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Thread: F-35 in all it's Variations

  1. #101

    Unless the engine has structural commonality with the rest of the family (I.E layout applicable tooling) then it really isn't an issue. Airlines rarely make decisions based on brand loyalty when it comes to engines, it's a pure financial equation more or less (Engines are much of a muchness) The Support you get from GE/RR/P&W/EA are all superb, leaving it a sentimental question of attachment as to whether you stay with the manufacturer or not. One thing that it does remind me of it the 787 offering the GEnX engine as the sole supplier for the airframe by agreement with Boeing. It took all of about a year for that to change.

  2. #102

    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Digger View Post
    And this is an interesting thing for Australia. Because we have opted to acquire early airframes, we have locked ourselves in to acquiring P&W F135 engines for the first batch simply because the F136 simply won't be available in time for our initial batch of airframes, however it will be for our future batches. Given Australia's long and successful use of GE fighter engines, can anyone see Australia operating both engine types, perhaps as a strategic hedge?
    Ah ha! Therein lies one of the strange anomolies within Australian politics, or rather Defense. There seems to be an interesting relationship between servants of the nation or states within the nation and their perception of what they actually do and the perception of the government (who are also servants) and what they think defense is and actually does...

    For example: Defense and everything in it is or are servants of the Nation. But I get the funny feeling that people funding this Australian body don't see Defense as servants. Some try to see them as a corporation or ask for things like "Best Business Practices". This is an oxymoron if you apply it to a service (service= servants).

    A service like Defense is there to help other parts of the nation run better. So it would follow, that if you have a good defense, then the rest of the nation is able to run more freely (security, liberty, etc, etc).

    so "yes", having 2 engines is actually better for defense, not unlike having multiple platforms to meet a desired mission, which I think we discused as a thought experiment in the AFV section...

    If you have platforms that have similar components, but in this case different powerplants, then that makes that platform a lower operational risk and therefore on average able to respond better to deployment at short notice. It does, however reduce the force's ability to maintain that same readiness in the long term, unless you regularly rotate the platforms with the different engines. If you do that then you increase the operational readiness of the deployed "force" as you have new engines with unused parts or parts with low hours and no old-but-refurbished parts sneaking into the planned maintenance stream.

    If the deployment goes on then old-but-refurbished parts can be introduced into the platforms in a safe environment when they are rotated back to Australia.

    As an aside it gives me the heebee geebees to hear (or read here) SG of NATO saying things like "transformation" and so on or quoting US Generals as saying "Vision without resources is hallucination". What a total chump. This from a guy who is a servant of one of the greatest democracies the world has ever seen? Resources are people and people elect the President. So to have vision and deliver on a "vision" all you need in the USA is people. It means said General is (in fact) deluded or being totally misquoted and coming back to "transformation"... That is rummy word-speak that has been disproved.


    cheers


    w
    Kung fu Panda. What can I say? The guy is brilliant.

  3. #103

    USAF, Lockheed Wrangle Over JSF LRIP 4 Price

    May 1, 2010



    By Amy Butler

    FORT WORTH — The U.S. Air Force and Lockheed Martin—prime contractor for the single-engine, stealthy F-35—are in the midst of negotiations for low-rate initial production (LRIP) Lot 4, with price a key sticking point in the negotiations.

    Pentagon acquisition chief Ashton Carter last month declared a 57% cost overrun to the per-unit price of an F-35, triggering a Nunn-McCurdy review of the program. Though it is expected to be recertified to continue development by early June, Lockheed Martin is in a peculiar situation. The company is battling the perception of a major cost spike brought on by the adjusted baseline figure from the Cost Analysis and Program Evaluation (CAPE) group at the Pentagon. But at the same time, company officials are trying to keep the price as high as possible in LRIP 4 negotiations with the Air Force.

    David Van Buren, acting assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, is handling contract negotiations for the government. The Air Force is asking for 20% below the pricing projected by Lockheed Martin, according to Tom Burbage, executive vice president of F-35 program integration, who spoke last week with AVIATION WEEK here. And that figure is 20% lower than the CAPE pricing predictions, he adds.

    Burbage says that in October, the company (in the midst of the restructuring announced last month) proposed pricing based on the 2007 program office estimate; officials declined to specify the figure. They say they expect an average per-unit price (without engines) for the conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant at high production rates to be about $49.5 million in LRIP 8 or beyond. LRIP 4, however, will carry a significantly higher per-unit price because these are early model production aircraft.

    In accordance with the push by Carter to lock in fixed-price contracts as early as possible in a program’s cycle, Air Force officials are exploring whether any fixed-price elements can be included in the forthcoming LRIP 4 contract. Options range from a full firm fixed-price deal to locking in a fixed price for the CTOL variant (which accounts for the lion’s share of the buy) or agreeing upon a fixed-price, incentive-fee structure. This would set a price, but allow for a government/contractor risk-sharing model if overages occur. Lockheed Martin officials are not interested yet in going to a firm fixed-price contract for LRIP 4, but concede it is likely to be unavoidable for LRIP 5.

    Van Buren’s office declined to discuss the negotiations in detail, but said “the government is seeking a fair and reasonable price.”

    Still, the company’s unwillingness to commit to a firm, fixed price for LRIP 4 has gotten the attention of some in Congress. As Lockheed officials brief staffers on Capitol Hill, some remain skeptical of the contractor’s low pricing estimates. “Prove it. Sign up to a lower cost on a fixed-price contract,” one Hill aide says. “Given their track record, they don’t have much leverage to make these claims.”

    Ultimately, it could be skepticism in Congress that could prove most perilous to the program. If Congress reduces the buy in Fiscal 2011 from 43 by 10 or more, as some House defense authorizers are considering, the lower quantity will again push the per-unit price up. This could be the program’s entry into the acquisition “death spiral,” where repeatedly reduced production quantities beget higher pricing.

    Credit: Lockheed Martin

  4. #104

    Ares

    A Defense Technology Blog

    F-35: Change at the Top


    Posted by Graham Warwick at 5/3/2010 12:03 PM CDT

    Some of you have been expecting it - calling for it, even - and now Lockheed Martin has made a change to its F-35 leadership, but not because of the program's well-publicized problems, it says. Dan Crowley, one of the program's two executive vice president/general managers, has been been promoted to the newly created position of chief operating officer of the Aeronautics sector.

    Crowley, who has been the evp/gm responsible for day-to-day operations of the F-35 program since May 2005, will be replaced by Larry Lawson, evp/gm of the F-22 program. Tom Burbage, the F-35 evp/gm charged with holding together all the international and industry partnerships on which the program is built, is staying in place and will be "responsible for coordinating all Lockheed Martin corporate resources to ensure F-35 program success".

    Lockheed says the leadership change has "absolutely nothing" to do with the F-35's cost and schedule issues and was planned "months ago". That doesn't quite gel with CEO Bob Stevens' assurance in March that he had no plans to remove Crowley from the program. But Lockheed argues this is the "ideal time" to make the transition as F-35 ground and flight test is finally picking up pace.

    As evidence of progress, the company says the program logged 27 flights in April, making it the busiest month so far. That took it to 60 flights so far this year and 197 in total - still not a lot to show for a program that has been in flight test for more than three years. Amy Butler reports Lockheed's target is 395 test sorties this year, which seems doable but still leaves almost 4,500 to go.

    As LM Aero's COO, Crowley will have responsibility for operations across all of the sector's programs, including the winding-down F-22 and ramping-up C-130J, but he will also stay involved with the F-35. Lawson. meanwhile, comes to the program with a track record of having pushed down costs over the F-22's final batches.

  5. #105

    Australian Technology and Innovation for JSF

    (Source: Australian Department of Defence; issued May 3, 2010)

    Greg Combet, Minister for Defence Materiel and Science, today opened the fourth Australian JSF Technology & Innovation Conference in Melbourne.

    “The conference will allow over 200 of Australia’s leading academic, technical and industry innovators to explore opportunities to be involved in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program, now and into the future” said Mr Combet

    “The JSF Program offers immense opportunities for Australian industry potentially creating several thousand long-term jobs, whether it is through the development of new markets or the chance to enter into global supply chains.”

    “For example, the potential for Australia to become a global supplier of titanium and titanium components for the aerospace sector is one area being considered by the conference,

    “Opportunities for Australian Small to Medium Enterprises to win work in global supply chains of large primes and their second and third tier suppliers are also being explored.

    “These opportunities do often present challenges for local industry as the upfront investment is significant to improve capability and increase capacity.

    “To help overcome these challenges the Government is working with the JSF prime contractors to develop long-term agreements with Australian companies so that the industry has the confidence to make the necessary investments to win this work.

    “I am also pleased to announce that $8.5 million of funding had been approved by the Government to help industry overcome early investment challenges.”

    “This support will be targeted at technological developments that will enhance Australian involvement in the program, investments that will increase the opportunities for small Australian companies to become involved and also encourage innovation by Australian industry which has applications for JSF follow-on development.”

    “This targeted support – along with support from other government programs – is particularly important as the focus shifts to greater engagement in JSF production, sustainment and follow-on development,” said Minister Combet.

    Mr Combet also congratulated the 28 Australian companies that have already won work in the face of stiff international competition on the JSF Program.

    -ends-

  6. #106

    DATE:04/05/10

    SOURCE:Flight International

    Australia pushes Lockheed to allocate more JSF work


    By Leithen Francis

    Australia's minister for defence materiel and science, Greg Combet, has called on Lockheed Martin to give Australian companies more work in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme, while ensuring that programme costs remain on track.

    "Australia, like other JSF partner countries, is seeking an affordable solution, but also wants a good outcome for local industry, given the large investment we are making," says Combet.

    "To date, 28 Australian companies have won work on the JSF programme, valued at more than A$200 million [$185 million]," Combet told a JSF industry conference in Melbourne, Victoria on 3 May.

    "This work has primarily been in the initial design and production of test aircraft."

    However, Combet says that "while there has been active engagement with Australian industry in many areas of the programme, progress in some areas has been slower than expected. Further work is required here, and I stressed these issues to Lockheed Martin when I visited Fort Worth last year."

    Lockheed "must search deep and hard among all partner countries, including Australia, to ensure compatibility and affordability goals are met" on the F-35, he adds.

    To assist Australian companies with research and development work required to win more involvement on the programme, the Australian government is providing A$8.5 million in additional funding.

    "While we are yet to allocate these funds, they will be devoted to relatively small investments that have a large pay-off for Australian industry," Combet says.

    The government is already assisting some Australian companies, such as Brisbane-based Ferra Engineering, which has signed two memoranda of understanding with Lockheed to manufacture components for the JSF.

    The government is working with Ferra Engineering, CAST CRC and Lockheed on the development of laser-assisted machining of titanium parts, he adds.

    Other examples of work that Australia has won includes Goodrich Customer Services in Sydney, which has secured a contract to make the uplock actuators for the JSF's weapons bay doors.

    Perth-based Quickstep has also signed a memorandum of understanding to manufacture lower side skins, maintenance access panels, fuel tank covers, lower skin and in-board weapons bay doors for the JSF.

  7. #107

    Carter: No Case for 2nd JSF Engine

    By CHRISTOPHER P. CAVAS

    Published: 4 May 2010 15:35

    The guy's an idiot to say there is no case, of course there is a case. This is a funding problem NOT a lack of requirement problem.........

    The Pentagon's top acquisition official again tried to shoot down the case for a second engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), which many in Congress are urging as a cost-control move.


    Pentagon acquisition chief Ashton Carter said affordability is key to the success of the Joint Strike Fighter program. (TOM BROWN / STAFF)

    "There is not a good analytical case that the upfront costs of the second engine would be paid back," Ashton Carter told an audience May 4 in Washington at the Sea-Air-Space symposium sponsored by the Navy League of the United States.

    The engine issue has emerged as one of the most contentious concerns in debate over the fiscal 2011 budget request. The Pentagon wants to stick with the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine for the new aircraft, while Congress has repeatedly directed the Pentagon to include the F136 engine, made by General Electric and Rolls-Royce, for reliability and to compete with the first engine on cost.

    "The key to success" in the JSF program "must be affordability," Carter said.

    He pointed out that when a Pentagon analysis last fall showed that JSF costs were growing, he and Defense Secretary Robert Gates changed the program's schedule, appointed a new program leader and adjusted its budget.

    Additionally, they "insisted that we and our industrial partners restore affordability to the program," Carter said.

  8. #108

    Marine Corps Dismisses Worries About F-35, Sticks with 2012 Date for Operational Debut

    (Source: Lexington Institute; issued May 4, 2010)

    (© Lexington Institute; reproduced by permission)

    Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James Amos told defense trade publication Inside the Navy last month that his service has no plans to delay fielding of the F-35 fighter despite the fact that the development plan is 13 months behind schedule.

    In fact, the Marine Corps is so confident that its short-takeoff-vertical-landing (STOVL) version of the plane will debut on time that it hasn't even drawn up contingency plans to deal with the possibility of problems. This is in marked contrast to the Air Force and Navy, which have deferred the initial operational capability of their planes several years due to a lengthening development cycle.

    Prime contractor Lockheed Martin has repeatedly complained that reports about delays and cost increases in the F-35 program are exaggerated, and has secured a commitment from the defense department to "buy back" some of the planes deleted from early production plans if it comes in below government cost estimates.

    That won't be hard to do, because the contractor has consistently priced its planes below Pentagon cost estimates in the first three production lots. Negotiations on the fourth production lot should be completed this month, with the final price likely to be about 25% below what the Pentagon's Cost Assessment & Program Evaluation (CAPE) office has predicted.

    The Marine Corps is under some pressure to field the F-35 as soon as possible, because unlike the Navy it elected to forgo the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet, and as a result its air fleet is quite old. That decision was based on its conviction that future expeditionary warfare would favor airframes with vertical agility such as the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor and the short-takeoff-vertical-landing variant of F-35.

    However, the decision to stick with a 2012 initial operational capability for F-35 inevitably raises questions about why other services chose to wait several more years for their planes. Inside the Navy suggested that part of the explanation might be that the Marine variant is less capable, but in fact its vertical lift fan and vectored thrust make the propulsion system considerably more complex than what is found on Air Force and Navy versions.

    So maybe what's happening here is that the Marine Corps is making a statement about what shape the F-35 program is really in. Gen. Amos was quoted praising the Lockheed Martin production line and expressing confidence that the planes would deliver on time. He is not the only source for such optimism. Even the 2009 Selected Acquisition Report on F-35 that generated so many negative headlines concerning costs said that the planes were meeting all of their key performance parameters, were passing tests with flying colors, and were establishing new standards for quality.

    The rising cost estimates turn out to be based mainly on data from other programs, whose relevance to future F-35 pricing is problematic. In any event, the Marine Corps is determined to start operating its F-35s in two years, and then we shall see whether all the costly adjustments recently made in the program were even necessary.

    -ends-

  9. #109

    DATE:06/05/10

    SOURCE:Flight International

    Lockheed's new F-35 leader to face familiar challenges


    By Stephen Trimble

    When Lockheed Martin executive Larry Lawson assumes control of F-35 operations and manufacturing on 7 June, the F-22 programme manager since 2004 will confront a familiar set of challenges, but on an even grander scale.

    Lockheed announced on 3 May that Lawson will succeed F-35 executive vice-president and general manager Dan Crowley, who is promoted to chief operating officer for the aeronautics sector amid a Congressionally mandated review over projected cost overruns and delays.

    "It's an ideal time to transition leadership as we prepare for rapid growth," says Ralph Heath, executive vice-president of Lockheed's aeronautics sector.

    Crowley's F-35 staff is negotiating prices for the fourth annual lot of low-rate initial production, with pressure rising to convert as much of the contract from cost-plus to fixed-price as possible.

    By the time Lawson assumes control, Lockheed is likely to have a signed contract that converts prices for at least the F-35A conventional take-off and landing variant to the fixed-price format, where the contractors assume most of the risk for cost overruns.

    Eventually, Lawson will face pressure by the US Department of Defense to convert the entire contract to fixed-price in the fifth annual LRIP contract, which will be negotiated next year.

    More immediately, Lawson will face fresh Congressional scrutiny after the DoD completes a mandatory recertification review triggered by projected cost overruns over the programme's lifetime of between 57% and 89%.

    Lawson inherits the F-35 at nearly the same period of its history as the F-22 stood in 2004. As he moved from managing Lockheed's weapons business to the Raptor programme, the company was also negotiating the fifth low of low-rate production.

    A few weeks after Lawson assumed control, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld approved a recommendation to reduce the F-22 programme from about 270 aircraft to 179. Lawson worked to stabilise manufacturing costs while the F-22's allies in the US Air Force and Congress attempted to overturn the decision. In 2009, however, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates decided to halt F-22 production after 187 aircraft.

    To avoid further production cuts on the F-35, Lawson again must stabilise production costs and increase the pace of flight testing. As he sorts out day-to-day managerial tasks behind the scenes, Tom Burbage, executive vice-president and general manager for F-35 integration, will continue to be Lockheed's most visible spokesman to the public and liaison to international partners.

    Lawson will be replaced on the F-22 programme by George Schultz, who has served as deputy general manager since November 2008.

  10. #110

    F136 Team In Bid To Jump-Start Competition

    May 7, 2010



    By Graham Warwick
    Washington

    General Electric and Rolls-Royce are pinning hopes of saving the F136 from cancellation on an extended offer of fixed prices on early production engines. The proposal bids to offset projected costs to complete development used by the Pentagon to justify canceling the second engine for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

    With half the savings expected to come from price reductions on the F136, and half from Pratt & Whitney matching the offer with competitive prices for its F135, the GE/Rolls Fighter Engine Team (FET) believes the proposal will save $1 billion over the next five years before head-to-head competition is planned to begin.

    The claimed savings are intended to offset the $2.9-billion cost to complete development and begin production of the F136 projected by the Defense Department’s Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) group and used to justify zeroing funding for the F136 in its Fiscal 2011 budget request.

    GE/Rolls does not agree with the CAPE analysis, estimating it will take $1.8 billion to complete F136 development and tool up for production, says FET Chairman Jean Lydon-Rodgers. Fixed prices shift to industry the risk that manufacturing costs will not come down the learning curve as fast as planned, she says.

    Making its fifth consecutive attempt to cancel the second engine, the Pentagon is not impressed with the new offer. “The [Defense] secretary does not believe the JSF needs an extra engine. Period,” says Geoff Morrell, Pentagon press secretary. “We simply can’t afford to buy two of everything.”

    But the new offer is aimed squarely at Congress, which for the second year faces the threat of a presidential budget veto if it adds funding for the F136. The threat was defused last year by finding the money from outside the JSF budget, but the rhetoric has stepped up this year.

    The timing is crucial. In updating the cost analysis conducted in 2007, the CAPE says the business case for a second engine has improved to break-even as a result of the “sunk costs” for F136 development during the past three years. That leaves the CAPE’s disputed $2.9-billion estimate of the cost to completion as the hurdle to be overcome.

    “This offer will take $1 billion out of the first five years and turn the business case from neutral to very positive. This is a way through the short-term cost pressures to get to the long-term benefit,” says GE Aviation President and CEO David Joyce, noting the Government Accountability Office projects savings from competitive procurement of close to 20% over the program’s life.

    Part of the CAPE’s higher estimate comes from its assumption that Pratt’s learning curve will suffer if it builds fewer engines as a result of competitive procurement. “We don’t believe learning curves are an entitlement,” says Joyce, noting that GE and Rolls already assume that risk in their commercial engine programs.

    GE/Rolls offered a fixed price for Fiscal 2011 engine procurement last September, and the new proposal extends this to 2012, with progressively lower prices in 2013 and 2014. The offer covers about 150 low-rate initial production F136s planned for procurement before 2015, when head-to-head competition is scheduled to begin.

    Pratt says it was first to offer to submit a fixed-price proposal, in early spring of last year, but that the JSF Program Office (JPO) declined, saying it wanted to stick with its cost-plus acquisition strategy for early production engines. “Since then, we have continued to make that offer available to the JPO,” the company says.

    GE/Rolls says it has submitted to the JPO a formal “offer to do business,” with legally binding fixed prices for three years of F136 procurement. The original offer is no longer an option, the team says, as the JPO has reduced expected procurement in 2011 to only a small number of engines.

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