The Pentagon is withholding $46.5 million from Lockheed Martin Corp, its biggest contractor, because of continued flaws with a business system used to track costs and schedules for the F-35 fighter.
The money held back was assessed against two F-35 production contracts and a smaller development agreement with the Israeli Air Force that’s managed by the U.S. The funds equal 5 percent of periodic billings against the contracts for reimbursement of money spent by the company performing the work.
The F-35 has been criticized by Pentagon officials and lawmakers for test-performance failings, delays and its ballooning cost. At an estimated $395.7 billion for eventual production of 2,443 planes, the cost is up 70 percent, adjusted for inflation, from the $233 billion projected when Lockheed Martin won the program from Boeing Co. in late 2001.
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