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DepSecDef Keeps Pressing On Lockheed’s F-35

Posted by Colin Clark on

NATIONAL HARBOR: If Lockheed Martin harbored any hopes that the Pentagon might not be fully supportive of Maj. Gen. Christopher Bogdan’s critical comments about Lockheed Martin’s performance on the Joint Strike Fighter they were dashed this morning.

Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter referred to Bogdan as “Chris” and told the packed Air Force Association conference hall that: “I’m with him 100 percent.”

Bogdan, of course, launched a barrage of criticism at Lockheed on the conference’s opening day, at the same time critiquing his own organization, including the soon-to-be-famous line that the program’s relationship with Lockheed is the “worst I’ve ever seen.”

Here’s a brief reminder of what Bogdan said:

“Lockheed Martin is showing some improvements in producing this aircraft. Is it coming fast enough for us? No.”

“Would we expect them to be a little ahead of the learning curve on their fifth lot of aircraft? Yes.
Are costs coming down as fast as we want them to? No.”

Carter, not known for letting news creep into his public addresses, offered a scintilla of high-level confirmation that F-35s will be based in the Pacific, possibly at Kadena, where the F-22s already are periodically stationed. This isn’t really news news, but Carter is so senior that it’s worth noting.

Other than that, Carter reasonably dodged a question on the proposed EADS-BAE merger.

What do you think?