Joint Strike Fighter To Be Delayed

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Price Tag Jumps for Aircraft;
Joint Strike Fighter To Be Delayed

By Renae Merle
Washington Post, February 19, 2004
http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A53184-2004Feb18?language=printer

Onderstaand bericht uit de Washington Post bevestigt eerdere berichten over stijgende ontwikkelingskosten van de JSF, alsmede de vertraging van een jaar in de produktie.

Price Tag Jumps for Aircraft;
Joint Strike Fighter To Be Delayed

The cost of developing the Joint Strike Fighter aircraft will reach about $40 billion, $7 billion more than estimated, because the Pentagon wants a one-year delay and to refine the design, a senior Navy official said yesterday. About $5 billion of the increase will cover a one-year delay in the program; an additional $750 million will be set aside for anti-tampering technology, said John J. Young Jr., assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition. The military has also changed some of the planes' requirements, adding about $155 million to the cost, he said. "It's killing me, to be honest with you, to see this program grow" by this much, Young said. "I think there is a lot of anxiety here [but] it's based on a program that has very big numbers so any adjustment tends to be very big numbers," Young said. "But the reality is it's a well managed program, it's a well planned program." The development of the Joint Strike Fighter, also known as the F-35, was budgeted to cost about $33 billion and is in its early stages. Last summer, prime contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. began building the first test model of the plane, which is to be used by the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy and Britain's navy. The JSF will replace several existing fighter planes, including the F-16 and some versions of the F-18. "This is the most complex fighter aircraft ever developed and because of the complexities the maturity of the airframe is not progressing at the rate that we had hoped," said John Smith, a Lockheed spokesman. The Pentagon is designing three versions of the plane. All are heavier than originally planned. That has not affected expected performance on two of them, Young said. But the third version has been more problematic, he said. "On planes that weigh 30,000 pounds empty, roughly we're missing by 1,300 to 2,300 pounds, not an excessive miss," Young said. "The driving factor in slipping the program one year was that we would like to work the weight down." The anti-tampering technology is also turning out to be more expensive than Lockheed expected. Lockheed projected the scope of the needed technology at a much lower level than the military does, Young said. If a plane falls into enemy hands "we don't want people to be able to recover hardware and exploit it," he said. © 2004 The Washington Post Company


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