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F-35's Weight Problems Discussed (Read 1198 times)
Roger Whitcomb

F-35's Weight Problems Discussed
Oct 18th, 2004 at 1:48am
The Pentagon's top weapons buyer was briefed Thursday on plans for resolving weight problems with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Top military and civilian officials overseeing the F-35 program presented their plans to a Defense Acquisition Board, a review panel headed by Micahel Wynne, under secretary of defense for acquisition.

As is usually the case, there was no immediate comment from the Pentagon on the meeting. An "acquisition decision memorandum" is typically issued by Wynne within a few days after such reviews.

F-35 program spokeswoman Kathy Crawford said program leaders would make no public comment on the meeting until Wynne's office issued a memorandum.

For more than a year, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. of Fort Worth, lead contractor on the F-35, and partners Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems have worked to reduce the projected weight of the aircraft, especially the short-takeoff-vertical landing version.

As a result of the weight issues, the program has fallen about a year behind its original schedule, with first flight now projected for 2006.

Lockheed and program officials say they have outlined a detailed plan for reducing the F-35 weight or making offsetting performance changes.

The program office presented the plan last week to a joint meeting of senior Air Force, Navy and Marine officers, as well as Assistant Navy Secretary John Young and Marvin Sambur, the Air Force's top acquisition official.

The military and purchasing chiefs backed the program changes, said Kathy Crawford, spokeswoman for the F-35 program office. "They said the program showed positive progress on the re-plan," Crawford said.

F-35 contractors Lockheed, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems are proceeding with detailed design and planning of aircraft parts and systems to meet the new weight and performance goals. "It's not like anyone has stopped working while we're waiting" for final approval, Crawford said.

Source: Star-Telegram (14th October, 2004)
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