Sunday, July 31, 2011

USAF's not very credible F-35 press release

The services involved in the F-35 program have pulled off another coordinated attack. The USAF just issued a press release about the F-35. It uses the term "on-track". Confidence!

General Moore is quoted. The problem is that he does not represent the end customer; the USAF. He represents the F-35 project office, where like many DOD project offices, it isn't about representing the public as a watchdog of their tax dollars. It is all about improving your career and coming in for the big win. A smaller example would be the failed EFV, presidential helicopter and Army's future combat system. What the public got to the bitter end was happy talk from the head program offices.

The fraud pushed by the F-35 program office--and now the partners in crime the USAF itself, hello RICO statute--is nothing new.

General Moore hasn't always been too good on predictions.

Lordy, lordy! I do declare! The general makes a fine casket salesman! He sure do wants you to buy that satin lining!

General Moore states this the other day at the Air Force Association gathering.

"Flight test production roll outs are helping us build confidence in this plan and the weapons system," Moore said. "Now it's just a matter of getting into a good battle rhythm in terms of production rate."

The head DOD procurement guy Ashton Carter mentioned production capability in reference to the budget. That is, the reason that the budget will only allow 30-some aircraft for the next production lot is because the aircraft design is not stable and this is about the max number of aircraft the production line can handle without making a big mess.

Until the design is stable; until there is a tremendous amount of flight testing to verify what is being built are not mistake-jets, there is no production learning curve of worth.

General Moore should have been asked why the Defense Acquisition Board (DAB) meeting--which is needed to verify program worth--keeps getting delayed and, delayed again.

Until that happens, along with the disinformation from the USMC and Navy (all three services stating the importance of the F-35 within days) this program  still looks like a sham. And if the DAB is pencil-whipped, we can expect to see things get worse, not better.


Saturday, July 30, 2011

U.S. leadership not serious about fixing the debt

It is difficult to believe the U.S. is serious about fixing the debt.

The leadership is serious about maintaining a credit rating, but credit is best used with someone that can pay their bills.

The spend-thrift attitude in D.C. is more of a danger to U.S. citizens than any external enemy.

It is also hard to believe the senior political leadership has a clue about defense cuts. For instance, maintaining bases in Europe provides no real national defense value. Nor does the side-show in Libya. Any real strategic thinker knows that Iraq is going to go bad (is starting to go bad) as U.S. troops leave. The enemy in Afghanistan only has to wait as we have now announced a pull out date.

And for those interested; we spend over two billion dollars per week on these useless, no-gain wars. All while over 40 percent of our federal budget is borrowed money.

There seems to be a lot of wailing about personal tax rates. This is not the problem. If you taxed the highest earners at 100 percent it would be much less than a drop in the bucket. No, the real loss in revenue is from off-shoring over 50,000 U.S. companies since the glory days of the Clinton years that the administration was so happy to mention in a tweet. They mentioned Clinton and higher tax rates and left out the bit about our civilian leadership approving off-shoring everything that isn’t nailed down. Our biggest export is empty shipping containers.

THAT, is a lot of lost tax revenue.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Admiral Greenert not very well informed

The deception continues...or maybe Admiral Greenert just isn't very smart on things that he should be smart about... like history.

"Greenert said the Navy has “no alternative” to the F-35, saying if “we fail to bring it home,” the service would need to develop a brand new — and likely costly —“stand-off weapon” that could be delivered by F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighter jets."


The Navy originally backed away from JASSM (budget issues). But it seems like that could change.

JASSM on Super Hornet.

The JASSM isn't perfect (with USAF still having to sort out some issues). However there is a production line, over one thousand of them delivered to USAF and a longer range one being developed. It amazes how Greenert is either deceiving our elected officials or is really just that poorly informed about the history of JASSM with the Navy. The J is of course for Joint; like JSOW and JDAM.

Good luck with your new job Greenert.

UPDATE: Also an LM press release on the troubled JASSM program.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Is senior Defence capable of telling the truth?

We were told...

"The ship presents very well, and from a technical point of view, there are no major defects."

Now we know that was a lie.


Canberra Times crash and burn editorial on the F-35

An editorial from the Canberra Times about the F-35. One thing about editorials is that no one's name is attached directly. Editorial boards and all that.

The flawed assumptions in the piece; there are a few.

"Australian Defence Force planners were no doubt aware of the potential risks when they first assessed the JSF as a replacement for the Air Force's front-line F/A-18 aircraft, but probably reasoned that the advantages of signing up as a development partner (with the opportunity to bid for sub-contract work) outweighed the hazards."

What proof is there that they were properly aware? Was the indicator the cardboard F-35 cutouts handed out to kids at air shows by the DMO? Or maybe it was all the previous noise? How does rent-seeking outweight technical hurdles? Answer; it can't.

"There are also concerns the long delays have allowed manufacturers of other fifth-generation fighters to peg back the dominance that the F-35 was intended to confer on the air forces that acquired it'"

Garbled in transmission. And, the F-35 only qualifies as a "fifth-generation fighter" in the eyes of the marketing pukes.

"This is a somewhat academic question as far as the RAAF is concerned since Australia has too much invested in the JSF to consider alternatives. Defence planners and the Federal Government will be hoping that US Congress comes to that realisation as well."

There isn't much "academic" about worries when engineers state that the aircraft is not survivable, supportable, lethal or affordable. The idea that Australia has too much invested to consider alternatives has no fact to back it up.

There certainly has been a lot of money not so much "invested" but wasted. Some billions have been thrown away. When you consider all the junket trips to Fort Worth; flawed industry decisions to join based on the words of a Ponzi scheme; the wasted money on Hornet upgrades, 6 billion plus on the Super Slow Hornet (another strategically worthless platform for Australia); billions and severe strategic capability loss from retiring the long-range strike power of the F-111 based on a lie.

With that, we do not need to waste tens of billions more on fielding the F-35 which will not be able to stand up to Pacific Rim threats.

Calling all of that an "investment" is far fetched.It is in fact a grand farce with taxpayer's money.

Hope on the U.S. Congress? How about hoping on our elected officials to ask better questions in Senate estimates?

"With luck, Australia will get something close to the numbers of F-35s required to replace its ageing F/A-18 Hornet fleet at a realistic price and in time avoid the need for expensive contingency measures. But there will be little change left over from $20 billion. It is another (expensive) reminder of the fundamental requirement for the Australian Defence Force to have back-up plans when buying equipment is still at the design and development stage."

This from the editorial board is also garbled in transmission. "Luck" has nothing to do with it. Depending on a strategically unskilled thought process from Defence all of these years along with the mass amounts of groupthink, mean that the real hazard to the Australian taxpayer is not so much a future external enemy.

The real threat is Defence which squanders billions on poor decisions. A future enemy has easy strategic planning with senior Australian Defence leadership (and their partner in crime, the DMO) on their side.


First F-35C catapult launch

Empty strategic thought via Defence

Unfortunately, Smith's sum total of air power knowledge (and so it seems those who brief him) can be written on the inside of a matchbook with a large-size crayon.

ALI MOORE: So what does a strike fighter give us that the Super Hornet doesn't?

STEPHEN SMITH: Well, it gives us a capability that will match the growing capability of other nations in our region and generally into the future. Defence capability does not stand still. National security considerations do not stand still, so we are sensibly moving ...

The only "capability" Smith can bank on is PowerPoint.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

F-35 Ponzi scheme still a bad idea for Australia

Via ABC.

"Australia is paying $3.2 billion for the first 14 at $228 million per aircraft - an initial cost to buy early-build units so pilots can be trained on the advanced fighter-bomber."

Australia isn't paying anything for these 14 aircraft. There has been no money handed over for this weak idea as of yet.

Consider this though, brave Mr. Hill hoped we would have the first F-35s in service by 2012. We now know how that turned out.

The real question for Mr. Smith from the media should be, "Why is Australia trying to acquire expensive and faulty aircraft that won't be able to take on emerging Pacific Rim threats?"

And this deception.

"The balance of the $16 billion order will be from aircraft made later in the production cycle when prices are expected to be lower."

There have already been large numbers of aircraft cut from production. In 2003, low-rate initial production (LRIP) batch number 5 was on the order of 120 aircraft. In 2009 LRIP 5 was briefed as 61 aircraft. Today, LRIP 5 looks like around 35 aircraft. Without large numbers, there is no low price. Without a stable design, there is no production learning curve. Mr. Smith is woefully under-briefed on the status of this program. Why?

Hill; gone. Gumley; gone. Houston; gone. And, many enablers of this Ponzi scheme in the U.S.; gone.

“It’s about $37 million for the CTOL aircraft, which is the air force variant.”
- Colonel Dwyer Dennis, U.S. JSF Program Office brief to Australian journalists, 2002-

". . . US$40 million dollars . . "
-Senate Estimates/Media Air Commodore John Harvey, AM Angus Houston, Mr Mick Roche, USDM, 2003-

" . . US$45 million in 2002 dollars . ."
-JSCFADT/Senate Estimates, Air Commodore John Harvey, Mr Mick Roche, USDM, 2003/2004-

". . average unit recurring flyaway cost of the JSF will be around US$48 million, in 2002 dollars . . "
-Senate Estimates/Press Club Briefing, Air Commodore John Harvey, 2006

". . the JSF Price (for Australia) - US$55 million average for our aircraft . . in 2006 dollars . ."
-Senate Estimates/Media AVM John Harvey ACM Angus Houston, Nov. 2006-

“…DMO is budgeting around A$131 million in 2005 dollars as the unit procurement cost for the JSF. .”
-AVM John Harvey Briefing, Office of the Minister for Defence, May 2007-

“There are 108 different cost figures for the JSF that I am working with and each of them is correct”
-Dr Steve Gumley, CEO of the DMO, Sep./Oct. 2007-

“…I would be surprised if the JSF cost us anymore than A$75 million … in 2008 dollars at an exchange rate of 0.92”
-JSCFADT Dr Steve Gumley, CEO DMO, July 2008-

". . Dr Gumley's evidence on the cost of the JSF was for the average unit recurring flyaway cost for the Australian buy of 100 aircraft . ."
-JSCFADT/Media AVM John Harvey, Aug. 2008-

Confirmed previous advice i.e. A$75 million in 2008 dollars at an exchange rate of 0.92,
-JSCFADT Dr Steve Gumley, CEO of the DMO, Sep. 2009-

" ...about $77 million per copy."
-Robert Gates, U.S. Secretary of Defense, Feb. 2008.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rush forward to disaster with the Collins-class replacement

Amazing. Some live in a fantasy world holding one side of the triangle. Read the whole article page by page; slowly if needed.

The taxpayer must rush ahead and hand over billions to the same under-skilled thinkers that gave us the Collins-class fiasco. So far, Collins has cost us $10 billion and climbing.

The author of the above article is described as a Canberra writer. That writer fails to mention that the 2009 white paper was a terrible joke. Dead on arrival.

We should rush into getting big subs. Subs for long range strike deterrent are needed. And somehow this will all happen.

Take this quote.

" us a platform that can host missiles that will strike back at potential enemies in their homeland."

This capability was thrown away when incompetent strategic thinkers in Defence gave up the F-111 on a lie. The F-111 could carry long range stand-off missiles a very long way, hit the desired target within hours, rinse and repeat. A whole lot more DMPI’s hit per day. Deterrence into the 2020’s. Maybe even longer.

We have to delay the decision to buy subs because we have to have some U.K experts see where all the skeletons are buried. Once we have that information—which may show that we have no realistic ability to make home-grown subs--then we can move forward.

The writer above, could have helped this situation out over the years by doing the hard work to expose the lies and groupthink. Well, maybe a leopard can change their spots. Just not today.

Eric Palmer is a Newcastle writer (sort of).


Cheerleading for an expensive, faulty and limited-use, second-tier fighter

The unofficial cheerleaders of Lockmart-Pentagon continue with the softball pitch.

It seems our DOD strategy, tactics and engineers have been downsized, dumbed-down and group-thinked beyond repair
There are some interesting assumptions going on in this piece.

“What the F-35 gives you is a fused picture of all of that, so you don’t have to interpret separate data streams. For example, my Link 16 is telling me something is here, but my radar is saying it’s over there, and this piece is kind of telling me it’s over there, and this one said it’s a bad guy, but that one is showing it as a good guy, and on legacy aircraft you have to filter what the various systems are telling you. Now, the F-35 system is going to do a lot of that processing for you.”

If only that technology was specific to the F-35. Really it is not. The Block II Super Hornet is sensor fused also.Both the Super Hornet Block II and the F-35 are in effect; second tier fighter aircraft.

Then there is  pushing the idea that the F-35 can carry the job. Even to the point that long-range bombers don’t need to contribute to the fight.

“I saw the media reports on Libya and those kinds of things, and now, instead of having to fly a B-2 from Whiteman Air Force Base, and get refueled to take out certain targets because we needed a stealth airplane for the mission, we’ll have the potential to have an L-class ship with F-35Bs or a CV with CFs on it, carrier F-35Cs, and be able to execute that mission without having to bring those airplanes from CONUS, air refuel them, fly all the way over and then fly all the way back.”

You mean, a target can be hit from the states in the first 18 hours of a war by flying an amphibious ship there and back? Dumb and dumber…The long range bomber is there to have a long range strike (hence its name) to hit within hours instead of days, until other air power resources show up. Then there is the issue of once we are there, you can launch hundreds of Tomahawks from a submarine in the initial/additional IADS beat down. We can buy those expensive warshots by the bushel compared to the F-35. Some will get through, even with the best defended threat.

“You have a Day 1 capability on US Navy ships that you can float anywhere around the world. And that’s a tremendous capability for the Navy, the Marine Corps, and really, the nation, to have.”

Just as long as that “Day 1” threat isn’t in the Pacific Rim in the coming years where the Brewster Buffalo II will be out-classed.

The F-35 is too limited for big threats and too expensive to run for second tier threats. And as we all know, the debt will settle this conversation once and for all.

Semper Fi.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Different graphic on the same theme-Picture the debt

I had never seen this version of this graphic theme. Pretty impressive.

"The citizens of USA created the U.S. Government to serve them, this is what the U.S. Government has done while serving The People."

Kind of late to discover you can't borrow beyond your means and off-shore everything that isn't nailed down.


Variety of blood toxins affected F-22 pilots

Update on the F-22 grounding investigation. According to Defense News, pilot blood contamination is way off the scale with all kinds of nasty stuff.

Toxins found in pilots' blood include oil fumes, residue from burned polyalphaolefin (PAO) anti-freeze, and, in one case, propane. Carbon monoxide, which leaves the blood quickly, is also suspected.

"There is a lot of nasty stuff getting pumped into the pilots' bloodstream through what they're breathing from that OBOGS [On-Board Oxygen Generation System]. That's fact," one former F-22 pilot said. "How bad it is, what type it is, exactly how much of it, how long - all these things have not been answered."

H/T-War News Updates

Smith's submarine albatross

It would be interesting if Mr. Smith is pre-judging the results from a review that may delay the sub replacement process by up to two years.

Defence Minister Stephen Smith has announced what he calls a significant challenge - establishing what exactly is wrong with the Australian Collins Class submarine.

A UK expert will head another review into the fleet to examine why at times only one of the six subs has been available for operations.

But one defence analyst says there've been occasions when Australia's had no seaworthy submarines at all and there's no-one in the navy actually responsible for keeping the Collins Class subs in the water.

What if the report from that project brings so many skeletons out from the closet that it makes the idea of building home grown subs impossible? How? Well, some of the people responsible for building today’s troubled Collins-class sub are the same that sustain them.

Today, from this article, Smith paints himself—and an unwilling taxpayer—into a corner.

The answer for Australia was a conventional fleet to be built in South Australia, he said.(Smith)

After initial problems with the Collins fleet a decade ago, the US provided a state-of-the-art combat system and the latest technology to improve the subs' propulsion systems and make them less noisy.

An aside for history buffs, the combat system made by a domestic Australian company actually came in with less cost and better performance than an American solution. But that story is for another day.

Maybe I give too much credit to Mr. Smith’s thinking skills as it pertains to the good of the nation and its defence.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Mr. Smith's trip to the U.S.

Defence Minister Smith is headed toward the U.S. for a variety of meetings.

One of those will have to do about the troubled F-35 program that the previous Defence Minister was gullible enough to show commitment.

Reminder; one is allowed to break the cycle of poor procurement decisions by previous DM’s. Mr. Smith has already shown some promise by engineering a coup to get rid of the head of the DMO. Now if he can only find a way to get rid of the DMO.

So what are some of the problems with the F-35 program; besides the fact that it is a running sore?

Consider the following.

One of the paid mouth-pieces for the program has stated that the aircraft might not be produced in the hoped for numbers. Less orders means more cost and less profit for industry. With the current program delays, industry is already worried.

Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) components are a big issue with this aircraft. There is a reason weapons systems in the past use “mil-spec” requirements. That is so that the military gets what it needs. Guess who makes most of the COTS components? China. This is a huge security risk and, a huge supply chain risk. Along with this there are the risks of the fox telling the farmer the definition of a chicken. Where, the vendor of these parts defines how reliable they are. This issue could be the last of many straws making the F-35 combat hopes a bridge too far.

Cost of the F-35 is still so very unknown.

Mr. Smith, like it or not, will be judged by his press releases and interviews on the topic. If his answer is to stay the course, he will be so very much wrong.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Does Defence know the kind of equipment it needs?

The Australian Army’s effort to get new vehicles could run into trouble.

The Australian vehicle based on a variant that has saved numerous people from roadside bombs in Afghanistan may come in third in the competition. More, one of the main contenders which has components with less kinds of protection against threats, may win.

All of this makes you wonder if the Army has any real handle on their future vehicle needs. These are the same people that got the taxpayer to hand over money for scores of used American tanks that suck up fuel and spares at an alarming rate when on the march.

Also, do we have a handle on our “strategy” in Afghanistan? The troubled Tiger helicopter program is claimed by its cheerleaders to be good to go for combat in Operation: USELESS DIRT. However, that claim is only for daytime ops. Note; a Tiger variant used by the French has already seen a deployment there.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Apache, which can operate day or night and has become an effective COIN CAS aircraft has been doing this sort of work for sometime.

Off the shelf, and all that.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Carbon monoxide suspected in F-22 grounding

There may be a different angle on the F-22 grounding.

AF Times is reporting that carbon monoxide from the engines may have contaminated the life support system. There has been no official confirmation from the USAF.

The prolonged grounding of the Air Force’s F-22 Raptor fleet may be due to carbon monoxide entering the cockpit via the aircraft’s oxygen system, two sources said.

Service leaders grounded the stealthy twin-engine fighter May 3, after 14 incidents when F-22 pilots suffered “hypoxia-like symptoms.”

Air Force officials initially suspected a problem with the aircraft’s On-Board Oxygen Generation System (OBOGS), but that is looking less likely, the sources said.

Instead, investigators now suspect that carbon monoxide generated by the plane’s jet engines is getting into the cockpit.

Part of the problem may be the procedures used at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, where most of the known incidents have occurred. Because of the harsh climate, pilots often start their jet engines inside a hangar before taking off. Investigators suspect that exhaust gases are getting trapped in the building and subsequently sucked back into the engines, where they enter the bleed air intakes that supply the OBOGS, sources said.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

DOD budget cuts and the national debt

A double hit from G. Not much to fault with the writer's opinion here.

"With the Ford class aircraft carrier running around $14 billion to procure the first ship, and the Joint Strike Fighter running around $3 billion just to procure the aircraft for two squadrons for the carrier, not to mention the remarkably high per-hour flight cost of the JSF, nor to mention the coming UCAS addition to the air wing, and stack on costs for the loss of efficiencies that occur when supporting multiple types of aircraft instead of 1 type (F-18), and before you get to other operational costs and organizational costs you find that the cost of building and fielding a single big deck aircraft carrier is simply unaffordable by any metric."

Actually two as there is a big difference in supply chain items between the legacy and Super Hornet. However the point above is on the right track. And, the sleeping giant in charge of the purse is becoming more aware.

"To be perfectly honest, the costs on everything related to carrier strike groups has grown so high over the last few years that the Ford class carrier centric organizational model for US Navy forces is almost certainly a worse investment than other credible alternatives even if the money did exist. The budget challenges facing the Navy simply force the issue."

Chronic problems like this do not help either.

The budget cuts will happen. What will make them bad is the DOD has little or no sense of how to procure or sustain weapons systems. What makes it worse is after the Cold War, we down-sized a lot of tribal knowledge. Skills like, oh; I don't know; let us call them engineers.

I think when the debt has her coming out party--wearing of course, red--we will see parked ships and aircraft because there is no way to pay for anything.

And, outside this blog, I am always the guy trying to keep the team's spirits up. Der optimist. Hard to do on the topic of defense.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Summary of Defence/RAN/DMO sustainment and leadership problems

Here is a great overview on the problem.

"Perhaps the lesson we are just now learning is that it's time to put aside the glory of ANZAC, to probe beyond the courage of our soldiers, sailors, and airmen, and for the first time objectively answer one important question – just how good is our Defence force, really?"


Define "outclassed"

From this article; I disagree with the following statement.

"Several key defence acquisition programs were deferred for many years. The first of the new submarines to replace the Collins class now is not scheduled to be operational until at least 2028 and some in government are favouring cheap, limited-capability European boats. These small vessels would be outclassed in the western Pacific in the 2030s and 40s."

A submarine that is available and works beats a fantasy super-sub dream with no industry capability to back it up; every time. A 212 being out-classed. That is an interesting theory.

Although I am interested in Mr. Babbage's definition of outclassed. Does he mean in the manner of how the F-35 will be outclassed in the Pacific Rim?


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lack of oxygen for the decision makers

There is a lot going on with the discussion over on ARES about how nasty things can be for a pilot at extreme altitudes.

Part of it I blame on the DOD in general and not just the service chiefs. There was a time when flight medicine research and aerospace engineering in-general was well funded. After the end of the Cold War, those kinds of resources were trimmed and pushed on to the contractor. This allowed for a situation with a de-skilled service trying to peer review contractor claims.


In the absence of non-groupthinking engineers, p-suits and canned oxygen is looking pretty tasty right about now.

All this, gives the impression that the DOD has stopped learning or stopped wanting to learn. It didn’t used to be that way.

(F-104 pilot with a pressure suit)

Rating U.S. and China defense industry

So apparently the U.S. defense worker still has an edge. This is according to some that continue to cheerlead with great abandon about the quality of U.S. military wares.

These same kind of people think that China is 10 to 15 years away from having a credible threat air power. While communist China’s thievery of intellectual property knows no bounds, China has a few advantages going for them.

Consider this in the area of defense projects. Their work force doesn’t cost as much. Ours does. They are not in massive debt. We are. They have massive amounts of engineers. We do not. K thru 12 education in the U.S, where the potential engineer starts; is a shambles. They are continually growing engineers. We are not. They have a strong work ethic. Our workers have other activities during the day.

And U.S. industry must think so too. Why else do they try and employ anyone but a U.S. worker while they off-shore anything that isn't nailed down? U.S. aerospace industry representation in communist China is huge.

So when will China have the kind of high-end jet engines needed to power the J-20? Sooner than we think.

Add to this that our carrier air wing (today and the future) is obsolete vs. high end threats. We have sold out Taiwan so as not to make the communists mad. We have prevented F-22s from being sold to Japan; so as not to make the communists mad.

Continue to dream. Maybe it will all just go away.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Trailer for Contagion

Gee thanks Sam. I'm scared already.

Looks cool.

The next phase for the F-35—how to cancel it without killing industry and defense posture

The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) is correct to be upset over questionable costs and questionable capability with the F-35 program. With the current path of the F-35 program, it is not a matter if it will fail but when.

If the F-35 has its Cheney moment, it could cause a collapse in the military aerospace industry (including the significant amount of small sub-contractors), like the world has never seen.

"The A-12 I did terminate. It was not an easy decision to make because it's an important requirement that we're trying to fulfill. But no one could tell me how much the program was going to cost, even just through the full scale development phase, or when it would be available. And data that had been presented at one point a few months ago turned out to be invalid and inaccurate."

Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, 1991

To put it in terms those from Cowtown understand, the plan should be: how to get off the bronco without it killing the rider. The worldwide customers have to look for an alternate aircraft. For a few, other existing aircraft may be good enough. For high threat areas like the Pacific Rim, only the F-22 will do.

The F-35 has a lot of great technology ideas in the design such as the following:

-Minimize corrosion specific refurbishment over its life time. This is huge.

-The goal of where only 2 percent of maintenance actions require refurbishment of low observable material.

-The kinds of sensor fusion goals in the aircraft.

The problem is that the aircraft design is currently fragile, troubled and expensive. There is no realistic expectation that it will be able to stand up to high end threats over its supposed lifetime. It was designed with the idea that there would be enough F-22s to take on the high end threats.

The F-35 is not ready to be produced at the rate dreamed of over 10 years ago. Production of this aircraft should stop. When the aircraft is tested to a suitable level, production should start again: at a slow rate, with a non-moving production line. There just is not the need for a large number of second-tier tactical aircraft that can’t take on high-end threats and will be too expensive to operate to perform low-threat missions.

To save Lockheed (and other industries) from themselves, resources should be put toward F-22 production for those countries that need the deterrent firepower. That would be the U.S., Australia, Japan and Israel. It won’t be a perfect industry save but it will save industry from completely dying which is exactly what will happen when the F-35 fails with no plan-B to back it up.

The Hill needs to get a move on with this effort. The letter by the SASC to DOD the other day is the start of asking the correct questions of how to deal with failure. More questions need to be asked on how to reshuffle now—painful as it surely will be—so that a complete death of the F-35 won’t drag industry into ruin.

What can you do? Write your Congressmen and Senator; especially if you have anything to do with the F-35 industry. For non-U.S. countries like Australia, write your representative and show your concern.  If we start now, we might have a chance.

If we wait for the F-35 program to be cancelled and do nothing, it will be too late. That, and no one will want to buy obsolete aircraft from the U.S. The choices for Lockheed Martin will be to shrink drastically and hope to get bought out by Boeing or cease to exist. Other industries depending solely on the F-35 will die hard.

None of us want this to happen.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

England's alternate defense reality

Time Magazine's Battleland blog  has an interesting read about an op/ed done by Gordon England in the NY Times.

It hits some of the high points of the revolving door career of England and his love for special interest. Fort Worth uber alles.

England was so in love with protecting the Just So Flawed that he cried over the issue of funding F-22 production.

To get an idea of the inflated ego involved, you must view this photo (warning; large image) on the largest screen possible. Maybe even a wall poster would not do the message justice.

What else about  England and his opinions on Defense? He never served a day in uniform. It is people like England that have made the defense power of the U.S. weaker and not stronger.

England does get one thing right from the NY Times op/ed.

"Budget decisions do have consequences, and making the right ones is crucial for our nation’s security."

Look in the mirror Mr. England.

Not much of a matter, now that there is no money to clean up the billions wasted in poor decisions by England's kind.

H/T-Ares blog

The Federal Government can't stop spending money

The kleptocracy known as the federal government can’t stop spending money.

Both of the major corrupt mainstream (entrenched) parties tell us they have the solution. They do not.

With over 40 percent of the federal budget running on borrowed money, we are long past the stage of hoping it will all work out. Performing what are minor budget cuts will not work.

Raising taxes won’t contribute to solving the problem. This would only be a microscopic portion of money; even if you taxed the highest earners at 100 percent. So here, the president complaining about corporate jet owners while he flies around on a gas-guzzling 747 doesn’t show much leadership by example. If wanted to do that, he would in on a “corporate jet” and save some money.

Raising fatherless kids and collecting a government welfare check has to be ended as a career path. Those that go to work every day cannot afford to pay for this largess.

Off-shoring everything that isn’t nailed to the floor has to stop. In the last 10 years, over 40,000 businesses have left the United States. Most of these are those critical sub-100 person shops that were a huge contributor to our tax base. If a company wants to locate overseas, they should no longer enjoy the protection of the U.S. taxpayer. End disastrous treaties like NAFTA and bring back tariffs. Do that, or continue to watch the U.S. become a third world nation.

We are now at the stage where whole portions of the federal government will have to be eliminated if we want to have a chance at survival. It is the United States of America. It is not the United Federal Government of America. Move some services back to the states. For instance, the Department of Education—by virtue of their poor performance—brings nothing to the fight. Close it down. There are plenty of other examples.

One can nation-build at home and still not have an isolationist foreign policy. Do not let those that love funding foreign lost causes use the label “isolationist”. Ridicule them at every opportunity. Operation: USELESS DIRT (and Libya), consume billions, per week, for no valid defense of the nation.

Defense is a small part of the Federal Budget Problem but still an important one.  For instance; today, we fund a Navy that cannot (or refuses) to provide solutions to fight piracy. Why do we have a Navy with global reach if they cannot take this threat on with gusto? The Navy continues to buy the wrong equipment which is not very useful for high-end threats (look at the carrier air wing) and isn’t very useful for low end threats (look at the carrier air wing).  The USAF is consuming great amounts of money but also is misdirected against threats and capabilities. Only one example this time. The USAF provides airlift but the C-17 (if one looks at how it consumes fuel) is not a “strategic” airlifter.  We have a Marine Corps that is doing the job of a second Army and an Army that is struggling even if it is doing most of the heavy lifting in our useless wars.

One defense issue I feel strongly about is to bring back the draft.  This does a few good things and should not be misinterpreted or fear-mongered. First, it provides the potential for a huge amount of manpower for defense and national emergencies when needed. Second, politicians will only engage in wars if they can justify it to the public. You might even see a President stand in front of Congress and ask permission for a declaration of war. This will help stop us from getting into wars of no gain. Third; a by-product of this will beef up our National Guard and the Naval Reserve. It would also have spin-off (indirect) benefits for the Coast Guard and other Department of Homeland Security agencies. Fourth; it will reduce some of the stress on the career officers, NCOs and enlisted technicians.  Fifth, it will make our manpower problems (USAF and Navy still have no clue how to pipeline manpower without creating really stupid looking bathtub diagrams highlighting gross errors) more scalable.  There would be a lot of resistance for this idea; mostly from those that want to generate fear to protect the status-quo. Two years; enlisted rise to E-2 or maybe  E-3; officers get to O-1 or maybe O-2 and you are out.

Can the U.S. avoid looking like Greece? I doubt it. Unlike the state governments who cannot print their own money when they go into the red, the Federal Government has turned into a cancer for the American taxpayer.

The Federal Government (as a disease) would rather see soup lines than reduce its footprint. It will take some strong leadership to get us out of this problem. Leadership that the dysfunctional two-party system might be unable to provide.


Friday, July 15, 2011

SASC asks DOD how to cancel F-35 and opposes paying cost over-runs

What will it cost to cancel the F-35 program? Who will pay for F-35 cost over-runs that the DOD has announced?

According to Inside Defense (subscription), the usual suspects over at the Senate Armed Services Committee (Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI) and John McCain (R-AZ)) have sent a formal letter to the new Secretary of Defense Panetta requesting an estimate of what it would take to cancel the F-35 program.

A quote from the letter obtained by Inside Defense states:

“The Committee is concerned about three quarters of a billion dollars in increases in these three contracts since last year," the letter reads. “That raises many questions that must be answered before a decision is made on this reprogramming, including . . . what would be our legal obligations and our costs if we were to terminate the F-35 program now.”

Then there is the issue of paying for cost blow-outs. McCain does not want the Hill to authorize any money for F-35 cost over-runs.

According a publication named The Hill:

“The $771 million overrun covers the first 28 F-35s the Pentagon is buying. The Pentagon informed lawmakers on Monday of a need to move monies within its budget for a $264 million down payment, as the aide called it, via a reprogramming request sent across the Potomac River in June.

‘I intend to strongly oppose future ‘reprogramming requests’ unless they can be fully justified to the American taxpayer,’ said McCain.”

Meanwhile, the followers of the Jim Jones theory of weapons procurement have stated everything is going great. Not mentioned is that nearly 10 years after the award to the prime contractor, not one weapon has been cleared; there have been no operational exercises; and initial operating capability is a long way away; pencil-whipped or otherwise. All this for a weapon's system that will be obsolete.

UPDATE from Flight Global - F-35 LRIP overrun value raised to $1.15B


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Links of Interest 14 July 2011

Nothing new here? Australian government bureaucrats don’t tell the truth or mislead in hearings to our elected officials.

And, more on the U.S. Navy’s trouble with maintaining operational equipment and ships. Money wasted on the F-35C takes away cash better used to keep the fleet moving.

Another failure for I.T. people that should know better.

The reputation of the U.S. in the Middle East is getting worse. Is that even possible?


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Not enough money to maintain Navy ships but plenty for discrimination

The federal budget run on a large amount of credit has another problem. There isn’t enough money to maintain the Navy ships and other equipment we currently have.

Mr. Forbes said less than half of the Navy’s deployed aircraft were combat ready, and more than 20 percent of all Navy vessels ranked below satisfactory by inspection teams, with repairs requiring parts taken from other ships.

Two witnesses at a hearing on Navy readiness, Vice Adm. William Burke, head of fleet readiness, and Vice Adm. Kevin McCoy, commander of the Naval Sea Systems Command, acknowledged that the current defense budget does not provide what the Navy needs.

“Im not happy,” Adm. Burke said. “The decision that was made was based on other priorities, and ship maintenance came up short.”

It is almost hard to believe the Navy is having trouble making ends meet when they are wasting money operating an HR system based on discrimination.

"Other priorities" indeed.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hobby shop procurement strategy

OK, well here is the Popular Science / hobby shop procurement strategy. Wow.

Taking a red marker to the 2010 JSF MOU

Once a red pen is taken to the 2010 JSF (F-35 ) MOU, it starts looking ugly. My bet is that this gets worse.

(click image to view larger)

Canadian DND misleads the public about the F-35 while maple syrup runs slow

While the Canadian DND misleads the public about F-35 progress, the Dutch (like the U.K.) have pushed their F-35 orders way out past the plan (PDF); and certainly way beyond this plan (PDF) where all the F-35s for the Dutch and Norway would have been procured by 2018.

it was so long ago.

This allows the U.S. to buy most of the mistake-jets and partner nations can sit by and see if the program makes progress or folds. It makes sense because the program is far from being ready.

“This follows Norway's announcement that it plans to order most of its aircraft no earlier than 2016, to support 2018 deliveries and a 2019 initial operational capability (IOC). The latter date is to be confirmed, since Norway plans to declare IOC with the Block 4 configuration. Once the US has firmed up its own Block 3 IOC date (not yet declared by the US operator, but looking like 2018) the availability of Block 4 should become clearer.”

Industry (and their investors)--especially small industries--will have problems. Where are all those orders?

All this: for a second tier fighter that won’t be able to stand up to growing threats.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Enjoy your carbon tax citizen

So the government is going ahead with the carbon tax.

This should get interesting. After all, the scam is based on the great global warming swindle.

In the old days, the Australian government was created to support business. The current government is business unfriendly. Without all the stuff that is dug up out of the ground and sold to other countries, the Australian economy would not be much. Yet, this current government is trying to destroy our prosperity.

Just over a year ago an attempt at a tax-grab by government cost the PM his job. The current PM is in political peril. If there was a vote today, I doubt she or her party would be in power.

The alternatives to the current party are just as much of a joke. The party lead by a not-so-bright Tony Abbott (who also believes in the global warming scam) claims that they are “conservative”; maybe like a Maine Republican (not that today’s Republicans are that conservative—they sure love their wars).

The Greens? They hate business even worse. At least they have the guts to call the Australian involvement in Afghanistan unnecessary unlike the chicken-hawks from the other two parties.

Funnier still is a publication here called The Australian Financial Review. One would think these people would be business-friendly but that doesn’t seem to be the case with a lot of their writers fawning over the carbon tax con.

But back to that “interesting” thing. It will be interesting to see various organisations (those that are lucky enough) pass this tax on to the consumer. That is what businesses do. They pass along extra expenses like the carbon tax onto the consumer.

Those unlucky enough may find themselves out of business. For instance; data centres. They consume a lot of electricity and have been aggressive (so as to be competitive) at finding ways to save energy. However, this carbon tax could be the last straw; especially with all the hype about putting data into the “cloud”. I wonder where clueless politicians think the cloud is? It may end up being off-shored as competition that doesn’t have to pay Rocko and Moose extortion money (aka, the carbon tax) takes the business.

And what if other countries find out they can get a percentage of raw materials from other countries for less because Australian business has to hand over extra money to the government? What then?

It will be interesting seeing this bloated government operate with an ever decreasing tax base.

Maybe voters will stop putting politicians into office who have never run a business. I doubt it, but it is possible. Until then, enjoy your carbon tax.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Links of Interest 10 July 2011

Russia is the last original contender standing in the space race. Early-on it moved ahead. Later, the U.S. moved ahead. Today, the U.S. has called it quits. If the U.S. needs to put people in to space, it will hitch a ride. This is only one sign that Rome is falling.

In Australia, some people are now just waking up to the fact that over-the-horizon radar has limitations.

How did the Gaza flotilla crowd get minimized? Read here.

The Navy’s still lives in their own fantasy world. Meanwhile, so does the USAF. After a break of many years--see this parked F-102 with the IRST bulb in front of the canopy--the USAF decides to put something close to infra-red search and track capability back on fighter aircraft; sorry, really old fighter aircraft (F-15C). Unfortunately it takes up a centerline hardpoint which is normally used for external drop tanks--instead of doing it the way Japan does with the F-15J.

The U.S. Defence budget is still huge and what do you get? A pauper USAF.

With the F-22 still grounded; the end of F-22 production and the expensive disaster known as the F-35 program, yeah; Rome is falling.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The next Defence White Paper needs new contributors

Our politicians have been told for years by supposed experts that network centric warfare (NCW) ability will make us good and them bad.

Along with that are other catch-phrases like “system of systems”. This was one of the fibs used to sell the idea of the F-35 Joint Strike Failure (JSF) Brewster Buffalo II to the clueless sheep.

Most of this over-sell of NCW to our elected officials infers that our network will work. Not mentioned is that the enemy will have a network of their own as seen from this Chinese communist marketing video.

The most experienced user of NCW, the U.S., knows NCW is not a cure-all. Network nodes (land, air and sea forces) can be geo-located and jammed.

It is possible that the next Defence White Paper will be unusable garbage just like the last one. We can change this by asking our elected officials to find new contributors.

What was the value of the former boss of the DMO?

In my opinion, some that should know better (politicians and think-tankers) give the recently resigned boss of the DMO too much credit.

Defence equipment boss quits amid changes to buying powers (Dan Oakes, Sydney Morning Herald)

"DMO is a very thankless job and there will always be negative headlines. But, having said that, he certainly moved it in the direction of increased professionalism, has upskilled the staff in contract and project management, and the increased focus on off-the-shelf procurement has seen some really good outcomes," Dr Davies said.


Defence purchasing chief quits (Sabra Lane, ABC)

Senator Johnston says he is concerned an experienced figure like Dr Gumley is leaving the DMO.

"I don't think it's good at all that a person with that level of corporate knowledge that we would want to leverage off into the future for the benefit of all of us, suddenly decides he's had enough and is leaving," he said.

I guess showing up for work and collecting over 700K per year is a kind of “experience” and “corporate knowledge”.

It is true that some of the poor defence products like the Collins-class sub existed before Gumley took the job. It is also true that Gumley came from the ASC.

It is also true (from looking at the project of concern list) that he didn’t take strong enough leadership action to clean up the mess. Some of the troubled projects (like the Air Warfare Destroyer) were signed off on during his watch.

If he was active in anything it was to promote institutional groupthink: everyone else is wrong except the DMO. The blame-shifting function in Microsoft Office seems to have been used in quantity.

One less obstacle to progress is gone. Let us see if the government can take advantage of this opportunity.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Viva Esteban!

The head of the DMO leaves.... real fast like...

Just because you pay someone at the top rate doesn't mean you get much in return. Mr. Gumley leaves as the boss of the DMO. He made over 700k per year and even got one of those special order of something or other awards with the gong plate. Yet that facade was not enough to paper over the waste and poor project management.

STEPHEN SMITH: It's been announced this morning that the chief executive officer of the Defence Materiel Organisation Dr Steve Gumley will retire as the chief executive officer of the Defence Materiel Organisation and retire from Defence.

His retirement will take effect from today.

When it happens that fast, and with those words, it usually isn't a happy ending. I challenge Mr. Smith to step away from the boilerplate statements and really tell us the value that Mr. Gumley or the DMO in general has given the taxpayer. Realistically, Mr. Smith cannot.

Mr. Gumley's achievement as the head of the failed experiment known as the DMO was the project of concern list.

For years, outside industry experts tried to help him out with good, solid advice to stop the bleeding. He could have been a shinning light. Yet, the dark side of the force; groupthink (or was it being promoted way beyond one's ability?) was just too much.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Will be working on a project so it is possible that blogging may be light this week.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Recapture of the Lockerbie bomber?

The U.S. finally (after the fact) discovers a good reason to wage war on Libya. That is to recapture the terrorist responsible for the Lockerbie bombing that our "special relationship"..."friends"... set free.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

New APA paper--China's J-20 fighter has the potential to be a VLO design

Air Power Australia (APA) has just released a lengthy preliminary study on the low observable potential of the Chinese J-20 fighter aircraft. Some parts of it can only be understood by engineers.

The parts that can be understood by a non-engineer reveal the following.

1.The U.S. leadership has very little credibility in their statements about the potential threat of this aircraft. One may believe that the J-20 does qualify as a “capability surprise”.

2.The U.S. does not know the current ability of Chinese engineering skill in the area of low observable materials (radar absorbent skin and radar absorbent material).

3.The rules of low observable aircraft design are shaping, shaping, shaping and material. The APA paper looks at the shaping of the J-20 aircraft. The APA paper also takes a look at the potential effects of known radar absorbent material with the J-20 design.

4.APA has determined that the J-20 has the potential to be a very-low-observable (VLO) design if China can make it so. In this area of concern, the J-20 design has growth potential.

"In conclusion, this study has established through Physical Optics simulation across nine frequency bands, that no fundamental obstacles exist in the shaping design of the J-20 prototype, which would preclude its development into a genuine Very Low Observable design."

All of this is important because the U.S. has ended production of the F-22. Out-going U.S. Secretary of Defense Gates theory that the U.S. will have several hundred “fifth-generation” fighter aircraft in the 2020’s holds no water. In any event, if the J-20 is successful, it will be produced in a number that will make the 120 or so combat coded F-22s just not enough to secure future U.S. air superiority needs.

Some will say the authors of the APA paper don’t have access to the classified information involved in such programs. This is true. However, just because a program is classified, does not mean the engineers get to ignore the laws of physics.

Colbert on Pakistan

What to do about Pakistan...

Australian leadership's weak claims about Operation: USELESS DIRT

Here is an example of the brave Afghan police.

We hear so much about their improvement.

The Australian Defence Minister Mr. Smith, the PM and others claim keeping Australian troops in Afghanistan is important. However, they can state nothing more than platitudes.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Not so fast with the SA home-built sub project dream

This puff-piece that is all happy about land being set aside for the alleged new home-built submarine project tells only a small part of the story.

First, it is well known that there is a shortage of competent project managers and leaders let alone skilled workmen to build surface warships. Submarines are even more complex. The true project management skill just does not exist.

Next is this quote from today’s Australian Financial Review in a small mention called “Subs idea torpedoed”.

“The federal government’s plan to spend $36 billion on locally made submarines has come under fire from Productivity Commission chairman Gary Banks.

The government has flagged it wants to build the submarines in Adelaide, and South Australian Premier Mike Rann announced a deal with Canberra yesterday to reserve land for the project.

But Mr Banks said the program would not necessarily deliver lasting benefits and scrapping it would help repair the federal budget, which went deep into deficit during the financial crisis.

Submarines could be bought overseas for a 'fraction of the cost and the risk', Mr Banks told a conference in Melbourne on Thursday.”


Filed in "I" for "impossible"

The definition of a non-starter?

There is a long way between honor killings and other gross misdeeds and let us say, the first ammendment of the United States.

Or the 4th and 5th ammendment for that matter.

Forget it.

A bit of F-35 software timeline

This gives you an idea of when we may see weapons clearance on the F-35 Brewster Buffalo II; when Block 2B gets sorted out.

"The Marine Corps hopes to declare initial operational capability with the next increment, 2B, in late 2014 or early 2015. It includes full operation of the legacy data link and the new advanced data link, subsonic ship deployment activities and limited use of some internal weapons."

1B is the minimum software block to allow for training at Eglin AFB. It allows for non-U.S. partner nation configurations and expanded manuver.

"The 1B package—which will include multi-level security for international partners to participate—is slated for release late this year; it also includes initial, subsonic maneuvering."