Report: Pentagon to Buy Fewer F-35s in 2015

Report: Pentagon to Buy Fewer F-35s in 2015

The U.S. Defense Department plans to buy eight fewer F-35 fighter jets in fiscal 2015, according to a news report.

The Pentagon will request funding for 34 of the aircraft in the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, including 26 of the Air Force’s conventional model, six of the Marine Corps’ vertical-landing version, and two of the Navy’s aircraft carrier variant, according to an article by Tony Capaccio of Bloomberg News.

That’s down from 42 planes the department previously projected it would buy during the period, but up from the 29 aircraft it’s buying this year, it stated.

The Defense Department’s base budget, which excludes war funding, is expected to be about $500 billion — some $40 billion less than what the department had budgeted for the fiscal year. Congress provided partial relief to automatic budget cuts known as sequestration over the next two years, but agencies still face spending reductions.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel may touch on the planned F-35 reductions when he outlines the department’s proposed budget next week before the spending plan’s official March 4 release.

“Will there be cuts across the board?” he recently said of the budget. “Of course there will. You can’t do it any other way. Are there going to be adjustments across the board? Of course. But you must preserve readiness and modernization.”

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is the Pentagon’s most expensive acquisition effort, estimated last year to cost $391 billion to develop and build a total of 2,457 F-35 Lightning IIs. The fifth-generation, single-engine jet is made by Lockheed Martin Corp. and designed to replace such aircraft as the F-16, A-10, F/A-18 and AV-8B.

In a recent  segment on “60 Minutes,” titled, “Is the F-35 Worth It?” David Martin, national security correspondent for CBS News, noted that the program is seven years behind schedule and $163 billion over budget.

The piece also touched on the aircraft’s many developmental problems, including improperly installed valves, gaps in the stealth coating, wingtip lights that failed to meet Federal Aviation Administration standards, tires that blow out too frequently and software glitches impacting everything from the helmet-mounted display to the automated parts-replacement system, known as the Autonomic Logistics Information System, or ALIS (pronounced “Alice”).

And just last month, the Pentagon’s top weapons tester, J. Michael Gilmore, concluded the military’s newest and most advanced fighter jet has cracked during flight tests and isn’t yet reliable for combat operations.

Even so, military officials say the program has passed the point of no return. “I don’t see any scenario where we’re walking back away from this program,” Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan told Martin.

Watchdogs criticized the segment as overly optimistic. “CBS missed the big picture,” said William Hartung, the director of the Center for International Policy’s Arms & Security Project who authored a book about the aircraft’s manufacturer, titled, “Prophets of War.”

“The F-35 is overpriced and underperforming,” he said in a statement. “But is also unnecessary for addressing our most urgent 21st century threats. It’s a bad deal for taxpayers and a bad choice for our security.”

Lockheed, based in Bethesda, Md., didn’t participate in the television broadcast, but in a statement acknowledged the program’s problems. “We are working with our partners, customers and suppliers to address these challenges,” it said in a statement to the network.

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For reference, that $163B cost overrun is (adjusted for inflation) equal to the entire cost of the Apollo program.

I’m sure they’re doing it for all the wrong reasons, but it is remarkably sensible to reduce the rate at which you are buying planes that you don’t yet know how to build. Indeed ‘zero’ would seem like the ideal rate — it’s not like they don’t have enough test articles already available to test upgrades, modifications, and retrofits. Every plane they buy now is one more plane they’ll have to re-build later, at great expense.

Buying less. Well wish they stop buying any. This programs is a waste. The A model is the only one which had promise. The B is a Billion dollar blunder which only USMC brass want not any one else. We should concentrate on heavy fighter again like the raptor and Eagle. Small planes should not be a priority.

Except even when they get the F-35 working, if ever, it still will be a dog. Fundamentally poor design cant be just patched up.

The aircraft quantities are slightly understated and do not include foreign customers. In past budgets, projected sales to FMS customers were included in the budget books, but are not now.

Why are they buying any more mistake jets period? They just had an article in Inside Defense on how they have a plan (that requires still more $B) to eventually give all the mistake jets combat capability (http://​insidedefense​.com/​I​n​s​i​d​e​-​t​h​e​-​A​i​r​-​F​o​r​c​e​/​I​n​s​i​d​e​-​t​h​e​-​A​i​r​-​F​o​r​c​e​-​0​2​/​1​4​/​2​0​1​4​/​a​i​r​-​f​o​r​c​e​-​m​a​p​s​-​o​u​t​-​s​t​r​a​t​e​g​y​-​f​o​r​-​u​p​g​r​a​d​i​n​g​-​a​l​l​-​e​a​r​l​y​-​l​o​t​-​f​-​3​5​a​s​-​t​o​-​b​l​o​c​k​-​3​f​/​m​e​n​u​-​i​d​-​8​2​.​h​tml). Kendall said that buying before testing was acquisition malpractice so whay isn’t 100 mistake jets enough?
Let’s finish SDD, finish OPEVAL and see if they actually work before buying hundreds more. A perfect example is that the Navy wants to buy combat capable F/A-18E/F/Gs instead of non-combat capable mistake F-35Cs but OSD will not let them. It is all crazy and it amounts to a subsidy to try to make the program look more affprdable ($/aircraft) while actually it is a HUGE waste of our tax dollars.

F-35C arresting hook is located too close to the main gear compromising reliable arrested recovery in suboptimal conditions where high sea states cause the flight deck to pitch and roll. Fixing that will require a major structural redesign that will be expensive and non-trivial. USN needs an all weather fighter, not a fair weather fighter. If F-35C proves to be a fair weather fighter, then USN won’t buy many F-35C

If USN falls behind in efforts to counter PLA/PLAN efforts in A2AD resulting in USN CSGs operating further from PRC coastline, then the aircraft carried on USN CVN will need significantly increased unrefueled combat radius, and that won’t be provided by F-35C.

USN needs a new optionally manned fast stealthy all-weather long range twin engine CATOBAR fighter bomber, and F-35C isn’t that.

“In a recent segment on “60 Minutes,” titled, “Is the F-35 Worth it?” David Martin, national security correspondent for CBS News, noted that the program is seven years behind schedule and $163 billion over budget.”

By the time this rickety, overpriced junker takes to the skies it will be obsolete.

If only it was the beginning of the end.

The Navy wants out of “The Junk Strike Fighter” or at least to buy a lot less of them and buy more Super Hornets.

Navy Looking for Some F-35 Relief http://​www​.defense​-aerospace​.com/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​-​v​i​e​w​/​rel

The F-35B Design Is Leaking Fuel http://​www​.defense​-aerospace​.com/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​s​-​v​i​e​w​/re

Not to mention the F-35C still can’t land on a Carrier as of today.

In that time defence contractor were a different animal. Appolo was decades ahead of state-of-the-art which is natural considering that the brightest mind were working for the NASA. Quite a contrast when you take a look today and you see that lockheed waited to the last minute (i.e. recently) before using a highly experienced and competent workforce to solve its software issue. Before they were partly relying on voodo science like D-wave computer…

BTW, there is a lot of material about Apollo –especially gemini– that is declassified and freely available. Source code of Apollo 11 are available.

The basic Pentagon philosophy is that it is cheaper to concurrently (1) develop and (2) buy as you go, (3) with modifications later, than (1) develop, (2) test and (3) buy “right” the first time. While there is no published evidenced (that I have seen) that has been true from a cost perspective, historically, a fourth factor, (4) getting-something-better-than-the-other-guy-right-now-in-any-quantity, has been controlling by the generals and admirals. These days, with no true competitor out there — and no great rush to field this stuff — we should go to a “finish-testing-and-make-any-mods-before-you-buy” strategy, as has been recommended by many over the years.

ALIS is such a joke. A computer that got the final words about wether or not you *can* operate your aircraft. It show no understanding of the very fundamental of the characteristic of a computer. A computer cannot differentiate the right from the wrong, the only thing it can do to detect an error is to –once again– rely on mathematics function. When that logic fails, the computer can’t know about; when its sensors fail, it can’t know about. And I am suppose to believe that you need a supercomputer of the size of a sea container just to do that.

When you do a comparison, even Hollywood seems to be more knowledgeable of fundamental computer theory and reliability –i.e. War Game, 2001 space odyssey or the latest Robot Cop. ALIS is really a HAL++.

What was lockheed smoking?

Well I see the anti-F35 crowd is alive and well…How ever their crying is always short sighted and ill informed to say the least. And yes, I am attacking the people who post here for the anti-F35 crowd. See, we need this over priced, poorly managed, rickety jet fighter. Its not as simple as cost…its more than developmentalitems that need adressed.…it about keeping the industrial base open. We could buy jet aircraft from EADS, SAAB, Mikoyan Gruovich, or Sukoi and savevery little or pay very much and still have the same problems as we are having now with the F35. And we could even destroy the industrial base buying fromanother country all themilitary products we need. But, in the end, like it or not…its the country that pays either way. The question is do we want to payin cash, or pay in loss to the industrial base.….your choice.

Can you name who in the anti-F35 crowds suggested to close the industrial base and buy oversee or are you trying to put words in my mouth?

When I was on the program a few years ago, at the time LM busted Nunn-McCurdy, we equated the overrun to buying five Nimitz Class aircraft carriers.

“wingtip lights that failed to meet Federal Aviation Administration standards” ????? Will someone explain to me why a “stealth” like military aircraft needs FAA approved wing tip lights??? So it can land @JFK?

Lockheed did not come up with it, it was in the Systems Requirements Document. Actually, the main function of ALIS is not to decide if the aircraft is flightworthy or not, it is to integrate the aircraft’s built-In-Test and Troublshooting functions with onboard diagnostics to drive spare parts and maintenance actions.

You are pretty much on target here. Just as military aircraft systems are not required to certify to DO-178B which is very costly to accomplish. Some contractors (like Boeing) like to propose compliance to FAA requirements as a discriminator but it really kind of a red herring.

The problem with the F-35 is that as of now there is not one working flying F-35 example and we are in 2014 now. Just give me one working plane.
Does the helmet work? No
Is transonic roll off taken care off? No
Can the Aim120 launched from the F-35 hit anything? No
Does IRST work? No
Is is safe to fly in a thunderstorm? No
Can it outturn an F-4 phantom? No
Can it catch an arresting cable? No
Does it cost 200 mill/plane? Yes and then some

And we need these fly boy mafia toys for what?

I don’t quite think that the systems requirements documents specified a system that at least according to CBS can ground a plane because the part # that the technician changed does not match the one in its database.

Sure it’s designed to analyze all the data it gathered, but is that really need to be the size of a sea container? Compared to 12 years ago, a single x86 blade is more than 16 times more powerful, carry more than 100 times the RAM and hard drives are almost 100 times more dense, at a fraction of the cost. Unless they designed the system around a death platform, a mere hardware upgrade will definitely shrink its size with little effort, something that apparently the Navy is still waiting for. Heck even a mini-computer should have enough computing power: hundreds of core and dozens of terabytes of memory. Unless the flight data expend like a virus the whole thing should fit in a single cabinet.

What I see look more like a system designed first to suck up customer’s money than solving problems. Unless the requirement state a system that screw up everything the blame goes to lockheed.

Don’t get me wrong, such management system will be extremely valuable both in term of cost management than tactical efficiency. It’s just that ALIS is not what I would call a success.

If anyone saw the 60 Minutes piece on Sunday 02/15/14, it would have opened your eyes.
This plane is a complete waste of OUR money.

The Lockhead mafia is laughing all the way to their banks (in the Cayman Islands).

Ah! Misleading Vividness leading one to Hasty Generalizations. The closest thing you came to being ‘right’ (and asserting with such ardor I presume NOT lying) in that list is the ‘safe to fly in a thunderstorm” crack, and that is only true inasmuch the ‘Certification’ isn’t scheduled until later this year.
That “transonic roll off” bit was my ‘fave’. TRO is an aerodynamic phenomenon that occurs due to the laws of physics to ALL planes in the transonic region. The only possible way to interpret “taken care of” is does it affect the plane in an unacceptable way?, If so, will ‘changes’ have to be made to make it ‘acceptable’? Since the A and B models are apparently satisfactory, and the C-model already has provisions in the design should they be needed and the program hasn’t decided if they are yet, file that concern ‘under not a problem’ until you hear otherwise. From someone that actually knows something I mean. Downrate away ‘Sweeties’!

A Non Sequitur played after admission of ignorance? Shocking!
Search for “Congressional Bloviation On The Concurrency Bogeyman“
Bottom line: GAO defines concurrency differently than DoD, but about 30% Concurrency is the ‘sweet spot’ using DoD standards.
OBTW: Concurrency is way down on the list of cost and schedule drivers.

that’s a pertinent fact.

will it bankrupt the country? YES!!!!!!

the problem is there too few defense contractors now. All them have been bought out by large companies like Lockheed Martin. There’s no competition anymore. There’s no creativity anymore. There’s no quality anymore.

see recent report in aviationweek. Nothing has been taken care of. The software is kaput. There is not one working plane 70 billion dollars later. That’s bad and trust me there will not be a working plane in one year either, and F-35B IOC, well you are looking at 2017 not 2015 as promised. And it is a 200 mill plane not 70 mill as advertized

I’m old enough to remember the TFX of the 1960s. Virtually =everything= that’s being said about the F-35 now was said about the TFX then. (The Navy axed their share of the program.) But in 1991, the TFX was known as the FB-111: The fastest, most reliable, longest-range, lowest flying, superbly terrain-following, least visible (for the time), most effective, supersonic fighter bomber on the planet… and it wasn’t retired until the early 2000s. (We still keep them in =maintained= storage, btw.) Not saying that guarantees that the F-35 will be likewise; I tend to agree with those who say the jump jet version won’t be ready ’til 2020, and the CVN version needs a lot more beef in it’s wing roots and landing gear platforms. But no one else in the world is likely to be able to build anything like them in service quantities for a long, long time. Which means a lot of other people will continue to want to buy them from us… and help us with our international balance of payments problems. And the F-15, F-16 and F-18 are — despite the quality of their superior avionics and weapons systems — getting pretty “gray.”

What “recent” report are you referring to? I’m not seeing anything recent up on their site.

“But no one else in the world is likely to be able to build anything like them in service quantities for a long, long time. ” That’s too funny!

Heck Not Mosses, Lockhead, after 20 years of effort, still cannot build a single working copy!

Apart from poor range, is not survivable, doesn’t carry and anti-ship missile and cant land on a carrier what basic problem do the navy have with the F-35 ?

Just another loser who would sell America down the river for his job.

20 years of effort? When did this time warp occur? Contracts were awarded in late 1996 to Lockheed and Boeing to each produce a concept demonstrator/testbed, proving the feasibility of using a common fighter design for STOVL, CTOL, and carrier operations. Lockheed won over Boeing and received to the contract to develop an operational aircraft in late 2001. The first F-35A prototype flew in late 2006. That is where the program started to bog down, for reasons primarily related to the difficulty of building an aircraft to cover such vast requirements, as opposed to sheer incompetence some would pin on Lockheed.

Honestly, do you think the Boeing X-32 which could barely lift its own weight in STOVL operation have done any better as a starting point?

Now we’re done the greater portion of the development of this aircraft and certain individuals think we should just cancel the whole thing and start over. The same sort of thinking is what led to the early end of F-22 production because all of the critics said the JSF would do the job instead. Now you want to end the JSF based on promise that fighter programs that don’t even exist will do the job. Upgraded F-15s, F-16s, and F/A-18s will not cut it forever.

So you just got a degree in aerospace design did you? Why don’t you enlighten us all with your expertise? Maybe praise the Chinese copy of it as being an amazing design because it wasn’t built by “lazy Americans” as you are so fond of saying.

Yea typical Lockheed arse covering “under not a problem’ until you hear otherwise”. TRO in the region that the aircraft spend most of its combat time in is a big problem. But not a problem to Lockheed shills until pilots start dying and planes get shot down.

No real savings here buying less F35’s will increase the price for the next lot.

A single F-35 has the capability of 4 F/A 18’s.

You are missing the point completely — it is the F-35 that puts industrial base at risk. It eliminates competition aka drive for innovations, giving LockMart a monopoly position instead. Back in eighties, there were couple production lines US fighters open delivering fighters to US armed forces — F-14, F-15, F/A-18, F-16, F-5. Now they will shut down F/A-18E/F production line, F-22 line already in storage. F-16 and F-15E/K production is running only thanks to foreign customers. At the end of this decade, there will be only one fighter plane in production in the US — F-35. It makes perfect sense for Lockheed Martin, but not for anybody else. Anyway, it won´t stop foreign competition — namely RF and PRC. I expect Russians to take bigger cut on the world fighter market, as US competition will practically cease to exist. And seeing KPP on F-35, wing loading and power loading, I bet it won´t stay much chance against current Irkut´s Su-30SM, not to mention newer Sukhoi models. Time will tell, my money is on Sukhoi.

“Even so, military officials say the program has passed the point of no return. “I don’t see any scenario where we’re walking back away from this program,”
And THAT is the problem with the thinking on this. It’s time to scrap this plane as a replacement. It’s time instead to treat it as a test bed and use it to develop the advanced capabilities they are shooting for and once they are developed and worth a darn, THEN build an airframe around it that will actually work.

If we had actually accomplished the “greater portion” of the development I might agree with you, but everything I read indicates that we are actually not done with the greater portion of development — or at least have not done so successfully. Personally I think it’s time to turn this thing into a test bed. There is a lot of new technology that they can continue working on and developing and once they get it right, THEN build a new airframe around it. But right now everything they are tyring to do new in one platform sounds like a bridge too far to me.


It already is obsolete.

The only victory the F-35 is likely to see is in the boardroom of Lockheed, where they cry all the way to the bank. Corporate profiteering is clearly more important to them that maintaining our national security. Kelly Johnson never would’ve tolerated this…

Between the F-35 and LCS — Lockheed has been involved in two high-profile programs where the product they’re selling to the US taxpayers have repeatedly had their mission profiles lowered, yet still can’t meet even the reduced performance requirements.

It seems that Lockheed has deteriorated to the point to where their sense of patriotism, mission, integrity, and ethics stand for nothing.

Concurrency isn’t a driver its an enabler — of corruption and incompetence.
It provides a never ending excuse for failure to deliver and cost overruns.

Highwaaaay to the death spiral zone!

We may have to lean on foreign customers with STOVL platforms to pay more for the JSF-B.

There’s a pretty good chance that if the program explodes, LM may attempt to shop out the LiftSystem to other interested aircraft companies, or salvage the –B.

Once again we are WASTING TAX Dollars on a NONE STEALTH useless platform. The entire project should be cancelled and the Leadership including General Bogdan and Lockheed Martin/Retired Generals should be thrown in JAIL for laying to Congress!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We could utilize this funding for upgrades to F/A-18, F-16, F-15, TLAM, TACOM, UAV’s, Battlespace Connectivity, “Kill Chain enhancements and Weapons Data Links.

We can place a large order (that is what they, LMT & F-35 JPO, say is needed to reduce costs) when they start making aircraft that won’t be useless after SDD & OPEVAL finally end. These “production” aircraft being built now will be useless hanger queens with the wrong software, horrible reliability, and life limited parts, and we already have 100 of them. Plus, they have already had 6 lots to figure out how to build them cheaper/better. If they haven’t figured it out by now it isn’t likely to happen, the biggest improvements come early on not in the 7th/8th/9th lots. If they ever build 2443 of them , which I doubt, wouldn’t it be better if 2343 of them were capable of combat and verified by OPEVAL a suitable and effective?

True words from IKE beware of the Military Industrial Complex.

So it can fly in the US airspace system. Just like it has to have a mode 3/c transponder, and a radar reflector. You do realize the military aircraft fly in civilian airspace 95% of the time? The point about the nav lights is it such a basic detail that was somehow overlooked — which make you wonder what else was missed. Not an especially powerful confidence builder.

Overall, the TFX program was a failure. It failed to produce a multi service jet )its primary goal), what jets that were procured were in far fewer quantity that envisioned, and they were expensive to operate. The final version worked fairly well, after some avionics and engine upgrades. The kinetic F-111s were remove from service in the mid 1990s, after being replaced by B-1s and F-15Es.

Damn straight. Lockheed has already made their money off this program. Go ahead and cancel it.

We dont have anymore $ So how will we wage a war were all the citizens in our country dont have to pay taxes.?
First if we enter spanish countries we will have a unfair war.Stop the poppie War let it through or not well have a war were no air support is needed..

Go ahead and cancel this program. Lockheed will laugh all the way to the bank. Cancel the next one after that too. They will just keep on laughing.

Wow, most of you sound like a bunch of left wing driven chicken little’s… where did you get your information from.. the internet.. it sure looks like it and that you believe everything you see on the internet. Doesn’t sink in that maybe, just maybe, the white house and pentagon has a just a little more information that you all do and that is drivinig their decisions… naw, it has to be the great conspirac, that big bad “Military Industrial complex” that was finally, and so truimphantly, revealed during the Vietnam war… that is the root of all this evil. SMH!

They should have went with the F22, because the cost overrun on the F35 brought the price of the two, just about even.

Great idea!
The Shipboard and Vertical Takeoff version F-22s are superior to any of that F-35 crap

I remember hearing this crap with the F-16, F-15 and the M-1 Abrams tank…all are best in the world now…but they are getting old…like me. Time to get some new ones…

“If you criticise the government you must be a pinko”

When they said clean slate, they weren’t kidding.

They did it with the C-27, right? I know, it’s a different weapons platform altogether, but to say you cant walk away is pure BS. Heck, we had C-27’s already working in the desert, and then they decided they didnt need/want it. Probably because of the F35 would be a guess. This A/C is going to get aircrews killed because of it’s performance shortcomings. It’s supposedly the “do all” platform and yet it cant do any one of those things better than what we have right now.

Bradley Fighting Vehicle as well.

How many failures from the F-35 team does it take to shake your confidence in the whole program. The program has consistently mislead everyone about price, schedule, development problems etc. Why do you still trust them? Yes they have access to classified data not available to the public but that does change the economics? The price growth has made the program a failure. The performance is still up in the air since it is based on analysis only and no F-35 is combat capable or been through OPEVAL. Analysis is subject to being wrong. Even the ROE used to justified the performce is subject to a real world which may severely change the equation. Then lastly, if we listen to the experts, the Navy wanted to quit buying them for 3 years and OSD told them no. That is not a ringing endorsement for the program, in fact that should make everyone start wondering why they would do that if F-35 is so wonderful. Maybe it isn’t.

The hardware, including the airframe is largely finalized. The engine, radar, and most of the sensor systems are in place. The production line is already in place and the rate of production is increasing although not at the rate everybody would like to issues the aircraft has encountered in development.

The biggest issue currently is difficultly in developing the software necessary for all of the sensor fusion, automated logistics, fault detection, and so forth. The sensor fusion and getting that information to the pilot in a manner he can make use of it is probably the greatest obstacle. Yet this work will have to be done one way or another for our future combat aircraft. Even if the aircraft in question isn’t the F-35 this leap in sensor capabilities and coordinated operation will be necessary to maintain the edge over a modern enemy.

Is Lockheed doing the best job at handling this aspect of development? Perhaps not, perhaps the government should bring somebody else in to help, but none of us here know enough about the specific difficulties with the software to say for certain.

We’ve already waited too long to get new airframes into service, restarting the whole thing is not a serious option.

What is a “NONE STEALTH” platform? There isn’t much more we can do with the F/A-18, F-16, and F-15. Those upgrades Boeing pitched for the F-15 and F/A-18 are the end of the line. So what then? The F-35’s level of sensor fusion and situational awareness ARE the next level of “battlespace connectivity” and data-linking. It will be the same goal for future fighter and UCAVs. Doing that work under a different program won’t make it any less of a challenge.

Don’t forget the F-14, F/A-18 (both the classic and Super Hornet), F-22, B-1, B-2, and at least another dozen.

How many complicated anythings have you built in large number’s oblat? An any industry building a completed piece of machinery concurrency is key to getting the required production numbers on a reasonable time-table.

But considering this is Oblat I’m talking to, do you even know what concurrency means?

In that case the F-15, F-16, F/A-18, aspects of the F-22, and any other aircraft you can think of must be horribly obsolete.

I like the idea of aquiring new jets for our military, but we also need to have discipline in our purchasing and approval process. Is there really any question that defense contractors waste money? Or that the process is too political? I agree with the previous post that we should not purchase broken equipment. I also think that we should ALWAYS force defense contractors to compete. I also think we should have the strongest military on the planet.

PS: Maybe the one size fits all promise of the F-35 is part of the problem.

The range of the F-35C is comparable to the Super Hornet and that’s without any external tanks.

Google “Naval Strike Missile” or “Joint Strike Missile”, which BTW can be carried internally.

Carrier qualification (on a real carrier) is still scheduled for this year. The last news about landings on a simulated carrier deck on land was rather positive.

Not survivable? If you’re some neanderthal who thinks VLO stealth doesn’t enhance survivability perhaps.

Still waiting on one of you aerodynamic experts to share your knowledge with the rest of us instead of silence and downvotes. I mean surely you can share you expertise on transonic acceleration and sustained vs. instantaneous turn rates to tell Lockheed what they’re doing wrong, right?

Congress doesn’t seem to get that idea. I don’t think any of them have even heard of the TFX program.

Yet despite the problems, the TFX (F-111) still emerged as the USAF’s premier long range tactical strike/interdiction aircraft and one of the few aircraft of the time that would have been able to fly under a modern air defense network, drop its payload, then speed out of there with a good chance of returning to base.

Yeah, a mach 1.6 fighter that cannot dogfight well is better than a mach 1.8 bird that can. Brilliant.

But any of those “gray” fighters will kick the F-35’s fanny. I worked on the F-111A at Nellis, AND the F-4D. I retired in 06.

buying before testing was acquisition malpractice ! $400bil plus for this project on a so called ballpark 500 billion budget

But the F-111 was a superb strike platform. It may have failed as an all round fighter bomber, but I think it was a mistake to ever think it could act as a fighter. It was a strike aircraft, that served the US, and us Aussies very well. The F-35A which is replacing the F-111 here in Australia will not have comparable range, payload or performance. Stealth is a perishable advantage, and the advantage gained by integrated sensors and data fusion can be turned against it by adversaries with effective cyberwarfare and electronic attack capabilities. The F-35 was always meant to be part of a double act — the F-22 does air dominance, and the F-35 does strike and ground attack. Without the F-22, the F-35 is far less effective.

At what point does this program become too expensive?

Having worked with the various ZOOs on the Patomic. The Senate, the house, the lobbyists, and The pentagon are all doing what they have always done.

Spend money indiscriminately is a sport for each of those groups. In effect, each Senator’s, Congressman’s and officer’s internal empire is more important than the actual defense of our nation.

When all the bugs are fixed in the F-35’s we can offset the cost by selling some to our friendly countries. I read somewhere that Japan was willing to spend 3 times the cost of this fighter to but it from us. Other countries would want to purchase some to.(the UK, Israel etc. How about the F35 Variant that can do vertical takeoffs & landings? New aircraft carriers would be shorter & cost less to build.

This is simply not true. Boeing, McDonnell Douglas, and Lockheed competed for JSF from the late 1980s. McDD’s concept was rejected early on as being too complex as it was a tailess design with thrust vectoring only for yaw control. DOD awarded the JSF contract to Lockheed after a fly off against Boeing’s X-32 pregnant guppy design.

The real problems with the program began in FSD and continued since, because the USAF always wants the highest tech option. The helmet display/cuing system was not part of JSF but an add on, and is absolutely not required for a fixed wing attack aircraft, and has added many Billions to the program. A single source engine contract with no competition has also added Billions.

But the single biggest problem with JSF has been a desire to cram everything possible into a single airframe, with variants to target multiple mission profiles, in one “big buy”. The F-111 proved 4 decades ago that this isn’t possible.

What we should be doing is what the US has been best at since WWII, and that is buying incremental capability with smaller numbers of cheaper aircraft tailored to each mission. This gets the capability we need, and keeps people in aircraft factories employeed long term, and for less total cost.

I doubt we will see any cuts in the projected order for F-35 in FY 15. As even if the DOD proposes a small cut. The Congress will just reinstate it.

Remember, the talk of the USN cutting back Aircraft Carriers! LOL

Anyone who believes what the see on 60 Minutes needs to get their head examined.

The issue is that you are essentially dealing with what would otherwise be three separate fighter programs in one.

My guess is that they found out the automotive Lemon Law wont apply to junk jets!

If it is a flop it’s a flop! My Dad always told me “don’t throw good money after bad”. I can’t see the “to late to stop” , my we need to rethink and move on. If a company makes a bad product they should have to eat the cost! The American tax payers should not have to support the company.

Not necessarily. It could have been 2 different programs sharing the same sensors and as much avionics as possible. Designing an airframe to be navalized from day 1 is very feasible, by supposing that the weight calculation is not screwed up from the start; and the B model would be the second program.

But paper-wise it was not optimal enough.

Its wise to reduce buy even more until we know for sure this is a credible weapon system.
Only fools to pour good money after bad…

As with the FB-111, the Navy is much better off cancelling the Navy and Marines’ version now and focus more on alternatives. Even updating the F-18s to put more legs on it is a much better option…

When can we put a little fear of God into those bastards running LMT…

Put some fear of God into those bastards running LMT is the only way. Throw couple of them in jails as an example…

Bring out the ropes and hang those bastards high who lied on their proposals to the USG…

“The hardware, including the airframe is largely finalized. The engine, radar, and most of the sensor systems are in place”

Sorry, no. Systems of systems don’t work that way. If you haven’t yet done the software and integration, then you haven’t yet done the hard part — and you haven’t finalized the hardware.

Any F-35 that eventually flies in combat will be very different from what is currently rolling off the production line. That, by itself, is a good reason to stop trying to save face by pretending the plane is in production.

This program, F-35, is a failure on a biblical scale that will only be truly appreciated in the early to mid-2020s. The services and DoD are continuing to pretend they are getting 2443 of these things. The problem is the with the acquisition price doubling and the sustainment costs doubling we will really end up with about half as many. In 2025 we will be left with extremely old legacy fighters, still fewer F-22s with no replacement in sight, and far fewer F-35s who’s software will likely still be lagging to provide the advanced capabilites.
At the same time the J-20 and J-31 will likely be being bought in quantities that will make the F-35’s technical advantages a moot point. At that point we will all be wondering how we got into such a mess. Let’s bury our heads in the sand for another 13 years.

Right. After all, we have seen that the services knew exactly what they were doing with FCS and JTRS and TSAT and Comanche and Crusader and FAB-T and LCS and AAAV/EFV/ACV and GCV and …


Though sometimes I suspect there is coin-flipping involved. Some programs work, some don’t.

The F-35 is going to be like Duke Nukem Forever: vaporware for years, total joke meme of the masses, and when it comes out, behind the times.

So, I’ll join the haters here. First, I’ll say F-35 is probably not that bad. What it is however is grossly overpriced and way too late. In the late 60’s/70’s we managed to develop 4 “teen” fighters in less time and less money than the F-35, and those airplanes were more advanced in their time than the F-35. F-35 is not the first stealth aircraft, not the first AESA radar, not the first STOVL, not the first fly by wire…the list goes on. F-14/15 were the first software driven multi-mode radar aircraft. F-16/18 were the first full authority fly by wire (production) fighters, first heavy use of composites. There is no legitimate reason F-35 is so expensive and took so long.…except there is no alternative. It’s not “bad” and the problems it’s having are normal…and normally solved in about 5 years not 20. People will say we can’t afford to develop more than one fighter at a time. I argue the opposite, we can’t afford to develop only one at a time because then we have no competition and no options.

Hence — Lockheed, due to their own incompetence and mismanagement, should forego any profit whatsoever from the F-35 program.

our governmet is spending way to much money

Apollo program did a lot of gradual testing of parts, developing heavier and heavier Saturns and using the small ones to do the initial test work. Many AS– missions took place before the first numbered Apollo missions. And the numbered missions were cautious: it would always be tempting to beat the Soviets to the moon by sending an Apollo directly to the moon but we were cautious there too…

And they also took risks. The apollo computer was heavily relying on solid states, something very new; or the use of rope memory. A single bug found and you need to rewire everything. They seemed to be well aware of the risk they were taking here, and no trace of delusion.

And the computer inside gemini was also one of the first computer that is able to perform a self diagnostic. ~60 years later lockheed cannot get ALIS doing that properly. Yes in the 21st century lockheed rebate-hired engineer lost the focus.

Yeah, but when you buy only junk bonds, you should expect a pretty high default rate.

try 618 million per plane over the life of the program.

Those hardware components have been finalized in the sense that individually they work, they’ve demonstrated that on test aircraft and to an extent on the F-35. The issue in that area is the whole “sensor fusion” aspect and the degree of networking and information-sharing required, far more than just what Link 16 does. It’s one thing to test a radar out in the desert, another thing for that radar to detect a convoy of vehicles amongst ground clutter in bad weather, work with the RWR and ESM to prioritize those targets, link that data to EOTS, calculate the correct GPS location of those targets, send all of this data to the other F-35s in the flight, display and confirm whatever those other F-35s are seeing with their own sensors, communicate with all sorts of other assets that don’t share the F-35’s MADL, and so on.

Historically the DoD and industry has tended to underestimating the programming challenges involved in a program as large as this and Lockheed made the same mistake, so they’re still scrambling to catch up with the software.

Despite these troubles DoD and Lockheed did learn some lessons from the software/hardware problems that plagued the early career of the F-22A, meaning that a lot of focus was placed on making the F-35 easier to upgrade. There is no reason earlier production aircraft shouldn’t be capable of being brought up the Block 3F standard when that is finally finished. Some structural issues (primarily with the early F-35Bs) may need to be corrected down the road for the airframes to meet their full flight-hour lifespan, and Lockheed should really be made to bear the cost of that.

The HMDS has been a source of trouble, in-particular with the second-generation HMDS having problems with night vision systems. The third-generation HMDS is planned for the 7th batch of F-35s but that won’t be until 2016, so as a result improvements have to be incorporated into the second-generation helmets, further complicating the software development difficulties.

Yet we’re still going to require all of these features on our next fighter, so how will cancelling the F-35 solve anything?

In terms of what the various services need I think we would have been better off to have two programs sharing common avionics, engines, and as many other components as possible. One program for the USAF and USMC and another for the USN. If the USN could get what they wanted it would probably be a larger aircraft with two engines with greater speed and range than the F-35. Inevitably it would also have a higher price tag than the USAF’s aircraft. If they were looking for something more akin to the Super Hornet but with VLO stealth I’d imagine they’d be a lot more enthusiastic about the F-35C despite the single engine.

However if we did go this route i fear the fools in Congress would set their sights on the USN program as they did with the F-14. Could you interest the USAF in such an aircraft? Not very likely as they’d rather have more F-22s. Though maybe you could get Australia to buy some if they didn’t balk at the price tag.

Engine commonality would be problematic when you consider that the F135 is quite a large engine, probably too large to be practical for a twin-engine fighter. While it started out as a development of the F119 they probably have little in common by now.

The USAF wanted a single engine fighter and a single engine is also preferable for a STOVL configuration. Based on the work done under ASTOVL, CALF, and other programs prior to JSF, it seems inevitable that the STOVL and CTOL aircraft would be part of a single program using a common configuration. In reality this had been both an advantage and drawback for the F-35A. Yet I doubt there would be the political will to fund a separate STOVL fighter, even using as many components as possible from the other programs going on concurrently.

This post lacks true information and is the worst I’ve seen:

The helmet does work.
TRO is not operationally significant according to a test flight 2 weeks ago.
AIM120 test against a target will occur soon
IRST (really EOTS) works very well (better than ATFLIR)
No airplane is safe in a thunderstorm (lightning testing finishing up this year though)
An F-4 phantom will never see this airplane and certainly cannot out turn it.
The F-35C has taken 42 arrestments this year with no hook issues.
Cost is 85 mill not 200 mill per airplane

The mis-information is astounding.

An Actual F-35 Test Pilot

This is a total waste of time and a bullshit program. There are other programs that the money could be spent on like families.

When are we going to smarten up and stop purchasing this junk. First it was the F22 that the USAF just had to have or the end of the world was coming. Now it’s the F35 piece of junk. Lockheed Martin is the true enemy of the U.S., not china or russia.

The F-22 is more than twice the plane that the F-35 is. Your comment on Lockheed shows that you are not taking your meds.

Those hardware components work, eh? Including the cracked bulkheads that need to be redesigned?

“Testing of the fighter’s durability was stopped in late September after inspections turned up cracks in three of six bulkheads on a plane used for ground testing, said Joe DellaVedova, spokesman for the F-35 program office.


“We consider this significant but by no means catastrophic,” Frank Kendall, the Pentagon’s undersecretary for acquisition, said in an e-mailed statement. While the program office is still performing an assessment, “based on preliminary analysis, a redesign” of some F-35B structures will be required, said Kendall, who has a master’s degree in aerospace engineering. ”

You seem to be missing the point here, William. Whether or not the planes can eventually be made to do what they are supposed to do, there is no justification whatever for continuing to buy, right now, planes that we KNOW do not work, cannot work, and will need to be redesigned, retrofitted, and modded. What possible value to the taxpayer do you see from this? We don’t need them as test articles, and the production rate appropriate for getting the kinks out of the manufacturing process is vastly lower than even the revised plan.

Figure out how to make them, THEN make them in quantity. Why is that so hard to comprehend?

Surprise Surprise, F-35B testing may be halted for 1 year due to new bulkhead cracks. Yeh, discovery is over and the jet is good to go…–02-21/lockh

Now why are we still buying more mistake jets????????? One day, probably in the 2020s, it may be worth buying if we keep throwing the entire treasury at it, but not now.

I hope that one is in the list of “We are not going to pay for mistakes after mistakes”.

According to the article though regular testing will continue and IOC isn’t affected, at least for now. I think I understood that only ground testing are currently halted.

“Because of the high hours accumulated,” this “discovery does not affect current F-35B flying operations,” he said, adding that the suspension of ground testing won’t affect the Marine Corps’ goal of declaring its first squadron operational no later than December 2015. ”

How many senior retired officers from ‘customer’ countries have been given Non-Executive Director status with Lockheed? Are they paid to relay false information to their home ‘customer’ governments — glossing over the high risk, high cost and ever reducing performance of this aircraft? The Aussies are being sensible: buying the Super Hornet instead until the F-35 demonstrates high performance at reasonable cost. Britain, on the other hand, is being appallingly stupid: buying the F-35B ASTOVL and fitting its new carriers with a Ramp (no cats and traps) thereby preventing embarked air to air refuelling, acquisition of Defence Suppression (Growler) and state of the art AEW — and UCAVs. Such stupidity could cost that Island Nation dear!

Those cracked bulkheads on the F-35B has already been corrected on newer aircraft, yet somebody has to pay to correct them on the early production F-35Bs (prior to the fix), so the government and Lockheed will argue over for several months at the very least. As a taxpayer I’d prefer the government win but at the same time Lockheed also has some logic behind their arguments. The contracts initially agreed upon rarely cover who pays what when unexpected problems occur.

In basic principle I agree with you. Yet so much of this high level of concurrency idea and so much is already in motion that its difficult to change course. You’ll have some individuals (and not necessarily working for Lockheed) argue that you still save money or time in the long run despite having to correct such structural issues on early production aircraft. And they do have a legitimate argument in the amount of effort and time it takes to go from building a handful of airframes a year to a dozen a month.

Honestly I have no idea who is right here since that is the realm of accountants. And everybody involved in this program from Lockheed Martin to a half-dozen different government agencies have their own group of accountants with their own figures.

Which were “junk bonds” as you’ll put it? For example I’d imagine you could fine some pissed off Army Aviation types who say the Comanche wasn’t funded enough, and killed for the sake of some other service.

It is better to have 100 planes that can shoot 5 missile each now and be able to afford them than to 100 plane that can shoot 5 missiles 10 years from now that we can’t afford. The industrial complex can continue to do research and development from the sale of working planes.

>Those cracked bulkheads on the F-35B has already been corrected on newer aircraft.….

According to this article the cracked bulkeads are back… http://​reuters​.com/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​/​i​d​U​S​L​2​N​0​L​Q​1​U​P​2​0​1​4​0​221

No sarcasm intended. According to the article the fix is yet to be known, but likely a redesign.

The link was incomplete

Wrote a long comment but the system deleted it. But the cracks the article mention occurred after 9,400 equivalent flight hours, over the 8,000 flight hour requirement. While eventually modifications will be incorporated into future F-35B production lots, this isn’t a major problem that will cause delays like the earlier bulkhead issue with the F-35B.

I see you read what you wanted from that article as opposed to the actual story. As Michael said this doesn’t delay the F-35B at all. Durability testing on that F-35B airframe dedicated to such a purpose on the ground is delayed until September or so until they fix the problem so it can eventually reach 16,000 equivalent flight hours which represents two 8,000 flight hour “lifetimes”.

It will be many years before any of the LRIP aircraft flying now will start to approach 8,000 flight hours.

I’ll tell you what they’re doing wrong. It’s easy, and requires no so-called special “expertise” (the fallacy of argument from authority, anyone…), whatsoever. All it requires is an acceptance of the irrefutable fact that trying to stuff an F-15 Eagle-sized* heavy strike fighter into a STOVL-ized bleeding-edge tin can that will fit in an LHD elevator simply MUST result in a squat, and somewhat less than sleekly aerodynamic SLUF.


LOL The F-35 is doing extremely well and will likely cost less than many current 4.5 Generation Types now is service. In addition it exceeds the capabilities of our own F-22 in many respects. So, honestly I have no idea what it needs to do to prove itself???

As one F-35 Test Pilot is quoted as saying.….….

The only naysayers of the F-35 are the ones that haven’t flown it or against it! Which, speaks volumes in my book!

What DoD standard defines 30% concurrency as the sweet spot? DoD 5000? if 30% is the sweet spot,what would the threshold and objective be? maybe 0% objective and 50% threshold?

Our potential (?) (China) enemies are developing the world’s most adnavced arial weapons systems. We are cutting back on ours. OK, makes sense to me. Maybe I should apply to consult with the obama pentagon, I would fit right in.

There is an agency in NH (and I’m sure in every state) that provides assistance to low income families with utilities and heating bills. It depends mostly on federal funding. In 2014 it was announced funding cuts that eliminated over 2000 families in NH alone. For the cost of a couple of these planes the programs in every state could be funded. Pumping billions into a flawed (and probably corrupt) project with billions in cost overruns while the neediest in the country suffer even more? SMH!!! I’m sure this is just one example of insane budget inequities every where in the federal government. This country is broken and maybe beyond repair. When the greatest oppression in your life is your own government something is very, very wrong. Infuse a couple billion into the country’s infrastructure and how many jobs might be created? And every day members of the Armed Forces are applying for food

I remember when that warning was cautioned and was shocked it would come from a career soldier. One that achieved the highest position in the armed forces. Every day, more and more his warning becomes more true.

Yeah, it out does the F-22. Lets see, it does Mach 1.6 vs Mach 2+. Then there is 4 air to air missiles vs 8. And then there is maneuverability.… Bravo Sierra

We test to 2 life times to verify that we have 1 during service. The fact that these bulkheads are breaking before 2 life times means that the aircraft does not meet spec and will be life limited. My comment was with regard to buying “production” mistake jets that are not fully tested that still have more discoveries to come. That is stupid and yet we are continuing to do so.

The fact that flight testing hasn’t stopped doesn’t change that.

Budgets are reality. It doesn’t matter if Comanche would have been funded to completion under Reagan; it wasn’t going to happen when it mattered.

But you miss my point. Even if it had succeeded, it was still a junk bond — high risk, high potential return. This was the key finding of the Decker-Wagner study a few years ago, that the Army had been putting far too many of its eggs in the high-risk-high-return basket. That included programs that were doable but expensive (Comanche), technologically not ready for prime time (Crusader), and doomed from the start (FCS, JTRS). Many different mechanisms of failure, but all of them known to be extremely risky (at least by the contractors) at the time the Army committed to them. If F-35 is “acquisition malpractice”, then FCS was criminal fraud.

Is that 85 mil with or without an engine? Is that 85 mil what the planes are costing per contract now, or an optimistic assumption based on a learning curve / economies of scale that may/may not happen? Given the reduced funding and decreased quantity, LMT has a pretty good excuse for not achieving 85 mil per airplane, no matter how much you may wish it to be true.


It is still a Mach 1.6 DOG.

As for the Navy, the F/A-18 is fine. Not many nations have aircraft carriers, let alone carrier based aircraft. It is superior to the F-35 with regards to ground attack, and the F/A-18 is superior to any aircraft it would face in a combat situation.
As for the Air Force, they don’t need a shiny new toy. It is superfluous in every way, they should just keep upgrading F-15s and F-16s and augment them with the occasional F-22 for a stealth capability.
As for the Marines, I am all for them getting the F-35. The AV-8 is ancient and only got to this point because it is the only workable military STOVL aircraft. The F-35 may be a little overkill for this need, but by the time you spend the money developing another viable alternative, you might as well have stuck with it.

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