The F-35 joint strike fighter had its first flight in 2006, and in the ensuing seven years, the Defense Department has worked with a number of government contracting firms to meet delivery obligations to the service branches and international customers.
The task of building the next generation fighter has been one fraught with difficulty but has begun to turn around as GovCon and the federal government have stepped up their efforts.
Already the most expensive weapons program in military history, the F-35 continues to garner a large sum of the DoD’s money in upcoming budgets.
ExecutiveGov recently covered the F-35 allocation in President Obama’s 2014 budget plan, in which the fighter received $8.4 billion.
That large allocation of DoD funds is big, but the Lexington Institute actually says the cost of purchasing F-35’s will go down.
According to an ExecutiveGov article, DoD will spend $327 billion on the fighter through 2032 including $64 billion on engines. That is a 1.5 percent decrease from what the DoD said it would spend on 2,457 aircraft in a recent selected acquisition report.
Earlier this month, Frank Kendall said the DoD could raise the F-35 production rate starting in Fiscal year 2015. Lockheed Martin currently produces 29 aircraft per year but an increase could see the Bethesda, Md.- based firm produce 42 planes in 2015, 62 in 2016, 76 in 2017 and 100 planes in 2018.
In another piece of positive F-35 news reported on ExecutiveGov, the U.S. Air Force said they could start operating the F-35 in 2016, one year ahead of schedule. Each jet to come off the production line is being tested at a Lockheed Martin Fort Worth,Tx. facility.
Internationally the F-35 has struck deals with a number of foreign partners, including the Japanese who intend to buy 42 of the next generation aircraft.
In a recent ExecutiveGov article, Japan’s top uniformed defense official said the F-35 is the country’s best choice in aircraft as it handles tensions with China and North Korea.
Keep checking this website for more updates on the joint strike fighter.