Take Two More F-35s and Call Me in the Morning

The Air Force may opt to lose more than three F-35 strike fighters from the Fiscal 2013 buy as a result of the budget sequester; it all depends on whether the service gets the authority to reprogram sequestered funds, said Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, F-35 program executive officer. Back in early February, Air Force Acting Undersecretary Jamie Morin first quoted the F-35 sequester hit as “up to three” aircraft, but Lt. Gen. Charles Davis, the Air Force’s military deputy for acquisition, told Congress in late February the number could be “up to five.” Bogdan told the Daily Report on March 5 that “it depends on what [the Air Force wants] to do and if Congress will let them reprogram” funds. He said cutting the remaining F-35 development and software efforts would be very damaging to the F-35 program at this point, and the Air Force might actually opt to divert production money to these efforts. “It could be five airplanes if they want to put the money back in R&D,” said Bogdan. Pre-sequester, the Air Force said it was adding money to the F-35 software effort to make sure early aircraft are combat-ready.