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January 06, 2011

DoD to dramatically cut F-35 purchases in 2012-2016

The Pentagon would buy nearly one-third fewer F-35 joint strike fighter aircraft between 2012 and 2016 under a five-year spending program outlined Thursday by Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

F-35_May 11 two-plane test flight The plan would mean a dramatic slowdown in the anticipated pace of aircraft production by Lockheed Martin and its subcontractors.

Total buys of all three variants would fall from 449 planes, as projected as recently as a year ago, to 325 planes over the five year period. The detailed plan document is attached below.

A total of 30 planes were recently ordered with dunding authorized in the fiscal 2010 defense budget. The 2011 budget called for 43 aircraft, but Congress has not appropriated funds and indications are that the number will be between 32 and 37.

For 2012 the production order would be cut from 45 planes to 32. Production of F-35B STOVL aircraft would be scaled back dramatically until that plane's technical problems can be fixed and tested.

An additional $4.6 billion would be added to the development and testing budget to complete testing by 2016.

As expected, Gates has given the Marine Corps and Lockheed Martin two additional years to solve technical and development problems with the F-35B, short-takeoff-vertical-landing version.

Gates said a Pentagon review shows the B-model has problems that "may lead to a redesign of the structure and the propulsion system," which it can ill afford.

"If we cannot fix this variant in this two year time frame ... then I believe it ought to be cancelled," Gates said in a Pentagon press briefing.

Details of Gates plan are still not available, but he said 2012 orders would be reduced from a planned 43 planes to 32 and overall spending on the program would be cut by $4 billion between 2012 and 2016.

Download JSF_TalkingPoints_010611_Final (2)

Defense Secretary Robert Gates presentation on defense budget and F-35

Transcript of Gates and Mullen press conference

- Bob Cox

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Comments

Henry Merbler

Wonder why Secretary Gates is procasternating ? F-35B with MAJOR new inventions needs to be cut to a test program of maybe some 6 and cancel others NOW !!!!

Alberto Knox

Everybody want to see the budget cut. Well folks, this is what it looks like when that happens. There will be a lot more of this going on too. All to fund a tax cut for me that I don't need and don't want.

Thanks, though. I do appreciate the gesture.

Philip W Martin

gIVE OBAMA A REASON AND HE WILL KILL THIS NATION. THE DOD IS CUTTING BACK MORE AND MORE. WHEN WILL IT STOP. ONLY AFTER THE NATION CAN NOT LONGER DEFEND IT SELF.

tex

Meanwhile, China reveals a new F35 looking stealth fighter. Make no mistake, folks, they WILL attack us the very second that they feel militarily superior and the Obama/iWon is hell bent on destroying our nation.

Slag

BEIJING — Photos leaked online that appear to show a prototype of China's first stealth fighter jet were discussed in state media Wednesday — a move that supports claims the country's military aviation program is advancing faster than expected.

Chinese progress in that field calls into question U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates' decision to cap production of the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter at 187 planes. Supporters of the F-22 have warned of growing threats from China, as well as Russia, which has developed a stealth prototype that is already in the test flight stage.

Analysis of the J-20 photos shows it to be larger than either the Russian or U.S. planes, likely allowing it fly farther and carry heavier weapons

James Caswell

ohh yes, I'd much rather have my tax money go towards broken, overpriced dreams (Lockheed Martin) or already outdated airframes (Boeing). Great idea...

What this country needs is a defense contractor that can actually deliver on what is initially "sold" to the taxpayers. Lockheed Martin should stick to cranking out updated F-16s, Boeing can stick to their updated Super Hornets, and we shoulda given the ATF contract to Northrop.

Slag

Chinese progress in that field calls into question U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates' decision to cap production of the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter at 187 planes. Supporters of the F-22 have warned of growing threats from China, as well as Russia, which has developed a stealth prototype that is already in the test flight stage.

Analysis of the J-20 photos shows it to be larger than either the Russian or U.S. planes, likely allowing it fly farther and carry heavier weapons

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