Side By Side Numbers

Lockheed Martin F-35 program manager Dan Crowley on Tuesday downplayed reports that the F-35’s cost of ownership will far outstrip that of current generation fighters. Lockheed responded quickly last month when news first circulated of a leaked Navy analysis that has sent the sea service—and now presumably the Air Force—back to their calculators to determine whether the F-35 is really affordable. Crowley said the estimate “compared apples to oranges,” penalizing F-35 for some start-up costs that older aircraft “basically … got for free.” The company will work with Naval Air Systems Command in the coming weeks to compare costs “side by side,” and Crowley said he is confident the F-35 will hold its own under the scrutiny.