sgt. Tonya Joyce (left) and Master Sgt. Marcy Holland, both 99th Force Support Squadron career assistance advisors, are available to help Airmen stationed in Souther...
 




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