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Author Topic: Dutch worry over F-35 costs  (Read 12935 times)

Offline shawn a

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Re: Dutch worry over F-35 costs
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2010, 08:42:48 AM »
Now I hear the Marines just may be rethinking the-B model because of sophisticated short range surface to surface missiles and other "short" range weapons that would bring their forward-based arming and refueling areas under threat.

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Re: Dutch worry over F-35 costs
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2010, 06:04:46 PM »
On the original subject...

News last week, two thirds of RNLAF F-16 fleet is grounded awaiting maintenance. Reason: shortage of spare parts and/or no money for parts/repairs. Fleet size is 87 atm, of which 14 in the US for training and I think 4 in Afghanistan.
In related news, next year 200 million cut backs on defense (mostly infrastructure/personnel), structurally the budget will be cut back 635 million by 2018 to approx. 7.6 Billion Euros. The title of the associated news story on the MOD website translates to "Radical cut-backs are going to hurt".

Just some more signs that we'll never have 85 F-35s...

Now about the F-16s, it didn't say age had anything to do with it, probably hasn't, but surely fatigue and reaching max hours will kick in as well before the F-35 is fully operable.
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Offline shawn a

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Re: Dutch worry over F-35 costs
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2010, 10:21:36 AM »
Trying to stay on topic, I'll pretend I'm Dutch.
The plane seems to be turning out to be an expensive purebred dog!
Air Forces Monthly has a feature article on it, I suggest everybody to read it if they can.
'Nuff said, I'm off to Vegas for the Nellis show, where Lockheed usually has a public booth.
I'll try to be polite!
Shawn A.

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Re: Dutch worry over F-35 costs
« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2010, 02:32:03 AM »
Seems you get your AFM quicker than me. Looking forward to it.

 ;D Have a great time at Nellis!! Should be pretty cool!
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Re: Dutch worry over F-35 costs
« Reply #16 on: November 19, 2010, 01:05:31 PM »
Finally got my AFM, skipped over the depressing headlines about the cuts (UK esp.) and read the JSF article. I've got a few opinions about the article. It's another almost typical Jon Lake article, it's a balance of pros and cons, and most possible angles of criticism are covered. It doesn't tell the full story, as the author admittedly points out, but it covered most bases. Now, some criticism is the author's opinion, but most of it is based on reports, studies and what competitors say. At the end of day, it's clear once again, Jon Lake's job in these AFM articles is to raise issues and stimulate us to think about it more carefully than LM marketing or AF pr wants us too. He's far from championing the aircraft, as sometimes the case with these features. I appreciate that. However, I have a slight concern, more words are being spent on small issues or hypothetical concerns than on each of the merits the design offers. Now normally, for example when talking about the RAF or F-16 I don't mind, but since there's so little information on what the JSF will really bring to the table, I would have liked to know more about those with some explanation of the claims. My conclusion is that nobody knows... still... for sure that it will be great [even just great will do, not as great as promised]. Because of this I really had the following words in my mind after finishing reading: "nothing new?" and "JSF: crash 'n burn"

Like Shawn, I suggest everyone to read it provided you haven't been following the JSF for a while, it gives a nice summary of the testing (mis-)achievements so far, or if you still don't understand either where the concerns are coming from or why airforces want it. But I have to say, on the last point, it doesn't go into it that much.

On the other hand, don't worry if you miss it, there will be plenty of F-35 articles to come before this thing enters service.

Now coming back to the forum, I see Shawn said "Nuff said". And that's also how I feel now, I haven't got words left for the JSF. 
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Offline RecceJet

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Re: Dutch worry over F-35 costs
« Reply #17 on: November 19, 2010, 04:02:18 PM »
I bought an F-35 JSF t-shirt back in 2007. I'll keep in folded up at the bottom of a box a little longer then!

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Re: Dutch worry over F-35 costs
« Reply #18 on: November 19, 2010, 05:15:53 PM »
I bet the t-shirt is no longer accurate with all the design changes :P
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Offline shawn a

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Re: Dutch worry over F-35 costs
« Reply #19 on: November 20, 2010, 08:26:43 PM »
If it's an F-35B t-shirt, keep it in pristine condition, 'cause it'll be a collector's item given the White House Deficit Commision's recommendation to terminate the -B model.
I say take the fan out of the-B, and replace it with a generator for directed energy weapons, and do it pronto!

Offline shawn a

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Re: Dutch worry over F-35 costs
« Reply #20 on: July 17, 2011, 08:50:01 AM »
In AFMs latest issue, the article on the unaffordability of the F-35 had ten different prices for the aircraft.
Is someone trying to confuse us?
I think 148 million was the highest figure.
The lowest was the 1996 estimate of "about 30 million"
Pentagon estimates for the maintenance of the plane are one and a half times as much as for the aircraft it will (maybe) replace.
So, how can the Dutch worry over the cost of the thing, when NO ONE knows what the cost will actually be?
How much are J-20s?

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Re: Dutch worry over F-35 costs
« Reply #21 on: July 18, 2011, 08:21:46 AM »
Highest number was a average programme acquisition cost of 156 million. That's what it will have cost in total, on average, if you get the numbers they want now for the A, B and C. And development no longer exceeds what has been budgeted in the coming years. And I guess when production costs does in fact go down over time (probably will, provided inflation stays in check).

The highest average procurement cost number 138 million, I assume that's where it stands at the moment. It will go up further first, before it can go down, that's for sure. So if you want to end up with a nice programme acquisition cost, you need to stop delaying, get her done, and sell the magic 2800 right.

It was a bit political for AFM's taste. But yeah, some good points, I've always said it's gonna be more expensive and it wouldn't get the orders that were (still are, wth) envisaged. And now it's finally clear that it's also going to hurt even the military case. What I don't like, about the whole deal, is as the article correctly points out that delayed development / production are just going to raise costs for manufacturers and suppliers. So the few billions the government is saving now, you end up paying it back because you need to upgrade  (more of) your legacy fighters, sustain it for longer, and pay for the higher production costs on the delayed new birds. Short term, ah, I guess it's understandable in these economic times with the debt, but it does put off export customers, quite literally too. And those are what's needed to recover the higher costs for suppliers, if you don't want to pay as much yourself. But I don't see it reaching F-16 sales numbers, which I think is what is required to get procurement back to the $92m in todays dollars they think is the right number.

Yeah, the different numbers. I think most make sense, just don't know how to compare them. So first using an average based on the three versions, then a dated average, suppose not corrected. Then an average programme acquisition cost estimate (iirc, that's including development sum divided by number of jets plus procurement cost per jet), which is as reliable as the prediction of budgeted development costs ánd orders. $30m, that clearly has not been corrected for inflation, or the dropped numbers, so then $69m makes sense. But how they came to $30m in the beginning in the first place is beyond me. Actually, I did not know this, that's what an F-16 cost back then? I always thought they started out with a $45m figure.

So it has doubled, but is that so suprising? Haven't all modern fighter jets since the 80s doubled their budgeted price? What's up, who really thought it would cost less than an off-the-shelf F-16. The Europeans are just stupid for ending up with an twice as expensive jets? Correctly me if I'm wrong, same happened with the F-16 in the past, it was also overbudget. F-22... disregarding development, just budgeted procurement cost, I bet it still cost twice as much.
Materials have risen more in these recent years than expected. What was the worse case budgeted price back then? OK, it's certainly over budget in terms of development costs. But to compare it with the F-22, hmm, that doesn't seem fair. Three versions, truly multirule, of course it costs way more. A decade of labour and fuel cost inflation... pls tell me if the 65 Billion has been adjusted to compare to a FY09 number or if it's FY09 as well, I just don't know what to make of that paragraph now.

The next numbers are per lot, per, variant, minus engine, etc. Those prices, that's including ramp up costs, come on, they will go down once they get enough rolling off, I wouldn't care too much about those numbers, but although 3 months ago, those are at least real numbers. The problem is building less planes isn't going to help it go down as much as they want.

I think the most important number on the last page is the NAVAIR study.... $30,700 hourly operating cost vs $18,900 for the Hornet. I hope they are comparable, I assume they are, that's where the JSF is really going to hurt. But again, what is it exactly? F-35B or C, or average for both? It's affordable if you replace 2 jets with 1 jet.  Wasn't that the aim of the JSF?

The last paragraph, idk, technically bankrupt or completely bankrupt, since when does that mean you have to keep on flying old planes that only get more expensive by the hour too. The defense budget needs to shrink, and so do the numbers. But the closing statement... LOL. $330 billion sunk costs, why not, but there goes America's only fighterjet for export in the not so far future... ouch.

At least it's something. We finally got some numbers that make a bit more sense. And the problem is clear. More jets too expensive, less jets more expensive.

"have to start at least considering alternatives"... McCain, a bit late. If you want stealth it isn't gonna get any cheaper now.
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Offline shawn a

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Re: Dutch worry over F-35 costs
« Reply #22 on: August 13, 2011, 08:20:31 AM »
OK..First of all, how can it be so more "multirole" than even an F-22, when the weapons load is so piss poor? External pylons? Bye Bye stealth.
And looking at that dearth of weapons, how can 1 plane replace two?
More prices courtesy of AW&ST,
 LRIP 1, (CTOL version)=$221.2 million
LRIP 2, (CTOL)=$161.7 million , (STOVL),=$160.7 million
LRIP 3 (CTOL)= $128.2 million, STOVL= $128
What a deal!!
Slow, lightly armed, but with the fragile concept of stealth as its' major attribute, along with some fairly innovative sensors and of course the data links that finally rival what the Swedes have had for years.
I'm still skeptical about this plane, and feel the B model is a poor concept for STOVL, and way too complicated.
Shawn A 

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Re: Dutch worry over F-35 costs
« Reply #23 on: August 13, 2011, 03:16:20 PM »
First of all, one weapon = one target nowadays, so you don't need the huge loads you needed in the past. One GBU will do the job which required a sixpack of Mk.82s in the past.

GBU-12, Brimstone and WMCD can be carried internal, making it suitable for CAS and tank-hunting, especially with the EOTS it doesn't need someone to pass it GPS coordinates. 25mm gun is also much better against surface targets than the F-22's 20mm. JSOW can be carried internal, making it suitable to do stand-off air interdiction, which the F-22 only has the JDAM for. For NTISR the EOTS will help a lot, F-22 only has its radar. Talking about stealth, an optical device is more desirable than relying on low emission radar.

So it's definately more multirole than the F-22, even when considering only internal load.
 
And then externally, a lot more is integrated than on the F-22. All types of LGB can be used with the EOTS when stealth is not a big problem (and let's face it, for many conflicts it helps to be stealthier, but stealth is not required, especially not following the first few days). Storm Shadow, AGM-158 and AGM-154 are stealthy themselves, so if you coat the pylons, would the external load really compromise stealth that much??

The concept is not that bad and stealth does give it an edge, perfect to fill the "niche" stealth strike roles which are not met by unmanned and stand-off weapons. But at this price, I would argue it's better to leave the missions that require stealth to specialised platforms, which means F-22 for fighter, and B-2/NGB plus UCAS for strike, and thereby dropping stealth from being a requirement for what is the bulk of the fighter fleet. Low obserability is something that is desired, but not to the extend where it means hefty price tags for production and maintenance. Unfortunately mixed fleet is only affordable for a few countries and the JSF concept "prohibits" split buys. The way the UK (before they went C), Italy, Turkey and Israel see the JSF it makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately the volume procurement by the US is needed for it to be affordable to those. As the only workhorse for countries such as the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Canada it is really arguably if stealth should be a requirement at all. The only country I can think of which will have it as main combat aircraft with stealth as necessity is Australia...for which the JSF is really not cutting it.

It's not the "one size fits all" solution it pretended to be. But it's a great aircraft and dropping it would be a huge mistake, it will leave a 20-year capability gap. It will be expensive as hell, and it makes a lot of sense to complement it with new airframes of what are now called "legacy" fighters, freeing up production lots for export to countries who really can't wait much longer and want it at "any" price.

Regardless of the F-35 fulfilling its promises, clearly a mixed fleet (at least two tier) of fighter is desirable for the US. The recent groundings just prove this. So there's no need to champion the F-22, it needs another fighter alongside anyway.

The STOVL version made a lot of sense to me, supersonic and multirole, perfect on smaller carriers. It's stealth that made it so complicated. I don't get why the UK went for bigger carriers. If they wouldn't, the F-35B would not face to be cut. I don't know the USMC plans, but clearly the supersonic multirole STOVL concept seems perfect for it. On the other hand, I wouldn't be surprised if the USMC is set to lose its fixed wing assets in the future. The aviation component of the MAGTF has always been compared to a small country's air force... well those small country air forces are becoming more and more rotary only airforces, working closely with allied forces, I foresee the same for the USMC, becoming less independent and more reliant on the USN/USAF airpower and dropping the F-35B would fit in perfectly with such a setup (uhh, cutback). Rotary only, with maybe some unmanned fixed wings. I'm no expert on the future of naval aviation though, especially not the whole USMC/USN setup.
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