F-35 Joint Strike Fighter News, Videos and pics Thread


Jura

General
now
Lockheed Martin Says New F-35 Supplier Contracts Will Reduce Aircraft Costs
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F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter lead-contractor Lockheed Martin reconfigured a host of its contracts with its suppliers to lower the aircraft price tag, improve readiness and control ongoing maintenance costs.

Lockheed Martin moved a raft of suppliers into performance-based logistics contracts or master repair agreements, with the idea being these longer-term commitments allow subcontractors to invest in their production processes, making their operations more efficient, resulting in lower costs for Lockheed Martin.

“As the F-35 fleet expands, we are partnering with our customers and taking aggressive actions to enhance F-35 readiness and reduce sustainment costs,” Greg Ulmer, Lockheed Martin’s general manager of the F-35 program said in a statement. “We’re restructuring and streamlining several contracts with key industry partners to provide the long-term stability that will allow them to make investments, improve efficiencies and optimize their performance. This is one of several actions we’re taking across the supply chain to improve capacity, reduce costs and enhance supply availability.”

By next year, Lockheed Martin officials want to lower to $80 million the production costs of the F-35A standard take-off and landing variant used by the U.S. Air Force and international partners. Reducing the production price is a critical part of the company’s next multi-year contract negotiation with the Pentagon, Marillyn Hewson, chief executive of Lockheed Martin, told analysts when discussing the company’s 2018 financial performance during a
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.

The U.S. Marine Corps uses the F-35B short take-off/vertical landing variant and some foreign partners currently cost $115.5 million, and the F-35C carrier launched and arrested landing variant primarily used by the U.S. Navy cost $107.7 million each. Lockheed Martin is working to lower their costs as well.

Hewson is scheduled to discuss Lockheed Martin’s 2019 first quarter financial performance during a conference call on April 23 and will likely provide an F-35 program update.

Lockheed Martin now has performance-based logistics contracts with BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman and Collins Elbit Vision Systems. Lockheed Martin has master repair agreements with a dozen companies including Honeywell, GE and Eaton Corp.

Currently, Lockheed Martin states the newer production F-35 aircraft average a better than 60 percent mission capable rate and some operational squadrons report mission capable rates of near 70 percent. The goal is mission capable rates of 80 percent and by 2025 a $25,000 cost per-flight-hour, according to Lockheed Martin.

The Pentagon has for years sought to control the program’s costs as lawmakers on Capitol Hill have frequently balked at the F-35’s high sticker price and initial availability problems. The program had an “albatross of negativity,” Vice Adm. Mat Winter, the director of Joint Strike Fighter program office, said during an episode of the
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.

However, as production ramped up and the military has worked with Lockheed Martin and the suppliers to improve their production processes, the program has been able to lower costs while increase aircraft availability, Winter said.

“The aircraft, the operating system, is operating in combat today,” Winter said. “Our Israeli friends and the United States Marines Corps have taken it into combat and utilized it.”

The following is the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter Production Status from Vice Adm. Mat Winter, the director of Joint Strike Fighter program office.

As of April 2019, 386 F-35 air systems have been delivered, with about 20 percent going to international partners and customers. Ultimately, international partners and customers are expected to receive 780 F-35 aircraft.

The U.S. military will eventually receive 2,456 divvied up among the service branches as follows:

  • 1,763 F-35A fighters to the Air Force
  • 353 F-35B fighters to the Marine Corps
  • 67 F-35C fighters to the Marine Corps
  • 273 F-35C fighters to the Navy
 

Jura

General
presumably a success story:
USAF F-35As commence debut combat deployment
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The US Air Force has commenced the first combat deployment for its F-35A Lightning IIs. Six F-35As departed Hill AFB, Utah, transitted through Morón Air Base, Spain, and arrived at Al Dhafra, in the United Arab Emirates, on April 15. A further four aircraft arrived at Morón on April 15, also heading eastwards. The deployment is being led by the 4th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron (EFS), which is attached to the 388th Fighter Wing (and Air Force Reserve Command 419th FW) at Hill. It also includes personnel from the Reserve 466th Fighter Squadron.

The F-35s are deploying in support of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing (AEW), and they were greeted by its commander Brig Gen Adrian Spain. The F-35s are joining Operation ‘Inherent Resolve’, and likely to be assisting combat operations to tackle the remaining pockets of fighters loyal to so-called Islamic State (IS).

‘We are adding a cutting edge weapons system to our arsenal that significantly enhances the capability of the coalition,’ said Lt Gen Joseph Guastella, commander of Air Forces Central Command (AFCENT). ‘We look forward to demonstrating the full range of the F-35A’s capabilities while it increases the interoperability of our forces throughout the region,’ Guastella said.

Steps to deployment
The F-35A was declared ‘combat ready’ by the USAF on August 2, 2016, when Gen ‘Hawk’ Carlisle, the then head of Air Combat Command, declared that the Lightning II had achieved initial operational capability (IOC) with the 388th Fighter Wing’s 34th Fighter Squadron (FS) at Hill. Carlisle said: ‘The F-35A will be the most dominant aircraft in our inventory, because it can go where our legacy aircraft cannot and provide the capabilities our commanders need on the modern battlefield.’

The 34th and 466th FS at Hill AFB, Utah, completed all requirements to achieve IOC following the submission of documentation for consideration on July 27, 2016, right at the front end of the window that had been set for August–December. The 34th had 12 F-35As equipped with the modifications necessary for it to achieve IOC, with 21 combat-ready, active-duty and reserve pilots assigned to the squadrons.

The 4th FS was established as the second combat-coded USAF F-35 unit, receiving its first Lightning IIs in September 2017. The unit had been engaged in extensive work-ups in late 2018 and was widely expected to make a combat deployment. In November 2018, 4th Fighter Squadron commander Lt Col Yousef Morris said: ‘The tempo gives our airmen a taste of deployed operations. We want the first time they see these things to be in a training environment, and not when we’re called upon to deploy during a contingency.’

Having announced the first combat deployment, a USAF news release said that 388th FW commander, Col Lee Kloos, told airmen: ‘For those of us who have been a part of the F-35 program for a while, this is a huge milestone.’ Lt Col Morris, 4th FS commander added: ‘As the first operational F-35 wing in the air force we’ve been working toward this since we received our first jets in 2015. Our Airmen are ready for this mission.’
 

Jura

General
Apr 10, 2019
the most recent link:
Wreckage confirmed to be crashed Japanese F-35 fighter, pilot still missing
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I fear he's dead and I pray his body is found
it wasn't :-(
US Aircraft, Ships End Search for Japanese F-35, Investigation Ongoing
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4/19/2019
The United States will no longer provide aircraft and maritime support in the search for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force F-35A that crashed into the Pacific Ocean on April 9, but it will continue to provide assistance in other ways, such as helping to determine the cause of the crash.

“We are in full support” of Japan’s lead on the investigation and “have full confidence that … we’ll recover it and the situation is being properly managed,” Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said during a 2+2 meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Japan’s defense and foreign ministers.

The JASDF F-35A was part of a four-ship training flight when it crashed shortly after takeoff from Misawa Air Base. Following the crash, the JASDF grounded its F-35 fleet, but other nations, including the US, kept flying the jet.

US aircraft, including a P-8 and U-2, joined US and Japanese ships in searching the area and although possible debris was found, the jet has not yet been recovered.

Japanese Minister of Defense Takeshi Iwaya said during the press conference that Japan’s maritime search will continue. The F-35A is a “very important aircraft, so we would like to locate the aircraft as soon as possible and salvage it,” he said. It has been “indispensable” to have the US support in the crash and the investigation.

“I am proud that the two nations are of the relationship in which we can help each other in difficult times,” he said.

Iwaya told reporters later Friday at the Pentagon that Japan is conducting “surveillance and warning activities” to find the aircraft and there is no possibility another actor, such as China, would get to the jet first.

Speaking during a press conference earlier in the week in Tokyo, Iwaya said JASDF F-35s had made seven emergency landings since it began flying the jets. These involved seven aircraft assembled in Japan and one that was assembled in the US, according t0
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Jura

General
a blend of slides (some of them redacted) and tweets related to the F-35, if interested follow the link
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These Are The Briefings President-Elect Trump Got On The F-35, Air Force One, and Nukes
 

Jura

General
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Lockheed's Costly F-35 to Be Billions Costlier, Pentagon Finds

  • Research and procurement increases by $22 billion: cost office
  • Six decades of operations and support grows by $73 billion
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’s F-35 jet, the world’s costliest weapons program, just got even costlier.

The estimated total price for research and procurement has increased by $22 billion in current dollars adjusted for inflation, according to the Pentagon’s latest annual cost assessment of major projects. The estimate for operating and supporting the fleet of fighters over more than six decades grew by almost $73 billion to $1.196 trillion.

The increase to $428.4 billion from $406.2 billion in acquisition costs, about a 5.5 percent increase, isn’t due to poor performance, delays or excessive costs for labor or materials, according to the Defense Department’s latest Selected Acquisition Report sent to Congress last week and obtained by Bloomberg News.

Instead, the increase reflects for the first time the current cost estimates for a major set of upgrades planned in coming “Block 4” modifications, according to the report.

“Ensuring our Block 4 efforts are captured in our acquisition baseline and now in our SAR help us to provide full transparency and status on our F-35 modernization progress,” the Pentagon’s F-35 program office said in an emailed statement.

“The F-35 program remains within all cost, schedule and performance thresholds and continues to make steady progress,” the program office said in its statement. The office “is committed to the delivery of cost-effective warfighting capability across all areas of the program.”

But the long-range cost estimate for operating the fleet from 2011 to 2077 was problematic even before the latest independent Pentagon cost projection of an increase to $1.196 trillion. By contrast, the F-35 program office’s latest estimate declined by about $8.5 billion to $1 trillion.

Scrutiny Expected
The projected increase is likely to be scrutinized by lawmakers, Pentagon acquisition chief Ellen Lord and Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan because they have been pushing the program office and Lockheed to reduce projected operations and support costs.

As a potential sign of concern, the Pentagon’s fiscal 2021 proposed budget calls for 17 fewer F-35s than planned -- 81, according to the Selected Acquisition Report.

“At current estimates, the projected F-35 sustainment outlays based upon given planned fleet growth will strain future service operations and support budgets,” the report said. Lockheed also “must embrace much-needed supply chain management affordability initiatives, optimize priorities across the supply chain for spare and new production parts” and share the data rights to certain F-35 software with the Pentagon.

Lockheed’s View
Carolyn Nelson, a spokeswoman for Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed, said in an email that the contractor “is taking aggressive action to build supply chain capacity, reduce supply chain costs and improve parts availability to help drive sustainment costs down while enhancing readiness.”

She said the actions by the No. 1 U.S. defense contractor include supply chain competitions, restructuring supplier contracts, synchronizing spare buys, improving parts reliability and accelerating modifications to earlier aircraft. Likewise, the company has “reduced our portion of ‘cost per aircraft’ per year by 15 percent since 2015 and we continue to look for ways to reduce costs,” she said.

The U.S. still plans to buy 2,456 total of the jets in its variations: 1,763 for the Air Force, 420 for the Marines and 273 for the Navy. The totals don’t include more than 700 potential foreign military sales.

Speed of Negotiations
The Pentagon report urged better cooperation from Lockheed to speed contract negotiations as the pace of F-35 production ramps up.

Talks for the 12th and largest production contract to date, valued at as much as $22 billion, have moved quickly and are on track to finish in mid-May. But that hasn’t always been the case. The Pentagon F-35 program office “continues to experience slow negotiation behaviors from the prime contractor that unnecessarily extends the timeline to contract award,” the report found.

Nelson said “we continue to negotiate in good faith” and in the current talks “used the actual data from the last 11 contracts as the basis of our offer.”
was worth reading despite the sensationalist headline
 

Jura

General
a tough (by my standards LOL) paragraph inside
All This ‘Innovation’ Won’t Save the Pentagon
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:

"Witness the department’s existing aquisition process, which is roughly the opposite of how modern products are
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. It enumerates numerous, often overlapping or contradictory “requirements” before production is even thought about. The process takes years, as shown by
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like the Air Force’s F-35 and the Army’s
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. Systems acquired in this manner are artifacts from a bygone era before they’re ever even delivered, and the glacial DoD process means warfighters are
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with them for decades to come."
 

Jura

General
Apr 16, 2019
F-35B Allowed Essex ARG to Flex New Blue-Water Capabilities in Absence of Carrier Nearby
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ends with " ... the F-35Bs maintaining a 75-percent readiness rate."

[during that Essex deployment]
while inside
Marines Folding F-35B into New Pacific Island-Hopping Concept
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:

"... MEU Commanding Officer Col. Robert Brodie ... brought six F-35Bs to sea, supplemented by 10 V-22 Ospreys and four CH-53Es. He said the F-35s maintained an overall readiness rate of 90.5 percent and averaged five of six jets being up and fully mission capable on any given day."
 

Jura

General
Sunday at 9:08 AM
... I thought LockMart lobbyists were much stronger though, was surprised the USAF would be getting F-15s with an empty seat LOL! instead of more F-35s
now
The US Air Force, not Turkey, is frustrating Lockheed execs on the F-35 program
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Turkey’s purchase of Lockheed Martin’s F-35
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to its order of a
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, but Lockheed executives on Tuesday appeared unruffled by the dispute.

Rather, they signaled that an inconsistent demand by the U.S. military —
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— is a bigger long-term concern.

During an April 23 earnings call, one Wall Street analyst asked how Lockheed is dealing with shifts in the
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caused by fluctuations in U.S. demand and the uncertainty of future orders with Turkey, Canada and Italy.

Turkey has ignored pleas from NATO to scrap its deal with the S-400 surface-to-air missile system, and the Trump administration could soon face a decision on whether to remove Turkey from the
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.

Lockheed Chief Executive Marillyn Hewson did not mention Turkey by name, but responded that decisions about Turkish participation in the program remain with the U.S. government.

“I suppose the JPO [F-35 joint program office] will have to figure out how they manage what aircraft they buy at what point in time, as countries look at their procurement decisions or as things change among some of the partners that we have,” she said. “But I think they’re managing that risk quite well and the demand is very strong.”

Lockheed Chief Financial Officer Ken Possenriede noted the small size of foreign contracts.

Turkey is “an important ally of ours, a least today,” he said, but the country plans to buy only eight aircraft per lot over the upcoming block buy, which spans lots 12 through 14. Lockheed is hopeful that Italy will sustain its interest in the program, but Possenriede noted that its buy is “not a material number of aircraft.” Meanwhile, Canada is still not yet under contract for the F-35, but plans to start a new fighter competition as soon as next month.

“I think the frustrating piece for us is the United States Air Force and we’ll continue working with our customer and with representatives in the government on what’s the right path forward there,” Possenriede said.

In the fiscal year 2020 budget, the U.S. Defense Department plans to buy 78 joint strike fighters for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. However, the Air Force, the F-35’s largest customer, requested just 48 F-35As in FY20 and intends to buy only 48 F-35As annually over the next five years — a far cry from the 60 jet buy rate that Air Force officials had previously held as a goal.

Meanwhile, Turkey is set to buy 100 F-35As over the entirety of the program. Turkish companies are also part of the program’s industrial base and play a role in sustainment — a complication that neither Hewson nor Possenriede commented on.

By FY20, Lockheed will be able to offer an F-35A conventional take off and landing model at a cost of $80 million or less, Possenriede said. The company is also working to lower sustainment costs to $25,000 per flight hour by 2025, which is on par with the cost of flying fourth generation fighters.

However, it remains to be seen whether that will be enough to entice the Air Force to increase its buy rates, especially as it also plans to begin procuring the F-15X from rival Boeing in FY20.

Defense Department officials have maintained that the F-35 program of record remains the same, and that overall quantities aren’t in danger of being slashed if the services buy the jets more slowly. Hewson said she sees that as a positive sign.

“How they manage what they buy year to year, that’s always been a challenge as they look at what their overall needs are relative to the budgets that they have to work with,” she said. “I think that’s going to continue.”

Hewson also believes that there are opportunities to extend the current program well beyond the 3,300 sales that Lockheed has racked up so far, citing reports of Poland and Romania’s interest in the jet.

“We frankly have great capacity on this program. We’ve got facilities in place; we’re going to be in the position to produce over 180 aircraft a year. We’re prepared to do that,” she said.
 

Brumby

Major
Apr 16, 2019
while inside
Marines Folding F-35B into New Pacific Island-Hopping Concept
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:

"... MEU Commanding Officer Col. Robert Brodie ... brought six F-35Bs to sea, supplemented by 10 V-22 Ospreys and four CH-53Es. He said the F-35s maintained an overall readiness rate of 90.5 percent and averaged five of six jets being up and fully mission capable on any given day."
IMO, the F-35B is unique in its capability to support an Island hopping strategy given the vastness of the Pacific. The USMC should expand this effort in developing the appropriate CONOPs, in particular the logistics footprint required to support a sustained engagement
 

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