Apr 23 2014

Australian MOD: “If costs blow out, we may leave the JSF program”

Gepubliceerd door Christiaan Meinen onder Global F35 News

In essence this is the same trick the JSF-lobby pulled out in the Netherlands in early 2010. The question was wether the Netherlands would buy into the IOT&E phase of the JSF Program. An act which we had to do, there was no other option possible according Dutch MoD. The situation was that the coalition of Christian Democrats (CDA) Labour party (PvdA) and Christian Union (CU) “had” to decide on buying the test aircraft to participate in the IOT&A phase. This was a subject of discussion because the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin didn’t deliver what they promised. And they couldn’t give answers to specific requirements of the Dutch Parliament. Like the fixed price for example. The dilemma was that CDA wanted to proceed with the buy of two test aircraft and IOT&E phase for an amount of almost € 450 million. PvdA was reluctant and didn’t want it without answers to these unknown criteria. After hours of discussion they agreed the following:

“ We pay them, but we do not. buy them” De Vries (under minister of Defense at that time)  wants to capture in a ’side letter’. 

The suggestion was that it would be as easy to go back to LM/Pentagon and turn in the receipt to get our money back. Yes it looks funny… but this is real Dutch politics.  Pvda agreed on this term!

The whole article below by Eric Palmer is equally the situation which describes best what actually happens in the Netherlands… and almost all partner countries, except maybe for Denmark.

Reposted opinion with permission from Eric Palmer blog! “Defenc(s)e analysis from my corner of the Internet.” (with thanks)

Australian Defence Minister Johnston was on a radio show to explain F-35 progress. (transcript below).

Not much of what he said is true. Either he is being poorly advised, or he is engaging in misleading the nation. As an aside, his history on Defence topics could be summed up by, “if it is expensive, it must be good.”. Fact free analysis. For example, he wants the P-8A and Triton surveillance aircraft but both are immature and expensive. The entrenched Defence bureaucracy has a large history of getting it wrong, leaving a very small population of tax payers, to fund multi-billion dollar mistakes.

Again and again. The Australian public is stuck on the wrong end of an abusive relationship.

Johnston claims that the F-35 is “fifth generation” and by this alone it will defeat anything. Not true.

He claims that 4000 F-35’s will be built. No proof.
He states that costs are coming down on the program. Fairy dust. Since the F-35 development is so immature and troubled, there are a forest of billion-dollar fixes waiting.
He claims that there are 19 million lines of software code for the F-35 and this is …. wait for it… an advantage.
He states all of the industry/workshare talking points…

From about the year 2002 when Australia foolishly signed up for the program.

“It will affordable because already there are 3,000 aircraft on the order books.”
—27 June 2002, Air Marshal Houston, Defence press announcement, Australia joins the F-35 program—


The billions in Australian work-share Johnston has claimed have turned into a loss leader.
This from 2010:

O’Donnell cited one family-owned business, Production Parts Pty in Australia, which made “a substantial investment because they expected production volumes to be twice what they are today.” Production Parts itself, he added, has enough other business to keep going, but others are not so well off.


Within 2 years, Production Parts went out of business. Why? Lack of F-35 orders. Why? Because no one wanted to buy lots of mistake jets.

Here is what we were told in 2003 about the F-35s’ future success. 

That is a lot of lost money because of hundreds of jet orders that didn’t happen.

Johnston states that if there are cost blow outs, that Australia can leave the program. I suggest that we are already there:

“It’s about $37 million for the CTOL aircraft, which is the air force variant.”
- Colonel Dwyer Dennis, U.S. JSF Program Office brief to Australian journalists, 2002-

“. . . US$40 million dollars . . ”
-Senate Estimates/Media Air Commodore John Harvey, AM Angus Houston, Mr Mick Roche, USDM, 2003-

” . . US$45 million in 2002 dollars . .”
-JSCFADT/Senate Estimates, Air Commodore John Harvey, Mr Mick Roche, USDM, 2003/2004-

“. . average unit recurring flyaway cost of the JSF will be around US$48 million, in 2002 dollars . . ”
-Senate Estimates/Press Club Briefing, Air Commodore John Harvey, 2006

“. . the JSF Price (for Australia) - US$55 million average for our aircraft . . in 2006 dollars . .”
-Senate Estimates/Media AVM John Harvey ACM Angus Houston, Nov. 2006-


Johnston’s radio show transcript below.

TRANSCRIPT

CHRIS UHLMANN: The plan to buy these jets has been in the pipeline for more than a decade and supported by Coalition and Labor Governments.

The man who will usher in the next phase is David Johnston, the Federal Defence Minister.

David Johnston, why does Australia need these jets?

DAVID JOHNSTON: Well, fifth-generation technology means that the aircraft have a specific sense of capability that puts them clearly above anything else in terms of air combat capability or other jet fighters, to use the common parlance.

Now, the aircraft has a whole host of technological advances that any potential adversary that we might face in the next 30 to 40 years I don’t think has any opportunity to match, particularly in the medium term.

So 19 million lines of computing power on each aircraft. A Collins Class submarine has six million lines of code. So we’re talking about a highly advanced technological stealth weapon that can sense an adversary at a long, long range off and provide Australia with cutting-edge capability in terms of national defence.

CHRIS UHLMANN: And what you talk about at this stage in some cases is experimental. So when will these planes be combat ready?

DAVID JOHNSTON: Well, they’re very, very close. Now 14 have been deployed to the Marines in Yuma in Arizona. There’s 93 aircraft currently flying and they’ve done more than 14,000 hours. They’ve successfully fired a number of ranges of weapons.

They’re landing on helicopter dock ships at the moment. So that’s the STOVL (short take-off/vertical landing) version and the United Kingdom is getting the STOVL version. So the aircraft - we’re getting the A version, which is the standard take-off/landing hard strip version - the aircraft is well advanced.

But it’s a totally different and new concept that is concurrently being developed with its deployment into service. Now, this has not happened before. And I think given the technical risks surrounding such a complex program, I think it is actually going very, very well.

CHRIS UHLMANN: There are technical risks. There are also cost risks. You’re billing this cost at $12.4 billion. Is it possible that cost might rise, particularly if other countries don’t take up their orders for planes?

DAVID JOHNSTON: Well, low rate of initial production six, which contains our aircraft and low-rate LRIP (low-rate initial production) seven has seen a 4 per cent reduction in costs so that the cost schedule equation in terms of a graph is headed in the right direction from Australia’s point of view.

And I’m very optimistic that we are seeing as these aircraft develop - and bear in mind we’re looking to see probably around 4,000 of them manufactured for the 11 countries that are participating in the program - I’m looking to see the price come down over time.

Now we will place an order hopefully this year for a further eight but we will have three combat-ready squadrons by 2023 and one training squadron stood up. We’ll have our first squadron standing up by 2020 and I expect the costs to be continuing to head in the right direction from an Australian perspective.

CHRIS UHLMANN: Well, you talked about 19 million lines of software code. That’s extraordinarily sophisticated and, as I said, experimental. What happens if the cost does blow out? Who pays for delays or mistakes: the contractor or Australia?

DAVID JOHNSTON: Well, the situation is this: if Australia decides that the costs have blown out to such an extent, we are not bound to continue. We are committed to the program. Every indicator at the moment indicates that the costs are headed in the right direction for us so I’m not anticipating any drama, but should there be a major turnaround in cost then, you know, the option is available for us to leave the program.

Now, I don’t want to do that because this aircraft is simply the best thing happening in air combat at the moment. I think, given the 11 countries that are committed to it, all of whom are our friends, I think the costs will continue to come down.

CHRIS UHLMANN: What about skills and technology transfer? Of course, this plane is being built in the United States at the moment, but what are the benefits for Australian defence industry?

DAVID JOHNSTON: Well, currently there are more than 30 companies in Australia that are benefiting from the Joint Strike Fighter program. Now, most of those companies are in Victoria. There is more than $330 million worth of work currently on the table.

I anticipate within the next little while, maybe the next three to four years, there’ll be more than $1.5 billion worth of work for Australian skills and technical manufacturers. We already manufacture the tailplane and a whole host of other accessories for the aircraft.

Now, there is a total up for grabs of more than $7.5 billion. I expect Australian companies to be getting a very significant slice of that action and I will certainly be working with Lockheed Martin and the United States government to see that this commitment rewards Australian industry who have had a bit of a rough time of it lately, defence industry. And we want to see a significant slice of the action coming to those companies.

Now, I want to say that I think this announcement gives them greater confidence, gives them a bit of a fillip as to the good work that they’ve done so far. And we want to see them continue to win more and more of this work.

CHRIS UHLMANN: The Defence Minister David Johnston.


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Apr 23 2014

UPDATE - Australia will get less capability by replacing the F-18s with F-35s

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

Reposted opinion with permission from Eric Palmer blog! “Defenc(s)e analysis from my corner of the Internet.” (with thanks)

Defence wants to buy 58 more F-35s (approved). This is on top of a previous want for 14 (approved). Currently 2 are in the production line.

The goal is to replace 71 highly upgraded RAAF F-18A/Bs.

Many problems
The legacy Hornet has more combat capability. It can fire high-off-bore-sight dogfight missiles like the AIM-132 ASRAAM. The F-35 can’t carry this class of missile internally. The enemy can fire this kind of highly capable missile, from a higher performance aircraft, which can find the F-35. The F-35 will have two 2 AIM-120 AMRAAMs. Which against high end threats that can jam, might have a probability of kill as bad as the Vietnam-era Sparrow (very low). It is likely that the F-35 will lose an air to air battle.

The only way to confirm this is the following:

Can the F-35 beat an F-22 in practice combat? Can the F-35 beat a Typhoon in practice combat? Important because those two aircraft approximate some of the capability of emerging air to air threats in the Pacific Rim over the alleged lifetime of the F-35.

The Hornet has a gun. The F-35A has a gun but can’t use it. The helmet cueing system does not work (source: DOD DOTE).

The F-35 is unlikely to perform strikes against heavily defended targets. The same goes for the Hornet.

Sort off.

The Hornet is cleared for the JASSM cruise missile. The F-35 is not.

The F-18 costs Defence $11,770 per flight hour.

The F-35? USAF figured $35,500 per flight hour. And that assumed a working jet with reliability metrics that met the Joint Operational Requirement Document.

The F-35 is yet to prove any useful mission reliability or mission systems capability.

For Australia–given an inept DMO–F-35 cost per flying hour could be $40,000 to $50,000. The F-35 maintenance system called the Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS), which all of its alleged operational affordability was based on, does not work (source: DOD DOTE, F-35 JPO, GAO).

The Defence budget is a zero-sum game. The federal budget is deep in debt by hundreds of billions.

So, given today’s operational budget. RAAF could only afford to fly 30-40 F-35s a year.

Conclusion: The RAAF will fly a less capable aircraft than what was replaced. It will fly fewer of them. The replacement will be less reliable. There will be a decrease in useful combat capability.

The Prime Minister and the Defence Minister have been poorly advised. They are trying to buy an aircraft with no fly-before-you-by justification. Fly-before-you-buy does not work with under-developed, under-tested, non-finished, aircraft that are closer to prototype than final product.

The Defence Minister made several misleading statements today. Only one of many examples, he stated that “operational” aircraft were at places like Yuma. This is not true. Those aircraft are in no way close to operational trim. To date, no F-35 has passed a test to declare initial operating capability. That is still years off.

It is best to start a federal investigation now to find out how this happened. Waiting, will not improve the situation.

UPDATE: Adding a comment from one of our readers that was part of another post:

Johnno

Roughly 10% of the 12.4 bil is for facilities upgrades at Williamtown (NSW) and Tindal (NT). Both bases were last upgraded for the Hornet in the late 1980’s and currently wouldn’t meet security requirement to support the F-35. In fact Amberley (QLD) is the only base in Australia currently certified to handle stealth technologies (F-18F base).

Australian politicians are having their moment of glory right now but they haven’t actually ordered 58 F-35’s, they haven’t actually ordered the 12 that were ‘approved’ 3 years back. At the moment Australia has 2 F-3 5 on contract. The Aust government has previously stated that the aircraft will be purchased via the US FMS system so the aircraft will be purchased in annual increments in the same way as US production is approved.

The next step presumably will be to turn the 12 aircraft that have hung fire for the past 3 years into a firm order. What happens to those 12 will hopefully inform the government in regard to later purchases. In-short a few steps to go yet.

Interesting thing reported in the PM’s statement was that Australia seems to be making a play for the regional maintenance depot for the F-35, Wonder if anyone has told Japan, Korea or Singapore yet?

7:02 a.m., Wednesday April 23

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Apr 23 2014

België : de vraag van zes miljard: nieuwe gevechtsvliegtuigen ja of nee?

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

De Belgische Vredesactie VZW heeft een analyse geplaatst op de website De Wereld Morgen.be. JSFNieuws.nl deelt de zienswijze van VZW niet volledig – JSFNieuws.nl en haar redacteuren zijn van mening dat:

1.    er een effectief en inzetbaar luchtwapen behouden dient te blijven ten behoeve van toekomstige onvoorziene inzet;

2.    Er na een, onafhankelijke kandidaten evaluatie, capabele alternatieve gevechtsvliegtuigen beschikbaar zullen zijn;

3.    De redactie van JSFNieuws.nl is verontrust over:

a.    het democratisch gehalte en gebrek aan openheid;

b.    veelvuldig gebruik van misleidende informatie in het Nederlandse JSF; dossier.

4.    transparantie het hart is van democratie en debat;

5.    Bezorgdheid om een  juiste besteding van beschikbare belastinggeld zeer terecht is:

6.    Bezorgdheid om onze nationale veiligheid en defensie terrecht is, dit blijkt uit alle strategische toekomstanalyses;

7.    De keuze VOOR de JSF, de volledige toekomst van de gehele krijgsmacht op het spel kan zetten. Vele broodnodige capaciteiten van de krijgsmacht zijn al geofferd tbv de JSF.

Toch is het artikel nuttig omdat het duidelijk weergeeft hoe het politieke landschap er in België uitziet.

In aanloop naar de Global Day of Action on Military Spending (14 april) vroegen de vredesbewegingen de politieke partijen naar hun standpunt inzake de aankoop van nieuwe gevechtsvliegtuigen. Willen zij nieuwe gevechtsvliegtuigen? En hoe gaan we dat betalen? Bekijk de korte samenvatting op youtube, of lees hier de analyse.

Vredesactie vzw

CD&V en Open VLD zijn de meest uitgesproken voorstanders van nieuwe gevechtsvliegtuigen. Voor CD&V is die aankoop geen politieke keuze maar een noodzaak. Zonder gevechtsvliegtuigen is ons leger binnen de NAVO en de EU irrelevant, meent CD&V. “We hebben geen keuze,” zegt CD&V. En dus moeten we ons ook niet moe maken aan een politiek en publiek debat. Nochtans zijn er ook andere specialisaties mogelijk. Bovendien kan je je afvragen of ons veiligheidsbeleid door de NAVO gedicteerd moet worden.

Volgens Open VLD praten we zonder luchtgevechtscapaciteiten niet meer mee op Europees en NAVO-niveau. Nochtans gaat een buitenlands en veiligheidsbeleid over veel meer dan gevechtscapaciteiten. België zou ook kunnen investeren in niet-militaire middelen om internationaal een rol van betekenis te spelen.

N-VA blijft relatief vaag. Of we al dan niet gevechtsvliegtuigen moeten kopen, hangt af van de allianties waar we deel van uitmaken en de taakverdeling die daar wordt afgesproken. N-VA is voorstander van verregaande samenwerking met Nederland. Als Nederland en België samen hun huidige luchtgevechtscapaciteit willen behouden, zal België mee in gevechtsvliegtuigen moeten investeren. Uit N-VA-hoek komen gemengde geluiden: terwijl Kamerlid Karolien Grosemans onderstreept dat er vandaag veel sociale noden zijn waar we eerst naar moeten kijken, pleiten andere N-VA’ers voluit voor de aankoop van de JSF.

Groen is geen voorstander van nieuwe gevechtsvliegtuigen. Groen sluit de aankoop niet uit, maar vraagt eerst een politiek debat over de toekomst van het veiligheidsbeleid, ook op Europees niveau, zodat vervolgens de noden kunnen worden bepaald. De EU-landen moeten dan afspreken wie in welke taken specialiseert en welke capaciteiten daarvoor nodig zijn. Voor België zijn dat niet noodzakelijk gevechtsvliegtuigen, er is immers al overcapaciteit aan gevechtsvliegtuigen in Europa. 4 à 6 miljard is voor Groen hoe dan ook te veel, maar als de investering op Europees niveau wordt gedeeld, zou België daartoe kunnen bijdragen.

Ook SP-A wil eerst een strategisch plan op lange termijn. Ze ziet de toekomst van ons leger in verregaande Europese integratie. Nieuwe gevechtsvliegtuigen zijn “geen prioriteit”, een klein land als België heeft daarvoor het geld niet. Als in een Europees kader de kosten verdeeld worden, kan het eventueel wel, maar België heeft geen gevechtsvliegtuigen nodig om een solidaire bijdrage te leveren aan internationale operaties. Specialisatie in strategisch luchttransport of mijnenvegers zijn mogelijke alternatieven.

Als ze na 25 mei deelnemen aan regeringsonderhandelingen, beloven Groen en SP.A dwars te gaan liggen om deze miljardenuitgave tegen te houden. Het is de vraag hoeveel politiek gewicht ze hier aan kunnen en willen verbinden.

PVDA is ronduit tegen de aankoop van gevechtsvliegtuigen en pleit voor een eigen buitenlands beleid buiten de NAVO en de EU om. Die NAVO mag overigens afgeschaft worden.

Bekijk de korte samenvatting op youtube, lees hier de uitgebreide analyse.

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Apr 23 2014

Australia Likely To Order More F-35s

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

Bradley Perrett wrote an article for Aviation Week & Space Technology and reported that:

·         Australia is likely to buy 58 more JSF;

·         Increasing their commitment to a total of 72 aircraft;

·         Increasing the current number of 24 F/A-18 Super Hornets with 12 additional Growlers;

·         Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for the JSF is set in 2020;

·         Analysts think this target IOC can be met if there will be no more delays in development;

·         IOC of the Growlers is set in 2018;

·         The Australian think tank analysis assumes a lower per unit price ($ 90 milj)  than the JPO price tag ($ 97) in 2019. They assume the programs estimates have been trending down.

·         They assume 50% for other acquisition costs (making a total unit price of US$ 198 million per F-35) and twice the acquisition costs for operations & sustainment.  

….

If the government does buy 58 F-35s, then the RAAF will have a fast-jet force of 72 Lightnings, 24 Super Hornets and 12 Growlers, not counting BAE Systems Hawk lead-in fighter trainers. The total of 108 is about 10% higher than the 1980s levels that previous policy has consistently sought to maintain. Unlike other Western countries, Australia has not felt more secure since the end of the Cold War, and in general has not cut its forces. It has added important capabilities such as airborne early warning, in-flight refueling and over-the-horizon radar. Fast population growth and 23 years of unbroken economic expansion have helped, although defense spending has lately been a historically small fraction of GDP.

While recommending more F-35s, the think-tank says that replacing the Hornets with more Super Hornets, and perhaps backing out of the F-35 program completely, would produce an adequate force. “Super Hornets and the other enabling elements of air combat capability (air-to-air refuelers, airborne early warning and . . . over-the-horizon radar) would be likely to provide Australia with a sufficiently robust air combat capability for the next couple of decades,” it says. Further, the economy of consolidating on Super Hornets and Growlers might justify enlarging the force by a few aircraft.

“But in the strike-fighter role, the F-35 is a far more capable aircraft than the Super Hornet and would give greater capability against a more capable adversary, including the ability to penetrate sophisticated air defenses,” says the think-tank. The F-35 would also be more resistant to obsolescence. Moreover, backing out of the order would be harmful to Australia’s alliance with the U.S. and would take away business opportunities for Australian companies participating in the program.

Among the Australian suppliers to the F-35 program, engineering company Marand is building tail fins. The company delivered its first ship set on March 31. BAE Systems Australia, also involved in making the tail, said on April 1 it had commissioned a machine tool for making long spars and longerons. Composite-parts maker Quickstep has delivered more than 200 high-grade carbon-fiber components and is ramping up production with its out-of-autoclave process.

Read the entire article here.

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Apr 23 2014

Liberal MP Dennis Jensen attacks Joint Strike Fighter order as a ‘dud’ decision

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

The Sydney Morning Herald; published an article with a reaction of Member of Parliament Dennis Jensen on 23th of april concerning the proposed Australian buy of additional 58 Lockheed F-35 combat jets.

MP Jensen: No full analysis of capabilities

Liberal MP Dennis Jensen has launched an extraordinary attack on the Abbott government’s multibillion-dollar purchase of fighter jets, suggesting his colleagues lacked the competency and the courage to stop the order:
It’s a dud decision,” said Dr Jensen, a former Defence Department analyst, on Wednesday after the Australian Abbott government revealed it had ordered 58 Lockheed F-35 Joint Strike Fighters at a cost of A$ 12,4 billion (US$ 11,5 billion; € 8,3 billon; unitprice US$ 198 million).
Dennis Jensen: “No one has had the balls to call a halt to it or to even call for a full capability analysis against requirements.”

Prime Minister Tony Abbott confirmed on Wednesday 23-Apr-2014 that Australia would join the US and a select few other countries in adopting the so called fifth-generation stealth fighter as the backbone of its air combat power. On top of the two fighters that Australia has already paid for, and a further 12 that have been ordered, the large new purchase will deliver the Royal Australian Air Force three squadrons of the planes and cement its place as the dominant air power in the region.

“Significant problems……..”

But Dr Jensen, who has studied the Joint Strike Fighter for years, said the purchase of the planes had been a “bipartisan stuff up”, set in train by the Howard government, continued under Labor and completed under his own government.
Dr Jensen said: “The last couple of [US operational testing] reports … have shown very, very significant problems with this aircraft.” And: “Once you’ve made a decision like this, it takes more balls to actually say the emperor’s got no clothes than to continue pretending that the emperor in fact has clothes. We should be ensuring that this aircraft is defined as fit for purpose before we purchase it. We haven’t done that.

The West Australian MP said he had warned his colleagues about the Joint Strike Fighter purchase in the most recent party room meeting but lamented that Defence Minister David Johnston had said nothing. I wouldn’t be critical of the Defence Minister only,” Dr Jensen said. “It shows a lack of judgment on so many levels. Successive Australian defence ministers had lacked the “technical expertise” to cut through Lockheed Martin’s “extremely convincing” sales pitches, Dr Jensen said

“Defense officials acting as Lockheed salesmen”

He also blamed Defence Department officials, whom he said had been “acting as salesmen for the Joint Strike Fighter” rather than doing their jobs and being “critical buyers”. Responding to the criticisms, a spokesman for the Defence Minister said: “Obviously Mr Jensen’s views do not reflect those of the Coalition government.

The first Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II – when no new delays will occurs, will be delivered in 2018 and begin service with the RAAF in 2020. The purchase continues the direction set out by the previous Labor government’s 2013 Defence White Paper, which foreshadowed three operational squadrons beginning from 2020.

Labour MP’s also critical

But not everyone from Labor welcomed the purchase. West Australian senator Sue Lines tweeted on Wednesday: “12bl+ on fighter planes, PPL for the rich, paid for cuts to welfare, charge on Dr visits. Disgraceful!”
Acting Greens leader Adam Bandt agreed with Dr Jensen, saying the planes were wasteful spending “at a time of supposed budget restraint”. “Tony Abbott’s priority should be pensions not poorly performing planes,” Mr Bandt added.

Read more: Sydney Morning Herald; 23-Apr-2014; Australian MP Jensen attacks JSF decision

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Apr 23 2014

Does the Finnish Minister of Defence Carl Häglund prefer the JSF over Gripen?

Gepubliceerd door Christiaan Meinen onder Global F35 News

Today there was published an article on Helsinki times.fi, an English written newspaper from Finland. With the headline: Haglund advises against JAS fighter acquisition

After some reading we can conclude that this translation is incorrect… very incorrect even. The funny thing is that evevn Google Translate translate all words without interpretation.

The keyword here is IF.

I will compare the Google Translated article with the “official” English written article. (added comments to clear things out.) This is the article in question:

Carl Haglund (SFP), the Minister of Defence, has rejected the proposal by Eero Heinäluoma (SDP), the Speaker of the Parliament, to acquire JAS Gripen fighters from Sweden in a bid to promote Nordic co-operation.

“The Finnish Air Force must get the best equipment we can afford,” Haglund states. “Our possible collaboration with Sweden must entail rational projects. This is not a question of industrial policy but of defence policy.”

” Air Force have to buy the best equipment , we can afford . If we cooperate with Sweden , it must make sense of things. ’s Not industrial policy, but defense policy ,” Haglund line.(here it is translated slightly different. Cooperation with Sweden must make sense and should not only be for industrial benefits is the way I read it!)

“Although I advocate co-operation with Sweden, we should not acquire Swedish JAS fighters when we could acquire American F-35 stealth fighters for roughly the same price. Performance must take precedence in the investment,” emphasises Häglund.

“While I support the cooperation with Sweden , so it can not go so that we buy the Swedish Jas - fighter , if we can get about the same price of an American F-35 fighter - wisp . Investment performance needs to be solved . “ (I suppose this means that cooperation with Sweden doesn’t necessarily mean that they will buy the Gripen Fighter. At the same time it also doesn’t mean they WILL buy the JSF. Once again the word IF isn’t used in the English article. It rather says that if they can get the JSF for about the same price as the Gripen….. But also he emphasises on the relevance of performanceand problems to be solved!)

Jas Gripen acquisition proposed by the Speaker of Parliament Eero Heinäluoma (SDP). Heinäluoma justified its proposal for Nordic co-operation. (this fragment is missing in the English article.)

The current defence appropriations, he admits, will not suffice for the planned fighter acquisition. “There may be fewer aircraft than at present, but the price tag will be a minimum of five billion euros. A special funding is required.”

“It may be that the machines could be fewer, but the price tag is going to be at least five billion euros., It is not possible without a separate funding,” the minister said. (The rest of the article isn’t realy relevant to the JSF discussion, except for the fact that both the Army and Navy need funding to!)

Most important of this article is to learn that the translation, for what reason it may be, isn’t correct and that it all comes on the word “if”. Read the whole article here!

Follow this link to get a better understanding: http://www.janes.com/article/36919/finland-should-opt-for-f-35-over-gripen-if-the-price-is-right-minister-says

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Apr 15 2014

Canada: F-35 decision back to politicians as Air Force completes options analysis

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

From Canada The Calgary Herald  reports:

OTTAWA – The countdown on a decision over the F-35 has begun now that air force officials have completed a highly anticipated study of the controversial stealth fighter and its competitors.

The Harper government accepted the “options analysis” report late last week, officially putting the issue back in their laps after more than a year-and-a-half with the Defence Department.

Officially, the government doesn’t have to rush on deciding what to do about the jet fighter; Canada has already missed its window to order F-35s this year. It will now have to wait until January 2015, at the earliest, if it does decide to go ahead with a purchase.

However, the schedule could be tighter if the government decides to hold an open competition – hoped for by the F-35?s competitors as well as opposition parties – since that could take years to conduct.

In either situation, delivery of the first new aircraft won’t happen until around three years after an order is placed.

Canada’s existing CF-18 fighter jets are set to be completely retired by 2020, unless the government decides to invest to keep them flying longer.

Complicating matters is next year’s federal election. The F-35 was an issue in the last election in 2011, although that was before Auditor General Michael Ferguson released a scathing report about the project and turned it into a true political hot potato. Any future decision will require cabinet approval and prompt widespread political attention, both in Canada and abroad.

Canada is one of nine international partners involved in developing and purchasing the F-35, and each partner’s decisions affect the price and schedule of the others.

The options analysis recently concluded by defence officials was actually the second review of the F-35 and its competitors.

Ferguson issued his report in April 2012. It identified serious flaws in an earlier study in which defence officials said the F-35 was the only aircraft capable of meeting Canada’s requirements.

Read more (source): http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/decision+back+government+court+force+completes+major+study/9734296/story.html

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Apr 14 2014

Final Canadian report on F-35 dropped references to fuel and software problems

Gepubliceerd door Christiaan Meinen onder Global F35 News

This article has been published on the Calgary herald on the 13th of April 2014.

Although there’s been stated that the Canadian Defense department has issued a new and more neutral approach to their fighter replacement program this report suggests that there are considerable differences between the concept reports and the final report.

Whereas the final report focused solely on the high price of the JSF, the several concepts where also pointing towards the fundamental technical issues.  

Several versions state the goal of the report was to provide “a comprehensive assessment of the F-35.

“The Department of National Defence has sought to communicate clearly and frankly in answering not only the concerns of the Auditor General and of Parliament, but also those of the Canadian people,” the earlier versions say.

Those words are missing from the final draft. “This first annual update is focused particularly on the cost of the F-35A,” it reads instead.

Some of the missing issues:

·         Fuel Consumption: The F-35 consumes 26-per-cent more fuel than Canada’s current jet fighter, the CF-18

·         Helmet Development: A state-of-the-art helmet is essential for pilots to fly the F-35 safely and in a way that maximizes its full potential.

·         Software Development: The is listed as the “main challenge” facing the F-35 in the very first draft of the report, and repeatedly cited as an issue in later drafts, until being removed altogether. The stealth fighter contains about 8 million lines of code, which is more than any other fighter aircraft.

What is happening with the fairness and openness of countries like Canada and the Netherlands. I remind you of the Dutch Government, (coalition of Labour / PvdA and Liberal Democrats / VVD) late last year, to go for 35 + 2 (test aircraft) based on a google / Open Source “study” comparing “selective” open sourced information regarding alternative aircraft and compare it with even selective internal data from the JSF program. The concept is: use the things who are contributing to your case (the JSF) and don’t use the things that are positive towards other aircraft. The price in the Netherlands is one of the things they can’t ignore so they just said the will buy 35 instead of 85 JSF… if there is any budget left… they will buy some more… right!

OTTAWA — A Defence Department report billed as the first step in a more open, transparent era for the F-35 project initially listed many of the stealth fighter’s problems – such as issues around fuel efficiency and software development – but those sections were removed in the final version.

The December 2012 final report, in response to Auditor General Michael Ferguson’s scathing review of the F-35 project, was focused solely on price. It included the revelation that it would cost Canada about $46 billion to buy and operate 65 F-35s.

But the Citizen has obtained more than a dozen earlier drafts of the report showing defence officials had originally laid out many of the issues surrounding the F-35’s development, and their potential impact on Canada.

Several versions state the goal of the report was to provide “a comprehensive assessment of the F-35.

Fuel Consumption: The F-35 consumes 26-per-cent more fuel than Canada’s current jet fighter, the CF-18. Public Works and National Defence did not respond to questions last week about why the stealth fighter uses so much more fuel than the CF-18s, which were designed in the 1970s. Rising fuel costs are a concern for militaries around the world, particularly when it comes to aircraft. The Royal Canadian Air Force has said it plans to fly the F-35s about 20-per-cent less per year than the CF-18s to keep costs down, making up the difference with simulators.

Software Development: The is listed as the “main challenge” facing the F-35 in the very first draft of the report, and repeatedly cited as an issue in later drafts, until being removed altogether. The stealth fighter contains about 8 million lines of code, which is more than any other fighter aircraft. The software is essential for everything from flying the F-35, to communications, to using its weapons. Some versions of the report express optimism that the problems will be resolved before Canada gets its first stealth fighter, but others say there is “a risk that, despite the time available before Canada’s first anticipated aircraft delivery, they may not be completed.” U.S. congressional auditors wrote last month that significant software development problems persist, threatening to create further delays in the fighter being ready for operation.

Helmet Development: A state-of-the-art helmet is essential for pilots to fly the F-35 safely and in a way that maximizes its full potential. However, the helmet’s development has been a serious problem for years. Defence officials acknowledged this in early versions of the report, describing it as a “high risk,” and noting an alternate helmet was being designed and could be used as a “stop gap until the primary helmet is ready.” There is no mention of helmets in the final version.

Read the full article here!

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Apr 14 2014

World First: Neuron UCAV flying in formation with Rafale, Falcon 7X

Gepubliceerd door Christiaan Meinen onder Global F35 News

This article has been published on Defense-update.com on Apr 13, 2014

Conclusions: French firm Dassault Aviation has been able to perform a unique formation flight in which the nEUROn unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) was flown in formation with a Rafale fighter and a Falcon 7X business jet, both produced by the company.

This shows that European fighter aircraft and drone development is at the forefront of fighter aircraft and combat drone technology. This is proven by the fact that organizing a formation flight like this is a very challenging manoeuvre in a confined space.

While some JSF partner governments and especially some of their Air Forces (especialy fighter pilots who say they are specialist in fighter technology….) claim that European Fighter Aircraft builders like Dassault, Eurofighter and Saab are far behind on the big Amercian company Lockheed Martin on these kind of technologies. This demonstration proofs them wrong.

World First: Neuron UCAV flying in formation with Rafale, Falcon 7X

An additional challenge was being able to control the pilotless aircraft flying near four other aircraft – all manned (Rafale,Falcon 7X and two chase aircraft for photography). Engineers had to plan ahead to take into account the risk of interference, including aerodynamic turbulence between the aircraft. Preventing unexpected electromagnetic interference (EMI) with communications between the nEUROn drone and its ground control station was also a concern that had to be dealt with.

“This achievement clearly reflects our expertise in state-of-the-art technologies. Our skills in both military and civil aviation mutually enrich each other, enabling us to design exceptional airplanes suited for both the armed forces and Falcon business jet operators.” Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation commented.

This was the first time in the world that a combat drone flew in formation with other aircraft. Drones are often escorted by chase airplanes, as part of flight testing, but these are not performed as part of a formation flying, in which the drone’s handling is coordinated with the other aircraft in the formation. The entire operation lasted 110 minutes and took the patrol out over the Mediterranean to a range of several hundred kilometers.

To the entire article on Defense-update.com

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Apr 12 2014

“F-35 stealth and EW capacities not sufficient, more Growlers needed”

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

Breaking Defense reports about the Boeing campaign within US defence circles to protect their Super Hornet/Growler production line, citing Boeing’s warning:

F-35 stealth being outpaced soon

Stealth is being outpaced by software, radar and computing power, so electronic warfare and cyber attacks are growing in importance. While the F-35 may possess excellent — if circumscribed — electronic attack and cyber capabilities, it needs help from the Navy’s EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft.
That means, Boeing and the Navy are arguing, that the Navy needs more of the electronic attack versions of the F-18, known as the Growler, to fly with the F-35 on the first day of combat to protect the F-35 and to help protect the service’s precious carrier strike groups
.”
(…)
‘I spoke with an industry source about the assertions we’ve heard from senior Navy and Boeing officials that the F-35 fleet cannot expect to fly its attack mission at the start of a war and survive without help from Growlers.
The notion they can go in alone and unafraid is just plain wrong,” said this source. “The threat is doing two things. Their search radars are at VHF [frequencies] and getting lower, and with computer processing power they are getting much better. They can see them [fifth generation attack aircraft] hundreds of miles away, just like any other aircraft.”’

US Navy veteran: F-35 needs mixed air wing and Growler

A former, very experienced TOPGUN / MAWTS school trained US fighter back-seater in F-4’s and F-14’s comments to JSFnieuws:
“It appears reasonable to assume that the F-35C and the F/A-18E/F/G in their best configurations perform relatively equal in range. Both are Mach limited and would have about the same acceleration although the F/A-18 would be carrying additional SEAD ordnance to support the F-35C. In a clean visual gun-only dogfight the F/A-18 will clean the clock off of the F-35C yet neither will not be able to run away from the other. In more modern engagements with the F/A-18 having the new AESA radars there will be no radar advantages except the F-35 may be able to tap into all-source information that the F/A-18 would have to depend upon the E-2C for but the limitations in the F-35C helmet would not be shared by the Super Hornet, and again the electronic ID would not come any faster for either one on a directed vector. So I can see that if the F-35 works as advertised it will still require a mixed air wing and Growlers will be part of that…. Hence the drop in Navy number of F-35’s will continue to perhaps 30%.”

About the Growler, this veteran says to JSFnieuws: “Perhaps a smart ploy for Boeing but it is going to collect advocates; why, because of the delays and uncertainties in the F-35 software & EW suite and more importantly it opens up more doors of doubt. If the USN backs this view by Boeing then for sure the F-35C, in the least, will require deliberate escort formations and tactical distractions - ala reality learned from the F-117 – so the whole make-up of the Carrier Air Wing may in fact return to a permanent mixed deck of F-35C’s and F/A/E-18E/F/G’s. Boeing may be doing the Navy a service and Lockheed in directly because it presents a positive need for the F-35C deep strike and forward sensor capability, or in the least places the F-35C’s main competitor for mission over to the X-47 UCAS-D and the X-47 will take a decade or more to become accepted after the whole deck handing and flying methods/programs are made more trustworthy and tactical”.

Read more (source):
Breaking Defense; 10-Apr-2014; Colin Clark; “F-35 stealth, EW not enough, so JSF and navy need Growlers, Boeings says

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