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Tue, Oct 27, 2009

Pentagon Report: F-35 Will Cost More Than Expected

Lockheed Martin Disputes Report, Sees "No Substantial Delay"

Revised Pentagon estimates are that the F-35 Lightning Joint Strike Fighter will cost billions more than originally anticipated, and require more time to build, though prime contractor Lockheed Martin disputes those findings.

The online publication "InsideDefense.com" said a military "joint estimate team" found the F-35 program is "not markedly improving," according to a source who requested anonymity.

Lockheed Martin, along with principal subcontractors Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems, is developing three versions of the next-generation stealth fighter for use by all branches of the service, as well as for international customers.

Reuters reports that the story on "InsideDefense.com" indicated that the project could cost as much as $15 billion more than the original estimate, and take at least two additional years. Lockheed Martin says it disagrees with the conclusions presented by the joint estimate team.  "Lockheed Martin acknowledges that modest risks to our cost and schedule baselines exist," said John Kent, a company spokesman, "but we envision no scenario that would justify a substantial delay to completion of development or transition to production milestones."

Reuters reports that last month, Air Force Major General C.D. Moore said he is confident the program could meet all scheduled cost and production targets. Moore is the F-35 program's deputy executive officer.

FMI: www.lockheedmartin.com

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