The Government Accountability Office has said the Defense Department expects the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program to require an additional $3.9 billion in funds over the next five years to support the follow-on modernization plan – Block 4.
GAO said in a report published Tuesday that DoD also plans to implement an incremental acquisition approach to the Block 4 plan.
F-35 program officials have begun to re-evaluate schedule, capability and cost aspects of the knowledge-based incremental approach to Block 4 system development and acquisition due to leadership changes and budget uncertainties, according to the congressional watchdog.
DoD intends to request funds in February 2018 to buy the first Lockheed Martin-built fighter jet equipped with the initial Block 4 increment before follow-on modernization capabilities are fully tested, the report noted.
GAO also found potential concurrency concerns with regard to the Block 4 acquisition plan.
“Program officials told us that the concurrency issue is being considered as part of their reassessment of Block 4,” the agency added.