from the flying-money-pit dept.
Overall fleet-wide monthly availability rates remain around 50 percent, a condition that has existed with no significant improvement since October 2014, despite the increasing number of new aircraft. One notable trend is an increase in the percentage of the fleet that cannot fly while awaiting replacement parts – indicated by the Not Mission Capable due to Supply rate.
[...] Total acquisition costs for Lockheed Martin Corp.'s next-generation fighter may rise about 7 percent to $406.5 billion, according to figures in a document known as a Selected Acquisition Report. That's a reversal after several years of estimates that had declined to $379 billion recently from a previous high of $398.5 billion in early 2014.
Related: The F-35 Fighter Plane Is Even More of a Mess Than You Thought
The F-35: A Gold-Plated Turkey
Flawed and Potentially Deadly F-35 Fighters Won't be Ready Before 2019
Lockheed Martin Negotiating $37 Billion F-35 Deal
Does China's J-20 Rival Other Stealth Fighters?
The US military's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft is proving to be a pain in the neck in more ways than one. Not only did the Pentagon spend almost $400 billion to buy 2,400 aircraft - about twice as much as it cost to put a man on the moon - the F-35 program is 7 years behind schedule and $163 billion over budget. This at a time when cuts in the defense budget are forcing the Pentagon to shrink the size of the military. CBS 60 Minutes took a closer look at the troubled fighter plane a few months back, but their rebroadcast on Sunday evening seems like as good a reason as any to revisit one of the biggest ongoing budget debacles in U.S. military memory. David Martin gets an inside look at what makes the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter the most expensive weapons system in history.
I think this is a first for S/N: An audio presentation as a story.
The other day I heard Pierre Sprey, the primary designer of the F-16 and A-10, talking to journalist Ian Masters about the F-35 attack jet. This guy is a fascinating speaker.
Topics: Politics and military procurement;
- Graft; bribery.
- How, after an aircraft becomes a multi-role multi-service platform, it is not a "common" airframe any longer.
- Vertical takeoff and landing to support ground troops is nonsense. (It churns up too much crap on anything except when using a giant concrete slab.)
- Trying to put VTOL and supersonic capability into the same aircraft is just stupid.
- When plastic aircraft burn, they produce toxic smoke.
It's about 20 minutes in length, but if your media player has a speed control, you can listen to it in less time than that.
The high bitrate version at Ian's site is 19MB. Mr.Sprey is the 3rd of 3 guests.
The low bitrate webcast at KPFK's archive is 14MB for all 3 guests.
KPFK also has a stream.
The 3rd segment is from 36:30 to 55:00.
KPFK's stuff will be available until mid-October.
The F-35 multirole fighter won't be close to ready before 2019, the US House Armed Services Committee was told on Wednesday. The aircraft, which is supposed to reinvigorate the American military's air power, is suffering numerous problems, largely down to flaws in the F-35's operating system. These include straightforward code crashes, having to reboot the radar every four hours, and serious security holes in the code.
Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon's director of operational test and evaluation, reported that the latest F-35 operating system has 931 open, documented deficiencies, 158 of which are Category 1 – classified as those that could cause death, severe injury, or severe illness. "The limited and incomplete F-35 cybersecurity testing accomplished to date has nonetheless revealed deficiencies that cannot be ignored," Gilmore said in his testimony [PDF]. "Cybersecurity testing on the next increment of ALIS [Autonomic Logistics Information System] – version 2.0.2 – is planned for this fall, but may need to be delayed because the program may not be able to resolve some key deficiencies and complete content development and fielding as scheduled."
He reported that around 60 per cent of aircraft used for testing were grounded due to software problems. He cited one four-aircraft exercise that had to be cancelled after two of the four aircraft aborted "due to avionics stability problems during startup."
Lockheed Martin Corp is in the final stages of negotiating a deal worth more than $37 billion to sell a record 440 F-35 fighter jets to a group of 11 nations including the United States, two people familiar with the talks said.
This would be the biggest deal yet for the stealthy F-35 jet, which is set to make its Paris Airshow debut this week.
The sale represents a major shift in sales practices from annual purchases to more economic multi-year deals that lower the cost of each jet.
The pricing of the jets was still not final, though the average price of the 440 jets was expected to be $85 million, the people said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the negotiations publicly.
The multi-year deal for the fighters will consist of three tranches over fiscal years 2018-2020.
[...] Last week, representatives from 11 F-35 customer nations met in Baltimore, Maryland to discuss terms and toured a Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC.N) facility in Maryland that provides equipment for the jet. Those nations included Australia, Denmark, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Turkey, South Korea, Britain and the United States.
The Chengdu J-20 marks the first entry of a multirole stealth fighter into China's armed forces. According to the Department of Defense (DOD), China views stealth technology as a core component in the transformation of its air force from "a predominantly territorial air force to one capable of conducting both offensive and defensive operations." Designed for enhanced stealth and maneuverability, the J-20 has the potential to provide China with a variety of previously unavailable air combat options and enhance its capability to project power.
As an advanced multirole stealth fighter, it is speculated that the J-20 can fulfill both air-to-air and air-to-ground combat roles for the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and the aviation branch of the People's Liberation Army Navy (referred to as either Naval Aviation or the PLAN-AF). According to PLAAF Senior Colonel Shen Jinke, the J-20 will enhance the overall combat capability of China's air force. A 2016 report by the DOD states that the J-20 represents a critical step in China's efforts to develop "advanced aircraft to improve its regional power projection capabilities and to strengthen its ability to strike regional airbases and facilities." In 2014, the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission described the J-20 as "more advanced than any other fighter currently deployed by Asia Pacific countries."