WASHINGTON, (BM) – The new U.S. government reporting report shows an increase in the expected cost of upgrading the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. They (expected costs) increased by nearly $ 2 billion (1.9) for one year. GAO presented the report on March 18th.
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The modernization of the American F-35 began a little more than two years ago – 2018. It’s about Block 4 of the stealth fighter, and it should receive new hardware and software. Lockheed Martin says these upgrades will add new weapons capabilities and computing functionality.
$12.5 billion was earmarked for the development of the new version of the F-35. Today, that figure is $ 14.4 billion, with a difference of $ 1.9 billion from 2020. The U.S. government report says that the increased costs are due to failed tests in 2020, leading to a delay in the entire schedule.
According to GAO, it will be challenging for the modernization of the F-35 to be completed in the planned period – 2026. Some experts say that this period will increase by one year, but GAO is skeptical and says that 2027 will be the year of modernization of the F-35.
What increased the cost of the F-35?
The reasons for the increase in costs can be both complex and individual. Proponents of the project say that the epidemic situation in the world and the United States due to Kovid-19 is the reason why the F-35 has become more expensive.
However, an in-depth analysis of the GAO report shows that this is not the case. $ 705 million was given only for additional fees related to the fighter’s flight tests. Administrative and overhead costs increased by $ 471 million. Lockheed built a new laboratory for nearly $ 330 million. The cost of the new F-35 computer system has increased by almost $ 300 million.
The reactions in Washington
An internal investigation is currently underway among the U.S. military regarding whether the purchase of the planned fighters is necessary and Pentagon could reduce the number of fighters. This information came from the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, General CQ Brown.
Lockheed Martin defended the project and the money spent on it, despite the increased costs. Lt. Gen. Eric Finn, executive director of the F-35 program, says there has been progression despite its risks.
Adam Smith, House Armed Services Committee Chairman, disagrees. He says he is disappointed with the F-35 program, and it is high time the nation should “stop throwing money down that particular rathole.”
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