The cost of the F-35 JSF continues to soar and delays continue to
mount though the aircraft is now finally in production in some variants. As the
aircraft stat to roll of the production assembly line, the Senate is taking
steps to control the price of the fighter as the next low-rate initial
procurement (LRIP) is set to enter negotiations.
The U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee has passed a bill on June 16
that required the LRIP-5 purchase set for 2012 to be at a fixed price. That means that any cost overruns
in the development or production of the F-35 purchase will be absorbed totally
An emailed statement from the committee said, "The bill contains
a unique requirement that the low-rate initial procurement contract for the
FY11 lot of the Joint Strike Fighter (LRIP-5) program must be a fixed-price
contract and the contract must require the contractor to absorb 100 percent of
costs above the target cost."
The previous LRIP-4
purchase uses a cost-plus award fee plan.
If the full Senate passes the bill, it will be legally binding. Defense News reports that the bill fully
supports the Pentagon budget request for the F-35. The budget allots $3.2
billion to purchase Navy versions of the F-35 and $3.7 billion for the USAF
version of the fighter. In total, the Pentagon wants 32 F-35 fighters in 2012
with 19 going to the USAF, seven for the Navy and six for the Marine Corps.
Defense News adds that a Defense Acquisition Board review to establish a new cost
baseline for the F-35 has been postponed until this fall. The review has been
rescheduled for late May before being reset to mid-June and the rescheduled
effort to control the price of the F-35 program comes in part from the estimate
that the F-35 program could cost as much as $1 trillion in operating costs.
quote: GaN radars will be better able to detect small - read stealthy - targets and will increase range by at least 50 per cent for a similarly sized antenna.
quote: That's a bit hyperbolic, but there is a very real truth behind it: it doesn't matter how high the turn-rate of your fighter jet is, because missiles will always be able to out-turn your best turn. A missile will always be faster and more agile than a fighter jet.
quote: A good rule of thumb is that a missile has to be 4 times more maneuverable than a non-cooperative* target it is trying to hit. *aware of and actively maneuvering to avoid.
quote: And in WVR fighting, don't Migs easily take everything aside from an F22?
quote: What about IR tracking? Isn't that why all the revamped Russian jets have a HUGE optical sensor mounted to their nose?
quote: Russian fighters have been sporting IRSTs since the days of the Soviet Union. And fighters like the F-22 and F-35 are designed so that it will be detected by any type of enemy sensor, whether IR, visual or radar, at about the same range.
quote: On this you are dead wrong, IR sensors are PASSIVE, you cannot tell if an aircraft is tracking you, as there are no emissions to detect.
quote: Worse still are big dogfights, sometimes called "furballs." These are bad because it's impossible to keep track of who is who with all the turning and zipping around fighter jets do; it gets impossible to keep track of everything, and the loss of situational awareness will probably result in everyone getting shot down.
quote: This is because a stealthy aircraft, no matter how unstealthy, will still be able to detect a completely unstealthy enemy first
quote: b) it's impossible for fighter aircraft to remain high and fast for any sustained amount of time, unless you are sitting in an F-22 specifically designed to supercruise at Mach 1.7 and 60 000ft.
quote: No matter which way you look at it, until someone else designs a fighter both stealthier and faster than the F-35
quote: Arggh. Detection and localisation is/will always be done by active offboard or passive onboard sensors - unless you want to effectively hold out a big sign saying "shoot me - shoot me!" You do know GCI can and will enable both sides to detect and localise each other using off-board sensors, this will occur beyond their respective engagement envelopes. Then both sides will seek to maneuver to their advantage (for a long range missile engagement). The F-35's poor performance will badly count against it here. Even the Su-35 will be able to run around the F-35 at a distance, then able to instigate the attack at its choosing (unless big brother F-22 is around).
quote: You mean like the F-22, PAK-FA... and probably the J-20 (which I still maintain is more an interdiction bomber than an A2A fighter)? Oh, and the F-22 goes a helluva lot quicker than Mach 1.7 in supercruise. ;-)Don't forget, compare the F-35 to its contemporaries.
quote: Nah - there is a trade-off. It (the other plane) doesn't have to be both, if its 90% the RCS [or rather, 110% the RCS :-)] and 120% the kinematic performance, then you'd pick the other plane.
quote: GCI, AWACS, and other EWR/SIGINT assets would be the very first things hit by F-22s.
quote: What contemporaries? The PAK-FA is nothing but a paper tiger at the moment
quote: little is known about the J-20, but if you extrapolate from the previously terrible avionics, missiles, build quality, mediocre flight envelope and non-existent stealth of previous Chinese aircraft, I'm pretty the F-35 will be able to hold its own.
quote: You need both stealth and energy
quote: You think the OpFor are gonna line up waiting to be hit? Especially if they can detect/localise the F-22s?
quote: Paper tiger? Its been flying for over a year now. Strictly speaking, it is every bit as operational as the F-35...
quote: Fundamentally disagree. VLO is a means to an end. You do not need VLO to achieve the same end-objective. Always be aware of that.
quote: What can possibly stop an F-22 four-ship from taking out an AWACs? Or any other target?
quote: I mean, are you kidding? Not even an opposing force of F-22s will be able to reliably stop a flight of F-22s supercruising at almost Mach 2 towards a target AWACS/EWR site/etc.
quote: They should have told the marines to forget about VTOL and just built an upgraded F-22 instead.
quote: They should have told the marines to forget about VTOL and just built an upgraded F-22 instead. .... Alot of pluses there... not too many negatives (VTOL being the only big one really)
quote: You can expect this kind of improvement, along with other associated improvements like filtering algorithms, computational hardware etc to reduce the effectiveness of any passive VLO technology.
quote: That's going to be kind of hard to do when it now has the RCS of an F-16 thanks to Pentagon micromanagement and trying to tack on too many roles to the airframe.
quote: Sorry but I still agree with the OP. And I really hate agreeing with him :P I still don't see how the F-35 is a better deal than the F-22, which was yesterdays fighter. In what areas is it even more advanced? None! It's a boondoggle.