tv Politics and Public Policy Today CSPAN October 21, 2015 3:00pm-5:01pm EDT
aircraft into that situation? >> well, you know, we're specifically -- i mean, a-10s have struck in syria already. so, this isn't a new phenomena. i don't know what remark you're referring to. i am not familiar with it. i know a-10s have flown in syria. a-10s have flown in iraq and obviously they'll continue to do so. these a-10s are replacing some f-16s that were rotating out. it's just that simple. this is a normal rotation of forces. this is about -- you know, there's nothing special or magical about the actual platform, right? i mean, it's -- it's -- you know, the ability to conduct strikes when we need them and where we need them. a-10 is just another platform in this case. >> replace f-16s and recently there was a new search and command outpost coming in. is that ramping up more aircraft to make this deployment?
>> no, it did not. i mean, we're always -- we're always assessing our posture and where we can put our assets. not something we normally get into much detail on but we always want to make sure we've got our assets positioned properly. as we see where, you know, the focus of our strikes are based on the fluidity of our battlefield maybe we need to reposition our assets to make sure where we're spending more time in the air we've got an asset closer to respond if needed. >> hi, colonel. as a follow-up to this question, given the different tactical capabilities of the f-16s and a-10s is this deployment indicating tactical change in the mission as well or will they do exactly the same thing that f-16 did? and the secondly, you mentioned about syrian/iraq coalition. what is your understanding about the syrian forces?
patrick asked this question last weekend and he said he would look at it. what is your understanding about this new form and is this indicating the same thing or different group or can i get your assessment? >> so, on the a-10s same -- no adjustment to the tactical situation. no additional requirement for capabilities or drop in capabilities. i mean, this is some f-16s had to go home. what we had available to replace them was a-10s. it's really that simple. it's one of those cases that it is what it appears to be. on the syrian/arab coalition. i'm glad you brought that up. we dropped 50 tons of ammunition two weeks ago. we've seen indications, i know there's been some questions about this, we are very confident, very confident, that the ammunition that we dropped to the syrian/arab coalition is in the hands of the syrian/arab
coalition and is being distributed to fighters who are members of the syrian-arab coalition. the syrian arab fighters are focused on fighting isil had is one of the reasons we chose to, you know, we welcome the ability to partner with them and we're going to wait and see obviously. but i think we're going to see very soon that the syrian arabs will increase the amount of pressure on isil in central syria. and only just two weeks ago received this ammunition, a week and a lauhalf ago, however long it's been. it's been distributed and our understanding is the next phase is about to start here sometime in the near future and i believe what we're going to see is -- is syrian arabs bring additional and renewed pressure on isil in this vicinity and it's going to be because of the ammunition
that we gave them. so, you know, again, we're very confident. we're in touch with these syrian arab coalition leaders. we've seen -- we've asked them to send us, you know, some proof, some pictures, to help us be more sure that they are distributing the ammunition we gave them to their own fighters. so, we're very satisfied that -- that the syrian arabs, that we delivered ammunition to, now have ammunition. they now have the ammunition that we delivered to them. and, again, i think you're going to see some renewed energy in that part of syria. >> trying to clarify who are the syrian arab coalition, because this is the terminology that only u.s. is using, but when you look at the ground we have syrian forces, for example, but i didn't see anything syrian arab coalition, any group which is using that name. so, if you can clarify what is your understanding about syrian
forces that we've seen on the ground. i mean, are they same or different group? who are syrian arab coalition that's my question, actually. >> syrian arab coalition is a group of groups. so, it's 10, maybe 12 smaller groups of syrian fighters who have been focused on fighting isil and in the vicinity of the fight and the 10 to 12 groups have coaled coalesced together in an effort to multiply their combat power. so, you know, we got in contact through various ways with the leaders of these smaller groups who then came up with an overall group leader. we exfiltrated about 20 of these group leaders through another
location where we spent a week familiarizing them with our train and equip program, giving them instruction on warfare, et cetera. brought them back in and gave them their ammunition. so, i don't know what else to tell you. this is a group of syrian arabs who have -- a group of groups who have come together to fight isil. >> can you clarify, then, does that mean when you say 20 leaders, does that mean that there are 20 subgroups within the syrian arab coalition roughly? >> it does not. there's 10 to 12. some of them it's hard to tell exactly. there's no more than 12, but we exfiltrated 20 so -- >> and then i wanted to ask, one of the things we're having a hard time understanding is general dunford said that the
iraqi government did not ask for russian air strikes yet ever everything we've seen is that they want the air strikes to begin by the russians and so i'm trying to understand how is the u.s. interpreting these conflicting remarks? is it that a body doesn't want air strikes and members of parliament do? how do you square that circle? because on the fales ce of it appears that they are eager for air strikes despite the claims from the united states that they do not? >> well, nancy, as with any parliamentary body or legislative body, you're going to find a diversity of opinion. but it is the prime minister of iraq who speaks for iraq on this matter. so, general dunford's comments and the other comments surrounding this matter are
based on our discussions with the prime minister of iraq, who speaks for iraq on such matters. there's always going to be diversity of opinion whenever you have a body of legislators together. some of them think one way, some of them think another way. all of them are very vocal. and i don't think that's unusual to iraq. i think we've seen that in other places as well. but in this case, in this particular issue, the prime minister of iraq speaks for the nation. >> clarifying point, then, have you seen an increase in ground -- russian ground troops in iraq in the last few weeks? >> we have seen an increase in regime offensive activity in syria over the last two weeks. in fact, what we see is them kind of moving up south of the
mara line, kind of i guess north of ahel laleppo, we see them sud by regime ground forces. we do know there are russian forces on the ground, but not any real combat power. most of the russian forces on the ground are either advising the syrian regime fighters or, of course, they've got force protection matters as well. but we have not seen an increase in the numbers of russian, you know, ground forces into syria. it's really been their air power combined with syrian regime ground forces. >> colonel, to what extent the deployment of a-10s is related to the potential offensive on braka?
>> jeff, i didn't understand a word of that. >> about deployment of the a-10s to the air base, to what extent the deployment of this aircraft is related to the offensive on the stronghold of daj? >> well, certainly if there is an offensive on raka, we will use air power to support it. we've been striking raka really for months if not almost a full year. i don't think it's unreasonable to think that there will be a-10s striking raka as soon as those a-10s are up and running. but these a-10s were not brought there ahead of any specific plan. i'll say it, i think i've said
it twice now, i'll say it a third time, these aircraft are replacing the f-16s that were due to rotate out. the f-16s have been flying for several months, and it was time for the f-16s to rotate out of iraq or out of the area. so that they could undergo maintenance and do normal things that happen when you rotate forces out. in order to replace those f-16s which rotated out of the area we had to have other airplanes come in so that we could continue keeping pressure on our enemy, so we could continue doing air strikes in syria, we could continue doing air strikes in iraq. when those f-16s departed we brought in additional aircraft to replace them, and in this case the aircraft that were available were a-10s. >> so in other words -- >> do you understand that? there does seem to be a lot of questions about it.
>> a different topic. is turkey including in air tasking order, colonel? >> yes. >> and lastly, there were reports that turkish jets hit isis targets for the first time, but we know that the turks have been a part of the air operation since late july. so, could you knock down those reports or clarify what's going on over there? >> you have to ask that question again. i didn't understand you. >> so, colonel, last week there were reports claiming that the turkish jets hit isis targets for the first time. but we know that turkey has been a part of the air operations against isis since early august or late july. so, could you clarify what's going on there? the turks have hit targets for
the first time or, you know, what's going on with those reports? why are they claiming that turks have hit daj targets for the first time? >> turks have been a tremendous partner and part of this coalition. they've been flying since i want to say late august. we value their contributions and we value their continued participation and their continued contributions. >> air strikes on daj, could you -- could you say that it was first time that they hit daj targets last week or they have been targeting daj with air strikes since late august or early august? >> i'd have to -- i'd have to check the exact date. i want to say the turks began flying on august 30th, but double-check with -- you can
just double-check with the desk officer there. but i'm pretty certain that the turks began flying on or about august 30th. >> gary? >> colonel, i just wanted to ask about the intensity of the air strikes in northern syria. i think you said 15 over 8 days. that's obviously a lot lower than the intensity of certain other periods. is there a reason for that throttling back at the moment? and just one other quick question. there were no russian combat forces on the ground as far as you knew in syria. is it your understanding there are russians operating artillery on the ground there? >> all right, so, intensity of air strikes in syria. there's nothing in particular. recently because of fairly significant ground operations that have been ongoing in ramadi and in beji and in other areas
of iraq right now, that has -- that has been really where most of our air power's been concentrated. but, again, you know, i think there were eight strikes today, so today was actually a fairly significant day in -- in syria. so, it -- you know, a lot of it is -- because, again, as you know, i think roughly 70% of our strikes are dynamic. so, it's -- you know, we strike them where we see them. in this case there's been a lot more targets available to strike in iraq and that's really all there is. on russians, i think you asked me about artillery. they do have a handful of artillery pieces. i don't have the number at my fingertips. it's a small handful. six, eight, ten, maybe. same thing, they have a handful of tanks, but a small handful, i think it's nine if i recall. so, they don't have substantial numbers. this isn't enough to conduct offensive really operations with. this is, you know -- this is, you know, small numbers. >> james.
>> yes, steve, how you doing? i have two quick questions. one, the russian defense ministry yesterday said that they had struck 70 islamic state and other islamist targets and they specified some of them. are they -- are they simply making this up? because the pentagon has repeatedly said that they are predominantly not striking islamic state and other islamist targets, so are they making -- when they give a specific number like 70, 24 hours, are they making this up? why are they saying that? and then a separate question, a lot of talk in recent -- in the last week or two has been about supplying ammo and helping in other ways the syrian arabs. there's been no talk at all from the pentagon about helping the kurds who were talked about repeatedly, incessantly, for about three months. are you still helping the kurds? are you giving them ammunition? are they calling in air strikes?
that sort of thing. >> right. difficult for me to say why the russians say what the russians say. i think you can understand why that is difficult for me to figure out. what i know is that they've, you know, conducted about 140 air strikes since they started. that's what i know. are they maybe counting differently, like, maybe they count every single bomb whereas we count an actual strike? you know, who knows. so, can't help you there. syrian arab coalition and the kurds, right. you know, as you know, it's a fine point, kurdish forces fought from essentially the i q iraq/syria border west, all the
way through kobani, they essentially saved kobani from what would have probably been a terrible end. and they continued fighting west all the way up to the mara line or actually to the pocket and then there's a gap in the mara line. so, the kurdish forces have fought valiantly in northern syria. we continue to work with those partners, and we will continue to work with them. we have not -- we the united states of america has not given ammunition to the kurds. there was an air drop, but that was donated ammunition from other coalition partners. i don't have a good status on the donated ammunition program. that's something i can look in to for you if you want. but, yeah, of course, we continue to work -- this is not going to come as a surprise to anyone, but i feel like i have to say it anyway. we continue to work with all
partners who are interested in defeating isil. >> quick follow-up. the 140 strikes that you just mentioned, is it still your position and the pentagon's position that the majority of them have not been against the islamic state or other islamist targets but have rather been against more moderate opposition groups, some of which the united states supports? >> only a fraction of the russian air strikes have targeted isil forces. >>lamists? >> islamist group or nusra? >> again, only a fraction of the russian air strikes have targeted isil forces. beyond that, i don't -- i don't have the breakdown.
>> tom? >> hey, steve, i wanted to get back to the syrian arab coalition. you said it's a group of groups, can you give us a ballpark of how many fighters they have, first of all? and also from what we understand both the syrian arab coalition and the kurds will press raka at some point. but we keep hearing the retentions between the arab coalition and the kurds for the one thing. and secondly, since raka is an arab city, what problems does that pose if the larger kurdish force is pressing raka? >> the syrian arab coalition numbers about 5,000 fighters. so, again, quick review, 5,000 members of the syrian arab coalition. we spent about one week training roughly 20 of their leaders. these 20 leaders come from the 8
to 10 smaller groups of fighters, groups of arab fighters, who co-le elalesced tr to create the syrian arab coalition. tom, as far as pressure on raka, this is why our partnership with the syrian arabs is so vital, because the syrian arabs really have the ability to pressure raka heavily. whether or not kurdish fighters are willing to move that far south, frankly, is an unknown at this point. we have not seen kurds operate in arab territory very much. so, this is -- this is frankly an unknown. but we do know that syrian arabs are ready, they're willing and now that we've given them ammunition able to conduct operations and place pressure on raka. >> you say "place pressure on raka," is that a sufficient force to take it or will it have to be beefed up quite a bit?
>> yeah, it will need to be beefed up, 5,000 is probably not enough to do it. i wouldn't think. let me tell you something, this brings up a great point that i was hoping i'd get to. that has to do with the operational nature of this fight. again, as opposed to thinking of this fight as a series of smaller tactical operations, tactical fight in beji and in tikrit, we're really trying to look at this thing as one entire fight. so, pressure on ramadi is what allowed what we're seeing as a successful operation in beji. all right? pressure here, pressure -- the little bit of pressure that has been placed in raka and the lot of pressure in the vicinity of the mara line and continued
pressure in the north and operation cloverfield which took place vicinity of kirkuk, all of these different operations placing the squeeze on isil simultaneously is what -- is what is beginning to show progress. add into that the hbi strikes and add into that our strikes against their defense industrial base, and you see that we're beginning to squeeze them from the outside and hollow them out from the inside. so, whether or not, to answer your question, that was the long way around, tom. whether or not 5,000 can take raka, i don't really have an answer to. i don't think it's enough. but what pressure on raka can do is relieve some pressure on mosul, right? or pressure on raka can relieve pressure on ramadi or pressure on raka can relieve pressure in other places. so, as we place pressure everywhere, we force the enemy to make decisions. and when we force the enemy to
make decisions, we force them to make mistakes. we force them to expose themselves to our air power and eventually we kill them. >> two questions for you. we learned earlier this week that the f-16 operating out of bagram took small arms fire from the taliban and we've been trying to get additional details on have any other f-16s taken small arms fire, any details surrounding that contact, what type of fire? and then secondly apparently a baja rain-based f-18 crashed in england today and just wondering if you had any additional details on that crash for us. >> to my knowledge, no aircraft in the coalition has taken any small arms fire during the course of this. we'll double-check that, but that's my immediate answer. to my knowledge i do not recall
a single report where a coalition aircraft in this -- in this fight has ever seen small arms fire. i do not have any information on the f-18, i'm sorry. >> i was talking about the afghanistan small arms fire out of bagram but that may not be in your wheel house right now. >> right. i read that report. i did read the report about that, but, yeah, that's -- that's not me. >> hi, it's jamie mcintyre. and first of all, i just want to thank you for not arbitrarily cutting off this briefing at 30 minutes and sticking with us. i want to ask about the potential for russian air strikes again but from the other side. the statements that we're hearing from the iraqi parliament and others expressing a desire for russia to enter the fight in iraq seemed to be borne of some sort of frustration or perception that the united states and the coalition are not
providing the level of air support that's sufficient or desired. can you address that perception about, is there any shortage of air power? are the iraqis on the ground getting the kind of support that they desire when they need it at critical times? >> jamie, have we gone over 30 minutes? would you look at the time, hey, i'm sorry. just kidding. good question. very valid question. it is easy to understand why the citizens of iraq and their elected representatives feel like they need to have more. it is easy to understand. we have an enemy here that is
brutal beyond what we've seen really in recent memory. we have an enemy here that is occupying large chunks of this country, so, of course, the iraqi people and, therefore, their elected representatives want as much as they can get. i mean, this is something that we all of us have to empathize with. that said, we believe that the pressure that we're putting on isil right now is right. because, remember, our strikes have to work in conjunction with ground force movements. right? just, you know, striking without ground forces working in conjunction with those air strikes is simply not going to be effective. it just isn't. so, while we completely understand why iraqis want to
see or why iraqis feel like they're not seeing enough, what i can say is the air power that's being brought to bear on this problem is tied directly with the ground forces, and it's moving at the appropriate speed for the ground forces. did that answer your question? if it didn't, i want -- because this is an important question. if that didn't answer your question, ask a follow-up. >> so, just quickly to follow-up, so we're seeing the exit of the canadian f-18s. do you have enough resources? do you have enough planes to conduct the level of air support both defensive strikes and close air support that the iraqi forces need on the ground to succeed? or could they use some help from the russians?
>> well, one thing no soldier in the history of warfare has ever said i have enough combat power. that said, we do have enough to provide support to the ground forces who are maneuvering. we are not short of platforms and we are not short of munitions. because, remember, the iraqi air force is also a big part of this fight. like i said, 40 strikes around beji in the last 72 hours. so, the iraqi air force is getting stronger. the coalition air power is rock steady. you know, hundreds of aircraft. plenty of isr. so, we have enough to provide the support to the iraqi ground forces that are maneuvering and that are conducting operations, yes, we do.
>> can i follow-up on that just very quickly? just very quickly. given the recent record of russian air strikes in syria, have the iraqis ever expressed any frustration with the u.s. emphasis on avoiding collateral damage? >> well, you know, again, kind of back to my last answer, right? if you -- if you were being occupied by a force like isil, you always want more. and this is something that we understand. so, yes, we have heard some of that. from various interlocutors that they wish would strike more and have less -- or have a different set of rules of engagement. we have heard that. but we believe the rules of engagement we have in place right now are right, you know, and i've said this before, you
know, never in the history of warfare has an air campaign been this precise. never in the history of warfare has an air campaign paid this much attention to the presservation of human life and infrastructure. and we believe that's the right mix, because the destruction of infrastructure and harming civilians, we believe in the broader scheme of things does not help. so, yes, there have been some who believe we should take less care, but we believe the amount of care that we're taking is appropriate. >> paul? >> steve, in ramadi and beji, what's the role that the shiite and sunni militias are playing? what's the role that the iraqi security forces are playing? who has more combat power there? >> in ramadi it's very much an
iraqi security forces fight. there are bits and pieces of pmf around the battlefield, but they're not a significant factor one way or another. in beji, there are forces present. they are present in a follow-and-support role. so, initially -- so i want to get to that fight a little bit. picture it it's kind of teardroped shaped. it's dotted by these towers that the iraqis call castles. so, when the assault began, iraqi security forces specifically the cts, the counterterrorism service, which are really the elite forces of the iraqi army, began moving tower to tower. so, they were absolutely in the lead, moving from one of these castles to the next castle and
eventually encircling the beji oil refinery. the air power that we brought to bear in support of that was obviously in support of the assault force, right? we're not going to drop bombs behind the assault force. we're going to drop them in front of the assault force. so, cts, counterterrorism service, conducted the encirclement of the beji oil refinery, closed that circle. and then you have a combination of federal police in some of the pmf forces that are there conducting clearing operations, you know, again, the follow and support is what we call it. so that's beji. did that answer your question? >> yeah, thanks. >> jeff? >> just a few clarification from you. is the part of the syrian arab coalition? and also have you seen any
indication or do you have any indications that some of the ypg leaders have had communications with the syrian regime? could you speak about that, please? >> so, i'm obviously not a spokesman for the syrian arab coalition. it's my understanding, no, it's eight to ten syrian arab groups which is why they named it that way. syrian arab coalition, about eight to ten groups of syrian arab fighters. nobody else is a member. i have no idea who has spoken with the syrian regime. >> the reason i asked you about this the ypg is part of the syrian arab coalition because last friday centcom spokesperson colonel ryder said that they are part of the syrian arab coalition. but anyway, let me move to the next question, steve.
do you believe -- do you have any idea if the assad regime is capable to retake allepo, and if yes, would you welcome to see that? >> it's going to be a tough fight. it's a hard fight around aleppo, so it's really too soon to tell how that fight is going to shake out. no, we would not welcome it. we believe that two things. one, this war has got to end by political process. and, number two, that part of that political process is that assad departs the scene. that's what we would welcome. >> just to follow-up really quickly on the syrian arab coalition, have they to date since the united states supplied them with ammunition, have they
launched any operations or attacks against the islamic state, and if so, how has that gone? >> we're going to break away from the end of this prerecorded hearing and take you live to capitol hill a hearing on the f-35 joint strike fighter. >> receive testimony on the current status of the f-35 joint strike fighter program. i'd like to welcome our witnesses, lieutenant general christopher bagdanf-35 program executive officer. and major general jeffrey l.harigian, director of the air force f-35 integration office. thank you both for your service and we look forward to your testimony today. this hearing continues the committee's ongoing oversight of the f-35 program since the program officially began in 2001. we all know that the f-35 is a complex program that has experienced issues with cost,
schedule, and performance throughout its development. the subcommittee has held numerous hearings and briefings to better understand the critical need for the fifth generation strike fighter capability and to understand the issues facing the program. most recently the subcommittee visited eggland air force base where we were able to meet with both pilots and maintenance personnel for the joint strike fighter. it's through this ongoing committee oversight that we've identified issues related to the program and in turn have worked with the department to help development corrective actions to ensure the program remains on track. for example, in the fiscal year 2014 the subcommittee learned of software development problems and recommended legislation that would establish a team to review the f-35 software development program and make recommendations to fix these problems. for fiscal year 2015 the committee recommended legislation that would continue the gao's assessments and analysis of the development, testing and production of the
f-35 program. during our visit, the subcommittee learned of issues with the f-35 maintenance system known as the logistics information system or alis. as a result the subcommittee included a provision in its mark of the national defense authorization act for fiscal year 2016 that would require the gao to review the alis program and provide a report to the congressional defense committees by april 1, 2016. the committee also recommended a provision that would require a review of the f-35's engine program by a federally funded research and development center to ensure that future engines will not be subject to the failure that caused an f-35 engine fire on takeoff just last june. each of the subcommittee's legislative recommendations over the past three years have been adopted in the annual national defense authorization acts. in the past month the subcommittee learned the
ejection seat does not meet the specifications for lighter weight pilots. the specification is that it needs to be able to accommodate a safe escape at pilot weights of 103 to 245 pounds. we understand that until this deficiency is corrected pilots weighing less than 136 pounds will not fly the f-35 due to a high risk of serious injury that could result from having to eject. we look forward to our witnesses addressing this issue today and the plans to get this problem corrected. in closing, while strong oversight of the f-35 remains necessary, the value of the fifth generation stealth aircraft is absolutely assured, like the f-35 in future conflicts is absolutely critical to successfully address these emerging threats and maintain air dominance in any overseas contingency operation. i look forward to all of our witnesses today and expect to hear from them what follow-up actions the program is undertaking to address the issues identified as a result of our delegations visit. before we begin, i would also
like to thank all of our colleagues, miss loretta sanchez but as ranking member when she returns if she would like at that point to offer her opening statement, we will get to her opening statement. with that, we will begin with you, general. >> thank you, sir. chairman turner and distinguished members of the committee, thank you for this opportunity to address you regarding the f-35 lightning 2 program. i'm pleased to be joined the air force's f-35 integration office lead. the f-35 lightning 2 is of vital importance to our national security and as the program executive officer and program director, i'm committed to delivering an affordable, reliable, and sustainable fifth generation fighter to our war fighters. the f-35 will form the backbone of u.s. air combat superiority for decades to come. it will replace legacy tactical fighter fleets of the air force,
navy, marine corps with a dominant, multirole fifth generation aircraft capable of projecting u.s. power and deterring potential adversaries. for our international customers who are participating in the program the f-35 will become a linchpin for future coalition operations and will help to close a crucial capability gap that will enhance the strength of our security alliances. the f-35 program today is executing well across the entire spectrum of acquisition to include development and design, flight test, production, fielding and base stand-up, sustainment of our fielded aircraft and building a global sustainment interprice. the program is at a pivot point where we are moving from slow and steady progress to a rapidly growing and accelerating program. however, the program is not without risks and challenges as these come with any program of this size and complexity. i'm confident that the current risks will be resolved and we
will be able to overcome any future problems and deliver the full f-35 combat capability including the u.s. air force and navy initial operating capability declarations in the future. since the last time i appeared before this committee, the program has successfully completed a number of important events, not the least of which was helping the u.s. marine corps declare initial operating capability this summer. a few of this year's accomplishments include -- the beginning of our block 3-f the final version of software inflight test. two successful ship trials one for the u.s. marine corps above the "uss wasp" and one for the u.s. navy on the "uss eisenhower." we delivered the first ioc aircraft to the air force at hill air force base last month and delivery of the uk and dutch aircraft at edwards air force base for participation in operational test this summer. the rollout of the first flight
and flight of the italian f-35a from our faco, which is our fabrication and checkout facility in italy last month. we also rolled out our first norwegian aircraft. we've also completed the qualification of australian and italian air refueling tankers with the f-35. we've also started the ground testing of our 25 millimeter cannon months earlier than we originally planned and just recently we started u.s. air force and partner training at luke air force base. these are just a few of the accomplishments since the last time i spoke with you. overall the program has made good progress in development and flight test. we are now about 75% complete with the entire flight test program. we still have technical deficiencies to correct. including the ejection seat which we'll talk about today, the logistics information system or alis, which i plan on talking
about today. and various fuel system and structural shortfalls, but we have corrections in place for all of these issues and we'll be able to implement the solutions in the near future. with respect to aircraft production, the production line is becoming more efficient each and every day and the price of all the variants continues to drop lot after lot. i expect this trend to continue well into the 2020s and still believe that we can achieve our price target of an f-35 -- -- begin to prepare for a ramp-up in production from 59 airplanes in lot eight to 104 airplanes in lot 9 to 123 airplanes in lot 10 up to a final production rate of nearly 170 airplanes per year in the early 2020s.
we're also seeing some improvements in the reliability and maintainability of the aircraft as a result of focused efforts on the supply chain, the repair cycle time of spare parts, spare part availabilities and improved maintenance procedures. we're also on track with our organic depot stand-ups both in the united states and in the pacific and european regions. we've begun the requirements validation and the initial acquisition planning for a follow-on modernization program that will begin at the end of our current development program in october of 2017. i am committed to establishing a lean, effective, modernization program with the appropriate government control and oversight to ensure that it remains both affordable and transparent while at the same time effectively enhancing the f-35's capability for decades to come. with respect to risks and challenges, i see the completion of mission system software development, alis development,
and the previously mentioned fuel system and ejection seat deficiencies as our most prominent, current technical risks. our ability to stand up four separate reprogramming labs that create mission data files in time for all of our customers and our ability to complete all the weapons envelope testing for a block 3-f as well as our ability to start o.t. on time are the major schedule risks to the program today. i'll close by saying that i believe the program is in a better position today than it was one, two, or three years ago. it's a growing and accelerating program that is making solid progress. the weapons system design is sound. the program is fundamentally on track. we remain confident that we'll be able to deliver the full f-35 capability within time and the money we have been given. as with any big, complex program, new discoveries, challenges and obstacles will
occur. however, we believe the combined government/industry team has the ability to overcome our current deficiencies and deal with future issues should they arise in order to successfully deliver on our commitments. the joint program office will continue executing with integrity, discipline, transparency, and accountability. holding ourselves accountable for the outcomes on this program. we recognize the responsibility the program has been given to provide the backbone of future u.s. and allied fighter capability for generations to come. we also recognize that our sons and daughters and our grandsons and granddaughters may some day take this weapons system into harm's way to defend our freedom and way of life. it is a responsibility that we never forget in the program office. thank you, again, for this opportunity, and i look forward to answering all your questions. >> thanks, general. >> thank you, sir. chairman turner, distinguished
members of the tactical air and land forces subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to provide an update on the united states air force's progress toward delivering initial operating capability, ioc, for the f-35-a. the combination of f-35 lethality, survivability and adaptability make it our platform of choice for operations in highly contested threat environment. the aircraft's state of the art sensor fusion, networked interoperability and broad array of advanced air-to-air and air-to-surface munitions have unmatched lethality well into the 21st century. the f-35's exceptional survivability is achieved with a combination of observable technologies and advanced electron atook and protection and shared situational awareness. it will form the backbone of future joint and combined air operations enabling future joint force commander's success.
today, sir, we have 79 f-35as delivered and they have flown over 21,000 hours in our air force. the program is on the road to ioc for the air force. specifically within the last two months we received our first three aircraft at hill air force base and are flying them now at a high rate. this month air force operational testers are flying with our ioc software load and building f-35 tactics, techniques and procedures. we have work to be done, though, specifically we're concerned about the software capability we will get in our ioc load, alis software delivery, and the modification schedule for our jets at hill. all that notwithstanding, we expect to declare ioc as planned in 2016. however, this is still a program in development and challenges remain. we will continue to work closely with the joint program office, lockheed martin, to assure we achieve full war fighting capability.
while ioc's an important milestone for the program, we must not lose sight of the goal of full war fighting capability. the program must develop and deliver 3-f is to develop u.s. software on time and we need to assess the block 4 modernization and provide the most current capabilities to meet the threat. the capabilities the air force enjoyed over adversaries is closing fast. in modern warfare, if the air force fails joint force fails. thank you for this opportunity to address this and i look forward to answering your questions. >> we have a number of members who have questions and want to make sure we get to everyone. general bogdan, the ejection seat. obviously, this is not performing, supposed to be life saving, not life-threatening.
could you share information on this? what is the problem and how is it being fixed and what does it take to implement that correction? >> yes, congressman. if you'll indulge me, it's a complex problem and will spend a little bit of time to try to clear up the misinformation you might have. first and foremost safety irs paramount for me and my team. i would never ask a pilot to do anything i wouldn't do myself. the air worthiness authorities that work with me on the navy and air force side feel and act the same way. so we take this deficiency with the ejection and safe escape very seriously. let me explain what the problem is and what we're doing about it. as we begin, as you said, congressman, the ejection seat we had in this airplane was
designed to cover the widest range of pilot weights and sizes we've ever had in a fighter airplane. the seat is -- the seat and the ejection system is designed to deal with pilots down to 103 pounds all the way up to 245 pounds, as you said. but it is also designed for different sized pilots from the smallest pilots to the largest pilots. the combination of the weight and the size means that we will be able to put more pilots in this airplane than any other legacy airplane before it. we do have deficiencies. we have fun to those deficiencies through the normal testing process. we have a number of deficiencies with the ejection seat, not all found just recently. we have been testing the ejection seat for many many years.
when you start testing a system like the ejection seat, what you do is start from the center of the envelope of the ejection seat and work your way outside to the edges of that envelope and as you get outside to the edges of the envelope in terms of speed and weight of the pilots, things become more severe and are harder to achieve in terms of safety. the test that occurred 027 august this year that resulted in the air force and navy restricting pilots below 136 pounds was a test at the very edge of that envelope. it was a low speed test with the lowest weight pilots we have. if you drew that envelope, it would be on the corner of it. it's a difficult place to design the ejection seat for. having said that, after that
test, we recognized there was a deficiency. that is a different deficiency than a few of the other deficiencies i will talk about that e-mail encompass all the problems we're having with the ejection seat. let me start and talk about a few of the other issues we had on the seat we're in the process of fixing and then get to the last problem, the one that resulted in restricting pilots less than 136 pounds because all the other problems i'm going to talk about came with no restrictions. we continued to fly with all sizes and all weights of pilots. in the ejection sequence there are three portions of that. the first is catapult, when the seat gets blasted out of the airplane. for a lightweight pilot today less than 136 pounds when he or she goes up the rails of the airplane in that catapult, his
or her neck gets pushed down like that. when we originally did the te testing on that condition, what we found was if the pilot has the helmet on his head or her head and that helmet weighs more than 4.8 pounds, then the neck loads for that lightweight pilot, by a very little bit exceed what we would consider to be perfectly safe. so what did we do? the first thing we did was we began taking weight out of the helmet to insure every helmet we have is going to be weighing less than 4.8 pounds. today, our helmets weigh about 5.1 pounds. we're talking about 6 ounces of weight to get out of the helmet. we are developing that new helmet that weighs lace than 4.8 pounds today. we never had to restrict lightweight pilots for that catapult face becauphase becaus
loads they would experience with the heavy helmet were so close to the safety limits the air worthiness authorities that that was acceptable. i agreed with that. i give to it my assistants and they decide. and we're fixing that with a lightweight helmet today that results in no restrictions who could fly the airplane. the second problem once the ejection seat leaves the airplane, you get wind blast. that's because it's moving at hundreds of miles an hour and it's almost as if you put your hand out of your car while dr e driving and feel the wind blast. in this instance herey the pilot's head gets forced backwards instead of forward. we found if a lightweight pilot, less than 136 pounds has a helmet that weighs more than 4.8 pounds that neck stress going backwards is higher than what we'd like it to be but not so
high we needed to restrict pilots from flying the airplane. the solution to both those problems are to reduce the weight of the helmet. we have been ongoing with the development of the new helmet and new weight about six months. it will take about another year for us to finish that to make sure every helmet is less than 4.8 pounds. we did have one pilot at this period of time that was flying the airplane that was less than 136 pounds. the reason why that pilot could continue to fly, even with those known risks was because we hand built him a helmet that weighed 4.7 pounds. we cannot manufacture today on the production line in any mass quantity a helmet that weighs less than 4.8 pounds. but for that particular pilot we created and manufactured a helmet that weighed less than
4.8 pounds and that's why that pilot with this known risk area can continue to fly. those are two problems with one solution should be done in about a year. the third problem we found in testing is what we call the opening shock phase of ejection when the parachute on the back of the seat comes out. in this instance here, when that parachute comes out, once again, the pilot's head moves forward. in this instance here, the only pilots affected by the opening shock being too strong and ca e causing the neck loads to be above what we consider safe is once again that lightweight pilot. the risk of that happening was low enough the air worthiness authorities thought it was not significant enough to restrict anybody from flying the airplane when we found that problem.
when we did find that problem about eight or nine months ago in normal testing we already started a solution. the solution is to delay that parachute coming out by a fraction of a second. as the seat comes out and hits the wind blast, it begins to decelerate. if you wait just a fraction of a second before you put that main chute out, the seat has decelerated enough so when the force of the parachute comes out isn't as severe. to get to that solution, we are putting a switch on the side of the ejection seat, so when the pilot climbs up into the cockpit, can set that at heavyweight or lightweight. there are a number of ways we could have solved that problem. we could have put an automatic sensing system into the seat, much like when you sit in your car on the passenger's side and the seat knows you're there and the air bag gets energized.
we also could have put a switch on the seat that would have had the maintainers put it in the heavier or lightweight position. we went back to the war fighters and said, what solution do you want? we can solve this problem in a number of ways. they said we want the pilot to be responsible for moving that switch. we want he or she to be responsible insuring it's in the right position for their safety. thus, we're building that switch on the side of the seat, as the pilot climbs up, they can go light or heavy. >> general, we have a number of people that want to ask questions and i will cut you off at this point. thank you for that in-depth description. there are two aspects. finding a solution and, two, implementation of the solution. we're looking forward to your confirmation that all the problems have been identified, and, two, the implementation of those solutions in a manner our committee are satisfied those really address the issues.
>> yes, sir. everybody on the committee rec sizes. the need to have the capability. and recognizes not having the 35 capability is not having air dominance and thus we lose. everybody recognizes one of the difficulties and problems with this program is the concurren concurrencesy we're inventing at the same time we're producing, as a result of that, we will have delays, cost over runs and at times there will be problems that have to be identified that need to be fixed as lieutenant bogdan has just testified. there are a number of those. the biggest problem we have is as problems arise that need to be addressed, the assurance when we get to the end, this f-35 capability we all know we need is the capacity we demanded and
that plane performs as supposed to. an january 24, the flight test demonstrated it was not as maneuverable as an f-16 that the aircraft is supposed to replace, in a dogfight. can you comment on the conclusions of that test and implications of the f-35 in combat? >> yes, sir, chairman. to go back to that, as a reminder, that was one of the first development tests flown to better understand the slow flight characteristics of the airplane. since that initial sortie, we have now been able to put the airplane in the hands of our operational testers, the folks now ringing out these tactics, techniques and procedures for how we will fly the airplane in combat. in fact, sir, over the course of the last month, they have been developing some specific exercises to better understand the characteristics of the airplane. that would include postal
acceleration, how the airplane turns to prepare them to do what we call basic fighter maneuvers, where they fight one against one, to see where the airplane performs in both an offensive and defensive perspective. i just talked with them last friday, they have been very pleasantly surprised how the airplane is performing. it's been very positive. what they're finding is as they arrive in the postal regime, the airplane is extremely stable, so stable in fact as they began the te testing, they initially had 150 knot minimum airspeed requirement. they have since removed that and that's how we will go out and train with no minimum airspeed requirement, which is a testament to how well the airplane is performing. in that environment, we will continue to learn. what i would offer to you we are still in the phases of fully
understanding how the airplane will employ in that environment. that capability, in my mind, is going to be there. i would offer as one of the early f-22 pilots i was, we had some of the same learning curve issues. we had to fly the airplane and fully understand across the regime of where we were going to employ it, how to best get the most out of the airplane. that's what we're going to do and i think the airplane will deliver, sir. >> i appreciate the reference to that. even the wright brothers after they invented the plane had to learn to be pilots. >> non-committee members currently include miss spears and mr. lam bjorn bourne be all participate in the hearing and committee members have the opportunity to ask questions and with no objections, non-committee members have the opportunity to ask questions for five minutes. i turn to the next question will
be mr. waltz. >> thank you for taking the time to come. for continuing to update us on this, i think it's critically important. i want to go back to april's hearing and important to ask and get on. i ask what is our next hearing going to look like when we come. at that point in time, the secretary said we will have the united states marine corps version completion of 3-i and 3-f testing and we will continue to see the r&d costs. are those things panning out? >> the marine corps is comple completing missions at yuma today, sir. i would put a check in that box. we are completing all mission testing in 3-i, sending to it the field in january. as already said, we have already handed that software to the ot
testers so they can wring it out. put a cheng there. for 3-f, not sure if there st k stackly was referencing when we would have 3-f done. i always told this committee i thought the schedule had three to four months of risk in it. i recent lly took another risk analysis and lookean at our plans. that 4-6 months is down to 3 months and we believe the full air capability for the a model will be out in the field august of 2017, a good year before the navy needs it for ioc and a good six months before sec-def has to certify it is fully capable. i think that risk is working its way down. as we get out of the business of
testing 2-b and they're out employing the airplane in the mission that they had described for their ios. i think the result has been very positive and the feedback from them has been well received. >> sir, i might add the services defined for me what they need to declare ioc. the u.s. marine corps takes a
look at the legacy airplanes they have and how they intend on deploying the airplane and they created a list of criteria they needed to meet to declare ioc. the air force has done the same thing, they are different lists because they plan to use it differently than the marine corps. my promise to the air force i will give them everything they need for ioc by august 16. they will fly it and use it in a different way than the marine corps. >> and general bogdan, you did a nice job last time explaining to a layman, what happened to that june 23rd fire, the heat issue and all of that. where is that it at this point in terms of corrections? >> we have already validated the full correction to the engine problem. every engine coming off the production line had the fix in
it and have fully completed ones. we have 134 out in the e field today and 61 have been retrofit with the new parts so there's no longer a restriction on them, about 44%. by june of 2016, all 134 fielded airplanes will have the same fix in them the production airplanes are now going down the production line with. in my mind, it was a problem, unfortunate, but we're putting it behind us. >> did we learn anything on the specific issue on that in terms of the testing standard on that and what we can extrapolate forward in that incident? >> one of the things we did learn, the design of that portion of the engine is very similarer to fighters we have. there was an assumption made since the other fighters didn't have this problem the f-35 wouldn't have this problem.
some of the engineering analysis, i won't say shortcut because that's not the right word but some assumptions ass e assumed the engine would react as if it were in the other airplane. that was not the case and not the case because the f-35 maneuvers differently than the other airplane and the engine shifts and moves and bends differently in that other airplane causing that -- >> will that change now as we go forward -- i hate to use the term, we assume they will not do that in the future and go back to the bottom? >> part of what we did was we insured that the models that pratt & whitney was making fit the models when we first desi designed it. we will not make that same kind of mistake and pratt whitney has learned that lesson.
>> thank you. i yield back, mr. chairman. >> mr. cook. >> thank you, mr. chairman. general, there was an election this week in canada. it appears mr. trudeau is going to be the winner of that election. correct me if i am wrong, but i believe he made some pre-election statements that n canada would not purchase the f-35s and thick they were in for 65. the question is about affordability if a partner drops out of that. i don't know -- i'm not a lawyer and dangerous enough as a marine at one time. is that going to have an impact on costs?
>> it wouldn't be appropriate to speculate what canada will or won't do. i won't provide any opinion about that. i will also tell you, i have received no official notification from canada about the change in status for them today. having said that, i'm prepared to tell you what the impact to the program would be if that were the case. let me explain that to you. first, the current development program that ends in 2017 would have -- there would be no effect whatsoever if canada were no longer a partner. they had paid all the money in the development program and all services already paid and we intend on finishing the development program we already have. no effect on the current development program. not the case for production and price of the airplane. if any partner or service moves airplanes to the right or takes
airplanes out, the price of the airplane for all the other partners and fms customers and all the other services goes up a little bit. in this instance, if there are 65 less a model airplane in that production profile, from any country, whether it be canada or someone else, we have estimated that the increase in price to everyone else is about .7 to 1%. for an a model today that's about a million dollars a copy for everybody else. there is an impact to the price of the airplane for everyone else if 65 airplanes are removed from the production flow. there are other impacts. going forward, we have a follow-on modernization program and sustainment of the future airplane that the partnership shares in that cost. canada's share of that cost is
2.1%. if canada is no longer in that program the 2.1% cost of future sustainment and follow-on modernization will have to be spread among the other partners and u.s. services. that is a cost that has to be paid and wouldn't be paid by a partner no longer a partner. the last one has to do with industrial participation. today, there are many canadian companies building pieces and parts for the f-35 program. we do not have a set rule for what happens to that participation if a partner reduces airplanes or adds equipment. no set rules. it is my opinion the remaining partners and our industry partners are going to have a discussion about what to do with all the industry in canada bu d building pieces and parts for the airplane. >> thank you, general.
i have one more question. this is an infantry guy to ask a logistics question. and i did serve as a logistics officer and it left an indelible mark on me, not very good. i'm thinking about the maintenance of a brand new fifth generation aircraft that would be fourth and fifth degrees of maintenance we have to do. do we have the parts and technicians tha are in place to handle this very very sophisticated piece of gear or are we going to have to change on the fly and is there money for that? >> i'll answer the first part of that and let the general give you the air force's perspective. as it matures we are building a
maintenance force training through eglin air force base to understand the changes we made to the airplane because we're not done developing it. older airplanes, believe or not, are being maintain eed differeny than the newer airplanes because they're in better shape. we have toupd the manual and parts supplies until we get the fleet of airplanes up to a common standard. it is a problem that occurs on most programs and have it a little more severe because of the concurrencesy and you're right we will have to change our air force as we change it and i don't think that will change for quite a while. >> i thank you, mr. chairman. gentlemen, thank you very much for your service and taking on this difficult project. i know you haven't been asked to bring the best looking date to
the dance. that's not an easy thing to do. i'm new to this relatively. my background is also as an infantry marsh and i have always taken the perspective on f-35, there are a lot of mistakes made and costs, funds have arguably wasted over the years. this is far more expensive than any of us anticipated. we're far enough down the line now we have to make it work. would you agree with that statement? >> sir, i would agree without armchair quarterbacking or trying to figure out why decisions have been made in the past we have in kurd significant increases and costs in the past on the program. some are normal to programs. others were a result of decis n decisions we made.
since we rebaselined the program in 2011 we have not asked for an added penny since 2011. >> which is a great achievement but quite a baseline. >> yes, sir, i would agree with you in 2011 when we rebaselined we added two years and a few billion dollars to the program. >> several analysts i have spoken to said one of the mistakes may have been to try to combine so many capabilities into a single aircraft rather than having an aircraft built for specific reasons. the f-22, most think was quite successful. would you agree with that statement? >> i know very little about it so i would ask the general to comment on that. >> the only comment is in the years of the f-22, we had some of the very similar types of problems from software fusion,
taking software from the lab and making it work in the airplane. quite frankly, i think that's why the chief asked me to do this job because there were lessons we needed to bring to the f-35. my response was single mission airplanes we thought the 22 would be, we ended up making it mult i mission because we needed it for capacity across the joint fight. my perspective was we looked an at the f-35 and needed to it accomplish several mission sets so as we looked into the future we had the capacity and needed to execute all those missions for the joint force commander. >> thank you. i guess where i'm coming at fundamentally, there are a lot of folks on the committee and congress in general feel we invested a lot of money and have to make sure this thing works. at a basic level you don't make decisions on some costs, that's
a pretty fundamental economic principle. my question is who in the air force is looking at this project from a much higher level saying is this still the best decision to buy the number of airplanes we have or should we be talking about potentially not for certain but potentially devoting resources to accelerating development of the next generation of aircraft or perhaps accelerating the development of next generation of aircraft multiple that would fulfill different mission sets and maybe not be susceptible to the same problems this program has encountered. >> yes, sir. in fact the chief has directed and they're actually reporting to him, what's call and enterprise capability team to get exactly after your question of as we look into 2030, what should this look like? as we go forward and as we look at the capability and future
threats we envision out there what is the right mix of capabilities the air force will need. they're to report to him in the early part of next year. i think that will be a good opportunity to get a better understanding how we see ourselves moving forward. >> thank you very much. mr. chairman, i respectfully request we entertain that discussion as part of our debate about the f-35. it's very easy in this environment to get so consumed with the challenges and problems of this one program as to not be thinking ahead from the perspective we shouldn't be b e basing decisions on some costs and think about what the best decisions are going forward to meet the threats of 2030 which could indeed include cut back on the current program. thank you very much and i yield my time. >> we go down to egg glynn on a regular basis to look at the planes and have a number of classified briefings to give you a greater fidelity what this plane actually does and what the needs and threats are and i believe you will be very
satisfied. we continually ask that question and a question we should never stop asking. i believe if you become familiar with the capabilities of what this plane are and current threats it's designed to address as they're evolving you will similarly come to the same conclusion we did with the national defense authorization act. >> we shall see. >> turning to martha. >> thank you, chairman and gentlemen. i would be one of those pilots at the quote-unquote edges of the envelope you talked about there, and have to gain about 15 pounds to fly the f 35 today. so i understand the switcheroo thing you're talking about the pilots have to move, delaying the chute coming out, is that putting them at increased risk in zero zero situation where obviously every nanosecond actually counts?
>> actually, for a lightweight pilot delaying for the chute does not increase the risk at all for the pilot to get out of the seat. a lightweight pilot in the catapult phase gets shot up higher. we had margin. >> thank you. let me first say like the chairman said we need a fifth generation fighter capability. as an airman myself people sometimes take for granted air suppo superiority. i have been to the factory myself and strongly support national security and our war fighter. i am concerned this airplane is replacing all our legacy fighters and jack of all trades, master of none. specifically replacing the a-10 and closer support missions it uniquely brings to the fight. when we talked earlier we had a
discussion about the unique air capability and air support, i will run through them. in the a model, night capability, lack of capability to pass 9 lines via data and timeline of 30 minutes and in the follow-on, ammunitions, only 180 bullets and time on station only 45 minutes. dr. gilmore agreed the f-35 would not be able to survive a direct hit, like the a-10 can and still allow the pilot to at least fly to friendly territory so they're not taken to p.o.w. and lit on fire in a cage like we saw happen to the jordanian pilot. these are capabilities. i was glad to see in august dr. philmore announced there would be head to head test. i don't want to put words in your mouth. i think you were not supportive of that test and said it wasn't
a good use of taxpayers money, i disagree with you, general bogdan. i think it is a good use of t p tarps money. if it is going to replace the a-10. we need unique set of capabilities including the loiter time, leftalty, the bullets and ability to take a direct hit and all that the a-10 brings to the fight. i want your perspective on the head to head test, how it came about. i'm skeptical about it with all the things the air force has tried to do against this congress and back door retiring the a-10, you can set up to have any test you want, will it specifically address not high sophisticated air circumstances where we have air superiority in those unique capabilities of loiter time, lethality and maneuverability and do a fight
and direct hit, will that be a part of that test? >> ma'am, if you don't mind, i'll comment first. you're familiar the chief came back and said we're supportive of executing the testing. >> after he called it silly, yes. >> at this point, we're working with our operational test folks are working closely with d.o.t. and e to see what it would look like and contested and permissive environments, looking at different ranges, time to arrive on target and loiter time incorporated for the appropriate analysis to insure at the end of the day, we're delivering the platform effective and suitab a environments we're going to operate in. >> i'm interested in continuing to interact and see how that test is going. general bogdan, you have anything else to add? >> yes, ma'am. what you described just now was exactly what i think should be done with the f-35.
that is test it in a realistic operational environment for the cast mission that the air force intends the f-35 to do. not the cast mission the air force intends the f-35 to do looking like an a-10. the problem i have is that money i'm going to spend doing the testing on the a-10 could be used elsewhere. i know the outcome of that test. i'll give you an example. you have a decathlete in the olympics. you have 100 meter splinter. if i put the 100 meter splinter and decathlete on the starting line for 100 meter sprint, i don't have to run that race to know who's going to win it. i don't need to test the a-10 to figure out what the f-35 can do in a close air support role. what i would prefer to do is test the f-35 in its close air support role as the air force sees the requirements for that mission for the f-35.
>> i hear you and i'm out of time but i think us envisioning that we're never going to have close air support where guys are on the run, out of ammo, doing a mirror flash into your eye, don't have time to do standoff casts because of complex circumstances. if we think that's never going to happen again -- >> you are correct, you are out of time. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> ranking member sanchez. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> first, thank you for holding this. as you and i know, you and i have been through a lot of growing pains on this f-35 program. people have mentioned we've been to the factory overseas and we've been to see them in action and been to talk to the pilots and we've been and we've been. so what we have on our hands is the fact this is going to be our production plane for the future. so we better make sure that it's the best that we have, the best
that we need. i think the gentle lady from arizona is correct in saying that she supports this and i am glad for her knowledge of fig fighter planes and i don't know if i'm glad for your persist steps on keeping the a-10. i don't know where i am on that really but i'm glad you're on and you're asking the questions and you keep hitting it because we need to -- i'm sorry for coming late but i also heard the gentleman from massachusetts have some concerns and followup. that's the role of this subcommittee, so thank you to my fellow colleagues for continuing to push and continuing to push our program people to make sure we get the best plane that we need. that's what we all want.
i just have a couple of questions. the first has to do with something the general got into before the hearing, the 136 pound weight limitation. i have been one of the people on this committee that has pushed for women in more roles in this military. the gentle lady from arizona acknowledged she weigh as lot less than i do. my question is i'm concerned with the long term weight limitation and if it disadvantages female pilots and their eligibility to fly the f-35 because our women do tend to be lower in weight. if the 136 pound weight limitation remains in place for more than a few more weeks, how is that going to impact the follow-on on the cad drares of
female pilots we have in the program and have any of them been diverted o the f-35 because of this weight limitation? >> i'll answer the technical part of that and let general answer about air force pilots. we have known fixes to the problem that currently restrict the pilot population to less than 136 pounds. they include a lairgt highter h and weight switch on the seat and include a pad on the back of the risers of the parachute that prevent anybody's neck from moving forward or aft too much. all those solutions should be in place in the next 18-24 months and at that point the restriction should be removed and we will go down to 103 pound pilot and the size of the pilot
is not an issue. we designed the seat for the smallest and lightest folks. i think you'll find in the next 18 months or so we will make this ejection seat as safe as we can for the entire population. i'll let general harry gan talk about the pilot input and female pilots. >> we had one pilot less than 136 pounds. in fact, it was a male. he's no longer flying the f-35. due to where he was in his career, his leadership decided it's best we move him to another airplane so he can continue his career. we have a female flying the airplane right now, still flying the airplane right now. to your point, i think the lo longer term is we didn't have anybody in the pipeline right now that was impacted. but certainly if this takes 12 to 18 months, there may be a person or persons out there that
it could impact. that's something we will have to take a look at, as you're well aware, the secretary and the chief are -- have made it clear that 103 pounds, 135 is our requirement and general bogdan knows that's where we need to go and is working hard to meet that requirement to fix it as soon as we can. >> let's hope it's fixed. we would hate that to be the reason for wom innocent to move forward in the next generation plane the next 20 or 30 years. >> can i make a comment? we have partners and fms customers in the program equally concerned about this program because most of the pilots, male or female on the other end of
the scale, i have heard from many partners as well as the air force and marine corps how important it is to fix and it has my full attention, ma'am. >> great. thank you, general. er my next question is about the follow-on development. while the engineering and manufacturing phase of the f-35 is going to be wrapping up the next two years, there is a more expensive follow-on development we already have slated for this program. it is mostly software and upgrades i can tell, mostly software and upgrades to incorporate additional weapons and electronic capability in the aircraft. even though it's an upgrade move, the budget is not small. i see more than 2$2.6 billion i
research and development on that effort projected. to be clear, that's on top of the baseline, f-35 development effort that has seen years of delay and cost overruns. i don't want to go over all of that because you heard me pounce on that a long time now. i know the upgrades are essential but it's important to get a handle on this before it gets out of whack, as we've seen initially this project from the very beginning. i have specific questions about the follow-on. first, before the program starts, this major effort it needs a clear set of prioritized requirements from the u.s. military services and our foreign partners involves. does the f-35 program have a
prioritized list from the u.s. military services with respect to what it really wants in the follow-on development, and if not, why not? >> yes, ma'am. you have boiled this down to the essence of one of the issues with follow-on development today. with 14 different customers, we have a large amount of requirements that i today believe are unaffordable. so as we validate the cdd, the capability document, through the air force requirements oversight council and up to the joint requirements oversight council and i go to what i call my board of directors for the partners, we have asked them to prioritize that list of requirements
because today i believe trying to achieve all those requirem t requirements in the next 8 to 10 years will be unaffordable. the process has begun. we believe in december we will get our first look at that set of priorities and then in then spring-time when they meet to validate the requirements, i believe that's where we will finally join all this together to get what i consider to be a reasonable amount of requirem t requirements that are affordable because i do not disagree with you, ma'am. i have learned a lot of lessons in three years what the original emd program looked like. i don't want the follow-on program to look anything like that. >> because the follow-on program, as you know, we've really gone through very pa painful, on both sides, very pa painful -- this has been a pa painful process.
that's a nice word for it so this development and how it int interacts, it's important to have that priority list. i will look forward to that on december 2015 and look forward to it after your capability document validation. in other similar upgrade programs, congress has required the d.o.d. to designate them as major subprograms or completely separate programs actually. the reason for that has been so we can actually see the cost visibility and actually track what it going on. should congress do the same thing with this follow-on effort for the f-35 and if not why not? >> the simple answer is no. and i'll tell you why not. the pledge to this committee and other committees and my partners and the services, we will set up a follow-on modernization program with every level of
visibility and transparency that you and they believe you need for appropriate oversight. we'll put the earned value management pieces in there. we will cost separate in the contracts so you can see how we are spending the money. to make this a separate program or even to make it a separate program bring as whole host of administrative burdens that mr. kendall wants to try and avoid to become more agile in terms of acquisition. i agree with him. i think we can set up a program that satisfies the needs in temps of transparency and when the program is on track and not on track without designating it as its own program. my promise to the committees is we don't believe when we get our acquisition strategy in place, you don't like that, then we will come and talk to you and figure out what you do like. i have asked your staffs to help
us in what you would like to see in that modernization program, in terms of reporting, because we can do that. we can do that without setting up a separate program. >> we'll have to talk to our staff and see what we will look at. maybe a program of a separate line if we're really going to track this. i just have the scars from the initial program and even before the three years. thank you very much for your information. we'll try to work with you. thank you. mr. chairman. >> mr. chairman, if i can add to that, as the war fighter, ma'am, understanding the program atics and importance of making sure we have our requirements we're working hard for the service to make sure we have it right. it it's important to remember the threat is not sitting on
their hands and continue to evolve. from our perspective it's imperative we have a stabilized thoughtful follow-on modernization program that brings new capabilities to this program so we stay ahead of the curve. that's all i'd like to ensure the committee remembers as we work our way through this. thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i wanted to ask you about the helmet, that you want to make changes so it is compatible for all the pilots. i want to ask you about hmds because that is a big part of what makes the f-35 special is the helmet itself and a lot of technology put into it. one of the things we had under sequester to implement new technology under a sequester system, and knowing we're
working under sequester, how quickly can changes be made to the helmet? >> the changes and improvement we're making to the program are our std program and because our std program is incrementally funded even with a cr or sequestration, we would still be able to continue those critical development activities like the helmet. we would insure those kinds of things are not impacted. many other things are impacted. in this respect, finishing the development program and capability we promised the car fighter is our number one priority and i think we can do that. there are many other impacts but not that one. >> one more question about the helmet itself, the incredible technology gone into developing
the helmet and making quick changes to the helmet so everybody can fly, is it more realistic to make changes to the head support panel or delaying the deployment of the parachute in order to make it to where all the pilots can fly the plane instead of trying to make very complicated technology changes to the helmet? >> congressman, the simple answer too yo your question is, we need a lighter helmet, as simple as that. all the other things you talked about are needed to make sure we have safe escape for the population. we do have to take weight out of the helmet. the point i would like to make is we are not changing any electronics or any sensors in the helmet. to remove the 6 ounces we need in then mel met -- helmet to ge
under weight, we're taking the material used for strapping and cushioning and taking it for something lighter and stronger. today's helmet has a dual adviser on it. daytime visor and night time visor. we will remove the double visor and put a daytime visor such as the pilot needs to change to the night time visor like the legacy airplanes they will reach into their pocket and change them. those are two simple things to do. i never want to say anything is easy in the f-35 program but in this instance i think we have it right. we won't mess with high technology things that make that helmet what it is. >> good. mr. chairman, thank you very much. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
thank you both for your service. thank you for being here. as a north floridian, both eglin and 10 -- tyndall is incredibly important and your service for those that live in north florida is appreciated. >> when did we go? >> in march. >> in march. it was so informative and really impressed with the f-35. there was one area there was consistent concern with the pilots and maintenance, those that maintain the airplanes. i'm not going to use an acronym. i've learned to not use acronyms but it has a snappy one. it's autonomic logistics information system. aka alice. there were real concerns about false errors reporting.
i'm just curious, have we resolved some software issues alice was facing? thank you very much. >> i'll give you the technical information and let the general give you the war fighter's perspective. since your visit down there we took a look at that health reporting code problem and done a number of things since then that have improved the situation. the first thing we did was put a new increment and software capability into the alice system we call it alice 2.41. that fixed some of the problem. the other problem was we did not have a completed list of codes that were false, so to speak, at the time. we were worried if we made the list too big a code that wasn't false would get overlook. we have a lot more time and more
maturity in the airplane we have upgraded that list. the 80% number you heard at eglin accurate for the entire fleet today is about half that now. that's not the best part of the story. that's the whole fleet. the best part is the lot is and 7 airplanes we're improving today because of the things in the last two years, they are only seeing a handful of 1s and 2s everyday. and that 40% includes the 80% will have those issues but the newer airplanes better. the general has more information on the new airplanes they have been using at hill air force base. >> those airplanes, ma'am, we have three of them up there. they have not lost a sortie since they delivered them.
as we have delivered these newer airpla airplanes, they are performing really well. egg glynn stilin still has olde struggle with the older systems the program office has continued with overtime as the general points out. having said that, there will still be challenges as we understand a.l.i.c.e. and put our maintainers with the system in the program office. one of the things we did, we had our senior logistic leaders from the f-35 bases and folks come together to talk about what are the big issues. this was one of them. we provided a list of specific things, this false reporting code issue being one of them we worked closely with the program office to get the feedback from the airman in the field to work through and priority ties those
and get the most important issues to insure we're fixing the right things on the airplane. >> that is really great to hear. i could hear the frustration they were faced with all these falsing thetives they were -- these false negatives they were having to deal with. are they using the same software system? are they using a.l.i.c.e.? >> all the newer airplanes in the fleet are using a.l.i.c.e. it's in terms of hardware and software on the older airplanes. on their flight line they have airlines in the block 1 configuration and 2-a configuration. when they get upgraded to the 2-b on physicianration or block 3 -- t-b configuration or block
3, they have gone away and we haven't had time to back fit or modify those airplanes. >> my time has expired. thank you very much. good >> ms. speir? >> thank you for your present and your service. i wanted to be clear did you say in your opening testimony that you have accepted -- you've received 79 f-35s to date? >> yes, ma'am. in the air force we have. >> so, with the 79 that you've received, do they all have this ejection seat issue? >> yes, ma'am. every airplane. >> now, i understand that you tested the ejection seat on lighter -- on a mannequin that was, like, 135 pounds. i've also understood that more recently you've tested it on a 245-pound mannequin.
but it has not been tested on a mannequin between the weight of 135 and 245, is that correct? >> in the development test program we do have those test points planned out. but you are correct, as of today we've done the high end and the low end. >> so, my concern is this. if we know there's a problem on the low end, we haven't tested it for those who are likely to be most pilots between the weight of 135 and 245. and we have them in these planes now. testing them. are we putting any of them at risk? >> the answer to that is no, ma'am, because we have done the risk analysis on the test points that we have had on the ejection
seat, and what we have found is the only area where we have a problem today is with the lightweight pilot below 136 pounds because when we have tested throughout the envelope, you can't test every point for every weight, but the areas that we have tested indicate that in the heart of the envelope for the heart of the pilot population, there is not any increased risk of injury at all. and i can show you that analysis, ma'am. >> all right. thank you. >> ma'am, from the service perspective, we have a life cycle management center that is part of our air worthiness organization, and they have -- ma'am, to be clear. i talked with the guys who have been working with this for 30 years. because clearly it's an important issue for us and we share and talk very closely with the program office with this. and exactly what was said is how it was communicated to us.
in fact they've shown us the chart, how it lays out and what the risk levels are. as the general said, there is certain risks there we've accepted it. except at the low end beneath 136 pounds. >> well, there's been some report that there's been a memo that you accepted, john boggene bogdan, that accepted a 1 in 4 risk of death with the -- with the problem with the ejection system as being a risk that is worth taking i guess. is that correct? >> ma'am, that is incorrect. the data that you have came from a reporter who got a copy of an official use only internal dod document that my team put together to assess the risks of a lightweight pilot and a pilot between 136 and 165 pounds.
that document should have never been publicly released. i have an investigation ongoing to figure out how that reporter got it. but the worst part of this is, the reporter did not know how to read the report, ma'am, so let me give you the actual facts. today, a pilot that weighs less than 136 pounds if he steps to the airplane, he or she, has a 1 in 50,000 chance of hurting their neck from an ejection. a pilot between 136 pounds and 165 pounds has a 1 in 200,000 probability of having neck injury from ejection. the individual who reported on this is not an expert in system safety -- >> okay, let me -- my time is running out. as i understand it the test was done under ideal circumstances.
is there any reason to feel that the results would be any different in circumstances where it was going not at ideal speeds but -- and not going straight but going up? >> your time has expired. general, i want to thank you for being here. you have continued to provide the information as required by this committee, and we will continue to hold this program accountable and provide oversight. not just because there are issues or problems that have arisen, which there are, but because this program is so incredibly important. it needs to be safe for our pilots. it needs to be safe for our country, and it needs to be able to perform at the level that it has been asked to perform because the gap that this plane is going to fill is incredibly important. so, with that, i thank you both for your service, and i know that you both know that we'll continue to work both through the committee hearing structure
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