Monday, October 31, 2011

In one year, USAF cuts 2012 F-35 buys by one-third

I don't see how the United States Air Force--the alleged biggest buyer of the F-35--is going to recapitalize its fighter force.

USAF says they are committed to the F-35 but their own plans and programs office--who tell the boss what can actually be purchased with available money--see it different.

In one year of budget planning, the USAF F-35 program has been cut by one-third.

Have a look at how the fiscal year (FY) 2012 predictions went.

In FY 2011 USAF predicted a buy of 24 F-35s for FY 2012. In early FY 2012 budget documents F-35 predicted buys for FY 2012 stated 19 F-35s. Recently, they just pulled 3 F-35s from their FY2012 budget request resulting in 16 aircraft.

Also in FY 2011, USAF predicted buying 33 F-35s for FY 2013; 53 F-35s for FY 2014 and 70 F-35s for FY 2015.

It is doubtful those numbers mean anything.


NICO said...

Come on Eric, USAF will buy those jets back in 2020,2025 or whenever. We'll just buy 200 F35s a year instead of 100 a year, that's all. The stated end number hasn't changed so everything is still fine. You should know better! LOL!

geogen said...

Haha NICO, don't joke the official position actually still endorses that view. My prediction will be an early new year (first week of January) Program restructuring to officially reduce the expected number anticipated - with perhaps another step down the following year. I guess it makes sense to step down the advertised goals over a series of revisions than to just call a meeting one day and chop the Program in half??

Anyway, the FY14 lot will likely be the significant cut year, unfortunately. Ending remaining speculation of the expected high FRP economies of scale factors to soon kick in. By then, recap plans and national strategies will have probably already been altered though to meet new acquisition realities.

Graeme said...

It's a sad fact that the US Airforce will shrink by a large factor.

Also the F35s that are currently being purchased may never reach operational status.

The people who are running the F35 program, either,

1. Have no concern for the welfare of the United States, or
2. Are ignorant, or
3. Are delusional, or
4. All of the above.

Anonymous said...

Will we (Australia) see a repeat in the F111, with Australia being the only country to operate the hugely expensive and underperforming F-35?

Anonymous said...

.. that should have read "a repeat OF the F111"

Atticus said...

What problem was that?

Cocidius said...

So what the hell comes next with the JSF Program?

The staggering cost per aircraft recently discussed by Bill Sweetman at $270 million each for the F-35B is so much higher than the Dr. Feelgood price of of $65 each. With the current economic situation there is absolutely NO WAY that Lockmart will be building thousands of aircraft to get the so far hypothetical costs savings over the current legacy aircraft.

So at this point I see two distinct possibilities:

1. Limited production of one or two variants at a much higher cost then predicted, with at least one variant cancelled.

2. Total cancellation of the entire program with hundreds of billions wasted.

So when will the UK, Oz, and Canada bail and start looking alternatives?

Distiller said...

Where U.S. manned tactical aviation is heading: 8+1 AEF, 8+1 CAW. Each with maybe 36 F-35. Makes less than 900 F-35 all in all, including a 33% attrition reserve.

Can live with it, I say. 1000 tactical frontline fighter/fighterbomber for the U.S. by 2025. But the important thing will be to maximize the percentage of airframes within strike distance of the enemy (who ever that will be). Hence all-carrier capable unified TacAir. Otherwise in a prolonged conflict the Navy faces the real possibility of empty carrier decks.

And what neither service - Air Force, NavAir - can justify is its own separate programme of under 500 airframes each. Go all-carrier capable unified TacAir.

And re system costs: If talking about exploding system costs be so honest to include 20 years of LMCO survival. Hence nationalize LMCO. Seriously. Why pay extra to feed the shareholders?