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Sen. John McCain: F-35 Program Schedule Delays May Lead to $1B+ Cost Overrun

F-35Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) has estimated that delays in the system development and demonstration phase of Lockheed Martin‘s F-35 aircraft could increase the fighter program’s cost by more than $1 billion, the Washington Examiner reported Thursday.

Jacqueline Klimas writes McCain called on Defense Secretary Ashton Carter to address how the delay aligns with claims that the F-35 program is right on schedule.

The senator asked Carter through a letter to provide details on when the development and demonstration phase will be complete; which priorities would not receive funds in fiscal year 2018 to mitigate cost overrun; and if any components will move to modernization instead of initial acquisition, Klimas reports.

The F-35 Joint Program Office said it would need $530 million to cover delays caused by the 2014 engine fire; software testing delays; $165 million in new requirements requested by the military; and $100 million that the Defense Department removed from the program, Breaking Defense reported Friday.

Colin Clark writes that JPO spokesman Joe DellaVedova said most of the additional funds will come from “other F-35 JPO funding sources to minimize the impact on the U.S. Services and DoD overall budget requirements.”

The report said international partners of the program will not have to pay for additional expenses.

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