PBL - A Problem? USAF

Discuss the F-35 Lightning II
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spazsinbad

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Unread post28 Jan 2011, 02:03

AF Worries JSF Costs May Soar By Colin Clark Thursday, January 27th, 2011

http://www.dodbuzz.com/2011/01/27/af-wo ... -may-soar/

"Senior Air Force leaders are growing increasingly concerned that Joint Strike Fighter maintenance and operating costs will rise far above previous estimates.

A source familiar with the issue said that the Air Force believes a study performed by the Navy one year ago looks increasingly accurate, based on preliminary data the service has compiled. Buzz readers will remember that the Navy study found the F-35 would cost between 30 percent and 40 percent more per plane than does the current F/A-18 fleet. Since one of the primary goals of the F-35 program, with its web of international partners, was to lower maintenance costs by achieving economies of scale through large program buys by a significant number of countries this would call into question one of the fundamental goals of the program. Another key to achieving those savings was an international PBL contract (Performance Based Logistics). It would spread work share throughout the JSF allies and guarantee greater economies of scale than the U.S. could achieve on its own.

Here’s how Lockheed Martin described a PBL in a briefing on PBL: “An alternative logistics support solutions that transfers traditional DoD/MoD inventory, supply chain and technical support functions to the supplier for a guaranteed level of performance at the same or reduced cost at the Platform level.” That briefing has graphics showing operation and sustainment costs actually coming down over time for the JSF program, compared to the usual steady spiral upwards.

But the Gates Pentagon has veered sharply away from the idea of PBLs. Dan Goure of the Lexington Institute recently offered this capsule summary of the arguments for and against PBLs:

“DoD executives have repeatedly asserted that contractor logistics support (CLS) and performance-based logistics (PBL) contracts are too expensive and that the government could do the same work for less.

“These kinds of assertions fly in the face of available evidence. Data available to DoD officials clearly demonstrates that private sector support is generally less costly than the same work done by the organic or government sustainment system. The Air Force’s own data shows that the average annual cost growth for aircraft programs supported solely from the organic industrial base was greater than that for aircraft programs under either PBL or CLS arrangements. The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics has identified a set of PBL contracts which collectively have saved the government more than $1.5 billion.”

But a source close to the program believes the Air Force is creating its own cost problem by insisting on manning levels based on the F-16. This source said the Air Force is, instead of considering the impact of a PBL when combined with the advanced parts management systems built into the F-35, modeling O and S costs on the F-16 program. Because of the predictive parts monitoring built into the JSF, it should need significantly fewer people to maintain it. The much older F-16 requires many more people to perform maintenance than should the JSF, this source argues. And those people are very expensive, especially over time. So the new model’s costs are much higher.

The source familiar with the Air Force position said the service wanted to front-load the early phases of the plane’s deployment with government workers instead of, as has happened with most past programs, of relying on substantial contractor support. Since a PBL relies on contractor support that approach would seem to rule out a PBL

Watch for the allies to press hard on this issue. One of the primary reasons many of them joined the program — aside the from the advanced capabilities of the plane — was the combination of lower life cycle costs and their chance to help produce those parts."
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Unread post28 Jan 2011, 02:12

:devil: yup !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Unread post28 Jan 2011, 02:59

This is the same game that some in the DoD played with cost estimations. They based the cost estimations on 4th gen costs, not on the JPO's projected JSF costs. They have now changed their minds and are using the JPO's estimations as of FY2012 docs, which btw are only a few days away from publication.

Somewhere I have a graphic showing the different manning levels and will post it when I find it.


--edit--
Image

I had to go through 7+ years of docs to find that... it was in the last place I looked ;)
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popcorn

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Unread post28 Jan 2011, 11:24

Spud or any Mx guy, can you give a brief explanation of that table? Some strange acronyms there. Thanks.
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Unread post29 Jan 2011, 06:21

Yawn... trying to white-wash the fundamentally flawed program from inception. Tragic as it is, I guess it's necessary given that there's NO plan B! :cry:

Shame on us fan boys and shame on DoD/USAF! Truly great F-35 engineers and mechanics... I will do anything to praise them. This is NOTHING about them. There will be plenty of programs and hopefully more sustainable work for them in future. Respects.
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Unread post29 Jan 2011, 07:04

Nobody is whitewashing anything. The DoD (JET report) was wrong about costs and had to do a u-turn this year when they finally started to use similar formulas that the JPO used.

This is a similar issue with man planning. Certain sectors of the DoD (both USAF & USN) believe that the same levels of manning will be required with the F-35 as were used with previous generations. Considering that the F-22 is now meeting it's manning requirements, do you think the F-35 will not?

Btw, it's those same "Truly great F-35 engineers and mechanics" that came up with the reduced manning requirements for the F-35. So are they right or wrong?

There is always a plan "B", buy/upgrade the best that we have now (more F-18s, F-16s, or F-15s) until the wrinkles are ironed out of the F-35, oh wait, that's what we are doing.
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Unread post29 Jan 2011, 11:27

Must resist urge to feed the troll... (not you Spud)
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Unread post30 Jan 2011, 01:35

shep1978 wrote:Must resist urge to feed the troll... (not you Spud)


Nice one, pot. Anyway, I'm sure that the Power Point wizards at LM can be trusted to be right on the money* about this one. After all, they really nailed it with the 'computer modelling makes flight tests redundant" bit, not to mention that revolutionary new 'super-efficient/cost-effective 'production system** that's been pumping 'em out like Pringles...

* As in 'Just a few billion more, please'...

*Don't recollect the trendy marketing name of it. Lately, the only acronym I can remember is FUBAR...
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Unread post30 Jan 2011, 15:29

butters wrote: After all, they really nailed it with the 'computer modelling makes flight tests redundant" bit,


Care to find a direct quote from LM regarding that my troll-like friend?

I for one doubt they've ever said that considering they always planned to and indeed are flight testing it.

And how do you expect anything to be "pumped out like pringles" considering full rate production has not even started. I bet you feel pretty stupid after sitting down and thinking about that.
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Unread post30 Jan 2011, 19:18

Well I hate to say 'I told you so...' before this party starts, but;

Dropping 3-Level engine maintenance (OEM/Depot, Intermediate Maintenance, Field) for 2-Level (OEM/Depot & Field) is being used today, and isn't doing well right now for the GE F110. I noticed it's on the top 10 list for USAF Viper maintenance drivers lately. 2-Level engine maintenance cause a serious engine shortage back in the early 1990s as well with the F100 and F110. It also cost the USAF hundreds of qualified jet engine mechanics that I don't think we've ever (collectively) recovered from.

Having to ship an entire engine back to depot or the OEM just because a bearing seal is leaking, or when a module needs time-changed doesn't make much sense to me. Sure you're saving money on the tooling required, and you don't have to train/feed/care for maintenance personnel, but;

Anyone notice how long it takes to ship multi-million dollar jet engines from the US to places like Qatar, Iraq, or Afghanistan? Or how long it takes to ship them state to state for repairs at other bases? Dozens of extra engines would be needed to simply account for transportation time.

WWII history alone should keep the US from adopting this model; German engines were highly technical, powerful, efficient and repaired at the factories where they were made (2-Level maintenance) Everything worked fine at first while they were winning the war, but as the aircraft were torn up or used constantly, mechanics in the field would not have engines to change, and couldn't get parts. They were technically non-equipped to deal with any serious engine maintenance. US engines at the time were just the opposite; mechanics from the US could deal with the engines on a technical level, and replace almost any part in them without factory support.

So in a 'perfect power-point' world I suppose 'lean-maintenance' works; but in the true world or combat world would you want to rely on a supply/logistics train that can't get nuts/bolts to us today?


:shrug: TEG
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Unread post30 Jan 2011, 20:35

Part of the plan for the F-35 is that parts will be available worldwide, not just from the US. Part of the F-35's ALIS software is to know where every spare part is, anywhere in the world, no matter which partner has it. The DoD also plans to have stockpiles of parts worldwide to allow for fast resupply in the field.
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Unread post30 Jan 2011, 21:33

SpudmanWP wrote:The DoD also plans to have stockpiles of parts worldwide to allow for fast resupply in the field.


Like the non-existent parts stockpiles for the F100 (used in both Eagle and Viper) and the F110? They're used world-wide by numerous different countries. This isn't a GE or PW issue, it's a basic function of our 'lean logistics' system; no parts on the shelf, and long lead times to get things if stocks are depleted. (Sustainment contracts, or lack of is killing us)

The same parts we wait 90-180 days to get? Stupid things like oil tubes, and augmentor parts? It's hard enough getting parts, let alone major modules.

Heaven forbid we actually tried to 'order' a whole engine. They don't just sit in a lot somewhere waiting for someone to ask for them and this is the whole concept that 2-level maintenance is built on. When we deploy to 'forward' areas we have to take our own equipment and trailers with us!?! (ones without engines on them)

Now if the USAF can't effectively manage keeping a serviceable 3000 engine transportation trailer in a place like Balad AB; or an augmentor module for an F100 or F110; how do we figure they'll be able to forward deploy dozens of $10M F135 engines just waiting to be used and expect the whole thing to work?

Just wondering; what do some of the other maintenance folks (engine guys/gals) think?

:cheers: TEG
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Unread post31 Jan 2011, 05:26

for god sakes just drop the stovl. Could you imagine how far along the program would be if it had just been the C and A? so sad
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Unread post31 Jan 2011, 06:17

The F-35B is not holding up the program and dropping it would not speed it up appreciably.

I do know that because of the F-35B, the A&C are a few thousand pounds lighter than they would have been. If not for SWAT (and the F-35B that necessitated it), we would have ended up with AA-1 style F-35s that would have been heavier than AF/CF F-35s.
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Unread post13 Jun 2020, 21:18

To improve F-35 reliability, Pentagon plans performance-based logistics contract [BEST READ AT Source]
13 Jun 2020 Garrett Reim

"The F-35 Joint Program Office plans to issue one performance-based logistics (PBL) contract to improve parts reliability and maintainability of the stealth aircraft. The programme office has launched a market research effort ahead of a plan to grant a three-year PBL contract for 2024 to 2026, it says in a request for information posted online on 12 June.

The potential contract echoes a white paper PBL proposal put forward by Lockheed Martin in September 2019 to cut the operating cost of the F-35 to $25,000 per hour by fiscal year 2025. In FY2018, it cost $44,000 an hour to fly the F-35A, the conventional-take-off-and-landing variant of the Joint Strike Fighter trio. The F-35C carrier variant and F-35B short-take-off-and-vertical-landing variants cost even more to fly.... [then an explanation about PBL contract]

...the Pentagon has been skeptical that the F-35’s operating costs can be reduced to $25,000 per flying hour as promised by Lockheed Martin. “Right now we are targeting a $34,000 per cost per flying hour for the F-35A in 2024,” said former F-35 programme executive officer, US Navy Vice Admiral Mat Winter in a May 2019 hearing before the US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee.

Robert Daigle, director of cost analysis and programme evaluation for the US Department of Defense (DoD), added to that scepticism in the hearing. “The department doesn’t see a path to get to $25,000 per flying hour by FY2025,” he said. “After 2024 our projections are that the cost per flying hour are going to flatten out and increase a little bit because the planes are starting to age and we’re going to have to bring them back into the [maintenance] depot.”

For its part, Lockheed Martin says it foresees more savings with a PBL and remains committed to reaching $25,000 per flying hour by FY2025. “In partnership with the [Joint Program Office] and services, we estimate this PBL approach will simplify the contracting process, enable continued industry investment in performance improvements and cost reception estimated to provide the DoD a cumulative savings of $2.5 billion in operating cost through 2025 and $18 billion through 2035, achieve mission capability of 80% and cost per flight hour for F-35A of $25,000 by 2025,” says the company.

The Joint Program Office appears to be focused foremost on using the potential PBL for improvements to the F-35’s reliability.... [more about that]

...Originally, Lockheed Martin proposed a five-year, full system PBL. The Joint Program Office’s PBL contract would exclude the stealth fighter’s Pratt & Whitney F135 engine, as well as components of the Autonomic Logistics Information System, also known as ALIS, a troubled software program that manages prognostics, maintenance, supply chain, flight operations and training for the jet.

”The PBL working group determined that a PBL with a more limited scope, focused on supply chain and demand reduction, would better meet the needs of the services,” says the DoD. Ahead of signing a PBL contract with Lockheed Martin, the Joint Program Office is seeking additional cost and performance metrics from the company, it says...." [all complicated stuff best read at source]

Source: https://www.flightglobal.com/fixed-wing ... 19.article
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