Pentagon Official Blasts F-35 Engine Cost

Image: Pentagon Official Blasts F-35 Engine Cost

Friday, 18 Apr 2014 08:16 AM

By Jason Devaney

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A senior Pentagon official has criticized Pratt & Whitney on the over-budget and long-delayed F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.

The high-tech fighter jet, which is costing the U.S. government nearly $400 billion for an order of 2,443 jets, is scheduled to begin going into service in 2015.

But according to The Wall Street Journal, a Pentagon official is unhappy with the rising price of the jet's single engine. The overall cost to build the airplane rose in 2013 after going down the previous two years.

Officials are calling for Pratt & Whitney to help bring down the cost by lowering the price of its engine.

"Pratt is not meeting their commitment. It's as simple as that," said Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, the military official in charge of the program.

Pratt says it has employed a cost-cutting plan, but problems with the program — including the fluctuating number of engines needed because of federal budget cuts — have affected the effort.

"Delays in procurement have an effect on costs," the company said in a statement. "We need production program stability in order to meet the cost objectives on the program."

There are three variants of the F-35: the F-35A, F-35B, and F-35C. Each one has different takeoff and landing capabilities. According to the Journal, the latest batch of F-35A jets — which are designed for conventional takeoffs and landings — cost $112 million per aircraft.

The program is in its testing phase; as Lockheed Martin, the program's main contractor, delivers each plane, it is tested by the military and used for training.

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