F-35 Costs Rise in Latest Pentagon Estimate

The estimated cost of the F-35 strike fighter program has grown by some $17 billion from $379 billion to $396 billion, according to the Pentagon’s latest reporting figures provided to Congress. According to the newly released selected acquisition reports, which reflect the period through December 2011, F-35 aircraft costs have increased by some $10.7 billion to $332 billion compared to the previous SARs that ran through December 2010. Among the reasons for the cost hike were the impacts of slowing the ramp-up of aircraft production, state the SARs. For example, the Air Force has extended its 1,763-aircraft production run by two years out to 2037, they state. F-35 engine costs went up by roughly $5.6 billion to $63.9 billion through December 2011, state the SARs. That was primarily due to an increase in initial engine spares and the cost impacts of the slower production ramp-up, they state. (See also SARs table.)