If sequestration resumes in Fiscal 2016, “there will be an impact” on the F-35 production buys for all three US services, but it remains to be seen how much, program manager Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan said. Bogdan noted that the F-35 buy was largely protected by the services in the last bout with sequester, and the services are anxious to buy the jets as fast as possible. The Navy is only planning to buy two in ’16, and it “can’t go much below two,” Bogdan told reporters on Oct. 30. However, the Marine Corps “has made it clear they need as many airplanes as they can get,” and the Air Force has “shown a tremendous commitment to keep on the ramp” the numbers it plans to buy, he reported. Sequester could affect Lots 9-11, in which the buy is now planned to be broken out, respectively, as follows: Low-Rate Initial Production Lot 9 would include 57 aircraft, of which 34 are for the US; in LRIP 10, 96 aircraft, of which 55 are for the US; and in LRIP 11, 121 airplanes, of which 68 are for the US. The request for proposals on LRIP 9 will go out shortly and Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney should return their proposals in January or February. Bogdan said he expects the Lot 9 negotiations to wrap up “about a year from now.” (See also F-35 LRIP 8 Numbers In.)
A three-person shop at Hill Air Force Base designed a $45 data port cover that could save millions of dollars and many headaches across Air Force bases with the F-35.