Friday, September 16, 2011

F-35 production cuts

The F-35 program is facing the hard truth about what happens when you don't do your job and produce a go-to-war system anywhere near schedule. For defense business plans, the bigger they are, the harder they fall when they fall apart. Life is tough for Operation: PONZI SCHEME.

There will be no low price simply because there will not be 3000 aircraft made to-schedule. It is possible that we will only see a few hundred produced before the program ends.

Here is a snapshot of what is facing the mistake-jet factory. F-35 production freeze ... or new ice age?

The Senate's appropriations subcommittee now wants to extend the 32-aircraft production plateau into LRIP-7. According to Davis' chart in 2008, the DoD planned to buy 90 F-35s in FY2013, with the partners chipping in for another 42 aircraft.

If the Senate's proposal sticks, F-35 production could be frozen at 32 aircraft for four years straight.

Interesting when you compare it to 2003.

2003 Plan (only 6 LRIP batches).

LRIP 1 starts in 2006 for 10 aircraft
LRIP 2 starts in 2007 for 22 aircraft
LRIP 3 starts in 2008 for 54 aircraft
LRIP 4 starts in 2009 for 91 aircraft
LRIP 5 starts in 2010 for 120 aircraft
LRIP 6 starts in 2011 for 168 aircraft

Total LRIP for 2003 plan: 465 aircraft.

This is the core principle propping up the hopes and dreams of thousands of aircraft at $45 mil (pick the dumb quoted low number, there were many) each.

It gets worse when problems are white-washed.

How about this in 2008 from the fan-boy cheerleaders? Australian Defence Magazine (ADM). JSF: "no miracle needed"
No miracles are required for the Joint Strike Fighter to meet Australia's schedule for entry into service, according to Lockheed Martin.

The chances of the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter meeting the RAAF's schedule, budget and capability targets are "good and getting better", according to Tom Burbage, Executive Vice President of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics and leader of its JSF team.

Burbage was bullish in a presentation to Australian journalists at Lockheed Martin's Fort Worth plant in Texas in early-December last year. But he acknowledged the uncertainty created by the Pentagon's Quadrennial Defence Review and the annual horse-trading between the Pentagon, Congress and the White House over US defence budgets when he added that Lockheed Martin, as prime contractor for the Joint Strike Fighter, has no control over political processes currently under way which could affect the JSF program.

Nevertheless, he told the Australian media contingent that no miracles are needed for the F-35 to meet Australia's schedule, budget and capability requirements and that he personally was very optimistic.

Presently the Unit Recurrent Flyaway Cost of a Conventional Take-Off and Landing (CTOL) F-35A is about US$45 million in FY2002 dollars, but Lockheed is aiming to bring this down, Burbage said. On current plans Australia's first F-35A will be handed over in May 2012 with others following later that year. These aircraft will be manufactured as part of the fourth batch of Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) F-35s and Australia will be one of the first of the eight international partners to receive its aircraft.

Emphasis added.

Too funny. And, many times with defence topics, the term "Australian journalist" is an oxymoron.


INCOMING!!!!!!! said...

Love your stuff, but the real crime is with the helicopters. Remember the endless thousands of LHX? The ChiComms are getting the helitech to use immediately. Dead Osama body double?

Anonymous said...

You are totally correct regarding the so called "Journalism" that comes out of most Australian sectors.
And look what happens if like "The Australian" who actually cricises the curent Government on the School Halls debacle, you get an enquiry trying to muzzle those who do their homework.

nico said...

..."In 2008, LRIP-6 was supposed to be an order for 118 F-35s, including 82 aircraft for the US services and 36 aircraft for the international partners."

I keep hearing from proF35 crowd that no orders have been cut than what happened to that 36 aircraft order from foreign countries? So far one from UK and Netherlands looks to be on order,oohhh,wow!

So if this passes, we might see at least 4 years of 32 F35 produced, wonder what that will do to cost and how fast we can ramp up from that.

Anonymous said...

And where are all those Cool Aid drinking, JSF acolytes now?

Where are Aussie Digger, Gary Fairlie, Magoo, Bonza and the Angus Houston/John Harvey fan club, now?

Atticus said...

Anon, good question.
AD, GF and Bonza will no doubt be seriously trying to find some spin.
No got it , it was APA that did it.

Cocidius said...

Don't forget that Moron Jack-Jack and the fantasy $68 million dollar price tag for Australia that he keeps whining about.

With this number of Joint Power Point Fighters being produced it's going to end up more expensive then the F-22 and %40 as capable.

Is it time for a few Euro-canards for Oz?

Anonymous said...

F-35 is ooooveeerrr. No sane air force planner will bet on that plane after seeing pak-fa performance at MAKS 2011.

But F-35 is too big to fail program. It's impossible to kill it politically.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't worry too much about the F-35. The amount to be produced is actually alot higher than most people expect now. At present it stands to be the largest build number of any military aircraft since WWII. I've just spent the last 6 months building new facilities at my anonymous employers premises to cope with the huge amount of JSF work on the way..