Thursday, February 28, 2013
Ugly Problems Loom for F-35 Light Bomber
Australia is becoming nervous about the planned purchase of 100 Lockheed F-35 light strike bombers.
The fighter's soaring costs have produced rising consternation in Australia, with a number of politicians questioning whether the air force can afford to purchase the 100 fifth-generation stealth aircraft it initially intended to buy.
U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, principal executive of the Pentagon's JSF Program Office, candidly addressed the issue of F-35 cost overruns recently met with Australian defense officials at the Avalon air show in Melbourne, Victoria.
Bogdan said that his survey of the JSF program had uncovered "ugly" problems with the program but that his office had sought to have the F-35 manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, to share the costs of fixing faults and covering delays, The Australian reported Thursday.
"You hear Lockheed Martin keep talking about $65 million, $67 million. Well, guess what? That's the cost back in 2004 or 2003. Who cares about that? I want to know what it costs the day I buy it," Bogdan said.
...former Australian Labor Defense Minister Joel Fitzgibbon criticized Australian air force commanders for their "obsession" with the F-35, saying: "I think there is an almost obsession with the JSF within the uniformed ranks. This is their brand new toy."