Two days after Senate kills the F-22, a Pentagon report surfaces: The replacement F-35 is two years behind

This just posted by Congressional Quarterly:

An internal Pentagon oversight board has found that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is two years behind the publicly announced schedule, say multiple congressional aides familiar with the findings, sparking a sharp response from those invested in the debate over the F-22.

As Congress has debated the future of the F-22 fighter program, lawmakers have used the promise of the F-35 plane’s completion as a key plank in their argument that the F-22 line could be ended without a significant risk to national security.

Now, senators and aides are lamenting that the Pentagon oversight panel’s more pessimistic view on the F-35 program was not publicly released during the F-22 debate and are calling for more open disclosure of the problems with the development of the F-35.

Late Thursday, U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss issued this statement:

“It’s disturbing that this was known inside the Pentagon as the debate over the F-22 was occurring, and as the Department of Defense disseminated information that cast the F-35 in an extremely positive light.

“Those responsible for major weapons decisions at the Pentagon obviously knew last week that there was significant disagreement regarding the F-35’s schedule, and Pentagon leadership did not convey this to Congress in their letters about the F-22 vote.

“Without question, had senators known this information, it would have been much harder for the administration to twist arms to vote against the F-22.”

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9 comments Add your comment

F22 Guy

July 24th, 2009
6:44 am

Lockheed makes the F35 and did not tell Saxby that they were 2 years late? I smell a rat.

If Saxby doesn’t watch his mouth the Marietta plant won’t get any F35 work and our union brothers will be out of a job forever.

the truth...

July 24th, 2009
8:05 am

F22 Guy….Saxby “watch his mouth”….???? You sound really intelligent now don’t you? I think the point Chambliss made was that the Pentagon failed to make the information known….since Obama controls the Pentagon’s statements now thru Gates (no relation to the esteemed Harvard professor?)…..I’d say that was the point he made….

You sound like you’re not the brightest lightbulb in the pack….and your reference to “our union brothers” displays two things…one you haven’t worked on the F-22 despite your adopted monicker….and two you’re nothing more than a union shill….

kiss off Dude…

and that’s the truth……..

F22 Guy

July 24th, 2009
9:08 am

Truth obviously you 1 of those lobbyist and would not know what a plant floor looks like. Saxby let us down big time.


July 24th, 2009
9:22 am

This report could change things in the FAVOR of more Raptor production


July 24th, 2009
9:25 am

Why did Lockheed not tell Saxby they were 2 years late on the F35? Probably the same reason they didn’t tell him they were 400% overbudget on the F22’s cost. Saxby is a loser, Georgia deserves better.

Billy Bob

July 24th, 2009
9:44 am

F22 Guy

July 24th, 2009
6:44 am

Probably they don’t trust Saxby any more than anyone else. Saxby lost 18 Republican votes on the F22 but got Boxer’s, Dodds and Teddy blond in every pond Kennedy’s vote. He’s probably out golfing now where he can’t do any damage.


July 24th, 2009
9:45 am

The headline implies that the F-35 is a replacement for the F-22 and that is not the case at all. The F-35 is designed to replace the F-16, the F-22 to replace the F-15. Just as the F-15’s role is to go in and clear out the enemy air defenses so the F-16 strike fighter can go after the targets of interest, the F-22 and F-35 are designed to work in tandem. Each performs roles the other does not. More F-35s won’t do much good if you don’t have the F-22s to knock out enemy’s missile guidance radars, etc.

Mr. Galloway, you and your fellow “reporters” should at least make an effort to understand what you are reporting on and to obtain the facts. You and the press in general are reporting on rumors and making conjecture with hardly any factual information presented to the public; personal opinion is replacing actual information. Whether you are for or against funding additional F-22s, at least make some effort to report accurately.

The Sarge

July 25th, 2009
8:20 pm

F-22 Guy would have us believing that “union bros” are helpless without govt largess; that they are incapable of simply selling their labor and knowledge on their own individual selves. The unions, among other entities, killed the auto industry. What are they going to do to the defense aerospace industry? Over the years, the cost of high-dollar weaponry, like the F-22/F-35 replacements, will make the current F-22 unit cost appear bargain-basement. While political leaders thrash about on current to-buy-or-not-to-buy decisions, they would do well to examine the role of organized labor and cost decisions on future procurements.

Amicus Curiae

August 11th, 2009
2:42 pm

In light of the Senate’s vote on stopping F-22 production at a number that will guarantee an early retirement from USAF inventory, I suggest that there are many more billions to be saved with logical follow through actions. It is obvious that the most pessimistic estimate of USAF fighter strength in the near future is not pessimistic enough. The Senate has spoken that the US is backing down from its determination to field the best equipment that is technically possible. Reliable historical trends show clearly that fighter aircraft production actually becomes a small fraction of the planned inventory. Recognizing that the reduced production of the less capable F-35 is inevitable, and the retirement of legacy F-15s and F-16s is also inevitable, it follows that other cuts in supporting systems can be made to leverage much larger savings. The first target of opportunity should be the KC-X tanker program. The USAF does not need this program because they will have half as many aircraft to refuel in 10 years as they do now. They will easily be able to get by on life extension programs for the KC-10 and KC-135, supplemented by conversion of surplus 767 airliners into a basic, no frills, tanker configuration. Since this program has not been awarded yet, now is the time to stop it. This suggestion should save at least $20 billion over 10 years. We need this money to provide the necessary subsidies for green job creation. Elimination of the KC-X would also avoid a probable debate on the logic of buying a French aircraft for the role when there are domestic sources available. This is another Peace Dividend we need to claim.