The Pentagon’s self-inflicted wound (updated)

The Pentagon’s self-inflicted wound (updated)

General Motors would never try to sell you a Chevrolet by telling you how much it really costs.

Depreciation; fuel; insurance; maintenance; interest on your car loan; parking; taxes — all of it can mean the sticker price on your new car doesn’t approach what you’ll actually spend over the years you own it.

But GM and your dealer don’t want you to factor in those longer-term costs; they want you to buy it and pat yourself on the back for getting such a good deal. AT&T doesn’t show you what you’ll pay for your new handset and, let’s say, two years of coverage — it wants to sell you a new phone today.

So when everyone from Secretary Panetta on down continues to tell Congress and the world that DoD needs the F-35 Lightning II yesterday, no matter what, why did the Pentagon roll out another eye-popping total cost estimate?

Let’s take last week’s F-35 program estimate at face value — though you’d better believe that skeptics and industry advocates argue that it’s flawed: DoD already has a cost-shock problem with the F-35; at nearly $400 billion just for acquisition, it could start to rival the cost for the entire Afghan war. Why make things even worse by unveiling an even more astronomical figure for the total “lifecycle cost” of about $1.5 trillion?

UPDATE: Defense Department spokeswoman Cheryl Irwin said Monday the methodology here has been in effect for awhile, and she explained it this way:

[I]nitially, DoD provided only average annual Operating and Support (O&S) costs. Later, in 2001, the Department expanded the O&S cost section of the SAR to include total O&S costs in base-year and then-year dollars (the latter includes all anticipated inflation). These totals represent the planned expenditures over the entire sustainment period, or annual O&S cost times the useful life of the program. For the F-35 program, the total O&S cost is the estimated cost per flying hour times the flying hours per year for each type of aircraft times the useful life of the program.

And F-35 program spokesman Joe DellaVedova told DoDBuzz why this analysis had to cover 55 years’ worth of costs:

The expected service life of an F-35 is estimated to be 30 years.  The last jet to roll off the production line is expected to happen in 2036.  Add 30 years of service life to that last jet and you’re in 2066. Subtract 2066 — 2011 (the year the first production F-35 was delivered) and one gets 55 years of production F-35s in the skies — aka a “full life-cycle cost analysis.”

Still, the way it was ultimately done left congressional and industry sources scratching their heads. One veteran analyst said “bundling every conceivable direct and tangential cost together, from initial research to museum relocation expenses, is unprecedented.”

Lockheed Martin spokeswoman Laurie Quincy raised this point in her response to last week’s news about the F-35 costs:

“Never in the history of U.S. aviation has the Pentagon tried to project the cost of an aircraft program over a 55-year period,” she said. “The F-35 is the first aircraft program to undergo this type of review.”

The Defense Department could have neutralized this by releasing a comparable analysis for its existing fighters — Lockheed is set to deliver its 4,500th F-16 this week, for example. From first doodles to this week’s jet, how much has been spent on every F-16 ever built, including fuel, maintenance, shark-mouth nose art; glow wands for the ramp marshals,  coffee in the pilots’ ready rooms, etc?

If the Pentagon’s number wizards had that breakdown, in fiscal 13 dollars, they could potentially have made the F-35 look like a bargain, or at least put it into context. But they didn’t, and the world’s largest defense program had yet another bad week in Washington.

There’s certainly a case to be made that, even though it could cost support and amp the ire of critics such as Arizona Sen. John McCain, DoD has a responsibility to be forthright with Congress and the public. It’s a lovely argument, one that you can almost hear Jimmy Stewart making to cigar-chomping profiteers in an imaginary Frank Capra weeper, “The War Department.” In the real world, as we’ve seen so many times, DoD goes to great lengths to conceal or at least obfuscate reality, from indecipherable sexual assault reports to perplexing explanations over which Air Force bomber or cargo aircraft costs more to operate.

The department’s change of tone is all the more remarkable when you read this excerpt from Tony Capaccio’s Bloomberg story from Friday:

[Deputy F-35 program manager Maj. Gen. John] Thompson said the F-35 program office estimates were close to those developed by the Pentagon’s independent cost-analysis office. The similarities make the numbers more credible, Thompson said. Congress created the independent office to improve weapons-cost estimates and help curb excessive cost growth.

When was the last time a DoD leader cited the office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation as a trusty benchmark? There’s every reason to believe it is, but compare this approach to the Army’s response when CAPE estimated its Ground Combat Vehicle would cost more than the Army thought it would. As so many service leaders have when CAPE delivered a pessimistic take, the Army brass shrugged it off.

Maybe the Pentagon and program officials hope their estimate will buy goodwill because it precludes potential critics from saying, ah, there’re more costs here they’re leaving out. Maybe they’ve reached the point at which they don’t care about bad headlines and grumblings on the Hill, so long as they feel the program is safe. Or maybe they want to set a benchmark so astronomically high they think they can come in under it — the old tactic of “under-promise and over-deliver.”


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Lockheed Martin spokesman Laurie Quincy raised this point in her response to last week’s news about the F-35 costs: “Never in the history of U.S. aviation has the Pentagon tried to project the cost of an aircraft program over a 55-year period,”
Let’s all bow and worship all mighty, omniscient Lockheed that knows everything the Pentago has tried to do. Or we could all just agree to F* this contractor (and their sh*ty PM), and reprogram the resources in a variety of other ways and develop a force structure and not embarrass ourselves at Lockheed’s profit any further.

“Never in the history of U.S. aviation has the Pentagon tried to project the cost of an aircraft program over a 55-year period,”

She’s absolutely right. Do you think they calculated how much it would cost to operate the F-86 out to the year 2000? Pardon my French but you’re a fvcking imbecil if you do.

Two main points about the F-35. First dump the B and C and leave the F-35A for USAF asap. Second.Leave congress out of this project.

Most of all buy more F-22s and F-15SE instead.

Or the B-52?

“Second.Leave congress out of this project”

In what capacity? It’s actually their job to ask the annoying questions. I’m sure plenty of the questions are asked for agenda-related reasons, but they have a Constitutional requirement to be involved in how our money is spent.

I think their numbers are not nearly close to what it will actually be because the F-35 hasn’t completed testing yet and the more tests are done the more the costs rise. They can’t really give an accurate number just yet. Honestly, I just think they’re lying. I can’t say I know why they are, but that’s what it looks like to me anyway.

They’re still holding back testing for the F-35 and haven’t done any of the really dangerous evaluations such as spins and weapons firing. I think what it would really take to make or break the F-35 is if its testing went back to a normal schedule. Then again a test jet crashing could be catastrophic for the F-35… well more catastrophic than the F-35 has turned out to be itself.

I still don’t see how their numbers could be more reliable than this guy’s: http://​www​.defense​-aerospace​.com/​c​g​i​-​b​i​n​/​c​l​i​e​n​t/m

In the mean time, I still think the Super Hornet with the International Road Map upgrades is a better option.

Projecting the cost for 50 years is absurd but the sky rocketing costs for the F-35 should result in some scrutiny.

That’s one of the DoD quirks that irritates me as well. If they are going to use the “per unit” cost as the criteria, then the technology development cost should be separate from the production (assembly line) cost. Nobody I know of in the commercial (non-DoD) sector spreads the cost out over the units produced. If it costs $100M in TD costs, it doesn’t really matter if you build 1 or 1000. That is a “sunk” cost.

With Russia selling their S-400 to anyone with the money to buy it. Only ALL ASPECT STEALTH aircraft stand a chance to get threw it. The F-35 with it’s” Front Only Stealth” will be easy seen once it’s in it’s 250 mile operational range and shot down, as well as any teen series aircraft. Not very “Politically Correct ” to say but unfortunately the truth. The only aircraft we have that can get threw these defenses are the B-2 and the F-22. So why are we spending $1.4 Trillion dollars on a aircraft for Our “Future ” that can’t survive “Today’s current Anti-Air Threats” ??? In India at the ” DefExpo going on now” the Russians are Offering the S-400 to anyone with the money to buy it.

Lexington Institute could be better described as a bought and paid for “industry advocate” and not just “industry advocate as posted above. Interesting how LM pays the Lexington Institute to insult their number 1 customer. Puppet strings and all.

As for costs, now that they have started flying the aircraft cost per flying hour has made a big jump. The 2002 SAR shows $9145 cost per flying hour vs. $35,200 per flying hour in the latest SAR. In the 2002 SAR, that figure was after they reduced the F-35 squadron size in personal by two-fifths compared to an F-16 squadron. Interesting as the F-16 is less complex to keep flying. Even when counting in the FY2002 baseline dollars to today’s money, that is a big difference.

I am curious if the author above even took the time to read the latest SAR as opposed to taking the “industry advocate” view or that of a misleading USAF General Thompson (no relation as far as I know).

The real question for the USAF general would be, “how do you expect to afford the full 1763 jet number for the USAF when in 2008 plans and programs people in the service saw no way to afford buying more than 48 per year once full-rate kicked in (then 2014)? Plans and programs are the people that tell the boss how to make ends meet. Ask the general why in 2009, their average predicted unit cost for the jet over the buy is $90M each. When now in the latest budget, USAF predicts the average cost of each jet over the full program buy to be $120M. An increase of 33pc. from 2009 USAF budget predictions. Are his plans and program people nuts or is he? Add that up with the cost per flying hour and the pauper USAF is in trouble.

Notice the target price set in order for full-rate production to begin in 2019. Can this be achieved or is it yet more smoke and mirrors?

Not surprising as the same people told us LRIP-5 would be 120 aircraft not 29–30. Note the slowdown of buys isn’t directly all the blame of the big bad government. It is also the blame of incompetent engineering leadership / management at Lockheed Martin.

But yeah, build tens of billions of mistake jets.

All this for an aircraft that won’t be able to stand up to emerging threats and is too expensive to run for non-anti-access threats.

Here is what the sales pukes were telling everybody in 2007 (different versions of the same theme before and since then).

FYI, now the SAR splits up the cost tracking details of the motor and airframe. When someone quotes a price, always ask if it is flyable or roll-away.
“It’s about $37 million for the CTOL aircraft, which is the air force variant.”
– Colonel Dwyer Dennis, U.S. JSF Program Office 2002–

Note the quote above. Even the 2002 SAR didn’t have a number anywhere near that.

Actually, how about dumping A and B and just buying C instead for the USAF and USMC?

The A is only any good for Europe as a potential adversary is within range of that aircraft’s radius. The B is unnecessary because the USMC can eke out the Harriers until the new America Class LHAs are fitted with EMALs and then they can buy C. Only C has the range and payload for the Pacific theatre. Buying aircraft where the production line no longer exists (F22) or just may close by the end of this year (F15) is not a serious option.

Actually the stealth on the F-35 as well as that to of the Silent Eagle and Super Hornet Block III will decrease the range that an S-400 SAM can find it. It might be around 100–80 miles that an S-400 can find them, that’s just my estimate which probably isn’t very exact. Granted 100–80 miles is still too much. However, I think what we should look at the old things that worked against SAMs and focus on improving those.

For instance, what if we made a version of the AGM-88 with a maximum range of 100 miles and a speed of mach 5+. The moment an aircraft carrying this missile was locked onto by an S-400 that aircraft could immediately acquire the SAM, fire, and the AGM-88 type missile could quickly kill it. The SAM would have a short window of opportunity to fire after being locked onto and even if it does fire the aircraft would have plenty of time to get away if the SAM fired at it from a distance. This would even the playing field a great deal and this type of missile is well within our technological capability to make. I think this missile would also be cheaper than the F-35.

I agree with you on the missile idea. What gets me is that no one wants to face the facts about the limits of “Stealth” and the all to real capabilities of some of the current let alone future Anti-Air systems around today. The new Russian SU-35’s are getting the new L Band radar installed in them as well as AESA and IRST, and the newer S-500 ( still be developed and scheduled to begin delivery in 2014) is supposed to have a range 370 miles. The US had “Stealth” as a major advantage for almost 30 years, but the counter measures have caught up faster than new Stealth technologies are delivered. Why do you think that NATO and the Arab League is trying to avoid the mess in Syria? Could it be that Syria has the SA-300 series Anti-Air and they know that even with that older system that they would take causalities unlike Libya.

your ignorance of how the Pentagon works shows… and you mean estimating, not calculating. go back to school and repeat the education process… it didn’t take the first time.

Good point. Something called the US Constitution stands between Lockheed & the F-35 PM’s demand that we fork over more cash and look the other way.

The F-15SE upgraded is achievable and a best and cheapest way to make the Eagle fleet top graded and matchable to all foreign fighters. and F-22 production can start again like the B-1 program in the 80s. I can agree all Cs could work too.

DoD already does what you suggest. Recurring Production Unit Costs, Average Procurement Unit Cost, and Program Acquisition Unit Cost have distinct definitions and are estimated by program office, service headquarters, and OSD, and actual costs are tracked and compared with estimates.

So you want to abandon the USN & USMC…

You CAN’T “leave Congress out”, Congress controls the money but it would be nice if the ignorants in Conress & elsewhere in the Government would stop making it so difficult to actually get anything done AND stop telling those who DO know what they are doing how to do it.

F-22s & F-15SEs are MORE expensive than F-35s.

Quite the opposite. ACTUAL COSTS have not gone up anywhere near as much as these made up BS projections not even based on the ACTUAL COSTS or performance/status of the program have.

Super Hornet with the International Road Map upgrades is the equivalent of buying prop-driven fighters in the 1950’s.

Wrong! The F-35 is ALL ASPECT VLO STEALTH & systems like the S-400 are EXACTLY what the F-35 was designed to defeat.

The RCS of the F-35 is TWO ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE smaller than the Silent Eagle & Super Hornet AND covers ALL ASPECTS, not just the front…

Once again you demonstrate you have no clue what you are talking about. You can’t even get WHAT the Lexington Institute is correct.

No, when someone quotes a price, ALWAYS ASK WHAT PRICE THEY ARE QUOTING AND IN WHAT FY DOLLARS THEY ARE QUOTING IT IN. Is it recurring flyaway (the actual cost of the ENTIRE AIRCRAFT itself)? Does it include other non-recurring procurement related costs? Are they even quoting ANY form of procurement cost or some other cost such as total system life cycle cost?

They could at the VERY least give the number in current year dollars instead of then year dollars. It would also be nice if they would point out that it represents <5% of the DOD discretionary budget over 55 years.


Just another design failure then.

Lockheed should shows it’s good faith by telling the US government that it’s not going to accept another dime until the F-35 is fixed and finished. If they really have faith in the 3000 units they are going to sell and the resulting huge profit let them bet the company on their own project.

To fund it they can issue F-35 bonds and all the fan boys can put their money where their mouth is, mortgage the house and cash in on the great F-35 bonanza.

What could possibly go wrong ? LOL

give me a break. you’re the one that thinks contract unit costs of LRIP jets are 100% valid for use as theoretical first unit costs, right? before any real testing with unknown engineering redesign and retrofit costs has been assessed? what learning curve slope are you using in your optimistic prediction of production costs for the entire production run and what particular theory are you applying (the most optimistic one, right?) you’ve accounted for uncertainty in the inflation of different commodities & labor rates over all the geographic locations in which the work to produce F-35 will take place? Please disclose for us your stake in the F-35 endeavor… are you full time employed??

@ pfcem

Jesus pal you absolutely have NO clue what you’re talking about. Don’t ya.

The turkey F-35s are FAR MORE expensive than F-22s & F-15SEs.

@ pfcem, William C, Yo Yo and to all pro-JSF advocates

Don’t you realise the U.S. Department of Defence has completed its latest wildly inaccurate estimate of how much it will cost to build and operate the F-35 fighter over 50 years. The first military aircraft for which 50-year costs have been calculated, which means the number is predictably huge: Its $1.45 Trillion (not millions and certainly not billions) to buy, R&D, fly and maintain this failed project.

You want a feedback? This F-35 JSF is a terrible piece of equipment that will ruin ANY air force and navy requirements, because of all of you pro-JSF advocates have caused for any allied nation to buy extremely less capable and inferior junk aircraft.

Why should any customers deserve to be partners with LM to join the failed JSF program that will never fulfil its mission requirements???

That’s an interesting article and I agree that the idea of a 55 year cost projection is ridiculous but is it not true that the F-35 program has had more problems than is typical? And shouldn’t the pentagon and congress look into it?

But during an active acquisition (before LRIP) the TD costs are amoritized across the projected number of units to be produced. All of the “triggers” (e.g. Nunn-McCurdy, etc.) are based on the per unit cost which is misleading. For instance, the WGS program suffered one or more breeches when the number of units went up. This caused production costs to increase as the production was coming to a close when the decision was made.

I agree. I would really like to speak with the person(s) that thought this was a good idea; “you tell us how many fighters you’re going to buy. We’ll produce/test/evaluate/develop them in a concurrent fashion however, you have to start paying us now based on the number you are ultimately promising to buy.” HUNH?!? By the very nature of R&D, some of your early models are going to fail until you get the formula just right for your ultimate production model. Is LM going to give these “oops/slop” planes to the military for free or at a greatly reduced price to match their reduced capability?

How the hell do you justify buying hundreds of fighters that can’t fight? Not a single missile launched; not a single gun round fired; not a single bomb dropped; not a single AA or AG target successfully persecuted and engaged. Sorry. These are not F-35s or even T-35s; these are X-35s and the gov’t shouldn’t be paying full price for them until they are fully mission capable.

If this is still the R&D contract phase (and it damn well should be) you build a VERY limited run and work AT LEAST enough of the bugs out so that you can AT LEAST perform a successful mission. What exactly do these so-called Eglin F-35s do except for take-off, cruise and land? How can you train in a fighter that can’t fire weapons or pull aggressive flight maneuvers without the skin peeling/bubbling?

find out specifically from them what is their stake in the F-35. If their job is on the line or they are heavily invested in the program, not hard to figure out why they are impossible to reach with facts & logic.

Actually, I would call these birds E-35s for Evaluation. The X designation isn’t really appropriate because the design has indeed been chosen, however, these birds ain’t ready for prime time. Personally, I’d limit this to 12 of each variant (12 A, 12 B, 12 C = 36 acft total) until you get the majority of systems operating as advertised. THEN you go for the big run.

Do you really have any idea how much it will cost to own/operate/maintain the other 7 legacy planes that the F-35 JSF are destined to replace? How much will that cost be in the same time period? How much will it cost to continue upgrading the maximum allowed these old legacy planes’ airframe and avionics? Unless you have a clue about these, it is difficult to argue by pure ignorance.

The F-35 JSF is a “terrible piece of equipment”? LOL… As according to whom? The JSF program is the only one of its type in the world. It is so far advanced that it makes the Russian T-50 and Chinese J-20 playing catchup for years to come. Don’t even try to compare them by “capabilities” because none of the latter planes have a real capability at this moment. They are still HOPING to achieve the level of the F-35… Good luck to them.

I have no stake in the F-35 program, whatsoever. I simply use my head to figure out logics amidst the myths and fiction that the anti-crowd continues to advocate.

At the end of the day, the F-35 is still the most advanced fighter jet of the modern day. It will also be as efficient as it can be, price-wise and capability-wise.

No. It is the S-400, which is just the improved version of S-300, which had never been battle tested. These missiles are much hyped than their real capabilitties.

Probably P&W

“At the end of the day, the F-35 is still the most advanced fighter jet of the modern day”… I could be more supportive of F-35 if its advocates would not have to resort to laughable, unproven, untrue assertions. Call me at the end of the day when F-35 wins a dog fight, or lets lower the bar and even allow destroying a fixed stationary target. We are past marketing snake oil, dude, time to produce some valid engineering results, and no, abstract “test points” aren’t good enough either.

I know that their is actual data with which you can even actually put together a credible estimate of a legacy fighter alternative to the F-35. Contrast that with F-35, who are nowhere close to solidifying their manning and basing requirements: http://​www​.reuters​.com/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​/​2​0​1​2​/​0​3​/​2​9​/​l​o​c​k​hee
Now I suggest you go back to school, learn how to properly plan, develop, and manage a system, and come back when you’ve got something real. You will save yourself some embarrassment.

We had the governance process (DoD 5000) and the experience on past programs to prevent the F-35 mistakes from happening. We did not have the senior leadership, at the DoD and political level, with the knowledge & integrity to implement proper system development. If we allow this to continue, the next acquisition programs will be even worse.

The F35 costs have been out of control for several years. How many cost reviews have there been? How many price increases have there been? How many USG and LM people have been either reassigned or fired because of all these miscues? We have not made any progress in making this platform affordable. The JSF program was an “out of the box” science project which used unproven technologies, has too many “global’ vendors all while trying to marry three variants for three different services across several countries. I’m sorry, but the USG took way to big of a bite when they tried to build the JSF.

Good run-down ELP. I’ve been in this business long enough to realize that the F35 has been the poorest run program from stem to stearn. The politics and lack of fundamental solid leadership and people standing up to the BS is lacking in the JSF. We needed more people like Marine MGen Heinz who was canned by the useless Mr Gates.……lets not forget Gates was a HUGE influence who put blinders on when this program started getting out of control. Gates has a large stake in the failure of this program. Also, I could not agree with you more about the useless Lexington Institute who lets guys like Thompson make comments about Military programs .

Are you talking of Loren Thompson? What he wrote have more to see with fallacy and propaganda than really posting an opinion IMNSHO.

You mean like all the Hype about how great the F-35 is? That kinda hype?

The Death Spiral as begun today. Canada has “Frozen All –35 Funds” pending further investigation here is a Quote ““Funding will remain frozen and Canada will not purchase new aircraft until further due diligence, oversight, and transparency is applied to the process of replacing the Canadian Forces’ aging CF-18 fleet,” Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose said in a statement.”

Japan is already looking into alternatives to the F-35, and I think Australia will be next.

link. http://​www​.canada​.com/​t​e​c​h​n​o​l​o​g​y​/​f​i​g​h​t​e​r​+​j​e​t​s​+​Def

Wow, you must have all the classified RCS data on these aircraft right in front of you…

Maybe it would help if the critics hopping on the anti-JSF bandwagon knew the history of past fighter programs and their problems, knew how the JSF came about, or had some alternative ideas instead of just screaming “cancel the program”. Actually that’s a bit unfair, because you do suggest sticking with aircraft that will be outclassed within a decade just because UCAVs are supposed to appear and magically fix everything.

But no, suffering from some sort of Lockheed Derangement Syndrome seems to be the order of the day. Because according to some JSF was all Lockheed’s scheme and not the DoD’s idea.

I’d be delighted to see any total estimate for 50 years of the F-15 or F-16 program, factoring in inflation and all of that. The thing is that it simply doesn’t exist.

Do you realize that your last paragraph try, once again, to distort the truth about lets say, one or two people over there.

Isn’t obvious that when we are talking about upgrading older plane, it’s not because we don’t want to see a new fighter jet, but because the current JSF program is everything except what it is supposed to be. As such, I personally believe that it is financially impossible to completely scrap it up –at best to lower the order like the f-22– and start something like 2 or 3 alternate program, there is simply no money for that; sequels are inevitable. Looking to further current and proven fighter jet is one of the few rational alternative, to avoid a much bigger problem in the future. If the f-35 will be so good then maybe it won’t be necessary. But once again, putting all the resources into a single program is extremely risky, and because of that I believe it cannot be directly compared to other program.

One more, just for you.

The f-35: We put alcohol in the kool-aid

Id say the F-22 and F-15SE worked the F-35C may work for all services but the B sucks and has technical problems. I said not to abandon it but to make a one fits all model and drop the B model. Over Political meandering over engines and smaller purchases spread over decade’s is making it alot more expensive.

Then perhaps this 50 years lifetime period is nothing but a smoke screen to hide a much bigger problem, like to distillate the development cost, making them more acceptable as it is “for the next 50 years”.

How does an increase in the number of units cause an increase in unit cost? Sounds like the WGS program office was trying to disguise cost growth as something else.

Gotta agree with that one. It’s easy to understand why the services keep trying to get bleeding edge tech, and it’s easy to understand why the contractors keep promising they can deliver it affordably. It’s HARD to understand why OSD Milestone Decision Authorities keep letting programs through milestones when none of their critical technologies are mature, reliability is crappy, the service cost position is half of the independent estimate, the program office schedule is twice as fast as any similar historical program, and the requirements defy the laws of physics.

Listen to Nancy; Just Say No.

power politics, bro! the Service leaders got OSD outgunned… Congress needs to add more teeth & muscle to OSD, OMB, GAO, as well as fulfill their oversight responsibilities… vs giving us policies like Obamacare, which sets its own horrible example of cost overruns.

you’re being disingenuous… you’ve seen plenty of suggestions for alternatives.

Looks like the Canadian DOD has lied to their Legislators as much as Our Pentagon has Lied to Congress about the costs and developmental problems of the F-35. But at least the Canadian Government is doing something about it.

It is you who failed to comprehend the whole plan/system/development issues and pricing. Trying to tell others to “go back to school” is akin to open-mouth-insert-foot statement. Touting irrelevant issues which have no bearing on the JSF program at all. In fact, by claiming that you can “put together a credible estimate” is like a factory assembler claiming to be able to design the circuit board just because he/she spent so many years looking at them.

Pure political posturing. There is no alternative to the F-35 and these politicians know it.

Only China and Russia would hope that the JSF program fail, which will allow them time to catch up. But at this moment it is too late. In a few years, the F-35 will be mainstay of the Pacific forces.

Oh, and Singapore will be joining too… as well as South Korea and who knows, may be even India if the T-50 can’t come up with a real 5th generation engine and other much hyped equipment soon.

>Pure political posturing. There is no alternative to the F-35 and these politicians know it.

For canadian need there are a lot of alternatives. And the problem here is that our need hadn’t been defined, so how to choose the best aircraft? The saving that the Dod is expecting have no reason to concretise in Canada, since we were historically flying only a single model at a time.

Our budget for the purchase have been defined at 9Billion and our absolute minimum for the air force have been set to 65, the exact initial number of f-35 that they wanted to purchase. But everything show that they lied about the inherent risk, and the final price can be only higher as the manufacturing of the f-35 is said to be more complex than expected.

And the major point about all this is not to cancel the f-35 order, but to have its cost and desired features defined transparently, and having other options considered for real. Operating an aircraft in the canadian north require more than a f-35 integrated de-icing system.

All I hope is openness and impartiality, and it’s not guaranteed.

Everything except what it is supposed to be? Based on what? Some development problems? A 50 year cost report? We’ve pushed back getting new aircraft since the ‘90s. Congress justified cutting F-22 production in part due to the F-35 being “just around the corner”, now you want to repeat that mistake? Any new alternative fighter programs that provide similar capabilities will also be expensive. This isn’t cheap hardware no matter who you buy it from.

Like what?

How are you going to get the number of F-22s and F-15SEs to replace thousands of F-16s. They can’t operate from a carrier either, nor is there any alternative to the F-35B in the way of STOVL aircraft.

Any proper alternative to the F-35 has yet to be developed. And do you really trust in Congress to see through the development of two or three new fighter programs as alternatives to the F-35? Do you really think they won’t say “make it one aircraft” again?

This is why the F-35 is doomed. Only a F-35 fanboy would be silly enough to think that the Canadian air-force will replace 65 F-18s with 20 F-35s which when you figure in the additional maintenance burden means only 10 are flyable at any one time.

Will the free worlds air-forces commit suicide just be cause Locheed wants them to ? I don’t think so.

Actually the FBI should just open up a major fraud branch on corrupt defense procurement practices. They could put a 100 officers right away and go after Lockheed on fraud and racketeering charges.

Buy the number of times he contradicts Lockheed’s own figures he must have more data then Lockheed itself.

Here is a fun game you can play with William Crook and the fan boyz.

Name a major F-35 system that hasn’t been redesigned at least once due to a design failure ?

How are you going to get the number of F-35s to replace thousands of F-16s? It can’t operate from a carrier either, nor is it any alternative to the AV-8 in the way of STOVL aircraft.

@ Yo Yo

LOL… F-35 JSF is a terrible piece of equipment. This failed program is NOT the only one of its type in the world. The F-35 maybe advanced with its systems, but the airframe design is totally wrong, out of shape and inferior. The Russian Su-27/30 Flanker family, T-50 PAK-FA and Chinese J-20 Mighty Dragon are going to be extremely far more potent than the F-35. I will even try to compare them by “capabilities” because those aircraft of the latter planes will and very soon have a real capability at this moment. They are going to achieve far better than the F-35.

@ Yo Yo

All of you pro-JSF advocates, the Pentagon (including Secretary of Defence and his colleagues), USAF, USN and USMC are the “biggest suckers” in the world going ahead with this lemon. Pushing the turkey forward at any cost only threatens to create a budgetary sinkhole that will weaken the defences of the of your country (U.S.) and its allies. The F-35 will never become a viable combat aircraft due to very poor choices, very costly and nasty decisions made early in the design, and later Band-Aid fixes. To replace the existing combat aircraft with one single plane in 3 services is going to degrade the air force, navy and marine corp further, the pilots will fly worse, because they’ll get less training, which is certainly the most important role to train, they’ll be far less pilots is because the whole force will have to shrink and very soon you’ll just have a show piece air force, navy and marine corp that they can’t do anything.

Honestly, do you really have any idea how much the F-35 will cost to own/operate/maintain which are destined to replace?

@ Yo Yo

I definately use my head to figure out logics amidst the myths and fiction that the anti-crowd continues to advocate. At the end of the day, the F-35 again may still be the most advanced with systems only. But the lemon will NOT be as efficient as it can be, price-wise and capability-wise of the modern day.

@ Yo Yo and to all pro-JSF advocates

Putting all the eggs into the BLOODY F-35 failed project basket and continuing spending more time and money on the damn thing will make you a BIGGEST LOSER.

@ Yo Yo, William C, pfcem and to all pro-JSF advocates

The F-35 JSF (Joint Strike Failure) has a poor survivability due to inferior acceleration, poor agility, short range and limited weapons payload vs Sukhoi Su-27/30/35 Flanker family, T-50 PAK-FA and J-20 Mighty Dragon; significant dependency on AEW&C, AWACS and tankers to provide useful capability, the turkey F-35s are aerodynamically uncompetitive aircraft provides little useful capability in primary roles. This ugly and overweight looking piece of junk is totally unsuited for bomber and cruise missile defence, two or more aircraft required to match range/weapons payload of single F-111, F-15E or any high capability fighter (large airframes).

If this is giving you more major headaches, serve you right.

I won’t be surprised at all. So far they already caught one of their subcontractor.–7086

the balance of the acquisition program is something like $300+ billion. With that kind of working capital, we could invest in numerous competetive prototyping & risk reduction engineering activities to give us numerous options, tacair, new bomber, ucav’s, special ops, info ops, civil affairs, you name it. the paradigm of locking us sole source for 2 decades of development h*ll has gone the way of the dinosaur. We are way behind in our ability to take advantage of rapidly emerging technologies.

Not really. With satellites unless you are buying in large quantities (e.g. Iridium or GPS) there really isn’t much of an “assembly line” process (think pre Henry Ford days) as each one is literally hand built. Where things go astray is when you have a parts obsolescence issue, particularly with space-qualified (e.g. radiation hardened) parts. I’d have to dig back through the original reports on the Nunn-McCurdy breaches but I seem to remember that they had several parts that alternatives had to be located or produced. You just can’t go down to Fry’s or Best Buy for radiation hardened parts (wouldn’t that be interesting). The time & cost to go through the radiation hardening is not a trivial matter. So there are many legitimate ways the cost could go up even with the quantity increasing in this case.
I just took a quick look and the RAND report states the following:
“The unit cost to the government of WGS Block II was roughly 50 percent more
expensive than Block I ($377 million compared with $239 million), and Block IIf is
again roughly 50 percent more expensive than Block II ($574 million compared with
$377 million). (See Table 6.1.) This increase, we will argue, is largely due to the stopping
and restarting of the production line and the fact that the commercial market
no longer supports WGS systems, which have not changed in the decade since initial
design. Such increases in the cost to the government resulted in a Nunn-McCurdy
breach reported to Congress in March 2010.“
The report in a later section discusses the issue with production of the spacecraft bus:
“Boeing shifted its commercial satellite offerings
from its HS702HP (high-power) bus to its HS702MP (medium-power) bus. This shift
has left WGS supporting the production of parts that no longer have much commercial
demand, thereby raising the cost of these components. ”

we could decertify F-35 as a formal acquisition program, and put it back into the technology development base, for example. With the future programmed dollars that are locked into F-35, we could start a competetive tacair prototyping program with a series of realistic opertaional tests. The F-35 COULD BE a competetitor in such a program. It would be like demoting an underperformer to the minor leagues — they have to prove themselves before you can trust them in the big leagues again. There is no lack of worthwhile concepts here, William. The only thing stopping us from developing multiple options is corruption, laziness, and cowardice.

America Class LHAs are not being built with EMALS and to do so would require a complete redesign of the ship and a completely new engineering plant that could generate the levels of power needed to run EMALS. Oh, and you’d need to add arresting gear (wires) which is a major task that involves redesign from the keel to the flight deck.
Oh… and about that flight deck. Americal Class LHAs do not have an angled deck.

T-50 and J-20 are going to be “far more potent” than the F-35??? LOL… Spoken like a fanboy with real knowledge of what’s myth and not. Neither of those two jets are equipped with a 5th generation engine, nor do they have the necessary stealth/avionics/networking system to go with them. I guess the Russian and Chinese are just better at propaganda: Showing a couple prototypes (which engines backfired –on both) or flying a slow truck around a couple times every few months are enough to scare the bee-gee-sus out of Chicken Little.

Yeah, that’s a hell of a good point. Why the heck would Canada need a friggin stealth aircraft for? I don’t foresee Canada attacking anyone with a robust air defence network any time soon!

That’s your own imagination and total lack of knowledge on how weapons work. Reading too many webpages didn’t do you any good. You must also believe that just because the Russians came up with the T-34, it would mean all of their tanks are awesome too… LOL…

T-50 PAKFA and J-20… LOL… Trying to catch up with the West with a lot of copycat/stolen technology…

That bit about AT&T and GM may be true but isn’t it like comparing An Apple to An Ant Hill. The person buying the phone or car will pay for it and use it. The American Citizens, plural, are buying the planes for someelse to use and the citizen don’t know the exat person who will be calling or driving. Different people have different questions. Is it wrong to give the answers up-front, to questions that may be asked when you are wanting someelse to buy it for you.

The day is not far off when we will get exactly 1 aircraft for our billions.

Yeah let’s just scrap 11 carriers (STOVL) and keep the “interim” “Super Hornet” on for another 50 years. Brilliant plan.

Given that the planned replacement was already on the boards by then you can be certain they weren’t calculating costs out to 2012 for the B-52.

>Based on what? Some development problems?
Yes. That include lower aerodynamic performance than expected (i.e. top speed of mach 1.6) and all other flaw that won’t be fixed, like the problematic of fire by having poor ballistic resistance.. That doesn’t include problem that are being addressed, like the arrestor hook. The design tool failed, the management failed –it is their responsibility to manage risk-, the modeling failed, the manufacturing chain failed, and so on. In my understanding the f-35 is supposed to be a fifth generation american version of a grippen: cheap, furtive, low cost operation, along with the best technology available. But everybody seemed to be so confident that almost everything they did have not worked the way they expected and it have an impact on every vector so the f-35 we will have is not what was expected. And yes it can fly.

>A 50 year cost report?
No, did I?

>Congress justified cutting F-22 production in part due to the F-35 being “just around the corner”, now you want to repeat that mistake?
I think to have understood that one of the reason for halting f-22 production was because of all the money being invested in drone and in space sovereignty. But they don’t have that flexibility with the f-35 because there is simply no alternatives. If they were expecting the f-35 to be ready for 2016 they are going to be deceived.

>Any new alternative fighter programs that provide similar capabilities will also be expensive.

Pretty strange that my previous post was saying this.

>This isn’t cheap hardware no matter who you buy it from.
I have never pretended that. But a different approach could give much, much more with the same amount of money. That’s the whole point of having alternatives, as project doesn’t always concretise as expected, the money that would have been literally wasted to fix it can be used to improving the other alternatives, and having more for the same amount of money. But instead someone thought that it would be so cool, efficient and economical to have a single plane flying, and that it was possible to put a parasite in the middle (the f-35B) that otherwise could not exist, and still having the best of the best.

William, it’s your turn now, I am still waiting your answer about the eurofighter. http://​www​.dodbuzz​.com/​2​0​1​2​/​0​3​/​3​0​/​f​-​3​5​-​t​o​-​c​o​s​t-1–.…

To complete that part ‘But they don’t have that flexibility with the f-35 because there is simply no alternatives.’.

I mean that there is not other alternative program running for now, and any decision to significantly lower the f-35 order will mean a strategic change. That can happen but for now it seems that everybody want to go the f-35 way until it really show what it can or can’t do.

Lets stay on issue here. The release of this number goes much higher than the DoD. The obama administration is bound a determined to weaken this country every way he can. Financially, militarily and so on. I now believe this program will get cancelled. For a long time, I was not a proponent, but wanted to let things play out instead of acting like a pinhead as others do on this site. Things happen for a reason, and with this current administration, it is all by design.

@ Yo Yo

“Neither of those two jets are equipped with a 5th generation engine, nor do they have the necessary stealth/avionics/networking system to go with them”.

The PAK-FA will be equipped with the Al-41F turbofan when the problems of the engine has been fixed.

@ Yo Yo

I certainly do have knowledge on how weapons do and don’t work. You’re the one has your own imagination and total lack of knowledge of why the JSF is a wrong warplane.

@ Yo Yo

I don’t really give a toss what you think pal that I research many webpages. Get of my back you idiot.

William C. no response?? Are you so certain that there is no possible alternatie to F-35?

pfcem no responses? Not surprising. You can repeat your bullet points over and over again, but you can’t really make an argument for the F-35 if you can’t answer a few basic questions. Go sell your make believe engineering elsewhere.

So much for the comparative advantage and/or “far superior technology over the PAK FA and J-20″ http://​cnsnews​.com/​n​e​w​s​/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​/​c​h​i​n​e​s​e​-​h​a​c​k​e​r​s-s

Augustine’s Law # XII-” It costs a lot to build bad products“
# XVI– ” In the year 2054, the entire defense budget will purchase just one aircraft…”


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