Saturday, December 10, 2011

DOD releases contract for F-35 low-rate initial production batch 5

The U.S. Department of Defense has just released a contract for purchase of 30 low-rate initial production aircraft. This is the 5th batch or “LRIP-5”. Cost of the contract is approximately $4B.

Defense Tech broke the story.

The Air Force gets 21 F-35As, the Navy gets six F-35C carrier variant jets and the Marines will get three F-35B short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) jets.

Note that like LRIP-4, three STOVL aircraft are the minimum to keep that specific supply chain going while the F-35B works its way out of probation.

In addition:
This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Air Force ($2,644,270,340; 65.9 percent); the U.S. Navy ($937,374,286; 23.34 percent); the U.S. Marine Corps ($426,190,013; 10.6 percent); and the United Kingdom ($4,084,671; 0.1 percent)

It is unknown if this contract includes jet engines.

This means the roll-away price of each USAF F-35A for this batch is $125M. The U.S. Navy carrier variant F-35C is $156M. Each USMC F-35B STOVL is $142M.

There are only small amounts of fatigue testing done and much discovery of this unstable design still out there. A resent U.S. DOD report stated that the USAF and USN found the fuel dumping function unacceptable and a fire risk. The tail hook of the USN F-35C will need a complete redesign as it failed all of its tests. This may have an affect on the aircraft's radar signature. There are also flight envelop issues to work through.

You can read Aviation Week's happier (whitewashed) version of F-35 progress here.

Under the original plan of many years ago, LRIP-5 was supposed to be 120 aircraft.

Even if the aircraft somehow reaches its design goals, what will be delivered to the warfighter is certain to be obsolete against threats over the F-35's alleged lifetime.


Anonymous said...

The contract does NOT include the engines and/or LiftFan systems. Nor does it include the previous $500M LRIP-V long-lead item purchase contract awarded ln 2010. I'm not sure whether it it covers the additional $750M that LM says has not been paid for other costs related to the contract.


Anonymous said...

Re: Previous post

Ignore link address. I thought I had the correct one from Aviation Week's Ares blog post:

"Concurrency & The 10th Anniversary of the F-35 Contract
Posted by Amy Butler at 10/26/2011 9:29 AM CDT"

The link won't copy for me....


Horde said...

I think Eric meant to say "roll away cost" and not "price".

There are many costs that build to make up a price - but there is only one price.

For a supplier to do otherwise would be known, inter alia, as "deceptive component pricing".

That there are many costs but only one price is also what Dr Steve Gumley agreed in an exchange we had back in 2008 when he was the CEO of the DMO.

However, Steve was never able to say what the unit price for the JSF would be.

Perplexed said...

How Gumley would know would have been ineresting.
At Senate hearings this year DMO advised that they operate 4 different acoounting systems , which will take another 4 years to sort out.They further advised that it is impossible to really work out the real costs of anything.
Why the Committee did not go balistic is beyond me.
It is only taxpayers money, I suppose(not my opinion).
Makes you wonder how a CEO could tolerate that and not do anything about it.
Oh, sorry he was sacked.

Horde said...

Since the contract modification that has just been executed is "undefinitized", expect more to come.

Even LM sources reckon this is only a stop gap measure to get the funds a flowing.

Cocidius said...

The $65 million dollar price tag looks more more like fantasy everyday.

nico said...

to Cocidius:

Add the production numbers in each LRIP to fantasy land. That red curve Eric keeps showing the graph isn't going to go up, it more than likely will stay flat for years to come.

Horde said...

Or . . .

Will it do this?

Now that would the best of likely outcomes with somewhat worse looming more and more probable each day.

The technical terms of 'Fotally Tucked' and 'FUBAR', though rarely used, are part of the flight test terminology that gets dusted off when confronted with an aircraft or aircraft system that is also described as such an 'outlier'.

Would the use of such terms be acceptable in polite society?

Why this should be asked is because there is a recent DoD report on the JSF that uses the latter.

nico said...

All in all, I would say it was a good week for LMT, sure USAF lost an RQ170 and "why the f%ck it didn't self-destruct!?!" but finally and I am sure LMT is very happy, LRIP V is in the books. All is well for the CEO and the board which are sure to get a big fat bonus now.

I guess we didn't give LMT another billion to install a self-destruct inside RQ170 or maybe that is in LRIP VI?

Anonymous said...

To the Anonymous #1, I think we can assume this URF/REC flyaway cost estimate includes the engine. $125m for an F-35A with engine would put it around the same cost as LRIP IV's expected REC flyaway cost of about $123m after all is said and done. (note: PUC unit cost about $230m compared to F18E Super Hornet's PUC unit of about $88m).

What this press release's main story should be about however, is what the hell is an FY11 order doing just now starting it's cost negotiations w/ production to begin in 2012?

Will an FY16 procurement (the year currently expected to deliver IOT&E mature aircraft) now begin manufacture in 2017 and see delivery in 2019?