F-35 a Bill Payer

The F-35 strike fighter program will suffer a $15.1 billion reduction over the newly released future years defense program. Defense Department Comptroller Robert Hale confirmed during the rollout of the Pentagon’s Fiscal 2013 spending request on Monday that DOD will reduce the F-35 program—intended to supply replacement fighters for Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy tactical inventories—by 179 aircraft in the period from Fiscal 2013 to Fiscal 2017. The program remains one of the Defense Department’s largest, with DOD seeking to spend $8.9 billion for the project next fiscal year. However, the Pentagon leadership is slowing the program to allow testing and final development to catch up with production, said Hale. Despite previous slowdowns and restructuring, there is still “great concurrency” in the program, he said.