Monday, April 30, 2012

Good news on F-35 survivability?



Interesting how back in 2011 the top DOD tester--in an FOUO report--states survivability is a concern for the F-35 yet we have a DOD public consumption publication that paints a different picture. For your convenience it is at the end of this post.

It says some good things about the shoot-up of AA-1. Of interest though, AA-1 was not a production representative F-35.

Is there hidden test language? Look at the manner in which fire risks are mentioned.

I do wonder about a recent photo showing an F-35A (a real production representative one) with "weapons" refueling from a KC-10 tanker. Hint: they were not "weapons" but test shapes.

In any event, look at the IPP exhaust and where it is located in this photo. Look under the star. An IR homing missile would like that.

Take out the IPP and well, that ends the flight.

The IPP exhaust on the old AA-1 is located in a different place.

Modelling and simulation, testing, discovery, change, testing.

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Too much information?

I find this all interesting. I just don't see it as necessary to publish the security layout of the ops center for F-35 aircraft at the proposed Luke AFB, site.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

What is the value of the F-22 program?

The U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) has released a report that compares the F-22 upgrade path to that of legacy fighters.

It is alarming. It has some good points and it misses a few things.

The report brings into question the $9.7 billion dollars to be spent on the F-22 program for upgrades.

While the GAO doesn't bring up the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, it is critical to mention. More on that later.

GAO compares the F-22 against legacy aircraft that were fielded during the high-water mark of the Soviet threat. This saw development of the F-15, F-16 and F-18 at the end of the Nixon-era. These teen-fighters started fielding in active squadrons during the Carter and Reagan-era (of the three, the F-18 didn't show up in active units until the early 1980s). By the time the F-18 was fielded, the advanced tactical fighter (ATF) which is today's F-22, was only a 1981 requirement. And, the Soviet threat still existed.

In this time-frame, the Communist Soviet-run Warsaw Pact had a large amount of military hardware in Europe. North Korea and the Soviets were a threat in the Japan/S. Korea region. The Soviets had recently invaded Afghanistan giving them a better long-range reach to the Middle East. Taiwan was threatened, but not like today. For someone like myself that was around in that era (the formative years of my military service) the Soviet threat (big nukes or no) certainly was credible.

An ATF requirement was needed.

The recent GAO report states that it was an after-thought to add air-to-ground ability to the ATF. That idea needs some examination.

The purpose of the original ATF requirement which became the F-22 was to achieve air superiority. In order to do that, it had to survive not only enemy aircraft, but in the environment they would be found: near advanced surface-to-air missile designs showing up in the 1980's and beyond.

The performance of the ATF requirement gave the DOD options to add air-to-ground ability later. Today, the F-22A has tremendous growth room for add-ons.

The F-15 had real growth-room after an evolved strike eagle F-15E was made. The airframe designs between the F-15A/B, C/D, and E are quite different. The difference between the F-16A/B and F-16C/D are not upgrades so much as a new factory design. The F-16C/D is a response to A/B fatigue issues along with want of an evolved two-vendor power-plant and avionics. You can't just tack this stuff on to an A/B unless you want to... rebuild it which has also been done.

The Hornet family is also in a similar state. Here the A/B and C/D Hornets are a little closer but note the work that it took to rebuild F-18A to become an A+.

Also, the original F-16 and F-18 were born of a light-weight-fighter requirement. The idea was that a lot of affordable low-end fighters were needed to continue to face the Soviet threat. LWF was made to be flown X-amount of hours and thrown in the trash. No refurbishment.

In order to get to the E/F "Super Hornet", an entirely new design had to be performed. The Super Hornet is not an upgrade. It kinda looks like a Hornet with little commonality.

From what we know today, all of this is cheaper than an F-22. Make of that what you will based on your belief system. Yet, the F-22A still offers more growth potential than an F-15A/B, F-16A/B, F-18A/B.

In order to fix significant flaws in the F-35A,B and C, upgrading is not possible. The design is too flawed and heavy due in-part to the short-take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) requirement hobbling all variants. If the fan-base is so committed to this disaster, a new requirement for D,E and F will have to be found. Depending on how much courage industry and government have will determine if it is still labelled an F-35.

This is one of many cases where the F-35 team did not learn from the F-22.

For the F-22, if production had been allowed to continue, evolved and improved designs could develop. What kind of F-22A growth-room exists? There is space for right and left cheek AESA radars. These were kept off to keep costs down. There is the ability to put the F-35 EOTS on the F-22. Because, well, that is where that idea came from. F-22 specific EOTS/IRST was left off the F-22 to keep costs down.

A snapshot of F-22 development shows that, like almost all other military procurements things change. For instance the short take-off and landing (STOL) requirement for ATF was changed. In 1987, using a surrogate F-15 aircraft, it was found that take-off requirements for the ATF would have to be lengthened because of weight. For short landings, reverse thrusters were removed.

In comparing the F-22 to F-15, both had weight growth problems that were resolved by reducing internal fuel requirements. Will the F-35 see a similar fate with its serious weight problems?

Thoughts of giving the ATF/F-22 an air-to-ground requirement was the right thing to do. As it turned out, the F-117 was not survivable against emerging threats. When the ATF requirement was drawn up, a red-force team determined that stealth for stealth's sake was not good enough for emerging threats. Super-cruise and extreme altitude was also needed to make firing solutions of enemy threats less effective. Note by this time the sub-sonic "stealth-fighter" F-117 was already being fielded as a black-project combat capability.

Today, the F-22 has replaced the F-117 as a kick-down the door power to hit various enemy fixed targets that contribute to an anti-access integrated air defense systems (IADS) and other high-value targets in anti-access scenarios.

The F-22 is the only aircraft with this survivability. This is important to consider since the F-35 Joint Operational Requirement Document (JORD)--the reason for the F-35 to exist--assumed there would be hundreds of F-22s to take out extreme threats for the F-35. Without enough combat coded F-22s, the F-35 JORD becomes obsolete.

In comparing the timeline of the F-22 to other aircraft, funding streams for the project were interrupted over its procurement. The final source selection between the YF-22 and YF-23 appeared right at the beginning of the massive downsizing at the end of the Cold War. Lockheed's F-22 concept won in April of 1991, but the Soviet Union, for some, the F-22's reason for existing, was dying. Various DOD officials and politicians painted a future threat picture of few and poorly maintained pieces of Soviet-era technology. The Joint Strike Fighter JORD was at risk years before it was signed off on.

F-22 funding and numbers were cut. Costs climbed. The classic death spiral. The original ATF goal was for 750 aircraft. As the ATF program took shape, this narrowed down to 650. In the 1990s as the F-22 this lowered even more. Defense leaders in the Bush II administration let this slide to today's number. When Gates ended the F-22 at its "program of record", the United States Air Force had a valid plan to have 380-some F-22s to support 10 deployment contingencies known as "AEFs" (Air Expeditionary Force).

Gates stated that the F-35 could be had at $77 million each and that in the 2020's we would have plenty of "5th-generation" fighters. Even if that is an effectively meaningless term best saved for marketeers.

Fielding of the F-22 from source selection in April of 1991 to initial operating capability in 2005 took almost 15 years.

How many years will it take to field the F-35? It won source selection in 2001. Will it see initial operating capability in 2016? This is doubtful. And, until just recently, the F-35 program has enjoyed consistent healthy funding and political support.

The DOD has burned up around $100B and counting to get 120 combat-coded F-22s and an F-35 program run into the ground. The jet that ate the Pentagon. Indeed.

How many evolved F-15, F16 and F-18s would that money have bought? It is a hard question because the concept that gave us today's F-35 was thought of in the 1980s Soviet threat; pushed as an affordable solution after the Cold War; committed to in a time of a healthy federal budget and now, for those that could not see the project management incompetence, is facing extinction.

The fact that we now have a perilous federal budget is after-the-fact.

How to fix things?

Restarting an evolved F-22 may be the only answer to keep a major and important aircraft maker (Lockheed Martin) from closing the doors on combat-jet production.

Forever.

Any hope of saving America's air power deterrence capability cannot allow all that combat aircraft building skill to fold.

How do we deal with a failed F-35 program? By taking the nation's combat aircraft talent involved in this mess and re-jigging Fort Worth into an F-22 line.

This will also give us something much better than a 500 million dollar each long-range-bomber. F-22 production will give us a follow-on FB-22 (PDF) regional-bomber. Range; a high number of targets hit per day into anti-access threats; rinse and repeat. I have been an advocate for the FB-22 since the idea was first made public.

Air power deterrence.

Recently it has been in the news that F-22s have been deployed to the Middle East. Past deployments (including the ME) have shown that the later combat coded production examples of the F-22 can achieve 100 percent mission capability rates up to 30 days or more.

Why is that? Is it not a hanger queen?

Yes and no. A few examples:

Most of the systems in the jet are now OK. The engines stay on the aircraft for awhile before needed to be pulled. It was designed with a crew-chief in mind as far as maintenance process. Except that assumptions on the maintainability of this particular stealth skin design need help. The stealth-skin issues for early production lots and corrosion problems didn't work out so well.

First, corrosion. There are two kinds here with the F-22. The first is basic airframe corrosion. In stealth aircraft, you can't just cut a water drain hole anywhere you want on the jet like an F-15 and keep it stealthy. Work in progress.

The other corrosion is the poor design of the layers of low-observable (stealth) coating on the airframe. I have been briefed in-confidence by an engineer who has observed the program closely for years. The composition of these low-observable skin layers cause serious issues with moisture which leads to maintenance problems.

Lockheed Martin project managers were warned about these risks early-on. The rest is history.

Does this affect all F-22s? Early production lots are affected by the skin issue. A risk-mitigation project that involves different skin-coating methods is in progress. Like the corrosion problem, later production aircraft have seen the benefit of these changes.

The final verdict on all of this will be proof showing that enlisted people don't have to work 12-hour days in the low-observable skin refurbishment hanger located at F-22 bases. That crew-chief friendly design for the F-22 mentioned above assumed that only 5 percent of maintenance tasks require low-observable skin refurbishment. Open a panel for maintenance and depending on the task, the jet could go back to the low-refurb hanger.

This is where some of the high-cost per F-22 flying hour issues have come from. As of 2009, USAF claims a $19,000 per flying hour cost with the F-22. This is a blanket statement with no other details. A 2008 F-22 select acquisition report (SAR) shows that one F-22 cost $3,190,454 per year to operate and one F-15C was $607,072 to operate. Is this a typical example of how a next generation aircraft costs more to operate? Kind of. However, the F-22 takes on the mission of the F-15C and F-117.

The F-22 goes into the hanger at the unit level for scheduled second-level maintenance every 300 hours. This is about average for U.S. fighter aircraft.

The F-35 was designed with only 1 percent of maintenance tasks requiring low-observable maintenance refurbishment. The marketing people in F-35 happy-land doubled this to 2 percent after F-22 maintenance metrics were in the midst of post 2005 initial operating capability learning curve (that 12 hour-per-day F-22 L.O. refurb enlisted guy thing as one example). With today's F-35 design problems, I figure the high 90-percentile mission capability rates mentioned as a Key Performance Parameter (KPP) in the JORD are at this time, a distant dream. That, and the export-friendly nature of the F-35 marketing scam.

The most recent events with oxygen-life support system issues for F-22 pilots is most troubling. How resolutions to this problem play out over time will indicate the level of success.

So, are we to be alarmed that over the life of the F-22 program $9.7B in upgrades will be performed? This will make it an even more outstanding F-117 replacement; by even more orders of magnitude.

Today, we are spending $9B per year to procure F-35 mistake jets. They have no way to be upgraded to any worth. They are too weak to take on anti-access threats and too expensive to use for lower threats taken care of by current aircraft.

Over the last 20 years, our DOD leadership has much blame to take for the degradation of America's air power deterrence.

The F-22 as a concept, by itself, is not the major part of that problem.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Story telling

I guess the following is one way to report to the shareholders:

Finally, let me turn to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Year-to-date, performance in the flight test program is ahead of plan. On the conventional takeoff and landing aircraft, we are slightly ahead of plan for both the number of flights conducted and the number of test points earned. On the short takeoff and vertical landing aircraft, we are ahead of plan by about 60% on flights and about 22% on test points earned. And on the carrier variant, we're also ahead of plan by about 31% on flights and 32% on test points earned.

Contract negotiations continue on the Lot 5 program, with ongoing discussions between the customer and our F-35 team. We received our first counter offer from the government yesterday, and that's currently under evaluation. And we look forward to finalizing negotiations in the second quarter. We were pleased with the recent decision by the U.S. government to add 2 additional aircraft to Lot 5, bringing the revised procurement quantity to 32 aircraft.

HASC tac-air and land wish-list for FY2013

Here is a summary of the House Armed Services Committee tac-air and land wish-list for FY2013:

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Apr 26 2012

Tactical Air and Land Forces Mark Released

Chairman Roscoe Bartlett

WASHINGTON- The House Armed Services Committee today released legislative language scheduled to be considered by the Subcommittee on the Tactical Air and Land Forces at their markup tomorrow.  By releasing the legislative language as well as other descriptive information, Chairman McKeon is complying with House disclosure rules and overseeing the most transparent process in Congress for composing national security legislation. Led by subcommittee Chairman Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), the proposal gives first priority to the warfighter by providing equipment needed to support our forces in combat, active, Guard, and Reserve.  The proposal will:
  • Support counter-IED funding for the warfighter
  • Sustain America's heavy armored production base by maintaining minimum sustained production of Abrams tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles, and Hercules recovery vehicles.
  • Retain the Air Force's Global Hawk Block 30 unmanned intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft as they support the deployed warfighter, rather than shifting this asset to storage.
  • Maintain the option for additional airborne electronic warfare capabilities by supporting advance procurement for the EA-18G.
  • Fully fund the Army Ground Combat Vehicle development program
  • Fully fund Army request for 50 AH-64 Apaches, 59 UH-60 Blackhawks, and 44 CH-47 Chinooks
  • Fund procurement of 29 F-35 Lightning II aircraft
  • Fund procurement of 26 F-18 E/F Super Hornets and 12 EA-18G Growlers
  • Fully fund Navy and Air Force requests for V-22 aircraft
  • Fund procurement of 36 MQ-9 Reaper  UAS for the Air Force, an increase of 12 over the budget request
The legislative text, descriptive section-by-section analysis, and directive report language can be found here or on the NDAA Subcommittee Mark page.  The Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces will meet tomorrow at 9:00 AM in room 2118 to consider this proposal. 



---- And the story to all of this. Lots of things above are a real waste of billions we do not have.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Feel-good policy

The chattering class has a new project of self-importance. It is called; 'Australia in the Asian Century'.

Can't say I have ever liked the word "Asian" because it doesn't describe much given there are so many different kinds of peoples with different concerns in the Pacific Rim and beyond.

I agree that "all the way with LBJ" was a bad idea. Just as having Australian troops waste any more time in Afghanistan is a bad idea.

With that, I don't think being a useful tool for Communist China is especially worthwhile.

How would Australia react if they were instead located in the space occupied by the Philippines; facing a bullying Communist China who have over-reached on their definition of territory?

How is the China appreciation club going to react if the only sane response to an increasingly aggressive North Korea is to have a JDAM party once and for all?

Smith made the right response or at least an OK response.

I look forward to the new white paper on Australia in the Asian Century.


Operation: USELESS DIRT--still burning up taxpayer cash for no gain

At least Vietnam could be sung to a Rolling Stones song.

The only song we get for Operation:USELESS DIRT is that of a Federal budget out of control:

The main part of the NDN is a 3,220-mile rail network for transporting supplies between the Latvian port of Riga and the Uzbek town of Termez (connected by a bridge over the Oxus River to the Afghan settlement of Hairatan). According to the Pentagon, it costs nearly $17,000 per container to go through the NDN compared to $7,000 through the Pakistani border crossings.

Moreover, U.S. and NATO are allowed to transport only “non-lethal goods” through the NDN.

Steven Harper as Ferris Bueller

Great video.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

'The Navy is out of control'

Aircraft carrier on navy's secret $4bn wish list

THE Royal Australian Navy has produced a secret $4 billion "wish list" that includes an aircraft carrier, an extra air warfare destroyer and long-range Tomahawk cruise missiles for its submarine fleet.

The RAN wants a third 26,000 tonne amphibious ship equipped with vertical take-off jet fighters, a fourth $2 billion air warfare destroyer and cruise missiles that could strike targets thousands of kilometres away.

LOL. What non-existent operational aircraft are they going to fly off of the dream carrier?

$2B for an extra Air Warfare Destroyer? Right now they are tracking at $3B each.

Besides the idea that well, there is no money, who would crew these ghost ships?

A dying man can dream.

ANZUS Treaty--stronger than some think

For such a short document, the ANZUS treaty has some good words in it.

It is also a go-to document for Australia and the U.S. to consider in relation to the loss of regional air superiority and overall regional strategic force posture. The later cannot be healthy without the former.

Robert Gottliebsen of Business Spectator presents some strong reason which includes solutions for the current tepid approach by Australia and the U.S. in relation to regional strength. He also has some advice for Australia's Foreign Minister Mr. Carr to take a proper look at the direct language in the ANZUS treaty.

Myself? I am not a Carr fan. But, he is all we have. So, moving right along.

Article 2 and Article 3 of The ANZUS Treaty are strong. Take a moment to consider them.

I also like this part in the beginning:

DESIRING to declare publicly and formally their sense of unity, so that no potential aggressor could be under the illusion that any of them stand alone in the Pacific Area,

Unfortunately, some here in Australia give the impression that they prefer a division. That, Australia seek more approval from China.

I wonder what that same crew thinks of 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.”

But back to the loss of regional air superiority. This negative trend is underway with not only the currently failed RAAF/Defence roadmap but that too of incompetent leaders in the United States Air Force and U.S. Department of Defense.

If one wants to avoid war, they have to prepare for it. Today, that is only platitude.

All of the suggestions by Gottliebsen are on-point and are a dire warning of our current path if our governments do not change. If senior Australian leadership ever comes to its senses, they must tell the U.S. (in the spirit of friendship) that their Pacific strategy, is weak without a strong air power roadmap.

Are Mr. Carr and this current government, the people to stand up and do that?

UPDATE--New DOD contracts for mistake-jet fixes on F-35 LRIP-2 and LRIP-3


Source U.S. Department of Defense--

FOR RELEASE AT
5 p.m. ET
No. 303-12
April 24, 2012


CONTRACTS
NAVY
            Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $68,284,013 modification to the previously awarded cost-plus-incentive-fee F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Low Rate Initial Production II contract (N00019-07-C-0097) for changes to the configuration baseline hardware or software resulting from the JSF development effort.  This modification defines the contractor’s responsibility to incorporate government-authorized changes for the U.S. Air Force conventional take-off and landing and the U.S. Marine Corps short take-off vertical landing aircraft and provides funding for such efforts.  Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to span multiple years.  Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Air Force ($37,684,013; 55.2 percent) and the U.S. Navy ($30,600,000; 44.8).  The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

            Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $45,900,000 modification to the previously awarded cost-plus-incentive-fee F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Low Rate Initial Production III contract (N00019-08-C-0028) for changes to the configuration baseline hardware or software resulting from the JSF development effort.  This modification defines the contractor’s responsibility to incorporate government-authorized changes for the U.S. Marine Corps and United Kingdom short take-off vertical landing aircraft, and provides funding for such efforts.  Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to span multiple years.  Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Navy ($37,500,000; 77.8 percent) and the United Kingdom ($10,200,000; 22.2 percent).  The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.


Work on this can start. After the strike.

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UPDATE- From the Fort Worth Star Telegram:

DOD Contract to modify 29 F-35 jets

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Fort Worth was awarded two Pentagon contracts Tuesday totaling $114.2 million to modify 29 F-35 jets already built or in the final stages of production. The aircraft were in the second and third contracts, awarded years ago.

Pentagon officials have been saying for months they were displeased with the high cost of modifications needed to complete aircraft ordered as far back as 2007. The work is needed to ready them for flight training and testing.

Under the early F-35 contracts, the government picks up nearly the entire tab for modifications required on the first four lots of aircraft, totaling some 60 planes. The government and Lockheed renegotiated the contract for the fifth production lot to require Lockheed to pay some modification costs.

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ANZAC Day ADF topic--bloat

The ratio of civilians to military in the Australian Entrenched Defence Bureaucracy (EDB) is not good.

Civilian count is around 21~22k. While cuts have been proposed, they are not enough.

Military personnel numbers are as follows:


Besides the civilian service bloat, look at all this top-rank dead weight.

So where do we get some inspiration for trimming this nonsense?

Cdr Salamander has an idea. The Italians.

"We currently have 183,000 soldiers and 30,000 civilians in defence. We will gradually bring that down to 150,000 soldiers and 20,000 civlians, with a reduction of around 43,000," Defence Minister Giampaolo Di Paola said. "This target can be achieved in a decade with a 20-percent or 30-percent reduction in hirings, transfers to other civil service jobs and temporary work options," Di Paola told lawmakers at a defence committee hearing. The number of admirals and generals would also be reduced by "more than 30 percent" from the 425 currently in service, Di Paola said.

And, how much of the now $27B per year budget spent by the EDB delivers real combat value?


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Another Australian Defence Helicopter Needs Discussion Thread

For some interesting discussion, let us start up the topic again of a helicopter roadmap for the ADF. Something that might make sense for the next defence white paper but yet could be delivered inside of a few years.

We can start with Raytheon's consideration of the AIR9000 helicopter training requirement.

..."the large cockpit of the Bell 429 is capable of handling the full range of pilot candidates with the most spacious and useful rear cabin in its class."

DMO is even open for suggestions on numbers.

Another look at DND's faulty cost estimates with the F-35

Back so long ago in 2010, the DND was confident of their position of replacing the CF-18 Hornets with a great and risky unknown F-35. This is possible when you bury figures and use talking points from the seller of the aircraft.

Consider this collection of bizarre thinking:

Defence Minister Peter MacKay last month told the House of Commons defence committee that the air force expected to spend $250 million a year — or about $5 billion over 20 years — on the maintenance deal. That's lower than some of the federal government's initial projections, and is what the air force currently spends to keep the existing fleet of CF-18s in the air.

Officials within the department say they expect to achieve savings because the stealth fighters' support arrangement will see all countries pool spare parts.

"We hope it is more efficient because you can leverage the global supply chain of 3,000 fighters in nine countries," said the official.

"Instead of (us) having to buy 10 sets of extra sets of spare landing gear, (we) can have one set and the global pool has nine and (we) get when (we) need it, but if (we) never need it (we) don't actually have to buy it."

What 3000 fighters?

What nine countries?

Unfortunately, the F-35 is so immature that few know what parts on it will break and at what intervals.

Cost per hour for the F-35 is unlikely to be that of a classic Hornet. They are around $18,000 per flying hour give or take. The F-35 (according to U.S. Navy figures and others) is about $30,000 per flying hour. Probably even more.

At $30,000 per flying hour, MacKay's figures give us about 128 hours per F-35 per year. This is unrealistic. A pilot probably needs 180 flying hours per year as a minimum. Simulators can only do so much. The F-35 (if its capability is to be believed) will be flying longer missions than a Hornet. So add some more there.

Then, all that, only gets you one pilot per jet.

Why are higher pilot numbers to airframes needed? Because of fatigue of sustained flying ops in wartime. Even to sustain real-world operations for a few days requires 2 pilots per jet. 3 per jet for a long war would be better.

Canada has trouble meeting its one pilot per jet numbers. So, maybe, if one wants to park those gold-plated and defective F-35s alot, 128 hours per jet might happen. This cascades. Because with such an overly expensive capability, even if you have a proper number of pilots, the taxpayer can't afford to train two pilots per jet let alone one.

Yes it should be written. 2 pilots per each jet. 2 pilots x 180 hours per year = 360 hours per jet per year.

Oh, and $65M, $70M or $75M to procure each jet has zero hope of ever happening.

The DND really goofed the CF-18 replacement.

All the sudden, anything else for a CF-18 replacement is starting to look good.


U.S. Navy's opinion of LCS value appears misleading

The program for government oversight (POGO), has obtained U.S. Navy documents that show all is not well with the Lockheed Martin variant of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) also known as LCS-1 or Freedom-class LCS.

I know what you may be thinking. This is not news. Most reasonable people know that the LCS is faulty and has no place in the Navy mission.

Some of the problems noted by POGO have been reported in the past. Of special interest though is this letter (backed up by this issues brief showing design problems) from the project manager which gives the impression that the Navy will have to lower expectations when operating the LCS-1 to make up for poor contractor performance.

Seems to be a lot of that behaviour going around lately; and not just with Navy ships.

The LCS is a waste of money. The LCS is not survivable against any threat. The U.S. Navy appears to be misleading our elected officials about the value of Littoral Combat Gyp.

UPDATE--Canadian news helps the F-35 program-again

Another Canadian news source is helping out the F-35 program. A Hill Times article from today includes a large, glossy interactive sales advert from the maker of the F-35.


iPolitics is also guilty of this behaviour in the past.

It doesn't help media credibility.

As expected, where the media advert sales department excels, the reporting on the government effort to mislead the public about the CF-18 fighter replacement under-performs.

For example, the United States Air Force (USAF), the largest alleged buyer of the F-35A (the model the Canadian DND wants) at 1763 jets has a much different price than what the DND claims.

USAF predicts their average cost of the jet with an engine to be $120M each. That is a far cry from the misleading claim by the Canadian government.

That USAF cost does not include research and development. It also assumes that the whole of the program will stay untouched. That is, that the "economy of scale" myth of the F-35 program will endure and there will be over 3000 F-35s made.

Large amounts of F-35 development problems (due to management incompetence) have kept the dream of an affordable and combat-effective aircraft from happening. Costs are soaring while engineering challenges are taking a huge toll.

The USAF number will probably go up. Why? History. In 2009, USAF thought they would get their jets for $90M each.

Where will that number be in another 3 years?

What the Canadian media misses (again) is that MacKay stated since 2010, that Canada would start buying their jets during a time of "peak-production" during the 2016 time-frame at around $70M each. That folks, is misleading.

Of interest, (reported by the media) the DND had planned to add 14 more F-35s which no-one else knew about (as a separate project) for 79 jets. This kind of deception won't fly with the public either.


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UPDATE- iPolitics today....




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Sunday, April 22, 2012

UPDATE--USAF facing serious money trouble with JSTARS, RIVET JOINT and AWACS


David Fulghum of Aviation Week writes that the USAF is having big trouble funding its "iron triangle". That would be, the three ageing large-body intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft: AWACS, JSTARS and RIVET JOINT.

Remember, JSTARS (while currently in the middle of undergoing a program to replace its old engines with new ones UPDATE-only one airframe in test with new engines at the moment) started USAF service as a used aircraft. RIVET JOINT is in the best health and AWACS really needs a technology refresh of some kind.

One of the gambles not mentioned in the article is that USAF put great hope in having the F-35 as a survivable and networked ISR platform.

AWACS has been (at least in some public statements) minimised because some say the F-22 has become its own AWACS. The aircraft--because of its AN/ALR-94 passive emissions sensor--has even been labelled a "mini-RIVET JOINT" by some.

The F-22 and F-35 would do ISR, survive, and the the network would pick up the slack. In a funding zero-sum game, the iron triangle was pushed off into later years for any kind of decision. Remember: E-10 (a 767-body JSTARS replacement) was cancelled. "No" was the answer from dream-works. There would be 380-some F-22s to do 10 AEFs after that oh-so-terrible cut from the 750 plan, lots of F-35s (by now...where are they?) and we just wouldn't need as many of those old aircraft.

Even an ex-secretary of the USAF (some already know my contempt for empty-suit-SecUSAFs) stated the iron triangle needs to be eliminated to pay for the 5th-gen dream.

Somehow I don't picture us driving F-22s up and down the N. Korean boarder in peacetime to update various electronic orders of battle. A job the RIVET JOINT does very well.

I don't picture us doing no-fly-zones with F-22s-only.

I don't picture us supporting ground forces with F-35s versus JSTARS, which also bring their own command and control assets.

A broad team effort and persistent-over-lap (including UAVs) is the safe way to go.

Today, with the 5th-generation fighter disaster and no real air power leaders of worth, the USAF has put everything into keeping the F-22 and F-35 going on the funding treadmill. It really does look like a high-stakes Monopoly game where USAF has put a bunch of its property into hock for short-term gain hoping it will contribute to a long-term win.

But now, USAF has had a real bad run by drawing the "Go-Directly-To-Jail, do not pass 'Go'" card too many times. That and landing on Park Place and Boardwalk and now things look really bleak.

Can we agree this kind of thinking has failed?

Every single day it gets more difficult for me to have any sympathy for USAF management incompetence.

And I love the USAF.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

-UPDATE-Statements by sub commander finish any hope for Collins fleet

In today's The Australian, Cameron Stewart reports that a newly retired sub commander proclaims that the Collins-class submarine program is 'a lost cause' by virtue of being obsolete and unsustainable.

In comments that will rattle the Defence hierarchy, Commander James Harrap, a 20-year navy veteran, said Australia's submarines had "the least reliable diesel engines ever built", and attempts to upgrade the boats would be a waste of money because their performance would only get worse.

"I don't believe the Collins-class are sustainable in the long term and many of the expensive upgrade plans which have been proposed would be throwing good money after bad," he said in a written account of his time as commander, obtained by The Weekend Australian.

Commander Harrap, who has commanded both HMAS Waller and, until last month, HMAS Collins, said: "Lack of available stores inventory, increased equipment failure rates and submarines living with reduced capability is something I expect will persist for the remaining life of the class.

Harrup adds:

"I do not believe we have the capability to independently design and build our own submarines.

In response to a recent negative report of Australia's submarine prospects in the coming years authored by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), top Navy brass released a statement to the fleet which claims confidence in the Collins subs to meet the operational requirements of the government.

Yet, the hard truth seems otherwise. Harrup also states:

"Over the last two years, I believe these problems have become worse," he wrote. "Throughout my command of both Collins and Waller, full capability was never available and frequently over 50 per cent of the identified defects were awaiting stores.

"Collins has consistently been let down by some fundamental design flaws, leading to poor reliability and inconsistent performance. The constant stream of defects and operation control limitations makes getting to sea difficult, staying at sea harder and fighting the enemy a luxury only available once the first two have been overcome."

Tying up the Collins subs and scrapping them could be a big money saver. They offer no credible capability.

The first boat of an off-the-shelf sub purchase could start to be fielded within only a few years. Then, as the capability proves itself, further boats could be added. This would provide a real submarine force as opposed to a dream submarine force that only consumes billions and has no return on investment.

For the capability it delivers (or doesn't deliver) the $27B per year defence budget needs a haircut. A bloated civilian workforce (over 21k and counting), an incompetent Defence Material Organisation (DMO), way too many flag-ranks and senior executives, a corrupt leadership environment, along with a variety of useless items on the Project of Concern list means a house-cleaning is in order.

The condition of Australia's submarine fleet is iconic of the state of the entrenched Defence bureaucracy.

Moribund and dysfunctional.


---

UPDATE--- "Barking mad".

---

Friday, April 20, 2012

Witness list - Canada

An interesting post here about Canadian F-35 developments. The live-blog feed at the bottom of the post I linked to is of great interest.

More spin please

More spin from the fan-base about the F-35.

This time it is about the cockpit displays and visual cueing in the helmet. Not mentioned in any of this is that the software management has a long way to go; the original helmet is faulty and there is a contract for a less bleeding edge design (with less capability than the dream); and that buffet and jitter make employing weapons difficult.

"What 5th-generation aircraft are all about." Well, I bet the dumber-than-a-new-born-chimp marketing wonks never thought that "5th-generation" meant spending over $100B for 120-some combat-coded F-22s and an F-35 program on death-watch.

LM (via SLD--hard to tell the difference) also want us to believe that the F-35 is an advantage in the joint battle-space because the cockpit would be the same for all services in an F-35 war-effort.

This may be true. However all this has to actually work. And if common displays were a real joint need, F-15, F-16, and F-18 would already have it.

Here is something that doesn't over-reach. Below are evolving display thoughts for the Super-Hornet roadmap. If Boeing fighter production is allowed to continue into the next decade, these kinds of displays would see their way to the F-15 program.

(photo-Boeing)

Observers close to the Boeing program indicate this kind of display (which also offers a 3D perception mode), will lower maintenance costs and lower avionics thermal output compared to the current Block II system now fielded. Combined with the joint-helmet-mounted-cueing-system, the combat pilot will end up with something that actually works, and, doesn't qualify as a class-A mishap if someone drops a helmet.

Norway blames U.S. politicians for F-35 problems

Norway has some interesting F-16 replacement challenges.

Their military is struggling to make ends meet with current budgets.

In nearly all operational communities.

Hollow force.

Their rigged decision to go with the F-35 as an F-16 replacement stated that it was the lowest cost solution. Interesting as the Gripen has an operating cost between $5000-$7000 (USD) per hour.

They bought the F-35 Thana-Marketing scheme.

All of it.

Now they say there is room for doubt. Although they do it by blaming U.S. politicians and do not mention that the F-35 program is riddled with engineering problems and has poor project management.

"...the politicians in the United States must stay strong on the programme."


This is right out of the Lockheed Martin play-book: blame the politician. It isn't our fault.

F-35 cheerleaders in the U.S. and Canada have played this card. LM's Tom Burbage played it in front of Australian politicians recently claiming the majority blame with the F-35 program is politicians not handing over the money for mistake-jets on schedule.

As for the drag-chutes Norway needs, they appear in Block 4.

Allegedly.

In other news, Inside Defense (subscription) is reporting that low-rate-production-batch 4 (LRIP-4) for the F-35 will go over cost by $534M.

...a 12.5 percent increase propelled by an estimated $289 million in additional costs to correct deficiencies uncovered during F-35 flight testing, according to the Defense Department.

Not too may years ago, bluster in the F-35 program claimed that modelling and simulation created a new way of doing aircraft development. Where, flight test was only there to verify what they already knew.

An LM-paid marketeer (Loren Thompson) from The Lexington Institute even stated that one of the major problems with the program was the DOD performing unnecessary tests.

Given the lack of F-35 program maturity, I don't think that claim by the faith-based community is valid.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Some don't understand strategic strike

From The Australian today:

Since the demise of the F111 we have lacked strategic strike. Among many other functions, the new subs would remedy that by being equipped with land attack cruise missiles. They would have a range and capability far beyond the ageing and almost completely useless Collins class boats they would replace.

Subs with cruise missile capability are not a "remedy" for the F-111 strike capability (given away by Defence on a lie).

The F-111 could reach out with stand-off weapons and hit a target within hours; not days. Fly home. Rinse and repeat.

Subs with cruise missiles are unable to do such a thing. Ever. While the capability may be useful, it isn't a "remedy" for long-range strike capability delivered by aircraft.

"Experts"

"Experts".

Well, I wonder how the F-35 is that far advanced over growing PacRim threats?

Considering all of the problems.

Another update on the Collins replacement fantasy

The allegedly independent Australian Strategic Policy Institute is in the news again about the countries running sore of a submarine program.

Yes, the situation is not getting any better.

Even some deception by Defence and DMO is mentioned.

Since 2006 and according to Defence records, the number of annual ''ready days'' has been steadily decreasing, from about 240 days per submarine in 2005-06 to barely over 100 days in 2008-09, they say. The government stopped reporting on ready days after 2008-09, on national security grounds.

The usual suspects quote the 2009 White Paper as if it has value. Again I say, it does not.

There is some illumination. Even if it is late to the game.

"Many options, including that of a locally designed submarine, are looking increasingly implausible."

:::shock:::

The rent-seekers that want to destroy a bunch of tax-dollars on home grown subs are still crying.

I say, let them cry. We need submarines, but not at any price and not some fantasy capability.

Does anyone find it interesting that during the last few years Defence does impulse buys of things because the senior DMO/Defence cabal can't spend on the dud project of concern list due to incompetent program management?

We could be well on our way now to starting a replacement submarine with off-the shelf solutions.

Instead, money is wasted on making dud-electronic warfare aircraft out of the Super Hornet situation; an extra Navy ship is bought while being called an amphib, and another C-17 is being purchased.

You may also add the bad idea of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter along with the extra insult of supposedly being contractually committed to buying two "test" aircraft. These aircraft are mistake jets piled on to a gargantuan mistake of an air capability plan.

Add the additional waste of money that is Operation:USELESS DIRT, the Hobart-class Air Warfare Destroyer and Canberra-class amphib projects.

Defence and politicians are not committed to having a real submarine force. They have demonstrated this with their impulse buys and other silliness.

In sum:

ASPI estimates 12 home-built submarines would cost about $36 billion compared with only $9bn for smaller off-the-shelf boats. The ASPI report says there are grave doubts about how long the Collins-class boats will last given their chronic unreliability.

Some of us figured this out already, but nice to see it again.

If it comes down to no submarines or a home-grown jobs program with gold-plated submarines, I prefer no submarines.

Until sane strategic thought appears.



Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Value of STOVL combat ops questioned before JSF program started

I have posted about the over-hype of STOVL tac-air before.

Yesterday, I discovered a Command Staff study by a Marine Major on the topic of STOVL tac-air that was done back in April of 2001. This study is a stark warning along with some important history of doubt about going forward with the STOVL requirement for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). The author applied excellent logic to the perceived need of STOVL fast tac-air by its fan-base. It is a must read and needs to be entered into the record for any discussion about the history of USMC Harrier ops, the JSF STOVL requirement, and bad decision making on a large scale.

For your convenience, the study is below.

The study warns us that any STOVL requirement for the JSF (now the F-35) had to address doubt about the over-hyped and under-performing Harrier jump-jet used by the United States Marine Corps. In spite of the marketing effort, the Harrier has never given the U.S. DOD a combat capability that was of any significant worth.

“[T]he only two-lane road that the vast majority of USMC Harrier pilots have ever flown off of or landed on is Lyman Road in Camp Lejeune, N.C. In my own personal experience involving 1,300 hours of Harrier flight time which includes two deployments to the Mediterranean, a Western Pacific deployment, and Desert Shield/Desert Storm, I have never landed on a road or austere VSTOL pad except at Camp Lejeune…. Except to prove the concept, USMC AV-8Bs do not operate off of grass strips either. If STOVL jets will take-off with full internal fuel and any significant payload, then a lot more than just a pad is needed.”

The Harrier is harder to maintain. Compared to conventional strike aircraft it has lower mission readiness rates. Pilots often received less training in the aircraft over time compared to their Hornet comrades because of lack of flyable jets.

The Harrier has worse sortie rates per day in combat. The Harrier was never really used in any operationally relevant situation that demanded STOVL. When such claims of Harrier value were presented, it turns out that conventional fixed wing strike aircraft were right there doing more.

The AV8-B program was created as a means to generate more combat power for the Marine Air Ground Team, but in wartime, it under-performed the sortie rate of its contemporaries. During Desert Storm, the Harrier posted an average of 38.8 total sorties per aircraft, compared to 46.4 for Hornets, 50.5 for the F-15, 53.7 for the F-16, and 59.4 for the A-10. The Harrier Review Panel has determined that, “despite a substantial level of effort on the part of the Marine Corps, the aircraft still lacks an appropriate synergy of attributes that would make it truly relevant in today’s operational environment.” Many options exist within the capabilities of America’s conventional aviation inventory that can deliver a higher sortie rate and more total ordnance than the Harrier.

With the engineering limitations of STOVL design, many believe that the Marine JSF will also under-perform its conventional peers.

While the F-35B STOVL is supposed to improve on things like ease of flying, it is unlikely that the overly-optimistic need for STOVL will prove its worth. While the F-35 was supposed to have high commonality over the 3 variants, STOVL still makes the B model complex, hard to maintain and expensive to procure and operate.

And, as we know now, the JSF STOVL requirement has seriously tainted the A and C model jets.

Just as bad, the United States Marine Corps reputation for spending money wisely is on the line. Well, they had a good reputation of being frugal; over 20 years ago. Some of the faith-based USMC-must-have-F-35B STOVL evangelicals actually think that if this aircraft doesn't come in for the big win, USMC tac-air is finished.

I disagree. The value of the USMC tac-air is not based on having a heavy, underwhelming, expensive strike jet.

USMC tac-air is about fire-support for the guys the ground. For COIN ops, the USMC has excellent support in the form of the Yankee and Zulu helicopters. Credit has to be given to the USMC for fielding these aircraft.

The USMC has precision artillery. This has a faster response time than aircraft. There are also more options to increase this capability.

The USMC can top this off by showing grand intelligence and stepping away from the F-35B. In-turn they can look even more intelligent and order a few squadrons of Block II two-seat F/A-18F Super Hornets.

But what about the flat-top amphibs? Well, what about them? The USMC has stated already that they will fly Harriers out to 2030. The Harrier doesn't offer enough value but they are doing it. The USMC is going to lose flat-top amphibs simply because the DOD is running out of money. The few that we end up with in the 2020s and beyond should make good helicopter carriers.

The USMC will go through some serious transitions over the next several years due to lack of money. I think Marine aviators are important. One of the reasons is that they have to go through a platoon leader course first. Given the mission of the USMC, this is very solid thinking.

I hope to see more solid thinking as the USMC rationalises its tac-air needs. The Harrier is a very poor capability. The F-35 promises to be worse. Various studies before and during the planning states of the JSF program show that we were warned about the lack of STOVL-jet value. No-one of importance listened.

Lost and Found

From Inside Defense (subscription):

Pentagon Finds $258 Million To Buy Back Two F-35 Jets Cut Last Fall

The Pentagon on Friday announced a $258 million contract to buy two additional F-35 aircraft using money found during an end-of-fiscal-year-budget review, a sum nearly equal to the Defense Department's $263 million reprogramming request last summer denied by Congress that aimed to siphon funds from other Navy and Air Force accounts to finance F-35 cost growth.

I wonder what blood-money was pulled from some other needy defense community that is either gone or could use those funds for real war-fighting value?

This is about as bad as when a few years ago, an F-35 (marked as a replacement for an F-16 lost in combat) was added to an annual buy.

That is two more mistake-jets that will need all kinds of mods to qualify as a combat-capable Block III aircraft. Note: that $258M doesn't include engines.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Navy is looking at FA-XX

The Navy needs a new fighter. Or so they say. See this about the FA-XX.

The Dew Line must be there too.

This will probably become more of a discussion when the gold-plated disaster known as the F-35C fails.

A tip for whomever uses the "6th-generation" label: don't do it. It implies (and it seems justified from the do everything hype...including a possible buddy-tanker mission) that it will come with a "6th-generation" price.

Ask the USAF about "5th-generation" success. They spent over $100B to get 120 combat-coded F-22s and an F-35 program that has been run into the ditch.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, take a look at a newer version of the Super Hornet flip-book. The big difference is everything here generally works. The polar opposite of the F-35. Since both the Super and F-35 are not anti-access jets, what we have is a significant superiority of the Super Hornet Block II over any version of the F-35 in all areas of true value.



H/T-Boeing

The bad idea of naming a ship LBJ

Naming a U.S. Navy ship after LBJ. Sad.

I thought for sure Sal would catch this. He did.

I would add LBJ's contribution to the Vietnam idiocy and The Great Society nonsense which is now a severe drain on the federal budget.

"Hey, hey... L-B-J... how many kids did you kill to-day?"

Monday, April 16, 2012

F-35C not compatible with French carrier

Besides what I tweeted on the right, note that the UK thinks that if they go with the F-35C, it won't be compatible with the French aircraft carrier.

A reassessment of the programme, ordered by the Prime Minister, found the F35C would only provide one operable carrier, rather than two, and would carry an extra cost of up to £1.8billion, the Times reported. The review also found the programme would not be compatible with France's aircraft carrier and the new vessel would not be likely to come into service until 2025.

EMALS, critical to F-35C success in the U.S. Navy? Oh wait. Someone has to prove that you can trap an F-35C.

Future of the USAF--do less with less

America needs a new air force

For the investment in tax dollars, today's United States Air Force (USAF) is not effective.

That does not mean all of it is not effective. There are some incredibly good people and organisations in the service. However, today's senior USAF leadership is next to worthless.

Today's air force needs to transform to where it can:

1. Provide expeditionary, anti-access destruction, interdiction and close-air-support.
2. Provide strategic and tactical airlift and air-refueling support.
3. Defend home air-space.
4. Provide a healthy ICBM force
5. Provide air-breathing ISR.
6. Provide management of military space assets.
7. Take maximum advantage of the efficiency of the Air National Guard to perform a variety of missions.
8. Do this for under $100B per year.
9. Do less with less.

Notice that the list above does not show everything done by today's USAF.

The USAF does not need to:

1. Provide dedicated special operations support.
2. Provide ground security in war-zones better done by the U.S. Army.
3. Provide a long-range nuclear bomber mission.
4. Provided a gold-plated long-range bomber at $500M each.

As we already know, the USAF tac-air problem is a huge mess. Various generals since the end of the Cold War refused to refresh existing squadrons of new aircraft.

Also, they believed the "fifth-generation fighter" marketing nonsense which, after over $100B invested, has left us with around 120 combat coded F-22s and an F-35 program in the ditch.

Fighter aircraft need to be organized under a "blended" unit force structure. That is, that they include Guard, USAF Reserve and USAF Active duty in one unit.

What is the proper organic flying organisation? The Group. The Wing is gone except as an expeditionary organisation.

To illustrate, A Fighter Group will be lead by a full colonel. Generals in the new USAF will be very few. The Fighter Group will have two squadrons. One squadron will provide home air defense and training. The other will be used for expeditionary taskings.

For example: An F-16 Fighter squadron will have 12 aircraft. Maintenance, ops and other support will be merged into the unit. Closer to what a Navy squadron does and what the USAF does when such ideas are good for the PowerPoint warriors.

Since there are around 20 home air defense locations that are realistic needs and not just made up, this gives us 480 combat-coded aircraft to do home defense and expeditionary warfare.

In expeditionary warfare, the second squadron of the group will deploy and be composited in-theater into whatever Group or Wing Structure is needed.

The F-22 will go to desert locations to prolong its service life and only deploy for anti-access exercises or deterrence. It will not be part of the home air-defense mission. F-15Es will replace home air defense needs in places like Alaska.

The end-strength goals for tac-air will be to phase out all F-16s and replace them with F-15Es. These will be more expensive per flying hour, however when needed, will provide the combat punch options needed for the Pacific Rim when mated with the F-22.

A small number of A-10s will exist.

USAF, while having a dramatically smaller tac-air fleet, will invest in having a dedicated R&D group which will launch a variety of X-plane projects and just as important, help develop prototypes to a much higher production-ready level.

Airlift and tanker resources will be downsized to where one day, C-130H will be gone, C-17s at their current number along with the C-5M roadmap. A C-777-200LR will be bought in small numbers to equip one airlift group.

A new ICBM with a new warhead will be constructed. Some of this technology will indirectly help the U.S. Navy refresh their nuclear enterprise.

The nuclear long-range bomber mission will end. Also, there will be no new long-range bomber. We cannot afford it. Back in the late 1970's the first B-1 bomber was cancelled. The reason was that it was judged that cruise-missiles for long range nuclear strike would be more efficient. We have a similar problem now. No long-range bomber can penetrate a modern integrated air defense (which includes modern fighter aircraft) and expect to survive.

For now, any long-range bomber project has to be based on the idea that it will be survivable in COIN war, need some kind of escort in legacy air defense scenarios and be the shooter of long-range stand-off weapons in an anti-access scenario. More study has to be put in this direction.

Air-breathing Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) will in-part be refreshed by a wide variety of 737 airframes. Current AWACS, JSTARS and RIVET-JOINT-like missions will end up in this airframe type.

The USAF will joint with the Navy in the J-UCAS project. Whatever the U.S. Navy picks for its carrier mission is what the USAF will use for select deployed locations.

As part of the ICBM refresh, USAF will get some technology assist to the space-system enterprise with a new booster rocket for, if not all needs, many future needs for the coming years.

Dedicated special operations support will go away as part of a do less-with-less mantra. USAF will have its own rescue helicopter refresh someday, just that it won't be gold-plated and it won't be special.

The USAF will be under dramatic budget constraints in the coming years. Dramatic cuts will be the norm. The USAF will have to live within its means.

The Dutch F-16 replacement delusion

The Dutch will not order 85 F-35s. One should see this as no surprise. The whole idea of buying the F-35 to replace the F-16 is a new kind of fokker scourge that will never see operational service.

For the past few years, the F-35 has been a political problem for the Dutch. One of their past defence ministers Jack de Vries had the behaviour of a sales agent for Lockheed Martin even using their briefing slides. Gone native he did.

The F-35 even contributed to bringing down the government.

Another reason one should not be surprised by F-35 delay in the program is that the Dutch have been engaged in selling off F-16s for lack of interest of running an air force.

The Dutch will now wait until 2015 on the F-35 decision because no-one in politics is brave enough to back the idea of a fantasy combat aircraft which is marketed like a Ponzi Scheme. The defective jet has proven to be toxic for political careers.

Again, consult Thana Marketing.

The Dutch now have 68 F-16s. How many will they have by 2015?

The Dutch Defence Ministry sent a letter to Parliament in 2011 which informed them that the new hope (I won't use the word "plan" given the pedigree of the decision makers), is to procure F-35s between 2019-2027. This doesn't included the 2 mistake-jets being ordered for test. Or is it training? I forget the latest excuse for this part of the fraud.

In 2010, the same people signed off on this F-35 buy schedule;



Source: JSF Memorandum of Agreement (PDF) (click on image to make larger)


Well, that folks is a big difference. In one year they signed off on a letter with the U.S. Department of Defense stating Dutch F-35 procurment would be complete in 2021. Then the next year pushed it 6 years.

What will the ever troubled F-35 program look like for the Dutch in 2015?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

2 more F-35s for LRIP-5

The DOD has ordered two more low-rate-initial-production (LRIP) batch 5, F-35 aircraft. One is an A, the other a C. The contract for their engines is still pending.

Here is what LRIP-5 looks like so far:


LRIP-5 DOD contract cost summary. $6595.4M and counting !

Date
Contract
Cost ($M) USD
10May10
Long-lead, eng (42)
138.8
6Jul10Long-lead (42)
522.5
9Dec11Airframes (30)
4012.0
27Dec11Engines
1122.0
27Dec11Non-recurring requirements
485.0
13Mar12Sustainment
56.3
13Apr12
Airframes (2)
258.8
?
Engines (2).....?
?
Total
6595.4




Saturday, April 14, 2012

No strategy, just bluster

Whatever.

He welcomed Australia's decisions to commit to the F-35 JSF program and to buy long-lead items for upgrading 12 RAAF Super Hornets to ''Growler'' electronic warfare systems.
"They are choices about hedging and risk management that are well taken," the general said.

Agreeing with thana-marketing isn't a sound strategy.

The F-35 and Growler have nothing to do with hedging and risk management of Pacific Rim threats because they are totally unsuited to the real needs of Australia.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Representative Kay Granger (LM)

Read this article about a recent Israeli tour of the F-35 plant in Fort Worth.

Forget all the idiocy of the poor Israelis who are on their way to get stuck with this lemon.

Instead, notice the rest of the article. You have people like Representative Kay Granger who think the F-35 will be useful in future combat.

"China is preparing for the future, Russia is preparing for the future, we have to prepare for the future and the F-35 is the future."

I wonder how that is so?

Granger, like some other proponents of the F-35 thinks delays are anyone but Lockheed Martin's fault. I wonder why that is? It is a known pattern with F-35 cheerleaders.

Granger, the former Fort Worth mayor who plays a key role as chairwoman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State-Foreign Operations and as a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, blamed changing Pentagon requirements for delays and the higher price tag.

So the answer is this. Look at the PDF below which shows political contributions from Lockheed Martin in general and Lockheed Martin officials specifically to Rep. Kay Granger. Notice all the names on there that anyone who follows the F-35 program will recognize.

Kay Granger is bought and paid for. There is no other explanation for the misinformation about the F-35 program which she parrots.



data source: opensecrets.org