Thursday, August 4, 2011

Janes Defence Weekly Magazine July 20, 2011

The Pentagon is considering cutting two Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightening II Joint Strike Fighters from the next production batch in order to make up for cost overruns incurred in low-rate initial production (LRIP) Lots 1 to 3, according to sources and documents. The cost to the government for overages on LRIP I to 3, which included a total of 13 F-35Bs and 15 F-35 As, has been calculated at USD635.1 million, according to numbers provided to Congress by the F-35 Joint Program Office. Another USD 136 million in various programme changes bring the total overage to about USD 771 million. In June the US Department of Defense (DoD) requested permission from lawmakers to reallocate approximately USD264 million of that total from lower-priority needs within the Pentagon. The remainder would be covered through various options, according to documents acquired by Jane's . Lockheed Martin is being held responsible for an additional USD282 million in unexpected costs. One option to make up for the overruns is decreasing by two aircraft the procurement numbers for conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) A-model aircraft, which are to be flown by the US Air Force (USAF), from LRIP 5. USD245 million would be saved by foregoing those purchases, according to the briefing slides. Another option is to reduce advanced procurement for the short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) B-model aircraft, which are to be flown by the US Marine Corps, by USD202 million, also in LRIP 5. Additional options include shaving millions of dollars from sustainment, tooling and spares, according to the document.