Trump McCain take aim at F-35 program

By Aaron Gregg
January 11, 2017

In his first press conference since winning the presidential election in November, Donald Trump again took aim at Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

His latest comments followed a tweet last month about the F-35’s “tremendous cost and cost overruns.” The president-elect said he had asked Boeing to “price out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet.”

“We’re going to do some big things on the F-35 program and perhaps the F-18 program,” Trump reiterated Wednesday. “And we’re going to get those costs way down, and we’re going to get the plane to be even better, and we’re going to have some competition and it’s going to be a beautiful thing. So we’ve been very very much involved.”

Trump offered few details before moving on. But the 30 seconds or so he devoted to the topic jolted stocks at Lockheed Martin and Boeing, the two companies primarily responsible for the F-35 and F-18 programs respectively, though both recovered throughout the day.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lockheed Martin tells Trump F-35 costs will be lower

By Aaron Gregg
January 13, 2017

Emerging from a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York on Friday, Lockheed Martin chief executive Marillyn Hewson told reporters that the Bethesda, Md.-based defense giant is close to a new contract deal that would cut the cost of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program and also create jobs.

“We had the opportunity to talk to [Trump] about the F-35 program, and I certainly share his views that we need to get the best capability to our men and women in uniform and we have to get it at the lowest possible price,” Hewson said. “So I’m glad I had the opportunity to tell him that we are close to a deal that will bring the cost down significantly from the previous lot of aircraft to the next lot of aircraft and moreover it’s going to bring a lot of jobs to the United States.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Trump wants at least 10% cut in F-35 costs

January 18, 2017

The chairman of a key subcontractor in the F-35 program told Bloomberg News Tuesday that President-elect Donald Trump wants to reduce the cost of the project by at least 10 percent.

“We’ve been told through Lockheed that the president has an ambition to reduce the cost of the aircraft by a material amount of money, many percent, into the double digits over a period,” Roger Carr, the chairman of BAE Systems Plc, said. “We respect that and we’ll work towards a contribution towards that.”

Trump has been an outspoken critic of the price tag for projects like the F-35 fleet and the new Air Force One.

In December, Trump tweeted that he asked Boeing to “price-out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet.” He did not go into specific details, but aviation experts pointed out differences in the two planes…for one, the F-18 is not stealth.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Defense Secretary targets costly F-35, Air Force One

By Tom Vanden Brook
Jan. 27, 2017

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has ordered the Pentagon to launch a review on how to save costs on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, the Pentagon’s most costly weapons-buying effort in history.

Mattis’ memo, sent on Thursday, also calls on the military to determine whether the F-18 fighter can be modified to provide a “cost-effective fighter aircraft alternative.”

The Defense chief also directed the Pentagon to look for ways to save money for the Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization program, which is responsible for developing a replacement for the current presidential aircraft, which goes by the call sign Air Force One when the president is aboard.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F35 Deal-Unlikely to save $

By Mandy Smithberger
January 30, 2017

Following President Donald Trump’s announcement today that Lockheed Martin has cut $600 million from the F-35 program, Dan Grazier, the Jack Shanahan Fellow at POGO’s Straus Military Reform Project, said:

“Although this appears to be a victory for those concerned about out-of-control costs of the F-35 program, these savings don’t really exist. The American people will end up paying even more for the unproven jets in the future.

The so-called savings announced today are little more than the bulk-rate discount for the next yearly purchase of 90 aircraft. If this ‘concession’ is predicated on committing taxpayers to a multiyear buy, it will only further compound the waste of public funds on this program.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Wish List Adds Billions for Aircraft

by Valerie Insinna
January 31, 2017

An update to the US Air Force’s 2017 wish list bumps its unfunded requirements to $10.6 billion, with the service seeking funding for more F-35s and a light attack aircraft experiment, among other new efforts.

Congress has not passed a defense spending bill for 2017, opting instead to extend current funding until April — a tactic that gives the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled legislative branch time to figure out how to direct the budget for the remainder of the fiscal year. The services have responded by enlarging their own unfunded priorities lists to reflect growing demands.

[FULL ARTICLE]

UK faces massive rise in costs to fix stealth fighter


By Ewen MacAskill
Feb. 4, 2017

Britain is being forced to pour millions of pounds of new funds into the troubled F-35 stealth fighter programme being developed in America and considered a vital part of the UK’s future defences.

The F-35, being built by the US in partnership with countries including the UK, is the costliest weapon ever developed by the Pentagon. It is scheduled to go into service in the UK in 2018 and into full production in 2019, and is intended to be a cornerstone of UK defences for decades to come, flying off two new aircraft carriers.

But huge problems remain unresolved, in particular with the F-35’s advanced software, on which the whole project rests. The software is supposed to be the plane’s “brain”, running everything from ensuring a steady supply of parts to relaying masses of data to the pilot’s visor during combat.

[FULL ARTICLE]

What Keeps the F-35 Alive

By David Swanson
November 2, 2016

Imagine if a local business in your town invented a brand new tool that was intended to have an almost magical effect thousands of miles away. However, where the tool was kept and used locally became an area unsafe for children. Children who got near this tool tended to have increased blood pressure and increased stress hormones, lower reading skills, poorer memories, impaired auditory and speech perception, and impaired academic performance.

Most of us would find this situation at least a little concerning, unless the new invention was designed to murder lots of people. Then it’d be just fine.

Now, imagine if this same new tool ruined neighborhoods because people couldn’t safely live near it. Imagine if the government had to compensate people but kick them out of living near the location of this tool. Again, I think, we might find that troubling if mass murder were not the mission.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Navy pollutes water system

DECEMBER 14, 2016

Navy Contaminates Coupeville Wells from Navy OLF Training Site

Residents Warned Against Drinking, Preparing Food with Their Water

The Navy has delivered bottled water and warnings to the first of what may be many homes with contaminated drinking water that are located in the area of the Navy’s Outlying Field (OLF) near Coupeville.

At least two property owners, some of the first who took the Navy up on its offer to have their water wells tested, were notified by phone that their water contained toxic chemicals above EPA Health Advisory Levels.

The Navy’s testing of private and public water wells followed the October 11 discovery of toxic chemicals in an OLF drinking water well that signaled contamination of the underlying aquifer. The fear that perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) found beneath the OLF had spread beyond Navy property prompted a November 7 letter to more than 100 private and public drinking water well owners in a one mile radius.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pentagon buries evidence of $125 Billion in Bureaucratic waste

By Craig Whitlock and Bob Woodward
December 5, 2016

The Pentagon has buried an internal study that exposed $125 billion in administrative waste in its business operations amid fears Congress would use the findings as an excuse to slash the defense budget, according to interviews and confidential memos obtained by The Washington Post.

Pentagon leaders had requested the study to help make their enormous back-office bureaucracy more efficient and reinvest any savings in combat power. But after the project documented far more wasteful spending than expected, senior defense officials moved swiftly to kill it by discrediting and suppressing the results.

[FULL ARTICLE]

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