Final DOD policy bill would get tough with F-35 prime contractor

A House-Senate compromise version of a Pentagon policy bill would shift to Lockheed Martin the full burden of paying for new F-35 cost breaches.

The Pentagon earlier this year informed lawmakers of a substantial cost spike in the latest batch of F-35s, drawing the ire of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

A bicameral conference committee unveiled a final version of a Pentagon authorization bill Monday evening that would require the "contract for the sixth lot of aircraft Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP 6) and all subsequent LRIP contracts is a fixed price contact," according to a summary issued by SASC Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.)

What's more, it would require Lockheed take on "full responsibility for any costs above the target cost specified in the contract."

Pentagon officials have touted their contract talks with Lockheed for the fourth and fifth batches of the fighter jets, but the conference panel's language is even tougher on Lockheed.