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F-35 Joint Strike Fighter: Preliminary Observations on Program Progress

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Technical Report,23 Mar 2016,23 Mar 2016

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U.S. Government Accountability Office Washington United States

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With estimated acquisition costs of nearly 400 billion, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighteralso known as the Lightning II is DODs most costly acquisition program. Since 2001, GAO has reported extensively on the F-35 programs cost, schedule, and performance problems. The program plans to begin increasing production rates over the next few years. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 contains a provision for GAO to annually review the F-35 acquisition program. Todays testimony is based on ongoing work for the first report under this mandate, which GAO expects to issue in April 2016.This testimony focuses on GAOs preliminary observations regarding the F-35 programs 1 future modernization 2 affordability, remaining development, and ongoing manufacturing plans. GAO analyzed program documentation including management reports, test data and results, and internal DOD program analyses. GAO collected data on F-35 development and test progress, and analyzed total program funding requirements. GAO also collected and analyzed production and supply chain performance data, and interviewed DOD, program, and contractor officials. In light of its ongoing work, GAO is not making any recommendations at this time.

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