Lockheed Martin executive Dan Crowley told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that the company is still discussing the troubled F-35 program with Pentagon officials, but he expected to see profits tied to successful testing and platform deliveries as the development phase continues. The Pentagon reportedly plans to slow purchase of the fighters until it can stabilize development. Crowley told the newspaper that Lockheed expected negotiations to result in the company “earning our award fees” as it completes specific goals. He said, “They are going to set the bar high for us.” According to the Star-Telegram, details are still being worked out and a new plan forward might not arise until early summer. Air Force officials have said they expect program changes, but no overall cut in the number of aircraft to be procured. However, FlightGlobal now reports that Navy officials are concerned over a higher-than-projected hourly operating cost.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.