Words from the F-35 program in 2003 that quickly became dead in 2004 #military

“We are close to resolving these challenges and 2004 will be the year we instill real confidence with all stakeholders in our F-35 family of designs.”
LM F-35 Year in Review (Tom Burbage)–

2004 would reveal the weight growth mess (SWAT), which would produce redesign needs, delay and cost added to the program.

Singin’ the F-35 blues #military #cndpoli #auspol

Sux to be the owner of this program.

You don’t know what you are building because you only have 4 percent of flight testing done yet you want the U.S. taxpayer on the hook for $50B in low rate initial production (LRIP) mistake-jets.

Supply-chain; yeah that is one of the problems. Yes there are “forces of evil” working on this program but that takes on a different meaning depending who you are talking to.

There will be no great production learning-curve to build the fake low costs claim on because hundreds of orders are missing early in the program. This means any partner nation won’t have a low price because there is nothing to back up the PowerPoint slides. Pretty hard to buy at a peak-production learning curve advantage when there is no peak production in the years claimed. Also, you can not have a proper learning curve if the design is not stable. Guess what? The design is not stable.

And what about all those small businesses that were counting on the gravy train building widgets on a certain schedule? We have mentioned this before, but over to the LM sales guy Burbage.

The challenges are particularly acute for some suppliers that provide parts for the Stovl variant, which is “going through a pause right now,” Burbage says, referring to the Defense Department’s imposed probationary slowdown on F-35B procurement. These companies have gone from supplying “17 to 18 units last year to two or three now, so you can imagine their challenges,”

Well that, and the missing STOVL orders from the UK. (as well as the USMC). And it isn’t just STOVL. That is a lot less widgets for the people that make those common parts for all variants.

Tell it to Quickstep Mr. Burbage.

Decline of the carrier air wing #military

Like it or not, the U.S. Navy is headed toward an obsolete carrier air wing that won’t be able to face modern threats. This is important since we are buying overly expensive aircraft carriers. And yeah, getting rid of the S-3 was a dumb idea considering that it could perform a variety of ISR and SIGINT/COMINT missions out at range. Also vs dirt insurgents and pirates with a a modern E/O pod, it could provide enhanced capability.

Some though, think that–even after all of the amazing funding mistakes–things are looking up for the carrier air wing. I don’t see how with shrinking budgets.

What the article doesn’t say is that the Navy had to keep big carriers for the sake of keeping big carriers. In the 1990’s the Navy’s plan for the future was to put something on deck that could be painted up to look like a carrier aircraft.

We might fix this problem but I doubt it. The carrier will never be able to go into high threat areas and face down an enemy. Against stiff air defenses, the Tomahawk won’t always get through.

But hey, victory for the bean counter.

Canadian DND defines the term “grasping at straws” #cndpoli #auspol #military

The Canadian DND defines the term “grasping at straws” with their wish to burden the taxpayer with the Just So Flawed F-35; an aircraft that has a mountain of problems to work through; has around 4 percent of its flight testing done; and is program managed by a dysfunctional leadership that is on a kamikaze death ride off the known map of reality.

If true wild spin marketing was used from the aerospace industry, the Libyan campaign–and the weak air defense–justifies the Block II Super Hornet for Canada.

ELP graphic 2011

The graphic above shows the U.S. Navy F-35C version without the stock on-board gun, but you get the idea.

Personally, I think Canada should start over with a blank piece of paper. So far the only thing proven thus far is that the Canadian DND leadership have serious mental health issues when trying to justify this Ponzi scheme. I am giving them that out; rather than to propose that they have intent to defraud the taxpayer.

Lexington Institute continues their campaign of F-35 misinformation #military

For the Lexington Lockheed Martin Institute, every day is April Fool’s Day when performing bombast about the F-35. Here is their latest effort of cheerleading for the F-35; even to the point of claiming the jet will work against high end SAMs. That is a job for the F-22 and the F-35 was designed with that fact in mind. If anything, the F-35 program is taking money away from other war-winning systems that can take on first team threats like the F-22 and a new long range bomber along with aircraft like the UCAS-N which has the potential to be highly successful as a land based strike aircraft.

I don’t know how LI justifies “fifth-generation fighter” and electronic warfare statements of the F-35 among other wild claims.

Meanwhile, the Government Accounting Office (GAO) has been consistently accurate about program risks.

When will people realize that not much of what the Lexington institute states about the F-35 is true?

Baghdad Bob- still yapping about F-35 greatness #military #auspol #cndpoli

The Lexington Institute’s Lockheed Martin’s Mr. Thompson Baghdad Bob is at it again.

The conventional-takeoff Air Force version will be the most heavily produced F-35, comprising over 70 percent of the domestic production run and almost all of the export sales. The Air Force plans to buy 1,763 conventional-takeoff F-35s, while the Navy and Marine Corps collectively will buy 680 of their two variants. Overseas allies are expected to buy thousands of the planes over the next three decades as they replace aging Cold War fighters and seek a low-cost solution to their requirement for a versatile and survivable tactical aircraft.

Charlie Sheen will clean up his act. The Lions are “on-track” to win the Super Bowl next year. Afghanistan is winnable. The U.S. will see fiscal health by the next election.

Top USAF general, F-35 production a ‘pain in the ass.’ F-35 program deputy-50 F-35s flying by 2012 #military

The top general in the USAF, Schwartz, is learning that anyone can keep to a “revised” schedule; until you have to revise it again.

He thinks that the ability for the USAF to get enough F-35s in time “is a pain in the ass.” He is discovering that wishful thinking won’t fix the geriatric fighter force. And even if they could magically speed up, all they would be producing a bunch of mistake jets because discovery from real testing of a real go-to-war aircraft is a very long way out. But yeah let us keep producing those mistake-jets.

He can see that software is being developed at a “world class rate” but that this doesn’t mean a heck of a lot when the definition of Block 1, Block 2 and Block 3 software has been watered down and that there is a very long way to go.

And again, there is that issue of the faulty Buck Rogers helmet.

He claims the aircraft looks solid but that there are some performance “hot spots” and that it is “worrisome”.

Good news though comes from a not-so-reliable guy with the tarot cards: the deputy F-35 program manager CD Moore.

“The production line, right now, is holding schedule. I think that’s the first time I can stand in front of you and say that. Right now, there are 100 aircraft in some stage of the manufacturing process, and 50 should be flying by 2012”

50 by 2012. We need the rest of the 18 up in the air by the end of 2011. Let us see how that goes.

Gates, the empty suit on air power topics #military

The reason Gates has no credibility on air power issues is that little of what he states on the subject is true.

So even as I’ve touted the need to incorporate the lessons of the current conflicts, I have also committed the Department of Defense, and this country, to the most advanced and expensive tactical fighter program in history — the $300 billion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The department is programmed to buy 2,400 of these aircraft, and the first Air Force training aircraft will arrive at Eglin Air Force Base in just over two months. Having a robust, large quantity of fifth generation tactical air fighters is something I view as a core requirement, and in this era of increasing budget constraints, my goal has been to ensure that core capabilities for all the services are protected. This has meant increasing development funding for the F-35, scaling back or cutting other programs that are not as essential, and intervening directly to get the program back on track, on budget, and on schedule.

The F-35 may be the most expensive but so far has not proven that it is the most advanced program except as possibly the most advanced defense disaster in history when it fails. If the full program is funded (unlikely) it won’t be $300 billion. It will be closer to $400 billion if not more. That is just to procure this obsolete-to-modern-threats fighter. The department may plan to buy 2,400 aircraft but it is unlikely to see that many as the program has already entered the classic procurement death spiral. The DOD also planned to procure 100 B-2 bombers and 750 F-22 fighters. . And, the F-35 is not a fifth-generation fighter. The Gates legacy to America’s air power deterrent is that of a person who does not have a grasp of the topic. Air domination will not win most wars. Without it, most wars cannot be won.