Friday, February 17, 2017

USMC wants F-35's faster than planned...USAF wants to take it slow. Who's right?

Thanks to Eric for the link!

Remember this article from Defense News a week or so ago?
"We have the infrastructure in place,” said Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, deputy commandant for aviation. "Bottom line is we've had a very anemic ramp, so we've been holding onto the older airplanes longer. If asked by the American people to get the airplanes faster, I guarantee we'd put them into play very, very quickly. 
“We'd transition squadrons faster is what we'd do,” he said, adding that if the service were allowed to purchase 37 B-variants a year, it would be able to retire its legacy F/A-18 Hornet and Harrier planes by 2026. 
But now we hear this from USAF officials, also from Defense News.
 “If we were to procure at higher than planned rates” over the next five years, “the Air Force would have to retrofit aircraft already delivered to the fleet with Block 4 hardware and software modifications,” he said in written testimony delivered Thursday to the House Armed Services Committee. 
“Once Block 4 delivers” beginning in 2021, “we should examine the option of accelerating the F-35A program above the current procurement rate to meet the 5th generation requirements necessary to balance the Air Force ability to fulfill national security objectives.”
Stunning isn't it.

The "against" crowd in the F-35 debate have just been given an additional point of attack.  How much will those retrofits cost?  Obviously its a deal breaker or the USAF wouldn't be balking at it and would push ahead with trying to get as many F-35's built as possible.

I wonder.

Has something happened in the background that we missed with regard to the F-35's capabilities?  Notice that we're hearing this after the Red Flag exercise.

I've been told (I have no knowledge of how those exercises work) that the first week is the "easy" week and gives everyone a chance to get their sea legs.  That's the week we were told where the F-35 got its 15-1 kill ratio.  We never heard a peep about the rest of the exercise.  I wonder if things didn't go as well if when the heat was turned up.

Regardless.  It looks like the plane that was suppose to be the golden boy for lower F-35 costs (yep the F-35A) isn't going to see an increased push down on that cost curve.

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