The U.S. Air Force is deferring the purchase of 45 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning IIfighters over the next five years to make room for other procurements.That last sentence says it all. Unclear that we will be able to get this program back to the ramps that we had hoped for previously.
Air Force officials say the move extends F-35 production plans over the next decade, while also allowing more funding for the recently contracted Long Range Strike Bomber among other projects.
U.S. Defense Under Secretary Mike McCord spoke to reporters on Tuesday, noting the Air Force is absorbing the biggest cuts of the three military branches procuring the aircraft.
"We are trying to get it back up to where we want it to be across the FYDP," McCord said. "But it's just a lot of money too, and it's unclear that we will be able to get this program back to the ramps that we had hoped for previously."
That's not even coded. He's saying that the "bending of the cost curve" ain't gonna happen.
He's saying that the death spiral is here.
So why are they pushing forward with the LRSB and the KC-46? Because they want to try and prevent what happened to the F-35 from happening to those programs. They're hoping that they can fully fund those programs, get them in production and get them off the books. The bet is that they MIGHT buy more F-35's later, but if they fully fund the F-35 now then they face the possibility of having the LRSB, and KC-46 fall into the 20 year development trap that the services face with the F-35.
Reality is a bitch and she's slapping the USAF upside the head.