By Dan Grazier
The F-35 Program Executive Officer, Vice Admiral Mat Winter, said his office is exploring the option of leaving 108 aircraft in their current state because the funds to upgrade them to the fully combat-capable configuration would threaten the Air Force’s plans to ramp up production in the coming years. These are most likely the same 108 aircraft the Air Force reportedly needed to upgrade earlier in 2017. Without being retrofitted, these aircraft would become “Concurrency Orphans,” airplanes left behind in the acquisition cycle after the services purchased them in haste before finishing the development process.
(Photo: U.S. Dept. of Defense)
Left unsaid so far is what will become of the 81 F-35s purchased by the Marine Corps and Navy during that same period. If they are left in their current state, nearly 200 F-35s might permanently remain unready for combat because the Pentagon would rather buy new aircraft than upgrade the ones the American people have already paid for. What makes this particularly galling is the aircraft that would be left behind by such a scheme were the most expensive F-35s purchased so far.
When the tab for all the aircraft purchased in an immature state is added up, the total comes to nearly $40 billion. That is a lot of money to spend on training jets and aircraft that will simply be stripped for spare parts.
Read the rest of the article online at http://www.pogo.org/straus/issues/weapons/2017/21-billion-worth-of-f-35-concurrency-orphans.html?referrer=http://www.pogo.org/straus/issues/weapons/2017/21-billion-worth-of-f-35-concurrency-orphans.html