F-35 Cost Dips 1% to $391 Billion: Pentagon

F-35 Cost Dips 1% to $391 Billion: Pentagon

The cost of the U.S. Defense Department’s most expensive weapons program, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, declined by 1 percent in the past year to $391 billion, and lawmakers remain concerned about its software.

The estimated price tag to develop and build 2,457 F-35 Lightning II fighter jets includes $326.9 billion for air frames and $64.3 billion for engines, according to newly released figures from the Pentagon. The combined amount is $4.5 billion, or 1.1 percent, less than an estimate of $395.7 billion released in March 2012.

The decline was attributed in part to revised labor rates charged by the prime contractor — Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin Corp. — and its subcontractors, according to the Defense Department.

“This is the first year a cost reduction was noted,” Laura Siebert, a spokeswoman for Lockheed, said in an e-mailed statement. “We will work with the F-35 Joint Program Office to implement further cost saving measures, which will result in additional significant decreases to the total program cost.”

The F-35 is among a Pentagon portfolio of 78 weapons programs projected to cost a total of $1.66 trillion. That’s a 2.7 increase in cost from last year’s projection of $1.62 trillion for 83 systems. Despite the modest rise, none of the programs were flagged for having significant cost overruns.

The figures were released the same week a Republican-led subcommittee in the House of Representatives voted to require that Frank Kendall, the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer, create an independent panel to review the F-35’s software development and submit a report on its status to congressional defense committees by March 3, 2014.

The House Armed Services’ tactical air and land forces subcommittee, led by Rep. Michael Turner, R-Ohio, included the language in its draft of the 2014 defense authorization bill, which sets policy goals and spending targets for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.

Kendall himself has said the amount of code still needed to be written creates “some risks” and Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, the service’s F-35 program manager, has said he’s concerned the slow pace of software development may delay the delivery of the most lethal version of the fighter jet beyond 2017.

That model of the aircraft, known as 3F, is designed to be equipped with a suite of internal and external weapons, including the GPS-guided Joint Direct Attack Munition, laser-guided Paveway II bomb, Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile and infrared Sidewinder missile.

The Pentagon in the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 plans to spend $8.4 billion to buy 29 F-35 Lightning IIs, including 19 for the Air Force, six for the Marine Corps and four for the Navy, according to the budget request released last month. The plane is designed to replace such aircraft as the F-16, A-10, F/A-18 and AV-8B.

Lockheed Martin this month released video of the first-ever vertical takeoff conducted by an F-35B, a version of the plane that can take off like a helicopter and fly like a plane, which is being developed for the Marine Corps.

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LOL I’m sorry but that is just too funny. So what is 1% off of,

A-150 mil

B 220 mil

C 180–200 mil

If it went up you’d be complaining.

No I was pissed when the aircraft we were assured would cost 80–90 mil tops all doubled their prices.

Like it makes a difference the plane i8s inferior to the Eagle and Raptor and still cost 10 million time higher than thought. wish they dump this boondoggle and get more Eagle upgrades and Raptors for both navy and USAF.

And now for the clue-train. DOD is not ordering 2,457 F-35s. The SAR will be out soon. Let us see how cost per flight hour goes.

Those are LRIP5 prices; A models are still going to be around $90m by the time they kick into full-rate production.

The SAR is out and it still shows 2,457 F-35s. Here is the specific data (costs are in millions of dollars):

Program: F-35 — F-35 Aircraft
Base Year: 2012
Current Estimate
— Base Year $: 265,934.3
— Then Year $: 326,912.8
— Quantity: 2,457
Changes this Quarter:
— Base Year $: –10,548.7
— Then Year $: –4,942.4
— Quantity: 0

The SAR is located at: http://​www​.defense​.gov/​n​e​w​s​/​S​e​l​e​c​t​e​d​A​c​q​u​i​s​i​t​i​o​nRe

Navy doesn’t have either. Landing gear will not work on aircraft carriers and the wings have to fold.

So did the costs really come down? Please read this article: http://​www​.defense​-aerospace​.com/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​s​-​v​i​e​w​/fe.…

So in reality they are just playing with assumptions to show a lower total program cost and some of these new assumptions are questionable.

My advice, get LMT to write a check to the DoD for the $4.5B and cash it now before it becomes another cost overrun like the $71m they are trying to add to minimize the slip in the block 3F software.

part 2
The 3F software slip appears to have motivated the USAF to declare IOC with block 2 software which suddenly became a PR selling point (1 year early IOC) even though they dumbed down the initial capability and the full war fighting software load is slipping.

Also interesting that the flight testing efficiency is below projections. So even though F-35 is ahead in test flights they are falling farther behind in test points completed. Wonder if that was in the latest SAR cost assessment?

So overall no real breakthrough occurred. This is still a smoke and mirrors “reported” cost reduction which was likely politaclly motivated to appear to be good news! Well done F-3$.

Can please somebody cancel the F-35? The J-20 and Pak FA T-50 will make mincemeat out of it.
Where is the funding for 6 internal AAMs? We don’t want to send our pilots into battle knowing that they won’t come back while LMT executives buy their 3rd condo in Aspen.

“A models are still going to be around $90m by the time they kick into full-rate production.”

Great! Then LockMart should have no worries about signing an ironclad contract, with heavy nonperformance penalties, on the spot, right here and right now, for $90M a frame for the full rate F-35A, in constant 2013 dollars. With a date certain for delivery of each frame.

Wait. What? What’s that you say? LockMart aren’t willing to actually lock in? They aren’t willing to back up their glossy, fantastical promises with a tough contract that holds them to account on performance and on cost?

Res ipsa loquitur.

The rude reality is that it is not now and it never will be possible to deliver the F-35 for the promised low costs. LockMart have blown that target as comprehensively as they have blown the weight budget and blown the software schedule. Unrecoverably.

You’ll be able to have all of the F-35As you want, in full rate production, for about $180M a frame in constant 2013 dollars. Because that’s how much building the turkey is actually going to cost even when the design finally stabilizes and the line finally accelerates.

This is not a Moore’s Law situation. There is not a semiconductor-industry grade learning curve to exploit. This is a very very complex little jet with too many intricate systems stuffed into too small an outer mold line, with extensive touch labor at the factory. That means it is expensive and will continue to be expensive. Unavoidably. No way around it. Inherent in the design.

Can these planes help preventing us from running away with the tails between the legs in the future wars?

A good read from an Aviation Week link about just how “Questionable” these new found savings really are.
F-35 Cost Decline Due to Lower Labor Costs, Accounting Changes?
. http://​www​.defense​-aerospace​.com/​c​g​i​-​b​i​n​/​c​l​i​e​n​t/m

The F-35C does have reinforced naval gear and folding outer wings.

And where exactly do you think the F-35 features this huge increase in production costs when compared to the F/A-18E or even new F-15 variants? Presuming Lockheed can get their house in order there is no reason they shouldn’t be able to make significant cost reductions in that area.

As for weight, everybody wishes the aircraft weighed a few thousand pounds less. But STOVL capability hasn’t been compromised.

Sure. I trust you can have alternative stealth fighter designs for the USAF and USN in LRIP by the end of the month? Lets not forget the STOVL requirement either.

What facts are you basing this on? You are not in the know and it is just an assumption. Based on our track record I have serious doubts to your opinion.

To be honest this needs to succeed, there is no backup plan.

It’s stupid to throw tons of money into R&D and suddenly expect LM to deliver super cheap airframes based on optimistic projections made by the companies themselves.

If you want to save money, you get an aircraft that is essentially the demonstrator, then spiral it. Though doing that locks in the Air Force on a couple thousand airframes…

the back-up plan is restarting production of an improved F-22 or accelerate the FXX program. It is all doable. In the interim make due with F-15SEs. The F-35 is not going to do well in the air-to-air role against peer adversaries.
The cancellation of the F-22 was a colossal, almost treasonous mistake. China is laughing.
STOVL is of marginal benefit

This is not really good news for the program. This is scrambling for something good to say about the F-35 so the whole thing doesn’t collapse. 1% after 15 years of delays is still immensely embarrassing for any program.

F22 isn’t a strike fighter, which is 95% of what we need tacair to do. The preoccupation with air to air combat is a tangent. If we end up in a great deal of air to air combat our SEADs has failed and we are already losing the conflict regardless of the outcome of some dogfights.

We need new tacair. $400 billion for it is what is treasonous imo.

$400 billion is what you get when you put many different requirements for different services under a single program after a long “procurement holiday”

There has not been “15 years” of delays. And unfortunately long delays have become the normal as seen with the F-22, Eurofighter and Rafale. It’s a problem across the entire industry, not just limited to the F-35.

Well that’s why in addition to Lockheed estimates you have a dozen different government agencies, think-tanks, and half the bureaucrats in DC publishing their own wildly varying estimates for everybody to argue over.

The X-35 was essentially the demonstrator and that part of the program went fine.

Actually, it’s 13 years. I headed up the first joint review (Navy, USMC, Air Force, OSD) of the F3$ program back in 2000. We mapped out the 7 major and 6 minors engineering challenges, when they peaked and incuded some risk mitigation suggestions to keep to that year’s program development and production schedule. I see those issues occurring in the exact order predicted, but following the typical shift-to-the-right delayed phasing as the development has taken longer (just like all the other complex development programs DoD undertakes) and cost more than projected. We don’t have “cost growth.” We have a failure to admit these are complex engineering issues that require some honesty about what it takes to make them real. Since the politicians and flag officers “managing” these progam don’t want to admit the will cost substantially more than their rosy estimates, what are we to suspect when they do? I say let the contractors pay 100% of the development costs. When they finally work, we’ll reimburse them under an amortization schedule as part of the production run. If they don’t like that, we should bring all production in-house.

Nice try troll and/or retard.

What schedule are we talking about here? The one where IOC was initially planned for 2012, 2013, and 2015 for the B, A, and C variants? In the event that the government cancels or scales back on a contract due to matters unrelated to a program’s health will the contractor be reimbursed for any of that cost?

I didn’t say it wasn’t. I just said it’s insane because it’s throwing the most resources at the least deterrent proving capability.

1%??? LMAO


Good article why the #s we are planning to buy the F35 is folly.

Hey! I know this name. It was at the head of an execrable editorial last week titled “To Improve DoD Acquisition, Stop Reprogrammings” over at Defense News by a guy who thought reprogramming should be banned. I immediately forwarded a link to a friend and colleague who had proposed coauthoring a book on military procurement inspired by Kuhn’s ’”Structure of Scientific Revoloutions”. I told him:
“I read an atrocious bean counter lament on budget reprogramming at Defense News the other day and immediately thought about this past exchange of ours. The Beancounter, one John King, apparently believes everything can be done to a schedule and a known budget beforehand as well as a straight-dealing Congress. Never heard of “unknown-unknowns” I guess. Talk about ate up with ‘WIDIMITWEED’.“
You might want to add an initial in your name so no one confuses you with “that guy”.

Lot of money for just an attack/bomber. The US airforce should be adding F-22s to fulfill the fighter role. For the F-35A to be a competitive fighter at least give it twin engines.

I think the airforce would have been fine with four aircraft: The F-22, the F-16, the F-117, and the A-10. If they had merely added more of those to their ranks and upgraded them the entire fleet would have been fine and our capability multiplied. The F-35 is the unnecessary bird and its costing us capability that we could have added to the ones that really matter.

Spot on!

the F-15 is still very viable, the air farce might have been wise to go with the Silent Eagle path, at least they’d have numbers and not just a few shiny F-22’s

The –117 is probably moot. ~50 jets, low maintenance stealth, only carries two bombs. But until enough –22’s come out, it’s the most numerous stealth fighter that can be resurrected from Tonopah in short notice.

Develop the F-22 swept-wing carrier variant and scrap the F-35C. Might as well have nothing if it’s not up to the job.


There is NO BACK-UP PLAN for the F-35.

The idiocy on this blog is ASTOUNDING.

LOL @ the idea that F-117’s LO was ever “low mx”

I find that even though the F-35 is an absolutely awesome piece of advanced military hardware. With the moves, sharp looks and unheard of maneuverability & unimaginable speeds. To top it off! The F-35 is off the chart, absolutely cutting edge technological engineering physical capabilities & computer hardware & software 5 to 10 years ahead of its time. The United States of America can not justify spending over $391,000,000,000 billion dollars of American tax payers hard eared money. There was a time in America history. When Elected Officials & Joint Chiefs of Staff & Military Contractors. Thought about the long term effects of such a costly purchase. would have on the whole of the Nation. If they would stop and take a few days to think about the long term affects. I am sure they are all intelligent enough to realize. Our Nations fragile economy can not, should not & must not. Be burdened with such massively expensive defense costs. The $391,000,000,000 billion dollar price tag does not even cover upkeep, maintenance, repair parts or storage of the F-35. That money would be better spent on takining care of all of injured veterans and their families who are struggling to pay bills & provide food, health care, clothing & housing for their families. American Politicians, Defense Contractors & The Pentagon. Need to really take a hard soulful look into their priorities. Help really take care of the Veterans who have been fighting A War on Terrorism for over 13 years now. If the politicians, Military Contractors & Pentagon Brass were to focus some of the big money they are spending on military hardware. On healing the American Nation as a whole. Actually got the very best treatment, care and assistance for the huge population of damaged Fighting American Warrior Veterans. Then those hundreds of Veterans could heal faster mentally, physically & emotionally. Which in turn means a very large population of American Veterans could get back to work that much quicker. That means once those 1 million or so Veterans back at work. Would be generating 1 million more paychecks. That means The American Government would be receiving billions & billions of tax revenue from those millions of Veterans who where back to work & feeling again like they are once again apart of the productive fabric of the American Dream. God“s Love, Peace, Mercy, Prosperity Compassion & Wisdom be with all.

D.A.V. SGT Donald Taylor

Best way to save mone on the F-35…cancel it.

Come on guys, it’s only a Trillion dollars overall. Christ, we can mint a coin to cover it!

SGT. Taylor, thank you for your service and your inspiring words. We, the american people, need to set a precedent of taking care of our wounded, as well as, the surviving families of those that did not come home. $391 billion will buy a lot of wheelchairs, crutches, prosthetics, physical therapy, food, clothing, rent, etc. THINK ABOUT IT AMERICA! Upgrade the Eagle and build the carrier variant for Raptor and while doing that make sure OUR veterans and their families are well taken care of like the heroes that they are.

What a colossal joke on us! The head idiot in charge states the plane’s software that controls it’s weapons won’t be ready until after 2017!!!! It’s 2013!!!!! And we’re talking about weapons that have been carried by every other warplane we have, for over a decade at least!!! WTH!!! I’m no IT guy but HEY, give the USA a break and admit it that you don’t have a clue on HOW to get the thing to work! No sane person outside the government procurement people would consider this a “good”, and I’m being charitable here, proposition by ANY measurement! When is this F35 head general slated for retirement? Bet it’s right around 2017!!

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