F-35 program updates

Program progress, politics, orders, and speculation
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SpudmanWP

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Unread post13 Mar 2018, 20:43

Lockheed F-35 Cost Stabilizes at $406 Billion, Pentagon Says

The Pentagon’s estimated cost to develop and purchase Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 jet, the costliest U.S. weapons program, has stabilized for now, according to a new report to Congress.

The total acquisition cost for the advanced fighter is projected at $406.1 billion, virtually unchanged from the $406.5 billion estimated last year, according to the Defense Department’s latest Selected Acquisition Report, which will be sent to Congress this week. The projections were obtained in advance by Bloomberg News.

Within the total -- which includes research, development and initial support such as spare parts and military construction -- the estimated cost to procure 2,456 U.S. aircraft has ticked down to $345.4 billion from $346.1 billion, or a 0.2 percent decline.

That’s good news for the F-35, which has wide support in Congress but a past marred by cost overruns. Last year, the annual acquisition report on major weapons estimated that costs would rise about 7 percent to $406.5 billion after several years of declining projections.

More at the link
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-13/lockheed-f-35-cost-stabilizes-at-406-billion-pentagon-says

I'll give more details as they are released.
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Dragon029

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Unread post20 Mar 2018, 08:36

South Korea's first F-35 (AW-1) has flown:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/105988702 ... 200650964/

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Unread post22 Mar 2018, 20:55

The attached six page PDF (1.2Mb) about the F-35 is more like a program update than anything else with most of the information already scattered in many places in this forum. A few nuggets such as $50K flight hour cost (Lt.Gen Harris USAF) stood out for me along with this quotable quote & Block:
It ROCKS! F-35s Game Changing Capabilities and Costly Challenges
Apr 2018 David C Isby

"...on March 7, Lt General Jerry Harris, Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans, Programs & Requirements, said for Hill’s pilots & technicians: “Block 3F version is the aircraft they were promised. To them, it rocks!..." [title of article]
&
"...What comes after Block 3F is Block 4, mission system software that will enable a wide range of upgrades to the F-35’s
performance. Block 4 software is currently being flight-tested at Edwards Air Force Base, California. The F-35 will evolve from using Block 3F to Block 4 software through a new process. Continuous capability development and delivery, dubbed C2D2, will succeed the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase, scheduled to end for the F-35B
in March and the F-35C in May.

The C2D2 process, Winter said, “reflects industry best practices” and aims to provide upgrades and improvements on an
accelerated and responsive schedule.

The C2D2 and Block 4 are answers to the broad – and expensive – requirements for upgrading the F-35. The Block 4 programme will consist of four increments:

4.1 to cure deficiencies in the Block 3 software
4.2 to address deficiencies in hardware
4.3 and 4.4 to provide respectively the additional software and hardware capabilities set out in the Block 4 requirements document approved by the Joint Requirements Oversight Council of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2017...."

Source: AIR International Magazine April 2018 Vol.94 No.4
Attachments
F-35 ROCKS pp6 AIR International April 2018 Vol94 No4.pdf
(1.17 MiB) Downloaded 113 times
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post22 Mar 2018, 21:15

WTF is this bs about "deficiencies"?
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chucky2

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Unread post22 Mar 2018, 22:53

Is the hardware not already available to do 4.2 during 4.1, is is this just a question of $? sh*t is just dragging out...
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Unread post22 Mar 2018, 23:03

SpudmanWP wrote:WTF is this bs about "deficiencies"?

Software always has bugs and deficiencies. Show stoppers delay the release, other important ones are fixed in later builds, less important ones are sometimes never fixed.
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SpudmanWP

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Unread post22 Mar 2018, 23:22

4.1 to cure deficiencies in the Block 3 software
4.2 to address deficiencies in hardware

That is absolute B fing S.

While I am sure that there is a ton of "fixes" that will be deployed in any block, 4.1 and 4.2 are NOT dedicated to fixing deficiencies.

Off the top of my head I can think of several new items that are part of 4.1 & 4.2 that were not planned to be part of 3F and therefore cannot be considered "deficiencies":

UAI & a ton of new weapons (Spear3, SDB2, AIM-120D, Meteor, full Paveway support, etc)
Nuclear capabilities
New EOTS & EODAS
SATCOM
4x the CPU power upgrade
New ICP backplane tech
New panoramic cockpit display (the big one)
A new Aircraft Memory System (faster upload & download of flight data IIRC)

A big one is newer APIs "provide new opportunities for International Partners to assess, integrate, and field unique capabilities based on global sovereign requirements."
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element1loop

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Unread post28 Mar 2018, 16:26

Air Force Risks Losing Third of F-35s If Upkeep Costs Aren't Cut

By Anthony Capaccio

March 28, 2018, 4:00 AM EDT
Updated on March 28, 2018, 9:54 AM EDT

* Operating costs may force cutting 590 fighters, analysis finds

* Half of support expenditures are spent on contractor support

The U.S. Air Force may have to cut its purchases of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 by a third if it can’t find ways to reduce operations and support costs by as much as 38 percent over a decade, according to an internal analysis.

The shortfall would force the service to subtract 590 of the fighter jets from the 1,763 it plans to order, the Air Force office charged with evaluating the F-35’s impact on operations and budgets, in an assessment obtained by Bloomberg News.

While the Defense Department has said it has gained control over costs for developing and producing a fleet of 2,456 F-35s for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps -- now projected at $406 billion -- the internal analysis underscores the current and looming challenges of maintaining and operating the warplanes.

It may cost as much as $1.1 trillion to keep the F-35s flying and maintained through 2070, according to the current estimate from the Pentagon’s independent cost unit.
... /

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... aren-t-cut
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SpudmanWP

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Unread post28 Mar 2018, 16:41

Much ado about nothing
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Unread post28 Mar 2018, 17:00

"Deficiency" is a formally defined reference used in developmental flight test to identify issues worthy of a fix or change. Generally speaking, 'deficiencies' are catgorized by degree or severity and consequence; they are not all the same. Some might be as simple as changing the color or the apparent thickness of a line on a display; some affect safety of flight and become "fix before fly again" kind of things.

In a world where the average joe or judy tend to reference technical matters in relation to their cars or smart phones, the idea that anything is flying around or accepted with 'deficiencies' is an affront to their fundamental sensibilities. It makes some people crazy -- "...why would anyone pay this much money for anything with 'deficiencies' or 'defects'?" The reality is that some deficiencies are never corrected and jets fly around with those deficiencies for the life of the program; all of em...take your pick -- F-15,16,18, SH, et al.

I'll see if I can find a reference.
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Unread post28 Mar 2018, 17:10

http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a403457.pdf

'DR' is 'deficiency report.' Of particular note --

"A DR should also be submitted when failure is not suspected, but an investigation is needed. DRs should be submitted on all test programs, even if no corrective action is anticipated. Such documentation provides valuable program history and research data to support present and future program development and acquisition management decisions."
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element1loop

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Unread post28 Mar 2018, 17:28

Comes across as a shocker claim designed to spark contention for agenda traction.
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Unread post28 Mar 2018, 17:29

"A few nuggets such as $50K flight hour cost (Lt.Gen Harris USAF) stood out for me"

Search CPFH around here (I think spud posted them in recent months) and you'll find that, like 'unit cost', CPFH can vary greatly depending on which stuff you choose to include in the number -- e.g. a large number of fixed costs early in a program when flight hour generation is less. The USG changes what they include or not include in their projections all the time -- without saying too much about doing so. Just look in the changes outlined in the back of any Selected Acquisition Report. How many people read the SAR?

If one wants to beat up the contractor in the public domain about affordability, just suggest numbers like 50K/hr. It is not unlike the concurrency monster from 2011ish; no one seems to remember that the first analysis used by the USG to rationalize certain program decisions was ~35% off on its per-unit cost.
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Unread post28 Mar 2018, 17:48

The whole tone seems af odds with this, same day.

----
Mattis to Military: You Have Your Money. Spend It Wisely

By Marcus Weisgerber Global Business Editor

March 27, 2018

“We’ll see more money going into research and engineering about future protections for the country,” Mattis said.

He mentioned investments made decades ago, such as GPS satellites and stealth, two technologies that officials say have given the U.S. military a leg up on its adversaries.

“Those kinds of approaches will be funded for our time,” Mattis said


http://www.defenseone.com/business/2018 ... e_today_nl
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Unread post28 Mar 2018, 19:32

SpudmanWP wrote:Much ado about nothing


Cutting the number of F-35 by a third does not sound like "nothing" to me?

Or is this potential cut just something that originates from the journalist's imagination?

I thought Bloomberg was a quite reliable source?
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