Friday, March 01, 2019

F-35 News. It's not about cost of the plane. It's about the cost of sustainment!

via Air Force Magazine....
“In a perfect world, were we to have the resources available to us, the 72 would be F-35s. Because an F-15 or any variant will never be an F-35. But this is about capacity.”

Goldfein added, “the money was not available” to buy 72 F-35s. Asked if that meant the F-15 will be cheaper than the F-35, he said, “we don’t know, because we don’t know what the offer will be on an F-15 variant, but that’s part of the competitive nature going forward for us.”

Wilson hastened to add, however, that unit cost is not the whole story.

“It’s not just the cost of the airplane. It’s the cost to maintain the airframe over its life. And one of the things that’s a little bit frustrating about the F-35 is, Lockheed Martin has not driven down the sustainment cost as fast as we want them to. And when you look at lifespan of the aircraft, cost to maintain the aircraft, fourth generation fighters are less expensive to sustain than fifth generation fighters,” she said.

Goldfein acknowledged that new F-15s would have a service life of perhaps 30 years, but through the 2030s, the fleet will be a fourth/fifth mix. And “this is about ensuring we don’t lose capacity against NDS tasks, in the timeframe we need to build up the F-35 as the quarterback of the joint penetrating team.”

Wilson could not offer an apples-to-apples cost comparison between the F-15 and F-35, but said “we just don’t think there has been enough attention on the sustainment cost [of the F-35]… and driving it down.” She said it is “strategically important” that the sustainment cost of the aircraft be lowered.
Story here. 

Wow!  Read the entire article but one thing is clear.  Military leadership is NOT QUITE on the same page as their civilian masters!

It's obvious that Goldfein has a different view on things than Wilson.

The battle is between the USAF and the Pentagon, the battle is between the generals and the civilian leadership!

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