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F-35 looking more like white elephant

Posted on 01/13/2011 11:28:42 AM PST by too_cool_for_skool

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The F-35 fighter jet, set to replace a large part of the US warplane fleet, has become the most expensive weapons program ever, drawing increased scrutiny at a time of tight public finances.

Following a series of cost overruns and delays, the program is now expected to cost a whopping 382 billion dollars, for 2,443 aircraft.


Defense officials say the original cost estimates have now doubled to make each plane's price tag reach some 92 million dollars.

At the same time, the contract awarded in 2001 had been planned to last 10 years, but has been extended to 2016 because of testing and design issues.


Private analysts say the whole F-35 program is becoming a money pit.

"The incredibly unfortunate phrase 'too big to fail' applies to this aircraft more than any other defense program," said Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace industry analyst with the Teal Group.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: aerospace; defense; f35; lockheed; missinglink; navair; sourcetitlenoturl
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To: too_cool_for_skool

I don’t know of any military aircraft that didn’t have the same type of stories about it. The longer they delay production and the more changes they make to the design, the more expensive the final product becomes.

21 posted on 01/13/2011 12:22:26 PM PST by mbynack (Retired USAF SMSgt)
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To: Ed Condon

totally agree.

22 posted on 01/13/2011 12:23:10 PM PST by mcshot (So this is how it feels to be flushed. The "that's impossible" days are upon us.)
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To: too_cool_for_skool

F-22....great platform, could be converted to navy use with some degree of compromise on stealth...

F-23, not as good as F-22, but could be modified on the drawing board to be the navy and jarheads new fighter.(instead, the chinese have miraculously copied the F-23)

Instead of these scenario’s, lets just put together an aircraft cobbled out of the harrier, f-16 and a little bit of f-14 for good measure....

The f-35 was destined to be a failure from the start, and the good old boys of GW Bush started this whole affair....similar to the whiz kids of kennedy...dump the whole damn project, get the f-23 modifed for carrier use, and build a whole bunch more of the f-22...( I know, this makes too much sense, which means it will never happen )

just sayin’.

23 posted on 01/13/2011 12:26:28 PM PST by joe fonebone (The House has oversight of the Judiciary...why are the rogue judges not being impeached?)
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To: Vroomfondel; SC Swamp Fox; Fred Hayek; NY Attitude; P3_Acoustic; investigateworld; lowbuck; ...

Click on pic for past Navair pings.

Post or FReepmail me if you wish to be enlisted in or discharged from the Navair Pinglist.
The only requirement for inclusion in the Navair Pinglist is an interest in Naval Aviation.
This is a medium to low volume pinglist.

24 posted on 01/13/2011 12:27:35 PM PST by magslinger (Samuel Colt, feminist. Making women equal to men for over 150 years.)
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To: McCloud-Strife; All

BS... We will always need pilots..

25 posted on 01/13/2011 12:30:52 PM PST by KevinDavis (If you buy a car from GM, you are supporting Obama..)
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To: lacrew

Same with the Osprey. Wow. That program got hammered in the press.

26 posted on 01/13/2011 12:33:04 PM PST by RexBeach
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To: too_cool_for_skool

Any attempt to accomplish anything for the government is going to take longer and cost mroe than initial estimates, period. Changing priorities and requirements, shifting political priorities, etc etc etc..

I don’t think you can find 1 single solitary large scale project in the last 30 years that involved government in any way shape or form in oversight that didn’t take longer and cost more than originally planned.

Question isn’t is it overbudget, it is, what has changed since the original RFQs.

Imagine doing anything by committee? Now imagine that committee is a bunch or has to answer to politicians, and tell me exactly how on time and on budget anything is going to be.

27 posted on 01/13/2011 12:33:48 PM PST by HamiltonJay
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To: Proud_USA_Republican
They tried to pack way too many roles into a single design which creates serious compromises on performance.

I know people who are doing serious research on complexity management for the systems on the F-35. That either says that they're pushing the state of the art or are trying to do WAY too much (or both).

The F-22 avionics had similar problems (esp. the radar), but to their credit, a lot of clever folks are still finding new things they can do with it, so I'd say it was a great design (although you have to wonder if it was worth taking 10+ years to do).

Hopefully, the F-35 will be a similar win.
28 posted on 01/13/2011 12:35:19 PM PST by BikerJoe
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To: McCloud-Strife

Nice theory, but one problem... Jam or interrupt or compromise the radio signal and you have ZERO ability to have ANY THING IN THE AIR AT ALL...

Remote controlled drones are nice, but you cannot escape a fundamental reality of needing manned aircraft.

29 posted on 01/13/2011 12:36:52 PM PST by HamiltonJay
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To: too_cool_for_skool

The old Pukin Dog predicted all this.

I still miss him.

30 posted on 01/13/2011 12:38:29 PM PST by bill1952 (Choice is an illusion created between those with power - and those without)
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To: KevinDavis

we will always need pilots, they don’t need to be flying around and killing themselves pulling 10 g’s or getting shot down with nothing more than toenail clippings to send back to the family.
There are ways to get over jamming signals, we got smart folks, I imagine it’s surmountable.

31 posted on 01/13/2011 1:01:32 PM PST by McCloud-Strife ( USA 1776-2008)
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To: BikerJoe

The truth here is both the F-22 and F-35 are truly outstanding aircraft tailored to different defense jobs in the future. The Airforce wants to reinvent their winning F-15 and F-16 one two punch for the 21st Century.

Cost drivers are the development of the electronics. What needs to be done is a fusion of the electronic systems to allow the F22 to be retrofitted with a higher performance system bus and allow the F-35 to piggy back on some of the unique capabilites of the F-22.

The F-22 digital bus is largely 1980/90s computer technology which is way out of date. It can do amazing things but it could do even more amazing things with better computers which the F-35 has and be much more supportable going into the future

The F-35 could potentially by streamlined by using some F-22 technology. This is complicated because the F-35 technology is intentionally dumbed down, with a lot of re inventing the wheel to keep F-22 technology from getting transfered to other countries.

I would argue that it is far more important for the USA to re invent it’s world beating F15/F-16 hi-low mix concept in the F-35 and F-22 and deploy enough of them to make a difference than it is to keep secret a lot of technology that our adversaries probably have already have gotten in far greater detail from espionage.

You cannot hold the wind in todays internet driven world so we should not try to do the impossible. In todays world you simply have to out run your competition so we need to get our hardware deployed as quickly as possible and provide a solid foundation for future upgrades to always keep our qualitative edge as great as possible.

A certain degree of cross platform compatability and integration would allow for this without giving away a store which probably already resides in the hard drives of number of our adversaries.

32 posted on 01/13/2011 1:03:35 PM PST by rdcbn
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To: Tijeras_Slim

It may not be the answer to the new Chi-Com J-20. Also known as the “Slick Willie” stealth fighter.

33 posted on 01/13/2011 1:09:28 PM PST by screaminsunshine (Surfers Rule)
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To: bill1952

...deja vu

To: magslinger

So Gates & The Boyz are laying the groundwork for final cancellation of the F-35 and cover it with a Brand New Bomber.

Be still my beating heart.

The last time I saw that much crap in one place was walking through the feedlot.

I’m one of the B-1Alpha guys, saw exactly the same type of people making exactly the same statements about a year before they finished changing specs for the bird by the minute and pulled the plug on the project. (I was long gone by that time, along with every jig and fixture the El Segundo plant could get their hands on and mothball out in the desert until some grownups showed up inside the Beltway again.)

Point One: There is no bomber project. Period. End of quote. Oh, there’s studies, articles and speeches galore, but neither Boeing or Grumman is pushing so much as a conceptual drawing, the Skonkworks is closed and neither Aviation Week or Tamiya has put out the detailed specs on any Black Project to build one.

Point Two: F-35? Tie some crepe on it. Final cancellation of the whole damn project is probably going to be announced before summer.

Those pigs in Washington need the money for their next election campaign.

31 posted on Friday, January 07, 2011 6:59:43 AM by Unrepentant VN Vet (743 and a wakeup)
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After further review, if there was a Dead Pool for Defense projects, I wouldn’t take any numbers on the F-35 project higher than 60 days.

Too many piggies to feed......

34 posted on 01/13/2011 1:10:44 PM PST by Unrepentant VN Vet (737 and a wakeup)
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To: HamiltonJay

Ding, Ding, you nailed the bigger problem. This is what most people not familiar with the ins and outs of the defense industry don’t understand. Having worked in the industry myself, I don’t know of a single contract or program that ever came in on the date and budget originally agreed to in the original contract proposal. The military, of which I am a huge supporter, is notorious for constantly changing specs, expectations, systems, and timelines due to the constantly changing nature of the battlefield, which in turn changes their needs and requirements. This is especially visible in ‘long-term R&D contracts’ (ie. projects slatted to take 5+ years to develop). By the time the producer closes in on the completion date, the entire scope of the system could have changed.

35 posted on 01/13/2011 1:34:11 PM PST by LoneStarGI (Vegetarian: Old Indian word for "BAD HUNTER.")
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To: Unrepentant VN Vet
1: Aircraft usually take about three models before the goals are met. Remember the P-51. Took the dog model to achieve ultimate goal.

2: Having been on both sides of USAF program offices Chasing the latest capability is a rat hole for $$$. One Army program went on for a dozen years and was canceled. Never fielded a single item.

36 posted on 01/13/2011 1:50:32 PM PST by Eaglefixer
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To: LoneStarGI


Presidential Helicopter program anyone? The Navy killed that because they just couldn’t leave it alone.

Withheld some and added new requirements after initial designs were completed. Required intensive amounts of re-design work which costs a lot of money.

Added more and more capability requirements until the thing was just too damn heavy to fly anymore and was subsequently cancelled.

Sometimes, if not most of the time, the Pentagon is their own worst enemy.

37 posted on 01/13/2011 1:50:59 PM PST by SZonian (July 27, 2010. Life begins anew.)
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To: ontap

What we really need is an export version of the F-22. I fully understand that there are elements of this aircraft that are too secret to allow out of American hands but with Russia and India collaborating on one fifth generation fighter and China producing another, our allies need this aircraft as well.

Japan certainly does. Australia probably does. In Europe, selling the F-22 to Germany would give European defense a solid counterweight. The more you make, the less expensive the production is per copy.

38 posted on 01/13/2011 1:54:09 PM PST by Ronin ("Dismantle the TSA and send the screeners back to Wal-Mart.")
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To: Lancey Howard
And you have to consider all of the ECP’s that get generated to add the new stuff, or fix design problems on the old stuff, like; “It won't fit”. (ECP=Engineering Change Proposal).
39 posted on 01/13/2011 2:24:26 PM PST by ANGGAPO (Layte Gulf Beach Club)
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To: Eaglefixer
1: Aircraft usually take about three models before the goals are met. Remember the P-51. Took the dog model to achieve ultimate goal.

Tends to be true, although with the Mustang a lot of very good pilots (including Bud Anderson) said that they nailed it with the Malcolm Hood B/C model.

Lots of people like to cite the F-111 as such a problem child. Yet for the USAF it left service as a superior aircraft to the replacing it (F-15E). In it's USN role the original specs (high speed missile barge for the AIM-54 - which it WOULD have been good at) changed so much (due to the Vietnam air combat experience, which stressed ACM) that a whole new ground-up design was required. And I like to argue that the F-111B would've been an exceptional replacement for the A-6 Intruder.

I don't think it's time to give up on the F-35 yet. Any potential new-design replacement would require a decade and a half to two to get to IOC. In the meantime the USN NEEDS stealth at sea capability, and the F-35C is the only game in town. The USN needs a replacement fixed-wing STOVL CAS platform, and the F-35B is the only game in town (ok, I guess the Marines COULD by the RAF's Harrier GR.9s as a stopgap to augment their aging and attrition-prone AV-8B fleet).
40 posted on 01/13/2011 2:25:34 PM PST by tanknetter
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