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Thread: F-35 in all it's Variations

  1. #21

    F-35 jet program likely to cost more and face delays, Air Force chief says

    By Dana Hedgpeth
    Washington Post Staff Writer

    Wednesday, March 3, 2010

    Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said Tuesday that the Pentagon's plan for the service to use top-of-the-line fighter jets will probably cost more than originally expected and be delayed by two years.

    The Joint Strike Fighter, also known as the F-35 Lightning II, is the Pentagon's most expensive weapons system and has been touted as an integral part of the military's approach to waging war in the skies in the future. The costly program involves buying aircraft for the Air Force, the Marine Corps and the Navy, plus nine U.S. allies. But building the fighter jets has been difficult, with billions of dollars in cost overruns and performance problems that Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates recently described as "troubling."

    Donley told reporters Tuesday that he thought "we are going to have a slip" on the F-35 program and that the planes would probably not be ready for the Air Force until 2015. The jets were expected to be available in 2013.

    The Pentagon declined to say whether there might also be delays in the F-35 program for the Marines and Navy, which are expected to use the jets starting in 2012 and 2015, respectively.

    A month ago, Gates said he would fire Marine Maj. Gen. David R. Heinz, the executive officer in charge of the Joint Strike Fighter's development, and withhold $614 million from the contractor, Lockheed Martin of Bethesda.

    The Obama administration is asking Congress to provide $11.4 billion overall for the Joint Strike Fighter program next year, including $8.4 billion to buy 43 planes.

    Gates said in February that he believed there were "no insurmountable problems, technological or otherwise, with the F-35. . . . We are in a position to move forward with this program in a realistic way."

    But the Air Force secretary's update suggests problems with the F-35 may be more severe than Pentagon officials had anticipated, industry analysts said.

    "The secretary of defense reluctantly supports this program because he has no alternative," said Mackenzie Eaglen, an analyst at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.

    "The [Joint Strike Fighter] is like a sweater. . . . You pull any thread, like pushing back on full-rate production, and things can fall apart very quickly," she said. "A delayed start date will have a ripple effect of steadily increasing the average age of the Air Force's inventory."

    In a statement, Lockheed Martin said that it remains "fully-committed to the F-35 program" and that it was working toward stabilizing "cost and affordability -- and to fielding the aircraft on time."

    Pentagon officials said they are in the process of restructuring the program, which involves international partners, including Britain, Italy, Turkey, Canada, Norway and Australia. Defense Department officials have been briefing legislators on Capitol Hill, industry officials and other governments on the program.

    Richard Aboulafia, a vice president and defense industry analyst at the Teal Group in Fairfax County, said the cost to build the plane is now expected to be $65 million to $70 million apiece -- not counting the research and development cost. He called the growing price tag "concerning."

    "This aircraft was supposed to help the military's three services replace their aging fleets," he said. "This was going to solve everyone's problems and be competitive on export markets. But with a $70 million price, you're jeopardizing both assumptions."

  2. #22

    RAAF relies on buffer in latest JSF delay

    * Cameron Stewart and Mark Dodd
    * From: The Australian
    * March 04, 2010 12:00AM


    THE troubled Joint Strike Fighter program has suffered another blow, with the US Air Force revealing that production problems will delay the entry of the plane into its fleet for a further two years.

    The news raises fresh doubts about whether the JSF will be delivered to Australia on schedule, with the new fighter due to be handed over to the RAAF for testing in 2014, becoming operational in 2018.

    US Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said he thought there would be further slippages in the $US300 million ($331m) JSF program, which meant the warplanes were unlikely to be operational for the USAF until 2015, rather than 2013 as had been planned. A Defence spokesman said yesterday that Australia still had a "buffer" in its JSF schedule, which meant it would not be affected by the USAF announcement. "If the USAF Initial Operational Capability (IOC) date is deferred from 2013 to 2015, Australia retains considerable schedule buffer as IOC for the RAAF is planned for 2018.



    This allows additional time for the JSF to mature before it enters RAAF service."

    Australia cannot afford further delays to the JSF because the plane which the JSF will replace, the F/A-18 hornet, is ageing and will need to be retired by 2018. The USAF's announcement of a two-year delay reflects the recent problems in the JSF program revealed by US Defence Secretary Robert Gates.

    "I do think we're going to have a slip in the schedule," Mr Donley said in Washington, adding that the Pentagon needed to increase pressure on the plane's maker, Lockheed Martin. "We want to hold the contractors' feet to the fire," he said. "We want to incentivise them to make good on the promises they made earlier and deliver on schedule."

    Lockheed Martin said it was working towards stabilising "cost and affordability . . . and to fielding the aircraft on time".

    Earlier this week more problems were revealed in the JSF program in US government documents. The Defence Contract Management Agency documents show that as recently as last November nine test flight aircraft were more than eight months behind schedule.

    According to the documents, obtained by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram newspaper, the "initial production" aircraft, to be delivered and flying this year, are running months behind schedule and are falling further behind each month.

    Last month, Mr Gates publicly savaged the performance of the JSF program, citing the fighter's "troubling performance record".

    Mr Gates sacked the head of the project because it was beset with cost overruns and delays, and demanded greater accountability from the whole program team. Problems with the aircraft's weight, software integration and other complex development issues have caused the fighter to be years late and nearly 50 per cent above its original estimated cost. Despite the development problems, the RAAF remains confident the JSF will be the best plane for Australia's future fighter fleet. "Our requirement is for a cutting-edge fifth-generation aircraft that provides both fighter and strike roles," air force chief Air Marshal Mark Binskin said.

  3. #23

    Lockheed to Speed Development of Joint Strike Fighter

    (Source: U.S Department of Defense; issued March 4, 2010)

    (See note at bottom)

    WASHINGTON --- Defense Department leaders and Lockheed Martin executives explained to international partners changes that have been made in the Joint Strike Fighter program.

    Ashton B. Carter, the department’s undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, and Robert Stevens, chief operating officer for Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor for the program, explained what measures Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has taken to right the program.

    A department study of the program completed in October found the development phase of the revolutionary aircraft had slipped by 30 months. Gates has made changes that will reduce the slippage to 13 months, Carter said during a phone interview from Dallas today.

    Carter was able to report to the partners that the Joint Strike Fighter program now has a realistic plan and “not a blindly optimistic one” or a “fatalistic one.”

    The undersecretary also said the study identified management measures to improve performance over the coming years. “I want to emphasize that this process of independent review and aggressive management to specific milestones will continue,” he said.

    Carter emphasized that the review turned up no fundamental technological or manufacturing problems with the JSF program and no failure to make military capabilities. He reiterated that the Joint Strike Fighter will be the backbone of collective air superiority for the next generation.

    The report showed the JSF program was taking longer and costing more than either the government development office or the contractor had predicted, Carter said. “This schedule and cost trend was unacceptable for the taxpayers of the U.S. and for the other eight nations,” he said. “The schedule slip was estimated at 30 months in the development program. The cost of the airplanes had grown since 2002 and that for a variety of reasons the JSF program would breach the Nunn-McCurdy threshold.”

    The Nunn-McCurdy law requires that Congress be notified of a cost growth of more than 15 percent in a program. It also calls for cancellation of programs for which total cost grew by more than 25 percent over the original estimate.

    “We didn’t wait for the Nunn-McCurdy paperwork to play out,” the undersecretary said. “We began to review and restructure the JSF program as though it were already in Nunn-McCurdy breach and the results of that review and restructuring were subsequently described by Gates.”

    Gates announced the restructuring of the JSF program – the most expensive acquisition in U.S. military history – in early February. The objective is to restore the schedule in the development program.

    “We assessed that this was feasible and was possible to reduce the slip in the development program from 30 months to 13 months and that we could realistically plan on that basis provided we took some immediate management steps,” Carter said.

    That means procuring one more carrier variant aircraft and additional regular aircraft to conduct flight testing “with the idea of hastening the completion of the program,” he said.

    The changes also call for development of aircraft software capability.

    “All of these steps were directed in the restructuring and that’s the first steps in the effort to buy back some of the slips in the development program,” Carter said.

    The defense secretary did not believe it was reasonable for the customers to bear all the costs of those actions, and decided DoD would withhold $614 million of the award fee from the contract, Carter said. “We will be adjusting contract structures in the future to align contractor performance to what we need,” he said.

    The restructuring allows for contractors to adopt a more realistic schedule and production ramp, and gives Lockheed Martin and subcontractors every opportunity “to accelerate production and make affordable aircraft, faster,” he said.

    (EDITOR’S NOTE: The flavour of the week in Pentagon and Lockheed statements on the JSF is that nothing is “fundamentally” wrong with the program.

    If that is true, how did it manage to run more than 20% over cost, and over 30 months late compared to a schedule that has already been revised three times?

    Explanations may surface during unplanned hearings on the program that the Senate Armed Services Committee is scheduling for next week.)

    -ends-

  4. #24

    As a matter of procedure I now post very little by Mr Sweetman as I believe him to be an ass especially on anything to do with F-35 BUT this article is interesting..............

    Ares

    A Defense Technology Blog

    JSF Engine "Competition" Story Rises From The Grave


    Posted by Bill Sweetman at 3/10/2010 10:32 AM CST

    Catching Consultola-specialist Dr Loren Thompson in one of his loose arguments is beginning to feel a bit unsporting, like hunting kittens with a suppressed FN P90.

    Not that there's anything wrong with that.

    Thompson's latest venture is an impassioned assault on the F136 alternate engine for the Joint Strike Fighter, in the course of which he states:

    http://www.lexingtoninstitute.org/bo...ney?a=1&c=1129

    GE lost a series of competitions in the early stages of the F-35 program to rival Pratt & Whitney, because Pratt was offering a more mature design based on the successful engine built for the F-22 fighter. Unwilling to accept that setback, GE organized congressional support for its alternative...
    I thought that we had buried this argument a year ago, with a stake rammed through its heart. But since it's clearly a zombie, let's take a razor-honed garden shovel to the back of its mendacious head.

    Once again: The government never conducted an engine competition for the JSF. The three primes going into the JSF prototype stage, in 1995-96, made their own engine choices for the prototypes only, but time and cost constraints effectively mandated engines based on the P&W F119. And since all three prototype proposals used the F119, engine competition was not a factor in the government's down-select in 1996.

    And if you go to the original post, you'll find links to contemporary government statements (here and here) showing that a leader-follower dual-engine strategy for systems development and demonstration was adopted from the start of the program -- and also noting that P&W itself has uttered the same mis-statements about non-existent competitions.

    Why is the F135 lobby so desperate? One possibility: they need to get the alternate engine dead and buried before they stick the Pentagon with the real bill for the engine.

    The F135 is already well over budget, as this document shows:


    From Navy BA-5, FY2011

    The total cost today is $7.3 billion versus a $4.8 billion then-year contract signed in 2001 -- a $2.5 billion overshoot and higher than the $1.9 billion overrun reported last year. In fact, the F135 overrun is about the same as than the SDD bill for the F136. But wait, there's more.

    In early 2007, before the F135/F136 fight reached anything like today's pitch, Pratt & Whitney was briefing openly on a two-step uprate program for the F135, as I reported in Jane's IDR at the time:

    The JSF team has already developed a two-stage plan for boosting F135 thrust after service entry. It is divided into two spirals, synchronised to the engine maintenance lifetime : Spiral 1 is due to be ready in 2014-15 and Spiral 2 in 2020-22. Each offers about a 2,000-pound thrust boost... The first step could involve a redesigned low-pressure turbine which would be lighter and would use less cooling air. The second step – which would be ready as the engines of the first F-35Bs reach their overhaul life limits - would involve a higher-airflow core, a major redesign of the engine.
    This uprating program - also reported on, at the time, by Graham Warwick - has not been talked about much since then, but continues under the XTE68 technology development effort.

    http://www.flightglobal.com/articles...wer-surge.html

    The question is whether the F136 can deliver 5 or 10 per cent more thrust with less rework. GE has intimated that it can -- not because GE engineers are miracle-workers, but because the engine's design was frozen after the 2004 weight crisis.

    If the power is needed -- and the UK has repeatedly said that the service-entry thrust is marginal -- that would make a big difference to the life-cycle cost comparisons between the two engines. But if the F136 is killed off, it will be too late.

  5. #25

    Quote Originally Posted by buglerbilly View Post
    Lockheed to Speed Development of Joint Strike Fighter

    (Source: U.S Department of Defense; issued March 4, 2010)

    (See note at bottom)

    WASHINGTON --- Defense Department leaders and Lockheed Martin executives explained to international partners changes that have been made in the Joint Strike Fighter program.

    Ashton B. Carter, the department’s undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, and Robert Stevens, chief operating officer for Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor for the program, explained what measures Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has taken to right the program.

    A department study of the program completed in October found the development phase of the revolutionary aircraft had slipped by 30 months. Gates has made changes that will reduce the slippage to 13 months, Carter said during a phone interview from Dallas today.

    Carter was able to report to the partners that the Joint Strike Fighter program now has a realistic plan and “not a blindly optimistic one” or a “fatalistic one.”

    The undersecretary also said the study identified management measures to improve performance over the coming years. “I want to emphasize that this process of independent review and aggressive management to specific milestones will continue,” he said.

    Carter emphasized that the review turned up no fundamental technological or manufacturing problems with the JSF program and no failure to make military capabilities. He reiterated that the Joint Strike Fighter will be the backbone of collective air superiority for the next generation.

    The report showed the JSF program was taking longer and costing more than either the government development office or the contractor had predicted, Carter said. “This schedule and cost trend was unacceptable for the taxpayers of the U.S. and for the other eight nations,” he said. “The schedule slip was estimated at 30 months in the development program. The cost of the airplanes had grown since 2002 and that for a variety of reasons the JSF program would breach the Nunn-McCurdy threshold.”

    The Nunn-McCurdy law requires that Congress be notified of a cost growth of more than 15 percent in a program. It also calls for cancellation of programs for which total cost grew by more than 25 percent over the original estimate.

    “We didn’t wait for the Nunn-McCurdy paperwork to play out,” the undersecretary said. “We began to review and restructure the JSF program as though it were already in Nunn-McCurdy breach and the results of that review and restructuring were subsequently described by Gates.”

    Gates announced the restructuring of the JSF program – the most expensive acquisition in U.S. military history – in early February. The objective is to restore the schedule in the development program.

    “We assessed that this was feasible and was possible to reduce the slip in the development program from 30 months to 13 months and that we could realistically plan on that basis provided we took some immediate management steps,” Carter said.

    That means procuring one more carrier variant aircraft and additional regular aircraft to conduct flight testing “with the idea of hastening the completion of the program,” he said.

    The changes also call for development of aircraft software capability.

    “All of these steps were directed in the restructuring and that’s the first steps in the effort to buy back some of the slips in the development program,” Carter said.

    The defense secretary did not believe it was reasonable for the customers to bear all the costs of those actions, and decided DoD would withhold $614 million of the award fee from the contract, Carter said. “We will be adjusting contract structures in the future to align contractor performance to what we need,” he said.

    The restructuring allows for contractors to adopt a more realistic schedule and production ramp, and gives Lockheed Martin and subcontractors every opportunity “to accelerate production and make affordable aircraft, faster,” he said.

    (EDITOR’S NOTE: The flavour of the week in Pentagon and Lockheed statements on the JSF is that nothing is “fundamentally” wrong with the program.

    If that is true, how did it manage to run more than 20% over cost, and over 30 months late compared to a schedule that has already been revised three times?

    Explanations may surface during unplanned hearings on the program that the Senate Armed Services Committee is scheduling for next week.)

    -ends-
    Trouble is that in 500 big budget programs that DoD has conducted in recent history, I think you might find four (4) that have either been on budget or on time.

    So next time when you meet a retired 3 star with the creds of keeping a program on budget and on time... bow and grovel.. They are rare beasts.

    This comes back to (I think) what people are really ticked off about. It is not the fact that any one program is over budget, as the public has faith in American know-how to get the task done. It is that the defense industry complex that President Eisenhower spoke of, is no longer interested in producing a product. Or more is the point they are interested in producing products but the products are not the products that the government want to buy. Their products are "programs" and not what the program is intended to produce.

    ergo LM's products are programs , not "platforms".

    And they are not alone. In fact it is the norm industry wide in this post-Rummy era.

    As to the GAO whom congress look to in a heart beat. They are not much better than the contractors themselves having drunk the cool aid before moving into government.

    This will all shake down and life will go on, but this apparent industry malaise highlights the importance (and power) of the US constitution. People often cite "checks and balances", well it is in the constitution that disastrous industrial epidemics like we are seeing in the defense industry have a high probablity of being filtered out and eventually self corrected. It is not a perfect document but that list of assumptions by which we live gives the USA a good 60% chance of getting whatever it encounters, "right".


    cheers

    w

    ps and what was bill sweetman's point? I missed it.

  6. #26

    ps and what was bill sweetman's point? I missed it.
    He doesn't like Loren Thompson.

  7. #27

    Super Stealth Plane Breaks Through Cost Barrier

    By Nathan Hodge March 11, 2010 | 3:01 pm



    The Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing today on the future of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and things are not looking pretty for the next-generation stealth aircraft. It’s likely the Air Force will have to declare the program has soared past a key cost-containment barrier, in addition to being more than two years behind schedule.

    The Air Force will have to declare a Nunn-McCurdy breach, which could force a serious restructuring of the program, according to a Reuters story quoting Pentagon acquisition chief Ashton Carter.

    A new Government Accountability Office report, issued today, puts it in simple numbers. “Total estimated acquisition costs have increased $46 billion (.pdf) and development extended 2 ½ years, compared to the program baseline approved in 2007,” the report states.

    The cost per plane has risen dramatically as well: The unit cost has ballooned to $112 million per aircraft. When the “system development” phase began in October 2001, the cost was reckoned at $69 million per plane.

    Aerospace journalist Bill Sweetman, who was live-blogging the hearing at Ares, notes that the average procurement cost has spiked 18 percent, just within the past three years. Poking fun at some old talking points from manufacturer Lockheed Martin, he writes: “Maybe Lockheed Martin will stop using silly numbers in public now.”

    The cost figures are particularly important, considering that the F-35 was supposed to be a relatively affordable jet that would serve as the backbone of military aviation for decades to come. Michigan Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, made it clear that legislators were losing patience with the program.

    “This raises great concern, not only about the potential for a Nunn-McCurdy breach now, but for continuing problems with the JSF program,” he said in a statement. “This Committee has been a strong supporter of the JSF program from the beginning. However, people should not conclude that we will be willing to continue that strong support without regard to increased costs coming from poor program management, or from a lack of focus on affordability. We cannot sacrifice other important acquisitions in the DOD investment portfolio to pay for this capability.”

    Read More http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/#ixzz0hvK6PpAX

    Read More http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/#ixzz0hvK6SbHZ
    Last edited by buglerbilly; 12-03-10 at 03:24 AM.

  8. #28

    DoD: F-35 to Breach Nunn-McCurdy Limits by 50%

    By JOHN REED

    Published: 11 Mar 2010 11:00

    The F-35 Lightning II strike fighter program will breach the Nunn-McCurdy limits with a cost growth of more than 50 percent from the original 2001 program baseline, said a top Pentagon program evaluator.

    Formal declaration of the breach will occur on April 1. (MC2 D. KEITH SIMMONS / NAVY) Christine Fox, director of DoD's Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation office, told lawmakers March 11 that the formal declaration of the breach will occur on April 1.

    She said the Pentagon has known of this since October. That's one month earlier than had previously been reported.

    DoD's latest estimates predict that each of the jets slated to be purchased will carry a price tag of between $80 million and $95 million in 2002 dollars. That's $95 million and $113 million in 2009 dollars, respectively.

    In 2001, the DoD pegged the cost per Joint Strike Fighter at $50.2 million apiece for 2,852 jets. The Pentagon updated that estimate to $69.2 million in 2007 for a planned order of 2,443 jets.

    The Pentagon expects to have a final estimate on the plane's cost ready in early June, when it completes the Nunn-McCurdy re-certification package, Fox told the Senate Armed Services committee during a hearing.

    Fox compared the F-35 program to earlier Pentagon aircraft that ultimately produced planes that are "valuable to DoD," such as the C-17 and the F-22. She noted that F-22 "repeatedly failed to meet key performance, schedule, and cost goals throughout its development program," yet Lockheed Martin was ultimately able to produce "a capable aircraft."

    Ashton Carter, defense undersecretary for acquisition, technology, and logistics, said at the hearing that the Initial Operational Capability dates for the U.S. Air Force and Navy F-35 have been shifted to 2016, a three- and two-year delay respectively. The Marine Corps date remains 2012, he said.

    The Marine aircraft will use Block 2 software, whereas the Navy and Air Force jets will use the Block 3 version.

    Carter said Air Force Secretary Michael Donley would inform Congress of the breach within days.

  9. #29

    US will drive tough bargain on tanker deal: Gates

    (AFP) – 16 hours ago

    AT US MILITARY BASE IN SOUTHWEST ASIA — US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said on Thursday the Pentagon will drive a hard bargain with Boeing on a contract for a new aerial refuelling tanker after Airbus parent EADS dropped out of the competition.

    "I wish that we had had a competition. I wish both companies had stayed in it," Gates said.

    But he said that "we will certainly be sharpening our pencil when it comes to negotiating a contract with Boeing", the sole bidder for the troubled tanker aircraft project.

    He said he saw no reason why the decision by EADS and partner Northrop Grumman to bow out would cause any further delays to "the long delayed" programme.

    Gates made his remarks to members of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing -- which carries out surveillance and air refuelling missions for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq -- at a US military base in Southwest Asia, en route for talks in Abu Dhabi.

    The Pentagon chief defended the terms of the competition, saying the request for proposals had been "fair and balanced."

    US aerospace giant Boeing is poised to win the 35 billion dollar (26 billion euro) contract to build the new refuelling tanker plane for the US Air Force after Northrop and European partner EADS dropped their joint offer.

    European officials and EADS, which owns French-based planemaker Airbus, charged that the Pentagon altered bidding rules for the contract in order to favour Boeing's all-American offer over the European bid.

    The European Commission has protested and a German minister has accused the United States of protectionism, warning that Berlin will take up the issue at the political level and at the World Trade Organisation.

    Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.

  10. #30

    Pratt F-35 engine cost overrun up by $600 mln

    WASHINGTON, March 10 (Reuters) -

    The cost overrun on the main engine for the Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) F-35 fighter jet has grown by $600 million over the past year, despite tough cost-cutting measures by engine maker Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp (UTX.N), a Navy document shows.

    The total cost to complete the Pratt F135 engine is now estimated to be $7.28 billion -- $2.5 billion more than the $4.8 billion initially projected for the engine, according to the document, which was first reported by Aviation Week magazine on its website on Wednesday.

    That is an increase of $600 million from the $1.9 billion cost overrun that was reported last year by the House Armed Services Committee.

    Pratt spokeswoman Erin Dick said she was not familiar with the new number, and emphasized that the company's aggressive cost-cutting measures were taking effect.

    Pratt also offered the Pentagon a double-digit percentage reduction in engine cost in its latest contract proposal.

    Pentagon acquisition chief Ashton Carter had expressed concerns about cost growth on the Pratt engine last year, but endorsed Pratt's efforts to cut costs in a memo to F-35 international partners dated February 24, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters.

    Carter said a special independent "Joint Assessment Team" he appointed concluded that projected cost growth on the engine could be reduced significantly by investing in affordability measures and through a renewed commitment by Pratt.

    "We believe the contractor can realistically achieve its stated cost reduction goals but will continue to monitor its progress," Carter wrote in the memo.

    Congressional aides said they are awaiting additional data on the cost of the engine when the Pentagon sends lawmakers an annual report on acquisition costs on April 1.

    But several aides said the latest briefing they received on the F-35 program revealed continued cost growth on the main engine, a development they described as "problematic."

    Carter is implementing a major restructuring of the overall F-35 program, including adding $2.8 billion more to the development phase of the program and slowing down the expected ramp up in production.

    He is due to testify at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the F-35 program on Thursday that was requested by Senator John McCain.

    McCain's dogged investigation of wasteful Pentagon programs has led to major acquisition reforms in recent years.

    News of the continued cost growth comes just as the Pentagon is redoubling its efforts to cancel an alternate engine for the F-35 fighter that was initiated by Congress as a hedge against problems with a single engine.

    Lawmakers defied a presidential veto to fund the second engine built by General Electric Co (GE.N) and Rolls Royce last year and say they're ready to fight the Pentagon and White House to maintain the program again this year.

    A recent Pentagon analysis said it would cost $2.9 billion over six years to complete work on the GE-Rolls engine, but GE and Rolls-Royce say they need just $900 million to complete the development program and $400 million more for tooling.

    The Pentagon analysis also concluded that the longer term "life cycle" costs of having two engines were comparable to having only one, although it did not foresee any savings.

    Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa; Editing by Gary Hill

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