F-35 Test Case

It was just a year ago, at AFA’s 2012 Air & Space Conference, that then-newly-minted F-35 program manager Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan said the working relationship between stakeholders on the F-35 was the “worst he’s seen.” Bogdan is expected to offer a one-year-later update on that assessment in his speech at AFA’s 2013 conference on Tuesday. But on Monday, Lockheed Martin F-35 general manager Lorraine Martin said she thinks the relationship is vastly improved. Bogdan’s comments made for “a very impactful day,” she said in an interview at the conference. Bogdan and she resolved to make the negotiations for Lot 6 and Lot 7 production a “test case on how we can do business together,” with the result that costs have come down in each lot. The partnership is now about “communicating, coordinating, being responsive to each other.” Lot 6 and Lot 7 “really did go much better than . . . in the past,” said Martin. They marked “in his estimation and mine, a good deal for both of us. And, if you want a relationship and partnership . . . you really have to look at things that are a mutual gain.” She said the relationship is now about solving problems together “on a daily basis” on what is “the most complex program” ever undertaken by the Defense Department.