Diving Down to the Subs

The Pentagon’s “should cost” analysis of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 strike fighter program is extending to major subcontractors, such as Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems, which build the stealth fighter’s midsection and empennage, respectively. So said Shay Assad, the Pentagon’s director of defense pricing, in a meeting with defense reporters Wednesday in Washington, D.C. In an earlier era, Assad noted, the Pentagon could expect a prime contractor to do most tasks in house, but now a prime is usually the “integrator” and performs final assembly, and may not have true insight into its subcontractors’ practices. Hence, the Pentagon is scrutinizing the major subs for their way of doing business, looking for efficiencies and practices that could lower F-35 costs, he said. (For more Assad coverage, read The F-35 will be “Okay” and F-35 Group Discount.)