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MarkW

F-35 news roundup

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So, invest more $$$ in a program we're already paying up the wazoo for to make it cheaper?

Brilliant!

-Gregg

http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/blog/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=1605

Thats ok man. I have a hard time comprehending net savings and long term investment too :thumbsup:

1. complain about cost

2. complain about cost reduction measures

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I'm all for them lowering the cost.

I thought we made a long term investment in the program when LM was selected to build them?

-Gregg

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I couldn't agree more. At least you understand they knew every possible thing there was about building the jets, all the efficiencies they could make, and how the suppliers would pan out in 2002. Obviously, none of that has changed. There is no such thing as a manufacturing learning curve. Science hasn't progressed to introduce new materials or processes in the last 15 years. Nothing at all has been learned from that monumental waste of time and money known as the test program; what could it possibly reveal that wasn't known when the "long term investment" was made?

Seriously, why the government is even involved in this, or any, program is clearly a mystery. All we should do is dump a big bag of gold in front of the plant and come back a decade later for the perfectly understood, built, and performing jets we expect.

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Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose...

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Which in acquisition translates to:

"The more things change, the more change you need to pay for it"

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Which in acquisition translates to:

"The more things change, the more change you need to pay for it"

I read it twice, Duffelblog is usually really funny. I can take a joke, I loved the F-35 becomes self aware joke.

This either isn't funny

or its absolutely hilarious because its repeating the common complaints we see repeated verbatim online as the satire.

??

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I dunno, Gen Bogdan getting an article 32 was cute. And while not criminal, some senior civilians who ran the program into the ground pre Venlet were never held accountable...they were shuffled off to other jobs, but no real ramifications.

Edited by MarkW

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I read it twice, Duffelblog is usually really funny. I can take a joke, I loved the F-35 becomes self aware joke.

This either isn't funny

or its absolutely hilarious because its repeating the common complaints we see repeated verbatim online as the satire.

??

TT, don't you get it? "It's funny because he's fat" and the truth really is stranger than fiction. 20 years ago, if someone had presented all the details about this program's horrific delays, epic cost overruns and general performance issues, they would be ridiculed because no one would have believed that this level of incompetence could ever have been permitted to occurred.

This was an easy one. The Duffleblog didn't have to make anything up, the facts themselves are absolutely comical. The only folks who wouldn't find this funny are either concerned taxpayers or JSF apologists.

And before the latter group starts hatin' on 11Bee, keep in mind that I've long since accepted that this program has to continue, despite it's stellar history of near criminal mismanagement. Our boys in blue are backed into a corner and have no other alternative other than to keep shoveling billions to LockMart in hopes that when they finally get the F-35 in a truly operational state and in significant numbers (hopefully within another decade), it will still be able to yield us some at least some minor advantage over our potential adversaries.

Edited by 11bee

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TT, don't you get it? "It's funny because he's fat" and the truth really is stranger than fiction. 20 years ago, if someone had presented all the details about this program's horrific delays, epic cost overruns and general performance issues, they would be ridiculed because no one would have believed that this level of incompetence could ever have been permitted to occurred.

This was an easy one. The Duffleblog didn't have to make anything up, the facts themselves are absolutely comical. The only folks who wouldn't find this funny are either concerned taxpayers or JSF apologists.

And before the latter group starts hatin' on 11Bee, keep in mind that I've long since accepted that this program has to continue, despite it's stellar history of near criminal mismanagement. Our boys in blue are backed into a corner and have no other alternative other than to keep shoveling billions to LockMart in hopes that when they finally get the F-35 in a truly operational state and in significant numbers (hopefully within another decade), it will still be able to yield us some at least some minor advantage over our potential adversaries.

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Edited by TaiidanTomcat

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190378_508703109181431_1945113802_n_zps1ee75c19.jpg

190378_508703109181431_1945113802_n_zps1ee75c19.jpg

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Hey man...c'mon. That's My avatar/signature Walter pic thing...

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Out of curiosity, does anyone know off the top of their head what the entire SH development program cost up through the E/F? Please include the baby hornet costs as well. Or the F-16 through Block 60 development costs? What about the F-22 through Inc 3.3?

Same question goes for the lifecycle maintenance cost for each program.

Be real interesting to compare actuals per tail before crying from the rooftops.

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Out of curiosity, does anyone know off the top of their head what the entire SH development program cost up through the E/F? Please include the baby hornet costs as well. Or the F-16 through Block 60 development costs? What about the F-22 through Inc 3.3?

Same question goes for the lifecycle maintenance cost for each program.

Be real interesting to compare actuals per tail before crying from the rooftops.

All good questions. To that list, let's add how long it took to get each aircraft into operational service and what the overall cost increase was for each program.

Then lets compare them to other aircraft.

Not sure I'd lump the SH costs into those from the legacy Hornet though. That's somewhat of a unique case, compared to the F-35 and the examples above.

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Nearly 1800 F-16s had been produced before the definitive block 30 / 32. With BVR and weather capability.

You can look at planes like the Tomcat thay got into service pretty quickly. Then look at their attrition and decide if they should have been left in the oven to bake a tad longer, or you know maybe received new engines long before what was it 1988?

In other words, where do you want to start counting "fully developed" ??

YMMV

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Nearly 1800 F-16s had been produced before the definitive block 30 / 32. With BVR and weather capability.

Not sure I'd use that as an analogy to have us believe that grossly extended, overbudget programs are the norm. The F-16 was designed as a lightweight fighter. The F-15 was to handle the BVR mission and the F-111 was the strike platform. The A model Falcon was the epitome of this. I'm pretty sure it's development could be considered a success. Only later in it's life did the USAF decide that it wanted the Falcon to assume night/all-weather attack missions and to be able to fight BVR. Even then, it's evolution into these new roles was relatively smooth.

The beloved Tom (RIP Baby), was a different story but even it's rocky development could be considered a model of efficient program management when compared to the F-35.

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How many crews have been killed by the F-35 compared to this point in Tomcat development?

And thanks for making my point, which you obviously missed.

The A model Falcon was the epitome of this. I'm pretty sure it's development could be considered a success. Only later in it's life did the USAF decide that it wanted the Falcon to assume night/all-weather attack missions and to be able to fight BVR.

So again, how long did it take to make the go from first flight to Block 60 capability? Because that's what we are really talking about here. The F-35 isn't a hopped up Sopwith Camel out of the box. It is/will be far more capable in a shorter overall time than any other platform before it. Ignoring the A model flew in the late 70's, but it was what the early 90s before the block 50s came out. And how much did 20 years of logistics tail, and 2 decades of development cost? ALL these programs are the same, the ONLY difference is the F-35 took the big bang versus incremental approach.

And the SH is a perfectly relevant example. Completely redone airframe on the avionics backbone of the C/Ds. Then immediate block upgrades to get the jet up to snuff. Yet another incremental development, where the true cost is buried over DECADES.

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Not sure I'd use that as an analogy to have us believe that grossly extended, overbudget programs are the norm. The F-16 was designed as a lightweight fighter. The F-15 was to handle the BVR mission and the F-111 was the strike platform. The A model Falcon was the epitome of this. I'm pretty sure it's development could be considered a success. Only later in it's life did the USAF decide that it wanted the Falcon to assume night/all-weather attack missions and to be able to fight BVR. Even then, it's evolution into these new roles was relatively smooth.

The beloved Tom (RIP Baby), was a different story but even it's rocky development could be considered a model of efficient program management when compared to the F-35.

As much as I love the Tomcat; it had a worse history than the equally beloved 'Vark in terms of aircrews being killed by them early on.

I remember in the '70s when I lived just down the road from Mira Mar NAS reading/hearing the news about Tomcats crashing while either landing or taking off. I remember going on base and begging my dad to take me to the flightline after his Navy Exchange run. Right inside the flightline perimeter security fence was a fenced lot full of Tomcat debris (And one Phantom).

They didn't ground the Tomcats like they did the 'Vark when they kept crashing. However; Similar to the 'Vark's development/design trouble, they spent tons of money on research to figure out what was going on with said Tomcat. Heck; I even remember talk of wanting to cancel the Tomcat for both budget overruns issues, but more importantly, safety issues. 'Can the damned thing fly?!!', was the common question/criticism coming from the Tomcat haters. Who were the biggest Tomcat haters? Congressional liberals. The Tomcat was the F-35 of the '70s in regards to cutting edge technology. And Tomcats were seemingly falling out of the beautiful San Diego sky once a year didn't help either.

As far as I know; No pilots have been killed flying the F-35s.

Someone (Preferably a nay-sayer) should do research and see how many aircrew/pilots were killed in a given a/c's first 5,000HRS of service/operation.

That would be interesting to see.

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How many crews have been killed by the F-35 compared to this point in Tomcat development?

Bingo.....!

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I even remember talk of wanting to cancel the Tomcat for both budget overruns issues, but more importantly, safety issues.

People whined about the cost of the F-15 at the time too. They said that the F-4 was good enough.

People whined about the cost of the B-2. The numbers got slashed, the price per aircraft increased.

People whined about the cost of the F-22. The numbers got slashed, yadda yadda yadda...

And it's happening again now.

matrixCat.gif

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The A model Falcon was the epitome of this. I'm pretty sure it's development could be considered a success. Only later in it's life did the USAF decide that it wanted the Falcon to assume night/all-weather attack missions and to be able to fight BVR. Even then, it's evolution into these new roles was relatively smooth.

We are delving into the "Rebel Reformer" version of History (remember how often this tripe comes up on this thread?), Vs the "Evil Air Force Bureaucracy" version of history:

there were 291 F-16 Block 1 and 5 deliveries before the first 'nominally' useful Block 10 was built. To keep perspective, the YF-16's first flight (official) was Feb 74, and the first definitive and fully capable Block 30/32 F-16s for the US first flew Feb 87. Counting all partner nation deliveries, approximately 1800 F-16s were delivered before the fully capable Block 30/32s. Until the Block 30/32, all the capabilities of the F-16 were less than what was envisioned by the planners (just not the so-called 'Reformers'). The Block 30/32s were the first F-16s with full Beyond Visual Range-engagement and night/precision ground/maritime attack capabilities. They were the first with full AIM-7/AMRAAM/AGM-65D/HARM capabilities. They were also the first with Seek Talk secure voice communications. Until Block 30/32, the F-16 was mostly a hot rod for knife fighting on blue-sky days. At Block 30/32 and beyond, it was what the users wanted in the first place. An ‘all-weather combat aircraft’ to the users, or what the so-called ‘reformers’ refer to as ‘ruined’. Fielding 1800 F-16s aircraft before you reach a 'baseline' in Block 30/32? Thirteen years after first flight? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: THAT is 'concurrent development'.

To varying degrees, the same phenomenon can be shown for the F-15, and the F-18's, just look a the program history and the rationales behind the differences in variants.

http://elementsofpower.blogspot.com/2014/02/concurrency-and-f-35-cbs-60-minutes-re.html

Precursor-Aircraft.jpg

The beloved Tom (RIP Baby), was a different story but even it's rocky development could be considered a model of efficient program management when compared to the F-35.

tumblr_m56b9eQgDU1qbm2vgo2_500.gif

And the dead people?

At the time of course the "rocky development" included crashes on the first flight, and "shooting itself down with its own missile." Not to mention the big heavy price tag and expensive Aim-54s. It was more than a tad controversial at the time. If half this stuff happened to the F-35 the internet would implode. Instead we have a turbine blade liberating or what the TF-30 called "Another day in the life" The Rocky Development lead to a series of crashes over the decades as well. Its "rocky development" didn't end until the late 1980s. Which brings us to the keypoint. the problem with the Tomcat Development is it never got done, until lots of airplanes and crew had been lost. The Tomcat Development or lack thereof literally killed people.

#1 Tomcat was lost due to failure of a hydraulic pump which caused a total loss of flight controls. The crew managed to eject safely and the aircraft crashed short of the runway at Grumman's Calverton facilities in New York.

Thereafter flight testing began:

157981: 2nd prototype used for low-speed handling tests

157982: 3rd prototype used for non-destructive structural tests

157983: 4th prototype was the 1st F-14 with AN/AWG-9, used for AIM-54 evaluation

157984: 5th prototype used to demonstrate systems compatibility

157985: 6th prototype: Missile separation & weapons separation tests. #6 crashed on 20.06.1973: The aircraft was lost near Point Mugu when an AIM-7 pitched up on launch and ruptured a fuel tank, causing a fire which necessitated crew ejection.

157986: 7th prototype used as engine testbed, later used as F-14B-30GR prototype and then modified as F-14A(+) prototype

157987: 8th prototype for Navy evaluation tests. Aircraft crashed on 13.05.1974 after suffering an engine fire on ground at Patuxent River

157988: 9th prototype for AN/AWG-9 evaluation

157989: 10th prototype used for carrier qualification evaluation. Aircraft crashed on 30.06.1972 near Chesapeak Bay while practising for an airshow at Patuxent River

157990: 11th prototype used for non-weapons systems avionics tests

157991: 12th prototype (redesignated Prototype #1X) used for high-speed handling tests, modified for single-crew operation

Its a shame those days are gone. :rolleyes:

Edited by TaiidanTomcat

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People whined about the cost of the F-15 at the time too. They said that the F-4 was good enough.

People whined about the cost of the B-2. The numbers got slashed, the price per aircraft increased.

People whined about the cost of the F-22. The numbers got slashed, yadda yadda yadda...

And it's happening again now.

matrixCat.gif

Ab-soul-loot-lee!

That's my main point/argument with the F-35 haters.

For the most part, their points/arguments aren't original. It's just rehashed from the previous a/c generation's debates.

On a similar level to the F-35's 'controversies'; I remember when the B-1 Lancer was rolled out and Congress debated whether to buy them or not.

'Thee. Most. Expensive. Aircraft. Ever/In history.!!1!' was the opening lines to countless articles written about the B-1 back in the '70s.

They didn't debate the B-1's capabilities or necessity in general. They banked their argument all on the cost of the development alone. And they won. Carter cancelled the B-1 program but did continue funding the 'future-bomber-research/program'.

BTW; That program Carter approved to continue funding ended up producing what we now call the B-2 Spirit bomber biggrin.gif .

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And by "failed management" are we including cost realism vs cost optimism? The F-35 is undergoing a pretty damn revolutionary EW upgrade, right now. It was pre planned. And budgeted. That's terrible program management, versus the usual "Oh noes, Ivan's gots new MiG/SAM etc...What do?!!" prior program management?! The real crime was being honest it would cost a ton of money over the lifecycle versus lying like you are supposed to do.

Look, the F-35 is certainly a model to learn from with mistakes. But to holier-than-thou imply it is so significantly, let alone criminally, worse managed than other really hard programs is willful ignorance at best trending towards flat out intellectual dishonesty.

Edited by MarkW

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And by "failed management" are we including cost realism vs cost optimism? The F-35 is undergoing a pretty damn revolutionary EW upgrade, right now. It was pre planned. And budgeted. That's terrible program management, versus the usual "Oh noes, Ivan's gots new MiG/SAM etc...What do?!!" prior program management?! The real crime was being honest it would cost a ton of money over the lifecycle versus lying like you are supposed to do.

Look, the F-35 is certainly a model to learn from with mistakes. But to holier-than-thou imply it is so significantly, let alone criminally, worse managed than other really hard programs is willful ignorance at best trending towards flat out intellectual dishonesty.

That's pretty well said. There are definitely mistakes made. Maybe one of the worst aspects of public misunderstanding is not emphasizing points like the above. No one seems interested in explaining this method from the old daus compared to today. Combine that with some serious sticker shock and generations removed (I mean people not airplanes) from the last BBQ and of course so "well informed" journalists and you have one hell of a storm.

I'm still amazed for example that canada put together a KPMG cost report-- but didn't bother doing more for comparison. So now you can "buy twice as many" Super Hornets and they only cost 55 million each!! Not like the 46 billion dollar F-35!!

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How many crews have been killed by the F-35 compared to this point in Tomcat development?

And thanks for making my point, which you obviously missed.

So again, how long did it take to make the go from first flight to Block 60 capability? Because that's what we are really talking about here. The F-35 isn't a hopped up Sopwith Camel out of the box. It is/will be far more capable in a shorter overall time than any other platform before it. Ignoring the A model flew in the late 70's, but it was what the early 90s before the block 50s came out. And how much did 20 years of logistics tail, and 2 decades of development cost? ALL these programs are the same, the ONLY difference is the F-35 took the big bang versus incremental approach.

And the SH is a perfectly relevant example. Completely redone airframe on the avionics backbone of the C/Ds. Then immediate block upgrades to get the jet up to snuff. Yet another incremental development, where the true cost is buried over DECADES.

With regard to fatalities, my previous comments were only focused on time and money. Safety numbers have been decreasing steadily with every new program. i don't believe the F-22 development program had no fatalities, nor did the T-45 and SH programs. Did anyone die during the testing of the legacy Hornet (not 100% sure)? Zero fatalities is to be expected these days. So I guess you can throw you hands up and cheer that the F-35 hasn't killed anyone (yet) but to me, that should be the norm anyway.

So by your definition, the F-16 development wasn't completed until the Block 60 showed up 30 years later? And the F/A-18's development wasn't completed until the SH was operational with the AESA radar installed? I'm fine with this interesting approach but don't we need to apply the same yardstick to the JSF? When will it's development be completed? When the last significant upgrade is added (maybe one that isn't even in development yet) or do we ring the bell and call it complete when the Marines declare it's operational later this summer? I find it hard to believe that the JSF will never have a major upgrade later in it's service life, as the F-16 has had.

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