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GAO On F-35, June 2012

Fri Jun 29, 2012 8:37 pm

These are not my words and not my opinion, This is the GAO. The 1st 2 paragraphs of the GAO-12-437: (PDF Version is 57 pages)

What GAO Found

Joint Strike Fighter restructuring continued throughout 2011 and into 2012,
adding to cost and schedule. The new program baseline projects total acquisition
costs of $395.7 billion, an increase of $117.2 billion (42 percent) from the prior
2007 baseline. Full rate production is now planned for 2019, a delay of 6 years
from the 2007 baseline. Unit costs per aircraft have doubled since start of
development in 2001. Critical dates for delivering warfighter requirements remain
unsettled because of program uncertainties. While the total number of aircraft
DOD plans to buy has not changed, it has for 3 straight years reduced near-term
procurement quantities, deferring aircraft and costs to future years. Since 2002,
the total quantity through 2017 has been reduced by three-fourths, from 1,591 to
365. Affordability is a key challenge–annual acquisition funding needs average
about $12.5 billion through 2037 and life-cycle operating and support costs are
estimated at $1.1 trillion. DOD has not thoroughly analyzed program impacts
should funding expectations be unmet.

Overall performance in 2011 was mixed as the program achieved 6 of 11
important objectives. Developmental flight testing gained momentum and is now
about 21 percent complete with the most challenging tasks still ahead.
Performance of the short takeoff and vertical landing variant improved this year
and its “probation” period to fix deficiencies was ended after 1 year with several
fixes temporary and untested. Developing and integrating the more than 24
million lines of software code continues to be of concern. Late software releases
and concurrent work on multiple software blocks have delayed testing and
training. Development of critical mission systems providing core combat
capabilities remains behind schedule and risky. To date, only 4 percent of the
mission systems required for full capability have been verified. Deficiencies with
the helmet mounted display, integral to mission systems functionality and
concepts of operation, are most problematic. The autonomic logistics information
system, integral technology for improving aircraft availability and lowering support
costs, is not fully developed.

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