F35 - Money well spent.

Good article, lessons identified and applied

Forbes cost cutting article
Interesting. From the UK industry perspective, involvement with F-35 has led to greater efficiency and competitiveness. With a falling Pound we desperately need that.

Do you know if BAE Systems et al are looking for commercial applications of the high fidelity modelling and simulation developed as part of the F-35B/carrier integration work?
 
Possibly one for the F-35 production thread, but can customers choose which production line their aircraft come off? Accepting of course that time slots might be different...

Could Lockheed find themselves owning a production line that only the Turkish air force will buy from?
I would imagine that the orders for various customers were assigned to the various assembly lines based on a pre-agreed carve up of a share of the orders. I imagine the Italian company building them were promised a certain share of the final assembly market beyond whatever the Italians bought for themselves, and it is easiest to fulfill that by giving them the entire order from one or more smaller customers.

In contrast the UK isn't doing any final assembly, but UK companies are supplying major parts that go into planes assembled elsewhere. I believe those UK parts will be going into Italian planes as well as the American planes.
 
I saw, the price reductions are the point. If they want credit for that fair play, plenty of suppliers just keep hosing Defence down for more.
Take any supplier cost reductions with a grain of salt until and unless they actually show up in the full life cycle costs to the customer. I have seen too many customer driven short term cost reduction drives in civilian industry turn into just shuffling of numbers around on the books to want to take any similar on trust. This is why the UK, Canada, and no doubt some other defence ministries place a heavy emphasis on full life cycle accounting which attempts to capture all associated costs. It is otherwise too easy to push numbers between different budget classifications or different budget years in order to nominally meet short term targets while not changing much in practice.

The general rule of thumb with regards to manufacturing is that most costs are baked into the design and big cost reductions come from redesigning the product. That is because surprise, surprise, the manufacturing engineers who designed the production process knew what they were doing and had years of experience to help them to design an efficient process to begin with. The same goes for everyone else downstream in the maintenance and operations spheres.

Many of the cost reductions the article refers to simply reflect increasing production volumes allowing fixed costs to be spread over more planes. This is an artefact of the accounting system the Americans are using where the supplier is allowed to charge ramp-up costs directly to the early customers rather than amortize them evenly over the full production life. This is why so many customers whose national industries don't have a direct financial stake in the design are putting off plans to take delivery until the early to mid 2020s when those costs are expected to be at their lowest.

Based on other news reports, other things to watch out for are delaying of planned features until later budget years in order to meet budget targets for current lots. The costs will still be there, they will just get paid in the form of charges for mandatory upgrades several years down the road. Another cost reduction has been to cancel fixes or upgrades for some of the earlier planes which will now be relegated to training duties only with reduced capability.

And when someone says they are meeting targets, you have to ask are they meeting the original targets, or are they meeting the new targets which were set when everyone realised that they couldn't meet the original targets? Because there has been a lot of changing of targets in the project as delivery times have been pushed off to the future, features delayed or downgraded, and budgets revised upwards.

None of this means that the F-35 is doomed!, DOOMED! It does mean though that these nominal savings may not show up as actual savings in the UK's budget because the UK defence budget process is a lot better at capturing the actual bottom line than the US system is.

There is a political aspect to the F-35 in the US which isn't operative in the UK (or many of the other customers). That needs to be taken into account when reading F-35 related news originating in the US.

From the UK's perspective, the planes will fly, they'll do the job the UK expects of them, and I very much suspect the UK's budget figures for them are pretty close to what they will actually cost the UK in the long run.
 
Do you know if BAE Systems et al are looking for commercial applications of the high fidelity modelling and simulation developed as part of the F-35B/carrier integration work?
In a previous life I was closely involved with the procurement and introduction of a flight simulator for my employer. The company supplying the simulator could barely keep up with the rate of improving display and movement technology so I’d be surprised if the F35 stuff did not “trickle down” to the commercial market.
 
The first Turkish F-35A has been handed over in the now familiar ceremony at Fort Worth.

The soap opera will now play out over the next few months as US political opposition to the sale argues against further deliveries and - presumably - any F-35s being allowed to fly to Turkey.

Regards,
MM
It will be particularly fascinating if the US decides to seize the now Turkish planes to prevent their NATO allies the Turks from flying their own aircraft back to their own country.

That Rubicon however has yet to be crossed.
 
It will be particularly fascinating if the US decides to seize the now Turkish planes to prevent their NATO allies the Turks from flying their own aircraft back to their own country.

That Rubicon however has yet to be crossed.
Access to the base and aircraft will already be strictly controlled, as they are for all foreign personnel irrespective of what insignia an aircraft is wearing. There is no way the Turks could steal the aircraft and get them back to Turkey without US consent.

If the Turks are banned from having their jets before they go back to Turkey, they'd just have to leave them behind in the US (as Iran experienced with their final F-14 in 1979).

One option would be for the US Administration to dictate Turkish F-35s remain on US bases unless and until a specified threat was identified against Turkey. That already happens with some other nation's hardware but I suspect would be unacceptable to Ankara.

Regards,
MM
 
Access to the base and aircraft will already be strictly controlled, as they are for all foreign personnel irrespective of what insignia an aircraft is wearing. There is no way the Turks could steal the aircraft and get them back to Turkey without US consent.

If the Turks are banned from having their jets before they go back to Turkey, they'd just have to leave them behind in the US (as Iran experienced with their final F-14 in 1979).
Yes, but that just amounts to them being seized. The mechanics of the seizure are irrelevant.

If the Turks wanted to put pressure on the Americans they could file a case against them in a foreign or international court accusing them of theft, fraud, and other various crimes and demand their money back with additional compensation. They might also accuse LM of complicity in the crime. Since the US and Turkey are not at war with one another in any way the usual legal defences may not apply for the US unless the US wanted to argue that they considered Turkey to be an enemy state (as in your example with Iran).

The US could (and almost certainly would) ignore any court proceeding against them, but the point would be to put pressure on the US by threatening to give them a black eye in world opinion. It would additionally provide a fig leaf for the Turkish government with respect to domestic political opinion for cancelling any further purchases of F-35s. Filing the case would also cause an irreversible rupture in US-Turkey relationships.

One option would be for the US Administration to dictate Turkish F-35s remain on US bases unless and until a specified threat was identified against Turkey. That already happens with some other nation's hardware but I suspect would be unacceptable to Ankara.
To do that with fighter aircraft would be unacceptable to almost any sovereign state and cause many to question the wisdom of buying important weapon systems from the US.

What hardware were you referring to by the way? The only example I happen to know of was when the US supplied nuclear weapons to Canada and got around the non-proliferation treaty by having the storage area in the warhead bunkers in Canada called "US bases".
 
Yes, but that just amounts to them being seized. The mechanics of the seizure are irrelevant...
Agreed. I was merely offering a counter to what I thought you’d implied that the Turks could somehow ‘fly their aircraft back to their own country.’

...To do that with fighter aircraft would be unacceptable to almost any sovereign state and cause many to question the wisdom of buying important weapon systems from the US...
Agreed. But it does happen.

...What hardware were you referring to by the way?...
I understand that some weapons and systems are ‘held’ in the US for certain countries and would only be released under specific circumstances. AIM-120 was a former example where some nations bought the weapon and were trained in its use. However, the weapons would not released until comparable active AAMs were introduced in the region. Peru’s procurement of AA-12 for instance allowed delivery of AIM-120 to Chile.

Regards,
MM
 
(...) I understand that some weapons and systems are ‘held’ in the US for certain countries and would only be released under specific circumstances. AIM-120 was a former example where some nations bought the weapon and were trained in its use. However, the weapons would not released until comparable active AAMs were introduced in the region. Peru’s procurement of AA-12 for instance allowed delivery of AIM-120 to Chile. (...)
And this has driven the Chileans to look at having Israel upgrade their F-16s to get out from under US control over them, so apparently they find this unacceptable. Apparently the Chileans had to get US permission to use their F-16s with AIM-120 missiles to provide security over Santiago during a summit meeting between Latin American, Caribbean, and EU leaders.
US controls drive Chile toward Israeli F-16 upgrade | Jane's 360
The Chilean Air Force is looking again at putting some of its 46 Lockheed Martin F-16 fighters through a service life extension programme (SLEP), local military sources have told Jane’s .

The SLEP, which would incorporate upgrades to avionics and weapons sourced from Israel, would free the aircraft from end-user controls and limitations set by the United States under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) system.

According to the sources, the deployment of F-16s armed with AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAMs) to provide security over Santiago City during a 2013 summit between Latin American, Caribbean, and EU leaders required US authorisation.
 
And this has driven the Chileans to look at having Israel upgrade their F-16s to get out from under US control over them, so apparently they find this unacceptable...
I’m not arguing that it’s not a disincentive or that it isn’t unacceptable to some countries (although Chile continues to operate AMRAAM armed F-16s). I’m just stating that it does happen and it may be one option open to the Trump administration.

Regards,
MM
 
I’m not arguing that it’s not a disincentive or that it isn’t unacceptable to some countries (although Chile continues to operate AMRAAM armed F-16s). I’m just stating that it does happen and it may be one option open to the Trump administration.

Regards,
MM
Funny old thing US arms limitations for customers. For quite some time in KSA BAe Australia employees couldn't work on AIM 9Ls because access was restricted as they were classed as third world nationals. :D Regardless of the fact that at least one had done a full course at China Lake.

They whined for ages about it.
 
Funny old thing US arms limitations for customers. For quite some time in KSA BAe Australia employees couldn't work on AIM 9Ls because access was restricted as they were classed as third world nationals. :D Regardless of the fact that at least one had done a full course at China Lake.

They whined for ages about it.
The US vetoed a sale of UK nuclear submarines to Canada because they didn't want Canada to have them due to a territorial dispute in the Arctic (long story already covered on another thread). The submarines contained some US technology (I think something to do with reactors in particular) so any sales required US approval. We eventually ended up buying a diesel version instead (yes, those ones).

Personally I would rather just buy from someone who was more interested in taking our money than they were in what we did with the arms.
 
The US vetoed a sale of UK nuclear submarines to Canada because they didn't want Canada to have them due to a territorial dispute in the Arctic (long story already covered on another thread). The submarines contained some US technology (I think something to do with reactors in particular) so any sales required US approval. We eventually ended up buying a diesel version instead (yes, those ones).

Personally I would rather just buy from someone who was more interested in taking our money than they were in what we did with the arms.
Yup, Uncle Sam looks after Uncle Sam. No shocks there...
 
Yup, Uncle Sam looks after Uncle Sam. No shocks there...
Pretty much whichever nation you buy from incurs small-print, penalties or sacrifices. Some of those are overt; some are less obvious.

Regards,
MM
 

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