Thursday, November 29, 2012

"Acquisition Malpractice"

Problems with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter are the subject of a front-page article in today's New York Times. The Times, drawing from a June Government Accountability Office study of the F-35 that focused on "affordability risks," reports that total program costs could reach $396 billion if the Pentagon purchases 2,443 of the planes by the late 2030s as is currently planned. That would make the program the costliest weapons program in history by close to a factor of four. The cost per plane has risen from $69 million in 2001 to $137 million today. Frank Kendall, who has directed the Pentagon's weapons-purchasing operations since May, describes the decision to begin production of the F-35 before flight testing had even started as "acquisition malpractice."