F-35 is Pentagon’s Top Priority: Kendall

F-35 is Pentagon’s Top Priority: Kendall

The F-35 fighter jet continues to be the U.S. Defense Department’s highest acquisition priority despite looming budget cuts, the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer said.

The stealthy, fifth-generation fighter, known as Lightning II and made by Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin Corp., is the military’s most expensive weapons program, estimated to cost almost $400 billion to develop and build 2,457 aircraft.

The Joint Strike Fighter program began in the 1990s and has been plagued by cost overruns and delays. The price tag alone makes it a big target for budget cutters on Capitol Hill and in the Defense Department. Yet Frank Kendall, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, said the Pentagon is still committed to the aircraft.

“The F-35 remains our highest priority,” he said during a briefing Thursday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank in Washington, D.C.

There are still a number of developmental issues yet to complete, Kendall said, such as upgrading the plane’s software, improving the reliability of the aircraft and its components and enhancing the jet’s logistics support system.

“We’re at a point now where we need to get the job done,” he said. “I’m feeling much more positive about the program than I was a couple of years ago.”

Kendall’s comments echoed those made by Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, the program manager, in September at the Air Force Association’s annual conference. “I’m encouraged by where we are today,” he said. “I’d like to be a little further along.”

Bogdan’s remarks were a stark contrast to those he made at the same forum last year, when he called the relationship with the world’s largest defense contractor the “worst I’ve ever seen.”

The Pentagon in late September finalized a deal with Lockheed for two contracts worth $7.1 billion for 71 more F-35 fighter jets. It’s unclear whether cost reductions in the agreements are enough to appease critics of the program.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the 2008 Republican presidential candidate and the former top-ranking GOP member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, recently criticized the effort as the government’s first trillion-dollar acquisition program (including sustainment costs).

Its repeated cost overruns “have made it worse than a disgrace,” McCain said during a hearing on Capitol Hill. “It’s still one of the great, national scandals that we have ever had, as far as the expenditure of taxpayers’ dollars are concerned.”

Kendall didn’t specify how automatic budget cuts known as sequestration will impact funding for the F-35 program, only that the prospect of more reductions are forcing him to delay decisions on some weapons contracts.

“I am holding back a few things right now because of the uncertainty … where I can defer some work and not make a financial commitment,” he said. “We may not want to cancel them outright but we may want to defer them for a few years.”

The Defense Department faces $500 billion in automatic cuts through fiscal 2021 under deficit-reduction legislation, including $52 billion in the current fiscal year. If lawmakers can’t agree on an alternative plan to undo sequestration, the next three years or so are “going to be a very hard period,” Kendall said.

As he was leaving the building, Kendall didn’t say whether he would be interested in taking the No. 2 job at the Pentagon. He is rumored to be among those being discussed as a possible successor to Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, who plans to retire next month.

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Good news for LockMart, bad news for everybody else.

I personally like Kendall, but he’s part of the problem, not part of the solution. He’s been in the Pentagon too long and went native on us taxpayers a long time ago.

The Brass want it a plane that’s slower carries less and shorter range than the Eagle or Raptor. Yeah good planning.

Its an awful lot of money for a “5th Generation” airplane that gets only somewhere between 3rd and 4th generation performance, and still can’t meet the already reduced (several times) mission profile requirements.

Interesting that the DAB went so long, so many pre-DAB articles in the press, so little information afterward. That usually means things did not go well. How many more unannouce problems and delays are coming? Ok Press what is the story?

Bottom line is that F-35 still won’t provide air dominance, does not have enough legs, and does not carry enough weapons for pivoting to the East. Penetrating tohose air spaces to deliver only 2 MK series weapons per sortie is going to take forever and cost us lots of plitos and aircraft.

Need to go hair on fire to get the LRSB done and then triple the order to 300 if we are going to be effective in that theater.

Light rumblings about F-X and F/A-XX need to become screams for a new program.

Billpayer has to be the oversold under performing F-35 program, that has all the DoD budget.

Place your bets everyone on how much longer this “program” will go on and on and on and on and on and on…

5 years
7 years
10 years
13 years

carrying the same, the f-35 is faster.
The f-35 has a longer range than the f-22.
You may be right with the f-15 having more range with a full set of drop tanks.

President Christie will cancel it

Because he needs the An-225.

Could’ve sworn LCS was the top priority

How can the f-35 be faster than the f-22? The f-22 can without afterburner travel at more than 93% –if not more than 100% WITHOUT afterburner– of the maximal speed of the f-35 (officially mach 1.6). That suppose that there is no “suicide mode” pushing the f-35 over mach 2, still the raptor’s top speed is classified (I bet over mach 2.7+). I concede that this suicide mode could boost the sales of f-35 or heavy maintenance, both of them would fit nicely with lockheed maintenance care plan.

Color me skeptical.

According to f22-raptor dot com website, f-22 supercruise is estimated at mach 1.72.

Not before President Clinton does.

nah, your all wrong

President Jason Carter (son of a you know who) will cancel it in year 2023.

each service has their own “Stupid” going on

Air force-F-35, upgrading 50 year old B-52s, cancelling the F-22, losing nukes, stupid uniforms, not playing well with other services, “cyber this and cyber that“
Navy — LCS, San Antonio class program, NWU “grape” uniform , women on subs (just try to avoid bodily contact will ya)
Marine Corp F-35B, losing focus on the “Marine” part of the Marine corp
Army — where shall we begin ;-P

“carrying the same“
I was really referring to the f-15 because you can’t stick in/external 2 x 2,000 lb bombs etc. on a f-22, but if you could, the drag would kill the speed on the f-22. As it does on the f-15.

internal weapons, no tanks, the f-22 does the speeds you say

The f-35 is THE logical ‘priority’, regardless of how well it works. It will replace 50% of the air force, guess what, they’ve putt all their ‘eggs’ in this basket and need it to work. I hope the engineers at LockMart have enough expertise and experience, and that management at LockMart hasn’t fired them all in the name of stock prices. G damn americans. Cutting muscle before entering a bodybuilding contest. This sickening corporate culture of yours is saddening. In the 50’s 60’s 70’s, the defense ceo’s also milked the pentagon, but had the decency and common sense to KEEP THEIR ENGINEERS on the payrolls, because without Kelly Johnson, there wouldn’t have been a SR71, or the U2. In this day and age, the like of Mcnerney and his ILK would have fired him for the sake of his billionaire stockholders. Because 20bn in net worth isn’t enough, needs to be 25bn. Defense and Airospace companies are NOT a place to make money, but strategic assets and assets of EMPLOYMENT!

Interesting that the Secretary did not say WHY the F-35 is the nr one priority program.

Malia Obama will cancel it

The C-5A will do

The F-18 was a piece of crap when the Navy bought it. It was so underpowered that if it had a full weapons load it couldnt take off from a carrier with more than half a tank of fuel and had to be refueled immediately after take off.

Why is this the case? Any technical answers? General Dynamics designed the PERFECT f-16 3/4 decades ago. By perfect I mean ON SPEC and delivered them on time etc.

Mother Fers, it looks like the COMPETENT fighter designers were absorbed by the INcompetents. General Dynamics Forth Worth, GONE to Lockheed, Grumman gone, McDonnell GONE, FAIRCHILD gone. Ah well, at least we manage it better and so will the Chinese.

But it didn’t cost anywhere near as much as an F-35.

Did anyone here ever see the movie “The Money Pit” with Tom Hanks? Well the F-35 is it … remember the contractor in the movie and his estimates for when the repairs would be complete? Two weeks ma’am! Two weeks …


Anybody out there care to do the math? Let’s see, now; 400 Billion dollars for 2,457 aircraft. Unless I screwed up on the exponents, that’s about 162 Million dollars a copy! Sort of put things in perspective, no?

A lot of Congress people and their workers and friends are making a lot of side money on this , so you can bet they will buy it whether it works or not, or is the best or not. Most of the Congress is getting old and ready to retire, need that extra money to help them along.

Actually because of the uncertainties of design changes, not knowing of it actually works, the reliability problems and the weak foreign interest because of all that, nobody knows how much this turkey might cost. The current budget features unit procurement costs over $200 million.

Also F-35 operating and support costs (O&S) are currently projected to be 60 percent higher than those of the existing aircraft it will replace. The current forecasts of life cycle sustainment costs for the F-35 fleet are considered unaffordable by defense officials.

So even though the plane is in production “There are still a number of developmental issues yet to complete” as the man said.

Though both your total cost and number of aircraft to be bought are suspect, let’s use them anyway. Out of the $400B, $245B would be accountable for all the technology and materiel needed to develop the F-35 as a weapon system and buy the FIRST airplane, IF the F-35’s weighted average cost per production for the remaining 2,456 aircraft were $100M apiece. To ignore the inherent value of all the design & development, in terms of facilities/infrastructure, hardware and knowledge gained is a false assumption, unless one assumes such facilities/infrastructure, knowledge, and hardware have no other material benefit.
Now subtract the net profits to be made from selling and exporting the same plane to other countries to get the ‘net’ unit cost to the United States. It is expected that something like 1500 aircraft will be exported. Now do the math.

The F-16 was designed to be a light fighter with some ground attack capability. It wasn’t designed to do everything and replace every aircraft in the inventory.

The problem begins with the People who elect idiots and corrupt politicians. Then it gets a massive boost from the politicians in uniform who make stupid unrealistic demands.

After that its already over.

What mission profile requirements at present do you claim it cannot meet? There was one reduction from 600km to 590km IIRC.

You want supercruise and super-maneuverability? Shouldn’t have put an end to the F-22. The F-35 was always going to have F-16 or F/A-18 level performance, now closer to the F/A-18.

How much do you think it costed per aircraft when only 60 aircraft had been built?

Mr. Cooper, you are so full of it. The F-18 could launch with full war loads using military power. Get your facts straight before wire brushing. I was an engineer on the flight test program from day one, on the carrier trials, and spent many hours monitoring engine performance during flight tests. And if you did some research you’d find out (from the operators) that the legacy Hornets are preferred when going head to head ACM.
S Statkus

More shonky accounting by the Lockheed shills. The same people who quote “fly away” prices without engines or avionics

Lance, you know this already, but the F-35 wasn’t designed to replace air superiority fighters like the F-15 and the F-22. It was designed mainly to replace the F-16, the F-18C/D and the Harrier. The F-35A has a much better Combat Radius than the F-16C and the F-35C is even better. The F-35 will generally carry all of its weaponry internally on the first few days of combat so its max speed is real at Mach 1.6. Both the F-16 and the F-18 usually release max speeds in a clean configuration which they will only be capable of achieving after they have expended all their ordnance and are forced to run for home. We don’t even need to compare the F-35B to the Harrier on speed and range, I think.
The F-35 is never going to be a great aircraft. But it will do the jobs it was designed to do fairly well. For $400Bn, I wish we were getting more, but it isn’t a disaster, just a disappointment.

They were forced to dumb down the criteria for acceleration and maximum turn rate.

“The program announced an intention to change performance specifications for the F-35A, reducing turn performance from 5.3 to 4.6 sustained g’s and extending the time for acceleration from 0.8 Mach to 1.2 Mach by eight seconds,” reads the report drafted under J. Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation.

I think the F-35C needed even more help to meet the newer specs.

You may find they were always separate and then added together until 2012 when the Gov SAR kept them separate. In the Gov SAR only the Average Unit recurring Flyaway AURF is shown as combined. http://​www​.flightglobal​.com/​b​l​o​g​s​/​t​h​e​-​d​e​w​l​i​n​e​/​201
So it is quite likely that just aircraft price is sometimes given, but it has always been the case that without clarification a price without explanation is worth nothing

Only 60, which f-18 are you talking about?

That’s an area different from mission profiles but yeah, it is unacceptable when so much is riding on this program. Yet what are we going to do? Cancel the whole thing? There are no realistic alternatives at this stage. Most of the work is done now anyway.

This isn’t unique to the F-35 either. The F/A-18 had to have some requirements relaxed when it could not meet them, particularly in regards to range where it couldn’t quite match the old A-7.

I mean that if you were to calculate a total “per unit” cost of the F/A-18 back when only 60 aircraft had been produced as part of that program, you would also come up with an insanely high per uni cost.

Um, no. Beside being incorrect with your tech specs specific to the F/A-18, it is common practice to increase payload by shorting fuel, then tanking at some point after takeoff.

How meaningless is that? Selling as much of a product regardless of its characteristic in order to milk R&D costs can only benefits the corporation, and not the government that buy it.

It’s even more pointless to compare f-18 R&D and spread it to 60 aircraft; the only thing that could do worse would be the compare R&D vs. the number of prototype built. That’s mean nothing.

While in some circumstances it might mean something to measure the (R&D/qty built), it’s everything except a quality of its own. And I wonder how we ended up with a project like the f-35…

You present an interesting perspective, but isn’t international sales merely represent a direct profic for lockheed, for the indirect benefits of a better scale economy? Correct me if I am wrong but the only amount from that $400B that come from allied are those stipulated in the MOU (jsf​.mil does not have anything more recent than 2010 and delivery dates are well outdated). By adding the maximum contribution from table V, allied country would only contribute for ~$5B.

I think it was a pure coincidence that your number add up like this. The $400B is (almost) all yours.

You mean like they do with the F-16 and F-18?

The F-35 should have never been started. It is designed to be too slow, to much lacking in maneuverability and unable to carry adequate weapons for air combat, unless the weapons are carreid extrnally which greatly increases the fuel burn, slows the aircrtaft, and further recduces maneuvrability.

It is over 100 times less stealthy than the F-22

The F-22 R&D was spread over only those built and includes much R&D that has been used on theF-35. These costs are stil included in the cost of the F-22.

Then for a fair comparison the xpect life in combat wust also be cnsidered. When that is done the F-35 is quite smply a loser..

If, you only knew what you’re talking about.….…

You would think a site like this would have knowledgeable posters.

1. The F-22 can supercruise at M1.7, sure, but it’s only specified (the last I checked) to do that for 100NM. I would be surprised if it can’t do it for further than that, but it doesn’t go around doing that all the time.
2. When talking about overall mission performance numbers, maximum speed is almost meaningless. Crusing speed is typically much more important (and as per 1. above, the F-22 is *not* going to be supercruising during most of its mission profile). Yes, acceleration and somewhat indirectly maximum speed is important while ingressing and egressing defended airspace, particularly when actually entering into combat.

Right. On. Target!

Nah, They wanted something to compete with the Apache Helicopter.

I thought sexual assault was top priority.

Negative, this is the internet.

Also, nobody is paid.

I thought they manipulated the bank angle specs to get the required change in G’s. From elementsofpower, it was a few degrees change to the bank angle. Perhaps John Boyd might think it makes a difference though…

Or Dick Cheney, who will run for president if his cybernetic body parts hold out.

One of the former fighter-mafia guys predicted cancelled after 500 planes. I’d put my money on his expertise.

Kendall’s trying hard, but the really bad decisions have already been made before things fall into his lap, and he doesn’t have the clout to just cancel things and send them back to the drawing board. OSD got out of the business of telling the services what to buy a long time ago.

The F-35 program was built around the concept of cost efficiency through commonality. As soon as it was recognized (10 years ago now?) that commonality wasn’t going to happen and it wasn’t going to be cheap, it should have been scrapped. Now they’re just pouring money down a hole. That’s only the right strategy if (1) it produces something worth having, and (2) it’s vital that you field it in 10 years instead of 20. I’m not betting that either of those is true.

The president should hand out retirement paper work to be filled out by all the brass involved with the biggest criminal endeavor called the F-35 jet fighter program. We cannot afford decent health care for the citizens of this country but we let the Pentagon throw away the hard earned tax money they send to Washington D.C. We have met the enemy and he works at the Pentagon.

The Air Force and Marine Corps should keep the F-35. It meets both of their requirements for an F-16 and Harrier replacement.(development problems notwithstanding.) The USN however, is a different story. For political reasons, the F-14D and A-6F were scrapped. This had the effect of turning the CVBG into a tool for the Air Force. The short ranged Hornet being dependant on USAF tankers. The term “joint” being code for USAF control over everything in the air space. The F-35C is just more of the same. Only this time, a single engine Harrier replacement is being touted as being equal to the A-12 concept in the medium attack role, and equal to the F-22 in the fighter role. I don’t buy it. Hopefully, the F/A-XX, and the UCLASS will restore Naval Aviation’s capability in the face of a potent A2AD environment.


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