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Pentagon postpones F-35 cost and performance review news
21 June 2011

A high-level Pentagon review of the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter programme that would have established a new cost baseline for the tri-service F-35 Lightning II has been postponed until the fall, the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme's top official said last week. The F-35 programme came under fire for rising costs at a Senate hearing in May.

The F35The Pentagon's top weapon's buyer, Dr Ashton Carter, informed a Senate committee in May this year that buying the planned 2,443 F-35 planes for the US Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps was estimated to cost twice as much in real terms as originally expected.

The price, he said, was "unacceptable and unaffordable."

The review had been scheduled for late May and then was rescheduled for mid-June. Now, the programme's Pentagon overseers have decided to wait until more actual performance data is available before forming estimates.

The Defense Acquisitions Board (DAB) review would have required defence undersecretary, Ashton Carter and other senior defence officials to establish a new procurement, or cost, baseline at the meeting.

The 2,443 US tri-service stealth F-35, or Joint Strike Fighter, is currently estimated to cost $382 billion. The new price baseline would allow future cost growth to be measured.

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Pentagon postpones F-35 cost and performance review