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F35 - Money well spent.

Did have a look to see if this had been posted if it has appologies and it will be removed.

While the video is dated, 2016, a tad gung-ho, and I was about to say the only one that didn’t fold their arms was the F-35... until I remembered a brief shot of the C with wings folded.

It does have quite a bit of high res eye candy on weapon testing including some of the gun trials. And not a lot has been talked about on the gun. Besides who doesn’t enjoy seeing more of the latest weapon system that we are acquiring.

 
Here is the actual original paper rather than a news summary. I will comment more on it after I've had a chance to read it in detail.
http://www.iceaaonline.com/ready/wp...aper-Estimating-Future-Air-Dominance-Stem.pdf
A week ago I said I would comment more on the US cost estimation paper which was originally referenced by @Magic_Mushroom (in a news report) here:
https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/threads/f35-money-well-spent.195692/post-8737241
and for which I was able to find the original paper here:
https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/threads/f35-money-well-spent.195692/post-8738035

Here's my first set of comments. I will skip over the boring bits and try to get straight to the point.

First, it has been said a number of times on this thread that (to paraphrase) "all defence projects go over budget". The author however says that the F-35 was exceptional in that it had "the largest cost and schedule growth of any fighter program prior to its inception".
Although some aspects of this design concept were achieved, the program experienced probably the largest cost and schedule growth of any fighter program prior to its inception and was exacerbated by doing three designs in the same contract.
Just as a reminder, the author is the head of the Air Force Cost Analysis Agency Aircraft and Weapons Division, which is part of the US Air Force, not some random bloke on the Internet.
2018 Workshop Speakers

He produced this graph to show development time growth, which is closely related to cost. This does not include the F-35, but does show previous US aircraft. He also singled out the F-22 for a poor record on cost and timing as can be seen in the chart.

costgrowth1.jpg


He provided a variety of reasons for why the F-22 was so late. They can probably be summed up as a combination of poor management decisions by the contractor, splitting the work up between different suppliers poorly, a long drawn out process of developing new technologies, and the aircraft requiring major redesign to deal with being over weight.
The F-22 program also experienced an extended development program but for different reasons than the B-2. The development program began after the Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF) competition ended, where two prototype aircraft were flown. The prototypes looked similar to the aircraft from the main development, but was different in many ways. Soon after the full development contract was awarded, the program design team was moved from California to Georgia (it is estimated that only 10% of the staff made the move) and was composed of three prime-level teammates who were prior competitors. The allocation of work among the three teammates was somewhat artificial and was used to spread the work evenly across them (not necessarily based on specific competency)3. Even at the subsystem level (e.g. the radar) had a work split between two competing contractors (Northrop and Raytheon) for parts of the system based on contract dollar value4. The aircraft also pushed technology in many areas of the air vehicle at the same time. The airframe continued to use advance composites and radar reduction materials. The propulsion system used an advanced super-cruise engine with thrust vectoring. A new integrated avionics suite was used for the first time which required more software than what had ever been required for a fighter aircraft and included cutting edge technologies such as the active electronically scanned array radar. The weight of the air vehicle was much higher at the start of the development, which lead to a redesign to reduce the weight; it remained an issue after the major design reviews. Compared to prior fighter aircraft development programs, the F-22 experienced more schedule growth as compared to its estimated schedule at the start of development. Figure 4 compares F- 22 development schedule to other military aircraft development programs normalized to the schedule at the outset of the program.
After the bad experiences with the B-2 and F-22, they wanted to develop a low cost "affordable" fighter. Part of the plan was to develop three different versions for the cost of two by using common parts.
After the experiences of high cost growth on the B-2 and the F-22, the next aircraft program goal was to attempt to develop a low-cost, affordable fighter design that could be used for multiple US armed services and our allies. The effort started with a prototype phase called the Joint Advanced Strike Technology (JAST) program that flew two competing aircraft to demonstrate each design. This initial phase was followed by Systems Design and Demonstration (SDD) phase where the program attempted to develop three different air vehicle variants in the same development contract by using different levels of common parts. The thought was that three aircraft could be designed for the cost of two aircraft due to the inherent commonality.
However, as mentioned above, the F-35 went over cost and time targets by more than any previous aircraft. Part of the problem was the attempt to produce a STOVL version while attempting to maintain design commonality. This became an "overwhelming issue" and forced a complete redesign while the project was already under weigh.
Although some aspects of this design concept were achieved, the program experienced probably the largest cost and schedule growth of any fighter program prior to its inception and was exacerbated by doing three designs in the same contract. The strict requirements for short take off and vertical landing for the USMC variant became an overwhelming issue and caused the program to require a full redesign.
Another major problem was attempting to go into production before development was complete. This resulted in design changes taking place which affected aircraft which were already produced and had to be modified after the fact.
The desire to enter production before development was completed resulted in a concurrency between the two phases of the program where design changes were being fed to aircraft already in production. Traveled work, essentially manufacturing retrofits, plagued the test aircraft as they were being produced causing delays in the flight testing. It also caused early production aircraft to be delivered that did not meet the full capability as outlined in the SDD contract.
This also resulted in large design staffs, including at subcontractors, having to be kept on the project to deal with the continuing design changes after the aircraft was technically in production.
In development programs which are defined by large design staffs required for both initial design and design changes, the largest cost driver is time. At the peak of development, the prime staffing level amounted to thousands of people working on the program; additionally, subcontractor staff were charging to the program and needed to accommodate continued design changes. SDD has continued as several hundred Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) aircraft have been delivered to the customers. The design phase will continue into the future through follow-on development to incorporate updates for some years into the future.
The author suggests several things to deal with these problems. One is to limit demands for increased capability after the prototype has been built.
Limiting the requirements of the new design can help to limit cost growth. The F-16 benefited from a specific requirement for a new lightweight fighter that used a prototype design that largely was unchanged when it went into full scale development and production.
Another is to use what he calls an "open, federated avionics suite". By this he appears to mean buying avionics that have standard interfaces to allow different kit from different manufacturers to work together. He said the initial up front cost of creating this would be greater, but there would be cost savings in the long run because the customer would no longer be locked into a design which is hard to modify and it would allow for competition at the component level.
Another approach to limiting cost growth is to use an open, federated avionics suite. It can cost more to establish up front, but can be beneficial to the customer by not being locked into a design that is hard to modify and can allow for competition at the component level to reduce costs.
A third method is to use less software, which has been a major source of delay. I'm not sure that he necessarily means simply to have less software though. Taken in the context of the previous suggest of an "open, federated avionics suite", he may mean to use less software which was developed specifically for that project and to use more software which has already been developed for the open systems he would like to see. Taken in that context, this idea lines up very well with current ideas of software project management which exists outside of the defence industry.
A third technique to limiting cost growth is challenging the contractor to use less software which typically causes delays during development.
Nex, he suggests reducing requirements on "stealth", as this has major influences on other factors. It would also allow more use of "podded systems" so that equipment can be changed for new missions and be open to other contractors instead of being locked into the original manufacturer.
Another requirement limitation is to relaxing the RCS requirements; this requirement drives many design trades such as internal avionics, internal payloads, and internal fuel that make it hard to accommodate changes. Also, using podded systems allows for equipment that can be changed for new missions and can be competed to other contractors.
Finally, he recommends keeping the design and requirements stable when the project is at peak staffing levels. If the design goes off track, deal with it right away instead of continuing to work on a design that won't be produced (as happened with the F-35).
Finally, keeping the design and requirements stable while the program is at peak staffing can limit cost growth. If the design is off track, quickly realize that issue and don’t continue work on a design that won’t be produced as in the F-35 example.
He goes on to make more recommendations which span over more than a single project. He recommends more incremental development, where a new air frame uses existing avionics, and new technology developed outside of the project is incorporated later. His open federated systems would appear to have a role in that.
Acquisition approaches can also be used to manage cost. As in the case of the F/A-18E/F, an incremental approach was followed that began with a new airframe but used existing avionics. As time progressed and avionics technology could be developed outside the main program, it could then be incorporated into the aircraft.
He later goes back again to the theme of the problems of avionics which are bespoke for that aircraft and very tightly integrated. The problem with that approach is that it limits the ability to upgrade the avionics later in life without having a ripple effect which affects everything else. He would like to see more modular and open approaches which allow for more flexibility and more competition amongst suppliers.
Since avionics is typically a complex part of the aircraft and drives both production and O&S costs, it is an important area to consider how they should be built. One choice that can be made is to build tightly integrated avionics. The problem with this approach is that any future upgrades or modifications to one part could cause a ripple affect of redesign other parts of the avionics suite and software. A solution to this problem is to use systems that are used on other aircraft (such as common radios and antennas) or podded systems that allow modular capability for the subset of the fleet that needs the specific capability. These methods also allow for competition for contractors besides the incumbent contractor. Finally, considering using off-board systems (such as sensors from other aircraft that can link information) could also be used to cut down on the total number of sensors procured.
Another thing to avoid is concurrent development and production. The B-2, F-22, and F-35 all suffered from this. This increases costs by requiring changes to exiting tooling and aircraft on a repeating basis.
The schedule of the program to reduce concurrency between development and production can also affect the ultimate procurement costs. The B-2, the F-22, and the F-35 program started producing in larger quantities while the development phase was still on-going. This concurrency led to unstable design that caused design changes to be made while the aircraft were in production. Changes on the aircraft and tooling updates were needed to build and assemble the parts.Additionally, a retrofit of the already produced aircraft was required and some early production aircraft could not be retrofitted in an economic way, limiting their usefulness.
The author covers a variety of other issues which I won't go into here, as the above seem to be the main ones, plus also they are not necessarily F-35 related.

He does though provide an example of why unmanned aircraft are not necessarily cheaper which is worth reading (quoted below).
The CONOPS chosen can have a large impact on the future O&S costs. For example the decision to make the aircraft unmanned vs manned can greatly affect O&S. Let’s consider the example of the MQ-9 Reaper. Although the lack of a pilot in the cockpit seems to indicate a savings to manpower, each MQ-9 typically has at least three operators flying the aircraft and monitoring the ISR data and managing target intelligence. Also, the MQ-9 requires satellite and data transfer while a manned aircraft could perform the mission (although with reduced intelligence) with minimal satellite linkage. Additionally, the MQ-9 cannot self-deploy and requires transport aircraft to deliver it to the theater of operations. It requires a forward deployed support crew needed for local operations. Finally, the early days of MQ-9 operations were plagued with a high crash rate that tended to damage the aircraft and destroy the relatively expensive sensors.
 
Contractual progress on the F-35's 'Autonomic [sic] Logistics Information System' (ALIS) which is absolutely critical to F-35 progress but which has persistently been of major concern within the Programme.

Behind all the understandable ballyhoo about the first deliveries to RAF Marham and impending trials on the QE, progress on 'non-sexy' systems such as this are every bit as critical to slowly realising the F-35's undoubted potential.

Regards,
MM
 
Fellas I really hope that I am not derailing the thread of asking a bumb question that has already been answered. But here goes...

The UK is acquiring only the B model, a decision based on the needs, I assume, of the RN, and maybe some sort of residual RAF desire for a Harrier type replacement.
I know for the RN it is the F35B or nothing, but if given a choice wouldn't the RAF opt for the A model - greater payload and longer range. I understand that the F35 will be regarded as a national asset and will be operated by the RAF or FAA depending on the task in hand, but wouldn't a mixed fleet better serve the nation? I understand that the F35A is a bit cheaper, it will be the version operated by our allies, and far more numerous in production. Maybe that means that the major upgrade effort over the years will go into the A model first?
I understand that a mixed fleet would set a limit on the number of aircraft that the RN could get their hands on, but would not limit the RAF in the same way (if the fleet were considered a national rather than particular service asset).

The planned air wing for the carriers is 36 aircraft, that is 72 max required, plus a training establishment, so a purchase of 85 Bs should see the navy right for every contingency. If we bought the 148 (?) we are planning that would surely allow the RAF to have 50 odd F35As plus possible access to the Navy's F35Bs.

Would the costs of maintaining slighltly dis similar logistics and support structures, plus the cost of dissimilar pilot training etc outweigh the advantage of having some of the F35A?

Lots of 'ifs' I know, 148 being the biggest one, but any thoughts?
 
UK has only fully committed to 48 B models, its committed 'in principle' to the full buy of 138 F-35's, almost certainly with a switch to the A model to start replacing the legacy Typhoons.
 
Fellas I really hope that I am not derailing the thread of asking a bumb question that has already been answered. But here goes...

The UK is acquiring only the B model, a decision based on the needs, I assume, of the RN, and maybe some sort of residual RAF desire for a Harrier type replacement.
I know for the RN it is the F35B or nothing, but if given a choice wouldn't the RAF opt for the A model - greater payload and longer range. I understand that the F35 will be regarded as a national asset and will be operated by the RAF or FAA depending on the task in hand, but wouldn't a mixed fleet better serve the nation? I understand that the F35A is a bit cheaper, it will be the version operated by our allies, and far more numerous in production. Maybe that means that the major upgrade effort over the years will go into the A model first?
I understand that a mixed fleet would set a limit on the number of aircraft that the RN could get their hands on, but would not limit the RAF in the same way (if the fleet were considered a national rather than particular service asset).

The planned air wing for the carriers is 36 aircraft, that is 72 max required, plus a training establishment, so a purchase of 85 Bs should see the navy right for every contingency. If we bought the 148 (?) we are planning that would surely allow the RAF to have 50 odd F35As plus possible access to the Navy's F35Bs.

Would the costs of maintaining slighltly dis similar logistics and support structures, plus the cost of dissimilar pilot training etc outweigh the advantage of having some of the F35A?

Lots of 'ifs' I know, 148 being the biggest one, but any thoughts?
The -B met the performance criteria laid down by the RAF as well as the RN. It also gives us flexibility of operation, both on the carriers and on land.

The aircraft operated off the carriers will be jointly manned by the RAF and the FAA - in effect, there won't be distinct fleets. So, it was the -B or nothing, at least as things stand at this stage.
 
The legacy Typhoons have an OSD of 2030 and are being re-equipped with AIM-120D.
The existing planes which will be replaced by the UK's Lightnings are the Tornadoes. The "B" version adds the capability of working with the new carriers, which are one of the centrepieces of UK defence policy. Meanwhile two additional Typhoon squadrons are being created to fill the gap between Tornado retiring and Lightning being delivered in quantity.

There is a completely separate Typhoon replacement project called "Tempest" which is only in the concept stage at present but does not involve Lightnings. Plans are for the Tempest to start to fly in 2035.
UK unveils new Tempest fighter jet to replace Typhoon
Britain unveils fighter jet model to rival Franco-German program

Current planned retirement date for the Typhoon is 2040, but given the target dates for Tempest that seems highly implausible. If we assume F-35 style delays, then it is possible that Typhoons will be flying in the RAF well past 2050.

By the time the Typhoons retire, plans for replacing the legacy Lightnings in their turn will almost certainly be well under way.
 
Fellas I really hope that I am not derailing the thread of asking a bumb question that has already been answered. But here goes...

The UK is acquiring only the B model, a decision based on the needs, I assume, of the RN, and maybe some sort of residual RAF desire for a Harrier type replacement.
I know for the RN it is the F35B or nothing, but if given a choice wouldn't the RAF opt for the A model - greater payload and longer range. I understand that the F35 will be regarded as a national asset and will be operated by the RAF or FAA depending on the task in hand, but wouldn't a mixed fleet better serve the nation? I understand that the F35A is a bit cheaper, it will be the version operated by our allies, and far more numerous in production. Maybe that means that the major upgrade effort over the years will go into the A model first?
I understand that a mixed fleet would set a limit on the number of aircraft that the RN could get their hands on, but would not limit the RAF in the same way (if the fleet were considered a national rather than particular service asset).

The planned air wing for the carriers is 36 aircraft, that is 72 max required, plus a training establishment, so a purchase of 85 Bs should see the navy right for every contingency. If we bought the 148 (?) we are planning that would surely allow the RAF to have 50 odd F35As plus possible access to the Navy's F35Bs.

Would the costs of maintaining slighltly dis similar logistics and support structures, plus the cost of dissimilar pilot training etc outweigh the advantage of having some of the F35A?

Lots of 'ifs' I know, 148 being the biggest one, but any thoughts?
The problem with ordering both "B" and "A" will be the cost of operating and maintaining an additional type in service. Canadian studies of cost of fighters suggest that something like 85% of the lifetime cost of a plane is the operating cost, not the original purchase price.

It should be noted by the way that the new carriers are considered to be a national asset, not something that belongs to just the RN. They form a core part of future UK defence plans in terms of how to get fighting forces to the places where the UK wants to focus their efforts and to stay there once they have arrived.

Current firm plans for UK purchase of F-35s (the RAF seems to prefer to call them Lightning) is for 48. There is an aspirational goal of roughly another 100 after that, but any such decisions will be made by a future government according to what they see as the direction they want to take at that time.

If we assume the purchase of more F-35s beyond the planned 48, then the problem with buying some of the "A" model is maintaining a balanced age and wear and tear profile throughout the life of the fleet. The "B" model could be used anywhere, but the "A" model would be limited to operations not involving the carriers. So you would end up with a situation where the "B" models were both the oldest in the fleet plus also being the ones which most need to be maintained in service until a replacement can be arranged.

If you buy only "B" models, then wear and tear and overall life can be balanced over the whole fleet. In addition, equivalent replacements which can operate from carriers don't have to be arranged for until the last F-35s in service are retired, rather then when the first ones are retired.

There are many factors which will go into the final decision, but two of the things you have to take into consideration are the full life cycle operating costs and the overall management of fleet life cycle and replacement.
 
Who needs Patuxent River when you've got a shed in Burwell?


Man builds F-35B stealth-jet simulator in his shed



Kenneth Mockford with his F-35B flight simulator


A grandfather with Asperger’s syndrome has built the world’s first stealth-jet simulator in his garden shed at a cost of £30,000. Kenneth Mockford, 54, from Burwell in Cambridgeshire, built as accurate a replica of the F-35B Lightning as possible by piecing together information he found online.

Mr Mockford, who offers “trips” in the simulator and describes himself as a “nutty engineer”, said: “I spent many late nights constructing the F-35 in my garden shed, then loaded it on a truck and moved it to a warehouse for flying.


The simulator was built in his garden shedSWNS
“I started the plane with just a fuselage, which I acquired. All of the other components . . . I have made.”

He has also built Boeing 737-800 and Lynx helicopter simulators since quitting his engineering job in 2014 to start his own business.

Mr Mockford, who comes from a family of RAF veterans, credited his ability to his condition. “Because I have [Asperger’s] I have the skill of being able to analyse things to the nth degree and I can see things in a way that other people cannot,” he said. “I always say that it is my gift. It is my superpower.”
 
Who needs Patuxent River when you've got a shed in Burwell?


Man builds F-35B stealth-jet simulator in his shed



Kenneth Mockford with his F-35B flight simulator


A grandfather with Asperger’s syndrome has built the world’s first stealth-jet simulator in his garden shed at a cost of £30,000. Kenneth Mockford, 54, from Burwell in Cambridgeshire, built as accurate a replica of the F-35B Lightning as possible by piecing together information he found online.

Mr Mockford, who offers “trips” in the simulator and describes himself as a “nutty engineer”, said: “I spent many late nights constructing the F-35 in my garden shed, then loaded it on a truck and moved it to a warehouse for flying.


The simulator was built in his garden shedSWNS
“I started the plane with just a fuselage, which I acquired. All of the other components . . . I have made.”

He has also built Boeing 737-800 and Lynx helicopter simulators since quitting his engineering job in 2014 to start his own business.

Mr Mockford, who comes from a family of RAF veterans, credited his ability to his condition. “Because I have [Asperger’s] I have the skill of being able to analyse things to the nth degree and I can see things in a way that other people cannot,” he said. “I always say that it is my gift. It is my superpower.”
Well - I have met Cyber Reservists (RNR) recruiter at an older age than him, so maybe we could recruit him? Is it just aircraft simulators he builds, or might be be interested other things?

Is there a URL for that story?
 
The existing planes which will be replaced by the UK's Lightnings are the Tornadoes. The "B" version adds the capability of working with the new carriers, which are one of the centrepieces of UK defence policy. Meanwhile two additional Typhoon squadrons are being created to fill the gap between Tornado retiring and Lightning being delivered in quantity.

There is a completely separate Typhoon replacement project called "Tempest" which is only in the concept stage at present but does not involve Lightnings. Plans are for the Tempest to start to fly in 2035.
UK unveils new Tempest fighter jet to replace Typhoon
Britain unveils fighter jet model to rival Franco-German program

Current planned retirement date for the Typhoon is 2040, but given the target dates for Tempest that seems highly implausible. If we assume F-35 style delays, then it is possible that Typhoons will be flying in the RAF well past 2050.

By the time the Typhoons retire, plans for replacing the legacy Lightnings in their turn will almost certainly be well under way.
Hopefully I will be off this planet by 2050, considering I am 35 now.
 
The problem with ordering both "B" and "A" will be the cost of operating and maintaining an additional type in service. Canadian studies of cost of fighters suggest that something like 85% of the lifetime cost of a plane is the operating cost, not the original purchase price.

It should be noted by the way that the new carriers are considered to be a national asset, not something that belongs to just the RN. They form a core part of future UK defence plans in terms of how to get fighting forces to the places where the UK wants to focus their efforts and to stay there once they have arrived.

Current firm plans for UK purchase of F-35s (the RAF seems to prefer to call them Lightning) is for 48. There is an aspirational goal of roughly another 100 after that, but any such decisions will be made by a future government according to what they see as the direction they want to take at that time.

If we assume the purchase of more F-35s beyond the planned 48, then the problem with buying some of the "A" model is maintaining a balanced age and wear and tear profile throughout the life of the fleet. The "B" model could be used anywhere, but the "A" model would be limited to operations not involving the carriers. So you would end up with a situation where the "B" models were both the oldest in the fleet plus also being the ones which most need to be maintained in service until a replacement can be arranged.

If you buy only "B" models, then wear and tear and overall life can be balanced over the whole fleet. In addition, equivalent replacements which can operate from carriers don't have to be arranged for until the last F-35s in service are retired, rather then when the first ones are retired.

There are many factors which will go into the final decision, but two of the things you have to take into consideration are the full life cycle operating costs and the overall management of fleet life cycle and replacement.
So the UK will be getting the B-Team it is then.
 
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