Home » Aviation » Rear Adm. Mat Winter Nominated As Head of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Office


Rear Adm. Mat Winter Nominated As Head of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Office

Rear Adm. Mathias W. Winter, as then Chief of Naval Research. US Navy Photo

The former head of the Office of Naval Research and the former head of the Navy unmanned aviation development has been selected to lead the Defense Department’s F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter program office, the Pentagon announced on Tuesday.

Rear Adm. Mat Winter is now set to replace Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan as director of the Joint Strike Fighter Program, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Arlington, Va., according to the announcement. If the Senate approves his nomination, Winter will be promoted to Vice Admiral.

He is currently serving as the as deputy program executive officer of the JPO, a job he assumed in December of 2016.

F-35A Lightning II aircraft receive fuel from a KC-10 Extender on July 13, 2016, during a flight from England to the U.S. after participating in the world’s largest air show, the Royal International Air Tattoo. US Air Force photo.

Winter will take over the JPO as the Trump administration has focused on lowering the cost of the Lockheed Martin-built F-35 program. Following his election to the presidency, President-elect Trump called Bogdan twice with concerns over the cost of the aircraft. Those calls prompted an ongoing Secretary of Defense James Mattis directed review in which Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work will “oversee a review that compares F-35C and F/A-18 E/F operational capabilities and assesses the extent that F/A-18E/F improvements (an advanced Super Hornet) can be made in order to provide a competitive, cost effective, fighter aircraft alternative.”

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, commander F-35 Joint Program Office. DoD Photo

Bogdan has served as the head of the JPO since 2012. During his tenure, the cost of all three variants of the JSF has fallen and the Marines and Air Force have achieved initial operating capability with their respective variants, according to a report in Defense News. He intends to retire following the change in command.

Previous to his job on the JPO, Winter was the Chief of Naval Research and oversaw the Office of Naval Research. Before leading ONR, Winter was the program executive officer for Strike Weapons and Unmanned Aviation. In that role, he oversaw the landing of the first fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicle on a carrier as well as guided Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike — UCLASS — program before the Office of Secretary of Defense restructured the program.

Winter is a career Naval Flight Officer with several tours as an A-6E Intruder Bombardier/Navigator.

He is a 1984 graduate of Notre Dame and has degrees from the Naval Postgraduate School and another the National Defense University’s Industrial College of the Armed Forces, according to his official Navy biography.

 

 

  • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

    Bogdan seemed to turn the programme around and is leaving it at an important time but in far better shape than he found it.
    So, congratulations to Gen Bogdan on a job well done.

    It’s a huge job ahead for Admiral Winter, there are some critical milestones they need to reach this year.
    As far as I know the v2.0 of ALIS still hasn’t been deployed yet (was supposed to be last year) and Block 3F really needs to remain on schedule.

    Best of luck to him.

    • Duane

      Block 3F is completely on schedule, already fully tested out in the field last year, final tweaks to the code are in progress for full deployment by the beginning of 2018 as scheduled. Much of the 3F work now is focused on the implementation plan, because the earliest models of the F-35 will need a hardware upgrade to run the 3F code. They’re working on simplifying the hardware upgrade so that it can be done as a field mod rather than requiring the “early birds” to make a visit to the depot to upgrade. This won’t be an issue for the vast majority of the F-35s now in service.

      As for ALIS, the maintainers who participated in the recent Red Flag exercises in Las Vegas were ebullient in their praises of the system, which led to the F-35s having by far the best availability rate of any aircraft participating – 93+% mission capable. That was largely attributed to the fact that ALIS quickly pinpointed the sources of any issue enabling the maintainers to focus on replacing the part rather than troubleshooting the system.

      • old guy

        Right on. Eliminating unnecessary complexity, like the need for vertical flight, for all services, could be an economic boon to the program, but would take a major redirection.

        • Duane

          The F-35B is the most advanced in deployment of any of the three variants – there is no going back, and the Marines are ecstatic about what they are already doing with the B model.

          The Air Force is also in love with the F-35, and its IOC last year and performance to date has caused the Air Force to seek to accelerate the purchase of F-35As. The only variant not yet operable is the C model, but it is on schedule for IOC in 2019. Without the C model the Navy will be stuck in the 1980s in a 2020 world of warfare threats. To protect the Navy’s massive investment in CVNs will clearly require the F-35C, flown by both the Navy and the Marines.

  • USNVO

    If you didn’t read the article carefully, you would hardly know that RADM Winter is the Deputy Program Executive Officer for the F-35 Program. It is only mentioned once in the entire article. It is almost like the author is trying to hide the fact that he is the current number 2 in the program.

    • CharleyA

      The #2 usually becomes the #1, although Winter has only been with the program for a few months.

      • USNVO

        Well! VADM VEnlet wasn’t ever the deputy (special case). He was the PEO for several years but LGEN Bogdan was the DPEO for only six months before he relieved him. LGEN Bogdan wil have been PEO for over 4 years but RADM Winter will have been DPEO for only six months. So clearly, although two examples don’t a trend make, it appears the DPEO is only a move on to PEO when they have already been picked to be PEO and they need a few months to get up to speed. All the other DPEOs that served in the job (like for instance the predecessor to RADM Winter and probably his predecessor as well) retired or moved on to a different position.

        However, that still doesn’t explain why you don’t list his current position more prominently while discussing his Bio. It would seem to be far more relevant to the job his is taking over and the first thing listed. Like RADM Winter, the current DPEO for the F-35 program, blah, blah, blah, instead of RADM Winter, the former head of Naval Research blah, blah, blah. And then, three paragraphs into the piece, mention he is DPEO.

        • CharleyA

          Yea, Venlet was appointed to come aboard (and asked to delay retirement) to rescue a sinking program, which he did. He previously served as the commander of NAVAIR, so probably had a pretty good idea what was going on with the JSF.

          Anyway, I see your point about the article. Winter has previous experience with unmanned systems which is kind of interesting since UCAS could eventually be replacing some manned platforms. And a weps guy. I don’t see his appointment in anyway influencing the speed up of the F-35C – there is plenty of development left to do, and the Navy has made it clear that their acquisition plan is event driven (reaching milestones / correcting deficiencies,) not schedule driven (“non-event” as stated by LtGen Davis) as with the Marines.

  • Don Bacon

    The most difficult issue Winter has to face is Bogdan’s legacy of the seemingly endless stumbling and faltering F-35 development program, the attempt to finalize a design that meets the key performance parameters set out in the beginning in 2001 and not yet realized. This includes the need for more money and time for development, and also the again-delayed initial operational test and evaluation which is essential for a Milestone C production/deployment decision sometime, we don’t know when. Bogdan has recently testified to Congress that the 23 prototypes necessary for the start of IOT&E can’t be ready on time. So the services have to be content with PR airshows and “training exercises” like Red Flag, where the baloney flies fast and thick as fake news

    Meanwhile the concurrent low rate prototype production, originally six lots, has expanded to fifteen or so, producing prototypes at a huge cost. Even the true manufacturing cost is unknown. Nobody knows what the JSF unit manufacturing cost is because these useless F-35 prototypes are not procured with fixed price contracts as they promised to do. In fact the last two lots are being bought without manufacturing contracts at all. The Defense Contract Audit Agency couldn’t audit contracts if they wanted to, which they don’t, having never audited any F-35 contracts. $100M? $85M? $250M? Pick a number (Bogdan does). And the unit acquisition cost, what customers actually have to pay for each plane complete with helmets spares simulators hangars etc, is double the manufacturing cost. Foreign buyers (expected to be half the JSF buyers) have understandably been relatively silent on buying these useless developmental prototypes, especially as their currency devalues relative to the dollar.

    So how much ability and integrity does Winter have? We’ll see.

  • Duane

    General Bogdan is a hero – he deserves a medal for his great work. Now very pleased to see his deputy, RADM Winter take over and maintain continuity in an extremely well performing and excruciatingly important program for our national defense. It will also help to shut up those whiners who have been complaining that an AF general can’t possibly be in charge of the final development of the F-35C, which was always a ridiculous complaint (meaning, the whiners and professional critics and trolls aren’t going to shut up anyway, regardless of the actual facts as opposed to their “alternative facts”).

  • publius_maximus_III

    From a layman’s perspective, it seems that someone from the USN or USMC is better suited for this job than someone from the USAF.

    Because of the greater complexity of the F-35B version (STOVL diverter) and greater robustness of the F-35C version (for higher shock loads from carrier takeoffs and landings), seems that a person more familiar with at least one of those two designs could easily handle any problems arising on the “vanilla flavored” F-35A version that would probably affect all three. Even so, the Admiral needs to avoid solutions to problems for one version that jeopardize spare parts interchangeability with the other versions.

  • Gen. Buck Turgidson

    good man