Wednesday, November 30, 2011

About Canada, the F-35 and drag chutes

Drag chutes have been brought up again for the Canadian F-35 decision.

Besides the insult in the comment at the end of David's post by a nameless-coward-internet-troll let us look at some of the issues of a drag chute re: Canada and the F-35.

The briefing at the bottom of this post is the U.S. approved Lockheed Martin sales effort to Norway in 2008.

Spoiler alert:

Besides a whole bunch of unproven and misleading claims notice in the “notional” Block 4 specification: “Unique Norwegian Requirements—Icy runway capability—drag chute option.”

Chutes are not used just for icy runways. They are sometimes associated with aircraft that actually needed them as a normal part of landing because they have high approach speeds. Besides helping to shorten landing roll-outs, chutes also mean less wear on the wheel brakes. For example, the Lockheed CF-104: a single engine fighter--of which Canada lost over half of its inventory--(hint, they didn't crash as a result of enemy fire)--used a drag chute for every landing. Same for the F-105. The F-4 used a chute. Although it could have a slightly slower approach speed than an F-105 or CF-104 depending on a number of conditions. The CF-18 can get away with not using a chute in its basic design because it has a slower approach speed. Ditto with the Super Hornet.

Which makes some of the alarmist language from the “expert” in David's post sound a bit strange.

ALL runways in the interior have sufficient length and design so as to not require a drag chute, and why one is NOT on any F 35 version or any other modern fighter.

This is a modern fighter aircraft. "Combat proven" by MacKay's standards. What is that behind it?

Interesting to note: many F-16 operators did not use a drag chute.

Norway does.

The Royal Norwegian Air Force was the first air force to incorporate the drag chute, mainly to shorten the landing run on icy runways during our long and cold winters. As my colleagues in the RNoAF use the chute on practically every landing.

Canada does not have the number of long runways as the U.S. Also the F-35 has not been tested out in a variety of operationally relevant combat loadings. Weather/wind, the weight of the aircraft, altitude of the runway, temperature and the condition of the runway will determine how Canada decides to use a drag chute with the F-35; if it ever shows up. All of this will be clarified in writing in a procedure.

Given the huge expense of each aircraft, having a drag chute option probably is not a bad idea. Or, Canada can select the STOVL F-35B. It can do a short rolling landing or a vertical landing.

At over twice the price of a Super Hornet.

Yeah, there are alternatives "for" the F-35 program

This article in Aviation Week, "Are There Alternatives To The F-35 Program?" glosses over one of the main reasons the F-35 program is in trouble. While budget woes are mentioned, the reason for those woes are all of the technical problems with the jet.

One may discuss what budget x or budget y will provide but if the aircraft is faulty it doesn't matter much.

The "alternatives" involved with the F-35 program are doing whatever it takes to limit the damage to the defense posture of the United States. The current F-35 program will eat up funds best used for other defence communities.

What I propose is the following:

Make all non-U.S. F-35 buys under the U.S. Government Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. This is familiar ground for U.S. customers. Other FMS programs involve foreign parts suppliers and this can be rolled into the traditional "off-set" deal making.

It is doubtful that the U.S. Federal Budget can sustain paying for 50,80,130,170 F-35s per year as proposed under previous fantasy JSF plans.

What can the U.S. afford? What we are seeing now: around 30-some aircraft per year. This may rise to 40 to 50 aircraft per year IF the program can show improved health.

Because of the expensive nature of the aircraft and its limited war-fighting ability against high-end threats, the aircraft should be looked as a stop-gap until other programs--based on lessons learned from this disaster--can get going.

I would say that a realistic production run for the F-35 would be around 10 years for a total of 300-400 F-35s as a new program of record.

In some ways this is easy to write up because there is no active milestone-B or supporting DAB as stated in the article above. This is the equal of a clean slate for the path ahead.

Next we come to the issue of what variants to produce. The only unique thing that the F-35 brings--for all of its huge expense and technical trouble--is STOVL.

The U.S. should have 300-400 F-35B STOVL aircraft as a program of record. The U.S. Air Force can field a few of these squadrons along with the USMC. The U.S.Navy won't miss the F-35C because it brings nothing for most missions that the Super Hornet already does for less money. The U.S. Navy is struggling to pay for ships. The F-35C is a weight around their neck. The F-35A brings no real value to the USAF because it is expensive and will not be lethal against high-end threats and it will be too expense to use for any other kind of strike-fighter work. Maybe there is hope for it as a USAF STOVL asset.

Any FMS sales would be STOVL or nothing. Since the behavioral patterns of the U.K. MOD are completely unreliable they can take it or leave it. Other "partner nations" can adapt or get out of the program. They are not handing over large amounts of money for jet orders under the current plan so no real loss there.

I believe for the F-35, the "alternatives" are to dramatically scale down the scope of the program or cancel it. Let us see how far institutional groupthink can make governments jump off the cliff.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Helicopters on project of concern list--Frigate upgrade shows progress

The expensive and poorly managed MRH-90 helicopter project has made its way on to the project of concern list.

Defence Minister Stephen Smith said on Monday the project had experienced delays of some two years with a risk of further delays and recently one aircraft suffered a major engine failure.

"The MRH project has encountered a number of significant technical issues, which have now triggered early indicators and warnings thresholds for schedule and contractor performance," he said in a statement.

Defence Materiel Organisation acting chief executive Warren King had recommended the project be listed as a project of concern and the government had agreed.

"Our policy objective here is a successful project and that is why we have reformed and improved and enhanced the project of concern arrangement with a very strong focus on remediation," he said.

The project of concern list now covers nine projects, headed by sustainment of the navy's Collins submarines.

Some good news: the Frigate upgrade program is off the project of concern list and is showing progress. Frigate class warships are highly useful for Australia's naval security needs.

Over 10 years ago the Super Hornet was a "non-starter" for the RAAF

Times change. Not always for the better.

Years ago, Australia was being setup to buy the F-22. Back then, the Super Hornets that Nelson fell for in 2006 and that are now in service was considered a "non-starter".

(click image for large view)

BK-1 performs its first spin

Here is how shareholders get spun about the rollout of BK-1, the first "international" F-35. It is a STOVL model which is now of no use to the U.K. It will also need a variety of fixes such as the wing (a process described as expensive and time consuming); a newer drive shaft (not in production yet) and other STOVL appliances. The helmet which is a core system for pilot situational awareness is faulty. Software blocks are late and watered down. The aircraft is yet to drop one weapon or have any relevant operational tests.

Here is a quote from the press release:

Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT)’s F-35 executive vice president Tom Burbage said, “This first F-35 for the first international programme partner is symbolic of the proud partnership we share with the United Kingdom. Working together in a spirit of collaboration, we are providing the men and women of the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy with unmatched 5th Generation capabilities, while delivering advanced technology sector jobs to the U.K”.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

ASPI off the mark again on air power issues

The taxpayer hands over cash via Defence for "studies" from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

On the topic of Australia's air power roadmap, the results from ASPI have been weak, off-the-mark, and not very independent.

A recent article in the Canberra Times shows at least 3 statements from ASPI that show their research skills are off.

"Further deferrals [in the number of planes being ordered by the US military] are a plausible eventuality,'' he said. ''But the future of the US Air Force is the first order concern [for the Americans]. There is no fallback option. What will they [the US] do? Revive the even more expensive F-22?"

Let us look at these three statements:

“There is no fallback option.” This is untrue no matter how many bought and paid for Congressmen, or flag-ranks promoted beyond their ability say it. First; the U.S. can win wars without short take-off and vertical landing ability. Including the fact that U.S. Marine aviation existed before the Harrier. Next, the F-35 is a second-tier fighter aircraft. It needs the F-22 to take on high-end threats that are supposed to exist over the alleged lifetime of the F-35. I have shown more than once that after the U.S. is on-track to spending $60B developing the F-35, what is delivered will have less usefulness to a joint coalition commander than the lowest performing “fast” jet in U.S. full-rate production; the Super Hornet. Also, the F-35 program has not proven that the aircraft can perform to its original specifications. Two of those specifications are that it would be “affordable” and “a model acquisition program”.

Which leads to the another point stated by the ASPI; the fib that the F-22 is somehow more expensive than the F-35. The F-35 has a long way to go before the aircraft can show real capability or wear the badge of being “affordable”. While the F-22 production supply chain is shutting down, the F-22 line has not been torn down all the way, yet. When it was in full swing, the F-22 was putting out an aircraft that was around $141M each and reducing. Any warfighting comparison of the F-22 to the F-35 is weak simply because even if an F-35 is delivered in go-to-war trim, it will have half the capability of the F-22. Simply because the F-22 is survivable against high-end threats. This by itself, disqualifies the F-35 as a "first-day" stealth aircraft unless you are bombing Belgrade in 1999.

“What will the U.S. do?” First, would be to stop procuring and sustaining dud weapons systems like the F-35, the Littoral Combat Ship, the Zumwalt-class “destroyer” which should be broken up now and cut our losses while there is time.

Since the U.S. seems destined to not restart F-22 production, the only way to have any hope of capability against “anti-access” threats is to develop long-range air-to-surface super-sonic cruise missiles. You can drop just about anything from a B-52 and we can keep them in the air for a long, long time. And, since range is needed, there is no justification for retiring long range bombers.

The United States Air Force has options. New-build F-15 strike eagles with modern avionics will be able to back up F-22s. For any other work, they have more range and versatility than the F-35 could ever see. Also, as per the early JSF plan, even though it was stated it could replace the A-10, that is not so. There is no replacement for the A-10.

Unless FA-XX delivers something useful, the carrier air-wing as we know it will be obsolete against anti-access threats. The Brewster Buffalo II and the Super Hornet are not up to the job. However the Super Hornet is up to the job of second-tier threat strike work. So, unless someone has some bright ideas, our tens of billions invested into every carrier battle group will not be able to take on emerging threats without being put at risk. With or without the F-35.

So, the ASPI is way off the mark on their statements.


At best, their “analysis” of air power issues can be best described as “meme theory”.

What is normal for the Australian Navy?

This article states more woe with the Australian Navy's fleet readiness.

Since all navies have a percentage of their ships in some sort of repair cycle, I don't know what is considered normal for the RAN.

There are some more severe mentions in the article that point to outright waste.

Two of the navy's newest ships, minehunters HMAS Hawkesbury and HMAS Norman - built by Australian Defence Industries in Newcastle and commissioned in 2000 - were "decrewed" and placed into reserve this year.

If the ships were required to come back into service, the Department of Defence estimates it would take up to five years to bring them back to operational status.

There also seems to be events of rework where repairs were not done right the first time.

Available crew for the ships is still a problem.

Australia is a nation that needs frigates, patrol boats, troop transports and logistics ships. I would like to put submarines on that list but skills are short there too.

How ships that are bigger, more expensive to operate and require more crew (the planned Air Warfare Destroyers and the Canberra flattop amphibs) are going to be sustained over their service life is a big question mark.

I suspect more long-term dock space to park them will be required because this navy and defence community is not skilled enough to keep what they have in an operationally ready status.

The taxpayer generously pays $27B for Defence each year. What they get in return is low value for the money spent.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The U.K. should have traded

BK-1 is out.

Looks like the previous proposal for the U.S. to trade BK-1 to the USMC failed. The trade idea was hatched when the U.K. dumped the F-35B STOVL (138 orders previously 150) in favor of the carrier F-35C variant.

They should have traded.

BK-1 will need a wing fix; a bulkhead fix and who knows how many other mistake-jet fixes.

Another potential CF-18 replacement totally ignored by the DND

There is another valid contender out there that the Canadian DND is totally ignoring for its CF-18 replacement.

That aircraft is the French Rafale.

Consider some of the features of the Rafale.

1.Buddy-refuel tanking like a Super Hornet
2.Excellent maneuverability
4.Two-seat option
5.Joint with NATO coalition forces (networking) and combat ops.

To add to that, as the current government LOVES to bring up the most dangerous opponent NATO could ever face--Libya--the Rafale is proven in that combat op.

It has some downsides. Because the path to the Meteor long-range air-to-air missile and AESA are not complete, the Rafale might disqualify itself for not being ready at this moment. This is critical because if any real thinking person is involved in the process, CF-18s should be fully replaced by 2020.

Since no other country has bought a Rafale, Canada wouldn't have hard, realistic info on what the jet costs to procure and sustain.

In any event, the Rafale makes a much safer play than the high-risk F-35.

Which goes back to the fact that Canada should have a real competition for its CF-18 replacement.

The idea that nothing else but the F-35 can meet "DND's requirements", is the act of a person that is gullible or a person intent on defrauding the taxpayer.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Civil tech bleed helps China expand its military capability

Which is part of a big problem with off-shoring tech to China.

By the way, the engines on the Y-8F600 are Pratt & Whitney PW150s and the propellers are from GE's Dowty unit. The program was launched in 2001-03 as a commercial venture.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Unknown what Australian and Indonesian security agreements will produce

A real security concern for Australia is to stop illegal immigration. While a previous PM John Howard may have been many things, at least his boat policy was better.

As for the neighbor to the North, it seems Australia will give Indonesia 4 used C-130 cargo aircraft and the U.S. will sell them 24 used F-16s.

And here is a smart play. Australia will hand over $112M to Indonesian farmers. Gee, that is what we really need in the region: help the most populous and impoverished country get even bigger. Real smart.

Gillard says the basing of 2500 U.S. Marines in Australia is not pointed at any specific nation.

Ms Gillard then told Dr Yudhoyono - known by his initials SBY - that the US and Australian forces could train with Indonesian military personnel to improve disaster management.

''After Ms Gillard's explanation, SBY was very happy. SBY suggested that the military training involved all ASEAN members, and that she should also invite China,'' said presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha.

Involving China would improve trust with the US, particularly given tensions over territorial disputes in the South China Sea. It would also increase stability and provide a security environment conducive to economic growth, the Indonesian leader said, according to accounts given to The Age.

Yes. Because China has been so peaceful about their intentions in the South China Sea.


Commander of Afghan troops--Australia can leave now

New news. Australia can leave Operation: USELESS DIRT behind.

The commander of Afghan troops being trained by Australians has urged the Australian government to withdraw its troops immediately - provided they leave behind millions of dollars' worth of sophisticated war-fighting equipment.

Brigadier-General Mohammed Zafar Khan said his Afghan National Army soldiers were capable of providing security in Oruzgan province, despite the fact that Australia has said it could take another three years to train them adequately.

He said he had repeatedly and unsuccessfully asked Australian and coalition officials, including the Defence Minister, Stephen Smith, to give the Afghans equipment for night vision and counter-improvised explosive device capability, artillery and access to medical evacuation helicopters.

''Three years is too much time for the Australians to stay here,'' General Zafar told the Herald through an interpreter at his Tarin Kowt headquarters.

I wouldn't bother leaving any equipment behind. The Afghan security forces will be worthless with, or without it.

In any event, the Afghanistan mission provides no valid security value to Australia.

Worried about the special security relationship with the U.S.? Don't be. Canada, the U.K. and others have pulled the plug and their "special relationship" with the U.S. won't change.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Anything hinting at useful for LM's LCS doesn't happen until FMS

It looks like in order to get anything useful out of the faulty Littoral Combat Ship program you have to take a look at Lockheed Martin's FMS marketing of the "Surface Combat Ship".

Take a look at the entire video.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A look at USAFs tac-air road map

Assuming we can keep F-22 pilots breathing, the program Block definition looks "OK" if in my opinion slow and delayed due to money being misdirected to other projects.

From this article, a snap-shot of the USAF fighter road map. Also a shame they could not even afford the hybrid center-line drop-tank IRST for USAF F-15Cs that the U.S. Navy is getting for their Hornets. All that money spent on the USAF; and when they can't even push out putting an originally planned item and then plan-B a SNIPER pod, well, that is penny pinching.

Also being considered are long-term upgrades for the newest fighter, the F-22. Near-term upgrades to be fielded in the next five years are already under way, but the service soon expects to define the content of the next package—Increment 3.2C. Potential elements include multi-spectral capabilities to expand the offensive and defensive frequency potential of the fighter, required upgrades such as Mode 5 integration friend or foe, or automatic ground collision and terrain avoidance. Officials are examining how best to share F-22 data, collected by an unprecedented onboard sensor suite, with legacy fighters. Eventually a data-sharing network with F-35s is planned, but delays in the latter’s development have made passing F-22 data to fourth-generation fighters a higher priority.

The first major F-22 enhancement—Increment 3.1—is now entering service, with an initial pair of upgraded stealth fighters recently delivered to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. Fleet retrofits will continue through 2016 and include the hardware and software modifications needed to drop eight Small-Diameter Bombs, take synthetic aperture radar (SAR) pictures and provide precision location and electronic attack capabilities.

Full operational test and evaluation is still being completed, but Maj. Richard Foster, Air Combat Command requirements officer, says the results are positive. SAR accuracy is 55% better than specified and geolocation accuracy is 15% better. Also, electronic attacks have proven 100% successful in testing.

The F-22 also will get a rudimentary AIM-120D firing capability next year (through the so-called Update 4), although full integration is not planned until Increment 3.2B in 2017. An initial capability to fire the Raytheon AIM-9X dogfight missile also has been accelerated to 2015 (under Update 5), with full integration also to come with Increment 3.2B.

Next on the upgrade path is Increment 3.2A, a software enhancement that includes expanded Link 16 data-link functionality, combat identification and electronic protection. It should emerge around 2014.

Besides the full integration of the latest air-to-air missiles, Increment 3.2B also expands geolocation by 88% beyond what is now being introduced.

In addition, around 2016 USAF expects to have moved to two F-22 configurations, the Block 20 aircraft to be used for training and development and Block 30/35s for the operational fleet. Foster says 36 aircraft will be in the Block 20 standard with 149 to settle on the Block 30/35 configuration.

So probably at anyone time once the F-22 fleet gets stable, 149 F-22s. Given all of the mismanagement in the area of air power "leadership" since the end of the Cold War, I guess we are "lucky".

Tracking mistake-jets

Tracking F-35 mistake-jet woe...

-- An interior bulkhead that fits around the jet's Pratt & Whitney F135 engine and extends into the wings has been redesigned because of cracks in it discovered after 1,500 hours of durability testing. The bulkhead in question is titanium in the conventional and carrier versions of the aircraft but aluminum in the B variant to save weight. The redesigned bulkhead has been installed in the 24th F-35B built and corrections will be retrofitted into the first 23 B variants, five of which are being used in tests and the rest of which are in various stages of production.

-- Devices that operate the roll post nozzles were overheating when the F-35B hovered or flew forward at less than 60 knots, or about 75 mph, in vertical flight mode. These "actuators" are being insulated and the fix has been successful in flight test. Pratt & Whitney may change an adhesive used in the actuators to solve the excessive heating problem and obviate the need for the insulation in the future.

-- The drive mechanism that opens two Auxiliary Air Intake doors behind the clamshell lift fan door on top of the fuselage and holds them steady as the F-35B hovers or flies in vertical mode has been redesigned to be more robust and is being replaced. The change was made because turbulence created by the lift fan door causes the AAI doors to oscillate excessively with the current drive mechanism, making them likely to wear out too soon.

-- The driveshaft that runs from the engine to the lift fan to turn its blades has proven to fit imperfectly into its designed space by an "infinitesimally small" amount, as Amos described it. This means mechanics may have to pre-stress the part to install it. That creates problems when the shaft expands and contracts due to changes in its temperature as the aircraft warms up in flight. A thin steel "spacer," shaped something like a washer and about the diameter of a volleyball, has been incorporated to make the driveshaft fit better in the fifth F-35B variant as an interim fix. A redesigned driveshaft will become a standard production part beginning in early 2014.

-- Improved cooling and temperature monitors have been added to ensure safe operation when lift fan clutch plates that sometimes drag against one another during normal flight produce excessive heat. Adjusting the distance between the clutch plates is expected to solve take care of the problem.

And the wing rebuild for A and B models. Looks like the assumptions from the results of the 2004 SWAT effort were overly optimistic.

But our second land army says it needs the F-35B. Even if the U.S. could do a war and never miss STOVL fighter ability.

That is if we can afford to go to war.

"We still are going to be a global power," he said. Although there may be some commitments around the world that the military will not be able to do with less funding, it must be able to give the president the option of responding to international conflicts or humanitarian assistance situations.

We tried that in the 1990s. It didn't go so well. And then, we were not staring at trillions of unworkable debt.

Links of Interest 19 November 2011

While Canada's Associate Defence Minister Julian Fantino appears to be a "talking point puppet" on defence issues, there are two more.

More issues with the mistake jets, but not to worry the talking point puppets mentioned above state that it is our only option. Even if that is demonstrably wrong.

While the U.S. could go to war and never miss a STOVL fighter. The want of STOVL forced one major aerospace company to submit to a buyout, another to lose the JSF competition and the "winner" to face a dark and uncertain future.

Finally, a look at a time when the U.S. Navy knew how to manage its fleet.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Maybe not such a strong case...

The PDF I have made below is a response to this overly optimistic assessment by F-35 fans in the Canadian DND community. Hopefully it offers a different point of view.

The PDF below has links in it. So for some browsers best viewing results may require you to download the document.

Different times

One of my favourite reads is Sam over at the Lowy Blog.

This is an interesting thought on today's U.S. politicians. However I wonder about this quote:

To put it another way, figures such as Eisenhower, Nixon and even Reagan would have a hard time getting nominated in 2012, in part because their foreign policy views would be seen as dangerously moderate. Yes, the Republican Party has always had a 'black helicopter faction' (I believe the phrase is Bill Clinton's), but that fringe belief has grown in recent years, and Republican presidential candidates have to pay obeisance to it.

I don't think today's mainstream republicans are conservative. Big spending, foreign war and big government love are not conservative values.

The democratic party is certainly different. Many years ago, you could have conservative democrats. They could be defined as church-going, union workers or many of what is more rare today; those in family owned farms.

Where "conservative" certainly doesn't have every single box ticked. Unions can be looked at as socialist. With that though, what defines a republican or a democrat is variable depending on one's belief system.

And, both parties have their nut jobs. One only has to look at the George Soros crowd or loons to match up with the "black helicopter comment" above.

Then there is the idea of the extreme-right evil. Which is different than being conservative. Well, you cannot get much more "extreme-right" than a Southern Democrat that supports the idea of water fountains based on a person's skin colour.

Where no party was or is innocent.

Like unions that too is part of the history of America. Evolving; but evolving to where?

Conservative values in the Democrat party have been taken out back and shot. They have no place in their machine. JFK may have been the last democratic president with anything close to conservative policy.

While I wonder if we could elect an Eisenhower, Nixon or Reagan, one has to put that in a different view. Then, there was a Soviet Union. A Carter of the day was useless. JFK didn't have any problem telling communists there was a line that could not be crossed.

We have a similar grave threat today: a major debt and communist sympathizers. Extremes on both sides being a danger to the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.

Also today, we have a Lyndon Baines Obama and a new "Great Society" full of business-killing welfare state initiatives. Thanks for nothing FDR and LBJ. FDR's ideas assumed an American actually wanted to work. Today, that is not always the case. For some, working is defined by going to the mailbox to pick up a government benefit check.

What defines a conservative is elusive. Which makes for a valuable tool for various political factions.

I do not see Bush I or Bush II or many of today's RINOs as "conservative". As for both mainstream parties, they are corrupt and responsible for off-shoring everything that was and isn't nailed down. How a vote for either party equals the best interests of the United States of America is beyond me.

UPDATE-Canadian government's plan-B for F-35 failure is just like Plan-A---spin

Delusion seems to come in many forms with the faith-based F-35 cheerleaders. Canada's government officials that are engaging in wishful thinking about F-35 program health seem to be reaching the waterfall.

See this quote from here, "MacKay to meet U.S. counterpart amid fighter-jet confusion"

"On Wednesday in the Commons, Mr. Fantino said there was a “Plan B” in the event the planes were not delivered on time. But he added: “The aircraft are coming off the production line. Pilots are flying them. They are being delivered to countries. Our program is on track, on time and we are staying with it.”

It seems that using Lockheed Martin talking points in government can only get you so far. Ask the former Dutch Defence Secretary Jack de Vries.

Maybe the Baghdad Bob method of PR should be removed from civil servant's skill sets.

Also-- Associate MND (Procurement) Fantino’s F-35 Untruth

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The special relationship with the U.S. and Australia

Some have the solution to Pacific Rim security, as long as it includes the faulty F-35 and Lockmart song book. Fielding the Brewster Buffalo II throughout the Pacific is a plan to lose.

The U.S. President will speak before Australian Parliament today. Do not expect him to walk up to the podium; and pull out of his top-hat a hand-written 3 minute speech that is eloquent and relevant.

Australia and the U.S. have military exercises all the time. The idea of deploying a small number of Marines to Australia is if anything, a very very small part of that picture.

What it really shows in these budget troubled times is that the U.S. has a certain number of Marines that can't be used anywhere else. Since they will not contribute to hard deterrent in the region, we could save some money and remove those manpower slots from the USMC.

Not mentioned much is the waste of manpower Australia is funding for Operation: USELESS DIRT. Silly as Australian Army resources have plenty of security work to do right here in our own back yard.

Real deterrence can only be done when you have strong air power in place. Since no one is thinking about basing USAF F-22s in Australia, the idea of deterrence is rather empty.

Here in Australia, the Communist China lobby is worried about hurt feelings. Communism has more sway for some than democracy and freedom of speech. If China is the way forward, why bother funding a military at all? The Communist China lobby cares less about human values and more about making a buck. Or is it their true love of communist ideals?

You decide.

Then there is the Communist China lobby in D.C.

Australia being the farthest away they could put Marines without making communist investors--including those who invest in Congress--angry.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

USMC-air delusion

USMC-air leadership seems to have a lack of ability to face reality.

The comments from this article show an insane want to cut real war fighting aircraft that contribute well to the Corps.

The Yankee and the Zulu are highly useful. Yet the leadership is toying with the idea of pulling money from the program to pay for the waste that is the F-35.

USMC standard dumb-as-a-brick thinking doesn't help much.

But the Marines must have 420 F-35s, Trautman said. "There is no give there," he said. "The pace they reach 420 is the only thing in question."

Overall, the Marines' aviation portfolio is in great shape, Trautman said.

"There is not a lot of flexibility in the Marine Corps aviation portfolio because a lot of money is tied up in platforms," Trautman said. "They are 100 percent committed to these platforms," he said.

There isn't a lot of flexibility because there isn't a lot of reality going on in their thinking.

Given the current problems with the F-35 program, I figure the USMC will see their 420 F-35s around 35-40 years from now.

Will the F-35 program be around that long? Doubtful

I am sure we will hear more from the marketing department of the Corps as the budget battles heat up.

Hopefully that will include valid discussions of why the taxpayer should fund a second land army.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Found ! Proper analogy

With all the increased trouble facing the F-35 program over the past year it is hard to find the proper analogy that shows the relationship between the program and the program leadership.

And then that perfect analogy comes along.


Threat picture

A related briefing slide showed an image of all three F-35 variants, along with the image of another aircraft resembling the Chinese J-20 stealth fighter listed as a "current and future threat".

Funny. The J-20 may be a threat. But it is doubtful that the F-35 will be able to do much about it.

DOD cuts might not be so bad

Most of this isn't so terrible. Stuff I like in bold.

Reductions of 20 percent (or about $390 billion over ten years) in investment accounts (procurement plus research, development, testing, and evaluation) could lead to cutbacks in many programs, large and small. Decisions relating to major programs could include:

-Terminate Joint Strike Fighter; minimal life extensions and upgrades to existing forces ($80B);

- Terminate bomber; restart new program in mid 2020s ($18B);

- Delay next generation ballistic missile submarine; cut force to 10 subs ($7B);

- Terminate littoral combat ship and associated mission modules ($22B);

- Terminate all ground combat vehicle modernization programs; minimal life extensions and upgrades to existing forces ($17B);

- Terminate all Army helicopter modernization programs.

There are some other efficiencies to be reduced; such as the second land army.

In other news, re: the F-35, production capability still is not there. Congress is right not to boost production. It isn't mature yet.

That phased line making 30 or so a year is starting to look good. That is me being generous because the F-35 is already a failed program.

"6th-generation" fighter not what some think it is?

Will a “6th-generation” fighter for the U.S. end up being an aircraft which is low tech where 3 can be bought for the price of an F-16?

Sure could work out for low-threat and home air defense scenarios.

We buy everything else from China.

Warning signs to watch with the F-35 program

My latest for

Monday, November 14, 2011

Another example to define the F-35 as a failed program

More examples that define the F-35 as a failed program keep showing up with great regularity.

Operation: USELESS DIRT update for Australia

Contrary to opinions from weak and ill-informed Australian political leadership, Afghanistan has no value to the defense of the country.

Here are a few items that show the idiocy of the mission.

Last November, an Afghan soldier killed six Americans, while an Afghan policeman killed five British soldiers. In March, an Afghan soldier killed three British Army Gurkhas, while an Afghan pilot killed eight US Air Force members. In May, an Afghan soldier killed an Australian, in October an Afghan sergeant killed three Australians, and this month an Afghan soldier wounded three Australians.

And then there is the quality of the Afghan security forces.

ISAF concerns about Afghan troops include their poor hygiene, poor discipline, inefficiency, treachery, thieving, unreliability, illiteracy, technical incompetence, corruption, unwillingness to learn, poor treatment of animals and drug taking.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

The dumb idea of basing U.S. Marines in Australia

Seems to be some noise out there about basing Marines in Australia.

Dumb in many ways if the idea is to show deterrent value in the Pacific Rim vs. a Chinese Communist threat.

The better alternative would have been a Wing of F-22s. Or at least a Wing of strike eagles.

Such is the lack of understanding in Washington these days. The other problem being this.


Time is running out for a CF-18 replacement buy

Time is running out for executing Canada's CF-18 replacement.

The F-35 is unlikely to produce a known capability, cost or arrival date.

Pushing the CF-18 past 2020 can only be seen as a poor decision when one looks into the details that involve CF-18 refurbishment.

The chart below shows the relationship between ordering, delivery, full operational capability of a replacement and retirement of the CF-18. It is a steady and non-rushed pace.It shows 80 aircraft because that is probably what Canada needs when looking at all of its fighter taskings.

Initial operating capability (IOC) of Canada's first squadron to get new fighter aircraft could possibly happen in 2016 if action is taken now.

If procurement of a replacement is started now, the CF-18 can be retired in a low risk manner. Otherwise; all bets are off the table.

With a current political leadership that claims the F-35 is the way to go, the only possible outcome is complete upheaval of the fighter capability for Canada.

Buy now, or start parking CF-18s in 2020.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

When will F-35 pilot training start?

There are so many ways that the short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) requirement for the F-35 program screwed up the design.

Today the fat-dumpy aircraft is still trying to get through certification so initial pilot training (that is for non-test pilots) can start at Eglin AFB. There are still safety concerns.

Non-test pilots can get into a bit more trouble. Take a look at the video below where a Canadian exchange test pilot in the USAF explains how something as simple as a hard turn with an F-16 can be an issue with an asymmetric load.

What are the flight certification challenges for the F-35? At almost 5 years after the first flight, they seem to be many.

Which makes you wonder how this 2007 flight test schedule could have been anything more than wishful thinking.

F-35 program crumbling and McCain wants a hearing about woe

"There's a danger that this whole coalition of people who agreed to buy it may crumble," said McCain.

No kidding?

Italy is gone. The U.K. is off in la la land (no 150 orders), Denmark has not decided what will replace there small number of fighters. The Dutch are an easy half cut if not worse. Norway? Well, a sucker is born every minute. Turkey is the only strong partner.

Canada? Seems to still be at the Norway part of the 12 step program to recovery.

Australia, a little further along (with the help of Boeing).

All waiting on the strength of U.S. DOD procurement as a sign of hope.

Here is what LM claimed F-35 sales potential was in 2007.

What is missing? The DAB and loss of milestone-B. Which are a core partnership of processes that are necessary to justify the existence of the F-35 program.

Maybe that will find its way into the search for facts in a future hearing.

How about Tarot cards?


The Fort Hood Shooting--Two years later and still no conviction for a slam-dunk case

I completely understand this.

Worse, the charges against the criminal are a slam-dunk which should lead to an execution.

Two years later and there is still no complete trial. The facts behind the event are not that complex. A conviction should have happened by now.



Projects do have to be realistic

My limited understanding of project management involves the idea that one starts projects that they can realistically finish based on realistic resourcing and realistic skills.

Government's perception of the Collins replacement project does not meet those goals.

BTW, great picture at the link of a dolphin in front of the sub.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A few facts for Canada's F-35 debacle would be nice

Funny if it were not so sad, reading comments by people that do not know what they are talking about.

"All reasonable people agree that we need aircraft to defend Canadian sovereignty and our plan is on track."


Gee, that makes a difference. Everything is OK now.

The lack of understanding by those that should know better is really shocking.

I figure if Canada is so set on getting the F-35, they better decide on more service life extension efforts for their CF-18s.

One would think center-barrel replacement but then you also have all that other stuff like wing wear and corrosion.

You see, when you pull an F-18 apart to do that work, each airframe is a little bit different with what ails it.

Oh the fun. I can see the stripped CF-18s up on saw-horses now. So can you if you take a minute to think about the corner DND has painted themselves into.

Still, if one is just talking air-policing and the occasional Operation: USELESS DIRT deployment, another SLEP on the CF-18s still comes out cheaper. Well, depending how many years the SLEP is good for--flight airframe and all that.

I am sure Boeing could fix all this up right now if DND was to realize their mental disability and instead sign up for some Super Hornets and move on.

I wonder if Mackay's crew still thinks "peak-production" for the F-35 along with a fantasy low price will be in 2016?

Arrogance and ignorance probably will not let them admit the mistakes.

Snapshot of the security future of Afghanistan

Gillard and Smith keep telling us fairy tales about Afghan security forces.

It is time people start questioning the competence of these two senior leaders any time they mention "Afghanistan."

Here is a look at the reality facing Afghan security forces.

Deprived of U.S. logistics support, the base began to run low on supplies. The troops bought rice, flour and other food on credit from local merchants. Ammunition was diverted to those on the guard towers or going on food runs to the market.

The Afghan troops trashed much of the base, stripping wiring, plumbing and air-conditioning units. Well pumps stopped working, according to a U.S. officer. One generator turned up at Torkham Gate, the border crossing into Pakistan, but was nabbed by customs agents, according to an Afghan officer. Several rooms were littered with feces, say U.S. soldiers who saw the base later.

The Afghan soldiers explained they had been told by the battalion's executive officer they would be leaving along with the Americans, so they destroyed what they could to prevent the base falling into Taliban hands.

That wasn't the first odd command from the executive officer, or XO, Maj. Zul Faqar, and some started to assume he was in league with the enemy. Sgt. Rafiqullah recalls going into town one day to see a doctor and spotting a truck carrying Taliban fighters. He reported it to the XO, who replied, "It's none of your business," Sgt. Rafiqullah says.

Soon, Maj. Faqar ordered soldiers not to fire on insurgents at all, according to Sgt. Rafiqullah and U.S. and Afghan officers. One time the sergeant's men disobeyed orders and fired from a guard tower at a passing Taliban vehicle. The XO confined the men in a dark room as punishment, the sergeant says.

The sense of impotence sapped morale. Of the 130 soldiers in the sergeant's company, Sgt. Rafiqullah says three were killed, six were wounded and about 100 deserted, leaving just 20 to fight.

Over to you Gillard and Smith.

F-35 officially 7 years late for USAF service

The United States Air Force (USAF) has officially stated that initial operating capability (IOC) for the F-35 won't happen until sometime in 2018. This was sort of expected when looking at the tea leaves over the past several months.

F-35 IOC for the USAF is now 7 years late compared to the original plan back in 2001.

Trends and program progress would indicate this will slip again.

Until then, USAF can count on about 300-350 F-16s being modernised with AESA and airframe work. Which will give them about another 7-8 years of additional life depending on each airframe. F-16 Blocks have various health issues. For instance, Block 4X are now very old. The smaller number of Block 5X are no longer young. USAF thinks they can do more above the 300-350 but I wouldn't count on it.

There are around 170-some F-15Cs that will get AESA and various upgrades which will allow them to operate out to the 2020s. We will have 170-some F-22s. When you get rid of the small-motor F-15Es, we will have a few handfuls of large motor F-15Es.

Add all that up and take away some for not being combat-coded, and that is the fast-jet fighter force for the USAF for the 2020-2030 era.

The idea that the F-35 will be able to be helpful in recapitalising the USAF fighter force doesn't seem very credible.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Early assumptions on the F-35 program from the dumb as a brick crowd

Visual tricks with colors are fun. Just not so much when it is the DOD and industry trying to pull one over on a gullible Congress so as to get your money.

Take a look at these very interesting Joint Strike Fighter graphics pulled from 1997 and 2001 briefings.

The look at the first one from 1997 and ponder it for a bit.

Then take a look at the one from 2001. Notice how the colors change for production and operation and sustainment costs yet the physical position of the bars don't change a lot.

What it looks like is as it got closer to the time where Congress had to make a decision, the numbers for earlier spending (R&D and procurement) had to look smaller; a lot smaller.

Interesting how O&S shot up. But hey, that is later and can be creatively covered by several colors of money.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Canada still has a lot of work to do in order to validate a proper CF-18 replacement

Canada still seems to be confused on the topic of what should replace its CF-18 fighter fleet.

There is a lot of talk about 65 aircraft not being enough to meet its requirements for home defence and deployment needs.

In order to do this properly one has to decide if the F-35 will make it into service. If so, training can be done in the United States and thus free more airframes for operational taskings. If not then Canada will either have to increase their final number of CF-18 replacement aircraft or just deal with the shortfall.

If the F-35 does not become the way forward, Canada needs to consider the following for “combat-coded” fighter aircraft.

1. How many will be dedicated to training?
2. What percentage will be going through periodic maintenance?
3. How many aircraft will be pulled for overseas deployments?
4. When there are overseas deployments will there be enough combat-coded aircraft to perform home defence?

Since the Canadian DND never properly looked at the Super Hornet let us look at some of the considerations of this aircraft as a CF-18 replacement.

1. Two engines
2. Two air-crew (if required; for instance CAS support of ground troops)
3. Better procurement and operating cost compared to an F-35.
4. Suitable home industry workshare.
5. Short pilot upgrade training between the CF-18 and Super Hornet (for instance, the Australian example).
6. It is an off-the-shelf and proven joint weapons platform with coalition partners including excellent network and communications gear.
7. Adding to that, is part of a joint team with the U.S. Navy and Australia in the area of platform knowledge growth.
8. As the upgrade process happens, the Super Hornet provides excellent enhancement of the C-18 with the ability to provide increased threat and mission situational awareness and other advantages such as buddy-tanking when needed.
9. Excellent capability against peer or legacy threats.

Here is an example of how the Canadians could deploy to support a joint coalition with the Super Hornet.

8x Super Hornets, Accessories to include, HACTS, 10 ATFLIR, 3 SHARP recon pods, 3 buddy-refuel kits. Weapons could include AMRAAM, AIM-9X, JSOW, Laser-JDAM, HART-JDAM, SLAM-ER and Harpoon.

1. Deployment to the Philippines as a barcap, sea-control and ISR and strike capability in response to increased tension in the Spratly Islands.
2. Deployment to Japan as a barcap, sea-control and ISR and strike capability in response to increased tension with North Korea.
3. Deployment to Italy as a barcap, sea-control and ISR and strike capability in response to increased tension in the in the Balkans.
4. Deployment to Kuwait as a barcap, sea-control and ISR and strike capability in response to increased tension with Iran.

The above considerations can be used to look at other kinds of aircraft that may be suitable as a CF-18 replacement.

I do not think that the CF-18 controversy is over. Simply because Canada's political decision makers have been fed so much bad information on the topic.

Make it up as you go along

Not credible.

Similarly, although the F-35 has been criticized for delays and cost overruns, the fact that international partners will buy about 30 percent of the scheduled production has helped stabilize the program and keep unit costs below the level of a U.S.-only program.

Emphasis mine.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Daily Canada F-35 disinformation.

Not passing the smell test.

Finally, the conventional F-35 that Canada has chosen is on schedule, on budget and is flying regularly, safely and well.

I do wonder if it is the same author as what is shown in this organisation? (PDF)

The F-35 loses the value comparison to the Super Hornet

Comparing the Super Hornet to the F-35....

Take an aircraft that is in production and has some warts on it, and it completely beats anything that the F-35 program can ever be.

Why? Because the F-35 program is deficient.

Neither aircraft will be able to stand up to major threats in the coming years; yet there is a lot of need for second tier fighter aircraft. And we don't need a second-tier strike-fighter at an outrageous cost.

When looking at the chart below, it is hard to believe that the F-35 has sensor fusion when the DAS / helmet fiasco has ruined any claim of greatness. Check your 6? Good luck with that.

If you are flying the F-35B or C, you may have left the deck that day without a gun.

Close air support? Nothing of value here that a Super Hornet--especially a 2 seat variant can't do better--and safer.

The Joint Commander will not see F-35 networking of worth until Block 4 thru 6...if it ever gets that far.

As for combat radius... well since the claims below do not come from the F-35 faith-based community, they can only be wrong?

All something to consider for Canada; who do not have much in writing stating they must maintain regional air superiority. Since they have stated they are not in the market for the F-22, that issue is settled.

So, mediocrity beats a failed program. But why do we have to settle for mediocrity?


Andy Rooney passes on

Growing up-60 minutes was on every Sunday night. It ended every show with a little commentary by Andy Rooney.

More confusion with Australia's helicopter roadmap

It is always good to have an operator (past or present) put their eye on the Defence White Paper of 2009. Or at least an operator that hasn't gone native to the Defence bureaucracy.

One significant quote was found by Bushranger on this this forum. Read all of his posts on that link.

That feat was accomplished in the late 1960s, yet complied with the Operational Flexibility intent of DWP2009, Chapter 8.61 - Australia cannot afford to maintain a large number of narrowly applicable capabilities. The future development of the ADF is to emphasise, wherever possible, operational flexibility and multi-role employment in the ADF's systems, platforms and organisations. This might involve, for example, achieving greater platform flexibility by way of inter-changeable modular design and construction techniques.

He also has the best short summary of why the Sea Sprite for Australia died.

Also what is surprising is the stripped-not-equipped approach to Australia's purchase of the Romeo. I am surprised at the idea of not keeping full ASW ability on this airframe. The problem is when you need ASW ability on the airframe, you also need a well trained community of ASW operators that have been created by lots of peacetime training.

The submarine population in the Pacific Rim is growing not diminishing.

Bushranger makes a good argument that the Sierra would have been over-all, a better value.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The F-35 infomercial

AOL Defense has a Burbage audio clip which accompanies this piece "Why Lockheed thinks F-35 beats Boeing's F-18". This is not an interview. It is a infomercial; or if you like a damage control piece for Justin Bieber. Except I think Bieber doesn't owe his fans over $60 billion dollars and counting.

Burbage starts by mentioning the service life of the U.S. fighter fleet.

The fact that the fleet of aircraft is old doesn't mean the F-35 is a solution. It just means that the DOD are poor managers and leaders and are willing to do anything (including weakening the deterrent power of the U.S. military) to get the F-35 in service. The F-15, F-16 and F-18 are still in production; are cheaper to procure; cheaper to operate and bring more to a joint force commander. In the case of the Strike Eagle, it carries a bigger warload a longer distance.

Burbage mentions anti-access threats but the F-35 and legacy aircraft are not up for that job. So unless that fact is taken on-board, a Super Hornet vs. F-35 comparison falls short with weak arguments such as "fifth-generation fighters".

If anything, the F-35 is a "fifth-generation" failure. It has not met two of its prime goals that inspired Congress to hand over the money. That is that it would be a "model acquisiton program" and it would be "affordable".

There is no joint coalition fighter aircraft unless it is affordable.

Burbage brings up a fixed-target precison strike scenario (powerplant). But in an anti-access scenario (something that the F-35 is not capable of taking on), such a target could be taken out by the F-22, JASSM and Tomahawk; throw in some MALD to help if you want.

No matter what, for anti-access threats, the F-22 will have to be there for the coalition effort or there is no case for going to war.

It seems that the AOL Defense author understands "anti-access threat" as that when you don't throw softballs in an interview.

Burbage makes the argument for a joint airframe which sounds nice (and I like) but the program is not delivering. A joint coalition strike-fighter could be a Super Hornet as well because it is common with the Navy who is likely to be there in a big war. Like it or hate it, this was one of the considerations for Australia getting the Super Hornet.

Burbage brings up Libya, and stresses STOVL. Great. But STOVL is the only alleged worth to the program. The U.S. would have won any past war without STOVL. And, we don't need that capability at any price.

Burbage claims that the USMC will deploy to Japan in 2015 but unless there is a dramatic change in F-35 block definitions there won't be any Blue Force Tracker or Link 16. Those features are in "notional" (read fantasy) blocks 4 thru 6. Burbage mentions "battlefield Internet" but the Super Hornet comes with all this stock. Super Block II does display fused threats and can pass that information on to other platforms.

Unless something changes in the F-35 program, the USMC (if it ever sees Japan by 2015) will deploy without network features that a joint force commander demands. In other words; symbolism over substance. The "Corps" of USMC marketing.

Burbage has the brass to state grand dreams of high production rates of 170 per year but there is no proof of this in sight. High production can only come with high production learning curve. High production learning curve can only happen with a mature and tested design.

Burbage claims software stability but there is no proven go-to-war aircraft with all the working systems tested over time.

Burbage talks about situational awareness advantage of DAS but the helmet that supports it does not work. Whatever SA the aircraft gives will be enough to see what kills it.

Burbage mentions some good maintenance process (he didn't mention some of this which I like). He mentions the maintenance administration but this can be done with other aircraft (PBL). He does not mention the risk of loss of national sovereignty with a huge vendor lock-in. This includes the vendor having access (including proprietary access) to the maintenance metrics for your whole flying club. This is a feast for the sales force and any F-35 replacement discussions.

What we have with the Burbage audio is an alternate reality. The U.S. DOD has no funds to entertain fantasy. I suspect that it will be another 10 years before DOD and the Hill tire of all of this; take the F-35 to the pound and have it put to sleep.

The DOD could be involved with the F-35 program out to 2050 or 2065 but maybe not for the reasons the faithful believe.

I figure it will take about that long for the last law settlement as a result of program termination.

USAF--$1.2B funding shortfall this FY for fuel

Via Inside Defense (subscription)

Air Force Projects $1.2 Billion Funding Shortfall After Fuel Prices Rise
Air Force officials are projecting a $1.2 billion funding shortfall this fiscal year if the price of a barrel of oil remains at $166, and the most likely solution to closing the budget gap would be a reprogramming request sent to Congress, according to a service official.

Interesting, as an F-35 burns more fuel than that which it replaces.

Friday, November 4, 2011

F-35 depot process to repair production mistakes after delivery

Part of the new business plan that surrounds any fielding of the F-35 depends on employing people--via rent-seeker demand--to repair the under-developed and immature combat system after delivery.

"As these aircraft roll off the line there are engineering changes that have been proposed and funded but they have not been implemented, and when they get delivered to use, we are projecting that we will be a part of that initial modifying of that aircraft." 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

USAF to upgrade 350 F-16s--And is LRIP-4 "peak production"?

Just a few thoughts for the day.

If F-35 program woes continue, LRIP-4 could be the "peak-production" mentioned by Canada's DND boss MacKay. He thought it would be in 2016. LRIP-5 will of course have less aircraft than LRIP-4.

Fixed price contracts as a future? Well we have seen that DOD can only afford 30 aircraft for LRIP-5. What the vendor does to improve this situation is well, up to the vendor.

USAF is going to have to do more upgrades for its F-16 fleet to make up for the short fall. About 350 Block 4x and 5x aircraft will be where the money is spent.

Think about it. Neither the F-16 nor the F-35 will be able to stand up to emerging threats in the coming years, yet there is plenty of work to do for second-tier fighters.

For that, the F-16 and F-18 bring more capability to what the joint coalition commander needs. And with less expense. Maybe the USAF can prove they are frugal?

Each F-16 upgrade will be $9.4 million.

The F-35 won't see anything that the joint warfighter needs (blue-force tracker and Link-16) until a notional (fantasy) Block 4 thru 6.

The F-35 takes money away from other DOD communities that really provide value. Time to cancel the F-35.

Toxic Collins

More on this story the other day.

Below from today's The Australian. Funny how Defence did the press release on a Friday evening 24 hours after it happened.

(click image to make larger)


Faulty Australian sub fleet costs $800M per year

Story surfaces of HMAS Farncomb dive and propulsion failure incident (Update-with Defence Response)

Great story about a Collins-class sub in an exercise that never happened

Desperation--U.S. offer of F-35 involvement to India

Looking at the news and there is all the sudden there is a lot out there about India and the F-35.

One word: desperation. As in desperation of the U.S. government and lockmart (one in the same) to keep the F-35 program alive by any means necessary.

Now several words. There are a variety of problems with this idea.

India has not signed a nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Is it such a good idea to give them what Washington thinks is our most advanced technology--even if it is not?

Then there is the issue of national sovereignty for India. U.S. sales of fighter aircraft have other strings attached as Turkey or Pakistan would tell you. F-16s for these customers have devices in them that limit what they can do when located in certain geographic locations.

Then you have observe what happend to Indonesia, Thailand and Pakistan. When they did something that was not in the interest of the U.S. they got logistics support for fighter aircraft cut off.

Object lesson.

With that, look at this deception of statements from a U.S. official on Indian TV back in 2007. It was an effort of desperation to get India to close out the fighter competition.

The message; F-16 sales to India lead directly to F-35 involvement. Where, the price of the F-35 is that of an F-16. I'm not even confident the guy is sober.

We all know how that theory of price comparison turned out.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

DMO, NACC, F-35 spin

Incredible as it is, the Defence Material Organisation (DMO) with help from the New Air Combat Capability (NACC) live in a world of their own when the topic of the F-35 comes up.

Their view: we shouldn't worry; everything is under control.

NACC will be advising on the up coming audit. I wonder what their point of view will be? So What?

The result below is when a government organisation stops looking out for the taxpayer and goes native to the vendor, or their own entrenched bureaucratic interests.

(click image to make it larger)

Defence and how they are creating an air combat capability gap

“The (Australian) government will not allow an air combat capability gap to emerge in the event of JSF schedule delay,” said Australian defence department spokesman Elliott Bator.

Interesting theory, but the gap filler Mr. Smith's crew is shooting for will hardly be useful except to maintain a fa├žade for the flying club.

Navy did not manage AEGIS sustainment properly

On Oct. 13, the Navy’s top two surface type commanders released a message to the Aegis fleet requiring more frequent diagnostic checks, better maintenance and more hands-on involvement by skippers. The goal, according to the message, is nothing less than to “inculcate a culture of SPY self-sufficiency and ownership.”

One would have hoped the Navy was always managing such an important system properly.

I guess not.

Fortunately the diversity bullies are well sustained. Every world-class Navy certainly needs those parasites.

AEGIS is not a system that you have the option of taking care of it some years, and not so much other years; not unlike nukes.

Looks like the past top leadership could not understand their reason to exist. Yet some think Roughead et al were actually worth something. I never saw it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The real expense

The following links here, here and here, have to do with this post the other day in reference to risks of starting F-35 training too soon.

Final answer, the DOD thinks the risks of starting F-35 training sooner rather than later is the way to go: assuming other administrative issues like a safety certificate show up. More here.

There has also been another F-35 delivered to Eglin, while the first production representative F-35B STOVL has had its first flight.

In reference to my post on F-35 low rate initial production (LRIP) 5, Stephen Trimble has an additional look at the woe.

Bill Sweetman writes on F-22 and ATF program history. He states that the idea of budget growth on such projects is vague.

That teaches an important lesson: There are no overruns, only underestimates and external forces -- and in defense, the latter are usually less important.

The estimates were wishes. The Pentagon had cut the unit cost from $40 million at the last moment, but it meant about as much as Winston Smith's estimates of boot production in 1984. There was no authority behind it.

F-22 production was halted not just because of its "program of record" but because of the perception it was too expensive.

The F-35--with half the capability of an F-22 (if that)--is now facing similar troubles because of expense and lack of credibility.

The other expense being that of poor project managers on both sides of the fence.