Mrt 29 2014
Defense News reports about the final decision of South Korea to start negotations about a F-35 contract: to fullfill their F-X3 requirement to replace the obsolete F-4E Phantom II fighters. in the previous F-X1 and F-X2 batches South Korea bought the Boeing F-15K Eagle.
However it seems, the F-X3 program will be used to get more knowledge of stealth fighter engineering:
“South Korea will ask Lockheed Martin to invest in the country’s KF-X fighter jet development project as part of offset deals over its selection of the F-35 joint strike fighter. The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) made a final decision March 24 to buy 40 F-35As through the US Foreign Military Sales program. A final contract on the deal will be signed by September, according to the arms agency, with the first delivery in 2018.”
Buying engineering knowledge to develop a competitor of the F-35…..
The development of the own homebuild South Korean KF-X fighter is aimed at developing an F-16-class jet after 2023 in partnership with foreign governments and companies. This would mean that there is a small chance to get additional orders for more F-35’s to replace the South-Korean F-16 fighters in the twenties.
Defense News writes how South Korea wants to use the F-35 purchase to get engineering knowledge:
“Our focus is to receive quality technology for the KF-X development,” said Jung Kwang-sun, head of DAPA’s Aircraft Business Department. “Should a partner company invest in a joint development project, it could be more responsible for the project concerned.”
“The F-35 builder also will offer more than 500,000 pages of technical documentation derived from the F-16, F-35 and F-22, another stealth combat jet built.”
Defense News; 29-Mar-2014; Jung Sung-ki; “ Nog geen reacties op dit bericht. Vragen of opmerkingen zijn welkom!
Mrt 28 2014
The Hill Times reports about the decision of the Canadian government to reschedule the decisions to sign a contract for an initial delivery of Lockheed-Martin F-35 stealth fighter jets to Canada until after the 2015 federal election year:
“The government has delayed its current schedule to sign a contract for an initial delivery of Lockheed-Martin F-35 stealth fighter jets to Canada until after the 2015 federal election year.”
“A Department of National Defence report to Parliament last year pegged the estimated lifecycle cost for a fleet of 65 F-35s, including acquisition and maintenance and sustainment over 35 years, at $45.7-billion, including also $1-billion for replacing aircraft lost through attrition during the fleet’s lifetime.”
Delayed delivery after 2020
“The Hill Times emailed questions to the media communications branch in Public Works about the status of the review by a National Fighter Procurement Secretariat within the department, and also asked whether the government had notified the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Joint Program Office in Washington, D.C., that Canada would not be continuing with a schedule for initial delivery of four of the attack jets in 2017, and possibly putting it off to 2020.”
The Hill Times; 28-Mar-2014; “Feds to delay F-35 decision until after next federal election“
Mrt 28 2014
IEEE Spectrum author Robert N. Charette writes about this week’s US GAO F-35 report:
“Software-testing related issues involving the development and fielding mission systems were the main thrust of this year’s GAO report. The F-35, you may recall, is delivering its mission capabilities in a series of incremental “software blocks,” designated as Block 1A/B, Block 2A, Block 2B, Block 3i, and Block 3F. Each block builds on the mission capability developed in the preceding block. As described by the report, “Blocks 1 and 2A provide training capabilities and are essentially complete, with some final development and testing still underway. Blocks 2B and 3i provide initial warfighting capabilities and are needed by the Marine Corps and Air Force, respectively, to achieve initial operational capability. Block 3F is expected to provide the full suite of warfighting capabilities, and is the block the Navy expects to have to achieve its initial operational capability.” According to Flightglobal, a software Block 4 is being planned as an eventual mission capability upgrade for which development will begin late this year or more likely early next.”
IEEE Spectrum; 27-Mar-2014; Robert N. Charette:
“Software Testing Problems Continue to Plague F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program“
Mrt 28 2014
Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $52,141,562 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-incentive-fee contract (N00019-02-C-3002) to execute phase 3 of the Joint Strike Fighter Autonomics Logistics Information System (ALIS) Standard Operating Unit Version 2 (SOUv2) capability development effort.
Phase 3 includes integration of the SOUv2 with the ALIS sustainment system and the F-35 air system.
Work will be performed in Orlando, Fla. (70 percent) and Fort Worth, Texas (30 percent), and is expected to be completed in August 2015.
Fiscal 2013 research, development, test and evaluation, Air Force ($9,067,217) and fiscal 2014 research, development, test and evaluation Navy ($14,396,512) and Marine Corps ($14,309,644) funds in the amount of $37,773,373 will be obligated at time of award, $9,067,217 of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.
The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity
Source: US Department of Defense; contract announcement; issued 28-March-2014
Mrt 28 2014
HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — The Ogden Air Logistics Complex completed the Air Force’s first organic depot modifications on an F-35 Lightning II.
The F-35A variant aircraft, arrived at Hill AFB in mid-September 2013, and received four structural modifications intended to strengthen areas of the aircraft and extend its service life.
Maj. Gen. H. Brent Baker Sr., the Ogden ALC commander, credited the phenomenal teamwork that occurred between the Ogden ALC, Lockheed Martin and F-35 Joint Program Office for successfully completing the modifications.
“It was a team effort with the Ogden ALC providing the touch labor and Lockheed Martin providing engineering support,” Baker said. The aircraft departed 25-March-2104 for Nellis AFB, Nev., where it will undergo continued operational testing.
Verifying modification process
Baker said this first F-35 aircraft was what’s called a prototype modification aircraft because in the process of outfitting the modifications, the depot was also able to solidify its technical processes. This was the first time the Ogden ALC accomplished depot work on the aircraft, and new and improved ways of doing the modifications were discovered. In the end, each of the findings will formally be rolled into improving the existing technical guidance, Baker said, which will be used for subsequent F-35 repairs.
More than 30 Ogden ALC maintainers and 17 Lockheed Martin engineers and production staff accomplished the modifications under the umbrella of a public-private partnership.
“When it comes to Air Force depot maintenance on the F-35, the vast majority of the learning and experience is happening right here at the Ogden ALC,” Baker said.
Four structural modifications on brand-new aircraft
The first of the four structural modifications made to the aircraft included a root rib modification, which replaces a section of the aircraft’s wing root rib with a titanium splice. The other modifications, also structural, involved a station 3/9 modification, a mid-fairing fitting, and a forward engine mount modification, all of which are intended to extend the life of the aircraft.
The process concluded with a series of functional check flights to ensure the modifications were performed correctly and that other systems on the aircraft unrelated to the changes were not disturbed. The aircraft involved is a F-35A, AF-21; first flight 20-Oct-2012; start of modifications 23-Sep-2012 (11 months after first flight); remedial work ready 14-Mar-2014 (6 months later).
Modification of early F-35 jets: hundreds of millions of cost
Defense Aerospace writes about it:
“The aircraft arrived at Hill AFB on Sept. 20, 2013, 11 months after its first flight. At the time, Lockheed said that “This aircraft will receive a series of structural and systems modifications at Ogden to enhance critical capabilities needed during the Block 2B Operational Testing and Evaluation, or OT&E, program in 2015.”
The remedial work took six months (…) in other words, since its first flight 18 months ago, this particular aircraft has been grounded for repairs one-third of the time.
The remedial work at Hill AFB was carried out by 47 people (“more than 30 Ogden ALC maintainers and 17 Lockheed Martin engineers and production staff,”), so the labor needed to fix its faults totals about 23.5 man-years, even allowing for “new and improved ways of doing the modifications [that] were discovered” during the process. Payroll expenses alone would amount to $2-$3 million, depending on the pay grades of the military personnel and contractors involved. ”
This is part of the total modification program, caused by the concurrency in development, testing and production of the F-35. Some months ago Breaking Defense already reported about the very impressive amount of US$496.2 million that will pay for cost overruns on Lots 1 to 3 (28 aircraft involved).
“The F-35 Joint Program Office intends to issue multiple contract modifications to the Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Lot 2 contract” to Lockheed “for retrofit modifications” the six F-35As and six F-35Bs bought in Lot 2. “These potential actions will provide for a variety of improvements to the F-35 fleet, focusing on previously documented modifications related to the maintainability of the aircraft systems. These modifications are required to extend the service life of the aircraft. (…) This is part of the very impressive $496.2 million that will pay for cost overruns on Lots1 to 3.”
Second; RNLAF F-35A to be modified
The Ogden ALC received its second Joint Strike Fighter aircraft, a Dutch F-35, on 14-Feb-2014. A third (US.-owned0 jet arrived on 15-Mar-2014.
The Dutch aircraft is expected to undergo three of the four modifications performed on the first aircraft before it returns to Eglin AFB, Fla., for more operational testing this summer. It will not get the engine mount modification, but is receiving a major modification to the fuel boost pumps.
This second aircraft is more of a validation/verification aircraft, Baker said, which means that while it’s getting the planned modifications, the skilled artisans who work on the aircraft will continue to validate and verify that the formalized technical guidance is 100 percent accurate.
This year: six aircraft to be modified
The Ogden ALC is expected to perform a series of modifications on a total of six aircraft this fiscal year. Eight F-35s are expected to be inducted into the depot in FY15. Baker said it took more than two years to prepare the Ogden ALC for this new F-35 depot work and as workload increases, manning is also expected to increase.
The F-35 is important for the Air Force and Hill AFB, Baker said, because the F-35 will eventually be the heir to the F-16 Fighting Falcon and the A-10 Thunderbolt II. The Ogden ALC already performs depot maintenance, repair, overhaul and modification on the F-16 and A-10.
“It is exciting to see this entire plan come to fruition and work on the aircraft.” Baker said. “It has been incredibly rewarding for the team.”
US Air Force; Hill AFB; 75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs; press release by Richard W. Essary;
26-Mar-2014; “Ogden ALC completes organic mods on first F-35”
Analysis of some more details:
Breaking Defense; 19-dec-2013; Colin Clark; Concurrency’s Costs: An F-35 Example
Defense Aerospace; 27-mar-2014; F-35A Fighters Require Six Months of Remedial Work
Mrt 28 2014
The US Marine Corps in South Carolina is getting its first futuristic F-35 fighter jets in June, a commander from the Air Station in Beaufort announced Wednesday 26-March-2014.
Marine Air Group 31 commander Col. Bill Leiblien told members of the South Carolina Military Base Task Force that the first of dozens of aircraft and pilots are due to arrive by early to mid-June 2014.
SFgate (Associated Press); 26-Mar-2014; Susanne M. Schafer;
Marine: Beaufort on track to get 1st F-35 in June
Mrt 28 2014
Since the first F-35 Lightning II arrived at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., in 2011, the base has accomplished more than 4,100 training sorties and has ramped up to 45 aircraft. Now, the 33rd Fighter Wing has reached another major achievement – the qualification of 100 F-35 pilots and more than 1,000 maintainers.
Press Release; 27-Mar-2014; F-35 Training in High Gear at US Air Force Base Eglin
Mrt 28 2014
An F-35A training pilot took off Monday at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., for the Joint Strike Fighter’s first night training sortie. Previously, the service’s training syllabus explicitly prohibited the advanced stealthy fighter from flying at night or during adverse weather. But this delay wasn’t due to a technical problem, it was due to different air worthiness standards in the various services flying the plane.
Air Force Times; 26-Mar-2014; Air Force F-35A makes first night flight
Mrt 28 2014
Reuters reports that the U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel should be “very close” to a decision to allow 2 to 4 F-35s to fly at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) and the international Farnborough Air show, both in July 2014, seven years after the first flight of the prototpe AA-1.
So the visitors may enjoy the sound of freedom of the F-35B, likely if almost certainly exceed the threshold of pain (~125 dBA) quite some distance from the machine. Even if it is the F-35A, will still need those ear plugs (assuming it does some sort of flying display).
Chicage Tribune News (Reuters); 26-mar-2014; Andrea Shalal;
“Exclusive: U.S. set to approve international debut of F-35 fighter: sources“
Mrt 27 2014
Deze week was er een, door de Amerikaanse ambassade georganiseerde, bijeenkomst, waarin Nederlandse journalisten konden kennismaken met de nieuwe US ambassadeur voor Nederland, de heer Timothy Broas, werkzaam voor advocatenkantoor Winston & Strawn. Voor de Nederlandse journalistiek misschien nuttig om eens wat achtergrond onderzoek te doen naar deze persoon.
Volgens de eigen website (september 2013) specialist in witte boorden criminaliteit, corruptie en productaansprakelijkheid. Het kantoor onderhoudt goede banden met Lockheed Martin (zie deze PDF, Lobby Report 2003).
Bij zijn verdediging van zijn nominatie in de Amerkaanse senaat, in september 2013 zei hij het volgende:
“Nederland heeft besloten, hoewel parlementaire bevestiging nog moet volgen, om 37 Joint Strike Fighters te kopen. Dat is een aanzienlijk aantal, voor welk land, klein of groot. Maar als ik ambassadeur word, zal ik mij inspannen tot het uiterste om te zorgen dat het ook doorgaat, en zal mij inspannen om ze zo ver te krijgen dat dit er meer worden”.
Kans neemt toe: “Niet meer, eerder minder F-35’s”
Inmiddels is, zoals bekend sinds november 2013 de parlementaire goedkeuring binnen. Nu nog de inspanning om Nederland zo ver te krijgen, dat dit er meer worden. Want of de 37 toestellen betaalbaar zijn, moet in 2015 bij de contractonderhandelingen blijken. Intussen gaan er steeds sterkere geruchten binnen het Ministerie van Defensie, dat zelfs de aanschaf van 37 toestellen een serieus probleem lijkt te worden, eerder moet gedacht worden aan een neerwaartse bijstelling (richting 30-32?), dan aan een opwaartse bijstelling.
Wie is deze nieuwe ambassadeur?
Hij was sinds 1995 werkzaam als partner in het advocatenkantoor Winston & Strawn LLC. Ook zijn achtergrond, moet de Amerikaanse Senaat mogelijk hebben aangesproken. Op zijn website stond vermeld dat Timotry Broas “Een vooraanstaande advocaat is met ruime ervaring in het verdedigen van witte boorden criminelen.”
Broas meldt, dat hij vooral clienten adviseert bij strafzaken en geschillen met betrekking tot overtreding of in relatie tot wetgeving inzake:
- FCPA (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act)
- Antitrust wetgeving (voorkomen monopolie posities)
- Nationale veiligheid
- Complexe overheidsregels
- Product aansprakelijkheid
Hij verdedigde bijvoorbeeld mensen, die worden aangeklaagd op grond van deze Amerikaanse wet: “Knowingly and willfully making any false, fictitious, or fraudulent statements or representations may be a felony under the Federal Criminal False Statement Act (18 U.S.C. Sec 1001), punishable by a fine of up to $10,000, up to five years in prison, or both.”
De wetten zijn goed, de advocaten nog beter.
Meer achtergrond inzake kandidaat-ambassadeur Timothy Broas
In 2012 werd hij, toen al sprake was van een mogelijke nominatie, aangeklaagd wegens het rijden onder invloed, te snel rijden en verzet bij zijn arrestatie. De serieuzere beschuldigingen werden later ingetrokken en hij is nooit formeel veroordeeld.
Timothy Broas haalde bijna US 1 miljoen op aan donaties voor Obama’s verkiezingscampagnes de afgelopen jaren. Mr. Broas zamelde voor Obama’s 2012 campagne zelfs meer dan US$500,000 op bij bekenden en “goede relaties”. Zijn benoeming wordt door sommigen gezien als beloning voor zijn loyaliteit aan het beleid van Obama.
Achtergrond Winston & Strawn – werkzaam voor o.a. Lockheed Martin
Winston & Strawn LLP is een internationaal werkend advocatenkantoor, waar ongeveer 900 advocaten werkzaam zijn in circa 15 vestigingen in de USA, Europa en Azië. Het kantoor is bekend geworden vanwege de beslissende overwinning die ze inboekten voor Microsoft Corporation in de aanklacht alsof Microsoft de antitrust wetten overtreden en een monopolie positie nastreven met bepaalde producten. Hiervan werd Microsoft vrijgesproken.
In juni 2013 kwam het kantoor Winston & Strawn nog in het nieuws na overname van de advocatenpraktijk van Gerald Shargel, de bekende en succesvolle verdediger van mafia bazen en corrupte politici.
Lobbyist voor Lockheed Martin in cruciale periode
Tot de klanten van Winston & Strawn behoren volgens de website de JSF contractpartners Lockheed Martin en Northrop Grumman. In het verleden werd door dit kantoor intensief gelobbyed (zie onderzoek) voor Lockheed Martin in de cruciale fase van JSF beslissingen tussen 1997 en 2004. Zie o.a. deze “PDF Lobbying Report Lockheed – Winston 2003”
NRC; 19-juli-2013; “Advocaat Timothy Broas wellicht toch ambassadeur VS in Nederland”
The White House Press Office; 18 juli 2013; “President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts”
Washington Post; 27-apr-2012; “Major Obama ‘bundler’ nominated for Dutch ambassador’s post”