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US Faces F-35’s IP Right Problems

US Faces F-35’s IP Right Problems

Lockheed Martin’s contractor-reliant model Total System Performance is not considered beneficial. The system was designed to foster an environment for the government and contractor team to gain efficiencies by identifying unnecessary practices, eliminating those practices, and using commercial practices to replace the acquisition process. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall, former undersecretary of defence for acquisition, technology, and logistics (AT&L) during Barack Obama’s presidency, is known for objecting to the system. 

Speaking about US Air Force’s Next Generation Air Dominance [NGAD] project, Kendall said last week that the force has to avoid the errors made in the Joint Strike Fighter program. Kendal used the word “abuse”, referring to the mistakes at the JSF.

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According to Kendall, one of the F-35 abuses was the US government's less-than-expected involvement in the programme. He said that the error was in the F-35's overall system performance. Kendall is referring to the aircraft's intellectual property. Today, intellectual property is a "troubleshooting point" in the F-35 production. 

One of the initial steps towards resolving the "trouble spot" has already been taken. In 2024, NGAD is not included in the fiscal year's budget, allowing work on engineering and technology activities to continue. This will cause any delivery to be delayed, keeping suppliers away from the project. In other words, Kendall believes that the longer suppliers remain away from the NGAD project, the better.