Lockheed Martin Now Negotiating Contracts with the United States Senate - Page 3
The JSF is entering into dangerous territory. There is beginning to be extreme concerns about the cost of the program especially when the U.S. budget is facing such pressure due to the needs to reduce the annual deficits. The 2012 budget will include almost $7 billion to buy 28 aircraft for the U.S. military. Some in Congress are now discussing alternatives to the program which would require a different aircraft or approach. Ending or scaling back the program would be huge blow to the U.S. military who are counting on the JSF to provide a major technical upgrade as well as replace many aging systems. The U.S. ended production of the F-22 their last most recent tactical aircraft program in 2009. If there is no JSF they would have to consider re-starting that production, upgrading existing aircraft or looking overseas for a new fighter.
At the same time it is unprecedented for Congress to wade into the minutiae of details in contract negotiation like this. Lockheed and the Defense Department must decide on the best contract vehicle to achieve the goals of the program. The program has issues but dictating to Lockheed a situation where there ability to make money which is their goal will make it difficult to award the contract. These provisions will make it more difficult to negotiate the next production contract potentially stretching out the program even more as well as setting a precedent that will make other companies think twice about beginning programs. There is a chance that competition will be reduced causing further price problems for the Pentagon.
Photo from ngotoh's flickr photostream (http://www.flickr.com/photos/gotoh/)