Skip to comments.F-35 Pentagon Report Documents Lockheed-Martin Failures (Assembly Lines Being "Cannibalized")
Posted on 02/26/2010 6:45:03 PM PST by GOPGuide
Pentagon Reports Document Continuing Lockheed-Martin Failures
Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the CDI Straus Military Reform Project has obtained almost two years of monthly reports from the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) on Lockheed Martins production of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The documents do not paint a pretty picture, explains Straus Military Reform Project Director Winslow Wheeler.
The Defense Contract Management Agencys (DCMA) most recent reports cover the months July through November 2009. The full reports are available below. Their major points, as summarized by Winslow Wheeler, are as follows:
The F-35 assembly line at Forth Worth, Texas is being cannibalized for parts to support flight testing. This may be the first time an assembly line has been cannibalized for parts. See the summary of the August report below.
The continuing and sometimes deteriorating nature of the delays at Lockheed-Martins (L-M) Fort Worth plant refutes the L-M contention that things are getting better, and that the F-35 program learned from the past and with new design techniques is avoiding the kinds of problems experienced by legacy aircraft programs.
The cause, nature and implications of the stand-down mentioned in the November report could well be important, but are unreported by the press and are a matter looking for explanation.
July Report: Page 4 talks about a new DCMA estimate to complete System Design and Development, but the numbers are redacted. DCMA calls the L-M estimate inadequate. This DCMA estimate is before the Pentagons second independent Joint Estimating Team (JET II) estimate was finished and available, and is presumably independent. Most importantly, it clearly was available for Defense Secretary Gates' Forth Worth visit in August. Was it briefed to him? If so, why was Gates so positive about the program at that visit; if it was not, is this the reason why the F-35 program manager, General Heinz was fired due to troubling information not getting to Gates on this high visibility program.
Page 4 also mentions without further discussion a "BF-4 STOVL Upper Lift Fan Door incident." The context is the rising costs of the overall system, but there are no details. Given that the Short Take Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) F-35 B is on a short schedule to deployment, is this a problem that will further complicate the schedule for the F-35 B?
Page 4 identifies a "Corrective Action Plan" to address "EVMS," the Earned Value Management system, or the system that L-M uses to measure and report execution of the program and its budget. I understand it to be the core method DOD uses to monitor and manage the program. Results of the plan are due to DCMA in August. (The October report states that the plan was submitted, but no specifics are reported. It is only stated that a more focused Review will occur in three to five months by the DCMA . [Page 4 of October report.]) There has been some reporting on the failure to meet EVMS criteria in the press. The threat to L-M is that it will have to maintain its certification to perform EVMS calculations - if it is lost, L-M could end up not legally eligible to be a contractor to the federal government.
August Report: L-M is cannibalizing the production line to provide spare parts for the flight test program (pp. 3 - 4). These cannibalizations are causing significant workload to supply chain personnel and are disrupting the production line." There is no further discussion or explanation. This may be the first time a development aircrafts production line was cannibalized for spares.
September Report: "Execution of the Flight Test Schedule continues to be a significant Program concern." (Page 3.)
The volume of major CRs [Change Requests] is projected to continue. the number of major changes has exceeded projections. Additionally, the impact of timing these changes and the disruption to the floor were not anticipated. (Page 3.) This would seem to be exactly the kind of thing that L-M promised would not happen: i.e. that they had learned from previous programs and with the benefits of advanced computer design, the F-35 would not have the kinds of design disruptions so common with legacy aircraft.
Page 4 addresses another delay issue: ''Wing-at-Mate" problems. These, I understand, have to do with the decision to mate the wing to the fuselage before the wing is stuffed. The plan was to mate the completed wing to the fuselage. But, because of delays, L-M decided to add wing components after mating, which being inefficient -- slows things down more.
"Composite production is not meeting the demands of the production operations - composites for the AFT and Empennage assemblies are paced by the availability and quality of composites." (Page 4.) Again, the modern design feature of composites, said to not just reduce weight (of the overweight aircraft) but to facilitate design and fabrication is proving to be a source of delay and complication.
October Report: Flight test schedule still "a significant Program concern. "AF-1 continues to be in a maintenance period as of this report, progressing towards taxi tests and first flight." (Page 3.) This is an example of a problem addressed in earlier DCMA reports: aircraft coming off the production line incomplete and incapable of flight. They are sent to adjacent hangars for post-production production. This pre-first flight maintenance would seem to be a misleading misnomer.
Report also mentions that the program is about to get its "sixth schedule revision." (Page 3.)
More details on the "Wing-at-Mate overlap" which appears to be improving. (Page 3.)
November Report: Due to the need for the sixth schedule revision - coming in early 2010 - "Recent Program summary charts, scorecards and management briefings do not consistently depict performance to the master schedule baseline." (Page 3.)
The graph on page 6 shows Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) aircraft delivery rate is on average 80 days late. The rate significantly deteriorated in April and stayed at that deteriorated rate. Individual aircraft deliveries are significantly above that: AF-6 will be 92 days late; AF-7 will be 142 days late. A sentence presumably explaining the increased delay was redacted. (Page 6.) This category is rated red by DCMA. On the other hand, DCMA confirms public reports that while LRIP 1 and 2 aircraft are months late, the risk that LRIP 3 aircraft will be late is rated as low.
Suppliers' Delivery Rate (Page 8.) is also getting worse, now down to about 75 percent on-time. This category is also rated red by DCMA.
The Management Reserve of money is gone, "further straining the financial management of the Program." Amounts are redacted. Given DOD Undersecretary for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Ashton Carter's decision to use LRIP production money for SDD, how much of that will go to L-Ms management reserve slush fund, rather than directly to SDD activities?
A section is titled Maintenance and Quality Verification Stand-Down, immediately followed by several redacted lines. Later the section states This incident triggered a maintenance and quality verification stand-down to determine systemic root causes for increasing aircraft impoundment and suspension of operations incidents to date. And later, The focus areas are Software, Rework/Repairs, System Check Out Procedures (SCOPs) and Aerospace Equipment Instructions (AEIs). (Page 4.) The discussion in the section titled "Improve Software Productivity" refers to "F-35 stand-down events" and explains that a Joint Process Review effort to address software issues was postponed until further notice as it was overcome by F-35 stand down events that took precedence. (Page 18.)
This stand-down would appear to have some significance, but has not been reported to the public by L-M or DOD. It has also not been addressed by the press as far as I am aware.
2009 DCMA Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Reports:
2009 DCMA Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Reports:
They’re going to have to start doing something quickly. The Marine Corps has some F-18s that are about to start falling out of the sky. They were already ending their predicted service life to say nothing of the incredibly heavy use they’ve endured the last 20 years.
Obama killed the F-22 Raptor, the best fighter aircraft in the world: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2444670/posts
When will Pukin Dog come back to FR so he can gloat about how the F-35 was the flying Turkey he always said it was?
Lockheed Martin put a poison pill in the contract because they had foreign partners that will cost the US Government huge bucks to cancel this contract.
There are a lot of problems on the F-35 as they took money from one part of the company working on logistics support to try and get the plane underweight to land on a carrier. That left their proposal for the newest and best Automatic Test Systems (ATS) running on empty. Then they had the problem with wiring in the missile bays shorting out and frying for starters.
Lockheed has had to know for years this plane was a disaster but kept giving rosy reports.
One big problem was the merger of Air Force Systems and Logistics Commands. When a new system came on board before the merger you had checks and balances between the new system and the logistics systems like ATS so that AFLC would have discovered early on that Lockheed pulled the money from the ATS to support aero when they was little to no progress being made. It was a bad merger because now there are no checks and balances and you have a mentality that only shiny and new counts. Then they made the Super SPO’s in DC and it has become worse not better.
There is also a major problem brewing at Warner Robins with their ATS Group that will cost the AF millions into billions if allowed to continue. Someone is protecting them in the Pentagon but for how long, no one knows. They are attempting to bring manufacturing in house of ATS and put 67 ATS contractors out of business and force weapon systems to buy new ATS systems when they just purchased them. It is not a new system but Teradyne Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) with a new name VDATS.
B-1 who just finished buying Teradyne testers for over $70M was told to put the new VDATS in their budget for over $100M plus Research and Development dollars which is essentially buying a label for their system since they already have the new ATS by Teradyne which is same as VDATS by Warner Robins. Ever heard of R&D for something that is already in the Family of Testers. Strange thing about that it was put in the Family of Testers before it fully built.
FOI with a lot of questions was returned by Secretary of the Air Force with spin and not providing any documentation to speak of except to show they put the VDATS in the Family of Testers before it was built.
Been involved in this for almost nine months — wheels of Congress when a Democrat heads investigations move very slow!
It was more than 3 years ago, and he claimed inside info that the Bush administration would kill it. He fled FR before his nose could be rubbed in it.
See posts 14 and 15 from this thread from 2004 - not the first, probably not the last, but you can dig out others yourself if you need them.
The F-35 assembly line at Forth Worth, Texas is being cannibalized for parts to support flight testing.Did anyone tell 'em they got the job? Thanks GOPGuide.
The documents came from an FIOA, which means they are in control of a government agency. Which means that, whatever else is true, the government contracting agency knows exactly what is in these documents, and therefore knows whatever truth there is to know.
So there is no way that the government is being misled based on these documents.
It can’t be too bad, it’s actually flying.
Are you accusing our wonderful federal government of both lying and being incompetent?
Increase production of the F-22, and develop the F-22N Sea Raptor variant.
“Are you accusing our wonderful federal government of both lying and being incompetent?...”
LOL...I assume you listened/watched the DeathCare Summit yesterday?
The F-22 requires 30 hours of maintenance time for every 1 hour of flight during peace time. No AF in the world would be able to effectively maintain such a fickle aircraft during war time.
Haz anyonze checked out Center for Defense Information?
The Navy bailed on the whole program eons ago, back when it was just the Advanced Tactical Fighter requirement and the F-22 had been selected, I think. Apparently they think the Super Hornet is all they’ll ever need.
It’s an unkillable program.
Sadly the EFV and the LCS fall in the same category, and they shouldn’t be.
Boggles my mind the EFV hasn’t been canceled yet.
I’m pretty sure he was banned. Don’t know why, though.
Why would he need to? There are plenty of other FReepers who think they know more than some who actually work on the program.
And the constant comparison of the F22 to the F35 only demonstrates the utter ignorance of FReepers who can’t tell the difference between apples and kiwi.
Two different missions, two different aircraft.
Yeah, I just did. They’re an umbrella organization supported by peaceniks from these two groups.
They’re all about non-proliferation and disarmament.
An interesting item from their website:
Environmental impact: The rush to address global warming with an increased reliance on nuclear power increases the danger of unchecked proliferation by providing states with the means to produce nuclear weapons. Existing safeguards are inadequate.
Ploughshares Fund Board member -
President, Colombe Foundation
Edie Allen began her career in the peace movement twenty-five years ago as a volunteer with Womens Action for New Directions (WAND, a Ploughshares Fund grantee), where she has served on Board of Directors ever since. One of the inspiring people I met at WAND was Naila Bolus, then a student intern, and now Ploughshares Funds executive director. A working artist, she is the founder and president of the Colombe Foundation, which seeks to create a peaceful world through changes in American policy.”
Other “Advisors” and “Board members” are a who’s who of greenies and peaceniks.
who is a senior fellow here:
Man you got that right.
Wrong. That is a fallacy perpetuated by the people that wanted to kill the program. They had one short time period where that rate happened.
The overall level is now less than 10 hours to one flight hour and improving.
There are two parallel trends that have finally converged and resulted in these disasters:
1) Too much industry consolidation has eliminated competition and driven aircraft development and production costs into the stratosphere. Nowadays, only Lockheed, Northrup, and Boeing are left, leaving DoD no alternatives except foreign companies, which are no-goes politically and from a National security standpoint.
2) The Armed Services, following the USAF’s model, consciously and deliberately closed most of their in-house RDT&E laboratories, thereby eliminating quality control on DoD’s end and losing decades worth of institutional military engineering expertise.
The F-22 an F-35 programs are the end result of these short-sighted policies. The military and defense industry is now reaping what is has sewn over the past 18 years.
It was in the great FR purge of '08.
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I think his opinion was that the F-35 would be too heavy and wasn’t going to have enough engine or carry enough fuel to meet its performance goals, especially the AV-8B replacement model. I thought he was right back then, is he still right now?
Thanks for the link and information. There was a Washington Post hit piece on the F-22 that went out of its way to make it look like the world’s most expensive hanger queen and now that perception is hard to overcome.
Has it ever crossed yours or anyone else’s mind that the same is being done to the F35?
This article of yours came from a group that is under the umbrella of other groups funded and run by greenies and peaceniks.
I would suggest you try to find more recent and credible sources for your next anti F35 post.
See Post 27 if you’re at all interested.
According to Orrin Hatch’s fact sheet, in 2008 it had 18 hours of maintenance per flight hour, and in 2009 it had 10.5 hours per maintenance per flight hour.
The REQUIREMENT at 100,000 flight hours is to meet 12 maintenance hours/flight hour.
That was Hatch’s response to the claim that it took 30 hours of maintenance — so I’m guessing the 30-hour number was wrong.
On the other hand, the F-22 cost $19,000 per flight hour, so 12 hours of maintenance time is a low part of the total cost of flying the plane. The F-18 cost $17,000 per flight hour according to the same fact sheet.
From here. http://www.afa.org/PresidentsCorner/Notes/Notes_7-14-09.pdf I got - “As in any political fight, there are those who write and say things which are not factually accurate. That happened last Friday AM when the Washington Post published, on the front page, an article http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/09/AR2009070903020.html?hpid%3Dtopnews&sub=AR which claimed the F-22 had maintenance and other major problems. Both the Air Force and AFA have responded ... noting the many inaccuracies of the piece.” We put on our web site a short paper which lays out the actual facts. You can find it here: http://www.afa.org/edop/2009/edop_7-13-09.asp
To be honest, I started out somewhat biased against the do everything, jack of all trades design concept, so it's been much easier for me to be skeptical.
None the less, we need to replace a lot of airplanes with something and the almighty powers that be have chosen the F-35. We are committed now and have to make it work.
I hope I didn’t sound too harsh, didn’t mean to. Just asking a question.
Developmental programs rarely go smoothly. The primary reason programs before the ‘90s went as smoothly as they did is the lack of advanced technology as compared to today or they were classified and had no oversight so we don’t know.
There are problems, that cannot be denied. But there are efforts being made to correct them. It’s not like folks are sitting back letting this thing fail.
However, there are many who’re already trying to bury the program under an avalanche of bad press and doomsday scenarios. That’s what torques me off.
Give the plane a chance to prove itself.
Give me a bloody break.
Only reasons that programs during that time didn't get sh**canned was the lack of dumba$$ democrats occupying the White House and a corresponding reduction in the REMF's running procurement programs and/or backshooting the deal on the side.
Ever hear of the B1A? Program started in the late 60's, swing-wing, fly-by-wire, every tekky bell and whistle you can think of and all the public heard about the bird was EXACTLY THE SAME LINE OF CRAP THEY'RE GETTING RIGHT NOW ABOUT F-35.
While I was working at Rockwell during the early 70's, it used to be almost comical; Senator Whatisface or Representative Blowhard would come through El Segundo for a VIP Tour, drop off the latest list of Products From My Big Donors That Damn Well Better Be On This Airplane, rush to make it back to the TV studio where he'd bitch and moan about the cost and how it was "going to be obsolete before it ever flies" and then fly back to DC so he could gut the funding in favor of some feelgood BS for his next election campaign.
When I first saw this thread and the bit about cannibalizing the production lines, I almost ROFLMAO, because after Carter took office, some very cold calculations took place in B-1 Land so that right after we got AV4 (the last prototype) moved down the production line, we were stripping every tool, jig and fixture out to mothball them out in the desert for the hoped-for time when some adults would take charge in DC.
Wouldn't surprise me a bit if L-M hasn't doing that very thing themselves, and, for that matter, the F-22 line hasn't been cocooned since last January.
Yeah, I'd like to see someone "Give the plane a chance to prove itself", too. Only problem is we've got an awfully entrenched apparat inside The Beltway and around the country that: 1) Doesn't like industries in general and defense contractors in particular; 2) Doesn't lack for anything but principles and concern for the country in their opposition.
Best things to hope for is the full-scale production of the F-22 and F-35 **BRAVO** models starting up in February 2012, and the answered prayer that we don't need them before that date.
I’m still unclear as to the reasons for that particular house-cleaning.
You are right. I was being overly simplistic, sorry about that.
Look at the Presidential helicopter program and you will see a modern example of exactly what you’re talking about.
I don’t recall PD ever supporting Rudy or RINOs in general. He used to not give a flip about illegal immigration, but he came around on that topic.
Absolutely correct! Too much consolidation!