GAO 2008: F-35 Program Status Report

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F-35A #AA-1(click to view full) America’s Congressional Government Accountability Office (GAO) has been conducting annual reviews of the F-35 A/B/C Joint Strike Fighter program for several years, analyzing everything from program approach to the wisdom of the program’s dual-source structure for the fighters’ engines. The GAO has a long-standing disagreement with the program over timing, and especially the decision to begin low-rate initial production before testing is complete in 2013. It has also backed the dual-source engine program as more expensive in the short run, but likely to save money in the long run; that backing has helped secure the votes in Congress to reinstate the dual-source approach for 2 years running. In a sense, therefore, the most recent March 11/08 report and testimony could be seen as the running continuation of earlier disagreements. The report also contains summaries of program progress to date, however, and the warnings contained in its high level assessments are likely to have ripple effects in the USA and abroad… GAO Congressional Testimony #GAO-08-569T, “Impact of Recent Decisions on Program Risks” [Report page | PDF, 22 pages]: “Midway through development, the program is over cost and behind schedule. Difficulties in stabilizing aircraft designs and the […]

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