F-35 program updates

Program progress, politics, orders, and speculation
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Corsair1963

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Unread post09 May 2019, 02:49

GAO/CBO Reports are rarely worth the paper they're printed on........
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weasel1962

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Unread post28 May 2019, 07:23

In typical fashion, just 1 month after tying LRIP 1-11 numbers neatly, someone just had to order 2 more. Now 501 per May 2019 fast facts.

https://a855196877272cb14560-2a4fa819a6 ... 5_2019.pdf

weasel1962 wrote:April 2019 fast facts per link below. Managed to reconcile the full 499 orders for lots 1-11 reflected in the updates

https://www.f35.com/assets/uploads/docu ... s_4_19.pdf
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Unread post30 May 2019, 16:34

Middle East demand could boost F-35 sales to 4,600 units: Lockheed
29 May 2019 Garrett Reim

"Lockheed Martin believes that worldwide sales of the F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter could reach 4,600 units, a 15% increase from its previous projection.

The company said as recently as 24 May that it projected the F-35 to have a lifetime sales potential of 4,000 aircraft. The current programme of record for the F-35 is around 3,200 examples; though that count includes planned purchases as well as signed orders.

Ultimately, interest in the combat aircraft, including potential orders from Middle Eastern countries, could boost the programme’s total lifetime sales, said Marillyn Hewson, chief executive of Lockheed Martin, at an investors conference on 29 May...."

Source: https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... -u-458548/
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Unread post04 Jun 2019, 02:05

F-35 Enterprise Delivers 400th F-35 and Fleet Surpasses 200,000 Flight Hours
03 Jun 2019 LM PR

"FORT WORTH, Texas, June 3, 2019 – The F-35 fleet has achieved 200,000 flight hours across global operations, a significant milestone demonstrating the program’s progress and growing maturity. Within the same week, the F-35 Joint Program Office and Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) also delivered the 400th production F-35....

...The 400th production aircraft is a U.S. Air Force F-35A, to be delivered to Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The production total is comprised of 283 F-35A, 87 F-35B and 30 F-35C deliveries. The 200,000 flight hours includes all F-35s in the fleet comprised of developmental test jets, training, operational, U.S. and international aircraft. Among the three variants, approximately 125,850 hours were flown by the F-35A, 52,410 hours by the F-35B and 22,630 by the F-35C....

...To date, 400 F-35s have been delivered and are now operating from 17 bases worldwide. More than 780 pilots and over 7,500 maintainers are trained. Ten nations are flying the F-35, eight countries have F-35s operating from a base on their home soil, seven services have declared Initial Operating Capability, and three services have announced their F-35s have been used in combat operations."

Source: https://www.f35.com/news/detail/f-35-en ... ight-hours


Also: https://aviationweek.com/defense/handsh ... ice-target
"...If finalized, the “handshake” agreement would lower the cost of a currently $89.3 million F-35A by 8.8%, or $7.86 million each, from LRIP 11 to LRIP 12...."
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Unread post10 Jun 2019, 22:14

New contract. 8.8% price drop:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa- ... SKCN1TB27T

The Pentagon said over three years the agreement will be worth $34 billion for 478 F-35 fighter jets. It is preliminary and a final deal is expected to be sealed in August for the 12th batch of jets, one of the most expensive aircraft ever produced.

The preliminary agreement details the first year, and lays out agreed upon options for two additional years. The options are there because official purchases cannot be made until the U.S. Congress approves an annual budget for those years.

This year’s agreement will lower the cost of each F-35A, the most common version of the aircraft, to $81.35 million, Under Secretary of Defense Ellen Lord said, down from $89.2 million under a deal inked in August 2018.

Under the options covering the second and third years of the purchase, the price of each jet will drop below $80 million, Lord said. In those later years production would be around 160 jets per year.
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Unread post10 Jun 2019, 22:46

I still laugh when I think of all the members of the ABJ crowd who claimed that the F-35 would never get cheaper than $100 mil.
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Unread post10 Jun 2019, 22:47

there has to be something missing. That is an average of $71M across all variants. You can't build a new F-16V for that price. Okay you can, but that's about it.
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Unread post10 Jun 2019, 23:05

I think there is a typo somewhere as NO WAY IN HELL it "averages" $71 mil, especially given the higher cost of the F-35B/C versions.

What I think is happening is that the "Less than $80 mil" quote is accurate but the total "handshake" cost only relates to LM's portion, not P&W's.
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Unread post10 Jun 2019, 23:32

I am amazed (no I'm not) that no journalist did a quick napkin calc and then asked why the "average" was $71 when they had the chance.
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Unread post11 Jun 2019, 01:06

Lockheed, Pentagon reach handshake agreement on next F-35 lot, paving the way for an $80M jet next year

By: Aaron Mehta and Valerie Insinna

WASHINGTON — Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Department of Defense have reached a handshake agreement on the next lot of F-35 joint strike fighters, an agreement that for the first time includes options for customers to purchase additional aircraft over the next few years.

In a statement, Pentagon acquisition head Ellen Lord called the agreement, worth $34 billion over lots 12, 13 and 14 for 478 aircraft, a “historic milestone.”

The agreement includes 157 jets in lot 12, and comes with an estimated 8.8 percent Unit Recurring Flyaway cost savings from the previous lot. While the Pentagon did not provide costs per aircraft in its news release, that would amount to about $81 million per F-35A conventional takeoff and landing model compared to $89.2 million for an F-35A in lot 11.

Lord estimated that the cost will drop around 15 percent from lot 11 to lot 14 across all variants, which could peg an A model at around $76 million.

“This framework estimates the delivery of an F-35A for less than $80M in Lot 13, one year earlier than planned," Lord said. "This agreement symbolizes my commitment to aggressively reduce F-35 cost, incentivize Industry to meet required performance, and to deliver the greatest capabilities to our warfighters at the best value to our taxpayers.”

The price of the F-35B short takeoff and landing variant and F-35C carrier variant also dropped in lot 12, said Greg Ulmer, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 head.

[...]

Source: https://www.defensenews.com/air/2019/06 ... iyear-buy/
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Unread post11 Jun 2019, 01:09

The F-15EX is looking less and less attractive.....Going to be hard to sell that to Congress! :wink:
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Unread post11 Jun 2019, 03:53

The HASC only authorized two until dev is done IIRC. By that time this whole thing could blow over as actual Block 4.1 F-35s are rolling off the line.
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Unread post11 Jun 2019, 04:31

Well, the House Democrats don't want to spend more than $733 Billion on the Defense Budget. While, the Republicans requested $750 Billion. Yet, the Democrats have control of the House. (the Senate - Republicans)


So, odds are they will settle on a compromise of some sort??? Which, means something will have to be cut! Not saying the F-15EX but it would make sense....
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Unread post18 Jun 2019, 10:43

Greg Ulmer LM Provides Valerie Insinna Info Cheapest F-35 Ever https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFROj6-oJWg

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Unread post13 Jul 2019, 14:56

:salute: Thank you for your hard work, Vice Adm. Winter!
http://www.jsf.mil/news/Releases/PressR ... 1-2019.pdf
F-35 Lightning II Program
Release – 07.11.2019
New Program Executive for F-35 Lightning II Office
Outgoing F-35 Program Executive Officer Reflects on Program Accomplishments
With a commitment to carry the program forward, a new leader took charge of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office during a ceremony at the U.S. Navy Memorial, July 11, Washington D.C.

A veteran of leading multifaceted defense acquisition programs, Lt. Gen. Eric Fick assumed the watch from Vice Adm. Mat Winter, as the Program Executive Officer for the F-35 program. The F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office is the Department of Defense’s agency responsible for developing and acquiring the F-35A/B/C, the nextgeneration strike aircraft weapon system for the United States Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and twelve allied and partner nations.

General Fick entered the Air Force in September of 1990 after graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering. He has served as a logistics plans and programs officer, F-16 mechanical systems engineer, computational fluid dynamics research engineer, Joint System Program Office Chief of Test, Air Staff Branch Chief, and as the Deputy Chief of the Air Force Senate Liaison Office. General Fick has commanded at the squadron and group level and served twice as an Air Force Program Executive Officer. Additionally, he has logged more than 350 hours in the T-38, F-15, F-16, and other military and civilian Experimental aircraft.

Prior to his current assignment, as Deputy PEO, General Fick was the Director of Global Reach Programs for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, where he was responsible for the $5.6 billion airlift, air refueling, training, and special operations.

As deputy PEO for the past two years, Fick became quite familiar with the current state of the program and its vast complexity. Fick thanked Winter for his determined leadership, vision and success across the program during his lead.

"Since he took helm of the F-35 program in 2017, Vice Admiral Winter has been passionate about ensuring the F35 Program’s three lines of effort: Production, Development and Sustainment, were met to the highest standards, while meeting the challenges with vigor and constantly striving for excellence. His acquisition leadership has been steadfast, effective and decisive," said Fick. "His leadership skills with key F-35 enterprise stakeholders, steered us on a course for the ultimate mission accomplishment – bringing the best weapons system possible to the warfighter."

As the F-35 PEO, Winter was responsible for overseeing the $428 billion program which simultaneously developed, tested and fielded three next generation strike fighter aircraft for the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, eight international partners and four foreign military sale countries.

Winter's departure as PEO also coincides with his retirement after 35 years of United States Navy service. With the change in PEO from U.S. Navy to U.S. Air Force, the program's Service Acquisition Executive switches from Air Force to Navy, with Assistant Secretary of the Navy, James Geurts, assuming the duties.

“We have proven the F-35’s lethality as it has effectively carried out combat missions and participated in several multinational exercises, where it dominates the battlespace”, said Winter. “Our commitment remains to deliver affordable, effective F-35 air systems that ensure the taxpayer’s investment provides the warfighter with the tools to keep our nation safe. The F-35 Enterprise is growing its strategic importance around the world.”

“As the operational tempo increased, the requirement to modernize the F-35 Fleet becomes critical. We are embracing true agile acquisition processes, and are transitioning from a developmental and initial production environment to a full-rate production and continuous software modernization environment, delivering technically feasible, operationally relevant capability,” added Winter.

"It has been an honor to serve alongside so many great leaders and support our nation and allies," said Winter. "The F- 35 weapon system is now operational and forward deployed around the world. The size of the fleet continues to grow and we are rapidly expanding its capability. The F-35 is a game-changer for the air combat superiority of the United States and its allies and partners, - and will be for decades to come - I know the program is in good hands as we transition leadership today to Lt. Gen. Fick."

Winter reflects on his tenure with the program

"The F-35 program is more than a program; it is truly a global enterprise built upon a broad spectrum of stakeholders joined together by a common goal - to support the warfighter with dominating capabilities," Winter explains. "When I first became the F-35 program PEO, I gave our warfighters, stakeholders, and JPO teammates my commitment to provide timely continuous communications, make prudent transparent decisions, and deliver on our commitments through crisp, accountable execution. These core tenets of my commander's intent focused our thinking as we transitioned to the follow on development phase, ramped up to full rate production and expanded global sustainment operations for the growing F-35 fleets and forces.”

“As the ‘quarterback’ for the joint force, the F-35 provides new transformational capabilities that will fundamentally change the way our nation’s military operates around the globe,” said Winter. “More than a fighter jet, the F-35’s ability to collect, analyze and share data is a powerful force multiplier that enhances all airborne, sea, and groundbased assets in the battlespace, while ensuring our warfighters can execute their mission and return home safe.”

“The F-35 program plays a central role in our National Defense Strategy which calls for building a more lethal joint force, strengthening global alliances, and reforming business practices to enhance affordability. The F-35 weapons system is a multi-mission, next-generation strike fighter that provides our warfighters unmatched, gamechanging technology in the domains of sensing, stealth, penetration, strike and interoperability.”

“The unique F-35 Partnership brings together our three U.S. Services (USAF, USMC, USN), with our eight Partner nations (UK, IT, NLD, TUR, CAN, AUS, DNK, NOR), and four Foreign Military Sales customers (ISR, JPN, ROK, BEL); each of whom are integral to the planning and execution of the complete F-35 program. The F-35’s projected service life extends out for more than 50 years (2075+), and to ensure the aircraft remains combatready and ahead of adversaries, the enterprise will continually deliver enhanced capability to the warfighter with a focus on affordability and speed,” said Winter.

Pride in the accomplishments and hard work of the F-35 Enterprise

The F-35 weapons system is meeting all of its performance requirements. In 2018, the F-35 program completed the most comprehensive, rigorous, and safest developmental flight test program in aviation history. More than 9,200 sorties, 17,000 flight hours, and 65,000 test points were achieved to verify the design, durability, software, sensors, weapons capability and performance for all three F-35 variants. Ninety-one F-35s were delivered during calendar year 2018, a nearly 40% increase from the previous year. More than 55 aircraft have been delivered so far this year and we’re on track to deliver 131 in 2019.

The F-35 global alliances and capabilities continue to grow. Milestones for the program’s International Partners from May 2017 to July 2019 include: First Aircraft Arrivals (FAA) for Norway, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Australia; declarations of Initial Operating Capability (IOC) for Israel, Italy and the United Kingdom; and training for Korean Maintenance personnel began in January at Eglin AFB in Florida.

In 2019, F-35 flight testing continues in support of phased capability improvements and modernization of the F-35 air system. This agile framework, known as Continuous Capability Development and Delivery (C2D2), provides timely, affordable, incremental warfighting capability through technically feasible, operationally relevant improvements to maintain air dominance against evolving threats to the United States and its allies.

More than 400 F-35s are currently in the global fleet, and by the end of 2019 there will be almost 500 air systems delivered. Production ramp-up will continue as operational testing concludes this summer and the program enters a full-rate production decision in the fall. To prepare for this major production ramp, production experts from across the United States government are working with industry partners to lean out production process flow, increase production quality, deliver parts on time and at reduced cost. To achieve these efficiencies, the program has incorporated a number of performance initiatives and incentives across the entire supply chain to support F35 production lines in Italy, Japan and the United States.

The F-35A unit cost now sits under $89 million, the lowest price to date for the program

Driving down cost is critical to the success of this program and the cost of each fighter is steadily declining. For the twelfth consecutive year, the average cost of an F-35 was lowered. More specifically, unit costs for the F-35B and F35C were lowered to $115.5 million and $107.7 million, respectively; representing a 5.7% and 11.1% reduction from previous lot aircraft – making these unit costs the lowest to date. In fact, the most common variant of the fighter now costs no more to build than the latest version of the Cold War fighters it is replacing. While at the helm, Winter’s leadership drove the price down about 14% across all 3 variants and 3 production lots.

Goals and Challenges

The F-35 Enterprise is embracing true agile acquisition processes, and is transitioning from a developmental and initial production environment to a full-rate production and continuous modernization environment, while simultaneously sustaining a substantial growth of global operations. -- This environment requires the F-35 Program to remain focused, with a true sense of urgency, to build on successes and become more agile to support the warfighter.

“To support the F-35 global fleet and the Secretary of Defense’s directive to attain an 80 percent mission capability rate for the operational fleet by the end of 2019, government, international allies, and industry representatives are increasing spare part supplies, accelerating depot activations, and implementing reliability and maintainability improvement plans to ensure maintainers get the parts they need, when they need them, to sustain F-35s more efficiently,” said Winter. “To speed up repairs and lower costs, we are leveraging government capabilities at fleet readiness and air logistics centers and we are empowering flight line workers with greater authority to streamline standard maintenance actions. Though these combined sustainment and logistic actions and initiatives will improve overall F-35 readiness for the warfighter, we still face considerable challenges to realize these goals.”

“2018 was a very good year and thus far, 2019 has already surpassed last year’s accomplishments with many more to come. However, challenges remain to affordability and timely capability delivery. The threats and adversaries we face today are more complex and advanced than ever before. The F-35’s success is of vital importance to our National security. The F-35 enhances our international alliances and is a critical nexus for future coalition operations. It is a vast, complex, rapidly growing and accelerating program that is moving in the right direction,” added Winter. “Our steadfast focus is on the continued advancement, development, delivery, and sustainment of an affordable global F-35 weapons system that supports the peace and, if called upon to do so, swiftly and decisively wins the fight every time.”

“As my tour as the Program Executive Officer of the F-35 Joint Program Office comes to an end, I could not be more proud of the teams’ efforts across the Enterprise. We are in a great place for the program – and the momentum that has driven us forward, will no doubt continue to deliver affordable, effective capabilities to our warfighter,” Winter concluded.
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