Monday, May 20, 2019

F-35 News. The hits just keep coming...this time from the House Armed Services Committee...

Thanks to Mark for the link!

via Air Force Magazine.
“The Department of Defense, and the Air Force in particular, have sent conflicting and confusing signals with respect to the F-35 program,” appropriators continued. “The fiscal year 2020 request repeats a pattern of shifting aircraft quantities to future years, reducing the planned procurement from 84 to 78. Further, the Air Force submitted a fiscal year 2020 budget request that flattens F-35A procurement at 48 aircraft per year through the future years defense program despite the F-35A program of record remaining stable at 1,763 aircraft.”

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said in February the service can’t afford its 72-jet goal. Air Force acquisition chief Will Roper also noted in early May the F-35 buy plan shrinks over the next few years “in order to align the procurement timeline with capability development and reduce retrofit costs.”

The bill agrees to fully fund a $728.7 million request for spare parts for Navy and Air Force F-35s, even though lawmakers say they aren’t convinced the military will use the money or the parts efficiently.

DOD is still waiting on a proposal from Lockheed Martin that specifies which data is needed to run an organic supply chain and track all F-35 parts in the Pentagon’s inventory, as well as how much it would cost to own that information, according to appropriators. Getting the cost and technical data for spare parts is a crucial piece of improving supply issues.

“Currently the F-35 enterprise is unable to comprehensively and accurately inventory parts, efficiently move parts between locations, accurately match deployable spares packages to deploying units, or capture cost information for all the parts that are procured,” the report noted.
Story here.

Some have wondered why Congress would stick its nose into the tech data of the F-35 and demand that LM determine a price for the Pentagon to buy it.

I think we're seeing it.

Critical mass is finally arriving.

After almost two decades it seems that patience has worn thin.

The jacked up procurement is finally getting its day of reckoning.  I couldn't be happier.

It was never about the planes capabilities.  They are no longer revolutionary or even cutting edge.  They're ordinary.  I note with a bit of irritation that proponents of the airplane are now left with Appeals To Authority to bolster their argument (you can read one such example here from The Heritage Foundation) and I'm not impressed.

Even better?

They labored long and hard to get an airplane that barely functions but ignored the other parts of the stool.

Let's be generous and say that the plane is lethal.  Let's give it another binny and say that its survivable.

Is it supportable with ALIS?  With special hangars?  With unique fuel trucks to keep the fuel cool?

Is it affordable?  Not the base price of the airplane but to maintain and fly it?

Congress itself is saying no to the above.  Finally we're seeing lawmakers BEGIN to hold the program accountable.

It's just a start but one thing is obvious.

1763 is a lie.  Future budgets will NEVER allow the USAF to procure that many airplanes.

The supporters of the F-35 have in essence broken the USAF, cut off any possibility of balancing the force with very fine 4th Gen +++ fighters that would be awesome in 99.9% of roles that we depend on air power to perform and have basically limited the growth of the USAF because they were too stubborn to see the reality of this airplane.

Price per plane was always just the lure.  The real action was in sustainment and that's where Lockheed Martin was raping the taxpayer with a cactus.

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