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BUSINESS > U.S. weapons maker pushes back at Pentagon

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F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter test aircraft CF-1 and CF-2 (R) on a formation
test flight on April 18. The F-35s are a drain on the pentagon’s financial resources. AFP photo

F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter test aircraft CF-1 and CF-2 (R) on a formation test flight on April 18. The F-35s are a drain on the pentagon’s financial resources. AFP photo

Lockheed Martin Corp, the biggest U.S. weapons maker, on May 31 pushed back against the Pentagon’s demands for ever more cost data, saying the requests were adding to the very overhead the government wants to see lowered.

Lockheed Chief Executive Bob Stevens said his company was working hard to drive down overhead, but the government’s “should cost” initiative meant the company needed more people to generate thousands of pages of additional paperwork.

“The more the government asks us to do, the more pressure that puts on having the overheads,” Stevens told an investor conference hosted by Sanford C. Bernstein.

“What won’t work in my mind is an ever increasing set of demands by the government for more and more and more information and responsiveness, and an increasing expectation that the facilities that are available to meet those increasing demands ought to be reduced and reduced and reduced,”
Stevens’ unusually blunt remarks came as negotiations between Lockheed and the Pentagon for a fifth batch of 32 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters dragged on for more than five months.

Lockheed is developing and building the next-generation F-35 fighter for the United States and eight development partners - Britain, Italy, Turkey, Denmark, Norway, Canada, Australia and the Netherlands - plus two other countries, Israel and Japan.

The Pentagon projects it will spend $396 billion to develop and buy 2,443 of the new radar-evading, supersonic warplanes, with projected operating and maintenance costs likely to drive the program’s total lifetime cost to $1.51 trillion.

June/02/2012

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Eric Martin

6/4/2012 1:05:02 AM

Murat, good point. Drones, and cruise missiles are the future. The problem is can we build a jet stealth uav good enough yet. I don't know. The government should consider that in it's review. I would like manned jets because of judgement of the pilot and potential for jamming. Good points though Murat. Even the USA and Europe are not pilotless yet. While PM Erdogan says we should build domestic he goes to the USA for drones and buys some F-35's. BUILD OUR OWN JETS!

Murat

6/3/2012 4:44:25 PM

It is a waste of everybody's money to spend even one cent on a manned fighter jet now. F-22 should have been the last piloted fighter. This is just a scheme for the aerospace giants to suck billions out of tax payers. Turks do not have anything close to a stealth technology by the way, cant even build a simple trainer yet!

MR Somalia

6/3/2012 1:20:15 PM

Turks can build their own stealth fighters. You have the money, education and men power, time to experiment. Don't be afraid to fail. Thats how the U.S. began its own not long ago. Your the fathers of cannon remember?

Eric Martin

6/3/2012 2:36:59 AM

They building of Turkey's stealth jet fighter should begin immediately. We waste time with the F-35.
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