Defense

April 26, 2013

Affordability priority for F-35 program

Tags:
Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Crew chiefs from the 57th Wing Lightning Aircraft Maintenance Unit marshal an F-35 Lighting II, March 6, 2013, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. The first two aircraft will be assigned to the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron.

Affordability remains the priority for the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter, the Pentagon’s program executive officer for the Defense Department’s most expensive procurement told Congress April 24.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher C. Bogdan told the Senate Armed Services Committee’s airland subcommittee that the program has made progress, but he acknowledged it is enormously complicated and has a ways to go.

Sequestration complicates the acquisition as well, the general said.

“We must use all our energy finishing development within the time and money we have, we must continue to drive the cost of producing F-35s down, and we must start today to attack the long-term life cycle costs of the F-35 weapon system,” Bogdan said in prepared testimony.

The F-35 comes in three variants and is being used by the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. In addition, it will form the backbone of allied nations’ airpower for decades to come, the general said. He called it a “dominant, multirole, fifth-generation aircraft.”

The fiscal year 2014 budget request includes $8.4 billion for continued system development, testing and procurement of 29 F-35 aircraft.

Twenty-nine F-35s are deployed in operational and training squadrons at three locations. The program is shifting from development to production and long-term sustainment.

F-35s flew 1,984 sorties for a total of 3,118 hours in 2012. Officials tested launching weapons from two of the variants last year and stood up the first operational F-35B Marine Corps squadron in Yuma Marine Corps Air Station, Ariz.

Sequestration has the potential either to stretch the development program out or reduce the capabilities warfighters can get, he said. Sequestration cuts funds for the program meaning development will be stretched out, causing the program to cost more in the long run. This will have impacts on international partners, he said.

“The increases may result in reduction of their aircraft quantities, which would, in turn, increase unit costs even more and cause them to relook their commitment to the program,” Bogdan said.

Furloughs of civilian workers “will have immediate negative consequences,” he added. It would cause a reduction in testing and could reduce productivity by a third, he explained.

Bogdan stressed that the basic aircraft design is sound.

“While there is still risk to the program, I have confidence in the resilience of the plan to absorb expected further learning and discovery, and stay on track, so long as it remains properly resourced,” he said.




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


 
 

 

Headlines April 21, 2014

News: Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him - Almost 10 years after the friendly fire death of former NFL star turned Army Ranger Pat Tillman, a fellow ranger admits that he may have been the one who fired the fatal shot.   Business: Ship study should favor existing designs -...
 
 

News Briefs April 21, 2014

Navy OKs changes for submariners’ sleep schedules The U.S. Navy has endorsed changes to submarine sailors’ schedules based on research into sleep patterns by a military laboratory in Connecticut. With no sunlight to set day apart from night on a submarine, the Navy for decades has staggered sailors’ working hours on schedules with little resemblance...
 
 

NASA cargo launches to space station aboard SpaceX resupply mission

Nearly 2.5 tons of NASA science investigations and cargo are on the way to the International Space Station aboard SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft. The spacecraft launched atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 3:25 p.m., EDT, April 18. The mission is the company’s third...
 

 

Second series of CASIS-sponsored research payloads launch to ISS

The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space is proud to announce several sponsored research payloads have launched to the International Space Station onboard the Space Exploration Technology Corporation’s Dragon cargo capsule. This marks the second series of investigations headed to the station that are sponsored by CASIS, the nonprofit responsible for managing research...
 
 

Boeing to give California workers $47 million in back pay

PALMDALE, Calif. – Boeing will pay $47 million to hundreds of current and former Southern California employees who are owed back pay and benefits, a union announced April 18. An arbitrator ruled against the aerospace giant in January and laid down guidelines for the payments and interest, but it took months to cull through records...
 
 

NASA selects commercial crew program manager

NASA has selected Kathy Lueders as program manager for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. Lueders, who has served as acting program manager since October 2013, will help keep the nation’s space program on course to launch astronauts from American soil by 2017 aboard spacecraft built by American companies. “This is a particularly critical time for...
 




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>