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Pentagon working to reduce soaring cost of F-35 fighters

The F-35 fighter aircraft. Image credit: Lockheed Martin

NEW YORK (BNS): The US Defence Department has expressed concern over the escalating cost of the F-35 Lightning II joint fighter aircraft and its delivery schedules.

Pentagon officials are making effort to bring down the spiraling price of the fifth-generation fighter aircraft being jointly funded by the US, UK, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, Turkey, Australia, Norway and Denmark.

“We don’t like some of the trends we see, and we are determined not to accept those trends,” Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III told at a conference here on Thursday.

The Defence Department officials are reviewing the programme and exploring ways to get the contractor, Lockheed Martin Corp., to share in the cost of scheduling delays, Lynn said as reported in the Department’s website.

The officials are also revising and restructuring the programme to make sure it delivers on schedule.

Several countries, including Japan and Australia, have evinced interest in acquiring the fifth-generation combat aircraft.

While the Australian Government has approved a $3.2 billion plan to acquire 14 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters for its air force, Japan plans to acquire 40 such fighters which would be the mainstay of its airpower.

The multi-role stealth combat aircraft is capable of performing close air support, tactical bombing and air defence missions.

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