Wednesday, July 31, 2013

F-35: Pentagon approves purchase of lots 6 and 7

As mentioned in a previous post, the DoD was trying to wrap up its negotiations with Lockheed Martin on production lots 6 and 7 before the end of July.  It appears to have been successful in that endeavor:
Lockheed Martin Corp and the Pentagon have reached agreement on orders for the next two batches of F-35 fighter jets, a deal worth over $7 billion, a person briefed on the discussions told Reuters on Monday.

The deal covers 71 of the radar-evading planes, with 36 jets to be purchased in the sixth production lot, and 35 in the seventh. The total includes 60 F-35s for the U.S. military, and 11 for Australia, Italy, Turkey and Britain. 
This approval will keep the production lines full and help drive the unit recurring flyaway cost down.  Add in probable foreign purchases outside the committed allies and it makes it even better.

However, the article mentions the impact of sequestration on testing:
Furloughs of civilian defense workers will likely result in a month-long delay in flight tests of the fighter plane, according to Joe DellaVedova, a spokesman for the Pentagon's F-35 program office.

He said the program had caught up with its testing schedule after two separate flight grounding actions earlier this year, but he added the furloughs were taking a toll.

Civilian employees affected by the furloughs work on flight test controls at Edwards Air Force Base in California and Patuxent Naval Air Station in Maryland, so their absence is shaving a day per week off the schedule of possible flight tests. "We don't know yet what the final impact will be,"
DellaVedova said. "We think we'll be at least a month behind." 
Not particularly good news.


No comments:

Post a Comment