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MarkW

F-35 news roundup

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Is there even any movement in Canada to definitively select and procure a CF-18 replacement? There hasn't seemed to be much progress since the whole interim fiasco and the possible used Hornet purchase from the RAAF last summer. No urgency or even interest from those in power? Just curious what you folks are hearing up there.

Regards.

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Great discussion! Thank you all for the insights and honesty's. Hopefully this matter gets answered sooner than later.  Thanks again Paul

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Another huge factor is NATO inter-operability.  If everyone is playing with Legos and you show up with Lincoln Logs then you’re not going to fit into the theater. 

 

I don’t know to what level Gripen is NATO compatible, but it would definitely factor into any decision. 

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1 hour ago, Don said:

Is there even any movement in Canada to definitively select and procure a CF-18 replacement? There hasn't seemed to be much progress since the whole interim fiasco and the possible used Hornet purchase from the RAAF last summer. No urgency or even interest from those in power? Just curious what you folks are hearing up there.

Regards.

 

None at all, perhaps when the current government gets voted out later this year it will resume.

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1 hour ago, pauly boy said:

Great discussion! Thank you all for the insights and honesty's. Hopefully this matter gets answered sooner than later.  Thanks again Paul

 

Unless there is a change in government I don't think it will.

 

From the time the Sea King was originally going to be replaced to when it actually was replaced 25 years elapsed. I still recall when the Liberals cancelled the replacement helo Defence Minister David Collenette stated that no Sea King will fly past January 1, 1999.

 

We all know how that worked out, the Sea Kings were replaced in 2018, with a helicopter in all honesty actually failed the trials and came very close to being cancelled. But the RCAF will make it work, they have to.

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On 1/24/2019 at 10:02 AM, Aussie-Pete said:

Only one reason that Canada would buy NON US equipment. 
Australia had a lot of trouble with getting airbus aircraft to operate with US aircraft.

Which aircraft?

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7 hours ago, a4s4eva said:

Which aircraft?

Pretty sure the A330 tanker is fully compatible with US aircraft.  Thought I just saw a picture of it refueling some F-22's. 

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11 hours ago, 11bee said:

Pretty sure the A330 tanker is fully compatible with US aircraft.  Thought I just saw a picture of it refueling some F-22's. 

 

 

Yep the F-22 refueling trials were conducted in August & Sept 2018  successfully.

KC-30-F-22.jpg

 

 

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On 1/24/2019 at 2:52 PM, pauly boy said:

Great discussion! Thank you all for the insights and honesty's. Hopefully this matter gets answered sooner than later.  Thanks again Paul

 

 

If you got "taken in" initially by the Gripen E, don't feel bad. Saab are masters at PR/Marketing theyre the best in the business because paradoxically people trust them and their word, so they tell some of the biggest whoppers. People who are "in the biz" roll their eyes at Saab claims.  Lockheed has to have things etched in stone and confirmed with reviews by a dozen government agencies around the globe and fleet of Alphabet agencies, and people still don't believe any of it. Theyre not trusted at all by the public and yet are the worlds number 1 defense contractor. Saab is highly regarded by the public and yet struggles to sell airplanes. Isn't that interesting? That when it comes to selling to professionals who know what they're talking about they suddenly come up short, but when selling to the everyday man on the street who knows little to none about aircraft they endear themselves? 

 

Heres a funny thought. Canada signed onto the JSF before the first prototypes had even flown. Its had Canadian imput, with canadian requirements, with canadian test pilots, with parts actually made in canada by canadians paid for with Canadian money in a partnership. The Gripen has ZERO canadian connections. No canadian parts, pilots, requirements, imput, or partnership. NONE zilch nada. But there are people who can't wait to tell you how the Gripen is "perfect" for Canada and the F-35 is anything but. 

 

Just to beat a dead horse, The Gripen E is basically trying to make up for the shortcoming of the last Gripen and get to the F-16s level. It has more gas, it has 2 more pylons (that brings it up to F-16's amount)  IF everything goes well. IF. it will be basically an F-16 with better avionics and sensors. not as good as F-16 in some areas, better than an F-16 in others (avioinics, but late model F-16s are going to be about equal) . That's if it goes right.  I saw my first gripen NG concept art in 2006. As of 2019 they've built 2 prototypes.  Gripen was originally a short ranged point interceptor built to defend a neutral country.  

 

If it came between Gripen E and Super Hornet I would take super hornet any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Even if the Super Hornet costs more (and the prices are fairly comparable) The Super hornet is vastly superior platform in terms of all around capability. Not only that but F-35 and Super Hornet are backed by Uncle Sugar, and Uncle Sugar will insure they stay viable for a long time. upgrades and spares will be plentiful. Last I checked, The Gripen E has two orders. Brazil and sweden. Both for under 100 airframes total. No offense to brazil or sweden, but I don't see them spending big bucks 15, or 20 years down the line to keep these spear tips pointy. spares are going to hard to come by. It doesn't get talked about but one of the reasons the Gripen didn't get picked with Norway, was Norway wasn't even sure Saab would be in the airplane business in 10 or 15 years. When the last Gripen E rolls off the line, thats probably it. Leaving Norway to look for parts for the 2nd half of the airplanes lifespan. Where as F-35 was going to sell in thousands, and have backing of the US government. 

 

 

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Before anyone gets too holier-than-thou, I don't find Saab's claims to be any more or less outrageous than Boeing's, Airbus, Lockheed, Northrop, Hindustan, Dassault Mirage, Sukhoi, etc.

 

This is a business where the moral imperative is selling units, not being remotely honest. And please, please don't hold up Lockheed as a paragon of honesty.

Edited by MarkW

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13 minutes ago, MarkW said:

Before anyone gets to holier-than-thou, I don't find Saab's claims to be any more or less outrageous than Boeing's, Airbus, Lockheed, Northrop, Hindustan, Dassault Mirage, Sukhoi, etc.

 

this is a business where the moral imperative is selling units, not being remotely honest. and please, please don't hold up Lockheed as a paragon of honesty.

 

I've interacted with the biz dev people for all of the major manufacturers in the Canadian program. Perhaps because of the JSF program membership, LM is the least egregious in their claims... perhaps tied with Eurofighter. I'd argue the Eurofighter people were more respectful, and do more listening than talking. LM people are fairly careful with their language.

 

I had a Boeing person say that there was nothing special about the F-35 except its radar... I mean okay sure. In general they're less interested in fighting on the technical merits, but better at exploiting some of the canadian myths on fighter aircraft (gotta have two engines, way cheaper ect.) The marketing they put forward was entirely the basis upon which political leadership decided to do an interim buy of Super Hornets, without bothering to check if it was accurate enough. 

 

Saab however is the worst, by a county mile... to the point where I almost questioned someone as to whether they thought I was stupid because there was no way they could achieve that. The fact their VP would go and say the CPFH was $5,000 per hour to a person who know to a granular detail what goes into operational costs is illustrative of the crap they try to pull. 

 

Again this is only about this specific case, I have no doubt that in others their positions would change, though I think LM has generally acted perceptibly more Chaste as part of their corporate culture due to the bribery scandals of the 1970. 

Edited by -Neu-

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5 hours ago, MarkW said:

Before anyone gets too holier-than-thou, I don't find Saab's claims to be any more or less outrageous than Boeing's, Airbus, Lockheed, Northrop, Hindustan, Dassault Mirage, Sukhoi, etc.

 

This is a business where the moral imperative is selling units, not being remotely honest. And please, please don't hold up Lockheed as a paragon of honesty.

 

 

It wasn't meant to hold "LM as a paragon of honesty." Its a contrast because in most peoples mind LM is public enemy number 1, and Saab is white clad goddess. 

 

 

55140601951Vo7X46bzL.jpg

 

 

And to add to what Neu said. yes, they have made intensely outragous claims that SMEs, Uniformed personnel, pilots and analysts, must first debunk as "too good to be true." thats the point of it. A Dutch F-35 pilot did a presentation a few years back where he had to "explain to a politician who may have been a school teacher, why the Gripen is not what we think" (I'm paraphrasing) Thats the point. To intice the public. They don't sell to the military. They sell to the public, they appeal to fiscally minded politicians that their airplane will cost a fraction of anything else, while being nearly as good. They lay the groundwork. Again. Superb PR. I mean it as a great compliment. Theres still whole blogs written about "gripens for Canada" most of the information its based on is outright whoppers, exaggerations and large mixes of claims and even outdated info that Saab hasn't even used in years as the Gripen NG has been "evolving" for decades now. There was a while there where Gipen NG stats were changing every 6 months, with not a single actual airplane built.. 

 

Canada got caught flatfooted on the exact same trap, Boeing had beating the "65 million dollar super hornet"  and "half as much as an F-35" lie so hard in Canada, that it became "truth" and even Trudeau and Co were caught utterly flat footed when they tried their interim Super Hornet scam only to find out when the contract came back, that it was not actually 65 million per. Suddenly the cost was billions more. They actually went into sticker shock to the point they had to make panicky inquiries and clarifications.  I applaud Boeing in what might have been one of the most successful "guerrilla marketing" I've seen in a long while. At very little cost, and telling any reporter in earshot that "65 million" was the price of the super hornet, and repeating that number at no additional advertising cost to themselves (reports never checked it, they simply printed it) they saved a small fortune in advertising until it reached it zenith with a near miss sale thanks to the duly brainwashed Canadian gov. Bravo. 

 

Small businesses do that around here all the time. They invite the news for a fluff piece and photo op while putting their employees forward as SMEs, soundbytes, qoutes etc. If its on the news it must be true. doesn't cost a dime. 

 

 

Edited by TaiidanTomcat

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Remember that that $65 million did not include the engines and the press never mentioned that. Then again the press is controlled by the Canadian gov't.

 

Dave

 

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56 minutes ago, dustiepal said:

Remember that that $65 million did not include the engines and the press never mentioned that.

 

It was in the fine print...

 

Quote

 

Batteries Not Included

 

 

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In the US, what Lockheed, Boeing and Northrop do is far more insidious and harder to overcome though. They don't sell to the public at large. You never saw that Boeing commercial with the two little kids talking about the f-35 and the f-18 on American TV.

 

What they do is hire a bunch of ex-military guys, who come with a degree of built-in gravitas. Then they sell their program with all of its faster-than-light technology to some major who more likely than not may not even have an engineering degree. The next thing you know that major is all lathered up, and has sold the program to his Colonel and his general. all of a sudden, the glossy brochure becomes a valid verified military absolute must have need.  and while the warfighters are getting themselves in a frenzy about how many Americans will die if we don't have this glossy brochure technology, no one with an actual science degree has actually looked at or verified that any of the bull crap is even feasible.  So when the system is delivered with the equivalent of dozens of engines missing in terms of cost of capability, no one notices because the airplane flies around makes lots of noise and drops bombs. But it sure as heck ain't what anyone was expecting at the beginning of the process.

 

And with all due respect, Nue, Lockheed isn't lying as much now as they did in the early days because there is such a substantive body of work, both good and bad to support or deny any ridiculous claims that they make.  And they were put under tremendous pressure during the Bogdan days to get their house in order.

 

To me, it's just a matter of Saab being markedly worse at lying than the other companies. So they forgot to include an engine is part of the FlyAway cost? Kids stuff compared to the amount of capability that was whittled out of the f-35 program between 2008 and 2016. The other point is a lot of that capability that disappeared from the program while costs increased--no one will ever know about it because it was all Green door stuff in the first place. So yeah, forgetting to include something as obvious as an engine is pretty boneheaded. But certainly dollar-wise no worse than any of the shenanigans Lockheed, or Boeing, or Northrop have pulled on their various programs through the years. Nobody knew that the f-35 was supposed to have a banana trash powered flux capacitor, so when it dropped out of the program, only a few people even cared, and they were the program office people who are most vested in the success of the program at that point.

 

Have we also already forgotten that the super hornet was supposed to be a miner upgrade compared to a whole new aircraft development?

 

So again, one company may be worse at the fine art of lying, but their lies are certainly no better or worse than the others.

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4 hours ago, dustiepal said:

Remember that that $65 million did not include the engines and the press never mentioned that. Then again the press is controlled by the Canadian gov't.

 

Dave

 

 

$65 CND million in 2010 Canadian dollars did account for the engines: you take inflation into account you get the present $80~85m flyaway costs. You want to point fingers at not understanding the issues? It was the public at large and the media full of people who barely has a clue about them yet look for outrage everywhere. The estimates prepared by DND in 2010 and 2014 are as valid today as when they were made. That isn't reported in the press, who still take the 2011 PBO and 2012 Auditor General report as a shibboleth when they were exceptionally flawed reports. 

Edited by -Neu-

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50 minutes ago, MarkW said:

In the US, what Lockheed, Boeing and Northrop do is far more insidious and harder to overcome though. They don't sell to the public at large. You never saw that Boeing commercial with the two little kids talking about the f-35 and the f-18 on American TV.

 

What they do is hire a bunch of ex-military guys, who come with a degree of built-in gravitas. Then they sell their program with all of its faster-than-light technology to some major who more likely than not may not even have an engineering degree. The next thing you know that major is all lathered up, and has sold the program to his Colonel and his general. all of a sudden, the glossy brochure becomes a valid verified military absolute must have need.  and while the warfighters are getting themselves in a frenzy about how many Americans will die if we don't have this glossy brochure technology, no one with an actual science degree has actually looked at or verified that any of the bull crap is even feasible.  So when the system is delivered with the equivalent of dozens of engines missing in terms of cost of capability, no one notices because the airplane flies around makes lots of noise and drops bombs. But it sure as heck ain't what anyone was expecting at the beginning of the process.

 

And with all due respect, Nue, Lockheed isn't lying as much now as they did in the early days because there is such a substantive body of work, both good and bad to support or deny any ridiculous claims that they make.  And they were put under tremendous pressure during the Bogdan days to get their house in order.

 

To me, it's just a matter of Saab being markedly worse at lying than the other companies. So they forgot to include an engine is part of the FlyAway cost? Kids stuff compared to the amount of capability that was whittled out of the f-35 program between 2008 and 2016. The other point is a lot of that capability that disappeared from the program while costs increased--no one will ever know about it because it was all Green door stuff in the first place. So yeah, forgetting to include something as obvious as an engine is pretty boneheaded. But certainly dollar-wise no worse than any of the shenanigans Lockheed, or Boeing, or Northrop have pulled on their various programs through the years. Nobody knew that the f-35 was supposed to have a banana trash powered flux capacitor, so when it dropped out of the program, only a few people even cared, and they were the program office people who are most vested in the success of the program at that point.

 

Have we also already forgotten that the super hornet was supposed to be a miner upgrade compared to a whole new aircraft development?

 

So again, one company may be worse at the fine art of lying, but their lies are certainly no better or worse than the others.

 

 

Again, I've seen on the other side of the sales pitch (as have you), not only for this project but others. Seeing former uniformed personnel idolize new technology is par for the course, as is everything you've listed. Many of them are former colleagues of mine. Yes its often like snake oil salesmen, and frankly the only thing these discussions are good for is as one source of many what might be possible in the future, for when someone's crafting a SoR and RFP. But that requires further research, pulling in from multiple sources ect. 

 

I think the thing that it all comes down to strong project management skills, having a good RFP that results in a strong, actionable contract, good oversight, as well as consistent funding thats commensurate to what is required, (not the required funding -15% because "budget reasons.") Then you need the army of lawyers. That to me is just the struggle of defence procurement today and that may not always achieve the a satisfactory outcome. 

 

 

I think what Saab irks me is the blatant lies to the public who have no clue but it seems reasonable to them. In Canada they are part of the reason why we're in this mess (along with Boeing). 

 

 

 

 

 

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MarkW you mention ex-military guys doing a sales job on some Major > Colonel > General. That may get it in the Pentagon’s next budget proposal, but the cynical reality is that lobbyists with expensive dinner reservations, meetings in luxury vacation spots and suitcases full of cash “convince” our elected officials to back and approve those budget line items. Politicians couldn’t care less about the technical merits or viability of a military program. They DO care about landing a Big Fat Contract in their voting district, because what they REALLY care about is getting re-elected. 

 

What Lockheed is very Very (VERY) good at is structuring a procurement program and a supplier chain that is spread across as many states (voting districts) and countries as possible.  That way everybody (politician) gets a piece of the pie (votes) as opposed to a single source, do it all yourself, winner takes all approach. 

 

When I was on the program I worked on the PTMS controller, designed and built in Canada by Honeywell.

 

.

Edited by habu2

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On 1/28/2019 at 10:13 PM, Aussie-Pete said:

Non US helicopters

Whilist they have  had many problems with the Tiger and NH 90 you can hardly blame the fact that they didn't integrate seamlessly with US systems when ADF bought European systems to begin with

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On 1/30/2019 at 1:53 PM, a4s4eva said:

Whilist they have  had many problems with the Tiger and NH 90 you can hardly blame the fact that they didn't integrate seamlessly with US systems when ADF bought European systems to begin with

Oh I am not blaming Airbus. Australia has a habit of buying the wrong kit and "Australianizing" them. 
The issues have since been fixed. We can now fire Hellfire

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They clearly were going with a much cheaper alternative to replace a light attack aircraft...wait, THE TYPHOON?!

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 Maybe it's just me but I think  it would take a pretty serious piece of machinery to replace the Tornados....Not going to find that at a rummage sale .

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