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'Nothing new' about F-22 overspending

REPORTS OF COST and weight overruns on the Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22 are "nothing new", the manufacturing team says. An US Air Force review, estimates that the $10.5 billion engineering and manufacturing development programme, will come in $572 million over budget, when it is completed in 2002.

Lockheed Martin points out that the overrun is "only" around 5% and that it will "essentially go away" when rephasing of the programme to adjust for Congressionally imposed funding cuts is completed later this year. The company says the overrun is being covered within the existing F-22 budget.

The overrun is blamed on a slower than planned reduction in engineering manpower as the programme transitions to the manufacturing phase. Rephasing is a factor in this, and in supplier cost overruns, the company says. Additional costs were incurred when the USAF relaxed some performance requirements because of weight growth, and the team had to recalculate airframe loads.

According to the USAF, the F-22 is about 590kg over its 13,970kg target empty weight, but this includes an allowance of almost 230kg for weight growth during flight test, which Lockheed Martin hopes will not be required. Work continues to reduce weight, the company says.