Tags: boeing | f-18 | f-35 | pentagon

Pentagon Will Keep Buying Boeing F-18s

Tuesday, 13 Sep 2011 08:40 PM

The U.S. Defense Department will continue to buy Boeing Co. F-18 fighters as a hedge against delays in producing the Lockheed Martin Corp. F-35, the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer wrote a lawmaker this month.

“The department’s commitment to the F-35 is solid and we are committed to production rates that minimize cost,” Undersecretary for Acquisition Ashton Carter wrote Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn on Sept. 1.

The Pentagon last year requested $1.9 billion for 22 additional non-stealthy F-18E/Fs and $2.6 billion more for 28 in fiscal 2012 from Chicago-based Boeing. Some of this money came from a pool of $12 billion in F-35 funds that the Pentagon last year cut or transferred, citing the need for additional testing of its top weapons program.

Buying additional F-18E/Fs “was an acknowledgment” that a delay in buying the Navy F-35 version “would slow down the rate at which” it would reach the fleet, Carter said.

The Navy estimates it will start in 2015 seeing a shortfall in the required number of fighters for its 11 aircraft carriers, Carter wrote.

Still, “the F-35 is a very high priority and the production rate will not be reduced solely to pay other bills in the budget,” Carter wrote.

Questions from Cornyn

Cornyn sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee that today reviewed the nomination of Carter to be the next deputy Defense secretary, to replace William Lynn.

Carter’s Sept. 1 letter to Cornyn and another, on Sept. 6, were sent to answer the senator’s concerns that the Pentagon wasn’t sufficiently committed to the $382 billion F-35 program, which Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed Martin builds in Texas.

Carter in the Sept. 6 letter sought to clarify the Pentagon’s position on its preliminary estimate that the F-35 is projected to cost $1 trillion in operations and support cost through 2065, based on purchase of 2,443 jets.

“This estimate represents a projection based on an extensive set of assumptions and historical data drawn from previous programs adjusted to reflect the F-35’s configuration” -- not actual performance data for the joint strike fighter, Carter said. The program office is now conducting a “business case analysis” to sharpen the estimate, which won’t be completed until after the fiscal 2013 budget is submitted in February, Carter said.

Senate Panel Action

The Senate defense appropriations subcommittee in its version of the fiscal 2012 defense bill recommended today cutting $695 million from a $9.7 billion F-35 request and keeping production levels to 35 aircraft approved for this year, instead of increasing to more than 40 in fiscal 2013.

“We continue to strongly support this program and believe the F-35 is showing progress since it was restructured last year,” the panel chairman, Hawaii Democratic Senator Daniel Inouye said in a statement.

Still, there remains “excessive” overlap, or “concurrency” between development and early aircraft and only 10 percent of the testing program is complete.

The full Senate Appropriations Committee is scheduled to take up the $513 billion defense spending bill on Thursday.

© Copyright 2017 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

1Like our page
2Share
Companies
The U.S. Defense Department will continue to buy Boeing Co. F-18 fighters as a hedge against delays in producing the Lockheed Martin Corp. F-35, the Pentagon s top weapons buyer wrote a lawmaker this month. The department s commitment to the F-35 is solid and we are...
boeing,f-18,f-35,pentagon
495
2011-40-13
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
MONEYNEWS.COM
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved