Friday, March 30, 2018

USAF not cutting the F-35...pushing down costs instead....

via Breaking Defense.
The Air Force does not plan to cut its planned purchase of 1,763 F-35As — in fact, it’s not even not considering doing so — but it is pushing hard to bring down the sustainment costs of Lockheed Martin‘s prize program, the Air Force Chief of Staff told reporters this morning.

“We are all very concerned about sustainment costs,” Gen. Dave Goldfein told the Defense Writers Group. That “we” includes Ellen Lord, the head of Pentagon acquisition, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan. Lord, who said in January the F-35 was unaffordable at current sustainment cost levels, and Shanahan both boast long careers in the defense industry and “know how this business works,” Goldfein said.
Story here.

Simply amazing.

Dude does not refute in anyway the story that talked about the NEED to cut 500 plus fighters if cost can't be cut, instead he throws up a strawman and says that the USAF DOES NOT PLAN to cut fighters!

Just plain wow.

This won't be a planned cut, it will be a budget mandated cut!

The crazy thing?

From my reading of the document the sustainment costs being talked about doesn't even include UPGRADING TO FULL COMBAT CAPABILITY the planes already bought!

This program is dead man walking!

They've played every card in the deck but the deck has finally run out and reality is about to set in.

But they know that and they're turning to even if they won't admit it.

The US Army is already buying/investing in air defense.  It's like they know that the USAF won't be able to provide close air support, defend against aerial attacks on our ground forces and do the deep strike mission. 

The US Navy is buying Super Hornets and has finally bit on a SLIGHTLY watered down Advanced Super Hornet variant.  They still talk about buying a few F-35C's but with that model being the most rare/most expensive I expect that funding to be zeroed out and decks filled with Super Hornets and initially refueling tankers later to be upgraded to attack/ISR/refuel variants.

Even the USMC is looking at a plan B   in the form of a Super UAV that can take off vertically, perform close air support, escort the MV-22 and do ISR for the fleet.

The F-35 fanboys said there was no plan B?  As usual it looks like they were full of shit.  Plan B's are all over the place and they're moving with speed.

The only thing that has remained constant with the F-35 is the fact that its making a shit load of money for Lockheed Martin, stalling real defense programs that add real benefits to the US/allies and the talking point from leadership that all is well.

Everything else is in flux.

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