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The government and Lockheed Martin are scrambling to get back on schedule while fixing the overbudget project

The Pentagon confirmed a one-year delay of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, with Deputy Defense Secretary Bill Lynn facing increased pressure to get spending under control on the project.

"The development was originally projected to last an additional 30 months; we think with the additional test aircraft it will be closer to a delay of about 12 or 13 months, but I can't give you the cost numbers," according to Lynn's statement to the media.

Pentagon officials didn't say if this one-year delay will push back final release dates, but it likely will, military experts have noted. 

The Marine Corps is expected to receive the first batch of F-35s in two years, while the Air Force and Navy are expected to receive the next-generation fighter aircraft in 2013 and 2014.  Prior to Lynn's recent announcement, Lockheed Martin officials noted they were about six months behind schedule, but still expect to be able to meet the USMC release date.

Last November, a report said the program is drastically overbudget and behind schedule, which led the government to rethink its strategy moving forward.  Actual demand for the aircraft remains unknown, but there have been at least 2,500 orders placed for the U.S. military branches, with several other nations also expected to receive the aircraft in years to come.

Due to costly delays and budget miscues, the DOD will also withhold $614 million that will eventually be paid to Lockheed Martin.



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True F-14 successor?
By judasmachine on 2/19/2010 8:16:19 AM , Rating: 1
If this is more a strike craft, and less a dog fighter, then what is the Navy going to do for a air supremacy fighter? Continue to use the Super Hornet? Or throw all our money at the next big thing, that will run in development for at least 15 years.




RE: True F-14 successor?
By psychmike on 2/19/2010 8:41:20 AM , Rating: 2
The F-14 was never directly replaced. The role of fleet air defense shifted from an airborne platform (the F-14) to a surface platform (Aegis). The Navy has said that the F-18E will perform the fighter role (CAP, BARCAP, STRIKECAP). I'm not sure this makes a lot of sense either. In my opinion, the Navy might have said that to create relevance for -18 purchases when the F-35 was much further down the developmental pipeline. Once and if the F-35 proves itself, the Navy might have well hoped to order it in larger numbers for the fighter role. Things seem to be moving in the direction of UCAVs faster than many people believed, however.


RE: True F-14 successor?
By zmatt on 2/19/2010 6:36:30 PM , Rating: 3
The F-18 is a very capable fighter in it's own right. It's not a dedicated one, but the Navy's doctrine has changed and it doesn't have to be. We are the only nation with a large carrier strike force. The UK has some small ASW carries with harries, and India has a very old British carrier, but that's about it. The Russian Naval fighter program was never as successful as ours and the Chinese navy at this point is a joke. The last time we had to worry about other aircraft in the middle of the ocean was 1945. Because of this the navy guys decided it was silly to have a dedicated air superiority fighter if there isn't much to shoot down. The super hornet can hold it's own and Aegis can defend the fleet with it's SAMs. In the past 20 years and even back in Vietnam you saw the navy doing most of their work as a mobile strike force. Since we really aren't challenged at sea, you can more or less put the carriers where you need them and deliver surgical strikes and many times go around air defense sites that have been placed along geographic or political borders. On top of that the carries have an added layer of protection in that after the mission is over they can move on. An air field can't move and because of this it's always a target, a carrier group can do it's mission and sail out of range of land based aircraft.


RE: True F-14 successor?
By LordanSS on 2/21/2010 6:07:01 PM , Rating: 2
Brazil also has a carrier for fixed-wing aircrafts...

...aircrafts which, for a very long time, were grounded due to lack of funding for maintenance and fuel . They are all scrapped nowadays though, don't fly anymore, and all our carrier does is sit pretty at the Navy docks here in Rio.

Sure is a pretty sight for us crossing the Guanabara Bay through the bridge, though. =)


RE: True F-14 successor?
By Spoelie on 2/19/2010 9:07:56 AM , Rating: 1
Eurofighter Typhoon? Now that would be something ;)


RE: True F-14 successor?
By MrPoletski on 2/19/2010 9:20:31 AM , Rating: 2
well, it is a dogfighter, sure it can do multiple roles.. but the primary design consideration was manueverability IIRC.


RE: True F-14 successor?
By jonmcc33 on 2/19/10, Rating: -1
RE: True F-14 successor?
By Manch on 2/19/2010 10:31:59 AM , Rating: 2
The F-18 is not a YF-17. They only thing they ever shared other than a similar look is the the support structure under the cockpit. Everything else was redesigned for the F-18 program


RE: True F-14 successor?
By dgingeri on 2/19/2010 10:45:43 AM , Rating: 2
Although they look very, very similar, they are completely different, apparently. I wonder why they kept the general shape and yet redesigned the whole thing?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/YF-17
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F/A-18_Hornet

look at the pics. they are almost completely the same shape externally. Yet, apparently, the interior is completely different. Engineers can be weird sometimes.


RE: True F-14 successor?
By johnsonx on 2/19/2010 11:08:35 AM , Rating: 2
All three of you are right. Wikipedia's quote:
quote:
The Navy fought for and won permission to develop an aircraft based on the YF-17. Since the LWF did not share the design requirements of the VFAX, the Navy asked McDonnell Douglas and Northrop to design a new aircraft around the configuration and design principles of the YF-17. The new aircraft, designated the F-18, shared not a single essential dimension or primary structure with the YF-17.

So, yes, the F/A-18 is obviously an evolution of the YF-17, which did lose out to the YF-16 in the Air Force competition (which doesn't make it a lesser aircraft... the F-16 simply wasn't a good fit for carrier duty). Yes again, the F/A-18 is also a completely different aircraft.


RE: True F-14 successor?
By jonmcc33 on 2/19/2010 12:43:32 PM , Rating: 1
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northrop_YF-17

"Although it lost the LWF competition to the F-16, the YF-17 was selected for the new VFAX specification. In enlarged form, the F/A-18 Hornet was adopted by the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps..."

Are you sure about that?


RE: True F-14 successor?
By Manch on 2/19/2010 12:48:24 PM , Rating: 2
Yes. The YF-17 was a starting point but by the time the F-18 came to fruition pretty much every aspect of the aircraft was changed. The quote from the wikipedia link you mention is very much an over simplification. While they look very similar from a distance if put side by side the differences become very apparent.

I would be wary of using wikipedia as "proof" try Janes Defence or another publication with more credibility.


RE: True F-14 successor?
By jonmcc33 on 2/19/10, Rating: 0
RE: True F-14 successor?
By gamerk2 on 2/19/2010 11:47:37 AM , Rating: 2
The F/A 18-E Super Hornet is still the Navy's Air-Superiorty fighter, and they even pitch that as a backup fighter if something happens to the JSF program.

Remember people, the JSF program mandates the F35 be 4x as capable in air-to-air combat as any other plane still in service. It will do just fine in the air-to-air role.


RE: True F-14 successor?
By Amiga500 on 2/19/10, Rating: -1
RE: True F-14 successor?
By corduroygt on 2/19/2010 5:31:09 PM , Rating: 2
Unlike the 60s, we do have reliable missile technology these days. I still think the F-35 fails but that's because of cost, if it cost half of the F-22, it'd be worth it.


RE: True F-14 successor?
By Reclaimer77 on 2/19/2010 6:19:04 PM , Rating: 2
In another article Amiga argued hardcore against the F-22. Calling it a failed platform, too expensive, bla bla bla.

He's a pacifist. He doesn't think ANY money should be spent on the military, and that we should fly our legacy fighters till the wings fall off.


RE: True F-14 successor?
By Amiga500 on 2/20/2010 7:36:39 AM , Rating: 1
Perhaps you should re-read those comments you refer to.

The time of the manned fighter (as we know it now) is approaching its end. The ABL has killed 2 airborne targets now... AESAs have been demonstrated to have the ability to fry electronics...

It will soon be a question of getting power into the air, not launching missiles (as a defensive laser system will fry any inbound missiles long before they hit).

Right now, I would give the manned fighter a shelf life of at most 15 years... are you happy investing all that money for 15 years? Or would you rather fund laser R&D to close that to under 10 years, then bridge the gap with Block 60 F-16s and/or F-15SEs... much, much cheaper.


RE: True F-14 successor?
By Reclaimer77 on 2/20/2010 8:28:25 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Right now, I would give the manned fighter a shelf life of at most 15 years...


You are such an idiot if you believe this.

That would be such a massive restructuring of our entire combined armed forces. Hell man, it take 15-20 years sometimes to build a new fighter from a concept ! We're going to have fleets of unmanned fighters in 15 years ? HA!

quote:
Block 60 F-16s and/or F-15SEs... much, much cheaper.


Yup, I called it right. Even 15 years from now you are STILL pushing the use of 30 year old airframes.

I'm tired of wasting my time with you. You are living in a fantasy world.


RE: True F-14 successor?
By Amiga500 on 2/20/2010 11:10:25 AM , Rating: 1
Arrggghhh...

quote:
You are such an idiot if you believe this.

That would be such a massive restructuring of our entire combined armed forces.


1. Why you think I keep saying its a massive shift? Why do you think I keep saying investing billions in manned fighters right now is a waste?

2. Why do you think the opposition give 2 sh!ts about how much restructuring your armed forces have to do? If your happy to put up sitting ducks for their lasers; that is not their problem!

3. Unmanned fighters? I have been talking about getting power in the air. Power = lots of engines = B747 ABL. That is not an unmanned aircraft. Might even be a (yet another) role for the BUFF in there!

Basically, an airborne ABL will be like a AEGIS system moving at 500 mph and at 30,000 ft. Within a bubble of XXX miles nothing is allowed to live unless the ABL wishes it. Manoeuvrability is useless, as is fighter missile performance.

The ABL is a system... I would expect serious efforts at fitting it into large aircraft within the next decade. There are not the same levels of complications integrating it as a full design of a new fighter.

quote:
Yup, I called it right. Even 15 years from now you are STILL pushing the use of 30 year old airframes.


Do you know how old a block 60 is? Here is a clue, they were first built for the UAE and deliveries started in 2004. You can do the maths on the resultant airframe age if the USAF bought some....

You are simply not clued up on this subject, and I'm finding it hard not to get really, really frustrated by having to continually go over basics.


RE: True F-14 successor?
By Reclaimer77 on 2/20/2010 1:00:37 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Why do you think I keep saying investing billions in manned fighters right now is a waste?


Because you're stupid ?

quote:
2. Why do you think the opposition give 2 sh!ts about how much restructuring your armed forces have to do? If your happy to put up sitting ducks for their lasers; that is not their problem!


Right. We also have to worry about their Death Stars destroying whole planets too.

quote:
Do you know how old a block 60 is? Here is a clue, they were first built for the UAE and deliveries started in 2004. You can do the maths on the resultant airframe age if the USAF bought some....


It doesn't matter when they were built. The design is terribly outdated. We need more F-22's and next generation fighters. PERIOD. End of discussion.

quote:
You are simply not clued up on this subject


I.E not biased enough ?


RE: True F-14 successor?
By Chillin1248 on 2/20/2010 4:51:09 AM , Rating: 4
You would be surprised.

The AIM-120D has an 85% reliability rate, which means about 1 in every 5 missiles will be a dud. , the AIM-120 has achieved 10 BVR kills from 17 shots – a Pk or “kill probability” of 0.59 (59 percent) against benign or “dumb” targets (i.e. - Drones like the QF-4). No AIM-120 has been tested let alone operationally employed against a target with a panoply of defensive measures, so the kill ratio of the AIM-120 in modern air combat may well be much less than the operational 0.59 Pk experienced to date.

-------
Chillin


RE: True F-14 successor?
By Amiga500 on 2/20/2010 7:30:57 AM , Rating: 4
It was deployed in Kosovo... with what were basically quite alarming results.

There was an AFM article on it a few years back talking about the Yugo MiG-29s... most lacking radar and RWR... yet the AMRAAMs still had kill percentages in single digits!

Of course, the AMRAAM has moved on to the C-7 since, and the D version is the latest... I'm also sure the seeker has moved on. However, all medium and long range AAMs currently struggle to out maneuvre an evading adversary (rule of thumb: they need approx 4x the maneuvering to guarantee a kill) due to their size (rocket motor too big). The AMRAAM is particularly susceptible as its fins bleed off energy at a faster rate in high-g maneuvering than the lattices of, say, an AA-12 (which are worse at around Mach 1... which is pretty much a too low an energy state to kill in anyway).


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