GAO Report on F-35 FoM (ie Block 4 and forward)

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SpudmanWP

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Unread post08 Aug 2017, 19:00

The is the Department of Defense’s (DOD) most expensive and ambitious acquisition program. In April 2017, we reported that acquisition costs alone are estimated at nearly $400 billion, and operating and sustainment costs are estimated to be over $1 trillion.
Meanwhile, due to evolving threats and changing warfighting environments, DOD has begun planning and funding the development of new capabilities for the , known as follow-on modernization.
The research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E) funding needed for the first modernization phase, known as Block 4, is projected to be over $3.9 billion through 2022, which would exceed the statutory and regulatory thresholds for what constitutes a major defense acquisitions program (MDAP), and would make it more expensive than many of the other MDAPs already in DOD’s portfolio.


Much more (8 pages) at the Jump


http://www.gao.gov/assets/690/686436.pdf

No surprise as the greatest risk is concurrency.

Going forward, an area of potential concern we identified is the apparent planned concurrency between Block 4 development and the procurement of Block 4 aircraft. Our assessment of DOD’s most recent Block 4 schedule (from August 2016) indicates that DOD was planning to request funding in February 2018 to purchase the first aircraft with the initial increment of Block 4 capabilities. This will come as part of DOD’s fiscal year 2019 budget request, more than 2 years before the development and testing of the first increment is complete. In addition, program and officials acknowledged that the aircraft’s current data processor is operating at maximum capacity, and an updated processor with increased capacity is likely needed for the first increment of Block 4 to function as intended.11
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spazsinbad

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Unread post08 Aug 2017, 22:00

Thanks 'SWP' - graphic from above: http://www.gao.gov/assets/690/686436.pdf
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RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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playloud

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Unread post08 Aug 2017, 22:34

In addition, program and officials acknowledged that the aircraft’s current data processor is operating at maximum capacity, and an updated processor with increased capacity is likely needed for the first increment of Block 4 to function as intended. F-35 program officials acknowledge this risk and note that an updated processor may not be available until the second increment of Block 4. This poses a risk that the testing and delivery of the first increment of Block 4 capability may not be achievable as planned.


Interesting... so if I'm reading this right, the planned processor upgrade at 4.2 might not be soon enough?
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Unread post08 Aug 2017, 22:39

I am wondering if they could add an existing TR2 CPU card rather than swapping out for newer TR3 cards.
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talkitron

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Unread post09 Aug 2017, 00:32

The hardware and software upgrades should be simultaneous in the case where the hardware upgrade is required for the software upgrade but the software upgrade was erroneously scheduled first in the past.
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maus92

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Unread post09 Aug 2017, 03:39

Block 4 is absolutely necessary for the F-35; Block 3F is inferior to a Block II Super Hornet..
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Unread post09 Aug 2017, 03:54

Block 2B and 3i F-35s have been spanking Super Hornets all over the US for a couple years now. It's not even close...

The party-line group-think and resulting silence about it is deafening.
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SpudmanWP

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Unread post09 Aug 2017, 04:24

maus92 wrote:Block 3F is inferior to a Block II Super Hornet..

Says no one in the "know".

Given that Block 3i F-35s have spanked fully updated F-15Es that have new APG-82 AESA, JHMCS, etc are you saying that the F-18E Block2 is that much more capable than the most modern F-15E?
Last edited by SpudmanWP on 09 Aug 2017, 15:33, edited 1 time in total.
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gideonic

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Unread post09 Aug 2017, 08:20

SpudmanWP wrote:
maus92 wrote:Block 3F is inferior to a Block II Super Hornet..

Says no one in the "know".

Given that Block 3i F-35s have spanked fully updated F-15Es that have new APG-82 AESA, JHMCS, etc are you saying that the F-18E Blcok2 is that much more capable than the most modern F-15E?


Knowing maus92'es preferences I guess the truth is closer to:
"Block 3F doesn't do absolutely everything better than the Block II Super Hornet.."
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mk82

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Unread post09 Aug 2017, 15:38

maus92 wrote:Block 4 is absolutely necessary for the F-35; Block 3F is inferior to a Block II Super Hornet..


Really? Well, I want to see a Block II Super Hornet penetrate an advanced IADS and directly take on multiple nodes of that advanced IADS with "minimal" support or quarterback large numbers of friendly aircraft whilst forward deployed in enemy/adversarial air space. Oh wait, Block 2B and Block 3i F35s have already done all this and more in premier LFEs (Large Force Exercises). In the case of the Block II Superbugs: Cricket....cricket.....cricket...

BTW, at high and similar fuel loads. a F35 can carry more ordnance (internal + external) than a Block II Super Hornet.....good luck with those pylon stealing EFTs (external fuel tanks).
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Unread post09 Aug 2017, 19:38

You guys are being disingenuous. 3i is, IIRC, limited to AIM-120C, 500#LGB, 1k# and 2k# JDAM and internal carry only. So, even if only in terms of number and types of weapons carried the 3i F-35 is inferior to most current fighters. It's ability to employ said munitions is light years beyond though.
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XanderCrews

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Unread post09 Aug 2017, 20:05

maus92 wrote:Block 4 is absolutely necessary for the F-35; Block 3F is inferior to a Block II Super Hornet..


In what way? Be specific
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SpudmanWP

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Unread post09 Aug 2017, 20:05

Given that he brought up a comparison of the Block 3F F-35 to a Block2 F-18, the mention of a 3i F-35 was only made as an example of what the F-35 can do "pre" Block3F.

To find the answer is quite simple as all you need to do is list every mission that the F-18 does and everyone the F-35 does. Give each a score based on mission success vs how many assets it took to do the mission and add up the the total.

Simple answer, the F-35 dominates.
Last edited by SpudmanWP on 09 Aug 2017, 20:07, edited 1 time in total.
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XanderCrews

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Unread post09 Aug 2017, 20:06

SpudmanWP wrote:
maus92 wrote:Block 3F is inferior to a Block II Super Hornet..

Says no one in the "know".

Given that Block 3i F-35s have spanked fully updated F-15Es that have new APG-82 AESA, JHMCS, etc are you saying that the F-18E Block2 is that much more capable than the most modern F-15E?


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talkitron

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Unread post09 Aug 2017, 20:14

sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:You guys are being disingenuous. 3i is, IIRC, limited to AIM-120C, 500#LGB, 1k# and 2k# JDAM and internal carry only. So, even if only in terms of number and types of weapons carried the 3i F-35 is inferior to most current fighters. It's ability to employ said munitions is light years beyond though.


I do agree integration with a wider number of weapons is a strength of fourth generation US fighters compared to fourth generation European fighters. For the F-35, block 3F will be in the few combat coded squadrons (at Hill and Iwakuni) in say summer 2018; the article below mentions a GAO estimate of finishing System Development and Demonstration in May 2018. Hopefully we can move beyond this hangup then!

https://www.upi.com/Defense-News/2017/0 ... 500924106/
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