A squadron of F-35As flying over Hill Air Force Base in Utah. Photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force
The U.S. Senate has approved a proposal that would require the Pentagon to regularly brief lawmakers on efforts to contain sustainment costs for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
The measure would require that the U.S Defense Department, in its quarterly F-35 program briefings to the congressional defense panels, include “an assessment of efforts to ensure that excessive sustainment costs do not threaten the ability to purchase the required number of aircraft.”
The proposal, by Sen. Todd Young, received Senate approval late June 11 as an amendment to the fiscal year 2019 defense authorization bill. The bill already called for quarterly program updates but did not specifically require that they address efforts to curb sustainment costs.
Military leaders have expressed concern about the F-35’s high sustainment costs, saying they must come down for the plane to be affordable. For example, the Air Force, which plans to buy 1,763 Lockheed Martin-built F-35s, more than any other service, hopes to wring out enough savings to allow the stealth fighter’s sustainment costs to match those of legacy fighters.
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