JSF Costs Up At Least $2.5B: Rumor

JSF Costs Up At Least $2.5B: Rumor

UPDATED: Lockheed Statement, Other Details

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.

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I understand this is still a rumor, but–

Brand new F-16s can be ready to fly right off the production line, no waiting. The administration could swallow their pride and build some more F-22s as well, again, no waiting. In both cases, LockMart still gets paid something.

Enough of this waste! Strip this turkey for parts and put it behind us.

Winslow Wheeler is the source, really? Is DOD buzz attempti to losoe its credibility in the quickest time possible?

Test flights seem to be going smoothly. I believe BF-1 reached Mach 1.3 recently, I don’t see anything that would trigger all of this.

The alleged announcement is tomorrow, so it won’t take long to verify the rumor or put it to bed.

Curiously, we still have not seen the negotiated LRIP 4 pricing.…

Yeah, when the F-15 started production, we should have scrapped the program & procured more F-4s instead. ;)

When the F/A-18 started production, we should have scrapped the program & procured more A-7s instead. ;)

Its true people. It amazes me how the costs keep increasing about every six months since Gen Heinz left. I wonder who Gates is going to fire now?

I’m sure Bill will be stricken with doubt now that lockmart PR has lead him by the nose yet again. I mean if you can’t trust self serving PR flacks who can you trust ? 8-)

The rise of spiral development has a lot to do with the associated financial model: spiraling costs. For the defense contractors R&D isn’t an investment anymore it’s an income stream. If not a single F35 gets deployed Lockheed will walk away with a profit — and here is the best part — bid and win the replacement contract — so the whole farce can start again.

Ah Oblat, still making personal attacks I see. Why don’t you go off, design a superior aircraft, and produce it on time and on-schedule if you think you know it all? Good luck.

Still nothing on all of the aviation news sites. Winslow Wheeler is a guy who believes a fighter with anything more than a gun, two Sidewinders, and a range-only radar is gold-plated, so I naturally have my doubts.

Good Afternoon Folks,

Boomer you are correct but for the wrong reasons. This is the result of an annual inflation clause or the Santa Clause provision of the contract. Every year LM gets in inflation bump of 5%. This of course means that the original price will double every 14.2 years, if no other increases are incurred.

Also in December LM will be looking once again for their performance bonuses, another $600–800 million.

On the successful tests, well how can I say this, well they lied to you. A B variant F-35 was almost lost, electrical problems in all variants and there is now serious questions regarding the F-35’s “stealth”. New time window had been moved up from 2018 to 2025.

The emerging joint defense agreement between the French and British will most likely kill the 120 F-35C’s in favor of the French Naval fighter. Also expect the UK’s order for replacement C-130’s to be filled with the A400M.

The word is that Britain still wants a world class Navy, the US has given the cold shoulder to the Ministry of Defenses cost reductions in the UK, so a Franc/Anglo extra NATO alliance is more now then just a possibility.

Word on boards that don’t take money for the industry and winger tanks, say that another huge cost increase is to come on the F-35 program after the elections and the first of the year. The DoD has simply lost all managerial control of the F-35 program and is at a loss to to get it back. LM is getting all that they can before someone wises up and dumps the whole da** F-35 program

And no I’m not giving any sources, if interested look them up yourself.

Byron Skinner

Says you with you BS about scrapping the F-35 program & procuring new F-16s.

AND who, like APA, hopes that the cancellation of the F-35 will lead to the procurment of his own personal ‘pet project’…


LRIP anyway…

Wait Byron, now you saying DoDBuzz takes money from these “winger tank” of yours? Come on, take off the tin-foil hat.

The truth is Winslow Wheeler has quite the reputation due to his unconventional views on US fighter programs. He is a hardcore light-weight fighter advocate to the point where the current F-16 is too complex. Despite the problems the F-35 has suffered, I have my doubt these delays and cost increases are real because it hasn’t been that long since the program’s last revisions.

The test flight of BF-2 where a RAF pilot reached Mach 1.3 was confirmed, that was back in mid-October I believe. And I haven’t heard of any stealth related concerns. The last major problem I heard about was related to the drive-shaft for the lift fan on the B model.

Lets just see what tomorrow holds before anybody starts pounding nails into the JSF’s coffin.

I believe Kopp had some investment in some F-111 related company besides for putting his entire career behind his F-22 and F-111 plan. What’s Wheeler’s idea for a F-35 alternative?

And speaking of BS, drop another load on us AGAIN. We have yet to see a F-35 fly with block 3 software (most are at block 0.1–0.5). We have yet to see a F-35 do a supersonic weapons drop, be cleared for high alpha flight testing, or really fly with any of the gee-whiz pimp daddy techno crap (EOTS, DAS, etc) functional in any sort of way.

As I’ve stated before we are years away from seeing a battle ready F-35 in any form. And now its going to be quite a bit longer.

Give us a break from the Lockmart marketing gibberish and take a breath of reality.

To the poster William C.

You wrote: “Lets just see what tomorrow holds before anybody starts pounding nails into the JSF’s coffin.”

Okay, it’s official: I start accepting on-line bets.

Neither of the programs you mentioned are much like the F-35. The better parallel is the F-111, and though it ended up being a decent strike/ EW aircraft for the Air Force, it never approached the do-it-all hype that sold it to McNamara. The Navy did quite well for itself by taking the systems developed for the –111B and applying them to a better design.

The F-35 is a pile of conflicting compromises. It will never be a great plane, it’s crowding out development of better aircraft, and there is so much riding that if the program is allowed to fail catastrophically it threatens to cripple our fighter industry and our defense all at once. Those are not reasons to reinforce failure, we need to get out now and stop the bleeding.

Come on, –5 for stating a fact? Here is the article: http://​www​.codeonemagazine​.com/​n​e​w​s​_​i​t​e​m​.​h​t​m​l​?​ite

Don’t pay it any mind… I’ve used the thumbsdown, but I quit. I figured that it’s worth about as much as the time it takes to click it. Just say what you want, and if I really disagree I’ll say something back.

Interesting. A few days they were talking about modifying F-22s to incorporate some of the good F-35 stuff…and even then they won’t match EODAS for air-to-ground and potential missile defense. F-22 helmet-mounted displays mods would cost a fortune. But let’s look at the quotes from Wheeler’s election-eve “e-mail.”

“The “A and C models will need another 12 month delay;”- Not great, but good things are worth waiting for as opposed to buying more 4th gen that get shot down by air defenses 50 miles off China or future Iran and Venezuela. And the USAF still must figure out where it will park those F-35As in the Pacific outside missile range.

“The Marine’s B model “will slip” two to three years;” Did the U.K. pull future R&D money when it decided it wants the F-35C? That and fewer bought probably explain the delay and cost increases. The Harrier is one of the most crash-prone of any fixed wing aircraft and it will save money in the long term to get it right now, even if it means delays.

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

Sound pretty bad right? Except when you divide $300 billion by 2443 aircraft and then again by $305 billion, the difference is about $2 million per aircraft. Weren’t they just talking the other day about upgrading F-22s to include more interoperability and good stuff from the F-35…and even then won’t be able to equal EODAS useful for air-to-ground and missile defense, OR the helmet-mounted displays. Even regular F-22 upgrades were said a few years ago to cost $8 billion which when divided by 186 aircraft results in slightly different metrics then adding $5 billion to a 2443 aircraft buy.

Let’s say F-35s cost 1.5 more in O&S than current aircraft…that we have about 1.5 more of yet won’t survive Day 1 against future air defenses.…sounds like a monetary wash for far greater performance.

Calm down Wheeler…and like how you waited until election eve for this “startling” revelation.

Good Evening Folks,

The JSF program will be around for a long time. It is supported by the most important thing in the DoD, pride, vanity, ego, selfish self interests and of course money, lots of money.

Will it ever fly or go into production, who knows. As long as LM is getting there money and a 5% annual inflation bump, they don’t care. The tax payer be da**ed.

“Till there be property there can be no Government, the very end of is to secure wealth and to defend the rich from the poor.”

Byron Skinner

How can Lockheed continue saying there will be more delays or that they will need more money. When is the US government going to realize that Lockheed can’t deliver what they promise with the F-35 this plane is a waste of money and they should realize by now making more f-22 with a combination of f-15SE should do the job don’t keep throwing money as if it is paper to burn, things like this is what is having the economy in the shape it is.

Just go with the the friggin’ F-22 since it is proven and ready to go now.

How many flight hours have you in jet fighters????

William,Winslow Wheeler believes only in a gun.They told about missiles to be unreliable and the need of passive sensors in a document a year ago.

“The emerging joint defense agreement between the French and British will most likely kill the 120 F-35C’s in favor of the French Naval fighter”

Whoever said that is talking out of their rear.

Proven to fly off a carrier deck…? ;)

Plus, there is a good markeing slogan for LM:
“F-35, the sub-prime mortgage of aviation world. It will keep you surprised!”

How amusing watching the defense contractors discuss conspiracy theories about people with vested interests. Completely shameless.

It reminds me of the comment from last week — “Contractors are not Americans, they are just attached by a feeding tube”

To Mr. Robert A. Fritts

Part 1 / 2

You wrote: “All project managers of this fiasco, military and civilian, should be meeting at the Ft. Leavanworth Disciplinary Barracks Hale and Farewell soon after the new year.”

Robert, let me give you a really friendly advice. Your loud calls to bring proper Justice to ALL those involved in the stinkier aspects of the U.S. American military-industrial complex are absolutely honourable, courageous and are even written VERY FUNNY on top of that, but…


Part 2 / 2

if you

1) mention your true name here

2) mention two friends with Arab-sounding names in your Facebook contacts (Facebook was developed with the help of the C.I.A. . No, this is NOT some conspiracy theory: “Google” the two search words “Facebook” + “CIA” together…)

3) mention that you have two sons fighting in Afghanistan, in the Infantry

4) live in the place and in the time whose leaders perpetrated 11 / 9 against their own nation

End of message.

A friend.

Start all over again, but next time with a nick-name. And preferably not “impale-the-generals” !

True, to whomever above it was who said: Gates can only fire so many people before he will have to be accountable for this JSF policy making himself. Although, perhaps after everything he’s gone through already on the F-35, he would probably not want it to implode fully on his watch. Best to find a promotion somewhere first, sheesh.

Time yet for a strategic rethink? God speed, JSF Partners and USAF..

It’s interesting to see in the court documents that the F35 avionics had a complete failure of the quadruple redundant flight controls in 2004. If it happened int he air the aircraft probably would have broken up.

In the spiraling costs production model, the careful management of bugs to extract the most revenue is important. That’s why Lockheed is outraged that the DoD is insisting or more testing.

Firefox, how many U.S.-made 4th generation planes have been shot down in air-to-air combat the past 30 years? One. How many aces are serving in all the services? None, because potential foes know not to mess with U.S. and allied planes and pilots. How many have been shot down by SAMs not as advanced as current and future ones. Multiple. THAT is the true future threat when added to TBM that can take them out on the ground and serve as the poor nation’s air force.

How many threat nations spend more than $10 billion annually on defense that could afford thousands of 5th gen aircraft? Why do you think it is preferable to have 4,000 F-16s/F-18 instead of 2,000 F-35s. Who will fly and maintain those extra 2,000 aircraft and how many will be TBM and SAM fodder…or will be used to chase “high-tech” Bear bombers. How many F-22s have served in combat and contributed to saving lives in current conflicts? Pilots and maintainers cost big bucks and more airmen serving 6 month tours means fewer Soldiers who then must serve multiple year-long tours in much harsher conditions.

I agree, and since there wont be 2443 F-35’s made, and some of our allies might drop out of the program
( alleged ). unit costs will go up. I thought the F-35 was envisioned like the F-16, a cheap alternative to
the F-15 / F-22. But this is not cheap. There are options, F-22 production lines end in December.
F-16, F-15 & Super Hornets lines are all still going. This might be time to put money in Boeing Stock.
Boeing has a hand in the F-22’s and produces F-15’s & Super Hornets. What ever happened to the
F-16XL ??

I read a repot Gates will be retiring in 2011. Is the F-35 the cause ?

I guarantee you that me and countless others working in the industry you so despise are far more American than some military-bashing conspiracy theorist like yourself.

If that’s the test on whether we can share opinions, this place will get awfully quiet.

I almost crashed a Cessna once. It was a valuable lesson in aerodynamics.

To Mr. Robert A. Fritts

You wrote: “Hell EADS and Dassault could start with a blank slate and still beat this 3 legged pig to the county fair.”

Part 1 / 4

You mean if Europeans ( = E.A.D.S., French and Swedish) are capable of designing a brand-new warplane from empty C.A.D. file to mass-production in only 8 years, before the fat F-35 chick falls through its nest (in 2018 – 2025 ?), or before the U.S. find a national alternative for the F-35, and even at only half or one third of the F-35’s price, otherwise you get A FULL REFUND ?!

Challenge acccepted! Say “yes”, bring in the specifications and we Euros sign the contract! Our opportunistic motto: “We won’t deception you!”. (Dassault is even much faster and also much cheaper than E.A.D.S., even cheapish, believe me, but maybe not entirely as sophisticated… But we French will most probably offer you ten free Panhard V.B.L.s per jet, as a superior alternative for your M-A.T.V.s and J.L.T.V.s! That’s up to 24.430 free A.T.V.s…)


Part 2 / 4

That’s why I adjure E.A.D.S. that NOW is the golden opportunity to go into hyper-drive mode and work 24/7/365/x8 to

1) finish the Eurofighter’s fighter-bomber version (not just with U.S.-style “gimmickry”),
2) maybe an electronic warfare version, too,
3) navalize EVERYTHING ,
4) reduce the original unit price to ONE THIRD (because of the increasingly serious prospect of a whopping 2.443 sales or license-productions in the U.S.)

and, above all,

5) lend a few Eurofighter squadrons (for example an aircraft carrier’s supply) to Great Britain and the U.S.A., for “a 30 years long test ride. Maintenance costs are on the house” (given what’s at stake…)


Part 3 / 4

If E.A.D.S. SUCCEEDS and gets to build 2.443 Eurofighters, then it will even destroy the U.S. military aircraft industry as a collateral damage, thus becoming the West’s ONLY supplier of warplanes! Rifles, vehicles and ships are next. (I can hardly wait for the day when la Grande Armée slaps helmets again on clueless U.S. soldiers’ heads, like in 1917… hee hee hee)


Part 4 / 4

But if E.A.D.S. FAILS to scent this unique historical opportunity, the F-35 crisis, in the next ≥ 8 years as intensely as a dog smells meat in a slaughter-house (like when they completely overlooked the Boeing 777 “niche” and ONLY concentrated on making an Airbus A380 Super-Jumbo, even using the wrong justification for that decision, the hub-and-spoke transit model, and lost all clients for its freighter version, too, etc .etc. …) and fails to attempt a single intrepid move, then the E.E.E.E.E. (the Eternal European Empire Executive Entity) should formally outlaw SO MUCH stupidity and obsolescence and reinstate the death penalty exclusively for ALL E.A.D.S. managers!

I suggest we throw them off the roofs, onto their Ferraris.

Aah, but to dream…

This time let’s get it right. Fire the Lockheed Martin program manager and his boss, the Lockheed Martin CEO. THAT might put the fear of God into these incompetent defense companies. And we STOP paying any profits on these F-35 contracts–to both LM and its suppliers!

In 2004 ?! Well, that may seem to be extremely old news for many around here, but since the F-35’s preceding X-35 was already developed in 1996 (apparently, it STILL is), this
happened during the last 28 % of its gestation.

I thought the head is always the first developed part of an embryo?

1) Proves that Nunn-McCurdy is a joke. No program has EVER been axed after a NM breach brief to the JROC. SecDef just states that it is in the interest of national security and the $$‘s keep getting spent.

2) To know that the “F-35 is a pile of conflicting compromises” all one has to do is read the ORD. F-35 program office is too scared to do a new JCIDS capability doc. But hey, they could send in a blank sheet of paper (with the appropriatly formatted blank JROC brief) and it would still get a standing ovation from the JROC and SecDef.

3) If the U.K. can build an aircraft carrier and then scrap it because it will cost less than stopping production, I say that U.S. can continue to develop the F-35 so the few LRIP versions that do work can be put on that carrier and scrapped together. Or sold to country x to pay back our collective banking debt.

The programs I mentioned are EXACTILY like the F-35 in that they were new aircraft to replace old ones which BS thinking like yours would have had cancelled just as they entered production in favor or procuring more of the old aircraft they were to replace.

The F-35 IS NOT a pile of conflicting compromises. It will eventually prove to rival (possibly even exceed) the greatness of the F-16. It is nowhere near failing, quite the opposite in fact. The only way to get/have gotten anything better would be/have been for instead of three variants of a single platform to get/have gotten three sepaarate platforms costing 2–3 times as much to develope, ~50% more to procure & twice as much to operate.



The F-15 & F/A-18 programs would have LOVED to have gone as well as this program is going.

YOUR logic is false.

2443 is just the expected order from the 8 PARTNER NATIONS (all of which could in fact order MORE over the next 2 decades). There will further orders from nonpartner nations. While 5000 is likely optimistic 3000–4000 is all but guaranteed.

Contrary to your BS pulled out of your behind numbers full rate production F-35As will cost about the same as new F-16s or F/A-18s.

The F-35 will be 2nd only to the F-22 in air-to-air (possibly reduced to 3rd behind the T-50/PAK FA if it is done right). You don’t need more than one engine except for when there is no single engine with enough thrust (note the except for the largest of airliners they have all but gone from 4 engines to 2). Join the 21st century, CAS is done with guided munitions launched from >20,000 ft.

You thought wrong. The F-35 was never to be cheap nor was it ever to be an alternative to
the F-15/F-22.

F-15s, F-16s & F/A-18s great as they were are referred to legacy platforms for a reason. Stop trying to revitalize the glory days of the past & join the future of MUCH more capable fighters (aka the F-35).

No. Gates was only inteded to be an Obama administration ‘interim’ SEC DEF to see out the end of combat operations in Iraq.

How many U.S.-made 4th generation planes would be shot down in the next 30 years if not replaced with the MUCH superior 5th generation F-35? Again looking at the past & ignoring the future…

The roughly $400B Acquisition F-35 program (less $30B sunk costs) could pay for 500 more F-22s with (about $77B), 1000 more F/A-18E/Fs (about $45B), plus 500 F-15Es or 1000 F-16s (for about $38B) , 100 Long Range Strike Platforms (about $40B aircraft with $20B EMD) and still have nearly $150B to start a NGAD program and pay other bills.

F-35 is not a money saver, it is an albatross around our neck that is crippling our entire defense!

There’s things I would have done differently in about any aircraft program you’d like to talk about. The F-15 was a little gold-plated for my tastes, and could have been even better than what we got, which is still damn good. That design was really the first to benefit from John Boyd’s EM Theory, and we needed a real hot fighter.

The F/A-18 was a bumpier road, but again it put a very high-performance capability on the carrier decks. Not an ideal aircraft, but it still makes trouble for anyone we might face. That’s because it is fundamentally a strong design; high T/W, big wing. It can carry a good bombload as a result.

The F-35 is simply too many ideas fighting for dominance in that design. The need for cross-service commonality absolutely guarantees confusion and delay, I saw that right from day 1. It’s not just weighed down by the number of roles it’s supposed to fill, but by the expectations placed on it to keep the industry moving.

A much better plan would have been to design the Navy bird first, strip the carrier-specific gear to get the AF version, and then design a 2nd, different aircraft for the Marines if necessary, but apply as many of the common systems as possible to that new airframe.

I made my P.P.L.-A on a Cessna 172, too, and in a Piper Cub oldtimer and in a – formerly French – Robin R2000. My (P.P.L.-C) flight instructor taught me: “Landings are controlled crashes.” Well, he’s still alive at over 70, and still “crashing controlledly” with his students, every single working day. God bless him.

At least I’m perfectly aware that I gravely endanger my own personal livelihood – or more – with my Internet trollings, for over a decade now (mainly on V-E-R-Y different Web-sites than this one. You wouldn’t even know which, or what I say there) ; it’s YOU who isn’t 100,000 % aware of what he’s doing – or better: HOW it’s done PROPERLY !

So… LEARN !!!

(Peace, really)

is the B version the sole (major) source of the problems or are others (esp. C) having them too?
i heard that if the A and C would share design and B would be a separate project, that there wouldn’t be so much probs to begin with, as the B is pushing the entire project down (supposedly)

The guy I accidentally tried to kill, had flown cargo planes in WWII. He passed away not long ago, of natural causes. Those oldtimers got that way by not being dumb, and possibly luck.

(RIP, Bob.)

Quite the opposite. Cross-service commonality GREATLY simplifies everything with the only ‘confusion &/or delay’ being in getting all services to agree on the basic platform &/or how much variation from the base platform each services model will have.

Starting with a dedicated USN platform 1st does not work. The end result would be a platform too big & expensive for either the USAF or the USMC.

Correct, Kopp’s motivation is primarily the financial gain he would get from redesigning & rebuilding the F-111 by a company he help start.

Wheeler’s idea is basically to reincarnate the F-5 (something to that effect anyway). They (Wheeler & his friends) think even the F-16 is too big.

Your numbers are quite e a bit off.

Yes it is the software equivalent of the wings falling off in the production model. I’m sure Lockheed would just glue them back on and call it a “one off problem”.

The court documents on the F35 software are very revealing, basically the rot is all the way through they expect lots of taxpayer $ for fixes.


I advise you to keep your head down ( = to be as anonymous and stealthy as possible on the Internet) and you even stand up (exposing every detail of your life, announcing your next scheduled plans and even associating yourself to a politician) ?

Whatever. Do things your way. I cleared my conscience.

Bonne chance, “Net expert” !

At the risk of helping you become a better debater, you really should stop this knee-jerk rejection of others’ assertions.

re: “Starting with a dedicated USN platform 1st does not work. The end result would be a platform too big & expensive for either the USAF or the USMC.”

…Then, how can the split-the-differences mess they came up with be what any of the services really needs? You’ve just made my point.

The F-35A is almost exactly what the USAF F-16 replacement would have been if it were a separate program. The base platform of the F-35 in fact IS the USAF F-16 replacement with adaptations to meet USMC & USN requirements.

The F-35B quite close to what the USMC AV-8B & F/A-18 replacement would have been if it were a separate program. It is only if the AV-8B & F/A-18 were replaced by two separate platforms that the USMC’s future combat aircraft would be significantly different.

Even the F-35C is closer to what the USN F/A-18 replacement would have been if it were a separate program than you want to think. About the on significant change would be the USN’s preference for two engines instead of one.

The JSF requirements are/were in fact VERY close to the requirements each service had separately. While compromises were made for commonality, said compromises were nowhere near as great as nay sayers want everyone to believe.

Because the truth hurts & naysayers don’t like it when it gets in the way of their fantasies.

There is no such thing as the Defense Contractors Club of America. Also there is a limited market for such aircraft. It is a huge risk when a company takes a gamble and develops their own fighter without some sort of government requirement of contract. Look up the Northrop F-20 Tigershark to see what can happen. While I would love to see more independent programs, the nature of today’s industry makes it rare. It is so costly to develop a modern fighter, companies don’t want to do it without the knowledge that they will sell a certain amount.

And would you stop trying to chalk this up to some huge industry wide conspiracy? I know the real problems are tougher to grasp than BS conspiracy theories, but that’s the truth.

You’re apparently referring to that alphabet soup of programs from the late ‘80s and early ‘90s that got dumped into the JAST pot, subsequently JSF.

One common requirement (other than it being an airplane) to all those programs was *AFFORDABILITY*. The rest of those requirements got hashed out more than 15 or 20 years ago, when the strategic forecast was muddy, at best. This country has refused to rethink its strategic situation since the Cold War because of politics and money. We don’t have that luxury anymore.

The F-35 is not relevant to our needs, likely never was, and it’s not affordable.

whenever you have retired general officers working for a defense contractor, expect over charges. Updated F15’s, F-16’s new off the production line would have cost much less. The hell with the big radar signature, let anyone know what to expect for screwing with us. There is a limit to cost versis the end result and the is no aircraft worth todays cost.

We still need something like the F-35 however.

At the pace the f-35 is going we are going to have Russia with the Pak-Fas out India and China with their respective 5th generation fighters before we can begin the production phase of the f-35. I believe Gates was blinded by Lockheed believing the f-35 was going to solve the fighter shortfall the US is gong to have in the near future.

Part 1 / 5

Yo, wingmate!

There was clearly something special, unforgettable, about this old generation of flight instructors. They JUST DON’T make them anymore like that!!! Professionally, they were TREMENDUOUSLY experienced, which left them always totally indifferent – amost bored – in any “highly abnormal” flight situation – they’ve seen and done it all before… Nothing could touch them. No matter how much I (initially) managed to lose control of the plane, letting it plummet down over an urban area, giving a new meaning to Pink Floyd’s famous line “…just an Earth-bound misfit…”, unable to move a limb because of the strong centrifugal forces (the Robin R2000 is acrobatic…), eyes widening in terror, my whole life passing like an image-strip in front of me – in the end, it would always “obey” to a few “magic” moves of my mute flight instructor, level out and glide peacefully ahead again, to give me a new try, as if these two were actually teasing me!


Part 2 / 5

(I got a real fire baptism, you know: First lessons in gusty late autumn…) And personally, the few, old, excellent flight instructors which I had were all incredibly accessible, UNPRETENTIOUS , Spartan, laconic (“tough hide, soft core”), piercingly funny and humane. They explained everything so simply that they immediately instilled a deep respect and compliance in all their students. Many French aerodromes with flight schools owe their reputation ( AND THEIR CLIENTÈLE !!! ) precisely to such charismatic die-hards = true legends among former and present flight students! Even 14 – 15 years old (the French minimum age for glider flying)
(Conditions for under-age glider pilots: Scroll down)

already learned to insist on being trained ONLY by “lui!” (“him!”), to all the other, younger, vain, arrogant, snotty (scummy) flight instructors’ suppressed anger.


Part 3 / 5

My father, who offered me the first flight lessons when I was 16, also figured that I would be safer under the wings of one of those hard-boiled oldies – and God, HOW RIGHT he was…! Do you have any idea (for example) INTO how many other planes I almost flew several times for turning in the wrong direction after take-off, heading right into the stream of approaching, landing aircraft (the perfect ghost flier), behaving as if “all airspace was only mine” ? Thanks God my old instructor always had much faster reflexes than me, and the startled folks in the other planes never really got a good look at our plane number either – nor did the people on the ground… I’m still sweating today when I think of my first flights, powered or not, accompanied or solo!

But my closest encounter with death on an airfield (about ~ 75 cm close!) happened AFTER a 2-hours flight, after we landed:


Part 4 / 5

I was completely softened up by the extenuating navigation and communication exercise, the summer heat (full-glass canopy, NO hat…), the thirst, the bladder, the rocking turbulences, the deafening engine and propeller roar, slightly airsick, etc., and just wanted to climb out of that goddamned plane and feel firm ground under my feet again. So, after we taxied to the parking position and stopped, I slid back the Robin’s glass canopy, unbuckled, stepped onto the wing and was maybe a second from jumping down on the grass, with the engine still running low. Then I distinctly heard someone whistling behind me. I looked back, and it was my old flight instructor, still seated. Thanks God his mind was still as fresh as morning dew: I’ll NEVER forget his ABSOLUTELY RELAXED LOOK as he waived backwards with his thumb, reminding me to hop off the wing’s BACK edge, not off the wing’s FRONT edge = right into the running propeller directly ahead of it!!!

Don’t ask. I’m outta here…


Part 5 / 5

Learning to fly under the watchful eye of such a golden, ever-alert oldie isn’t a second life insurance, it’s flying in formation with AN ANGEL ! THE OLDER , THE BETTER ! I really owe them this public profession! These old masters help you to make it to an old age! Never give ANY young instructor (a PUNK ) a chance in his life! Let them mature at other, unluckier pupils’ expenses! And should no one want to fly (or parachute, or drive, or dive, etc.) with them, that’s THEIR existential problem, not mine.

I definitively learned this lesson, I even GRADUATED in it!

“Over and out”.

In the face of this the F-35’s powerplant has proved it’s performance. Even a high output version has been put through succesful tests. The airframe has gone through and passed many obstacles. All new programs ahev encountered obstacles but throwing more money to solve them isn’t the answer. I had thought the F/A-18E/F was the future as the next step over the aging F-14 fleet. This should lead to improvements moving down to the C/D for the future. This isn’t the thinking as the F-35B came to development to be the replacement for the fleets F-18C/D and AV8B. It’s a good program that needs better management.

I dont get it, We have Plane’s in the graveyard, that can still do the job , that’s retired, that still coast the Tax payer no telling how much to keep maintain and the security to keep a watch over them, yes this is a way to creat jobs, but what about the TAX PAYER who will end up FOOTING the bill, Will this put food on the tabl of the Half way poor or do they matter or even middle class who has lost his job, but dont have the skills to get into a new fild. You hire the people w/ the degree’s but they dont do the work, they keep the one who weare the white shirts and tie’s , I sorry you make how much, and they fire me. They need to cut from the top.

Who cares its only money. .…

Thing is, DoD can’t run a project anymore. All the time I was in flight test, it was nothing but BS and more money. Management is a joke, if it was a private company with no Uncle Sugar would be foreclosed long ago. But this is Defense and nobody touches the sacred cow…

Nobody wants F-16s. F-15 was a much better fighter but its closed. Soooo we need to come up with a new toy. But, hey with all the acquisitions and mergers in the 80s, ain’t got a lot of choices left. Its going to be just bend over and take it for a lot of acquisitions. Think of it as jointness. Get used to it. Just keep on giving.….

Contractor lawyers are smarter than Gov lawyers every time.

Like the F-35? Oh, hell…don’t say that!

Can we have a well-managed program, and an affordable, effective aircraft instead?

I just don’t agree with the philosophy that one plane can fill every role. That doesn’t mean an aircraft couldn’t be adapted to do a large number of missions effectively. There are quite a few designs that have proven broadly capable, several cross-service, several sold abroad. But I can’t think of one, and certainly not a program this big, where that was the goal from the get-go.

My own preferences are predicated on an honest strategic review, which we haven’t had for decades now. That said, I think there are three designs worth pursuing near term:

- “FB-22″ type interdictor/ strike;

- A-10 replacement close support/ general-purpose attack;

- Light fighter with reduced secondary ground attack role.

If they keep the design processes tightly focused on performance, they shouldn’t have as much trouble adapting them. Just get a good bird first.

What planet are you living on? This country has rethought & altered its strategic situation since Cold War at least three times.

The USAF, USN & USMC requirement have NOT significantly changes from when each was a separate program.

You clearly have no clue what is relevant to our needs.

The F-35 IS an affordable, effective aircraft. In today’s USA a ‘well-managed program’ program is all but impossible to to far to much involvement by people with no clue how to do it.

Contrary to your BS, the requirements that the USAF, USN & USMC have are not & were not all that different. That is one of the reasons why the JSF was even possible to begin with and all three were already making minor compromises for commonality (recognizing their similar requirements) LONG before everything got through together is to one program.

We need a F-16 replacement (aka F-35A), a AV-8B replacement (aka F-35B) & a F/A-18 replacement (aka F-35C) MUCH more than we need any of your suggestions. The F-35 IS a good bird.

The cost-effectiveness of the F-35 is significantly better than that of the F-15 &/or F-16.

Like others, your BS thinking would at any point in time had us cancel any/all new programs just as they began production & left us outclassed in the next conflict.

At the pace the F-35 is going it is going to be ready for service BEFORE it is currently scheduled to do so. The PAK-FA is a decade behind (it is basically where the F-35 was when it was the X-35).


I believe these increases are to get the F-22 Raptors to talk to the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter making sharing of information between them providing a full battle field overview. The information improves survivorablity for all friendlies in the Theatre. The ability to hit targets from farther away making availability of assets when high valued targets are availabile. This is to bring all the drones and those on the ground together with the JSF. Real time information necessary to get things done and minimize the impact to our military members.

re: “This country has rethought & altered its strategic situation since Cold War at least three times.”

- Distinctions without a difference. We continue to claim the right to intervene wherever we want regardless of the costs, the threat to this country, or the effectiveness of military action on those situations. As I’ve said before, that is not a strategy, it’s wishful thinking.

Anyway, I’ve said my bit, and having observed your behavior on these boards, you’ll simply continue denying everything as long as I respond.

If it ends up that I’m right, it will give me no satisfaction. Time will tell.

Have a good one —

Don’t know that I could add anything more to that.

Keep the blue side up, ffb.

JSF has now become another job bank right alongside its job bank cousin the Osprey. It does nothing an F-14 couldn’t do or a P-51 for that matter. Vertical lift makes it more vulnerable to ground assault and at X $ Hundred Million a copy adds up to one mui expensive bad toy.

Hey Robert, James Bond wouldn’t have to cash in any chips to find the bomb’s ID. Nor would he have the uncontrolled desire to talk about it. Yo Bomb You are way too serious. Chillout.

The Skin’s right for once. He’s even learning to spell. Hoo rah.

@Bernard Miller: device to share information on battlefield you are describing already exists, is called MIDS-JTRS and is being tested on Super Hornet as we speak. And because it’s compatibile with MIL-STD-1553B, I just can’t see any reason why it would cost that much extra to equip F-22 with it — no extensive modifications are required and the box itself cannot be so expensive.
Unless LM is trying to push their “own solution”, incompatibile with standars. So you’d have to have both MIDS-JRTS AND some unique and pretty much redundant LM thingie.


It is all a scam just as Eisenhower said it would be. Now the dragon is so large and has so much power it will be difficult to slay it.

S/F Gordon

Yes, but what they neglected to mention is that this program has already cost hundreds of billions of dollars. You have people like McCain going on and on about 17 billion dollars in earmarks, and yet this stalled aviation buy is hundreds of billions.

You’re aware that sports icon Pat Tillman, who turned down a 3,6 million $ contract from the Cardinals just to enlist in the U.S. Army, soon afterwards turned against the U.S. Nazi invasion and even tried to contact Noam Chomsky, before one of his – unidentified – buddies blasted him at short range, shooting him exactly three times in the head? And there weren’t even ANY enemies around on that occasion! (Meaning, of course: Foreign enemies)

And you still embolden Robert to carry on with his careless writing style on a “Military​.com” Web-site, in the middle of a lost war? Whom are you defending, Nazi? (As you hopefully understood, I’m not even worried about HIM personally, he’s safe, even in Guatemala)

I totaly agree build some new fighters lick the F-16 and F-15, with this long wait no one in the Pentagon could have forseen this coming or maybe I’m looking at this from a diffent angel.
But I agree that building more F-22 is nessecary and long as it takes to get lockheeds attentention and the DOD. Our Air Force is Falling apart no thanks to theChief of Staff, His word I will buy no legacy air craft.

Lockheed, like the majority of Americans are greedy. No one wants to be the first to work for less. I say let start with the US Gov. Budget a certain amount for an Aircraft Program and then open it up to competetion. Right now every industry sees the US Gov (which stands should stand for “US as the American Taxpayer” as a sacred cow.


It looks like JSF is a turkey. Is that F-15SE line still running? The French will come up with a plane way sooner than LM. Even the Russians seem able to build SU_27’s and sell them, they are already operational. Disgrace.

Hey guys, interesting discussion… The real discussion however should not be “JSF or more F-22s”, but rather “JSF or upgraded 4th Gens”. The reason is quite simple: The F-22 was primarily intended for air dominance and takeout of high-value ground targets (a combo of F-15E and F-117), while the JSF is a lightweight stealth strike aircraft (a combo of F-16 and F-117)… With the F-117 being the common thread, the difference becomes obvious (F15 is the Hi-end, F-16 the low-end.) And like the F-15 and F-16, the F-22 can do some of what the F-35 does, and vice versa, but they are DIFFERENT aircraft, intended for different roles. Most importantly, the F-22 has actively replaced hi-end assets (ALL F-117s have been mothballed by Raptor as well as numerous F-15 types); The JSF, not even close to replacing F-16s, or anything else for that matter.

well, replying to pretty much everyone.

I am employed by the “rival” engine developer, and I am not surprised by ANY delay.

there is always an option to forget the 5gen for a while, buy eurofighters (or the licence to manufacture and change them at will in the us — pilatus/texan style) and then cooperate with the eu on a trully affordable 5gen multi-role platform when those fighters wear out.…

wishful thinking, yeah.
and i think they are slightly too expensive to replace all the f-16 (i’d say they are more then adequate for an f-15 replacement, if only there was enough funding for the completion of the tranche upgrades.…)
too bad

$$$$ Its because Lockheed is involved, take it away and give it all the Northrop.

@EU_: why the heck would US take 20 years old 4.5th gen European design with aerodynamic flaws (Delta-Canard is a dead-end and PAK-FA confirms that) when they have their own 4.5th gen designs with WAY better avionics? If you wanna “affordable” aircraft, go with Super Hornet. That’s right now probably The Most Affordable twin engine 4.5th gen jet worldwide.
Besides, EU is more and more saying and showing they don’t want the US (especially France with it’s wannabe-superpower complex) — absolutely no if States recede from Obama’s socialistic trend. Don’t forget that EU’s economy is oficially based on Nazi “big internal market” policy, which is completely incompatibile with any free and not-overregulated economy (like the one US citiziens wish). IMHO it’s more and more utopic that JSF would become “tne new F-16″ — and even with Falcon, it would be way more economic to build them all in the US instead of having European subsidiaries.

Looks like Boeing is ramping up the F-15 Silent Eagle, a viable replacement!

Looks like Boeing is ramping up the F-15 Silent Eagle, a viable repalcement!

The newer F-15s are great aircraft, but Eagle Kevin the simple fact of the matter is that a big twin-engined fighter like that is going to cost significantly more than something like the F-16 or F-35.

Your logic is somewhat circular. No one will fly against us becuase they know they are no mach for us, so therefore we don’t need new aircraft that will keep us superior and keep them in fear of us.

While your eyes were closed, Russia ( the producers of the “high-tech” Bear bomber) has built the Su-35, which is superior to our 4th gen products. They will also in all likelyhood have their 5th gen AC in the air in larger numbers than we have F-22’s before the F-35 is anywhere near deployed. Oh, not to mention that France will gladly sell to anyone, as will the Russians (currently working on selling the Su-35 to China before they can just steal the product drawings).

Sad thing is, the F-35 isn’t really much more than a semi-stealthy bomb truck and will be dead and buried should any 4th gen aircraft make it into a merge with it.


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