Thanks to Joe for the link!
The overall reliability of Lockheed Martin Corp's (LMT.N) F-35 fighter jets is being pulled down by initial versions of the aircraft which do not perform as well as more recently delivered jets, the Pentagon's head of the F-35 program said on Tuesday.What is going on here?
The program has experienced extensive delays and cost overruns, but the price per jet has steadily declined as production increased, Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan of the U.S. Department of Defense said at Australia's Avalon Airshow.
As U.S. President Donald Trump pushes Lockheed Martin and its suppliers to cut costs, Bogdan said the price per jet should fall to $80 million by 2020 from $94.6 million at present.
The first F-35 aircraft were delivered to the U.S. military in 2011. With some of those earlier aircraft, production advances means they underperform newer models, Bogdan said.
"Unfortunately today the aircraft reliability and maintainability of the airplane is what I would call flat," he said. "It is not bad. It is just not getting a whole lot better really fast. You separate out their (Lockheed Martin's) good airplanes, they are getting better, faster. But not if you include the older airplanes. We have to work on that."
"Eventually when we modify those older airplanes up to the standards of the newer airplanes we will have a fleet that is fairly robust," Bogdan told reporters.
I think someone, somewhere is taking a real hard look at the reliability numbers on the F-35. Remember when I said that cost was no longer a talking point and that we needed to shift to capabilities? I was right and wrong. This pre-emptive strike on the reliability issue indicates that capabilities might be the wrong target (at least in the short term).
This is doubly amazing because the USAF is crowing about the amazing reliability of the airplane at Red Flag. Same with the USMC with regard to its performance at exercises and during deployments.
This bears watching.