Remember my post on the 17th of this month? I said this...
I stand ready to be corrected on this but from my chair it looks like a major part of the F-35 business and operating plan has just been blown up by the Senate.I got tremendous pushback but it seems like Flight Global agrees with me. Check this out...
If this proposal survives and I see no reason why it won't then the dream of "duplicate" capabilities across the F-35 line, across services and nations is about to go the way of the dinosaur.
This has huge implications.
First it decimates the potential earnings of Lockheed Martin. If you owned stock in that company then you better be calling your people now! 25% of LM revenue is projected to come from continuing upgrades of the F-35. This move throws open the door to other players coming in. Next it also makes the idea of other people doing the "Israeli" thing of demanding some type of accommodation to do local upgrades more likely. The other big thing is that by killing the program office after it finishes development means the planning for block upgrades is essentially dead...each service will do its own thing...certain versions will be cleared to carry only a few of the weapons...costs will increase, the numbers bought reduced, and there will be no savings because of scale (as if there ever were).
The dream that was the F-35 died today, May 17, 2015.
Make no mistake: McCain is not making a good faith attempt to improve F-35 bureaucracy. His proposal is a calculated ploy to divide and conquer. The JPO consolidates management of three major F-35 variants developed in partnership by one set of nine countries and acquired so far by a different set of nine countries. To disband that organisation is to weaken the power of the programme it oversees.Read the entire article! F-35 fanboys be advised. The F-35 program isn't going on this crusade to send fighters to the Netherlands, UK, and Italy this summer on a whim. You're not seeing F-35's at airshows across the US because the military thinks its a nice idea. General Davis isn't showing up in backwater South Carolina because he likes the woods....
Some would rejoice. As the most expensive weapon system in history, the F-35 programme has many adversaries, jealous of its funding and priority during budget wrangles. It is not irrelevant that the JPO failed in its real purpose. Tasked to keep the three F-35 variants up to 90% common, these so-called sister aircraft today share only about 25% of their part numbers.
A vote to disband the JPO now, however, is not a bid to improve programme management – it is phase one of a scheme to destroy the F-35.
Its because the F-35 program is in serious trouble. And I for one couldn't be happier!