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USAF (and HASC) really putting the screws to LockMart:
Top US Air Force general supports proposed F-35 cost constraintsBy Valerie Insinna
The U.S. Air Force’s top general backs proposed legislation that would cap the number of F-35s the Defense Department can buy unless it meets affordability goals for operating and sustaining the jet.
The House Armed Services Committee’s version of the fiscal 2022 defense policy bill — approved by the committee last Thursday — would require the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps to meet targets for “cost per tail per year,” which measures the average cost of flying, maintaining, and upgrading the jet.
Asked about the provision during the Defense News Conference on Wednesday, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown indicated he would support the proposed cost constraints.
“The language from Congress is really in line with what we’re trying to get done,” Brown said.
“One of our goals is to actually make this [program] affordable, and to make the sustainment costs affordable,” he said, calling it a “focus” for the service.
The Air Force plans to buy 1,763 F-35A conventional takeoff and landing models throughout the program of record. However, the total lifecycle cost of supporting that number of aircraft remains more than what the service projects it can afford.
In FY20, it cost the Air Force about $8 million to operate and sustain each F-35A — about twice the target cost per tail per year of $4.1 million.
By 2036 — when F-35 operations reach their peak — the gap between that metric and the actual cost could amount to a recurring annual charge of $4.4 billion, according to a July report from the Government Accountability Office.
The proposed language is meant to induce Lockheed Martin and the Defense Department to work together on a solution that will lower sustainment costs, said HASC Chairman Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash...
The U.S. Air Force’s top general backs proposed legislation that would cap the number of F-35s the Defense Department can buy unless it meets affordability goals for operating and sustaining the jet.www.defensenews.com