JSF Production “Turned The Corner”

JSF Production “Turned The Corner”

Senator Joe Lieberman assembled quite a panel at this morning’s hearing of the Senate Armed Services AirLand subcommittee to discuss the Joint Strike Fighter program and the Navy’s “fighter gap.” According to the Air Force and Navy officials, the JSF program is performing pretty well, apart from some minor delays and cost overruns, so any potential fighter gap is easily manageable.

Vice. Adm. David Architzel, the Principal Military Deputy to the Navy assistant secretary for acquisition, said he’s confident that the most recent restructuring of the JSF program will deliver an aircraft without further cost increases or delays in delivery. The Navy expects the first flight of the F-35C carrier variant no later than May.

“We’ve turned the corner on production line delays,” said Air Force Lt. Gen. Mark Shackelford, the service’s top buyer, who expects to take delivery of the first test aircraft this year. The jump in the JSF’s price tag and the delays were due primarily to small design changes, which while minor, rippled through the production line causing excessive “churn and stress.” That production line is now well on the way to “maturing,” he said. He declared the F-35 airframe itself as solid; although the plane’s software package has proven a bit more problematic.

Marine Corps aviation chief, Lt. Gen. George Trautman, who has already taking delivery of his service’s test aircraft, said the important part that JSF critics miss is that there are no major technical or manufacturing issues with the jets. The Marine’s F-35B short take off and landing version has been flying since June, is performing well, and the expected initial operational capability (IOC) date is December 2012. By then, the Marines expect to have 10 F-35Bs in the Block IIB configuration; the version currently being test flown is the Block .5.

Trautman expects to field a fully operational squadron of F-35Bs, following block upgrades of avionics and software, by 2014. This claim led Lieberman to ask if the Marines were taking a risk by fielding a squadron of Block IIB aircraft instead of waiting for the Block III version, like the Navy and Air Force. Trautman said the F-35B is so much more capable than the AV-8 Harrier squadron it will be replacing that “it’s an easy decision to make.” It will give Marine air component commanders their first ever stealthy STOVL aircraft operating off Marine amphibs.

The Air Force will have to wait a little longer for their IOC date, which is scheduled for the first quarter of 2016, said Maj. Gen. Johnny Weida, director of Air Force operations and plans. For the Air Force, IOC is defined as 12–24 Block III versions of the F-35. The Navy projects its F-35C IOC that same year.

As for the Navy’s looming fighter gap, Trautman admitted that the models used to calculate that gap are a bit shaky and susceptible to wide variations, depending on the inputs. He thinks that with careful management of the legacy F-18 fleet, by which he means service life extension, close air support burden sharing between the Navy and Marines, and finding “depot efficiencies,” that fluctuating fighter gap number can be trimmed to no more than 100 in 2018. If JSF can be kept on track, that number can be reduced even further, he said.

The Air Force and Navy officials backed up Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ assertion that an alternate engine for the F-35, the F-136, is unnecessary. It would require spending at least $2.5 billion over the next five years to develop the alternate engine, Architzel said, money that would then be unavailable to buy more F-35s.

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I am getting to be so cynical!

Didn’t the generals say this a year ago? Any delivery that is more than 12 months out is “safe” by definition. In a year or so, the military generals will be safely retired! So the AF is on track to an IOC of 2016 — between now and then we’ll see a couple more price jumps and delivery delays.

Lockheed F-35 Projected Cost May Rise an Additional $51 Billion
April 12, 2010, 2:52 PM EDT
By Tony Capaccio

April 12 (Bloomberg) — 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.

Gotta like the logic here . Because they have barely scratched the surface of flight testing and are years behind on the EMD/SDD flight test schedule, they claim there are no problems. Ergo ‘No testing = No problems ‘. With 97% of the EMD flight testing still ahead the chances of this “no problems” remaining true through 2016 are essentially zero!

Good thing we will have 308 of these built before we know that the design works. Hey it’s only $58B of taxpayer money.

Well lets hope Lockheed Martin and everybody can keep the program on track and cost-effective. I fully support more F-22As and a similar fifth generation air superiority focused aircraft for the Navy, but an aircraft to replace the AV-8B, and large numbers of F-16s is badly needed.

According to the worst-case scenario, everyone in America will lose their job tomorrow and the entire economy will shut down next week.

Wow. Uniformed service leaders have no problem misleading elected officials.

Gentleman, its Politics at its best. I just hate to see our Military leaders also suck up to the civilian brass above them (ie, GATES). Gates has put the fear of God into our Generals and Admirals that they will not even speak the truth or give their opinion anymore. I wish Generals Eisenhower, McArthur and Patton were still around as well as Admiral Nimitz…these guys did not feel threatened by being Politically correct.

The problem is the worst case scenario for american jobs is far-fetched and unlikely to happen.

But for big-ticket DoD acquisitions like JSF, the worst case scenario is unfortunately also the most likely
case scenario.

All I had to read was the first three words to see how the vast yankee zionists conspiracy to control the US military and industry had taken hold here. Maybe you christian crusaders should focus on improving your own vresion of democracy before wasting so much money on imperialist weapons. Where is Byron Skinner wen you need him to point out how this is just another instance of the leftover Bush/Cheney military industry machine attempt at making a self perpetuating cycling of business. You yankee crusaders are disgusting. Tell ‘em Byron!

Is this a guy a joke? Somebody tell me this guy is joking.

“The jump in the JSF’s price tag and the delays were due primarily to small design changes, which while minor, rippled through the production line causing excessive “churn and stress.” Apparently Lt. Gen. Shackelford has not attended JSF cost growth briefings or needs to hone his active listening skills.

(1) The term “program acquisition unit cost”, with respect to a major defense acquisition program, means the amount equal to (A) the total cost for development and procurement of, and system-specific military construction for, the acquisition program, divided by (B) the number of fully-configured end items to be produced for the acquisition program.

The greatest factor in this case is the number of fully-configured end items to be procured.
To wit, the Navy’s “looming fighter gap” is self-inflicted because it has more confidence in it’s current F-18’s that the promised F-35 capabilities. Any production line issues were below the noise floor for this program.

they will accelerated the production just for save foreign buyer and potential buyers against one foreign aircraft. In the term we have one plane who was not ended because some people don’t will lose their reputation like toyoto hybrid vehicule who need change piece because many people have problems. but one plane is not one car, and when foreign client need remplace this piece or this piece that can not march .
When the first f-35 was crashed , we are going see the reality of the program

1. Turned the corner? Maybe, but nobody knows how many corners are on this race track.__2. WRT: “keep the program on track and cost-effective.” That is already a lost cause unless you are willing to totally disregard SDD costs which appear to be unlimited.__3. With all these SLEPs and SLAPs has anyone even tried to figure out how many aircraft will actually be combat capable vs. time. Sure we will have airframes but how many are unfliable? That is part of the gap too. And with the constant inspections and finding of new cracks here and there it is going to be very hard to predict. So basically is is yet another big gamble (as if banking all of of US TACAIR on 1 aircraft that was not designed to be a fighter and is having development problems, and 1 engine is not a big enough gamble).__4. Where is the estimated cost for fixing the 308 F-35s built before SDD is completed and before OPEVAL is completed? Yes it too is hidden. So the real price for the 2443 jets is still higher. And what is the price if we can’t sell 700 export F-35s? __5. Add Billy Mitchell and John Boyd to the list of type of leaders that we need now. __

But if we stop these imperialist weapons, wouldn’t that cause too much dancing
in the streets of Ballestine, as we saw in Gaza after the September 11 attacks?

Unfettered armed might against barbarism works better, if we can only give victory a chance.

See how peaceful and friendly Germany and Japan have become since the US Army Air Force first visited them.

Tell ‘em Byron? Dude, you need to take it very easy with that strong booze you’re drinking.

He’s a Moby. He’s most likely a right-wing Christian pro-military guy pretending to be an anti-American left-wing Muslim activist. The idea is to foster group bonding and motivation by subjecting the group to attacks from the outside. A lot of political websites get these types. Lefty activists go on left-wing sites and post what they *think* an evil right-winger would say. The idea, in their mind, is to strengthen the left-wing views of the group by subjecting them to attack and fostering an Us vs Them attitude. There is some truth to this. Same thing happens on right-wing sites, somebody pretends to be a lefty and insults the right.

I have to go to a beer website now and post as wine_snob2000 and tell the beer drinkers that only trailer trash high school dropouts drink beer and all the best people are in wine bars these days. Then I’ll head to Wine Review and post as BudMan4Ever and let the wine drinkers know that real men drink beer and only snooty, lady-boys with their fancy college diplomas and “look at me, I read books” attitude drink wine.

theres an article saying the B version is “too loud” “may endanger personnel” so, wtf is really going on? I have a hard time believing anything about JSF. 2014? Damn, thats a while. Maybe we should sell the F-22 to our closest allies? Keep the line up and running. Its true, these people only understand violence, not words. F-ing barbaric, they wanna drag the world back to 700 AD. Some want to kill us all. Watever, but this JSF project is getting murky, confusing.

Good Afternoon Folks,

I guess Vice Admiral Architzel thinks that the public is as dumb as the Senator from Israel Joe Libberman and the rest of Congress. But non of the posters pickup up the missing punch line.

Non where is mentioned Vice Admiral Architzel the base line price per unit of the F-35, the Admiral say won’t go up. Congressmen/women who have pockets full of LM money buy it bit I doubt it would fly at a Tea Party.

Byron Skinner

Who are all these nanny nay bobs talking out of their butts on subject matter they have no clue. Regurg of left-wing anti-military garbage they read on the net everyday because they are probably unemployed wanna B’s who can’t find a job in Aerospace. Check the latest article from the Lexington Institute that takes cost projections out to Block 4 configs…same price as the latest block of F-16’s! So get out of your pajama’s and Mother’s basement and join the real world and make friends with somebody…other than your laptop! What cost is too much? Go ask the folks flying and maintaining tired Falcons, Harrier’s and Hornets…I do everyday here at the plant! They are concerned with the mission when called into the fight — strapped into old tired iron; some overdue depot maintenance because the jet cannot be taken off the line! As far as a Fighter being too loud…that is the sound of freedom…the same freedom that gives you knuckleheads the chance to write your blather here, along with mine! Let’s see…ObamaCare or an F-35…hmmm, I’ll take the jet!

Good Evening Folks,

To LRW. What branch of the service did you serve in that gives to the right to berate anybodies opinion. The Lexington Institute is just another Bull Sh**ing winger thank that sucks of the public tit with consulting contracts, as well as selling it self to contractors as a lobbying shop.

The plant. Gee LRW your not concerned about the defense of the United States just your own rice bowel. How much are being paid for your rage, who ever it is your benefactor is not getting their monies worth.

Although I think Obama care, which is in my opinion a sell out to bail out the health insurance industry and is worthless. I will still take it over the LM welfare called the F-35 any day.

Oh LRW real men, assuming your a man maybe your a eunch, sign their name to posts when they want to trash others.

Byron Skinner

Looking back through the history of the JSF Program, how many times have we seen this same military leadership ignoring the warning signs and saying similar things? Welcome to the world of military leadership under Sec. Gates. If you don’t openly support his policies and say so in public on a regular basis, you get strapped in the nearest ejection seat for a quick ride to the end of your military career!

With just a small number of the required 5000 test flights completed due to a test schedule that is now hopelessly behind, we are years away from seeing a fully functional F-35 flying. To say we have turned a corner in production of the JSF is a cruel joke on the American taxpayer.

Why is this F-22 and F-35 a JSF production? Whatever happens to buy america? Should’nt we produce this instead of foriegn production?

Perhaps if we adopt the F-35 engines and all its weaponry to our 1950’s Valkerie, it can fly twice as much as the F-35 at mack 3 to mack4 and can be consider as one of our best aircraft today if adopted.

The 1950’s Valkyrie is quate a performance arcraft at mack 3 speed. I wonder if we fit it with the modern F-35 engines. It could double its speed.



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