Page 2 of 7 FirstFirst 123456 ... LastLast
Results 21 to 40 of 125

Thread: The Endangered F-35

  1. #21
    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    25,061
    Thanks
    52
    Thanked 78 Times in 76 Posts

    Default Re: The Endangered F-35

    This is the most recent cost jump in the F-35 program. With increases like this, its future is definitely not looking good!

    Lockheed F-35 Projected Cost May Rise an Additional $51 Billion
    April 12, 2010

    The cost of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 fighter, the most expensive U.S. weapons program, may rise as much as $51 billion beyond the $328 billion estimate given to Congress April 1, according to a worse-case Pentagon scenario.

    The cost per plane would then be $155 million, 91 percent higher than the $81 million projected when the program began in 2002. The program’s total cost, calculated in current dollars, would increase 64 percent to $379 billion.

    The Pentagon’s independent cost-analysis office is compiling projections to comply with a law that demands an assessment of any weapons program that exceeds its original projected cost by 50 percent. The Pentagon must also certify to Congress that the program is vital to national security and shouldn’t be canceled.

    The lowest projection in the cost group’s fact sheet is the $328 billion stated by the military’s program office. The estimate of $379 billion is the “upper range,” Pentagon spokesman Colonel David Lapan said in an e-mail.

    The group’s report won’t be released until its assessment is finished June 1, though the findings to date have been shared informally with some lawmakers.

    Senate Hearing

    What impact the new figures might have may surface at a hearing tomorrow of the Senate Armed Services Committee on the Pentagon’s fiscal 2011 request for aviation programs. When the panel met March 11, the F-35’s estimated cost was $298 billion.

    Committee chairman Carl Levin, in opening that hearing, said that while the panel has backed the F-35 program, “people should not conclude we will be willing to continue that strong support without regard to increased costs.” Levin is a Michigan Democrat.
    The assumptions supporting the new estimate are more pessimistic than those used by the program office or Lockheed on the pace and progress of laboratory and flight testing, the number of engineers that will needed, and the costs for labor and materials.

    Chris Giesel, spokesman for the world’s largest defense company, said Lockheed has “not seen the new data figure of $379 billion.

    “However,” he said in an e-mail, “we can foresee no scenario in which F-35 unit costs are even close to the projections of the cost analysts.” The company and its partners “are confident the actual aircraft costs negotiated will be substantially lower.”

    Next-Generation Fighter

    The F-35 is the U.S. military’s next-generation fighter. Designed for missions that include bombing and air-to-air combat, it will be used by the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. It will replace such aircraft as the F-16, A-10 and Harrier that are flown by the Marines and the U.K.

    The program is already four years behind schedule on key milestones, including completing the development phase and combat testing, beginning full-scale production and then declaring the first Air Force and Navy units ready for combat.

    Congress is being asked to approve the purchase of increasing numbers of aircraft as flight testing accelerates -- from 30 planes this year to 43 in fiscal 2011 to 113 in fiscal 2015.

    Thomas Christie, who was the Pentagon’s weapons tester from mid-2001 to early 2005, said there’s little likelihood lawmakers will try to cancel the program.

    Other than Levin and John McCain of Arizona, the Senate armed services panel’s ranking Republican, “there aren’t that many” lawmakers “who get upset about” the increased cost, said Christie, who favors killing the program because of the rising costs.

    Loren Thompson, a defense analyst with the Lexington Institute, a public policy research group in Arlington, Virginia, said the new cost estimates “are likely to make Congress think something has gone wrong with the F-35,” he said.

    The projections are based on pessimistic assumptions about the program’s ability to hit revised targets for spending and scheduling, and aren’t driven by major technical problems. As such, they “probably won’t affect” lawmakers’ decisions, he said.

  2. #22
    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    25,061
    Thanks
    52
    Thanked 78 Times in 76 Posts

    Default Re: The Endangered F-35

    Nuclear Upgrade for the Pentagon’s Gajillion-Dollar Fighter
    April 7, 2010

    As part of a newly unveiled Nuclear Posture Review, the Pentagon has made public plans to make its all-purpose stealth fighter capable of carrying nuclear weapons. But in the interim, it still has to cope with some massive (but not massively surprising) cost overruns on the aircraft, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

    The Nuclear Posture Review, a sweeping statement of purpose for the U.S. nuclear arsenal, cast light on a rarely-discussed piece of the nuclear deterrent: tactical nukes that are stationed in Europe. In a briefing yesterday, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said these weapons would remain a key piece NATO’s defensive shield. But he added that the review “does … draw attention to the number of tactical nuclear weapons, and also to the number of non-deployed weapons that we’re looking at; and that these clearly should be part of the arms-control agenda as we move forward.”

    One of those “non-strategic” nukes is the B-61, a “dial-a-yield” bomb that can be delivered by a number of aircraft. According to the nuclear review, the Air Force plans to conduct a “full scope B-61 (nuclear bomb) Life Extension Program to ensure its functionality with the F-35″ to incorporate new safety, security and reliability enhancements.

    According to the review, the Air Force wants to “retain a dual-capable fighter” that can drop both conventional and nuclear weapons as the F-16 Fighting Falcon is phased out and replaced by the F-35.

    So far, so good. But the JSF program has been plagued by major cost overruns, as well as a serious slip in schedule. It now looks like the next-gen fighters won’t be ready for the Air Force until 2015, two years after they were supposed to become available.

    And the cost overruns are likely to be even greater than anticipated. Inside Defense (subscription only) reported yesterday that the Pentagon has advised Congress that F-35 costs could rise as high as $158.1 million per airframe, a record new high.

    That figure, Inside Defense reports, is based on a Congressionally mandated independent cost estimate. According to the story, a Pentagon report sent to Congress on April 1 expects that costs will increase much as 18.4 percent, adding as much as $60.4 billion to the current $328.2 billion total JSF program cost.

  3. #23
    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    25,061
    Thanks
    52
    Thanked 78 Times in 76 Posts

    Default Re: The Endangered F-35

    Looks like that recent $51 Billion increase, this program isn't doing its job.

    Official Announces Plans To Curb Fighter Program's Cost
    3/15/2010

    Defense Department officials will require a shift to a fixed-price contract in their negotiations with Lockheed Martin for the initial production phase of the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter, a defense official said here March 15 in a briefing at the Pentagon.

    Department officials also will conduct an internal analysis of what the full production cost should be to better negotiate with the contractor, said Ashton B. Carter, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics.

    Taken together, Mr. Carter said, these measures will reduce costs of a program that has met with significant production delays and cost overruns since its inception in October 2001.

    "It did not seem reasonable that the taxpayer should bear the entire cost of this failure of the program to meet expectations," Mr. Carter said.

    The joint strike fighter, the most expensive acquisition in U.S. military history, will replace a wide range of aging fighter and strike aircraft for the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and eight international partners. The F-35 is the "the heart of the future of our tactical combat aviation," Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said in a visit to a Lockheed factory in August. "The importance of this aircraft cannot be overstated."

    The U.S. military ordered a total of 2,443 jets, with an additional 730 purchased by the eight other countries. Initially projected to cost around $50 million per aircraft, the current estimate is about $80 million to $95 million each, in inflation-adjusted dollars.

    These two new initiatives come on top of Secretary Gates' announcement last month that he was withholding $614 million in performance fees from the contractor due to the program's setbacks.

    With today's announcements, the department is moving away from a cost-plus arrangement, which reimburses companies for their expenses in addition to providing an extra payment to guarantee them a profit. Instead, in switching to a fixed-price structure, the department and the contractor will set the price beforehand, and the final payment will not depend on the total amount of time or resources expended to complete the project.

    "(The secretary) directed that in order to ensure discipline in the transition from development to production," Mr. Carter said.

    The director of defense procurement and acquisition policy will conduct the "should-cost" analysis for the final production rollout of the F-35 aircraft. Mr. Carter stressed that it's important for the department to have its own estimate of what the program's cost should be to better determine a negotiated price, rather than relying solely on the contractor's figures.

    "We will be looking at the cost structure of (the joint strike fighter) in all its aspects: assembly, parts supplies, staffing, overheads and indirect costs, cash flows, contract structures, fees, and lifecycle costs," Mr. Carter said in a prepared statement before the Senate Armed Services committee yesterday.

    Taking immediate steps to save costs is particularly necessary, not only to benefit the taxpayer, but also because the program is in jeopardy of crossing the Nunn-McCurdy threshold, a law that requires that Congress be notified of a cost growth of more than 15 percent in a program. Nunn-McCurdy also calls for cancellation of programs for which total cost grew by more than 25 percent over the original estimate.

    Rather than wait for the program to cross the Nunn-McCurdy line, the defense officials began to review and restructure it as though it was already in Nunn-McCurdy breach, Mr. Carter said.

    Mr. Carter said he understands that these new initiatives will not be easy for Lockheed and its subcontractors to accommodate, but he underscored that these decisions are crucial to moving the program forward in a way that is acceptable to the military and the American public.

    "The emphasis must be on restoring a key aspect of this airplane when the JSF program was first launched: affordability," he told Congress.

  4. #24
    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    25,061
    Thanks
    52
    Thanked 78 Times in 76 Posts

    Default Re: The Endangered F-35

    Navy Needs F-35’s Capabilities, Admiral Says
    May 25, 2010

    The Navy needs the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter’s fifth-generation capabilities, the service’s acting director of air warfare said yesterday.

    Navy Rear Adm. Michael C. Manazir spoke to reporters because he wanted to “completely dispel the rumor that the Navy is soft on F-35C.”

    The F-35C is the aircraft-carrier version of the joint strike fighter. The F-35A model is for the Air Force, and the F-35B will be a vertical take-off and landing model for the Marines.

    The FA-18E and FA-18F Super Hornets are great airplanes, Manazir said, but they do not have the capabilities that the F-35C’s will bring to the Navy. Delays in the joint strike fighter program and the cost increases associated with them caused some supposition that the Navy would turn to the FA-18s, he added.

    The Navy has had the F-35C on its horizon for more than a decade, the admiral said. In that time, the FA-18’s capabilities have grown, with the latest aircraft – the E, F and G models – reaching the fourth-generation airframe’s limits. “We need to move into the F-35C to realize our vision of tactical air coming off of carriers,” he said.

    The joint strike fighter brings stealth capabilities, advanced sensor and data fusion, and a systems approach to warfighting, Manazir said. “We’re completely committed to the F-35C,” he added, noting that staying with the Super Hornet would put the United States at a disadvantage against a near-peer competitor.

    Still, the admiral said, the Super Hornet program is not ending, just yet. The Navy wants to buy 124 of the aircraft through fiscal 2013 to bring its number of Super Hornets to 515. Beginning in fiscal 2016, he said, aircraft carriers will deploy with a mix of Super Hornets and F-35C’s. The Navy needs 44 strike fighters per flight deck, he added.

    Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates ordered a restructuring of the joint strike fighter program last year. That effort allowed the Navy to move an additional aircraft into flight tests, and to buy a software line “that gives us additional integration capability and added risk reduction in software, which is always the toughest thing to do in a new program,” Manazir said. Operational testing will move to April 2016, and this will fulfill all prerequisites for initial operational capability, he told reporters.
    The first deployment of the new aircraft will be December 2016, with the second deployment in February 2017.

    The Navy faces a shortfall of fighter aircraft, the admiral noted. “Without mitigations, … [the shortfall] is about 177 total Department of the Navy airplanes,” he said. “That peaks in 2017.”

    Mitigation efforts bring that number down to about 100, he said. That could drop further, he added, if the demands on the fleet lessen – a conclusion the admiral said he is not going to make, given the uncertain times. “We are focused on addressing that shortfall,” he said.

    The Navy does not have a shortfall in strike aircraft today, Manazir said, but the expected wear-out date for its inventory begins in fiscal 2012.

    The 1,180 strike aircraft now in the Navy’s inventory fall within the scope of the service’s maintenance capabilities, while providing the planes needed for a rotational force, the admiral said.

  5. #25
    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    25,061
    Thanks
    52
    Thanked 78 Times in 76 Posts

    Default Re: The Endangered F-35

    Dod: Total F-35 Price Tag Could Reach $382B
    Jun 3, 2010

    Senior Pentagon officials on Tuesday announced the F-35 fighter and five other major weapon systems have surpassed a legal cost threshold, while also criticizing the review process that triggers the “Nunn-McCurdy breaches.”

    The Defense Department told lawmakers the F-35 fighter program could cost as much as $382.4 billion, with each Lightning II model coming with a $92.4 million price tag, according to DoD budget documents.

    Those cost estimates assume the program continues down the current path, which officials told reporters they are working to avoid. One senior Pentagon official – who declined to point to a specific cost target — said efforts already are under way to move the overall cost of the F-35 program “as close as possible” back toward substantially smaller estimates crafted in 2002.

    The Defense Department sent the new estimates to Congress after determining the program had breached the so-called Nunn-McCurdy statute, which requires the Pentagon to notify Congress when major defense programs experience substantial cost growth.

    The $92.4 million per-model estimate is what defense officials refer to as a “cradle-to-grave” projection, meaning spanning each fighter jet’s entire life, the senior official said.

    The Pentagon restructured the F-35 program just several months ago after internal DoD cost estimates showed the tri-service, international fighter initiative’s price tag had grown more than expected — and more than the joint program office claimed. This formal congressional notification, the senior official said, is merely a reflection of the same growth — “the paperwork has caught up to that.”

    Why the bigger price tag? There are several primary drivers. One is the Navy several years ago reduced the number of F-35s it will buy. A second is a more difficult development process, which required additional years – and thus, became more expensive. The senior official said the program “will continue to struggle” with keeping the development phase on track, in part because the technology on the short take-off and landing variant is so complicated.

    A DoD summary of the F-35 breach calls higher than projected “contractor labor and overhead rates and fees” the “single largest contributor to cost growth.”

    The senior official said the new F-35 program management has been ordered to pare these costs because “I do not think that the department should have to incur those costs.”

    As for the projected $382.4 billion overall price of the program, the senior official said the hope is “the taxpayers never have to pay that bill.”

    Meanwhile, a senior Lockheed official said the company was very pleased with the results of the recent restructuring and reiterated the company’s stance that it does not expect the program to cost anywhere near the Pentagon’s $382 billion estimate.

    “I cannot foresee any scenario where those numbers become a reality,” the official said.

    Instead, the official said he expects the next batch of 32 production jets, known as “low-rate initial production lot 4,” to cost more than 20 percent less than that projection. The previous batch of production aircraft also cost about 20 percent below the Pentagon’s per-jet projections.

    Lockheed officials have said previous Pentagon F-35 estimates have relied too heavily on data from older fighter programs, such as the F-22 Raptor and F/A-18EF Super Hornet.

    Also breaching the cost growth threshold was the Navy’s truncated DDG 1000 destroyer program. Costs grew from $20 billion to just over $22 billion, DoD said. The senior official pegged this growth to the Navy opting to buy three instead of 10, which drives up unit costs.

    As part of the Nunn-McCurdy process, DoD officials have ordered the destroyer program to strike the “Volume Searching Radar hardware from the ship baseline design … in order to reduce cost for the program,” according to a department fact sheet. The Navy has been ordered to shift the program’s initial operating capability date back one year, to 2016, and alter testing and evaluation requirements.

    The Air Force-led Wideband Gapfiller satellite program also experienced a breach, the result of a break in production (between satellites 6 and 7), and the subsequent production re-start costs when the service opted to build two additional WGS orbiters (satellites 7 and 8). The cost grew from around $3 billion to just over $3.5 billion. The officials said Pentagon officials are mulling future satellite communications needs, leaving open the door to buying additional WGS satellites.

    The Army’s Apache Block III program also made the list of over-budget programs. The initial intent was to overhaul 634 existing helicopters, but 56 “new build” birds were tacked on to meet war demands. The revamped helos saw cost growth of $9.9 billion to $12 billion; the new aircraft costs went from $2 billion in 2006 to $2.3 billion. The department has split the “AB3” program into two parts – one focused on the new helicopters and another for the upgrades ones – which has resulted in “a more conservative set of estimating assumptions.” Both are slated for a milestone C review this summer.

    Another Army program made the list: the Advanced Threat Infrared Countermeasures/Common Missile Warning System, designed to take out infrared homing surface-to-air missile attacks on helicopters. The ATIC effort’s costs grew from $900 million in 2003 to $1 billion; the CMWs portion’s estimated price swelled from $3.1 billion in 2003 to $3.5 billion. The causes were “technological immaturity and unrealistic performance expectations,” according to a DoD fact sheet.

    Further, the Navy’s Remote Minehunting System breached the cost growth threshold primarily because of “the result of lower than planned procurement quantities, unrealistic estimating, and failure to adequately address reliability issues,” according to DoD. Costs grew from $1.2 billion in 2006 to $1.4 billion.

    Each of the six programs avoided termination because Pentagon acquisition executive Ashton Carter deemed each essential to U.S. national security, which is required by the Nunn-McCurdy statute.

    But is the Nunn-McCurdy process worth it? The senior official said the Pentagon is working on cost estimates of how much the Pentagon puts into the Nunn-McCurdy process. Some DoD brass wonder “whether the Nunn-McCurdy process is in Nunn-McCurdy,” the senior official quipped.

    Another DoD official said that estimation should be completed in several weeks.

    The senior official said Pentagon leaders want to use the new Performance Assessments and Root Cause Analysis (PARCA) office to perform a similar function. PARCA has established by 2009 defense acquisition reform legislation, but Congress allowed the Pentagon to craft its charter.

    In December, Carter signed a memo outlining how PARCA would work.

    Its members would spring into action upon request by the defense secretary, DoD acquisition chief, a service secretary or a DoD agency director, according to the Dec. 9 memorandum.

    The group would perform one of two kinds of analyses on major acquisition programs: • A performance assessment, which would “evaluate the cost, schedule, and performance of the program, relative to current metrics, performance requirements, and baseline parameters,” the memo said. “The assessments shall determine the extent to which the level of program cost, schedule, and performance relative to established metrics is likely to result in the timely delivery of a level of capability to the war fighter.”

    A root-cause analysis, which would examine the “underlying causes for shortcomings in cost, schedule and performance.” It would also determine whether program shortcomings were due in part to “unrealistic performance expectations; unrealistic cost and schedule plans; immature technologies; and excessive manufacturing or integration risk,” the memo said.

    Both kinds of analyses would look at whether problems were caused by “unanticipated design, engineering, manufacturing, or integration issues arising during program performance; changes in procurement quantities; inadequate program funding or funding instability; [or] poor performance by government or contractor personnel responsible for program management,” the memo said.

    One defense analyst said the re-certification of the F-35 program was a done deal, showing the Nunn McCurdy process might not be working.

    “Certification of F-35 is no big surprise because three of the defense department’s four military services are counting on getting it, and there is no evidence of major design or engineering problems,” Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute wrote in a June 1 blog post. “But doesn’t it make you wonder what the point of these costly reviews are, when even programs the department has targeted for termination are certified as complying with Nunn-McCurdy criteria for continuance?”

  6. #26
    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    25,061
    Thanks
    52
    Thanked 78 Times in 76 Posts

    Default Re: The Endangered F-35

    F-35 Jet Program Likely To Cost More And Face Delays, Air Force Chief Says
    March 3, 2010

    Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said Tuesday that the Pentagon's plan for the service to use top-of-the-line fighter jets will probably cost more than originally expected and be delayed by two years.

    The Joint Strike Fighter, also known as the F-35 Lightning II, is the Pentagon's most expensive weapons system and has been touted as an integral part of the military's approach to waging war in the skies in the future. The costly program involves buying aircraft for the Air Force, the Marine Corps and the Navy, plus nine U.S. allies. But building the fighter jets has been difficult, with billions of dollars in cost overruns and performance problems that Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates recently described as "troubling."

    Donley told reporters Tuesday that he thought "we are going to have a slip" on the F-35 program and that the planes would probably not be ready for the Air Force until 2015. The jets were expected to be available in 2013.

    The Pentagon declined to say whether there might also be delays in the F-35 program for the Marines and Navy, which are expected to use the jets starting in 2012 and 2015, respectively.

    A month ago, Gates said he would fire Marine Maj. Gen. David R. Heinz, the executive officer in charge of the Joint Strike Fighter's development, and withhold $614 million from the contractor, Lockheed Martin of Bethesda.

    The Obama administration is asking Congress to provide $11.4 billion overall for the Joint Strike Fighter program next year, including $8.4 billion to buy 43 planes.

    Gates said in February that he believed there were "no insurmountable problems, technological or otherwise, with the F-35. . . . We are in a position to move forward with this program in a realistic way."

    But the Air Force secretary's update suggests problems with the F-35 may be more severe than Pentagon officials had anticipated, industry analysts said.

    "The secretary of defense reluctantly supports this program because he has no alternative," said Mackenzie Eaglen, an analyst at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.

    "The [Joint Strike Fighter] is like a sweater. . . . You pull any thread, like pushing back on full-rate production, and things can fall apart very quickly," she said. "A delayed start date will have a ripple effect of steadily increasing the average age of the Air Force's inventory."

    In a statement, Lockheed Martin said that it remains "fully-committed to the F-35 program" and that it was working toward stabilizing "cost and affordability -- and to fielding the aircraft on time."

    Pentagon officials said they are in the process of restructuring the program, which involves international partners, including Britain, Italy, Turkey, Canada, Norway and Australia. Defense Department officials have been briefing legislators on Capitol Hill, industry officials and other governments on the program.

    Richard Aboulafia, a vice president and defense industry analyst at the Teal Group in Fairfax County, said the cost to build the plane is now expected to be $65 million to $70 million apiece -- not counting the research and development cost. He called the growing price tag "concerning."

    "This aircraft was supposed to help the military's three services replace their aging fleets," he said. "This was going to solve everyone's problems and be competitive on export markets. But with a $70 million price, you're jeopardizing both assumptions."

  7. #27
    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    25,061
    Thanks
    52
    Thanked 78 Times in 76 Posts

    Default Re: The Endangered F-35

    Lockheed, Pentagon Soothe Partners Over F-35 Delays
    March 4, 2010

    Lockheed Martin Corp. and the Pentagon assured their international partners Thursday that problems in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program have been resolved and development of the next-generation warplane is back on track.

    "It's taken a couple of years for the Joint Strike Fighter to fall behind, and we will be looking to the next couple of years for consistent progress," said Ashton Carter, the U.S. undersecretary of defense for acquisition, during a conference call with reporters.

    Earlier this week, the Air Force said it now will receive its first F-35 fighters in 2015, two years beyond the original schedule. The news followed an earlier announcement that the jet's development program was pushed out by an additional 13 months.

    Carter noted the delays and resulting cost increases, adding the program's international partners are weighing the data as is the U.S. and determining their best path going forward.

    "A 13 month slip means jets [deliveries] will come later and the earlier ones will be more expensive," Carter said. "The challenge is to make those [first jets] cheaper so the partners will ... not let slip their orders."

    So far international partners have remained committed to the program, Carter said.

    "I think most of the partners have a real need for the Joint Strike Fighter and a delay is not in their interest," he said.

    The JSF program has eight partners: the U.K., Italy, Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark, and Norway. Together they pledged more than $4 billion toward the fighter's development.

    With state-of-the-art avionics and weapon systems, the fifth-generation jet is designed to be hard to detect by radar. It's expected to be the backbone of the U.S. Air Force's fighter fleet.

    Eventually Lockheed hopes to sell more than 3,500 F-35 jets to the U.S. and its partner countries. The cost of the plane, excluding development, could reach $65 million, according to data provided by the Teal Group.

    As a result of the delays, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said last month he would withhold $614 million in performance fees from jet's primary contractor, Lockheed Martin Corp. /quotes/comstock/13*!lmt/quotes/nls/lmt (LMT 80.69, -0.26, -0.32%) .

    Lockheed Chief Executive Robert Stevens said some of those fees may be recovered if the program attains its goals.

    The F-35 faced a number of development problems, including a longer-than-expected flight test program, Carter said. To resolve it, several additional test planes were purchased to increase test resources.

    Carter did not say why the test program took longer than expected.

    Development is being done concurrently with early production, and approach some critics say is risky and could lead to further delays.

    Gates, determined to get the F-35 back on track, recently dismissed the program's manager, Maj. Gen. David Heinz of the Marine Corps. A successor hasn't been named, but Carter said Thursday the person chosen will be given the rank of a three-star general.

    For fiscal 2011, the Pentagon is requesting $10.7 billion to continue the jet's development and to purchase 43 planes.

  8. #28
    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    25,061
    Thanks
    52
    Thanked 78 Times in 76 Posts

    Default Re: The Endangered F-35

    Reports Of F-35 Problems, Cost Overruns Are Exaggerated, Lockheed Says
    Apr. 24, 2010

    Scarcely a week has gone by recently that the F-35 joint strike fighter hasn't generated headlines or been the subject of politicians' outrage in Washington.

    The combination of missed schedules, technical problems and, most importantly, reports of skyrocketing costs gained the F-35 a lot of unwanted attention and the perception that it's a deeply troubled program.

    That's not the case, say Lockheed Martin officials, who insist that the cascade of reports about problems and soaring costs is at best exaggerated and often wrong.

    "These things get blown out of proportion," Steve O'Bryan, Lockheed's F-35 vice president of business development, said in an interview.

    The cost issue, in particular, is a sore spot for Lockheed officials, who have winced repeatedly in recent weeks over government cost estimates that could undermine political support for the F-35.

    Defense Department number crunchers, in a recent report to Congress, said the 2,457 jets that the U.S. government plans to buy will cost an average of $97.1 million each, or $133.6 million including inflation. And both of those numbers, the report says, are optimistic -- the next, better estimate could exceed $150 million per aircraft.

    That's baloney, O'Bryan said. "We feel that, dealing with actuals [production data] and costs, we know how much each jet is going to cost."

    And how much is that? Well, it depends.

    A document that Lockheed provided to friends, allies and the Star-Telegram says the F-35A model, the cheapest and simplest version, will on average cost about $60 million each in today's dollars. That would make the Navy and Marine Corps versions of the F-35 (680 planes) $80 million to $85 million each on average, based on the Pentagon estimates.

    That's unlikely, says Winslow Wheeler, defense policy analyst for the Straus Military Reform Project at the Center for Defense Information, who saw many rosy Pentagon cost estimates and program budgets during more than two decades as a Senate defense staff member.

    "If Lockheed says we can buy airplanes for $60 million apiece, we should write that contract right now and make sure there are no loopholes," Wheeler said.

    Buying military airplanes isn't as simple as buying a car or even a new jetliner. There is no sticker price. The price is what the contractor charges the government, which isn't necessarily the same as the government's ultimate cost.

    For example, the Lockheed cost estimate, unlike the government's, ignores all the costs of designing and engineering the F-35 and developing technology and of tools, machines, test airplanes and testing. Those are upfront costs -- or sunk costs, as they are referred to in military-industrial complex circles -- paid by the government. Once that money is spent, it's history.

    But every so often, Pentagon accountants and cost estimators have to report all expenses and projections of future spending, then compare them to the estimates that were made when the programs were sold to Congress and launched. That was in 2001 for the F-35.

    The upfront costs for the F-35 are now expected to run about $50 billion, assuming that the rest of development goes according to plan.

    Lockheed's cost "projection" -- the military services frequently use the same formula -- is far too simple and unrealistic, Wheeler says, a way of disguising real costs from the prying eyes of Congress and the public. There is almost always some degree of inflation as the cost of wages and materials rises.

    Even leaving inflation aside, real costs will rise as design changes are made to fix problems found in testing or to improve performance and as the military decides it wants additional features and capabilities.

    "There is never a stable design," Wheeler said, adding that it's not just the contractor's responsibility. "Everybody is pushing the target," he said of the constant changes.

    The Pentagon, in its F-35 Selected Acquisition Report to Congress, says it expects to raise cost projections because the current figures -- even at the much higher levels -- are too optimistic about how efficiently and quickly Lockheed and the rest of the F-35 contractors can accelerate production.

    "We know their learning curve is significantly overstated," said Wheeler, who added that even in the F-16 and F-18 programs, when the contractor was building only one type of airplane, not three, as with the F-35, the government cost projections were way too optimistic.

    But O'Bryan said that with the F-35, the results will differ. Pentagon cost estimators are relying on historical data from other programs and, apparently, not looking at any actual F-35 cost numbers, he says.

    The cost estimators are "well-meaning people," O'Bryan said, "but they have to use data and models based on legacy programs, and the F-35 does not fit their models."

    For example, O'Bryan said, Lockheed's contracted cost for building the first three batches of F-35s, 31 planes in all, is below the previous Pentagon cost estimate made in 2007. Lockheed contracted to build the third batch of those planes at a price that O'Bryan says is 20 percent below the Pentagon's cost estimate. The precise number is proprietary, and Lockheed will not disclose it.

    In negotiations for the next lot, of 32 planes, O'Bryan said, Lockheed has proposed a price roughly equivalent to the government's 2007 cost estimate. The government's counteroffer, he said, is even lower.

    "These are the facts," O'Bryan said. "Not projections or estimates."

    O'Bryan cited cost-plus incentive contracts. None of those planes have been completed and all the bills paid.

    If Lockheed and its subcontractors meet the contract cost, Lockheed gets paid a fixed fee as its profit. If costs exceed the contracted price, Lockheed's profit dwindles. If costs rise so much that they erase Lockheed's profit, the government will pick up the extra expenses.

    There's no question, O'Bryan says, that the F-35 development program has had problems. The complete redesign begun in 2003 added billions to the development budget, setting off waves of design and manufacturing changes that have taken longer to subside and cost more than expected.

    But as experience with manufacturing and assembly has grown and test data have come in, the F-35 management team believes it now has a good idea of what building the jets will cost, O'Bryan said.

  9. #29
    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    25,061
    Thanks
    52
    Thanked 78 Times in 76 Posts

    Default Re: The Endangered F-35

    USAF Disputes Navy F-35 MRO Cost Projection
    May 26, 2010

    USAF Air Combat Command chief Gen. William Fraser says he does not agree with the Navy’s projections that the F-35 will cost more to maintain than previously expected.

    Officials at Naval Air Systems Command (Navair) have predicted a higher cost for operating the system over 65 years than has the Joint Strike Fighter’s joint program office (JPO), which is managing procurement of the triservice, nine-nation aircraft. The Navair study recently stated that 65 years of sustainment for the single-engine stealthy fighter could cost about $442 billion (Fiscal 2002 dollars) more than planned.

    “We don’t agree with the Navy numbers,” Fraser said during a May 20 interview with AVIATION WEEK. “Based on everything that I’m seeing, I have confidence right now in the other numbers [from the JPO], and not necessarily the Navy numbers.”

    The Navy will operate the carrier version while the Marine Corps will use the short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing (Stovl) version.

    The Air Force is expected to operate the preponderance of the U.S. fleet; it is planning to buy 1,763 of the conventional-takeoff-and-landing aircraft. Fraser says he is holding firm on the 1,763 requirement; recently the Air Force chief of staff, Gen. Norton Schwartz, said he expected to buy “more than 1,500” of the fighters. This was seen by some as him backing off of the long-standing 1,763 requirement.

    “We have not changed our requirement here at ACC,” Fraser says. He says he has not been asked to produce any contingency plans should the number shrink. This would most likely happen due to affordability problems. If the Pentagon’s predictions are true and the per-unit cost goes up about 57%, buying a full complement of F-35s could be untenable in the current fiscal environment.

    Fraser also says he is optimistic about recent progress in the F-35 development program, which has fallen under greater scrutiny due to a low-sortie production rate and delayed deliveries of test aircraft by prime contractor Lockheed Martin. “The predictive models that we are seeing on what we are going to be able to get out of each of the test points are better than – I think – some of the things we’ve seen in the past,” Fraser says. “The modeling has gotten better and … we are meeting those [predictions], and we are seeing what we had expected out of it.”

    Lockheed officials say that by June all 20 of the flight- and ground-test aircraft will be off of the company’s production line in Fort Worth, Texas. By year’s end, 395 flight test sorties are required, which would bring the program’s total to about 58. This is slightly more than the 5,000 sorties planned for the entire test program of all three variants (Aerospace DAILY, May 4).

  10. #30
    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    25,061
    Thanks
    52
    Thanked 78 Times in 76 Posts

    Default Re: The Endangered F-35

    I'll bet you are going to wonder why there is a post about the B-1B in a thread about the F-35. Read on...

    B-1B Lancer Fleet To the Boneyard?
    June 24, 2010

    Back to the Title 10 side of the house for a moment; the Air Force Council meets today to consider further cuts in aircraft to meet aggressive savings targets laid out by Defense Secretary Robert Gates. One option on the table: early retirement of all 66 B-1B Lancer bombers (the last delivery of which came back in 1988).

    Force structure cuts might also extend to the air arm’s much cherished but currently under-utilized fighter force. The service already plans to early retire 250 fighters this year, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said last month; gone are 112 F-15s, 134 F-162, and 3 A-10s.

    Some of the fighter wings, mainly A-10, are being chopped altogether, while others are transitioning from legacy F-15s to upgraded F-15s or to the fifth-generation F-22 and other wings are prepping to receive the F-35 at some uncertain future date.

    “By accepting some short-term risk, we can convert our inventory of legacy fighters and F-22 (Raptors) into a smaller, more flexible and lethal bridge to fifth-generation fighters like the F-35 (Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter),” Donley said.

    While short-range tactical fighters (and potentially bombers) are being cut, the Air Force is adding more MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper drones and more analysts to scrutinize the massive amounts of imagery they generate.
    And there it is in red.

  11. #31
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,612
    Thanks
    82
    Thanked 28 Times in 28 Posts

    Default Re: The Endangered F-35

    We need X wing fighters. Let's get on with this....
    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




  12. #32
    Postman vector7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Where it's quiet, peaceful and everyone owns guns
    Posts
    21,663
    Thanks
    30
    Thanked 73 Times in 68 Posts

    Default Re: The Endangered F-35

    And it's only been 16 months since this administration took office.

    We still got another 32 to go.

    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    添ou Americans are so gullible.
    No, you won稚 accept
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
    outright, but we値l keep feeding you small doses of
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
    until you値l finally wake up and find you already have communism.

    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
    ."
    We値l so weaken your
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
    until you値l
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
    like overripe fruit into our hands."



  13. #33
    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    25,061
    Thanks
    52
    Thanked 78 Times in 76 Posts

    Default Re: The Endangered F-35

    UK Liberals Take Aim At Fighter Jet Contract
    July 15, 2010

    The Liberals say that if they form the next government, they will put on hold a much-rumoured $16-billion sole-sourced fighter jet contract that is widely expected to be announced Friday by the Conservative government.

    In the meantime, the Liberals say they plan to call for yet another reconvening of a House of Commons committee, this time the defence committee, and demand Defence Minister Peter Mackay explain why such a large contract is not subject to a competitive process.

    The deal, according to media reports, would see Canada buy 65 F-35 Lightning II fighter jets for $9 billion from Lockheed-Martin. Once maintenance costs over the life of the planes is factored in, the entire program is estimated to cost $16-billion.

    Liberal industry critic Marc Garneau said at a news conference Thursday that if this is truly the best deal, then it would win the bid in an open process.

    "We just spent $2.6 billion to upgrade our current fleet of CF-18 aircraft and the replacement date that's forecast for these aircraft is not until 2017," said Garneau. "We need to make sure that Canadians get the best possible deal in the circumstances," he said.

    Under a previous Liberal government, Canada signed a memorandum of understanding in the 1990s with Lockheed-Martin as part of the company's Joint Strike Fighter program. But Garneau said that MOU does not bind Canada to buying the F-35s.

    "The best way to do it, unless it's crystal clear that there is only one candidate that meets the need ... is to go to open tender, open competition, to make sure that the taxpayer is going to get the best deal," said Garneau. "It's not too late to do that."

    He argues that putting a stop to such a contract would not be the same as when the Liberals cancelled the contract to build replacement helicopters in the 1990s, a decision that turned out to be more costly in the long run.

    Garneau also played down the need to buy the same jets as the U.S. "I would not overplay the importance of compatibility," he said.

    But he would not speculate on whether matching what the U.S. is buying is the reason the government might go with the sole-source contract.

    "We've got to look at that, get the government to appear before the defence standing committee, to open itself up because it's been extremely secretive."

    A $16-billion contract to build fighter jets would be one of the largest military projects in Canadian history, something Garneau says is noteworthy considering rumoured cuts to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

  14. #34
    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    25,061
    Thanks
    52
    Thanked 78 Times in 76 Posts

    Default Re: The Endangered F-35

    Navy Jet Switch To Save £10bn (From The Times, no link)
    The Fighters would have been the most expensive single project in the defence budget, with costs already put at £13.8 billion and rising

    August 1, 2010

    The Royal Navy is set to save £10 billion on the defence budget by dropping plans to buy a fleet of fighter jets costing £100m each for its new aircraft carriers.

    It is expected to swap an order for 138 Joint Strike Fighters (JSF) for a version of a cheaper aircraft currently flown off US carriers, the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet.

    The cost-saving move was considered at a meeting last weekend between Liam Fox, the defence secretary, and services chiefs to discuss cuts.

    "JSF is an unbelievably expensive programme,” said a senior defence source. "It makes no sense at all in the current climate, and even if we continued with it we cannot afford the aircraft we said we would buy.”

    The JSF, built by Lockheed Martin, Boeing’s main American rival, would have been the most expensive single project in the defence budget, with costs already put at £13.8 billion and rising. The aircraft were set to replace Harrier jump jets flown by the RAF and Navy.

  15. #35
    Postman vector7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Where it's quiet, peaceful and everyone owns guns
    Posts
    21,663
    Thanks
    30
    Thanked 73 Times in 68 Posts

    Default Re: The Endangered F-35

    Documents: Maintenance, security needs will cause fighter jet costs to soar

    By David Pugliese, Postmedia News November 29, 2010


    More Images »

    The F-35 Lightning II, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), planes arrive at Edwards Air Force Base in California in this May 2010 file photo.

    Photograph by: Tom Reynolds/Lockheed Martin Corp/Handout, REUTERS

    Canada's new stealth fighter aircraft will require extensive maintenance, as well as very expensive changes to improve security at the military bases they operate from, according to Defence Department documents obtained by the Ottawa Citizen.

    Critics of the Conservative government's proposal to buy the high-tech Joint Strike Fighters have been warning that the purchase will come with hidden costs that could drive up the price tag far beyond the current estimate of $16 billion.

    The 2006 Department of Defence report, which looked at next-generation fighter planes as well as the stealth Joint Strike Fighter, highlighted issues that could play a factor in any aircraft purchase.

    "Stealth aircraft are highly classified fighters therefore they would require special security measures at their bases of operations," the report noted.

    "These changes of infrastructure are not currently known but will likely be very expensive. A stealth aircraft will be much more demanding on Canadian infrastructure."

    The report also noted that upkeep of the stealth capability "will be maintenance intensive."

    The Defence Department did not comment on the extra costs associated with the stealth capability.

    The proposed acquisition of 65 Joint Strike Fighters has become the subject of almost daily debate in the Commons. The Conservatives say the project — the largest Canadian government procurement in history — is necessary so the military has modern aircraft to fly.

    But Liberal industry critic Marc Garneau, a former Canadian navy officer, said the stealth capability does not come cheap.

    "It's questionable whether we'll even need stealth," said Garneau.

    Critics of the proposed purchase have questioned why stealth aircraft are required when the main role of the new plane will be to protect Canadian airspace. That includes intercepting hijacked airliners and Russian air patrols that come too close to the country's airspace.

    "Do you need a stealth aircraft for that?" asked Garneau, referring to the occasional times that Russian planes have been intercepted. "Definitely not."

    The Liberals have said if elected they would hold a competition to select a new fighter, a process they maintain would save taxpayers money.

    Air force chief Lieut.-Gen. Andre Deschamps has said one of the reasons why a stealth capability is needed is so Canadian aircraft can approach, without being detected, foreign planes that approach the country's borders.

    Tom Burbage, a senior representative with Lockheed Martin, the U.S. firm building the fighter, said it would not need any special maintenance for its stealth capability. "We've taken the technology of stealth to a whole new level relative to maintainability," he explained earlier this year. "It's very easy to maintain."

    The Conservatives have also said that Canadian firms will now have the inside track on winning contracts associated with the fighter program.

    Industry Canada has stated there is an estimated $12 billion in potential work for domestic firms. Two years ago it claimed that amount of work was $8 billion.

    Industry Canada would not comment, however, on how it reached its $12 billion figure.

    Garneau said the $12 billion can't be trusted and that the U.S. is keen to keep jobs associated with the fighter production in America.

    "There will be enormous pressure to keep jobs in the United States, and there is no clear contractual arrangement here that says Canada must receive a certain proportion of work," he noted. "They've definitely hyped the numbers."

    Garneau pointed to a 2003 Pentagon report that stated Canada would only receive $3.9 billion worth of work on the Joint Strike Fighter, if it purchased the plane.

    Aerospace industry representatives and Department of Defence officials acknowledge there are no guarantees that Canadian companies will receive a set amount of work from Lockheed Martin in return for the government spending $16 billion on the new planes.

    But aerospace union officials have been pushing the Harper government to seek such guarantees.

    Last week, the Canadian Auto Workers union, representing 10,000 aerospace workers, said Canada should receive work equalling the amount of money it will spend on the Joint Strike Fighter. That, in the past, has been the way military procurements have been run.

    "Those dollars should require guaranteed investment and jobs in Canada of equivalent value: a dollar for a dollar," Jerry Dias, assistant to CAW president Ken Lewenza, stated in the brief to a Commons committee.

    "Canadian workers should not be asked to just sit back and hope that Lockheed Martin will send contracts to Canada out of the goodness of its heart. 'Wishful thinking' is not how you build a world-class aerospace industry."

    The Conservatives announced the Joint Strike Fighter purchase in July, with the aircraft as a key component of the party's defence policy.

    The fighter is mainly designed for hitting targets on the ground as opposed to an air-to-air fighter aircraft. That has prompted some critics to question the purchase since the main role for the planes is to patrol the country's airspace in a sovereignty protection mission.

    © Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    添ou Americans are so gullible.
    No, you won稚 accept
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
    outright, but we値l keep feeding you small doses of
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
    until you値l finally wake up and find you already have communism.

    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
    ."
    We値l so weaken your
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
    until you値l
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
    like overripe fruit into our hands."



  16. #36
    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    25,061
    Thanks
    52
    Thanked 78 Times in 76 Posts

    Default Re: The Endangered F-35

    JSF Costs Up At Least $2.5B: Rumor
    November 1, 2010

    Defense Secretary Robert Gates will reportedly be told in a Tuesday meeting that the Joint Strike Fighter program will need $2.5 to $5 billion more than currently budgeted and also faces significant schedule delays.

    The meeting is to discuss the Technical Baseline Review, which will feed into the November 22 Defense Acquisition Board meeting. THe TBR covers the current SDD phase of the largest conventional defense acquisition program in U.S. history.

    The preliminary information about the meeting comes from Winslow Wheeler, a longtime congressional defense budget expert now with the Center for Defense Information. Wheeler would only say that his source was in the federal government. But he has been right more often than not with such information and is very well plugged in.

    Wheeler sent several reporters an email over the weekend that said:

    The “A and C models will need another 12 month delay;”

    The Marine’s B model “will slip” two to three years;

    The program “will be budgeted with another $2.5 billion to $5 billion;”

    The Capability Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) “will re-estimate the O&S for F-35 as 1.5 times that of any aircraft being replaced

    We contacted several Pentagon spokespeople who declined to comment, saying the information, was, in that wonderful Pentagon phrase, “pre-decisional.: Of course, if there’s some good news or some really, really bad news, it won’t be pre-decisional. Then it will be information important to the people of America who deserve to know what their government is doing.

    Lockheed Martin wouldn’t say much: “It would be premature for Lockheed Martin to discuss the results of the TBR until the findings of the DAB have been released,” spokesman John Kent said in a prepared statement.

  17. #37
    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    25,061
    Thanks
    52
    Thanked 78 Times in 76 Posts

    Default Re: The Endangered F-35

    Ex-Bureaucrat Decries Feds' Purchase Of F-35 Jets
    October 7, 2010

    The former purchasing boss for the Canadian Forces condemned the federal government for buying 65 F-35 fighter jets.

    Alan Williams told Parliament's defence committee Thursday all their reasons for buying the fifth-generation stealth jets are "flawed," and they're wasting taxpayers' money by not asking for competitive bids.

    In the case of the jet fighters, Williams said a competitive bidding process could have shaved off $3.2 billion.

    "The procurement process is out of control and has degenerated into handouts for the chosen beneficiaries," he said.

    In July, the government announced they would buy 65 Joint Strike Fighter jets for $9 billion, with maintenance costs over the life-cycle of the planes expected to inflate the total to $16 billion.

    Williams, who was the assistant deputy minister at the Department of National Defence (DND) until he retired five years ago, told the committee when he continued Canada's participation in the Joint Strike Fighter program, it wasn't a commitment to buy the planes, only to help develop it and secure business for Canada's aerospace industry.

    "This competition had absolutely nothing to do with the need for a competition to determine which jet aircraft in the marketplace can meet the Canadian military requirements at the lowest life-cycle costs," Williams said. "Equating one competition with the other insults our intelligence."

    But Prime Minister Stephen Harper fired back from Winnipeg, saying Williams has changed his tune since he was at DND.

    "His advice was very different at the time that he was actually paid to give it," Harper said. "What are the Liberals and their friends in the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois seriously suggesting, that after developing one aircraft, we'll go out and buy a second aircraft so we'll have two aircrafts we're paying for instead of one?"

    Top brass from the Canadian aerospace industry have praised the deal for allowing them to go after some $13 billion worth of work on the world's newest fighter jet, which is more they than any guaranteed industrial and regional benefit that could have been written into a competitive contract for an older model plane.

    Williams, though, insists the potential for work under the Joint Strike Fighter program "pales in comparison" to what could have been guaranteed in a competitive bidding process.

    The Liberals have vowed to suspend the F-35 purchase and hold a competitive bid for the country's new jet fighters if they form government.

    Canada's first F-35 Lightning II — the world's only fifth-generation fighter jet — is set to arrive in 2016. They will ultimately replace the country's ageing fleet of CF-18s.

  18. #38
    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    25,061
    Thanks
    52
    Thanked 78 Times in 76 Posts

    Default Re: The Endangered F-35

    F-35s Grounded For Software, Hinge Fixes
    October 1, 2010

    Flight testing of all F-35 Joint Strike Fighter variants has been temporarily suspended until software that controls functioning of the engine’s three fuel boost pumps is modified, the Pentagon said Friday.

    In addition, short takeoff/vertical landing-mode flight testing operations have been prohibited for the F-35B variant after post-flight inspections revealed an issue with the auxiliary inlet door hinge on test aircraft BF-1, said Lockheed Martin spokesman John Kent.

    The auxiliary inlet doors, located immediately aft of the lift fan, open to feed additional air to the engine during short takeoffs, vertical landings, hovers and slow-speed flight, Kent said.

    The software problem that grounded all three jet variants and led to incorrect sequencing was discovered during laboratory testing, Pentagon spokeswoman Cheryl Irwin said. Left uncorrected, she said, “This could have possibly triggered a shutdown on the three boost pumps, which could potentially cause an engine stall.”

    Irwin said that such a simultaneous shutdown would be highly unlikely but that “prudence dictated a suspension of operations, temporarily, until the fuel boost pump signal timing was corrected.”

    Irwin said that update of the software that controls the functioning of the three boost pumps has been developed and that Lockheed engineers plan to complete functional and safety tests prior to installation in the test aircraft. Kent said the update, developed in partnership with fuel system software developer BAE Systems, will be delivered this weekend.

    Flight testing will resume Oct. 5, Irwin said.

    Kent said F-35B STOVL-mode flights will resume after the root cause has been identified and corrected.

    The issues were first reported by aviationweek.com.

    The Joint Strike Fighter is a joint, multi-national, single-seat, single-engine family of next-generation strike aircraft being developed for the Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps by Lockheed Martin in three variants: short takeoff and landing, conventional takeoff and landing, and aircraft carrier-capable.

  19. #39
    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    25,061
    Thanks
    52
    Thanked 78 Times in 76 Posts

    Default Re: The Endangered F-35

    JSF Engine Too Big For Regular Transport At Sea
    December 1, 2010

    The naval variant of the military’s fighter jet of the future arrived at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., on Nov. 6, a development that means the Navy and its industry partners are satisfied that the jet can safely perform basic flight maneuvers and is ready to tackle more demanding tests.

    Behind the scenes, however, the Navy is struggling to remedy a significant design oversight that poses a major potential hindrance to its ability to successfully deploy and maintain the F-35C Lightning II, the carrier-based variant of the joint strike fighter: Its powerful single engine, when packed for shipping, is too large to be transported to sea by normal means when replacements are required.

    “That is a huge challenge that we currently have right now,” said Capt. Chris Kennedy of the JSF Program Office, answering a flier’s question about JSF engine resupply following a public presentation on the state of the program at the 2010 Tailhook Symposium in September in Reno, Nev. He said the program office is working with the Navy staff and carrier systems planners to solve the problem.

    Regular wear and tear, as well as mishaps such as an engine sucking a foreign object off a carrier deck, make the availability of replacement aircraft engines critical. High-tempo combat operations only increase the need. Carriers typically pack spares, but heavy demand can drain those stores, requiring at-sea replenishment.

    However, the F-35C’s Pratt & Whitney F135 engine, contained in its Engine Shipping System, is too large for the cargo door on a standard carrier onboard delivery plane and for the V-22 tilt-rotor aircraft, the program office acknowledged in a response to a follow-on query from Navy Times. The engine can be broken down into five component parts, but just its power module and packaging alone won’t fit into the COD or the V-22.

    The JSF Program Office says the V-22 Osprey, like the MH-53E helicopter, can externally carry the F135 engine module, the heaviest of the five components, at least 288 miles “in good weather.”

    One outside analyst, Jan van Tol of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, wondered how the Osprey, in hover mode, could safely lower the module to the flight deck or pick up an out-of-service engine in higher sea states, given the heavy downdraft the aircraft’s 38-foot rotors generate when the engine nacelles are in the vertical position. When so positioned, with the aircraft hovering over the flight deck, the rotor wash can also affect sailors standing nearby – particularly those attaching the load sling, van Tol said. The GAO reported in 2009 that during shipboard exercises, the V-22’s downwash was so severe that in one instance, a sailor was directed to hold in place the sailor serving as the landing guide.

    Heat could also be a problem. Depending on the amount of heat generated, sailors involved in sling operations could possibly be forced to wear heat-resistant suits, van Tol said.

    Moreover, the Navy has no fleet V-22s and has no plans to acquire them. The Marine Corps flies the MV-22, but the Navy amphibious groups that carry its forces and aircraft to distant shores generally do not operate in the vicinity of carrier strike groups.

    The 9,400-pound engine module and transport container also cannot not be transferred from a supply ship to a carrier during underway replenishments — when two ships are sailing side-by-side and connected by supply lines — because, Kennedy said, “It’s too heavy for the unrep station.”

    The coming Gerald R. Ford-class carriers will have underway replenishment stations that can handle the load, Kennedy said. But the first Navy F-35 squadrons are scheduled to deploy between 2015 and 2018, when there will be one Ford-class carrier in the fleet. The second won’t be commissioned until four years after the first sets sail. The current Nimitz-class carriers will dominate the fleet until the 2030s.

    “You’ve got a very complex aircraft — and there are many, many interesting technologies in this — where it’s tough enough to consider the operational and technological factors,” van Tol said. “But apparently, they’ve not looked as carefully at second- and third-order issues.”

    Not the first problem

    The JSF program was launched in the mid-1990s; system development and demonstration contracts were awarded to design contract winner Lockheed Martin and engine builder Pratt & Whitney in 2001. The Navy currently plans to buy 680 F-35s, including the “B” short takeoff, vertical landing variant and the “C” carrier variant. It has only one F-35C operational flight test model, operating out of Pax River, according to Lockheed Martin.

    The apparently unforeseen engine transportation issue is yet another snag in a controversial program that has seen lagging flight tests, cost overruns and other unannounced concerns — problems laid bare by a Government Accountability Office report released in March. The mounting issues prompted Defense Secretary Robert Gates to fire the program’s top official in February, impose what amounted to a $614 million penalty on Lockheed Martin and order a major restructuring of the program.

    The program’s director since May, Vice Adm. David Venlet, recently briefed top Pentagon officials on the program’s status, including “additional issues that are of concern,” Gates spokesman Geoff Morrell said.

    Taken together, the problems threaten to further increase program costs and complicate immediate spending plans. The House wants to limit the number of aircraft purchased in fiscal 2011 unless certain performance milestones are met; the Senate Appropriations Committee, citing various concerns with the program, has approved a spending bill that cuts 10 of the 42 jets the Pentagon has requested.

    Navy: Issue with alternate, too

    The resupply issue likely won’t add fuel to the fire still burning in some congressional circles for an alternative JSF engine made by General Electric and Rolls-Royce — one strongly opposed by the Pentagon. That engine would have similar transportability issues.

    “The F136 would have similar dimensions and modularity,” said Navy spokeswoman Capt. Cate Mueller.

    The F136 would use the same transport system, thus making it unable to fit into a COD or V-22.

    Mueller said “multiple options” for transporting spare engines to aircraft carriers are being considered in the discussions referred to by Kennedy, which also involve Marine Corps officials. Solutions being evaluated, she said, include “developing a low-profile engine transport system that would fit in the back of Navy and Marine aircraft; prepositioning spares on [carriers and amphibious ships]; and prepositioned spares located at forward-deployed operational areas that can be quickly transported to ships.”

    Officials also are evaluating “the usefulness of existing containers with the V-22, MH-53 and C-2 aircraft,” she said.

    A low-profile rail system would allow the engine — which by itself is not too large for the cargo doors of the COD, the MH-53E or the V-22 — or its modules to slide off the trailer and into the aircraft, Mueller said. A separate maintenance transfer trailer would be needed on the carrier for the transferred engine.

    As is current practice, commercial carriers would be employed to supplement the military’s ability to transport spares to forward locations, Kennedy said. Planners have also modeled carrier capacity to store additional engine modules, a concept he said is “one of the challenges we’re working today.”

    Storage, even on a ship as big as a carrier, is a precious commodity, van Tol pointed out. “The storage was always at a premium, no matter how large the ship was,” said van Tol, a retired Navy captain who commanded three ships, including the amphibious assault ship Essex. “Not only that, you have to be able to store it in such places that the yellow gear — the handling equipment — can actually move the engines around to where the jets are that are [having engines] replaced.”

    Carriers carry spares for embarked aircraft with engines that are repairable underway. A carrier typically deploys with about 35 spare, fully assembled F404 or F414 engines for its Hornets and Super Hornets, respectively, according to Lt. Aaron Kakiel, a Naval Air Forces spokesman.

    All told, the program’s multiple problems “increase the risk that the program will not be able to deliver the aircraft quantities and capabilities in the time required by the war fighter,” GAO concluded. The Marine Corps wants initial operational capability of the JSF by 2012, with the Air Force and Navy by 2013.

    However, Naval Air Systems Command said in 2009 that because of the many unresolved issues with the program, the Marine and Navy goals are “not achievable.” The Pentagon’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation told GAO that it projects the initial operational testing of the full war-fighting capability of the JSF by mid-2016.

    By the time initial operational capability is reached, Mueller said, the F-35C engine resupply issue “will be completely addressed.”

    GAO did not raise the engine transportability issue while discussing the program’s logistical challenges, but it found that the Air Force faces a parallel problem: The current integrated support system for its JSF variant is limited in scope and would prohibit two detachments from one squadron simultaneously — another limitation that “will severely affect current operating practices.”

    At the current Pentagon estimate of $382 billion, the JSF is the military’s most expensive acquisitions program. Under the Pentagon spending plan for fiscal 2011, each aircraft is projected to cost $112 million — or, when research and development costs are factored in, about $133.6 million in constant fiscal 2010 dollars, according to the Congressional Research Service.

  20. #40
    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    25,061
    Thanks
    52
    Thanked 78 Times in 76 Posts

    Default Re: The Endangered F-35

    Lockheed's Stevens Says F-35 May Need `More Time, More Dollars'
    November 4, 2010

    The development phase of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 jet fighter, the most expensive U.S. weapon program, will likely take longer and more money than expected to complete, Chief Executive Officer Robert Stevens said.

    The U.S. Defense Department and the company are “probably going to examine the need for more time, more people and more dollars,” Stevens said in an interview today in Washington.

    The Pentagon is conducting a so-called Technical Baseline Review, led by F-35 program manager Vice Admiral David Venlet, in time for a scheduled Nov. 22 Defense Acquisition Board evaluation. The review may disclose broad ranges of potential cost increases and schedule delays on top of changes unveiled this year by the Pentagon, two government officials with knowledge of the program said this week.

    The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter model being designed for the U.S. Marine Corps, with a short-takeoff and vertical-landing capability, is behind schedule, Stevens said.

    “We have to improve the performance of that airframe,” he said. “The software has been performing well when it’s on the aircraft, but it’s going to take some more resources.”

    The Pentagon has already mandated a 13-month extension to the current development phase to November 2015, shifting $2.8 billion in production funds for continued research and delaying the purchase of 122 jets to beyond 2015. The weapon program is estimated to cost $382 billion.

    Lockheed, based in Bethesda, Maryland, advanced $1.03, or 1.5 percent, to $71.96 at 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have declined 4.5 percent this year.

    Marine Corps Model


    The Marine Corps model is the most complex of the three versions being developed and has fallen short of flight-test goals. As of Oct. 31, it has flown 168 times compared with a target of 209 tests, John Kent, a Lockheed spokesman, said in a statement today. Including flight tests of the Navy’s carrier- variant and the conventional-takeoff model, the plane has completed 321 flights, 28 more than planned by October, he said.

    The model’s basic flying characteristics, propulsion system and structural integrity “are performing well,” Stevens said. By contrast, “supplier-provided components” such as cooling fans “are not demonstrating early reliability,” he said.

    As a result, Lockheed is focusing more attention than planned on correcting supplier deficiencies. “That takes time, and that means we’re going to have to re-examine the flight-test schedule and program,” he said.

    ‘Reallocate Resources’

    The Pentagon review led by Venlet is looking at program changes in the past year and asking, “how has performance unfolded, are we doing that which we expected on plan, are we better than planned, are we behind and, importantly, how do we reallocate resources to assure this program is successful,” Stevens said.

    The $50 billion development phase may cost as much as $5 billion more, according to preliminary estimates in Venlet’s review, the two government officials said on condition of anonymity because the review hasn’t been made public yet.

    Separately, Pentagon cost analysts now estimate the JSF may be as much as 1 1/2 times more expensive to maintain than the warplanes it will replace.

    Slippage in the JSF’s timetable may be as much as one year for the Air Force and Navy versions, and two to three years for the Marine Corps model, the officials said.

    Leaks Regretted

    Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell today criticized release of the information, noting “the department regrets that someone chose to provide unauthorized and incomplete information to the press.”

    “Admiral Venlet has been doing a soup-to-nuts review of the JSF program,” Morrell said. “It is the most thorough, the most extensive, the deepest dive yet we have done into the F-35 program.”

    “But that assessment is not yet complete,” he said. “Therefore, what has been leaked to the press is premature, and I would suggest to you that in some respects it’s inaccurate.”

    Stevens and Joseph Dellavedova, a U.S. Air Force F-35 program spokesman, said separately that the first two production aircraft, which were supposed to be delivered this month to Edwards Air Force Base, California, are undergoing modifications and will be delivered in April.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •