The American F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme, already touted as the most expensive defence acquisition programme in US history, is now officially over-budget by $1.5 billion. This cost overrun was confirmed by the F-35 programme office.
According to the programme office, the estimated cost overrun for the first 28 production jets is roughly $1.15 billion, and not $771 million as previously reported. Sen John McCain first revealed the $771 million figure in a tweet on 12 July, dubbing the cost overrun "disgraceful".
The higher figure includes the roughly one-third share of the overrun absorbed by Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney.
The US government will have to fork out the remaining $771 million in extra costs under the terms of the first three lots of low-rate initial production (LRIP).
The Pentagon's move to inform the Senate Armed Services Committee Monday that the first 28 production models of the F-35 were going to cost an additional $771 million resulted in a twitter dogfight between long-time programme critic, Sen John McCain and manufacturer Lockheed Martin.
"Congress notified that first F-35 jets have cost overruns of $771M. Outrageous!" McCain tweeted Tuesday. "Pentagon asking for $264M down payment now. Disgraceful."