June 20, 2012. David Pugliese - Defence Watch
A top U.S. lawmaker says the Pentagon and Congress should keep pressing Lockheed Martin Corp. to reduce the increasing costs of its F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Bloomberg News is reporting.
“We have to keep the pressure on,” Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee said. “We’ve got to have contracts which are fixed-priced. We have to make reductions.”
More from Bloomberg:
The F-35 contract awarded to Lockheed in 2001 called for three variants of an affordable stealth fighter for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. The Pentagon’s most expensive weapons program, its total cost is estimated at $395.7 billion, a 70 percent increase from a 2001 estimate equal to $233 billion in current dollars, according to the latest Pentagon Selected Acquisition Report.
The first four contracts for 63 jets are exceeding their combined target cost by $1 billion, according to congressional auditors. The U.S. Government Accountability Office said in a review released on June 14 that the F-35 will require $12.7 billion a year on average through 2037. That’s up from $9.1 billion requested for fiscal 2013.
The program’s projected “lifecycle cost” — including development since 1994, production of 2,443 jets and 55 years of support — increased to $1.51 trillion from $1.38 trillion in 2010.
Levin said. “I’ve got plenty of concerns. Some trends are positive and some trends are not.”
“We’ve got to have a backup, which is what the F-18 is all about,” he added.