F-35 fighter said way behind schedule

Nov. 16, 2009 at 1:33 PM
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FORT WORTH, Texas, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin Corp. and other U.S. contractors are far behind schedule on the F-35 joint strike fighter jet program, government reports indicate.

The Defense Contract Management Agency, in reports prepared for U.S. Defense Department officials, contend Lockheed and other contractors are months behind schedule on delivering test planes and components, and are even further behind on testing, the Fort Worth (Texas) Star Telegram reported Monday.

The newspaper said the DCMA reports, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act filing, raise the possibility of Lockheed exhausting its development budget within a year. It reported that some of the problems cited with the F-35 effort back up recent Pentagon assessments that the aircraft will need two more years and billions of dollars more to complete.

Lockheed executive vice president and F-35 general manager Dan Crowley told the Star-Telegram the worst of the delays have been overcome and the project has picked up steam.

"We're not drawing farther from the schedule. We're going to meet the schedule beginning in 2011," Crowley said.

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