GAO: JSF’s affordability still a ‘major concern’

GAO: JSF’s affordability still a ‘major concern’

A U.S. government watch dog issued a report questioning the long term affordability of the F-35 just days after the head of the joint program office took the leading contractors — Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney — to task for not investing in cost controls for the aircraft.

The Government Accountability Office issued a report that offered hope for the Joint Strike Fighter saying the “current outlook is improved.” However, the investigators wrote that “long-term affordability is a major concern.”

Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, head of the JSF program office, said Lockheed Martin, the lead defense company, and Pratt & Whitney, makers of the engine, are trying to “squeeze every nickel out of that last F-35 and that last engine.”

“I want them both to start behaving like they want to be around for 40 years,” Bogdan said Feb. 26 at the Australian International Airshow. “I want them to take on some of the risk of this program, I want them to invest in cost reductions, I want them to do the things that will build a better relationship. I’m not getting all that love yet.”

The program to build the fifth generation fighter will require an average of $12.6 billion through 2037, which the GAO  called an “unprecedented demand on the defense procurement budget.” As the Pentagon’s budget flattens off in coming years, the investigators questioned whether the U.S. will be able to continue to support the most expensive military weapons program in U.S. history.

A common refrain from critics of the program has been the large investment made into the program before flight testing is completed. GAO wrote that purchasing 298 aircraft and spending $57.8 billion provides a “financial risk.”

In 2012, the F-35 program office failed to meet three of the ten “key management objectives” that officials had set. Program team members failed to complete a Block 3 Critical Design Review 1, deliver 40 aircraft (it delivered 30), and complete an audit from the Defense Contracting Management Agency (DCMA).

While the JSF program office did complete 18 percent more test flights than originally expected, the GAO criticized the quality of the tests saying the F-35 failed to meet its test point goal by three percent in 2012.

GAO investigators did commend the program’s improvements for its manufacturing and supply processes. The authors of the report cited “factory throughput, labor efficiency and quality measures” as signs of progress.

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The F-22 was astonishingly expensive in its per-unit costs. But it hit all of its key performance parameters. And it overmatched all of the threats it would reasonably encounter in its first decade after service entry.

Whereas the F-35 is also astonishingly expensive in its per-unit costs. But the F-35 has had to have its key performance parameters deliberately relaxed in several important areas. Kinematics. Range. Survivability. And it is overmatched by many of the threats which it will reasonably encounter in its first decade after service entry.

For the first time in history, the entire US defense complex has allowed itself to be bought in to the success or failure of a single combat aircraft type without a Plan B fallback in case of failure. And that single type is failing badly. This will not end well.

How many total combat sorties have been flown by the F-22?

Air to air?

Air to ground?

How many Americans have died while flying the F-22?

Me thinks that you’ve made a poor choice of contrasts for your example.

Perhaps a contrast using the MQ-1/9 might be more favorable to your point?

What I can’t believe is that the F-35 will remain virtually immune to sequestration’s supposed “across the board” cuts: http://​www​.washingtonpost​.com/​w​o​r​l​d​/​n​a​t​i​o​n​a​l​-​s​ecu

That’s right. All of you DoD civilians getting a 20% cut from your pay and all of you getting furloughed can thank the F-35 program, because that’s where all of your dollars are going. Just remember when faced with sequestration congress decided to cut you and not to cut the F-35.

i think his point is, that while very expensive (and perhaps dangerous), the f-22 stands above all other aircraft — there is no other that can challenge it in air-air combat. we haven’t used it because we haven’t had to. the f-35, on the other hand, will cost an average of $160 million each to procure, not including upkeep (see most recent GAO projection) while not being significantly superior to the f-22. in a high-threat environment, there is nothing the f-22 can’t do better and in a low-threat environment, nothing any number of legacy fighters can’t do cheaper. the f-35 is a purely political project, involving 46 states as well as the hollow, moribund modern-day NATO but serves no real purpose.

The Navy would be smart to dump the C model and accelerate F/A-XX! F-35 lacks range, paylaod, speed, maneuverability, etc. for the PACOM AOR. When J-20 and J-31 are fielded in numbers in the mid-2020s and DF-21 is keeping us further back we will wish we had a different aircraft. Carrier deck space is too valuable to use up with a plane that can’t get the job done. My fear is that if they stay the course they will never have enough money to get F/A-XX started before 2035 or maybe even 2040.

To get to F/A-XX IOC, the Navy can continue to upgrade E/F/Gs and pay for better and more standoff weapons that these aircraft can employ at range. These are going to be needed even if we continue with F-35C but the cost of F-35C is currently making better weapons unaffordable.

With the death of the F-22 program and their extremely limited numbers and poor availability rates, we are going to need a new air dominance fighter sooner rather than later. The F-35C just isn’t a big enough improvement (especially at it’s F-22-like price) to mortgage the future to pay for it and it never will provide air dominance.

“in a high-threat environment, there is nothing the f-22 can’t do better and in a low-threat environment, nothing any number of legacy fighters can’t do cheaper.” I couldn’t have said that better myself. I would love for the F-35 to succeed and be an awesome aircraft but it is struggling and I think the “one aircraft that meets everyone’s legacy needs” idea is a huge reason for this. Superiority and compromise are two words that don’t agree with each other. On the second half of your statement that I quoted, the effects are amplified considering all the recent HUD, AESA, and display upgrades that legacy aircraft have been receiving. Add the additional stealth features that the Stealth Eagle and future Super Hornets offer and the fact that the weapons are the same, the JSF is really looking out a tunnel with a narrowing circle of light.

And every cost-overrun of the F-35 will come out of O&M instead of R&D.

Luckily we can blame politicans, can’t we? /eyeroll

Pessimistically, it’s time to examine porting the electronic doodads that are part of what makes JSF so great to the newer legacy platforms we have today. Before we can dream of exporting mass quantities of JSF, other nations will wait for us to put the JSF through its paces and work out the bugs. Expecting the export customers to finance the R&D a la Kickstarter is just an exercise in frustration for our loyal export market.

This program is an embarrassment to the United States of America.. glad our allies are starting to wise up and consider alternatives. You CAN’T justify a program that’s still under 50% tested after 12 years of development.

Think it shows we should dump the JSF and go with more F-22s and F-15 upgrades this light fighter crap has consumed us for way too long.

Not too sure about the F-22, as most capabilities (met or unmet through testing) are classified and inside a SAP.

If they really wanted the contractors to focus more on building aircraft and less on dragging out design and development they’d pay them less profit for design and development, zero was appropriate for at least two decades, and pay them more profit for early production phase with the profit margin dropping as the assembly line matures. Hell, I’m an engineer and even I can figure that one out. It’s not rocket science. It is economics/psychology. Give them a cracker for doing what you want them to do, don’t give them a cracker for what you don’t want them to do. The damn dog whisperer could fix what’s wrong with our procurement system.

As usual, I see GAO has failed to produce a decent analysis of what’s happening in this program. For example, it needs to make a distinction between all basic development testing for aircraft systems and maybe half a dozen weapons and attachable sensor systems, versus the additional weapons systems normally funded with O&M dollars after IOC is declared. Those additional weapon systems certifications are included in the R&D development funding for this program, but historically have been funded with O&M dollars, where they are hidden from inquiring minds. (These additional weapon system certification costs are also part of why F-35 is the most expensive in history).

Part 2 — Software development for this program IS the most complex in history, and the challenges were well-known early in the program development (while the prototypes were still being evaluated). The fact that LM hasn’t applied sufficient talent to keep to a schedule necessitates that Bogdan should not pay them any profit for this year. LM should just sign a bunch of hackers to write their code. It would certainly be simple and elegant, clean, and cheap. Just sign them to a security agreement and they can do something constructive for a change.

Part 3 — As to driving production costs down over the next 24 years, it’s our design and product, bid production out again and let’s either force LM to bid to the prices they originally promised, or start a second production line with another manufacturer (maybe European) to both drive costs down and recover delivery schedules. Dual sourcing has always resulted in substantial competitive savings. Maybe sequestration will finally force this decision.

One sentence that jumped off the page of the GAO report:

“Once acquired, the current forecasts of life cycle sustainment costs for the F-35 fleet
are considered unaffordable by defense officials.” (p.23)

Of course, this problem is being worked on, but it would be a deal breaker for foreign buyers if it is not resolved.

After that leaked report, I think it would be best to limit the buy. The DOD screwed our airpower for the next 20 years.

Dont work. Then you would just be left with not enough aircraft, all of which would cost the same as a destroyer. The planes bought the higher price per plane.

Just cancel the damn things. Use all the technology we have spent so much on develop a series of fighters which can be used for the fleet. Put more research into the new X-47’s. Develop a A-6 like aircraft for the jobs we so need filled. And the Marines need a harrier replacement.…thats the problem whole new aircraft. Though i think it would be easier of it isnt demanded to be uber stealthy and star-fighterish. Super bugs to plug the gaps till these systems are online.

The airforce can use the same bird as the Navy or buy more F-15’s. And do research on a future plane.

The problem is the military has devoted so much to the JSF like the A-12 and the Navy before it they have a dozen different planes they need but cant afford them all.

Should have been The LESS planes bought..*

Once you start cutting, the cost/airframe deathspiral begins.

So, I guess the only reason we’re not killing the F-35 is because we’ve already sunk so much money into it?

It is not the first time we have not had a “plan B” but it is perhaps the worst. There was no plan B for A-12, USN just lost the medium attack capability and built the FA-18EF. The FA-18EF was really a “no plan B” plan after the cancellation of A-12, A-6F and F-14D, and NATF. Perhaps more accurately the FA-18EF was plan B. The real problem is we have managed to get ourselves boxed into one platform. And the worst part of all is it was intended to be a cost saver!!!

What they should do is get rid of the DO-178b software standards. They are expensive crap that makes embedded software wildly expensive without adding ANY reliability or safety. Its real function is to add layers of bureaucracy cumbersome enough to keep cheaper and better run software companies from making money from the government’s biggest corporate welfare scam. Hell, the spent billions meeting those standards for the F-22 and it still couldn’t cross the dateline without the avionics completely shutting down.

The F-35 has been flying for over six years and has not yet fired or dropped a live weapon. I find this incredible!! I was part of the F-15 Joint Test Force, and we had fired live AIM-9s and AIM-7s well before delivering the first production model to Luke AFB. I think we would be better off spending our money our money on new F-22s and revamped F-15s and F-16s.

The civilian employees don’t deserve the money anyway. They do nothing but waste taxpayer’s money.

This is the Pentagon’s way of enforcing their one platform fits all services to save logistics money in the long run. This is the new McNamara’s F-4 plan implementation for the next generation. The cost savings anticipated in operations and maintenance are being consumed in development. The US Navy does have a plan B in the UCAV program for high threat environments. The Air Force already has the F-22A and wants the F-35A as a strike complement for the high threat environments. There is no plan B for the Air Force. The USMC wants the F-35B to replace the AV-8B. There is no plan B here either. The F-35 fiasco is of the Pentagon’s own doing and that is why it isn’t being cancelled. They will not admit defeat on this issue.

Someone somewhere sold DoD on the need for military aircraft to conform to DO178. It started with Boeing on their large aircraft like 737 which already conformed to the Do178 (FAA) spec. Lockheed opposed it but gradually it percolated downward from the round nose aircraft to the pointy noses (tactical aircraft) despite the fact that the aircraft are not FAA certiied otherwise.

That’s a terrible generalization just like the generalization that all contractors are blood sucking parasites. There’s a lot of variety in each group. That’s part of the problem with how the government and contracting companies manage personnel — they make very little effort to get rid of the dead weight and keep the good people.

When the US government gets back to assuring the manufacturer will PAY for ALL expenses until the aircraft is accepted FREE OF DEFECTS…then maybe things will get back to whtat it used be??? Until then, carelssness and laziness, will prevail within the QUALITY CONTROL ASPECTS OF ALL PURCHASES.…It seems as if all of this headache period started with the massive “field tesing” and “combat testing” were injected, and labeled government expense, INSTEAD of manufacturer expense????

The F-35 is really not a light fighter, it is just single engined.

So lets see, the F-35C with double the range of the F-18 is too short legged, so instead we should build more F-18s. Got it.

So you are well familiar with the outright fraud perpetrated by the USAF on engine reliability testing of the F100 and incredibly poor in service rates that plagued the F-15 for over a decade as well.

No it was described as the light fighter partner to the F-22.

This problem is being driven by the increasing complexity of aircraft. More time and more costs per maintenance hour between flights. DoD will cover this the way they usually do, by cutting aircraft purchases. But the real trade offs, especially for adversaries at high (Russia, China) and low (insurgencies) will center on how to defeat high-maintenance aircraft with cheap alternatives (like drones) and through tactics (get them on the ground while they’re being maintained)!

What makes you think that drones have cheap maintenance?
Drones have advantages in terms of payload weight since you don’t have pilots/operators and their attendant support systems but do not make the mistake of thinking that the sensors are less complex or maintenance intensive.

Production deliveries of F35 have not begun yet so it still could meet the live fire before production comment that you made

Tony, even though the F35A, F35B and F35C share the F35 designaiton, they are not the same platform. They are related but they really are three different airplanes.

So, OldRetSWO, what would be the cost comparison? How many manned versus unmanned? And does this suggest a substitution in tactical roles? Such as, instead of 2 sets of 2 F-18s for a mission, to one F-18 (man-in-the-loop for on-the-spot operational changes) with 2 UCAVs (for primary tactical mission)?

If it ain’t flying in the Middle East supporting our troops then it can fall under the sequestration rules. Do not take money from the front line aircraft to pay for an aircraft that is a Fultons Folley

Right. The alleged commonality between the platforms was traded away long ago.

Besides which, not all commonality leads to efficiencies in O&S. Humans and manta rays have 85% common DNA, but that doesn’t really lead to any efficiencies in care and feeding.

Wow, Lockheed is really putting on a full court press to get this contract cancelled so they can get on with designing your next f’ed up airplane. After all, they have at least a 50–50 chance, and if Boeing performs as poorly as they did in the JSF competition, their chances are more like 70–30.

How about getting rid of this paperweight and buy a real plane like the F-15 SE and the F-16 Block 52 or higher its time to start looking at stop action on this.

Long term affordability of the F-35 program is a major concern?

How about cutting back on every stinking, welfare, hand-out, suck off the government tit program Obama has created. Obama is the WELFARE QUEEN and a clear and present danger to this country.

Pass out more Obama Phones to every non-white voter — that’s what got him re-elected. That and voter fraud.

The Marines don’t need a Harrier replacement. We have STOVL aircraft that operate off LHAs and unimproved runways and are great for CAS in a permissive environment.….helicopters. If you need your CAS airplanes to be so close to the FLOT that only a STOVL aircraft will work, then you don’t want or need to be using a $120M 5th gen fighter. If you need a $120M 5th gen fighter, you don’t want it to be close. F-35B will never fly out of a soccer stadium.

The whole thing is really a bad idea, grown out of the LWF concept (which is a crock). One fighter to do the job of three, that costs more to develop than three. Think how much better off we would be if USAF and USN had each developed their own aircraft. If one of them had turned out really bad, you could always at least threaten the other contractor with a switch (as was done with the F-14/15 and F-16/18).

F-22 is best jet on airshow circuit.

I’ve always heard that “Common Sense isn’t so Common” and you have proven the point. Don’t bad-mouth people and the work they do unless you know of what you speak!

I understood the Marines needing a V/STOL (aka Harrier) version, but why did the Navy and the Air Force need separate versions? At the savings of having on less version to develop and build, the Air Force could learn (again) to fly around with beefier landing gear and a tailhook. They did it with the Phantom II and the Corsair II.

The real problem is that the DoD and the services never set out a plain definition of what kind of plane they wanted. Everytime the contractors came up with a plan, DoD decided they wanted it to do one more thing! It is kind of like the story of the M2 Bradley. It was supposed to a replacement for the M-113 APC, but by the time they added a turret and TOW missiles, it essentially became an extra-light tank!

Now they say the discussions for the B-52’s replacement have included plan on it being a Bomber (naturally), Reconnisance, Command & Control, a UAV controllers platform, and do upto 200 different kinds of missions. They have tabled the discussions (for now), because they figured out that a plane that could do all that would have to be about twice the size of a Boeing 747!!!

These people haven’t figured out that the cheapest way of doing many of these thing is to build the best and simplest aircraft to do specific missions.

At the Current Cost per F-35 at $235 million, I see this Single Engine Piece of Crap as a Definite Threat to the Defense of the USA. I say Continue to Build PROVEN and in USE Aircraft in Active Service. The F/A-18E/F are Proven and In their 11th Year of Service, and at only $66 Million each. The Navy needs a Single Engine Plane like a Submarine needs a Screen Door. With a Twin Engine you have a 96% chance of making it back to the Carrier. Have an Engine Failure with the F-35 You Eject and wait for the Helo to come get you, and Bye-Bye $235 Million piece of crap.

Hint, Hint, The JCOS do not want this F-35 either. Its being forced on them by Legislatures being Wined and Dined by the Lockheed/Martin Lobby.

Should have canceled the Marine Corp version and have AF, Navy, and MC use the Navy version, which has the greatest range and durability. Range will be more important the dog fight maneuverability. Vertical take-off and landing not needed, days of storming the beaches are over. VTOL limits range, payload, and adds too much cost due to complexity.

Smart move by prime contractor Lockheed

Smart move by Lockheed, spread manufacturing among numerous states, political peril for opposing politicians. Gov’t agency Lockheed funding needs to be reduced, history of cost over runs/delays since the C5. Update F15, 16, 18, and AV8 with current technology. Cx F35A, keep land and sea capable F35B/C, increase drone usage. Maybe Star Wars George Lucas should have been awarded the contract.

I think you need to read some history before you make such nonsensical claims.

I agree with you Lance. We need a 5th gen fighter and the F-22 is probably the closest thing to fit that bill. With enough buys, it will bring down the unit cost (amortization) just like we did with the F-4. Me being a Navy old timer and in view of the Pacific Theater AOR like during the days of the Russians; we should have reopened the Tomcat line and put the newest avionics, engines and weapons on it.

As a former Navy/Marine Corps guy — and I love my Marine Corps brethren — but why do the need Harriers? It’s silly to think they would ever vertically land a jet out in the field. Sure, if you offer them that capability, they’ll say hey need it, but really? For that matter, why do they need their own aircraft. I’ve heard the rationale that only Marine pilots understand Close Air Support???? I have never met a Marine pilot who has spent a single day in combat on the ground and truly experienced the need for CAS. You can teach Navy and Air Force pilots how to do CAS. That would eliminate 1/3 of the cost drivers for a Marine variant of the JSF or the DOD for that matter.

You hit it on the head, my friend– all those DoD civilians are about to get shivved for an airplane that has NEVER even seen Iraq or Afghanistan airspace!

It seems that for the price we are paying for the F-35, we could have built more F-22s and upgraded our aging F-15Cs/F-16Cs with F-15SEs/F-16Ns. I truely wish that the F-35 would turn out to be an awesome aircraft and worth every penny, but I do not have much faith that it will. One way we could recoup all the cost for the F-35 is to demand that Europe, Japan, Korea, Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, etc., pay us something for we have done for them over the years.
And then again, maybe the F-35, etc., wouldn’t cost so much if we weren’t printing money to the point where our dollar is just about worthless.

Low Rate Initial Production.

“The program to build the fifth generation fighter will require an average of $12.6 billion through 2037, which the GAO called an “unprecedented demand on the defense procurement budget.” As the Pentagon’s budget flattens off in coming years, the investigators questioned whether the U.S. will be able to continue to support the most expensive military weapons program in U.S. history.“__________________________________________-$12.6 billion through 2037, ha!…and just how are we suppose to pay for it? the teabaggers in Congress have already we don’t have the money!, and at the rate they are going, we will never have the money if they don’t generate funds. But seeing how they operate, they would spend all our money on the Militaries, and the rest of the country be da-ned.…..didn’t the old Soviet Union do that?…look at em now.

Well who else are we gonna blame blight? politicians, specifically the house, do hold the purse strings.

Boeing and MD wrote DO-178b. Lockheed was slow to figure out how much money they could make from having that specification levied on their software, but are now figuring it out and laughing all the way to the bank. I’ve seen displays covered in “blue snow” due to memory errors because of overflow in data fields. This was on displays driven by Level A qualified software. It’s a damn joke. Our software department routinely charges 8 hours PER LINE OF CODE! That’s a lot of money when you consider our engineering rates are about $250/hour and that estimate doesn’t include any time for test or requirements documentation.

It is certainly not a generalization flattering to me personally, but I can understand the sentiment. After all, competent, patriotic employees cause defense contractors to lose money. Ignorant, amoral or immoral people cause contractors to make more money. So who do you think they promote? It is not that there aren’t plenty of good people working for defense contractors, it is that these people are marginalized by a system that promotes sloth and stupidity over intelligence and good ethics.

Remember that the F35 is available to allies — who pay for them — rather than the F22, mainly noted for causing anoxia to the crew. some recompense will come from the foreign sales.

commoncents, in today’s world no servicemember could deploy and no equipment could be bought without the civilian employees of DoD. In addition to the roles civilians performed for decades such as resource management, civilians do many jobs formerly performed by servicemembers. In fact, there are a lot of DoD civilians deployed to every theater.

Go to your local Training Support Center and see who is running it. Go to your local Resource Management office and see who is running it. Go to your local Range Control office and see who is running it. Go to an arsenal and see who makes up the workforce. Go to a Program Executive Office and see that 90% of the engineers, program managers, and contracting officers developing and procuring new systems are DoD civilians.

Most of them are dedicated and competent, with a few bad apples. Without them, you couldn’t manage unit budgets, could not train, and you would have no equipment.

One of the major problems with the F-35 program was the decision to simultaneously start production while completing testing. That’s a deviation from the normal acquisition lifecycle that should only be used to get some emergency equipment to the field, and is NOT appropriate for a complex ACAT 1D program. 100% of the time that a major development program simultaneously starts production while completing testing, the government and the taxpayers end up getting screwed.

Didn’t Ash Carter call the decision to start production while simultaneously completing testing “acquisition malpractise”? If he was the guy that said it, he was right.

My point was the Pentagon prevented the US Navy from funding a replacement for the F-14 and forced them to develop the F-18E/F as an interim until they got the Pentagon mandated F-35. This is another F-111B fiasco in the making, which led to the development of the F-14. Now the US Navy is locked into the F-35 by DoD mandate while the Air Force was at least able to get 185 F-22A’s. The Pentagon is mandating the F-35 for ALL services, while as you pointed out, it would have been better to let the services develop their own fighter.

Gates scewed the pooch, as well as the Navy and Air Force. Hagel needs to review the decision on cancelling the F-22, a far superior and now affordable aircraft than the F-35. We’ve got the tooling to retsart production. Let’s admit the mistake and correct the situation before we send our kids against superior Chinese aircraft

What we should do is fix our procurement system so it doesn’t reward contractors who drag out the design and jack up costs. If we’re not going to do that, then we should have the US Air Force stand up its own design house and they should design their own F-23. It’s much faster and stealthier than the F-22 and has infrared stealth. It was as more of a mistake to buy the F-22 than it was to buy the F-35. The F-22 was bought based on it’s maneuverability. Hell, even Lockheed now admits you don’t need a stealth fighter to be highly maneuverable. It needs to be good at hit and run. The F-23 is that, and it carries more weapons internally than the F-22 or F-35.

Hmmm…so TP, FYI, there are foreign assembly lines. Alenia even has a final assembly line that is going to produce whole airplanes soon (next year?). There are more planned. It is my assertion that it will ADD not subtract cost because of all the duplication of production capital and intercontinental transportation of all the components. It is, however, a sucessful business plan because of the obvious political factor. Also, perhaps you are not aware of the controversy over the current and “original promised” price? Nobody can agree on either of them. Anyway, you may have something there. L/M and their government hacks would quickly spin that the original promise was equivalent to $150 million each in 2013 dollars, exposing all the BS.

After learning about all the cuts the F-35 program has dodged and all of the possibly intentional messes of the design that Lockmart has done the only thing I can say for certain about the F-35 program is that it has the stench of corruption and greed all over it. This jet has become an enemy to the stability of the US economy and to the operational capacity of the military.

Again with restarting the F-22. Give it a rest. Your assumption that there is a preserved infrastucture poised to produce components is erroneous. Maybe we can agree on two things: go after the past decision makers like Gates and disgrace them; start a new program that basically re-creates F-22 capability. Re-spending taxpayer money to restore this capability should make it easier to disgrace congressional/military/industry names, but it won’t. They are all protected and will probably profit from it all.

It is way more likely that all the “teen” fighters get re-habbed than a new start project. L/M is the front runner for F-16s, Boeing for F-18s and F-15s. The F-22, A-10 and AV-8B will be left to die on the vine from lack of spares.

@TD: As your comments confirm, the biggest threat to the Republic is internal financial collapse, not external military pressure. If borrowing money for porkbarrel social engineering spending is that important, and only way to stem the financial bleeding is to cut (external) defense, then it must be done. Can we agree on that? It is courting disaster, but so be it. Is that OK with you TD?

Don’t tell anyone that, the Arthurian Myth of America is that Ronald Reagan slew the Soviet Union in a bare-knuckle boxing match.

Ash Carter is one of the enablers of this fiasco. He says one thing and promotes another.

The only guarantee is that the systems integrator is still in business. There may be a number of subcontractors who killed production of F-22 only parts once Congress gave it the Game-Over-Man treatment, in which case you either throw money at them to bring back old parts, or throw money at them or new people to find new parts compatible with F-22.

As parts support still exists for the F-22, it means going to the contractors and asking for more production from the low baseline meant just to produce enough for maintenance. It will take time and money to scale up, and if a factory is building parts for someone else it means backorder, new contractor or paying them to expand production.

Hmmm, yet another situation where the Contractor has way to much leverage in politics! Wonder how many of LM are retired flag officers????????? Get this contractor’s hands out of the pockets of politicians and taxpayers!

I was going to blame the unions, atheism, Barack Obama and My Little Pony. In reverse order.

In all seriousness, we cannot presume that an mfr does not attempt to pressure the procurement process by juicing things up at procurement and at HASC.

Not Production The LRIP are for testing and to set up the initial training squadrons but are NOT the actual training or tactical aircraft

There is no cost comparison at this time because there is not a tactical UCAV in or even nearing produciton at this time. The Navy’s X-47 which people love to point to is an unarmed deomonstrator and a one of a kind. Designing and testing a real tactical UCAV with appropriate sensors and weapons is not something that will happen quickly or cheaply. __Your idea of pairing an F18 with one or two UCAVs might sound good at first but since the fleet standard F18 is single seat, do you really expect that one pilot in the F18 to not only fly and fight his own aircraft but also fly and fight the two UCAVs?

Since there is not a detailed equipment laydown for the UCAV yet, one can only go with the UAVs that are currently fielded and the large UAVs like Global Hawk and Predator are far from maintenance free and if I had to project pre/post flight and phase maintenance for a UAV, I’d expet it to be about the same as a manned aircraft. The advantage to UAVs is (of course) the ability to stay in the air for long/very long missions, the ability to survive in environements that humans could not (think g forces, oxygen, etc) and not having a human at risk. Cost to develop, test and maintain is not a major drone advantage._

Double the range? That’s comparing a F/A-18C (not E) with internal fuel only to and F-35C on internal fuel which is irrelevant.

F-35C is claiming 615NM radius with 2 Mk-84 in a H-H-H profile. That number will likely go down as reality continues to creep in with further development. A Mk-84 can fly about 15 nm, so call it 630 NM total strike radius? A JSOW may eventually increase this to about 670 NM or so. This radius is based on internal fuel only which is needed to stay VLO . Also, I can’t add long range weapons and stay VLO so either I don’t need VLO (aka F-35C) or I don’t need long range weapons.

An F/A-18E can go 683 NM with 4 Mk-83 (1000 lb) in a similar H-H-H profile (See GAO rpt on E/F http://​www​.gao​.gov/​a​s​s​e​t​s​/​1​6​0​/​1​5​5​4​9​8​.​pdf ). Adding 15 nm for the weapon you get 698 NM strike radius with bombs. This radius includes external 480 gal. tanks. Now if I add a long range weapon like JASSM-ER instead of a MK-8X bomb that 698 increases to a strike radius of somewhere near 1183NM ! . Yeh the drag for it will be different but it will still probably be 1100NM+.

part 2:
With DF-21 pushing us back, F-35 will not get the short range weapon to the target but an F/A-18E with a long range weapon will. ( see Page 8, http://​www​.cnas​.org/​f​i​l​e​s​/​d​o​c​u​m​e​n​t​s​/​p​u​b​l​i​c​a​t​i​o​ns/… .

Insanity,power, and greed can be seem in the entire defense program most highlighted by the F-35 and CVN-78. Korean conflict had enemy hoards attacking our lines and in many cases over running the lines. Vietnam we faced 1 gun 3 man teams a shooter, ammo carrier and spent shell collector. They carried off bodies and spent shells preventing accurate after action reports. My point is modern carrier with 24 F-35C’s could defend against an all out attack of how many older fighters. Numbers count during engaged conflict. I would prefer 5 forty million dollar planes vise 1 JSF estimated at more than 200 million a copy and rising.

Part 3:
The other point you missed is that we need an F/A-XX. Still not fully defined but for talking purposes someting in the 1000 NM radius class with greater internal payload & better survivability than F-35 plus the ability to do the air dominance mission which the F-35 was never designed to do. These are capbilities we will need in the mid to late 2020’s that F-35C and F-35C derivatives will not provide. Buying much cheaper aircraft now will allow you to pay for developing the aircraft you actually do need on the carrier in the mid/late 2020’s. Going the F-35C route will leave a huge capability hole that you will not have the money or time to overcome.

Nonsensical claims?

Show me evidence anything I said was incorrect.

Obama will grow government until we are GREECE — DEAD AND BROKE.

The problem here is Lockheed, and the upper management profits, they should move it all to Northrop and control upper management profits.

Way too expensive. The F35 is a compromise aircraft designed to work for all 3 services. As a result it has degraded capability. Whenever you make something that does everything, it actually does everything poorly. I cannot understand how contractors and pentagon brass still make this type of basic mistake. I have seen this happen in large government offices where everyone was supposed to know how to do everyone else’s jobs. It is called horizontal integration. it was a industry standard and buzzword for several years until they found out IT DOESN’T WORK. Several large corporations died because of it. I have seen it in software. Microsoft Windows is a good example. Poor, unsecure operation because it does too many things. Microsoft Office is even worse. Too many bells and whistles make for a poor anything; poor performance, difficult to operate, poor reliability and extreme cost. As Scotty said in Star Trek “The more complicated the plumbing the easier it is to stop up the drain.” The F35 needs to be flushed down the toilet ASAP.

McDonnell-Douglas is the more reliable contractor. Too bad the contract didn’t go in that direction in the initial phases of the decision to build an upgrade to what we already had; F-15’s, F-18’s and Harriers. These guys knew their stuff!

i am an old fart…all i know is aircraft.. f-15..f-4..t37..t38..ov-10..oa-37.. 737–757-767-dc-10-..md11… air buuss319.…320.. just an old fart„this “all force’ s ” fighter.….is agood thing.….old fart… no shit. i did fly my own acraft… beee „,cool’.….…carl

MD got folded into Boeing a long time ago.

I would’ve said Grumman knew what they were doing, but when they got absorbed by Northrop I doubt many of the Grumman engineers survived. Probably closed out the Long Island plant and laid off all the workers and designers.

What’s especially disturbing is that because we don’t have churn of affordable generations of aircraft, is that many aircraft industry workers will only have ever worked on one aircraft product start to finish. So there isn’t much experience in the design process. I’m not sure how aircraft designers are supposed to learn the ropes in such an environment.

They’d get more if they got money to design next-gen upgrades from scratch, just add some “leveraged development” from the failed programs to Quarterly Profit Souffle.

For giggles.

James O. Ellis, Jr.
Retired President and Chief Executive Officer
Institute of Nuclear Power Operations
Director since November 2004
President and Chief Executive Officer of Institute of Nuclear Power Operations from May 2005 until his retirement in May 2012. Retired from active duty in July 2004. Admiral and Commander, United States Strategic Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska from October 2002 to July 2004; Commander in Chief, United States Strategic Command from November 2001 to September 2002; Commander in Chief, U.S. Naval Forces, Europe and Commander in Chief, Allied Forces from October 1998 to September 2000; Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Plans, Policy and Operations) from November 1996 to September 1998; director of Burlington Capital Group from 2004 to 2007; and currently serves as a director of Inmarsat plc. and Level 3 Communications, Inc. In February 2013, Mr. Ellis was elected as a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

James M. Loy
Senior Counselor
The Cohen Group
Director since August 2005
Senior Counselor, The Cohen Group since 2005. Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security from 2003 to 2005; Administrator, Transportation Security Administration from 2002 to 2003; Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard from 1998 to 2002; Coast Guard Chief of Staff from 1996 to 1998; Commander of the Coast Guard’s Atlantic Area from 1994 to 1996; a director of L-1 Identity Solutions, Inc. from 2006 to 2011; and currently serves as a director of Rivada Networks, LLC and Board of Trustees of RAND Corporation, a nonprofit organization.

Joseph W. Ralston
Vice Chairman
The Cohen Group
Director since April 2003
Vice Chairman of The Cohen Group since March 2003. Retired from active duty in March 2003. Commander, U.S. European Command and Supreme Allied Commander Europe, NATO, Mons, Belgium from May 2000 to January 2003; Vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, D.C. from March 1996 to April 2000; and currently serves as a director of The Timken Company and URS Corporation.

12 on the board of directors, three former service personnel. 2/3 belong to “The Cohen Group”.

Yea, the only thing is that the F-111 contract was signed in ’62, first flight in ’64 and the navy cancelled out in ’68. 6.…years. Heck, the Navy started the F-14 program when the F-111 cancelled, and IOCed that in ’74. In the amount of time we have been dorking around with F-35 we developed the failed TFX (F-111) and all the ‘teen fighters. The argument that the F-35 is more complex is a bunch of bull. Those fighters were more cutting edge (for their time) than the F-35. Swing wing, fly-by-wire, multi-mode pulse doppler radar, software driven systems, relaxed stability, etc, etc.…

LOL at someone calling the F-15SE “a real plane.”


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