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LRIP5 purchase may be smaller than wanted  (Source: Lockheed)
The Pentagon is asking for $151 million to cover cost overages

The F-35 is the most expensive acquisition program in the history of the U.S. armed forces. The overall price tag for the program is pegged at somewhere in the $380 billion range and the costs keep moving upward. The Pentagon is making moves to cut the costs of the program and that means that fewer aircraft will be purchased as a result.

The Pentagon has asked congress to approve a $151 million funding transfer to cover the increased development costs that were associated with the program before most of the new cost cutting measures were in place. The cost overruns were incurred with the first 31 of the aircraft to be built and purchased over the last five years. The aircraft were part of the first three low-rate initial production (LRIP) buys.

The Pentagon made the request for the funding transfer to Congress in a 91-page document dated June 30. The document stated, "If the reprogramming request is not approved, additional funding within the JSF program will be diverted to cover these costs." That diversion could result in fewer of the jets being purchased in the coming LRIP 5 contract.

The document also notes that the funding transfer of $151 million would cover additional costs to develop both the airframe and the propulsion system. Defense News points out that the cost increase came before the F-35 plan was restructured by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

The document presented to Congress also noted, "The JSF program is already working to cover most of the cost overruns internally."

The Pentagon expects to publish an updates cost estimate for the program this fall. While costs are still a concern for the F-35 Program things have been moving forward with flight tests being completed. This is despite some other issues with the program that have surfaced recently.

Earlier this month the F-35 fleet was grounded due to a failure of the aircraft's integrated power supply. The Pentagon is also pushing hard to further reduce the costs of the program and is seeking to cut the costs of subcontractors.

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Summed up for me...
By Amiga500 on 8/9/11, Rating: 0
RE: Summed up for me...
By Mudhen6 on 8/9/2011 2:35:39 PM , Rating: 2
When compared to past programs, such as LWF, FX, VFX or ATF - which produced the F-16, F-15, F-14 or F-22 that were significantly better than anything else in the world - the JSF program has been a total disaster from start to finish.

FTFY. If you're not gonna explain your acronyms, then don't use them. Thanks.

Calling the JSF program a disaster is also a bit sensationalist.

RE: Summed up for me...
By Amiga500 on 8/9/2011 5:07:58 PM , Rating: 2
Google is your friend.

With the program acronyms, you'll also learn more about the gestation of those programs and how they were designed to excel in specific areas, then evolved to multi-role (as well as retaining their core strengths).

Now, the JSF is trying to be everything to every service and failing to provide the performance all of them will need in the future.

To call it a disaster is an understatement. The most expensive program in US history that has produced f**k all but problems and even if it were to miraculously go 100% right from now on, would still only serve up an aircraft with marginally improved capabilities in some areas over, say, a Dassault Rafale (and also being noticeably worse in other areas).

I didn't realise you Americans were so happy to accept mediocrity.

RE: Summed up for me...
By Master Kenobi on 8/9/2011 6:45:31 PM , Rating: 3
The navy could probably have got 10 master chiefs to do a better job of running the program than all the desk admirals they used instead.

The master chiefs would have done no better, by the time they hit that rank they either retire or are just as good at being a politician as the admirals. Both are effectively useless for anything requiring a bit of sanity and straight thinking.

RE: Summed up for me...
By inperfectdarkness on 8/9/2011 11:03:31 PM , Rating: 2
the damn thing isn't at operational status yet, and STILL you people keep spouting off bullcrap about its performance being "tepid".

really? based off what? hours of ace-combat-6? i suppose everything you believe you know about cars is based off grand-turismo.

how about you just stop now. let's make the judgment calls after we start using the f-35 for combat missions. it would NEVER have gone this far into the program if it didn't have the capabilities we stated as requirements.

RE: Summed up for me...
By Mudhen6 on 8/10/2011 2:42:41 AM , Rating: 2
TL;DR - Anything the Super Hornet can do, the F-35 can do better, yet the F/A-18E/F is no where near as hated as the F-35.

I honestly don't understand why people like Amiga and Reclaimer hate on the F-35 so much. It's like the F-35 program insulted their mother, or something...

Anyway, from what I gather, the F-35's performance is, for the most part, greater than (and at worst, equal to) the F/A-18A/C Hornet and F-16C, which it was meant to replace. The F-35 is kinematically superior to the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet (or Super Slow Hornet, as it is sometimes derided as); the Super Hornet is actually notably less agile than the legacy F/A-18 Hornet.*

In fact, in the air-to-air configuration, the F-35's thrust-to-weight ratio is comparable to the F-15C Eagle (0.9-1.05 versus 1.1). Despite the fact that the F-15C is kinematically superior to the F-35, the fact that the latter is stealthy and the former is not should (in theory) be more than enough to swing BVR engagements in favor of the F-35 due to "first look, first shot."

Going back to the F-35 vs. Super Hornet comparison, the F-35 is far stealthier than the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, and can fly much further (~600 nm combat radius vs. ~400 nm for a typical A/G mission). It can also carry the same types of stand-off, stealthy weapons, like the JSOW stand-off munition.


RE: Summed up for me...
By Mudhen6 on 8/10/2011 2:57:24 AM , Rating: 2
Other References:

The F-35 program is also making headway in clearing the flight envelope to begin training at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. There have been few surprises, Kelly said.

Operational pilots should be thrilled with the F-35's performance, Kelly said. The F-35 Energy-Management diagrams, which display an aircraft's energy and maneuvering performance within its airspeed range and for different load factors, are similar to the F/A-18 but the F-35 offers better acceleration at certain points of the flight envelope.

"The E-M diagrams are very similar between the F-35B, F-35C and the F/A-18. There are some subtle differences in maximum turn rates and some slight differences in where corner airspeeds are exactly," Kelly said.

Thomas, who is also an F/A-18 pilot and a graduate of the Navy's Top Gun program and the Marines' Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course, agreed that all three variants should be lethal in the within-visual-range fight.

RE: Summed up for me...
By Amiga500 on 8/10/2011 3:32:42 AM , Rating: 2
Anything the Super Hornet can do, the F-35 can do better, yet the F/A-18E/F is no where near as hated as the F-35.

Do you have any idea just how useless the Super Hornet is as an airframe? Be under no illusions; I am no fan of the Subpar Hornet. Great electronics, good engine, terrible airframe.

You also realise the competition has moved on, and that merely equalling the legacy hornet or viper in kinematics will mean the F-35 is an 'also-ran' in comparison to the Rafale/Eurofighter/PAK-FA?

You are also being very.... economical with the truth when claiming the Eagle's T:W is only around 1.1 - in average loading, its nearer 1.3-1.4.

I honestly don't understand why people like Amiga and Reclaimer hate on the F-35 so much.

Because it is a textbook example of what Eisenhower was warning you people about in his farewell address; the undue influence of the military-industrial complex.

But hey, I'm not an American, its not my taxes - maybe I should just sit back, say nothing, and let you folks be f**ked over by Lockheed without you even knowing what they are doing.

RE: Summed up for me...
By Mudhen6 on 8/10/2011 11:56:12 AM , Rating: 2
Economical? I'm not a huge fan of T/W figures because they are useless for anything but the most general comparisons, but the T/W ratio for the F-15C with 8 AAMs and a full load of fuel is ~47 000lbs of thrust for ~43 000lbs of weight (~28K lbs empty + 13.5K lbs fuel + 2.5K lbs AAMs). Mathematically, that's a greater than 1 T/W ratio, which is fantastic considering it's at 100% fuel and payload (the ratio can only increase).

With regards to the F/A-18-like performance of the F-35, the bottom-line is that the JSF is stealthy and its opponents are not. You do realize that the outcome of a BVR fight is decided long before the first missile is shot, right? Whoever has first look gets to accelerate/climb first and thus get first shot.

Even if it has sh*ttiest stealth ever and is detected 30-50 nm away, the F-35 will be at a supreme advantage because it would've detected its opponents at 50-70nm and would be setting up its long range AMRAAM shots at Mach 1+ and >40 000ft. That is ultimately the point of stealth - if your opponent has a bigger radar/bigger engines (for an F-35-sized fighter there will always be somebody out there with both a bigger radar and a bigger engine) you neutralize that advantage BVR with stealth.

The Eurocanards also incorporate this philosophy in that, although they are not stealthy, they incorporate numerous RCS reducing features that presumably decrease/slightly decrease the detection range of enemy radars. Every little bit helps.

In WVR...well, with the advent of missiles like Python 4/5, AIM-9X and the next generation Archer, nobody wants to be WVR. Not even the F-22. But should the fight progress to WVR, the idea is that the F-35 would be at a numerical advantage by that point, having won BVR.

RE: Summed up for me...
By Mudhen6 on 8/10/2011 12:03:31 PM , Rating: 2
For the record, the Eurofighter has not been demonstrated to supercruise with a combat relevant and defined payload/fuel fraction, to the best of my knowledge.

Thus far, only the F-22 has demonstrated the ability to supercruise with a combat relevant payload configuration (at Mach 1.7+, no less).

By eldardude on 8/9/2011 3:05:03 PM , Rating: 2
I mean, the F-22 is superior jet, albeit older, with more dated avionics. The F15E/I/K are fantastic, decades of ongoing development and upgrading make them stand pretty close to the Raptor.

Seems strange the JSF project crashes down 'round the DOD's ears. Can someone explain from an engineering/business/avionics standpoint why these jets fail, but other jets don't?

RE: Odd
By Bubbacub on 8/9/2011 3:21:19 PM , Rating: 2

RE: Odd
By Mudhen6 on 8/9/2011 3:43:58 PM , Rating: 2
The F-35 is fine for what it was intended to be - a fighter/attack jet that complements the F-22 Raptor. Cost overruns/delays/technical setbacks simply disrupted the performance per dollar value of the product, so that now customers are paying F-22 prices for basically a stealthy F/A-18 Hornet.

RE: Odd
By Amiga500 on 8/9/2011 5:11:46 PM , Rating: 1
All it is going to be is a sitting target for a competent air defense.

-Questionable LO performance.
-Abject kinematic performance.
-Horrible combat persistence (unless your willing to sacrifice the questionable LO and worsen kinematics).

The JSF is not fine. It is extremely not fine. You good folks in the states need to wake up, smell the coffee, then start contacting your political representatives to ask why your tax dollars are being pissed up against the wall on a lame duck.

RE: Odd
By Mudhen6 on 8/9/2011 6:03:44 PM , Rating: 2
Bull**** claims without citations are bull****. Why don't you take that Carlos Kopp sensationalist crap and design your own jack-of-all trades fighter?

Especially, I would like to see your data on the F-35's combat persistence and stealthiness without being referred to Kopp's make-belief numbers. Thanks.

In the meantime, keep being a drama queen.

RE: Odd
By TSS on 8/9/2011 5:14:30 PM , Rating: 3
Avionics: Since this jet is newer the onboard systems are bound to be more complex. And unlike windows, i doubt these systems are allowed to blue-screen in mid air. Nobody likes a reboot under fire. Thus, it'll take more time to get it right. Don't count on this improving with the next generation fighters either, Electronics are expensive. But effective.

Business: You can't build jets according to spec if the contractor keeps changing the specs. Now i don't know this for sure but i hear it's pretty common for the US government to change the specs for what they actually want quite often.

Politics: If you order 2000 planes at $50 million then later when already designed around this change it to <1000 planes, of course the cost is going to go up. You're not helping when costs are then cut further to make up for the increased price per plane.

Physics: This one is a bitch because no matter how much a politician likes otherwise it's gonna cost money to get F22ish stealth capabilities while being able to carry 6 times the payload while still being able to beat current generation fighter jets in dog fights while being designed to replace 5-6 fighter aircraft each with 5-6 different loadouts.

Inflation: The F/A 18 hornet cost $29 million per unit in 1983. In 2010 dollars, that's $62,6 million per unit. Or about half as much as the F35. but then again it's got no stealth of any kind and it carries less of a payload. It has less range (at alot less payload) and of course less of the fancyest electronics by todays standards. So all in all the costs aren't that far apart. This isn't counting the development cost, but see politics as to why that cost is higher then expected.

And of course, our good friend bureaucracy, who needs no indroduction nor explaining.

This project was doomed from the start. Not to fail, just to get insanely expensive.

RE: Odd
By John Kai on 8/10/2011 2:21:49 PM , Rating: 2
I would rate your comment up, but can't seem to figure out how to do that...

By MikeSar on 9/7/2011 12:10:13 AM , Rating: 2
Why are two engines being developed for the F-35? Don't they know how much thrust will be required to do vertical take off at high altitude, fully loaded? I think this is a relatively simple calculation.
The hot exhaust air circulation problem could have been studied, and resolved, in a platform, with a mock up to study the air patterns. Did they learn nothing from the V-22?
To optimize weight, they must have excluded armor plating, this makes it vulnerable to long range rifle fire.
Imagine this: You are flying directly towards a tree that may have a riflemen behind. The pilot does not see the soldier and drops below 5K, then below 2K, who wins?
The ol'Bronco, OV-10 had armor plating and a Gatling gun, could they simulate a comparison? The price of one F-35 would cover the cost of a dozen OV-10s.
The F-35 will be cancelled because the US cannot afford it and join the pages in "Worst Airplanes in the world". Do you think India will buy it? There were some comments but it has died down. How smart are their engineers?

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