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Negotiations continue between Lockheed and the Pentagon

Negotiations between the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin started last year to iron out all the details for the purchase of 32 F-35 fighters. The reason negotiations on pricing have dragged on for so long is due to the Pentagon's use of new pricing data according to Defense News. DOD officials are now using what's being called a "should-cost" estimate for the purchase of the F-35 fighters based on data from the previous four F-35 purchases.
Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition Technology and Logistics, Frank Kendall, says that the Pentagon's move to "should-cost" estimates were used to develop a "bottoms-up cost estimate based on that previous history."
“We started negotiations on the government side with a very well-documented set of costs, called the should-cost, and then we were able to compare that to the bid that we received, item-by-item, line-by-line,” Kendall said during a July 16 meeting with a small group of reporters in his Pentagon office. “Going through and trying to resolve the differences has been the process that has taken so long.”
Kendall also notes that once negotiations conclude, "We’ll be in a very good place to go ahead and negotiate for future lots."

A group of Lockheed F-35B Lightning II fighters [Source: Lockheed Martin]
The Pentagon has been working hard to put pricing pressure on Lockheed Martin for F-35 purchases despite reducing the number of aircraft required over the next five years by 179 units. Typically, every time purchase plans are reduced by any partner nation, pricing for the F-35 increases.
Kendall also believes that sequestration, or mandatory spending cuts that will go into effect in January, will not affect every F-35 acquisition contract. Sequestration only applies to funding that is not yet obligated according to Kendall.

The Pentagon is fighting for every penny it can save on the F-35 fighters as the overall lifetime cost of the F-35 program continues to soar.

Source: Defense News

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By Bad-Karma on 7/19/2012 1:01:35 AM , Rating: 2
He had it right with the high end low end analogy.

No, he does not have it right. Aircraft are developed to fill an intended role or mission.

The F14 was spec'd in the 50's and designed in the late 60s at a long range carrier based interceptor to replace the conglomerate of 50s & 60s era fighters. However, it has never been considered an accomplished up close dog fighter, no matter what the Top Gun movie told you.

The F-15 was from the beginning an Air Superiority fighter based around the energy maneuverability theory. It was designed to replace the venerable F-4s and F-100 series in the air-to-air role. Basically the F-4's mission was separated between the two, yet still continued to serve into the 90's. Also the remains of the F-100 series were still around but being relegated to the ANG & reserves until finally exhausted. It wasn't until the 80's that the 15 was given a ground strike ability in the E model. But I assure you, if the USAF had had its way in the 60's and 70's and with unlimited funding you would see an almost all F-15 air-to-air and air-to ground fleet with little room for the 16. And continuing with that same unlimited funding you'd see the F-22 eventually filling both roles as well.

The 18 was the runner up to the F-16 in a 1974 contract bid for a USAF lightweight fighter. The bid was in response to congress curtailing the number of 15s the USAF could purchase (just like now with the 22). The 16 filled its role really well, but when multinational air forces expressed interest in the design, upgrades and modifications developed it into a sound mulit-role platform.

After pursuing the A-12, which was eventually canceled,the USN later picked up the 18 with some mods to help replace it's aging and antiquated A4/A6/A7 fleets, until a better solution came along. That it was later able to take over portions of the 14s mission is a testament to the airframe. However, the US Navy routinely looks at developing another dedicated air superiority fighter, but politics and development costs keep knocking it out of reach.

Knowing that Congress wouldn't never fully fund a full load out of F-22s the USAF this time planned ahead for it and brought the 35 into development. But once again, a thoroughbred horse put together by a committee winds up as a camel.

So all you're really seeing is taking what used to be the roles of a fleets of 5-10 different aircraft being compressed into 1 or two airframes to help "try" to save budget and logistic requirements. However, it just becomes absurdly expensive when you try to shove that many different missions and systems into one airframe. The 35 is just a further compression in that idea.

So what I'm trying to get at is that there isn't really an intentional HI/LOW acquisition concept. It is the strategic layout being curtailed by successive congressional budget cuts over the last 60+ years that necessitates the merger of roles into fewer and fewer airframes. i.e budget dictates stopgap measures and in the end you never get an aircraft that does every item as well as multiple dedicated airframes.

By Manch on 7/19/2012 3:01:59 AM , Rating: 2
Never called the the F14 an up close dog fighter. It like the F15 have massive stand off capability and was designed primarily as an air superiority fighter. Granted the Navy required other roles of it but its primary job was air superiority.

The F14 wasnt spec'd in the 50s it was born because of the TFX, as in the TFX doesnt work for us give us a better design. TFX got canx'd. Grumann submitted the design to the Navy in 68.

Yes alot of people in the AF wanted a lot of F15s but they were costly so they also got the f16, which is what i said so ??

The F18 is not the runner up to the F16. This is a common misconception. Its a completely different design. The only thing it shared with the F16 competitor is the dimensions of the floor in the cockpit. Everything else was completely different.

The hi/low analogy is just an easy way to explain the compromise both the Navy and the AF achieved from two competing ideologies and also an easy way to describe the pairings. Where the F14 and F15 are crammed with all kinds of goodies, the f18 and f16 are pretty barebones in that regard.

By Bad-Karma on 7/19/2012 4:41:28 AM , Rating: 2
Never called the the F14 an up close dog fighter.

Right, but you said that it was paired with the F-18 and it's not. It was also never considered an air-superiority fighter. As a generational philosophy the F-14 was developed as a long range fleet interdiction fighter. The next generation of thinking brought the 15 which was developed to dominated the fight in all aspects of air to air combat. Which means everything from long range to in tight fur balls, ie. air-superiority. So the when the F-18 came along it was never in the same league as the F-14, simply two completely different missions sets.

In the late 50's the US Navy already had the specs for the aircraft that it wanted to be the follow on to the, then relatively new, F-4. When Kennedy came into power Robert McNamara rolled the USN's request into a similar requirement from the USAF into what became the TFX program. When the F-111B was unable to meet the navy's needs the USN bowed out and Grumman used the original basis for the F-111 to re-engineer it into the F-14 without having to start completely from scratch.

And yes the F-16 was chosen by the AirForce over the YF-17 which after some modifications became the F-18.

Yes alot of people in the AF wanted a lot of F15s but they were costly so they also got the f16, which is what i said so ??

I agree that the hi/Low statement is a simple analogy but it doesn't fit. The way the pairings came out was due to budget shortfalls and the 16/18/35 became a stop gap measure, not through an active strategic vision like it was stated.

By Manch on 7/19/2012 9:14:28 AM , Rating: 2
Check your link bro. F-14 was the Navy's primary Air superiority fighter. Look under the design section too. Check the wiki on air superiority also. It's listed there as well. Im not saying that the f14 wasnt an interdiction platform, but that doesnt make it not an AS platform either. Interdiction was the primary goal of the TFX, VFX changed that.

Calling the YF-17 an F18 is like calling the 111's F14s. Does the 17 and 18 look similar? yes, but the end result is so different it ended up with a different designation. Again the dimensions of the floor pan is the only thing they share.

Yes they are paired, Air superiority & multirole fighter.

No next generation thinking didnt bring about the F15. These AC came out about 2years apart F-14 '74, F15 '76. They were both developed using lessons learned from Vietnam.

The Navy and the AF have to different req because they have different distinctive capabilties. Which is why they ultimately rejected the shared platforms.

Now theyre using this same logic and again its causing headaches.

Wikis are great but they too oversimplify. I suggest picking up Janes Defence. There are other books that dig into the weeds of these platforms.

By Bad-Karma on 7/20/2012 2:57:29 AM , Rating: 2
They used it as an Air superiority Fighter because that is all they had to fill the role. It doesn't mean the fighter could perform the task in all aspects of flight as the moniker would suggest.

The 14 and 18 were not paired in any such sense. You had an older generation fighter on its way out and a far more modern multi-role pushing the 14 into the past. Strike Aircraft operate usually on their own or in groups of two or more with Air Superiority fighters holding orbit well back from the SAM envelopes until needed. Multi Role fighter carry their own Air-to-Air weapons so that they have some form of self protection while on route or exiting the target. The 14 was primarily designed as a way to protect the fleet, although it was used several times outside of that role. So these aircraft compliment the Carrier's over all mission. But they were never paired.

And no the 17 and 18 are not that different, it was simply scaled up to handle the needed fuel, bigger engines, carrier landing gear and weapons integration. The avionics, structural framework, airfoils and such are all taken directly from the 17 to meet carrier operational needs. Pairing would be along the lines of weasels ingressing with strike aircraft or bombers. Or the way the USN usually pairs the F-18s with EA-6Bs. It's been found that the EA-6B just can't keep up so it's being retired and the EA-18G Growler is been hurried through production. That is a pairing.

Wiki meets a quick need for the post and has 95%+ of the correct info. More than ample for this forum.

However, while just down the hall from my office here at Wright-Pat is a library filled with not just Janes but every other reasoned published authority to include past current and future projects, some of which haven't yet seen the light of day. Better yet, The man in charge of the USAF F-15 program management and development sits about three doors down from mine. The guy responsible for 16s is on the other side of the hall from him. A-10s Office is just next door. 35 is still mostly working out of Edwards. or in seperate SCIFs. The USN has a liaison office in the next wing over. We all usually meet for lunch with whoever is available on Tuesdays.

By Manch on 7/20/2012 2:35:29 PM , Rating: 2
And your a program manager for?

By Bad-Karma on 7/21/2012 10:04:16 PM , Rating: 2
Not quite that level. But I do hold a position on the USAF Directorate Board for strategic vision, development and acquisition. Which programs I'm responsible for aren't appropriate for here.

"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer

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