F-35 Production ready to soar in 2019!

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Corsair1963

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Unread post21 Jan 2019, 09:31

Production of the F-35 Lightning II is on course to make its latest rate rise this year, after Lockheed Martin met its contractual target to deliver 91 of the fifth-generation fighter during 2018.

Detailing last year's delivery total, Lockheed says a combined 54 aircraft were handed over to the US Air Force, US Marine Corps and US Navy, while 21 went to partner nations. The remaining 16 were shipped to Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program customers.

Lockheed has hailed its achievement of the 2018 delivery target as "demonstrating the F-35 enterprise's ability to ramp up to full-rate production". "Year-over-year, we have increased production, lowered costs, reduced build time, and improved quality and on-time deliveries," notes Greg Ulmer, the company's general manager of the F-35 program.

That optimism will face a stern test during 2019, however, with an expected 40% increase in output to see Lockheed hand over in excess of 130 units: a rise of at least 39 from last year and roughly double the volume transferred in 2017, when 66 examples were completed.

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https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... 19-455123/
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Unread post30 Jan 2019, 07:25

Lockheed: F-35A Cost To Drop Below $80 Million Per Fighter In 2023
29 Jan 2019 Ben Werner

"Lockheed Martin is committed to producing the F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter for $80 million each by next year and further reducing the overall program costs as part of the next production contract negotiations with the Department of Defense, the company said on Tuesday. In 2022, Lockheed Martin officials expect to negotiate the next multiyear F-35 contract with the Joint Program Office. The goal is to use the steady cash flow from a multiyear contract to drive down further the production costs once the contract kicks in.

As part of a pitch for multiyear contract, Lockheed Martin officials say such a deal will lower the F-35A price to less than $80 million per fighter, Marillyn Hewson, chief executive of Lockheed Martin, told analysts during a conference call today discussing the company’s 2018 year-end results and expectations for 2019. “That’s our target, to continue to drive the unit cost down,” Hewson said. “And we won’t stop there, we will always be looking at ways that we can take the cost down in the program as it continues to mature and grows.”

Currently, the F-35A, the standard take-off and landing variant primarily used by the U.S. Air Force and foreign partners, has a price tag of $89.2 million. The F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing variant used by the Marine Corps and some foreign partners currently cost $115.5 million each, and the F-35C carrier variant used by the Navy cost $107.7 million per fighter, according to Lockheed Martin.

As production increases, the price per F-35 is expected to decrease due to efficiencies in the production process and the ability to lock in lower prices for large quantities of raw materials and components. Lockheed Martin plans to deliver 131 fighters this year, compared to the 91 F-35 fighters delivered in 2018. Within two years, company officials expect to deliver more than 161 fighters per year.

However, with F-35 production is closing in on what’s considered the full capacity for the program of record, Hewson said the company could build more. Increasing the production rate would require coordination with the JPO, the supply chain and international customers, but Hewson said the company could handle increased demand. Germany, Switzerland and Finland are currently considering buying the F-35, Hewson said...."

Source: https://news.usni.org/2019/01/29/40708
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Corsair1963

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Unread post30 Jan 2019, 08:09

This should end any discussion of buying the F-15X.... :wink:
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Unread post30 Jan 2019, 08:56

Pentagon will not cut F-35 orders for Boeing F-15: Lockheed
29 Jan 2019 Garrett Reim

"Lockheed Martin chief executive Marillyn Hewson said she was assured by Department of Defense officials that any order of Boeing F-15 aircraft will not come at the expense of future Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II purchases. Hewson was responding on a 29 January earnings call to rumours that the US Air Force might buy F-15 fighters to fill a hole in its future inventory caused by delayed F-35 deliveries.

“In terms of the F-35, it is well supported across the board, regardless of whatever platform the Department of Defense is looking at,” she says. “If they chose to have an order of the F-15, it won’t be at the expense of the F-35 quantities. I’m hearing that directly from leadership in the Pentagon.” Hewson adds that F-35 orders for the USA and international customers ought to remain steady in the coming years, and could possibly expand....

...In November, Lockheed Martin won a $22.7 billion contract for Lots 12, 13 and 14 to supply 255 F-35 Lightning II stealth fighters for the three branches of the US armed services and international operators. The company says that order was not complete and it expects it to grow further to a total of 478 aircraft once finalised. “Our F-35 backlog has grown to over 400 planes – a level which exceeds the total number of F-35 deliveries we have made to date,” says Hewson.

The manufacturer’s growing backlog comes as it tries to rapidly ramp up its production schedule. It delivered 91 F-35 aircraft to the USA and international customers in 2018, rising from 66 stealth fighter deliveries in 2017. The company is aiming to increase its output another 40% in 2019 by delivering 130 units. By 2021, the defence firm plans to manufacture more than 160 F-35 aircraft annually.

Ultimately, it is hoping for a large-quantity, multiyear agreement around 2022, said Bruce Tanner, chief financial officer of Lockheed Martin. Its facilities have the capacity to accommodate production of up to 180 F-35 aircraft per year. The F-35 is also starting to generate supplemental upgrade business, said Tanner.

“Somewhat surprising, the fastest growing part of the F-35 programme on a percentage basis is actually the development programme,” he says. “And that is because we are starting to get modifications on the aircraft, some international peculiar updates for improvements.”…"
[Adir DROP TANKS?]

Source: https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... -l-455372/
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 post30 Jan 2019, 10:58

That is splitting hairs...........As replacing F-15C's with F-15X's instead of F-35A's. Would be a cut.... :?
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Unread post30 Jan 2019, 12:45

Way to go LM!

We can't produce these world beaters fast enough IMO, with China nipping at our heels..
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Unread post30 Jan 2019, 13:55

USAF should be buying F-35s at 60(+)/yr. Once upon a time their plan reflected that; now it’s 48 and the bump to 60 or more keeps moving to the right so they can chase some new shiney object they want to spend money on (e.g. PCA). USAF has long had a tribal power structure; it’s becoming fractured.

A house divided against itself cannot long endure. (With apologies to Mr. Lincoln)
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Unread post30 Jan 2019, 16:36

Corsair1963 wrote:That is splitting hairs...........As replacing F-15C's with F-15X's instead of F-35A's. Would be a cut.... :?


I think this is actually the cheapest way to get to the USAF's long envisioned "arsenal plane" or "missile truck". I wonder if the procurement of the F-15X reflects a shift in TTP's to address China and other emerging threats.
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SpudmanWP

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Unread post30 Jan 2019, 17:00

quicksilver wrote:USAF should be buying F-35s at 60(+)/yr. Once upon a time their plan reflected that;

It was originally 110 per year... :doh:
"The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."
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Unread post30 Jan 2019, 17:30

SpudmanWP wrote:
quicksilver wrote:USAF should be buying F-35s at 60(+)/yr. Once upon a time their plan reflected that;

It was originally 110 per year... :doh:


Indeed, just not right now. IIRC, there was a step function increase in the early 20s to 80 and then higher.
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steve2267

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Unread post30 Jan 2019, 17:41

Hey... why buy Panthers @ less than $80M a pop, when you can get a 40+ year old Eagle design for $100M each? :doh:
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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Unread post30 Jan 2019, 17:45

I would also think this has absolutely nothing to do with the prior affiliation of the current acting SECDEF. :roll:
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Unread post30 Jan 2019, 17:50

steve2267 wrote:Hey... why buy Panthers @ less than $80M a pop, when you can get a 40+ year old Eagle design for $100M each? :doh:

To be fair, only the airframe is a 40+ year old design. The PW-229 leverages lessons and technology from the F119 program and the use of an APG-63(v)3 or APG-82 gives great eyes to the Eagle, and EPAWWS looks to be a modern and comprehensive suite. It's no F-35 when it comes to systems, but nothing "under the skin" is 40 years old.
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Unread post30 Jan 2019, 18:27

sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:
steve2267 wrote:Hey... why buy Panthers @ less than $80M a pop, when you can get a 40+ year old Eagle design for $100M each? :doh:

To be fair, only the airframe is a 40+ year old design. The PW-229 leverages lessons and technology from the F119 program and the use of an APG-63(v)3 or APG-82 gives great eyes to the Eagle, and EPAWWS looks to be a modern and comprehensive suite. It's no F-35 when it comes to systems, but nothing "under the skin" is 40 years old.


Furrnuff.

Let me re-phrase: Hey, why by Panthers for less than $90M a pop now, and $80M a pop in the near future, when you can get a 40+ year old, non-stealthy design, albeit with very good kinematics and a great radar, for $100M a pop?

If the next pronouncement from DOD is a modest development contract for Boing to stealthisize the Eagle and drop its RCS from a tennis court to something less, then I'll LMAO.

Only other "political" factors I see is if DOD is trying to keep the Boing plant running, and the F-15 in production for possible future sales to "friendly" countries. That idea may have some merit. But I guess one shouldn't expect such a rationale to be plainly stated.

From an economic standpoint, the only other reason I can see keeping the Eagles going... is sustainment costs -- cost per flight hour. I do not have the figures memorized... but I thought the Panther is on pace for its cost per flight hour to drop to, or perhaps below, the CPFH of the Eagle. If, on the other hand, the projections are that the Eagle will be cheaper to operate than the Panther, then that could make a compelling business case. If so, why doesn't Gen Goldfein simply so state? Or why doesn't an aviation / aerospace reporter get a clue and ask that question?
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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Unread post30 Jan 2019, 18:32

afjag wrote:I would also think this has absolutely nothing to do with the prior affiliation of the current acting SECDEF. :roll:


Who knows; in this day and age, it’s hard to tell. The timing of BAs aggressive pricing strategies is likely coincidental, and more likely a consequence of their loss on bomber combined with the perceived shift of the department to LPTA proposal evaluations. The willingness of the Department to entertain and accept unsolicited proposals is what is worth wondering about.
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