Sunday, February 12, 2012

USAF does not know a date for F-35 IOC; slows rate of procurement

USAF will slow down its rate of F-35 orders. The service doesn't even know when they can declare IOC. Don't act shocked, the service is not displaying a bold leadership decision on par with Curtis LeMay.

Take it for what it is. This is a safe, bureaucratic move that goes with the flow. The F-35 program is starting to collapse under its own weight, so the timid can state that they will slow down procurement while pretending leadership.


USAF was to order 110 F-35s per year when full-rate kicked in. As a result of the 2004 SWAT, this went to 80 per year for full-rate in 2006 and extending out the years. In 2008, USAF plans and programs declared they couldn't see a way to pay for more than 48 each year.

The take-away from this article is the following:

“That call is well into the future,” Schwartz said.

Of course. He will be retired by then. Let us not make any strong leadership decisions at the service level. Just continue to rake in that 4-star pay and benefits.

"With rank comes responsibility" is only uttered as a platitude in USAF HQ. It should read, "With rank comes responsibility to protect my job and any post-retirement employment opportunities."


Canuck Fighter said...

..."Schwartz stressed that other aircraft — including F-16, AC-130, F-35 and even the B-52 — can do the close-air support mission."
Has he seen a B-52 do CAS? Everything gets wiped out.

The latest issue hitting the headlines is the over inflated DoD pensions where one could make more at some point on pension than their salary. Good to know that all these "don't rock the boaters" just have to cruise to retirement, while the future gets pissed away.

Anonymous said...


Any plane with PGMs can do CAS, as long as they have a good aimpoint fed to them by a JTAC or whatever. That's the only definition of CAS the USAF is willing to consider, because if you start talking about which platforms do CAS best or most efficiently, you have to let in the possibility of something other than generic multi-role.

ELP- Tangential, but if you haven't read it, get the 84 pg report by LtCol Davis off the Rolling Stone site. The stuff about his time on FCS is pretty maddening, not to mention everything else in there.

-mike j

ELP said...


Today the B-52 can carry an EO pod like SNIPER and Litening. Going by memory their is a little pylon mounting point (previously used to mount test cameras) between the inboard and outboard engine nacelles. As one former general said in a speech which I saw, he was a former A-10 guy and he said it is strange to see the E/O pod video of a B-52 dropping a GBU-12 from 35 thousand feet and see a 55 second fly time on the clock (where he would be used to 5 at the most).

Also in the 2003 Iraq invasion, some Marines asked for emergency CAS as there was an Iraqi mechanized formation nearby and they didn't have much in the way of anti-armor firepower. A B-52 was nearby and dropped 2 CBU-105 wind-corrected munitions dispensers which had several BLU-108B Sensor Fused Weaponss (SFW "skeets"). These are smart sub-munitions. The drop was from 40k feet and some miles away. The two weapons took out a large portion of Iraqi AVFs. The rest of the Iraqis got out of their vehicles and surrendered to the Marines. That is CAS.

Anonymous said...

The reality is of course... that the reason for the 'slowing of the Procurement rate', is because budget cannot afford anymore than what the given budget can afford! Hello?

It's almost as if DoD/USAF is trying to imply that there will be adequate sums of cash on hand to buy all the F-35 under the original plan, but only reducing numbers to appear prudent while development sorts itself out.

OK, let's bit... USAF has adequate combat aviation procurement funds to afford the full rate of F-35s if they were mature and ready. Well, simply transfer those excess procurement funds then over to buy supplemental F-16s to fill the gap as USAF waits for the F-35 to achieve maturity and prove itself viable as a FRP-worthy aircraft!

You can't have it both ways USAF, I'm sorry. One can't say we have plenty of cash to afford the entire advertised Procurement schedule, yet at the same time prematurely retire older block F-16s too, which were originally expected to receive SLEP and remain part of the mid-term force structure!

Heck, USAF can't even afford the originally conceived Golden Eagle which was deemed necessary to offset the premature kill of the F-22 line!

Just come out and be honest with the Partners, Congress and USAF commanders, please! Allow for better calculated strategic planning with actionable intelligence and actual real future budget estimates.

I'm sorry sir, but the stay-the-course plan is an unacceptably risky threat to a hollow USAF force structure and a rapidly becoming illusion of a deterrence.

There has been little if none positive reform of the Defense acquisition process still to date. Very tragic, and rather dangerous too one could add.

Horde said...

Flying the USAF logo in distress is most apropos, Eric....
...and kind of wicked, to boot!

Cocidius said...

The QLR report should have brought the entire picture into clarity for Schwartz and the USAF leadership.

The F-35 at a very basic level is so riddle with major technical issues that it simply can't be considered a replacement for any of the aging legacy platforms (F-16, F-15, F-18, A-10, etc).

The logic of producing and selling advanced legacy fighters for foreign air forces while US pilots fly aircraft that are years beyond normal retirement is beyond me.

To remain committed to JSF Program which can't produce a functional aircraft after a decade of expensive development at the cost of destroying American air power illustrates how out of touch Schwartz really is.

Anonymous said...

Was it not AF Chief of Staff Gen. Schwartz who commented something similar to the phrase that "The USAF will be shooting for Air-sufficiency rather than Air-superiority"?

So, the continued (and rapidly collapsing) recap policy as is shouldn't be a surprise. No?

Cocidius said...

Air sufficiency is a made up phrase created by the same group of fools perpetrating the last manned fighter fairy tale.

Without air superiority all their drones will make for fine target practice.

It's just another example of why Schwartz needs to retire.

Cocidius said...

Sorry that came out harsh!

I've seen that comment from Schwartz before and it pisses me off every time I see it.

Yes, we should expect nothing less from him at this point...

Horde said...

CF, Cocidius and Eric:

Right on the money.

Sadly, the people who know are not able to speak up for fear of getting it in the neck from those who don't know what they don't know but are in charge.

However, at the end of the day it will be the tax payer and the hard working employees who get laid off who will suffer the consequences of their ineptness.

Speaking of which, what are the obvious fubars in this picture?


Light the fires and follow the initial clearance trajectories.

Just tooooooo funny!

Folks in the flight test community around the world have been both amused and bemused by this one for years.


ELP said...

Well, we know that monte carlo sims and associated other modelling showed great risk with drop tanks.

I don't think weapons clearance is going to be very fun at all.