F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program

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12th March 2010, 04:58pm - Views: 750





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SENATOR JOHN FAULKNER

Minister for Defence



Friday, 12 March 2010

023/2010


F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program


The Minister for Defence, Senator John Faulkner, today confirmed that the Government

remains confident the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is the right choice for the Australian

Defence Force’s next-generation air combat capability, and will enable the Australian Defence

Force to maintain its strategic air combat capability advantage out to 2030.


Responding to the recent developments in the JSF program, Senator Faulkner noted that the

JSF program would produce over 3000 aircraft for United States (US) Services and

international partners.  Senator Faulkner said, “As with all highly complex and cutting edge

projects, risks are to be expected.”


“As I said on 2 February 2010, the Australian Government’s staged acquisition strategy for

the JSF includes significant cost and schedule buffers to deal with project risks which will

ensure initial operational capability in 2018 is met.”


“Defence will continue to maintain close and regular contact with the US to ensure the

success of this vital project.”


As a result of the latest US JSF cost update, US Defense Under Secretary Acquisition,

Technology and Logistics, Dr Ashton Carter has told the United States Senate Armed

Services Committee that he expected the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program to experience a

Nunn-McCurdy funding breach.


Nunn-McCurdy is US legislation which requires Congressional review of major projects when

growth in an acquisition program’s cost estimates exceeds specific thresholds.  In the case of

the JSF Program, the Nunn-McCurdy breach involves growth in estimated costs for the

program exceeding 50 per cent since 2002.


The thorough review now required will be a continuation of the restructuring process

announced by Secretary Gates on 1 February 2010 in expectation of a Nunn-McCurdy

breach.


Senator Faulkner discussed JSF progress – including the implications of a potential Nunn-

McCurdy breach – with US Deputy Secretary for Defense William Lynn in Canberra on 16

February 2010.  Senator Faulkner said, “While risks remain, Deputy Secretary Lynn assured

me that the US is fully committed to making the JSF Program succeed.”


Senator Faulkner also said, “The JSF Program Office advises that no significant implications

are expected for the JSF Partner countries as a result of the Nunn-McCurdy breach due to

the restructuring action which has already been taken in the US.


“The adoption of a more conservative budgeting approach by the US Department of Defense

for the JSF Program – particularly for early aircraft where cost risk is highest – is a sound

management approach for such a large and complex project.


“Australian Defence planning has always adopted a cautious approach to JSF cost estimates

by factoring in significant amounts of contingency funds to deal with cost risks,” Senator

Faulkner said


Media contacts:

Colin Campbell (John Faulkner):

02 6277 7800 or 0407 787 181

Defence Media Liaison:

02 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664






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