Lockheed Martin's F-22 fighter jet and Boeing's Future Combat Systems are among military programs at risk as the Obama administration begins a "fundamental shift" in how the Pentagon buys weapons.
WASHINGTON — Lockheed Martin’s F-22 fighter jet and Boeing’s Future Combat Systems are among military programs at risk as the Obama administration begins a “fundamental shift” in how the Pentagon buys weapons.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates will disclose Monday which programs get curtailed as he tries to rein in military spending that may reach $654.1 billion in the budget year ending in September, a 72 percent gain since 2000.
Cost increases and the expense of supporting two wars contributed to the increase, with new weapons accounting for 37 percent of Pentagon spending, up from 30 percent.
Contractors “make themselves a target when they underestimate costs and overpromise what they’re going to deliver,” said James McIlree, an analyst with Collins Stewart. Peter Arment, an analyst with Broadpoint AmTech, places more blame on the military services for changing requirements.
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Gates must decide whether to keep buying Lockheed F-22s while waiting for its F-35 to reach full production, military analysts said.
Lockheed’s new VH-71 presidential helicopter, a procurement program President Obama said has “gone amok,” may also be under review, along with the Littoral Combat Ships made by Lockheed and General Dynamics.
Programs under review also include Boeing’s ground-based and airborne-laser missile-defense programs and aircraft carriers built by Northrop Grumman.
Boeing’s Future Combat Systems — a fleet of manned and unmanned Army vehicles joined by a wireless network — has a “target on its back” and the presidential helicopter “is in trouble,” McIlree said.
Both have had cost increases. The F-22 may have a “reasonable chance” of more production, he said.
Gates, who was hired by President Bush and kept on the job by Obama, has said the “spigot of defense spending” of the past eight years is coming to an end.
The former CIA director conducted his weapons review in secrecy in an effort to reduce leaks and lobbying. He’s scheduled to announce his decisions at a Pentagon news conference Monday.
Lockheed and Boeing have been campaigning to save major programs by tying them to jobs and highlighting the economic impact of canceling weapons.
Curtailing production of the F-22 beyond the 183 on order would jeopardize 95,000 workers in 1,000 companies across 44 states, according to Lockheed.
The aircraft is the most expensive fighter jet at $354 million each in inflation-adjusted dollars that amortize 20 years of research and development.
The Future Combat Systems program is managed jointly by Boeing and Science Applications International. It supports 91,000 jobs at about 900 suppliers in 43 states, Boeing spokesman Matthew Billingsley said in an e-mail.
At an estimated $159 billion, it is the second-most expensive Pentagon program after Lockheed’s $298 billion F-35 program.