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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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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).

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