Archief van de mei, 2011

Mei 27 2011

Wyle involved in Environmental Impact Studies on U.S. Basing of JSF

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., May 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Wyle has played a significant role in assessing noise exposure for the East and West Coast basing of the U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II (aka Joint Strike Fighter) aircraft.

Wyle supported TEC Inc. in developing the F-35B West and East Coast Basing Environmental Impact Statements, which evaluated the environmental effects associated with the proposed replacement of aging F/A-18A/C/D Hornet and AV-8B Harrier II aircraft with new F-35B aircraft at West and East Coast Marine Corps facilities. The Department of the Navy recently issued Records of Decision on the Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) for the basing of the F-35B Lightning II aircraft. This clears the way for the basing to be completed as planned.

Wyle played a significant role in this effort through the development and application of advanced noise modeling tools that account for the flight and performance characteristics of the short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) vehicle technology. Wyle engineers worked closely with the U.S. Marine Corps to develop F-35 operational and flight performance profiles and applied advanced computer models to assess the noise effects of proposed F-35 operations.

“This project demonstrates how advances in modeling technology coupled with a strong understanding of the operational environment are important to addressing advanced vehicle platforms such as the F-35 aircraft in a manner that is both compliant with National Environmental Policy Act requirements and responsive to DOD mission needs,” said Joe Czech, Wyle’s program manager.

Wyle produced cumulative noise footprints of the F-35B and combined those results with noise footprints of fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft such as the F/A-18 Hornet and AV-8B Harrier II for several alternatives involving Marine Corps Air Stations in Miramar, Calif.; Yuma, Arizona; Beaufort, South Carolina; and Cherry Point, North Carolina.

Wyle also applied its airspace models to predict noise exposure resulting from F-35 operations in special use airspace and employed supplemental tools and metrics to assess potential community impacts in terms of speech interference, sleep disturbance and potential for human hearing loss.

Wyle continues to play an integral role in assessing the environmental effects of next-generation vehicles both in support of the vital mission of the U.S. military, as well as the environmental sustainability of the National Airspace System under the NextGen initiative.

“We are proud to be in a position to help ensure the environmental compatibility of future DOD basing requirements and fleet modernization efforts,” said Jawad Rachami, Wyle’s director of operations for Environmental and Energy Research and Consulting unit. “The combination of technical expertise and institutional knowledge possessed by our staff in this area allows us to deliver effective and reliable solutions that safeguard the DOD mission while protecting the environment.”

Wyle is a leading provider of high tech aerospace engineering and information technology services to the federal government on long-term outsourcing contracts. The company also provides biomedical and engineering services for NASA’s human space missions; test and evaluation of aircraft, weapon systems, networks, and other government assets; and other engineering services to the aerospace, defense, and nuclear power industries

Source: Dan Reeder; Press Release Wyle; 27-May-2011

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Mei 27 2011

Maintainers prepare for F-35A training on F-35B and F-35C

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (AFNS) — Air Force maintainers are getting hands-on experience with the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter here.

Seven Airmen from the 33rd Fighter Wing arrived here recently to spend 75 days gaining firsthand experience maintaining the F-35B and F-35C variants, while those aircraft continue flight test and evaluation.
Lockheed Martin is scheduled to deliver the F-35A to Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, later this year.
“It is beneficial working around the F-35B and F35-C variants,” said Master Sgt. Timothy Weaver, a crew chief assigned to the 33rd Fighter Wing. “With this being a joint program, we learn a lot about how each branch handles maintenance. We are learning how the Marines operate, how the Navy operates, and sharing how we operate.”

The F-35C is distinct from the F-35A variant with its larger wing surfaces and reinforced landing gear for greater control in the carrier-takeoff-and-landing environment.
However, the three variants are similar enough that the visiting maintainers will benefit from performing basic maintenance, such as refueling, launch and recovery, and tire changing — all functions the Navy considers day-to-day maintenance, Sergeant Weaver said. “The C and A variants have a lot of the same systems, but some of the parts are in different locations,” Sergeant Weaver said.

The Eglin AFB maintainers volunteered for this assignment, and Sergeant Weaver said his team looks for any opportunity to get their hands dirty, and when they can’t, they are watching and gaining knowledge. “There is always work going on,” he said.

Source: US Air Force Official Website; 27-May-2011

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Mei 27 2011

F-35 is cutting into the Defense Department’s most important priorities

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

Robert Haddick in Foreign Police; May 27, 2011:
The troubled and long-delayed F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program came under renewed scrutiny this week. The Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and many foreign partners plan to buy thousands of the fighter-attack jets over the next two decades to replace a variety of aging aircraft, but the development schedule of the stealthy fighter has slipped five years to 2018 and the projected cost to the Pentagon for 2,457 aircraft has ballooned to $385 billion, making it by far the most expensive weapons program in history.

Air Force officials themselves may now doubt the wisdom of the size of the commitment to the F-35. According to a recent Aviation Week story, Air Force Undersecretary Erin Conaton placed new emphasis on the importance of the Air Force’s next-generation long-range bomber. With procurement funds sure to be tight in the decade ahead, Conaton hinted that the Air Force may have to raid the F-35’s future budgets in order to help pay for the new bomber.

Read more “Foreign Policy: The Jet that ate the Pentagon

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Mei 21 2011

McCain about JSF: “Some of us saw this train wreck coming.”

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Ontwikkeling JSF

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter came under blistering criticism Thursday at a US Senate House Armed Services Committee hearing for ongoing technical problems, for schedule delays and cost overruns that have nearly doubled the cost of each plane and a threatening deadly price-quantity death spiral.

Senator John McCain of Arizona, the panel’s top Republican, warned for the fact that, “…after almost 10 years in development and four years in production, according to outside experts, the aircraft’s design is still not stable, manufacturing processes still need to improve and the overall weapon system has not yet been proven to be reliable”. And “Notably, it has taken Lockheed about 15 years and cost the taxpayer $56 billion to produce and deliver nine of 12 test aircraft. Over that period, Congress has authorized and appropriated funds for 113 F-35 jets. Lockheed has, however, delivered just 11.”

McCain sharply questioned the cost figures and said Some of us saw this train wreck coming. (See: LINK, 2008 early warnings”) (…) “Lockheed Martin has done an abysmal job.” (…) It seems to me [prudent that] we at least begin considering alternatives”

Read the full statement and questioning of John McCain (Rep-Arizona):

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for holding this hearing and our continued oversight over this incredibly troubled defense program.
This hearing furthers this committee’s obligation to the American taxpayer to ensure that we are training and equipping our fighting men and women in the most fiscally responsible manner possible and that every effort is being made to eliminate waste and unnecessary
costs wherever possible.

Facts JSF Program truly troubling

The facts regarding this program are truly troubling. Originally, the JSF program was supposed to deliver an affordable, highly common, fifth generation aircraft that, by leveraging proven technologies, could be acquired by warfighters in large numbers. Acquiring these jets was supposed to cost a total of $233 billion, or an average of $69 million each, when adjusted for inflation. And the program was supposed to, first, deliver operational aircraft to the services back in 2008.

Price and cost doubled, and counting

None of these promises have come to pass. The program first delivered operational aircraft in 2010. And when the services will get their JSF’s with real combat capability is anyone’s guess. As of today, the total cost to acquire these planes will be at least $385 billion, or an average of $133 million each, and will likely go higher.
Again, I repeat. Originally, they were supposed to be $69 million each. Now they have reached $133 million each and will likely go higher.
The fact is that after almost 10 years in development, 4 years in production, according to outside experts, the aircraft’s design is still not stable. Manufacturing processes still need to improve, and the overall weapons system has not yet been proven to be reliable. Notably, it has taken Lockheed about 10 years and cost the taxpayers $56 billion to produce and deliver 9 of 12 test aircraft. Over that period, Congress has authorized and appropriated funds for 113 F–35 jets. Lockheed has, however, delivered just 11.

Progam now at a watershed moment

In my view, the program is now at a watershed moment. With austere defense budgets for as far as the eye can see, the JSF program must show now it can deliver JSF aircraft as needed on time and on budget.
Since 2009, Secretary gates significantly restructured the program twice, an indication of how serious this program’s problems have become. Those efforts have rightly focused on reducing the risk of trying to develop, test, and procure cutting-edge aircraft that have plagued this program since it started. Cost and schedule changes that accumulated over the last few years resulted in critical breaches of the initial cost thresholds. Put simply, JSF is estimated to cost about 80 percent more than when the program started and about 30 percent more than the current baseline set in 2007. No program should expect to be continued with that kind of track record, especially in our current fiscal climate.

Soon new announcements for cost and production cuts

I understand that soon the Pentagon will announce new baselines for cost and schedule to reflect a total of $7.4 billion in additional funding, a cut of 246 aircraft from the near-term production ramp, and the addition of 33 months to complete development prescribed
by Secretary Gates’ restructuring efforts. As for the future, daunting obstacles remain.

Early production series: cost overruns of 11%-15%

Estimates have the early production (editor’s note: LRIP1 - LRIP2 - LRIP3 series) facing cost overruns of between 11 percent and 15 percent. That is between $700 million and $960 million over the original estimate of $6.4 billion for 28 aircraft. Also, while there has been improvement in decreasing the number of design changes on the manufacturing floor, which tends to be a sign that the design is more stable, such changes are still being done more frequently than desired. And Lockheed Martin still needs to improve how efficiently it moves parts through its manufacturing processes and how it manages its global supply chain.
Additionally, developing the software that is vital to making JSF work as intended is lagging behind schedule. Plus, the new helmet display system that JSF will use is still not on track. Moreover, even after these production problems are solved, we still have to contend with potentially huge costs to maintain all three versions of the JSF. As the chairman mentioned, right now it is estimated to be about $1 trillion, adjusted for inflation. This jaw-dropping amount may be about twice as much as the cost to maintain other roughly comparable aircraft. I appreciate this estimate is still early and subject to change. But we need to know that the program is going to bring that number down.
Finally, I am also keenly aware that the Marines need to start replacing their aging combat aircraft soon, and yet the Marine variant has had the most difficulty in development so far and is facing a 2-year probation after which the Marine version must show improvement
or face cancellation. Of all the services, the Marines face the most drastic consequences of further delays or cost increases due to age of their legacy aircraft.

I look forward to the testimony of all of our witnesses. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Questions of Senator John McCain during the SASC Hearing about the F-35 of May 19, 2011:

Question Senator McCain:
I am sure you understand the frustration that members of this committee feel because we have received testimony after testimony over the 10-year period that you are describing that things were going pretty well, that we were pretty well on track, that yes, there were some cost overruns. And in all candor, we had to rely to some degree on the GAO for the facts, and many of us—or at least some of us—saw this train wreck coming which has led me to your comment that right now—is this accurate from what you said? Right now it is not an affordable program and the sustainment costs are not affordable. Is that correct?

Answer Dr. Carter:
That is correct. If we live the estimates, we cannot afford to pay that much. I do not think we have to live those estimates, and our objective is to make sure that those estimates do not come true and that we do have an affordable program.

Question Senator McCain:
It seems to me we have to start at least considering alternatives. If the situation right now is not acceptable, we have to do two things, it seems to me: make it acceptable but also think of alternatives if we cannot do that.
I guess, Dr. Gilmore, did I hear you say the previous plans under your area of supervision were ‘‘not credible’’?

Testing JSF not only “checking design” - high regression factor

Answer Dr. Gilmore (Pentagon Director Operational Test and Evaluation):
Well, first, I advise on developmental testing. My focus is operational testing. So I am not actually responsible for planning the program.
But what I did do, when I first took office, is take a look at the planning factors that were being used. For example, there are planning factors for reflying sorties, test sorties, when you do not get all the information that you originally hoped you would get when
you fly a sortie in the test aircraft. And there are planning factors for what are called regression sorties. That is, you have made a change to the aircraft. For example, they are making changes in the flight control system now in order to deal with something called
transonic wing roll-off, which is an unexpected loss of lift on one wing in the transonic regime where models cannot predict very well what the chaotic air flow is. So you make a change to the flight control system software. You want to go back and refly previous
points you have already flown to make sure you understand the behavior of the aircraft. That is a regression sortie.
The original plans for refly and regression—the original planning factors were 15 percent and 20 percent, 15 percent for refly and 20 percent for regression. Now we stand, as a result of the technical baseline review, at 35 percent and 66 percent. So that is one of the reasons that we now have 14,000 hours in the flight test program as opposed to 8,000 hours before all of the restructuring. That is just one example of assumptions that were made that were clearly out of line with our experience with programs like F–18E/F and F–22. Now, you want to be somewhat aggressive. You do not want to put yourself in a position of inevitably repeating mistakes that were made before, assuming that you will repeat those mistakes. But you can see that those planning factors were well out of line with historical experience.

About the troubling software development

Question Senator McCain:
It is too bad that we cannot, Mr. Chairman, ask those people who made these estimates and made assumptions that were made before this committee to explain that. But probably would be a waste of time.
I do not know if it is Ms. Fox or Mr. Van Buren. According to the GAO, software providing essential JSF capability is not mature and releases to the test program are behind schedule. Is that you, Ms. Fox?

Answer Mrs. Fox (Pentagon CAPE -Cost Estimates):
That is our understanding, sir. The software is behind, yes. (…) Sir, I do not have an answer for what we do. We are absolutely tracking it. I know that the program office is on it. The software development is proving to be much more difficult, as I said, even than CAPE estimated originally.

Answer Dr. Gilmore (Director OT&E):
Senator, one of the reasons that the software is behind schedule—Ms. Fox already mentioned one. It is a hard job to develop all this mission systems software. The mission systems software by source lines of code in Joint Strike Fighter is going to be between two and three times the number of source lines of code in the F–22. So this is a very complex job. We are just beginning.
One of the reasons that the achievement of mission systems flight test test points is behind schedule is because we have right now one dedicated mission systems flight test aircraft. Two or three of the other aircraft can do mission systems testing, but a couple of those aircraft are STOVL aircraft and right now they are being used primarily for STOVL flight sciences testing. There are two additional Air Force variant aircraft that have just been delivered that can do mission systems testing, but they are not going to be able to start doing that for about 4 months because they are going to be used to do what is called a maturity demonstration in order to enable training to start using unmonitored flight later this year down at Eglin.
So the problem is we only have one dedicated mission systems flight test aircraft. In another 4 or 5 months, we will have three, and that may enable us to catch up and drop the next block of software later this year as planned. It is planned in November. According
to my estimates, it may slip a couple of months. But right now, we are limited by test aircraft.

Questions and answers Mr. Michael Sullivan, US Government Accountability Office

Question Senator McCain:
Senator MCCAIN. How long, Mr. Sullivan, have you been tracking this program?

Answer Mr. SULLIVAN (US Government Accountability Office US-GAO):
I have been tracking it on and off for probably 10 years, but solidly for probably the last 6 or 7.

Question Senator MCCAIN:
So, given that experience, what is your degree of optimism that the sustainment costs can be brought under control and the cost overruns can be brought under control? What is your overall assessment of the prospects?

Answer Mr. SULLIVAN (US-GAO):
I think what we have seen from GAO’s perspective is for years what we thought were some fairly significant risks went unaddressed. For example, the Mid- Course Risk Reduction Program that took place in the mid 2000s we thought added more risk. It didn’t reduce risk and, therefore, added more cost to the program.

Question Senator MCCAIN:
And you testified so before this committee?

Answer Mr. SULLIVAN:
Yes, we have. And we made recommendations to the department, beginning in 2001, when we were talking about technology maturity, all the way through until—I mean, we made many recommendations that they should reduce their ramp-up rate because they weren’t ready to go to production.
Now all these things have come to pass, and they have come home to pass probably more inefficiently than if it would have been planned better in the first place.
But I would say with the beginning of the Nunn-McCurdy breach, when we had the Nunn-McCurdy breach and they came in and did the analysis, I think that they have done a pretty good job of being a lot more candid. They have got a lot more actual data
to bring into it now. Now, of course, it resulted in yet again another pretty significant cost increase, both to RDT&E costs and procurement costs, and significant schedule delays. But I think what we got in the last 15 months with this review that has gone on, and I think what Admiral Venlet referred to, is we have got a lot more sense of the systems
engineering knowledge that we need. And I think we have reduced risk a lot, and they have an estimate now that at least it is an estimate.

Question Senator MCCAIN:
Again, given your long experience, would you believe that perhaps at least alternatives need to be considered?

Answer Mr. SULLIVAN.
I think alternatives should always be considered. That is a little bit out of my, you know, my bailiwick. But yes, I think it is reasonable to assume that alternatives should always be considered, especially for our National security interests.

Lockheed Martin’s Tom Burbage under fire

Question Senator MCCAIN:
Mr. Burbage, Mr. Sullivan has just testified that they alerted the Congress and, I am sure, you of these significant risks, which, Mr. Sullivan’s testimony, were unaddressed for
8 or 9 years. What is your response to that?

Answer Mr. BURBAGE (Lockheed Martin):
Well, sir, the process on this program is complex. It is challenging. We have lots of independent looks at the program. We try to accommodate those independent looks as we can within the constraints that we operate in, and those are annual budgets and annual schedule constraints. Can we accommodate all of them? No.

Interruption Senator MCCAIN:
Annual budgets? You have exceeded your annual budgets by almost double.

Answer Mr. BURBAGE:
Well, sir, we have a set of requirements we are designing the airplane to meet. We mature that design as we go forward in time. We then bring the design into production. We then test the design. We don’t have full knowledge of how that is going to unfold. And
as it unfolds over time, we accommodate the different risks and challenges that come up.
Now the contract geometry is established upfront to accommodate the fact that there will be unknowns in this process, and we work our way through those.

Question Senator MCCAIN:
You know, but the sad part about that is that we sit here, and contractor and Department of Defense come over and tells us this is how much it is going to cost your taxpayers. And consistently—this isn’t unique—we find cost overruns with no
incentives to bring those cost overruns under control because they are ‘‘cost-plus contracts.’’ Nowhere in our economy do we have costplus contracts except in Defense, that I know of.
And yet Lockheed Martin is doing pretty well. Do you recall what their profits were in 2010?

Answer Mr. BURBAGE:
No, sir. I don’t.

Question Senator MCCAIN:
Probably, maybe you could submit it for the record? But I know that there has been a handsome return to the shareholders, but there hasn’t been a handsome return to the taxpayers. And if I convey a sense of frustration, it is because I have been a member of this committee, and I at least initially accepted the testimony of the Department of Defense and the program managers.
And consistently, the GAO has come forward with testimony saying that would contradict that, and now we find ourselves in a situation where previous witnesses say that sustainment costs are unacceptable, and the present rate, the weapon system is not affordable.
So I guess my question is, is that when you entered into the original contract with DOD, did you anticipate these kinds of cost overruns, breach of Nunn-McCurdy?

Answer Mr. BURBAGE:
No, sir.

Questions and answers Admiral Venlet, JSF Program Office

Question Senator MCCAIN.
Admiral, since the 2-year extensive review of the programs over the JSF has estimated it cost about 80 percent more than when the program started about 10 years ago, what can you tell the committee to give us confidence that the unsustainable cost growth we have seen in the program is now ending?

Answer Admiral VENLET (JPO):
Sir, the cost position in the situation of the program and Nunn-McCurdy was judged to be, as you said, 80 percent higher. That was on a path that was failed, basically. It did not have the realism in it. That is why the cost to bring this capability to bear was underplanned, both in content and in how it was estimated to be in price.
The hope for discipline going forward is it was a very serious commitment by the Defense Department to commit these resources of this extra $4.6 billion, not an easy thing, not taken lightly. Very seriously understood by me, when I brought that recommendation
forward. And I told Dr. Carter that it was my estimation that this change and this adjustment to the program had an ability to absorb the learning that remains and the number of flight tests and the years of continued development that should because of that grounding in realism and refly rates, capacity to do software, resource the helmet
issues that have been discussed, would have a high confidence of delivering within that timeframe and within that dollar amount.
Now it is not a given that it will. It requires to deliver particularly in the software area. From today, from the day I got here until the day the program declares its development complete, software will be the highest risk and the most intense focus of the program.
In parallel with this resourced and planned with realism, and it must come, the cultural change to never lose that grasp on the systems engineering processes. If we stray from that, we will go back to the old ways, and we will not live to this plan. That is a determination that those here and those that follow us must not lose to deliver this program.

About the doubled Operating and Support Cost

Question Senator MCCAIN:
I just have two more quick questions, Admiral. One of them is why are the sustainment costs for this system so much higher than others, and what can be done about that?

Answer Admiral VENLET:
Yes, sir. In the sustainment costs, the striking estimate that we are facing right now is a buildup of factors that what we believe today about the size of the manpower that will be required to sustain this aircraft, the number that we will own, the number of hours per month that we will fly them, which goes into the fuel cost, the price of the aircraft drives the estimated— (Interruption Senator MCCAIN. The price of fuel is the same for every aircraft.) - Yes, sir. Yes, sir. But the size of the fleet— 2,400 of these would be more than the F–18 fleet, the F–15 fleet.

Question Senator MCCAIN.
So you are saying that the F–18 sustainment costs are less because there are fewer of them?

Answer Admiral VENLET:
Only one factor, sir. Now I am going to complete the factors that are in the estimate now. My duty for the service chiefs and the Secretaries are to illuminate them the consequences of those choices.
So how many that we have, where we bed them down, how many bases, how many support equipment sets, simulators that we need, the number of maintenance technicians we believe are going to be required.
My focus this year, if 2010 was the year we focused on the development program and the manufacturing plan, this is the year we were focusing on needs estimates and these parameters, and I need to illuminate for those leaders what those drivers are and then bring them forward, bring forward to them some choices to make to make those go down.

Question Senator MCCAIN.
Well, I would have hoped that since we are in the 10th year of this program that some of those decisions would have been made a long time ago.
My final question is what degree of confidence do you have that the Marine Corps version can get off probation?

Answer Admiral VENLET.
Sir, I have high confidence that the Marine Corps STOVL will succeed this period of scrutiny. Every technical issue—and they are principally the propulsion system integration,
the ones that Dr. Carter spoke of. Every issue within our view today has an engineering solution to lead the STOVL to the air worthy, flight clearance for unmonitored operation by the fleet. I have high confidence that we will get the STOVL to its initial sea trials before the end of this year. I have high confidence that we will be able to achieve a flight clearance from the Naval Air Systems Command for a conventional monitored mode of flight first while we prove out the engineering solutions I spoke about for the STOVL mode, and that will help the Commandant immensely, sir.

Senator MCCAIN.
Thank you. I thank the witnesses for their patience.

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Mei 21 2011

Senate Hearing F-35 : opening statement Carl Levin

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

Read some key quotes of the opening statement of Senator Carl Levin, chairman.


Today we will seek a better understanding of what the Department of Defense found in various reviews of the Joint Strike Fighter program after the Nunn-McCurdy certification last year and what actions the Department has taken to ameliorate problems that it found with the program and what is the best judgment available as to how effective these actions will be in preventing further problems with the program, including cost overruns and
delays.
(…)
The F–35 Joint Strike Fighter program is currently the largest acquisition program within the Defense Department’s portfolio. Perturbations to the cost, schedule, or performance of a program that intends to buy more than 2,400 aircraft for the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps will have significant implications for the rest of the Department’s acquisition program and for the DOD budget as a whole.
(…)

New delays and later IOC; new revions later this month

Last year, delays in producing the F–35 developmental aircraft have caused an estimated 13-month slip in the program for completing testing. Some, including the CAPE office, the Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, had been predicting that development
could slip by as much as 30 months. It now appears that the CAPE estimate may have been much closer to the mark of how long it will really take to complete development than that 13-month estimate.
We know that the Department intends to release additional information on the new baseline and on a new initial operational capability, or the IOC, later this month after conducting a Defense Acquisition Board review of the program.

Development cost nearing US$ 51 billion

The additional delays that we see in the revised plan have both cost implications for the F–35 program itself and cost implications for the services as they try to manage their current force structure of legacy aircraft. The services have had to come up with more research
and development funds, since we are now looking at an increase of more than $4 billion in the cost to complete the system development and demonstration, or SDD, program.
Now, what this means is that we now have roughly $13.8 billion left to go just on the SDD program, with total SDD costs now at $51 billion (editor’s note: about US$ 21 million per unit at a production run of 2.400 units). Now, these are dismaying. Indeed, they are disturbing numbers and costs to us and to the taxpayers of the United States. Now, the most recent SDD cost increase is somewhat offset by procurement reductions in the near term, but that just simply postpones costs to future years where these costs will add pressure to those budgets.
(…)
JSF lost focus on affordability

Last year, we raised concerns about the JSF program having lost focus on affordability. That was not our assessment alone. That was an observation of the DOD- chartered Independent Manufacturing Review Team report on the JSF program, and that report
stated: ‘‘Affordability is no longer embraced as a core pillar.’’ We need to hear today specifically how the Department has responded to that erosion in focus. We also need to hear what steps the Department has taken or plans to take to ensure that operating and
support costs are reduced as a part of a renewed emphasis on affordability.
This committee has been a supporter of the JSF program from the beginning. Nonetheless, people should not conclude that we will be willing to continue that kind of support without regard to increased costs resulting from a lack of focus on affordability. We cannot sacrifice other important acquisitions in the Department of Defense investment portfolio to pay for this capability.

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Mei 20 2011

Pentagon: “Operating Costs Biggest Threat to F-35″

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

Defense News reports about the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, reporting about the testimony of Pentagon procurement chief Ashton Carter:

“Over the lifetime of this program, the decade or so, the per-aircraft cost of the 2,443 aircraft has doubled in real terms, that’s what it’s going to cost if we keep doing what we’re doing. That’s unacceptable. That’s unaffordable. (…..) Nobody is going to pay that bill, it’s way too high. (…) Having the thing costs much more than buying the thing. Seventy cents of the cost of every program is having it, 30 cents is getting it.”

Source(link): Defense News; 20-May-2011 DoD: Operating Costs Biggest Threat to F-35

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Mei 20 2011

Japan may drop F-35 from shortlist fighter replacement

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

Kyodo News Agency reports Japan may dromp F-35 from shortlist for the Japanese fighter replacement competition to replace the F-4EJ Phantom II due to the continued delays in the F-35’s development plan. The Kyodo report was based on diplomatic and defense sources.

Source (link): Reuters; 20-May-2011; “Japan may drop F-35 from shortlist of next mainstay fighter

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Mei 20 2011

Pentagon official Carter: F-35 unaffordable at this costlevel

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

Ashton Carter, the under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the Pentagon cannot afford to pay for the F-35 under present estimates.

Source (link): Washington Post; 19-May-2011 “Pentagon official, lawmakers says estimated costs of jet fighter unsustainable

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Mei 20 2011

OT&E Director Gilmore: progress, but many challenges ahead

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Ontwikkeling JSF

During the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing of Thursday May 19, 2011 Michael Gilmore, director Operational Test & Evaluation, was quite positive on flight-test progress during the last months, but warned that discoveries could still come in high-Angel of Attack testing, high-speed testing, weapons separation testing, and heavy external loads testing.

Full text of the Statement of Dr. J. Michael Gilmore, director Operational Test and Evaluation, Office of the Secretary of Defense before the (US) Senate Armed Services Committee; May 19, 2011:


Good morning Mr. Chairman, Senator McCain, and Members of the Committee. Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program.

Technical Baseline Review (TBR) and Re-planning Flight Test

The TBR, which began approximately a year ago, recommended changes to mission systems development, as well as to developmental flight test plans and resources that yield a realistic and credible program for completion of the system design and development (SDD) phase of the program. The schedule developed during the TBR extends the SDD phase about 16 months beyond the end-date used during the Nunn-McCurdy certification of JSF. Three reasons underlie this extension:
- More flight test sorties, including re-fly and regression sorties, were needed; the current number of sorties is consistent with historical experience.
- The short take-off vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft had proven to be more complex than assumed previously and its performance was different than pre-test predictions.
- Progress in developing and integrating mission systems software was less than previously understood, requiring more time and effort.
A final flight test schedule that incorporates the TBR recommendations is being developed; I expect it to be completed by late July. I will be working with the operational test agencies and the program office to adjust plans for conducting operational testing accordingly. For example, because the three different JSF variants will complete developmental flight testing on different schedules, operational testing of all three variants conducted simultaneously will probably no longer occur. Currently, I expect an operational assessment of aircraft with Block 2 mission systems capabilities to begin early in 2015, and initial operational test and evaluation of aircraft with the final set of Block 3 mission systems capabilities to begin during spring 2017. There are a number of prerequisites to conducting operational testing, including that development of all Block 3 capabilities is complete and they are certified for use by operational pilots, that all airworthiness certifications are complete, and a full mission data load is available.

Flight Sciences Progress

Over the last six months, four more flight test aircraft have been ferried to the test centers and flight rates have improved for the STOVL and Conventional Takeoff and Landing (CTOL) aircraft. An additional three flight test aircraft, expected to be delivered by the end of last month, had not been delivered as of 11 May, but are expected to arrive at the flight test centers soon.

STOVL Flight Test

The STOVL variant flight rate has improved from an average of approximately 4 sorties per aircraft per month to approximately 8 sorties per aircraft per month against a plan of 5 sorties per aircraft per month. The test team has accomplished STOVL mode testing on four test aircraft, an improvement over the single aircraft available for this testing last year. This has resulted in a significant increase in the amount of STOVL mode flight testing. Completing needed modifications to test aircraft (e.g., stronger STOVL auxiliary air inlet doors), adding test aircraft, increased staffing at the flight test center, an increase in the envelope available for flight test, and improvements to parts supply and maintainability have contributed to this improvement in the pace of flight testing. The test team has accomplished nearly all of the vertical landings and short takeoffs needed in preparation for amphibious ship integration trials planned later this year, as well as for the start of STOVL pilot training at the training center early next year.

CTOL Flight Test

The flight rate of CTOL test aircraft continues ahead of the post-TBR planned rate. In the last two months, the three flight sciences test aircraft have averaged approximately 11 sorties per month against a plan of 9 sorties per aircraft per month. Increased staffing and logistics support have enabled this higher flight rate to be achieved.

Carrier Variant (CV) Flight Test

The single Carrier Variant (CV) aircraft at the flight test center continues to fly at about the planned pace. A second CV flight sciences aircraft, which is the final remaining SDD flight sciences test asset, has completed its first flight at the contractor facility in Ft Worth, Texas. Flight sciences testing of the CV aircraft is in the very early stages of flight envelope expansion.
Constraints on available flight sciences test points have, however, begun to challenge the program. The ability to open the available flight envelope and make productive use of the achievable pace of flight testing is dependent on completing analysis and/or modifications required to relieve aircraft operating limitations (e.g., clearance to fly in conditions causing greater structural loads and at higher maximum speed), incorporating additional instrumentation, incorporating design changes, and making changes to control laws.

Progress on Discoveries in Flight Sciences and Durability Testing

The program continues to address previous flight sciences test discoveries of undesirable handling characteristics and higher than predicted structural loads in the CTOL and STOVL aircraft. Flight test results during transonic flight and maneuvers with elevated g-forces have resulted in the need to change control laws in the vehicle systems software to address undesirable roll-off, side-slip, and yawing. Flying qualities in the CTOL aircraft at medium altitudes have improved with these changes. More flight test and analyses are needed to characterize and resolve these problems in the STOVL aircraft, which experiences more severe undesirable handling qualities in a greater area of the transonic envelope than the CTOL aircraft. A risk exists that software modifications to control laws may be insufficient to improve the handling characteristics of the STOVL aircraft, in which case mechanical fixes (e.g., a spoiler system) could be needed. The program is working to develop operationally relevant criteria with which to make final assessments of the efficacy of the software changes to control laws that are possible before examining hardware modifications to the aircraft. The structural loads on the vertical tail fins of both the CTOL and STOVL aircraft, which stem from the side-slip control problem, are higher than predicted and require further analysis. Testing in lower altitude flight operations, of weapons integration, and in high angle of attack environments has yet to be done for any variant and may result in new discoveries.
The program also continues to make progress in addressing problems with STOVL aircraft components that enable vertical lift operations. The roll post nozzle actuator, lift fan clutch and clutch housing, and lift fan driveshaft are being re-designed. The current designs meet the original design specifications, which have proven to be insufficient and can impose limitations on flight operations. The test team is able to safely conduct flight test and STOVL mode operations using flight monitoring systems in SDD test aircraft. The program is adding thermal blankets and better potting material in early low-rate initial production (LRIP) aircraft to the roll post nozzle actuator components to handle greater than anticipated heat experienced inside the roll post nozzle bay below 60 knots; and has started a nozzle actuator component redesign effort to enable the nozzle to withstand higher temperatures. The program is adding driveshaft spacers in early LRIP aircraft to compensate for the unanticipated expansion and contraction of the shaft during flight while a new shaft design is being developed for cut-in to later production. Higher than expected drag on the lift fan clutch during CTOL mode flight heats the clutch to unacceptable levels that affect the ability to transition to STOVL modes for landing. The program is adding a temperature sensor to the clutch housing so that the pilot can monitor and be aware of increasing temperature inside the clutch housing. Pilot procedures in response to high clutch temperatures are being developed for flight test, training, and operational scenarios. The clutch may be cooled by changing flight regimes (e.g. lowering the landing gear, changing altitude and airspeed), before engaging STOVL modes, fuel and operational conditions permitting. Modifications to the STOVL aircraft Auxiliary Air Inlet doors to address higher than predicted loads and dynamic conditions in SDD test aircraft enabled the pace of vertical lift operations in flight test to be increased. Retrofit and redesign changes are planned to Auxiliary Air Inlet doors on production aircraft.
As mentioned above, the test team is able to safely conduct flight test and vertical lift operations using flight monitoring systems installed in the STOVL SDD test aircraft. However, these problems must be corrected in aircraft that are to be used for training and operational testing because those aircraft will not be monitored in-flight. The schedule for implementing these corrections is currently driven by the planned dates for initiating CTOL-only mode training operations in early 2012, as well as unmonitored STOVL mode flights, which may potentially be needed as soon as late 2012 if the ability to conduct unmonitored flights is desired commensurate with the delivery to the Marine Corps at Yuma, Arizona of STOVL aircraft from the fourth LRIP lot. If testing of the changes is not complete by late 2012, aircraft at Yuma, which will have limited capability, will fly in CTOL mode only.

Fatigue cracks in bulkhead, need to modify F-35A and F-35B

Late last year, fatigue cracks occurred in a wing carry-through bulkhead on the STOVL durability test article after approximately 1,500 hours of test. Root cause analysis showed that high stress concentrations occurred at the location of the cracks; those cocentrations were not predicted by the finite element modeling that had been conducted. The CTOL and STOVL durability test articles, SDD flight test aircraft, and early production aircraft will be modified according to a retrofit plan that includes blending edges in the areas where the stresses are concentrated and adding structural “straps” to strengthen the bulkhead. A redesigned bulkhead will be incorporated in later production aircraft. The STOVL durability test article will be modified with both the retrofit and the redesigned parts and is expected to resume durability testing late this year or early in 2012. The CTOL durability test article may re-enter testing as early as next month. However, the bulkhead problem generated a thorough review by the program office of the durability of the design for all three variants. This effort identified additional candidates for modifications to assure aircraft are durable through at least two structural fatigue lives (16,000 hours).

Early LRIP (1-3) aircraft need wing root rib modifications

For example, a wing root rib in the CTOL variant was identified as needing a re-design. Early LRIP CTOL aircraft will require retrofit of modifications of this structure and a re-designed component will be incorporated into later production aircraft.

Mission Systems Development major concern

Mission systems development and flight test plans were restructured as a result of the TBR. Block 0.5, the first mission systems software version, began flight test in mid-2010. Though more stable than initial versions of the mission systems software released in the F-22 program, Block 0.5 experienced too many problems to complete its assigned flight test objectives. Fixes for the problems discovered with Block 0.5 were subsequently incorporated into an initial Block 1 software version which began flight testing early this year. Block 1 flight test execution and integration of final software elements is slightly behind the current post-TBR plan. Efforts in the last six months have focused on completing the regression testing generated last year by problems discovered with Block 0.5 and supporting the fielding of a portion of the Block 1 capability needed to begin initial pilot training later this year. Approximately 40 percent of original Block 1 test points have been deferred to the next block, Block 2, because of aircraft limitations in the Block 1 configuration. I estimate there is likely to be at least a 1-month to 2-month delay in completing flight testing of the remaining available Block 1 capability, which is currently planned to conclude in October of this year.

Potential for further delays

The potential exists for a further delay because in order to meet this year’s goals, flight test productivity must be significantly greater in terms of mission systems flight rate and test point completion than has been the case during the last year of mission systems flight testing. The addition of the first two LRIP production aircraft, AF-6 and AF-7, to the SDD test fleet will be helpful, but before these aircraft can contribute to missions systems flight testing, they must be loaded with the latest Block 1 software and then participate in a maturity demonstration needed to support the beginning of pilot training later this year. The maturity demonstration is required to assure CTOL production aircraft can be flown safely without control room monitoring, as will be the case during training and operational testing.

Block 1 testpoints moved to Block 2

The development and integration teams are essentially on the TBR-adjusted timeline for releasing the first Block 2 capability to flight test in November of this year. Testing will be done initially of software incorporating about one-half of the full set of capabilities planned for Block 2. The deferred Block 1 test points will also have to be flown. Block 2 integration and flight test is planned to complete in late 2013. Block 3 development and integration is in an early stage; it is slightly lagging planned levels of completion by 10-15 percent, and is planned to continue until mid-2015. Producing and integrating the software that provides the complex capabilities in these later blocks of mission systems will be a substantial challenge.

Essential Problems with Helmet Mounted Display System

Successful development of the Helmet Mounted Display System (HMDS) presents one of the more significant challenges to providing combat capability. It is integral to the F-35 mission systems architecture and the concept of operations—it displays key aircraft handling/performance information as well as tactical situational awareness and weapons employment information on the pilot’s helmet visor. In the F-35, the HMDS replaces the conventional heads-up display (HUD) found in other fighter aircraft. Problems include integration of the night vision capability, symbology jitter, and latency. These stem in turn from problems with camera hardware, insufficient computer processing power, inaccurate head position tracking, and poor helmet fit, complicated by vibration-inducing airframe buffet experienced at high angles-of-attack in some dynamic maneuvering regimes. The program is pursuing a dual path to resolve the technical issues and provide a system that will enable flight test to proceed and meet operational mission needs. One path is to complete development of the original HMDS system by the end of SDD Block 3. The alternate path is to integrate a technically mature, existing helmet mounted display system that addresses the symbology stability issues that have been discovered, but requires an additional night vision system (such as existing night vision goggles) to provide night combat capability. As a further risk reduction strategy, the program continues to investigate the possible incorporation of a conventional HUD, should some of the current problems prove to be unsolvable with either the original HMDS or an alternate helmet. If a HUD is, in fact, required, this would involve significant modifications to the current cockpit design.

Modeling and Simulation–Verification Simulation (VSIM)

The program has continued planning of validation efforts for F-35 modeling, development of the virtual battlespace environment, and integration of the two into one simulation intended for integrated test and evaluation. Several staff members were added over the last several months to the VSIM verification, validation, and accreditation (VV&A) management team. More work is needed to determine the adequacy of the current VSIM VV&A effort, with regard to manpower, integration with the lab and flight testing programs, and timing of verification and validation efforts with respect to the points in the program where the different components of VSIM need to be accredited for use. Although the VSIM VV&A management team may now be adequately manned, the detailed analytical work of model validation will have to be performed by experts in the individual subsystems and subsystem models, and the program has yet to clearly identify the manpower and other resources required to perform this detailed analysis. Furthermore, robust model validation is based on comparison of model performance with lab and flight test results. The program has only begun the process of matching validation data requirements to test events that can provide the required data. The upcoming integrated master schedule needs to assure that adequate time is allotted for the correction of model deficiencies identified in the validation process, including the required turnaround time for deficiency identification and correction, between the collection of data to analyze given models and dates at which fully validated versions models are required for use.

Modeling and Simulation–Other Models and Corporate Labs

The program’s latest modeling and simulation accreditation planning indicates a total of 34 models and virtual laboratories (including VSIM) for use as test venues in developmental testing need to be accredited. The program had originally planned to accredit 11 models by the end of FY 10, but delays and the current re-plan are moving most of those accreditations to completion at later times, with a new schedule awaiting the re-plan results. Three accreditations have been completed so far. The need dates for model accreditation are, in many cases, tied to delivery dates for capabilities in the jet. That is, as mission capabilities shift from one configuration block to another, the dates at which the capabilities will be verified move accordingly; likewise the dates at which the models used in verifying those capabilities need to be accredited. In other words, the schedule for modeling and simulation accreditation is currently dynamic, and will remain so until the schedules for delivering capability to which accreditation is tied have stabilized.

Propulsion Testing

Ground testing for production qualification is completed for the F135 STOVL propulsion system, and CTOL ground testing is planned to complete in July. Flight test of the production-representative F135 initial service release (ISR) engine has continued in all three variants and is making progress consistent with the post-TBR plans: STOVL ISR flight test has accomplished approximately 25 percent of the total SDD test points required; CTOL flight test has completed approximately 33 percent of the total test points required; and CV flight test has completed approximately 27 percent of ISR test points. Two CTOL flight sciences test aircraft engines have been modified to correct the engine afterburner “screech” problem that was reported last year. Engine afterburner screech did not slow flight test. A small number of test points were attempted last year and could not be achieved due to the screech-driven limitation. Flight test planners deferred testing in the regimes where screech limits operations, and have instead been conducting other testing–essentially re-sequencing test events. One of the recently modified CTOL test aircraft has flown test points in the regime that could not be sustained last year due to screech and was able to achieve the desired test conditions. Continued flight test will determine the efficacy of the modifications to the engine made to correct screech.

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Mei 20 2011

CAPE director concerned about JSF Operating and Support Cost

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Ontwikkeling JSF

During the Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing of May 19, 2011 the Pentagon CAPE director Christine Fox had several critical statements about the Operating and Support cost of the F-35. Mrs. Christine Fox said the CAPE estimates sustaining the F-35 will cost less than the F-22, but about the same as the F-15C/E and significant more than the F-16 and F-18, resulting in a “significant bill”.

Complete Statement of the Honorable Christine H. Fox, Director Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation of the US Department of Defense before the (US) Senate Armed Services Committee on May 19, 2011:

Mr. Chairman, Senator McCain, and distinguished members of the committee,
thank you for the opportunity to appear before you to discuss the Joint Strike Fighter
(JSF) program. Since I last testified before you in March of last year, there have been
many updates to the program. Today I would like to focus on three of the most significant
updates.

Consistency in estimates of CAPE and JPO

First, when I testified last year, there was a considerable difference in the cost and
schedule estimates between the Joint Program Office and CAPE. Since then, Dr. Carter
has assigned a new Program Director, VADM Venlet, who directed an in-depth technical
baseline review. This review, conducted by literally hundreds of individuals over a period
of six months, has significantly changed the program office estimates and provided indepth
information to the entire Department including my office. In addition, the
Department has developed greater insight into the contractor’s production performance,
as initial low rate production lots near completion. As a result, the program office life
cycle cost estimate is now consistent with our estimate.
Last year, I told you that we predicted that the average cost per aircraft would be
somewhere between the Program Office estimate of $80 million per aircraft in FY02
dollars and our estimate of $95 million per unit. Our current estimate is approximately
$95 million and has been in the low $90’s since 2008. This translates to $113 million per
aircraft in Fiscal Year 2011 dollars.

Software underestimated, but driving factor in JSF Development

The estimates that continue to change are for development cost and schedule. As a result of the insights from the Program Office’s technical baseline review, CAPE now estimates that development will take an additional 1½ years and cost approximately $4.5 billion more than we estimated in the spring of 2010. These estimates are in line with the current Program Office estimates and are funded in the PB12 Future Years Defense Program (FYDP).
There are two key drivers behind the increase in development cost and schedule.
The first is software and mission systems integration. CAPE has long said that software would be a driving factor in the time necessary to complete development; however, we underestimated how significant a driver it would be. The F-35 is a sophisticated aircraft with many new mission systems that require integration. The software necessary to seamlessly integrate these systems is taking longer to develop than previously estimated.
Another reason for the increase in development cost and schedule is the Marine Corps’ Short Take-off and Landing, or STOVL variant. The STOVL variant accounts for approximately 40 percent of the increase in development costs. This is why Secretary
Gates put this variant on “probation” for 2 years.

Operating and Support Cost significant higher

Secondly, I would like to discuss our estimate of the Joint Strike Fighter operating and support costs. CAPE conducted an extensive independent analysis of the O&S costs of JSF this past year. Experts from the Navy and Air Force participated in our effort. Our estimate, while developed independently, is consistent with that of the Program Office.
Our analysis indicates that the costs to operate and sustain the JSF are less than the F-22, about the same as the F-15C/D, and more than the F-16 and F-18. Given the significant increase in capability, it is not unreasonable that JSF costs more to operate and
sustain than some legacy aircraft. However, the fact that it will cost about 33 percent more per flight hour to operate JSF relative to the F-16 and F-18 aircraft it is replacing
gives the department a significant bill. (Remark: in 2002 JPO estimated the Cost per flight hour at less than 75% of the F-16). CAPE is engaged in supporting Dr. Carter and the
Program Office in their efforts to get these operating and support costs down before the
aircraft are fielded in numbers.

Strike fighter shortfall

Finally, I would like to report on the strike-fighter shortfall. Last year I stated that CAPE would conduct an in-depth study of the strike-fighter shortfall. Working with the services, we completed that study this past year. For the Air Force, their engineering analysis showed that the F-16s in particular have significantly greater service life than previously estimated. The net result of the F-35 procurement ramp associated with the 2012 President’s Budget and the most recent projections of legacy aircraft lifespan drop the Air Force shortfall down to between 40 and 100 aircraft as we reported in the 30-year aviation plan. This shortfall is relative to a 2,000 plane inventory total. Air Force and CAPE agree that this shortfall is manageable.

The Department of Navy’s aircraft shortfall was of greater concern, and the restructuring of the JSF program increased the magnitude, so additional measures were needed to ensure continued capability for the operational fleet. Department of Navy is addressing the shortfall with several management and investment measures to include a fully funded service life extension program for approximately 150 F/A-18 aircraft. While these management measures help address the shortfall, we judged that they would not be
sufficient so Secretary Gates added 41 F/A-18 E/Fs to the PB 2012 FYDP. These aircraft,
combined with the additional nine aircraft added by the Congress in 2011 reduce the
previous shortfall of 100 aircraft about in half. Navy assesses and CAPE agrees that the
latest shortfall projection is manageable.

That concludes the updates I have for you today. Thank you again for the
opportunity to appear before you.

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