F-35 jet program budget exceeds $406 billion, yet universal healthcare too costly

By Ashley Curtin
January 5, 2018

While the F-35 jet program’s cost jumps to $406 billion from the original price tag of $379 billion, members of Congress continue to insist that the U.S. is “too broke” to increase spending on programs that intend to improve education and healthcare within the country.

In an updated draft, which will be submitted to Congress this week, Lockheed Martin is asking for an additional $27 billion for the F-35 jet program budget, which is almost a 7 percent increase, according to BloomsMag.

After Donald Trump raved about his ability to form “better deals” with weapons manufacturers, the F-35 jet program is still the U.S.’ most expensive weapons program to date, according to BloombergPolitics.

“We’re going to do some big things on the F-35 program and perhaps the F-18 program,” Trump said in a press conference last January.

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Lockheed’s F-35 Fighters Will Cost $1.2 Trillion. After 16 Years, Only 50% Are Ready to Fly

By BLOOMBERG
January 24, 2018

Efforts to improve the reliability of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 are “stagnant,” undercut by problems such as aircraft sitting idle over the last year awaiting spare parts from the contractor, according to the Pentagon’s testing office.

The availability of the fighter jet for missions when needed — a key metric — remains “around 50 percent, a condition that has existed with no significant improvement since October 2014, despite the increasing number of aircraft,” Robert Behler, the Defense Department’s new director of operational testing, said in an annual report delivered Tuesday to senior Pentagon leaders and congressional committees.

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F-16 and F-35 Bombers Threaten Cognitive Health of Children in Vermont Town

By James Marc Leas
July 19, 2017

A crisis plagues 976 families in a working-class neighborhood of South Burlington, Vermont. Eighteen screamingly loud F-16 fighter bombers based at Vermont’s main airport are the cause. Worse, the number of families in crisis from this jet noise is set to sharply increase in two years when the Air Force says it will replace the F-16s with four-times-louder F-35 fighter bombers.

The neighboring city of Burlington owns and runs the Burlington International Airport, even though that airport is fully located within South Burlington. The city council of South Burlington has so far restricted itself to adopting a series of polite resolutions regarding the health and safety of the 976 families living in tiny affordable homes in the screeching noise zone of F-16 fighter jets. But these resolutions were all dismissed by Vermont’s political elite who instead successfully lobbied the Air Force to bring on the F-35.

Nor did Vermont Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders come to the aid of the largely working-class residents living in the airport neighborhood of South Burlington. Both senators refused even to meet with residents, declaring jet-fighter basing a matter of patriotism or jobs.

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Nation “Too Broke” for Universal Healthcare to Spend $406 Billion More on F-35

By Jon Queally
July 10, 2017

There is always another $27 billion lying around, it seems, when Lockheed Martin needs more money for expensive weapons system

The nation’s most expensive weapons program isn’t done showing U.S. taxpayers how much it will ultimately cost them, with Bloomberg reporting Monday that the F-35 fighter jet budget is now predicted to jump by a cool $27 billion.

“Think about [F-35’s] $405 billion price tag when a family member dies of a preventable disease. Get angry.”

Though the estimated future cost of the program had previously hovered at a mind-boggling $379 billion, an updated draft that could be submitted to Congress as early as today will reportedly exceed $406 billion—a nearly 7 percent increase.

The new cost increases may come as a hit to President Donald Trump, who has bragged about his ability to get weapons manufacturers to offer the Pentagon “better deals.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Government watchdog: F-35 will take millions more, months longer than expected

By Alex Lockie
April 24, 2017

The Government Accountability Office released a report on Mondaywarning the Department of Defense against funding further software updates for the already $400 billion F-35 program until the current software becomes operational.

The F-35 is already operational with the Air Force and Marine Corps, but it runs a limited version of its software, called the 3i block, which only provides 89{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} of the code required for full warfighting potency.

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Delayed testing could add $1 billion to cost of F-35

By Rebecca Kheel
April 24, 2017

Delayed testing could add more than $1 billion to the cost of the F-35 fighter jet program, according to a government watchdog.

In a report released Monday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommended completing developmental testing before making “significant new investments” in the program.

“Cascading F-35 testing delays could cost the Department of Defense (DOD) over a billion dollars more than currently budgeted to complete development of the F-35 baseline program,” the report says.

[FULL ARTICLE]

GAO DOD debate claim F-35 software delay will add $1.7 billion

By Kyle Jahner

Law360, Washington (April 25, 2017, 4:05 PM EDT) — Testing delays for the software for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will tack on at least another five months and $1.7 billion to the price tag of a program no stranger to overruns and delays, a government report released Monday said, as the Pentagon and F-35 maker Lockheed Martin pushed back.
In the report, the Government Accountability Office recommended the Pentagon use historical data to reassess the costs of completing the mission systems software known as Block 3F, and to complete Block 3F testing before soliciting proposals for the next phase of the software, Block 4, for a jet that the Department of Defense now projects to have a total procurement cost of around $400 billion.

“If baseline development is not prioritized and adequately funded, and costs increase as predicted by GAO and others, then the program will have less recourse for action and development could be further delayed,” the report said. “In addition, with baseline development still ongoing the program will not likely have the knowledge it needs to present a sound business case for soliciting contractor proposals for Block 4 development in fiscal year 2017.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Trump McCain take aim at F-35 program

By Aaron Gregg
January 11, 2017

In his first press conference since winning the presidential election in November, Donald Trump again took aim at Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

His latest comments followed a tweet last month about the F-35’s “tremendous cost and cost overruns.” The president-elect said he had asked Boeing to “price out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet.”

“We’re going to do some big things on the F-35 program and perhaps the F-18 program,” Trump reiterated Wednesday. “And we’re going to get those costs way down, and we’re going to get the plane to be even better, and we’re going to have some competition and it’s going to be a beautiful thing. So we’ve been very very much involved.”

Trump offered few details before moving on. But the 30 seconds or so he devoted to the topic jolted stocks at Lockheed Martin and Boeing, the two companies primarily responsible for the F-35 and F-18 programs respectively, though both recovered throughout the day.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lockheed Martin tells Trump F-35 costs will be lower

By Aaron Gregg
January 13, 2017

Emerging from a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York on Friday, Lockheed Martin chief executive Marillyn Hewson told reporters that the Bethesda, Md.-based defense giant is close to a new contract deal that would cut the cost of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program and also create jobs.

“We had the opportunity to talk to [Trump] about the F-35 program, and I certainly share his views that we need to get the best capability to our men and women in uniform and we have to get it at the lowest possible price,” Hewson said. “So I’m glad I had the opportunity to tell him that we are close to a deal that will bring the cost down significantly from the previous lot of aircraft to the next lot of aircraft and moreover it’s going to bring a lot of jobs to the United States.”

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Trump wants at least 10{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} cut in F-35 costs

January 18, 2017

The chairman of a key subcontractor in the F-35 program told Bloomberg News Tuesday that President-elect Donald Trump wants to reduce the cost of the project by at least 10 percent.

“We’ve been told through Lockheed that the president has an ambition to reduce the cost of the aircraft by a material amount of money, many percent, into the double digits over a period,” Roger Carr, the chairman of BAE Systems Plc, said. “We respect that and we’ll work towards a contribution towards that.”

Trump has been an outspoken critic of the price tag for projects like the F-35 fleet and the new Air Force One.

In December, Trump tweeted that he asked Boeing to “price-out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet.” He did not go into specific details, but aviation experts pointed out differences in the two planes…for one, the F-18 is not stealth.

[FULL ARTICLE]

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