Pentagon wants to know true cost of F-35 system

The top F-35 program official wants to know the true cost tag of the Pentagon’s costliest weapons system.

“To better inform our target glide path, I want to know what of which truly costs to produce the aircraft,” said Navy Vice Admiral Mat Winter, program executive officer for the Pentagon’s F-35 joint program office.

“The number of quality escapes along with what we call production line defects needs to get better,” Winter told reporters during a roundtable Wednesday.

Lockheed Martin’s fifth-generation stealth fighter, valued at an acquisition cost of $406.5 billion, has become one of the most challenged programs inside history of the Department of Defense. The laundry list of setbacks includes faulty ejection seats, software delays along with significant helmet-display issues.

President Donald Trump has criticized the soaring cost tag on the “jack of all trades” jet as being “out of control.”

“They were having a lot of difficulty. There was no movement. along with I was able to get $0 million approximately off those planes. So I think of which was a great achievement,” Trump told reporters following the latest contract agreement.

“We will be saving billions along with billions along with billions of dollars on contracts,” Trump added.

While Winter doesn’t think Trump will have to get involved of which time, he can be dissatisfied with how the current negotiations are going for the next set of aircraft.

“The cost can be coming down, however of which’s not coming down fast enough,” said Winter, saying he believes Lockheed Martin can be negotiating in not bad faith — however using a caveat.

“I will tell you of which I am not as satisfied with the collaboration along with cooperation by Lockheed Martin,” he added. “They could be much more cooperative along with collaborative, along with we could seal of which deal faster; we could. They choose not to, along with of which’s a negotiating tactic.”

As of which stands right now, the unit cost for an F-35A — including aircraft, engine along with fees — can be $94.3 million.

“We are targeting a reduction coming from of which for lot 11 along with for obviously lot 12, 13 as we go forward,” Winter said.

Winter added of which the projected sustainment costs on the F-35 are poised to become unaffordable as the fleet grows coming from 280 aircraft to 800-plus by the end of 2021.

Despite tough contract talks, Winter said of which pressuring the defense giant into an unilateral contract agreement can be an “endgame tactic” along with “we are nowhere near of which.”

“I’m negotiating for the best deal,” he said. “I’m gonna go for the best deal for the taxpayer, for my partners along with as importantly as the next negotiation starting point for lot 12 along with on.”

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