DOT&E leaked memo suggests F-35 May Never Be Ready for Comba

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Unread post21 Sep 2016, 10:12

I think this bits and pieces of this have been posted, but I wanted to know what all of you guys think of David's latest post?

Here’s the latest chapter of the saga: F-35 pilot counters Director Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E) leaked memo.

Three weeks ago, a memo dated Aug. 9 (one week after the Air Force declared the IOC – Initial Operational Capability – of the F-35A) by Michael Gilmore, the Defense Department’s director of operational testing, obtained by Bloomberg News, highlighted several deficiencies.

“The program is actually not on a path toward success but instead on a path toward failing to deliver the full Block 3F capabilities for which the Department is paying almost $400 billion by the scheduled end of System Development and Demonstration (SDD) in 2018.”

According to chief of the Pentagon’s top testing office, at least 15 capabilities in the F-35’s current software version, known as Block 3i, are either still in need of a fix or aren’t ready for testing.

“Unresolved Block 3i deficiencies in fusion, electronic warfare, and weapons employment continue to result in ambiguous threat displays, limited ability to effectively respond to threats, and, in some cases, a requirement for off-board sources to provide accurate coordinates for precision attack. Although the program recently addressed some of the Block 3i deficiencies, many significant deficiencies remain and more are being identified by operational test and fielded units, many of which must be corrected if the program is going to provide the expected “full warfighting capability” described in the Operational
Requirements Document (ORD).”

The memo provides details about all the hundred deficiencies in Block 3i.

“Because Block 3i is an interim capability based on Block 2B, it has numerous inherent limitations that will reduce operational effectiveness and require workarounds if the F-35A in the Block 3i configuration is used in combat.”

There are limitations in the capability to perform Close Air Support missions (in a permissive or low-threat environment); limited weapon load; no gun capability; limited night vision capability; greater reliance on tankers due to limited on-station time; unacceptable sensor fusion; etc. You can read them all here.

A subsequent POGO article provided an in-depth analysis of the above mentioned memo with the following conclusion: “This DOT&E memo clearly exposes the Air Force’s F-35 IOC announcement as nothing more than a publicity stunt.”

On Sept. 16, a new story written by Major Morten “Dolby” Hanche, the famous Royal Norwegian Air Force F-35 pilot who provided first-hand accounts of what dogfighting in the controversial F-35 looks like to a pilot with a significant experience with the F-16, has been published by Kampflybloggen (The Combat Aircraft Blog), the official blog of the Norwegian F-35 Program Office within the Norwegian Ministry of Defence.

In the new post (reposted below under permission) Maj. Hanche, a U.S. Navy Test Pilot School graduate with more than 2,200 hours in the F-16, currently flying as Assistant Weapons Officer with the U.S. Air Force’s 62nd Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, provides his take on the DOT&E memo.

Once again: “Dolby” is an F-35 instructor pilot from the Royal Norwegian Air Force, one of the Joint Strike Fighter customers. Needless to say, he may have a bias for his plane. Still, he’s a respected test pilot, making public claims and providing tons of interesting details about the aircraft that will help you making your own opinion on such a hotly debated topic.
Lack of perfection does not mean disaster – how I read test reports as a pilot

by Morten Hanche

Yet again, information from the «Director Operational Test & Evaluation» (DOT&E) has stirred critics into a frenzy over the F-35. The fact that the information was leaked seems to have agitated people even more. (We have our hands on classified documents! Now we know it all!) Yet again, the leaked memo described aspects of the F-35 which need improvement. Yet again, the report resulted in press articles which painted a pretty sinister picture of the F-35. The article featured in POGO («F-35 May Never Be Ready for Combat») serves as one such example.

I finished up writing this article before getting ready to fly another sortie in the F-35. Based on my own experiences flying the F-35A, I feel that the media´s interpretation of the previous DOT&E report is influenced heavily by unrealistic expectations – something which seems to be a trend. I don´t see the point in countering every claim that´s being brought up. First off, it´d make for a very long article. Secondly, I would not be dealing with the bigger problem, which in my mind is a lack of understanding.

I fully expect the F-35’s most hardened critics to discount this article, regardless of what I write. However, some may choose to believe my story, based on the fact that I know the airplane and its capabilities as a pilot. I don’t make my claims based on bits and pieces of information, derived from potentially unreliable sources. They are based on experience actually flying and training with the jet for nearly a year

My goal is to shed some light on airplane development and testing; why we test, what we discover in testing and what a test report may result in. I write this based on my own experience, both through education at the US Naval Test Pilot School, but more importantly through working with the F-16 and the F-35, both operationally and in test settings.

What smartphones tell us about technology development

I´ll start with smartphones, as another example of technology development. Admittedly, phones are somewhat different from a fighter airplane, but there are similarities. A smartphone is a complex system of systems – just like a fighter jet. The phones keep evolving with both new hard- and software. It is not unheard of therefore that the manufacturers issue updates. Updates which provide new capabilities, but which also aim to correct previous errors.

According to Wikipedia, Apple released its iOS 9.0 operating system to their iPhones and iPads on 16 September 2015. The 9.0.1 update was issued already on 23 September, followed closely by the 9.0.2 update on 30 September. Then 9.1 on 21 October and 9.2 on 8 December 2015.

Such a frequent update rate might indicate that not everything worked perfectly from the start. Still, wouldn´t it be a bit harsh to claim that the phones didn´t work with the first four software versions? Might the truth be a little more nuanced? Can a smartphone be a good product, even if it doesn´t work 100% from day one? Does a smartphone ever work 100%? I have experienced various strange occurences with my phones over the years. Still, for me, having a phone with all its peculiarities has been more useful than the alternative – not having a phone.

This isn’t an article about phones. The point I´m trying to make is that technology development and testing is a series of compromises; compromises in reliability, in performance and in quality. Only rarely is the world black or white. A machine may work well, even if it doesn´t fulfill all specifications. I´ll go on with a brief intro to how we typically test.

…technology development and testing is a series of compromises; compromise in reliability, in performance and in quality. Only rarely is the world black or white. A machine may work well, even if it doesn´t fulfill all specifications.

How we test a fighter jet

Testing of combat aircraft typically sees a disctinction between Developmental Test (DT) and Operational Test (OT). In short we can say that DT seeks to answer whether the machine works according to the design specifications, whether the machine is safe to operate and what its safe operating limits end up being. OT on the other hand seeks to find out whether the machine can solve a particular task, like: «Is the X-YZ able to provide effective Close Air Support, in the presence of threat A, B and C?»

The test program for a machine like the F-35 is an enormous undertaking. The contours of the F-35´s test program are described top-level in the Test and Evaluation Master Plan (TEMP), totaling 1400 pages. Each sub-test in the TEMP results in a detailed test plan for that event. Especially in DT, a test flight is literally planned down to the minute, in order to accomplish as many test points as quickly and safely as possible. Flight testing is an expensive undertaking.

A test program should discover most important errors and flaws. However, time and resources available make it unrealistic to uncover every single issue. Risk is mitigated by testing the most critical components, like the engine in a single-engined fighter, to stricter tolerances. The amount of testing is a statistically driven decision. We know that there are things we don´t know, even at the completion of testing. We also know that there are likely few gross or dangerous errors which haven´t been found.

Each error we find during testing is documented and characterized. The language and format used is to the point. The test engineer and test pilot type up their findings and typically describe the situation «in a vacuum» – without regard for how costly or difficult it might be to address the issue. Each issue is then related to the mission – how will this quality or problem affect the given task?

Such a test report might read something like: «The SuperToaster 3000 was evaluated for uniform heat distribution and time to crispy toast, at the National Toast Center of Excellence, with room temperatures varying between 65 and 75 deg F. The toasting temperature was selected by turning a dial on the front of the toaster. Even with full crispyness selected, the toaster´s maximum temperature was low, and toasting of even the thinnest slices of white bread took more than 10 minutes. During early morning breakfasts, the time consuming toasting process will result in cranky parents, the kids being dropped off late for school and correspondingly negative effects on their grades and later career opportunities.»

This mission relation was probably a little over-the-top – a little like how some media articles relate its tidbits of information to an imagined F-35 mission. In isolation, a system may not work as advertised, but could there be a workaround? (In the toaster-case, maybe cereal for breakfast?)

Anyway, after the issue is documented, the errors are then catalogued, debated over and prioritized. Test engineers, test pilots, design engineers and customer representatives are often involved in the dialogue that follows when something undesirable is discovered. Together, these will have to agree on a path forward. Completely understanding the issue is crucial. Alternatives could be a re-design, accepting the flaw, mitigating the flaw procedurally or compensating by documenting the issue better. The team will have to compromise when prioritizing. Even when developing a new fighter jet, there are limits to what can be fixed, based on cost, time available, test resources available and also the complexity of the problem. Altogether, development and testing is an iterative process, where adjustments may have to take place during DT, OT or after the system is put into operational service.

Where are we with the F-35?

What is then the current state of the F-35? Is it really as bad as the commentaries to the DOT&E report and DOT&E memo might indicate?

Personally, I am impressed by the the F-35. I was relieved to experience just how well the F-35 performs with regard to speed, ceiling, range and maneuverability. It would have been very problematic if the airplane´s performance didn´t hold up in these areas – there´s just no software update which is going to compensate a draggy airframe or a weak engine. (Read more about such a case in the Government Accountability Office, then the General Accounting Office´s report on the Super Hornet).

When asked about my first flight in the F-35, I compared it to flying a Hornet (F/A-18), but with a turbo charged engine. I now can quote a USMC F/A-18 Weapons School Graduate after his first flight in the F-35: «It was like flying a Hornet with four engines!» (His point being that the F-35 can afford to operate at high Angle-of-Attack and low airspeed, but that it will regain the airspeed quickly when needed). Another unintended, but illustrating example on performance came a few weeks back, when a student pilot failed to recognize that he had climbed through our temporary altitude restriction at 40,000´. The F-35 will happily climb past that altitude.


Another critical aspect of the F-35 is its minimal radar signature. Just as with the aerodynamic performance, the «stealthiness» of the F-35 is an inherent quality of the airframe itself. There would be no quick-fix to a disappointing signature. So far, my impression is that the F-35 is very difficult to find. We see this every day when training with the F-35; we detect the F-16s flying in the local airspace at vast ranges, compared to when we detect another F-35.

Sensor stability, and specifically radar stability, has been an issue. I´m not trying to downplay that the radar´s stability needs to improve, but I am not worried. What would have worried me was if the radar had poor detection range, or if the stability issues were caused by «external» factors like limited electrical power supply or limited cooling available. Fortunately, our biggest issues are related to software, and not performance. I think it´s realistic to expect software issues like this to be resolved (just like iOS 9 eventually ended up working well).

Remember that we´re not trying to re-create another «Fourth Gen» fighter in the F-35. If we had set our aim lower, we´d likely have had an easier job of developing the airplane – it would have been easier to build the F-16 again today. But is that what we need? The F-35´s specifications are ambitious, and reflect a machine which will outperform the previous generation of fighters. Having or not having that kind of military advantage eventually becomes a political question. For now, our leaders think we need that military edge.

In this context, I would like to bring up another point. The F-35 is in its infancy as a weapons system. Yet, it is being compared to mature systems like the F-16. The F-16 has been developed and improved for more than 40 years. Correspondingly, certain aspects of the F-16 are more mature than the F-35 at this time. Having said that, I will caution readers against believing that other and «mature» fighters are without their issues. There has been an unprecedented openness about the F-35´s development. The DOT&E report is one example on how media has gained insight into the F-35 Program. I still ask; do those who write critical articles about the program really have a realistic baseline, from which they can reasonably assess the F-35? Next, I´ll give some examples which have influenced at least my own baseline.

Many will agree that the F-16 has been a successful fighter design. The fact that it has been continuously produced since the 1970s should speak for itself. The fighter has come a long way from where it originally started; as a day-only «dogfighter», equipped with heat-seeking missiles. (How would that mission set compare to a post System Development & Demonstration Block 3F F-35 and its mission sets?) Modifications to the «fully developed» F-16 started right away One early and visible modification was the replacement of the horizontal stabilizers with larger «stabs», in order to reduce the F-16´s susceptibility to go out of control during aggressive maneuvering at high Angles-of-Attack (AOA). Going out of control is a bad thing, and could lead to loss of both the jet and its pilot. Since then, the F-16 has kept evolving through many different programs, aimed at improving both structural life and combat capabilities.Other fighters also bear visible marks of error correction. The Hornet-family provides some good examples of aerodynamic «band aids». An example from the F/A-18 «Baby Hornet» is the vertical «fences» mounted on each side of the machine, just aft of the cockpit. These were eventually added to mitigate stress on the vertical tails, which caused their supporting structure to fail.

Another example from the Baby Hornet is how the stabs and rudders are driven to full deflection before takeoff. This modification was necessary to enable the Hornet to lift its nose during takeoff roll. The «band aid» added drag during the takeoff roll. Thus, the takeoff roll increased in distance, but no more than what was considered acceptable. The «band aid» was an easy workaround to what could have been a very costly re-design of the airplane – compromises…

The more modern Super Hornet has a porous fairing where the wing-fold mechanism is located. This was fitted in an attempt to alleviate a problem termed «wing drop». The wing drop in the Super Hornet was described as an abrupt and uncommanded roll, which hampered air combat maneuvering. The «band aid» partially fixed the wing drop issue, but at the same time introduced other problems related to reduced range and increased buffet levels. These were still deemed acceptable trade-offs – compromises…

Even today, our modern-day F-16s live with many issues; errors which were discovered in DT, OT or operational use, but which haven´t been corrected. Either because of prohibitive cost, complexity or because no one understands the failure mechanism – what is causing the problem. I´m not just talking about cosmetic or minor issues. One example is that The Norwegian Armed Forces for a period of about 10 years could not operate its F-16s in single ship formations, in bad weather or at night. The restriction was put in place because the Main Mission Computer (MMC) broke down relatively often. The resulting operational limitations hampered both training and operations. It took more than 10 years to diagnose and correct the issue, mainly because the failure mechanism was illusive.

The most outspoken critics of the F-35 couldn´t have known about our issues with the MMC in the F-16 at the time. If they did, and read that deficiency report, would they have concluded that our F-16s were non-operational, and incapable of fulfilling its mission? I´m tempted to think so, based on how isolated pieces of information about the F-35 often are misinterpreted and taken out of context. Would they have been right in their conclusion? I don´t think anyone could have made that conclusion, based on just the fact that «the MMC sometimes crashes». The reality I know, working with fighters all my life, is not black or white. There are nuances. We work around and overcome problems.

Our F-16s still have issues today which will never be corrected. This is not dramatic or unexpected. The normal state of affairs for a fighter is that we operate in spite of issues with structure, sensors, software and logistics. We´re normally able to work around the major problems while we devise long-term solutions. Some issues are temporary. Some end up being permanent. Compromises… (I personally wouldn´t believe the salesperson claiming to offer a fighter jet which had zero issues).

I said I wouldn´t quibble over individual factual errors which the F-35´s critics present as truth. To me, a compelling argument for how well the F-35 works is evident by what we´re able to do in training. Three weeks back I was part of a four-ship of F-35s. Our mission was to overcome an advanced airborne threat, while locating and destroying an equally advanced surface based air defense system. After neutralizing these threats, we were able to destroy four additional targets. All this prior to receiving the Block 3F capabilities. Suffice to say that this mission would have been close to suicide with a four-ship of F-16s alone!
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Unread post21 Sep 2016, 11:11

Is 'David' David Cenciotti? You could have included an URL. Anyway the HANCHE post is mentioned here - why not post in this thread? viewtopic.php?f=54&t=52276&p=352792&hilit=Hanche#p352792

CENCIOTTI: https://theaviationist.com/2016/09/20/d ... snt-agree/
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 post21 Sep 2016, 15:48

This needs to be on threads already started, but to summarize "what we think"

Gilmore is NOT A TESTER. He is not an airforce pilot, he is not an aerospace engineer. He probably needs help unfastening his seat belt on an air line flight. He is a nuclear physicist in an unrelated discipline where he has long since lost currency. His engineering experience is designing how to line up magnets for a fusion system that didn't work, and "had no hope of ever being functional." He is a bureaucrat who gets paid to justify his existence, which frankly is not justifiable any more.

That's what we think of him and his reports.

The data he posts is direct from the program offices test reports which they write, which they test, which they schedule fixes and which they with the vendor FIX! usually before Gilmore gets his Kinko's copies of the old reports published.

The Norwegian Pilot is an highly skilled test pilot, graduate of the best test pilot school, has thousands of hours flying figther jets, including the F-35 for which he is an instructor. He has access to "all the top secret" data.

References to POGO are meaningless since POGO is clueless on virtually every thing they write.

I think that about covers it. Go to the other threads for details.

MHO
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zerion

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Unread post17 Nov 2016, 03:26

DOT&E Memo: F-35 Still Challenged

The Pentagon's top weapons tester has never been shy about hammering Lockheed Martin's F-35. In an Oct. 14 memo to the Defense Secretary, Director of Operational Test and Evaluation J. Michael Gilmore once again slammed the program for continued schedule delays, insufficient testing progress, and ongoing challenges with major systems. He "very strongly" recommended DOD restructure the program.
The full 8-page document surfaces as Gilmore turns up the heat on the F-35 program. In the memo, Gilmore repeated his claim that the F-35 “clearly” will not be able to finish its development phase - called System Development and Demonstration (SDD) – and begin operational testing as planned in August 2017. The full flight envelope, weapons clearances and verified mission data file for the aircraft’s final warfighting software load, Block 3F, will not be available before May 2018, DOT&E states in the memo...


http://aviationweek.com/site-files/avia ... 35memo.pdf

http://aviationweek.com/blog/dote-memo- ... challenged
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Unread post17 Nov 2016, 03:58

I hereby call on Trump to join the ABG club (Anybody but Gilmore) .
"The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."
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Unread post17 Nov 2016, 13:31

SpudmanWP wrote:I hereby call on Trump to join the ABG club (Anybody but Gilmore) .

I like to bash Gilmore as much as the next guy, but occasionally he at least gives away some information to laymen that we'd otherwise never see.

Will 3FR6, coming in December, really be the final release of software (disregarding QRC releases) ? Even when the additional funding is granted?

If the two major releases (FR7 and FR8) are just cancelled and the next major release will be Block 4.1 in 2020+, then that just plainly sucks, no way how you spin it.

So does that essentially mean that the remainder of SDD and the entire IOT&E will be completed with 3FR6 software release, problems found-be damned? That only issues, like the gun not being able to fire at all, or the misson systems crashing constantly, have any change of being corrected in the mean time?
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Unread post17 Nov 2016, 13:42

For those who might have missed it before, this (from bp above) --

"Gilmore is NOT A TESTER. He is not an airforce pilot, he is not an aerospace engineer...He is a bureaucrat who gets paid to justify his existence, which frankly is not justifiable any more...The data he posts is direct from the program office's test reports which they write, which they test, which they schedule fixes and which they with the vendor FIX! usually before Gilmore gets his Kinko's copies of the old reports published."

x2

Apparent that this is all about funding (or not) his Gucci (i.e. excessively expensive and redundant) test plan. Notably he chose AvLeak instead of POGO this time since POGO is generally regarded as "fringe."
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Unread post17 Nov 2016, 14:07

gideonic wrote:
SpudmanWP wrote:I hereby call on Trump to join the ABG club (Anybody but Gilmore) .

I like to bash Gilmore as much as the next guy, but occasionally he at least gives away some information to laymen that we'd otherwise never see.

Will 3FR6, coming in December, really be the final release of software (disregarding QRC releases) ? Even when the additional funding is granted?

If the two major releases (FR7 and FR8) are just cancelled and the next major release will be Block 4.1 in 2020+, then that just plainly sucks, no way how you spin it.

So does that essentially mean that the remainder of SDD and the entire IOT&E will be completed with 3FR6 software release, problems found-be damned? That only issues, like the gun not being able to fire at all, or the misson systems crashing constantly, have any change of being corrected in the mean time?


In the wake of the US election, it should be clear that we should all be mindful of what we choose to believe. Leakers leak stuff because they get to argue their case (agenda) without the inconvenience of having to defend it against the other side of the story. Similarly, they are not typically burdened by any requirement to tell the truth, or even put facts in-context. Do you think AT&L or the JPO are going to get into a public 'urinating for distance' contest with him (Gilmore) over this? Of course not, and he knows it.

Deleting test points? Common in all programs when the data already gathered renders the 'planned' test points redundant/no longer relevant. Systems crashing all the time? Not since the fixes in the spring (I live near an F-35 base). Not following the agreed-to TEMP? QRCs get fixes into the SW faster for less time and money. Capabilities? Awesome, kick a$$ stuff -- right now and getting better with every SW drop.

To re-emphasize what bp wrote -- Gilmore IS NOT A TESTER. Gilmore writes his memos from reports that he gets from the program office (emphasis intended). All of the "issues" we read in these things are inherently dated -- in many cases by many months -- and have often already fixed or in the process of being fixed. If there were major issues not being addressed, the services would be howling about it, not (as the USAF and the USMC are doing) preparing to deploy the jets overseas.
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Unread post17 Nov 2016, 14:19

quicksilver wrote:Deleting test points? Common in all programs when the data already gathered renders the 'planned' test points redundant/no longer relevant. Systems crashing all the time? Not since the fixes in the spring (I live near an F-35 base). Not following the agreed-to TEMP? QRCs get fixes into the SW faster for less time and money. Capabilities? Awesome, kick a$$ stuff -- right now and getting better with every SW drop.

Thanks for your response quicksilver. As a software developer myself, I particularly agree with the point, that the more frequent and less-ceremonial software releases are, the better. IF substituting a full release with QRCs means, that a similar amount of actual fixes/features will be rolled out, then getting them sooner and more incrementally is definitely the way to go.
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Unread post17 Nov 2016, 16:32

Just for clarification, Block 4.1 is scheduled for Fleet Release in 2020, not 2020+

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Unread post17 Nov 2016, 22:28

In software, critical bugs are the ones that prevent something from working. Bug that can be worked around, even if annoying, are not ones that always get fixed. At least they are lower priority.

So for bugs,

Does it break the plane? Yes, then fix, no then move to next question.
Does it prevent a critical feature from working? Yes, then fix, no then move to next question.
Is there an acceptable work around? If yes, move to backlog and prioritise into future updates. If no, fix.
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Unread post18 Nov 2016, 13:48

SASC Chairman McCain not happy with latest news on F-35 program, feels the OSD / SecAF /JPO has misled the Senate, wants answers:

"Dear Secretary Carter:

I am extremely disappointed to learn of yet another delay in the completion of the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase of the F-35 Joint Strike Program with an associated cost overrun that may be upwards of $1 billion. This latest setback appears to call into question some of the recent determinations and actions of Department of Defense senior leaders regarding the development of this critical but troubled program.

On April 26, 2016, the F-35 Program Executive Officer, Lieutenant General Christopher Bogdan, testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee: “We will be finishing our development program in late 2017.” Additionally, General Bogdan recently stated that while the schedule to conclude the development phase of the F-35 may slip, completion of that phase would require no additional funds. These statements now appear to be inaccurate.

Similarly, on September 9, 2016, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah James certified to the committee that “the FY16 Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Lot 10 F-35A aircraft to be delivered during FY18 (first aircraft delivered in January 2018) will have full Block 3F hardware, software, and weapons carriage.” In the accompanying certification recommendation letter, the Air Force’s top acquisition officer, Lieutenant General Arnold Bunch, wrote, “I am assured adequate funding is available within the F-35 program to complete Block 3F development.” This latest delay and cost overrun seems to undermine these certifications.

Finally, on May 25, 2016, the committee received the Department’s interim response to our direction in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 that the Department either revalidate the current requirement for the total number of F-35 aircraft to be procured, or identify a new requirement. In that letter, Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work stated, “While a review of the total program of record quantity is thus prudent, the focus of the Department for the foreseeable future is to acquire F-35s at the highest rate affordable in our budget.” I am having difficulty reconciling the maintenance of the current requirement with the troubled performance, continued delays, and persistent cost overruns of this program.

What is perhaps most troubling, however, is that other senior Department leaders appear to have foreseen this latest delay and cost overrun. The Director of Operational Test and Evaluation, Dr. J. Michael Gilmore, warned as early as last year of delays in the completion of the development phase of the F-35, which is a prerequisite for commencing operational test and evaluation. Indeed, Dr. Gilmore testified at the same hearing on April 26, 2016 as General Bogdan and Frank Kendall, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, that “the program will not be ready to begin operational tests and evaluation until mid-calendar year 2018 at the earliest.” This warning appears to have been quite prescient.

In light of this recent setback, please provide responses to the following questions:

When will the Department complete the SDD phase of the F-35?
How many additional funds, in each upcoming fiscal year budget, will be required to complete F-35 SDD?
What other service priorities will not receive funding in fiscal year 2018 due to the SDD delay and cost overrun?
Is Secretary James’ Block 3F full combat capability certification, as required by the Fiscal Year 2016 NDAA, still valid?
How will this delay and cost overrun affect the current overall schedule for Joint Strike Fighter deliveries to the Services?
When will you complete the operational test and evaluation phase?
When will you make the Milestone C/Full Rate Production decision?
Will you defer any planned F-35 capabilities from SDD into the F-35 Follow-on Modernization program?
How will the SDD delay affect the Follow-on Modernization program?
When will you provide your final response either to revalidate the current requirement for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter total program of record quantity or identify a new requirement for the total number of F-35 aircraft that the Department would ultimately procure?
The committee appreciates the complexity of fielding cutting-edge technologies such as the F-35 fighter aircraft and is fully committed to providing the very best equipment to our warfighters. At the same time, we owe the American taxpayer a thorough accounting of the cost, schedule, and performance of these very expensive weapons system programs.

I look forward to your reply to my questions above, and I thank you for your support to the men and women of the Department of Defense and your continued service to our Nation.

Sincerely,

John McCain

Chairman

Senate Armed Services Committee



http://www.mccain.senate.gov/public/?a= ... 2F18B40DD5
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XanderCrews

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Unread post18 Nov 2016, 20:06

Yawn.

Something about the Navy that just creates drama queens, Maus?
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durahawk

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Unread post18 Nov 2016, 21:56

"Dear Secretary Carter:

I am extremely disappointed to learn of yet another delay in the completion of the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase of the F-35 Joint Strike Program with an associated cost overrun that may be upwards of $1 billion. This latest setback appears to call into question some of the recent determinations and actions of Department of Defense senior leaders regarding the development of this critical but troubled program.


An additional $1 Billion in additional cost overruns for SDD is nothing to sneeze at... does anyone know where McCain is getting that number?
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steve2267

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Unread post18 Nov 2016, 22:07

durahawk wrote:
"Dear Secretary Carter:

I am extremely disappointed to learn of yet another delay in the completion of the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase of the F-35 Joint Strike Program with an associated cost overrun that may be upwards of $1 billion. This latest setback appears to call into question some of the recent determinations and actions of Department of Defense senior leaders regarding the development of this critical but troubled program.


An additional $1 Billion in additional cost overruns for SDD is nothing to sneeze at... does anyone know where McCain is getting that number?


No, I don't. There was reference to an additional $530 million required to complete SDD. I think the Air Force said that was going to come from funds already allocated; that is, I don't think they needed more money, but maybe needed permission to move it from one account to another. I'm not sure.

My take is the good Senator rounded up to the nearest whole number. What's $530 million when $1 billion sounds worse?
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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