Tuesday, May 02, 2017

F-35 funding is screwy as hell!

NOTE!  Inside Defense is offering a free one month subscription and while there are MANY good defense journals, I'd have to say they're one of the very best.  Do yourself a favor and take advantage of it!

Story here.

Now the subject of this blog post.  Something is screwy as hell with the funding provided to the Joint Program Office.  What do I mean?  Check this out from Inside Defense (read the above to get a peek at the whole thing).
"The agreement directs the JSF PEO to use a contracting approach that would award all aircraft included in each Department of Defense Appropriations Act on the respective production contract for that fiscal year," the language states.

The bill, if enacted, would fund 74 F-35s in FY-17 -- 50 for the Air Force, 18 for the Marine Corps and six for the Navy. In their respective budget requests, the Air Force asked for 45 jets, the Marine Corps 16 and the Navy only four.
This is interesting but to be expected.  Congress Critters respond to money. They'll make the Pentagon swallow gear they don't want if some shady ass lobbyist from say....Lockheed Martin....pushes for the funding.

Still its pretty damn curious that the Marine Corps is seemingly ramping down on its buy instead of being all over the 18 jets offered.  The Navy's position is obvious but the USAF's stance is also puzzling.

Could it be that even the services are now getting a bit alarmed at the idea of buying mistake jets?

Forget all that for a second and check this part out.
 "It is imperative that requested information is received promptly for proper congressional oversight of this major defense acquisition program," the bill states.

The language highlights tension between Congress and the JPO over program reporting requirements. A congressional source told Inside Defense last month the program has yet to submit a report required by the FY-17 National Defense Authorization Act that would include key cost and time lines for Block 4 follow-on modernization as well as annual funding profiles for development and procurement. The report was due March 31.

For the past few years, Lawmakers have reduced funding for Block 4 due to a lack of clarity on its requirements. The program finally completed a capability development document, which the Joint Requirements Oversight Committee approved in March, after a nearly 15-month delay, but the new appropriations bill proposes a $160 million cut to Block 4 -- $76 million from the Air Force's budget request, $44.5 million from the Navy's and $40 million from the Marine Corps'. That cut follows a $125 million reduction from the services' budget request in FY-16.
What the hell is going on with funding for Block 4?

Are they trying to push money forward to get the initial testing completed?

I'm not sure what I'm reading here so any help would be appreciated!

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