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  #1  
Old 09-21-2016, 07:23 AM
coremelt coremelt is offline
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F-35: Death spiral is closing in

Yes before you just say "happened with every fighter, they'll get there", read this article:
https://warisboring.com/the-f-35-ste...2b1#.6wkxe5oaq

It makes very very clear that the main delay in the F-35 at this point is actually the software. Now I don't know anything about fighter development, but I do know something about software development, and I can recognise the symptoms of a software project in a death spiral. The airforce's and marine's declaration of initial operational capability is a joke, the F-35 will not actually be usable in combat until the delivery of the Block3F software. That's currently seven years behind schedule and not expected to be delivered until 2018 at earliest (thats optimistic in my opinion).

This is not the same as previous fighters were the kinks were worked out eventually, because no other plane is dependent to anywhere near such a degree on extremely complex and never before achieved software. Yes the F-22 has some sensor fusion but not anywhere near to the level they are aiming for in the F-35. It's entirely possible that the features that are needed in BlockF are simply not possible on the current embedded computers, they underestimated the spec and need considerably faster more powerful computers to achieve what they have promised. On a plane you can't just pop in a faster processors and some extra ram, more powerful computers means more space, heat, power and weight, all of which are already constrained on the F-35. Plus every chip used for aerospace needs to go through an approval process that takes years or even decades. Maybe they've already had to respec the embedded computers, that would explain the incredibly long delays which otherwise seem hard to understand.

Whats more, the article above also mentions they don't have the verification simulator to check fixes on yet and won't have it until at least 2018. That means every fix has to instead be tested on an actual F-35 in the air, slowing down the process even more.

Lastly and most worrying, it makes clear that Lockheed Martin and Pratt and Whitney are asking for a larger batch of 456 F-35's to ramp up from initial production to full rate but Congress so far won't approve such a large order until they see better results, but they're not approving the funding needed to accelerate operational testing either. That's how the death spiral starts. It's behind in schedule, so order numbers are cut and production ramp up is delayed which then delays the schedule even more. Rinse and repeat.

You can say it will all be fixed, and yes that would be true eventually if money and time were unlimited and politics wasn't involved. In reality at a certain point overseas purchasers will pull out and it will limp along for years more because no one is willing to pull the plug. Block 3F will probably eventually be delivered (around 2021 at this rate) but it will be achieved by fudging the requirements during operational testing like they have done so far with the current milestones at every stage.

Whatever happens by the time the F-35 is actually operational, it will be largely obsolete, due to advances in drones and radar. Chuck enough cheap drone's into the air in a F-35's path, once they get close enough they can detect the F-35 despite it's stealth and the F-35 doesn't have anywhere near enough ammo to shoot them all down.

Last edited by coremelt; 09-21-2016 at 07:26 AM.
  #2  
Old 09-21-2016, 08:30 AM
Inbred Mm domesticus Inbred Mm domesticus is offline
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Originally Posted by coremelt View Post
Whatever happens by the time the F-35 is actually operational, it will be largely obsolete, due to advances in drones and radar. Chuck enough cheap drone's into the air in a F-35's path, once they get close enough they can detect the F-35 despite it's stealth and the F-35 doesn't have anywhere near enough ammo to shoot them all down.
Assuming the costs are as you describe them, you have actually made no argument against continuing to absorb those costs. This is because you show yourself to be so unbelievably ignorant concerning the capabilities of drones versus the F-35. Further, you ignored the drone-killing drones which has been the topic of discussion from people talking out their ass for months now.
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Old 09-21-2016, 08:40 AM
coremelt coremelt is offline
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Originally Posted by Inbred Mm domesticus View Post
Assuming the costs are as you describe them, you have actually made no argument against continuing to absorb those costs.
You haven't read the article, read it and and then read this:
https://www.documentcloud.org/docume...-IOC-Memo.html

That's the DOT&E's own report on the current capabilities. Then read the first link again. The argument for not continuing to absorb those costs is what I have laid out:

1) You might never get there, there is no guarantee the goals of Block3F can actually be achieved, no matter how much money you throw at it. Read the descriptions of the current problems with the sensor fusion systems in the first article.
2) By the time you do achieve Block3F it will be partly or completely obsolete, as stated above.

Then read the memo again, it confirms they are reducing staffing on testing at exactly the time they need to be increasing it, because congress won't approve ramping up to full production. That's a death spiral.

Last edited by coremelt; 09-21-2016 at 08:44 AM.
  #4  
Old 09-21-2016, 09:04 AM
Ravenman Ravenman is offline
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While the facts raised by the OP (e.g., delay in software, impacts on capabilities and cost, etc) are generally correct, the conclusions drawn from them make it clear that the OP is completely out of touch with reality.

Since it isn't even worth going point by point to refute the conclusions -- since they are as poorly thought out as someone suggesting that Microsoft has already invented Skynet so humanity is at risk -- let me confine my remarks to just a couple points.

1. There is absolutely no chance that the United States is going to substantially reduce its F-35 buys. The Navy may slow F-35 procurement over the next decade or so, but it has no choice but to keep buying them. F-18s are not a long-term solution, and the F/A-XX (google it, OP) is going to take another 20 years before it arrives on flight decks.

2. Along with 1, Congress has actually been ADDING F-35s to recent budgets, not cutting them. This is the exact friggin' opposite of a death spiral. US quantities are going to continue to grow, but at a much slower pace than what Lockheed would prefer.

3. Foreign sales are not as clear-cut as the US commitment to the program, but on balance, the popularity of the F-35 is growing. Sure, Canada has cold feet because the Prime Minister has about as much clue about tactical aircraft as the OP, but Israel, South Korea, and Japan are joining the buys.

4. Software is a problem, period. But as aviation fanboys fall all over themselves to declare the F-35 a piece of junk and the F-22 the best thing ever, the lack of substantive knowledge of these programs indicates that most people have no clue how much capability was left out of the F-22, and deferred to future software upgrades.

Here is what is going to happen: work on Block 3F is actually quite mature, but as the jets enter OT&E there's going to be a lot of problems discovered. Production of the F-35 is going to continue to grow at a slow rate for several years, until either the Pentagon gets a big budget bump (who knows when?) or the cost of maintaining 4th gen fighters as they go through depot starts to become overwhelming (which is exactly what is happening with the Marine Corps legacy Hornet fleet at this exact moment). The F-35 may never meet 100% of the promised capabilities, but all other options -- for the US and foreign partners -- is to meet only 60% of the desired capabilities by buying more fourth gen fighters.

The idea that drones are going to replace tactical aircraft like the F-35 in the next twenty years is ignorant nonsense. Might as well say that Special Forces are going to start shooting laser beams out of their eyes.
  #5  
Old 09-21-2016, 09:20 AM
coremelt coremelt is offline
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Originally Posted by Ravenman View Post
Since it isn't even worth going point by point to refute the conclusions -- since they are as poorly thought out as someone suggesting that Microsoft has already invented Skynet so humanity is at risk -- let me confine my remarks to just a couple points.

1. There is absolutely no chance that the United States is going to substantially reduce its F-35 buys. The Navy may slow F-35 procurement over the next decade or so, but it has no choice but to keep buying them. F-18s are not a long-term solution, and the F/A-XX (google it, OP) is going to take another 20 years before it arrives on flight decks.

2. Along with 1, Congress has actually been ADDING F-35s to recent budgets, not cutting them. This is the exact friggin' opposite of a death spiral. US quantities are going to continue to grow, but at a much slower pace than what Lockheed would prefer.
You don't address the crucial points I'm making and why it's a death spiral.

1) congress will not yet approve ramping up to full production because the F-35 is massively behind schedule and has delivered poor results.
2) Because of this they are shedding testing staff at exactly the time they need faster testing (this is in the memo, it's a fact). This further delays the schedule
3) The verification simulator is so far behind schedule that it's been taken away from it's contractor and given to a Navy lab, who never planned to make the thing. This further delays the schedule.
4) congress won't approve ramping up production because it's behind schedule and has delivered poor results... repeat... schedule slips again... death spiral. Your claim that congress has to approve ramping up in future regardless of the capabilities demonstrated is nothing but an article of faith.

So i'd like a cite please that work on Block3F is quite mature, that is directly contradicted by the DOT&E memo I linked above.

Last edited by coremelt; 09-21-2016 at 09:22 AM.
  #6  
Old 09-21-2016, 09:45 AM
Ravenman Ravenman is offline
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Originally Posted by coremelt View Post
1) congress will not yet approve ramping up to full production because the F-35 is massively behind schedule and has delivered poor results.
You're missing important facts and context. The only significant importance of a full rate production decision -- which has not been proposed yet -- is to allow for multi-year procurement contracts that generally cut the cost of production items by roughly 10%. That's pretty much it.

You are laboring under the perception that, say, the Air Force would have a significant increase in production rate following a full-rate production decision. YOU ARE WRONG. The Air Force's five year budget has them buying ~45 F-35s a year under a full-rate production decision, which is the rate that they are currently buying them.

I'm very serious about this: I will bet you any amount of money -- five dollars, a hundred dollars, ten thousand dollars -- that Congress will not cut planned F-35 production quantities in the next two years. I will additionally bet you any amount of money at 2:1 odds that Congress ADDS F-35s over the next two years (if they don't, I pay you $1, if they do, you pay me $2, etc).

Want to bet? You name the stakes. Seriously, I'll bet my entire bank account on this.
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2) Because of this they are shedding testing staff at exactly the time they need faster testing (this is in the memo, it's a fact).
It is a fact that test staff are being rolled off, as SDD (also called EMD) is concluding and OTE ramps up. I totally agree this is not wise. But testing should NEVER be accelerated; this is just a stupid idea. Time is more valuable right now than trying to squeeze in more test points on particular flights.
Quote:
4) congress won't approve ramping up production because it's behind schedule and has delivered poor results... repeat... schedule slips again... death spiral. Your claim that congress has to approve ramping up in future regardless of the capabilities demonstrated is nothing but an article of faith.
Once again, name your bet. I'm willing to put tens of thousands of dollars on this, or just a few bucks to prove my point. Put your money where your mouth is.

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So i'd like a cite please that work on Block3F is quite mature, that is directly contradicted by the DOT&E memo I linked above.
The development is mature, the testing is not. "Mission Systems Block 3F software development is 98 percent complete." As I said before, there are going to be problems found in 3F, there is no question at all, especially as OTE ramps up. But the Marine Corps is planning to install 3F on its Bs in the next year, and there will be bugs to be worked out, no question. You just seem to be trying to make a point that 3F is vaporware. That's wrong.
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Old 09-21-2016, 10:05 AM
coremelt coremelt is offline
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The development is mature, the testing is not. "Mission Systems Block 3F software development is 98 percent complete." As I said before, there are going to be problems found in 3F, there is no question at all, especially as OTE ramps up. But the Marine Corps is planning to install 3F on its Bs in the next year, and there will be bugs to be worked out, no question. You just seem to be trying to make a point that 3F is vaporware. That's wrong.
Your source is Lockheed Martin's claims? Seriously? When the project is 10 years behind schedule and massively over budget? The memo I linked from the government's independent assessment office indicates clearly that Lockheed Martin has repeatedly over estimated their current progress, eg they've lied. Why should we believe them this time?

Even if they are not lying about their progress it's meaningless to say only 10,000 lines of code remain to be written, because getting those last 10,000 correct might require rewriting another 3 million and take 5 or 10 years, that's how software works, the last 5% takes more than 70 percent of the time and effort. See page 12 of the linked memo for the current deficiencies in Block3F. And they are still discovering deficiencies in Block 3i, also on page 12.

So yeah, the capabilities of the F-35 right now is the capabilities that Block3i has, incapable of being deployed in combat. The claims of the capabilities that will be delivered for the F-35 are at the moment, just that, claims by a company that has repeatedly overestimated it's capability to deliver.

Now I never said it's impossible for the F-35 to recover from it's current death spiral, that's possible, but the odds are against it and dropping every time the schedule slips again.

Last edited by coremelt; 09-21-2016 at 10:06 AM.
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Old 09-21-2016, 10:09 AM
Ravenman Ravenman is offline
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Not willing to back up your predictions with even a dollar, eh?
  #9  
Old 09-21-2016, 10:33 AM
YamatoTwinkie YamatoTwinkie is offline
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Actual F-35 test pilot response:
https://theaviationist.com/2016/09/2...-doesnt-agree/
  #10  
Old 09-21-2016, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by YamatoTwinkie View Post
Yeah, I was going to link to that. Same guy I think was linked to in the last OMG, FG35 SUXES!! thread. The OP should really click the link to get some perspective. I think the key points are:

Quote:
Where are we with the F-35?

What is then the current state of the F-35? Is it really as bad as the commentaries to the DOT&E report and DOT&E memo might indicate?

Personally, I am impressed by the the F-35. I was relieved to experience just how well the F-35 performs with regard to speed, ceiling, range and maneuverability. It would have been very problematic if the airplane´s performance didn´t hold up in these areas – there´s just no software update which is going to compensate a draggy airframe or a weak engine. (Read more about such a case in the Government Accountability Office, then the General Accounting Office´s report on the Super Hornet).

When asked about my first flight in the F-35, I compared it to flying a Hornet (F/A-18), but with a turbo charged engine. I now can quote a USMC F/A-18 Weapons School Graduate after his first flight in the F-35: «It was like flying a Hornet with four engines!» (His point being that the F-35 can afford to operate at high Angle-of-Attack and low airspeed, but that it will regain the airspeed quickly when needed). Another unintended, but illustrating example on performance came a few weeks back, when a student pilot failed to recognize that he had climbed through our temporary altitude restriction at 40,000´. The F-35 will happily climb past that altitude.

Another critical aspect of the F-35 is its minimal radar signature. Just as with the aerodynamic performance, the «stealthiness» of the F-35 is an inherent quality of the airframe itself. There would be no quick-fix to a disappointing signature. So far, my impression is that the F-35 is very difficult to find. We see this every day when training with the F-35; we detect the F-16s flying in the local airspace at vast ranges, compared to when we detect another F-35.

Sensor stability, and specifically radar stability, has been an issue. I´m not trying to downplay that the radar´s stability needs to improve, but I am not worried. What would have worried me was if the radar had poor detection range, or if the stability issues were caused by «external» factors like limited electrical power supply or limited cooling available. Fortunately, our biggest issues are related to software, and not performance. I think it´s realistic to expect software issues like this to be resolved (just like iOS 9 eventually ended up working well).

Remember that we´re not trying to re-create another «Fourth Gen» fighter in the F-35. If we had set our aim lower, we´d likely have had an easier job of developing the airplane – it would have been easier to build the F-16 again today. But is that what we need? The F-35´s specifications are ambitious, and reflect a machine which will outperform the previous generation of fighters. Having or not having that kind of military advantage eventually becomes a political question. For now, our leaders think we need that military edge.

In this context, I would like to bring up another point. The F-35 is in its infancy as a weapons system. Yet, it is being compared to mature systems like the F-16. The F-16 has been developed and improved for more than 40 years. Correspondingly, certain aspects of the F-16 are more mature than the F-35 at this time. Having said that, I will caution readers against believing that other and «mature» fighters are without their issues. There has been an unprecedented openness about the F-35´s development. The DOT&E report is one example on how media has gained insight into the F-35 Program. I still ask; do those who write critical articles about the program really have a realistic baseline, from which they can reasonably assess the F-35? Next, I´ll give some examples which have influenced at least my own baseline.
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Many will agree that the F-16 has been a successful fighter design. The fact that it has been continuously produced since the 1970s should speak for itself. The fighter has come a long way from where it originally started; as a day-only «dogfighter», equipped with heat-seeking missiles. (How would that mission set compare to a post System Development & Demonstration Block 3F F-35 and its mission sets?) Modifications to the «fully developed» F-16 started right away One early and visible modification was the replacement of the horizontal stabilizers with larger «stabs», in order to reduce the F-16´s susceptibility to go out of control during aggressive maneuvering at high Angles-of-Attack (AOA). Going out of control is a bad thing, and could lead to loss of both the jet and its pilot. Since then, the F-16 has kept evolving through many different programs, aimed at improving both structural life and combat capabilities.Other fighters also bear visible marks of error correction. The Hornet-family provides some good examples of aerodynamic «band aids». An example from the F/A-18 «Baby Hornet» is the vertical «fences» mounted on each side of the machine, just aft of the cockpit. These were eventually added to mitigate stress on the vertical tails, which caused their supporting structure to fail.
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Another example from the Baby Hornet is how the stabs and rudders are driven to full deflection before takeoff. This modification was necessary to enable the Hornet to lift its nose during takeoff roll. The «band aid» added drag during the takeoff roll. Thus, the takeoff roll increased in distance, but no more than what was considered acceptable. The «band aid» was an easy workaround to what could have been a very costly re-design of the airplane – compromises…

The more modern Super Hornet has a porous fairing where the wing-fold mechanism is located. This was fitted in an attempt to alleviate a problem termed «wing drop». The wing drop in the Super Hornet was described as an abrupt and uncommanded roll, which hampered air combat maneuvering. The «band aid» partially fixed the wing drop issue, but at the same time introduced other problems related to reduced range and increased buffet levels. These were still deemed acceptable trade-offs – compromises…

Even today, our modern-day F-16s live with many issues; errors which were discovered in DT, OT or operational use, but which haven´t been corrected. Either because of prohibitive cost, complexity or because no one understands the failure mechanism – what is causing the problem. I´m not just talking about cosmetic or minor issues. One example is that The Norwegian Armed Forces for a period of about 10 years could not operate its F-16s in single ship formations, in bad weather or at night. The restriction was put in place because the Main Mission Computer (MMC) broke down relatively often. The resulting operational limitations hampered both training and operations. It took more than 10 years to diagnose and correct the issue, mainly because the failure mechanism was illusive.
  #11  
Old 09-21-2016, 11:15 AM
coremelt coremelt is offline
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Nice article but it still doesn't address my point. The definition of a death spiral in software is a project that is slipping further and further behind schedule, and blowing out in cost so much that resources begin to be diverted away from it, and necessary testing and full scale deployment is delayed more and more, making the problem worse, repeat.

The F-35 certainly meets that definition, so it is currently in a death spiral. That's just fact.

What it has to do to pull out of the death spiral:

1) get the verification simulator working
2) get sufficient funding to do the testing they need (which they don't currently have, see the memo)
3) demonstrate enough capability that the needed resources are fully allocated to the project.
4) ramp up to full production

(1) will certainly happen at some point, but until it does the F-35 will continue to slip further behind schedule, eg the death spiral will continue.
(2) and (3) may or not ever happen, and if they don't then (4) will never happen.

And answer this very good question, if Lockheed Martin is so certain they can deliver Block3F by 2018 why are they not funding the necessary testing themselves? They have ample cash reserves and resources to do that but they are not? Why?

Last edited by coremelt; 09-21-2016 at 11:16 AM.
  #12  
Old 09-21-2016, 11:22 AM
Ravenman Ravenman is offline
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The F-35 certainly meets that definition, so it is currently in a death spiral. That's just fact.
Again, how much money do you want to put on your prediction here? I've offered you quite generous terms, I think.

There is no death spiral here. Congress is going to keep funding the program, and I'm willing to put up tens of thousands of dollars to back up my prediction. Are you?

Quote:
What it has to do to pull out of the death spiral: . . .
4) ramp up to full production
Dude, for like the third time, the current rate of production is basically the same as what it will be under full rate production in a few years. Lockheed is building roughly 120 jets a year today (including international partners) and under full rate production, they will add maybe 5, 10, at most 15 jets per year.

The only real significance of full rate production is the ability of the U.S. government to sign a multi-year production contract that by law needs to show roughly a 10 percent decrease in unit price. You continue to imply that full rate production will mean a significant increase in production, and that's just not what is going to happen in the near- to medium-term.

Quote:
And answer this very good question, if Lockheed Martin is so certain they can deliver Block3F by 2018 why are they not funding the necessary testing themselves? They have ample cash reserves and resources to do that but they are not? Why?
Because that isn't the deal signed with the government. It's a really lame question. My plumber has "ample cash reserves," but that doesn't mean that they come fix my toilet for free.

ETA: besides, 3F is going to "deliver" in the next year or so, but again -- testing is going to show problems that are going to need correction. Meanwhile, work on Block 4 is ramping up. Are you aware of that?

Last edited by Ravenman; 09-21-2016 at 11:24 AM.
  #13  
Old 09-21-2016, 11:24 AM
Amateur Barbarian Amateur Barbarian is offline
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That the F-35 is unflyable without complex software in control tells me one thing: that any kind of powerful EMP is going to be their Achilles' heel. Yes, yes, super-hardened avionics and fiber connectivity and all that brilliant design.

And one port seal gone bad, one maintenance hatch not properly secured, one stray leakage path from any cause, and an EMP pulse will turn it into a $300M rock.
  #14  
Old 09-21-2016, 11:31 AM
Ravenman Ravenman is offline
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I guess all other aircraft benefit from not having computers in them. Touche.
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Old 09-21-2016, 11:37 AM
Amateur Barbarian Amateur Barbarian is offline
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I guess all other aircraft benefit from not having computers in them. Touche.
Most of them remain flyable when the computers fuck up. It sounds like you can't adjust the seat headrest in a 35 without an onboard supercomputer cranking.

This is, of course, the pattern for all inter-war development: years and decades of increasingly complicated and touchy development that goes south/to shit/to the boneyard the minute things get hot, to be replaced by far more sensibly engineered weapons that actually keep working. The F-35 has managed to surpass the B-1 and the Abrams tank as an example of something that any fool watching the parade can see is going to have about a one-week lifespan in anything but the very controlled wars of the last forty years.
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Old 09-21-2016, 11:40 AM
Ravenman Ravenman is offline
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Most of them remain flyable when the computers fuck up.
Most? So, which US combat aircraft remain operational through an EMP blast?
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Old 09-21-2016, 11:46 AM
Amateur Barbarian Amateur Barbarian is offline
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Most? So, which US combat aircraft remain operational through an EMP blast?
Not the F-35, which is the topic here. It's just another and yet-more-extreme case of "if we engineer and test the mofo'in' shit out of it, it has to work in the rule-free chaotic madness of war."

Should have just called it the Maginot and been done with it.
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Old 09-21-2016, 11:54 AM
Ravenman Ravenman is offline
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Not the F-35, which is the topic here.
I see. And your knowledge of general DoD HEMP protection standards exceeds our esteemed Stranger on a Train in which specific ways?

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...d.php?t=540036

And your thoughts on the plan for the F-35 be a nuclear capable aircraft -- I guess nobody thought about the airplane dropping nuclear bombs when they were designing the electronics?
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Old 09-21-2016, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Amateur Barbarian View Post
Not the F-35, which is the topic here. It's just another and yet-more-extreme case of "if we engineer and test the mofo'in' shit out of it, it has to work in the rule-free chaotic madness of war."

Should have just called it the Maginot and been done with it.
It's relevant whether a vulnerability portrayed as fatal to one a/c applies to other a/c, cannot be dismissed with 'but we're talking about this a/c'. No modern a/c is combat effective with its computers knocked out, and some a/c of the previous generation are also unflyable in that case, for example the most widely used Western fighter of the previous generation, the F-16.

The issues about gaining full software capability (Block 3F and future 4) are more relevant for a targeted discussion of one a/c, though even that discussion has bear some reference to what else one would do, and not hand waving like 'drones'.
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Old 09-21-2016, 12:16 PM
coremelt coremelt is offline
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Originally Posted by Ravenman View Post
Again, how much money do you want to put on your prediction here? I've offered you quite generous terms, I think.

There is no death spiral here. Congress is going to keep funding the program, and I'm willing to put up tens of thousands of dollars to back up my prediction. Are you?
I don't need to put up money to post my opinion on this board, facts speak for themselves. Your plumber analogy is really lame, actually if your plumber messes up and fails to deliver a project on time, then yes they put the necessary hours in for free, or you sue them. Why shouldn't Lockheed Martin take responsibility for their failure to deliver?

There is clearly a death spiral, because the sources I have quoted state quite clearly that there is no verification simulator, that there is no time scale for it's delivery and the lack of that is going to keep delaying delivery further and further. Second, that necessary resources are being cut from the project, quoted on page 12 of the memo.

Do you deny either of these?

If you accept these, then that's the definition of a death spiral, and whatever one test pilot thinks is completely irrelevant, and whatever you think is completely irrelevant. The F-35 is in a software death spiral which it may recover from, but so far it's not meeting the goals it needs to do that.

Last edited by coremelt; 09-21-2016 at 12:20 PM.
  #21  
Old 09-21-2016, 12:27 PM
Ravenman Ravenman is offline
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Your assertion that the F-35 program -- not just the software -- is in a death spiral is belied by any knowledge of the program outside of that one memo you keep referencing.

You know John McCain, the guy who claims the title of DC's top critic of various Pentagon weapons projects? Just about three months ago, he proposed to ADD eleven F-35s to the Pentagon's budget for next year. Do you think Dr. Gilmore knows Congress's intent for funding the F-35 program better than the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee?

The idea that Congress is pulling the plug (either now or in the foreseeable future) on the F-35 is so totally at odds with reality, it's like you're arguing the equivalent of vaccines causing autism, or that Donald Trump is the Green Party nominee for President.

Yes, testing will cost more. Yes, it will take more time. But no, the F-35 program is not in a death spiral of decreasing quantities leading to increased production cost leading to unaffordability and cancellation. You literally could not have any worse grasp of the growing support for the F-35 in the United States. Maybe five or seven years ago there was the possibility that the program would be curtailed. But now? Nuh-uh.
  #22  
Old 09-21-2016, 12:38 PM
Ravenman Ravenman is offline
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Your plumber analogy is really lame, actually if your plumber messes up and fails to deliver a project on time, then yes they put the necessary hours in for free, or you sue them. Why shouldn't Lockheed Martin take responsibility for their failure to deliver?
Because Lockheed Martin and the Government signed a contract that delineated each party's responsibilities. Both LM and the Government are bound by that contract, and there's no more rationality in LM volunteering to take on the Government's responsibilities under that contract than there is any rationality of the Government just cutting a check to LM if they had a bad business year for some reason.

And actually, my plumber analogy is perfect. Have you ever hired a plumber? Serious question. Because if you have, you'd know that the plumber will likely offer you one of two types of contracts depending on what kind of work he's supposed to do.

If it is a simple problem like an easily diagnosed clogged sink, he will say, "I'll unclog your sink for $75." He is then responsible to unclog your sink for that price.

If it is a complex problem, like things start mysteriously appearing in your toilet from god-knows where, he will say, "I'm not sure how much work this will take. So I'm going to charge you $125 per hour to diagnose and fix the problem." It might take 10 minutes or eight hours to diagnose the problem -- nobody knows because we don't know what the problem is yet. It's unreasonable to guarantee that the task will be completed at a certain time (and a certain cost) if nobody knows what the problem is.

So, if you hire a plumber to work at $125 an hour to do a difficult task, do you then get to change your mind and say, "Hey, I've already paid you for one hour -- what the hell! Now you have to fix the problem for free, because I'm tired of paying you." No, you don't.

The Government hired Lockheed to do a complex task with the understanding they would provide their best effort, but best effort doesn't mean guaranteed success on a schedule and cost that the Government would prefer. Just like how people get pissed off at how sometimes plumbers cost way more than they think they should.

Last edited by Ravenman; 09-21-2016 at 12:42 PM.
  #23  
Old 09-21-2016, 12:54 PM
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Ravenman, the fact they are increasing orders very slightly is again irrelevant. It's not enough to prevent the current death spiral which the F-35 is undeniably factually in, they are slipping further and further behind, that's what a death spiral is. And yeah actually here is what McCain thinks of the F-35:
http://www.militarytimes.com/story/m...ndal/83546158/

Oops!

And do you realise, you are basically arguing for corporate socialism? losses are socialised while profits are privatized. Lockheed Martin made $5 billion* a year profit the last three years, despite being 10 years behind schedule and $163 billion dollars over budget on the F-35. I expect that if a business is so far behind schedule and over budget on a project for their biggest client, that yes they should contribute their own resources to make up the gap. As a business owner myself I certainly have to do that, even if the contract doesn't say that, or I have zero hope of ever getting work from that client again.

As a taxpayer why are you not outraged at the cost over-runs? Why are you not demanding that the government should hold those responsible accountable? That's a reasonable request. I'm an Australian taxpayer and my government is supposed to buy 72 F-35's and I am outraged at paying my money to a company that does not deliver on time or for the amounts agreed. I demand better and so should you.

* here's the source on Lockheed Martin's profit's so you know I'm not speaking out of my ass:
http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/new...l-reports.html

Last edited by coremelt; 09-21-2016 at 12:58 PM.
  #24  
Old 09-21-2016, 01:02 PM
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That the F-35 is unflyable without complex software in control tells me one thing: that any kind of powerful EMP is going to be their Achilles' heel. Yes, yes, super-hardened avionics and fiber connectivity and all that brilliant design.

And one port seal gone bad, one maintenance hatch not properly secured, one stray leakage path from any cause, and an EMP pulse will turn it into a $300M rock.
Is there any non-nuclear means of delivering EMP powerful enough to do that?
  #25  
Old 09-21-2016, 01:22 PM
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Ravenman, the fact they are increasing orders very slightly is again irrelevant. It's not enough to prevent the current death spiral which the F-35 is undeniably factually in, they are slipping further and further behind, that's what a death spiral is.
No, a death spiral is not "slipping further behind schedule." A death spiral is commonly understood to be a defense program in which development problems cause cuts to procurement quantities, leading to increased R&D AND procurement costs, forcing further procurement cuts, and eventually program termination. If procurement is increasing, there is no death spiral. It's nonsensical.

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And yeah actually here is what McCain thinks of the F-35:
http://www.militarytimes.com/story/m...ndal/83546158/
Okay, so you quote a news article from April 2016. Here is a speech from John McCain on June 8, 2016:
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Our military confronts an ongoing strike fighter shortfall, which is especially severe in the Navy, and a readiness crisis across aviation in the services. This amendment would begin reversing this dangerous trend by increasing aircraft procurement, including 14 F/A-18 Super Hornets and 11 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.
The fact is that John McCain authored a proposal to add 11 F-35s to the Pentagon's budget. Again, Congress isn't cutting F-35s, they are ADDING them, including the guy who calls the program a "scandal." If even the top critic of the F-35 is in favor of increasing procurement of them, you cannot with a serious face assert that Congress is going to start cutting the program.

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And do you realise, you are basically arguing for corporate socialism? losses are socialised while profits are privatized.
All I'm doing is saying that the Government and Lockheed signed a contract, and it is reasonable to expect both sides to uphold their agreement. I can criticize the F-35 program a lot -- a exceedingly poor premise of having one design for three different aircraft, for example. But nobody held a gun to the Government's head to sign that contract, but since it has, it has the legal responsibility to carry it out.

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As a business owner myself I certainly have to do that, even if the contract doesn't say that, or I have zero hope of ever getting work from that client again.
Maybe you should improve your negotiating skills.

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As a taxpayer why are you not outraged at the cost over-runs? Why are you not demanding that the government should hold those responsible accountable?
I'm not happy about the cost overruns at all, but people who have a loose grasp on this program think it is the worst defense program in history. It isn't. I mean, it's not good, but there are plenty of much worse programs.

The acquisition cost of the F-35 is something like 25% over its original estimate. (Not going to look up the precise number because its not worth the effort for this discussion.) That's not good news. But the SBIRS satellite, which detects if a nuclear missile is launched at the US, is more like 250% over its original cost estimate. The national missile defense system is probably 50% over its cost estimate. The new helicopter for the President was going to cost $12 billion for 23 helicopters before it was thankfully shot in the head in 2011. I'm not happy about it, but a 25% increase in price for the F-35 is not the worst thing that's ever happened to this country.
  #26  
Old 09-21-2016, 01:32 PM
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No dog in this race but regarding the test pilot's review, I can take almost all of his opinions as expert/experienced ones but:
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Fortunately, our biggest issues are related to software, and not performance. I think it´s realistic to expect software issues like this to be resolved (just like iOS 9 eventually ended up working well).
seems kinda amateur.
  #27  
Old 09-21-2016, 01:33 PM
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The acquisition cost of the F-35 is something like 25% over its original estimate. (Not going to look up the precise number because its not worth the effort for this discussion.) That's not good news. But the SBIRS satellite, which detects if a nuclear missile is launched at the US, is more like 250% over its original cost estimate. The national missile defense system is probably 50% over its cost estimate. The new helicopter for the President was going to cost $12 billion for 23 helicopters before it was thankfully shot in the head in 2011. I'm not happy about it, but a 25% increase in price for the F-35 is not the worst thing that's ever happened to this country.
You are being incredibly dishonest and you know it, all those programs might be more than the F-35 as a percentage but as total dollar value they are nowhere near the cost to the taxpayer of the F-35 over runs.

So answer me this, why should the US government and the Australian government not say this to Lockheed Martin: You are not getting one cent more towards the F-35 until you deliver one single fighter than performs according to Block3F agreed standards. Pay for that yourself and if you can't then you get no government contracts ever again. I am arguing in favour of accountability and responsibility, if you don't agree with that then basically you are in favour of cronyism and corporate socialism. Give me results we agreed on or you don't get my business, in any other industry that is normal and expected practise, why should government defense spending be immune to this?

Last edited by coremelt; 09-21-2016 at 01:35 PM.
  #28  
Old 09-21-2016, 01:44 PM
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You are being incredibly dishonest and you know it, all those programs might be more than the F-35 as a percentage but as total dollar value they are nowhere near the cost to the taxpayer of the F-35 over runs.
I think you should apologize for calling me dishonest.

Quote:
So answer me this, why should the US government and the Australian government not say this: You are not getting one cent more towards the F-35 until you deliver one single fighter than performs according to Block3F agreed standards. Pay for that yourself and if you can't then you get no government contracts ever again. I am arguing in favour of accountability and responsibility, if you don't agree with that then basically you are in favour of cronyism and corporate socialism. Give me results we agreed on or you don't get my business, in any other industry that is normal and expected practise, why should government defense spending be immune to this?
I'm not sure how to explain this again: the contract between LM and the Government did not guarantee the delivery of a precise product to a certain spec on a certain schedule at a certain cost. The contract says that the Government would, in essence, pay Lockheed to work on the product. It's like the difference between being paid per piece ("you get $10 for every shirt you sew") as opposed to hourly ("you get $15 per hour for sewing shirts"). If you sign a deal for the latter, you can't arbitrarily demand it to be changed to the former at no cost.

As far as your suggestion that the U.S. and Australian governments stop awarding contracts to Lockheed until they perform free work in violation of the contract that the U.S. government signed, its a stupid threat that nobody would ever take seriously. The equivalent of a toddler's tantrum.

Do you really believe that the US government would cancel all contracts for UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, Aegis radars for Navy destroyers, C-130 cargo planes, Trident nuclear missiles, F-16 and F-22 maintenance, Hellfire missiles, GPS satellites, and on and on with the expectation that Lockheed will somehow miraculously fix the F-35 on their own nickel?

Sir, I'd like to have some of whatever you are smoking. It must be reallllly good stuff.
  #29  
Old 09-21-2016, 01:50 PM
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I think you should apologize for calling me dishonest.

As far as your suggestion that the U.S. and Australian governments stop awarding contracts to Lockheed until they perform free work in violation of the contract that the U.S. government signed, its a stupid threat that nobody would ever take seriously. The equivalent of a toddler's tantrum.
Nope, that is not what I said, I said no more dollars towards the F-35 specifically until they deliver an F-35 Block3F functioning sample, and that is already 10 years behind schedule and $163 billion dollars over budget. They can continue other contracts in the meantime. However if they can't deliver a Block3F functioning sample at all with what they've already been paid, thats an absolute failure on their part, and they should pay a very significant price for that. The US government as their biggest client has all the power in this negotiation, why shouldn't the US government use that power to get a better deal? Again I am asking for accountability and transparency. Saying I'm throwing a toddler's tantrum only makes you look stupid.

Last edited by coremelt; 09-21-2016 at 01:54 PM.
  #30  
Old 09-21-2016, 01:56 PM
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Sorry, I misread. That was a mistake on my part.

Okay, so the Government would be terminating the F-35 program if it said "no more money until you fix things on your own dime." The government would be defaulting on its obligations on the contract, and would likely end up owing Lockheed money under termination for convenience of the government. Is that what you want -- for the F-35 program to stop in its tracks and for Lockheed to be owed probably hundreds of millions in termination costs, that any court in this country would surely enforce?

I would still like to see an apology for calling me dishonest.

ETA: by the way, the Pentagon has routinely been negotiating better and better prices on production of the jets. Each year, costs are dropping about 3% on new orders, which you may not be aware of.

Last edited by Ravenman; 09-21-2016 at 01:58 PM.
  #31  
Old 09-21-2016, 02:03 PM
Amateur Barbarian Amateur Barbarian is offline
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Is there any non-nuclear means of delivering EMP powerful enough to do that?
Not that I can think of, but it's a little to the side of my point. We have a history of building "super duper mo' bettah" war systems in peacetime that don't survive the first weeks of conflict. Yeah, we can B-1 the F-35 and only send it into totally controlled situations where we have air superiority and even ground control... but then it might as well be a Beech Twin with two riflemen in it. (Of which we could send around 3-500 for every F-35.) What we have is an SDMB - and that acronym is TOTALLY random, really! - that is too expensive, too fragile, too maintenance-intensive and thus too limited for anything but this very cocooned use... or to throw at enemy forces in desperation, probably with nukes somewhere around.

We never learn until the reality of war scorches our eyebrows, again. The F-35 is a Yuppiemobile for a military far too assured it will never be in anything but a totally dominant, controlling position.

Last edited by Amateur Barbarian; 09-21-2016 at 02:04 PM.
  #32  
Old 09-21-2016, 02:05 PM
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Sorry, I misread. That was a mistake on my part.

Okay, so the Government would be terminating the F-35 program if it said "no more money until you fix things on your own dime." The government would be defaulting on its obligations on the contract, and would likely end up owing Lockheed money under termination for convenience of the government. Is that what you want -- for the F-35 program to stop in its tracks and for Lockheed to be owed probably hundreds of millions in termination costs, that any court in this country would surely enforce?
.
Paying hundreds of millions in termination costs would still be better than paying billions more and not getting what was agreed on. And again it's dishonest of you to claim that the government just asked for Lockheed Martin to work on the F-35 with no guarantees of performance. You know perfectly well that Lockheed Martin got the contract for the F-35 only after a comprehensive bidding process where they made an implicit promise of what would be delivered.

Lockheed Martin needs to put up or shutup, deliver the F35 Block3F by 2018 or pay a very significant price, the US government in the meantime should be giving smaller contracts to other players in the defense market to encourage competition.

Last edited by coremelt; 09-21-2016 at 02:05 PM.
  #33  
Old 09-21-2016, 02:08 PM
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Not that I can think of, but it's a little to the side of my point. We have a history of building "super duper mo' bettah" war systems in peacetime that don't survive the first weeks of conflict.
Such as what?

The aircraft carriers, F-15s, Abrams, AH-64s, B-52s, F-14s, F-16s, F-18s, B-2s, E-3s, JSTARS, etc. "survived the first weeks of conflict", no?
  #34  
Old 09-21-2016, 02:17 PM
Amateur Barbarian Amateur Barbarian is offline
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Such as what?

The aircraft carriers, F-15s, Abrams, AH-64s, B-52s, F-14s, F-16s, F-18s, B-2s, E-3s, JSTARS, etc. "survived the first weeks of conflict", no?
I'm talking about a real war, not a regional conflict where we can stand off and throw high-tech rocks all day, and weep over combat losses a fraction of a percent of the enemy's. But of course that will never happen again.

Last edited by Amateur Barbarian; 09-21-2016 at 02:18 PM.
  #35  
Old 09-21-2016, 02:19 PM
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Paying hundreds of millions in termination costs would still be better than paying billions more and not getting what was agreed on.
Okay, let's put some meat on your argument.

So we have three scenarios:

1. Lockheed caves to your threat of F-35 termination, pays for everything the Government wants. I maintain that this is redonkulous, because Lockheed would almost certainly go with scenario #2.

2. Lockheed refuses to cave. The Government has sunk $120 billion into the program already, and will have roughly 350 jets that are more or less broken to some degree or another. The F-35 program is over.

3. Or, we can not make an silly threat and manage through this, have the Government drive hard bargains, and for about $210 billion more -- eh, lets say theres another $5 billion in additional R&D costs, so for $215 billion more, the Government gets an additional 1,900 jets that will work better than the 350 that we have on order.

I maintain that #3 is the only realistic scenario. I'd rather spend $330 billion and have 2,400 working jets over the next 50 years, than spend $120 billion on 350 broken jets today.

Last edited by Ravenman; 09-21-2016 at 02:21 PM.
  #36  
Old 09-21-2016, 02:23 PM
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But of course that will never happen again.
Um, yes it's all too possible that will happen again, but it will go nuclear within two or three weeks of initiation, and well it won't be the end of human society, but it will certainly put an end to civilization as we know it.

This is another very good argument against the need for the F-35. Using a $100 million dollar planes to bomb insurgents in a Toyota technical is beyond absurd. And if we're fighting Russia or China, it will go nuclear, very quickly. So we don't need the F-35 for the wars we are fighting, and it can never win in the wars they are trying to protect against, so tell me exactly why the US needs thousand of F-35s? What role will they play in actual usage that can't be performed more cheaply by current 4G fighters?

Edit: Ravenman your argument is ridiculous. Lockheed cannot win in an argument with their biggest client. I am saying deliver the F-35 block 3F with what you've been paid or you get no new contracts from the government (finish the current ones). Simply put they have to agree to that, who else are they going to turn to? Due to national security laws they can't just turn around and say "ok we'll sell our best jets to Russia instead?". Yes scenario 1 is absolutely what would happen.

Last edited by coremelt; 09-21-2016 at 02:27 PM.
  #37  
Old 09-21-2016, 02:33 PM
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Edit: Ravenman your argument is ridiculous. Lockheed cannot win in an argument with their biggest client. I am saying deliver the F-35 block 3F with what you've been paid or you get no new contracts from the government (finish the current ones). Simply put they have to agree to that, who else are they going to turn to? Due to national security laws they can't just turn around and say "ok we'll sell our best jets to Russia instead?". Yes scenario 1 is absolutely what would happen.
You're probably the only person I've ever spoken to who thinks that the F-35 is a bigger deal to Lockheed than it is to the armed forces.

If this is a game of chicken on who is going to blink before the F-35 would be cancelled in your preposterous ultimatum, it is a rock-solid guaranteed lock that the Government would blink first.

You can blame whomever you wish: the military-industrial complex, spineless politicians, greedy generals, me, the writings of Noam Chomsky, or anyone or any thing. You know damn well that the US Government would never carry out a threat to terminate the F-35 program over software delays. Get real.
  #38  
Old 09-21-2016, 02:38 PM
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if we're fighting Russia or China, it will go nuclear, very quickly. So we don't need the F-35 for the wars we are fighting, and it can never win in the wars they are trying to protect against
This false dichotomy is based off the blithe assumption that countries with nukes are happy to use them in war, and boxes you into an undesirable situation.

It's like saying, "I don't need a fire extinguisher in my home because if the fire is small, I can smother it with a towel, and if it's big, it'll kill me anyway, so why bother?"

Russia and China have no more desire for things to go nuclear, than America.
  #39  
Old 09-21-2016, 02:41 PM
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You're probably the only person I've ever spoken to who thinks that the F-35 is a bigger deal to Lockheed than it is to the armed forces.
it's a 1.5 trillion dollar deal so yes I think it is a very big deal to Lockheed, again all their other big contracts are also to the US government, so the US government has all the power here, that is undeniable. There is many many shades of grey between outright cancellation and the current situation.

And nope you have no evidence at all that the government would cave first, they should buy samples from other 4.5G foreign made fighters, put them in a test squadron and then renegotiate everything with Lockheed Martin. Simply put if you don't think this is a good idea, given the current track record, you have to be either a Lockheed Martin shareholder or employee (maybe indirectly, they have many layers of contractors). Why else would you argue so vehemently in favour of a company that is 10 years behind schedule and and $183 billion over budget?

Last edited by coremelt; 09-21-2016 at 02:43 PM.
  #40  
Old 09-21-2016, 02:56 PM
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Sorry to have to revisit basic facts here, but it isn't a $1.5 trillion contract for Lockheed. That $1.5 trillion includes operations costs such as fuel and the maintenance performed by Air Force, Navy, and Marine personnel. The more accurate figure for Lockheed's true interest is the roughly $320 billion acquisition cost, of which we've already spend a third.

I'm done with this silliness that the US could legitimately threaten to buy a Grippen or something. I understand your frustration, but this is just fantasyland thinking. You seriously think that President Obama, President Clinton, or President Trump would in all seriousness propose to Congress that tens of thousands of American jobs related to the F-35 ought to be eliminated due to software bugs, and that instead the world's most capable Air Force buy Swedish fighters? Come on.

And I'm not a Lockheed Martin investor or employee. I simply have knowledge of this issue, and I'm tired of explaining the ABCs of what contracts are or how the US Government doesn't want to buy major defense articles from European countries.
  #41  
Old 09-21-2016, 03:09 PM
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they should buy samples from other 4.5G foreign made fighters, put them in a test squadron and then renegotiate everything with Lockheed Martin.
The US DoD would sooner buy all Super Hornets or Silent Eagles or revive F-22s than buy foreign.
  #42  
Old 09-21-2016, 03:14 PM
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Sorry to have to revisit basic facts here, but it isn't a $1.5 trillion contract for Lockheed. That $1.5 trillion includes operations costs such as fuel and the maintenance performed by Air Force, Navy, and Marine personnel. The more accurate figure for Lockheed's true interest is the roughly $320 billion acquisition cost, of which we've already spend a third.

I'm done with this silliness that the US could legitimately threaten to buy a Grippen or something. I understand your frustration, but this is just fantasyland thinking. You seriously think that President Obama, President Clinton, or President Trump would in all seriousness propose to Congress that tens of thousands of American jobs related to the F-35 ought to be eliminated due to software bugs, and that instead the world's most capable Air Force buy Swedish fighters? Come on.

And I'm not a Lockheed Martin investor or employee. I simply have knowledge of this issue, and I'm tired of explaining the ABCs of what contracts are or how the US Government doesn't want to buy major defense articles from European countries.
Ironically, even Norway and Denmark (though not Sweden ) are level 3 partners in the F-35 project and are planning to buy a number of the planes in a few years...
  #43  
Old 09-21-2016, 03:14 PM
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I'm done with this silliness that the US could legitimately threaten to buy a Grippen or something. I understand your frustration, but this is just fantasyland thinking.
The US actually already does buy non US fighters as adversary trainers, I only said get a test squadron then re-negotiate.. Again your entire argument boils down to corporate socialism and "too big to fail". I am essentially saying the US government (and the Australian government) as the biggest clients should hold Lockheed Martins feet to the fire and get a better deal. Do you agree with that or not?

Last edited by coremelt; 09-21-2016 at 03:17 PM.
  #44  
Old 09-21-2016, 03:18 PM
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The US actually already does buy non US fighters as adversary trainers. Again your entire argument boils down to corporate socialism and "too big to fail". I am basically saying the US government (and the Australian government) as the biggest clients should hold Lockheed Martins feet to the fire and get a better deal. Do you agree with that or not?
The UK is the other big player...Australia is a level 3 partner, while the UK is level 1.

Of course the US/UK and everyone else who has ponied up money for the plane should hold their feet to the fire to get what was promised. I think that's happening already. But the disconnect with you and your article is that this is a cutting edge (hell, bleeding edge) fighter with an extremely ambitious list of new generation capabilities, and so there are bound to be a lot of initial problems. As that article linked to earlier said, many if not most of those problems are in the software, not the underlying hardware or aerodynamic, which would be far more worrying. Software can and is being updated and refined.
  #45  
Old 09-21-2016, 03:32 PM
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I only said get a test squadron then re-negotiate..
What do you expect Lockheed to do? Worry that the US is going to end up getting a contract for Eurofighters, which are both far less capable as the F-35, *and* more expensive? What plane do you think Lockheed would honestly be worried about winning a fly-off against?
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Old 09-21-2016, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by XT View Post
Software can and is being updated and refined.
Nope sorry you fail. This is the point I made in my initial post. Sensor fusion of the level that the F-35 needs simply might not be possible on the current specced embedded computer CPU's. It might need entirely new embedded hardware to achieve what was promised in Block 3F, which means more weight, more space, more heat, more power, none of which the F-35 has to spare. This is the only plausible explanation I can think of for the ridiculously long delays on software block promised abilities.

Again as a capitalist (which I am) there is nothing wrong with saying "deliver block 3F without any further money towards the F35, we have already paid you far more than we agreed", otherwise, finish all the current contracts but no new contracts until Lockheed Martin delivers on the F-35, that is just good business practise and government accountability. And to YamatoTwinkie, yes I expect Lockheed Martin to deliver, otherwise they don't get any new government contracts, there are other US companies that can make 5G fighters, Boeing was pretty keen, why aren't we getting them to compete with each other to get a better deal?. Eg the government should pay for and then own the intellectual property and they then get multiple manufacturers to compete on actual production and delivery. That would be a sane way to do procurement.

Last edited by coremelt; 09-21-2016 at 03:39 PM.
  #47  
Old 09-21-2016, 03:49 PM
Ravenman Ravenman is offline
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Originally Posted by coremelt View Post
... there are other US companies that can make 5G fighters....
You are aware that it has taken 20 years to design, compete, and start building the US's second 5th gen fighter? And that investment has already started on 6th gen fighters? And you're suggesting that we're just going to go off and start a clean-sheet 5th gen fighter program because the software on this one is troublesome?

Good lord, dude. I don't know what line of business you're in, but I would certainly be circumspect enough to learn more about your industry before I go off an pronounce that you're doing everything wrong.

One point you may want to pause and consider is that Dr. Gilmore's memo includes a half dozen recommendations on how to address the software deficiencies. I think all of those recommendations are quite reasonable, and none of them involve ultimatums of shutting down the F-35 program unless some threat is met. Gilmore's recommendations essentially boil down to, "the government is going to end up paying more money to complete development and testing on these various things, so let's get a move on and not screw this up any more."

So, I'm basically in agreement with Dr. Gilmore, and you aren't. Chew on that.
  #48  
Old 09-21-2016, 03:52 PM
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XT XT is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coremelt
Nope sorry you fail.
Yeah, me and the guy who has actually flown the plane and has been working in the program directly for several years.

Quote:
Sensor fusion of the level that the F-35 needs simply might not be possible on the current specced embedded computer CPU's. It might need entirely new embedded hardware to achieve what was promised in Block 3F, which means more weight, more space, more heat, more power, none of which the F-35 has to spare. This is the only plausible explanation I can think of for the ridiculously long delays on software block promised abilities.
Pure speculation on your part. Personally, having actually worked in software development, I can see reasons why they aren't there yet that don't warrant throwing the jet fighter out with the bath water.

Quote:
Again as a capitalist (which I am) there is nothing wrong with saying "deliver block 3F without any further money towards the F35, we have already paid you far more than we agreed", otherwise, finish all the current contracts but no new contracts until Lockheed Martin delivers on the F-35, that is just good business practise and government accountability.
You might be a 'capitalist', but you haven't worked much with government contracting...it simply doesn't work that way. And this particular contract, because it's so cutting edge, has a lot of clauses in it for just these sorts of contingencies. You can believe what you like, but the government doesn't just pay for non-compliance, regardless of the circumstances. If they seemingly are, then I'd suggest checking your premise and reading the contract, perhaps with the COTR's and contracting agencies, because there is definitely a disconnect between what you believe and the reality.

Quote:
And to YamatoTwinkie, yes I expect Lockheed Martin to deliver, otherwise they don't get any new government contracts, there are other US companies that can make 5G fighters, Boeing was pretty keen, why aren't we getting them to compete with each other to get a better deal?
Again...check your premise. It's flawed.
  #49  
Old 09-21-2016, 04:03 PM
Velocity Velocity is online now
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Suppose the F-35 just simply goes ahead with less-than-the-best software. Isn't this like iPhone 6 vs. iPhone 7?
  #50  
Old 09-21-2016, 04:12 PM
coremelt coremelt is offline
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Originally Posted by XT View Post

Again...check your premise. It's flawed.
No my premise is not flawed, the entire US defense procurement system needs a top to bottom overhaul, and one possible solution to that is that the US government pays for research but then owns the IP and then gets manufacturers to compete. McCain's article above says that the system is broken and need an overhaul.

Again, why is it wrong to simply state that Lockheed Martin should pay a price for their failure to deliver? They should pay a price in both stock value and yearly profits. In any other industry this would be the case, why should the defense industry be immune to actual performance benchmarks? No one can honestly state that the F-35 has met the performance benchmarks on time that were implied in Lockheed Martins bid for the F-35. So you don't deliver you don't get paid, or you continue work on your own cost until you do deliver. That's business.

Last edited by coremelt; 09-21-2016 at 04:14 PM.
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