Perhaps you’ve heard the F-35 development program is facing yet another one-year overall extension and an up to $5 billion cost overrun. The story was broken this week by DODBuzz, with a tip from Winslow Wheeler, and followed up by such wide-ranging F-35 observers as Bloomberg reporter Tony Capaccio, Loren Thompson and Bill Sweetman.
It’s arguable that the real scoop belongs to the Government Accountability Office. On page 7 of the 17 March 2010 report on the F-35 program, the GAO’s auditors predict:
“Additional cost increases and more time to complete development are possible. The preliminary estimate by the [Joint Estimating Team] projected as much as a 30-month extension in the schedule for completing development flight tests, more than the 13-month extension ordered in the restructuring. Defense officials acknowledge that the revised schedule for completing development, testing and supporting the full-rate production milestone is still aggressive. Also, the 2011 budget estimate does not include costs beyond 2010 for the alternate (or second) engine program. Should that program go forward, an estimated $1.6 billion may be needed to complete development in 2016.”