F-35 program leadership frustrated with calls that the program is too expensive

PARIS AIR SHOW BLOG, 23 June 2011. I got a sense during the press briefing for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter at the Paris Air Show this week that the program leadership is starting to get tired of having to defend the cost of the program.

Jun 23rd, 2011
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Posted by John McHalePARIS AIR SHOW BLOG, 23 June 2011. I got a sense during the press briefing for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) at the Paris Air Show this week that the program leadership is starting to get tired of having to defend the cost of the program.Some journalists rightly point out that the program just might not be affordable, but I doubt they'll ever get the Department of Defense or Lockheed Martin to admit it.DOD oficials say they have cut down on costs in some areas and are making an effort to do more, however there seem to be some technological issues with the helmet-mounted display and in other areas that are software related and no matter how good a face you put on it software maintenance is very expensive. It can be just plain guess work when it comes to predicting cost.This was pointed out by Maj. Gen. C.D. Moore, deputy program executive officer, F-35 Lightning II Program Office when he said that trying to guess how much it will cost to maintain the F-35 over the next 50 years is akin to buying a new car and trying to guess what it will cost to maintain that car.They really just don't know...The U.S. is scheduled to build 2,443 airplanes depending on final budget approval but that number still looks good, said Tom Burbage, executive vice president, F-35 Program Integration during the press conference. Right now Lockheed Martin is producing F-35s at about two per month right now and next year should get close to four per month next year, he added.I hope they hit that number, I'm a fan of what the fighter's technology supposedly can do, but right now I don't think this country can afford 2,443 of these jets.

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