A link or other ?
A link or other ?
An English report criticizes the F-35 program
After Denmark last November, it is the turn of the United Kingdom to question the program of the fighter jet Lockheed-Martin F-35 and its acquisition by the country.
The House of Commons Defense Committee (HCDC) has investigated the United Kingdom's acquisition of Lockheed-Martin F-35B "Lightning II" stealth fighter jets. This monitoring body of the British Parliament has published a detailed and critical report. On the one hand he said he was disappointed by the answers obtained during the written and oral testimonies of the aircraft manufacturer Lockheed-Martin and officials of the British Ministry of Defense (MoD). The report was published a few days before the 14th F-35B destined for the United Kingdom was delivered to South Carolina, where the first British squadron was working on the new aircraft.
Repeated failures and additional costs:
The HCDC investigation was motivated by serious program failures and cost increases. Indeed, on the English side, there has been some concern about the revelations reported in the United States by recent reports from the Director of Operational Testing and Evaluation (DOT & E) and the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
According to this report, the HCDC stated that overall, its concerns "have not been mitigated" by Lockheed-Martin and the Department of Defense. The committee said that "the MoD's inability to provide adequate cost estimates for its F-35 purchases ... is totally unsatisfactory."
Moreover, the report reveals that the F-35B will not be able to communicate with the Navy's future ships or the "Typhoon II" Eurofighter in terms of data link. In fact, the
The Ministry of Defense will have to fund a program that allows the F-35 to transmit information from its secure multi-functional Advanced DataLink (MADL) to Typhoons and surface vessels.
Cyberwar and ALIS:
The report also confirms the fears already mentioned by the Israelis regarding the risks of being able to "hack" the centralized ALIS (Autonomic Logistics Information System) maintenance system in the United States.
However, the committee's report concedes that "assurances regarding the rigorous level of cyber-testing of the F-35 ALIS software are welcome, as is the assurance that the UK will have full and unhindered use. But the report asks Lockheed-Martin to clarify the level of protection in place for technical data collected by ALIS from the UK's F-35 fleet, including, if this data falls under the unlimited rights license from the United States Government.
The UK will receive three more F-35Bs in Beaufort next year, and one more, its 18th overall in early 2019. Some of these planes will fly to the UK next summer.
In addition, the United Kingdom retains three trial and evaluation F-35Bs at Edwards AFB for the next three years.
To date, the United Kingdom has only purchased 18 F-35Bs. However, in January 2017, the Ministry of Defense has planned another 30 aircraft that are expected to be delivered between 2020 and 2025. The provision was 3 billion pounds, including initial support, or nearly $ 134 million per plane at the same rate. current exchange rate. The first 18 planes for the UK seem to have cost more than 150 million pounds ($ 200 million) each.
Initially the United Kingdom planned to acquire 138 F-35s. But, It seems today that this is unlikely. Next month, the Ministry of Defense is expected to reveal a new round of personnel and equipment reductions, just 26 months after a Strategic Defense and Security Review (SRHR) established a five-year budget. years at the start.
In fact, the UK could save on both acquisition and operating costs by purchasing conventional versions of the F-35A. This has long been the desire of the Royal Air Force, due to the greater range and the weapon load of the F-35A compared to the F-35B. Lockheed Martin has promised to reduce the recurring unit cost (URFC) of the F-35A to about $ 80 million. On the other hand, the budget cuts should also reduce the number of F-35s that will ultimately be purchased by the United Kingdom.