F-35 Program Production Costs Rise $7.4 Billion

F-35 Program Production Costs Rise $7.4 Billion

The cost to develop and build the Joint Strike Fighter fleet rose 1.88 percent over the past year because of delays in the production line and failures of the engine producer to bring down costs, said Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, F-35 Program Executive Officer.

The cost of the program rose by $7.4 billion to $398.58 billion in 2012-year dollars, according to the Pentagon’s Selected Acquisition Report that is released each year to Congress. The increase in costs means tax payers will end up paying $162 million for each fifth generation fighter jet by the end of the program at the current rate.

Bogdan blamed the increased costs on the decision to push back production of the F-35 and failures by Pratt and Whitney, the company building the fighter jet’s engine. The costs of the JSF engine increased by $4 billion, Bogdan said.


“We had a price curve for the engine. We thought we knew how much it would cost to build the engine. Pratt is not meeting their commitment. They told us years ago that the engine was going to come down at a certain rate in terms of price and they haven’t met it,” Bogdan said.

In the Pentagon’s 2015 defense budget proposal, the Navy and Air Force pushed back the purchase of 37 F-35s out of the next year window within the Future Years Defense Program. Bogdan said the services were forced to do this because of budget cuts associated with sequestration.

The F-35 program’s top officer explained that the cumulative effect of these delays increased the price per individual airplane. However, the Pentagon found that total JSF program costs including acquisition, operations and support for the F-35 dropped $15 billion to $921 billion in 2012-year dollars.

The U.S. plans to acquire 2,457 F-35 planes to include operational and test aircraft, Joint Program Office officials said.

Even though the Pentagon will spend $162 million per aircraft based on current estimates, it doesn’t cost that much today to roll an F-35 off the production line, Bogdan said. Instead, it costs $112 million and he’s hoping to lower the price per jet to a range of $80–84 million by 2019 when full rate production increases to larger numbers of aircraft.

This year’s increase in production costs is a set back to that goal.

“For every dollar that we save in production costs on this airplane, 80 percent of it can be attributed to economies of scale, buying things in bulk. Instead of buying ten titanium forgings we now buy 100 and we get a good price deal,” Bogdan said. “The supplier knows he is in business for a number of years so he can reduce the price.  20-percent of that dollar comes from efficiencies in terms of building the airplane better or smarter and building the engine better and smarter.”

Bogdan’s harsh critique is hardly the first time he has publicly chastised a defense contractor working on the program. When he first took over the program in 2012, he called out Lockheed Martin for having a poor relationship with the Joint Strike Fighter program office.

On Thursday, Bogdan cited improvements made by Lockheed on construction plans for the aircraft’s canopy as evidence of ongoing cost-saving measures.

“Today the canopy is manufactured with manual labor involved. The variability of that manual labor produces some re-work and costs more than if you automated some of that canopy build,” he said.  “Lockheed has a cost reduction initiative including the mechanization of building the canopy. This will drive the cost of the canopy down and drive the cost of the airplane down.”

Bogdan said this was one of many cost saving projects being implemented or planned for the near future that will contribute to the goal of lowering the per-plane cost.

“We are making steady progress in a lot of areas. We have got to get the price of this airplane down because as good as it will be – if it is not affordable – people will not buy it,” he said.

Overall, Bogdan said he was thankful the F-35 program was relatively spared from the budget crunching associated with sequestration. He said the Pentagon’s handling of the program would encourage contractors with the program to enter more multi-year deals that will help cut costs.

“We went through two years of sequestration and this program basically came out unscathed. You’ve got the senior leadership of this department and all of our customers saying we’re going to stick to this program so the business risk is much less than it was a few years ago,” he said.

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Not mentioned is that as of a couple of years ago, the SAR has now split the F-35 and the PW motor. They each have their own SAR category. Bogdan’s numbers are fuzzy. That is the roll-away price of the jet, not the fly-away. True cost to the taxpayer is the weapon system unit cost (mentioned in each service budget). Also not mentioned? Milestone-C for the F-35 is years away, yet we are still funding scores of mistake-jets. By procurement law that is illegal. The actual cost of the F-35 is still unknown because there is no operational go-to-war finished, F-35 to look at. Funny how engine competition was sold to Congress to make them see value in the JSF program back in the 1990s when they were gullible enough to hand over money in what was billed then with the goal of being “a model procurement program” and “affordability” . Now? Too late. If PW raises the price of the F-35 motor .3 percent every year, what is DOD going to do? Cancel the program? No other engine maker would touch it after seeing how GE/Rolls was rail-roaded. Got to go, concurrancy production problems with my pancakes.

Great 7.4 Billion more for the “Junk Strike Fighter”. I sure hope the Navy gets to order those 22 Super Hornets. At least they can land on the Carrier, unlike the F-35C so far. Congress needs to Force the Air Force to keep the A-10 , and continue the planned upgrades on the A-10 to A-10C, as well as the AESA upgrades for the F-15’s and F-16’s so we can at least have a some 4++ Gen Aircraft in our inventory. At the rate things are going in Europe, we need capable Aircraft ASAP, and not 4–5 years down the road WHEN and IF they can get the F-35 to do what is was supposed to be doing FOR YEARS NOW.

It’s quite interesting how you blame Lockheed, Boeing, McDonnell Douglas/Northrop, DARPA and everybody for “selling” the JSF to Congress in the ‘90s when it is those fools in Congress who hate the idea of multiple fighter programs for the different services. Need I remind you off everybody who wanted to terminate F-22 production in favor of just having the JSF handle most of the air-superiority mission as well?

Say what you want about Bogdan but he’s done a lot to slap some sense into people since he took over. Give him the authority to kick somebody’s ass in P&W and he will do it.

Where is the F-22 in this “plan” of yours? And where is the VLO strike fighter? And by strike I mean more than just basic JDAM capability like the F-22 currently has.

Does this surprise anyone? I’m only surprise by this program when they actually accomplish something on time (I’ve given up on cost) even to the rebaseline of the rebaseline of the rebaseline of the original schedule.

It still amazes me that the contractor has received about 85% of all possible award fees on a program so poorly executed (or has that number finally come down? Nobody like to talk about those numbers). How can that be? Why are we awarding this kind of performance? Just mind boggling.

I, like ELP, would also like to know why we are buying so many LRIP mistake jets that will become non-operational hanger queens? Why buy these when we could buy actual combat jets until they finally get this thing to pass OPEVAL? Kendall calls this malpractice but neither he nor anyone in Congress has made any real change to buying of them. Again just amazing. McCain whines about it and does…NOTHING. Are there any leaders in DoD or Congress?

Anyway, the forecast is for more cost overruns and schedule slips for the next 5+ years.

Something will cause this to break. It will get a few planes out, but we know for certain it’s not affordable. I just don’t know what’s going to break it.

“‘ Instead of buying ten titanium forgings we now buy 100 and we get a good price deal,’ Bogdan said.”

And the world’s largest supplier of milspec titanium, by a considerable margin, is Russia.

Brilliant plan. Without doubt, nothing could go wrong.

“Milestone-C for the F-35 is years away, yet we are still funding scores of mistake-jets. By procurement law that is illegal.”

The phrase “acquisition malpractice” was briefly voiced by a certain Pentagon honcho. No such sentiments have been heard since.

So do you expect us to stop using titanium in aircraft construction or something? Look at the structure of any relatively modern fighter, you’ll find a good portion of titanium. For example the airframe of the F-15 is something like 25% titanium by weight. What Bogdan is talking about is simple economies of scale.

We need to accept the fact that the F-35 is a bottomless money hole; and build more F-18’s, F-22’s, and F-15’s.The generals and congress people that support the JSF must own a bunch of stock in this program. We have been messing around with this program far too long. Time to take our losses, and move on.
p.s. KEEP THE A-10!!!!!!!!!!!

Perhaps they should purchase an interim aircraft from another country, in case this Junk strike fighter is never perfected? Certainly the current aircraft in use need to be kept serviceable.

For the price increases in the engine we should have dual sourced with GE/Rolls. At least competition forces the prices down. I say we dual source the airframe,too. That is, let another contractor build the exact same aircraft. Then watch the prices fall. As a monopsony (single buyer) the Pentagon has the ability to shift the LM monopoly cost curve down, but fails to do so. That’s the real “acquisition malpractice” we need to do something about. Bring back dual sourcing!

Why are we wasting money on junk. I remember the F-111 and they tried to force it on the Navy at first. Joint aircraft will never work since the requirements for carrier base and ground base are totally different. The F-4 proved this in the major differences between the AF and the Navy versions. The F-22 is just now coming fully operational. We have new Navy ships that are questionable about doing the job and an F-35 that’s cost continues to climb with systems that won’t work and pilots at one point were scared to fly!

For perspective on that $7.4B _increase_ in costs for F-35… $6.2 billion was the cost of USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77), the last of the Nimitz class supercarriers, commissioned 10 January 2009.

Pratt and Whitney has the military just where they want them. Remember — it was the military who cancelled the engine vendor second sourcing efforts. Having multiple vendors prevents price extortion.

If I remember correctly, there was considerable price improvement for the engine when the GE/RR F136 engine was still in the running. Luckily for Pratt, the F136 was killed. Since then, what incentive does Pratt have to reduce the cost or reliability of their F135?

Keeps showing how we should have stayed with the F-22 and should have replaced F-16 and F-18 with them. But Obama killed the F-2 production now were stuck with this BILLION dollar boondoggle.

You forget the F-22 had an even worse development and cost experience than the F-35. But I do agree we should have bought at least 1,000 once the kinks were worked out.

Lets just kill this program before it destroys our economy. Start over with a new airframe w/ the performance needed with the current electronics and radars or update the F-16 and the F-16. An update F-18 is already available. Continue development of the f-35 soft ware at a reduce pace with the goal of introducing the new soft ware in the next generation fighter or (if the money becomes available) in a generation 5 plus fighter design that takes advantage of the available technology without sacrificing performance and is not meant to be everything t everybody.

The F-22 was supposed to replace the F-15C as the Air Force’s high-end fighter/interceptor. It was too big and expensive to replace the F-16 even before the costs ballooned. Also, unlike the F-16, it had very little ground attack capability. The 22 was meant to be the premiere air-to-air fighter. There is no way it could have replaced the F-18 since it couldn’t survive operation in a carrier environment.

F-22 costs were behaving like the F-35: new unforseen things popping up, reflexive reaction by cutting the buy. Hot mess all around. It’s possible they may go forward on a new air superiority variant to replace the limited numbers of F-22 but I see it as unlikely.

Yowza.

Fingers are crossed that Ford crosses the finish line without too many hiccups. We’re not out of the woods yet in carrier production.

When the junk sickly fighter is finally operational it will
–be the year 2027
–they will cost $1.7Billion each
–will consume the entire defense budget
–and the Chinese will thank us for all of our development work

Dino… JSF = Jinxed Spending Fiasco

William_C, I’m not asking for anything “New or Not Originally Planned For “. All I’m saying is the Air Force should be Forced to Up-Grade the 300+ F-16’s and F-15’s and the A-10, to A-10C it Told Congress and the American People it Originally said it was going to do, before the “Junk Strike Fighter” became even more expensive that, so they can get their (POS F-35A) all other Aircraft must be Sacrificed at the Altar of the F-35A. We need Up-Graded 4++ Aircraft NOW and shouldn’t be putting the Whole Air Defense Plans of the US, on a Aircraft still in DEVELOPMENT and that wont have even close to full Operational Capability till the Block 4 Software is complete and working if EVERYTHING GOES PERFECT ( Ya Right??) in the Mid 2020’s ..
.Pentagon Develops F-35’s 4th Generation Software. http://​defensetech​.org/​2​0​1​4​/​0​4​/​1​6​/​p​e​n​t​a​g​o​n​-​d​e​v​elo

True. I imagine they could’ve tried to make an export version of the –22, perhaps with no low RCS coatings. Even a stealth shape of regular materials would be stealthier than anything on the market. Water under the bridge, the –22 is dead.

Perhaps when the US gets the harebrained idea to try again, it will sell the –22’s to Israel in anticipation of the next hottest toy.

there are a three undeniable truths in this life
–death
–taxes
–and the price of the F-35 ever going up and up and up and up and up and up (did I say up?)

The lack of “new or originally not planned for” means you’d have us stuck with modernized variants of 30+ year old designs rather than aircraft like the F-22 or what the F-35 is supposed to be which are far more capable than what they are replacing. This simply is not good enough against the latest SAMs and fighters being fielded. We need 5th generation aircraft NOW, not the same things we’ve been building since the late 1970s. Your “alternatives” to the F-35 are NOT realistic alternatives.

IOC is Block 2B/3I while full opertaional capability is Block 3F. Block 4 is the after that. In case you missed it, most aircraft are in a continued state of development for decades. Or are you under the impression that the F-16A could do everything today’s Block 50/52 F-16C can?

The only better fighter for the money than a LRIP-7 F-35A for $112M will be a LRIP-8 one for $102M. In today’s $ DoD will build F-35As for average flyaway of $78M or less. The only better air-to-air fighter in the world than a F-35 is the F-22. Yes it was stupid to stop the F-22, but you can thank Gates anti-AF ego for that. There is no better Day-1 air-to-ground fighter than the F-35 with its VLO stealth, sensor fusion, and Mach 1.6 speed. Same goes for Day-99 when you can hang 18k+ lbs of bombs on it. I have to agree with the single vs dual engine argument, but again, thank butthead Gates. JPO director said by DoD delaying the economy of scale we delay 80% of cost cuts–that applies to F-35 airframe and F135 engine. Lets move on and build them both cheaper.

Only interesting to Lockheed shills.

“what the F-35 is supposed to be which are far more capable than what they are replacing”

The supposed to be F-35 LOL

Yes if you look at the numbers only 250 of the F-35 can be built — there simply no money for more.

What Lockheed is trying to do is a classic case of front end loading — build as many as possible as fast as possible so that there are as many unusable airframes sitting around as possible. Then claim that they should be fixed to make them usable.

While the Chinese and Russians will be building 6th and 7th generation aircraft we will be stuck paying Lockheed off for decades to avoid the embarrassment of having bought hundreds of duds.

Its just hilarious that going from 10 to 100 is considered economies of scale. There are virtually no industrial processes that scale from 10 to 100. But hey its not about efficiency its about supporting your friends…

“The supplier knows he is in business for a number of years so he can reduce the price.”

Socialist economics at its finest.

The F-22 is where Lockheed experimented with extortion and fraud the F-35 is where they perfected it.

Think hes talking about the “supposed to be F-35″ not the real one.

The have been other troubled aircraft in the past but they all had potential. The F-35 is a bad design executed badly. There is no upside to it’s future.

So is it the basic theory of economy of scale that confuses you, or do you just fail to understand Bogdan’s example in context?

Socialist economics? A large order allows a planned and streamlined process across several years which enables lower costs in the long term. The alternative of small orders at irregular intervals introduces all sorts of factors that raises cost per unit. How is this idea socialist? Tell me, how do you think the automotive industry or most manufacturing sectors work? Do you think when somebody buys a car the factory builds that individual car and then sits around? It’s all about planning.

Versus the F-16, F/A-18, and AV-8 the F-35 is overall far more capable. Of course somebody like yourself will claim the F-16 is superior because it has a higher sustained turn rate when carrying a light weapons load of air-to-air missiles. You’d ignore the superior range, payload, sensors, stealth, high AoA handling, and everything else the F-35 does better because you seem to picture the sole job of these aircraft as dog-fighting other fighters with Sidewinders and guns.

Won’t be more than 250? Care to let me quote you on that? IIRC over 200 have been ordered thus far in those LRIP batches the contracts have already been established for.

I’m sorry, did I insult your favorite sugar-daddy politicians? We wouldn’t want you to lose your handouts now would we?

Yea we’ve heard it all before. I just love how you could be reading from a Soviet economic manual circa 1960 and yet you are completely oblivious. LOL

“A large order allows a planned and streamlined process across several years which enables lower costs in the long term. The alternative of small orders at irregular intervals introduces all sorts of factors that raises cost per unit.”

Just classic !

Maybe you could pick up a book on capitalism some day — the Soviets made the transition you can too.

William_C, You still missed the POINT , So for 10 years we are supposed to just sit and wait for the Almighty F-35 and HOPE IT WORKS. I would love to have the F-22 line restarted, but that will not happen till at the earliest after the 2016 election if at all. But Up-Graded F-15’s,F-16’s & A-10C’s which was the ORIGINAL AIR FORCE PLAN would at least give us Aircraft that are 4++ and not just 30 year old Avionics in our current Fighter Line up.

Original Air Force plan? The original Air Force plan was for AT LEAST twice the number of F-22s we have now and enough JSFs to replace the F-16! The Chinese and Russians are fielding their own next-gen fighters despite DefSec Gate’s assurances we wouldn’t see anything flying until 2020 or so. the proliferation of advanced SAM systems continues, and we’re probably going to lose one of our carriers meaning the F-35B becomes all the more critical.

How many aircraft have you designed again? In what ways did the F-111 so commonly compared to the F-35 have “more potential” than the F-35?

Have you ever even worked anywhere in the manufacturing industry? Or did you just flunk every economics 101 course you took? Was Henry Ford some sort of Marxist according to you?

So, does this increase offset going to a single engine supplier?

It is unnerving that the engine costs more than expected. Hopefully Bogdan can pressure Pratt to lower the cost.

But even if the plane is expensive, it will not be necessarily be more expensive than a typhoon. They are ALL expensive anyways.

Moreover, the F-35 has a very advanced ****pit and training systems and is very easy to fly. The simulators are revolutionnary and the plane will have advanced on board training systems. The pilots will be trained much more effectively than in previous generation of fighters. In the long term I wouldn’t even be surprised if they could cut the number of flying hour by about 40% vs older generation of fighters while retaining the same level of training. That will lead to huge savings that are not fully anticipated now.

Wasn’t the F-35 supposed to be a twin engine jet? If the jet gas two engines and one fails, it can still fly. In a single engine jet, if the engine fails, the jet is a total loss. Defense contractors like Lockheed/Martin, Pratt & Whitney and most others see the government as an endless supply of cash.That’s why costs and taxes go up, but salaries don’t.

Gunny… To your point, a twin engine is more suitable for a manned strike fighter operating over large bodies of water or over ground controlled by hostile forces, most especially true for aircraft operating from CVN. If an engine fails, having a second engine is rather useful for flying the pilot out of harm’s way, but a priority on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was to build an inexpensive aircraft and your Uncle Sam wanted a single engine aircraft to save cost.

The F-35 is going to be vastly more capable than anything else flying today. As a matter of fact the price curve was going down before they cut back on the numbers ordered. Of course that can still change and the defense budget is far from a done deal.…

If, you only had the slightest idea what you were talking about…

LOL Junk! The F-35 is going to be the most capable fighter ever in the history of the US Military. Your going to think how silly I sounded in a few years from now. Along with all of the other Arm Chair Generals and so called experts. That have no access to the JSF Program.

One word “STUPID”.

Funny on how the critics always sound the same. I remember them during the development of the F-16 and M1 Tank. Oh, what a waste of US Taxpayer Dollars. Then the Super Hornet oh the world was coming to the end! Funny, all three turned out to very successful.….….

Your right on the money and a lot of F-35 Critics. Are going to look down right ridiculous when all is said and down.….

When the F-35 is in full rate production ( hopefully 2018 ), its only competitor will be the grippen NG for small air forces. Other than that I can’t imagine an air force buying a typhoon or rafale for almost the same price. Then the production will really ramp up to close to around 175 per year total, and the unit cost will be significantly reduced.

Something about the JSF program reminds me of the book/movie Moneyball. The Yankees have the highest salaried roster with all the supposed talent (US). And our potential adversaries are finding smart ways to compete with less money for less risk. Economies of scale don’t really work very well for military programs anyway because the supply chain isn’t optimized for commercial profitability. It’s optimized to be spread over the Congressial districts of interest. Let the JSF be a tool in our arsenal and stop trying to make it the backbone. We have a backbone, upgrade those.

Full production of the F-35 will probably require dropping the F-16 as quickly as possible (ideally, destroying F-16 tooling to force Israel and Middle Eastern clients to adopt the F-16).

Getting the common airframes into people’s hands even without DAS and other fancy stuff would’ve been a nice incremental upgrade to the F-16 and provided a basis for the eventual replacement of F-16. But we jumped into the deepest end of the pool and opted for “incremental” rollout from there. We assume that by concurrently investing in R&D of DAS and other stuff that most of the early production airframes won’t differ so much from final production outside of software, whereas in some cases early production units may differ dramatically from final/mature products, necessitating early scrapping/gate-guard/museumpieces.

A twin engined jet would also be more suitable to one that did VTOL — Doh!

The problem with that analysis is that neither LRIP-7 nor LRIP-8 F-35s are *fighters*. Nor attack aircraft. You can use them as trainers, test articles, and maybe recce platforms. You might be able to make those for $78M each someday, but don’t hold your breath expecting to get actual fighter/attack aircraft for that price.

ON 1 April I read F-35 cost slid 3%, now I reading F-35 cost are up 1.88%. Just what is the truth?

Well, the USAF wants to do a SLEP of some of its F-16s. For that LM needs to have the tooling. If the USAF doesn’t do that SLEP there will be a serious shortage of fighters in the late 20s.

Gate guards, maintenance articles and museum pieces. And first to be cannibalized.

Gee, the F-35 increases by $7 Billion, just about what the Joint Chiefs want to screw the troops out of. Coincidence?

That’s actually an interesting point. They could adjust the books and pay for some R&D costs up front to balance the books, then afterwards claim that 7B was a reduction in projected costs for some bonus PR points. I doubt P&W would object: more money now is money in the bank for shareholders.

If Lockheed can persuade the air force that its vast fleet of F-16’s is a capital expenditure that jeopardizes the program, The Air Force would gladly mothball large portions of its fleet to save the –35. Maybe take them from the Air National Guard, and give them…C-130’s or something.

Costs down in one area, costs up in another.

The April 1st dodbuzz article claims the cost went down 11.5B, and this article says engine R&D costs up by 7B. (Primary source is http://​www​.gao​.gov/​a​s​s​e​t​s​/​6​7​0​/​6​6​2​1​8​4​.​pdf)

We are still losers since the program was initially projected to be 250B in FY14 dollars (332B as of april 1st), and this is after a cut in aircraft of all types from ~2866->2457. GAO estimates a 1T /lifetime/ cost, but if you extrapolate costs out to 50 years they get high (e.g, B-52 “lifetime” costs from the first B-52A to the last B-52H would probably also be a large number).

F-35 was a nightmarish software program and a hardware program, let alone one that is forked into variants that can take off from airfields, STOVL from land and sea in salt air or dust and CATOBAR in salt air.

Wrong, the military (JSF PEO — LGEN Heinz) wanted to keep 2nd sourcing and got into significant trouble with SECDEF over this issue. SECDEF wanted to go to one source and forced the issue.

I am not sure the Air Force would want to reduce its inventory too much. The F-16 can still be usefull for a number of roles, and the enemy air force would probably be destroyed within a few days.

Or… you make the F-35 even better, with Next Generation Missiles, 6 internal AAMs, stealthy weapon pods. Once you have your hundreds of F-35 upgraded with that maybe you can afford to cut the F-16 fleet to ramp up even more the production.

“‘ Instead of buying ten titanium forgings we now buy 100 and we get a good price deal,’ Bogdan said.“
Return with me to those days of yesteryear, when the F-22 production rate was about 20 a year and the cost per jet was about $145 million. Imagine what the economies of scale would have meant then? Yet, there was no talk of getting down the costs by increasing production and buying in bulk. Bognan, stop whining. You took the job and said you could get it done. If it is impossible, say so. Fall on your sword, and take the other Pollyannas with you.

oblatt22 — when did economies of scale become a dated soviet concept? Are you agitating for the sake of agitating? My company makes items for that aircraft. If we could get near the intended production of a couple hundred a/c per yr, or even half that, our prices to LM would drop a lot, due to economies of scale. How do I know? I do the pricing! There are 70–80 companies with smaller pieces of the puzzle feeding LM who are probably in similar circumstance. Big difference in my per aircraft labor w/200 a/c as opposed to 50 or so, and also in generating competition in my suppy chain. It is called economies of scale. Having said that, the big boys are the ones who really influence a/c price. When a big boy like Pratt blows the cost out, they prevent the whole chain from seeing the qty necessary to get the cost per a/c down because they make the a/c so expensive per copy. Hey, Pratt. I’m calling you out. I want to sell lots of parts for lots of years, so does everybody else. Move it.

Today I learned that Adam Smith’s “The Wealth Of Nations” was a Soviet economic manual.

This website is informative!

Likewise.

The added costs associated with further delay will just provide some with more political torpedos that they will try to use in sinking the future of the CVN and the CSG.

Yes 250 finished aircraft — Lockheed just wants to make sure that there will as many maybe a few hundred more unfinished airframes as well.

We used to make great fighters to win wars. Now we have duds to make corrupt contractors and pols rich.

And yet the roll away price of an F-35A is down to $98Mn and the F-135 engine price looks to be down to around $14Mn. Which is a heck of a lot less than they were a couple years ago. And South Korea and Australia are moving forward and buying more or exercising options to buy more of the F-35 variants.
So the international experts think it is worth buying and 5 or 6 people on DODBuzz think it is a money trap. Who to believe?

Gunny, the low end fighter in the USAF portfolio is usually single engined lately, like the F-16, and that leads to incidents that have caused the F-16 to be nick-named the lawn dart for its unfortunate propensity to auger in nose first when that single jet fails.
The F-35 was expected to have the same issue albeit to a lesser extent. So far the F-135 has done a better job than the F-100/F110.

Why are we paying for Pratt and Hitney’s failures? Doesn’t our government insert clauses in the contracts that penalize the contractor for not meeting expectations? Or is congress too worried that a contractor might go out of business and other contractors wiil realize a contract is to be met or penalties result? And why is the pentagon quoting prices in 2012 dollars unless we can pay the contractor in 2012 dollars.

Anyone for re-opening the F-15 assembly line, still a very effective fighter and conciderably much less for the “Tax payer” to deal with ???

Economies of scale does not mean buy things in bulk! That is stupid. Economies of scale means the valuation of trade based upon the economies local to a society. They are fishing.

Why the hell is no on either in jail, losing their jobs/ contracts, or losing their stars??? Can’t keep an E-1’s pay up with inflation but we can keep funding this POS. Hell, at this point, buy the damn SU-30.

The production program should be stopped until we have a declared an F-35 ready for war.
This is not only a huge waste of taxpayers money but also illegal under the law of the US States.

How can I get employment with either Lockheed Martin or United Technologies? I myself worked on both General Electric and older Pratt & Whitney [United Technologies] power plants as a Navy AD. I preferred the G.E. power plants, of course those were newer. Back to employment, since this program will not be likely cancelled, I want in on this waste of monies too.

So many insights into details.. All I see is Northrup giving birth to a ‘pig’.

The production program should be stopped until we have a declared F-35 ready for war.

In the spiraling costs development model — the costs just keep on rising we never get a finished aircraft until its obsolete

What Does And Can The Base Material Cost???
What Justifies Labor Cost? (Line By Line Instruction Explaining Cost);
How Much LAbor Cost Can Be Reduced By Moving Proportional Assemblying To 3-D Printing?
How Much Parts Cost Can Be Reduced If The DOD Supply It’s Own Parts With 3-D Printing Technology?
How Much Are The Design Plans And The DOD Build All Of The Products Itself?
How Far Is Such Modifications To This Project From Moon Space Depths?

Air Force retired the EF-111A Raven electronic warfare aircraft in 1998 without replacement, relying instead upon stealth technology, and/or relying upon the electronic warfare capabilities of US Navy EA-6B Prowlers and EA-18G Growlers. F-35A’s AESA EW capabilities will help, but will not fully replace the capabilities of an EW aircraft.

A tenfold production increase is a wet dream as far as scalability is concerned. What do you think the per-unit cost of a B-2 would’ve been if we had built two hundred instead of just twenty? Not that I’m defending the F-35, mind you, but it looks like were stuck with it (or replace the “st” with an “f” and tack an “ed” on the end, if you prefer), so anything that makes it less a waste of our money is better than nothing.

agreed. I remember endless meetings on how to scale to 250–400 aircraft per year. We are in the 50/year range now. Next step 75–100 should see some improvements for all. Of course all of that could get wiped out if commodity pricing (nickel/cobalt) moves again like it did in 2006–2007.

Russian titanium (along with a number of other specialty metals) are prohibited from use on USA military aircraft. There are severe penalties, ask Boeing on the Osprey. Not sure what your point is. USA titanium production capacity is at an all time high.

The F-18’s, F-22’s, and F-15’s are old designs and this country needs to look ahead to a new design such as the F-35. All new military aircraft have lots of negative critics. The problem here with the cost is all the crooks running it such as Lockheed and our government. A huge cost shaving would be stop the fake presentational elections and mandatory CEO pay ceiling limits.

Too easy — keep the F35B (and call it the A35B), replace the C with the Sea Raptor, and the A with F-22s.

Maybe we should see if the Russians will allow Sukhoi to sell us some of their later model Su30s, or even better, some Su T-50s (did I get that model right?), both models of which are a lot cheaper than either the
F-22 or the F-35, and which appear to be much more maneuverable and controllable in good old –fashioned “dogfighting-type engagements. These comments from an old F-100 jockey from the long ago past!

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