Thursday, January 05, 2012

F-35 delayed again.



Looks like we're going to get an all STOVL force regardless now.  The F/A-18A/C/D's and the EA-6's are all going to run out of airframe time.  Those spares from the UK will definitely come in handy.  Read the expected news here.  But as always a tidbit below.  I wonder why they dribble this info out instead of just laying it on the table?

The Pentagon is gearing up to restructure Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program for a third time in three years, sources said, with production of more than 120 more planes to be postponed to save money and allow more time for development.
The latest changes should save the Pentagon about $15 billion from fiscal 2013 through 2017 and will be part of the fiscal 2013 budget plan to be sent to Congress in February, according to three sources familiar with planning for the Pentagon's largest weapons program.
President Barack Obama will join Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at the Pentagon on Thursday to discuss overall defense budget cuts and a revamped military strategy.
They are expected to mention the F-35 fighter plane and reiterate continued support for the program, but details of the restructuring plan and plans for other big weapons programs may not emerge until later this month, the sources said. The sources declined to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the plans publicly ahead of the official release of the president's budget.
I wonder when Black Friday for weapons programs is going to occur.  My prediction for cuts...

1.  Ground Combat Vehicle.
2.  JLTV.
3.  Marine Personnel Carrier.
4.  DDG-51

Reduced buys...

1.  MV-22
2.  F-35
3.  LCS
4.  CSAR replacement

And probably a bunch more that I just can't recall.  The boom times for defense is over.  The lean times are here.  Funny thing.  The ending of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are the drivers behind this move.  In all actuality a smaller defense budget has been in the making since the Bush Administration, only the 9/11 attacks destroyed the groundwork that they were laying.  Don't think cutbacks.  Think Revolution of Military Affairs (RMA) or Transformation.


  1. It's worth considering what is driving this new F-35 production slow down. Is it the budget or the results of the bottom up review done by Adm Venlet? The results of this review were supposed to be made public months ago but now will be released with the new budget docs.

    We've been getting leaks for a while now, including Venlet publicly stating the costs to rebuild the earlier jets is, irrc, taking his breath away. The entire F-35 schedule has likely been redone to reflect Venlet's review.

    On the notion one should think RMA some of us always thought that a networked sensor heavy battlefield resulting in near perfect situational awareness was really a theoretical construct that will never exist because war is fluid, full of fog, and the enemy is the enemy because he doesn't do things we plan on. Moreover, the notion that all our communications and computer systems are not subject to hard and soft attacks is not only delusional but extremely dangerous and is certainly going to get a lot of troops killed some day.

  2. i agree with all except the DDG 51, i dont think theres a way they can decrease that, with the focus on ballistic missile defense and the growing naval tensions in the pacific, i see that being one of the last things reduced, maybe some but not alot.

  3. Lane. totally agree but with the news of the Brits being concerned about the delay..and with the USMC pushing to get the plane into service quickly i'm betting some kind of accomodation will be done. as far as RMA is concerned i whole heartedly agree. but the think tank guys rule washington.

    Joe. the DDG-51 is supposedly facing difficulties and everyone is raving about the DDG-1000. last thing i read said that the DDG-1000 was the future of the Navy.

  4. well the reason the DDG-1000 was cut was it didnt have the anti-missile capabilities, it was meant to be a gun platform to go into littoral environments, not a sea supremacy ship or BMD capable, i have read the same things about cost increases of the burkes but i wonder how much of that is them just adding more requirements? i actually havent read much recently about DDG-1000, it has kept a low profile so if you have anything new i would be interested in reading it.

  5. The argument is that the Flight III Burke's cost keeps rising and that while DDG-1000 still costs more it has lower operational costs and will save money long term.

    Two issues with DDG-100 are that it can't do area air defense in that it only carriers ESSM not SM-2/3/6 and that the design seems a bit internally inconsistent. Consider to exploit the range of the new guns you want to go as close to shore as possible and yet how excited might one be risking such an expensive ship for naval gunfire support? They should have put AGS on a modern double hulled monitor without SPY-3.

    That aside the USN probably has enough AEGIS ships and DDG-1000 is supposed to do green water asw better so together with AGS it's got some utility the Burkes lack. Of course many would observe we'd be better served with a frigate for asw and other tasks but of course instead we've got LCS and modules that in terms of the last USN report do not add to the asw mission.

    The flight III Burkes were supposed to be instead of CGX. What probably happens is they built some and see how the costs shake out and also go beyond the 3 DDG-1000's eventually. They'll keep building LCS because they need the numbers and worry how much extra all the modules cost, and whether they can get most to work, later. Of course what they should do is cancel it.


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