Government Negotiating New ‘Skinny’ F-35 Sustainment Deal

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Unread post24 Feb 2021, 22:24

Government Negotiating New ‘Skinny’ F-35 Sustainment Deal [long post best read at source]
23 Feb 2021 John A. Tirpak

"Lockheed Martin and the U.S. government are working out a down-scoped version of the F-35 Performance-Based Logistics concept the company pitched 18 months ago, but the goal is still to get the fighter’s operating cost to $25,000 a year by 2025, in fiscal year 2012 dollars.

“We skinnied … down” the scope of the PBL concept, Ken Merchant, Lockheed F-35 sustainability vice president, told reporters in an online press conference to coincide with AFA’s virtual Aerospace Warfare Symposium. The government is expected to release a sole-source request for proposals to Lockheed in the coming months, but Merchant couldn’t predict when the company could get a contract.

“The sooner we get the PBL enacted, the sooner we’ll see the improvements and savings,” Merchant said. Under a PBL contract, the company guarantees a certain number of aircraft will be mission capable a certain percentage of the time, and can achieve that goal however it sees fit. Bruce Litchfield, Lockheed aeronautics VP for sustainment, said subcontractors on the PBL plan “have the option to do reliability improvements, repair capacity increases, and partnerships with the depots.”...

...The company has confidence it can deliver on the down-scoped PBL because it has already reduced costs per flying hour by 40 percent, on the items “that Lockheed controls,” Merchant noted. The government controls 49 percent of the cost per flying hour on the F-35, he said, and he quoted the current cost per flying hour as $36,000....

...Merchant said that 92 percent of the parts flying on the F-35 today “are performing at or better than specification.” The other eight percent are being scrutinized for how they can be more reliable, available, and maintainable. Among the approaches is to accelerate the cure time on low observable parts, to turn them faster and get the aircraft back into service....

...All of this “gives us great confidence” that the PBL can eventually be expanded “to the program level,” Merchant said. That said, “there’s still a lot of things we need to go fix, and we need more velocity in the repair system,” he said.

Litchfield [Bruce Litchfield, Lockheed aeronautics VP for sustainment] emphasized that costs per flying hour on the F-35 are coming down, and said the company can “unleash a lot of the capabilities we have, to drive efficiency” on sustainment.

In the field, Merchant said, “maintainers say the jet is King Kong. It’s really starting to improve and … mature.” There was a 13 percent increase in mission capability rates in 2019, and today the fleet average, globally, is 70 percent, he asserted. That didn’t happen because of the increase in the number of aircraft serving—now up to 615 aircraft—but “because we designed in reliability and have worked to improve the performance of those jets.” Lockheed expects to deliver between 133 and 139 F-35s in 2021, he added."

Source: https://www.airforcemag.com/lockheed-go ... ment-deal/
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Unread post24 Feb 2021, 23:23

I sure hope this news puts a stop to the talk among Air Force brass of trying to build an economy 5th Gen fighter like has been in the news the past week or so. We don't need any brand new program starting that will ultimately end up competing against the F-35 and delivering a far inferior product while reducing F-35 production numbers. Such an idea is pure madness. I can only hope that the more intelligent minds within our defense structure can prevail. I also hope this talk of a clean sheet F-16 replacement isn't something being pushed by the Biden administration. But forgive me if I have little confidence in the "big guy".
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Unread post24 Feb 2021, 23:54

David Axe is back with another "told you so" hit piece in Forbes.

picardheadache.jpg
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Unread post25 Feb 2021, 00:05

lbk000 wrote:David Axe is back with another "told you so" hit piece in Forbes.

picardheadache.jpg

Yeah, but it's as usual so bad that it isn't worth reading, and certainly doesn't directly apply to this thread's subject. It's more about Gen Q. Brown's fancy of Will Roper served Digital Century series kool aid as a sign of supposed F-35 fail.
Just that you know what the social media trending F-35 refers to.
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Unread post25 Feb 2021, 00:19

Thankfully I don't see: "picardheadache.jpg" so perhaps that is a good thing - using IE 11 - must be the STEALTH browser.
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Unread post25 Feb 2021, 00:27

Digital Century Series. Sigh. Do these people not understand that it isn't the 1950's anymore? Something like the Century Series might make sense in the context of that era when everything was still largely mechanical in nature. Mechanics are not even peanuts anymore. It is all about computing, software, sensors and making them all work together to deliver to the pilot all of the relevant info about his/her mission environment. The depth of the current technology doesn't lend itself to rapid fielding of new fighters.

Yet somewhere I can see someone fiddling around with the idea of latching on to the Korean K-FX project and developing what amounts to a more low observable F-18C and calling that progress. The fact I have heard these folks talking about the new T-7A trainer and using that as a basis for bringing into service other aircraft only make me think someone wants to spin up a U.S. made version of the K-FX to fill this "need". Meanwhile, here we sit with 180 some F-22 Raptors when today we should have had 500 or more if the folks making the decisions had any intelligence and imagination. Now these same type of people want to foul up the F-35 program in the same manner by introducing a far less capable aircraft that would do nothing but ensure we don't end up with the number of F-35 jets we need. Again, I can't for the life of me even comprehend why anyone would even suggest such a preposterous idea. I can only hope this is nothing but talk to get Lockheed to find a way to lower operating costs of the F-35. But who knows what is going on? Nothing seems to make any sense to me anymore. Black is white. White is black. Right is wrong. Wrong is right. And the people in charge seem more interested in doing anything they can to weaken or destroy our nation than building us stronger.

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Last edited by Fox1 on 25 Feb 2021, 00:56, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post25 Feb 2021, 00:56

magitsu wrote:
lbk000 wrote:David Axe is back with another "told you so" hit piece in Forbes.

picardheadache.jpg

Yeah, but it's as usual so bad that it isn't worth reading, and certainly doesn't directly apply to this thread's subject. It's more about Gen Q. Brown's fancy of Will Roper served Digital Century series kool aid as a sign of supposed F-35 fail.
Just that you know what the social media trending F-35 refers to.


All honeymoons end, the notional Digi century series is no different. I would say the "I told you so" celebrations are premature and retarded. So, David Axe.


Fox1 wrote:Digital Century Series. Sigh. Do these people not understand that it isn't the 1950's anymore? Something like the Century Series might make sense in the context of that era when everything was still largely mechanical in nature. Mechanics are not even peanuts anymore. It is all about computing, software, sensors and making them all work together to deliver to the pilot all of the relevant info about his/her mission environment. The depth of the current technology doesn't lend itself to rapid fielding of new fighters.

Yet somewhere I can see someone fiddling around with the idea of latching on to the Korean K-FX project and developing what amounts to a more low observable F-18C and calling that progress. The fact I have heard these folks talking about the new T-7A trainer and using that as a basis for bringing into service other aircraft only make me think someone wants to spin up a U.S. made version of the K-FX to fill this "need". Meanwhile, here we sit with 180 some F-22 Raptors when today we should have had 500 or more if the folks making the decisions had any intelligence and imagination. Now these same type of people want to foul up the F-35 program in the same manner by introducing a far less capable aircraft that would do nothing but ensure we don't end up with the number of F-35 jets we need. Again, I can't for the life of me even comprehend why anyone would even suggest such a preposterous idea. I can only hope this is nothing but talk to get Lockheed to find a way to lower operating costs of the F-35. But who knows what is going on? Nothing seems to make any sense to me anymore. Black is white. White is black. Right is wrong. Wrong is right. And the people in charge seem more interested in doing anything they can to weaken or destroy our nation than building us stronger.


Don't worry about it. Nothing will come of this, or something will and it will about 99.99 percent likely fall flat on its face. The F-35 has years of production still ahead of it. If its a "stunt" to get LM to play ball, they're playing ball.


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I really don't care anymore. The odds of the "Digital Century Series" defying pentagon gravity are about zero.

All the century fighters are dead

Image


You guys have gotten soft. When has the F-35 not been under pressure, under fire, called too expensive, and written about by whiny clickbait journos?
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Unread post25 Feb 2021, 01:49

F-35A Price Should Fall Below $85 Million, Bogdan Says
March 02, 2017


the latest batch was just shy of $78 million correct?

Beyond expectations. And as those cheaper and more advanced jets hit the fleet, along with cost saving measures that are shifted toward reducing flight hour costs, You'll watch the same downward trend. in fact the emphasis on reducing per hour flight costs is largely the result of the production cost dragon being slayed. Now its onto the next dragon.

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The air force still has a requirement for 1700 F-35s, there's some study brought that down to 1050. We have 10-12 years of production ahead to even get to that number, plus all the foreign orders to fulfill. F-35 is here to stay even if they canceled production tomorrow. (in favor of... what again?) They don't exactly have room to throw away 600 of the USAFs newest and most advanced fighters. Block IV is on the way.

its kubuki theater. welcome to 2014
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Unread post25 Feb 2021, 01:53

The way the U.S. government is hemorrhaging $$$ left and right, what difference does it make if it costs $36,000 an hour to operate an F-35 versus $25,000? I find it hilarious that somehow our government can come up with billions for this and billions for that (or even trillions!), yet suddenly everyone gets all fiscally conservative when it comes to matters of defense. Why don't they just fire up the printers and pump out a few extra trillion like they do any other time they need money for something? Jeez. It is like they aren't even trying to halfway look the part anymore. This whole thing is just laughable.
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Unread post25 Feb 2021, 02:09

Fox1 wrote:The way the U.S. government is hemorrhaging $$$ left and right, what difference does it make if it costs $36,000 an hour to operate an F-35 versus $25,000? I find it hilarious that somehow our government can come up with billions for this and billions for that (or even trillions!), yet suddenly everyone gets all fiscally conservative when it comes to matters of defense. Why don't they just fire up the printers and pump out a few extra trillion like they do any other time they need money for something? Jeez. It is like they aren't even trying to halfway look the part anymore. This whole thing is just laughable.


See? You're getting it!

now lets take that 11,000 dollar difference, multiple it by about 10,000 hours and we arrive at $110 million additional cost. This is surely remedied by spending billions to develop new aircraft.

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Unread post25 Feb 2021, 02:42

I'm frankly more mad that David Axe's career didn't actually get axed.
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Unread post25 Feb 2021, 02:49

Did some one mention the 'crazy pill century series era' (maybe two persons did above - I combined the terms) my fav:

https://www.docdroid.com/LcOkrpy/zero-l ... ighter-pdf (0.5Mb)
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Unread post25 Feb 2021, 03:20

lbk000 wrote:I'm frankly more mad that David Axe's career didn't actually get axed.



he National Interest Complaint
David Axe 06 May 2020

"As a journalist with nearly 20 years on the military news beat, I've worked for scores of publications and news outlets, big and small. I even created my own news website and ran it for years. I rarely complain in public about my employers. That's about to change. A thread.

In early 2019 I was coming off a bad few years running War Is Boring for a chain of shitty owners. I needed work and The National Interest offered it. A blogging job. The offer was ... fine. But @TheNatlInterest soon proved to be one of the worst outlets I've worked for.

Early on, they wronged others more than they wronged me. @TheNatlInterest routinely stole copyrighted photographs and ran them, without paying, atop blog posts. The folks at @thewarzonewire were major victims of this. I frequently complained and often got shrugs in reply.

@TheNationalInterest also urged its writers to churn out more and more stories without offering more money, effectively turning many of us into laborers in a content sweatshop. Every tried writing four news stories in a single day? It's hard.

And then there were the headlines. @TheNationalInterest editors insisted on writing heds. That's normal. What's not normal is to introduce factual errors into stories by way of sloppy heds. Worse, many of the heds directly contradicted the stories below them.

The headline problem caused me levels of stress I hadn't experienced in a long time. And to be clear: I've been to war. A lot. Daily, I was terrified my name would hang on a story with an untrue hed. I spent hours explaining to readers that heds aren't the fault of the writer.

@TheNatlInterest refused to give me paid time off, even a single day, when my dad died, even though I warned them weeks in advance he was dying and they said they'd have my back. This broke my heart. I filed stories a few hours after my dad's funeral. I'm crying as I type this.

@TheNatlInterest in February 2020 asked me to refer them to writers who could handle the pop-culture beat. I said I could do it. I offered to do an extra two stories per week. After some back and forth, we agreed they'd be at the same pay rate as the military stories.

I had told @TheNatlInterest early on that the most important thing to me was getting paid on time. That builds trust. Trust girds a newsroom. In 2019 @TheNatlInterest was late paying me one time. They apologized and made right.

In mid-April reminded @TheNatlInterest that the end of the month was coming. That's when I would expect pay for work I did in March. April 30 came and went ... no pay.

I quit on the spot, citing the headline problem, the photo theft and the trust issue. A week later, I still haven't been paid. Maybe a check is in the mail and I get it in five minutes. Maybe it's not. That's why trust is important.

@TheNatlInterest told me they would not pay for the pop culture stories I wrote, claiming despite our conversation on the topic that I volunteered, in February, to write those for free. I did not. I have the emails to prove it.

Today I gave up negotiating with my former supervisors and called @TheNatlInterest, asking to speak to someone higher in the organization. I was told I'd receive a call shortly. The call never came.

I have informed @TheNatlInterest I will be filing a small claims in D.C. and registering my complaint with the district consumer department. No response from @TheNatlInterest. I am prepared to spend more money that I recoup if that's what it takes to get them to honor their word.

If they doubt my resolve, then they don't know who I am. The Taliban tried several times to kill me and failed. I got kidnapped by child soldiers in Chad. Fighting @TheNatlInterest is the right thing to do and I'll do it happily.

Here's the kicker. @TheNatlInterest could settle this whole mess by simply mailing my paychecks. And tacking on the roughly $1,800 they owe me for the pop-culture stories.

In other words, I now know the price of @TheNatlInterest's integrity and my own rage. It's about $1,800.

I have accepted a new job at Forbes.

I urge everyone not to read @TheNatlInterest.

Since this thread is such a success, I'll add a few more details. 1. It is policy at @TheNatlInterest to write about the "threat" from Iran even if Iran isn't doing anything threatening. 2. @TheNatlInterest thinks adding "deadly" to the headline guarantees a story will succeed.

End of conversation"



I'll let you make of that what you will
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Unread post25 Feb 2021, 04:51

:shock: Another take on the skinny.... (skinny on the lightweight PBL? SMOKIN! SOMEBODY STOP ME!) :devil:
Lockheed Martin has a new F-35 sustainment proposal for the Pentagon that may improve readiness
24 Feb 2021 Valerie Insinna

"WASHINGTON — Lockheed Martin is pitching the Defense Department on a performance-based logistics contract for the F-35 joint strike fighter that company officials say will help improve the availability of spare parts and accelerate repair times.

The new proposal, which would run from 2022 to 2026, is a scaled down version of the more expansive proposal Lockheed floated in 2019. As such, the Pentagon likely won’t be able to rake in the $1 billion of savings that the company projected with the original offer, said Ken Merchant, the company’s vice president for F-35 sustainment. Instead, Lockheed Martin worked to shrink the scope of the contract “to something that the customers were comfortable with,” he told reporters Tuesday....

...The F-35 joint program office has shown interest in performance-based logistics contract that would make sustainment of the jet more efficient, but has also been wary about entering into a deal that would ultimately not have its intended effect.

In March 2020, F-35 Program Executive Officer Lt. Gen. Eric Fick said that the government was still working to “crisply articulate [its] desired role” in sustaining the jet. “Once we articulate that role, we figure out the data we need. And once we figure out the data we need we can finish the negotiations and march away towards a [contract],” he said." [jump at the more URL]

Source: https://www.defensenews.com/smr/air-for ... readiness/
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Unread post25 Feb 2021, 08:15

spazsinbad wrote:
...The company has confidence it can deliver on the down-scoped PBL because it has already reduced costs per flying hour by 40 percent, on the items “that Lockheed controls,” Merchant noted. The government controls 49 percent of the cost per flying hour on the F-35, he said, and he quoted the current cost per flying hour as $36,000....


So LM has reduced costs that it can control by 40 percent and it controls very slightly over half of the total costs, meaning slightly over 18,000 dollars currently. The government controls about the same amount and it seems like they haven't lowered any costs at all... So it's all LM fault and they should reduce costs more... :bang:
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