Early F-35 costs increase $771M, Lockheed says

Early F-35 costs increase $771M, Lockheed says

From an unlikely pair of sources — Steve Trimble, aero-reporter extraordinaire, and the Twitter account of Arizona Sen. John McCain — here’s more bad news for the F-35 program: DoD notified Congress this week that Lockheed Martin is charging an additional $771 million for its first 31 F-35 Lightning IIs. First, Trimble gives the background:

The Department of Defense notified Congress of the overrun two months after F-35 programme officials admitted the costs for low rate initial production lots 1–3 would exceed the contracted cost. The government is required to absorb the entire bill for overruns under the terms of the first three LRIP contracts. Last year, Lockheed accepted a cost-sharing scheme for any overruns after LRIP-3.

He continues:

The $771 million reflects the impact of the 2004 weight reduction redesign on the Lockheed’s production system, the company said. The redesign carved off thousands of pounds of excess weight, but suppliers could not keep up with the flow of design changes. That led to late delivery of parts, then extra labour hours to install them outside of the normal manufacturing sequence, the company said.

As the F-35 continues to be developed even as the first production models are delivered, the $771 million bill also includes the cost of future modifications to make the aircraft standard with jets delivered after the development phase ends in 2016.

It is possible that the bill for LRIPs 1–3 could be reduced in the future. “The F-35 team is focused now on any opportunity to reduce the concurrency estimate and improve the final cost-to-complete on these early production lots,” Lockheed said.

And what does McCain, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, think of this development? Here’s what he Tweeted on Tuesday:

Congress notified that first F-35 jets have cost overruns of $771M. Outrageous! Pentagon asking for $264M downpayment now. Disgraceful.

Lockheed company officials stress that they believe these increases should stop happening as DoD orders its next batches of airplanes, which will take advantage of early lessons and use fixed-price contracts. The company issued this Tweet of its own on Wednesday:

The F-35 team is focused on reducing costs of the jets and is showing significant improvement in key areas.

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Does this really suprise anyone especially when the (ex) SecDef comes out and basically says the program has a blank check?

Then again, look at the SDD program. It will cost more than twice what is was sold as and is likely still go up from there since only a small portion of the total testing has been accomplished.

With over 10 years of SDD behind us we need to convert this SDD to a FFP contract with all over-runs absorbed by the contractor. We also need to stop buying LRIP jets that have not been tested to be production ready, operationally suitable, or operationally effective. If we really need to buy some LRIP jets before testing those too need to be FFP with all over-runs paid by the contractor. If they can’t do this then why are you buying “production jet” that cannot be priced? This is simple “Acquisition 101″ which apparently the DoD had no conception of when it approved this program plan. Look at DoD 5000.2 and you would see that this program plan was stupid on day 1.

Looking forward to seeing pfcem and SMSgt Mac’s comments on this.

He mostly posts on his own blog now as far as I can tell.

The original plan for the F-22 was 750.

The original plan for the B-2 was 100.

So much for “plans”.

We will not see 3000-some F-35s. We might not even see 1000. We might not even see 500.

We shouldn’t be seeing any of these at all. What a waste of money this plane is! You have the premier jet in the world with the F-22 and we buy something more expensive and far less capable in air to air. Because of the idea of economies of scale for a 5th generation stealth fighter!

There is no way we will be able to recapitalize our fleet of aircraft with the F-35.

At this point we are screwed.


The problem with the procurement system is they put out requests for bids based on a specific number of aircraft. Then once the bids are made and contracts are drafted the Pentagon starts redesigning the plane. Then the Congress starts playing around with the number of aircraft. Their not making can openers here. As they tinker with the design and and the numbers of aircraft the cost change. It’s not fair to just the manufacturer as the villain here. This kind of thing has been happening for a long time in government procurement.
You can’t order a car from the manufacturer and then go back later and add options and expect your cost to be the same.

It is getting more and more clear why they had to cancel F-22 production

Wow I would love to be able to bill my clients any additional costs no matter what. I’d have a new car.
I love this plane but I thought it was suppose to be less expensive. Lockheed can screw up a wetdream. As much as I want to see the plane go I say kill it and let Lockheed eat the cost. Maybe that would send a message to other contractors “go over budget and you eat it” like the real world does.

PS… the only true Stealth Platform without an Afterburner Section and Inlet screens along with a IR Signature that was minimal. So JSF has NO internal Gun for close Air-Air that we stated back in Vietnam with the F-4A&B that we would never let happen. JSF has not capability to destroy a “Bridge” or large hard target without loading external Pylons, because of the size of the weapons bay. The JSF cannot communicate with other F-22’s or any Legacy Platform. So we have an afterburning none Stealth Platform that is USELESS.… Lockheed is holding the American People Hostage. Last Note: the F-117 Program was shut down and it is now sitting at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ in the BONE YARD!!!! STEALTH IS DEAD.… .GOOGLE SA-21 & S-400

I am not American, but I see that this plane has destroyed the future of fighter aircraft of its armée.Cet costs 3 times its original price, number of acquisition was based on a budget that will decrease year in année.Il need to know that with the budget for the f-35 and what it costs now, divide that number by three just for the additional costs, is now the budget cuts … .

Fair comments, as with momomi’s comments below also in that the required high number of acquisition to achieve this catchy ‘economy of scale’ gimmick, was based on future Defense budgets which would simply not be sustainable.

As such there was either a massive breakdown (or complete non-existence) in strategic forecasting and planning (once again). A win-win (or lose-lose depending on which side you’re on) for perhaps the last manned fighter to be developed under the old acquisition process.

I have to give credit it seems to Boeing though, also posted in Steven Trimble’s blog, in the outlining of their strategic company plan to design and develop a more sustainable F-15SE model which could be cost-effective even under low production rates. Regardless, this is unfortunately turning into the worse case ‘Catastrophic TACAIR implosion’ scenario as some critics have been warning policymakers (and fan boys alike) for years..

This is the whole key to the game on this last of the ‘old acquisition process’ manned fighter program it seems…

Create a too tempting to pass up lucrative business scheme with self-perpetuating profits for any nation smart enough to join up, which becomes a too big to fail and too late to quit now scheme, followed by a too frustrated to even twitter about anymore.

Maybe the honorable Sen. McCain will get truly decisive now and call for a ‘too big’ Senate investigation into JPO and this scheme? God speed Tacair recapitalization.

Maybe some of you all should listen to Bronco 46. Read some facts. Yes, its over budget, but you cant add all the “bells and whistles” for free.… Pucking Dog up there needs to comment without trying to curse, then maybe he could be taken seriously… and all of you that want to cancel it, maybe you should read up on how much a Government cancelled program cost the tax payers. Remember A-12?? that was 20 years ago, still tied up in Court and costing us over $5B so far in litigation. Could have a plane or 2 for that.. But why not cancel the program, and start buying our Defense Aircraft from another country? Why does our country need to be protected?

Another thing, i really think this is the best Line I’ve heard all day– From Pucking Dog of course– “Lockheed is holding the American People Hostage“
Yes, Yes they are. Thats why Thousands of people happily go to work for them each day :)

Unacceptable. Such cuts would mean the end of the USAF’s ability to ensure air-superiority.

Stop spamming the same crap over and over again.

Actually I can think of a certain Swedish aerospace firm that could teach Lockmart a thing or two about being on time and on budget while still building a world class fighter.

Come to think of it I happen to like their airplane quite a bit, and yes why don’t we buy some?


I agree. the Gripen NG is a True 4.5++ Gen fighter not like the Super Hornet at a 4.2 Gen. The Gripen NG can land and refuel & rearm then take off from any 800 meter 2 lane strip of highway. ( Long runways in a shooting war might be hard to find) It Super Cruises at Mach 1.2. Has AESA radar & IRST capabilities. It can be refueled & rearmed by a C-130 or a couple of choppers or a truck, by 6 men in 10 minutes. It’s maintenance costs are about 1/2 of what a F-16C costs. It can be carrier capable very quickly ( See Brazil ) and it cost only 60 million each. So

JSF F-35 $323 billion to develop and procure 2,457 aircraft.

3000 Gripen NG X $60 million = $ 180 Billion
800 F-22 Raptors X $120 Million = $ 96 Billion
400 F-15 S/E X $100 million = $ 40 Billion
Total = $316 Billion
With 1743 more aircraft ( 800 Free F-22 Raptors & 400 Free F-15 S/E )

I’m sure an Australian, other fighter manufacturer marketing rep, or nauseus dog will try to correct this uninterested observation. Trimble’s article implies these costs were related to 2004 weight reductions to meet F-35B STOVL requirements by shaving weight off parts common to all variants and unique to the Marine model.

An assumption then follows that this is a one-time expense…caused by the Marine requirement that no other aircraft can duplicate. It constitutes one quarter of one percent of total program costs while ensuring better performance of all aircraft types to include decreased fuel consumption that may retrieve some of the cost.

From LRIP 5 on, LockMart will assume more, if not all over and above costs. BTW, a Gripen/Raptor/F-15SE (or F-16, F/A-18) mix would be nowhere near as effective with most aircraft obsolete against future threats at far higher acquisiton costs than Tee claims. Seen any F-22s flying lately, bombing Libya or Afghanistan, being sold to allies, or replacing Naval service aircraft?

The point of this article is that the plane either required some design changes in testing and/or the DoD requested design changes which upped the price. The person to be upset with is the guy who inked the contract which stated “the DoD eats the cost of design changes.” It seems like they fixed that gem in later production lots, but for this group of planes the taxpayer is stuck with the bill.

I don’t get it, Obama wants to cut soldier pay, but is spending billions on jets? I thought that drones have been taking place of manned aircraft.

Correct me if I am wrong (and I may be), but doesn’t the Naval version F-35C have an internal cannon?

And PuckingDog, you can scream and rant all you want, but the F-35 most certainly IS a Stealth platform. It may not have the awesome all-aspect low observability of the F-22, but it is much stealthier then any other 4.5 gen fighter being flown by any other Country. With that said, I do wish they would re-start the F-22 production and up the number to 600 –700 plus aircraft. If they have to cut back on some of the F-35 numbers, so be it.

A $771 million cost increase in F-35? Let’s see, so Lockheed’s take as a result of that increase would be $77 million. Wow, who would have seen that coming? If I didn’t know better, I’d think they deliberately jack up the cost of development just to make a bigger profit. No, no, no, certainly they are all such good and true Americans that they would never be the least bit influenced by such an obvious conflict of interest. But golly gee, it sure is a remarkable coincidence how the costs of one program right after another skyrocket out of sight. It must be horrible for those good American patriots who run those companies to have to take all that extra profit they make from the crazy mistakes that lead to those big cost increases. It must be horrible to make $25 — $35 million a year based on the record profits your company earned because of one mistake right after another. It’s a good thing those kind hearted US taxpayers are so willing to give and give and give some more.

While you’re on google looking up Russian propaganda you might want to fact yourself since you’re inaccurate on pretty much everything you said. As usual.

I bet there will not be any cost overruns on LRIP-4 through whatever ! And if anyone thinks that we are going to get anything over 800 of the F-35s they are crazy. When Gates told everyone that we were going to buy 2400 of these jets ‚it was an outright lie and an appeasement for those that were upset about the cancellation of the F-22.

> From LRIP 5 on, LockMart will assume more, if not all over and above costs <

While you mention it, the infamous LRIP 4’s (remember all that now we’re getting tough hysteria last year) total Procurement costs are still not known! The latest official estimate put them at about $220m avg. per pop +/- , but surely that was from old data and not updated?? But LRIP 5 onward LM and DoD will split the overrun 50/50 assuming LM continues as lead contractor. Which makes sense now why Partners want to buy through USAF lots — so they dont need to pay market share of the overruns??

And btw, ‘future threats’ is what F-22 was for and what ADF/F-X will be for, AF/USN just needed supplement through late-20s UCAVs and mature, affordable, upgraded 4.5+ models. Yet they killed F-22 to pay for an unsustainable and flawed F-35 business model, which killed procuring actual operational replacement aircrafts to bridge the force structure until said 5.5 gen entry.

Pukin Dog is just upset that the JSF PM is a former Pukin Dog himself…

If they’re too close for missiles, no variant will have the capability to switch to guns.

Ahhhh… gotta love trolls. Ignorance is entertaining.

* A model has an internal cannon. B and C can carry an external gun pack.
* JSF has an extensive datalink system for communicating with other platforms.
* Internally, it can carry a pair of Mark 84 2000lb. bombs along with a pair of AMRAAMs. What did you want it to carry? A MoaB? A Daisy Cutter or Dam Buster? Tsar Bomba?

I’ve flown one of the Lockheed F-35 simulators, and was walked through an attack on both air-to-air and air-to-ground targets. The level of sensor integration and data sharing is amazing. This thing is far from “useless”.

The A variant has an internal gun and the B and C can carry a stealthy gun pod if needed. The Navy could have specified an internal gun, but for some reason they didn’t.

A 4.2 generation fighter? Since when does such a thing exist? The Super Hornet fits the conventional 4.5 gen definition for a fighter. I don’t know when people started using numbers between 4 and 4.5 to classify fighters.

The Gripen is a small bird. Smaller than a F-16. While it may be an excellent “light fighter” for air-to-air combat, I would question it’s payload and endurance for strike missions. If we wanted an aircraft of similar performance we could resurrect the F-16XL design and bring that up to modern standards.

For the huge benefit of stealth however, I would rather we have working F-35s. We are not demanding the impossible when we expect Lockheed Martin to reduce costs and keep to the current schedule.

There still aren’t any conversations amongst anyone that matters about purchase alternatives. People gripe and complain, but Congress has yet to order the DoD to present alternative buy options. Until that sort of language emerges from Congress I would expect the F35 program to keep waddling along on its bloated path.

WELL, WELL, WELL.…. Here we go again. More Funding for Lockheed Martin and this useless wasteful Platform with no Capability and Cost that is Off the Charts. STEALTH IS DEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Stop building JSF, Stop the B-2 and F-22 Programs. We do NOT NEED THESE Platforms!!! We have enough Stand Off Strike Weapons that can be launched from our current in production platforms to destroy any threat. GOOGLE SA-21 and FUCKING READ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Lockheed and Wall Street are taking the American Warriors and People to the Cleaners. These Program need to be STOPPED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Fucking Stupid Leadership at the Pentagon should all be fired. They have known this since the Shoot down and decommissioning of the F-117 (The only True Stealth Platform) that was shot down and has been reverse engineer to create radar and IADS that can find, fix, track and engage any of our Stealth Platforms that make them obsolete. Wall Street and LMCO stupidity strikes again. Enough is enough. STOP THIS MADNESS

Not purchase the JSF Platform that costs $155,000,000.00 Million each times 2600 Platforms. In addition to having NO On Board Air-Air Weapons we said would never happen again after the F-4B, No SEALTH CAPABILITY… Stealth is DEAD… Google SA-21 and S-400 IADS (Integrated Air Defense System), No capability to destroy a Bridge without Pylons, No Communications between any legacy platforms including the F-22. I would have to say that makes this Worthless.

The Only True Stealth aircraft was the F-117A that was decommission in November 2008 and resides at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ “Bone yard”, Why?? Because stealth is dead, this platform had no Afterburner or augmenter section, it actually had inlet covers, and no afterburner due to the IR Signature. JSF has all those assets, afterburner, open inlets… Stealth is truly DEAD… Lockheed Martin wants everyone to continue to believe that this is a capability. It is NOT… All they want is to destroy the pentagon by spending every dime the tax payers have to fund their company and Wall Street. We have enough Stand-Off Strike Missiles to destroy any target on the planet from hundreds of miles. Instead we could Up-Grade and 5 AV-8B, 4 F/A-18E/F’s, 2 EA-18G’s, 3 F-15SE’s, 4 F-16CJ, Block 60’s, 30 or 40 Predators, or 216,000,000 Million M-4 or M-16’s M-5K’s, for, Army, Navy , Air Force and Special Operations.…

The Republican’s, wall street and the integrators and Senior Leadership at the Pentagon have drove this Country into the dirt for nothing more than money. Had Bush went and pursued UBL as the President did back in 2002 we would be healthy. Instead Bush pushed us into two wars, let UBL go and let the Banks and the integrators on at the Pentagon (that is ran by Lockheed Martin) rampant. Of course our Generals and Admirals are as much to blame, and are tethered to the Prime Integrators. These wars were nothing more than a money making proposition, that is way bush did not pursue UBL. Stocks and money are more important than the real purpose. President Obama has taken down UBL, that has finally collapsed and broke the back of the Taliban. Now we are faced with bushes debt, tax cuts for the rich and purchasing platforms and weapons systems from a company in bush’s home state of texas.

Hillary Clinton was correct when she ran of office in 08, it will take 20 years to fix what bush has screwed up for 8. Thank God for President Obama. Until a month ago, I was a Republican, however, that is history. The President is a fiscal conservative and moderate compared to any of the republicans that are now in office. This is a Pathetic and disconcerting situation. The President is doing was is right for this Country and no one will help him move our efforts forward with job creation and respect for his ability and leadership. We could have George Washington in the oval office at this point and it would make no difference to the Republicans.

Other Guest — HEY, I’m trying to correct every interesting observations here. The Raptor and F-15E variants will be near as effective against future threats. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with old designs at all. I say AGAIN the JSF is a “terrible turkey”.

Other Guest and JSF advocates — In my observation is you’re putting the pilots in the vulnerable position from when they’ll transfer from Legacy Fighter Fleet to the F-35. SERIOUSLY you’re going to horrify the aircrews when they aspect the engine failure at anytime on my watch when it becomes operation soon, it’ll drop like a stone anywhere behind the enemy lines or in the water. They are going to find the JSF is NO BETTER than the Legacy Fighters and the F-22 with limited payload, no endurance, no acceleration etc. The way to scrap this pathetic turkey, I’ll certainly shoot down the ROTTEN (JSF) thing down, by scrapping the entire JSF project and put in the FIRE and burn the rotten thing for good. I suggest that you take it up to the APA, GAO or other think tanks to ask and explain the features, capabilities and characteristics the JSF doesn’t have. According to ELP “We will not see 3000-some F-35s. We might not even see 1000. We might not even see 500″. I really love to see this rotten JSF program be in serious jeapordy.

Engineer Economist — pfcem and his team will one day have a sad day when the failed JSF program will be in serious jeapordy.

Engineer Economist — We must try our very best to fight for this as much as possible to find every possible ways to stop the production of this very troublesome JSF program. We just hope that Norty, Panetta, bureaucrats and generals get this message. “Fingers crossed”. Another update I’ve heard before, is that the safety precautions has been dropped. Its been claimed that the JSF’s fuselage is too thinned skinned, which means that the 22mm bullet from the rifle or any gun fire can very easily penetrate the fuselage and engine that can cause to catch on fire, with fuel circulating around the turbofan engine creating like an blow torch. Thats another disaster to this turkey.

Simple ACQ101? Lockheed would have stopped all production during the good years if FFP would have been requested. With the economy in the pooper it’s possible we could have gotten it out of them now just so they could have work. Contracting at the biggest acq level is insanely complicated for both parties.

Actually some things need to be clarified here. The only work going out (RFPs) for bids is for the limited scope of whatever can be done and paid for in any given fiscal year. F-35’s promise of affordable unit costs (The $60M whatever pie in the sky recurring production) is based on a long list of assumptions that is beyond human efforts for accountability, but is actually within the realm of possibility if a miracle were to happen. There are many red herrings to chase, such as the $1T life cycle cost estimate and the “current LRIP jets are under cost estimate”, etc. The real issue is the inability to meet development schedule, the inevitable future problems requiring redesign for which there is not remaining budget to fix, and starting LRIP production way before design is anywhere near stable, as ELP states, “mistake jets”.

The whole program requires a miracle and concealment of truth in order for DoD & LM to deliver a “success story”. It is a continuation of a foolish acquisition strategy that intentionally plans a 20+ year development + procurement effort before any real operational capability is delivered, and then fails to even meet an agonizingly slow acquisition schedule. DoD and the nation as a whole, has the wrong people in critical leadership positions. And even the best people in the world would not necessarily solve our deeply rooted, cancer-like, social, political, and cultural problems and the ensuing vicious cycles. The solution is to start implementing changes that result in virtuous cycles, which unfortunately no one in political leadership appears to be capable of doing.

Wait a minute, this avionics and guidance system needs an upgrade ! Even though its still in the R & D phase,
these 21st Century aircraft HAVE to keep up with the latest advances in technology to fulfill missions against other enemy aircraft that don’t exist yet. Confused ? Welcome to the club !

And just to remind everyone that the acq strategy for the JSF was approved at the highest levels and met all then requirements for acq reform.

f-35 is one industrial eggs not one military plane.They use the stealth argument for win markets, but that’s not suffisant for make one good plane

Stealthy Gun Pod?… I am glad my brothers and sisters in the Corps will have a stealthy gun pod attached to the future platform for CAS mission for the bargain price of $150 million per copy. Are you kidding me? They are kinda going to know we are there stealth gun pod or not; I think the 40k ton ship of the coast and the landing might give it away. Furthermore, the SEAD missions should be preformed by the USN and USAF not the Marine Corps.

B-2 proposal: 170+
B-2 contract award: 132
B-2 final: 21 (1 lost in Guam crash)

So you thank god for Obama who ran against Bush, got into office and has kept ALL of the Bush policies he ran against in place, gave billions of dollars to pay the people who got him elected by calling it the stimulus which was supposed to create new jobs and has done exactly the opposite, and gave us the abomination known as Obamacare?

Are you really Joe Biden???

Ha… that’s actually a plausible explanation. Either way this guy should probably either be on meds or a watch list somewhere.

Dod and jobs, it’s all about jobs, and money. The powers that be manipulate the public; gas prices go down during holiday week-ends, only rise again after the road trips are done and people have spent a little money. Lets face it the whole military game is big busisness world wide.

Thank you William C.

Costs keep soaring for the F-35 JSF is getting out of hand. Don’t be surprised that the JSF will be cancelled due to cost overruns and delays. The budget hackers in Washington will be looking hard at this program and might just end it support and cut funding to the program.

George Washington wouldn’t approve of much of what is going on since in his farewell essay he warned of deficit spending. permanent foreign military alliances, and the party system. He’d probably think the Demorats and Republitards are all a bunch of idiots. Mostly because they all are.

Well I honestly don’t know how stealthy you can make a gun pod, so lets say “semi-stealthy”.

George Washington would have led a group of Patriots to write a new Declaration of Independence against our incompetent, corrupt government.

then you would be upset with the wrong person, because they are not the root of the problem. They would have been following acquisition guidance that for risky development contracts, cost-plus arrangements is appropriate, even necessary. The root of the problem is the DoD leadership that committed DoD & the taxpayer to the F-35 concept & acquisition strategy in the first place.

too bad McCain wasn’t POTUS right now, he would have had the balls to put an end to this nonsense. There should absolutely be an investigation. This reeks of potential Antideficiency and Misappropriation violations.

Your pretty much right. By the time the Marines get these into the fight, the bad guys and everyone on Gods green Earth are gonna know they are there. That said, the gud pod and wing pylons will have low observable elements designed into them, from what I’ve been told. At any rate, I don’t know how “stealthy” you really need to be for CAS missions when the grunts call it in when they get into some nasty business…

Change orders cost $$.

In April 2006, the cost of the F-22 was assessed by the Government Accountability Office to be $361 million per aircraft. By April 2006, $28 billion had been invested in F-22 development and testing; while the Unit Procurement Cost was estimated at $177.6 million in 2006, based on a production run of 181 airframes. It was estimated by the end of production, $34 billion will have been spent on procurement, resulting in a total program cost of $62 billion, around $339 million per aircraft. The incremental cost for an additional F-22 was estimated as about $138 million “WIKIPEDIA“
Now factor in the cost to restart production, get the supplier base back up to speed and you are talking additional billions.

it is true that it can’t communicate with the f-22 (or better put — the f-22 can’t communicate with anyone else).
it is true though that the ac should’ve been fully tested before entering production.

CAS is much better done by the griffin missile and an UAV. much, much better.
the f-35 should be there just to protect the airspace (and to serve a target of opportunity, if it arises — by a griffin missile of course).
and there won’t be any war with china or russia in the near future, so all this (and budget crumble) is irrelevant.

it is true, that 2x aamram (when carrying 2xjdam) is a bad setup. there should at least be a place for addtional sidewinders or another 2x aamram.

Someone once told me that source selection basically comes down to “who has the most believable lie.”

In my opinion the DoD needs to rethink the whole procurement process and split it into R&D and Production elements. The R&D is a sunk cost regardless of the number of units produced. Only the DoD seems to work this way while the rest of industry doesn’t.

You mean Acquisition process, and it already is split into different R&D and Procurement phases, with milestones and reviews being required before proceeding forward. The process has been thought over and over again and again. There is nothing wrong with the process. The problem is with leadership that commits the department & the taxpayer to failed concepts that are doomed to failure. In Major Defense Acquisition Programs, it is hard enough to just integrate the current state of technology. Trying to develop technology & integrate at the same time has proven to be a recipe for failure time and time again. “Leap ahead” technologies should have no place in MDAPs, they should be pursued in separate R&D efforts.

Lockheed’s VP of engineering in their Aerospace division is Glenn Miller. He’s got an electrical technician “degree” from Rochester Business Institute. They’ve got a store front class room in the local mall. Well, the recently changed their name to Everest Institute. Must be the home of the towering intellect. This is clearly a company that makes their profits off of process and NOT RESULTS. But keep paying them a profit on development, because that’s working out so damn well.

It’s always easy to make an A/C to meet a requirement that doesn’t exist.

We could just say “screw it” and build 750 broken-out-of-the-box F-35 if that would make you feel happier. I’d rather they get the design right BEFORE going to mass production.

But hey, keep on ragin’ about a job that you don’t do anymore.

Apparently the most important measure of engineering performance this year at Lockheed will be the accuracy with which engineers file their labor charges. Sounds like your kind of guy.

I don’t know how effective SWAT was, but the weights have remained steady for the past few years now.

William C: I got the 4.2 figure from Aviation Week. In a major discussion on the F-18 Super Hornet. I’ll post the link in a little while, after I find it again. The figure was based on the 4 gen airframe & 4.5 gen avionics as I remember. BRB

Try getting your fact correct for once.

Yes some safety equipment was dropped BUT it was done so in part because the aircraft could meet its safety requirements without them.

There is no rifle which fires a 22mm bullet. There are 23mm cannon but there is NO fighter who’s skin offers any protection from them.

B-2 & F-22 procurement numbers were cut due to the end of the cold war.

The F-35 will be LESS expensive than the F-22 could ever hope to be.

F-22 procurement ended because John Young had a personal grudge against the program & Gates was too much of an idiot to listen to the reality of how many F-22 are needed.

No, the root of the problem was been counters demanding low cost production above EVERYTHING ELSE, which lead to the majority of the weight issue which lead to delays & cost overruns.

Try getting your facts correct.

You are dreaming if you think the Grigen could have possibly been done on time OR on budget under the conditions that the F-35 has to deal with. Not to mention the HUGE difference between developing another 4th generation fighter & the truly game changing F-35.

“Conversations amongst anyone that matters about purchase alternatives” have been done at least three times already.

Try getting your facts correct. The items you indicated were removed AS PART OF SWAT & the aircraft STILL meets requirements without them.

Try asking anyone who has actually flown in or with an F-35 if it has a weight issue…

A F-35A with two ‘2000 lb’ JDAM + two AMRAAM + 18,300 lbs of fuel weighs <50,000 lbs.

No cost keep droping & the program has resolved most all of the issues which caused the delays & cost increases of the past.

VF 143 Pucken Dog 01 you really don“t know crap about aircraft do you , your like an anus, everything that comes out of you is crap! You need to quit posting this crap you post and go get yourself an enema.

Not really. Definitely not in the context of the budgets cuts that are invariably coming.

Ummmm, post those numbers because they aren’t anything I have read. This program keeps going up. And pfcem ol boy Ive got a newsflash for you, we are 14 trillion in debt, the chaos of these debt ceiling talks could cause more slow down which in turn could lead to another couple trillion shortfall in revenue collection which means we are not goign to buy 2400 F35s. We aren’t. We may end up buying a lot less. That’s something called reality.

pfcem & JSF advocates — Why don’t you try getting the facts correct for once. Safety equipment shouldn’t be dropped at all. There is rifle which fires a 22mm bullet.

pfcem & JSF advocates — For once, try getting your facts correct. Ian, Cocidius and the rest of my predecessors are all trying to tell you, that the costs are going to keep soaring up for the F-35 JSF to buy and maintain, it is getting out of hand TOO MUCH. I mean seriously in my observation and I say again “SINGLE ENGINE IS NOT SURVIAVABLE”. You’re going to horrify the aircrews when they aspect the engine failure at anytime on my watch when it becomes operation soon for ALL Air Forces, it’ll drop like a stone anywhere behind the enemy lines or in the water. Look at the 116 RAAF Mirages we had at the time, we’ve lost 41 of them due to the engine failure in the inventory. I really don’t care how reliable this P&W F-135 engine actually is, its still going to fail. The problem is with small airframes is that they have limited payload, no endurance and certainly for the JSF it has NO acceleration etc to succeed the mission well. Again if it was up to me, I’ll certainly cancel this damn project for good and dump this rotten thing, and look for another alternatives that isn’t in the 5th Generation in its class (like the F-15E variants) or the F-22.

pfcem & JSF advocates — You really want to know what I find about this safety requirements without them. Absolutely terrible. By dropping safety precautions claiming that is not needed. But hey, don’t forget its got fuel circulating around the turbofan engine and any gun fire will easily penetrate the fuselage and engine. It’ll catch on fire like a blow torch. Watch this step. I really find the F-35 program the worlds most controversial, its 50 times worse, one engine is terrible, won’t be able to succeed the job well to replace the Legacy Fighters, it’s way too expensive and very complicated aeroplane to maintain which means the aircrews will not be able to get enough hours to train properly.

pfcem and JSF Advocates — Try getting your facts correct for once. Do you or any of your predecessors or your colleagues from Lockheed Martin call that US$1.3 trillion a cheap price tag? Very clear answer is no. I’m telling you the price for that plane won’t reduce, it’ll keep climbing further and further. Still not the way to recommend to continue this failed project. If I was a Minister of Defence, I certainly don’t want this aircraft to ruin the RAAF or any Air Force. But you can think what ever you want. But I really don’t see the F-35 making it an excellent all round fighter/ISR asset for the Allied Air Forces for years to come. To me, the F-35 should be terminated and the program has to go, you can’t keep it that way to make this aircraft affordable etc. Thats the reason IT HAS TO GO. You can’t afford more pilot losses, again you and your team are selling 3,000 of those damn JSFs to be sold to Allies and putting the pilots lives and the missions in serious jeapordy. You’re going to make all the western forces INEFFECTIVE.

pfcem and JSF Advocates — Again very pittiful missile payload with two ”2,000 lb” JDAM + two AMRAAMs. Useless.

STemplar — Thats right, Bureaucracts and Generals are all a bunch of idiots. You have to be very careful who you agree the most, which is hard at times of course, but you can’t trust most of them. They make too much mistakes with Defence Acquistions, replacing great aeroplanes with inferior types e.g. JSF that has no practical use, against any modern new generation Russian/Chinese fighters to compete them. The ones I agree the most is think tanks, retired pilots and some generals and GAO about the JSF wrong warplane for defence needs. Its all about your own opinions and viewpoints to make an observations to make things right and better as much as possible.

You do realize that it can carry 4 AMRAAMs. It doesen’t always have to have 2 JDAMs…

…but it cannot carry 4 JDAMs…

That’s why they make ejection seats. F-16s seem pretty survivable to me…

Guest A — 4 AMRAAMs is still not enough to carry internally. I prefer larger airframes with more weapons load instead.

Guest A — And of course more internal and external fuel to extend the loiter time and endurance for long range. Thats what I prefer.

Bearcat22 and JSF Advocates — I reckon you and your team are crazy to get anything over 800 of the F-35s. Its a pathetic mistake what Gates has done to buy 2,443 of those rotten JSFs. I reckon it was an outright lie and an appeasement for those to accelerate this pathetic JSF program.

Amazing, and the saga will continue. To think that Gates had the nerve to make a big deal over the alternate engine and GE/RR using government assets under THEIR dime. Its all political and personal at this point and no one cares about the taxpayers and the dollars we have spent or will continue to spend on this program. ELP is right, at this rate we will be lucky to see even 500 F35’s in the US Fleet. We have lost ALL the expertise and common sense when it comes to development, planning, procurement and sustainment of any weapon system.

You are right. This is nuts. F-15s and F-16s are proven weapons that are now obsolete due to dried up supplier base. We could have built upon what works, fixed and improved what needed fixing and improving, and had more capable forces for much less cost. Instead our leaders intentionally bully us into a whole new world of uncertainty & unknown problems. One thing that is certain is that it will cost the taxpayers MORE, period. The opportunity costs are even more staggering, when you think of every where else in the defense/security battlespace that needs investment dollars, which now must be diverted to fix up the F-22 and F-35 messes — systems that DoD cheated us into thinking were affordable in the first place, and were going to be delivered within previously established funding baselines. Pathetic. We need John Boyd 2.0. One thing I disagree with you thought is that we have lost “ALL” expertise. There are MANY wonderful, excellent people in both government and industry. They are victims of their leadership.

Ohh yes. because the past track record is so good. F-22 is non-sentient by the way, it cannot “hope” for anything. But why let a little inaccuracy get in the way of your nonsensical statements, right? What you say about F-35 with such Certainty is actually Impossible for anyone to know. A miracle could happen — but for $60B+ in sunk development the taxpayers & warfighters deserve a little bit of actual knowledge and performance.

Got it. so it’s all the “been” counters fault and leadership is not accountable at all. now wait a minute, I remember reading somewhere that it is the USD AT&L, JROC, PM’s and Chief Engineers that actually makes decisions, making you wrong again, as usual.

if “cost keep droping” then why does LM need an additional $771M? And I guess you haven’t included these additional costs into your low LRIP unit costs yet have you?

Are you a fighter pilot?

They will have external tanks and wing pylons for ordinance.

well, in defense of the f-35, more than 4 missiles are seldomly needed these days…

that is the most likely end, yes.

this is good over the conus or europe, but what about over iran or open sea? and don’t expect csar in a real war (with credible enemy airforce/ aa threat)


new f-16 are still made…

B-2 final: 20, plus one prototype converted to operational status

Per ‘Engineering Economist’s request…

Whomp Whomp Whomp.…Like clubbing baby seals.

Yeah, he’s a real cutting edge kind of guy. All about pushing the envelope — in labor charging. He wants those numbers accurate to less than 6 minutes on the clock. Right now he’s looking to get rid of the old engineers so they can hire a bunch of new guys right out of college. Naturally, he wants to get rid of the old guys first, so they don’t pass on any experience to the new guys. Obviously the point is to remake all the old mistakes, not to learn from them. But Lockheed is committed to a strong engineering workforce. There’s nothing that says intellectual leadership like this: http://​www​.corinthiancolleges​.com/​p​i​c​t​u​r​e​s​/​r​o​c​hes

you mistook me for an F-35 fan ‚not me i would love to see it cancelled and move on with the X-47b and start back up with the F-22s

We should have used the F-15 and F-16 for 50+ years without designing any replacements? That thinking isn’t wise. We need the F-22 and we need something like the F-35 is supposed to be.


As always your use of the term “facts” relating to the F-35 is hugely suspect.

The design changes that removed the dry bay fire extinguishing systems occurred in 2006 two years after SWAT. Note the following statement from the 2006 DOT&E report on the F-35:

“The Joint Strike Fighter program office’s recent decision to remove five of the six dry bay fire suppression systems from each variant will significantly increase the vulnerability of the aircraft to ballistic threat induced fires. It will also adversely affect the safety of the aircraft from non-ballistic induced fires.”

Naturally your butt won’t be in a cockpit flying the F-35 into battle minus safety systems designed to mitigate battle damage so your statement about this aircraft “still meeting requirements” means absolutely nothing.

Would asking “anyone” who has flown the F-35 include the ever increasing number of Lockmart owned test pilots who are paid to say nice things about the aircraft? More bullshit piled higher and deeper.

Here’s the maximum takeoff weights for all three variants, notice they happen to be just slightly higher then the number you quoted above.

Max takeoff weight:

F-35A CTOL –70,000 lb (31,800 kg)
F-35B STOVL 60,000 lb (27,000 kg)
F-35C — 70,000 lb (31,800 kg)

I just can’t make up my mind about you. Do you purposely spew this disinformation or are you just a MORON?

The changes you liste were part of the SWAT (an initiative I would only say ‘guaranteed’ the F-35 would meet its weight requirements vs. preventing it from missing them).
Now, as to the APA Fire Suppression talking point:
1. far more thought went into taking out/modifying all weight reduction articles than went in to their original design weight/performance considertations.
2. Lower-level Live Fire testing conducted by the time of the 2006 DOT&E report supported the firesuppression design decisions. The ’06 report called for higher level testin.
3. Full scale live-fire testing conducted since found that for ~93% of the tests, the JSF performance met or surpassed predicted results. The remaining ~7% required further analysis and/or testing.
4. Even if somewhere in the remaining 7% there is an unacceptable vulnerability, there are alternate paths to reducing that vulnerability without adding more active fire suppression systems. Some of them weigh almost nothing at all.

Oooooooh.The F-35 might get ‘heavier’ someday. It will only do so if the Customer wants it to get heavier​.So TF what?

Question for EE — what failed concepts are you referring to that are doomed to failure?

Just a quick note — I don’t believe the JSF had a KPP for weight and that any weight increases would have to be offset by either drag, thrust or other changes

Decision to go to a single engine was a part of the original Acq strategy and was agreed to by all. Current engine reliability is alot greater than it has been in the past and with electronic controls the ability to “fail gracefully” and provide get back thrust is now the norm.

Whats that sound I hear? Its the wheels turning in the Dutch Parliment! You know, the guys we convinced not to buy Rafale because it was too expensive at $55 million a copy. Then France made them a deal(at a loss-noted) for 48 with the first 20 at only $38 million each. When the current government took over in Holland they froze the acquistion of JSF. Now the strongest party wants to “buy European”, in exchange for fabrication and assembly work. If Holland dumps JSF expect the rest of Europe to also. Its a good thing our POTUS has been treating Britain so swell(sarcasism), because we can always count on Britain to turn europe our way. Or can we.

All of your statements are true with one large omission. The projected combat radius with max internal weapons and fuel is enough to almost make it home to Andrews AFB, if you are bombing Baltimore without external fuel or tanker support. Thats the downside of all of our hightech proposals, engineers forget about real world activity like fuel, maintenance, and ground crew training.
So when a non-3rd world enemy shoots down 4 JSF at a time it will be because the waited for the 50 year old KC-135 slow down to transfer speed and fly in a straight line with no altitude changes. Passive proximity programed SAMs get them all. Easy Pickens.

read the last 2 sentences of my post. why do you ask?

if the $771M included previously contracted for reqts for which they ran out of money, but work was done anyway and now Congress & taxpayer have to now pay for past work, then the program has violated the Anti-Deficiency Act. If DoD expects Congress to appropriate $771M in the current fiscal year for “future” modificaitons throughout the entire program to bring LRIP jets to a a proper configuration, then the program has violated the Bona Fides Need rule. Either way, the program and you obviously do not know how to properly plan, manage, and execute a defense acquistion program and are counting on ‘political engineering’, ‘too big to fail’, ‘bury your head in the sand’, and ‘wishful thinking’ approaches to acquisition management. I’m very grateful GAO and Congress are not going to look the other way on this one, and it will be interesting to see what future audits and hearings turn up. And you have catch up work to do on previous posts. You have not addressed violation of learning curve theory axioms on program (and your) behalf. Significant but expected oversight on your behalf.

Oh and SMSgt Mac? About the $771M — you will have to put on your “Can Do Master Logician” hat and redo your Excel chart for the new $1.15B figure. Once you do that, we will all be good to go and we can all give you our 100% confident trust in F-35 that you have everything under control now, that there was never a problem in the first place, and we, not you, are the idiots.
Maybe you SHOULD (sorry for the caps, wish i could italics here) change your profession to baby seal clubber. it suits your ignorant, arrogant, and sociopathic personality quite well.

At home and inaccurate trash crafted from Lockmart talking points/documents. All thats needed is some crying and whining about APA to create another just so flawed post…

Spin away laddies, but the bottom line on this story is that this ‘bill’ only works out to far less than $1M per aircraft, in all probability less than $.5M, and for the net investment of the weight reduction effort the program will realize BILLIONS in savings for fuel costs over the life of the program.
Whomp Whomp Whomp. Squeal away.

SMSgt MAC my replies in the order of your post:

The changes you liste were part of the SWAT (an initiative I would only say ‘guaranteed’ the F-35 would meet its weight requirements vs. preventing it from missing them).
A: Yet two year later they’re removing safety equipment from the aircraft as documented by the 2006 DOT&E report which of course you ignored. Wither the changes were ordered or not in the 2004 SWAT is irrelevant, they were instituted in 2006 meaning that two years after the so called ”guaranteed” design changes Lockmart was still trying to axe weight from the plane.

Now, as to the APA Fire Suppression talking point:
A: How convenient it is for whiners like you to start any conversation about the F-35 with crying about APA. Nothing I posted or said originated at APA and the last time I checked DOT&E was a US Government agency.

1. far more thought went into taking out/modifying all weight reduction articles than went in to their original design weight/performance considertations.
A: So says one of the leading cheerleaders of the JSF Program. More snake oil piled higher and deeper.

2. Lower-level Live Fire testing conducted by the time of the 2006 DOT&E report supported the firesuppression design decisions. The ’06 report called for higher level testin.
A: I just posted the DOT&E reports finding on the issue of the dry bay fire extinguishing systems, funny how they don’t match up with what you just stated.

3. Full scale live-fire testing conducted since found that for ~93% of the tests, the JSF performance met or surpassed predicted results. The remaining ~7% required further analysis and/or testing.
A: Tests created by Lockmart to disprove the DOT&E and GAO concerns about the removal of the safety systems. Should we expect anything else?

4. Even if somewhere in the remaining 7% there is an unacceptable vulnerability, there are alternate paths to reducing that vulnerability without adding more active fire suppression systems. Some of them weigh almost nothing at all.
A: More unsubstantiated opinions from one of the leading cheerleaders of the F-35.

Oooooooh.The F-35 might get ‘heavier’ someday. It will only do so if the Customer wants it to get heavier​.So TF what?
A: The F-35 is heavier NOW. What the customer will get an aircraft with diminished maneuverability, range, payload, and an appetite for tires particularly in hot climates.

Right.… Just another drop in the bucket funding bucket from the program that’s now a benchmark in cost overruns and sliding SDD’s.

The squealing sound is from the US taxpayer getting squeezed of every last dollar while we fund another thirty odd aircraft totally incapable of any warfighting capability due to a decade of bungled engineering and programmatic errors.

It’s all about foreign jobs. Even though DoD spending levels are at or above Cold War levels now, domestic employment in the defense industry are at their lowest levels ever. These aren’t even American jobs your tax dollars are buying. They are jobs in foreign countries.

Props to SMSgtMac for defending the reality that we cannot rely exclusely rely on: 1) stealth land-based aircraft easily targeted by TBM, 2) selling F-22s to allies, 3) UAS or 6th generation fighters being cheaper than F-22 let alone F-35, or 4) 4th gen aircraft surviving threats of the next 10 years let alone the coming 50 years.

If each F-35 flight uses about 2500 gallons of fuel x $3 gallon (now) = $7500 per single flight of a F-35. Multiply that by about 8 flights a month and get $60,000. Multiply that by 12 months and get $720,000. Multiply that by 2,000 F-35s and get $ 1.44 billion. Multiply that by 40 years and get $57.6 billion in fuel costs for F-35s. But wait, aerial refueling costs considerably more than truck refueling so lets round it up to about $100 billion in fuel costs.

So if reduced weight results in 1% better fuel economy the fuel savings is about $1 billion over 40 years at TODAY’s fuel costs which most certainly will rise faster than inflation. I’m betting the fuel savings is more than 1% and the wear and tear on components leads to far less expense in operations and support costs for parts/maintenance.

I guess it’s easy to believe that you can whomp away at imaginary baby seals when you’re standing atop 3000+ imaginary JSFs.

A different story when you’re sitting in the bottom of the empty, smoking crater that’s left after the death spiral.

Arguments based on false premises are the REAL baby seals, Sarge.

i hope you can address the Anti-Deficiency and Bona Fides needs rule issues I brought up above. If the program is looking for funds to pay for work that has already been done, that reeks of antideficency. If the funds are planned to be expended over the multi-year production phase, that’s in violation of Bona Fides Needs. I’m sure you will sneer at all of this SMSgt, but there really are darn good reasons why these laws are in place. For many of us involved in planning & executing the defense and other requirements of the nation as a whole, F-35’s performance & results are justifablly offensive. The problem with your thinking is that the $771M represents very real dollars in FY12, vs the “promised” O&M savings that are, what, 10–20-30+ years away? the discounted value of those dollars detracts from you business case, as well as the opportunity costs in missing benefits from investing those dollars in other less risky and smarter investments.

Of course neither of you has thought that the reduced weight will result in weaker parts and therefore increased risk of greater reliability and maintainability problems resulting in greater O&S costs in the future?? Spare us your foolish, amateuristic, biased, and narrow focused cost benefit analysis. I’ll have a little bit more trust in a certified & verified CBA properly vetted thru DoD and GAO.

Except that the CSIS analysis cited by someone earlier shows that the future defense budgets are most imperiled by Medicare/Medicaid and other entitlement spending in the out years. It also shows the O&M saving will grow from about 40% now to more like 65% in later years.

Naval aircraft are heftier as required. Of course there are no Naval F-22s or anything remotely comparable to an F-35 that flies off carriers. Do typically compared F-22 costs ever include the cost of the second engine or the fact that F-35 includes multiple sensors/capabilities that F-22 lacks?

I used today’s fuel costs so it clearly correlates to today’s $771M. I’m still waiting to hear you cite a stealth aircraft you helped produce in the private sector…vs. sharpshooting well-intended civil contractors from the sidelines based on schoolhouse economics and political aid games-playing citing opportunity costs for imagined different systems with idealistic cost estimates at equivalent capability.

Correction: meant to say outyear O&M “expenses” in last sentence of first paragraph.

you are impossible to converse with because you won’t address previous issues and you constantly bring up irrelevant issues to the discussion. small wonder the program is screwed. I didn’t bring up the CSIS analysis I could care less about it. of course health care & soc security costs are serious threas to the nation. irrelevant to what we are talking about now, and no excuse for DoD and F-35 inability to execute programs within budget. you can cherry pick the fuel issue, it is no substitute for a professional cost benefit analysis coordinated & vetted with all stakeholders. and since you refuse to acknowledge any potential downside to trimming the weight off the parts, its obvious you will not or cannot engage in the sphere of risk management either.

When Congress defines the criteria for people to become Secretary of Defense e.g., fundamentals in Systems and Financial Management (unlike Gates), we might have not have had the debacle called F-35 at a time when we have a $14 trillion deficit.

and contrary to your desire to pin labels on me, i am not a hater hell bent onsharpshooting F-35. I want what’s best for the nation, and the current practice and results of programs exemplified by F-35 is not it. we do not get better by burying our heads in the sand, pissing off Congress, creating too big to fail,improperly planning & executing programs, etc. The $771B is real money in FY12. There are unfunded needs, mission reqts, and lives at stake right now, and DoD’s priority is funding F-35 cost overruns. unbelievable.

Correct yourself. It is $771 million…not billion. The only one who spent $700 billion was President Obama on shovel-ready stimulus projects that weren’t. And lest you think I’m exclusively bashing Democrats, Republicans must get off this no-new-taxes-for-the-wealthy B.S. In Eisenhower’s era the top tax rate was around 90% and the GDP and jobs progressed quite nicely.

BTW, further correction of my earlier observation of the July 2011 Resource-Based CSIS study. See slide 34 for the forecast rapid expansion of Medicare/Medicaid in later years that will threaten deficits and defense budgets far more than anything currently occurring. See Slide 76 that shows that Operation and Support cost (O&M and Military Pesonnel) is forecast to climb to about $450 billion in later years with Acquisition and RDT&E falling to about $200 billion.

thanks for catching the type o. and I never for once thought you were an exclusive Democrat basher. “jumping to conclusions” is your practice, not mine. wow nice tidbit on Eisenhower, your inability to stay on topic is noted.

It is completely on topic. You and other F-35 bashers whine about 6 miles of radius and $771 million spent to make the aircraft lighter yet we don’t hear a peep about 1000 times as much spent on so-called stimulus spending.

Military and weapons acquisition is one of the few area guaranteed to produce high-dollar exports and not to be outsourced overseas to any major degree. If even $1 billion was diverted from shovel-ready stimulus to the F-35 it would improve the program, increase high-dollar exports, and improve the economy over the next multiple decades.

The sole conclusion I’m jumping to is that you cannot specify a realistc alternative to F-35s for all three services that provides equal capability in air-to-air and air-to-ground to replace worn-out and vulnerable legacy aircraft at anywhere near the cost.

you are wrong again on multiple accounts. first is that i have not specified alternatives. the second is that you have made only one “sole conclusion you jumped to”. I’ve made many peeps against the stimulus spending. Your “If I was God” wish is noted as well, indicative of the tone deaf fantasy world you live in. Fact is, there are many PM’s executing their programs well within the same constrained environment. we are done with your high promising, non-delivering, non rule following, jerk to everyone who disagrees with me philosophies towards defense spending and program execution. The only way the status quo will survive is through corruption, marketing, and denial of fact. Sooner or later, though, it will come face to face with Jesus, frankly. And He works through many great people on this planet, even you.

Your myopic platform-obsessed views are noted as well. Hopefully someday you can make the discovery technology should be viewed as a tool to get the mission done, and not the mission itself. (In fact making the pursuit of technology the mission causes to take our ‘eye off the ball’ of other needs). Hopefully you may also discover that all programs must still perform within real world political, regulatory & budgetary constraints, and that you can somehow learn to perform and even thrive within the constrained framework. Maybe you can get out of this naive everything should go my way worldview. Maybe also you might be able to see that there are multiple ways to skin cats and there are many great tools, planned & emergingin, at our disposal to accomplish missions besides a tactical strike aircraft that takes unacceptably long to deliver warfighter capability, costs us way too much, and causes way too much destructive internal conflict.

Perhaps you missed the point that I am a completely disinterested/uninterested/unassociated with F-35 observer. I’m an Army contractor. It irritates me though to see continuous bashing by those unqualified to do it themselves of military program management (and military warfighting) using very high tech military gear.

The mission of tri-service air-to-air and air-to-ground is:
* not accomplished more cheaply or effectively (air-to-ground) by F-22 nor does it replace naval aircraft
* legacy and European airframes enhanced with limited stealth is a band-aid facing the amputation of J-20 and PakFa and S-400+ air defenses
* UAS are unproven in air-to-air and expensive when highly capable. Witness $60 million Global Hawk/BAMS that are not even stealthy.
* If you don’t believe F-35 will survive over China/Russia/Iran, why assume that a UCLASS or long-range bomber would without an escort? You APA boys seem convinced that L-Band radar can get a proximate location of stealth aircraft. A J-20 on a bomber’s six then becomes problematic.
* Conventional current bombers with stand-off weapons and sub/surface cruise missiles can perform many functions of long-range bombers…I know SMSgtMac will disagree with that…

RE: “Conventional current bombers with stand-off weapons and sub/surface cruise missiles can perform many functions of long-range bombers…I know SMSgtMac will disagree with that

Not at all. I would only assert they are in many cases less effective, and in all cases to-date less cost-effective.

The ultimate weapon is the mind of man. And these boys’ main problem is that they are running around disarmed AND vocal.

Guest A and aSDF — But still the JSF has no range. Even though the A model variant has more internal fuel at 18,000lbs and for the C model is 19,000lbs, it’ll require more tanking, is because again it has huge fuel flow very inefficient while using the afterburner to accelerate supersonic. In fact it does have a very poor acceleration at Mach 1.6 which means it’ll burn fuel at a faster rate. According to the specifications for the JSF from what I’ve researched, the range for the F-35A is 1,200 nm (2,200 km) and for the F-35C is 1,400 nm (2,520 km) with two external tanks, but still it has no loiter time. To do the mission properly and right, I recommend large airframes, without refuelling, better weapons payload, much better acceleration and manoeuvrability, better long range endurance as well as more powerful (AESA) radars and sensors available to have for any Air Force. Single engine scrap it.

Other Guest — I suggest that you can take it up to the APA to discuss the issues about the JSF.

SMSgt Mac — Actually the design airframe on the JSF looks like an “overweight babyseal”.

Engineer Economist — CONGRATS. I think you’re spot on with the observations you put down here. As you know I’m not a JSF advocate and certainly I’m not a JSF fan and not a supporter on this aircraft. What I mentioned earlier to you is we must try our very best to fight for this as much as possible to find every possible ways to stop the production of this turkey JSF program. Lets hope that Norty, Panetta, bureaucrats and generals get this message. “Fingers crossed”.

Pfffft. The F-35 has form-follows-function good looks. If you don’t understand the function, you won’t appreciate the form.
.…but thank you for a fey “so’s your mother” snark to capstone the thread.

Your assertion that you are completely disinterested etc with F-35 is not very consistent with your bullet points regarding F-35. And what makes you think I am an APA boy?? Your cognitive dissonance and delusions are both entertaining and tragic.

To the poster “Engineer Economist”


Part 1 / 2

He’s mathematically completely wrong, too. He wrote:

“So if reduced weight results in 1% better fuel economy the fuel savings is about $1 billion over 40 years at TODAY’s fuel costs which most certainly will rise faster than inflation. I’m betting the fuel savings is more than 1% and the wear and tear on components leads to far less expense in operations and support costs for parts/maintenance.”

1) Divide the collective fuel economy of 1 billion $ (of these “improved” 2.000 F-$$s, and during the next 40 years, as he says) by 2.000 aircraft, and each “improved” F-$$ only saves 500.000 $ of fuel during its entire life-time of 40 years. Some bombs cost more.


Part 2 / 2

2) Divide those 500.000 $ again by 40 (years), and each “improved” F-$$ only “saves” 12.500 $ of fuel PER YEAR now!

3) Divide those 12.500 $ by each F-$$‘s 96 average yearly flights, and each “improved” F-$$ only saves 130 $ PER FLIGHT now!!!

That’s only about 43 gallons of fuel worth (per individual F-$$ flight), and I doubt very much that each individual, “improved” ( BUT ALSO MORE EXPENSIVE !!! ) F-$$ needs less than 130 $ in spare parts & maintenance costs per flight (how much does a new trio of tyres cost?) – LET ALONE LESS THAN 130 $ DURING A WHOLE YEAR OF OPERATIONS !!!

4) Provided, of course, that the F-$$s’ final unit price won’t E-V-E-R climb again by another “130” $… (The absolute madness of this thought: In the next minute already?!)

FFB, you completely missed my second paragraph citing an estimated $57.6 billion cost for 40 years of flying 2,000 F-35s. That expense was increased very generously to only $100 billion due to aerial refueling for many of those flights. Recall that I used just $3 a gallon as the assumed fuel cost while aerial refueling can result in costs per gallon of over $40.

1% fuel savings of $100 billion total fuel expense is $1 billion saved…which you then divided by 2,000. Stick to being a troll. I had three semesters of college calculus and was invited to become an ORSA but declined. I also ran a small business for over a decade and with your math skills never would have survived the first year.

Oh no, now Scott Adams is on to our defense contractor scam: http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2011–07-18/ .

You may have has three semesters of college calculus, but it’s glaringly evident that you failed Remedial Critical Analysis 101. Because all your fancy college-boy ciphering is nothing but handwaving in a feeble attempt to divert attention away from the real story.

Which is that LM made the chubby little porker too damned heavy In THE FIRST PLACE, despite being fully aware of both the approximate amount of thrust they would have available to hoist the Marine’s Wet Dream into the sky, and the bring-back weight requirements..

IOW, they aren’t doing the taxpayer any favors by offering wonderful NEW fuel savings — they’re making the American taxpayer pay thru the nose for the engineering screw ups that made it too heavy to begin with.

My #3 should have read full scale live fire SYSTEM testing. They’ll probably be taking more potshots at structure for a while, look at the data, take some more shots, if this program is like most .
I AM somewhat surprised that other than the usual “fuel tanks can catch fire if you shoot them enough” earlier this year there has not been any other specifics coming out from the independent testers –which leads me to believe there’s probably nothing remarkable (unforseen-bad or good) coming out. I’m pretty impressed with the overall methodology, but still question the ROI of the level of effort used in testing the vulnerability of an LO platform, when the susceptability side of the equation is so low.

The “susceptability side of the equation” may be low at the moment, but given that the F-35 is being touted as the front-line fighter for the next 50 years, that’s not likely to remain the case. And if the way the program has been ever-so slowly lurching forward is any indication, it’s more than possible that the susceptibility side of the equation will be considerably elevated by the time it actually matures into an operational combat aircraft…


Pre-Planned Product Improvements, evolving tactics/weapons. And your second assertion assumes too much, given that with the end of the Cold War, threats have not maerialized as fast as we expected them to in the 1980s

What a spectacular non sequitur! I merely picked up where you stopped, and what did “I” miss? What did “I” get wrong? Can’t you really follow me through that your “improved” F-$$s will probably save less fuel per flight than the price of a single machine-cannon round? Great “airframe cost reduction”, really!

Who on Earth wired your neurons?

RE: Yet two year later they’re removing safety equipment from the aircraft as documented by the 2006 DOT&E report which of course you ignored. Wither the changes were ordered or not in the 2004 SWAT is irrelevant, they were instituted in 2006 meaning that two years after the so called ”guaranteed” design changes Lockmart was still trying to axe weight from the plane.

It took about six months to identify the configurations they were going to pursue and about 18 months to be substantially implemented for the three variants. It would be wrong to believe it could be done faster. It would also be wrong to assume that weight would not continue to be monitored and winnowed out wherever possible. SWAT was the approach/technique, the ‘how’ not a ‘what’: weight reduction was and is an ongoing effort – like on ALL aircraft programs.

RE: How convenient it is for whiners like you to start any conversation about the F-35 with crying about APA. Nothing I posted or said originated at APA and the last time I checked DOT&E was a US Government agency.

Where you get your data is irrelevant to the point– you were still knowingly or unknowingly aping APA (pun intended) talking points. The fire extinguisher “issue” is one, and the APA and others will beat it until it is closed. Then they will find some other mundane engineering task and blow it up into another insurmountable ‘crisis’.

RE: (far more thought went into taking out/modifying all weight reduction articles than went in to their original design weight/performance considerations.) So says one of the leading cheerleaders of the JSF Program. More snake oil piled higher and deeper.

B.S. (and easily debunked B.S at that).

The short version
Jon Beesley on post-SWAT F-35 design: http://​www​.youtube​.com/​w​a​t​c​h​?​v​=​R​Q​5​g​m​Z​7​4​Y​B​Y​&​a​m​p​;fe

More detail (AIAA Member Access Req’d)
AIAA-2006–1868, Detail Part Optimization on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. (J. Thomas et al)

RE: Lower-level Live Fire testing conducted by the time of the 2006 DOT&E report supported the fire suppression design decisions. The ’06 report called for higher level testing.
A: I just posted the DOT&E reports finding on the issue of the dry bay fire extinguishing systems, funny how they don’t match up with what you just stated.

How do they not? The original (2001) Live Fire Test & Evaluation plan for determining system-level vulnerability for the F-35 was based upon the full up system test of an F-35B. The approach for the remaining two variants was toFull-Up test “variant unique” areas and component/system level tests. Based upon the 2006 review, in 2007 the strategy was changed to include a CTOL and full scale/unpopulated structures adding even more upper level testing.

Unless you are asserting that there was no test/analysis involved in removing the dry bay systems, (ridiculous given the description of the LFT&E program as ‘robust’ by the very person most worried (Gilmore) about the fire suppression changes) there is no conflict. It does indicate you not only have no knowledge of the program, you don’t really grasp the complexity of the testing and analysis involved.

RE: Full scale live-fire [system] testing conducted…..
A: Tests created by Lockmart to disprove the DOT&E and GAO concerns about the removal of the safety systems. Should we expect anything else?

Ahem…hey there ‘genius’? Live Fire Testing is designed and performed by an independent Government lab/organization outside program cognizance. C’mon admit it: you just making this stuff up as you go.

RE:. Even if somewhere in the remaining 7% there is an unacceptable vulnerability, there are alternate paths … Some of them weigh almost nothing at all.
A: More unsubstantiated opinions from one of the leading cheerleaders of the F-35.

Really. How about a tailored application (point design use) of ‘powder panels’? http://​www​.bfrl​.nist​.gov/​8​6​6​/​N​G​P​/​p​u​b​s​/​1​9​3​_​R​0​2​0​130

RE: The F-35 is heavier NOW. What the customer will get an aircraft with diminished maneuverability, range, payload, and an appetite for tires particularly in hot climates.

This is too funny. Heavier than what? Goal? Key Performance Parameter? Where is your proof of a current weight ‘problem’? You are practically cutting and pasting an obsolete Bill Sweetman scare piece citing the 1999 DOT&E report’s “F-35C predicted take-off speeds continue to increase and now exceed tire limits in hot and high density altitude environments” .
This ‘concern’ disappeared from the 2010 report. I wonder why? Oh yeah! There are now REAL F-35Cs actually flying instead of conservative predictions on paper. Even if it reappears, it would not be out of character for ANY aircraft program. Problems come up. Problems get solved. That’s why it’s called engineering – and not ‘magic’.

Whomp. Whomp. Whomp.

correction “2009 report”. (Bloodlust).

Too expensive to be successful the national debt is getting bigger by the day

We should always be designing replacements for fielded systems. The incremental improvement philosophy should be to start with what works, improve upon it, and fix deficiencies identified in O&M. This approach would yield greater probabilities of successful programs at less cost, resulting in more properly recapitalized and improved force structure. The “Status Quo” business model of DoD & industry is to promise revolutionary leap ahead technologies, ignoring the urgent current needs of warfighters, and chasing technology in the delusional belief that we can somehow “design” solutions for 10–20-30+ years out based on an accurately forecasted threat environment. the Institution could not or would not even forecast the need for armored trucks in Iraq, for pete’s sake. The “Status Quo” approach is arrogant and tone deaf to Uncertainty in future. When the inevitable schedule delays, cost overruns, and performance shortfalls hit, the Institution refuses to adapt, lashes out at any critic as unpatriotic and stupid, and demands more and more dollars and less and less accountabliity.

Pre-Planned Product Improvements and evolving tactics/weapons could be equally well applied to so-called ‘legacy’ aircraft. in fact, they have.

As for my“second assertion”,- I thought it was obvious that it was tongue-in cheek. Or at least somewhat.…..

That said, I guessed it seemed serious enough to prompt you to unwittingly hoist yourself on your own petard. Because you’re right about the threats not materializing as fast as expected. Without those dire expected threats, the military justification for an expensive and technologically immature all-LO tactical air force is essentially bankrupt. You know, kind’a like your country…

The ‘expected threats’ that HAVE semi-materialized, like the S-400, PAK-FA, and J-20, are, or promise to be, too expensive for the usual suspects to afford in numbers large enough to constitute a credible threat to the immensely powerful US air forces.. And despite the patently self-serving AirSea Battle dogma, big , bad China has little incentive to engage in something as inherently risky as all-out industrial-scale warfare with the US and its allies. Why should they fight for what they want when it’s so much cheaper and easier just to buy it?

With no edit function, typos are gonna happen. So don’t even bother calling me on them.

Guest is of course referring to the emergency fuel cutoff valves and fire suppression systems that where removed from the JSF to reduce weight at the cost of reduced survivability.

The result is an aircraft and crew that is much more vulnerable to catastrophic combat damage. When this was revealed William C claimed that the increased threat to our aviators should not be met with horror but a cash prize to Lockheed for a job well done.

In Bills world consistent failure is a virtue of some sort.

Indeed when you are sitting on the tarmac grounded you don’t need any. But F-22 pilots will tell you that they expect to have to fight with the gun because they don’t carry enough missiles.

All you have to do is read pcfem claims from a month ago that overruns were a thing of the past and that costs were under control and trending down so that production aircraft would all cost 60m each.

All complete made up nonsense that even Lockheed’s most glowing PR doesn’t claim.

“Problems come up. Problems get solved. That’s why it’s called engineering”

That is not engineering that is incompetence. The blase assumption that major design failures are not a problem and that the customer will just pay to get it redesigned sometimes multiple times is a sign of endemic incompetence.

It’s why the JSF is way overweight, why the flight control system has had complete failures, why the electrics were so shoddily designed that they could only meet 60% of the power needs, why the flight information system group was sued for fraud by one of it’s own engineers. The list goes on and on. And this is not on the test bed this is in production and near production aircraft.

At the root is what CEO of general dynamics candidly said in congressional hearings when asked why the contractors facing reduced DoD budgets didn’t diversify — he said that the defense contractors cannot diversify into other industries — because their engineers cannot make a product for a market which isn’t pay for failure.

“Early F-35 costs increase $771M, Lockheed says”

Costs keep on going up and pfcem keeps on pretending otherwise.

Lockheed has made no secret of their business model — hire cheap inexperienced people and let the American government foot the bill for the resulting mess.

See failure is normal, waste is normal, the contractor mantra is never changing: “There is no alternative to failure.”

And the average American looks on with disgust at the greed, incompetence and outright dishonesty that is rampant in the contractor culture. No wonder they want to cut the defense budget 3 to 1.

British say they only want to buy “about” 16 now, that “about” will soon become 8 and then none. Meanwhile the navy is busy making alternative plans. Everywhere you look people are heading for the exits rather than be trampled by the colossal JSF white elephant.

In contractor talk when the customer claws back some small amount of the hundreds of billions of overruns that is called a “saving”. Contractors and their shills will then tell you they deserve a bonus for screw-ing America just that little bit less.

America needs to stop “pay for failure”.

Ignore FreeFallingBoob he’s frickin king of the clueless trolls hereabouts.
Out of curiosity, I actiually ‘did the math’ on what the weight savings could yield in reduced fuel costs, looking at feasible ranges of inputs to develop a parametric model of the problem to plot ranges of expected outcomes. Example inputs:
a) average baseline TO weight: 35000K lbs,
b) post SWAT average TO weight 33000 lbs.
c) SFC .7 (lbs/hr burned per lb/thrust),
d) Conservative .5 % reduced fuel burn per 1% weight reduced (Brugeut says ~.75 % reduced fuel burn per 1% weight reduced
e) 3000 airframes, 8000 hrs/airframe
f) Very conservative average thrust setting:13000 lbs (<1/2 max dry thrust)
g) Conservative % of fuel delivered Air to Air: 5%
Fleet Fuel Savings: $4,135,493,372.61
(I started to just put “$4B” but that would be too easy.)

Post Script: I usually require parametric model exploration early to determine sensitivities of inputs on the range of the outcomes. This will usually tell me if the answer I’m seeking is worth employing more sophisticated techniques or precision. If one would quibble and declare a percentage of the weight reduction was mandatory to make all the variants feasible, then one could reduce the output of this example by about 75% before we get into ‘break even’ territory.

LOL. Says the guy who wouldn’t know what a Markov Process was if I hit him over the head with one. The most complex acquisition you’ve probably ever made was from a vending machine, and I suspect you quite often hit the wrong button.
If we developed software the way it was done in the commercial world, we’d need half as many airports and they’d only be used for takeoffs. There’s a clue — catch it!

Believe me, I understand.

If we’re building a plane now, it is being designed for effectivity against current and projected threats. We do not have the luxury to assume they will not materialize, so we use risk management to pick our paths. I find your comment far more interesting BTW than the nit picking minutia masters that usually haunt these boards.
RE: China has little incentive.
You cannot assume a rational actor will be your opponent. Historically it has not been the case. I highly recommend Professor Rufus J Fears “Wisdom of History” lecture to dispell any notion of rationality in how wars start. http://​www​.thegreatcourses​.com/​t​g​c​/​p​r​o​f​e​s​s​o​r​s​/​pro
Or if you don’t want to bother with the series, perhaps my account of the 25th Hurley Military History Seminar: http://​elementsofpower​.blogspot​.com/​2​0​0​7​/​1​0​/​2​5th–.…

In any instance one never builds a military based upon ‘intentions’ one builds it based on capabilities.
I think I’ve also covered ‘why not current systems?’ extensively. At my place you could begin with : http://​elementsofpower​.blogspot​.com/​2​0​1​1​/​0​1​/​s​t​eal
and search around from there. Bottom line: LO is the price of admission on a modern battle field, modern sensors and information fusion give you the backstage pass.
heh.~ ‘petard’.

That appears to be one of their strategies. Another is to simply beat people down until they give up. Another is to divide and conquer. They set one group of engineers against another and the engineers within the company against those working for the customer watchdog organization so that none of them get along or work well together. They also make engineering serve organizations that exist to support engineering. Plus they like to reward the incompetent because it demoralizes good workers. These are all common tactics for cutting productivity within the aerospace business. You’ll find the same tactics are used throughout the industry. Unfortunately these tactics work and generally they keep engineers focused on the small picture so they never step back and see the forest for the trees.

My bad that would be J Rufus Fears

Just heard that AIAA paper is laying around on the web elswhere as well.

Hmmm… Maybe you should have considered adjusting your ‘parametric model exploration’ to reflect the ACTUAL weights of the a/c in question before ‘you ‘did the math’.

These are the listed EMPTY weights from the official LM F-35 web site:

F-35A: 29,300 lb
F-35B: 32,300 lb
F-35C: 34,800 lb

The averaged empty weight is 32,133 lbs. And with 43K of thrust blasting away, the 876 lbs of fuel in your “post SWAT average TO weight of 33000 lbs“is gonna disappear pretty damn quick, donch’a think?

But really, your petty ciphering errors are really beside the point because the $771M is not to pay LM for fuel-saving enhancements . To the contrary, LM is now demanding that the taxpayer pay them for fixing things that they screwed up the first time around.

So much for your imaginary ‘savings’…

Why of course those that’s the empty weight for the F-35, if people saw what it really weighs they might ask WTF?

But hey what a gravy deal for Lockmart, they continue to get funding to the tune of billions of dollars for poor engineering on the largest scale in aerospace history.

All those impressed with SMSgt Mac’s cost benefit analysis raise your right hand, give him a thumbs up, and go to his blog and start cheering, It must be lonely over there. Let’s take a closer look at his work.. The $4B in O&M savings is over a period of what? how many years of O&M? 30/40?? Mac forgot or does not know how to apply Discounting, so we can get a Net Present Value of these savings (which would be impossible to account for and realize, anyway) for which a fair comparison to the cost overrun, or cost of the weight saving initiative, would even be possible. Throw in the uncertainty in the future cost of jet fuel, and the unknown possible negative impacts that these slimmed down parts will have on reliability, and the net conclusion for these savings is a “Who Cares?” while the $771B overrrun is a real problem requiring real dollars now. SMSgt Mac — used car salesman deliver better value proposition pitches than you do. Cheers =)

more accurately said: You require parametric model exporation to confirm your biases and to build imaginary business cases for courses of action that are only viable based on corporate and political self-interests, at the expense of rationality and greater national security. In the process anyone with a differing opinion can go to hell and we all must bow down and worship you and your analysis, regardless of the program’s inability to perform, thus continuing the pattern of institutional failure and corruption, resulting in greater uncertainty and risk to the Nation.

I feared that point example was as much a trap for the innumerate as it was illumination for the rest. Sorry it has to be you to fall in it. I used the word ‘conservative’ several times — it should have tipped you off.
Heavier A/C? 40K Average Baseline TO Weight: $3,618,556,701.03 fuel cost reduction.
Same average weight as my original example w.MORE (27K) thrust? $5,726,067,746.69
reduction. If you go into AB you are burning multiples of the dry SFC.
I kept the weight reduction 33% less than the announced numbers
I give Bruguet only a partial nod (5/7ths) to the physics.
I use very conservative average thrust settings.
I use a fixed bse price for the fuel $3 that we can be pretty sure is only the low end.
…and you make a weaka** argument against it.
I can guess where your 876 lbs of fuel figure came from, so well use it. Take that number
and apply it over the life of the fleet = Billions $ saved.

Petulant children try to assign ‘blame’ where there is none (or it is theirs) vs. dealing with and shaping a program within what is really a series of Markov Processes.
The bill was for a weight reduction effort applied to all variants to preserve as much commonality as possible while making sure the B model was viable.
Only the B model was ‘weight’ threatened without the SWAT program, Other program requirements drove the decision to apply it to the other variants. The question is cost vs. benefit. In this case it can be seen that the benefit far exceeds the cost just in fuel savings alone.

He’s got a point. We need to draw distinctions between exploratory science, exploratory engineering, and engineering product development, using TRLs. In exploration we expect to encounter problems we didn’t even know we would encounter and solve them as we come up. Often exploration ends up in failure to accomplish original goals, but some achievement was made in the process itself. In Product Development, however, failure is not acceptable when we have urgent need to recapitalize our force structure. DoD needs to set its sights much lower in its MDAP acquisitions, with its complicated but necessary regulatory oversight processes, and increase investment in exploring and maturing high risk technology investment before it is ready for integration. Now, if someone were to tell me that all F-35 technology was mature (TRL 6) and they still blow the APB by 100%, then we need to set our sights even lower. Enough with the delusions of what DoD & Industry thinks and promises it can deliver.

SMSgt Mac — The JSF certainly does not have form-follows-function good looks. I do understand the function.

Ahhhh. Not so sorry you fell into this. I was expecting YOU my little Contador de frijol. The point was that even keeping everything in the equation as conservative as possible, the savings in fuel alone are almost certainly MANY times greater than the outlay. You assert reduced reliability, when there is evidence present that the redesign effort reduced UNNECCESSARY not essential weight. The design was tested and changed to correct errors. I place your PV against future fuel costs and my conservative .5% fuel savings for every 1% weight reduction and call it a wash. We’ll call you when we want our money counted as long as you don’t offer financial advice along with it.

why was the jet so fat to begin with? did the designers suck then or now? apparently the system as originaly designed was NOT optimized for low life cycle costs, as you have previously asserted. So now we have an unbudgeted for cost overrun as a result of all these suppliers having to redesign their parts to make them lighter, creating a convenient scapegoat for the schedule delay as well. you’d probably love it if we’d all just shut up, fork over the billions, and look the other way. well sorry dude that’s not going to happen. Here’s something for you to chew on: Is it true that the contractor did not do schedule risk analysis but Naval Air Systems Command did and forecasted the 2 year slip back in 2010 per this GAO audit pg 43? so much for performance excellence… http://​www​.gao​.gov/​n​e​w​.​i​t​e​m​s​/​d​0​9​3​0​3​.​pdf
Your list of cynical haters keeps growing and growing. it’s amazing that you will stop at know ends at tearing others down and DoD & the govt apart in your F-35 crusade. your cheerleading spirit for this program and acquisition practice is laudable.

How is it consistent failure if LM meets the specs the branches are giving them?

Never heard any F-22 pilots claim 6 AIM-120Cs and 2 AIM-9Xs weren’t enough. You know the air-superiority model F-15s typically carries eight missiles, right?

Oblat is making up statistics now? I love it. Also I’ve never had anybody but hippies and EADS salesmen like yourself look down upon me for my work.

Umm… err.. it was supposed to read “Your avg take-off weight was only 876 lbs *MORE* than…”

JRL erroneously averaged the three weights of the A, B, C models on an equal basis to get 32,133 lbs. There are far more F-35A versions which drives the true average empty weight much lower.

Impressive effort SMSgtMac. I’m curious what value you used for a gallon of fuel and why only a 5% aerial refueling frequency? Saw something somewhere today saying that alternative fuel currently cost upwards of $35/gallon. What would the savings be if that cost came down to even $10/gallon and that was the sole fuel game in town…or a game blended with JP5/8. Bet that blended fuel is less efficient as well.

Never mind. I see the $3/gallon figure. I bet it costs more than that to get fuel on a carrier at sea.…

This is where it helps to have more than a recent awareness of the issue . LM Engineering was waving a flag over weight long before 2004, but the “Program” (PMs, JSFPO) emphasis was on ‘Commonality uber alles’ as the surrogate for ‘affordability’ (Hah!) and getting beaten up for not having enough commonality. Tracking weight on Aircraft is the norm so there were never any real surprises in this, only preferences followed. Finally the weight creep threatened the ability of the B model to meet KPPs, and the program (still seeking to preserve as much commonality as possible) applied the weight reduction effort to all variants. I believe in the end it will have been far more successful than we suspect, but weight management never really ends for the Mass Properties IPTs.
You must have missed my Texas Sharpshooter post on GAO and predictions in general: http://​elementsofpower​.blogspot​.com/​2​0​1​1​/​0​4​/​f​-35–… and associated links.

All programs are dynamic entities, with changes driving costs and schedules internally. When you add the external reactionary decisions (changes) some technical, most political or budgetary opportunism you add even more chaos to a system. As Augustine’s Laws sate “All Change Costs” If you can solve the problem of varying risk management thresholds that afflict all programs over time, you will go a long way towards controlling the cascading change effects. you will go even further if you can either make Congress urp the annual funding so that it matches planned activities vs. whatever they feel like. Large programs will still be better described by Mandlebrot sets than by any definitive solution set, but they should stop morphing faster than you can describe them. Schedules are ‘guesses’ — risk analysis of schedules requires more ‘guesses’ . As a famous test pilot once told the Customer: ‘Tell me what will go wrong and I will tell you how long it will take’.

‘Haters’ differ from opportunists (other programs/ other service factions, non-State Actors, individual Congressmembers) and lapdogs (GAO). Haters differ, but are used by the others to their own ends. Haters get indignant over falsehoods, half truths, and non sequiturs, do not have any grasp of how and why we buy weapon systems the way we do, and because they are Hybris-ridden and simplistic they believe ‘if only’ (fill in the blank).

I get accused of being a fanboy or cheerleader only becasue I refuse to buy into the ‘sky is falling’ BS.
Since I get paid pretty decent money to apply a critical eye to different programs, I owe my employer to keep most of my observations between me and AND who pays me. I’m also acutely aware that I do not have all the data in hand to pass judgement on a lot of things, so I don’t. There are a lot of things I disagree with concerning F-35 program direction and airpower acquisition in general, but there is only a small subset of it that does not fall under my existing obligations. One thing is CAIV, which I refer to as Cost as an Idiotic Variable because it is so easily abused as a change agent. I already mentioned capricious annual budget whacking which forced the Program and LM to make choices they never should have had to make (EAC6!), and I also find some of those choices suspect — but I don’t have all the information to justify criticism of them, only enough to believe that I would probably have not gone the route they took.

Parametric modeling of the feasible trade space is affected by my ‘biases’ only to the point to which I ‘bound’ the total problem. So far I have provided here a small subset of possible outcomes, and at my own place invited others ‘to do the math’ themselves. Part of the problem is people overlaying their own biases on my examples.

Perfect illustration is JRL’s jumping on my first example of selected weight. I purposefully did not spend a paragraph explaining why I selected that weight, and what it represented. Now I have to. Since I was holding the TO weight constant, it was really representative of a possible weight at mid-mission point. Half the time it would have been higher, half the time it would have been lower. If I had said mid-mission weight I doubt if more people would have known what I meant. A better model would involve a fuel burn curve, but that’s a little much for a board discussion isn’t it? Constant average is good enough to discover orders of magnitude.

Now back to that ‘average’ that I selected that bothered JRL so. Sorry JRL, but you should have ‘spared’ yourself. First, your ‘average’ empty weight is only true if you buy equal quantities of all three variants. the weighted average empty weight I used did assume most foreign interests would buy A models, but the weighted average empty weight using the raw weights you provide is about 30.5K. The weighted average maximum internal capacity assumed was ~17.5K lbs. So my first example implied a feasible average fuel weight reamining (mid-mission) of ~2300lbs. A little light, but not infeasible, especially for a training mission, which will be the preponderance of missions flown over time. Remember most fuel burn comes when the plane is heavier early in the mission, and climbing to altitude burns far more than coming home. If I had employed a fuel burn curve in a dynamic scenario and not average weights, this scenario would have been about 37k lbs at takeoff. And in any case.….it was just a freakin’ EXAMPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for the kind words. It took me 20 minutes tops to construct the model, and now I’m probably going to spend 10 times that shooting down poorly aimed missiles. I used $3/gal because that is the current commercial IATA value. I picked a low number for the percent aerial refueling because it is a tremendous cost multiplier and I didn’t want to ignore it but also did not want to pad the bill based on external operational factors. Fuel delivered to a carrier at sea HAS to be more expensive as well, but I don’t have the multiplier for that.

LOL Explain then exactly what looks wrong to you and functionally ‘why’?
I fear you are really just expressing a matter of taste.
My late father-in-law LOVED the way it looked — but then again he was just an old Phabulous Phantom ‘Nam pilot and IP w/~5000hrs in F-4s/ ~ 8000 hr in fighters total and made The Great Santini look like a wuss in the eyes of the guy who had the huevos to ask his daughter out. And if a hardened F-4 jock doesn’t understand functional beauty, well then — who does?

SMSgt Mac NOW says: “The weighted average maximum internal capacity assumed was ~17.5K lbs. So my first example implied a feasible average fuel weight reamining (mid-mission) of ~2300lbs.”

JRL: ‘implied”, my a$$. To quote your first example:

“a) average baseline TO weight: 35000K lbs,
b) post SWAT average TO weight 33000 lbs”

TO weight is Take-Off weight. And if you think you’re fooling anyone with your pathetic back-pedaling and bogus appeals to the rarified world of parametric modelling, you’re only fooling yourself.

If you really meant to say “mid-mission weight”, you should have done so so. As it is, you did not and therefore you have no grounds for complaint if people take you at your word. This ain’t interpreting bible verses, ya know.

You have failed to make a compelling argument that the $771 M surcharge is justified because of imagined future fuels savings (Again, it’s not. Because the outrageously espensive SWAT revision was only necessary because the original models as designed and built were severely overweight despite clear foreknowledge of the amount of vertical thrust available from the ‘B’ powerpack) In fact, all you’ve really proved is that your math skills are trivial in comparison to your talent for dissembling.

The less screwed up the concept and the execution, the less dynamic the results will be. Screw the pooch as much as F-35 has done, and you never converge towards a successful program, unless you lower expectations so much and try to claim victory in some abstract sense. Unacceptable in MDAPs. Force structure is at stake here — no place for exploration & experimentation. Come back to political reality — programs that keep GAO happy keep Congress happy. “Schedules are ‘guesses’ ” and risk analysis are guesses.. give me a break. Programs need to get some competency here.

Only YOU (and pfcem) could have the temerity to characterize a $150B TY projected cost overrun (the collective, coordinated, analytical judgment of all stakeholders), unknown schedule delays, UFRs from the blue for “below cost” LRIP jets (without a complete design or MS C), broken promises, and poor acquisition execution as falsehoods, half-truths, and non sequitirs. And then label anyone that expresses these valid criticisms as “Haters” and engage in the very tactics you disingenuously deplore. Hybris indeed.

you are starting to see the light at the beginning of the tunnel. Quite an accomplishment.

SMSgt Mac apparently was out sick the day “time value of money” was taught in cost benefit analysis.

time value of money and many more infinitely dynamic variables beyond anyone’s ability to model. This is why models & results need to be independent verified. So the notion that we should shout for joy & cheer on your fuel cost savings in exchange for a $771M cost overrun on LRIP jets, when F-35 advocates have previously asserted that LRIP jets were coming in below cost projections, and that the CAPE is BS, and we should trust LM & the PM, is ABSURD.

I call caviling. I was clearly using a fixed weight. If you knew anything about what we were discussing your first instinct would have been to carp about the fixed weight aspect. If you were also a reflective or contemplative sort you would have resisted the instinct and eventaully ‘get’ it. And to repeat the single most important point: .….it was just a freakin’ EXAMPLE — a single outcome of a parametric model based upon a single set of inputs.

Gee for a GAAP wunderkind you play awful loose with the numbers. Once again, just because the ‘bill’ is levied in a specific LRIP does not mean either the costs hve already been incurred OR that the costs incurred are only amortized against birds in that LRIP.
I repeat my comment at my place:
“Honestly, what brand of stupid do you have to sniff to try to amortize the total ‘bill’ for re-engineering production capability for the entire fleet against just the first 31 aircraft?” Evidently ‘Engineering_Economist Brand’.

Fear Not! I shall remind you that CAPE is BS every time the contract costs come in far far closer to the program estimates than the CAPE BS. CAPE estimates are nothing more than sanctioned GIGO.

Gawd you’re hopeless. I’ve already made it quite clear you wouldn’t make a pimple on a Program Manager’s fanny. I’ll keep reminding you as long as it is necessary. http://​elementsofpower​.blogspot​.com/​2​0​1​1​/​0​7​/​d​e​liv

I was tired (unlike many here I actually have a job) last night or I would have dropped this on the thread then. I picked potential fuel cost savings as a measure that was relatively easy to quantify (as you also perceived). In reality, the Services/Customers may CHOOSE to convert the value of the reduced weights to add other capability, increase survivability (such as putting the fire suppression elements they took out back in if needed). Or they might use the reduced fuel burn to affect any number of operational changes (flight planning, tanker utilization patterns. They can (and will) explot the flexibility in any manner they choose, the Customer saw value in the common weight reduction efforts when they were only ‘required’ for the B — and they were willing to pay for it. All this outrage is rather humorous to me at this time because ‘Customer Values’ are the central focus of a project I have going at the moment which are not always able to be reduced to dollar fvalues or time. Interesting stuff: http://classweb.gmu.edu/aloerch/Chapter%2019%20fi


I always love when Mil Bloggers post their own hilarious “pretend facts” like only they have some special insight on the truth.

Nothing in the world screams louder that you’re a legend in your own mind.

You cannot use FY12 money for“future modifications to make the aircraft standard with jets delivered after the development phase ends in 2016″. This is in violation of Bona Fide Needs Law. You would have to know what the changes and requirements are before you have a valid requirement. We’ll have to see how this plays out in future audits and possible legal actions in the future. For now, we SHOULD be able to agree that any conclusions about LRIP jets coming below estimated costs is nonsense, given development is far from COMPLETE. I don’t have this expectation for you. As far as your “GIGO” assertion, I agree — the garbage is coming from the Ctr and the Program Office. Cheers, have a great day.

I sometimes post at my place on the goings on at Military​.com only because of the tedious words-per-comment limitations on these threads. I don’t fault Military​.com — they have to pay for the bandwidth used. But the downside is that the format 1) lends itself to snarky little accusations based on outright falsehoods and dezinformatsia, and/or 2)simplistic world views –all unsupported by fact (especially when made by a trolls grandoisely posing as dieties of an obscure ancient sect.) It saves me time shooting down argumentum ad nauseum retreads on the same falsehoods. Others are free to visit the referenced post to see if they can find and ‘pretend facts’. I cite. I quote. I ask questions. I submit reasonable conclusions as my own. I assert no unsupported facts. RE: ‘legend’. Actually (you should be taking notes– free career advice here) half the the secret to my success is to always have a good ‘press’. The other half is to never believe your own good ‘press’.
You are dismissed.

Hope you’re better at counting $ than tracking facts. As in the DEW line post, this article above and my response at my place:
“As the F-35 continues to be developed even as the first production models are delivered, the $771 million bill also includes the cost of future modifications to make the aircraft standard with jets delivered after the development phase ends in 2016. It is possible that the bill for LRIPs 1–3 could be reduced in the future. The F-35 team is focused now on any opportunity to reduce the concurrency estimate and improve the final cost-to-complete on these early production lots,”
As to the rest of what is GIGO, I refer others again where they can find hints as to what is GIGO concerning CAPE estimates: (http://​elementsofpower​.blogspot​.com/​2​0​1​1​/​0​7​/​d​e​l​i​v​e​r​-​u​s​-​f​r​o​m​-​b​e​a​n​-​c​o​u​n​t​e​r​s​.​h​tml with refernced link)
You’re the gift that keeps on giving.

you didn’t address Bona Fide Need. Let’s make sure we understand the situation correctly. F-35 PM is requesting $771M in FY12 money to pay for work that may or may not be needed to be done FY16+? correct?

If you keep digging the hole only gets deeper. A .22 caliber rifle is NOT the same as a 22mm rifle. The basic point that was being attempted was to point out that a rifle bullet COULD be fatal to a fighter aircraft, the F-35 included, and that is profoundly true, highlighted by the SEA-vintage phrase of the “Golden BB”. Standard rifles come in calibers like 5.56mm, 7.62mm, and at the high end 12.7mm. There are a couple that go as high as 20mm, but those are very special anti-material rifles that do the same job that a 12.7mm would do (at least on an A/C), and at typically less range.

Straight facts are actually quite important. Start out by posting a URL for a 22mm rifle! :-)

I don’t make any assumptions as to contract arrangements when I see thre media talking in general about a ‘bill’ — rather ambiguous (intentionally?) from a contracting perspective don’t you think? I comment on the articles as they are breathlessly delivered.
Now, I SUSPECT the LRIPs contain production capability infrastructure design, build, and production line items as well as some provisos for deferred A/C production work. But I also suspect that while the weight reduction redesign was/is conducted under SDD color of money, the ‘bill’ for future production ‘rework’ included for bringing the pre-weight reduction birds up to the weight-reduced standard is nothing more than an estimation of the cost of future work to retrofit those aircraft at some time on the future. I won’t guess whether or not there are provisos in the LRIP contracts for an extended PoP for rework tasks or if those tasks will be funded by future production contracts or some mod contract line item under the sustainment line items of the early, current or future sustainment contracts. The point is they are estimates of the cost of future work that the program thinks will be lower. But feel free to keep guessing yourself.

So on one hand you claim that LRIP jets are under cost and call the CAPE BS, while admitting that the jets will require future rework (really at unknown, “guess” cost). You are aware that one of the axioms of apply learning curve theory is “stable production configuration”? I’ve tried to get you to address this before, you’ve ignored it. I’m also smelling bona fide needs and antideficiency stink. Your cheerleading of the program and insults towards those who expect better and whose stake is in national security as a whole, who don’t have the luxury of cheering on any one weapons system, is a HOOT. Did you see the SASC testimony (http://​www​.​c​-spanvideo​.org/​p​r​o​g​r​a​m​/​A​r​m​e​d​S​e​r​v​i​c​e​s​H​e​a​r​i​n​g75) where the exalted senior leaders waived the white flag of surrender? You are the last person involved going down with guns blazing. Your tenacity is admirable. The politicians are going to kick F-35’s azz, and deservedly so. If by some miracle F-35 delivers as you promise, as verified by real testing, I will be all for major procurement investment. Until then, our level of committment to the F-35 should be made IAW performance results, and we should start developing alternatives.

RE: So on one hand you claim that LRIP jets are under cost and call the CAPE BS, while admitting that the jets will require future rework (really at unknown, “guess” cost)
A: No. On the one hand I assert LRIP costs to-date are beating even internal estimates, and it is reasonable to amortize production design (vs. aircraft design) change costs as an outcome of the weight reduction program against all current and future production quantities. I further observe that the retrofit costs that will be expended to bring those early aircraft into final configuration still fall well below the CAPE projections and close to and for some variants possibly less than even program internal projections.

RE: Design Stability
Again, I don’t ignore your assertions –I discount them.
PART 1 of 3. As I’ve mentioned BEFORE on these boards. Engineering Drawing count is an out of date metric as it is currently used. The CADAM environment encourages trivial drawing revs that often have little more an added notation for clarification with no part design change. In the old days, it took an Act of God and material part change to revise a released part DWG.
KSLOC count changes have to be viewed differently on programs employing UML (like the F-35) as well. Minor changes to a UML thread on the input side of the UML compiler can drive 1000s lines of code increase in compiled code on the output side. A more relevant metric would be related to the UML threads being coded, but you can’t get the traditionalists in SW to move away from KSLOC.
So PART 1 of the answer is: there’s a perception of some design instability that really isn’t there.

Part 2 of 3
AGAIN, the design changes that have been made through the F-35’s weight reduction effort were REQUIRED for the B model, and in applying the effort to all the variants very large weight reductions have come about for the A and C. Those design changes have been largely implemented. The weight reduction has come about largely through DETAIL part and system redesign. So while there is no evidence that the FUNDAMENTAL design, either in concept or as being built, is deficient, there was considerable DETAIL design work performed to lighten the aircraft as much as possible. The only major design decisions we are aware of involved the removal of the weighty ‘quick mate’ attachment fixtures which LM had to factor into their production redesign and selected bulkhead material changes.
So PART 2 of the answer is that most of the REAL design changes in the last 5 or so years was caused by DWG rev churn for the weight reduction effort.

Part 3 of 3.
We can list major design changes unrelated to weight reduction and made in the last 5 years or so on one hand, most of them have to do with the B model. No one thought the B model was going to be easy. But also no one (in the program) thought it would be too difficult – and it hasn’t been. I would also characterize the non-weight reduction F-35 challenges or design changes as “unremarkable”: http://​elementsofpower​.blogspot​.com/​s​e​a​r​c​h​?​q​=​w​ill… (read at the risk of your own prejudices.
So PART 3 of the answer is that what remaining design changes undertaken so far appear to be consistent with historical engineering comparables.
But you keep pushing that PANIC Button if it makes you feel better.

Take a look at what lockheed martin has done to their c130 line .They cut a deal with john murtha put up a plant in johnstown pa. took work from several of their feeder plants that have proven preformance and quality.and now their behind schedule.and quality is suffering .shipping has tripled.and now murtha is dead.On top of all this they were going to send work to Inda​.So what kind of money do you think this has cost taxpayers and stockholders.All for nothing.And they nolonger think prior experince is important

Good press that consists of regurgitated Lockmart talking points unverified after more then a decade of development and the largest fighter budget in history with anything remotely resembling a battle ready aircraft.

You’re in no position to dismiss anyone and NO I’m not going anywhere, thanks cowboy!

Oblat and JSF Advocates — Saying “There is no alternative to failure.” Whats that going to achieve. Absolutely nothing, with a very narrow path to keep on accelerating this (JSF) turkey and selling 3,000 pathetic and useless JSFs to the Allies is just going to get worse and worse, with an aircraft that’s undercapability and skyrocketing costs keeps flying up. Then if the western forces including the Allies are facing with the enemy with Russians/Chinese or any foe, we’ll be in very serious trouble to compete them. There are alternatives to the F-35 such as:

1. Open up the F-22 production line to export to our closest allies. Keep on producing F-22 at minimum sustaining rates.

2. Sustain and keep production lines open for F-15s and F-16s (F-16s for smaller NATO European, South American and Middle East nations only, because of the single engine and vast country size).

3. Completely scrap the JSF program.

Oblat and JSF advocates — You see, your country has the best aircraft like the F-15s, F-22s. And the Allies gets the inferior, useless JSFs that is not capable of doing the job to defend the countries needs, and you think its ok to do that. Its pathetic. That’s not the way to keep partnership with the Allies like that. Why should the Allies deserve to be parters with Lockheed Martin to join up the turkey (JSF) program?

Thinking_ExUSAF — Oh thats right I forgot. A .22 now I know. Thanks.

My fellow Americans,trust me on this,F35 doesnt have the same might as F22 does.Even though F35 is called an advanced fighter,F15,F18 could even be much better than the F35!

Whatever national safety is the most important thing we have to corcern.

And yet it exists, apparently reality is all a dream for pfcem

The GripenNG model is an evolutionary derivitive of the original Gripen. The base Gripen development story makes the JSF’s look like a cakewalk. And it still has some quirky behaviors that are only cured by the software that is inherent in the planform design: ferocious Adverse Yaw characteristics at high AoA. The NG is to the early Gripen waht the Super Hornet is to the Hornet.

“I’ve already made it quite clear you wouldn’t make a pimple on a Program Manager’s fanny”. I’ll keep that in mind every time a PM thanks me for saving their projects, programs, portfolios, and careers, you ignoramus. The only thing you’ve made clear is that you can make yourself believe anything. Thank you for enriching the definition of the term d-bag.

‘a series of Markov processes.’ Well I’m sure it’d be nice for you for taxpayers to fund your unbounded exploratory adventures, when it comes to MDAPs, DoD needs to consider force structure recapitalization and operational utility. We should be able to terminate your high risk adventures without systemic devastation. Major Defense Programs should follow DoD 5000 series and the FAR, which require proper planning & estimating, and not your greedy sociopathic concepts. No wonder the program is hosed.

How many years late and how many billions overbudget is F-35? You think this is a time to stay cool — that’s fine — I understand your need to pretend nothing is wrong with your rice bowl. However, those of us dealing with the full scope of national security problems have every right to be indignantly pissed off. And it has nothing to do ‘feeling better’ — it has to do with what is best for the country. It’s sad that you have to have the basics expained to you again and again.

These wonderful “state of the art” weapon systems are so devilishly hung up in the development phase that long before the F-22 had the first aircraft on a ramp, there was an ongoing parts obsolesence program, not so much to address the future obsolesence of some components but the CURRENT obsolesence issues! Computer hardware rolls over in a technology sense, about ever three years. The F-22 and the F-35 have been in some stage of design, development or production for over 30 years! Thats ten “roll overs” without even considering that the threat is moving just as quickly! So YES, we have to do updates. Perhaps if the developers did not need to spend so much time answering silly questions from uninformed congressional staffers, reporters, and other critics.… . . :-) I know, never happen!

Guest A — To me I find twin engine aircraft pretty safe and survivable types…

As I said before about single engine is suitable for smaller NATO European, South American and Middle East nations only, because of the vast country size.


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