JSF “Myth Busting”

The program executive officer for the F-35 joint program office shot down some “myths” about the Joint Strike Fighter program Sept. 9 during a speech in Washington, D.C. While most news reports about the program mention cost overruns, the last time the office added money to the development program was in 2010, said Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, who said he hasn’t asked for “a single penny” since then—and doesn’t intend to. Additionally, he said, while estimating the costs for everything related to the F-35 program for the next 50 years is “a mighty sketchy endeavor,” the program has seen a decrease in the estimated operations and sustainment costs of about 13 percent in the last three years and expects that trend to continue. Bogdan also addressed reports that the F-35 lost in a dogfight to an F-16, saying that while the F-16 and A-10 are “awesome … they will not survive in the future battle space.” Those aircraft can’t do some of the missions the F-35 has been designed to do, or what the services want the aircraft to do, he said, using the analogy of an Olympic decathlete racing an Olympic sprinter in the 100-meter dash. “That’s not what we should measure the F-35 on,” Bogdan said.