Defense

June 21, 2013

Senators seek cost cuts for F-35 fighter jet; Pentagon says its priciest program improving

WASHINGTON Senators sought cost-cutting opportunities Wednesday in the Pentagonís $400 billion program for the next-generation F-35, a fighter jet with a troubled testing record that military leaders said America couldnít afford not to build.

Chairing the hearing, Sen. Dick Durbin lamented that the F-35 already has cost taxpayers billions more than what Congress signed up for more than a decade ago. The Illinois Democrat asked military leaders to justify costs that have soared more than 70 percent and estimates that the entire program could exceed $1 trillion over 50 years.

The Joint Strike Fighter program has had more than its share of problems over the last decade,î Durbin said. ìFrankly, its history reads like a textbook on how not to run a major acquisition effort.

The F-35 is the Pentagonís most expensive weapons program, and it has been troubled by schedule delays and cost overruns. The developer, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., is building different versions for the Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps to replace Cold War-era aircraft such as the Air Force F-16 fighter, the Navyís F/A-18 Hornet and the Marinesí EA-6B Prowler and AV-8B Harrier. International partners, including Britain, also are in line to buy F-35s.

Costs vary by the features in each model of the plane, but can reach $169 million per unit. An F/A-18 Super Hornet can cost half that much.

President Barack Obamaís budget request for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 calls for spending $8.7 billion to develop, test and buy 29 aircraft. In total, the Pentagon envisions purchasing more than 2,400 F-35s.

Leaders of the U.S. militaryís different branches stressed that costs were now decreasing.

Pentagon acquisitions chief Frank Kendall said that with the plane 90 percent developed and testing almost half-done, officials were still focusing on creating a more stable design that would help bring production costs down.

Indications are that this time these efforts are succeeding, but we still have a lot of work left to do,î he told a Senate appropriations subcommittee. Kendall, who once criticized the decision to produce the F-35 ahead of its testing as ìacquisition malpractice, said stopping production while all problems were worked through would have resulted in significant further costs and disruption.

Asked by Durbin whether the program was now ìtoo big to failî or ìtoo big to cancel, Kendall said no program enjoyed such status.

Gen. Mark Welsh, Air Force chief of staff, said his service couldn’t afford not to build the plane if the U.S. is to maintain the air superiority it has enjoyed since World War II and prepare for emerging global threats.

Adm. Jonathan Greenert of the Navy, whose F-35s will be made to take off from the short runways on aircraft carriers, said software and other costs could still pose problems for the program. AP




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


 
 

 

Headlines October 24, 2014

News: U.S., South Korea delay transfer of wartime control - The U.S. and South Korea have delayed transferring wartime operational control of allied forces by taking on a “conditions-based approach” and scrapping the previously set deadline of 2015.   Business: Exclusive: Lockheed, Pentagon reach $4 billion deal for more F-35 jets - Lockheed Martin and U.S. defense...
 
 

News Briefs October 24, 2014

French moving troops toward Libyan border A top French military official says the country is moving troops toward the Libyan border within weeks and, along with U.S. intelligence, is monitoring al Qaeda arms shipments to Africa’s Sahel region. A French base will go up within weeks in a desert outpost just a hundred kilometers (60...
 
 
Navy photograph

Navy to commission submarine North Dakota

Navy photograph The PCU North Dakota (SSN 784) during bravo sea trials. The crew performed exceptionally well on both alpha and bravo sea trials. The submarine North Dakota is the 11th ship of the Virginia class, the first U.S....
 

 

Boeing announces SF Airlines order for Boeing converted freighters

Boeing announced Oct. 23 that SF Airlines has placed an order for an undisclosed number of 767-300ER passenger-to-freighter conversions (Boeing Converted Freighters). SF Airlines, a subsidiary of Shenzhen, China-based delivery services company SF Express, will accept its first redelivered 767 in the second half of 2015. “SF Express aims to become China’s most respected and...
 
 
LM-C130

Another Super Herc Little Rock Rollin’

  Lockheed Martin delivered another C-130J Super Hercules to the 61st Airlift Squadron at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., Oct. 23. Little Rock AFB’s new C-130J was ferried from the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics facility ...
 
 

United Technologies beats third quarter profit expectations

United Technologies Corp. Oct. 23 reported third-quarter profit of $1.85 billion as sales increased across all its businesses and the aerospace giant reported favorable tax settlements. The Hartford, Conn.,-based company said it had profit of $2.04 per share and earnings, adjusted for non-recurring gains, came to $1.82 per share. The results topped Wall Street expectations,...
 




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>