Friday, March 24, 2017

F-35 Program Office takes aim at LM's crazy supply chain!

via Defense News.
“We’ve got a compendium of many kinds of initiatives that have already started or that we will start in the future. That compendium is up for review with the secretary of defense as we speak,” said Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, the F-35 joint program office (JPO) head. “I can't comment on what he's going to do with that, whether he is going to pick from it like a menu or say, ‘Go do all of these.’”

Some items on the menu include contracting options that would allow the government a discount for buying in bulk, including block buys, economic order quantity and multiyear purchases. Other options involve changes to training and operations that would slash overall cost, such as relying more on simulator training instead of expensive live red air exercises, he said during a speech at the McAleese/Credit Suisse conference.

The JPO also wants to put increased pressure on F-35 prime contractor Lockheed Martin and its supply chain. Bogdan pointed out that his affordability goals have changed over the past several years: instead of wanting an $85 million F-35A unit cost by 2019, Lockheed will be expected to offer an $80 million dollar A-model by 2020.

To get there, Lockheed most likely will have to scrutinize its supply chain and cut out companies that bring little value — such as a middleman that issues a purchase offer to a supplier on Lockheed’s behalf. 
“There are things that industry could be doing today to drive costs out of this airplane that they ought to be doing themselves, and if they don’t, then the government is going to help them do it. Like de-layering the supply chain, for one,” he said. Lockheed’s first cost initiative, called the Blueprint for Affordability, captured the “low-hanging fruit,” netting savings that were “just okay,” but Bogdan said more could be done to manage low-tier suppliers.
A couple of things.

They're still beating the drum on doing multi-year or block buy purchases of a plane that is still jacked up beyond recognition.  In essence he's asking the SecDef to change the law so that they can get a substandard plane into service.  My fear is that if he gets his way the costs will explode even more. I have yet to see a good figure on what it costs to fix "mistake jets" but to buy an item knowing that it will need to be fixed is beyond me!


I've wondered about the crazy supply chain that has suppliers in alot of states and hands out contracts to F-35 buyers like candy.  No way it could be efficient but it did insulate the plane from proper Congressional scrutiny.  If they go with this plan then it will spell doom to the program.  If a Congress Critter can't point to jobs in his district and then looks at the price of the plane then its game over.

This affordability roadmap/plan is a joke.  They can't save anymore money because if they do then they'll wreck themselves.

I look forward to seeing what SecDef Mattis decides. 

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