Let the Competition Begin

Although Lockheed Martin may have thought it would have sole-source dibs on anything related to the F-35 strike fighter, the Pentagon will throw open some major parts of the program for competition, said F-35 Program Executive Officer Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan on Tuesday. First will be sustaining support equipment, he said during an Aviation Week conference in Arlington, Va. “A lot of that will be common, some will be unique,” but none of it needs to be sole source, said Bogdan. Second will be training. The government owns “the software, the courseware, the syllabus, the simulators, and the buildings,” and there’s no reason that other contractors couldn’t run that aspect of the program, he said. Third will be the F-35’s Autonomous Logistics and Information System, or ALIS, that will manage the flow of parts and repairs at the user level, said Bogdan. “It will be in every squadron, and there will be hundreds . . . of squadrons,” he said, noting that he wants to “squeeze it down so it’s deployable.” Last will be the global supply chain of parts to the various countries using the F-35. Bogdan said he’s not trying to keep Lockheed Martin and engine supplier Pratt & Whitney from getting all this work. Rather, “if nothing else, competition will drive down costs” and get everyone to make the most efficient proposals possible, he said during his March 5 address.