F-35 Cuts Don’t Start a Death Spiral

Even though the Air Force is cutting five F-35As from its fiscal 2017 budget and more in the out-years, the net effect on price will be “way less than one percent,” program director Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan said Wednesday. Bogdan pointed out that even though USAF cut five F-35As, across the DOD, the net cut is only three, since the Marine Corps will buy two more Joint Strike Fighters than planned, and there’s no way to know if future cuts will actually be made. Moreover, across the whole of F-35 buyers—including the other services, partner nations, and foreign military sales customers—the change will be “20 airplanes over six years,” Bogdan said, noting that previous plans called for production of 893 jets and now only 873 will be built. “Last year, Congress gave the services 11 more airplanes” than they sought, so USAF’s cuts may only be short term, anyway. “I view this … as almost a non-news event,” Bogdan said.