F-35 Hope and Gory: There are reasons to be optimistic about the F-35 program—and plenty to worry about, F-35 deputy program manager Maj. Gen. Christopher Bogdan said Monday. In his more than 20 years in acquisition, Bogdan said the relationship between Lockheed Martin and F-35 stakeholders “is the worst I’ve ever seen,” and “I guarantee …we will not succeed in this program until we get past that.” He continued, “It should not take 10 … to 12 months to negotiate a contract with someone you’ve been doing business with for 12 years.” Bogdan plans to streamline low-rate initial production lot negotiations and make sure that they focus on information that is meaningful. Moreover, after billions in extra funds and a multi-year extension, “There is no more money or time for development of this program,” Bogdan said, vowing he won’t go back to Congress asking for more of either. Instead, “we will have to make trades in a disciplined way.” All that being said, Bogdan said he’s glad to see that flight testing is ahead of schedule for this year, though he’s not sure that racking up sorties and test points is necessarily the right way to go about testing. He’d like to emphasize “things that are important,” particularly toward getting the first Marine Corps aircraft operational in 2015.
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.