F-35 JOINT STRIKE FIGHTER (JSF) — RISK REDUCTION ACTION IN THE PRESIDENT’S BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEAR 2011
Senator the Hon John Faulkner
Minister for Defence
02 Feb 2010
The Australian Government welcomes the decisive action taken overnight by the United States (US) Government to reduce risk in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program.
The President’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2011, released on 1 February 2010 (US time) reflects the US Government’s strong ongoing commitment to the JSF Program as the backbone of the future tactical aircraft inventory for the US Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps and partner countries, including Australia.
The budget, which has yet to go through the Congressional legislative process, reflects a restructuring of the JSF Program to stabilise its schedule and cost.
The US Department of Defense has adjusted JSF procurement quantities based on new data on costs, likely orders from international partners, and realigned development and test schedules. Nearly US$11 billion has been allocated for the JSF in Fiscal Year 2011, along with a strategy to stabilise its cost and schedule. In Fiscal Year 2011, the President’s Budget proposes the acquisition of 43 aircraft – and possibly more depending on contractor performance.
In restructuring the JSF Program to deal with cost and schedule issues over the last two years, US Secretary of Defense Gates has withheld a considerable amount of performance fees from JSF prime contractor Lockheed Martin. Additionally, Secretary Gates has directed a change in the leadership of the US Joint Strike Fighter Program Office and, given the importance of this program to the future of military aviation, has elevated the level of the JSF Program manager to that of a 3-star officer.
The Australian Government’s staged acquisition approach to the JSF, commencing with the acquisition of 14 aircraft, has strongly mitigated risk in relation to this vital program. As part of the Government’s JSF acquisition strategy, significant cost and schedule buffers were built into Australia’s project in anticipation of the steps announced in the US today.
As is to be expected with such a large and complex project, the JSF will continue to face risks. Australia will continue to work closely with the US and other international partners to closely manage these risks and ensure the success of the JSF Program.
Colin Campbell (John Faulkner): 02 6277 7800 or 0407 787 181
Defence Media Liaison: 02 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664