Saturday, December 31, 2011

Few realistic options for the Collins sub replacement

If one wants to dream about unobtainable submarine capability for Australia, look no further than here.

With the Defence, DMO and RAN management in a mess, we will be lucky to have any replacement for our 5 defective Collins boats (the 6th one being a source of parts).

Because Defence gave up our long range F-111 strike capability on a lie, that is it. We have none. Those thinking of using a submarine as some kind of long range punitive strike weapon are off their rocker. Note the mention of cruise missile capable subs in the above linked article. Only an aircraft gives you the ability to hit numerous targets: per day. A submarine is not a replacement for this ability. It can only be value-added.

Considering the past dumbassery from the certain think-tanks that our government officials listen to we might be seeing some hope. There is noise from those circles that the moronic 2009 Defence White Paper may be faulty; that building 12 subs at home to replace the Collins nightmare might be unworkable. Good on them. A small hint of progress.

There is other noise of nuclear subs as one option. This political climate makes that idea impossible.

Which leaves us with few options. Those few are as follows:

A German 214 class. It is powerful with knowns. It is doubtful that even the DMO could ruin this idea. The advantages are to get some consistency into the submarine workforce. A handful of these boats would have predictable mission and repair schedules. And, it has killing power to aid in securing our Northern approaches. Notice I said “aid”. You need air power so that your own anti-submarine aircraft can do their work unmolested. Add some 214s at choke points an now you have a workable defence plan. Air domination is linked to submarine capability. Unless you enjoy the idea of enemy anti-submarine aircraft fishing for your subs.

Once the RAN is stable (workforce/logistics/readiness consistency) with that, you can press ahead with other specialist subs. If one wants something more they should look no further than the Spanish effort known as the S-80.

The submarines of the S-80 class are designed to better complete their mission in threat scenarios. Their operational mobility will allow them to operate in remote areas, traveling discreetly at high speeds. Their air independent propulsion (AIP) system will ensure their ability to remain long periods of time in an area without being detected and their ability to operate in possible conflict zones.

Their capabilities include:

* A combat system for multiple target acquisition in different scenarios
* The ability to transport personnel, including special operations forces
* Low noise and magnetic signatures in order to minimize detection
* Low radar and infrared signatures in order to minimize detection


Risk alert. The production of this boat is not complete. However that beats the other loony ideas floated by some. And it even knocks down those that claim only a Collins-like ability will work for Australia. This last one of course used as a club by the rent-seekers when lobbying government.

Some advisors to our government are fixated on the unobtainable and unrealistic. This disease has to be broken. Or, we can just continue the laughing stock which is synonymous with the words “submarine” and “Defence” in the Australian public mind.

Influence of Japan F-35 selection team revealed

Here are the significant amounts of sound technical influence used by Japan to select the F-35.

Friday, December 30, 2011

F-35--Left for dead on the Kokoda Trail

Take a read of this Kokoda Foundation report done in 2005. (PDF here) Its purpose is to determine the proper number of F-35 squadrons needed to meet Australia's strategic security interests.

The authors should be applauded for looking into this issue. Even if they missed almost every critical item that will allow the F-35 to exist in RAAF service.

The report goes on with the grand assumption that all the bells and whistles on the F-35 will just work: networking (forgetting that it isn't the sole ownership of the F-35 and that an enemy will have it also...along with a total ignorance of NCW limitations in the real world); stealth, combat effectiveness, combat readiness. For Kododa; no real show-stoppers.The authors assume that the F-35 will show up in 2012 but that any delay shouldn't raise the expense.

The authors ignore any real details that have anything to do with developing such a complex and expensive weapons system.

They think 5 squadrons is a good number but mention the small handful of tankers and AWACs may cause some operational limitations once you get to 5. Hint: the small number of tankers and AWACs cause massive operational limitations with 3 squadrons let alone 5. That and every sip from the F-35 is much bigger when tanking because it holds much more fuel. For all the independence Kokoda wants with Defence ops, I suggest they increase their knowledge on wartime tanker ops with lots of aircraft.

The Kokoda F-35 paper is a must-read for the mere fact that there are so many unproven and unworkable assumptions which may make it eligible for a possible science-fiction award in the alternate universe category.

It is very close to 2012. There is no workable F-35 in-sight. Whatever is delivered (whenever that is) will be obsolete to the emerging threat.

I look forward to a realistic update from the Kokoda Foundation on the state of the F-35 program. Maybe it can be called, “Dude, how were we supposed to know?”

Pretty impressive how people can get taken in on a scam. Scary is that these people advise our elected officials.

PW gets $1.1B jet engine contract for F-35 LRIP-5

Expensive motors.

“Our Corps needs to earn back its reputation for being ready with less money.”

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Finding budget sanity in the carrier air wing

The carrier air wing has one more mission that is not talked about much. That is, to provide a purpose to keep big aircraft carrier pork and graft moving in the system.

The Navy will need to make some serious budget decisions in the coming years.

The first one would be to ditch the requirement for the F-35C. There is no amount of lipstick that can make this pig a useful jet for carriers. And it was never a credible anti-access threat player anyway.

Once that is done, a move has to be made to simplify the fast jet portion of the carrier air wing. To accomplish this, retiring all of the legacy Hornet squadrons sooner rather than later can save a lot of cash.

Today fast jet composition of the carrier air wing is 2 classic and 2 Super Hornet squadrons. Dumping all the classics and reforming into 3 Super Hornet squadrons as the total fast jet composition for the carrier air wing can simplify things and save money.

Given the severe budget problems, we may see some carriers go away due to lack of money to operate them. If 3 carriers go away, that frees up taskings for 6 Super Hornet squadrons.

Super Hornet production can proceed at a continued rate to replace early Super Hornet Block I (and early Lot) that are showing age.

3 fast jet squadrons (not counting the Grizzly detachment) should be good enough for peace time. In times of war, a carrier can be beefed up with more squadrons and/or the physical size of the squadron can be increased.


The USMC picking up the Super Hornet (after realization of F-35B failure) will help the situation.

While not a true anti-access player, in many situations that allow for the F-22, the large radar foot-print of the Block II Super Hornet will add to over-all capability.

In the case of lesser threats like Iran trying to close off access to the gulf, an all Super Hornet Block II force will be highly effective in killing off a wide variety of targets that are a threat to maritime security.

Hard and/or painful budget cut decisions are coming. How the U.S. Navy survives all this is yet to be seen. It is possible that there is salvation in simplifying the carrier air wing.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Damning study examines failed Defence leadership and management

"In short, Defence and the DMO have been able to keep Navy tied up in port to an extent not achieved by any enemy force."


Air Power Australia has published a new paper by Air Commodore Ted Bushell AM (Retd). It is called Australia's Failing Defence Structure and Management Methodology.

It is a companion piece to An Analysis of Defence Materiel Organisation Major Projects Management and What Needs to be Fixed published in February 2011; also by the same author.

The paper covers a wide range of issues such as the failed experiment known as the DMO (my words), the horrible leadership situation in senior Defence (again, my words) and the over-all dumbing down of various positions that require technical know-how as opposed to bureaucratic group-think.

In identifying why and how the fundamental management models that have evolved both within Defence, DMO and the Services have failed, and will continue to fail, this paper will:

Firstly, analyse the causal factors that the Minister maintains led to the decayed state of Australia's Naval capabilities as a good, topical example, while noting that these factors are also common to RAAF and Army.

Secondly, analyse, from the top down, how the management methodologies that have evolved within Defence and the DMO have led to the problems and failures being seen in the management of the Military and the acquisition and sustainment of Australia's military capabilities, and hence Australia's national security.
It is a good read and media people that report on these matters should keep it within easy reach when referring to any number of Defence stuff ups. It would also be good material for any number of Australian media pros brave enough to ask some real questions when interviewing various Defence suspects.

Both the above mentioned papers would be useful for our politicians when engaged in Defence related hearings.

How Australia expects to have a non-dysfunctional Defence leadership is anyone's guess. Primarily because there is so much work to do in order to someday make things right.

The RAN needs more than manpower and ships

So if you add more people into an organisation that has bankrupt senior leadership ethics, that will some how fix a lot of problems....

Doubtful.

The shortage of expertise in our services has already led to some dramatic failings. The Australian's Cameron Stewart revealed in February that two-thirds of the Royal Australian Navy fleet had, in the previous year, been unable to operate at full capacity. Figures showed 38 of the RAN's fleet of 54 vessels had been at least partially incapacitated by faults, repairs or crew shortages. And we revealed an internal navy report detailing critical shortages of engineers, and warning that urgent action was required to maintain the fleet and improve "cancerous" morale. The problems were laid bare in February when the federal government wanted to provide naval assistance in response to the devastation left by Cyclone Yasi, and found none of the navy's three support ships was seaworthy. Then, just this month, a report revealed profound safety risks for our Collins Class submarine fleet, in part because of the lack of experienced crew and support staff
.

In other news. Like a broken record; the rent-seekers are out in force.

Also, great news! Home grown subs may only cost $18B... but not so fast.

"When it all starts to go wrong it will make the Collins $800million plus per annum [sustainment] program look ridiculously cheap."

"Any government that ignores the cold hard facts of Collins would be being more than just cavalier with tax payers' money; they would be failing in their duty of governance."

It is common practice for military think tanks, such as The Kokoda Foundation, to receive corporate sponsorship across the board and for specific research projects.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Framed

Suitable for framing. From a Feb. 2008 brief to AV Week by the DOD F-35 project office; then ran by BG Davis.

(click image to make larger)

Friday, December 23, 2011

AOL LOL

AOL Defense has a pretty amazing piece on the F-35. Amazing because it is hard to believe.

Below is a PDF I have done which critiques the message in the piece. It is not made to make fun of the author, but to heap scorn on some incredibly silly ideas.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Over-hyping the Japan F-35 decision

Many news sources are over-hyping the Japan F-35 decision. Copy...paste...publish.

While this is one of the better examples, a lot of the unnamed Defence source quotes in the beginning of the piece have little merit.

For instance, Japan fields a fighter aircraft different than anyone else.

The Joint Strike Fighter partner nations were supposed to be good for over 700 F-35s. This has not happened because of huge technical delay and various governments not handing over money at an earlier date.

That includes Australia.

The idea that Australia will hand over the money in 2012 for 14 F-35s is not a done deal. Defence Minister Smith is not happy with the program. He very well could recommend pointing that money at Nelson v2 for more Super Hornets.

Japan is both dumb and smart. Dumb in picking a virtual fighter aircraft with severe problems. Smart in being independent enough to never get involved in something like the Joint Strike Fighter Partner Nation Ponzi Scheme.

Because Japan is an FMS deal with strong home-political considerations--along with having some existing home aerospace industry--they will get more value out of the home workshare. Also, the potential Korean F-35 FMS deal will offer better home-workshare agreements. A Korean F-35 FMS deal could look something like how KF-16s were done.

Locally, the F-16s will be designated KF-16. Under the terms of the agreement, Lockheed Fort Worth will manufacture the first 12 aircraft, the next 36 will be delivered in kit form and assembled in South Korea, whereas the last 72 will be built in South Korea by Samsung Aerospace. This makes South Korea the 5th country to produce the F-16, after the US, Belgium, the Netherlands and Turkey. Major subcontractors are Daewoo and Korean Air. The expertise gained in the program will be put to use in the Korean Trainer Experiment program. South Korea took delivery of the first of these (LMTAS-built) aircraft on December 2nd, 1994.

That is a lot of missing "best value" for the JSF Partner Nations holding out their hands for work.

Note: Israel is different given they receive $3B in U.S. foreign aid credits every year.

Politicians in JSF Partner Nations should be wondering why their country is getting hosed.

Each JSF Partner Nation (depending on their level of participation) gets a fee paid back to them for each F-35 FMS sale. For example, if the fee for each Japanese F-35 is $6M, the Partner Nations would get (assuming 42 jets) $252M split up between them based on their participation level. For instance, the UK is a level 1 JSF Partner and would get a higher percentage of the kick-back than anyone else. While it is not chicken feed, it isn't much either because there is so little work being done with JSF Partner Nation home workshare because of all the missing orders thus far.

The Japan deal is helpful to JSF Partner nation's best value industry (and U.S. industry) in the way that a half-box of band-aids are helpful to a patient with multiple arterial bleeding wounds.

The math backing up the unnamed Defence official quoted in the article is really that bad.

Over-hyping Japan's announcement isn't going to change the fact that there are a lot of technical hurdles to get over with the F-35. That and the original business plan--the heart of JSF affordability; concurrency--is dead.

And, the F-35 will be obsolete vs. the threat over its alleged service lifetime.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Big money for Caribou replacement

Defence is now infamous for getting rid of existing capability and replacing it with something that has dumbed-down logistics/support, is much more expensive and in the end isn't a real "replacement".

Consider this read about the Caribou "replacement" project. Both the C-295 and C-27 are good aircraft however they are not a "replacement" for the Caribou. Certainly not with the money involved.

The Caribou had a lot of potential to soldier on for those who were not lazy. Performing a refurb was not impossible. See this PDF on the topic.

Today, the C-295 is cheaper to procure and operate than a C-27. The C-27 is probably more survivable.

The replacement could cost around $1.5 billion.

We are seeing more and more signs that this Defence bureaucracy is not responsible with tax dollars. The Caribou "replacement" is just one more example.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Japan picks a flying question mark

Japan has selected the F-35 to replace their F-4 Phantoms.

Fortunately for them it is an FMS deal with offsets and work-share and not the smoke and mirrors for the unlucky stiffs that are Joint Strike Fighter Partner nations.

The package includes a final assembly and checkout (FACO) facility in Japan as well as work there to build components – potentially including the wings or center fuselage – and subcomponents. Specific details on the value of this FACO facility were not disclosed.

Production "capacity" will be available because JSF Partner Nations have not put in orders of any significant number.

Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and IHT Corp will help with final assembly of the F-35 along with other components.

Lockheed officials declined to identify a potential contract value, but some analysts estimate it to be worth $8 billion. The contract for the first four jets, likely to be used for training, is expected in Japan’s fiscal 2012, beginning in April.

I guess Japan didn't learn much from the F-2.

There is a lot of work to do to fix up significant problems with the F-35. It will be interesting to see how Japan deals with all of this.

And, it is unlikely the F-35 will be useful against emerging threats in the Pacific Rim over its alleged lifetime.

Maybe Japan can bring some credibility back into the F-35 program.

Others have tried, without success.

Why projects get behind

Who knows? Or, who knew?

This May 2011 slide from a U.S. DOD/DOT&E brief makes for an interesting companion to the recent F-35 problems leaked to the public.

(click image to make larger)

Interesting: even in March 2011, the expectation was to start pilot training by the end of 2011. We all know how that turned out.

In a short time, the estimate of when full-rate production would start slipped 3 years.

Historically for the F-35 program, slips are now a form of routine.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Hard path ahead

How do we avoid disaster with the F-35 and not let it be cancelled with a complete halt on work? It will be difficult and maybe even impossible given that it was poor and limited thinking that got us into the tac-air disaster in the first place.

I suggest the following:

Stop LRIP production of the F-35. The F-35A, B and C will become X-35A, X-35B and X-35C falling into an open-ended test program that will use these airframes to learn what works and what does not over the long term.

Jobs will be lost. But not as many as the outcome of the pending program failure as we see it now.

Lessons learned will spill over into USAF and Navy requirements for a new Joint Strike Fighter aircraft. There will be a CV variant and a CTOL variant. No STOVL.

The requirement should include the following:

2x1000lb internal carry of weapons. The F-22 main weapons bay will be used for this design. There will be a gun on both variants. Again, the F-22 configuration with lots (compared to the F-35) of ammo. There will be a HUD and JHMCS system. There will be a bubble canopy for better rear visibility. It will have two motors on it. The same ones used in the F-18 Super Hornet. It will have an internal self-defense jammer and towed decoy. Low observable quality will be robust and maintenance friendly over ultimate-stealth.

The end joint strike fighter could be a mixed vendor deal where Boeing and LM work together. Any foreign sales will be traditional FMS. It will not be an ultimate fighter but a good strike fighter that should work well with the F-22.

F-22 production will be started up. This could take a few years just to get the supply chain restarted. This means that refurbs on old fighter aircraft continue.


F-22A

1. Upgrade path
2. Training
3. Test
4. Long term sustainability initiatives

F-22B

- US and export for ABC's (Australia, Britain, Canada).

F-22C

- Export version of B, for non-ABC's (Israel, Japan)

F-22D

- Technology demonstrators (D-1,D-2, D-3 and so on) for a variety of F-22 initiatives: IRST, Cheek AESA, LO external storage, 2 aircrew, etc.

F-22E

1. Follow on of B from what was learned from D model

F-22F

- Follow-on of C from what was learned from D model

All of this will be very hard to do to pick up the pieces left from a raft of poor air power leadership since the end of the Cold War. However, it beats the alternative of faith-based insanity sponsored by the failed F-35 team.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Yes Canada, there is no $65M F-35

Like a time warp, silly arguments from Canada keep reappearing.

Not so much analysis as copy/paste ignorance.

Answered as follows. Just like last time.

Incompetence or cover-up? How did the F-35 pass CDR?

In 2007, the F-35C was the last aircraft variant to achieve the critical design review (CDR) milestone. As explained in a 2007 Lockheed Martin marketing video:

"2007 saw the completion of the critical design review for the F-35C. The completion of CDR is a sign that each F-35 variant is "mature and ready for production."

Here are some other news items from 4 years ago.

F-35 Completes Design Review For Future Pilot Training

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II has successfully completed its Pilot Training System Critical Design Review (CDR), a significant development milestone that verifies the design maturity of the pilot training system and its subcomponents. The review, conducted by Lockheed Martin's Simulation and Support in Orlando, included representatives from the Joint Strike Fighter Program Office, the F-35 contractor team, members of the U.S. military services and the F-35 international partner services.

F-35 Navy Version Undergoes Successful Design Review, Readies For Production

The U.S. Navy's F-35C Lightning II carrier variant has completed its Air System Critical Design Review (CDR), a significant development milestone that verifies the design maturity of the aircraft and its associated systems. The review was conducted June 18-22 at Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, and involved officials from Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), the Joint Strike Fighter Program Office, the F-35 international-participant nations and the F-35 contractor team. Completion of the CDR is a prerequisite for the F-35C to move into Low Rate Initial Production.

"We're pleased with the CDR results, which reinforce our confidence in the F-35C's design," said Dan Crowley, Lockheed Martin executive vice president and F-35 program manager. "The review highlighted the program's development progress and the 5th generation capabilities that the carrier variant will bring to the Navy."

"Completion of this design review is a very significant milestone -- the die is now fully cast for the unique, three-variant Joint Strike Fighter program envisioned when the planning began in the late 1990s," said JSF Program Executive Officer Brig. Gen. C.R. Davis. "This is a momentous day never seen in another acquisition program in history. The entire team should be proud of the work that got us here today."

F-35 Navy Version Undergoes Successful Design Review, Readies For Production

Terry Harrell, Lockheed Martin director of F-35 carrier variant development, added, "We met our objectives for detailed design and performance while removing more than 200 pounds from the aircraft in the past seven months -- a major accomplishment. Getting the design ready for this important milestone required tremendous teamwork among NAVAIR, the Joint Strike Fighter Program Office, Air Force Materiel Command's Aeronautical Systems Center and the entire JSF contractor team."

Hmmm. Then F-35C CDR needed to loose 200 pounds of weight and it was described as a "major accomplishment". Today, weight margins on all variants are thin and some have the brass to say there is "growth room" in the design.

Given this not all-inclusive summary of F-35 problems, it is hard to believe that such formerly competent organisations such as NAVAIR and USAF AFMC aero systems and others did their homework with the F-35. Or they did and those that raised flags were ignored. Or, NAVAIR and USAF AFMC aero systems and others have been dumbed down over the years to be incompetent? Odd, when you consider it was Venlet in his old job in NAVAIR who stated O&S costs of the F-35 were going to be higher than legacy. This goes against all of the rabid F-35 marketing hype. So I will go with the theory that concerns of some of those people who raised flags in CDR were covered up.

(-click image to make larger)

The image above: One of the many things CDR missed; a serious engineering flaw of placement of the tail-hook on the jet. The F-35C recently failed all of its roll tests with the hook. This will require a complete redesign to find a suitable place on the airframe to locate the hook. Not trivial.

This is especially interesting to the U.S. Navy. The current F-35C design will not get aboard an aircraft carrier. Also bad; the UK MOD just shifted from one faulty version of the F-35 (the B STOVL) to this F-35C carrier variant. What qualified carrier aircraft will the UK put on their new and troubled aircraft carriers when they (if they) see service?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Dapper Don, etc.

There are many situations one can label as "Orwellian".

The term has become a cliché. Maybe the reason so many use cliché is that they have a poor command of the English language. Me included.

I was going to use this quote to describe the F-35 program:

"A tragic situation exists precisely when virtue does not triumph but when it is still felt that man is nobler than the forces which destroy him."

George Orwell

However, maybe a better description of F-35 program events is a comparison to Gotti.

Even after a devastating report that no statement of "production uber alles" can whitewash, well, I will display my great research skills by quoting Wikipedia:

In the face of previous Mafia convictions, particularly the success of the Commission trial, Gotti's acquittal was a major upset that further added to his reputation. The American media dubbed Gotti "The Teflon Don" in reference to the failure of any charges to "stick."

Also: the embodiment of an industry press release with the image below; right after major negative findings surface.


OK, one more try:

Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket.

George Orwell

Did they read the same report?

Interesting outlook (or blurred vision) on the happy state of affairs of F-35 program progress. Yet, here are just some of the problems with the F-35 program:

-Weight (affecting performance, STOVL, range, safety)
-Unknown fatigue (they don't know what they don't know)
-Buffet which affects…
-The faulty helmet which cannot use…
-DAS
-Airframe stress at Mach
-Flight limitations (dive limits) because fuel inerting can’t catch up.
-Associated lightning hazard
-Heat problems with the flight displays
-Cannot be flown at night.
-F-35C tailhook requires airframe redesign
-Wing rib replacement for A and B model
-Bulkhead problem with B model
-Various power-train issues with STOVL B model
-Fuel dumping unacceptable and requires a redesign
-Post flight logistics/maintenance data-link takes 30 minutes to download 1G of data. (1 sortie?)
-Severe limits in automated logistics management, (doesn’t fit into USAF skills training scheme), various components in the system (deployable server kits and other connectivity) do not work reliably.
-Because of the helmet system failure (partly influenced by buffet in the heart of the combat envelop), weapons cannot be cued including the gun.
-Production immature because of so many issues that are not figured out yet.
-Thermal issues affecting avionics and other systems.
-IPP (core system) has significant reliability flaws
-Many problems not expected to see proper resolution until 2016 at the very earliest.
-Leading to loss of defence deterrent for U.S. and allies
-Significant damage to worldwide industries

But we knew this

Senate scathing of dysfunction in Defence

The committee said the problems of Defence procurement were so deep-seated and longstanding that they raised questions of whether a completely different management structure and mindset was required in the senior echelons of Defence.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

South Korea and U.S. in mil-tech tampering disagreement

S.Korea is being accused of tampering with purchased U.S. mil tech. The explanation of "Tiger Eye" in the article is not correct but the message in the article is what is important.

This is why different FMS (foreign military sales) customers need different "requirements" that suit "their needs". Note the definition of Delta SDD in the F-35 program here.

USN fuel cost problems

This is probably not far off given the USN wants to pay $26 per gallon for green ship fuel.

H/T- War News Updates

Behind the learning curve in Australia

Good luck with that theory Mr. Davies.

However, he did say that the 13 flaws were all already well-known, and their solutions would be introduced into all the planes built from 2014.

This is possibly a more likely result.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Defence red-faced over drones

Also from Stewart at The Australian; (subscription) a good idea before deploying somewhere is to make sure there are facilities able to take the capability.

Australia's next generation of drones has been sent to Afghanistan before they have a runway to operate from.

The embarrassing oversight is expected to delay the full-scale operation of the army's new Shadow 200 robotic spy planes in Oruzgan province until the second quarter of next year.

Report--Collins sub fleet unsafe

Cameron Stewart from The Australian writes that a new report commissioned by the Gillard government warns of "profound safety risks arising from inexperienced crews, a paucity of experts, poor reliability and a dysfunctional maintenance system."

The short version is that the entire submarine organisation was now "unfit for purpose".

In what the report described as a "worrying statistic", it said crew shortages mean that one-third of trained submariners have now been qualified for less than two years.

"Crews are inexperienced and with reduced (submarine) availability it is getting more difficult to achieve the required levels of training," it said.

"With submarines having to live with defects of operational safety significance, decisions on what to live with and what to return to harbour to fix are being made by inexperienced people; a worrying feature with profound implications for safety.

And this via today's print edition of the Australian Financial Review.

He (Coles) suggested there was an unhealthy "master-slave" relationship between the Defence Material Organisation and ASC which discouraged the latter from taking responsibility.

LM Official--RAAF F-35s on schedule

Good news is great. I love good news.

Don't you?

According to the Canberra Times, Lockheed Martin official Tom Burbage states that Australia should get its F-35s on time.

Apparently, there were a few things missing from the press event: no real challenging questions from the press.

Here is what was not asked at the press event. I offer these questions which could have been asked.

1. Mr. Burbage, 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 is 30 aircraft. Without large numbers of F-35s, there is no low price. Without a stable design, there is no production learning curve. With the premise of the F-35 business plan now dead, how can you stand there and tell the Australian public that the F-35 is affordable?

2. Mr. Burbage, the top United States Department of Defense (DOD) F-35 program manager Admiral Venlet (an experienced test pilot) has stated that the build and test plan—which for years was the overly-optimistic basis of the aircraft’s alleged affordability-- was a 'miscalculation.' He also states that production should be slowed down. Australia has to replace its aging Hornet fleet by 2018-2020. If there is no way to make that schedule, does this not disqualify the F-35 as a Hornet replacement?

3. Mr. Burbage, the great assumption in F-35 development and test was that modelling and simulation would help with the ability to speed up production at a rapid rate. The current troubled history of the program indicates that this assumption was greatly flawed. Shouldn’t Australians wait until there is a complete go-to-war and properly tested F-35 before evaluating it as having potential value for our defence needs?

There is this really cool thing in journalism. Answers to questions like the above can generate follow-up questions. Which then ends up pulling out the rug from under people like Mr. Burbage.

Who are people like Mr. Burbage? Those that have trouble telling the truth.

The Australian public is being misled about the F-35. Trouble is, no one in the mainstream press seems willing or able to carry the ball.

DOD report — F-35 problems will take years to fix

My latest for F-16.net.

Also a good read here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Smith has to protect Australia from the failed F-35 program

When it comes to wasting your money on faulty weapons programs, few do it better than Defence. I think Mr. Smith knows this and is trying as much as one can in his position. Even if he is being poorly advised.

Today, Business Spectator warns its viewers about the F-35 program that Australia has been dragged into on false pretense.

Over the years, Business Spectator is the only business news publication in Australia willing to take on the topic of the Just So Failed. Given the mountains of misleading information from Defence on this topic, the Spectator has done well.

They are not Defence experts but they are experts in viewing failed business plans. All well and proper when you consider the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) F-35 program office boss has come out and stated that the F-35 business plan (concurrency) is a “miscalculation”.

In scoring Business Spectator's reporting on this topic, they have had a better grasp of this trouble years before anyone else in their peer group. Business Spectator has smelled a rat for awhile.

There have been others. Ben at Plane Talking can sense faulty aviation industry behavior. While mostly a civil aviation guy, his instincts about F-35 trouble serve him well.

I hope that someday, the regular media will pick up their game. A short guide to help them is here.

There was so much hope in wondrous quantity before the F-35 program became terminally ill. Or is that not an accurate statement? There was so much hope riding on this already terminally ill idea before it came apparent to those that normally don't follow ailing defence projects.

It has been said before and it is still true: the short-take-off and vertical landing requirement for one of the 3 F-35 variants had a big part in killing the program. Today, the F-35 is the walking dead.

Add the following: a post-Cold War deskilled engineering leadership and the failed Harvard business school types in positions of power way beyond their ability. Going toward doom.

The business types didn't listen to the few engineers that had all kinds of experience. Really, how in the hell do you put a tail-hook in the wrong god damn place on the F-35C?

This 2007 F-35 program marketing video stated the following: "2007 saw the completion of the critical design review for the F-35C. The completion of CDR is a sign that each F-35 variant is "mature and ready for production."

Watch the whole video. Most of it is made up of unsupportable claims.

To illustrate, look at these samples from the video.

--Beasley, a test pilot states that the helmet mounted display worked great. Today we know this to be very wrong.


--LM employee Doug Pearson, "extrodinarily high confidence" in the flight test schedule. "Different than legacy programs".

This was the flight test schedule planned circa 2007.

--"vast and complex software proceeding on schedule".

Today, we know this to be wrong also.

--LM employee, Eric Branyan, "Software progress on the program has been impressive." 47 percent of 18 million lines of code are already developed."

This would be the software schedule we were told about years ago. See all of the misleading statements in the graphic below. Notice the location of Block 1,2 and 3 software.

Next we get this about the greatness of the flying software and avionics lab: stating that the CatBird "demonstrates all the warfighting capabilities in that same environment that the F-35 will fight in."

Facts that get in the way of that theory for the marketing department—and the volunteer marketing department--would be as follows.

One of many F-35 program risks that has been revealed for years by the U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) and others is thermal build up with the F-35.

What are the thermal issues? The F-35 is attempting to be a stealth aircraft. With this kind of design you cannot just drill drain holes and air vents on the jet any where you want like a conventional aircraft. Use a push mower on your lawn in the dead of summer while wearing winter cloths. That is an example of thermal buildup that has to be cooled or shed in some way. The F-35 has an AESA radar system, a 270 volt electrical system along with flight controls that build up heat. Then there are other avionics (DAS, EOTSs and more) and the engine itself.

Much of this is tough even more modern conventional aircraft. For example, Australia's new Super Hornets have mentions in their procedure for avoiding thermal build up while on the ground with systems running. It is mitigated but it is there.

How does the F-35 shed this heat? One of the methods used is on-board jet fuel will act like a heat-sink. So far that has not been happening very well. And; get this. The F-35 is far from having all of its systems and weapons working in a go-to-war configuration.

Thank goodness the US military never fights in any hot environments. Fortunately too for Australia, the Northern part of the country is always cool.

The CatBird is not an F-35. Thermal issues and other F-35 dynamics cannot be simulated by the CatBird.

Besides software complexity, heat affects computer hardware and software performance.

The video claims CatBird and the software program is “unprecedented in other programs” and forgets--or does not know--that the F-22 had it's own 757 flying lab. “Unprecedented” for Lockheed maybe, but not for Boeing.

There is more disturbing hogwash from the 2007 video:

"We are seeing levels of process maturity and quality on JSF program that are reserved for later of the life cycle of legacy programs."

They wished in their dreams.

--"Ease of assembly".

Just don't mention that "quick-mate joints" which were supposed to make for that “ease of assembly” were removed from a 2003 weight reduction event. Add that to a host of other fixes from the infamous 2004 weight reduction event that was needed to make the STOVL have any hope of flying, and “ease of assembly” goals have been reduced.

--“We are changing the way that fighter aircraft are going to be produced into the future.”

Yes, by making this program the 5-star 5th-generation failure that it is.

So, either the people that signed off on that video were barking mad or they are part of a greater criminal conspiracy to defraud the taxpayer.

That is about the only two paths I can see at this time.

Mr. Smith needs to increase his knowledge about the F-35 disaster. In an era where the Australian government is facing over $200B in debt, stopping the procurement plan of this high-risk aircraft program should be an easy decision.

Almost all of the postive and happy information Australians have been told about the F-35 is untrue. Part of how the current Australian leadership will be judged, is how they respond to the F-35 lie.

(Source: 2004 Defence briefing. Click image to make larger)

Feeding the circle of patronage

Stating the obvious in this CNN interview.

CNN.com: In your book, you describe arms trade as "legalized bribery."
Feinstein: Specifically in the United States there is a circle of patronage between the defense contractors, the Pentagon and lawmakers that sometimes results in inordinately expensive weapons projects that are not relevant to the conflicts that the country is engaged in, don't always do what is promised, and are often delivered late. This has been going on at least since WWII. The F-35 is the obvious example of this.

CNN.com: What is the F-35?
Feinstein: The F-35 is the jet fighter currently being produced by the Unites States at a cost over $380 billion. While it might have been useful during the Cold War, it is not suited to the sorts of conflicts the US is currently engaged in, and is likely to be involved in for generations to come. A former Pentagon aerospace engineer I interviewed described it as "a piece of crap" and suggested those who will be in most danger from the F-35 will be the test pilots. Already testing has been halted on a few occasions. But it feeds the circle of patronage that is the US defense procurement system.

Monday, December 12, 2011

F-35 costs on the rise from one year ago

The cost of an F-35 airframe (no engine) is rising since last year at this time.

Back then, low-rate initial production batch 4 (LRIP-4) shows a lower cost than this latest contract for LRIP-5 aircraft.

Roll away cost of each F-35 for LRIP-4:

F-35A $112M
F-35B $109M
F-35C $143M

Roll-away cost of each F-35 for LRIP-5:

F-35A $125M
F-35B $142M
F-35C $156M

(rounding to nearest decimal point)

Last year, engine prices ranged from $19M each for the F-35A variant and $38M each for the STOVL variant.

Granted that a lower number of aircraft are ordered in LRIP-5. The assumptions of the program are that each successive batch would be in bigger quantity and thus cheaper. The problem; is a lack of stability in the aircraft design and thus: low production learning curve.

In the overly optimistic days, LRIP-5 would have been 120 aircraft.

With LRIP-4 being "peak-production" thus far (no one can say when full-rate production will happen) any assumption of the F-35 being "affordable" is officially nonsense.

A recent DOD internal report as well as recent comments from the DOD F-35 program manager show more negative outlook for the program.

Big news for the Australian Army



The Australian Army--the least dysfunctional of the services--is expanding its capability with a major force structure reorganisation.

-The restructure of the 1st, 3rd and 7th Brigades to form new multi-role manoeuvre brigades. -These brigades will be fundamentally alike in structure to enable sustained operations within a new 36-month force generation cycle.
-The establishment of 10 battle group manoeuvre units.
-Realignment of the Army Reserve to be more integrated with the regular Army, forming an overall force of full-time and part-time personnel. The Reserve will assume a greater focus on operations.
-The 2nd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (2RAR) will form the core of the Army's contribution to a future amphibious force capable of conducting humanitarian and disaster relief and other operations, particularly in the immediate region.
-Army working with the Navy and Air Force to enhance interoperability between the three services, in particular in operations with the Landing Helicopter Dock ships and other amphibious platforms.

In addition. Defence is ordering 2 CH-47 Chinooks, one of which makes up for a war loss.

Today, Defence also announced vehicle contracts for the Army.

With the national budget becoming a worry and if the government truly believes in this Army reorganisation (hint: it has to be paid for), we can see the jet-fighter force and submarine replacement sacrificed indefinitely.

The budget surplus was years ago. All gone.

German trucks

From the news...

Defence Minister, Stephen Smith, is expected to end a bitter contest to supply thousands of trucks to the Defence Force, announcing today the German company Rheinmetall MAN has won the contract.

The decision has been criticised by Defence insiders, who say soldiers could be left exposed to roadside bomb attacks by the way the tender has been handled.

The government will throw a bone the way of the Bendigo company Thales, ordering about 150 of its Bushmaster utes and forestalling potential job losses at the company.

The $2.9 billion project to supply 2700 light, medium and heavy trucks has been a three-way shoot-out between the Rheinmetall MAN option, Thales and Mercedes-Benz.

And an ever popular quote...

"These vehicles, whilst they meet mostly the tender requirements, are not actually designed to suit the conditions the [Australian Defence Force] will require in deployment. They will require modification to meet ADF specification."

And possible bad results include:

"The major concern is that the government has put pressure on DMO [Defence Materiel Organisation] to select the lowest-cost option with scant regard to the protection levels and total cost over the equipment life,'' the source said. ''… it is highly unlikely that the protection level will be able to be upgraded to meet the evolving threat. Therefore, when ADF deploys into their next threat environment they will either need to buy new vehicles or send soldiers with substandard protection."

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Saturday, December 10, 2011

DOD releases contract for F-35 low-rate initial production batch 5

The U.S. Department of Defense has just released a contract for purchase of 30 low-rate initial production aircraft. This is the 5th batch or “LRIP-5”. Cost of the contract is approximately $4B.

Defense Tech broke the story.

The Air Force gets 21 F-35As, the Navy gets six F-35C carrier variant jets and the Marines will get three F-35B short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) jets.

Note that like LRIP-4, three STOVL aircraft are the minimum to keep that specific supply chain going while the F-35B works its way out of probation.

In addition:
This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Air Force ($2,644,270,340; 65.9 percent); the U.S. Navy ($937,374,286; 23.34 percent); the U.S. Marine Corps ($426,190,013; 10.6 percent); and the United Kingdom ($4,084,671; 0.1 percent)

It is unknown if this contract includes jet engines.

This means the roll-away price of each USAF F-35A for this batch is $125M. The U.S. Navy carrier variant F-35C is $156M. Each USMC F-35B STOVL is $142M.

There are only small amounts of fatigue testing done and much discovery of this unstable design still out there. A resent U.S. DOD report stated that the USAF and USN found the fuel dumping function unacceptable and a fire risk. The tail hook of the USN F-35C will need a complete redesign as it failed all of its tests. This may have an affect on the aircraft's radar signature. There are also flight envelop issues to work through.

You can read Aviation Week's happier (whitewashed) version of F-35 progress here.

Under the original plan of many years ago, LRIP-5 was supposed to be 120 aircraft.

Even if the aircraft somehow reaches its design goals, what will be delivered to the warfighter is certain to be obsolete against threats over the F-35's alleged lifetime.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Rent-seeker bleating

Clueless rent-seekers here and here.

They would do well as Colt cheerleaders.

The platitudes make for a good bed-time story to tell little kids; in some alternate reality universe.

One can almost smell the fear. Especially in reference to the F-35 valet parking specialists at Eglin.

The Just So Failed robs money from other defense communities that could use it better.

Capability imagined

“The secretary is aware of the report,” Panetta spokesman George Little told reporters today. “He believes the F-35 program is important to pursue, that it will give us capabilities we need to maintain our edge.”

Another victory for groupthink.

.

Unhappy letters

Here, here and here.

Via Pogo article, "Influential Senators Want Safe Joint Strike Fighter Flight Training."

.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

U.S. communist appeasement tour

The gift at the bottom of every bottle of communist appeasement:

Memory loss.

The talks on Wednesday, led by U.S. Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy and the deputy chief of the People's Liberation Army General Staff, General Ma Xiaotian, went ahead despite those and other tensions, including U.S. arms sales to Taiwan in September.

Flournoy told reporters that Ma had asked about U.S. intentions behind the plan to put as many as 2,500 U.S. Marines as well as U.S. war planes and navy ships at a base in Darwin.

"We assured General Ma and his delegation that the U.S. does not seek to contain China. We do not view China as an adversary. That these posture changes were first and foremost about strengthening our alliance with Australia."

Nothing to worry about at all.

Marines are not defined by aircraft; especially faulty ones

It is sad to see some who think that the F-35 defines the Marine Corps; or STOVL for that matter.

Since the F-35 will not be able to take on emerging threats, what the USMC is in the market for is a reliable second-tier fighter.

USMC has around 9 or so Harrier squadrons and another 15 or so Hornet/EA-6 squadrons.

The USMC can make some cuts and come out more powerful and more "joint" by retiring the Harrier now and convert the money wasted on the F-35B and put it into 2 seat, Block 2, Super Hornets.



So the flat-top amphibs only end up with helicopters/MV-22s. Big deal. If anything that will be an improvement on air ops by not wasting resources on a handful of STOVL fighters.

Many can't imagine a real war where there isn't a big nuke carrier supporting Marines on the ground. Same goes for long-range bombers and the USAF in-general. Also, a Marine amphib group by itself is dead meat against a real air threat.

With 15 or so F-18F and EA-18G USMC squadrons, you would have an aircraft that helps out the Navy for the carrier air wing numbers and gives the Marine some excellent support.

Fast response CAS? Answer: GPS/INS rocket artillery and attack helicopters. Something the USMC already has.

I will finish to remind some about the myth of STOVL for the U.S. We could do a war and never miss it.

Neither affordable nor sustainable

--1997 DOD briefing--


It is interesting to note that we have not yet spent near $400B on the F-35. For development and LRIP we are well on our way to spending around $60B since the JSF concept started in the 1990s.

McCain is probably correct:

McCain, again quoting AOL Defense, said "that the path we are on is neither affordable nor sustainable... If things do not improve -- quickly -- tax payers and the war fighter will insist that all options will be on the table. And they should be. We can not continue on this path."

We still have a chance to stop the bleeding.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mistake-jet worry

It does not matter that there is shitty project management, the rent-seekers are angry. SMEs will wonder how they were misled.

Fear and loathing.

Picture of the day--bad hook

The F-35C tailhook is in the wrong location on the airframe and it doesn't work but hey, it is the symbolism over substance which makes many of today's flag-ranks the useful idiots for industry that they are.

UPDATE-Internal DOD report shows more F-35 problems

I wonder if U.S. Under Secretary of Defence for Policy, Michele Flournoy thinks that we have internet access in Australia?

It seems a fair question given this piece in the Sydney Morning Herald, "US official confident no cuts for fighter jets". Dan Oakes reports:

The troubled Joint Strike Fighter project is unlikely to be hit by any more massive cost or schedule overruns, according to a senior US defence official visiting Australia.

I wonder what she thinks of this?


I think there are more problems. In a Bloomberg Business News piece (subscription) by Tony Capaccio, "Pentagon Urged To Consider Slowing Lockheed F-35 Purchase Plan", it piles on to add more context to what was stated by the U.S. F-35 DOD program office boss the other day.

Capaccio reports on an internal DOD document dated toward the end of November that has a lot of woe in it.

The assessment, obtained by Bloomberg News, concluded that its lack of design confidence in conjunction with required fixes “supports serious reconsideration of procurement and production planning.”

For instance the USAF and USN find the fuel dumping process on the F-35 unacceptable because it leaves fuel on the skin surface of the aircraft, risking fire. This is something you do not want on a carrier after a jet traps. This will require redesign of the system.

The tail hook on the carrier variant failed all of its tests and needs a redesign.

The reliability of the integrated power pack (IPP) which grounded the program earlier in the year is very low.

The helmet display is still a large problem.

One of the issues mentioned is classified, but one can probably guess. For example, the Bloomberg article states that the hook redesign (this includes of course airframe redesign) could also have a negative effect on radar signature (survivability against high-end threats not a strong point with the F-35).

There is a lot more in the article.

In other news, Inside Defense (also subscription) reports that the start of pilot training may see more delay.

Air Force Secretary Agrees JSF Not Ready For Training; 'No Pressure' To Begin Prematurely

The Air Force's senior civilian has confirmed that there are still "outstanding risks associated with the Joint Strike Fighter flight training" at Eglin Air Force Base, FL, a sign of concurrence with the Pentagon's top weapons tester that the F-35 is not yet ready for unmonitored flight or formal training.

Starting training is "premature"? It is actually several years late.

UPDATE here.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Satire

Where the best satire has strong truth backing it up.

Australia's journalism problem

Sad when Australian news reporters bury, ignore or just get a big story wrong.

Some non-news organisations are trying though.

Until then, what we have as skill-sets in the press don't even qualify for Journalism 101.

F-35 apologists unite ! Stop Dave; I'm afraid

Here is some fun, alternate reality reading from someone who's livelihood depends on the F-35 program being happy unicorns.

A few points:

It is hard to claim, "there is nothing to see here" when the DOD F-35 program boss--Admiral David Venlet--states the original F-35 business plan (concurrency of enormous proportions) was a "miscalculation".

It is difficult to claim flight testing progress is great (it has improved) when it is compared to what we expected from the 2007 test plan.

The "hot spots" comment by Venlet can have a few meanings. One is that there are all kinds of predictions of fatigue. Interesting because there is so little fatigue testing done. The other "hot spots" Venlet could be referring to is all of the negative discovery he is yet to uncover. He is still on his own "learning curve".

All this points to a significantly lowered production of aircraft because the F-35 design is still unstable. You cannot have production "learning curve" until there is a stable design. Which is why anyone silly enough to want an immature F-35 this early will have a hard time finding production slots at 30-some per year.

Pilot training is significantly delayed. Simply because what they want to fly is nowhere close to being ready. That is a lot of resources tied up in Eglin AFB, doing other things than real training.

This produces several strategic risks. Allies are not going to get a credible air defense solution because the U.S. has lost its way. Soon, it will have no credible modern air domination fighter aircraft in production. If one is worried about emerging threats that are to exist during the alleged life of the F-35,  a handful of F-22s may or may not solve the problem.

Industry is starting to approach the waterfall. Any SME that had their business plan tied to the alternate engine will shed those employees and resources. The promised volume of orders are missing by a large margin. For instance, LRIP-5 was supposed to be 120 aircraft. Now it is 30-some. SMEs could end up like Australia's Production Parts. Corporate carcasses.

There will not be 2400-some F-35s. Maybe some news sources will stop quoting those that spout such nonsense.

Now for some "life imitates art". Our "Dave" has a problem. If grown-ups don't start making some serious decisions that can minimize damage to the defense outlook of the U.S. and its allies, then when the drastic decision comes to kill the F-35 program, it may look something like this.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Unsupportable statements from DOD boss

Tiring spin because it is unoriginal and obviously wrong.


The defense secretary said the joint efforts on these defense capabilities are only one part of the core U.S. commitment in maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge.

“As just one example, the United States will ensure that Israel continues to enjoy unquestioned air superiority by delivering to [them] the advanced fifth-generation fighter aircraft, the F-35 joint strike fighter,” he said.

Good luck finding productions slots for those free U.S. taxpayer funded mistake jets.

Confusion at Quickstep over F-35 business?

When it happened, I was surprised that Production Parts died. Even though it was probably a matter of time.

Bonfire of the SMEs?

Australia's Quickstep--who is involved in F-35 components--has to hope things get better, because hope is all they have. This PDF to shareholders last week tries to state that everything is going good in spite of the bad news.

Quickstep uses the 5th generation fighter meme and tries to make the reader believe that there is a bright future for F-35 work:


It is unfortunate that the business plan that Quickstep based their F-35 plan on is now officially dead.

Quickstep will have to adapt this part of its business on a 30 jet per year order prospect.

That, compared to the spin, is real fact.

Something investors need these days in the defence sector.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Australian "defence" reporter falls asleep at the wheel

Another Australian "defence" reporter is unwilling, unable or asleep.

A few follow-up questions on the statements below would have pulled the rug out from under Duncan Lewis proving that whoever is advising him is either an idiot or dishonest.

He's equally confident the RAAF will eventually fly the Joint Strike Fighter, despite delays and increasing costs. "The project is running reasonably well," Lewis says. "We are watching this issue very, very closely."

The RAAF's Super Hornets mean there won't be an air capability gap even if the JSFs are delayed. "This is a global enterprise and it's not going to fold. There's no question of that, in my view."
Emphasis mine.

Great "copy-paste" reporting. Too bad the Duncan Lewis comments have little basis in fact.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Build and test was 'miscalculation,' DOD F-35 boss says production must slow

The head of the DOD F-35 program has stated production of the F-35 must slow down.

The reasons are those that the critics have already mentioned for years: the concurrency built into the original F-35 business plan is just too much to handle.

The original F-35 business plan is officially…officially dead.

Richard Whittle over at AOL Defense has the breaking story. Read all of it.

For some of us, the idea that the F-35 program had troubles with hair on them is not news.

What is news is that somebody with responsibility is starting to tell it like it is.

In my opinion Admiral Venlet still has some work to do. For instance: understanding that even as- delivered, the F-35 doesn’t bring enough for real U.S. tac-air value. However, I understand he is also a prisoner of the DOD project management system.

RAAF boss courageously misleading or uninformed

More spin about the F-35 in Australia from this article with someone trying to infer that it is a "fifth-generation" fighter just like the F-22.

"I have had the misfortune to fly a 4.5 generation fighter against a fifth-generation fighter and there was an extreme capability gap. Australia needs a fifth-generation fighter."

Before this, I have never heard of a F-15D (or C) described as a "4.5 generation" fighter. Because,well, it is not.

Something else that flags the BS meter is someone trying to mislead by inferring that the only troubles that face the F-35 are fiscal because of a crisis. This is nonsense. The aircraft is in trouble because the program management is faulty. The F-35 program didn't breach Nunn-McCurdy twice because it was properly managed. It did not have its milestone-B stripped for being properly managed. It did not have the DAB pushed back because it was properly managed.

I wonder if the RAAF boss could explain this, this or this?