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No contract after nearly a year of negotiations

Negotiations between the U.S. government and Lockheed Martin over the $400 billion F-35 Lightning II program have been tense. Defense News reports that one deputy program manager said that the relationship between the Department of Defense and Lockheed is "the worst I have ever seen." 
 
After that comment was made, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta stated, "I don't know that I would portray it in those terms. These are difficult negotiations, as they always are when you're dealing with the amount of money and the complexity that's involved with the Joint Strike Fighter."
 
Defense News reports that last week Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter put his support behind comments made by Air Force Major General Christopher Bogdan. Bogdan had harsh words for Lockheed Martin’s failure to sign a contract with the Pentagon for 32 F-35 fighters after almost a year of negotiations.
 
However, Panetta does not agree that the relationship between the U.S. government Lockheed is the worst he's ever seen.


Lockheed F-35B Lightning II fighters [Source: Lockheed Martin]
 
“I don't share it, number one, because … I don't know the history of just how much has gone on in the past,” Panetta said. “But at least from what I have seen at this point, my view of it is these are very tough negotiations, but they aren't a reflection that either side has given up or thinks that the other side, you know, is in a more difficult state at all.”
 
Panetta is also reportedly unhappy that Congress won't be back in session until after the elections in November. An initial round of budget cuts in defense spending is set to begin in January. With Congress out of session until the elections are over, there is no chance of avoiding or delaying the defense spending cuts.
 
Panetta said, "I'll take whatever the hell deal they can make right now to deal with sequestration. The problem now is that they've left town and all of this has now been put off into the lame duck session."
 
“We need stability,” he said. “You want a strong national defense for this country? I need to have some stability. And that's what I'm asking the Congress to do: Give me some stability with regards to the funding of the Defense Department for the future.”

Source: Defense News



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RE: Out to lunch, be back in December
By Amiga500 on 9/28/2012 11:12:14 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
But can't say I feel bad for Lockheed.


Feel bad?

They've essentially butt-f**ked your country and your just about not feeling bad for them?

Some of you Americans are crazy. If this were anything other than a defense matter, you'd be demanding the head of each member of the company's board on a platter.

Imagine if Halliburton were contracted to build a new interstate, and it:
- came in over twice the projected cost.
- took double the time to construct.
- was only 2 lanes wide in each direction instead of 3.

You'd want them reamed in court.

Yet, because it is defense, somehow that changes everything.


RE: Out to lunch, be back in December
By bug77 on 9/28/2012 11:30:28 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Imagine if Halliburton were contracted to build a new interstate


Oh, but interstates have been built before. Multirole stealth planes? Not so much.


RE: Out to lunch, be back in December
By Amiga500 on 9/28/2012 12:09:53 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Multirole stealth planes? Not so much.


Oh that old chestnut.

The F-117 could carry bombs (and AIM-9 externally as well*), its now over 30 years old.
The B-2 could carry bombs, its now over 20 years old.
The YF-22 could carry missiles, fly supersonically and maneuver better than anything else in the sky, its now over 20 years old.
The Yak-141 was VTOL and could fly supersonically, its now over 20 years old.

There ain't half as much novel, never seen before things on the JSF as Lockheed Martin would like you to believe. Obviously, the more people like you there are, the easier ride they get from the general public.

Oh and to infer there are no unknowns and risks when building roads is a little bit disingenuous to civil engineers.

*You'll not find that on wikipedia. ;-)


RE: Out to lunch, be back in December
By bug77 on 9/28/2012 12:23:20 PM , Rating: 2
I don't see your point.
Cars have been built before, electric engines have been built before, that doesn't mean we can easily build an electric car yet.
Whenever you have to come up with something new, you can't just throw money at a problem and expect a result within a given time frame. It works sometimes, but not always.


RE: Out to lunch, be back in December
By Reclaimer77 on 9/28/2012 12:53:02 PM , Rating: 2
Correct me if I'm wrong but could the B-2 also take off and land vertically? Was there a Navy carrier version of the B-2 somewhere I missed?

The F-117, ditto. Also not much in a dogfight.

I don't know what you are not getting about the "multi-roll" aspect here and how it, combined with stealth, ballooned the development costs of the F-35 all to hell.


RE: Out to lunch, be back in December
By Amiga500 on 9/28/2012 1:13:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I don't know what you are not getting about the "multi-roll" aspect here and how it, combined with stealth, ballooned the development costs of the F-35 all to hell.


Right enough, sure what would I know about it? </sarcasm>

So was it stealth that caused the bulkheads to have fatigue issues?
Or the tail hook to have completely the wrong geometry?
Or the sensors to have too high a latency?
Or significant vertical tail buffet?
Or the horizontal tail to melt after prolonged afterburner use?

You've been sold up the river and are still in denial. I don't know why you are defending people who are talking your tax dollars and wasting them.


RE: Out to lunch, be back in December
By Reclaimer77 on 9/28/2012 1:45:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I don't know why you are defending people who are talking your tax dollars and wasting them.


Funny but I didn't know I was defending Congress :)


RE: Out to lunch, be back in December
By Amiga500 on 9/28/2012 5:27:08 PM , Rating: 2
So Lockheed aren't wasting public money then?

Interesting take on it.


RE: Out to lunch, be back in December
By Reclaimer77 on 9/29/2012 6:17:59 AM , Rating: 2
So the Eurofighter boys haven't fleeced you guys with it's godly-expensive ongoing Typhoon drama then?

I mean since you're slamming Americans here, let's not pretend the same thing doesn't happen in the UK with your contractors.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/03/03/eurofighte...


By Amiga500 on 9/30/2012 8:38:32 AM , Rating: 2
Many of its problems have stemmed from political clowns interfering in decisions. Unfortunately an obvious side effect from it being an international program.

If you are interested, go look back through the ECF, ECA, EFA and FEFA gestation in the 80s and early 90s.

Much of the arguments were along national lines - choosing systems, sub-systems and equipment is hard enough without political f**kwits getting involved.


RE: Out to lunch, be back in December
By Reclaimer77 on 9/28/2012 2:11:34 PM , Rating: 1
Some of the greatest fighters and bombers in the world had similar problems early on like you're describing. Hell some had worst!

Honestly Amiga, you're cynicism is not impressing me. I'm not in denial, and I haven't been "sold" anything. Stop pretending like we, as citizens, had any fucking thing to do with this!

I don't know what you've been told, but none of us had anything to do with the goddamn F-35! You've made your opinion clear, but now you're being extremely annoying and militant over it. To the point that you're blaming people who have no say in this stuff for the results.

Can you just drop the arrogance, the passive/aggressive bullshit, and calm down?


By Amiga500 on 9/28/2012 5:22:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Some of the greatest fighters and bombers in the world had similar problems early on like you're describing. Hell some had worst!


Name any.

Even the F-4 with its wing problems didn't have a 15+ year gestation period with f__k all to show for it.


RE: Out to lunch, be back in December
By Amiga500 on 9/28/2012 1:14:37 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Correct me if I'm wrong


I named a number of aircraft that each do things the F-35 claims to be able to do.

Only they did it 20+ years ago.

Seems that went straight over your head. Much like the rest of the F-35 issues.


RE: Out to lunch, be back in December
By Reclaimer77 on 9/28/2012 1:50:59 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
You've no idea how much I'm dumbing this all down for general consumption.


Hey buddy, why don't you take this smug air of superiority and condescending act and go fuck yourself with it okay?

I'm sorry you have to "dumb" yourself down with us poor apes. But I'm pretty sure you're just some guy who reads Janes and the Wiki like everyone else. Are you an aeronautical engineer? Do you work for Lockheed? No. You have no more authority here than anyone else. You have an opinion, congratulations!

quote:
I named a number of aircraft that each do things the F-35 claims to be able to do.


Yes but no single aircraft has ever had to do ALL the things being asked of the F-35 airframe. Hello? It's YOUR head this point is going over.

And you know what, I was never a fan of the damn thing anyway. But you're just such an asshole it makes agreeing with you nearly impossible.


RE: Out to lunch, be back in December
By Amiga500 on 9/28/2012 5:26:19 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Are you an aeronautical engineer?


Complete with doctorate, academic and industrial awards thank you very much.

quote:
Do you work for Lockheed?


Are you nuts?!?

Why would a turkey vote for Christmas? If I was in Lockheed right now I'd be laughing all the way to a million dollar home.

quote:
Yes but no single aircraft has ever had to do ALL the things being asked of the F-35 airframe. Hello?


I guess you aren't getting the bit where that isn't nearly as big a leap as Lockheed would like you to believe. Nor is it a leap into the unknown as much knowledge already existed in each field and integration of most aspects.

Otherwise what excuse would they have for not delivering the thing near time and budget?


By Bubbacub on 9/29/2012 8:44:42 AM , Rating: 1
"Are you an aeronautical engineer?"

Complete with doctorate, academic and industrial awards thank you very much.


head shot!


RE: Out to lunch, be back in December
By Apone on 9/28/2012 12:53:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If this were anything other than a defense matter, you'd be demanding the head of each member of the company's board on a platter.


You don't think there many Americans who are questioning the cost (and cost overruns) of the F-35 program? This is probably why Panetta (and other DoD folk) are being scrutinized by their constituents.

If you want to get nitty gritty, let's look at your examples:

The F-117 - stealthy but not a fighter (can't dogfight or maneuver like a fighter)

The B-2 - stealthy but not a fighter ((can't dogfight or maneuver like a fighter)

The F-22 - Air Superiority Fighter (not the same thing as multi-role)

quote:
There ain't half as much novel, never seen before things on the JSF as Lockheed Martin would like you to believe.


How many commercially successful fighter planes in existence can you think of that have supersonic capability, VTOL and stealth? If you also examine the F-35's avionics, tracking, networking, and targeting system, you'll find it's never been done before in the F-14/F-15/F-16/F-18, etc.

And why point out the 20-30 year age? You honestly think it's possible to design, engineer, build, test, win the govt. contract, and enter mass production in 3-5 years for a fighter plane?


By Amiga500 on 9/28/2012 1:25:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If you want to get nitty gritty, let's look at your examples:


Nitty gritty?

You've no idea how much I'm dumbing this all down for general consumption.

Each one of those aircraft could do things the F-35 claims to do, but they could do it 20+ years ago.

There is not one single function on the F-35 that is "new" apart from certain aspects of EODAS. Yet all too often the same old lines are trotted out.

quote:
How many commercially successful fighter planes in existence can you think of that have supersonic capability, VTOL and stealth?


That is utterly irrelevant to how big a balls they've made of it. There have been supersonic stealth aircraft before and there have been supersonic VTOL aircraft before. Yes, neither had the 3rd box ticked, but Lockheed are making ticking that box look the technical equivalent of putting a man on Jupiter never mind Mars.

If you want to roll out excuses, by all means continue to do so. But don't expect anything but derision and contempt from me in return.

quote:
And why point out the 20-30 year age? You honestly think it's possible to design, engineer, build, test, win the govt. contract, and enter mass production in 3-5 years for a fighter plane?


The JSF program is now over 15 years old.


RE: Out to lunch, be back in December
By zed1 on 10/1/2012 3:50:31 PM , Rating: 2
Ahem, The J-20 ? They have squadrons of these things now flying 24/7 rotations...


RE: Out to lunch, be back in December
By zed1 on 10/1/2012 3:47:14 PM , Rating: 2
The point you missed is that the people who actually know how to build the real next generation of military technology have all either been killed or have put down their tools and refuse to work with this corrupt regime. See the discussion above about Israel for a background on their reasons. So, what America has left now are untrained and mentally incapable "yes" men and the result is this debacle. Compare that to the amazing advances the Chinese have made and you can see that The US is not only in complete decline but is actually now just a failed state. Obama is presiding over the not so graceful withdrawal from top position. That's why Bibi is so pissed right now. The BRICS are the new world order and the US and old Europe are stewing in their own juices.


RE: Out to lunch, be back in December
By Jeffk464 on 9/28/2012 1:37:45 PM , Rating: 2
I heard the new russian Air to Air radar can now pick up the f22 at something like 10 miles and the F35 at about 25 miles. So the better term would be stealthy not stealth. I also heard that they are working on a system that can pick up the heat signature at over 50 miles.


RE: Out to lunch, be back in December
By Reclaimer77 on 9/28/2012 1:43:00 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I heard the new russian Air to Air radar can now pick up the f22 at something like 10 miles


Hardly a comfort considering the range of the A2A missiles the F-22 can carry easily exceeds a 10 mile range. So yeah you've detected the F-22 right before an AMRAAM flies up your ass lol!


RE: Out to lunch, be back in December
By Jeffk464 on 9/28/2012 2:27:21 PM , Rating: 2
But the russians are also fielding a stealth fighter so the F22 will have the same long range issue. The russians might actually be ahead of the US on developing systems to detect stealth planes since their adversary has been fielding stealth aircraft for longer. If you remember the Bosnians detected and shot down a f117 way back when.


RE: Out to lunch, be back in December
By Reclaimer77 on 9/28/2012 2:41:38 PM , Rating: 2
Do you honestly believe a Russian stealth fighter would actually match an F-22 in real life?

Maybe I'm still living in the past, but the number of times I've heard about some Russian doomsday threat, only to find out it's a cheap facsimile of our technology 20 years out of date, crewed by poorly trained morons...well it's nothing new.


By Jeffk464 on 9/28/2012 2:53:08 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I think some of the russian stuff in the right hands can really give are stuff a hard time. I was watching a topgun like training school where they were training US f18 pilots against german mig 29 pilots and it was not a slam dunk for our pilots at all. Plus they didn't allow the mig29 pilots to take the dogfight vertical where the mig29 had the clear thrust to weight benefit. I'm pretty sure the su37 is a far superior dog fighter to the f15. All out superior probably not, but it is probably a serious threat to the f22.


RE: Out to lunch, be back in December
By Amiga500 on 9/28/2012 5:40:05 PM , Rating: 2
Urgh - unfortunately that confidence is at times horribly misplaced.

Put like this - in any hypothetical airwar over Europe in the late 80s, the Soviets would have destroyed NATO.

Our doctrine was very wrong, great in theory but terrible in practice. Their's was much more pragmatic and would have been far more effective. For instance, we had nothing to live with the MiG-29, HMS and A-11 archer combination. By the time tactics would have developed, the Soviet tanks would have been on the Atlantic and NATO personnel/equipment decimated.

Detailed analysis of the results of Gulf 1, combined with the exercises conducted post-cold war in unified Germany strongly indicate this.

With regards PAK-FA vs. F-22. Its... different. More maneuverable but higher radar signature. Which is the better trade off? Who knows - that'll be determined by weapons & sensor evolution over the next 20 years.


RE: Out to lunch, be back in December
By Reclaimer77 on 9/29/2012 6:03:26 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Urgh - unfortunately that confidence is at times horribly misplaced.


We haven't lost a serious air engagement since, what, WWII? Okay maybe early Vietnam. But still, it's pretty hard to NOT be confident in our Air Force.

Also our last generation frontline fighter, the F-15, has NEVER been shot down in combat to this day. And that's all F-15's, including those sold to our allies. 104 (known confirmed) A2A kills, zero losses.

The last time we went up against a 'fearsome' Russian fighter, the MIG-29, it had it's ass thoroughly handed to it over Iraq. We also shot six down in the Kosovo War. Yet the paper scenarios said an entirely different thing.

Until I see some hard data on the PAK that points otherwise, I'll just assume it's another one-off copy of 20 year old American tech.


By Bubbacub on 9/29/2012 8:59:34 AM , Rating: 2
iraqi pilots dont really have a great reputation.

got to compare like with like.

the best example would be provided by exercises performed by a newly united germany in the early nineties.

east german mig29's (their second rung mass export fighter) vs west german f16 (our second rung mass export fighter).

the mig29's annihilated the f16's in simulated combat.

is a mig29 a more advanced aircraft than an f16? - in many ways no - in some ways yes.

who knows what would have happened with a full blown war.

im glad we never found out.

i wouldnt dismiss USSR designed war material out of hand - they were a pragmatic and bloody effective bunch of psychos.

the current bunch of corrupt assclowns runnning russia fill me with much less confidence in their ability to build modern cutting edge things - for instance they have managed to take a bullet proof uber reliable rocket in soyuz and through sheer ineptitude made it into something decidedly risky (the cargo variant at any rate).


RE: Out to lunch, be back in December
By Jeffk464 on 9/29/2012 9:28:59 AM , Rating: 2
Not exactly a perfect example of fighter superiority. In Iraq the US Air Force had massive air superiority, and probably most importantly AWACS keeping track of everything happening in the air. Basically as soon as a Mig 29 started taxiing, AWACS was vectoring F15's onto their 6. Its basically a situational awareness thing, the mig pilot flying blind and the F15 pilots aware of everything going on. And as previously mentioned US air force pilots having much better training. Like I mentioned before when put in a more "fair" situation where they were flying highly trained german pilots in mig 29's against F18 pilots it was not a slam dunk for the f18 pilots at all.


RE: Out to lunch, be back in December
By Reclaimer77 on 9/29/2012 1:39:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Like I mentioned before when put in a more "fair" situation where they were flying highly trained german pilots in mig 29's against F18 pilots it was not a slam dunk for the f18 pilots at all.


We help train the German air force, provide logistics, and equipment. So to say they are a step above the average Russian pilot is an understatement.

Secondly, I would hardly call the F-18 an "air superiority" fighter equal to the Mig-29. And even then, it held it's own admirably. It's the worst fighter in our inventory at this point.


By Jeffk464 on 9/29/2012 3:52:09 PM , Rating: 2
Like the F35 the f18 is a multi-role plane so its a compromise design, but I think its pretty good for what it is. Its definitely solid in the attack role.

P.S. Yeah, I would assume German pilots have excellent training.


By Jeffk464 on 9/29/2012 3:54:35 PM , Rating: 2
Also the mig 29 is obsolete by Russian standards, and has been superseded by the SU32 and SU37.


RE: Out to lunch, be back in December
By fredgiblet on 9/28/2012 6:14:44 PM , Rating: 2
They "detected" it because we flew the same flight plans over and over and they just lined up a bunch of AA stuff and waited for the stars to start winking out.


RE: Out to lunch, be back in December
By Jeffk464 on 9/28/2012 8:47:07 PM , Rating: 2
Pretty sure that is incorrect, they actually one guy figured out how to detect it.


By Jeffk464 on 9/28/2012 8:49:10 PM , Rating: 2
"According to NATO Commander Wesley Clark and other NATO generals, Dani detected F-117s by operating his radars on unusually long wavelengths, making the aircraft visible for brief periods"

wikipedia


By chucky2 on 9/28/2012 11:47:10 AM , Rating: 2
Lets not bring Illinois into this now OK?


RE: Out to lunch, be back in December
By Amiga500 on 9/28/2012 11:58:52 AM , Rating: 2
Not surprising this has been down-rated.

This place is a hot bed of sympathisers of, maybe even employees within, the military-industrial complex.


By Ringold on 9/28/2012 7:37:08 PM , Rating: 1
You picked up the debate with others, but I'll clarify my own position a bit. I think LockMart should get beat up to the brink of going out of business, but I wouldn't want to try to really bury them too badly. We call that here cutting off your nose to spite your face. Actually having LockMart TRULY pay up for how shitty this deal has become would destroy them, and then we'd have an even more centralized military industrial complex.

In general though, I'm all for competitive bidding, and when contractors go over budget, they should cover it. This is only complicated by how freakin' huge the deal is, how lousy its worked out, etc, which I feel like the government shares some fault in anyway. Some adult should've stepped in MUCH earlier.


RE: Out to lunch, be back in December
By Reclaimer77 on 9/28/12, Rating: 0
RE: Out to lunch, be back in December
By Amiga500 on 9/28/2012 1:29:49 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
The Government asked Lockheed to build a shit sandwich, and that's essentially what we got.


To a degree I agree.

The need to fit on a LHD elevator is a killer.

quote:
It's not Lockheed's fault.


There, I disagree. Lockheed stood up and said they could deliver X, Y and Z.

The powerpoint wizards didn't give a sh!t that X, Y and Z were unattainable, as long as they got the big juicy $$$ contract.

What they should have said was the program will be crippled by requirements A, B and C. It should be split into two programs, completely separate airframes.

But, then they wouldn't have the DoD over a barrel now with a single program that is probably too big to fail as everyone and their dog have been sold up the river on it. I have no doubt that was front and centre in Lockheeds thinking when delivering those bullsh!t powerpoint presentations.


RE: Out to lunch, be back in December
By Reclaimer77 on 9/28/2012 2:06:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
What they should have said was the program will be crippled by requirements A, B and C. It should be split into two programs, completely separate airframes.


Then they wouldn't have gotten the contract probably.

Lockheed is a business and their objective is to make money. In my business I routinely run across customers asking me to do really stupid things that often end up costing them more money. Oh well, it's not my job to enlighten them.

If you want to blame Lockheed for not educating the people who run the show, people who SHOULD know better, I think that's just scapegoating.

Look the money is spent at this point. All we can do now is just hope to hell the F-35 can be, somehow, made into a viable aircraft. Flipping out about it, calling Americans stupid, etc etc isn't going to do anything positive at this point.

And frankly, I'll repeat myself again, if we destroyed the ENTIRE department of defense, cut every cent of military spending, we would still be looking at a TRILLION dollar deficit!


By Amiga500 on 9/28/2012 5:21:54 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Then they wouldn't have gotten the contract probably.


Absolutely incorrect.

DoD talk to industry all the time to gauge what is possible.


By boeush on 9/28/2012 5:34:01 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Oh well, it's not my job to enlighten them.
May I ask which business you're in?

(So that I can make sure never to do business with you?)

Thanks in advance.


RE: Out to lunch, be back in December
By Jeffk464 on 9/28/2012 1:45:10 PM , Rating: 2
In a genius (sarcasm) attempt to "save money" from the "costly" F-22

The genius way to save money would have been to buy more F22's for fighter cap and keep the F16 in production as your affordable attack plane. The fact is attack planes don't have to be that sophisticated and you only need so many fighter cap planes, especially since a war with another nuclear world power is impossible.


By Reclaimer77 on 9/28/2012 1:59:40 PM , Rating: 2
Well I agree. I was very much against shutting down the F-22 and said as much right here on DT.

And the same old arguments used against the F-22, are being used now here again...


RE: Out to lunch, be back in December
By Jeffk464 on 9/28/2012 1:34:28 PM , Rating: 2
"They've essentially butt-f**ked"

The correct term is raped your country.


By Ringold on 9/28/2012 8:14:51 PM , Rating: 2
But was it legitimate rape, or were we asking for it? :P


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