F-35 - The Special Relationship.

America will look after American interests first and foremost ... is that a surprise?

The sadness is that the UK is now on a VERY expensive hook to buy F-35 - possibly through some back-door private 'discussion' between The Bliar and The Bush.

The technical bits I will leave to those who know these things, and have posted a lot of informative stuff on ARRSE in the recent past.
There's nothing remotely special about being a total subordinate-we are merely tolerated by the US whilst we are of use to them;once that ends then....who knows? :?:
Hello GLOCK26,

I think you may have a few of these issues a little mixed up.

GLOCK26 said:
Over the summer break, Secretary Gates was again interfering via the Department of Homeland Defence to ensure that further funding on the GE/Rolls Royce engine in development for F-35B is stopped.
If you meant the Department of Homeland Security,they don't have anything to do with the F35,did you mean the Department of Defence?

GLOCK26 said:
This would gift Pratt & Whitney and shaft Rolls Royce (who wrote the book on Lift Engine technology)
There was an article by a very confused journalist which got a lot of attention some weeks ago and seems to have created a lot of confusion on this subject:


Rolls Royce will design and manufacture the lift fan for all F35Bs.
No other manufacturer will be making lift fans for F35 aircraft.
Pratt and Whitney will design and build the "standard" engine for all F35A,F35B and F35Cs.
General Electric and Rolls Royce are designing and manufactureing the "alternate" engine for F35A,F35B and F35Cs,this is the engine which Gates wants to cancel.
Many other American politicians want to keep the "alternate engine" funding not least because of problems with the Pratt and Whitney engine,this is an ongoing saga in the states.

GLOCK26 said:
Now the latest news is the USMC has suffered heat damaged flight decks from the MV-22.

The implications for them (and CVF) are to design a Refrigerated Flight Deck System.
The United Kingdom is not buying the V22 Osprey (hopefully) and doesn't operate American amphibious ships so what has this got to do with the Queen Elizabeth class?

The Official story can be seen here:


GLOCK26 said:
This issue will only affect F-35 operators who equip with the S/TOVL variant.
How would an issue with the V22 Osprey affect F35 operators?
If there is a lot of deck heat buildup from the F35,whether that is a problem or not may depend on the structure of the deck.
The Queen Elizabeth class is being designed from the start to operate the F35 so this should have been taken in to account.

GLOCK26 said:
When can we expect questions in the House to flag a possible switch to the F-35C Carrier variant, which has advantages of a 30% increase in fuel uplift, 30% increased wing area, and is less expensive than the version currently in the procurement pipeline.
I certainly hope we do change to the F35C for those and a host of other reasons.

GLOCK26 said:
Returning to Secretary Gates and the inevitable ‘GAO Report.’ How can this be a good basis for huge sums of British taxpayers money to be allocated when the project is compromised by partisan politics on Capitol Hill, technology transfer is restricted, and when in future we require F-35 product support/ parts, will have to throw ourselves on the mercy of US Congress for approval.

When it comes to International Traffic in Arms Regulations Waivers from the US, or any similar guarantees in respect to the JSF programme (signed by successive Presidents, but never ratified by US Congress) the only thing special about this relationship is allowing our sovereignty to be eroded by a powerful nation which is obviously using us, when required, for leverage on European Trade Agreements.
The Americans,like the Chinese,Russians,French,Germans,Italians,Swedes,South Koreans,Japanese and even the Singaporeans,understand the basics of defence procurement.
Political,economic,industrial and security of supply considerations are understood by these nations which is why you will find very little foreign equipment being used by their armed forces.
These countries understand that their defence suppliers operate in a monopsony not a free market.
In the United Kingdom,we seem to think there is a competitive global free market in defence and that we are the only country which looks after it's own defence businesses.
One need only compare the amount of foreign equipment in British service to that in the armed forces of the above nations to see that that is not the case.
We can hardly complain about getting bitten if we decide to swim with sharks like Lockheed-Martin,Boeing and E.A.D.S. instead of paddling in our own pond of particularly savage carp like B.A.E. systems.
Other countries look out for their own best interests,why would we imagine they would look out for ours?


Edited to add the link to the article I mentioned.
GLOCK26 said:
What is the logic of building a 65,000 tonne carrier, and equipping her with STOVL F-35B when a less expensive carrier variant (F-35C) is available. What is the advantage of trading fuel, and range for a lift engine that will be dead weight for most of the sortie.
Isn't it because the RAF want the F-35B as a direct Harrier replacement and there's more chance of plaiting spunk than the Government forking out for two variants?
T6 made some accurate and pointed comments and thought I would just try to clear up a couple of other misconceptions. The Government Accounting Office does not work for the executive branch. They work for Congress. That means that Sec Gates didn’t have a choice about upholding their ruling. Congress holds the checkbook and if he had tried to press on with the award, they would have merely cut the funding for the tanker program to zero. While Northrop Grumman/EADS has support from several Congressmen because they were going to build the aircraft in Alabama, Boeing spreads their work through a lot of states and had a whole bunch of Congressmen to call upon. In addition, there would have been a lot of Senators and Congressmen who just would have been mad at the executive branch for ignoring the findings of their watchdog. Also, keep in mind the ruling was made just before a national election. No way in the world could an executive branch make a choice when the administration would have been changing, whoever won.

With regards to the MV-22 and JSF, the Marines have been operating Harriers off the amphibious ships for several years. What has caught people by surprise is the idle exhaust temperature of the MV-22, when you keep an aircraft idling on the deck for an extended period. Now this is normal in vertical lift operations, when you get a bunch of aircraft turning and burning, and then bring the Marines up from below to load aboard. It is not normal with Harrier, since the nozzles are not turned downward until just before cleared for take-off. The question for JSF operations, since you have a separate lift engine, will the exhaust gas from that aircraft also affect the flight deck? Can you minimize the problem by engaging the engine just before takeoff and cutting it off after landing? What is the difference in temperature and velocities at idle between the two aircraft? Could be why DARPA is asking for solutions. I don’t know the answers but I also don’t see the JSP sitting on deck for an hour at a time.

With regards to the ITAR waiver, yes every President has supported it and every Congress, regardless of the party with a majority, has indicated that it is dead on arrival if the executive branch submits it for approval. They have been trying to change the rules a bit to make it a Treaty so that only the Senate has to approve the document and the Senate tends to be a little more aware of things international. Remember the House of Representatives has to be elected every two years, so they tend to be rather protectionists, while Senators are elected for six year terms, so they can support some things like Free Trade Agreements. (Hoping that their electorate will forget when they come up for re-election)

Frustrating as h**l, I know. But it the system we are stuck with and most of the time it works…..eventually. You cannot confuse the President and Congress. Unlike in a Parliamentary system where the legislative and executive are one and the same based on the majority in Parliament, with the US you have a clear separation and don’t think for a second that party loyalty plays when it might cost jobs in your district. As the senior Congressman from the state of Washington said, “All politics are local.” Their overriding concern is how might this effect the jobs in my district. The main problem is that it is easy to point a finger at somebody in the executive branch (President, Secretary of Defense, etc) but really hard to point a finger at that mass called Congress.
ECMO1 said:
I would just try to clear up a couple of other misconceptions.
I'll try and follow in your footsteps...

ECMO1 said:
The question for JSF operations, since you have a separate lift engine, will the exhaust gas from that aircraft also affect the flight deck?
Easy answer - no. You might want to do some reading on the JSF.

There's only one engine - it vectors down at the back to provide some thrust, and it has a shaft running forwards to drive a big lift fan near the front to provide the rest. Hence the Rolls-Royce gearbox you mentioned.

You leave the engine on idle, point the rear pipes backwards, seemples. No hot exhaust pointing downwards.

Picture from the wikipedia link above
Lockheed Martin Corp. is fixing a structural weakness in the Navy version of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter that limits the jet’s ability to launch from aircraft carriers, according to a company spokesman.

Engineers in July discovered a “strength shortfall” in an aluminum structure in the aircraft’s center fuselage that helps absorb stresses during a catapult takeoff, Lockheed spokesman John Kent said today in an e-mailed statement.

“U.S. Navy and program office engineers were apprised immediately and have been directly involved in approving design updates,” Kent said. “A modification is already approved and ready to incorporate early this year prior to any catapult testing planned for 2011.”

The modification doesn’t affect the aircraft’s progress toward first flight and is expected to have “little or no impact” on the plane’s shipboard testing, he said.

“There was never a problem with landing -- only catapult launch,” Kent said.

Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed plans to build the fighters in three variants for the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. The current estimated cost is $298 billion.

The carrier version is the last of the three variants to go into operation and is scheduled to be used on carriers operating with Boeing F/A-18E/F fighters by 2015. The first development model is scheduled for its maiden flight by August 30, Kent said.

Ashton Carter, the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer, and Michael Gilmore, director of operational test and evaluation, declined to comment through Pentagon spokeswoman Cheryl Irwin.

Pentagon Report

The issue wasn’t disclosed in Gilmore’s annual’s report released last week. That report said F-35 testing so far raised concerns that engine blasts from the carrier model and Marine Corps short-takeoff and vertical-landing versions could cause deck damage and injure personnel
the US defence dept have again announced another 12 to 18 month delay and a downward requirement to 43 aircraft for the marines, also have requested a further 10 million for develpment costs, no idea how this affects the overall price or how much more they are asking us to provide.
the US DOD announced this week the resheduling of testing of the f35 fighter which will now extend now until 2015, two years after the orginal date for the first US operational Squadron was due to be in the air, with the expected first production to start in NOV 2015, further more the US have stated if costs exced the current agreed funding they will reduce the production numbers for the US airforce and navy, what will this mean to smaller counties with smaller budgets ect and more so the UK, as the firghter gap for the navy extends a further period for the carriers without fighters, and it appears the MOD do not have a plan B other than the again delay the bulding of the 2nd carrier, and reshedule a slower build of the first to coinside with the fighter program again resulting in budget overruns.
France has already offered a considerable discount for rafle naval fighters as well as providing all codes, and support at some 10million cheaper then the f35 without the codes.
Price of Lockheed's F-35 fighter soars
Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:02pm EST

Reuters: Lockheed hikes F-35 price 50 pct.

* Cost/plane seen over 50 pct higher than nine years ago

* Cost growth comes despite efforts to reform program

* Air Force to formally notify Congress, begin review (Adds 'too big to fail' in 3rd paragraph, Lockheed and GAO comments)

By Jim Wolf

WASHINGTON, March 11 (Reuters) - The average cost of Lockheed Martin Corp's (LMT.N) F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the Pentagon's costliest arms purchase yet, will soar more than 50 percent above what was projected when its development began nine years ago, the Pentagon's top arms buyer told Congress.

The U.S. Air Force is set to formally notify Congress that the program has crashed through a key cost-containment threshold that will force a thorough review, Ashton Carter, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, said on Thursday.

But the net impact of such a notification may be minimal since the program is widely said by U.S. officials to be too big to fail. Washington has no other way to replace aging warplanes like Lockheed's F-16 and the program is a linchpin of fighter modernization for several U.S. allies.

The cost blowout has occurred despite a restructuring announced by Defense Secretary Robert Gates in February to keep the program on track, including adding 13 months and $2.8 billion to the development phase.

"The JSF program has fallen short on performance over the past several years," Carter told the Senate Armed Services Committee. He said the Defense Department planned to aggressively manage it over coming years as it goes from development and testing toward full production.

Affordability was supposed to be a hallmark of the F-35, which is being built in three versions for the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps; eight overseas co-development partners; and other projected foreign buyers.

Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the committee, said the cost growth could have significant implications for the rest of the Pentagon's multibillion-dollar acquisition programs and for its budget as a whole. The United States alone is scheduled to buy more than 2,400 F-35s, the backbone of its air combat fleet for coming decades.

"People should not conclude that we will be willing to continue... strong support without regard to increased costs coming from poor program management or from lack of focus on affordability," the Michigan Democrat said.

Carter said he expected Air Force Secretary Michael Donley to notify Congress of the cost-containment breach formally under a law known as Nunn-McCurdy within days.

If unit-cost growth tops 25 percent, Nunn-McCurdy requires the Pentagon to justify continuing the program based on three main criteria: its importance to U.S. national security; the lack of a viable alternative; and evidence that the problems that led to the cost growth are under control.

In 2001, when the development began, the F-35 procurement cost had been projected to be $50.2 million per aircraft in base-year 2002 dollars.

Pentagon estimators, based on a projected procurement of 2,443 aircraft, including all variants, now expect the average price to range from $80 million to $95 million in 2002 dollars, said Christine Fox, director of cost assessment and program evaluation for Defense Secretary Robert Gates.


The eight U.S. co-development partners are Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark and Norway.

Israel has begun a process that could lead it to buy 75 F-35s. Singapore is also mulling a purchase, but cost growth could eat into overseas sales, to the benefit of rival fighters from Europe, Russia and China.

Completing development and approving full-rate production is now expected in April 2016, about 2-1/2 years later than planned in the baseline program approved in 2007, congressional auditors told the committee.

In addition, the Government Accountability Office said there was a "substantial risk" that the program would fail to deliver the expected number of aircraft and required capabilities on time, despite the restructuring.

Carter said initial operational capability was now set for 2012 for the U.S. Marine Corps version and 2016 for the Air Force and Navy models.

Lockheed Martin, the Pentagon's No. 1 supplier by sales, said F-35 production trends showed significant improvement, indicating aircraft deliveries will be back on schedule in 2011.

The three most recent aircraft loaded into production tooling are now on schedule, said Jeffery Adams, a company spokesman. "We are committed to delivering our airplanes on time." (Reporting by Jim Wolf; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)
been following the delays on this aircraft current update is the plane will cost $100 mill each, further more over 100 super hornets have been grounded due to cracks in airframes earlier than expected, several countries have brought these as a stop gap while awaiting the f35. including Australia, and the dutch.
While not disputing the problems of the F-35, the only country outside of the US, which has bought the Super Hornet is Australia. The Netherlands fly’s the F-16.
The recent grounding order applies to F/A-18 A-D models, not the Super Hornet (E/F/G) models. See article here.
GLOCK26 said:
Two years ago A330 was selected to replace the ageing USAF KC-135 tanker fleet. Boeing cried protectionism to the GAO and Defence Secretary Gates, with his usual indecision, upheld the protest.....
Just to clarify ...

1. USAF originally wanted 767, Northrop Grumman-EADS and some US politicians cried foul (A330 was to be build in Alabama). USAF decision overturned.

2. New competition, A330 won. Boeing protest.

3. New competition, essentially if both meet the criteria, they'll pick the cheapest and easiest one. Northrop, "fck it, we can't be bothered".

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