Bitter Facts

Deputy US Defense Secretary William Lynn shared the bad news—cost increase and schedule delay—on the F-35 strike fighter with Australian news media during a visit with Australian defense officials this week. Australia plans to buy at least two dozen and perhaps up to 100 of the new fighters. The Pentagon has restructured the program (and fired the program manager), all of which Lynn told reporters should ensure the F-35 “will continue on its path to be the backbone of tactical aviation for both the United States and hopefully Australia.” Lynn refrained from placing a number on the table, but said “unit costs have gone up.” Lynn also suggested that the plan to increase the number of test aircraft should reduce the projected delay in development from 30 months “closer to a delay of about 12 or 13 months.” (Also read The Australian report; report; ABC News Australia report)