Saturday, July 03, 2021

You wanted a post on the F-35? How about I paraphrase Cpl Frisk...

 via Cpl Frisk (read it all here)

The point about staying in service further resonates with the product support question. ALIS gets good points, the maintenance system is modern and simple, and the large number of both fighters produced in general and European operators in particular ensure cooperation opportunities in both training and operational usage.

ALIS gets good points?  Do I really need to dig in here?  ALIS is a joke and a disgrace.  The idea that Lockheed Martin and the USAF were able to sell this thing as being good to go is a sin.

 I could write a long-winding paragraph about it, but Steve Trimble summed it up perfectly in 280 characters:

There is, I admit, a cognitive dissonance between what USAF chief of staff & HASC chairman say about F-35A's operating cost and evaluation results in international tenders, and I'm not quite able to explain it without access to comparable data from European fighters.

— Steve Trimble (@TheDEWLine) July 1, 2021

No need to dig in here.

Something is WAAAAAY off.  The USAF is supplementing the F-35 with additional buys of the F-15.  That practically says it all.

 There is a significant difference between those struggling with whether to upgrade early blocks and export customers now jumping aboard and getting what presumably will be TR-3 hardware (slated for introduction in 2023) from the start. Especially considering the significant maturity the program has achieved in the past few years it is likely that the maintenance and operating costs will continue on a downward spiral.

However, the GAO isn't overly impressed, and while originally deliveries from 2026 should have been Block 4, that standard is pushed back, and GAO isn't sure that the current schedule will hold either.

In 2020, the program added a year to its Block 4 schedule and now expects to extend Block 4 development into fiscal year 2027. We found, however, that the program office did not formulate its revised schedule based on the contractor’s demonstrated past performance. Instead, the schedule is based on estimates formulated at the start of the Block 4 effort, increasing the likelihood that the scheduled 2027 completion date is not achievable.

The Swiss are a brave lot.  The US military is facing flat budgets and you can bet that as soon as the Next Generation Fighter is ready to go then money will be SHOVED into that program as fast as possible.

It might be worse than even I imagine because they're looking at a family of aircraft and the US military is getting big into unmanned systems.

The F-35 might NOT EVER achieve Blk 4 status.

 This difference is evident in the DSCA-notices as well, were the Swiss DSCA-notification include a grand-total of 40 AIM-9X Sidewinders, 12 Mk 82 500-lb bombs with JDAM-guidance kits, and 12 SDB-II small glide-bombs. You do not fight a war with that kind of stock, although the possibility to carry on the weapons currently used by the Hornets are there. As has been discussed for Finland, the weapons and spares bought will be a huge part of the overall acquisition costs, suddenly making the 8.2 Bn EUR Swiss pricetag look less than stellar (although granted the Swiss DSCA-notification included more spare engines compared to the Finnish bid). Comparing costs is a case of apples against pears against olives with the occasional mango thrown into the mix, but the resulting smoothie evidently tastes like Finland won't be able to acquire and operate 64 F-35As at Swiss prices.

More confusingly, if that is 20% cheaper than everything else, there's some serious discrepancies between what the Swiss asked for and the five packages offered to Finland for 9.6 Bn Euros.

Read Cpl Frisk's entire article.  He lays it out quite well and deserves better than me parsing out his statements.

Long story short?

Quite honestly this win is not impressive.

The Swiss aren't serious about warfighting with this package and even if they are the US has signalled to all involved that its going a different way.

The USMC is cutting its purchase.  You can bet the USN will follow suit and so will the USAF.

The F-35 will have a truncated service life in the US military and most of its "active duty time" will be spent in development, not in operation.

This plane is a failure. 

It's marketing genius.

I guess we've found the reality of things.  Marketing can make up for a bad product as long as you develop a few "true believers". 

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