He complains that the low-rate, initial-production Lot 5 negotiations with Pratt & Whitney have been delayed six months because of disagreement on the award fee. “You would think that a company like Pratt & Whitney that was just given the greatest Christmas gift [the exclusion of competitors General Electric and Rolls-Royce from the program] you could ever, ever, ever get for a company would act a little differently,” he said.
The negotiations over fees, therefore, seemed inappropriate, he suggested.
More generally, Bogdan wants the prime contractors to accept greater risk and invest in cost reductions.
Bogdan is encouraging the Air Force to consider declaring initial operational capability (IOC) for the aircraft with its rudimentary 2B software package, which lacks a wider set of weapons capabilities that will come in the 3F software release.
The service risks having a growing fleet of aircraft unsuitable for operations if it does not consider this option before the 3F release is out. Last month, Field, said Air Combat Command is open to allowing for operational capability with the 2B, but an official ruling has not been made.
“Given that we're producing airplanes today—[and] the U.S. Air Force is going to take delivery of a lot of airplanes between now and 2015, 2016, 2017—if I can give them invasive war-fighting capability that at least allows them to do some missions, and they have enough airplanes out there, then I think that's a decision they need to look at,” Bogdan said. “If they don't declare IOC, then fundamentally those airplanes are going to be used for training and operational exercises.”
The U.S. Marine Corps is expected to declare IOC with the 2B software, owing to an urgency to retire its inferior and costly AV-8B Harrier aircraft. The 2B is equivalent to what foreign customers are also expecting at first to accept, though it includes a hardware update, called 3I. The final software standard, 3F, will allow the F-35 to launch up to 15 types of weapons from internal and external stations, Bogdan said. It is due to be completed with the rest of the development program on Oct. 31, 2017.