The Joint Estimate Team (JET), which is described as “probably more reliable than the (Joint Strike Fighter) program office” has offered findings that say the F-35 is two years behind schedule. If true, this delay could add as much as $7.4 billion in costs to the Joint Strike Fighter program. On the other hand, according to the GAO, accelerating the JSF program–like DoD is talking about doing–could cost up to an additional $33.4 billion. Compared to the $1.75 billion the Senate decided to take out of the F-22 program the other day, these are significant.
The JSF program office has not changed the official production schedule, which calls for full rate production in 2014. The JET thinks 2016 is when that milestone will really occur.
It is often said bad news ages poorly. House appropriators appear to favor the JET’s argument–the appropriators reduced the JSF request for FY2010 by $530 million because they don’t’ think the program can spend all the money it has asked for.
Will this bad news affect the F-22 in any way? And what to make of the fact this information was released only after the Senate’s recent F-22 vote? Stay tuned…