F-35 Multirole Joint Strike Fighter

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db2646

Banned Member
That's right

LRIP - Low Rate Initial Production
FRP - Full Rate Production

The difference being the obvious one, FRP will produce more aircraft per batch than LRIP resulting in lower unit costs.

My understanding is that LRIP is slower by necessity so that the producers can develop and test production cycles which work effectively when production ramps up, it also allows the oppertunity if flaws in the design, fabrication or part manufactuing processes are found then they can be corrected without resulting in a large number of airframes with the problem. Like the problem with a fuel hose recently, it was found, tracked back to a manufacturing defect and now the part is performing as it should.

The issue is people now equating the production numbers & cost of the airframes coming out right now and the last few years in LRIP to the final costs with FRP when there will be significant unit cost reductions.

But like I said, that's from my understanding, so i could have the wrong end of the stick.

EDIT: See ADMk2's reply
I can of agree that LRIP is slow manufacturing to detect and fix all the defects and the baseline configuration has not been established.

FRP - is when the baseline configuration is finalized. Meaning no changes are forecast and as just what ADMK stated 200 F35s or more could come out of production each year.

Don't know if per aircraft costs would come down drastically during FRP, but in essence it should because aircraft configuration is already finalized.
 

ADMk2

Just a bloke
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
I can of agree that LRIP is slow manufacturing to detect and fix all the defects and the baseline configuration has not been established.

FRP - is when the baseline configuration is finalized. Meaning no changes are forecast and as just what ADMK stated 200 F35s or more could come out of production each year.

Don't know if per aircraft costs would come down drastically during FRP, but in essence it should because aircraft configuration is already finalized.
Things will continue to change and costs will lower as production becomes more efficient and components can be ordered in bulk, but there will definitely be a point where production is "leaned out" and can't get any lower. We are however a long way from that at present.

FRP will "formalise" a production standard (slated to be Block 3F at present - the "intial" operational capability) but will evolve over time.

Block IV and V are already scheduled and capability development has undoubtedly already started for these future standards.

The "standard" of F-35 delivered off the production line will of course change as the years and Block upgrades go past as we've seen with other fighters.
 

ADMk2

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If any out there are still following the writings of the Winslow Wheelers of the world, feel free to read his latest opinion piece on the announcement of the first "operational" vertical landing of an F035B by the USMC. It can be found here:

Marine F-35 Jump-Jet PR: Caveataxpayer Emptor | TIME.com

Then feel free to read the comments (which are awesome) but one in particular I'll post here:

The amateurish and slimy is clearly this piece of "reporting" without facts. The landing surface is a concrete pad made for Harriers and F-35B, it used to be Aluminum matting until it was so worn and prone to foreign object debris damage the Harriers stopped using it. It was built before the F-35 arrived and Harriers use it mostly. The darker color of the surrounding area is the infield of the airfield, it is simply a light coat of asphalt over dirt and rocks to reduce rocks, in most airfields this is grass, the desert southwest has a lot of rocks and this is a Mitigation that was in place for many years prior to F-35. This pad is not on the runway, it is a offshoot of the taxiway and the taxiway is the same light color. The author's homework clearly did not involve going to Yuma and looking at anything or speaking to anyone with direct knowledge. Armchair statements or quoting armchair observers, like Mr. Sweetman, make for poor journalism. And Vstillwell wishing this plane would go away would certainly stop you from hearing the garbage sensationalism in the negative about this plane, but would just have these vultures of less than misinformed journalists focus on whatever other hot topic was out there to get people riled up. USMC plans to use this airplane takeoff and landing like a Harrier, primarily from L-class ships with other aircraft. The current ships have to be very slightly modified (yellow tram line offset) and the new ships are simply replacements for the Navy's aging fleet, they are simply building in the few F-35 differences into those ships. As for runway length...at best it is not 3,000-4,000 foot runways, it will be 750 foot L-class amphibs parked close to the fight, closer than any CV much like happened in Libya. When there is more runway, the F-35 will operate like other aircraft, or do slow landings. The vertical capability, much like the Harrier, is primarily for recovering to a ship. It can land on short runways or long ones, or vertical land on ships. The pilot had less experience than some of the pilots in the operational squadron, since it was the first the squadron flew someone with test experience who brought that stovl flying test experience to the current operational pilots so they can learn and fly it as we'll, nothing slimy or hyped up as the author would lead you to believe. The event was real, it was the first STOVL event conducted without test engineers in instrumented aircraft monitoring everything in the jet, it was a pilot who had stovl experience flying a jet that is in operational use with no special instrumentation on the jet flying operational procedures, nothing test about it. Mr. Rusnock was selected because of his experience flying STOVL to bring that training to the operational forces, not for any of his test report flying training. Just so happens the test pilots are the only ones with that experience to bring to the operational forces, nothing slimy or hyped up as the author would also have people believe. I could go on and on...the comment about the Navy being forced to have a stubby winged variant because of the USMC is another laughable lie, the Navy version has entirely different wings, the USAF version chose to keep the standard wingspan of 35 feet vice the Navy's 43 feet. I can't find much correct with the article or most these days, but this one was particularly lacking in facts.
The last article sums it up nicely I feel.

Peter Goon and Eric Palmer, feel free to take issue...
 
If any out there are still following the writings of the Winslow Wheelers of the world, feel free to read his latest opinion piece on the announcement of the first "operational" vertical landing of an F035B by the USMC. It can be found here:

Marine F-35 Jump-Jet PR: Caveataxpayer Emptor | TIME.com

Then feel free to read the comments (which are awesome) but one in particular I'll post here:



The last article sums it up nicely I feel.

Peter Goon and Eric Palmer, feel free to take issue...
Wow, WW is full of animosity and misinformation, these same idiots and the propogation of this type of non-sense killed the Raptor with the low information voter/legislator. Without international partners, the same idiots would have likely done in the F-35 as well, but these folks have promised to improve our stature abroad---(yeah, whatever), they are thankfully, to gutless to want to offend any of our partners. I say thankfully because it is impossible to overestimate the insulation that the Aus/Great Britain faithfullness to this project has brought to our own F-35 program, not that our other partners aren't appreciated, they truly are, but in the face of so much vaccilation from some, that faithfullness is the only thing that will bolster our own commitment, through this sequester storm. Cheers and Thank you Brat
 

ADMk2

Just a bloke
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Wow, WW is full of animosity and misinformation, these same idiots and the propogation of this type of non-sense killed the Raptor with the low information voter/legislator. Without international partners, the same idiots would have likely done in the F-35 as well, but these folks have promised to improve our stature abroad---(yeah, whatever), they are thankfully, to gutless to want to offend any of our partners. I say thankfully because it is impossible to overestimate the insulation that the Aus/Great Britain faithfullness to this project has brought to our own F-35 program, not that our other partners aren't appreciated, they truly are, but in the face of so much vaccilation from some, that faithfullness is the only thing that will bolster our own commitment, through this sequester storm. Cheers and Thank you Brat
Cheers mate.

The interesting point about all of that, is that real operators are getting their hands on the aircraft. Journos with little to no clue are beginning to be corrected as to their nonsense by actual warfighters.

All the doom and gloom BS is turning out to be exactly that, BS.

The old "he's nothing but an L-M stooge" argument is being superseded by the aircraft beginning to be in the hands of actual squadrons and the aircraft (so far) appears to be living up to it's promises, "independent parametric analysis" notwithstanding...

:eek:nfloorl:
 
Cheers mate.

The interesting point about all of that, is that real operators are getting their hands on the aircraft. Journos with little to no clue are beginning to be corrected as to their nonsense by actual warfighters.

All the doom and gloom BS is turning out to be exactly that, BS.

The old "he's nothing but an L-M stooge" argument is being superseded by the aircraft beginning to be in the hands of actual squadrons and the aircraft (so far) appears to be living up to it's promises, "independent parametric analysis" notwithstanding...

:eek:nfloorl:
Thats it exactly, I myself have done a 180 on the issues of three versions, A, B, C, as well as having partners. I was concerned with to many overlapping requirements, but at this stage of the game that has turned into a strength rather than a weakness. One thing that hurt the F-22 was its overachiever status as well as exclusivity, on the other hand the F-35 will have much of that same overachiever capability, and at the same time have a larger audience, and sharing the cost of developement will ultimately result in a more affordable aircraft for us all,and at the same time will already be integrated together as a fighting force
among all the partner Air Forces and Navies, as well as the Marines......All good things at this stage, like I said I am very excited to see the C do well in her carrier quals, those will be a boost for us as well....precisely the reason the USAF and Marines have stood up their early birds, they work, and they need to get to work, the proof is in the pudding, another area where the F-22 missed out???? Cheers Brat
 

db2646

Banned Member
Things will continue to change and costs will lower as production becomes more efficient and components can be ordered in bulk, but there will definitely be a point where production is "leaned out" and can't get any lower. We are however a long way from that at present.

FRP will "formalise" a production standard (slated to be Block 3F at present - the "intial" operational capability) but will evolve over time.

Block IV and V are already scheduled and capability development has undoubtedly already started for these future standards.

The "standard" of F-35 delivered off the production line will of course change as the years and Block upgrades go past as we've seen with other fighters.
ADMK:
My understanding is that there are two configuration baselines, i.e., Physical and Functional. To get to a lower costs associated with the physical configuration baseline, changes must be maintained minimally so as not to affect interchangeability of components, thus lowering productions costs, etc. On the side of the functional configuration baseline, components performance could be enhanced not affecting configuration. I would agree, there will come a point where big block configurantion changes both physical and functional but that will be down the road. FRP I still maintain will not mean lower fly-away cost of the aircraft all affected by inflation, labor, material costs, etc.
 

Blackshoe

Defense Professional
Verified Defense Pro
Looking at foreign customer breakdown that OPSSG gave earlier, I never ceased to be simply astounded at how many countries the F-35 will end up flying for (if all/most things go as plan), and there's always the chance that even more will end up with it once production really kicks up. While I have no clue if there's any stastics or records for this, it seems like the F-35 will end up being the most widely-fielded new purchase fighter since I'd guess the MiG-21.
 

Guynumber7

New Member
Thanks for the replies about Canada and the F-35.

I realize that the Eurofighter and the Gripen would be kind of stupid for Canda to procure and the SH was top of the line...in 2000.

I think future proofing is important. It also gives us national pride, jobs and helps our aerospace industry.
 

Vivendi

Member
By comparing the package costs for Israel and Japanese FMS requests for F-35 to the most recent (Super Hornet only) FMS request for Super Hornet, namely that of Brazil.

The caveat on that figure, is that all of these requests (apart from weapons) include all the elements needed to deliver capability. No-one buys only an aircraft. They buy mission equipment, simulators, ground equipment, publications, support and so on.

So comparing the overall package costs on a per plane basis, you see that for similar packages F-35A costs $200m per aircraft, Super Hornet costs $194m per aircraft.
It seems that using this rough method the Japanese package gives a price of $238m per aircraft -- why is the Israeli package more relevant comparison?

I would have thought that the Japanese package should be more relevant due to the similar number of a/c. I would assume that in a package there are some "base costs" that are quite independent of the number of aircraft in the package?


FMS: Brazil Seeks 36 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets

FMS: Israel Wants up to 75 F-35 Stealth Fighters

FMS: Japan Requests Sale of up to 42 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft as F-4EJ Replacement
 

jack412

Member
Israel and Singapore may get a better price because they paid to be in the programme and not a normal 'FMS' sale.
Also I would consider that some of the buy are LRIP's and not the lower cost full production planes
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
LRIP - Low Rate Initial Production
FRP - Full Rate Production [Also called Milestone C]

The difference being the obvious one, FRP will produce more aircraft per batch than LRIP resulting in lower unit costs.
According to a 24 Feb 2010 Memo by Ashton Carter, the then Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, the US Government fully funded and extended the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase by 13 months; and moved Milestone C to Nov 2015. In other words, the Feb 2010 memo added LRIP 9, before FRP commences. The current schedule has the delivery of basic combat capability aircraft in late 2015, followed by full capability block three software in late 2016. And I'll be happy to be corrected again, by further info.

Therefore, we are both wrong earlier to assume that LRIP 8 is the last before Milestone C. The JSF program has been making progress and is on track for two significant deadlines -- 2015, when the Marine Corps is scheduled to have combat-ready aircraft; and 2017, when development is scheduled to end.
 
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fretburner

Banned Member
Israel and Singapore may get a better price because they paid to be in the programme and not a normal 'FMS' sale.
Also I would consider that some of the buy are LRIP's and not the lower cost full production planes
So Vivendi is right in using Japan as the better cost comparison for the SH right? FMS vs FMS.

Although, the Canadian requirement is up to 65 AC vs 42 for Japan. In this regard, Israel seems to be a better comparison. Or maybe "discounting" is not done with FMS, unlike commercial AC sales.
 

jack412

Member
I don't know, Japan is going to do their own assembly, does that add to the cost?
IMO as soon as you move away from US unit recurring cost, you start to add variables.
as per SAR
A SH is $66m URF plus IR pods,helmet etc in full production rate in 2012 year dollars
A F-35 is $73m URF including IR and helmet in full production rate in 2012 year dollars [2020]
So if the spares, training costs are similar, the total cost should be similar using the same base year dollar and both in full production.
I can't see the F-35 being more than 10-15% dearer than a SH and ADF say they have a similar support cost
 

SpudmanWP

The Bunker Group
Yes, building a F-35 in Japan will raise the cost of those F-35s.

Japan is doing this to ensure Japanese jobs since they did not join the JSF program from the beginning.

See their experience building the F-2 as an example.
 

King Wally

Active Member
Someone would have to dig up the actual links... .however.... when Australia recently requested a price for 24 extra Superhornets/Growlers, the package along with a number of spares and other bits and peices averaged out to around 150 mill per plane. I remember being taken back when I reached for the calculator and hit the divide by 24 button.

Honestly I don't understand the disparity in unit price I read from one article to the next but I do get the drift that its easy to under or over quote unit price depending on what your using to source the info.

End of the day I got left with the conclusion that no truely modern 4.5/5th gen fighter is cheep. They are all expensive so why not go the full hog and pick up whats truely advanced for its time, and right now that seams to be the F-35. My 2 cents anyway.

EDIT* Ok found an actual source...
Australia’s 2nd Fighter Fleet: Super Hornets & Growlers
Feb 28/13: More. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Australia’s official request for another 24 Super Hornet family planes and associated equipment, which could be worth up to USD $3.7 billion. The split includes 12 more EA-18Gs, but its special equipment is missing from the request: AN/ALQ-99F-V and ALQ-218 jamming pods, CN-1717/A INCANS to prevent the plane from jamming itself, and equipment associated with radar-killing HARMN/AARGM missiles.

Without those things, Australia has essentially asked to buy another 12 pre-wired F/A-18Fs, though they can always share the items bought under the May 22/12 special equipment DSCA request throughout the fleet. This request could be negotiated into contracts for up to:

Aircraft & Stores

■ 12 F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet aircraft

■ 12 “EA-18G Growler” aircraft

■ 54 F414-GE-402 engines (48 + 6 spares)

■ 35 AN/APG-79 AESA radar systems (24 + 9 spares – a lot for an AESA)

■ 15 M61A2 Vulcan Cannons (Super Hornets only, 12 + 3 spares)

■ 72 LAU-127 Guided Missile Launchers

■ 2 engine inlet devices

■ 30 AN/AYK-29(V) Distributed Targeting Systems (DTS)

■ 24 AN/ASQ-228 Advance Targeting Forward Looking Infrared (ATFLIR) Pods


Defensive

■ 40 AN/ALQ-214 Integrated Countermeasures Systems

■ 24 AN/ALR-67(V)3 Electronic Warfare Countermeasures Receiving Sets

■ 24 AN/ALE-47 Electronic Warfare Countermeasures Systems

■ 400 AN/ALE-55 Fiber Optic Towed Decoys


Avionics

■ 80 Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems (JHMCS)

■ 32AN/AVS-9 Night Vision Goggles or Night Vision Cueing Device System

■ 70 AN/USQ-140 MIDS-LVT Link-16 or RT-1957(C)/USQ-190(V) Joint Tactical Radio Systems

■ 4 AN/PYQ-21 DTS Mission Planning Transit Cases

■ 100 Digital Management Devices with KG-60s

■ 36 Accurate Navigation Systems

■ 40 AN/APX-111 Combined IFF Interrogator Transponders

■ 80 AN/ARC-210/RT-1990A(C) Communication Systems

■ 40 AN/PYQ-10 Simple Key Loaders (SKL)

■ 80 KIV-78 Mode 4/5 Module

■ 48 COMSEC Management Workstations (CMWS)
 
Think you will find in that price for Super Hornets it has a lot of equipment to ensure threw life costs. You can see 400 fibre optic towed decoys ,extra ASEA Radars,targeting pods ,JHMCS,ect have all added to the cost of purchasing the Super hornet.Lets not forget the Growlers are a very special piece of kit that only the US navy has ,and soon Australia.This speaks volumes to me.

When you put the price of the Super hornet up against the price of the JSF and see the extra capability the JSF bring's you start to see why Air forces all over the world want this aircraft. Pity the jurno's don't see this
 

ADMk2

Just a bloke
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Someone would have to dig up the actual links... .however.... when Australia recently requested a price for 24 extra Superhornets/Growlers, the package along with a number of spares and other bits and peices averaged out to around 150 mill per plane. I remember being taken back when I reached for the calculator and hit the divide by 24 button.

Honestly I don't understand the disparity in unit price I read from one article to the next but I do get the drift that its easy to under or over quote unit price depending on what your using to source the info.

End of the day I got left with the conclusion that no truely modern 4.5/5th gen fighter is cheep. They are all expensive so why not go the full hog and pick up whats truely advanced for its time, and right now that seams to be the F-35. My 2 cents anyway.
It's the deeper level support, training, technical publications and other elements in the packages that make up the difference.

Both the Brazilian SH request and the Israeli and Japanese F-35 requests included this initial equipment, as did our original Super Hornet acquisition, which if you include the 13 years support, means the Super Hornets actually cost us a cool $275m each, of which probably only $66m was actually the amount spent per aircraft as stated by Jack412 in his links...
 

RobWilliams

Super Moderator
Staff member
3rd UK F35 takes to the skies at Fort Worth.

Third British F-35B flies at Lockheed's Fort Worth plant - The DEW Line

Lockheed Martin chief test pilot Al Norman flew the third F-35B on it first flight yesterday at Fort Worth, Texas. The aircraft called ZM137 will join two earlier British aircraft at Eglin AFB, Florida, later this year after it finished off its check flights.
IIRC it was due to be delivered sometime this month, AFAIK as far as UK F35's goes this one has Block 2A software compared to the first 2 with Block 1, these will be the UK's contribution to OT&E fleet and the 4 ordered as part of LRIP 8 will use Block 3 software, these will go on to form the core of the UK's fleet in the US as a part of 17(R) Squadron which is currently the OEU for the Typhoon, AFAIK it's expected to be re-formed in the US on the F35B.

Good stuff, good progress. All the UK needs is a more concrete & predicable weapons integration program for the more important weapon systems, Storm Shadow, Brimstone(2) & SPEAR 3 spring to mind.
 

ADMk2

Just a bloke
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
I looked up what Norway expect to pay for her package of 52 F-35; approx. 61 billion NOK, with today's exchange rate that's 10.5 billion USD, translating into 202 million USD per F-35, which matches what AMD2k suggested on the basis of the Israeli FMS.
South Korea's FMS request is now online for a requested 60 aircraft. The full package is worth $10.8b or around $180m per aircraft (whole package divided by numbers of aircraft only.)

http://www.dsca.mil/pressreleases/36-b/2013/Korea_13-10.pdf

Seems like the $180m - $200m package costs are fairly steady at present. With the exception of Japan (which I suspect includes substantial domestic manufacturing and hence the higher per aircraft / package price tag) the costs are more than reasonable compared to other aircraft types.
 
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