Saturday, March 31, 2012

The faulty F-35A cost per flying hour is unsustainable

AOL Defense is taking a look at the latest DOD select acquisition report for the F-35.

They are reporting that it will cost $35,200 per flying hour for the F-35A CTOL (the most common variant). Or in other words, the annual take-home pay of many Americans.

Burned up.

Every hour. For no valid return in credible combat capability.

Curious because years ago, in order to generate interest with a gullible U.S. military and Congress, the then JSF program had to show how great the jet would be using less operations and sustainment dollars than existing strike-fighters.

A tall order.

A look back 10 years to the 2002 SAR offers some illumination. What did the sales-force do in order to convince everyone that the F-35 was cheap to operate for such incredible (imagined) capability? Their projections cut the manpower required to run an F-35A squadron by two-fifths compared to a USAF F-16 squadron. Not figured in was that a heavy aircraft with a really big engine would burn more fuel per hour.

The comparison also did not take into account that a stealth aircraft, with more complexity, would cost more to operate. Or, they figured it and decided it didn't count because the numbers were inconvenient to the cause.

Observe the 2002 F-35 SAR predictions for the F-35A cost per flying hour compared to the recent SAR reported by AOL Defense.

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$9145 per flying hour vs. $35,200 per flying hour. Even when counting in the FY2002 baseline dollars to today's money, that is a big difference.

On a different note, the 2002 SAR shows the Navy (including USMC) as ordering their last F-35 to complete the program of record by the year 2021. That would be 690 F-35B&C aircraft.

Also according to the 2002 SAR, the USAF F-35 program of record would have ordered their last jet for a total of 1763 in 2026.

The latest meme out there is that this will be a program of sustainment spanning over 50 years.

Early SARS also stressed that the F-35 program was to be "affordable" as a reason to exist.

With what we know now, we can see nothing in the F-35 program is affordable. There is also enough information available to challenge the assumptions by the faithful that the F-35 has combat worth.

The program has failed. It is time for some adult supervision to recognize this fact. This extravagant program must end.

Slower procurement raises F-35 program costs $7B

According to a summary of the latest Select Acquisition Report (SAR) released by DOD today, slower procurement of the the F-35 has increased program costs by $7B during this reporting period.

The categories of program cost increase due to lost orders are as follows.

F-35 US - +$5.254B
F-35 International - +$.833B
PW F135 motor - +$.987B

While there has been some spin on this from the F-35 cheerleaders (bad,bad F-35 partner nation governments for not buying to plan), decision-makers can't buy to plan because the jet is so faulty and program management is unable to deliver on the promise.

Because of the lost production learning curve and lack of technical knowledge of knowing what they are building actually works, these costs will cascade.

From the DOD release:

F-35 Program– It should be noted that last year's December 2010 SAR was a single total program SAR "F-35 Program," for which the estimate at that time was $379,392.8 million and included both the aircraft and the engine. The overall F-35 program estimate increased from $379,392.8 million in the December 2010 SAR to $395,711.8 million in the December 2011 SAR. In the December 2011 SAR, the program has been divided into two subprograms, the "F-35 Aircraft" and the "F-35 Engine." Below is a description of the details of the changes for these two subprograms:

F-35 Aircraft – Program costs increased $10,679.5 million (+3.3%) from $321,175.7 million (the FY 2012 President's Budget (PB12)), to $331,855.2 million (PB13), due primarily to the application of revised escalation indices (+$3,303.2 million) and cost impacts of a slower near-term production ramp rate (+$5,254.8 million) (Air Force completion was extended two years to FY 2037 and Navy completion was extended two years to FY 2029). There were additional increases for higher than forecasted contractor labor hours (+$4,021.5 million), higher than expected material burdens placed on subcontractors by the prime contractor (+$1,768.5 million), revised military construction estimates (+$4,245.6 million), and increases due to a revised, slower international procurement buy profile (+$832.6 million). These increases were partially offset by a net decrease in initial spares (-$5,587.0 million), a decrease due to maturation of the technical baseline, definition of customer requirements, and further delineation of Service beddown plans (-$3,609.3 million). Lastly, there were various miscellaneous increases (+$449.6 million) to the aircraft subprogram.

F-35 Engine – Program costs increased $5,639.5 million (+9.7%) from $58,217.1 million (PB12) to $63,856.6 million (PB13), due primarily to an increase in initial spares (+$3,999.5 million), the application of revised escalation indices (+$705.4 million) and cost impacts of a slower near-term production ramp rate (+$986.5 million). Lastly, there were various miscellaneous decreases (-$51.9 million) to the engine subprogram.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Defence on the verge of throwing away money on dud jamming aircraft 'upgrade'

This is another reason you can't trust the current senior defence leadership with your tax dollars: they don't know what they are doing. Again.

It was a bad idea then when deciding to wire 12 of Australia's F-18Fs for the ability to be set up as an ECM jet and it is a bad idea now.

Well over half a billion dollars could be wasted on this project.

And, why is it a waste?

Because the Growler is obsolete against modern threats. What is funny is how some mention it was used in a cream-puff of an air defense "system" like Libya last year.

Here is some additional thoughts by the U.S. Navy concerning the gear Defence wants to put into those 12 aircraft.

But what about the "next-generation jammer?"

What about it? The program may show up. However in these tight budget times and the U.S. Navy getting bled white by outrageously expensive defense projects, I wouldn't count on it.

If Defence goes through with this sham, it will be another monument to their incompetence.

ADF Force Structure for (real) Security

I do not agree with appeasing regional powers; or Chinese communists. Regional powers should see a strong Australian Defence Force--teamed with the U.S.--as a strong commitment to regional coalition security.

I to sympathize with some of what Dupont said:

The savings should be ploughed back into more "boots on the ground", allowing the army to strengthen its ability to deploy more troops on missions like those in East Timor and the Solomon Islands.

"We ought not to direct a high proportion of our limited defence resources towards maritime systems and platforms designed primarily for great-power conflicts."

However, we would have a gain in manpower if it wasn't off on the other side of the world doing a fool's errand in Operation:USELESS DIRT.

And, we also need more small patrol ships and a frigate replacement

I am OK with the sub numbers if they are Euro-design small-crews. The big sub rent-seeking effort, the Hobart-class air-warfare destroyers, the Canberra-class flat-tops and the Just So Failed will waste manpower and cash we do not have.

What it means LOL

What it means... from 2007:

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DOD offers empty promises to fix tac-air recap

Empty promises. Depending on a failed program to come in for the big win.

DoD now plans to fully ramp up production of Marine Corps and Navy versions at a pace of 50 jets per year in 2018, according to the document. Last year’s report projected 50-aircraft-per-year buys beginning in 2017.

Air Force production is expected to hit 60 jets in 2018 and peak at 80 jets in 2021. Last year’s report projected 80-aircraft-per-year buys beginning in 2017.

It won't happen. Because previous promises have also been way off.

The faith based followers are an example of planning to fail. As seen here:

“Since we put all of our eggs in the F-35 basket … we’d better take care of the basket.”

My current bet is 300 F-35s before it is all wrapped up. That is a best-case scenario. And not many of those will be combat capable.

GAO releases Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs

The U.S. Government Account Office (GAO) has released their 2012 Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs.

This is a health report of various U.S. defense programs. I have included a summary of the 2012 F-35 portion for your convenience below.

Note that the average costs assume that the U.S. DOD actually buys 2300-some aircraft. Looking at how Congress has been authorizing buys, this seems unlikely. Also unlikely is anything resembling full-rate production.

 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

New DOD baseline of F-35 will make it unaffordable to recap U.S. tac-air

New baseline costs for the F-35 arriving. A roll-away cost and a fly-away cost.

The new baseline forecasts the average cost of the F-35 fighter, including research and development (R&D) and inflation, will be $135 million per plane, plus an additional $26 million for the F135 engine built by Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp.

In 2012 dollars, the average cost of each single-seat, single-engine plane, including R&D, would be $112.5 million, plus $22 million for the engine.

This is the first year that the government has separated out the cost of the plane and the engine, and comparison figures were not immediately available.

Bloomberg reports this:

Which when you look up the latest USAF budget figures (PDF) for "fly-away" costs, there is a disagreement.

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All of this assumes DOD will order the original number of F-35s dreamed about years ago. Economies of scale--imagined or otherwise. If the Bloomberg article is accurate, full rate production will never happen.


And, there are all those lost orders which have killed the original business plan.

A review of some of the F-35 challenges can be viewed here.

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

American Enterprise Institute off on PacRim U.S. force-structure needs

The American Enterprise Institute (bless their little neocon heart--note neocons really are not "conservative" in any normal sense) have stated the U.S. needs more stealth aircraft in the Pacific.

They are right, but their solution is wrong.

Their primary fix for all this is to "invest heavily" in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

The problem is that the F-35 is not survivable for the threats mentioned. That and the F-35 is neither affordable or in possession of any worth-while range.

The F-35 program is also defective.

They also don't understand that we only have about 120 combat capable F-22s. This is what you get when you build complex "A" models of anything these days.

The AEI is in no way skilled up on this issue or the solution. Best for them to go back and do more extensive research.

Panetta continues to be clueless about the F-35--even in front of our allies

Panetta might be suffering from memory failure.

He is given poor advice about the F-35 program from the head of the USMC, General Amos and the head of the DOD F-35 program Admiral Venlet and lifts probation on the B model STOVL. Then Panetta gets spanked by the SASC.

OK, that didn't work out so well.

So, lets do it again. Yet one more damning report on the F-35 program comes out, then Panetta goes to Canada and says this nonsense (I will add some links to help him):

“As part of the defense strategy that the United States went through and has put in place, we have made very clear that we are 100 percent committed to the development of the F-35,” he said. “It’s a fifth-generation fighter, [and] we absolutely need it for the future.”

Acknowledging that the Defense Department has to be vigilant and provide as much oversight as possible as the aircraft continues to be developed, Panetta said Pentagon officials are confident that “this plane can do everything that it’s being asked to do in terms of performance.

“We’ve been testing it, and we continue to evaluate it as we proceed,” he continued. “And we’ve made very clear to the industries involved in its production that they have to keep it within the cross-confinements that we’ve provided with regards to this plane.”

Faith and platitude will not deliver a working combat aircraft.

First things first

Interesting conversation here of how much appeasement is too much.

"We need to distinguish between containment, which is the real agenda of some, and hedging, which is a realist strategy and one, if properly explained, China can feel comfortable with and not threatened by, even if it doesn't like it," Raby says.

"We need to avoid giving Chinese nationalists, of which there are many, gratuitous ammunition (and) we ourselves should be clear about our intentions and predictable in our behaviour towards China."

Maybe if we act real nice to the communists they will respect us?

Yeah, there are a lot of Chinese "nationalists". Consider this:


The lead article the Chinese Communist Party newspaper Global Times on Tuesday contained an alarming call for a declaration of war against Vietnam and Philippines, two nations that in recent weeks launched the loudest protests against China’s sweeping maritime sovereignty claims over the South China Sea.

The fiery rhetoric of the article states that “the South China Sea is the best place for China to wage wars” because “of the more than 1,000 oil rigs there, none belongs to China; of the four airfields in the Spratly Islands, none belongs to China; once a war is declared, the South China Sea will be a sea of fire [with burning oil rigs]. Who will suffer the most from a war? Once a war starts there, the Western oil companies will flee the area, who will suffer the most?”

The article further calculates that “the wars should be focused on striking the Philippines and Vietnam, the two noisiest troublemakers, to achieve the effect of killing one chicken to scare the monkeys.”

As for fears of what China could do to the Australian economy, the current Australian PM and her staff are doing everything they can to destroy capitalism. That has to be addressed first before potential threats from the Chinese communists.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

USMC Transition From Legacy Fighters To F-35 Delayed Eight Years

Inside Defense (subscription) is reporting that the United States Marine Corps (USMC) will have an 8 year delay added to their F-35 transition plan. If anyone is interested, compared to the original plan, it is closer to 15 or more years in delay. But moving right along:

While the strike fighter shortfall is still manageable, the Marines "may experience elevated operational risk in the 2020s if the predicted shortfall comes to fruition," as the service expects to finish its tactical aircraft transition in 2031 rather than in 2023, according to the joint testimony of several Navy and Marine Corps officials submitted in advance of a March 20 House Armed Services tactical air and land forces subcommittee hearing.

USMC tac-air was at risk the minute it signed up for the F-35 pie-in-the-sky.

Legacy Hornets will soldier on until 2027 (good luck with that) and Harriers will continue flying until 2030. Reserve Hornet squadrons won't receive F-35s until 2030. Good luck with that too, assuming those squadrons don't case their flag hoping for the F-35 and end up a victim of downsizing.

I guess all those computers in General Amos's office that know when a guy in Fort Worth is on break were not gung ho enough by telling him what he wanted to hear.

What does that do to the force structure? Take a guess:

The shortfall has already arrived for the Marine Corps, at least to a limited extent. The Marines will operate with a shortfall of 10 aircraft this fiscal year, and that shortfall will grow to 12 in FY-13. At the end of FY-13, the Marines will be able to retire a squadron to "meet [Marine Corps] manpower reductions," according to the testimony, "allowing the remaining squadrons to operate without a shortfall."

Given the funding problems, over the long term, I figure more than "a squadron" will disband.

Harriers will get some more funds to improve things like data-links, targeting pods, and well, anything they damn well want because they are the only true and reliable STOVL force.

My prediction? DOD is figuring out how to bury the F-35B STOVL. Once that is done, money can be handed over to field USMC Super Hornets.

This downsizing has a serious effect on USMC (U.S. Navy) amphibious flat-tops. Many of the existing ones retire in the coming years. The fantasy by fans from SLD et al of 10 "carriers" (not carriers folks, limited-scope amphibs) will never happen. With less USMC tac-air (and Marines) we have less fantasy amphibious assault wantabees to feed.

Where is the Great Santini when we need him?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bloat

Not much combat value here:

The Department of Defence employs more than 22,000 civilians in non-military roles, such as ensuring Australia's military is equipped to deploy to places such as Afghanistan.

They last had a general pay rise in July 2010.

Dream about the long range bomber

There will be no next-generation long-range bomber for the United States Air Force.

Let us look at what we already know:

The USAF has poor ability to set requirements, choose winners of bids and generally have an idea of what they are doing when procuring major weapons systems. They have a long track record of failure. CSAR, Tanker lease failure, Tanker rejection, Long-range bomber concept cancelled, C-27 fubar, light combat aircraft goof, F-35 and, I may have missed some.

USAF claims they can bring in the next-generation bomber but consider the following:

A new U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) report on the KC-46 tanker shows some interesting numbers. While it may succeed, consider that the USAF will spend over $50B to field: tankers. In comparison to a new long-range bomber design, these tankers are modest modifications of existing commercial aircraft at well above $200B each.

So how, in a difficult budget environment, is an institution that has severe trouble managing large military procurements, supposed to be believed that they can make this new long-range bomber fantasy work?

I don't believe it. And, until the USAF gets its act together, neither should you.

F-35 Twilight Refueling

Photos here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lockheedmartin/7018677375/in/photostream/

Monday, March 26, 2012

Searching the budget for more Virginia-class sub funds

No problem. I can find plenty of money for more Virginia-class subs in the current budget.

Easy.

Australia's Quickstep is now shipping F-35 parts...there is a problem though

Quickstep has to show its investors that it is doing something. Take for instance this announcement.

Here is the business they should have been doing, (in blue).

That is a lot of lost money.

Interesting as Lockheed Martin's front man Tom Burbage told Parliament the other day that there is $4.5B in home industry potential.

Interesting because that is a cut by half of what the politicians and business leaders where told when Australia signed up for the F-35.

Hopefully Quickstep can alter their business plans.

USMC Commandant in damage control over F-35B woes

The top Marine, USMC Commandant General Amos is trying to do some damage control after getting his F-35 advocacy thrashed by the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC).

It was Amos who advised U.S. Department of Defense boss Panetta, to lift the probation on the F-35B STOVL. That did not work out so well. Amos was responsible for Panetta getting the rug pulled out from him by the chairs of the SASC.

Great advice Amos. Great work at keeping the boss out of trouble. Not.

Amos has another problem with his F-35B STOVL advocacy. The jet is operationally useless for any future U.S. conflict. The F-35 is too weak to stand up to high-end threats and for anything else, it is too expensive to operate compared to existing solutions. It is doubtful that 7 tons of fuel per sortie is any kind of solution for an austere base.

Given the reliability problems with the F-35B, it is doubtful that it will ever see its above 90 percent mission capability rate. This is a key performance perimeter (KPP).

Amos can't be bothered to answer the question;"Can he see a situation where the USMC would fight in a major war (not a Libya side-show) where U.S. aircraft carriers were not present?"

As Lex posted in 2010, the USMC also has an attitude problem. Note the end decision by the then USMC general in question was reversed some months later. In any event, a two-seat Super Hornet makes more sense for the USMC.

We do not need STOVL at any price. The USMC is bigger than that. We also do not need mindless advocates like General Amos, doing fool's errands like the F-35B STOVL.

I suspect the budget woes, along with the ills of the F-35 program, will make Amos advocacy irrelevant.

Amos can increase his knowledge here, here and here.

Advocate !!!



LOL.


I am writing to strongly urge you to support the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter. America needs the F-35 for many reasons: to preserve our national security, to help strengthen our struggling economy, and to ensure that our men and women in uniform have every advantage we can give them. The fact that our nation is currently facing both economic and national security challenges means that we need to redouble our commitment to the F-35. Now is not the time to abandon the long-term investment we have made in the F-35---not when we are poised to see that investment start paying off.

The F-35 is the solution to our nation's aging fighter aircraft forces---most of our current fleet is approaching or well past the length of time it was intended to fly. Recently, senior Department of Defense officials publicly confirmed that the F-35 is the most cost effective solution for modernizing our fighter fleets with the required capabilities to be effective in future combat environments, and that there is no alternative to F-35. I couldn't agree more.
As America's premier 5th generation multi- role fighter, the F-35 exemplifies how our ingenuity and know-how continue to outpace our rivals---the F-35 represents a tremendous leap ahead in technology and will help America and its allies stay ahead of other nations' fighter capabilities for decades to come.

The F-35 also brings significant economic benefits to our nation. The program engages over 700 small business owners and leading manufacturers across the country, directly and indirectly supporting more than 127,000 jobs in 47 states. That number will increase to more than 260,000 when the F-35 reaches full-rate production. The F-35 program is a win-win proposition for our national security and our nation's declining manufacturing base.

This multi-role, stealth fighter will be the backbone of the Air Force, Navy, and Marines' fighter forces. It will provide advanced stealth aircraft to eight allied partners. Further, it will ensure the brave men and women of our armed services can continue to count on our air superiority to help them complete their missions and return home safely. We owe them nothing less.

While Washington continues to debate the issue of how to get America back to work, the F-35 is a clear job-creating, economy-boosting solution that has the added benefit of strengthening our national security, our relations with our allies, and our ability to ensure our competitive edge over potential adversaries. As a resident in your state, I urge you to support a steady increase in production and full funding for an affordable F-35 program. It is the right decision.

And also for the zombie army:

You can also spread the word by recruiting your friends and family to join the F-35 community.

Somehow I suspect that our tax dollars paid for this.

MP fact-finding trip on troubled sub and F-35 plan

An Australian fact-finding mission is off to foreign lands.

Their goal is to find out about this Euro-sub thing. And to take a trip to see the F-35 production line. Hint: Seeing the F-35 production line, getting treated well and seeing fraudulent PowerPoint briefings is not the same as fact-finding.

I suspect it is all a sham. There won't be any fact finding. They will come back and state that home-grown subs, like it or not is the only proper kind of graft and rent-seeking course.

They may even find that the F-35 program is "on-track" and that Australia will get their aircraft. After all, it is the fault of the customer for not ordering all those mistake jets on schedule.

I could be wrong. The team might actually deliver a realistic report.

UPDATE--UK carrier project will end up being helicopter capable only

The UK Parliament and MOD seem to be hopeless at decision making over their large aircraft carrier project.

This project was supposed to deliver 2 carriers that would launch and recover F-35 STOVL aircraft. Now, Parliament and the MOD dither. They cannot determine to go with the F-35B or the carrier version F-35C.

The first thing to consider is why did they go with the F-35C two years ago? The reason is that the F-35B STOVL was riddled with techical problems. So much so, that they thought it would be cancelled.

Things haven't changed much. The F-35B is still at high risk of never being operationally capable.

The U.K. now claims that converting the carriers to a conventional conviguration with catipults and wires to take the F-35C (or other carrier aircraft) will be too expensive. Well, duh. There was no way to have zero cost increase on the carriers when adding additional appliances that were not in the original plan.

After making their decision to go with the F-35C, a potential show stopper appeared. A rolling hook and wire test in 2011 with the F-35C failed. Unless this is solved, the F-35C will not be able to land on ships. The U.K. will not have full confirmation of this until the F-35C does cat-shots and traps on a real carrier.




One of the major problems with the F-35 program is that the STOVL variant is the driver in the whole project.

For example, The F-35A and F-35C carry around 2000 pounds in dead weight in the F135 motor. The goal of the program is to have one motor design with three sub-variants; One for the A, B and C. So the priority is to design a STOVL motor that can be stripped to run in conventional aircraft. Extra, dead weight is the result for the A and C.

And how much does the STOVL motor with all of its lift fan appliances weight?

About this much.

A STOVL design is also very different on its center-of-gravity requirements to safely fly. Different enough as to cause issues with the F-35A and C.

Other airframe compromises in the F-35 program have left the design with paper-thin weight margins for all variants.


The F-35 program is in serious trouble.

So, along with mothballing one of the carriers as soon as it is built, the Royal Navy will end up with a very nice helicopter carrier.

For a defense budget that is in dire trouble, this is about all the country can afford. They are not in the league of defense budgets that can pay to run carrier ops.


UPDATE-

Secret correspondence seen by The Mail on Sunday shows that senior defence officials knew the move was likely to prove controversial, and they urged officials to stonewall awkward questions from the media.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Norway and the F-35--speed or delay?

Interesting with all the happy language about Norway and the F-35.

Norway has reinforced their statements about the F-35 in a new Defence White Paper. Although I wonder how one can speed up procurement much when they are stretching out the time-frame to 2024.

A look at the JSF partner nation memorandum of understanding from 2009 (not long after Norway stated their commitment to the F-35 as an F-16 replacement) shows a significant schedule slip.



Note also that Norway is interested in Block 4 which supposedly will have a drag chute. The early mistake-jet training aircraft won't be of much use.

It will be interesting to see what what kind of money ends up being involved.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Canadian DND sent weak F-35 cost figures to Parliament rep

Hard to believe. Shocking even. Or maybe not.

iPolitics reports (subscription) that a 3 March 2011 letter from the Canadian DND to a Parliament budget official has surfaced which shows some very weak assumptions on what it will cost Canada to purchase and maintain 65 F-35s. I have re-captured the letter for download below.

Most of it is devoid of any analysis and instead depends on figures from the seller of the aircraft.

It turns out that the DND considers 65 as the minimum number of aircraft.

When compared to my estimates, what we have is a large void.

Next month, Canada's Auditor General is supposed to release a report stating that the DND misled Parliament over the F-35 debacle. DND will be defenseless because they didn't do any real analysis.




H/T-Mark

---

2010 DND F-35 brief used to sell program to decision makers lacks credibility

Canadian F-35 purchase slips to 2017-2023 time-frame

Canadian AG report states DND misled Parliament over the F-35

Still no time left for Canada

DND costing figures on the F-35 are wrong

Exploring another option for Canada's CF-18 replacement

A CF-18 replacement scenario for Canada

UPDATE--F-35 LRIP-6 could be 26 jets unless LM shows progress

Via Inside Defense (subscription):

DOD To 'Dial' Back F-35 Production Unless Lockheed Demonstrates Progress

The Pentagon wants a contractual framework for the next two rounds of F-35 purchases from Lockheed Martin that increase government leverage, limiting the sixth production run to 26 jets -- 20 percent below the 31 authorized and appropriated in fiscal year 2012 -- until the prime contractor demonstrates progress on specific criteria.

UPDATE- From Flight Global:

Outgoing USAF procurement chief David Van Buren said that Lockheed will be awarded a contract for only 25 aircraft under its sixth low-rate production lot, down from the 31 authorised by Congress in FY2012. But the DoD could award additional contracts for up to six of the remaining lot six aircraft at the same time as lot seven negotiations, he said.

The DoD will decide how many jets will ultimately be bought based on how well Lockheed does on cost reductions, Van Buren added.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Aust looking at average $US70m per JSF

LOL.

No problems here folks....

Morally, it is OK not to follow the defective 2009 Defence White Paper

Greg Sheridan of The Australian is all upset (subscription) about the current government's broken promises with the faulty and ridiculous 2009 Defence White Paper.

He is of the belief that it was good to follow such a nonsense of a document. He believes that the Air Warfare Destroyer can "control an area of the sea", even if this was tried some years ago without an air umbrella with disastrous results.

Battleship admirals (armchair or otherwise) live.

The current government hasn't done anything about those 12 subs for the rent-seeking class. How terrible.

Somehow it is the responsibility of the taxpayer to provide a corrupt and broken military procurement system hundreds of billions of dollars over 20 years for gold-plated weapons systems that will be killed off by emerging threats. Note: One should always separate high-end battle capability with every other kind of war mission so as not to buy into the non-sense of always having high-end capability or nothing. The entrenched Defence bureaucracy has no grasp of this concept.

Although I am sure Greg doesn't believe it, his view will give Australia nothing.

We cannot afford to man Air Warfare Destroyers, Canberra-class amphibious ships and 12 large-crew submarines. And, those systems aren't especially useful.

Today, there is no budget surplus.

While the current governments Defence plan may resemble President Clinton's family bible (It only has 5 commandments and all those start with the word "perhaps"), the current Defence leadership--while faulty--beats anything in the last several years.

The entrenched Defence bureaucracy needs a budget haircut and a dose of reality.

Crying over broken promises of a faulty Defence White Paper, doesn't bring any value to the discussion of Australian Defence capability.

USAF withholds $621M to maker of gold-plated AMRAAM

USAF is withholding money for the latest AIM-120 AMRAAM:

Raytheon’s subcontractor, “has had difficulty for the past year consistently producing rocket motors to specification,” according to the Air Force.

The missiles are the newest version of the Advanced Medium- Range Air-to-Air Missile. These missiles are intended for deployment to Air Force fighter wings and Navy aircraft carriers once testing is done and they are declared combat-ready in fiscal 2013, the service said. The missile has been bought by more than 33 U.S. allies, including Jordan, Morocco and Kuwait.

“The government believes the suspension of payments is an appropriate and measured response to incentivize Raytheon contract compliance,” Lieutenant Colonel Jack Miller, an Air Force spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement. “Payments will resume after consistent delivery of functional missiles. The government is actively engaged in a joint industry-government team production improvement effort.”

In the last budget submission. DOD is now paying around $2.35M per AMRAAM !

Good use of your tax dollars.

HMAS Choules passes first capability test

It works.

(Australian Defence photo)

Australian Defence press release:

The Royal Australian Navy’s new amphibious ship HMAS Choules has successfully completed its first major amphibious training tasks.

Navy and Army have come together during the last three weeks for the amphibious exercises SQUADEX and SEA LION.

Exercise SQUADEX provided practice for drivers of Army and Navy landing craft along with a variety of vehicle types as they drive on and off HMAS Choules.

HMAS Choules is significantly larger than the amphibious ships she replaced and gives the ADF new capabilities such as a floating dock.

The internal docking facility (or well dock) can be flooded to a depth of up to three metres so landing craft and the ship’s own landing barges actually drive inside the hull while the ship is at sea, taking on their cargo of vehicles and people in safe and controlled conditions.

Army Blackhawk helicopter pilots from 5 Aviation Regiment have also put the ship to the test, flying constant sorties to confirm their deck landing qualifications and practice cargo and personnel transfers.

For exercise SEA LION, HMAS Choules was joined by the New Zealand amphibious ship HMNZS Canterbury, Australian Army personnel from Townsville’s 3rd Brigade and planning staff from all three services around Australia. This exercise focused on ensuring the ADF is prepared for a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief incident in our region.

HMAS Choules’ Commanding Officer, Commander John Cowan, said Choules had the capacity to conduct simultaneous landing craft and helicopter operations, day and night, to support humanitarian and disaster relief operations.

“Using Choules’ well dock to move personnel and equipment ashore allows a significant increase in the speed of transfer compared with the Navy’s previous Landing Platform Amphibious ships,” Commander Cowan said.

Choules has a crew of 158 officers and sailors, including a permanently embarked Ships Army Department of 22. The ship can accommodate two large helicopters, 150 light trucks and 350 troops.

Well done RAN and Army!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

GAO warns The Hill again about F-35 problems

Tuesday, the U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) proved they were right for yet another year with a presentation (PDF) to the House Armed Services Committee about the disastrous F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program.

The GAO backs up the concerns of other organisations (both public and private) who have tried to warn us about the F-35 program troubles.

After reading the presentation, you can see why people like McCain and Levin, chairs of the Senate Armed Services Committee, were so upset with Panetta and Amos over their misguided optimism for the Just So Failed.

Look at airframe numbers in the report. Or, the lack of them. Under the original plan, there would have been 1591 jets in the production plan by 2017. Today, we will be lucky to see 365. Most if not all of those will be faulty. Of inerest, one of the early DOD Joint Strike Fighter program managers stated the business plan assumed you would see unit costs "flatten out" at around 1600 airframes. There is a better chance of a complete U.S. victory in Afghanistan before we see Congress hand over cash for 1600, let alone 1000, let alone 500 F-35s.

But the U.S. military says they are "committed" to the program.

Well, maybe no longer the USMC commandant General Amos. His encounter the other day with the SASC (previously linked above) didn't go so well.

"For the record, you don't know how much the cost overrun has been for the F-35?" McCain asked Amos in response to the general's assertion that he "could not comment" on the senator's observation that the program has accumulated $150 billion in cost growth.

"Not precisely," said Amos.

"Roughly?" McCain parried. "Do you know roughly what the cost overrun has been?"

"Sir, I'm assuming," Amos said, before shifting thoughts and directly answering: "No, I don't."

McCain, in response, called Amos' reply "remarkable."

With the next multi-year procurement of the Super Hornet already requested by the Navy, if he is smart, he will show a change of direction. Or, continue to not look very bright on the topic of air power. Funny, I didn't think anyone could top the USAF in that area of ineptitude. I will split the difference and put them on equal footing.

Although, we already know what is facing the USAF; who have made it clear they have no more money.

Many in the Navy would like to see the F-35 dead and buried. Its lack of worth as a weapon of war aside, it is taking money away from big grey floaty things.

What we have are significant procurement cuts of the F-35. Already happening. With the help of Congress and self-inflicted wounds by the maker of the jet and the DOD program office.

When considering all of the fairy dust by the maker of the F-35 on the topic of progress, here is what the GAO said about production capability.

"Lockheed had expected to deliver 30 procurement aircraft by the end of 2011 but delivered only nine procurement aircraft. Each was delivered more than 1 year late."

This is similar to what Ashton Carter stated last year. The production learning curve is not there. Yet, according to Lockheed Martin, it is the fault of Congress; it is the fault of the Administration; it is the fault of the U.S. military; it is the fault of Joint Strike Fighter partner nations for not keeping costs down by ordering scores of mistake-jets to plan.

At the cost of tens of billions of dollars.

Anyone's fault but Lockheed Martin.

So when will IOC be declared? No one really knows. When will full-rate production begin? With so many problems, no one really knows.

Last year some of the sheep were starting to understand that maybe the GAO knew what they were talking about with F-35 warnings. For a government agency, they have done OK. Their predictions about F-35 risk have consistently trumped all those that refused to listen to them.

JSF PO down! We lost him

We lost him. He was supposed to represent the taxpayer and not go native to a faulty program.

Sad.

Navy Vice Adm. David Venlet, program manager for the F-35, also said the program now is on track. “The F-35 has schedule and budget realism now going forward,” he said. “It is transparent in the discovery and correction of issues arising in test that are typical in all fighter aircraft development.”

Venlet told the Congress members he believes the F-35 “is a critical presence in the combined force battle space. It makes many other systems and capabilities and effects better because of the presence of the F-35’s sensors.”

Venlet called the F-35 a “critical presence” to many nations, as well as being a bond of joint strength across all U.S. military services.

“It is a bond of capability and a bond economically across many nations that raises the level of technology benefit in our militaries and our industries,” he said.

Venlet called the F-35 “the best possible growth platform to incorporate future advances in weapons, sensors and networks.”

The F-35 also is an assurance to service members that “they will succeed in every mission and return home safely to their loved ones.”

Monday, March 19, 2012

MOD and UK leadership don't know half of the problem

Wait until the dummies in the MOD find out that neither variant of the F-35 is a good idea.

They will end up with 2 over-priced helicopter carriers.

The Navy's gold-plated fuel program

Good points here.

But Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) pointed out that even at a competitive price, the Navy’s plan to use a “50/50 blend” of diesel fuel and a biofuel supplement would still cost $15 per gallon. Traditional JP-5 jet fuel used in the Navy’s fighter aircraft runs $4 to $5 per gallon on average, Inhofe said.

“Shouldn’t we refocus our priorities and make those things our priorities instead of advancing a biofuels market?” Forbes asked at the time.

Before Mabus could respond, the Virginia Republican took a clear shot at the secretary: “You’re not the secretary of the Energy. You’re the secretary of the Navy.”

Hard to be convinced the USN is serious about fuel costs given the LCS, F-35 and DDX.


H/T-War News Updates

Good place for a recruiting drive

I wonder how many chicken-hawks one could find here if a few people walked through the crowd handing out recruiting material for the U.S. Military?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Canada's last military presence in Europe since the end of WWII ends

Canada is withdrawing from the AWACS and UAV program run by NATO.

This is a money saving effort. Canada has been part of the NATO-AWACs program for 25 years.

The Canadian Forces hope to save $90 million a year by pulling out of NATO programs operating unmanned aerial vehicles as well as airborne early warning planes, according to documents obtained by the Ottawa Citizen.

Some retired air force officers have written Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office to protest the decision to withdrawal from the AWACS program. During the Libyan war the AWACS directed fighter aircraft, co-ordinating both attacks and airto-air refuelling operations.

Well, the Warsaw Pact did fall a very long time ago. There are no grand Fulda Gap scenarios. Libya? If they were so interested, Europe should have been able to do this op by themselves.

NATOs main mission these days is to desperately search for a reason to exist.

H/T- Naval Open Source INTelligence

The argument that may not go so well

One may make this argument (an excerpt below) if they were asleep. Or, simply have not done any homework on the Australian military equipment procurement system.

Those dollars were spent in conjunction with our allies, particularly the United States. That relationship is another reason that Canada needs the F-35. It is the fighter replacement choice for all three branches of the U.S. military that currently fly fighter jets: The U.S. air force, navy and marines.

The F-35 is also Australia's choice and will be flown by Britain's air force, both also key countries that Canada works with on a regular basis. This is called being interoperable with your allies and it makes good military sense.

Can we stop playing politics with defence in this country? If this plea seems more of a cliche to you than a heartfelt desire, it is due to the preponderance of political theatre in Canada for which the military is the primary target.

We have got to do better than that. If it is in our grasp to emulate any other country's defence posture, it should be that of Australia, where military issues are a source of unity among the populace and the political parties, where the NDP counterpart Labour Party, whether as government or in opposition, has consistently viewed national defence initiatives from a non-partisan perspective.

Some reading that the author may have missed.

-Defence White Paper Fantasy
-Analysing "The ADF Air Combat Capability- On the Record"
-Find out who is responsible for the Air Warfare Destroyer mess
-Analysis of Defence Materiel Organisation Major Projects Management and What Needs to be Fixed
-New DMO Boss warns the staff that business as usual is over
-Project of Concern list
-How dangerous is the Defence Material Organisation to our Defence Industry?
-Australia's Failing Defence Structure and Management Methodology

Unfortunately, most of the Australian populace is united with their opinion of the military procurement system.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

2010 DND F-35 brief used to sell program to decision makers lacks credibility

From today's news:

"OTTAWA — Defence Department officials glossed over warnings that the F-35 project was facing serious scheduling and cost problems as they pitched the stealth fighter to the government in 2010, newly released documents indicate.

Rather, while Lockheed Martin was admitting the program was thousands of hours behind schedule and missing numerous benchmarks, the Canadian military was giving slick presentations highlighting the aircraft's stealth capabilities."

With a few minutes of searching, I have found the infamous brief used by the DND in 2010. It is below.

The briefing from 2010 has a problem. Little of it is accurate. It assumes much. It contains rehashed Lockheed Martin briefing graphics. Not much in the way of any true analysis there.

Not mentioned in the slide is the aircraft's lack of survivability potential. Or, that in the Pacific Rim, the F-22 will be the reference threat that the F-35 will have to survive against in order to be of any use against future threats in the next 5 years and beyond.

One slide that points to "mandatory" requirements is of interest. With all the technical problems, delay and cost rise, the F-35 program is currently at severe risk of meeting none of the requirements.

Another slide on costs is woefully unrealistic. It claims aircraft cost is "low 70USD". Good luck with that, even from a 2010 perspective. One part of this slide is very accurate. It says, "No new money". So true. The acquisition side of the CF-18 has to come in at a ceiling of $9B.

Finally, the beginning of the brief spends a lot of time on Joint Strike Fighter program history. I wonder how Canadians would feel if they knew that the X-35 concept demonstrator had no weapons bays? With that, Lockheed Martin had less weight challenges to "win" the Joint Strike Fighter contract in 2001.

The brief qualifies as fraud by trick or device. Maybe Parliament can reach an awareness of this sham.





Canadian F-35 purchase slips to 2017-2023 time-frame

Canadian AG report states DND misled Parliament over the F-35

Still no time left for Canada

DND costing figures on the F-35 are wrong

Exploring another option for Canada's CF-18 replacement

A CF-18 replacement scenario for Canada

Weak arguments for Canada to have the F-35

I guess this is the kind of military "analysis" one gets in Canada these days.

"I mean Syria has a pretty advanced air-defence capabilities courtesy of the Soviets and the Russians," Robertson said. "If you're going to go there, you want all of the advanced capabilities you have."

That view is weak on evidence. The situation is more like this.

Canadian F-35 purchase slips to 2017-2023 time-frame

Canada will most certainly delay their F-35 procurement. The reason? Cost.

According to their associate defence minister Fantino, the total procurement must not exceed the $9B plan.

Back in 2010, Canada stated they would purchase their jets during the 2016 time-frame as this would be "peak-production" and thus best value.

Economies of scale and all that.

Today, Canada has stated that the 2017-2023 years could be the time of best purchase value.

This means that there is a good chance the existing CF-18s will be on severe flight restriction to make it that far. Then again, Canada has a pilot shortage and the ones that are around only get about 180 hours per year.

It seems over-all, the fighter business is just too expensive for Canada if they stick to the current path.

Next month, the Auditor General will release a report stating that the DND mislead Parliament over the F-35 decision. Not a hard leap to make given other procurement decisions.

DND claims the F-35 is the only aircraft to meet the requirement as a CF-18 replacement.

Not a surprise when you select the aircraft based on Lockheed Martin talking points and write up the defence requirement after-the-fact.

Maybe, by 2020, an intelligent purchaser of aircraft will have a thoroughly tested, go-to-war example of an F-35 to contemplate.

Maybe.

By then, it will have been obsolete to the high-end threats for at least 5 years. IOC: 7 years. FOC: 10 years.

For any other mission; existing technology does it better; cheaper.

Maybe by 2020, Canada will have something much more valuable: a reformed defence procurement policy.


Canadian AG report states DND misled Parliament over the F-35

Still no time left for Canada

DND costing figures on the F-35 are wrong

Exploring another option for Canada's CF-18 replacement

A CF-18 replacement scenario for Canada

Interesting C-27 numbers from a discussion on the Hill

Interesting numbers from a SASC C-27 meeting last week. Again, the main justification seems to be supporting Afghanistan; which we are leaving.

Portman said he believed the C-27J cost $2,100 an hour to operate. The CH-47 Chinook helicopter costs $11,000 an hour and the C-130 costs between $5,100 and $7,100 per hour, he added. "From a taxpayer perspective, the C-27 is not only enabling you to land at smaller airstrips and providing unique performance, but it's saving the taxpayer money," he added.

The Office of the Secretary of Defense has conducted a 25-year life-cycle-cost projection of the C-27J, C-130J and the C-130H aircraft, Schwartz told reporters at a Feb. 29 Defense Writer's Group breakfast. The cost of the C-130 aircraft is less than a C-27J, he said. "If I recall the numbers correctly, it was $308 million an airplane life-cycle cost for the C-27J," he noted. "It was $209 [million] for the J-model C-130 and it was $185 million for the [C-130H]."

Odd numbers.

The C-27s that have been bought will go into storage.

So if there is no justification for this aircraft, why was this effort ever started?

Friday, March 16, 2012

USMC boss shot down by SASC over F-35B program

The top Marine General Amos got hammered today by one of the chairs of the senate armed services committee (SASC), senator John McCain.

Amos was unable to clarify that he had any reasonable knowledge on F-35 cost and F-35 program risk. He was one of the people that convinced the unaware DOD Boss Panetta to remove the probation on the F-35B program.

As this letter shows, that didn't turn out too well.

Canadian AG report states DND misled Parliament over the F-35

The Canadian government voyage of discovery with the F-35 program is getting more dramatic.

Next month, their Auditor-General’s office will report that the DND misled Parliament over the F-35.

Lockheed Martin talking points and gross over optimism are not suitable analysis products.

Also of interest, the government has repeatedly stated that the acquisition ceiling for a CF-18 replacement is 9-billion dollars.

Poor procurement research an analysis is nothing new for the DND. They have dropped the ball with the submarine debacle and the Chinook purchase. The C-130 purchase was not pretty either.

Parliament--who should have been more on the ball--now have a solid trend of DNDs lack of ability to research and produce procurement plans for weapons systems.

What is Parliament going to do to correct these negative trends by the DND?


Still no time left for Canada

DND costing figures on the F-35 are wrong

Exploring another option for Canada's CF-18 replacement

A CF-18 replacement scenario for Canada

Lies

Maj-Gen Thompson said many of the JSF's problems published in the media were normal for a brand new strike fighter project.

Pathetic attempt at a diversion General.

Why don't we question all of the people that came up with this?

Maj-Gen Thompson said that if serious problems were uncovered during the development phase then the fighter's capability might need to be reduced, rather than expose customers to long delays.

This is already happening.It is not news to some of us that knew this already.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Still no time left for Canada

This is a great quote from the current Canadian government in relation to the F-35:

The problem the government faces now is this: If it has a plan B, it has not been very clear about what that is, and what its costs and benefits are. Indeed, Defence Minister Peter MacKay has warned that “cancelling the contract now could result in an operational gap, where if, around the year 2017-’18 when we’re starting to take delivery of the F-35, our F-18s are going to be taken out of use.”

As I have mentioned back in November, the F-35 is disqualified as a CF-18 replacement. The F-35 program will be lucky to have a go-to-war aircraft ready by the early 2020's.

That will be the next error for the Canadian government to acknowledge.


DND costing figures on the F-35 are wrong

Exploring another option for Canada's CF-18 replacement

A CF-18 replacement scenario for Canada



Tuesday, March 13, 2012

UPDATE-Lawsuit goes after makers of F-22 over faulty pilot life support system

The long-term pilot environmental control problems with the F-22 have come to a critical point.

The USAF previously stated in a aircraft mishap report that the cause of the loss of an F-22 in 2010 was due to error by the pilot who died in the crash.

Recently, that decision was reversed. The mishap was not a result of pilot error.

Boom. Lawsuit.

This was to be expected. And with a documented trail of affected pilots due to contaminated breathing air while operating the F-22, what is left is a feast for lawyers.

This is the cost of a poorly managed program which just could never figure out how to stop the problem. Just a few weeks ago, F-22 flying was halted in Alaska as the result of pilot life support issues.

Follow this lawsuit. It is important. It should be able to uncover poor management and oversight of a costly weapons system.

The price of de-skilling--at least in this case--is that the lawyers will catch up.

I hope they have success in protecting pilots, where the USAF and industry failed.

H/T- Alert 5

**UPDATE**

In a statement, Lockheed expressed sympathy for Haney's family, but said it didn't agree with the allegations.

"The loss of the pilot and aircraft in November 2010 was a tragic event and we sympathize with the family for their loss," Lockheed says. "We are aware that a complaint that makes a variety of claims associated with the accident has been filed with the court in Cook County. We do not agree with those allegations and we will respond to them through the appropriate legal process."

Boeing officials say they cannot comment on pending litigation. Pratt and Whitney say that it has not yet received any notice of pending legal actions and that it is "inappropriate" to comment until it receives notification.

Honeywell, meanwhile, says its product is not responsible.

"The US Air Force conducted a thorough aircraft accident investigation regarding the F-22A crash near Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska in accordance with standard flight safety procedures," Honeywell says. "The report concluded that Honeywell's on-board oxygen generation system was not the cause of the November 2010 F-22 crash."

Last year, a USAF accident investigation board held Haney responsible for the crash because he failed to activate the emergency oxygen system when his F-22's oxygen system was automatically shutdown due a still-unexplained malfunction of the jets bleed air system.

Accident board president Brig Gen James Browne states in that report: "I find the cause of the mishap was the [mishap pilot's] failure to recognise and initiate a timely dive recovery due to channelised attention, breakdown of visual scan and unrecognised spatial disorientation."

Later on 6 March, USAF chief of staff General Norton Schwartz seemed to backtrack.

"We did not assign blame to the pilot," Schwartz told the US Congress on 6 March. He acknowledged that the aircraft's bleed air intakes - from which the jet's oxygen is derived - had shut down, depriving Haney of oxygen, and that this was a contributing factor.

He returns

And, this is a problem...

Air Force general who ran F-35 during troubled times gets weapons buying job

An interesting promotion has been announced by the Air Force. Pending Senate confirmation, Lt. Gen. Charles R. Davis, whose resume includes nearly five years overseeing the troubled F-35 program, is being assigned to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition at the Pentagon.

From June 2004 to July 2006 Davis was deputy program executive officer for the Pentagon's Joint Strike Fighter program office, the official government managers of the program to develop the futuristic warplane. Then from July 2006 to May 2009, he was the program executive officer -- the top boss.


Davis, generally a good guy so many years ago when I saw him from a distance as a support puke seemed normal to me.

How things changed. In his role as JSF-PO, he was combative with anyone who was critical with the F-35 program and His Divine belief in its progress under His leadership.

The usual

I wonder how U.K. law deals with fraud.

The parts and components for the 3,000-strong fleet of F-35 jets are to be built by a number of different companies across Britain before the planes are assembled in the United States and begin to be delivered in 2015.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Predictable

The United States Army of the Rumsfield era did everything possible to enable the tragedy that struck in Afghanistan today when one of their NCOs went on a killing rampage.

Before Operation: USELESS DIRT II (Iraq), there were those in the know who stated that it would take a lot more troops to do the job over the long haul. This disagreed with the Rumsfield (and his mind-guards) idea of a on-the-cheap op.

Those that decided to make a grand occupation out of Iraq had real troubles. Not enough people. The problem was that with a combination of the Peace Dividend as a result of the Cold War ending, requirements in Iraq, Afghanistan and Korea, the U.S. Army was short of manpower; with all the joys of multiple combat tours.

For years on end.

The short-term fix to manpower problems was to lower recruiting standards. The system looked the other way while people with questionable criminal records, mental illness, poor health and poor literacy were allowed to join up.

Undesirables that got that far had an easier time getting through the next "barrier"; basic training. The original goal of basic training is to weed out (without remorse) those that should under no circumstances hold a gun let alone be allowed to work in an environment that thrives on teamwork. But alas, training units had to meet their numbers.

It gets worse. The Army lowered the requirements of what it takes to be one of the most important people on or off the battlefield; the NCO or non-commissioned officer. These are the enlisted leaders, the sergeants, that make or break the goals of platoon and company commanders. Good sergeants make you. Bad sergeants break you. Unfortunately, many of the generals from Desert Storm who were young officers in Vietnam, are no longer around. Or as the great Colonel Hackworth stated some years ago, "The Army suffers from CRS; Can't Remember Shit."

We are experiencing another batch of hard lessons learned by the Army past.

So, in such a high profile and important mission as security ops and peace keeping where bad information travels at the speed of email, the Army, along with the U.S. Department of Defense, was complicit at allowing numerous high-risk people that should have never been there, to have access to weapons.

Over-sight and criminal investigations lagged behind too. All the misdeeds; the murders and abuse (blue on blue), illegal killings on the battlefield, and various kinds of corruption (fraud, waste and abuse) increased.

The mass killing like today was bound to happen. Just like the kill squad episode was bound to happen. Just like Bradley Manning was bound to happen. Just like the Fort Hood shooting was bound to happen. Just like Pat Tillman was bound to happen, and so on.

We will stop having problems like this when we stop involving people in the process. But, what we have seen today, is another example of what happens when standards are lowered: more people die.

And, in this case (not counting an incompetent political leadership) lowering of standards have helped to lose a war.

Australia's strategic direction

Some in Australia have great hope, that if they are nice to Communist China, everything will work out fine.

This read from Woolcott today is interesting. He writes about political balance between the U.S., China and Australia.

In the following quote, I agree with the last part (in bold).

The ANZUS treaty "should not be regarded as an absolute guarantee of American military support (which it is not), or as a political sacred cow", he writes, adding that ANZUS or the broader US alliance had led Australia into three unsuccessful wars - Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Yet, I wonder what some of the be-friends-with-Communist China think of this warning?

Another question requires caution. Of the two; Communist China and the U.S., which has a better chance of supporting freedom of speech and free will?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

UPDATE: Operation: USELESS DIRT de-motivational report

In the latest waste and stupidity that is Operation: USELESS DIRT 1, the insurgent Afghan government has detained a U.S. soldier who was accused of a mass shooting of civilians. Reports say wounded but no dead.

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- A U.S. service member was detained Sunday after he shot Afghan civilians in Kandahar province, the NATO-led coalition said.
Capt. Justin Brockhoff with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said the incident took place off base and wounded "multiple" civilians.

UPDATE: From AP via Stars and Stripes--(some killed)

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- A U.S. service member walked out of his base in southern Afghanistan on Sunday and started shooting Afghan civilians, the provincial governor said.

People were both killed and wounded in the early morning shooting spree in Panjwai district of Kandahar province, Gov. Tooryalai Wesa said, though he did not provide numbers.

"The incident happened. There are some people killed, some wounded. But I don't have the details," Wesa said in a phone interview. He said a group of officials had gone to the base to determine exactly what happened.

Also, first reports being inaccurate etc...etc...

The service member was being held at a NATO base and U.S. forces are investigating the shooting in cooperation with Afghan authorities, Brockhoff said. He said it was not clear if the alleged shooter knew the victims.

Earlier in the week, it was reported that the Afghan air force (such as it is) was using aircraft to move drug product and other contraband.

At a cost of nearly $2 billion for two years’ worth of building the Afghan Air Force, the U.S. inadvertently purchased a more convenient mechanism for trafficking opium and weapons than Afghanistan’s drug lords were previously using. But it actually gets worse than that. The aerial trade in guns and drugs through the Afghan Air Force appears to be financing the rearmament of private militias hedging against the country’s implosion after the U.S. leaves.

Your tax dollars at work.

For no useful gain.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Caribou drop--Afghanistan


H/T- Australian Aviation

Work for the 3rd Air Warfare Destroyer goes back to Spain


In what appears to be a vote of no confidence in home industry to successfully perform work on the third Air Warfare Destroyer, the government is sending a large portion of work back to Spain.

How this will play out is unknown but this will be a blow to future plans for military ship-building at home.

Which is confusing when you see this news item.

Then there is this from yesterday:

Local shipyards snubbed as Defence looks to Spain
BY: CAMERON STEWART From: The Australian

DEFENCE has delivered a stunning vote of no confidence in Australia's naval shipbuilding industry by asking a Spanish company to help build its third air warfare destroyer, in a move that will cost local shipyards hundreds of jobs and at least $40 million in lost revenue.

The controversial decision was made quietly last month, despite protests from local shipyards.

F-35 Key Performance Perimeters (KPP) and Feb 2012 CRS report

Below isn't anything especially new. Just mentioning it because it is still used by Congress (in this case the Congressional Research Service (CRS) in their 2012 report (at the bottom of the page). Key Performance Perimeters (KPP) is in part, is the basic performance requirement by the F-35. They are yet to be met. And while the chart below is not all-inclusive, I will be interested to see the mission capable (MC) rates (shown as "mission reliability") meet their target.

(click on image to make larger)


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