Fri, Jul 24, 2009
Joint Estimate Team Predicts JSF Reach Full Production Before
A joint service panel formed to make an independent assessment
of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter development process says the
program has fallen 2 years behind, even while the fate of the F-22
Raptor is being hotly debated on Capitol Hill.
Some Senator and their aides who favor building more F-22's say
the Pentagon committee's report should have been released during
the F-22 debate. They say the Pentagon should be more forthcoming
about problems with the F-35. Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morell says
the first production aircraft should be completed on time, but that
it's still unclear if full production can ramp up on schedule. He
said the report was not suppressed by the Pentagon. He said the JET
report has been "dredged up" by supporters of funding for
additional F-22 Raptors.
Congressional Quarterly is reporting that the Joint Estimate
Team (JET) has determined that the F-35 won't be in full production
until 2016. Original estimates had been that it would be ready 2
years earlier. The Government Accounting Office says the delay will
cost taxpayers an additional $7.4 billion. The Pentagon would like
to try to accelerate the program, but GAO cautions that could up
the price tag another $33.4 billion.
Experts told CQ that the efforts to kill funding for 5 more
Raptors, which was stripped from the Senate Defense Bill this week,
would have been hurt by the JET report.
CQ reports that the delay could affect the air fleets of all the
services because it is intended to replace the F-15, F-16, and
F/A-18. News of the delay will likely have some bearing on the
debate over funding for the F-22, which is still in the Defense
appropriations bill under consideration in the House.
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