Monday, March 04, 2019

Pentagon Wants 78 Lockheed F-35s in 2020, Six Fewer Than Planned

via Bloomberg
The Pentagon will request 78 F-35 jets built by Lockheed Martin Corp., six fewer than previously planned, in the budget expected to be sent to Congress next week, according to defense officials.

The cutback from the 84 fighters projected a year ago for fiscal 2020 is a setback for Lockheed, the No. 1 defense contractor, even as interest in the plane from foreign buyers increases. The officials asked not to be identified in advance of the budget release.

It’s likely to raise questions from skeptical lawmakers about why the Defense Department, which has spent years saying it needs the more advanced F-35, cut back the planned purchases even as the Air Force is seeking money to buy eight new, upgraded F-15 jets from rival Boeing Co. They would be the first F-15s the Pentagon bought since 2001.

Among the likely questions is whether Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, a former Boeing official, played any part in the decision to buy fewer planes from Lockheed and more from Chicago-based Boeing. However, Shanahan has recused himself from participation in all Boeing matters.
Story here.

This is kinda obvious.  It's also gonna happen.  The 2020 budget is a mess and all the services are gonna take a haircut.  The only two that haven't said what's gonna be cut is the USAF and USMC.  I guess you could say that the USMC took a cut when the Navy decided to slice two LPDs, but we haven't heard or even seen a whiff of what's on the chopping block for the USAF.

This looks like the cuts they don't want coming home to roost.

The sad thing is that they pushed the B-21 into the realm of the secret budget so it'll survive intact which leaves tankers, F-35's, and little else dangling.

So the F-35 is the sacrifice on the altar of fiscal austerity.  Funny.  They pushed the can down the road and apparently thought they'd never see it again.

If past is prologue then we can see exercises ramping up across the globe, penny packets of US troops deployed to places they shouldn't and a MUCH MORE VISIBLE military stance world wide.

Doesn't matter though.

Money is money and we're running out of it.  If the Pentagon thinks its bad now just wait till after 2025 (I was thinking 2030) and a new President regardless of party.

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