• Thanks for stopping by. Logging in to a registered account will remove all generic ads. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)

I am going to add my piece of what I think would be the common sense thing to do, and it requires no knowledege of the airplanes or even the military to a great degree. Since the JSF isnt really out yet, the Eurofighter is only been delievered to one nation, the Su-34 has been delieved in the number of 8 airframes, and the Su-35/37 and the new PAK and Su-47 not even past prototype, The Rafale just being delivered to French Air Force and the Grippen not having done much, and the CF-18 in service til prolly 2017, it might be prudent to wait and see how all these new and amazing aircraft perform in the real world, and then make a decision. Just like Im not sure if in 2017 I will buy AMD Intel or a Mac.
haha..so i guess we can carry out this conversation 11 years from now.
Reopening for discussion:

Article from DID on the Norwegian kerfuffle over JSF/F35  http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/2006/05/norways-future-fighter-competition-a-norwegian-view/index.php#more

Norwegians now looking at F35/Gripen/Typhoon/Rafale - Pricing cited as primary reason but other political and commercial considerations as well.

Lockheed Martin has come forward with a new "guaranteed" price lower than Typhoon

48 x F35 for 3.26 BUSD or 68 MUSD per copy.  Considerably cheaper than some recent estimates.  Especially vice the 200 MUSD ??IIRC?? tag  suggested for an F22.
An update on JSF progress this year:
I think this is the major kicker here:
March 23/06: British JSF Prospects Looking Up. Good news: technology transfer issues may be solvable. Bad news: JSF's stealth profile will be worse in order to contain costs. This article also contains a complete set of links to DID stories covering the friction between the JSF program's two Tier 1 partners.
Defense news
USAF: JSF Price Swells to $82M Per Plane
DoD Notifies Congress of Higher Cost

The cost of the U.S. F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program has risen to $82.1 million, enough to require the Pentagon to notify Congress, which it has done, according to Air Force officials.
Surging material costs, especially for aluminum and titanium; the addition of another wing production line in Italy; and program restructuring are to blame, according to Air Force sources.
The price tag for a single JSF has risen by 33 percent since 2001, when the average plane cost $61.8 million, the sources said.
Spokesmen for the JSF program and builder Lockheed Martin did not return phone calls seeking comment.
The JSF is among dozens of Air Force programs whose costs are outpacing their budgets enough to require a congressional report under the Nunn-McCurdy law. Changes to the law in the 2006 National Defense Authorization Act have made it more common for programs to be in violation. Before 2006, the services had to notify Congress if they saw an increase of 15 percent from year to year.
If the cost grew by 25 percent, the services had to report the breach and justify the program based on national security needs. With the 2006 authorization bill changes, Congress must be notified of programs that see a 30 percent cost growth over their original baseline budget.
Prime contractor Lockheed Martin’s “teaming restructure” with the company’s subcontractors will cost about $1 billion, sources said.
The Air Force is facing $6.1 billion in shortfalls for growing requirements and aircraft upgrades as officials begin preliminary work on the 2008 budget submission. One large portion of that is spare parts, which the Air Force “didn’t take into account” when it budgeted for the program, an Air Force source said.
In January, JSF program officials disclosed the total overrun is estimated to be about $19 billion, the sources said. The Air Force portion of that is about $9.3 billion, they said.
Another Air Force source called the service’s current funding for the JSF program “insufficient to meet all requirements.”
Air Force plans call for buying 1,763 F-35s, but service officials acknowledged they might not be able to afford that many. To make up for the cost overruns, the Air Force is studying how many aircraft it should give up.
One option includes cutting 55 aircraft from the Air Force’s proposed buy. Another option could be to acquire 82 fewer aircraft. A third option would have the Air Force buy 89 fewer aircraft.
Sources cautioned, however, no decisions have been made.
This is not the first time the $250 billion program has run into cost problems. In 2004, program officials acknowledged the aircraft was about 1,000 pounds overweight. That added about a year to the developmental testing, which in turn boosted the cost of the program by about $5 billion.
The folowing websites are interesting read on Joint Strike Fighter in Australia ,the first site is short but the second is 67 pages long from the Australian senate committee.

1)joint strike fighter  progress and issues for Australia:

2)Australia defence force regional air superiority.
quote by Air Marshall Sheppard on page 45 :“the F-35 ....when integrated into the newtwork force of  AWEC(airborne early warning control).... is as much as a sensor as it it as a shooter....”

There has been alot of talk around the bush recently of speculation that the JSF and F-22 may in fact end up costing roughly the same 10 years from now.  Can anyone shed any light on this, I am by means a expert. 
More issues with JSF:

AUSTRALIA'S biggest-ever defence project, the $16 billion Joint Strike Fighter, has potential flaws that could reduce the world's newest warplane to just an "average aircraft", according to internal Defence Department documents.

The documents reveal the JSF is beset with serious software problems and a cockpit display system so bad it had to be almost completely redesigned.

Opposition defence spokesman Robert McClelland warned yesterday that the JSF's problems, and possible delays in its delivery, could leave Australia with a dangerous gap in air capability.

"Billion-dollar bungles like the Government's mismanagement of the Super Seasprite helicopter project could really pale in comparison to this unprecedented $16 billion project -- big enough to account for almost the entire annual Defence budget," Mr McClelland said.

"If Labor win Government we will closely examine the option of acquiring F-22 Raptors, at least in the initial procurement phase, to ensure Australia does not forfeit regional air superiority between retirement of the F-111s in 2012 and delivery of replacement JSFs in 2015 at the earliest and more likely 2017."

Looks like we have a potential F-22 Raptor customer instead...
Joint Strike Fighter Is Not ‘Flawed’
(Source: Australian Department of Defence; issued June 24, 2006)
Defence strongly disagrees with media reporting today that the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program is ‘flawed’ and should be abandoned. This reporting, following on from a newspaper article today, misrepresents the true status of the JSF program. 

The original media report draws on excerpts from two risk assessments in 2005 by Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO), which identified possible risks with aspects of the JSF program at that time.   
Contrary to media reporting that the DSTO assessments showed the JSF program to be flawed, these assessments are a good example of best practice project management to identify risk and to take early steps to reduce or eliminate it. 

In relation to the JSF cockpit display, an alternative technology has been identified as having reached a stage of maturity where it can now be incorporated – resulting in only one element of the display system needing change. This means that the cockpit display issue identified by DSTO in 2005 has been overcome and is no longer of concern. 

In terms of the risk report relating to computing and software, there is no doubt the JSF will be heavily reliant on massive computing power and a lot of software – which is exactly why the JSF will be more capable than any other fighter aircraft. 

As a result of DSTO’s risk assessments in 2005, the following actions have been taken: 

-- A DSTO specialist has been posted to the US for fulltime monitoring of JSF computing and software development; 

-- Lockheed Martin is providing excellent support with information on computing and software development; and 

-- DSTO is acquiring specialised computer hardware in order for Australia to undertake our own further assessments of performance in the JSF program. 

Lockheed Martin itself has risk mitigation strategies in place to provide additional computing capacity if required. 

One of the key benefits Australia derives from being a partner in the JSF project is obtaining detailed inside knowledge on the development of the aircraft and the consequent ability to assess any potential issues first hand. 

This enables Defence to accurately understand the maturity of the JSF’s development and its potential as a highly capable military platform. 

Defence has full confidence that the stealthy, fifth-generation, multi-role JSF will mature on time to provide Australia’s future air combat capability in the most effective way. 

By the time the Australian Government decides whether to acquire the JSF, this aircraft will have been subject to more detailed technical analysis than any other Defence project in Australia’s history. This ongoing detailed technical analysis is appropriate to the importance and level of investment in the project. 


From todays Army Times Early Bird, I thought that this would be of interest:

'Lightning' To Strike Again With The JSF
Air Force General Picks Jet's Nickname Based On 'Heritage And History'
(Dallas Morning News, July 7, 2006)
Lightning II will be the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter's official nickname-a decision the Air Force chief of staff will announce today at Lockheed Martin's plant in Fort Worth, Tex. Gen. T. Michael "Buzz" Moseley chose Lightning II for the new multiservice stealth fighter because of the name's "heritage and history," said a Pentagon official. The original Lockheed P-38 Lightning was one of the most famous fighter planes of World War II.
Armymatters said:
More issues with JSF:

Looks like we have a potential F-22 Raptor customer instead...

Not going to happen.

I could take this thread way off course, but in short...

Australian Labor Party = bunch of know-nothing Defence-hating duds
By a certain journalist:

Canada to spend more money on U.S.-led military plans [sic]: Stealthy aircraft

Canada is expected to spend more money on a U.S.-led program to build a multi-billion-dollar stealthy aircraft even as some defence analysts are questioning the usefulness of such planes for missions in failed states such as Afghanistan.

Negotiations between the U.S. and Canadian governments for more Canadian participation in the Joint Strike Fighter program are continuing with an agreement expected to be signed sometime in December, according to military and aerospace officials.

Representatives with the plane's manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, were in Ottawa yesterday to meet with industry and government officials concerning Canadian participation of the program...

Canada has not officially committed to purchasing the futuristic plane [note: the experimental version first flew in 2000] but Defence Department planners are setting the stage for that [those sneaky and profligate devils!].

Military officials expect the Joint Strike Fighter to be purchased sometime around 2017 when the current fleet of CF-18 fighter aircraft are retired. Documents obtained by the Ottawa Citizen estimate the cost to replace the CF-18s would be $10.5-billion.

But some defence analysts have questioned the worth of high-tech aircraft in the war on terror. They note planes that can fly slower and spend more time over the battlefield are of more value in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. Such propeller-driven planes are also inexpensive to buy and operate, with some types costing around $15-million each...

But some defence analysts have questioned the worth of high-tech aircraft in the war on terror. They note planes that can fly slower and spend more time over the battlefield are of more value in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. Such propeller-driven planes are also inexpensive to buy and operate, with some types costing around $15-million each...

This is what the Ottawa Citizen's headline writers came up with (full text subscribers only):

Critics doubt value of high-tech jets
More spending expected despite analysts' criticism of proposed fighters

See this post at The Torch:

Article attacks possible Canadian F-35 purchase


AThe full-length article as it appeared in yesterday's National Post is available via the Canadian Forces College's "Spotlight on Military News and International Affairs" page at http://www.cfc.forces.gc.ca/spotlight/2006/09/26/spotnews_e.html

The last part of the article states that:

"A recent report by the Rand Corp., a U.S. defence think-tank, questioned the Pentagon's use of high-tech fighter jets for counter-insurgency wars, such as in Iraq and Afghanistan. It recommended keeping such planes for future conflicts with other nations.

"However, the report also recommended ensuring a fleet of less-expensive aircraft is available for the counter-insurgency wars, which will be a fixture on the world stage for quite some time.

"Some in the Canadian Forces have also been advocating the purchase of less-expensive, armed aerial drones instead of a plane like the Joint Strike Fighter.

"But Mr. Burbage said the Joint Strike Fighter will save money in the long run by allowing nations to fly essentially the same plane, sharing expenses on maintenance and operations. Nine nations are currently involved in the aircraft program.

"Mr. Burbage also noted that it is too difficult to predict what future conflicts will look like.

" 'The view that today's threat doesn't operate front-line airplanes is a pretty myopic view,' he said.

"The first Joint Strike Fighter is expected to start flying in tests sometime by the end of the year. Once accepted into military service it will operate until 2040 or 2050."

The other side of the argument was given there. I do not know if that part appeared in the Ottawa Citizen. I've no idea who "Some in the Canadian Forces" are.

Too bad that the article didn't mention the huge returns Canadian companies and Canada (all ready recieving more than 1.5B$ according to LM) will recieve over the life of the program for what amounts to a very small investment...

"But some defence analysts have questioned the worth of high-tech aircraft in the war on terror. They note planes that can fly slower and spend more time over the battlefield are of more value in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. Such propeller-driven planes are also inexpensive to buy and operate, with some types costing around $15-million each..."

Doesn't make sense, ... Who knows we are going to be in Afghanistan in 2017? And I think no plane is really useful in these places, they hide in huge caves or hide in civilian settlements. So you ll probably need a really low flying slow plane. Look what happened in Lebanon , they precision bombed !!! the whole city of Beirut and got a huge backlash from the international community. I believe Canada should be in JSF for couple of reasons if LM promises more projects for us and more open share of technology. I don t know if we'll still be at war in Afghanistan but definitely we'll be active in NORAD and future NATO missions too . So I support the JSF for now.

Propeller driven slow planes?? I think we can spend even less than 15m$ , how about bi-planes? slow, inexpensive and we can spend all day buzzing over the battlefield :)


Nick Packwood at Ghost of a Flea (http://www.ghostofaflea.com/archives/008653.html) put it well the other day, albeit wrt U.S. DDX destroyers, but the principle applies to any high-tech, leading-edge weapons system:

There are some who wonder if multi-billion dollar big-ship, big-gun defense acquisitions are a sensible investment in an era of asymmetric warfare. These same folks rarely pause to wonder just why our enemies have had to resort to asymmetric warfare in the first place. By all means, let us continue to limit their options. After all, you do not cancel your fire insurance because your basement has flooded.

I'm with Nick: the minute the West stops investing in a dominating weapons arsenal is the minute the asymmetric gnat-biting stops and we get our asses handed to us in a conventional war.
According to Lockheed Martin's PR firm, Canada has signed a Memorandum of Understanding to participate in the next phase of F-35 development.

Details here: http://toyoufromfailinghands.blogspot.com/2006/12/mou-for-f-35-jsf.html

The quoted text is copied directly from their press release, btw.


"CF-18 replacement possibilities

Not just the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter..." (post includes link to photos of F-35 first flight)