Ouch. Sounds like the new boss of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is going to be just as demanding as the outgoing one.
Bill Sweetman over at Aviation Week's Ares blog reports that Maj Gen Christopher Bogdan, deputy director for five weeks and heir apparent to the soon to depart Vice Admiral David Venlet, had some tough words about Lockheed Martin today at an Air Force Association program in Washington D.C.
Bogdan, Sweetman writes, said the relationship among Lockheed Martin, the JSFPO and other stakeholders "is the worst I have ever seen. And I have been in some bad ones." Reuters is reporting similarly.
Bogdan told the AFA audience. "I can guarantee that we will not succeed in the program if we cannot get over that. It shouldn't take 11-12 months to negotiate a contract with someone we've been doing business with for ten or 11 years."
Bogdan threatened the industrial team with a drop-kick to the pocketbook. Dealing with the contentious issue of operating costs, he said that competing estimates were so sensitive to assumptions that "they can't inform any of us about what to do and what not to do. I'm not listening to any of them. I'm looking at what we have in front of us today - and the strategy is wrong and it needs to be changed."
So far, JSF support has been planned on the assumption that Lockheed Martin will be the prime support contractor, managing the sustainment of the worldwide fleet - a potentially vast, single-source business for Lockheed Martin that could last for most of this century. ... (But) "Competition is a really good thing," Bogdan said, "and I'm going to inject some competition into this process."
The new program boss hammered home the message that "there is no more money and no more time. The admiral (Venlet) got a great gift - billions of dollars and 30 more months. We can't ask for more."
- Bob Cox