Defense

July 14, 2014

DOD official discusses F-35 at Farnborough Air Show

Jim Garamone
DOD News

Safety is the first consideration in whether the F-35 Thunderbolt II joint strike fighter appears at the Farnborough Air Show in England this week, a senior Defense Department official said July 14.

The F-35 fleet was grounded July 3 pending an investigation of an engine fire that occurred June 23 on the runway of Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

Frank Kendall, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, told reporters at Farnborough that senior Air Force and Navy officers are assessing data to determine the root cause of the fire.

Hopefully, they’ll be able to come to a conclusion and begin flying again, but we don’t want to prejudge that, he said. We don’t want to get ahead of it, and we put safety first.

Even with setbacks like the grounding, the F-35 program is a much more stable program than it was four years ago,” Kendall said. We’ve got a lot more confidence in the design today. We have the costs much more under control than we did four years ago.

In 2010, the services were only about 10 to 15 percent into the flight test program. Today, it’s up to about 60 percent.

It is still a development program, Kendall said. We’re still finding things as we go through the testing phase. We’re still finding things that we need to correct and fix, but it’s a much more mature design.

Cost is a major factor, and Kendall said the new program has brought expenses down, and expects to continue to do so.

We’re beating our own projections in terms of production costs year by year, he said. So the cost growth that plagued the program in the earlier phase of its cycle, I think, in the production side, is behind us.

The goal, Kendall said, is to bring the cost of this aircraft down to where it is comparable to that of a fourth-generation aircraft by 2019.

The biggest opportunity we have to reduce cost is probably in sustainment, the undersecretary said. We’re looking at that very closely. We were able to reduce our estimate for future sustainment costs by about 10 percent this year, but there’s a lot more work to be done there, and we think there’s a great opportunity there.

All of the original partners in the joint strike fighter are still in the program, Kendall said, adding that there are two foreign sales candidates outside the partnership with more expected.

The reason for that is very simple: this is a quantum improvement in air dominance, he said. It’s going to be an aircraft that will set the countries that have it apart from countries that don’t by a significant margin for the next few decades. So that’s why it’s such a valuable investment to us, and that’s why we remain committed.




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


 
 

 
Courtesy photograph

F-22 inaugural deployment to Europe

Courtesy photograph A pair of F-22 Raptors fly near the coastline of Panama City Beach, Fla. Four F-22 Raptors, one C-17 Globemaster III, and approximately 60 airmen arrived at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, to train with allie...
 
 
ILS photograph

Boeing-built satellite will create first global high-speed broadband network

ILS photograph The Inmarsat-5 F3 satellite launched Aug. 28 aboard a International Launch Services Proton Breeze M rocket from Baikonur, Kazakhstan. EL SEGUNDO, Calif.–When the third Boeing-built [NYSE: BA] Inmarsat-5 sat...
 
 

Civil Air Patrol joins total force ‘Airmen’

When conducting missions for the Air Force as the official Air Force auxiliary, the Civil Air Patrol is now included in the Air Force’s definition of the total force. CAP has provided 74 years of support to emergency services, aerospace education and cadet programs. In August 2015, the Air Force updated Doctrine Volume 2, “Leadership,”...
 

 

Hurricane Hunters to fly Tropical Storm Erika

The Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters are operating out of Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., flying their state-of-the-art WC-130J Super Hercules into Tropical Storm Erika in support of the National Hurricane Center in Miami. The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron flew four missions into the tropical storm from their deployed location at St. Croix in the...
 
 

Pentagon probing alleged distorting of war intelligence

The Pentagon’s inspector general is investigating an allegation that the military command overseeing the anti-Islamic State campaign distorted or altered intelligence assessments to exaggerate progress against the militant group, a defense official said Aug. 26. The official was not authorized to discuss the probe publicly and so spoke on condition of anonymity. The investigation was...
 
 
LM-C130

U.S. Air Force receives additional MC-130J Commando II

MARIETTA, Ga., Aug. 27, 2015 – A crew from the U.S. Air Force Aug. 27 ferried a new MC-130J Commando II aircraft assigned to Air Force Special Operations Command to Cannon Air Force Base, N.., from the Lockheed Martin facilit...
 




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>