Reports from the US on November 1 indicate the F-35 JSF program is headed for a further schedule and development cost blowout in the wake of a ground up review by new program head, Rear Admiral David Venlet.
The reports, first broken by Bloomberg, indicate a further schedule slip of one to two years for the conventional F-35A and naval F-35C versions, and up to three years for the STOVL F-35B due to software and aerodynamic issues and delays in ramping up the production process, issues which may cost more than US$5bn (A$5.2bn) to fix.
Admiral Venlet is due to report to US Defense Secretary Robert Gates on the program on November 2, after which the program is expected to be ‘re-baselined’ as part of the Nunn-McCurdy review process which was initiated in April.
If true, this latest delay will add to the four years and more than US$15bn the program has already blown out by, and will push the scheduled IOC of the F-35A right up against the RAAF’s requirement of 2017.
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