F-35 production must slow - 'Miscalculation' Adm Venlet Says

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1st503rdsgt

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Unread post02 Dec 2011, 07:55

I tend to dismiss doom and gloom predictions from crybabies like Bill and Winslow, but when the program head says something, I listen.

http://defense.aol.com/2011/12/01/jsf-b ... st-slow-v/

Sigh... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hP5KzBJ4 ... ideo_title
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spazsinbad

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Unread post02 Dec 2011, 07:59

OOPS posted simultaneously with another 'same post' by '1st503rdsgt' - anyway this one has a bunch o'quotes. Cool huh?

JSF's Build And Test Was 'Miscalculation,' Adm. Venlet Says; Production Must Slow
By Richard Whittle | Published: December 1, 2011

http://defense.aol.com/2011/12/01/jsf-b ... ust-slow-v

"WASHINGTON: Fatigue testing and analysis are turning up so many potential cracks and "hot spots" in the Joint Strike Fighter's airframe that the production rate of the F-35 should be slowed further over the next few years, the program's head declared in an interview....

..."The analyzed hot spots that have arisen in the last 12 months or so in the program have surprised us at the amount of change and at the cost," Vice Adm. David Venlet said in an interview at his office near the Pentagon. "Most of them are little ones, but when you bundle them all up and package them and look at where they are in the airplane and how hard they are to get at after you buy the jet, the cost burden of that is what sucks the wind out of your lungs. I believe it's wise to sort of temper production for a while here until we get some of these heavy years of learning under our belt and get that managed right. And then when we've got most of that known and we've got the management of the change activity better in hand, then we will be in a better position to ramp up production."

Venlet also took aim at a fundamental assumption of the JSF business model: concurrency. The JSF program was originally structured with a high rate of concurrency -- building production model aircraft while finishing ground and flight testing -- that assumed less change than is proving necessary.

"Fundamentally, that was a miscalculation," Venlet said. "You'd like to take the keys to your shiny new jet and give it to the fleet with all the capability and all the service life they want. What we're doing is, we're taking the keys to the shiny new jet, giving it to the fleet and saying, 'Give me that jet back in the first year. I've got to go take it up to this depot for a couple of months and tear into it and put in some structural mods, because if I don't, we're not going to be able to fly it more than a couple, three, four, five years.' That's what concurrency is doing to us." But he added: "I have the duty to navigate this program through concurrency. I don't have the luxury to stand on the pulpit and criticize and say how much I dislike it and wish we didn't have it. My duty is to help us navigate through it."...

...The required changes to the aircraft aren't a matter of safety or of the F-35's ability to perform its missions, Venlet said. They're necessary, though, to make sure the plane's structural parts last the 8,000 hours of service life required....

..."Slowing down the test program would be probably the most damaging thing anybody could do to the program," Venlet said. "The test program must proceed as fast as possible."

Flight testing of the F-35, though going extremely well lately, is only 18 percent complete, Venlet said. As of Nov. 29, 1,364 test flights had been flown -- 896 of them in the past 10 months...

...Fatigue testing has barely begun, Venlet said. The CTOL variant's fatigue testing is about 20 percent complete; the CV variant has not started yet. For the STOVL variant, fatigue testing was halted at 6 percent last year and has not resumed after a crack in a large bulkhead in the wing was found, requiring a major redesign of that part....

..."The question for me is not: 'F-35 or not?'" Venlet said. "The question is, how many and how fast? I'm not questioning the ultimate inventory numbers, I'm questioning the pace that we ramp up production for us and the partners, and can we afford it?"

This is a long story so best to read it in full at the URL above. OK?
Last edited by spazsinbad on 02 Dec 2011, 08:36, edited 1 time in total.
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alloycowboy

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Unread post02 Dec 2011, 08:26

Being both an aerospace engineer and a Navy test pilot Vice Adm. David Venlet definetly has the right qualifications to make a good assessment of the F-35 program. I seriously doubt if their is anyone beter. I think we can also surmise that he had hand in keeping LRIP-5 down to ~30 airplanes.

http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/the-dewline/2011/10/the-saga-of-lrip-v-for-f-35.html
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discofishing

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Unread post02 Dec 2011, 09:31

It's nice to see a flag officer with engineering degrees.
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1st503rdsgt

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Unread post02 Dec 2011, 09:41

No worries.
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elp

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Unread post02 Dec 2011, 11:31

discofishing wrote:It's nice to see a flag officer with engineering degrees.


I agree. :lol:

"We do not agree with that estimate, there is no basis for that estimate, and we do not support it,"

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elp

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Unread post02 Dec 2011, 11:49

But seriously, the term "restructure" takes on a whole new meaning.

There has been some great engineering in this program. I like the various components in the aircraft that were designed to keep depot visits easier (reducing the need for rechroming as one example). Technically it is not a depot jet. But we have seen those claims with the F-16 and C-17 end up not being true either.

The F-22 was designed where only 5 percent of maintenance action required L.O. refurb.

It went on to have some stunningly good MC rates in deployments after USAF tribal knowledge got up to speed with FOC.

The F-35 was designed where only 1-2 percent of maintenance actions required L.O. refurb. If it makes it through these troubles USAF may see great MC rates in FOC. The problem is that FOC is far away and any intelligent buyer of military equipment wants to see how the U.S. does first.

If restructure of the F-35 program is to be dramatic ( I think it will have to be), it still might be possible to have a strike aircraft that will be useful.

However I do believe the original JSF business plan is now dead. That being: build a lot and hope concurrent testing can keep up through LRIP and really go crazy in full-rate production.

Now, I don't know where this will go. Remember also that milestone-B has to be re-established . That and Venlet's latest comments may have a stark impact on the DAB meeting when it happens.

A rate of 30 aircraft per year until further notice means that some non-U.S. customers are now in trouble. Like it or not, Canada really needed to move NOW to gracefully retire their CF-18s. As some of you know; one can't just stand up a fighter squadron over night. For Canada, time is short, 2020 isn't all that far away in today's slow world of military fighter aircraft transition cycles that don't involve off-the-shelf purchase.

I do not know where Australia will go on this. 2012 may hold some significant answers when Smith makes a recommendation.

Europe cannot be depended on. Norway's economy has some of the least stress and their military across the board has shortage and readiness problems.

Will the latest proposal for a joint Dutch, Dane and Norwegian JSF fleet become real?

All this is important because those 700-some JSF partner nation orders were to be part of the profit margin for the program until FMS payback fees became healthy.

Then their is Israel. Their aircraft will be "bought" with U.S. mil foreign aid credits. If the F-35 is really in the state of health Venlet claims it is, what is Israel actually going to get?

How will SMEs survive? LRIP-5 in the original plan was supposed to be 120 aircraft and now it is at 30. Will we see more stories like Australia's Production Parts?

If there is a significant upheaval in the supply chain, what are the legal issues for payouts based on expectations? What about political fallout?

Will we see the production line be converted into a phased line because of the cut in orders?
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alloycowboy

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Unread post02 Dec 2011, 13:44

@elp, as far as Canda goes it's not really a concern as the the first aircraft are suppose to roll of the production line in low numbers in 2016. As far as europe and the USA are concerned, well they have no money to purchase fighters any way. So a slower ramp ramp up of the F-35 production line isn't really going to hurt any one except Lockheed Martins share holders.
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Unread post02 Dec 2011, 15:37

1st503rdsgt wrote:I tend to dismiss doom and gloom predictions from crybabies like Bill and Winslow, but when the program head says something, I listen.

http://defense.aol.com/2011/12/01/jsf-b ... st-slow-v/

Sigh... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hP5KzBJ4 ... ideo_title


Venlet is the man.

http://navalaviationnews.navylive.dodli ... shootdown/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_of_Si ... dent_(1981)
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neptune

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Unread post02 Dec 2011, 16:42

[quote="spazsinbad"]OOPS posted simultaneously with another 'same post' by '1st503rdsgt'

......The required changes to the aircraft aren't a matter of safety or of the F-35's ability to perform its missions, Venlet said. They're necessary, though, to make sure the plane's structural parts last the 8,000 hours of service life required....

..."Slowing down the test program would be probably the most damaging thing anybody could do to the program," Venlet said. "The test program must proceed as fast as possible."....

...Fatigue testing has barely begun, Venlet said. The CTOL variant's fatigue testing is about 20 percent complete; the CV variant has not started yet. For the STOVL variant, fatigue testing was halted at 6 percent last year and has not resumed after a crack in a large bulkhead in the wing was found, requiring a major redesign of that part....

..."The question for me is not: 'F-35 or not?'" Venlet said. "The question is, how many and how fast? I'm not questioning the ultimate inventory numbers, I'm questioning the pace that we ramp up production for us and the partners, and can we afford it?"
...

"CR.P!"

Every military plane I have ever seen, flew or crewed was "used", with thousands of hours on the airframe and many years old.

With the CTOL, CV, STOVL at only 20%, 0%, 6%, of fatigue testing, Adm. V' is perfectly within his rights to claim "WHOA!" to the LM production schedule. "RUSHING" to produce shiny new "DEFECTIVE!" (<8,000 hrs.) a/c is ignorant besides being irresponsible. I work 2,000 hrs. each year, are these $60M planes only good for 4 -5 years? My question is, with the fatigue testing revelations (small? versus none), should the program increase the pace of fatigue testing with the "found" results determining the LM production pace. I support and see the need for all three variants of the JSF but did not realize that the fatigue testing was so far behind. I could see Pax and Edwards give up some of their planes to advance the fatigue testing.

If LM chooses to risk increasing production in advance of the fatigue testing, it should be "on their nickel, not "us" taxpayers" to repair the affected a/c with the fatigue test "fixes". The JSF is not a "WPA (Works Progress Administration) Program, yet. Another possibility may be for DOD to reserve the pre-fix a/c to testing and (flight) training and limit their operations to within the fatigue test findings limitations. Fix or not-fix, which is more worthwhile? Adm. V' has to slow down producing pre-fix a/c, for fleet assignment. Adm. V' cannot responsibly allow LM increasing production (LRIP V) without settling these cost issues.

In this age of engineering "Concurrency" is the norm. The aviation industry stumbling upon this "New" concept is similar to other industries and they will have to learn to manage it, as others have. The JSF program must innovate a way to advance their testing to remain "alive".
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duplex

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Unread post02 Dec 2011, 16:57

This will further damage the credibility of F-35 as a viable program. My god what a mess
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marksengineer

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Unread post02 Dec 2011, 17:12

If they have already completed the maximum load testing on an instrumented airframe won't they be able to predict with some certainty the locations that will fail in fatigue sooner than the required design life? You would want to confirm the numbers with the fatigue tests but none the less this should reduce the number of surprises. Think what needs to happen is for someone in the program to make a full disclosure of the problems.

Mark
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Unread post02 Dec 2011, 17:19

Wow, this didn't take long...

Tories face fresh hurdle with U.S. call to slow F-35 jet production

Gloria Galloway
OTTAWA— Globe and Mail Update
Posted on Friday, December 2, 2011 9:29AM EST

The Conservative government’s purchase of 65 stealth fighter jets, which has been lambasted by the opposition, is likely to come under more fire after an American defence recommendation that delivery of the planes be delayed because of newly discovered cracks and “hot spots.”

Production of Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter should be slowed because of problems that turned up during fatigue testing and analysis, the director of the Pentagon’s F-35 program says.


Full Article Found Here
A freelance journalist with a focus on the three branches of the Canadian Forces.
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Unread post02 Dec 2011, 18:05

Setbacks have become so routine with the F-35 that I'm just horrified that so many states have bet so much on a single program. And one so wrought with delays and cost-overruns that it would have been cancelled, had they known then how badly it would have turned out. Only 18% of flight testing complete?! And all they've got to show for it is a flyable airframe?! The ******* things can't even fire weapons, let alone use any of the high-tech goodies that are supposed to make it the queen of the sky!

Add complexity and capability into any airframe, and it's going to become unbearably expensive and time-consuming to produce and test. So much for that $65 million aircraft they tried to conceive. They saw this coming, and they did nothing.
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Unread post02 Dec 2011, 18:58

This is the key takeaway-

"The question for me is not: 'F-35 or not?'" Venlet said. "The question is, how many and how fast? I'm not questioning the ultimate inventory numbers, I'm questioning the pace that we ramp up production for us and the partners, and can we afford it?"
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