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

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spazsinbad

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Unread post10 Aug 2017, 06:29

Another look at the problem - they'll work it out eh.
Modernization Program At Risk of Repeating F-35 Acquisition Mistakes, GAO Says
10 Aug 2017 Wilson Brissett

"If not adequately restructured in the near future, the cost of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s follow-on modernization effort could see unexpected cost increases, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office released Tuesday.

At issue is the slow development of a new data processor needed to support Block 4 capabilities on the aircraft. To avoid repeating the acquisition mistakes that have plagued the F-35 baseline program, GAO says the F-35 modernization strategy must use an incremental approach that separates procurement from development and testing....

...GAO sees the possibility for similar concurrency problems arising in the modernization effort. The Block 4 F-35 is likely to include new weapons (or at least weapons that are not currently in the 3F configuration) and enhancements to the aircraft’s electronic warfare suite, among other things. The bulk of the Air Force’s F-35A fleet will be built in the Block 4 and subsequent configurations.

The release of a request for proposals for the Block 4 upgrade has already been delayed from the third quarter of 2017 to later this year due to “budget uncertainties” and the “ongoing change in program leadership,” the Joint Program Office told GAO. The JPO has not delivered a congressionally mandated report on modernization acquisition strategy that was due in March, noting it says it will deliver the report by the end of August.

GAO wants the DOD to clarify its plans to eliminate concurrency in the Block 4 program. Program managers are currently planning to request funds for the first increment of Block 4 aircraft purchases in February 2018. Baseline F-35s, however, are currently maximizing the data processing capabilities of the aircraft. The Block 4 upgrades will require a new processor, but program officials told GAO that “an updated processor may not be available until the second increment of Block 4.”

Given these concurrency problems, GAO sees “a risk that the testing and delivery of the first increment of Block 4 capability may not be achievable as planned.” As a solution, GAO recommends “an incremental, knowledge-based approach” to the modernization program. DOD has committed to such a strategy in theory and told GAO that it plans to “develop Block 4 capabilities in four increments.”

This plan would involve returning to the Joint Requirements Oversight Council for fresh validation “if any significant cost, schedule, or quantity changes occur.” It would also make use of separate contract line item numbers for various capabilities related to the upgrade. This process would produce “more informed management and oversight” that would allow “decision makers to track costs and progress across individual development efforts,” in GAO’s estimation.

If the program office cannot incorporate these suggestions into its revised modernization strategy, GAO says, “DOD may be negotiating prices for those aircraft without knowing if or when the more advanced capabilities will be delivered and whether they will function as required.” In addition, Congress would find themselves confronting “the challenge of making funding decisions with limited information.”"

Source: http://www.airforcemag.com/Features/Pag ... -Says.aspx
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neptune

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Unread post10 Aug 2017, 09:32

spazsinbad wrote:...GAO wants the DOD to clarify its plans to eliminate concurrency in the Block 4 program. ... Baseline F-35s, however, are currently maximizing the data processing capabilities of the aircraft.
The Block 4 upgrades will require a new processor, but program officials told GAO that “an updated processor may not be available until the second increment of Block 4.” ...


...bookkeepers.. :bang: :bang:

...but...as Spud has suggested how about adding an additional current version CPU, for sharing the load??

....Baseline F-35s? is this the 3i or the 3F at issue?

....I would ask the maximizing data processing question, is the bottleneck in processing the data (CPUs?) or in I/O pre-processing thru-put?

....What exactly is the concurrency % status/ issue by LRIP Number (1 to 11(currently). Meaning, what percent of each LRIP is/ was the concurrency issues at the end of each LRIP and what is the present status. Is LRIP 1 now up to-date with LRIP 11?

...point of reference; the F-22 has both trainers and operators, 36? Block 20 and 151? Block 30/35(ish). It has been proposed the Block 20 upgraded to Block 30/35.
:)
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Unread post10 Aug 2017, 16:20

Given that Block 4 (not sure which one) includes UAI, this will address most of the "new weapon" issues.

Also, the concurrency issue is not as bad as the GAO puts forth since 4.1 is a "Software Only' patch (primarily).
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Unread post10 Aug 2017, 17:29

SpudmanWP wrote:Given that Block 4 (not sure which one) includes UAI, this will address most of the "new weapon" issues.

Also, the concurrency issue is not as bad as the GAO puts forth since 4.1 is a "Software Only' patch (primarily).


Correct me if I am wrong but haven't actual paid concurrency cost consistently been much lower than GAO estimates?

It seems to me that GAO estimates the maximum possible risk and works from that basically saying it's a program liability. However the actual expense is usually just a fraction of that.

I know it's sacrilegious but perhaps military procurement doesn't always line up with generally accepted accounting procedures. Sometimes I wonder if the GAO understands the end purpose of things is to acquire something in a reasonable amount of time at a reasonable cost and risk and that all three factors must be balanced. They seem a bit laser focused on risk in particular. They want it to be effectively zero.
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Unread post10 Aug 2017, 17:47

This the last concurrency projection chart that I have seen. Yes, costs are trending below GAO estimates.

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Unread post21 Dec 2018, 12:41

Updated F-35 Will Get Maritime Strike Capability
20 Dec 2018 John A. TIrpak​

"The Block IV version of the F-35 will add a fifth “mission thread” to the four missions it already performs—that of “expanded surface warfare”—Joint Strike Fighter Program Executive Officer Vice Adm. Mat Winter said in a Thursday interview with Air Force Magazine.

The Joint Program Office also has endorsed keeping Turkey as an F-35 partner despite concerns about that country buying a Russian-made missile defense system, Winter said. He also confirmed Japan’s expanded order for F-35s and said the Navy is on track to be operational with the C model of the fighter in two months.

The new mission boils down to improved capability “in maritime strike,” Winter told Air Force Magazine. The four core missions in the F-35 baseline version are: air superiority, suppression and destruction of enemy air defenses, close air support, and strategic attack of key targets.

The Block 3F version can do limited strikes against ships, but Winter explained the radar and other sensor functions needed to attack land targets are different for attack of sea targets. The update in Block IV will allow the F-35 to be effective in the sea strike role as well, he said.

The Navy/Air Force Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM), a variant of the AGM-158 JASSM-ER, is not a fundamental element of the new mission capability, Winter said. Although the F-35 has had fit checks of LRASM externally and can probably carry the weapon internally, the Navy’s threshold munition for the mission is the AGM-154 Joint Stand-Off Weapon, or JSOW, he said, noting that LRASM may be added later...." [for whatever reason TURKEY then JAPAN feature]

Source: http://www.airforcemag.com/Features/Pag ... ility.aspx
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marauder2048

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Unread post21 Dec 2018, 22:48

spazsinbad wrote:The Navy/Air Force Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM), a variant of the AGM-158 JASSM-ER, is not a fundamental element of the new mission capability, Winter said. Although the F-35 has had fit checks of LRASM externally and can probably carry the weapon internally, the Navy’s threshold munition for the mission is the AGM-154 Joint Stand-Off Weapon, or JSOW, he said, noting that LRASM may be added later


More to the point: the Navy is only buying a handful of LRASM. They have managed to sustain funding
for a JSOW-ER demonstration though.
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Unread post22 Dec 2018, 03:33

marauder2048 wrote:
spazsinbad wrote:The Navy/Air Force Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM), a variant of the AGM-158 JASSM-ER, is not a fundamental element of the new mission capability, Winter said. Although the F-35 has had fit checks of LRASM externally and can probably carry the weapon internally, the Navy’s threshold munition for the mission is the AGM-154 Joint Stand-Off Weapon, or JSOW, he said, noting that LRASM may be added later


More to the point: the Navy is only buying a handful of LRASM. They have managed to sustain funding
for a JSOW-ER demonstration though.


Migrating capability from SH to F-35 makes sense to reduce early warning and tracking, and then increasing LRASM buys as targets become harder to access in the 2020s and as B1 is withdrawn to make way for B-21. And/or awaiting another version of LRASM to mature, thus keeping initial buys low.

The original JASSM was designed to be the 'Joint' attack weapon for navy as well, but not bought by USN. But that doesn't mean JASSM on F-35A can't kill a frigate. JASSM could probably clean up most medium size navies and fleet bases, all by itself. Add to this the fact that RAAF went for JASSM over the SLAM-ER, and that should be a clear enough indication that that JASSM is a ship-killer as well, particularly after RAAF mods were added to JASSM (on Classics no less not SH, and the Classics are not supposed to be the land-attack strike force, they're mostly continental air-defense and anti-shipping).

So I'm not concerned about lower numbers of LRASM as it's for cracking the toughest nuts, the ones you need to hit first with complete surprise. Once surprise is lost and they got the kills they went after, they're less necessary, as other missiles can clean up the rest.

To my mind the announcement amounts to JASSM and JSM type on F-35A, and whatever else added to F-35C (JSOW, JSM and maybe LRASM for long-range sneak), before we see a more developed LRASM fielded, in larger numbers (hopefully cheaper with scale) as targets become harder to access next decade.

It's a pity RAAF didn't integrate JASSM on Superhornets but the SH were always supposed to be a brief (10-year) temporary bridge to get from F-111 to F-35A, so RAAF stuck with JSOW (which was a weird but much cheaper faster choice for replacement of F-111 strike).
Last edited by element1loop on 22 Dec 2018, 03:43, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post22 Dec 2018, 03:43

IIRC the initial justification for LRASM was a quick fix for the DDG/CG fleets.
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Unread post22 Dec 2018, 03:47

popcorn wrote:IIRC the initial justification for LRASM was a quick fix for the DDG/CG fleets.


And in a Joint force paradigm, this doesn't mean LRASM goes in their VLS. The best platforms for their application, and for DDG and CG survivability, get them instead, and that's what's occurred, IMHO.
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Unread post22 Dec 2018, 03:57

element1loop wrote:
popcorn wrote:IIRC the initial justification for LRASM was a quick fix for the DDG/CG fleets.


And in a Joint force paradigm, this doesn't mean LRASM goes in their VLS. The best platforms for their application, and for DDG and CG survivability, get them instead, and that's what's occurred, IMHO.


Apparently it's a tiered approach.
OASuW Increment 1 covers air-launched LRASM from USN and USAF a/c while OASuW Increment 2 focuses on arming the surface fleet. However, as the linked article notes. the latter may be in some flux.


http://www.dote.osd.mil/pub/reports/fy2 ... 7oasuw.pdf

The Navy plans to pursue a competitive acquisition strategy
for the OASuW Increment 2, which is intended to be an
offensive system of systems solution leveraging OASuW
Increment 1 technologies to meet future maritime threats
beyond 2024. Due to removal of funding for Increment 2
in the 2018 President’s Budget, the Navy is reevaluating its
strategy for OASuW Increment 2.
"When a fifth-generation fighter meets a fourth-generation fighter—the [latter] dies,”
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Unread post22 Dec 2018, 04:38

The LRASM buy ends in 2021 with 115 in the Navy inventory; B-52 will be assuming the B-1's role for
maritime strike with 46 LRASM in the Air Force inventory.

The claim that JASSM classic has some ASuW capability needs some evidence; SLAM-ER has some
residual anti-ship capability against less capable surface combatants. But there are *FACs* out there
with the ESM/ECM and counter-ASCM capability to defeat anything without signature reduction.

So I don't buy the claim that LRASM is a mainly a surprise weapon for use against major surface combatants.
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Unread post22 Dec 2018, 06:54

popcorn wrote:Due to removal of funding for Increment 2 in the 2018 President’s Budget, the Navy is reevaluating its strategy for OASuW Increment 2.


Low LRASM production numbers and re-eval can be because improvements are maturing or that what exists is sufficient, or that a cheaper weapon for the job is becoming available, within the time-window (i.e. JSM). If SLAM-ER lacked the capacity to get hits no one would have bought any vanilla BKII Harpoons the past decade. It also ignores the reality of NSM replacement and probable JSMs to come. And are more LRASM even necessary in that case?

If you were driving a FAC (or a DDG) would you want to be facing a flight of F-35C with LRASM?

If you were driving a FAC (or a DDG) would you want to be facing 4 x F-35A with JASSM?

The attack profiles may differ, the terminal sensors may differ, but would their signature differ much? I don't see any lack of options for getting the kills needed and then to kill everything else remaining with JSM, NSM, JSOW and several other weapons. And the idea of needing LRASM to kill FACs seems a bizarre suggestion for several reasons.

Equally, it needs to be shown that there's any intent to use LRASM for a purpose less than the hardest of targets using the highest level of stealth possible, because that's what's indicated from the profile and techniques described, and what's claimed by LM as well. So I don't buy this supposition they're going to be used for lesser ships - at all.
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Unread post22 Dec 2018, 09:00

element1loop wrote:Low LRASM production numbers and re-eval can be because improvements are maturing or that what exists is sufficient, or that a cheaper weapon for the job is becoming available, within the time-window.


It's pretty much been the +/- POR quantity for years now.

element1loop wrote:If SLAM-ER lacked the capacity to get hits no one would have bought any vanilla BKII Harpoons the past decade.


The Navy has been spending and will be spending money on Harpoon II+ WDL + seeker upgrades. SLAM-ER doesn't
seem to be going anywhere beyond basic sustainment. I don't favor either.

element1loop wrote:It also ignores the reality of NSM replacement and probable JSMs to come.


NSM has no datalink and no RFS. And has a 275 lb warhead. If the Navy is trickling out funds
for JSOW-ER a JSM @ quantity purchase seems improbable.


element1loop wrote:The attack profiles may differ, the terminal sensors may differ, but would their signature differ much?


The attack profile, as a consequence of the datalink + RFS, greatly reduces LRASM's exposure to
AAW sensors.

element1loop wrote:And the idea of needing LRASM to kill FACs seems a bizarre suggestion for several reasons.


Why? SCO sponsored an LRASM study on the Mk VI Patrol boat! It should be noted that even the 500 lb warhead
on Harpoon was viewed as most likely to achieve a mission kill which would be followed by stand-in attacks
with cheaper weapons. Modern networked IADS (ship or shore based) don't commend this approach.


element1loop wrote:Equally, it needs to be shown that there's any intent to use LRASM for a purpose less than the hardest of targets using the highest level of stealth possible, because that's what's indicated from the profile and techniques described, and what's claimed by LM as well. So I don't buy this supposition they're going to be used for lesser ships - at all.


And I'd like to see evidence that JASSM has any ASuW capability whatsoever.
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Unread post22 Dec 2018, 14:12

marauder2048 wrote: B-52 will be assuming the B-1's role for
maritime strike with 46 LRASM in the Air Force inventory.


I can see that the 46 LRASM figure comes from FY2019 Budget Estimates:
https://www.saffm.hq.af.mil/Portals/84/ ... 190220-227 [85th page]

These figures though don't seem to tally with actual USAF orders placed which total 77 LRASM:

https://www.janes.com/article/84840/usa ... asm-stocks
https://dod.defense.gov/News/Contracts/ ... e/1257663/
https://dod.defense.gov/News/Contracts/ ... e/1691653/
https://dod.defense.gov/News/Contracts/ ... e/1492196/
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