Block 4 avionics cost

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Gums

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Unread post03 Mar 2021, 17:27

Salute!

Over on the pPrune Military forum, a Brit is talking about the Block 4 sftwe for their jets costing over $20 million per plane.

This cannot be, huh? And I have been looking here on our forums to see what is involved for the latest avionics and possibly hdwe involved with such package.

Gums asks...
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Unread post03 Mar 2021, 18:14

Frankly, I don’t follow it much, but it seems (much like the concurrency monster or various CPFH numbers) that a variety of wildly different estimates for C2D2 have been ‘reported.’ I just searched ‘F-35 C2D2 cost’ and found a 2018 estimate at ~$16B; another from 2019 was $6.6B. And of course, the assumptions resident in each are never/rarely discussed — how many jets, how many nations, which features, and so on.

:shrug:

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Unread post03 Mar 2021, 19:01

A quick look at BLOCK 4 upgrades (hardware with a hint of SOFTWARE) would indicate a TOTAL cost for OLDER aircraft (how old unk but likely the OLDEST LRIP aircraft) would be 20 mil dorrars. Consider the hardware for BLOCK 4 will attempt to put into LRIP aircraft without increasing the cost (but again UNK at this point as LRIP prices not decided):

viewtopic.php?f=56&t=57676&p=449834&hilit=block+upgrade#p449834

This is a good BRITcentric Block IV (intravenous?) upgrade cost from their parlyment doncha know:

viewtopic.php?f=58&t=15969&p=441462&hilit=block+upgrade+cost#p441462

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Unread post03 Mar 2021, 21:02

From the spaz 2019 post. 8)
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=55497&p=420596&hilit=Oriana+Pawlyk&sid=e6fd2518e3126fbb3dcf2d57f15646d3#p420596
Air Force Will Use Older F-35s to Simulate Enemy Fighters
30 May 2019 Oriana Pawlyk
She says it makes solid economic sense. "And here's the reason: We're talking about the early F-35s, so in order to bring them up to Block 4 [software configuration] standards, it would take about $15 million a piece to retrofit them. Instead, we can use them as aggressors quite well," Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told Military.com in a recent interview. "We need to be able to simulate a high-end adversary, and this is a pretty cost-effective way to do it."

As of 2019, it was said to cost $15 million to turn an old block into block 4. But what is the current situation? :roll: I am not sure... :notworthy:
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Unread post04 Mar 2021, 04:09

Salute!

Thanks, folks.

That number amazes me, but I guess the Blocks we had in the Viper and the sfwe upgrades in the Sluf were easier to implement. We did not see drastic hdwe changes in the Viper or Sluf, although our later blocks following Bk10 had new stuff built in versus added on.

Somehow we needed a better contract.... oh well.

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Unread post04 Mar 2021, 12:15

Block 4 capabilities delayed, cost increases by $1.5 billion

In its May 2019 Block 4 report to Congress, DOD reported that the total cost to develop 66 Block 4 capabilities—both hardware and software—would be $10.6 billion for activities planned from fiscal years 2018 to 2024.

The report also included the F-35 program office estimate of an additional $6.4 billion in fiscal year 2018 through 2024 funding to retrofit aircraft from the baseline F-35 configuration to a full Block 4 configuration.

However, GAO “found that reported Block 4 costs did not include all Block 4 costs…and did not include Block 4 costs the program incurred prior to 2018, or that it will incur after 2024,” as the F-35 program office has chosen to exclude the past and future costs in the Block 4 cost estimate it reported to Congress. This decision understates the true cost of Block 4.

The updated cost estimate reflects that the program office will be fielding Block 4 capabilities into fiscal year 2026. This new schedule adds 2 years analysis of DOD’s updated cost estimate indicates the total cost of Block 4 development grew by $1.5 billion to a total of $12.1 billion for activities in fiscal years 2018 through 2026.

Furthermore, in addition to the Block 4 development costs, the program also estimates it will need another $2.9 billion to develop other capabilities, such as upgrades to ALIS.

“Ultimately, without a complete understanding of Block 4 costs, the program could face additional cost growth, which will be hard to track without a complete cost baseline,” GAO says. “The lack of a complete cost baseline hinders insight and oversight into the program’s costs, plans, and progress to date and going forward.”

https://www.defense-aerospace.com/artic ... A-gao.html

20 million USD to upgrade to block 4 is probably not far off...

Lucky those who will get fresh block 4 delivered...

Edit:
The clear implication here is that while Block 4 has been a factor in the U.K. government's budgeting around the F-35, that doesn't mean that it plans to upgrade all 48 of the jets it expects to receive. Quin also declined to offer a figure for the total project cost of the upgrades, though Jennings noted that it has been reported to be as high as 22 million pounds – nearly $27.4 million at the rate of exchange at the time of writing – per aircraft in the past.

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/3 ... -its-f-35s
‘Agile’ strategy fails to deliver as F-35 upgrade two years late and cost rise $1.5bn

https://www.flightglobal.com/fixed-wing ... 45.article
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Unread post04 Mar 2021, 13:06

There will be pretty major upgrades for processing power, memory system, displays and sensors along with software to take advantage of all those HW upgrades. 25 times the processing power and huge increase in memory (Terabytes instead of Megabytes). That will give insane boost for all capabilities for all sensors and sensor fusion system. Memory is especially important as amounts of data those systems generate and handle are astounding. Like the "Big SAR" definitely needs huge amount of memory to handle the amount of data. For example with 10 cm resolution and 8 bit samples, one square kilometer will take about 100 Megabits. In real life it might be more as modern systems tend to use 12 or even 14 bit sampling for higher quality imaging. So capturing SAR images from larger areas could easily take several Gigabytes each.

Like popcorn post here:
viewtopic.php?f=62&t=53205&p=370615&hilit=+f35+pentagon+harris+lockheed.aspx+#p370615

The new hardware and software technology, to be operational on the F-35 by 2021, includes seven racks per aircraft consisting of 1,500 module components, including new antennas and weapons release systems.

Some of the components include an Advanced Memory System (AMS) engineered to improve data storage and generate higher resolution imagery to help pilots with navigational and targeting information.

“Instead of having to measure something in megabits or megabytes, we are now talking about terabytes,” Truesdell said.

The upgrades include a portable memory device which can quickly be transferred from a ground station to the F-35 cockpit.

The new avionics are intended to enhance the F-35’s sensor fusion so that information from disparate sensor systems can be combined on a single screen for pilots to lower the cognitive burden and quicken the decision-making process. New modules for mission systems will integrate into the F-35s Distributed Aperture System sensors and Electro-optical Targeting System.

Faster processers will also improve F-35 delivery of weapons enabled by the latest 3F software drop, such as the AIM-9X air-to-air missile. Improved radar warning receiver technology will more quickly identify enemy aircraft and integrate with the aircraft’s mission data files, or threat library.


I think Block 4 will give really big improvement over current and already incredibly capable avionics system. This is something like upgrading a 15-year old laptop or smart phone to a modern one. New one will feel familiar, but have far better features and capabilties.
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Unread post04 Mar 2021, 13:42

loke wrote:
‘Agile’ strategy fails to deliver as F-35 upgrade two years late and cost rise $1.5bn

https://www.flightglobal.com/fixed-wing ... 45.article


And we know that other strategies have had so much better success rate... :roll:

It might've well taken a decade more and additional 10 billion USD using some other method. Big military projects tend to be seriously late and over budget. Especially so because the customers tends to change original and add new requirements during the whole process. This upgrade is really big and complex and I'd say that being so little late and over budget sounds like a success to me.
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Unread post04 Mar 2021, 13:53

hornetfinn wrote:There will be pretty major upgrades for processing power, memory system, displays and sensors along with software to take advantage of all those HW upgrades. 25 times the processing power and huge increase in memory (Terabytes instead of Megabytes). That will give insane boost for all capabilities for all sensors and sensor fusion system. Memory is especially important as amounts of data those systems generate and handle are astounding. Like the "Big SAR" definitely needs huge amount of memory to handle the amount of data. For example with 10 cm resolution and 8 bit samples, one square kilometer will take about 100 Megabits. In real life it might be more as modern systems tend to use 12 or even 14 bit sampling for higher quality imaging. So capturing SAR images from larger areas could easily take several Gigabytes each.

Like popcorn post here:
viewtopic.php?f=62&t=53205&p=370615&hilit=+f35+pentagon+harris+lockheed.aspx+#p370615

The new hardware and software technology, to be operational on the F-35 by 2021, includes seven racks per aircraft consisting of 1,500 module components, including new antennas and weapons release systems.

Some of the components include an Advanced Memory System (AMS) engineered to improve data storage and generate higher resolution imagery to help pilots with navigational and targeting information.

“Instead of having to measure something in megabits or megabytes, we are now talking about terabytes,” Truesdell said.

The upgrades include a portable memory device which can quickly be transferred from a ground station to the F-35 cockpit.

The new avionics are intended to enhance the F-35’s sensor fusion so that information from disparate sensor systems can be combined on a single screen for pilots to lower the cognitive burden and quicken the decision-making process. New modules for mission systems will integrate into the F-35s Distributed Aperture System sensors and Electro-optical Targeting System.

Faster processers will also improve F-35 delivery of weapons enabled by the latest 3F software drop, such as the AIM-9X air-to-air missile. Improved radar warning receiver technology will more quickly identify enemy aircraft and integrate with the aircraft’s mission data files, or threat library.


No doubt this is a major upgrade (as you would expect for a 20-30 million USD per plane upgrade), and will no doubt be "worth it", providing a system that is far above and beyond anything else out there.

At the same time it is disturbing that the only tier 1 partner, the UK, has decided to not upgrade all their F-35 to block 4 due to the high cost. I wonder what Norway will do, the defense budget for this year is currently at 64.5 billion NOK (7.57 billion USD), there is no political will to go any higher than that.
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Unread post04 Mar 2021, 15:34

loke wrote:
‘Agile’ strategy fails to deliver as F-35 upgrade two years late and cost rise $1.5bn

https://www.flightglobal.com/fixed-wing ... 45.article


If norway had only gone with Gripen like Brazil did they wouldn't even have airplanes to upgrade. sad.

loke wrote:No doubt this is a major upgrade (as you would expect for a 20-30 million USD per plane upgrade), and will no doubt be "worth it", providing a system that is far above and beyond anything else out there.

At the same time it is disturbing that the only tier 1 partner, the UK, has decided to not upgrade all their F-35 to block 4 due to the high cost. I wonder what Norway will do, the budget for this year is currently at 64.5 billion NOK (7.57 billion USD), there is no political will to go any higher than that.


Then you don't have to worry at all do you? :mrgreen:

I wish you got as "disturbed" at the Gripens continually false promises and "adjusted expectations" but thats ok.

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I'm concerned too. Deeply concerned and disturbed. but one consolation will be that the majority of F-35s for all nations will be delivered later in those later blocks. You know like Norway doesn't even have half its complement of F-35s yet.
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Unread post04 Mar 2021, 16:17

Good news: it seems the block 4 upgrade is already included in the Norwegian F-35 budget. I assume that at least all the "operative" 48 F-35A that Norway will get, will be upgraded to Block 4 (unless they are block 4 at time of delivery). Not sure about the 4 training jets, but if they don't decide to upgrade them then it won't be needed for training so does not matter.

So good news for Norway! :D
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Unread post04 Mar 2021, 16:47

loke wrote:Good news: it seems the block 4 upgrade is already included in the Norwegian F-35 budget. I assume that at least all the "operative" 48 F-35A that Norway will get, will be upgraded to Block 4 (unless they are block 4 at time of delivery). Not sure about the 4 training jets, but if they don't decide to upgrade them then it won't be needed for training so does not matter.

So good news for Norway! :D


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Unread post04 Mar 2021, 17:01

hornetfinn wrote:... because the customers tends to change original and add new requirements during the whole process. This upgrade is really big and complex and I'd say that being so little late and over budget sounds like a success to me.


Emphasis added.
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Unread post04 Mar 2021, 17:54

steve2267 wrote:
hornetfinn wrote:... because the customers tends to change original and add new requirements during the whole process. This upgrade is really big and complex and I'd say that being so little late and over budget sounds like a success to me.


Emphasis added.


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Unread post04 Mar 2021, 19:38

I can't keep up. :mrgreen: No surprise there - 0500 here. Went looking for an LM article mentioned in link to another thread by 'hornetfinn' above but could only get this video.

Harris Corporation to Deliver F-35’s Next Generation Computer Processor
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeewCsTSUP0

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