Archief van de maart, 2012

Mrt 29 2012

Selected Acquisition Report (SAR) 31-dec-2011: F-35

Gepubliceerd door onder Global F35 News

The Pentagon has submitted to Congress its latest Selected Acquisition Report (SAR) on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, current as of December 31, 2011.

The 84-page document is available by clicking on this link (SAR 2011).

Many of the cost figures are released as part of the DoD’s SAR Summary Report, but the full document below provides a wealth of information for those willing to wade through it. The report also contains quite interesting information as to the program’s technical aspects, and to various slips in its timeline

Summary of the most significant findings (status Decenber 31, 2011):

Cost Variance (in Then Year$)

Aircraft and engines (all-in)
Baseline 2002 US$ 233.000 million
Estimated 2011 US$ 395.711 million (+ 69%)

Operating and Support Costs

Original purpose was to have an affordable fighter plane with O&S cost per flight hour calculated at 80% of legacy aircraft like the F-16 and Harrier. This SAR shows the F-35 cannot be considered as an affordable combat aircraft and the industry isn’t able to keep their original promises.
Estimated O&S/hour of F-35A: US$ 31.923
Calculated O&S/hour of F-16C/D: US$ 22.479
The F-35A O&S costs aren’t 80% of an F-16C/D, but over 140% of an F-16C/D, twice as much. This will have major impact on long term defense budgets in USA, Canada, Italy, UK, Denmark, Norway, The Netherlands and Turkey.

Software main risk

The SAR 2011 reports that the software risk remains one of the top development issues for the progra:
Block 1B and 2A development/integration challenges are impacting capacity for delivery of Block 2B. The development program restructure built capacity for discovery in Blocks 2 and 3 development. In 2011, the results of independent software assessments highlighted known risk areas and endorsed on-going process improvements. As a result, the program is continuing to develop and refine processes to proactively make decisions on capability development and delivery, and mitigation strategies.”

Source: US DoD, SAR-2011

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Mrt 29 2012

U.S. Sees Lifetime Cost of F-35 Fighter at $1.45 Trillion (excerpt)

Gepubliceerd door onder Global F35 News

Reuters reports that the U.S. government now projects that the total cost to develop, buy and operate the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will be $1.45 trillion over the next 50-plus years, according to a Pentagon document obtained by Reuters.

The Pentagon’s latest, staggering estimate of the lifetime cost of the F-35 — its most expensive weapons program — is up from about $1 trillion a year ago, and includes inflation.

While inflation accounts for more than one-third of the projected F-35 operating costs, military officials and industry executives were quick to point out that it is nearly impossible to predict inflation over the next half-century.


They also argue that no other weapons program’s costs have been calculated over such a long period, and that even shorter-term cost projections for other aircraft do not include the cost of modernization programs and upgrades. The new cost estimate reflects the Pentagon’s proposal to postpone orders for 179 planes for five years, a move that U.S. official say will save $15.1 billion through 2017, and should avert costly retrofits if further problems arise during testing of the new fighter, which is only about 20 percent complete. The Government Accountability Office last week projected it would cost $397 billion to develop and buy the planes, up from its earlier forecast of $382 billion.

Read more (source): Reuters; 29-mar-2012; Exclusive: U.S. sees lifetime cost of F-35 fighter at $1.45 trillion

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Mrt 26 2012

Quickstep completes first composite parts for F-35 contract

Gepubliceerd door onder Global F35 News

Quickstep Holdings Ltd. (North Coogee, Australia) reported on March 26 that it has completed the first production parts for the international F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program under the purchase order secured by Quickstep in July 2011. The parts have been presented for acceptance to Northrop Grumman weeks ahead of the schedule agreed with Northrop Grumman in 2009.

The parts, assembled access panels for the F-35 aircraft, represent the first “flying” Group 1 parts manufactured by Quickstep for the JSF program. Quickstep initially expects to manufacture approximately one completed part per week and will gradually ramp up in quantity.

Quickstep’s managing director, Philippe Odouard, said the commencement of commercial JSF production was a significant event for the company and demonstrates that Quickstep has successfully completed the very challenging development, contract negotiation and industrialisation phase and has moved into the production and revenue phase.

“This represents the start of Quickstep’s first major production contract for the international defence industry – a core part of the company’s growth strategy,” says Odouard.

“With serial production now underway, we will be making regular shipments of Group 1 JSF parts to Northrop Grumman and receiving regular cash flow, with the intention of ramping up production over the next 12 months.”

Quickstep recently received its second purchase order for Group 1 parts covering manufacturing and delivery throughout 2013. While details of purchase orders will remain confidential, Quickstep says the 2013 purchase order represents a threefold increase in JSF part deliveries compared to 2012 quantities and Quickstep’s production ramp-up will be completed to meet this timetable.

Quickstep expects to secure long-term agreements to manufacture Group 2 and Group 3 JSF parts during 2012, which would increase the number and types of JSF parts the company, will manufacture.

Source: Quick Step Australia press release 26-mar-2012

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Mrt 23 2012

Norway: less F-35s, 85% higher price and later final decision

Gepubliceerd door onder Global F35 News

Oslo - Today the Norwegian Ministery of Defense presented their military long term plan. Norway didn’t sign any contract of the F-35 after their 2008-evaluation, but is planning to order now 42-48 JSF, in addition to 4 JSF for training. The previous plan from 2009 was to order a total of 56 aircraft during 2016-2021. In 2010 the purchase was pushed two years into the future, in 2018.
Due to price increases the estimated cost is now US$ 10,4 billion (NOK 61 Billion) for 52 jets (average price US$ 199 million). This includes weapons (and development cost for the JSM weapon), and logistics. In 2008 the Gripen NG was considered as too expensive; however the price of the F35A is much higher(plus 85%) now than predicted in 2008 with less industrial compensation orders.

The Norwegian Air Force is planning now for the delivery of 4 trainers during 2015 and 2016. The rest will be delivered from 2017 to 2024, and not 2018 to 2021 as previously planned. A final decisionfor the 4 training aircraft will be made in 2014. After 2014, year by year an evaluation will take place and based on the actual developments and price and a new decision will be made about more purchases.
The F-35A’s will be based on Evenes AFB; some 5,1 billion NOK (US$ 867 million) will be needed to make this airbase available for F-35 operations. The current airbase Bodo can not be used for F-35A operations, due to environmental (noise) issues.

Summary of changes:
In 2008 (Norwegian Airforce Projectteam Replacement F-16)
Total investment: 18 billion NOK (US$ 3,1 billion)
Average price: US$ 58,8 million

In 2008 (Norwegian Government, auditor):
Planning: 56 aircraft
Average price: US$ 126,8 million (including weapons, training)
Total investment: 42 billion NOK (US$ 7,1 billion)
Total lifecycle O&S cost: 145 billion NOK (US$ 24,6 billion)

In 2012:
Planning: 46-52 aircraft
Average price: US$ 234,6 million (including weapons, training), plus 85% higher
Total investment: 72 billion NOK (US$ 12,2 billion)
Total lifecycle O&S cost: 230 billion NOK (US$ 39,1 billion), plus 58% higher

Comparison with competing offer:
In 2008, binding offer SAAB Gripen, guaranteed by Swedish government (considered as too expensive by Norwegian Government):
Planning: 52 aircraft
Total investment: 24 billion NOK (US$ 4,1 billion)
Average price: US$ 79 million
Total lifecycle O&S cost: 60 billion NOK (US$ 10,2 billion)
100% (minimum) guaranteed industrial compensation orders.

Industrial value:
Estimated “industrial opportunities” of 60-70 billion NOK (US$ 10 billion) in 2008 during the next decade.
Until now only 2 billion NOK (US$ 340 million) was contracted in signed and real industrial contracts. this means, 10 years after the start of the project (SDD-MOU signed in 2002) only 3% of promised value has been signed as fixed contracts.
In 2008 Saab guaranteed a minimum of 100% industrial value of compensation orders to the Norwegian industry.

Source: Multi Year Planning Norway Defense 2012 (PDF)”

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Mrt 23 2012

F-35 plant opens in Lancashire, UK

Gepubliceerd door onder Global F35 News

BAE Systems is to open a new £150m facility later to increase US F-35 jet fuselage production by extending its site in Samlesbury, Lancashire.

The new section enables workers to produce a fuselage every day compared with the current one-a-week rate.

Mr Allam said: “F-35 is an important programme for BAE Systems and the capabilities that this facility provides are equal to anywhere in the world. “We’re using state-of-the-art machines and manufacturing techniques to ensure we can meet the rates of production that the F-35 programme demands.”

Martin Wright, chairman for the North West Aerospace Alliance, welcomed the development: “The F-35 programme is the largest defence project in the world and through BAE Systems will be the backbone of stability to our regional industry through those companies successful in winning F-35 contracts.”

Source/more: BBC News Lancashire UK 23-mar-2012″

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Mrt 17 2012

Australia: delayed JSF causes fighter gap

Gepubliceerd door onder Global F35 News

AUSTRALIA faces an air combat capability gap later this decade with revelations the RAAF’s new fighter won’t be available until after 2017.

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) was due to have its initial capability of 14 jets operating at Williamtown air base in 2017.

That means the Government will have to buy more Boeing Super Hornet jets to replace the classic F/A-18 Hornet fighters that will be retired during the next five years.

“We are still … five to six years away from the end of our development program and we are only 20 per cent through our flight test program,” Maj-Gen Thompson said.

Maj-Gen Thompson said that if serious problems were uncovered during the development phase then the fighter’s capability might need to be reduced, rather than expose customers to long delays.

Read more …. SOURCE Adelaide Now

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Mrt 16 2012

UK again looking at F-35B STOVL variant ?

Gepubliceerd door onder Global F35 News

Media sources are reporting that the United Kingdom might possibly be revisiting its previous decision to abandon the use of carrier-based STOVL aircraft. The United Kingdom’s opposition Labour Party reportedly delivered a letter to the Ministry of Defence questioning the governing Conservative Party’s ongoing defense review that supposedly may result in a reinstatement of budgetary request authority to procure the F-35B STOVL variant of the Joint Strike Fighter as part of the FY2012/13 budget request.


Labour Party concerns appear to revolve around the rising costs and difficulties recently associated with the F-35 program and additional costs necessitated by a redesign of the new Queen Elizabeth-class carriers. The governing Conservative Party has admitted publicly that all aspects of the FY2012/13 budget submission are under review and a decision would be delivered to Parliament this spring.

Read more….. SOURCE Defense Update

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Mrt 16 2012

Canadian auditor: “Military misleaded our Parliament”

Gepubliceerd door onder Andere JSF landen

The Windsor Star reports from Canada:
Auditor general Michael Ferguson is preparing to blast the Department of National Defence for its handling of the F-35 stealth-fighter program in a report to be released next month, the National Post is reporting.

The first draft of the report has been delivered to the department and is said to accuse the military of misleading Parliament, according to sources who have spoken to the newspaper.

Read more: SOURCE Windsor Star

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Mrt 14 2012

Canada in doubt about its commitment to the JSF

Gepubliceerd door onder Global F35 News

Aviation week reports:

Canada’s government is starting to make noises about its commitment to the Joint Strike Fighter program. Step forward, associate minister for defence Julian Fantino:

“We have not as yet discounted, the possibility, of course, of backing out of any of the program,” Fantino … told the House defence committee Tuesday.

His statement comes after the meeting of JSF partners that Canada organized in Washington on March 2, and before a formal meeting of the JSF Executive Steering Board in Australia.

Read more ….. SOURCE Aviation Week

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Mrt 13 2012

F-35A completes second local sortie at Eglin Air Force Base

Gepubliceerd door onder Global F35 News

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla., March 13, 2012 - U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Joseph Bachmann successfully piloted the second F-35 local orientation flight in the skies above the Emerald Coast today. AF-13, an F-35A conventional takeoff and landing variant, launched at 2:30 p.m. CDT and completed a 93-minute flight landing at 4:03 p.m. CDT. At its operational peak, the F-35 Integrated Training Center at Eglin AFB will train approximately 100 F-35 pilots and 2,200 maintainers annually. The wing’s two F-35 pilots, in conjunction with its integrated team of military members, civilian and contractors, will begin to slowly build up their number of sorties with an intial goal of flying twice a week for the first couple of weeks and then steadily increasing the weekly sortie count.

SOURCE: Lockheed Martin press release

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