Turning the Corner

The F-35 program is “really, really close” to turning the corner and becoming a truly healthy program, Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, F-35 program executive officer, told the Daily Report. He said he’ll be satisfied the program has really turned around when production “really starts to ramp up” and after the next year or so of software and weapons testing—all the “really hard stuff” of operational testing. Once past that point, Bogdan said he thinks the program will not only be on track, but will cost less than fourth generation fighters. Progress has been good and costs are consistently coming down, he noted in the Sept. 17 interview. In his speech that same day at AFA’s 2013 Air and Space Conference in National Harbor, Md., Bogdan said the services “are committed not to breaking this program” and will do what’s necessary to keep it moving forward. In 10 years, Bogdan predicted, “people will look back and say, ‘What was all the fuss about?'” The F-35, he said, will by then be seen as the obvious solution to “what we need” and will still have “great growth potential.”