Bloomberg reports that airframe quantity for the F-35 program low-rate-initial-production (LRIP) lots will be funded as development sees real progress and not just blind faith.
Six of the 31 aircraft in the next round won’t be awarded until Lockheed Martin, the world’s biggest defense contractor, meets at least five criteria, including successful review this year of the latest software release, Vice Admiral David Venlet told the Senate Armed Services Committee’s airpower panel, according to a prepared statement.
The first four contracts for 63 aircraft have exceeded their combined cost by $1B.
And those 63 aircraft are in no way, go-to-war combat aircraft.
Either the F-35 proves itself in development, (hard to do at this point with all the flaws), or numbers get cut. Even more.
This is not the best plan. Cancelling the jet would be the best plan. Major design flaws show that for all the money invested, the F-35 will never be a leading-edge combat aircraft. It won't even be a very good replacement for legacy aircraft.
An elected representative from Boeing proposes harsh action: that half of the F-35 funds be stopped until DOD declares an initial operating capability (IOC) date for the services.
Hold the F-35 Program AccountableSupport the Akin AmendmentW. Todd Akin
The Only Major Defense Program Without An IOC
Dear Colleague, The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, whose development has spanned three presidencies, is the Department of Defense’s most expensive acquisition program in history! On its current course, the program will cost the United States more than $1.5 trillion!
And we STILL do not know this aircraft’s Initial Operational Capability (IOC)? The IOC dates are the critical dates when the warfighter expects the capability promised by the acquisition program to be available. Compared to the current approved baseline from 2007, the total cost of this program has increased by nearly $119 billion. Full-rate production has been delayed 5 years, and IOCdates are now unsettled because of program uncertainties.
The program has changed its IOC dates four times already, but if DOD wants Congress to fund the program, they should give us an IOC. F-35 program boss Vice Adm. David Venlet told lawmakers he still does not have an estimate for when the F-35 will reach its IOC. GAO’s recent testimony gives an explanation: The program is not performing reliably enough for them to try to guess. “Until greater clarity is provided on the program’s path forward, the military services are likely to wait to commit to new initial operational capability dates,” the GAO said. It is not acceptable for a program the American taxpayer has already invested billions of dollars in to fail to give Congress fixed and firm IOC dates.
This is why I will be offering the following amendment during committee markup to the National Defense Authorization Act: The Akin amendment states that not more than 50 percent of procurement funds made available for a variant of such aircraft may be obligated or expended until the Secretary—
(1) establishes the initial operational capability date for such variant; and
(2) certifies to the congressional defense committees such date.This amendment will not harm the development of the program, but will only slow the actual buying of airframes if the DOD does not establish an IOC date.
Recognizing the difficulties inherent in any cutting edge program of this nature, I have personally counseled patience with the Joint Strike Fighter program in the past. But my patience has run out, and I believe Congress and the American people deserve to know when this aircraft will provide a return on our investment.
It is understood that elected representatives from Lockheed Martin along with lobbyists, will attempt to stop such a plan.
Meanwhile, Vice Adm. David Venlet told the Senate Armed Services tactical air and land forces subcommittee that if the program continues as it is now there should not be any significant unexpected cost or schedule increases.
On this point, Venlet is not believable. History shows that significant, unexpected cost and schedule increases are the most consistent F-35 program metrics.
H/T- Sky Talk