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Slow and steady for the F-35

written by australianaviation.com.au | February 25, 2015

The first Royal Australian Air Force F-35A Lightning II jet arrived at Luke Air Force BaseJoint Strike Fighter Program Executive Officer Lieutenant-General Christopher Bogdan says the JSF program continues to make “good, slow and steady progress” towards a number of key milestones.

Speaking at the Avalon International Airshow, LtGen Bogdan says the program continues to hold to its 2010/11 re-baselined schedule, and that since that time, no milestones have shifted to the right and no extra money has been injected into the program.

He says all the plans made after the re-baseline remain in the program and that despite recent reporting, no capabilities have been shifted to later capability blocks.

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The US Marine Corps is planning to declare an initial operating capability (IOC) with the F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing variant of the JSF on July 1 this year.

LtGen Bogdan says the program office has 10 key capabilities left to deliver before this takes place. Of these 10, four are currently tracking behind schedule, including the revolutionary autonomic logistics information system (ALIS), concurrency modifications to early build jets, the delivery of full-motion simulators for pilot training and software development.

But LtGen Bogdan stresses that whereas the program’s delays used to be measured in months and years prior to the re-baselining, he now measures them in days and months. Of the above listed elements, none is currently tracking more than 40 days beyond schedule.

The biggest overall challenge for the program continues to be the development of the fully operational Block 3F software, which LtGen Bogdan says is currently tracking about four months behind schedule.

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He adds that concurrency modifications to about 200 F-35s at the conclusion of development testing remain a risk to the program, saying“concurrency is very hard to do” when all the current aircraft are fully committed to development testing or pilot training.

He also emphasises that the JPO and industry suppliers are committed to getting the software development back on track and that, at a cost of US$185 million a month, any opportunity to reduce the cost of development testing will be eagerly pursued.

Other technical issues such as the aircraft’s revolutionary helmet mounted display, the F-35C carrier variant’s tailhook design and modifications to the aircraft’s F135 engine following an engine fire last June are “behind us”, and that fixes for all three have now been developed and tested.

The US Air Force remains committed to declaring its IOC with the F-35A conventional variant in August 2016, while the RAAF is expected to follow with 3SQN and 2OCU in late 2020.

Meanwhile, F-35 production is expected to ramp up from 35 aircraft in 2014, to 45 in 2015, 61 in 2016, 72 in 2017, 93 in 2018, 102 in 2019, and at least 120 a year from 2020. These numbers preclude any additional foreign military sales over and above those orders already placed by FMS and partner nations.

Australian JSF Project Office head AVM Chris Deeble says the RAAF’s $15.4 billion project achieved several key milestones in recent months, with the Government approval of an additional 58 aircraft last year taking the RAAF’s total to 72, the rollout and first flights of the RAAF’s first two aircraft in July and Septembe,a successful airworthiness board and clearance for flight for the first two aircraft their delivery to Luke AFB in December and the commencement of the first RAAF pilot’s F-35 training at Eglin AFB in January.

The Government Public Works Committee also has approved the A$1.5 billion infrastructure works element of the project required to support the F-35 at RAAF bases Williamtown, Tindal and the northern bare bases – Australia’s largest defence infrastructure project since the end of WW2.

AVM Deeble also expects the aircraft’s environmental impact statement to be approved in March.

He says Australia continues to assess the project independently of the JPO and concurs with the JPO’s assessment of the remaining risks in the project. His main concerns are not technical but rather centre on the establishment of sustainment and training facilities and infrastructure for the F-35 in Australia.

He’s also concerned about the abilities of some companies to ramp up their industrial capacity as production increases and the Australian and international project offices continue to do production readiness reviews to assess industry capacity.

AIA15

25% off starts now! Australian Aviation magazine Cyber Monday sale is now live. Have the very best of Australian Aviation’s annual print and digital subscription. This includes every In Focus and Behind the Lens digital magazine, special coverage, exclusive photos and editions you may have miss. Subscribe now at australianaviation.com.au.

12 Comments

  • BDT

    says:

    “Speaking at the Avalon International Airshow, LtGen Bogdan says the program continues to hold to its 2010/11 re-baselined schedule, and that since that time, no milestones have shifted to the right and no extra money has been injected into the program.”

    This is followed by 3 paragraphs on what is currently running late.

    I’d say this man’s information is dubious, to say the least.

    Politician or Program Manager???

  • David

    says:

    A bit harsh BTD don’t you think?

    What is currently running behind has the capability to catch up with the delivery schedule. (Happens in airlines (and sports) all the time doesn’t it?)

    Running behind and not meeting a major milestone are two different things.

    This is an enormously complex project and what matters is what we arrive with at the end. Throwing rocks in the meantime helps no-one.

    The F-35 is a significant leap in capability.

    The F-111 was late but absolutely great.

    I think we should let outcomes guide our assessment here.

  • Michael

    says:

    It’s great that things are looking better for the F-35 program and I think it will ultimately provide a good capability, but it probably won’t be the superstar fighter that Lockheed are making it out to be.

    Notice how most countries buying the jet aren’t committing to replace their entire air combat fleets with it, ourselves included. I think purchasing the Super Hornets and Growlers was a good move for Australia as we always have the option of holding onto these aircraft for a bit longer and replacing them with something other than the F-35 in future.

    In all likelihood this will probably be a more advanced version of the F-35, but I wouldn’t rule out the RAAF holding out for a sixth generation fighter or maybe even a future advanced UCAV designed to work in synergy with the F-35 fleet.

    What are everyone’s thoughts on this?

  • Ben

    says:

    @ Michael

    That’s because no one has the money, and that’s not because the F-35 “costs a lot”(it’s moderate for an aircraft), it’s because every ones budgets has been slashed to the bone or politics demands something else(South Korea want’s an indigenous design, Britain/Italy is committed to the Eurofighter) but simply having F-35s in their air force’s will vastly increase their capabilities. http://www.sldinfo.com/f-35-and-f-22-operational-integration-training-mission/

    The F-35 will be in production until 2038, we got our Super Hornets FOC in 2012, with a 6,000 hour frame we could easily fly them into the ground by 2030 with an aggressive flying program(300+/month)..

    I like the UCAV idea though, we’ll certainly see what comes out of the wood works in the next 10 years.

  • TomcatTerry

    says:

    If only the sub replacement debate understood the same principles here where buying and relying on an overseas military equipment supplier is a common occurrence. Defence needs first before state jobs / commercial interests

  • johnny

    says:

    “The F-35 will be in production until 2038”

    Only in LM’s marketing dreams, it will close by 2030 or even sooner.

  • Raymond

    says:

    TomcatTerry – we’re keeping out of the sub debate here, okay!

  • Raymond

    says:

    Johnny – source? Reference?

    I doubt it. Look at the F-15 and F-16 for example; still in production. I’d say it’s more likely the F-35 could be produced even longer than that… There will probably be delays with the 6th generation fighters to come and by then the F-35 will be fully mature and developed with a very extensive weapons suite. (Feel free to bookmark this comment and marvel in ~2038-40. 🙂 )

  • Don Bacon

    says:

    “The US Marine Corps is planning to declare an initial operating capability (IOC) with the F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing variant of the JSF on July 1 this year.”

    This declaration that the F-35B is combat capable is planned despite the fact that it isn’t.
    –The aircraft is not fully developed and won’t be until at last 2019. (milestone C full production)
    –So all of the plane’s Demonstrated Performance characteristics are “TBD” — To Be Determined.
    –Significant problems: software, helmet, logistics support (ALIS), weapons, reliability and mission files.
    –Extreme problem: The engine requires redesign, but no news on it
    –The non-combat-capable plane can’t bomb nor strafe
    –It costs about $200 million (recent Israel order 14 for $2.82 billion)
    –all planes will have to go back to depot for retrofit of engineering changes

  • Ben

    says:

    The Israeli order per aircraft cost increase is due to indigenous hardware being installed on the aircraft. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  • beepa

    says:

    As usual “Don” is living on another planet where he knows all and everybody else are just dumb. Ignore the troll.

  • Guest

    says:

    I also doubt to see new price ever coming down to $95M for the F-35A; $102M for the F-35B and $116M for the F-35C.

    The actual F-35 unit costs are today multiples of what Lockheed Martin, The Pentagon, USAF, USN and USMC says they will be. If you think it is reasonable to expect them to plummet to the $95 million or whatever the price Lockheed glibly promises (thanks to the ubiquitous “learning curve” and other manipulations), please consider a somewhat different analysis, also in Time magazine, available here.

    http://nation.time.com/2013/06

    The cost estimates in the NDAA for the cheapest version of the F-35, the Air Force’s F-35A, are the following. (Note these costs as just for production and do not include R&D.)

    The 2014 procurement cost for 19 F-35As will be $2.989 billion. However, we need to add to that the “long lead” money for the 2014 buy that was appropriated in 2013; that was $293 million, making a total of $3.282 billion for 19 aircraft in 2014. The math for unit cost comes to $172.7 million for each aircraft.

    To be fully accurate, however, we should add the additional procurement money authorized for “modification of aircraft” for F-35As for 2014; that means $158 million more, bringing the total unit production cost to $181 million per copy or higher.

    None of that includes the 2014 R&D bill for the F-35A; that was $816 million; calculate that in if anyone wants to find out further costs.

    The Marine Corps and Navy versions are a little pricier.

    For the Marines F-35B, or STOVL, model, the authorised 2014 buy is six (6) aircraft for $1.267 billion in 2014 procurement, $106 million in 2013 long lead money, and $147 million in 2014 aircraft procurement modifications. That calculates to $252.3 million for each one.

    For the Navy’s F-35C, carrier-capable (but not yet), model, they get four (4) aircraft for $1.135 billion, plus $32 million in long lead, plus $31 million in modifications. That means $299.5 million for each one.

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Slow and steady for the F-35

written by australianaviation.com.au | February 25, 2015

The first Royal Australian Air Force F-35A Lightning II jet arrived at Luke Air Force BaseJoint Strike Fighter Program Executive Officer Lieutenant-General Christopher Bogdan says the JSF program continues to make “good, slow and steady progress” towards a number of key milestones.

Speaking at the Avalon International Airshow, LtGen Bogdan says the program continues to hold to its 2010/11 re-baselined schedule, and that since that time, no milestones have shifted to the right and no extra money has been injected into the program.

He says all the plans made after the re-baseline remain in the program and that despite recent reporting, no capabilities have been shifted to later capability blocks.

Advertisement
Advertisement

The US Marine Corps is planning to declare an initial operating capability (IOC) with the F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing variant of the JSF on July 1 this year.

LtGen Bogdan says the program office has 10 key capabilities left to deliver before this takes place. Of these 10, four are currently tracking behind schedule, including the revolutionary autonomic logistics information system (ALIS), concurrency modifications to early build jets, the delivery of full-motion simulators for pilot training and software development.

But LtGen Bogdan stresses that whereas the program’s delays used to be measured in months and years prior to the re-baselining, he now measures them in days and months. Of the above listed elements, none is currently tracking more than 40 days beyond schedule.

The biggest overall challenge for the program continues to be the development of the fully operational Block 3F software, which LtGen Bogdan says is currently tracking about four months behind schedule.

PROMOTED CONTENT

He adds that concurrency modifications to about 200 F-35s at the conclusion of development testing remain a risk to the program, saying“concurrency is very hard to do” when all the current aircraft are fully committed to development testing or pilot training.

He also emphasises that the JPO and industry suppliers are committed to getting the software development back on track and that, at a cost of US$185 million a month, any opportunity to reduce the cost of development testing will be eagerly pursued.

Other technical issues such as the aircraft’s revolutionary helmet mounted display, the F-35C carrier variant’s tailhook design and modifications to the aircraft’s F135 engine following an engine fire last June are “behind us”, and that fixes for all three have now been developed and tested.

The US Air Force remains committed to declaring its IOC with the F-35A conventional variant in August 2016, while the RAAF is expected to follow with 3SQN and 2OCU in late 2020.

Meanwhile, F-35 production is expected to ramp up from 35 aircraft in 2014, to 45 in 2015, 61 in 2016, 72 in 2017, 93 in 2018, 102 in 2019, and at least 120 a year from 2020. These numbers preclude any additional foreign military sales over and above those orders already placed by FMS and partner nations.

Australian JSF Project Office head AVM Chris Deeble says the RAAF’s $15.4 billion project achieved several key milestones in recent months, with the Government approval of an additional 58 aircraft last year taking the RAAF’s total to 72, the rollout and first flights of the RAAF’s first two aircraft in July and Septembe,a successful airworthiness board and clearance for flight for the first two aircraft their delivery to Luke AFB in December and the commencement of the first RAAF pilot’s F-35 training at Eglin AFB in January.

The Government Public Works Committee also has approved the A$1.5 billion infrastructure works element of the project required to support the F-35 at RAAF bases Williamtown, Tindal and the northern bare bases – Australia’s largest defence infrastructure project since the end of WW2.

AVM Deeble also expects the aircraft’s environmental impact statement to be approved in March.

He says Australia continues to assess the project independently of the JPO and concurs with the JPO’s assessment of the remaining risks in the project. His main concerns are not technical but rather centre on the establishment of sustainment and training facilities and infrastructure for the F-35 in Australia.

He’s also concerned about the abilities of some companies to ramp up their industrial capacity as production increases and the Australian and international project offices continue to do production readiness reviews to assess industry capacity.

AIA15

25% off starts now! Australian Aviation magazine Cyber Monday sale is now live. Have the very best of Australian Aviation’s annual print and digital subscription. This includes every In Focus and Behind the Lens digital magazine, special coverage, exclusive photos and editions you may have miss. Subscribe now at australianaviation.com.au.

12 Comments

  • BDT

    says:

    “Speaking at the Avalon International Airshow, LtGen Bogdan says the program continues to hold to its 2010/11 re-baselined schedule, and that since that time, no milestones have shifted to the right and no extra money has been injected into the program.”

    This is followed by 3 paragraphs on what is currently running late.

    I’d say this man’s information is dubious, to say the least.

    Politician or Program Manager???

  • David

    says:

    A bit harsh BTD don’t you think?

    What is currently running behind has the capability to catch up with the delivery schedule. (Happens in airlines (and sports) all the time doesn’t it?)

    Running behind and not meeting a major milestone are two different things.

    This is an enormously complex project and what matters is what we arrive with at the end. Throwing rocks in the meantime helps no-one.

    The F-35 is a significant leap in capability.

    The F-111 was late but absolutely great.

    I think we should let outcomes guide our assessment here.

  • Michael

    says:

    It’s great that things are looking better for the F-35 program and I think it will ultimately provide a good capability, but it probably won’t be the superstar fighter that Lockheed are making it out to be.

    Notice how most countries buying the jet aren’t committing to replace their entire air combat fleets with it, ourselves included. I think purchasing the Super Hornets and Growlers was a good move for Australia as we always have the option of holding onto these aircraft for a bit longer and replacing them with something other than the F-35 in future.

    In all likelihood this will probably be a more advanced version of the F-35, but I wouldn’t rule out the RAAF holding out for a sixth generation fighter or maybe even a future advanced UCAV designed to work in synergy with the F-35 fleet.

    What are everyone’s thoughts on this?

  • Ben

    says:

    @ Michael

    That’s because no one has the money, and that’s not because the F-35 “costs a lot”(it’s moderate for an aircraft), it’s because every ones budgets has been slashed to the bone or politics demands something else(South Korea want’s an indigenous design, Britain/Italy is committed to the Eurofighter) but simply having F-35s in their air force’s will vastly increase their capabilities. http://www.sldinfo.com/f-35-and-f-22-operational-integration-training-mission/

    The F-35 will be in production until 2038, we got our Super Hornets FOC in 2012, with a 6,000 hour frame we could easily fly them into the ground by 2030 with an aggressive flying program(300+/month)..

    I like the UCAV idea though, we’ll certainly see what comes out of the wood works in the next 10 years.

  • TomcatTerry

    says:

    If only the sub replacement debate understood the same principles here where buying and relying on an overseas military equipment supplier is a common occurrence. Defence needs first before state jobs / commercial interests

  • johnny

    says:

    “The F-35 will be in production until 2038”

    Only in LM’s marketing dreams, it will close by 2030 or even sooner.

  • Raymond

    says:

    TomcatTerry – we’re keeping out of the sub debate here, okay!

  • Raymond

    says:

    Johnny – source? Reference?

    I doubt it. Look at the F-15 and F-16 for example; still in production. I’d say it’s more likely the F-35 could be produced even longer than that… There will probably be delays with the 6th generation fighters to come and by then the F-35 will be fully mature and developed with a very extensive weapons suite. (Feel free to bookmark this comment and marvel in ~2038-40. 🙂 )

  • Don Bacon

    says:

    “The US Marine Corps is planning to declare an initial operating capability (IOC) with the F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing variant of the JSF on July 1 this year.”

    This declaration that the F-35B is combat capable is planned despite the fact that it isn’t.
    –The aircraft is not fully developed and won’t be until at last 2019. (milestone C full production)
    –So all of the plane’s Demonstrated Performance characteristics are “TBD” — To Be Determined.
    –Significant problems: software, helmet, logistics support (ALIS), weapons, reliability and mission files.
    –Extreme problem: The engine requires redesign, but no news on it
    –The non-combat-capable plane can’t bomb nor strafe
    –It costs about $200 million (recent Israel order 14 for $2.82 billion)
    –all planes will have to go back to depot for retrofit of engineering changes

  • Ben

    says:

    The Israeli order per aircraft cost increase is due to indigenous hardware being installed on the aircraft. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  • beepa

    says:

    As usual “Don” is living on another planet where he knows all and everybody else are just dumb. Ignore the troll.

  • Guest

    says:

    I also doubt to see new price ever coming down to $95M for the F-35A; $102M for the F-35B and $116M for the F-35C.

    The actual F-35 unit costs are today multiples of what Lockheed Martin, The Pentagon, USAF, USN and USMC says they will be. If you think it is reasonable to expect them to plummet to the $95 million or whatever the price Lockheed glibly promises (thanks to the ubiquitous “learning curve” and other manipulations), please consider a somewhat different analysis, also in Time magazine, available here.

    http://nation.time.com/2013/06

    The cost estimates in the NDAA for the cheapest version of the F-35, the Air Force’s F-35A, are the following. (Note these costs as just for production and do not include R&D.)

    The 2014 procurement cost for 19 F-35As will be $2.989 billion. However, we need to add to that the “long lead” money for the 2014 buy that was appropriated in 2013; that was $293 million, making a total of $3.282 billion for 19 aircraft in 2014. The math for unit cost comes to $172.7 million for each aircraft.

    To be fully accurate, however, we should add the additional procurement money authorized for “modification of aircraft” for F-35As for 2014; that means $158 million more, bringing the total unit production cost to $181 million per copy or higher.

    None of that includes the 2014 R&D bill for the F-35A; that was $816 million; calculate that in if anyone wants to find out further costs.

    The Marine Corps and Navy versions are a little pricier.

    For the Marines F-35B, or STOVL, model, the authorised 2014 buy is six (6) aircraft for $1.267 billion in 2014 procurement, $106 million in 2013 long lead money, and $147 million in 2014 aircraft procurement modifications. That calculates to $252.3 million for each one.

    For the Navy’s F-35C, carrier-capable (but not yet), model, they get four (4) aircraft for $1.135 billion, plus $32 million in long lead, plus $31 million in modifications. That means $299.5 million for each one.

Leave a Comment to TomcatTerry Cancel

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Slow and steady for the F-35

written by australianaviation.com.au | February 25, 2015

The first Royal Australian Air Force F-35A Lightning II jet arrived at Luke Air Force BaseJoint Strike Fighter Program Executive Officer Lieutenant-General Christopher Bogdan says the JSF program continues to make “good, slow and steady progress” towards a number of key milestones.

Speaking at the Avalon International Airshow, LtGen Bogdan says the program continues to hold to its 2010/11 re-baselined schedule, and that since that time, no milestones have shifted to the right and no extra money has been injected into the program.

He says all the plans made after the re-baseline remain in the program and that despite recent reporting, no capabilities have been shifted to later capability blocks.

Advertisement
Advertisement

The US Marine Corps is planning to declare an initial operating capability (IOC) with the F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing variant of the JSF on July 1 this year.

LtGen Bogdan says the program office has 10 key capabilities left to deliver before this takes place. Of these 10, four are currently tracking behind schedule, including the revolutionary autonomic logistics information system (ALIS), concurrency modifications to early build jets, the delivery of full-motion simulators for pilot training and software development.

But LtGen Bogdan stresses that whereas the program’s delays used to be measured in months and years prior to the re-baselining, he now measures them in days and months. Of the above listed elements, none is currently tracking more than 40 days beyond schedule.

The biggest overall challenge for the program continues to be the development of the fully operational Block 3F software, which LtGen Bogdan says is currently tracking about four months behind schedule.

PROMOTED CONTENT

He adds that concurrency modifications to about 200 F-35s at the conclusion of development testing remain a risk to the program, saying“concurrency is very hard to do” when all the current aircraft are fully committed to development testing or pilot training.

He also emphasises that the JPO and industry suppliers are committed to getting the software development back on track and that, at a cost of US$185 million a month, any opportunity to reduce the cost of development testing will be eagerly pursued.

Other technical issues such as the aircraft’s revolutionary helmet mounted display, the F-35C carrier variant’s tailhook design and modifications to the aircraft’s F135 engine following an engine fire last June are “behind us”, and that fixes for all three have now been developed and tested.

The US Air Force remains committed to declaring its IOC with the F-35A conventional variant in August 2016, while the RAAF is expected to follow with 3SQN and 2OCU in late 2020.

Meanwhile, F-35 production is expected to ramp up from 35 aircraft in 2014, to 45 in 2015, 61 in 2016, 72 in 2017, 93 in 2018, 102 in 2019, and at least 120 a year from 2020. These numbers preclude any additional foreign military sales over and above those orders already placed by FMS and partner nations.

Australian JSF Project Office head AVM Chris Deeble says the RAAF’s $15.4 billion project achieved several key milestones in recent months, with the Government approval of an additional 58 aircraft last year taking the RAAF’s total to 72, the rollout and first flights of the RAAF’s first two aircraft in July and Septembe,a successful airworthiness board and clearance for flight for the first two aircraft their delivery to Luke AFB in December and the commencement of the first RAAF pilot’s F-35 training at Eglin AFB in January.

The Government Public Works Committee also has approved the A$1.5 billion infrastructure works element of the project required to support the F-35 at RAAF bases Williamtown, Tindal and the northern bare bases – Australia’s largest defence infrastructure project since the end of WW2.

AVM Deeble also expects the aircraft’s environmental impact statement to be approved in March.

He says Australia continues to assess the project independently of the JPO and concurs with the JPO’s assessment of the remaining risks in the project. His main concerns are not technical but rather centre on the establishment of sustainment and training facilities and infrastructure for the F-35 in Australia.

He’s also concerned about the abilities of some companies to ramp up their industrial capacity as production increases and the Australian and international project offices continue to do production readiness reviews to assess industry capacity.

AIA15

25% off starts now! Australian Aviation magazine Cyber Monday sale is now live. Have the very best of Australian Aviation’s annual print and digital subscription. This includes every In Focus and Behind the Lens digital magazine, special coverage, exclusive photos and editions you may have miss. Subscribe now at australianaviation.com.au.

12 Comments

  • BDT

    says:

    “Speaking at the Avalon International Airshow, LtGen Bogdan says the program continues to hold to its 2010/11 re-baselined schedule, and that since that time, no milestones have shifted to the right and no extra money has been injected into the program.”

    This is followed by 3 paragraphs on what is currently running late.

    I’d say this man’s information is dubious, to say the least.

    Politician or Program Manager???

  • David

    says:

    A bit harsh BTD don’t you think?

    What is currently running behind has the capability to catch up with the delivery schedule. (Happens in airlines (and sports) all the time doesn’t it?)

    Running behind and not meeting a major milestone are two different things.

    This is an enormously complex project and what matters is what we arrive with at the end. Throwing rocks in the meantime helps no-one.

    The F-35 is a significant leap in capability.

    The F-111 was late but absolutely great.

    I think we should let outcomes guide our assessment here.

  • Michael

    says:

    It’s great that things are looking better for the F-35 program and I think it will ultimately provide a good capability, but it probably won’t be the superstar fighter that Lockheed are making it out to be.

    Notice how most countries buying the jet aren’t committing to replace their entire air combat fleets with it, ourselves included. I think purchasing the Super Hornets and Growlers was a good move for Australia as we always have the option of holding onto these aircraft for a bit longer and replacing them with something other than the F-35 in future.

    In all likelihood this will probably be a more advanced version of the F-35, but I wouldn’t rule out the RAAF holding out for a sixth generation fighter or maybe even a future advanced UCAV designed to work in synergy with the F-35 fleet.

    What are everyone’s thoughts on this?

  • Ben

    says:

    @ Michael

    That’s because no one has the money, and that’s not because the F-35 “costs a lot”(it’s moderate for an aircraft), it’s because every ones budgets has been slashed to the bone or politics demands something else(South Korea want’s an indigenous design, Britain/Italy is committed to the Eurofighter) but simply having F-35s in their air force’s will vastly increase their capabilities. http://www.sldinfo.com/f-35-and-f-22-operational-integration-training-mission/

    The F-35 will be in production until 2038, we got our Super Hornets FOC in 2012, with a 6,000 hour frame we could easily fly them into the ground by 2030 with an aggressive flying program(300+/month)..

    I like the UCAV idea though, we’ll certainly see what comes out of the wood works in the next 10 years.

  • TomcatTerry

    says:

    If only the sub replacement debate understood the same principles here where buying and relying on an overseas military equipment supplier is a common occurrence. Defence needs first before state jobs / commercial interests

  • johnny

    says:

    “The F-35 will be in production until 2038”

    Only in LM’s marketing dreams, it will close by 2030 or even sooner.

  • Raymond

    says:

    TomcatTerry – we’re keeping out of the sub debate here, okay!

  • Raymond

    says:

    Johnny – source? Reference?

    I doubt it. Look at the F-15 and F-16 for example; still in production. I’d say it’s more likely the F-35 could be produced even longer than that… There will probably be delays with the 6th generation fighters to come and by then the F-35 will be fully mature and developed with a very extensive weapons suite. (Feel free to bookmark this comment and marvel in ~2038-40. 🙂 )

  • Don Bacon

    says:

    “The US Marine Corps is planning to declare an initial operating capability (IOC) with the F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing variant of the JSF on July 1 this year.”

    This declaration that the F-35B is combat capable is planned despite the fact that it isn’t.
    –The aircraft is not fully developed and won’t be until at last 2019. (milestone C full production)
    –So all of the plane’s Demonstrated Performance characteristics are “TBD” — To Be Determined.
    –Significant problems: software, helmet, logistics support (ALIS), weapons, reliability and mission files.
    –Extreme problem: The engine requires redesign, but no news on it
    –The non-combat-capable plane can’t bomb nor strafe
    –It costs about $200 million (recent Israel order 14 for $2.82 billion)
    –all planes will have to go back to depot for retrofit of engineering changes

  • Ben

    says:

    The Israeli order per aircraft cost increase is due to indigenous hardware being installed on the aircraft. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  • beepa

    says:

    As usual “Don” is living on another planet where he knows all and everybody else are just dumb. Ignore the troll.

  • Guest

    says:

    I also doubt to see new price ever coming down to $95M for the F-35A; $102M for the F-35B and $116M for the F-35C.

    The actual F-35 unit costs are today multiples of what Lockheed Martin, The Pentagon, USAF, USN and USMC says they will be. If you think it is reasonable to expect them to plummet to the $95 million or whatever the price Lockheed glibly promises (thanks to the ubiquitous “learning curve” and other manipulations), please consider a somewhat different analysis, also in Time magazine, available here.

    http://nation.time.com/2013/06

    The cost estimates in the NDAA for the cheapest version of the F-35, the Air Force’s F-35A, are the following. (Note these costs as just for production and do not include R&D.)

    The 2014 procurement cost for 19 F-35As will be $2.989 billion. However, we need to add to that the “long lead” money for the 2014 buy that was appropriated in 2013; that was $293 million, making a total of $3.282 billion for 19 aircraft in 2014. The math for unit cost comes to $172.7 million for each aircraft.

    To be fully accurate, however, we should add the additional procurement money authorized for “modification of aircraft” for F-35As for 2014; that means $158 million more, bringing the total unit production cost to $181 million per copy or higher.

    None of that includes the 2014 R&D bill for the F-35A; that was $816 million; calculate that in if anyone wants to find out further costs.

    The Marine Corps and Navy versions are a little pricier.

    For the Marines F-35B, or STOVL, model, the authorised 2014 buy is six (6) aircraft for $1.267 billion in 2014 procurement, $106 million in 2013 long lead money, and $147 million in 2014 aircraft procurement modifications. That calculates to $252.3 million for each one.

    For the Navy’s F-35C, carrier-capable (but not yet), model, they get four (4) aircraft for $1.135 billion, plus $32 million in long lead, plus $31 million in modifications. That means $299.5 million for each one.

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