F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

Discussion in 'Military Aviation' started by 1.44, Jul 18, 2009.

  1. 1.44

    1.44 Member of The Month SEPTEMBER 2009 Senior Member

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    Former F-35 worker sues Lockheed, alleges software lapses

    A newly unsealed lawsuit accuses Lockheed Martin of developing corrupt and possibly dangerous software for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter flight control system and then lying about it to the government.
    Sylvester Davis, former software lead and software product manager for the F-35 flight control application at Lockheed Martin, has filed the False Claims Act suit in US District Court for the Virgin Islands.
    Davis' lawsuit recommends to the court that Lockheed should "immediately" stop developing software for the F-35 to "avoid further waste" of resources and the "serious risks" to F-35 pilots.
    "The software contains substantial corruption," says the lawsuit, "which has multiplied significantly the risks that the software will not operate as intended."
    The lawsuit also alleges that Davis informed Lockheed managers of the software problems and attempted to change their processes to meet the government's contractual standards.
    While initially Lockheed presented Davis with an award for raising awareness of the issue, the lawsuit says, the company failed to correct the underlying problems.
    Davis continued to raise concerns about the software integrity both within the company and to government officials, according to the lawsuit. Davis alleges that prompted a series of internal reprisals, ending in his "constructive termination" from his Lockheed job, court documents say.
    "Much of the hundreds of millions of dollars spent, thus far, have been wasted because of [Lockheed's] dishonest conduct which has created an unacceptably dangerous product," the lawsuit says.
    When asked to respond to Davis' allegations, a Lockheed spokesman sent a statement by email: "We do not find merit to any claims raised in the complaint by Mr. Davis and we will vigorously defend this matter in court."
    Davis's claims stand in sharp contrast to glowing reviews of the F-35's software maturity to date, with more than 100 test flights since Davis left the company.
    US Marine Corps Brig Gen David Heinz, the F-35 programme executive, told reporters on 3 June that Lockheed has achieved a higher level of software maturity on the F-35 than any previous US weapons programme at this stage of development.
    Lockheed has also stated that no flight test has been disrupted or delayed by software issues in the flight control system.
    For his part, Davis is seeking a jury trial to award monetary and punitive damages from Lockheed to himself and to the US government.
    The case is one of several lawsuits brought against Lockheed under the False Claims Act by Houston-based lawyer Samuel Boyd. Boyd's other clients include purported "whistleblowers" from inside Lockheed's F-22 and Deepwater programmes.

    Former F-35 worker sues Lockheed, alleges software lapses
     
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  3. venom

    venom DFI Technocrat

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    Lockheed-Martin Delivering Defective F-22’s?

    As Congress fights against the President and Defense Department to fund additional F-22 fighters, a reopened lawsuit alleges that producer Lockheed Martin has knowingly supplied defective F-22 Raptors to the U.S. Air Force since 1995.

    The pending lawsuit, filed by Lockheed-trained stealth expert Darrol Olsen, accuses Lockheed of knowingly using defective coatings for the F-22 in the mid-1990s. To cover up the problem, engineers applied 600 lbs worth of extra layers, stressing the airframe and compromising its stealth capabilities.

    Olsen further alleges that low-quality stealth coatings have not only worsened the radar and infrared visibility of the F-22, but that they have been a factor in dangerous and expensive accidents — as when a section of coating broke off and was sucked into an F-22 engine last year, causing over $1 million in damage.

    While Olsen was fired for “failure to follow instructions” in 1999, his suit goes on to say that third-party reports indicate that the Raptor’s stealth protection “has not been remedied through the present date.”

    So not only is Lockheed Martin getting $354 million of tax payer dollars per F-22, but they are defective and dangerous. A Washington Post article this morning also revealed that the F-22 can only be flown an average of 1.7 hours before it gets a critical failure. Maybe it’s better that we haven’t had to use them in real combat yet.

    Shouldn’t we focus on making the producers fix the fighter jets we’ve already ordered before we give this weapons juggernaut more tax payer dollars to produce faulty jets?
     
  4. enlightened1

    enlightened1 Member of The Month JANUARY 2010

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    F-35's APG-81 AESA Radar

    YouTube - F-35 JSF Radar - Northrop Grumman APG-81

    The AN/APG-81 is an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) designed by Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems for the F-35 Lightning II.

    The Joint Strike Fighter AN/APG-81 AESA radar is a result of the US government's competition for the world's largest AESA acquisition contract. Westinghouse Electronic Systems (acquired by Northrop Grumman in 1996) and Hughes Aircraft (acquired by Raytheon in 1997) received contracts for the development of the Multifunction Integrated RF System/Multifunction Array (MIRFS/MFA) in February 1996.[1] Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman were selected as the winners of the Joint Strike Fighter competition; The System Development and Demonstration (SDD) contract was announced on 26 October 2001.

    The AN/APG-81 is a successor radar to the F-22's AN/APG-77. Over 3,000 AN/APG-81 AESA radars are expected to be ordered for the F-35, with production to run beyond 2035, and including large quantities of international orders. As of August 2007, 8 APG-81s have already been produced and delivered. The first three blocks of radar software have been developed, flight tested, and delivered ahead of schedule by the Northrop Grumman Corporation. Capabilities of the AN/APG-81 include the AN/APG-77's air-to-air modes plus advanced air-to-ground modes including high resolution mapping, multiple ground moving target detection and track, combat identification, electronic warfare, and ultra high bandwidth communications. The current F-22 production radar is the APG-77v1, which draws heavily on APG-81 hardware and software for its advanced air-to-ground capabilities.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. enlightened1

    enlightened1 Member of The Month JANUARY 2010

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  6. StealthSniper

    StealthSniper Senior Member Senior Member

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    U.S. to withhold F-35 fighter software code

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States will keep to itself sensitive software code that controls Lockheed Martin Corp's new radar-evading F-35 fighter jet despite requests from partner countries, a senior Pentagon program official said.

    Access to the technology had been publicly sought by Britain, which had threatened to scrub plans to buy as many as 138 F-35s if it were unable to maintain and upgrade its fleet without U.S. involvement.

    No other country is getting the so-called source code, the key to the plane's electronic brains, Jon Schreiber, who heads the program's international affairs, told Reuters in an interview Monday.

    "That includes everybody," he said, acknowledging this was not overly popular among the eight that have co-financed F-35 development -- Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark and Norway.

    The single-engine F-35, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter, is in early stages of production. It is designed to escape radar detection and switch quickly between air-to-ground and air-to-air missions while still flying -- tricks heavily dependent on its 8 million lines of onboard software code.

    Schreiber said the United States had accommodated all of its partners' requirements, providing ways for them to upgrade projected F-35 purchases even without the keys to the software.

    "Nobody's happy with it completely. but everybody's satisfied and understands," he said of withholding the code. It is also a rebuff to Israel, which has sought the technology transfer as part of a possible purchase of up to 75 F-35s.

    REPROGRAMMING FACILITY

    Instead, the United States plans to set up a "reprogramming facility," probably at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, to further develop F-35-related software and distribute upgrades, Schreiber said.

    Software changes will be integrated there "and new operational flight programs will be disseminated out to everybody who's flying the jet," he said.

    Representatives of the British defense staff in Washington did not return telephone calls seeking comment. Britain has committed $2 billion to develop the F-35, the most of any U.S. partner.

    In March 2006, Paul Drayson, then Britain's minister for defense procurement, told the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee that Britain might quit the program if the United States withheld such things as the software code.

    The issue rose to the top. In May 2006, then-President George W. Bush and then-Prime Minister Tony Blair announced that both governments had agreed "that the UK will have the ability to successfully operate, upgrade, employ, and maintain the Joint Strike Fighter such that the UK retains operational sovereignty over the aircraft."

    HOLY GRAIL

    The source code is "kind of the holy grail" for this, controlling everything from weapons integration to radar to flight dynamics, said Joel Johnson of TEAL Group, an aerospace consultancy in Fairfax, Virginia.

    Lockheed Martin said all F-35 partners "recognize the complexity of the highly integrated F-35 software and the program plan to upgrade F-35 capabilities as an operational community."

    "This enables the aircraft to remain at the cutting edge of combat capability while allowing the program to meet affordability objectives," John Kent, a company spokesman, said in an emailed statement.

    Schreiber said Singapore had signed a special security agreement last month, clearing the way for it to receive classified information on F-35s it could buy.

    Lockheed, the Pentagon's No. 1 supplier by sales, projects it will sell up to 4,500 F-35s worldwide to replace its F-16 fighter and 12 other types of warplanes for 11 nations initially.

    The United States plans to spend roughly $300 billion over the next 25 years to buy a total of 2,443 F-35 models, its costliest arms acquisition.

    Competitors include Boeing Co's F/A-18E/F SuperHornet; Saab AB's Gripen; Dassault Aviation SA's Rafale; Russia's MiG-35 and Sukhoi Su-35; and the Eurofighter Typhoon, made by a consortium of British, German, Italian and Spanish companies.

    Link:

    U.S. to withhold F-35 fighter software code | U.S. | Reuters
     
  7. StealthSniper

    StealthSniper Senior Member Senior Member

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    I am not surprised with this at all. I understand that sensitive software codes should be protected but I don't understand why Britain and other countries just don't create their own plane. The US is definitely going to give Britaiin a F-35 that's half as good as the one the US gets and I don't understand why they do it. I think in India's case we also are going to get crappy F-16's or F-18's that won't have the software codes given and that's a national security problem.

    The US are known to dazzle customers initially with their high tech stuff, but when you own the equipment you feel like half of it is under your control and half of it is not usable. And frankly if you are paying the money, the equipment you buy should be able to do whatever you need it to do.
     
  8. tarunraju

    tarunraju Moderator Moderator

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    Withholding software code is going to be a serious issue in the JSF program. Members were promised 'equal partnership' as co-owners of the aircraft. A closed software code also potentially allows the US to implant a 'kill-switch' in these fighters.
     
  9. enlightened1

    enlightened1 Member of The Month JANUARY 2010

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    That is the reason why India should never buy fighter jets from the US..transport aircrafts are ok but American weapons that are likely to be used to mount an attack say against Pakistan or China should never make their way into India's arsenal.
     
  10. Vladimir79

    Vladimir79 Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    I doubt if their allies are worried about a "kill switch." The biggest question mark would be Turkey, as far as allies go, but they recently upped their order by 25. It is countries that have the capability to screw around with the software they are worried about.. ie Israel, UK, Australia, Japan. Most of these countries wanted the F-22 as well. The threat of spreading this "holy grail" of information outside of their control is too great, as was letting the F-22 tech fall into the wrong hands.

    This complicated matters which is only going to make export of the F-35 more difficult. The latest GAO report of increased costs and two year delay are only going to kill orders. UK has cut theirs by 88, Israel isn't signing anything, the Netherlands and Denmark are looking at other options. Australia approved the first batch today of 14 JSF for 2.96b USD. Guess how much one costs... $211 million!!! This plane is DOA.
     
  11. roma

    roma NRI in Europe Senior Member

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    ?? enlightened one ?? please enlighten ? why not ? what's the harm to have the same weapons ? especially if indian pilots are better ? TIA.
     
  12. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Why would these nations need the software codes to begin with?? USA did something similar with the X-band radar for Israel only US military were allowed to access and operate it, but this not a major issue allies are not being denied use of these weapons.
     
  13. enlightened1

    enlightened1 Member of The Month JANUARY 2010

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    Roma it's not about having the same weapons or Indian pilots being better..actually the US never imparts with sensitive technology. The amount of transfer of Tech is lower than what other OEMs offer. Source codes are very important as you don't have to disclose your plans to the OEM & actually modify the aircraft's components yourself (weapons, radar modes etc) as per your requirement. I'll give you an example: during the Kargil war IAF decided that it would use Mirages to carry out a surprise strike. As a result the Mirages had to be heavily modified to carry the Laser guided bombs & the mission was completed successfully & in a very short period of time. IAF did not have to tell Dassault that they were planning to carry out the a surprise strike on Pakistanis as they already had the codes. This ensured that the mission remained top secret. Now this would not have been possible if IAF had had American fighters instead of the Mirages...

    Furthermore, it would be impossible to know if the there were rogue codes in there. Read this you'll get an idea. Americans also insist on personally carrying out checks on the supplied hardwares. To do that, they will have to visit Indian airbases..something the IAF doesn't like.

    Moreover purchasing American fighters is equal to ony partially owning them. US says a country has the right to use its supplied hardwares only in self defense else they'll break your back with sanctions & embargoes...like after last year's Mumbai attacks IAF wanted to carry out surgical strikes in PoK, but no american fighters could be used in such situations. The disadvantage of letting USA know of your missions is that they will put pressure on you to cancel the mission if it doesn't suit their agenda. simple as that!
     
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  14. Sridhar

    Sridhar House keeper Moderator

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    The countries that signed on for the F-35 knew this for a long time. It is part of the agreement. Not only that but the U.S. will have all the access they need to the embedded logistics and maintenance metrics for every mission. This gives LM knowns for not only better supporting the customer but to have a large advantage for any replacement down the line. This is great metrics for future sales.

    Keeping the software closed-access is how the F-35 can be allowed to be exported within the confines of U.S. law
    . As this article explains, while there may not be different F-35 variants for different countries based on “their requirements”, a case can be made that there are certainly different configurations and not everyone will have an F-35 like the USAF.

    Sharing F-35 software code not that easy ELP Defens(c)e Blog
     
  15. Sridhar

    Sridhar House keeper Moderator

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    More details about the F 35 which the partners of the program will receive called "Partner version" (Watered down)

     
  16. StealthSniper

    StealthSniper Senior Member Senior Member

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    MoD to slash jet fighter orders as it struggles to save aircraft programme

    The F35 Joint Strike Fighters' price has risen from £37m each four years ago to £62m now. Photograph: LM Otero/AP

    Defence chiefs are preparing drastic cuts to the number of American stealth aircraft planned for the RAF and the Royal Navy's proposed new carriers, the Guardian has learned.

    They will be among the first casualties, with existing squadrons of Harrier and Tornado jets, of a huge shift in military spending being considered by ministers, officials and military advisers.

    As they head towards their biggest and most painful shakeup since the second world war, a consensus has emerged among the top brass that they can not afford the 140 American Joint Strike Fighters (JSF) they have been seeking.

    The JSF, or F35 as it is now called, has been subject to costly delays and the estimated price has soared from £37m each four years ago to more than £62m today.

    One compromise would be for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to halve its order from 140 planes to 70.

    There is also a growing view that Britain will not be able to afford to build the two large aircraft carriers, already delayed, let alone the planes due to fly from them.

    "The carriers are under real threat. There will certainly be a big reduction in JSF numbers," a well-placed military source told the Guardian.

    "The carriers are about more fast jets. They are very hard to justify," added a defence official, referring to a growing consensus that the RAF already has too many fast jets.

    If the order was halved, it would probably be split so that there was a short take-off and vertical landing (Stovl) version for the carriers, and a conventional version based at RAF ground stations.

    Among other options being considered are: downsizing the second carrier to a much cheaper platform for helicopters, marine commandos, and unmanned drones; building both carriers but selling one, perhaps to India; and equipping them with cheaper catapult-launched aircraft.

    No decisions will be made until after the general election. However, there is a consensus developing in the MoD that Britain simply cannot afford existing plans to build two large carriers in a project which, if the JSF planes are included, would cost an estimated £25bn.

    The view is that it is extremely difficult to justify at a time when troops in Afghanistan are being deprived of helicopters and surveillance systems – including unmanned drones – which provide badly needed intelligence about what insurgents and suspected terrorists are up to.

    The two proposed carriers, the Queen Elizabeth, due to go into service in 2016, and the Prince of Wales, due to follow in 2018, are already £1bn over the original estimated cost of £3.9bn. This excludes the cost of any aircraft flying from them.

    The money spent on carriers and their jets is even more difficult to justify, say critics, at a time when the navy is getting six new frigates at £1bn apiece and a replacement for the Trident nuclear ballistic missile system, which ministers say could cost £20bn while admitting they do not know what the final figure will be.

    A decision on the proposed new Trident submarine's basic design contract – due last September – has been put back. "Further time has been required to ensure that we take decisions based on robust information," the defence secretary, Bob Ainsworth, told MPs before Christmas.

    The final cost of Trident could amount to £97bn over the system's 30-year life, according to Greenpeace. The MoD has not challenged the figures.

    What is likely to be a debate with much blood on the carpet was triggered last autumn by General Sir David Richards, soon after he became head of the army. "We cannot go back to operating as we might have done even 10 years ago when it was still tanks, fast jets, and fleet escorts that dominated the doctrine of our three services," he said. "The lexicon of today is non-kinetic effects teams [carrying out 'hearts and minds' operations], counter-IED [improvised explosive devices], information dominance, counter-piracy, and cyber attack and defence."

    Richards warned that even large states such as China and Russia could adopt unconventional tactics rather than preparing for fighting with missiles and fixed formations of troops and armour. "Attacks are likely to be delivered semi-anonymously through cyberspace or the use of guerrillas and Hezbollah-style proxies," he said.

    The First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, and Sir Stephen Dalton, the head of the RAF, have publicly challenged Richards's argument, saying it is dangerous to assume the days of "state against state" warfare are over.

    However, all agree that the defence budget is under unprecedented pressure. Malcolm Chalmers, professorial fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, estimates the MoD will have to cut its budget by up to 15%, and possibly more, by 2016. If future cuts fall disproportionately on capital projects then the MoD could be one of the hardest-hit departments after the general election, whoever wins it.

    The annual defence budget is about £35bn, not including the cost of operations in Afghanistan, which are running at about £4bn a year and are paid for out of the Treasury's contingency fund.

    Link:


    MoD to slash jet fighter orders as it struggles to save aircraft programme | UK news | The Guardian
     
  17. StealthSniper

    StealthSniper Senior Member Senior Member

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    More and more bad news for the F-35 that I have mentioned alot about in the past and present. Britain is not going to get the full spec version that America has and on top of that they might not be able to afford the ones they do get. The F-35 is a capable plane but it's just to complex and on top of that it will be very expensive to maintain.
     
  18. StealthSniper

    StealthSniper Senior Member Senior Member

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    Pentagon chief fires head of F-35 aircraft programme

    US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has sacked the marine general overseeing a $40bn (£25bn) project to build the next generation strike fighter jet.

    Mr Gates said the F-35 programme had been plagued by problems and failed to hit performance targets.

    He also said Lockheed Martin, the US corporation responsible for building the jet, would not be awarded $614m in performance-related payouts.

    The Pentagon wants the F-35 to replace most of its ageing fighter jets.

    "The progress and performance of the F-35 over the past two years has not been what it should," Mr Gates told a news conference on the Pentagon's proposed budget.

    He added that "a number of key goals and benchmarks were not met".

    The F-35 programme's head Major General David Heinz of the Marine Corps will be replaced by a yet to be named higher ranking general.


    Link:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8492430.stm
     
  19. StealthSniper

    StealthSniper Senior Member Senior Member

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    Maybe this has something to do with the PAKFA?


    Who knows but I have been posting stuff earlier about the problems the F-35 had, and I think this was probably necessary.
     
  20. AirforcePilot

    AirforcePilot Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    Gates fires general, withholds funds over F-35 problems

    WASHINGTON (AFP) – Defense Secretary Robert Gates sacked Monday the general in charge of the F-35 fighter jet program and said he would withhold funds from Lockheed Martin over a series of cost overruns and delays.

    "The progress and performance of the F-35 over the past two years has not been what it should," said Gates, adding, "a number of key goals and benchmarks were not met."

    The Pentagon will withhold 614 million dollars in performance fees from lead contractor Lockheed Martin, he said.

    Gates said he took the decision because "the taxpayer should not have to bear the entire burden of getting the JSF (Joint Strike Fighter) program back on track."

    The move was taken with the agreement of Lockheed Martin, he told a news conference to present the Pentagon's defense budget.

    Gates said his department also bore blame for the "troubling performance record" of the Joint Strike Fighter and fired the Marine officer in charge of the program, Major General David Heinz, who was named last year.

    He said a higher-ranking, three-star general would take over the post, reflecting the importance of the F-35 project.

    Gates has not hesitated to sack a number of top officers and officials during his tenure as defense secretary since 2006.

    He said the move was part of his effort to set a tone that "when things go wrong, people will be held accountable."

    Both Gates and President Barack Obama have repeatedly warned that they will not tolerate the kind of delays and cost overruns that have plagued weapons programs in the past.

    Much is riding on the stealth aircraft, which Gates has held up as the future of US fighter jets after having pushed through an end to the costly F-22 Raptor, despite opposition from some lawmakers.

    Gates has portrayed the F-35 as a more affordable, more flexible aircraft but flight tests have been repeatedly pushed back and an internal Pentagon review found sky-rocketing costs.

    The administration's 2011 defense budget unveiled Monday calls for "robust funding" of the Joint Strike Fighter, and Gates said nearly 11 billion dollars would go to buying 43 planes.

    The military plans to buy more than 2,400 of the aircraft over the next 25 years, with each branch of the armed services getting a tailored version of the jet.

    Eight other countries are also supporting the program, led by Britain which has invested two billion dollars in the F-35's development.

    But officials have acknowledged that persistent technical problems could lead some governments to back off buying large numbers of planes.

    Despite mushrooming costs, the F-35 program had been "restructured" and the aircraft was on track "to become the backbone of US air superiority for the next generation," Gates said.

    The program faced no "insurmountable" technological or other problems, he said.

    Gates also warned that he would recommend that Obama veto any attempt by Congress to fund an alternate engine for the F-35 as well for additional C-17 transport planes.

    Any benefits to building an alternate engine for the F-35 would be "offset by excess costs, complexity, and associated risks," he said.

    As for the C-17 aircraft, he said studies had shown that "the Air Force already has more of these aircraft than it needs."

    He said he was aware of political pressure in Congress to fund the C-17 and the second engine for the F-35, but he added: "Let me be very clear: I will strongly recommend that the president veto any legislation that sustains the unnecessary continuation of these two programs."

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100201/pl_afp/usmilitaryaviationlockheed_20100201235738
     
  21. Triton

    Triton Founding Member

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    The F-35 program - A Chronic US worry!

    USAF Chief: F-35 program cost increases “likely” to force recertification process




    For the F-35 Lightning program funded by the U.S, U.K and other additional government. Avionics are coming from LockHeed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Britain BAE systems. The whole purpose of this program was to have aircraft that doesn't cost more than any nations actual defense budget.its turning out to be a worry in this respect as the budget seems to fail and make major allies cut down on numbers
     
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