Plenty of Room

F-35 program manager Marine Corps Maj. Gen. David Heinz says there’s plenty of room to expand production of the F-35 should the Pentagon want to steepen the curve of production and build more aircraft sooner. “There’s no reason” why the program can’t produce as many as 250 F-35s a year by the Fiscal 2015 timeframe as long as subcontractors can be kept up to speed with plans and produce parts when they’re needed, he told reporters Tuesday (see above). Early aircraft have cost more in part because some parts weren’t ready for them when they were supposed to be installed, meaning that some larger assemblies had to be dismantled to make room for them later. Heinz said that has affected the schedule and deliveries will be three months late until late 2011, at which point the parts will be delivering “in sequence” and synched with the production line. “I’ll be caught up” then, said Heinz.