F-35, LRS-B to Benefit from New Acquisition Policies

The Pentagon’s new effort to improve the defense acquisition system will focus on enabling programs to respond quicker to technological advances and changes in the threat, an idea already being applied to the F-35 program and one that will be used on the Long-Range Strike Bomber, defense acquisition executive Frank Kendall said. Unveiling the implementation for Better Buying Power 3.0 at an April 9 Pentagon briefing, Kendall said a key factor in helping the US military maintain its crucial technological edge would be building new weapons with a modular, open-system design that would allow rapid technology upgrades. He said the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is “on our third iteration of technology refreshment” and is not yet operational. Asked how BBP 3.0 would apply to the LRS-B program, Kendall said he could not say much about it because it was classified and still under competition, but it would have a modular design and technological upgrades would be a “big part” of it. The new acquisition policies also would give them the ability to compete the technology going into the bomber that they did not have before, Kendall said. He indicated that could mean separate competitions for future upgrades after the production contract award.