The Pentagon’s budget plan for five years in regards to the F-35 seems to have fallen short by as much as $10 billion according to the military’s very own independent cost analysis unit. A new conclusion has indicated that these complex fighter jets might just be too costly to both operate and maintain.
The Defense Department’s own blueprint for the upcoming next five fiscal years actually calls for a budget of $78 billion for development and research, jet procurement, operations and maintenance and of course, military construction that is dedicated to building the F-35 by Lockheed Martin Corp. The only problem is that the cost analysis unit estimates it to cost $88 billion in total.
This estimated shortfall was recently set out in a particular four-page review that was dated back on June 17 and also marked “For Official Use Only.” However, the document was obtained by the Bloomberg News and shows the first comprehensive estimate through 2077 for Pentagon’s maybe costliest weapons program ever since it had gone through major reorganization back in 2012.
The F-35’s very own total “life cycle” cost is actually estimated at $1.727 trillion in US dollars. Of the budget, $1.266 trillion alone is for the operation and support of the next-generation advanced planes that is considered a flying supercomputer.
According to the Defense Department’s spokesperson for the F-35 program office Brandi Shiff, these are still the five-year estimates but there currently is not yet an official reaction to this estimation.
According to the Pentagon spokesperson by the name of Chris Sherwood through an email, the projected shortfall is definitely an issue that needs to be addressed during the preparation of the United States next five-year budget plan for defence.
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This shortfall also includes both researchand development along with military construction, system operations, procurement, and also maintenance according to Sherwood.
It was also added that the released projected cost increase is not due to any of the expected major increase in the whole unit cost of the aircraft. In fact, the actual cost analysis office has projected that the average procurement cost for the desired F-35, including the engines, previously dropped from the initial planned $109 million all the way to $101.3 million all the way back in 2012.
By contrast, it also found out that the estimated support costs once the desired planes are built have increased a total of around 7% over a previous 2012 estimate.
According to the Pentagon cost analysis, the reasons that the actual aircraft procurement cost dropped massively back in 2012 is due to inflation that has been less than initially expected. Also, the increase in foreign sales back in 138 planes or about 18%, and also contractor fees to the Lockheed that were actually less compared to initial projection.
The Defense Department’s initial goal is to reduce the F-35’s average cost for every hour of flying all the way to $25,000 by the year 2025 from its current estimation of a total of $35,000. It was also stated to be unachievable due to the lack of certain defined actions to reduce total expenses.
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Written by Urian Buenconsejo