Thursday, September 12, 2013

F-35 in S. Korea. Lockheed buys some help.

Affordable is officially a joke now...Canada is being pressured despite budgeting x-amount of dollars and only being able to buy many less than required fighters...same with others...including the Pentagon.

via Chosun Ilbo.
Fifteen former Air Force chiefs have written to President Park Geun-hye calling on her to procure stealth bombers. They said Korea should "give top priority to stealth functions" for the next-generation F-X fighter procurement project, regardless of the budget. 
A total amount of W8.3 trillion (US$1=W1,085) has been earmarked for the project to buy 60 fighter jets.
All of the retired Air Force chiefs who are still alive signed the letter, except for six who are ill or overseas.
"Originally, the Air Force gave priority to the capabilities of fighter jets in order to respond to threats from North Korea or potential threats from neighboring countries," they said in the letter sent on Aug. 29. "But if the project is implemented under the current parameters," which put the priority on price, "the Air Force would have to select the F-15SE, which has poorer stealth function." 
There are three candidates, but the other two -- the Lockheed Martin F-35A and EADS Eurofighter -- have more or less been knocked off the list because they are too expensive. 
The former Air Force chiefs urged Park not to assess the models based on their bid prices alone but carry out a comprehensive evaluation of all models.
But they do not want the project halted and started from scratch, since that would leave a vacuum in the country's defenses. Instead, they urged Park to secure additional funds.
I'm not shocked by this.

I'm not surprised.

I'm also not stupid.

Lockheed Martin is putting on a full court press in S. Korea.  Can you smell the desperation?  Can you sense the fear?  This corporation built a house of cards, fooled the entire DoD, built up a belief that their plane is the only solution and now that they're meeting resistance in the form of fiscal reality they're panicking.  

But the craziest thing is that these generals don't want price to be a consideration!  I mean really?  Seriously?  Not a consideration for an "affordable" fighter?  Not a consideration for a fighter that was suppose to be cheaper to operate than a F-16?

These generals just invalidated the very airplane that they're seeking to endorse.  Amazing.


  1. I think this was a good shot by Lockheed. It was definitely creative and had an impact, but it was still far too little too late.

    It's also important to note that on August 20 Seoul denied any possibility of additional funds being given to the fighter project:

    This is locked in for good and there's nothing that they can do about it.

    The truth of the matter is that out of all our allies, the South Koreans are the ones that have to live under the most real threat of war. They don't need stealth fighters. They need fighters that are better than North Korean MiG-29s. I've listened to the side in South Korea that wants to buy F-35s and their main argument is not preparation against North Korea or even China... it's against Japan, which everyone knows is not going to start a war with them. They were trying to play off old WWII feelings.

    1. Just found a recent article about this. The South Korean budget is fixed by law and they literally cannot increase it:

      “Back when [the signatories] were Chiefs of Staff, project cost limits were just guidelines,” said a source with DAPA. “Now they’re fixed by law.”

      “It doesn’t make sense to be saying ‘Don’t worry how much it costs’ when we’re in a situation where we literally can’t increase the budget,” the source said on condition of anonymity.

  2. If this decision invalidates the F-35, what does it say about the Eurofighter Typhoon Sol? The other aircraft that couldn't meet the price cap?

    What does it say about Boeing's initial bid that didn't meet the price cap either? What does it say that Boeing re-submitted a new bid that was under the price cap, but for a platform that hasn't even started flight testing yet? How well did Boeing's development and price promises work out on the Wedgetail AEW&C?

    Eric can say F-35 hasn't proven it has a "go to war" capability yet, but at least there are 100+ F-35 variants flying or on the production line. How many F-15SE's are in production? How many new fighter aircraft have had a smooth development without any schedule delays or price increases?

    Seriously Sol, I get you think the F-35 is an issue out of control, but it's distorting your review of reality mate. Maybe it's time to step back a bit and get some perspective.

    1. negative Jason.

      reality is exactly what i'm dealing with. fiscal reality. the Typhoon didn't meet price targets. fair enough but i'm not exactly concerned about the Typhoon. my focus is on the airplane that the US armed forces are betting the farm on.

      have you not noticed that the US Navy is about to scuttle the LCS just to keep the F-35 afloat? many will attempt to claim that the MPC wasn't a victim to it, but we know thats not true. additionally we also now know that the ACV has been held hostage by that airplane. that all affects the USMC directly. but let me address the issue with the Boeing offering.

      its simple. they met the price target. if they go over it then they pay fines, get docked or default on the contract. long story short they're putting skin in the game and will pay a huge price if they fail to deliver.

      LM and the F-35 aren't even arguing price anymore. they're arguing stealth. that alone should send shivers down the spine of every procurement officer in the military.

      this airplane is turning out to be just like every other stealth project we've embarked on. a huge costly failure.

      stealth just isn't worth the cost. its a boutique requirement that should be reserved for a limited number of airplanes. the S. Koreans just realize what many in our forces will soon learn. you can gain a capability but make yourself inferior at the same time. would you rather have a force of 5000 4th gen fighters or 500 5th gen? before you answer consider this. many of the juicy bits that are on the higher priced airplanes will be on the 4th gen models and radars are advancing faster than stealth treatments.

      even if this plane survives (which it won't), it will be technologically irrelevant by 2030. radars will have advanced enough to make its current and future levels of stealth a non-factor. the enemy will see those planes as clearly as they would any other aircraft. no one talks about plasma stealth anymore but that was probably the better path to travel.

    2. The problem is that none of those 100+ jets are combat ready and won't be for years. To be ready, a lot more money will have to be spent to correct mistakes and make modifications from the testing. Low rate production is simply a way to make it a lot harder to cancel a program because of everything invested in it.

  3. To be fair, you can't win a sales deal if you were never in the competition in the first place. If you compete enough you will lose some deals. That is just the way it goes. In that regard, the F-35 is no different. For FMS, it will lose some deals. That is just the way it goes. Be better though if they were competing with a finished jet and not a game simulator.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. you can keep trying to comment here but you're forever banned.

      keep trying.

      keep switching up your screen name but i'll sniff your foul ass out and block you. go somewhere else you sniveling clown.

  5. Consider this Solomon:
    LM is a partner with KAI in building the T-50...lot of jobs and pollitical muscle in korea..
    If the F-35 is chosen in S.Korea,how much will you bet that the T-50 will be the next T-X/Aggressor?
    Now think of this...if the F-15Se wins in SK ,it might gain some champions on the USAF.(Many USAF members have stated to Combat Aircraft monthly that they are hopping for more MudHens)
    Imagine ten years from know the SK air force kicking the ass of the USAF with a plane they never liked in Red Flag...just like the Indians did in 2004.imagine the scandal...
    Its better for all if the JSF wins in SK...exept for the men flying...

    1. Lockheed's partnership may be more of an albatross around the neck of KAI T-50 T-X bid.

      The F-22 was over budget and late. Ditto the F-35. And its not like LockMart needs the business as much as Northrop or Boeing to stay in the fighter business.

      Boeing is now partnering with Saab to offer a version of the Gripen for the T-X bid. This is huge. Not only would the Gripen be a good replacement for the T-38, but it would be a good all-around bulk fighter as well.

    2. Yes Doug ,you are right...the past week i brought up this matter.
      The Gripen whit its STOL cap. and low opperating cost would is one of the best fighters out there...
      Butt do you think for a second that the high brass and the politicians in the US(and all over the world)will look at this?
      The F-35 is a sacred cow...

    3. Would they look at it simply with Saab selling it? Hell no.

      But with Boeing backing it up? Absolutely.

      It makes strategic sense to have to have at least two big aerospace giants in the fighter biz. Competition improves the breed and it keeps prices down. But Boeing can't just keep selling updated version of the F-18 and F-15 if it wants to stay in the game. Especially in foreign sales. It needs something cheap. Like F-16 cheap or cheaper. Enter the Gripen.

      Give the Gripen the full marketing and technical support of Boeing and it'll become the next F-16 or MiG-21. It's already a pretty affordable fighter, but start building them in the 1000s and look out. Cash strapped defense departments will see it as a good value and Boeing has got some HUGE industrial and lobbying pull.

      There's blood in the water with so many countries (even the US) having second thoughts about the JSF. It's up to Boeing and Saab if they want a feeding frenzy or not.


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