Skip to comments.Report: Pentagon to Buy Fewer F-35s in 2015
Posted on 02/19/2014 9:14:30 PM PST by ClaytonP
The U.S. Defense Department plans to buy eight fewer F-35 fighter jets in fiscal 2015, according to a news report.
The Pentagon will request funding for 34 of the aircraft in the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, including 26 of the Air Forces conventional model, six of the Marine Corps vertical-landing version, and two of the Navys aircraft carrier variant, according to an article by Tony Capaccio of Bloomberg News.
Thats down from 42 planes the department previously projected it would buy during the period, but up from the 29 aircraft its buying this year, it stated.
The Defense Departments base budget, which excludes war funding, is expected to be about $500 billion some $40 billion less than what the department had budgeted for the fiscal year. Congress provided partial relief to automatic budget cuts known as sequestration over the next two years, but agencies still face spending reductions.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel may touch on the planned F-35 reductions when he outlines the departments proposed budget next week before the spending plans official March 4 release.
Will there be cuts across the board? he recently said of the budget. Of course there will. You cant do it any other way. Are there going to be adjustments across the board? Of course. But you must preserve readiness and modernization.
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is the Pentagons most expensive acquisition effort, estimated last year to cost $391 billion to develop and build a total of 2,457 F-35 Lightning IIs. The fifth-generation, single-engine jet is made by Lockheed Martin Corp. and designed to replace such aircraft as the F-16, A-10, F/A-18 and AV-8B.
In a recent segment on 60 Minutes, titled, Is the F-35 Worth It? David Martin, national security correspondent for CBS News, noted that the program is seven years behind schedule and $163 billion over budget.
The piece also touched on the aircrafts many developmental problems, including improperly installed valves, gaps in the stealth coating, wingtip lights that failed to meet Federal Aviation Administration standards, tires that blow out too frequently and software glitches impacting everything from the helmet-mounted display to the automated parts-replacement system, known as the Autonomic Logistics Information System, or ALIS (pronounced Alice).
And just last month, the Pentagons top weapons tester, J. Michael Gilmore, concluded the militarys newest and most advanced fighter jet has cracked during flight tests and isnt yet reliable for combat operations.
Even so, military officials say the program has passed the point of no return. I dont see any scenario where were walking back away from this program, Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan told Martin.
Watchdogs criticized the segment as overly optimistic. CBS missed the big picture, said William Hartung, the director of the Center for International Policys Arms & Security Project who authored a book about the aircrafts manufacturer, titled, Prophets of War.
The F-35 is overpriced and underperforming, he said in a statement. But is also unnecessary for addressing our most urgent 21st century threats. Its a bad deal for taxpayers and a bad choice for our security.
Lockheed, based in Bethesda, Md., didnt participate in the television broadcast, but in a statement acknowledged the programs problems. We are working with our partners, customers and suppliers to address these challenges, it said in a statement to the network.
“. . . is also unnecessary for addressing our most urgent 21st century threats.”
Our most URGENT threats are not necessarily our most DANGEROUS threats. We need to be able to totally dominate the Chinese in an air war. Our whole war planing assumes 100% air superiority. That requires lots of F-22’s and F-35’s whether we like it or not.
Former speechwriter for a Democrat politician, wasn't he?
Hard to believe, that’s probably a good day’s production in WWII. Of course, those planes were orders of magnitude less in complexity...but Stalin did say that quantity has a quality of its own. The Germans had the best-made and best-designed weapons. The Russians had to file off the casting flash from their highly inaccurate guns and they would cut themselves up in their tanks for the same reason before they ever saw action. But, who won?
I still worry about putting all the eggs in a few, very, very expensive baskets. These systems could be swamped by small,cheap opponents.
And, wasn’t this supposed to be the “low-cost” fighter?
DHS needs the money for hollowpoint handgun rounds.
But complexity is so vital in aerial warfare that simple,cheap planes wouldn’t have a chance against an expensive, state-of-the-art one, even in overwhelming numbers.