Mei 21 2011

Senate Hearing F-35 : opening statement Carl Levin

Gepubliceerd door om 3:04 onder Global F35 News

Read some key quotes of the opening statement of Senator Carl Levin, chairman.

Today we will seek a better understanding of what the Department of Defense found in various reviews of the Joint Strike Fighter program after the Nunn-McCurdy certification last year and what actions the Department has taken to ameliorate problems that it found with the program and what is the best judgment available as to how effective these actions will be in preventing further problems with the program, including cost overruns and
The F–35 Joint Strike Fighter program is currently the largest acquisition program within the Defense Department’s portfolio. Perturbations to the cost, schedule, or performance of a program that intends to buy more than 2,400 aircraft for the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps will have significant implications for the rest of the Department’s acquisition program and for the DOD budget as a whole.

New delays and later IOC; new revions later this month

Last year, delays in producing the F–35 developmental aircraft have caused an estimated 13-month slip in the program for completing testing. Some, including the CAPE office, the Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, had been predicting that development
could slip by as much as 30 months. It now appears that the CAPE estimate may have been much closer to the mark of how long it will really take to complete development than that 13-month estimate.
We know that the Department intends to release additional information on the new baseline and on a new initial operational capability, or the IOC, later this month after conducting a Defense Acquisition Board review of the program.

Development cost nearing US$ 51 billion

The additional delays that we see in the revised plan have both cost implications for the F–35 program itself and cost implications for the services as they try to manage their current force structure of legacy aircraft. The services have had to come up with more research
and development funds, since we are now looking at an increase of more than $4 billion in the cost to complete the system development and demonstration, or SDD, program.
Now, what this means is that we now have roughly $13.8 billion left to go just on the SDD program, with total SDD costs now at $51 billion (editor’s note: about US$ 21 million per unit at a production run of 2.400 units). Now, these are dismaying. Indeed, they are disturbing numbers and costs to us and to the taxpayers of the United States. Now, the most recent SDD cost increase is somewhat offset by procurement reductions in the near term, but that just simply postpones costs to future years where these costs will add pressure to those budgets.
JSF lost focus on affordability

Last year, we raised concerns about the JSF program having lost focus on affordability. That was not our assessment alone. That was an observation of the DOD- chartered Independent Manufacturing Review Team report on the JSF program, and that report
stated: ‘‘Affordability is no longer embraced as a core pillar.’’ We need to hear today specifically how the Department has responded to that erosion in focus. We also need to hear what steps the Department has taken or plans to take to ensure that operating and
support costs are reduced as a part of a renewed emphasis on affordability.
This committee has been a supporter of the JSF program from the beginning. Nonetheless, people should not conclude that we will be willing to continue that kind of support without regard to increased costs resulting from a lack of focus on affordability. We cannot sacrifice other important acquisitions in the Department of Defense investment portfolio to pay for this capability.

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