JPO Chief Defends F-35 Program After Trump Tweet

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Lockheed Martin’s F-35 stealth fighter took a lot of heat last week when president-elect Donald Trump slammed the program as “out of control.” But the U.S. Air Force general in charge of the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) got the chance to tell his side of the story today during a media briefing.

Before 2011, the program did have significant problems, racking up $13.5 billion in cost overruns as well as a six-year delay, JPO Chief Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan readily acknowledges. Then came the critical cost breach in 2010, which led the Pentagon to re-baseline the program. But since 2011, the program has completely turned around, he stressed.

“Given the opportunity, I would like to try to explain to the new administration that this is a vastly different program from 2011 on,” Bogdan said Dec. 19 at the JPO offices in Arlington. “I will just lay the facts out on the table and then let them make their own judgements, because I don’t think the program cost-wise is out of control, nor do I think it’s out of control schedule-wise.”

Bogdan noted the transition team had not been briefed on the F-35 program before Trump’s Dec. 11 tweet, which sent Lockheed’s stock tumbling, closing down 2.4% by the end of the day. Since then, Trump’s team has called and asked for a briefing, Bogdan said. A firm date has not yet been set for the briefing, but Bogdan says he is sure the JPO will discuss the program with the new administration in the near future.

In fact, Bogdan welcomes scrutiny by the Trump team. His job and the job of the JPO is to give the incoming administration “the good, the bad, and the ugly about this program and let them make their own decisions.”

But Bogdan wants to make one thing clear: The program is NOT out of control.

“Since 2011 we have basically been on schedule, since 2011 we have basically been on budget, we are delivering now today 50-plus airplanes a year that when in the hands of the warfighter make a huge, huge difference,” Bogdan said.

Bogdan is correct that costs are now under control, with the price of one F-35A down to $102 million in the most recent batch. But the program is still seeing schedule delays and cost overruns. The F-35 development program is expected to rack up $532 million in cost growth, Bogdan acknowledged. Dec. 19. However, he downplayed that figure, explaining that $100 million is money the department took out of the budget in 2014 to pay other bills, and another $165 million is for added scope such as new security requirements. The remaining $267 million is a true overrun, driven by unforeseen challenges such as the 2014 engine fire, stability issues with 3i software, redesigning the hook and helmet, and other efforts, Bogdan said.

This overrun puts the cost of the SDD program at $14.2 billion overall, Bogdan said. While this is above the $13.9 billion objective, set by the 2011 acquisition program baseline (APB), it is still within the threshold cost of $15.1 billion, he stressed. 

Meanwhile, the Secretary of Defense has directed the JPO to prepare to continue flight testing through May of 2018, which would be a seven-month delay from the expected end date of Oct. 31, 2017. However, Bogdan was adamant that the F-35’s development phase will be completed months before that deadline, by the end of February 2018.

Though Bogdan stressed that he is “not a salesman for the F-35,” he did note the fifth-generation fighter jet’s importance in maintaining the U.S. military edge out into the future.  

“I think that this program is vital for air dominance for us and our allies for the next 50 years, it replaces many, many, many legacy fleets, it has tremendous international participation and involvement, and it is a necessary program for the United States to maintain its security,” Bogdan said. “I will, if given the opportunity, tell that to the new administration.” ​

Discuss this Blog Entry 58

on Dec 19, 2016

The horror story Trump discovered was in fact in the past and the program seems no longer out of control. No one may eliminate $13.5 billion and six years lost.

There is simply no "savings" to "negotiate." There is no time to start anew as we do not have 15 or 25 years before we start replace our current fighters.

Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan may have trouble selling his points to the future CiC.

General Bogdan was clearly transferred into the F-35 program with intent to quickly promote him to bring it under control, and he has.
af.mil/AboutUs/Biographies/Display/tabid/225/Article/108398/lieutenant-general-christopher-c-bogdan.aspx

The F-35 has not been a poster child for competent system development, but we are stuck with it. The last thing we need is to see it turned into a subject of politically motivated distress and turmoil at this late stage.

Sever scrutiny and rigorous persecution might have helped immensely 12-16 years ago but not now.

Cancellation is not an option.

on Dec 20, 2016

You need to get your understanding fixed.

There is no $13.5B "lost". The total program development cost through its projected completion in February 2018 is now projected at $14.2B. None of that is lost. It is the full development cost spread across over 3,000 copies of the F-35. That comes to $4.7 million per aircraft. That is $14.2B out of $400B total acquisition cost - or 3.6% of the entire cost of acquiring over 3,000 F-35s.

This is a program that began in 2001 with the selection of Lockheed Martin's F-35 family of aircraft over the Boeing candidate, at a time when the requirements were changing as war and technology were changing in dramatic ways. To expect that program development for such an important, long range (60 year product lifetime) acquisition when the requirements were, as usual, a moving target, and also expect no cost increases to take place is entirely unrealistic.

The program was never "out of control". It was always a complex and extremely challenging undertaking. Only people who have never been responsible for achieving great things with technologies that do not even yet exist would ever think that this was out of control.

Of course, Trump is a dolt, so that is typical for him.

on Dec 20, 2016

What planet are you currently on DTRT?

on Dec 21, 2016

He must work for LocMart!

on Dec 19, 2016

The F-35 program IS out of control, heading into Bogdan's fifth year.
Bogdan's "ramp-up" has become a ramp-down.
The limited production program of F-35 prototypes running concurrently with lengthening development is lagging. The 2016 production plan of 53 useless aircraft at the Lockheed Ft. Worth plant will be far short of the target due to quality control problems and the challenge of producing many variants on the same line. The three F-35 variants with 300,000 parts each have little in common, and the "delta" versions for the few foreign buyers are different from the US models. As a result only thirty planes were produced in the first three quarters of 2016, with production not expected to be back on schedule until the end of 2017 according to Lockheed's Hewson. Anyhow they are useless prototypes, mostly parked in USAF "training squadrons."

Unit acquisition costs are climbing due to poor contracting (no fixed price, many sweetheart cost contracts) and lagging production. Three years ago Bogdan said that by 2019 the F-35 program will deliver “fifth-generation aircraft at fourth-generation prices" but unit acquisition costs (based on awarded contracts) for the current lot nine prototypes hover around $200 million per plane, compared to less than $100 million for legacy planes. Bogdan has given Lockheed nearly two million dollars for tooling in the last four years. What part of "fixed price contract" (McCain, recently) is that?
Even using Bogdan's rosy unit cost estimates (not actual costs), the current F-35 Program Acquisition Unit Cost (PAUC) of $133M is 60% higher than the 2001 baseline of $83M. (both in current dollars) The current F-35 Average Procurement Unit Cost (APUC) is $107M which is also 60% higher than the baseline $67M. Both of these exceed the Nunn-McCurdy threshold, being 50 percent or more over the original program objective.

on Dec 20, 2016

You need to up your game, Putin troll .. your BS is laughable and hopelessly based on un-reality.

on Dec 20, 2016

We can just picture you standing in front of a mirror giving yourself advice, DTRT.

on Dec 21, 2016

Better go back to Putin School for trolls if that's all you've got, Comrade.

on Dec 19, 2016

F-35 program needs both re-scheduling and re-funding when facts are on the table. Trump can't kill the program, but he can kill the C-model if Navy wants out of this mess. Ramp-down is also far more likely option than ramping up of the production.

on Dec 20, 2016

The Navy loves the F-35C - its qualified pilots call it the very best carrier based attack aircraft in the history of naval aviation, without the slightest bit of reservation. The F-35C provides the Navy with capabilities it could only dream of before, and will be key to the survivability of CVN task forces for the rest of the 21st century. The only ones who refer to it as a mess are Russian trolls desperately trying to discredit American defenses and perhaps people who are just by nature peevish trolls.

on Dec 19, 2016

Donald Trump and Chris Bogdan - nothing more than two dodgy second hand car salesmen. The program is building useless and unusable aircraft to fulfill contracts, not to fulfill the needs of our military. It's time for some tough decisions, not least re-starting the F-22 line and re-capitalising inventories with new-build F-18s, F-16s and F-15s - unlike the F-35, these aircraft are war capable.

on Dec 20, 2016

The F-35 is war capable today with 3I software, it is already a well proven performer from both land bases and US Navy LHAs and big deck CVNs. The 3F software has already been extensively tested with real weapons by operating aircraft, and final adjustments are being made prior to the final operational tests of this latest build in about a year, as scheduled.

Development of the Block 4, adding even more weapons to its arsenal, is already well underway. The F-35 has proven itself to have outstanding availability and reliability, and currently is unmatched in air to air combat with fourth gen fighters. It is the only US attack aircraft designed from the ground up to work with and directly control ISR and attack drones, which is the future of aerial warfare. None of the F/A 18s, F-16s, or F-15s have sensor fusion, which is a necessary prerequisite to have the capability to sense, prioritize, target, and hit multiple targets from multiple platforms simultaneously. Even the F-22 cannot do that.

The first forward deployments of US Marine F-35Bs begin next month, in Japan, to serve in the hotly contested East China Sea and South China Sea theaters.

RSF (not verified)
on Dec 21, 2016

Deployed to Japan by the same USMC which rubber stamped its F-35B IOC in spite of the fact that half the mission critical system still don't work.

The Chinese are actively deploying fully functional 4+ generation fighters with AESA radar and IRST in the South China Sea.

We'd better all hope that the F-35B is war ready...

on Dec 21, 2016

I remember well all of the complaints about the cost of the F-22 but it is an outstanding aircraft. What did we replace it with? A gold plated Lead Turkey that can't seem to get out of it's own way!

on Dec 21, 2016

The pilots who fly the F-35 - unlike you - vehemently disagree with your BS.

on Dec 19, 2016

The proper response to PE-Trumps critique is to agree with him. F-35 costs got out of control and elevated to the range we have today. Had the program been better designed and executed today's costs would be many millions/plane lower.
So agree with the man and tell him you want "help" to lower costs even more while delivering the finest fighter-bomber the world's ever seen. That is the challenge.

on Dec 19, 2016

In what universe are LRIP planes supposed to meet the "Average" price laid out for the whole program?

The FACT is that the F-35's estimated costs are lower than what they were in FY2012's re-baseline. If they were ok then, how are they "out of control" now considering they are lower? They answer is simple, they are NOT out of control. Only complete idiots think that something that is getting cheaper is "out of control".

on Dec 19, 2016

Factor everything in to F-35 prototype unit acquisition cost and it's circa $200 million, which isn't lower than anything. That's basic manufacturing, tooling, helmets, mission equipment, spares, sustainment, trainers, etc. then add in the MILCON costs of special hangars and the high operational cost and that is a system with out-of-control costs.

on Dec 20, 2016

In an apples-to-apple comparison of SAR estimates from the FY2012 re-baseline event, the current program is handily beating those estimates.

Your problem is that you keep adding costs to the program that were either not part of the LRIP estimate (like MILCON), were superceeded (main contract being awarded), or don't get added (the "about a billion" advance). Given your inability to do simple math and inability to know what an operational fighter is, I'll put it in real simple terms for you:

Here are the Total Acquisition Cost - Total Program (including Dev, Procurement, spares, MILCON, etc) from the FY2012 and FY2017 SAR reports in FY12$.

FY2012 = 330,511.1
FY2017 = 313,260.4

That is a $17.25 Billion drop in cost. Tell me again how that is "out of control"?

on Dec 20, 2016

BS - the total program development cost of $14.2B spread across the over 3,000 aircraft to be produced for the US and our allies comes to less than $5M per aircraft. It's called "math" and you are obviously incapable of using math. Your numbers are a lie and are flat out ridiculous.

on Dec 19, 2016

Lets see, so far estimated costs.

When these are in the hands of the warfighter they make a difference (any been in combat yet?)

Single engine offered and not way to drive that cost down.

Gun can't hit anything and it fires for all of 2 seconds (note to self, leave the gun off, add some missiles )

Kill the B model, that is the one that drives the costs up.

We need this, we should have more F-22s. Long term it is going to be a good supplement to the F-22.

It sure is not a CAS. Ergo, it does NOT replace a lot of other platforms.

on Dec 20, 2016

They are estimated costs based on current F-35 costs and historical F-16 data.

They are in the hands of warfighters now, will deploy to Japan in a month, and to the ME late next year. Does anyone doubt the F-22's A2A prowess yet it has never seen an A2A foe and has only dropped GPS bombs in Syria.

Not sure your point about the engine. Having a single engine was a USAF demand and drives the costs down considerably vs two engines (just like F-16).

The gun is fine and it's only accuracy issue will be fixed in software.

The B model did not overly impact design with the F-35 like it did with the F-32. The lift fan in the A/C is replace with fuel so no loss of anything.

The F-35 consistently beats F-15Cs, F-16's, etc in exercises so it will be a good partner for the F-22.

Most CAS today is done by fast jets (F-16, Harrier, F-18, etc) and not the A-10. It will do just fine and is already proven that it has much better ISR functionality than any fighter used for CAS.

on Dec 20, 2016

@Spectre
-Single engine is absolutely cheaper
-Wish it had more rounds but all you need is one and it's way more accurate than legacy systems
-F-22 is awesome, love it, has a special place in my heart, but its very labor/resource intensive to get it anywhere. Naval Aviation exists for that very reason.
-Stop making comments about CAS. You know nothing of the subject.

@Spudman
-They are in the hands of the warfighter...and they LOVE it.
-Your point about the B is false. The B variant has absolutely limited the A and C in certain respects in these early production aircraft. That will be remedied but not right away. VSTOL is also very near and dear to my heart but it requires MAJOR compromise to make it work. A valid criticism of this program is that the USMC was involved at all and then insisted on VSTOL...but that is a different subject for a different day.
-People, stop comparing the F-35 to legacy aircraft in legacy roles! There is no "beating" F-15s and F-16s. It's not beating. It's complete and utter destruction.
-This airplane was not designed designed for low threat CAS. Can we all agree to that?? That doesn't imply it can't functionally execute it. Three things an A/C requires for CAS 1) A weapon (EA counts) 2) A way to communicate 3) A way to correlate the target. If you could strap a JDAM to a KC-135 then it could do low threat CAS in the areas we've been operating in for 15 years. This airplane was designed to operate in contested environments. It will do that very well but we're are going to shell out the dough for that capability.

Rant over.

on Dec 20, 2016

I did not say that the STOVL requirements had no impact, I said that it did not "overly impact" the design. I have read and watched several interviews where this was stated by LM and those involved in the design.

The use of a lift fan as opposed to direct lift like the F-32 allowed for a more conventional layout of the F-35. There is barely a change to the OML when the fan in installed either. The overall shape is dictated by two driving factors, a single engine and the need to carry 5000lb of ordinance internally. The single engine was a demand of the USAF and the 2k bombs were a USN requirement as well as a certain "spot" factor.

I'll see what articles & interviews I can dig up.

on Dec 20, 2016

Good rant, surf ... but I will say that the Marines are absolutely in love with their F-35B. It provides capabilities they've only been dreaming of and never had before. It's a great aircraft, much easier to fly than the Harriers. It provides both supersonic flight and the ability for landing on both LHAs (a necessary requirement) and short/unimproved fields on land (also a necessary requirement). The Marines are busy developing joint tactics to have the F-35Bs working in close coordination with their Ospreys .. the Marines are also upgunning the Osprey to make it a more formidable ground attack weapon that will rely heavily on the advanced sensors and sensor fusion of high flying F-35Bs to help them direct fire on the bad guys.

The development of the F-35B did not slow down development of the F-35A, any more than the even slower-developing F-35C slowed down the F-35A. Each was on an independent development path on their particular features.

A lot of folks don't realize also that Marines are going to be flying the F-35C as well as the B model. Marines will continue to operate from our big-deck CVNs as well as our small deck LHAs.

on Dec 20, 2016

@spudman
No question that the VSTOL design of the B is far and away better than any other option. Its truly a marvel of engineering. And while I may have over emphasized your point of design impacts to A and the C I think you're still too limited in your thinking when it comes to VSTOL. The VSTOL option effected every single system in the A/C. I'm not talking about mission systems, I'm talking about HYDs, thermal management, fire protection, flight control software/hardware, landing gear actuation, pilot escape and life support. VSTOL had a real effect on every one of these systems due to one driving factor...WEIGHT. VSTOL compromise is real.
@DTRT
I was in no way inferring that the USMC has not gained a significant capability. The argument I was alluding to (which again, is probably for another post) is whether or not the USMC NEEDED that capability given it's primary mission set. This isn't something that can back tracked at this point but mismanagement of USMC TACAIR over the last 15 years has led to the USMC having no other choice (if they wanted to stay in the VSTOL world...which of course has other implications). I'm not arguing one way or the other here, to me it's a bit of a moot point, but within the circles of my life that is a question regularly posed. The upside to all this mismanagement of USMC TACAIR is that the -C was pushed on them by big navy. This wasn't received well initially but due to TACAIR Integration policies they ended up with one hell of a deal. There is no doubt that the C is the most capable of the the three and coupled with uniqueness of the B, the USMC suddenly finds itself in a very different position then it has in the past. Interesting times ahead.
Let's see...clean up points to DTRT...Upgunning Osprey is defensive and there are no plans/reasons to think they could develop an AMV-22 of sorts. Waste of resources and mission. Joint tactics implies INTER-service; INTRA-service tactics involving fast jets and MV-22 have been around for a while. But yes, you're correct in assuming that those will expand.
Seriously, I just read your "upgunning" comment again and you need to rethink the reasons for that, lol.

Harrier wasn't hard! It was unforgiving! And those that were close will never forget it.

on Dec 20, 2016

@surfisgood02

Sorry that I was not clear enough. From what I read and heard, the STOVL requirements did not overly impact the "performance" of the A or C versions of the F-35. There were obviously costs & time involved in making all 3 version play nice to the point of them sharing the same avionics hardware, engine, portions of the airframe & even the same software build.

To that end, if there was never a STOVL JSF, the A/C would still be Mach 1.6 & 9G (7.5 for the C) fighters that carried 5k of internal weapons.

on Dec 21, 2016

Interoperability is treated by some as a vice rather than a virtue. It is of course a tremendous virtue. Particularly with respect to intelligent warfighting systems such as the sensor fusion, countermeasures, etc.

on Dec 21, 2016

You're wrong on the upgunned MV-22 Osprey ... let me quote from a recent post on Scout.com:

"The U.S. Marine Corps is progressing with a new project to arm its MV-22 Osprey aircraft with new weapons such as laser-guided 2.75in rockets, missiles and heavy guns - a move which would expand the tiltrotor's mission set beyond supply, weapons and forces transport to include a wider range of offensive and defensive combat missions, Corps officials said. "

on Dec 21, 2016

Yes it did slow down the development , it was in number 1 place, it had issue and mucked up the development. They had to move it down the food chain screwing it all up. You are re-writing history , congratulations , you can join Putins propaganda arm.

F-35B: You do not put a system in placed like that without have HUGE impacts on the structure . The B airframe is entirely different than the A and C.

DTRT: Yes we know the Marines will fly the C as the Navy is robbing the Marines to fill their carriers.

You are all starry eyed about the whiz bang, there is a cost factor.

The Marines at the core, have to return a capability based on the investment

Said investment is amphibious for a light infantry.

We are spending 10s of billions on duplicate dollars for a capability that has not been used in 60 years.

You claim the F-35 does not need a gun as guns have not been used in air to air for 50 some years.

But then you claim the Marines need that amphib stuff.

That logic falls flat on its face.

There are limited dollars and they need to be spent wisely, not emotionally and the violins playing like a teary eyed dreamer.

on Dec 20, 2016

The guns are mostly useless as they are only used in direct line of sight engagements, which F-35s will never engage in. F-35s will operate virtually exclusively in beyond visual range. The weapons available to the F-35 thoroughly negate the need to ever use the gun. The F-35 gun is a proven gun, in any case, it wasn't developed as an "F-35 gun" it was an existing model adapted to the F-35.

Single engines are fine - most aircraft lost in non-combat are lost due to pilot error, not engine failure, and the F-35 is much less subject to pilot error because it actually mostly flies itself, so that the pilot can focus on killing bad guys.

Indeed, the software on the F-35C enables the aircraft to make carrier landings with far less pilot input and required skill, enabling the Navy to cut the number of carrier landings required to qualify or requalify by F-35C pilots to half that required for hand-flown F/A 18s. That also reduces the wear and tear on aircraft and improves sortie rates on carrier ops. For these and many other reasons Navy and Marine pilots of the F-35C are ecstatic about it, readily call it "the best carrier plane ever, bar none".

on Dec 21, 2016

"The weapons available to the F-35 thoroughly negate the need to ever use the gun.".
Living in the 1950s still.

on Dec 21, 2016

You're projecting. LOS is 14th century technology ... it requires the attacking aircraft to expose itself and its pilot to detection and return fire. BVR combined with stealth allows the attacker to kill the bad guys before the bad guys even realize they are threatened.

It's really dumb and wasteful to risk pilot lives as well as expensive hardware, when neither need be at risk at all. Warfare isn't about "fair fights" and manhood and such .. it's about killing the bad guys and not getting the good guys killed.

As General Patton famously said, "No dumb b*stard ever won a war by going out and dying for his country. He won it by making some other dumb b*stard die for his country."

on Dec 21, 2016

Kinda reminds me of the F-4 and the supposed need for no Gun! How did that work out?

on Dec 21, 2016

It worked out by having the F-4 retire decades ago. Because its time was long past.

on Dec 21, 2016

DTRT:

GUN:

So explain to me then why all that space and weight is taken up on the F-35 for a 2 second gun?

Single Engine: So we assume its never going to be used in Combat?

And the Navy proved that you can auto land on a carrier so why bother with the pilot?

on Dec 21, 2016

The gun on the F-35 carries more ammo than any current European or Russian fighter so it's just fine for what it is, a weapon of last resort. For A2A the missile is the preferred weapon and for A2G the PGM is preferred.

on Dec 21, 2016

The gun occupies very little space and weight, and will rarely if ever be used.

Single engines in combat .. why on earth would that make a difference? Most US fighter aircraft going back 100 years have had single engines. The most numerous fighter aircraft in the US military today and for the last four decades is the single engine F-16.

The pilot in the F-35 is still needed, as it is not a fully autonomous aircraft. The pilot spends relatively little of his or her mental bandwidth focused on flying the aircraft, so that the pilot can spend most of their focus on killing bad guys. The F-35 is not just a single attack aircraft - it is the nerve center of a multi-aircraft attack formation, and also does the same with respect to ground forces and shipboard forces. It is the only aircraft in the universe outfitted with sensor fusion. It is the brain center of a multi-pronged offensive and defensive system. That is why the effort was made to automate much of the aircraft systems so that the pilot is not bogged down doing non-combat tasks that a computer can do quite nicely.

It also produces a safer aircraft, and helps increase the operating efficiency of the CVN air wing. The sortie rate of F-35s is already proven out to be 40% higher than the F/A 18 Super Hornet. That's a huge increase in fighting efficiency.

on Dec 21, 2016

Still reading and believing the glossy brochures and ignoring the real world.

on Dec 22, 2016

"The guns are mostly useless as they are only used in direct line of sight engagements, which F-35s will never engage in. F-35s will operate virtually exclusively in beyond visual range."

Is that so? When firing the first AIM-120, will the missile and F35 still be undetectable? Guiding the missile? Still undetectable? Maybe against MIG21s. Turn and burn, loose missile guiding, expose yourself? Then what? That the F35 never will be exposed within visual is probably a best case scenario against an inferior and undernumbered airforce.

on Dec 22, 2016

Depends on the range.

The MAWS of advanced Russian planes says AAM launch detection < 30km and only a <5km detection range for coasting inbound AAMs.

The NEZ of modern AAMs (AIM-120D, Meteor, etc) is well outside that 30km range.

on Dec 23, 2016

Ok, I get that. What if the enemy is 4-6 newly built Saudi F-15 or Typhoon with AESA and late generation AIM-120, or METEOR?

on Dec 23, 2016

The F-15SA's MAWS is basically the same as the Su or Mig's (ie an IR sensor). It's actually worse for the Typhoon since it uses what amounts to miniature radar's that have to be constantly transmitting in order to detect inbound AAMs. This would be a giant "shoot me" strobe light that would attract the attention of every decent ESM sensor within LOS.

on Dec 19, 2016

The F-35 program has never been audited by the DCAA. Why doesn't Bogdan call for an audit to backup his claims, if he believes they are true?
The Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) has twenty offices and 4,492 auditors, with 1,272 of them CPA's. That's a lot of auditing power. The DCAA has six regional offices, one in Irving, Texas, just a few miles from the Ft Worth F-35 manufacturing plant. Previously the DCAA has said that it was interested in F-35. It reported in 2012, in its "2011 Year in Review:"--
"The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Lightning II represents a new age in fighter and strike aircraft for the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and several international allies. JSF meets effective multi-system and multi-service requirements with the ability to adjust between air-to-surface and air-to-air missions. An estimated $200B [now $392B] program, JSF is slated to be the largest military aircraft contract in history, with aircraft likely to remain in service for the next 50 years."

So the need is there, and the DCAA is there, but the audit agency has not recently audited the largest system acquisition in history, the Joint Strike Fighter (F-35) program

on Dec 19, 2016

The Putin regime was quick to make propaganda of this story.

sputniknews.com/military/201612201048768265-pentagon-defends-troubled-jet-program/

on Dec 20, 2016

"Bogdan is correct that costs are now under control".
"The F-35 development program is expected to rack up $532 million in cost growth".
Sorry Lara, you can't have it both ways. As to Bogdan's claim that "since 2011, the program has completely turned around", the aircraft still have well over 200 problems that have not been resolved. Time for someone to step in and take the Kool-aid away.

on Dec 21, 2016

All aircraft and all weapons always "still have problems". The 30 year old F/A-18s are still having problems today, they even got grounded for a few days earlier this week due to "problems". 40 year old F-16s are still having "problems". The 60-year old B-52s still have "problems".

These are all highly complex systems with gazillions of parts any one of which can fail at any time ... and all are piloted by human beings who make mistakes all the time - which is and will remain the principal cause of aviation accidents as well as wartime casualties. The human pilot is always the weakest link in any chain.

The F-35, however, is vastly outperforming every other aircraft we have today.

on Dec 21, 2016

"The F-35, however, is vastly outperforming every other aircraft we have today". Really? Ignoring the fact that a 30-year old F16 (with droptanks) can fly rings around it. Lets also just ignore the very basic problems that the F35 has, like the fact that the ejection seat can kill the pilot.
DTRT, put the Kool-aid down and join us in the real world.

on Dec 23, 2016

@Tommy - that CLAW test, as stated in its documents and by its pilot afterwords, was to test the software of the F-35 to make sure that it would not do anything unexpected when in high AoA maneuvers under 7G & CLAW restrictions. It was not a combat test of the F-35.

For that, you can have this quote from an F-35 operational pilot.

Col. Chad “Mo” Vaughn, CO of VMFA-211. Prior to the F-35, Vaughn spent a couple 1000 hrs over 13 years in the F/A-18A-D Hornet, as well as time in the F-16A-B Fighting Falcon/Viper and F/A-18 Super Hornet at NAS Fallon.

"I was leading a four ship of F-35s on a strike against 4th Gen adversaries, F-16s and F/A-18s.

We fought our way in, we mapped the target, found the target, dropped JDAMs on the target and turned around and fought our way out.

All the targets got hit, nobody got detected, and all the adversaries died. I thought, yes, this works, very, very, very well.

Never detected, nobody had any idea we were out there."

Here is another quote:

"The F-35A was not designed to be an air superiority fighter, but the pilots interviewed conveyed the picture of a jet that will more than hold its own in that environment—even with its current G and maneuver restrictions. In the words of an F-16C Weapons School Graduate and instructor pilot now flying the F-35A, “Even pre-IOC,[26] this jet has exceeded pilot expectations for dissimilar combat. (It is) G-limited now, but even with that, the pedal turns[27] are incredible and deliver a constant 28 degrees/second. When they open up the CLAW, and remove the (7) G-restrictions, this jet will be eye watering.”[28]"

On the seat issue.. It was a minor thing that oly affected light-weight pilots, of where there are NONE in the program (or any US program as it's a new requirement for the F-35). The fix for it is already being tested & incorporated. It's a non-issue.

on Dec 20, 2016

@Tommy
The Dev cost estimates have gone down as a whole vs the FY2012 estimate. If they need to claw a little of that back to finish, that's fine considering that it was unforeseeable events that caused them to need the extra $.

As I pointed out to Don, the Total Acquisition Cost estimates have gone down $17+ billion since FY2012 and they have reasonably met most of the Dev & IOC laid out in the Re-Baseline event.

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