The Senate Appropriations Committee’s Fiscal Year 2022 Defense Funding Bill recommends removing nearly $ 566 million from the Pentagon’s nearly $ 2 billion request for continued capability development and delivery (C2D2) for the Lockheed Martin [LMT] F-35 fighter.
Under C2D2, the F-35s are expected to receive software updates every six months. Started in 2018, C2D2 included the development of Block 4 software to prepare the aircraft to counter zone denial by adversaries, updates to Technology Refresh-3, and the manufacture of F-35s capable of carrying conventional ammunition. and nuclear. Cost estimates for C2D2, which the F-35 program is scheduled to continue through fiscal year 2025, have ranged from $ 7 billion to over $ 10 billion.
An explanatory statement to the Senate Appropriations Committee bill noted “significant challenges” facing C2D2. They include “cost growth of around 70%, Technology Refresh 3 system schedule delays and a three-year delay in delivering full capacity from Capacity Increment # 1 (formerly Block 4)”, according to the statement. “In addition, the committee remains concerned that clearly quantifiable measures for contract execution and deliverables of software capabilities remain inadequate and are not tied to previous year’s budget execution or demand. budget pending. “
The committee said it would therefore not support the nearly $ 566 million increase requested for C2D2 in fiscal year 2022 and order the Pentagon to “remove C2D2 from the acquisition program. F-35 existing as a separate major defense acquisition program for surveillance and reporting purposes.
The Senate Defense Funding Bill for FY2022 primarily adheres to the DoD’s demand for new F-35s, including more than $ 4 billion for 48 Air Force F-35As, 2, $ 2 billion for 17 US Marine Corps F-35Bs, $ 2 billion for 20 US Navy F-35Cs.
A slow software load process for the F-35A delayed updates to planes under C2D2, but an Air Force official said in March that the service had resolved that for Band 6 – the latest version of the software. – that Combat Air Forces was to deploy over the past several months (Daily Defense, March 18).