Thursday, January 31, 2013

Navy works to mislead about the F-35


“The F-35B is off probation. It’s doing well."


No offense to Mr. Work. Just that, given the totality of the program, his words, for someone in his position, are misleading.

This on the other hand, this is just plain misinformed nonsense:

As for the F-35B’s place in the Navy. Work said the service remains committed to the massive fleet planned for the F-35B to go along with the doubling the number of aircraft carriers in the U.S. Navy.

“Because of [the F-35B] we’re going from 11 aircraft carriers to 22,” Work said.

Interesting how the F-35B got off of probation.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Does a troubled project costing tens of billions need an IOC date?

Bill Sweetman has an interesting editorial which shows that 11 years on in the F-35 program, we don't have much.

Has JSF reached that stage? We don't know, and that is unacceptable. The users and the taxpayers, need an IOC date, IOC capabilities and some real cost numbers. If that's too much to ask after 11 years, it's time for someone to get fired.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Government plays chicken with legacy Hornet replacement

Our beloved journos down here, god love them, more times than not are as clueless as a newborn chimp when it comes to Defence issues. But at least this one got quotes from a few angles.

Even if many of those quotes are grossly wrong.

Some credit to the journo first: True that Australia will have 2 F-35s by 2020. In what kind of quality as measured against a functional combat jet, no one knows.

Let us go with some of the problems of the article:

...caused by delays in the purchase of the cutting-edge Joint Strike Fighter.

"Cutting-edge" only in the level of fraud upon the taxpayer for something of no value.

Australia will take delivery of just two Lockheed Martin JSFs by 2020, indicating the government will need to buy a batch of rival Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornets, which are cheaper but older and less stealthy than the fifth-generation JSF

The JSF is "fifth-generation" only in the minds of marketeers and fraudsters.

While switching to the Super Hornets would not be a slug to the government budget - each is about $40 million cheaper than a JSF - it may mean money is wasted on training and maintaining two different types of fighters.

Only $40M cheaper? And, what price do you put on a lost battle?

Or, lost war?

And some experts say the Super Hornet would be challenged by some of Australia's neighbours' growing air combat capabilities.

If the Super Hornet is "challenged", the F-35 is even more so when one takes the time to read up on all of the serious development problems.

The journo continues with the confusion of not knowing their topic, or being tired:

This appears to confirm what Defence Minister Stephen Smith has hinted at and many experts have suspected: that Defence will replace some of the retiring classic Hornet aircraft with Super Hornets and end up with a mixed fighter fleet rather than the 100 Super Hornets originally proposed. Mr Smith has already asked the US about the price and availability of more Super Hornets
.

I think the journo meant, "rather than the 100 F-35s originally proposed."

Coalition defence spokesman David Johnston said the government had broken its pledge in the 2009 white paper to buy 100 JSFs that would have "provided regional domination out to 2030"

For those knowledgeable on this topic, any reading of David Johnston's previous words on such matters, show that his total fund of knowledge on air power can be written on the inside of a matchbook with a large sized crayon.

"The revelation … that this promise has been reduced to just two aircraft [by 2020] is a further testament to Minister Smith's incompetent handling of the Defence portfolio," he said.

Smith isn't the sharpest tool in the bag, however, delaying on the Just So Failed is better than committing to it. A better solution for Smith? The New Air Combat Capability (NACC) Office, their motto, "Semper fidelis ad Lockheed Martin", indicated in a 2004 brief that if the F-35 steam-roller that killed the original Air 6000 plan didn't workout, we would start over with picking a legacy Hornet replacement. I am curious how much more failure in the program is needed. A small snapshot of the stupidity, corruption and dishonesty to the Australian public thus far:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


But back to the article in question:

Analysts broadly argue the JSF is the best fighter on the market, although many say the Super Hornet will probably suffice. Andrew Davies, senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said the JSF was "far stealthier and has a much more powerful and integrated set of senses than the Super Hornet has".

Again I would think the journo meant "sensors" and not "senses".

The only difference between Senator Johnson and Mr. Davies on air power issues is that Davies has a slightly bigger matchbook, but not by much.

Sam Roggeveen, a strategic analyst and editor of the Lowy Institute's Interpreter blog, said the Super Hornet would represent a compromise but "I would argue we don't need the JSF yet"

Sam is a wonderful guy, and I like him. However, I would disagree with him strongly. I would say, given what we know now, we do not need the JSF...ever.

Former defence minister Brendan Nelson, who bought Australia's existing 24 Super Hornets, said a mixed fleet to 2030 should give Australia what it needed, given other governments were hit by similar budget constraints as Australia.

"If the government did choose to (buy Super Hornets), Australia would still have extraordinary air combat capability and would be well placed in relation to our strategic competitors,'' he said.

Who could disagree with Nelson? He believed the PowerPoint lies back in 2006. Kudos to the Boeing sales force for seeing an easy mark. Well played Boeing. Well played. Even the part of demonizing the F-111 to help the sales pitch.

The fox, telling the farmer, the definition of a chicken.

But Peter Goon, a former RAAF engineer now with the independent experts Air Power Australia, was more pessimistic, saying Australia was ''already outmatched in the region'' on air combat. ''If you send out Super Hornets against the Sukhoi Su-35s, few if any of them will come back,'' he said.

Hard to argue with that. It is curious to note that APA are the only team that have offered viable and hard-data F-35 warnings to our elected officials.

For years.

And, now the chickens are coming home to roost. Funny how those with all the alleged special access to the program (their initials are "NACC") have been unable to properly guide our elected officials on the dangers. Unable to the point of grossly misleading.

Blatant F-35 cheerleading and proxy salesmanship.

And you paid millions for that waste. Multiple trips to Cow Town, other similar junkets, the whole lot.

The Super is probably the wrong aircraft for Australia. We should start with a clean sheet of paper for the legacy Hornet replacement. If the next white paper said that, it would show big thinking.

Neither the Super nor the F-35 are capable of facing emerging high-end threats. That is the job of the F-22. Against non-high-end threats, the Super beats the F-35 all over the practical ops map.

-The Super has a cost per flight hour less than half that of the F-35.
-The Super has a two aircrew option, great for use as a fast forward-air-controller, hand off via networking to other platforms and other work-intensive tasks.
-The Super has blue force tracker, and ROVER capability. Without this, no joint coalition commander will let an aircraft do close air support work. The F-35 will not see this capability in finished form. All one has is a PowerPoint slide showing notional post F-35 BlockIII feature hopes and dreams.
-The Super can perform buddy tanking.
-The Super has proper, multi-aspect self-defense. That is a towed-decoy, defensive jamming and sensor coordination of threats. The F-35? When it goes naked to the threat, (stealth not being a total solution), it only has forward-aspect in-band (X-band) jamming on the promise you can do such a thing with a thermally, and power-limited radar kit. Oh yeah, and some expendable decoys. This puts at at risk against even legacy threats.
-The survivable limits of the F-35 get worse when gun or explosive fragment damage is involved. The Super? Well, I did see the results of a collision between legacy Hornets once some years ago. They were out of Dobbins, Georgia. One with horrific damage. They both landed safely. The Super improves upon the legacy Hornet ability to survive with even better redundant systems. Don't count on that too much with the latest known F-35 woes.
-The Super works today. This includes known sortie rates.

For the F-35, the old saying goes: “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”

No "analyst" has shown any convincing evidence why we should hand over billions on a troubled F-35 aircraft that is unlikely to meet future combat needs, and, is unlikely to be affordable to own and operate.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Fishy, fishy in the brook

Things just don't seem to have the future shown in this Ponzi-scheme slide from the 2007 Navy League F-35 brief.


Notice too that the assumption includes less maintainers.

With all the press-releases of how great the aircraft is, it is still in test. Today, with no credible mission systems operative in a go-to-war configuration, the maintainer workload, years from now, in an operational squadron, has to be better than this:

Every flight requires eight to nine maintainers to work about five-and-a-half hours to prepare an F-35 for takeoff. That’s if nothing goes wrong.

Using several complicated computer systems, they check for discrepancies and make sure every system is working properly. They walk around the airplane to look for aberrations and leaks, check gauges and tire pressure, and replace parts or refill fluids.

Then the plane is service ready, but not yet set for takeoff. Another round of checks is conducted with the pilot in the cockpit. As a final precaution, they roll the plane forward to check the underside of the tires.

“Then we go launch that airplane,” Fluker said.

Less maintainers in a flying squadron, in USAF history anyway, has never worked so well.

Here are a few more barn-burners from the above-mentioned 2007 brief:


(click on image to make larger)




Fishy, fishy in the brook

Fishy, fishy in the brook
Won't you bite my little hook?

Fishy, fishy in the brook
Yes I caught him on a hook

Mummy will fry him in a pan
and Daddy will eat him like a man


Friday, January 25, 2013

Former LM flack tries to spin marketing piece at AEI

Cheerleading at its worst.

Of interest though is this:

"Before coming to AEI, he served as the director of strategic communications and initiatives at Lockheed Martin".

Thursday, January 24, 2013

For many things... but not a USMC grunt platoon

It's about time the Pentagon recognized this--fair is fair. If someone is best qualified to do a particular job, then let them have that job--I have zero tolerance for any sort of discrimination. I bid the Defense Department welcome to the 21st Century.

Great for air power and other things. However not understanding that the military discriminates for other good reasons.

That is, that more times than not, a woman will not be able to keep up as a member of a Marine platoon in continuous combat.

Women have been great in the miltiary...for years.

Carrying full kit and a rifle in a USMC platoon... different. And not worth the effort to make that platoon less combat effective because someone can't carry the load.

Another example? Why are women not in the NFL?

Predicted path?

Leaks surrounding the next Defence White Paper (due in the middle of this year) along with other Internet noise look troubling.

Journalists (and others) still do not understand that basing Defence spending on percent of gross-domestic-product (GDP) are completely useless.

With a federal budget that is under significant stress from a spend-thrift socialist government, the only conversation about money available to the ADF should be what percent of the existing federal budget can be committed to Defence.

Consider two projects that will cost tens of billions of dollars...and most likely fail.

Much of the current conversation over requirements is an exercise in dreaming. If one looks at what operational requirements are to be heaped on the replacement for the Collins submarine, the only engineering solution is a nuclear powered, U.S.-made Virginia-class attack submarine. A gigantic conventional sub (AIP assisted or otherwise) won’t cut it.

Since there is no political will for that route, what is the solution to the sub problem?

To help fix the replacement sub debacle, change the operational requirement to something that Australia can field within the existing federal budget money handed over to Defence. Oh yes and what can be achieved with a deskilled procurement and management bureaucracy.

The F-35 is now a failed project in any measure of its existing program management behavior. Yet, some think faith-based weapons procurement has a future. It should now be considered a non-solution for the RAAF.

Professional Defence senior management and leadership are at their lowest possible point. If this isn’t fixed, the non-interested entitlement-driven society will have no problem with making the future ADF look like that of New Zealand.

So what should be the goal of the next Defence White Paper? Sorry. What should be the goal of the next two Defence White Papers?

Rebuild professional management and leadership competency.

And nothing more.

Once that has shown significant progress, the discussion of what weapons systems provide true value to national defence, become much more clear.

The current and corrupt rent-seeking and moribund entrenched Defence bureaucracy group mind-set can only cause more rot.

No Defence White Paper filled with massive amounts of non sequitur language will give Australia the Defence establishment it deserves.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Lack of focus on what is important

At home:

Dozens of Australian military bases and army reserves depots face possible closure under a drive to save money amid a $5.5 billion cut to defence spending.
Meanwhile...Operation:USELESS DIRT:

The government also intends to help bankroll the Afghan military for at least another five years along with a promise that the Australian Defence Force will continue to be "actively engaged in operations in Afghanistan" well beyond this year.
Limited funds to sustain our military, yet the government is willing to waste money propping up an adventure that has no valid defence benefit for Australia.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Lying to friends



The other day Panetta failed to highlight the significant troubles with the F-35 when meeting with a valued friend, Italy. Instead he just said the U.S. is "committed".

This kind of misleading behaviour to our allies has been going on for years.

In today's industry news, the U.S. Industry is misleading S. Korea. Again:

"Because the very low observable stealth F-35 can penetrate heavily defended airspace, it provides Korea with proactive strategic deterrence - the ability to hold strategic targets of interest at risk 24/7, despite the air defence systems that are in place to protect those assets," the company adds. "From an air-to-air perspective, the F-35 provides Korea with significantly advanced capability over any other fourth-generation fighter, and ensures Korea will be able to deter current and future threat systems."

Doubtful since the the aircraft was never designed to do such a thing. And is of course, in serious program management trouble for non-performance.

The Joint Strike Fighter concept was created in the 1990's. An era where the arrogance of some in the U.S. could see themselves as the only super-power into the future.

Threats would be broken down countries that needed an occasional beat-up by a U.S. lead, joint coalition force.

The Joint Strike Fighter was meant for those needs. It was to be affordable, allies would use the same aircraft and have enough export-stealth quality to survive against legacy air defenses composed mostly of old Soviet gear. Allied Force in 1999 being one example that was a great sales brochure for industry of why the Joint Strike Fighter was needed.

Allegedly anyway, since today's aircraft can take down such a threat with J-series weapons (JDAM, JSOW, JASSM) and have no trouble at all. Back then, only a few aircraft types carried such weapons. Today, just about all aircraft can.

Big threats? That is the job of the F-22, which by the way (with fubars along the way) has met it most of its requirements.

While the F-35 has not, and is unlikely to do so.




More about how things haven't worked out so well: A Pacific Rim arms race with modern gear, a declining management competence across the D.C. civilian and military leadership, industry and greed have produced failed weapons programs that will not be able to fight their way out of a paper bag. The Stryker, Littoral Combat Ship and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to name a few. They can only contribute to losing battles and bankrupting treasuries.

In the good-old-days, the goal was to keep deterrence against the Soviet threat; with some fraud along the way. Today, the game is not valued deterrence. The game is only fraud.

On a large scale.

Now, the U.S. government is dead broke and will say anything to cheat valued allies and the U.S. taxpayer out of their money.

Someday, this military, industrial-congressional-complex will collapse under the weight of all of the dishonesty and ill-will it has generated.

For now, the lie that is the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, is the most notorious of these bad trends.

6 replacement frigates; the word from our chief empty suit.

Great to work with the UK, but not too bright. Hardly unexpected given the low thinking talent to draw from:

JOURNALIST: So it seems like a very much British-lead relationship, as you’ve been talking about procurement. What does Australia bring to this relationship that Britain perceives?

PHILIP HAMMOND: Well, on the frigates program our requirements for frigates, I think, yours would be around-do you have a number?

STEPHEN SMITH: Frigates?

PHILIP HAMMOND: Yeah.

STEPHEN SMITH: Half a dozen, six.

PHILIP HAMMOND: Half a dozen. We have a requirement for about 13, so clearly if you’re planning to build a program of 19 frigates you have a lot more potential economies of scale in that, and we will both benefit from those economies of scale.

And we wonder why Defence is so stupid. 8 Frigates were not enough and now they will be replaced by 6?

Unfortunate because these ships will be more useful than expensive-to-operate-and-crew Air Warfare Destroyers which I assume pick up the slack as a mix?

Hat-tip: SR

Also of interest:

Indonesia to buy frigates from Britain

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

USAF Cost Per Flying Hour Data for 2012

Below are the cost per flying hour figures for various USAF aircraft in 2012 and prior years.




If it costs that much per flying hour for an F-16, you have logistics and deskilling issues. When matching these figures with this video, you get a picture of what happens when the USAF downsized skilled maintenance tribal knowledge and other resourcing to pay for Operation:USELESS DIRT 1 and 2 and other misadventures. But hey, we got some permissive-air drones and worthless aircraft ideas in the trade. This also goes along with the other negative trend observed by all over the years: deskilling of procurement. Consider all the goofed up procurement deals in the last 13 years. All of this is a deskilling trend.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Death spiral

Good luck with that theory.

Nonetheless, as an engineer source tells me: "My general thought is that there is not a fundamental problem (i.e., a "show-stopper") on any of the three F-35 types/variants. Many of the issues being resolved are typical of development aircraft."

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Release of F-35 2012 test report card shows continued waste on a dud program

Years on, and over $50B-plus later, the F-35 is not ready to be a part of any future U.S. DOD force structure, especially with significant budget cutting where money is taken away from day-to-day operations. The Secretary of the USAF has stated that flying hours, operations, and other core capability will be cut.

Yet the huge disconnect is that they are willing to commit more money and time to a failed tac-air recap project known as the F-35. It is hard to listen to ANY DOD official talk about cutting operational hours and take them seriously when they are unwilling to cancel failed programs.

The U.S. DOD test community has released its 2012 evaluation of the F-35. You can read it at the bottom of this post. Again, like previous years, there are problems still not fixed. The aircraft is unlikely to be affordable, sustainable, lethal or survivable.

Combat survivability appliances removed to save weight some year ago are resulting in a 25pc increase in vulnerability. Yet weight margins on the A-model are just .42pc. Terrible when you consider historical weight growth of other aircraft designs. And we still have no known operational empty weight because there is nowhere close to a finished go-to-war jet to evaluate.

Just like the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Joint Operational Requirement Document (JORD),--written in the 1990s and signed off on at the beginning of the last decade stated that sortie rates should be "significantly" better than legacy aircraft, survivability was supposed to be better than legacy. A 25pc increase in vulnerability is one of many signs that the project management assumptions of this aircraft are out of control.

Yet again, the JORD stands out as a sign of what the F-35 will never be able to reach: its' core requirements; its' reason to exist. Also today, the JORD is obsolete to the threat. It assumed there would always be plenty of F-22s around to do the high threat work. That didn't happen.

In other words, the U.S. wants to do a Pacific pivot using the Brewster Buffalo as its crown jewel.

Six years after first-flight, test point goals are behind for 2012. With all the hype of things like deliveries to Yuma, there is still no credible combat capability in test or mission systems.

The "we are building mistake-jets at the cost of billions" syndrome still exists.

There are still flight envelop restrictions and even the "anything is possible if you are willing to lower your expectations", belief system:

F-35A-

"The program announced an intention to change performance specifications for the F-35A, reducing turn performance from 5.3 to 4.6 sustained g’s and extending the time for acceleration from 0.8 Mach to 1.2 Mach by 8 seconds. These changes were due to the results of air vehicle performance and flying qualities evaluations."

F-35B-

"The program announced an intention to change performance specifications for the F-35B, reducing turn performance from 5.0 to 4.5 sustained g’s and extending the time for acceleration from 0.8 Mach to 1.2 Mach by 16 seconds. These changes were due to the results of air vehicle performance and flying qualities evaluations."

F-35C-

"The program announced an intention to change performance specifications for the F-35C, reducing turn performance from 5.1 to 5.0 sustained g’s and increasing the time for acceleration from 0.8 Mach to 1.2 Mach by at least 43 seconds. These changes were due to the results of air vehicle performance and flying qualities evaluations."

Air-refueling issues still exist, and it looks like pointing weapons bay doors inward has a price:

"This was primarily a result of higher-than-expected loads on weapon bay doors, which prevented planned envelope expansion test points and required additional unplanned testing."

Risks like this were predicted by independent experts years ago. More importantly, that marketing people and poor management of engineers was creating a rose coloured glasses problem at the start of the program. After all, it was hyped for all to hear, that critical design review of the F-35 passed in 2007 yet things like the core F-35C need of trapping on a carrier have now become vultures circling overhead.

Significant F-35B STOVL airframe appliance problems identified a year ago, still have question marks around fixing them. There are claims of fixes in the coming years but progress is slow. (page 31-32) Yet, the DOD boss believed the lie from cheerleaders like the USMC general Amos and others and removed the F-35B from the Gates 2 year probation...a year early.

Fraud.

With all the hype in 2012 of doing initial stores clearance and misleading claims of weapons capability in press releases, the program has a long haul of years with software and other engineering realities. Weapon system issues include:

- Instrumentation
- Data recording shortfalls
- Deficient mission systems performance in radar,Electro‐Optical Targeting System (EOTS), fusion, and the helmet
- Lack of radar fusion support to the AIM-120 air-to-air missile
- EOTS inability to accurately track and designate targets for the air-to-ground munitions
- Deficient fused situational awareness presentation to the pilot


Structural integrity of the airframe is still an unknown yet we as the taxpayer still have to procure billions of mistake jet production lots per year. More cracks and other wear issues have shown up this last year requiring more fixes for the scores of existing mistake-jets.

Read the rest of the report below. Astonishing how the Joint Chief of Staff just had a press conference fear-mongering DOD budget cuts in that operational capability would suffer defunding, yet, refused to mention that dud programs like the F-35 and LCS--billions in waste--still get to breath air.

An industry observer commented that in order for the United States Marketing Corps to meet its' target of deploying early, the jet will need to sling a legacy electro-optical targeting Pod (seen on aircraft like the F-16 and F-18) as the F-35 EOTS field of view is OK for interdiction, but not for close air support. That the aircraft will need a HUD, with a common helmet, and any other number of fixes to help this pretend weapon system drop a precision guided bomb in a permissive-air environment.

Again, fraud. A very big fraud.





Thursday, January 10, 2013

Muddling through indefensible plans

Considering that the F-35 is a failure and the 2009 Defence White Paper moronic, this is a mild way of stating the problem:

The F-35 project may be problematic but the bulk of the RAAF's tactical fighter force will require replacement from 2020.

Emphasis mine. Best to change "may be" to "is" and end the sentence after "problematic".

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Daily Reports... WWII

Yes they did blogging in WWII. Well, sort of...

Here are the daily reports (converted to html) of the 654th Tank Destroyer Battalion which was attached to the 4th Armored Division while going across France and into Germany.

The dates on the calendar span from 12 July 1944 to 8 November 44. Just click on one of the days within that range.

"The flag waving, kissing and heroism stuff is out from here out. We are approaching the German Frontier, and the people are becoming more distant. A blind man could see the difference. Orders have been issued to the effect that all civilians will be considered subversive regardless, until proven otherwise."

Big-brain U.S. Navy issues blogger webcast

Had an interesting Monday morning (Late Sunday afternoon in the U.S.) listening live to the "Midrats". It is the webcast of CDR Salamander.

First time I have done that live. The topic was OK but very broad. What is important about this is that you have some of the biggest names associated with blogging on U.S. Navy issues present and they invite various policy wonks and such on as guests with a Q and A.

I would imaging Sals' consultancy (if he had one) could charge a big hourly rate. However he gives his experience for free.

I always enjoy his blog. If you can, check out his weekly webcast.

S.Korea fighter replacement program goes over-budget

S. Korea's fighter replacement program goes way over budget. From a reader:

As reported in Korean Media today, the FMS price per aircraft being offered to Korea is over $200M...~1000 won/dollar

Headline: [Exclusive] With a stiff price of F-35, new consideration for F-X program emerged

Media: Segye Times (01/07/13)

Author: Ahn Doo-won



The Defense Acquisition Program Administration is expected to report the estimated budget of KRW 15 trillion for the F-X program to the presidential transition team, if the ROK is to procure 60 Lockheed Martin-made F-35s. The price tag is overwhelmingly beyond the initially proposed budget of KRW 8.3 trillion, as this implies that the F-X program could enter a new phase of discussing and change the program’s overall structure. One government source was quoted as saying that “The manufacturer noted the unit price of F-35 will be around KRW 213 billion (excluding armament and transportation options), and for 60 jets, the overall cost could soar to the KRW 15 trillion-level.” The source also said other jets, Boeing’s F-15 and EADS’ Eurofighter, will have a price range of KRW 10-11 trillion as well. Another government official confirmed that the estimated prices were reported to Kim Jang-soo who leads a transition team handling external affairs, security and North Korea policies for President-elect Park Geun-hye. “It is unclear whether the new Park administration would continue to pursue the program, considering the latest budget has exceeded the original estimation,” the official said. Lockheed Martin’s F-35, which will be sold on the U.S.-government guaranteed foreign military sale has even less leverage for price discount, so the jet might be dropped out of the F-X race. A source from DAPA said: “We will not report specific prices when we are meeting with the transition team. F-35 is not the only candidate for the program, and if the procurement price exceeds 20 percent of the entire program budget, the feasibility study needs to be conducted - adding more difficulties to proceed with the F-X program.” Insiders at the ROKAF suggest the F-X should pick between F-15 and Eurofighter while excluding F-35 which comes with the KRW 15 trillion price tag. “Within the ROKAF, the discussion is moving from ‘the ROKAF must procure less number of stealth-proven F-35s despite the hefty price tag’ to ‘The Branch cannot wait any longer for the next-generation fighter jets’ activation.’”

Interesting. Don't know what defines a "stealth-proven F-35" since no such object exists.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Good enough for places like Afghanistan

...and similar minimal surface-to-air threat environments...


Air Support - U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Travis M. Barnes provides close-air support over Afghanistan's Helmand province, Nov. 8, 2012. Barnes is assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 469, Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Keonaona C. Paulo

This being a UH-1Y.




Questions for Chuck Hagel

Chuck Hagel may be the new U.S. Secretary of Defense if he wins confirmation.

If so, is he just another empty suit or someone who can really transform the DOD to make it:

1. Combat capable.
2. Sustainable


Currently, the U.S. Army has several defects such as basing a brigade combat team concept around the death-trap and unsustainable Stryker.

The future U.S. and U.S. Navy air power roadmap is in serious trouble with the junk that is the F-35.

The U.S. Navy has huge sustainment and combat-readiness issues with its fleet all while trying to put to sea bad ideas like the littoral combat ship.

The nuclear weapons deterrence community and industry needs a serious sustainment refresh with sound leadership and direction.

We have way too many flag-ranks and SES.


I don't have a problem with cutting the U.S. DOD budget. I have a problem with the U.S. DOD procuring failed weapons systems at the expense of combat readiness and...the defense of the nation.

More laughs from the rent-seekers

Self-licking ice-cream cone hopes and dreams from the rent-seekers.

As for the weapons systems and the management there-of:

1. No proper "Needs" analysis.
2. No proper "Requirements" analysis.
3. Marketing over true language of skilled engineers (tail wagging the dog).
4. Group-think in large quantity.
5. Rent-seeking before valid defence of the nation.

The greatest threat to the nation is the national debt and a business-unfriendly government. If these two things are not fixed properly, and soon, there won't be a defence worthy of the name because all the government really cares about is bureaucratic power; soaking the taxpayer; and nanny-state uber alles.

A 4th Air Warfare Destroyer? It is not needed. Just like the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd AWD. Simply because it was a bad idea. Someday we will need to replace our current frigates with the exact same capability. Like-designs in an affordable manner. The AWD, along with the Canberra-class large flat-top amphibs, hurt all of Defence because they take billions away from other needs.

The AWD and Canberra-class amphibs are unsustainable. They need crew resources we don't have (with help of an insurgent DMO) along with other sustainment issues.

And, without a valid air power plan, (including depending on the U.S. which is well on the way toward an obsolete-to-the-threat carrier air wing) can only be dead meat in a real war.

As the government runs out of more money to do things, look toward a future where the new big ships are tied up to the dock most of the time. When they go out, it will be with too-few crew.

Hollow force. Can't live within our means. Throwing away existing capability.

An insanely expensive paper-tiger.

No crystal ball needed.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Risk with Turkey

So if the U.S. Senate is worried about Turkey having old frigates, how can they not worry about the proposal for 100 allegedly advanced F-35s?

Despite the best efforts of Ankara’s allies in Washington during the final hours of the Congressional session, the U.S. Senate refused to act Wednesday on a free give-away of advanced American naval vessels to Turkey. Earlier this week, the House had approved the controversial measure, following a contentious debate, reported the Armenian National Committee of America.

“We join with our Greek American friends in thanking Congressmen Engel, Sherman, Bilirakis, and Sarbanes for opposing this controversial measure giving away two guided missile frigates to an increasingly arrogant and antagonistic Turkey, and welcome the Senate’s decision to block efforts to ‘fast-track’ passage of this controversial measure in the final hours of the 112th Congress,” said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. “This most recent setback for Turkey reflects the growing bipartisan understanding on both sides of Capitol Hill about the real price America is paying for Turkey’s growing hostility to U.S. interests and allies. Ankara’s failure is yet another signal that the era of Turkey’s having a blank-check in Washington is over.”

Friday, January 4, 2013

USMC tac-air question marks

The USMC close air support ability today will degrade with the F-35.

That is, if the F-35 ever sees service. Note that the JSF Joint Operational Requirement Document (JORD) mentions JSF sortie rates "significantly" better than legacy. This is a minimum requirement.

It will be interesting to see how the flying piano performs that one.

This Vietnam-era propaganda video shows that even the square peg in a round hole F-4 Phantom (with a proper air FAC) beats anything the F-35 could do for CAS. Cheaper to operate, more sorties, more ordnance, back-seater.... "But Eric, what about precision guided munitions?" Well yes, but that can work well with today's aircraft,...before the Just So Farcical concept.

OK then, what about STOVL?

What about it?

Also in the old video you see an A-4 trapping on an airfield.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Missing F-35 LRIP-5 DOD contracts

I have been unable to find the official, defined DOD contract for F-35 LRIP-5 airframes and PW jet engines.

A summary of LRIP 5 shows this.

$138M 10May10 Long-lead-engines (then 42)
$522.5M 6Jul10 Long-lead items (then 42)
$4012M 9Dec11 Airframes (30) (TBD,defined EOY 2012 [32]*)
$485M 27Dec11 Non-recurring requirements
$1122M 27Dec11 Engines (TBD,defined EOY 2012)
$56.3M 13Mar12 Sustainment
$127.7M 14Dec12 Required to define end of year airframe order

$6463.5M -- Total


What is in bold should have been updated with an official defined DOD contract at the end of 2012.

And what was previously mentioned:

*Aviation Week predicts this contract (now for 32 F-35s) will be for $3800M, which if true (when the pending contract is announced) will put current LRIP-5 procurement at $6251.5M. This will change again once a defined contract for the jet-engines is released.

Most curious.