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F-35 Program - General Discussion

This is a discussion on F-35 Program - General Discussion within the Air Force & Aviation forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Originally Posted by OPSSG [Mod Edit: This post copied from the thread - F-35 - International Participation because my reply ...


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Old April 18th, 2013   #16
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[Mod Edit: This post copied from the thread - F-35 - International Participation because my reply to Ananda is relevant to the program discussion, here.]



With regards to US JSF funding for A, B & C:

Who pays for A?
Ans: USAF

Who pays for B?
Ans: UMSC

Who pays for C?
Ans: USN (and UMSC is part of USN)
My apologies but I recall that the USMC is a separate service though it is a component of the US Department of the Navy. Some quick googling seems to suggest that my recollection is correct but I shall be obliged if you can illuminate in this regard.

PS: Had to remove a link in your original post as I am not allowed to post links.

Mod: Message pruned as entirety not needed, it would be easier to cross link if a large internal thread.

It would also be more useful if you could post to the relevant area as we are trying to ensure that all the JSF threads stay in their lane and on topic

Last edited by gf0012-aust; April 18th, 2013 at 02:12 AM.
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Old April 18th, 2013   #17
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Hi Fireduke86, not really the thread to discuss what the USMC is as it is not relevant to the F-35 program. There would be other more suitable threads for that discussion that can be located with the search function where we can discuss in detail. Also, in future maybe not quote the entire lengthy message to perform a two line reply, it can be confusing to what you are commenting on.
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Old April 18th, 2013   #18
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Hi Fireduke86, not really the thread to discuss what the USMC is as it is not relevant to the F-35 program. There would be other more suitable threads for that discussion that can be located with the search function where we can discuss in detail. Also, in future maybe not quote the entire lengthy message to perform a two line reply, it can be confusing to what you are commenting on.
Stand guided. Though my intention was to point out the mistake if it really was.
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Old April 18th, 2013   #19
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The Air Force plans to upgrade all 1,018 of its F-16s and 175 F-15C/D Eagles to keep them flying until the F-35A joint strike fighter is fully operational and new weapons systems on the F-22 Raptor are installed, according to the 2014 budget request released April 10. In the fiscal 2014 budget request, the Air Force states the service life extension for all F-16s will add eight to 10 years to each airframe, along with upgrades to the fighter’s radars, cockpit displays and other communications interfaces.

While the F-16s are being upgraded, the service is requesting funding to purchase 19 more F-35As in fiscal 2014 to add to the 11 that have already been delivered. This funding is part of a $15.7 billion request for the “global precision attack” capability, which also includes upgrades to the F-15E, B-1B Lancer, bombs and the continued development of the next-generation long-range strike bomber.
AF seeks F-16 fleet upgrade, requests 19 more F-35As | Air Force Times | airforcetimes.com

While it's good news that the F-35 seems to be protected from sequestration, I am quite surprised that they are now making a major upgrade of all the F-16. Upgrading 1018 F-16 can't possibly be cheap.

It seems "only" 300 F-16 will get AESA radars though:

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The service has left it up to the company to choose a new radar for the USAF's 300 healthiest F-16s.
Northrop


Could this imply that we may expect further delays of the F-35? I thought that production would ramp up very rapidly once we reached that stage? Also, the number of a/c produced per year should become quite high.

Is there a risk that this large upgrade could ultimately cut into the number of F-35 that are being bought? In particular I would imagine that the F-16s that gets new AESA radars will stay around for some time.
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Old April 18th, 2013   #20
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Northrop


Could this imply that we may expect further delays of the F-35? I thought that production would ramp up very rapidly once we reached that stage? Also, the number of a/c produced per year should become quite high.

Is there a risk that this large upgrade could ultimately cut into the number of F-35 that are being bought? In particular I would imagine that the F-16s that gets new AESA radars will stay around for some time.
No, this doesn't imply "further" delays.

It is a direct result of US Congress demanding concurrency within the F-35 program as a whole and then cutting the dollars to do the work required, as well as cutting the number of LRIP aircraft with which to do the work, with the expected delays from this eventuating and requiring something in the meantime to provide capability.

These F-16 life extensions to cover for F-35 delays were also first announced nearly 3 years ago too...
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Old April 18th, 2013   #21
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No, this doesn't imply "further" delays.

It is a direct result of US Congress demanding concurrency within the F-35 program as a whole and then cutting the dollars to do the work required, as well as cutting the number of LRIP aircraft with which to do the work, with the expected delays from this eventuating and requiring something in the meantime to provide capability.

These F-16 life extensions to cover for F-35 delays were also first announced nearly 3 years ago too...
In simple terms, what do you really mean by your statement relative to the F-16, i.e., "It is a direct result of US Congress demanding concurrency within the F-35 program as a whole and then cutting the dollars to do the work required, as well as cutting the number of LRIP aircraft with which to do the work, with the expected delays from this eventuating and requiring something in the meantime to provide capability."? I would really like to understand it more clearly. Thanks.
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Old April 18th, 2013   #22
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I thought the F-16 life extensions announced earlier were for just a fraction of the F-16 fleet and not the whole fleet, but I may be wrong about that?

I also don't quite understand the phrase "cutting the dollars to do the work required", my understanding is that the F-35 budget has not gone down, in general it has gone up or remained stable. Correct me if I am wrong but I though what happened was that instead of just pouring more and more money into the program Pentagon cut down on the number of LRIP jets and used those money to add extra funding to the development?

Instead of saying "cutting the dollars" perhaps on should say "redistributing the dollars within the program". Or has the F-35 budget really been cut?

Also, was it really Congress that demanded the huge amount of concurrency? I thought it was LM that suggested this strategy? I remember some people were very concerned about it and that LM responded that due to the extensive use of computer simulations there was virtually no risk in having so much concurrency. I don't recall LM expressing any concerns regarding this.
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Old April 18th, 2013   #23
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In simple terms, what do you really mean by your statement relative to the F-16, i.e., "It is a direct result of US Congress demanding concurrency within the F-35 program as a whole and then cutting the dollars to do the work required, as well as cutting the number of LRIP aircraft with which to do the work, with the expected delays from this eventuating and requiring something in the meantime to provide capability."? I would really like to understand it more clearly. Thanks.
Quite simple. Operational F-35's won't be in a position to undertake the operational missions it's users require of it in the timeframe that the users need, because largely of multiple poor decisions made by the US Congress. Now the contractor hasn't performed spectacularly to date this is true, but mostly the current issues with the program are as a result of poor decision made by the fools within US Congress.

3 aircraft types based on one "common" airframe, produced by one major contractor without competition. Who made those decisions? US Congress.

Enormously over-lapping production and concurrent testing plans. Who made those decisions? US Congress.

Reducing the dollars to be spent on SDD and the number of testing airframes. Who made those decisions? US Congress.

End result of those decision? Huge delays, increasing costs and fewer airframes. The "death spiral" which everyone in the world can recognise, except those who are apparently "in charge..." As John McLane once said, "Sorry Dwayne, but from up here it looks like you aren't in charge of jack sh*t..."

As F-35 won't be available until after 2017 and it will be middle to late 2020 before it exists in sufficient numbers to fully replace the USAF F-16 fleet, something needs to take up the slack until then.

USAF is choosing a fleet of AESA radar upgraded (as well as other enhancements obviously) F-15's and F-16's to meet that need.
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Old April 18th, 2013   #24
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I thought the F-16 life extensions announced earlier were for just a fraction of the F-16 fleet and not the whole fleet, but I may be wrong about that?

I also don't quite understand the phrase "cutting the dollars to do the work required", my understanding is that the F-35 budget has not gone down, in general it has gone up or remained stable. Correct me if I am wrong but I though what happened was that instead of just pouring more and more money into the program Pentagon cut down on the number of LRIP jets and used those money to add extra funding to the development?

Instead of saying "cutting the dollars" perhaps on should say "redistributing the dollars within the program". Or has the F-35 budget really been cut?

Also, was it really Congress that demanded the huge amount of concurrency? I thought it was LM that suggested this strategy? I remember some people were very concerned about it and that LM responded that due to the extensive use of computer simulations there was virtually no risk in having so much concurrency. I don't recall LM expressing any concerns regarding this.
L-M tried to argue otherwise and concurrency was imposed upon them regardless. They've said pretty things to try and smooth over the stupidity inherent in such an idea (though every program HAS to have a degree of concurrency - can't test something that hasn't been produced etc...) but they've had to try and make do with what they were given or lose the contract altogether. What would you do in such a situation if you were a contractor? Try and make it work, or forgoe a $300B + program?

Development funding might not have been reduced overall, but it has certainly been spread out over many more years, which has had the effect of delaying the program, constantly pushing capability further back, which will take more money in the end to rectify and led directly to fewer LRIP aircraft, which has led to increase cost and on and on it goes.
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Old April 18th, 2013   #25
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Quite simple. Operational F-35's won't be in a position to undertake the operational missions it's users require of it in the timeframe that the users need, because largely of multiple poor decisions made by the US Congress. Now the contractor hasn't performed spectacularly to date this is true, but mostly the current issues with the program are as a result of poor decision made by the fools within US Congress.

3 aircraft types based on one "common" airframe, produced by one major contractor without competition. Who made those decisions? US Congress.

Enormously over-lapping production and concurrent testing plans. Who made those decisions? US Congress.

Reducing the dollars to be spent on SDD and the number of testing airframes. Who made those decisions? US Congress.

End result of those decision? Huge delays, increasing costs and fewer airframes. The "death spiral" which everyone in the world can recognise, except those who are apparently "in charge..." As John McLane once said, "Sorry Dwayne, but from up here it looks like you aren't in charge of jack sh*t..."

As F-35 won't be available until after 2017 and it will be middle to late 2020 before it exists in sufficient numbers to fully replace the USAF F-16 fleet, something needs to take up the slack until then.

USAF is choosing a fleet of AESA radar upgraded (as well as other enhancements obviously) F-15's and F-16's to meet that need.
Ok, now I understand where you are coming from. Undoubtedly, the US Congress has a hand in the F-35 program. However, the congress shouldn't shoulder all the blame as far as commonality in the design of the 3 aircrafts. The USAF should have had a hand on deciding what course of action LM will undertake in the design and development of the aircrafts. The US congress will not act on their own without any input from the DOD and/or USAF/Navy/MC.

There should be enough commonality between the 3 aircrafts that will reduce operations and maintenance costs in the future. One reason why the US congress, the DOD and the 3 services decided on once common airframe.

Simulation came to my mind with the concurrent development, production and testing of the aircrafts. LM probably sold the simulation concept to the nth degree to the congress and services? Therefore, that type of process was implemented.

IMHO, if the US economy didn't go on a nosedive, we will not have all these funding and sequestration problems, because the US congress will just pour more money into the program. In addition, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have something to do with this as these wars drained and continue to drain the US economy.

I could understand why we need to upgrade F-16s to take the slack from not having enough F-35 until 2017 when the aircrafts become totally operational. This will only affect, however, the USAF? How about the Navy and Marine Corps?
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Old April 18th, 2013   #26
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USN should be fine, they've got hundreds of block II Super Hornets to fly, and an active production line to draw from should they need to make up for any shortfalls on a pure numbers basis.

Same would go for the USMC I suppose, although they want no part of the Super Hornet at all (for good reasons - less money to spend on F-35s later). And they bought up a substantial amount of Harrier airframes from the British in order to maintain a large pool of spare parts for their own Harriers.
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Old April 18th, 2013   #27
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These F-16 life extensions to cover for F-35 delays were also first announced nearly 3 years ago too...
do you have a source for this claim?

This is from August 2012:

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The US Air Force is hoping to upgrade some 300 Lockheed Martin F-16C/Ds as a stopgap measure until the Lockheed F-35 Joint Strike Fighter comes online.

The aircraft, which are drawn from the USAF's fleet of Block 40, 42, 50 and 52 machines, will undergo a structural service life extension programme (SLEP) and a combat avionics programmed extension suite (CAPES) upgrade.

USAF details F-16 life extension programme

SLEP and updates for only 300 F-16 is mentioned here -- not a word about SLEPing all 1018 F-16.

December 2010:

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Over the next 15 years, the USAF inventory is projected to dip as much as 10% below the required threshold of 2,000 fighters. As a result, service officials are considering extending the service life of as many as 300 F-16s by as much as 50%, to 12,000 flight hours.
Fatigue test plots F-16 future for USAF

Again, SLEPing up to 300 F-16 is mentioned; not 1018 F-16.

Perhaps one of the reasons SLEPing all 1018 now is because it was not possible to extend the life to 12,000 hours in those 300 "new" planes? Still, I wonder if that is all there is to it.
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Old April 18th, 2013   #28
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There are several ways that Congress/DoD have caused delays and cost increases in the F-35 Program.

1. Demanding Concurrency but not sticking with it.

2. Basing the projected price on a 120 F-35A FRP build rate and then lowering it to 80 (a 33% decrease).

3. When delays were encountered they decided to stretch out development to keep the annual dev cost the same. This further pushed IOC and FRP to the right.

4. They gutted the LRIP build rates which caused the LRIP costs to skyrocket.

5. Rising LRIP pricing caused Partners to pull orders or delay decisions (see Canada and Denmark as worst case so far).

6. The JPO may lose the South Korean bid due to high LRIP pricing

7. They moved the goalposts re:IOC. Initially (no pun intended) IOC was to be declared along with IOT&E. Now it’s after.

Last edited by SpudmanWP; April 18th, 2013 at 01:24 PM.
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Old April 18th, 2013   #29
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There are several ways that Congress/DoD have caused delays and cost increases in the F-35 Program.

1. Demanding Concurrency

2. Basing the projected price on a 120 F-35A FRP build rate and then lowering it to 80 (a 33% decrease).

3. When delays were encountered they decided to stretch out development to keep the annual dev cost the same. This further pushed IOC and FRP to the right.

4. They gutted the LRIP build rates which caused the LRIP costs to skyrocket.

5. Rising LRIP pricing caused Partners to pull orders or delay decisions (see Canada and Denmark as worst case so far).

6. The JPO may lose the South Korean bid due to high LRIP pricing

7. They moved the goalposts re:IOC. Initially (no pun intended) IOC was to be declared along with IOT&E. Now it’s after.
1. There are so many things that can be gained by concurrent processes involved with the 3 aircrafts. Why would anyone change something on one aircraft and not do the same on the other 2 aircrafts when the change is affecting a common item?

2. Why will you go to an higher build when you are not sure of the configuration, ie., functional and physical? Would you rather retrofit more aircrafts later spending more time and money, rather than decreasing or slowing down your LRIP with less aircrafts?

IMHO, I would rather have less aircraft during LRIP than producing more when I know I have to fix these aircrafts anyway? There is a reason why it is called LRIP...the design is not mature enough to go to FRP.
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Old April 18th, 2013   #30
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1. There are so many things that can be gained by concurrent processes involved with the 3 aircrafts. Why would anyone change something on one aircraft and not do the same on the other 2 aircrafts when the change is affecting a common item?
I support concurrency and understand the need for it. Sorry for the confusion and I have updated my post above to reflect that it was the government NOT supporting the concurrency that it REQUIRED that led to the delays.

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2. Why will you go to an higher build when you are not sure of the configuration, ie., functional and physical? Would you rather retrofit more aircrafts later spending more time and money, rather than decreasing or slowing down your LRIP with less aircrafts?
This is the core of concurrency. Look at the above problems that have been caused by the delays and balance them against the increased monetary cost of Concurrency. Not even included in the above “problems with delays” is that by delaying production for so long our fighting forces are at a level below what they would have been.

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IMHO, I would rather have less aircraft during LRIP than producing more when I know I have to fix these aircrafts anyway? There is a reason why it is called LRIP...the design is not mature enough to go to FRP.
It’s lees new aircraft and spending a LOT more to keep ALL the other aircraft flying for another 10 years.
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