Close sidebar

Cuts to JSF program flagged

written by australianaviation.com.au | January 7, 2010

sdd_f35testa_091US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has proposed cuts to the planned F-35 JSF production ramp up in order to free up additional funds for the struggling aircraft’s development program.

The cuts, proposed in a document signed by Gates on December 23 and leaked to Bloomberg, would see as many as 122 F-35s cancelled from the planned 500+ aircraft Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) batches, and an estimated US$2.8bn (A$3.04bn) redirected from LRIP production to program development. Further savings would be used to buy additional Boeing F/A-18E/F fighters to plug a looming capability gap for the US Navy caused by F-35 program delays.

No indication has been given as to whether the overall US requirement for 2456 JSFs would be affected, and the 122 LRIP aircraft may or may not be added to multi-year production batches at a later date. It is also unknown whether or how the cuts will affect partner nations’ JSF programs, including Australia which announced in November it will order 14 F-35As from 2014.

Advertisement
Advertisement

The proposal is a blow to Gates who had previously hoped to accelerate the development and production phases of the JSF program, but appears to be in line with a report by a Pentagon Joint Estimating Team (JET) late last year and with recommendations by the Pentagon’s chief acquisitions officer, Ashton Carter.

Whether the cuts go ahead will be known in April when the first draft of the FY2011 defence budget is handed down.

For just $59.95 a year, you can keep up to date with the very best of Australian Aviation each month, directly via our app! Our app is available on mobile, tablet and PC devices. So what are you waiting for? Go digital with Australian Aviation and read up on all missed special coverage, exclusive photos and editions. Subscribe now at australianaviation.com.au.

Each day, our subscribers are more informed with the right information.

SIGN UP to the Australian Aviation magazine for high-quality news and features for just $99.95 per year