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Final value of the contract will be determined in 2012

The F-35 program is facing more delays, this time at the urging of some military officials that want to slow down production in an effort to fix issues on the aircraft before there are large numbers in service. Defense News reports that the DoD now wants to stretch out its F-35 buy according to General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
 
Dempsey said, "We are committed, that is to say, the U.S. military, to the development of the fifth-generation fighter, clearly. There are some fact-of-life changes that we'll probably have to make based on the ability to procure it on timelines that we'd like to have."
 
The F-35 program is now feeling the threat of an issue from across the pond with European partner nations feeling the economic pinch that could result in reduced purchases of the F-35.
 
In addition, main F-35 contractor Lockheed Martin has signed a contract with the Pentagon that is “undefinitzed” and establishes a price ceiling for the F-35 aircraft. The Pentagon has granted the contract to Lockheed martin worth $4 billion to build 30 F-35 fighters for the USAF, Navy, and Marines.
 
Lockheed Martin spokeswoman Laurie Quincy wrote in an email, "Lockheed Martin has signed an undefinitized contract that establishes the funding for Lot 5 up to the level announced by the DoD today. The final Lot 5 contract amount will not be known until we have a definitized contract sometime in 2012."
 
The fixed price contract is for 21 conventional F-35A fighters, three F-35B STOVL aircraft, and six F-35C carrier fighters. The contact also allows for associated ancillary mission equipment and flight test instrumentation for the aircraft that will allow for flight test instrumentation for the UK. 
 
Quincy wrote, "This [contract] … will help ensure we continue to meet production schedules outlined by the program. This is an important first step in paving the way for full LRIP 5 production contract negotiations with our government customer."

Sources: DefenseNews 1, DefenseNews 2



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RE: Good strategy
By Mudhen6 on 12/12/2011 2:01:29 PM , Rating: 2
Taxpayers are not getting a "good" deal - at least, not a better one than they were getting before. Stretching out production raises the unit cost of each F-35 - think about the extra money required to ensure upkeep/maintenance/security for facilities that manufacture various components of the fighter jet.

And as much as it pains me to admit it, F-22 manufacture is pretty much dead after 183 airframes.


RE: Good strategy
By FITCamaro on 12/12/2011 2:08:10 PM , Rating: 3
One way or another we need replacement fighters. They've already killed the F22. So the F35 is what we're left with. Flying the same F16s we've had for 30-40 years isn't an option.


RE: Good strategy
By Mudhen6 on 12/12/2011 2:20:54 PM , Rating: 2
I know. I'm not Reclaimer, I have no problem with the F-35. I don't even have that big of a problem with its price - relatively speaking, the Block 40 to 52 F-16Cs were just as (if not more) expensive as the F-15C MSIP II back in the 90s, so why would it be different here?

It's a relevant comparison, in terms of role (the F-35 is the functional successor to the F-16C and F/A-18, it is not and never was a "cheap F-22") and in terms of tech (both the '90s F-16C and F/A-18 were easily more technologically advanced than the F-15C, just as the F-35 has benefited from newer technology compared to the Raptor).


RE: Good strategy
By Reclaimer77 on 12/12/11, Rating: -1
RE: Good strategy
By Mudhen6 on 12/12/2011 5:50:42 PM , Rating: 2
Lol I'm sorry for your celebrity woes, but really, I wasn't insulting you. Yes, there are a lot of F-35 critics, but the fact is that you are one of the prototypic F-35 critics on DT.


RE: Good strategy
By Black1969ta on 12/12/2011 11:01:35 PM , Rating: 2
Oh Reclaimer, now he insults you, you aren't a celebrity, just a prototypical F-35 critic, now you are like everyone else!


RE: Good strategy
By Reclaimer77 on 12/12/2011 11:43:04 PM , Rating: 2
I'm in shock. My agent and publicist are all over this!


RE: Good strategy
By Skywalker123 on 12/12/2011 11:06:35 PM , Rating: 2
Yeh, you're one on the Village People, the Village Idiot.


RE: Good strategy
By drycrust3 on 12/12/2011 4:58:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Taxpayers are not getting a "good" deal - at least, not a better one than they were getting before.

There are two points I think are important:
1) Having 30 "identical" F35s is better and cheaper than having 30 "different" F35s, and having 30 "no modifications required" F35s is better and cheaper than 29 "varying modifications required" F35s; but the path you've been going down is to have 30 uniquely different F35s, which sounds like an expensive way to do maintenance.
2) From the sounds of the report last week, where concerns were being raised about metal fatigue in the airframe, this plane isn't anywhere near ready for operations. Putting a military plane into "full production" when it isn't ready for operations sounds like a waste of money.


RE: Good strategy
By gamerk2 on 12/13/2011 3:19:12 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
1) Having 30 "identical" F35s is better and cheaper than having 30 "different" F35s, and having 30 "no modifications required" F35s is better and cheaper than 29 "varying modifications required" F35s; but the path you've been going down is to have 30 uniquely different F35s, which sounds like an expensive way to do maintenance.


Not true. Remember, you have three diffrerent requirements that now need ONE airframe. That means a problem with any varient affects the other two, necessitating a re-design.

Having the "B" and "C" varients as one airframe is driving up costs: It has to be rugged enough to handle carrier landings AND resistent enough to heat to handle the VTOL capability. As each one runs into problems, it causes redesignes that affects the performance of the other.

Frankly, the "B" and "C" varients should have been seperate airframes. That would have driven down costs, as problems with the "B" and "C" varients wouldn't have affected the rest of the program.


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