via AOL Breaking Defense.
ARLINGTON, VA: Three years ago, Lockheed Martin made the bold boast that F-35s would cost less than $85 million a copy by 2019, less than any existing fourth-generation fighter.Wow. Ya know when you have a Pentagon in total disarray? When you have a program office that is at odds with its senior leadership! Remember when the Chairman of the JCS stated that the number of F-35's to be bought was under review? If not then check this out....
Skeptics howled. Boeing scoffed (eager to sell their ostensibly cheaper F-18 and keep its production line open). Most of us were impressed at then-Lockheed Martin program manager Lorraine Martin’s audacity.
Now, Program Executive Officer Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan says the most common model of the plane, the F-35A, will hit $80 million to $85 million by 2019 and he expects the price will go lower, especially when it hits multi-year procurement in a few years. That price is in then-year dollars, and it includes an engine.
“Given the evolving defense strategy and the latest Defense Planning Guidance, we are presently taking the newest strategic foundation and analyzing whether 2,443 aircraft is the correct number. Until the analysis is complete, we need to pursue the current scheduled quantity buy to preclude creating an overall near-term tactical fighter shortfall.”Remember how the F-35 program office rushed to call him a liar? Again, check out the below...
This may be one of those stories that turns on phrasing, but the Pentagon’s new spokesman, Peter Cook, said during yesterday’s briefing — his first — that the military is not reviewing how many F-35s it plans to buy.Turns out Dunford might be a wayward Marine but at least he told the truth (or remains quiet...noticed that he wasn't on stage with the SecDef for the women in combat announcement). Back to the issue at hand....Just a day or so ago we had the Defense UnderSec state that with 45 F-35's being cut from the program, that he didn't know if they would ever bend the cost curve...
“Obviously, the budget situation here in Washington will have a big impact on that, but there is nothing at this point to indicate any formal review of this number,” Cook said. “But there will be the standard budget review of all programs going forward to FY 17.”
He claimed the Pentagon is still committed to buying all 2,443 F-35s. That stands in stark contrast to the story we broke about the incoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, telling the Senate Armed Services Committee this in responses to the committee’s written questions:
U.S. Defense Under Secretary Mike McCord spoke to reporters on Tuesday, noting the Air Force is absorbing the biggest cuts of the three military branches procuring the aircraft."We are trying to get it back up to where we want it to be across the FYDP," McCord said. "But it's just a lot of money too, and it's unclear that we will be able to get this program back to the ramps that we had hoped for previously."Now we have Bogdan making this statement? Its one of two things. Either Bogdan is smoking some high grade, straight from the cocaine fields crack, or we have a program office that is totally out of control.
Quite honestly it would be better if Bogdan is smoking crack. A program office out of control means that they've lost all objectivity and are now working for the contractor instead of the Pentagon.
From my seat. That's exactly what's happening....someone needs to grab this guy by the lapels and give him a bit of wall to wall counseling. He's lost perspective and has turned into a salesman/cheerleader instead of USAF Flag Officer.