A new Government Accountability Office report on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter recommends the program prepare for reduced funding levels due to a projected decline in defense spending.
Aircraft deferrals, risky funding assumptions, and future budget constraints make it prudent to evaluate potential impacts from reduced levels of funding. Therefore, we recommend that the Secretary of Defense direct the Director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation perform an independent analysis of the impact lower annual funding levels would have on the program’s cost and schedule. This sensitivity analysis should determine the impact of funding on aircraft deliveries, unit costs, and total tactical air force structure resulting from at least three different assumed annual funding profiles, all lower than the current funding projection.
GAO continues to warn of development challenges that are ahead for the Lockheed Martin-built plane, which has completed 21 percent of its developmental flight tests. Developing and integrating more than 24 million lines of software code still continues to be a concern, the report states.
The full report is here.