Defense Authorizers Direct Increased Oversight of F-35 Upgrades (excerpt)
(Source: Aviation Today; posted December 10, 2019)
By Frank Wolfe
Defense authorizers in the House and Senate are directing increased oversight of the F-35 Block 4 and Continuous Capability Development and Delivery (C2D2) program.

The oversight requires the secretary of defense "to submit annually to the congressional defense committees an integrated master schedule and past performance assessment for each planned phase of Block 4 and C2D2 upgrades," according to the House-Senate conference report on the Fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), S. 1790.

In fiscal 2020, the bill authorizes the Pentagon budget request of nearly $695 million for C2D2 for the United States Air Force F-35A, $423 million for C2D2 for the U.S. Marine Corps' F-35B, and $384 million for the U.S. Navy's F-35C carrier variants.

"The conferees expect the secretary of defense to keep the congressional defense committees fully and promptly informed on the planning, cost, schedule, execution, fielding, and programmatic risk associated with the Block 4 and C2D2 program," according to the report. (end of excerpt)


Click here for the full story, on the Aviation Today website.

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Fasteners Cause Brief Break in F-35 Deliveries (excerpt)
(Source: Air Force Magazine; posted Dec. 10, 2019)
By John A. Tirpak
Deliveries of the F-35 fighter were halted for two weeks in November after Lockheed Martin discovered a mix up with fasteners used on the aircraft, but the Pentagon has resumed accepting aircraft after an analysis of flight safety issues, Pentagon acquisition chief Ellen Lord said Dec. 10.

Lord, at a press conference discussing her office’s 2019 accomplishments, said the Defense Contract Management Agency was notified on Nov. 12 that there had been “co-mingling” of Titanium and Inconel fasteners on the F-35 production line, and deliveries were halted.

However, after a quick analysis, the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin determined the jets with potentially incorrect fasteners were “safe to fly, so on 27 November, we resumed accepting aircraft,” Lord said.

She did not discuss how many aircraft were affected, or whether further corrective action would be taken. The F-35 Joint Program Office could not be reached for comment. (end of excerpt)


Click here for the full story, on the Air Force Magazine website.

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The Pentagon Isn't Sure What to Do with Turkey’s Undelivered F-35s (excerpt)
(Source: Military.com; posted Dec. 10, 2019)
By Oriana Pawlyk
Congress is offering the Defense Department the option to purchase Turkey's F-35 Joint Strike Fighters and giving the defense secretary discretion to spend up to $30 million to store the fifth-generation jets until a plan for their use is formalized, according to the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2020.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper has been given the green light to spend funds "to be appropriated for fiscal year 2020 for the Department of Defense to conduct activities associated with storage, preservation, and developing a plan for the final disposition of such F-35 aircraft and Turkish F-35 aircraft equipment, including full mission simulators, helmet-mounted display systems, air system maintenance trainers, and ancillary mission equipment," the bill states.

That money would fund storage for up to six jets and associated materials. F-35 deliveries to Turkey had originally been slated to occur between late summer and the end of this year.

Lawmakers will not allow the F-35As once destined for Turkey to be transferred unless that country gets rid of its S-400 surface-to-air-missile systems and associated equipment and promises never to purchase or use the Russian-made weapon again, according to the bill. (end of excerpt)


Click here for the full story, on the Military.com website.

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