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Tue Dec 11, 2012, 09:55 AM

More Bad News for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter? [View all]


The F-35: the future of Air Force, Marine and Navy aviation

More Bad News for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter?
By Nick Schwellenbach
Dec. 11, 2012

Back in March, we broke the news that the Pentagonís oversight office was taking a gander at the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, estimated to cost potentially $1.5 trillion to develop, buy and operate over several decades (the Pentagon is so desperate to bring down the estimated cost to operate the plane theyíre even hiring contractors to work on that problem!). The plane is the future of Air Force, Marine and Navy aviation, who plan to buy close to 2,500 of them: itís the lone fighter in the pipeline.

The auditorsí report ó on F-35 quality assurance management (essentially how they identify and prevent problems) Ė isnít out yet, but some of their findings were contained in a one-paragraph summary in a report to Congress that came out this week. Turns out they found some problems:

In February 2012, DoD IG initiated the F-35 AS9100 Quality Management System assessment to review conformity to specified quality management system(s), contractual quality clauses, and internal quality processes and procedures for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. As of September 2012, more than 190 findings were identified and four notices of concern sent to the F-35 Program Office. All findings were accepted and will be addressed and implemented to the maximum practicable extent.

While itís not good news that problems were found, we donít know how serious they are. Whatever the case, itís good that the Defense Department inspector general is taking a look at this mammoth and important program.



F-35's benefits to Canadian industry questioned
The Canadian Press
Posted: Dec 10, 2012 5:23 PM ET

Amid the avalanche of figures, statistics, estimates and soothing political assurances coming this week on the Conservative government's troubled stealth fighter program, one report will warn about the lagging benefit for Canada's aerospace sector.

And it could prove more damaging in the long run than the bruising debate about the eye-popping cost of the multi-role fighter, say some experts.

"What we're talking about here is pork," said Winslow Wheeler, a U.S. aviation expert and long-standing critic of the F-35.

"The government has been promising the world, but that's going to be very different than what's in hand."



Tories closely tracked F-35 coverage
By Lee Berthiaume, Postmedia News December 11, 2012 7:12 AM

Opposition parties pressed the Conservative government to come clean on the F-35 Monday even as internal documents emerged showing National Defence has been going all-out to track media coverage of the stealth fighter program.

This included categorizing news articles and blogs according to tone, following experts who were critical of the stealth fighter, and even looking for a contractor to track all mentions of the F-35 on social media sites such as Twitter.

The documents provide a glimpse into the extent to which public perception has figured into the government's handling of the jet program, whose future is in the air following reports auditing firm KPMG put the cost at more than $40 billion.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper remained tight-lipped in the House of Commons on Monday about his plans for the F-35 following reports last week that plans to sole-source the project had been killed as a result of the new cost estimate.

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