F-35, WGS Recertified

Defense Department officials on Tuesday informed Congress that work on the multi-service F-35 strike fighter and Air Force’s wideband global satcom satellite should continue despite cost growth in those programs. This process of recertification is mandated under the Nunn-McCurdy provisions that Congress instituted years ago to monitor the costs of the Pentagon’s big-ticket weapons programs. The Pentagon announced in March that the F-35’s total price tag had grown significantly to more than $328 billion due to issues like delays in the aircraft’s development. This has triggered a major program restructure. As for WGS, its cost growth was driven by a lengthy break in the production line between the first two blocks of satellites. DOD also recertified an Army infrared countermeasures system and Apache helicopter upgrade as well as the Navy’s DDG-1000 destroyer and remote mine hunter. (See AFPS report by Jim Garamone and Reuters news wire service report.)