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Lockheed's Response to NYT Editorial was Misleading


The following letter was submitted to the New York Times in response to their July 28 editorial, "Rough Ride for the F-35," and Lockheed Martin's response to that editorial.

To the Editor:

The Lockheed-Martin response to your July 28 editorial, “Rough Ride for the F-35,” was misleading. It asserted “65 percent of flight testing has been completed” without explaining that is only for “developmental” (i.e. engineering) testing. The tougher “operational” (i.e. combat-user) testing will not even start until 2016.Testing to date has already uncovered a long stream of problems.

Your July 28 editorial advocated either buying fewer F-35s and retaining more F-15s, F-16s and F-18s (while modernizing the extraordinarily effective A-10), or halting F-35 production while finishing operational testing to understand just what the F-35 can or cannot do effectively.

The nation should do both: we have already paid for 179 F-35s, more than needed for this stage of tests. With a fraction of the savings from upcoming F-35 purchases, we can continue to modernize the A-10, keep a larger number of existing aircraft and start a combat effectiveness-based, truly competitive prototype program to buy more effective fighters at lower cost. Let the F-35 then compete against what we have available to us in 2019.


Pierre M. Sprey
F-16 and A-10 Co-Designer

Danielle Brian
Executive Director
Project On Government Oversight

Winslow T. Wheeler
Straus Military Reform Project
Center for Defense Information & Project On Government Oversight

Image from the U.S. Air Force.

By: Winslow Wheeler
Director (2002-2014), Straus Military Reform Project, CDI at POGO, POGO

Winslow Wheeler, Director, Straus Military Reform Project, Center for Defense Information at the Project On Government Oversight At the time of publication Mr. Wheeler's was the director of the Straus Military Reform Project of the Center For Defense Information at POGO.

By: Pierre Sprey

Photograph of Pierre Sprey Pierre Sprey consulted for Grumman Aircraft's research department from 1958 to 1965, then joined Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara's "Whiz Kids" in the Pentagon.

By: Danielle Brian
Executive Director, POGO

danielle brian Ms. Brian's areas of expertise include: National Security, Government Oversight, Wasteful Defense Spending, Ethics, Open Government, Whistleblower Issues

Topics: National Security

Related Content: Joint Strike Fighter, F-35, Department of Defense (DOD), Media Criticism, Defense, A-10

Authors: Danielle Brian, Pierre Sprey, Winslow Wheeler

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