U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said last week that he is disappointed with negotiations between the Department of Defense and Lockheed Martin that led to a contract involving F-35 jet fighters.
The contract negotiations were for the procurement of 57 low rate initial production (LRIP) aircraft from Lockheed Martin.
“The recent breakdown in F-35 contract negotiations between the Department of Defense and Lockheed Martin is troubling and disappointing," McCain said. "It should be seen, more broadly, as yet another symptom of our flawed defense acquisition system in general and the structure of the F-35 program in particular."
McCain said that though developing fighter planes is a complex process, they should not be produced until both technology and contracts are in place. He said that producing hundreds of them before technology is ready and even before a contract is in place is "the height of acquisition malpractice."
"Unfortunately, it is too often seen as business as usual," McCain said. "That is why the acquisition reforms in last year's and this year's National Defense Authorization Act are so critical. We cannot change course soon enough.”