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27 juin 2013 4 27 /06 /juin /2013 10:20
Third UK F-35B - Lockheed Martin photo by John Wilson

Third UK F-35B - Lockheed Martin photo by John Wilson

June 26, 2013 by Dave Majumdar – FG

 

Washington DC - The UK's third Lockheed Martin F-35B short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) Joint Strike Fighter arrived at Eglin AFB, Florida, on 25 June.

 

The British aircraft was flown in from Lockheed's Fort Worth, Texas, plant by US Marine Corps pilot Lt Col Roger Hardy on a flight that lasted 90min.

 

"In less than a year, we have taken ownership of our first three aircraft and begun both pilot and engineer training," says Royal Air Force Group Captain Harv Smyth, the senior UK officer at Eglin AFB. "Today's arrival of BK-3 is the latest step in delivering the F-35's unprecedented capability to UK defence."

 

This particular aircraft, BK-3 (ZM137), is the last of three UK F-35Bs currently on order, but the country is expected to have a fleet of 48 aircraft in service before 2020. Those 48 jets are expected operate from both land bases and from the UK's new Queen Elizabeth-class carriers.

 

The three current UK aircraft are operating in a training capacity as part of the USMC's VMFAT-501 squadron at Eglin AFB. However, the aircraft will eventually move to Edwards AFB, California, to participate in the F-35's operational evaluations.

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26 juin 2013 3 26 /06 /juin /2013 10:50

June 26, 2013by Think Defence

Lots of CGI

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26 juin 2013 3 26 /06 /juin /2013 10:20
F-35 CF-6 (Photo Lockheed Martin)

F-35 CF-6 (Photo Lockheed Martin)

June 26; 2013 by Dave Majumdar – FG

 

Washington DC - The US Navy received its first Lockheed Martin F-35C Joint Strike Fighter training aircraft at Eglin AFB, Florida, on 22 June.

 

The stealth carrier-based aircraft will be assigned to the service's Strike Fighter Squadron 101 (VFA-101) "Grim Reapers", and will fly alongside US Air Force and US Marine Corps F-35 training units assigned to the air force's 33rd Fighter Wing. VFA-101 will serve as a fleet replacement squadron which will train aircrew and maintenance personnel from both the USN and USMC to fly and repair the F-35C.

 

The navy is the last of the US military services to receive the F-35, and many observers say its commitment to the tri-service jet is lukewarm at best. However, the USN publicly insists that it is behind the programme.

 

"For me, the F-35C is really a key part of our future," chief of naval operation Adm Jonathan Greenert told the Senate appropriations subcommittee on defense earlier in the month. "It provides a unique and essential set of capabilities for our air wing and for our carrier strike group, effectively for the fleet."

 

The F-35C is expected to be operational with the USN in late 2018 or early 2019.

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25 juin 2013 2 25 /06 /juin /2013 11:50
UK/US trials review F-35 interoperability in simulated maritime scenario

20 June 2013 adsadvance.co.uk

 

Working with Lockheed Martin and the UK Ministry of Defence, BAE Systems have linked simulation facilities across five UK sites to create a common synthetic environment to evaluate F-35 interoperability with other UK military platforms.

 

Linking Air and Maritime

 

A recent trial saw Royal Navy, RAF and US Navy pilots operating the F-35 fighter jet during a live simulated maritime scenario with the Queen Elizabeth Carrier, a Type 45 Destroyer and Sea King helicopter. This is the first time that we and Lockheed Martin have linked our Air and Maritime simulation capabilities and mission system laboratories at multiple locations into one common battlespace environment.

 

Roles and responsibilities

 

Royal Navy, RAF and US Navy pilots flew the F-35 aircraft from Lockheed Martin supplied desk top simulators at our Samlesbury site, alongside two Royal Navy Sea King aircrew who provided command and control directions to the F-35 pilots.

 

Linking into the live scenario, Royal Navy air warfare officers from HMS DUNCAN were at the controls of the Queen Elizabeth Carrier lab in the Isle of Wight whilst in Portsdown, Royal Navy air warfare officers and fighter controllers from HMS DAUNTLESS operated from the Type 45 Destroyer lab.

 

Lt Cdr Mark Humphries, RAF Air Warfare Centre, took part in the trials. He said: “Bringing both air and maritime capabilities into a common mission scenario, we have been able to begin to test the interoperability between F-35 and other key maritime assets, something we have never been able to do before. Today we have taken part in a maritime scenario where the F-35 was the first line of defence for a Carrier Task Force in a hostile threat situation. Being able to evaluate interoperability concepts for passing commands and threat information via digital datalinks in real-time between air warfare officers on the Queen Elizabeth Carrier, fighter controllers on the Type 45 destroyer and Sea King helicopter and F-35 pilots has been extremely valuable."

 

Lt Cdr Jim Blythe, HMS DAUNTLESS, also took part. He said: “We have been able to fully exercise the Type 45 combat management system and gain a broader experience of digitally controlling fighters than has hitherto been possible. This means we are in a far better place to develop an informed Concept of Operations for working with the F-35 when it comes into service.”

 

World class simulation and systems integration

 

Tony Hall, BAE Systems F-35 programme manager for the Interoperability trials, said: “As a business we have world class simulation and systems integration capabilities which exist across a number of different locations. Working closely with Lockheed Martin and the UK customer we have created a distributed test capability linking UK Industry and Government assets across a secure network to provide a common synthetic environment.

 

"Not only does this help the UK customer get their heads around how the F-35 will integrate into operations, but it can also save a lot of time and money. We can identify interoperability issues early and fix things at this stage far easier than when the aircraft are built and in operation.

 

“It’s great that we can get the customer involved at these early stages to make sure that the aircraft and other cooperating platforms are doing the job they want them to do. It’s an added bonus that we are able to use this project to prompt improvements across a range of other military assets too."

 

BAE Systems are responsible for leading F-35 integration activities on behalf of the UK customer. The maritime mission scenario trial is the third out of a series of four planned scenarios which form part of the overall F-35 UK interoperability project.

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25 juin 2013 2 25 /06 /juin /2013 11:20
La US Navy a reçu son premier F-35 CF-6 (Photo Lockheed Martin)

La US Navy a reçu son premier F-35 CF-6 (Photo Lockheed Martin)

24/06/2013 par Nicolas Laffont – 45eNord.ca

 

La US Navy a reçu en fin de semaine dernière le premier exemplaire de son futur avion de chasse, le F-35C, sur la base d’Eglin, en Floride.

 

Il a été affecté au Strike Fighter Squadron 101 «Grim Reapers», chargé de l’entraînement des pilotes et du personnel chargé de la maintenance des appareils. CF-6, le premier exemplaire de série, avait effectué son vol inaugural le 14 février dernier. L’avion produit par Lockheed Martin devrait atteindre sa Capacité Opérationnelle Initiale entre août 2018 et février 2019, selon les dernières dates annoncées le 31 mai dernier.

Le pilote d’essai de la US Navy, le major Chris Tabert a été le pilote qui a convoyé CF-6 à destination. L’année dernière, il est devenu le premier pilote d’essai militaire à avoir volé toutes les variantes du F-35.

«Nous sommes engagés aux côtés de la Marine pour la vision qu’elle a du F-35 qui va révolutionner la puissance de combat avancé basé dans les environnements de menaces actuelles et futures», a déclaré Lorraine Martin, vice-présidente exécutif et directrice générale du programme du F-35 chez Lockheed Martin. «Le F-35 représente la nouvelle norme en intégration des systèmes d’armement, maintenabilité, rayon d’action et charge utile, qui apporte une vraie capacité multi-mission pour la marine.»

Lockheed Martin est né en 1995, de la fusion des groupes Lockheed Corporation et Martin Marietta. Le siège social se trouve à Bethesda, au Maryland. Cette entreprise mondiale de sécurité et d’aérospatiale a un effectif d’environ 118 000 personnes réparties dans le monde entier. Elle se voue principalement à la recherche, à la conception, au développement, à la fabrication, à l’intégration et au maintien en puissance de services, de produits et de systèmes technologiques de pointe. En 2012, son chiffre d’affaires net a atteint 47,2 milliards $.

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20 juin 2013 4 20 /06 /juin /2013 11:20
Gene Colabatistto, Président de groupe, Produits de simulation, formation et services associés – Militaire, et Steve O'Bryan, vice-président du développement des affaires et de l’intégration du programme du F-35, ont signé un protocole d'entente au salon du Bourget 2013. Ce protocole d'entente identifie CAE en tant que fournisseur préférentiel de soutien à la formation du F-35 au pays, d’intégration des systèmes de formation, d’exploitation et d’entretien. (Photo: Lockheed Martin)

Gene Colabatistto, Président de groupe, Produits de simulation, formation et services associés – Militaire, et Steve O'Bryan, vice-président du développement des affaires et de l’intégration du programme du F-35, ont signé un protocole d'entente au salon du Bourget 2013. Ce protocole d'entente identifie CAE en tant que fournisseur préférentiel de soutien à la formation du F-35 au pays, d’intégration des systèmes de formation, d’exploitation et d’entretien. (Photo: Lockheed Martin)

18/06/2013 par Nicolas Laffont – 45eNord.ca

 

Au premier jour du Salon international de l’aéronautique et de l’espace de Paris 2013, mieux connu sous le nom du Salon du Bourget, des dirigeants de Lockheed Martin et de CAE ont annoncé avoir conclu une nouvelle alliance grâce à la signature d’un protocole d’entente en vue de services de soutien aux systèmes de formation pour le F-35 Lightning II au Canada.

 

À l’occasion d’une cérémonie qui a eu lieu au pavillon du Canada au Salon du Bourget, Steve O’Bryan et Gene Colabatistto, président de groupe, Produits de simulation, formation et services associés – Militaire de CAE, ont signé un protocole d’entente selon lequel CAE, dont le siège se situe à Montréal, est le fournisseur préférentiel de soutien à la formation du F-35 au pays, d’intégration des systèmes de formation, d’exploitation et d’entretien.

«L’industrie canadienne a joué un rôle intégral dans le développement et la production du F-35 pendant plus d’une dizaine d’années», a déclaré Steve O’Bryan, vice-président du développement des affaires et de l’intégration du programme du F-35. «La contribution industrielle du Canada à cet égard ne fait que commencer. L’alliance que nous avons conclue aujourd’hui est un gage du rôle que jouera l’industrie canadienne à long terme en matière de maintien en puissance de la flotte de F-35 ces 30 prochaines années et au-delà. Par ailleurs, cette alliance soutient directement l’évolution des systèmes de formation, l’une des capacités industrielles clés dont le gouvernement du Canada a récemment fait la promotion.»

«CAE et Lockheed Martin jouissent d’une relation favorable et de longue date à l’égard d’autres plateformes, comme le C-130, et nous espérons enrichir cette collaboration davantage advenant que le gouvernement du Canada opte pour le F-35, a affirmé Gene Colabatistto. La formation en simulation prend de plus en plus d’importance dans le domaine de la défense, car s’il s’agit d’une manière rentable de se préparer en vue des missions, et CAE veut faire en sorte que l’Aviation royale canadienne bénéficie des services de formation de calibre mondial dont elle a besoin pour atteindre les niveaux ciblés de préparation aux missions.»

Au même moment, la ministre associée de la Défense nationale, Kerry-Lynne Findlay, affirmait à la Chambre des communes, à Ottawa, qu’aucune décision n’avait encore été prise quant au remplacement de la flotte actuelle d’appareils CF-18.

C’est suite à la publication de plusieurs rapports, dont celui de la firme KPMG affirmant qu’il en coûterait 45 milliards $ et non 9 milliards pour l’acquisition des F-35 de Lockheed Martin, que le gouvernement Conservateur de Stephen Harper a décidé de relancer de zéro le processus de remplacement de sa flotte actuelle de CF-18.

Compagnie dont le siège social est à Montréal, CAE a été fondée en 1947. CAE compte environ 8 000 employés dans plus de 100 sites et centres de formation répartis dans environ 30 pays. L’entreprise, dont le chiffre d’affaires est de plus de 2 milliards $, fournit des services de formation civile, militaire et sur hélicoptère dans plus de 45 emplacements partout dans le monde et forme environ 100 000 membres d’équipage chaque année. De plus, la CAE Oxford Aviation Academy fournit de la formation aux élèves-pilotes dans 11 écoles de pilotage exploitées par CAE. Les activités de CAE sont diversifiées, allant de la vente de produits de simulation à la prestation de services complets comme les services de formation, les services aéronautiques, les solutions intégrées d’entreprise, le soutien en service et le placement de membres d’équipage.

Lockheed Martin est né en 1995, de la fusion des groupes Lockheed Corporation et Martin Marietta. Le siège social se trouve à Bethesda, au Maryland. Cette entreprise mondiale de sécurité et d’aérospatiale a un effectif d’environ 118 000 personnes réparties dans le monde entier. Elle se voue principalement à la recherche, à la conception, au développement, à la fabrication, à l’intégration et au maintien en puissance de services, de produits et de systèmes technologiques de pointe. En 2012, son chiffre d’affaires net a atteint 47,2 milliards $.

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15 juin 2013 6 15 /06 /juin /2013 21:20
CV 22 Osprey photo USAF

CV 22 Osprey photo USAF

Jun. 13, 2013 - By BARBARA OPALL-ROME – Defense News

 

Hopes to Repay With Future Military Aid

 

TEL AVIV — Israel’s Defense Ministry is asking the US government to guarantee billions of dollars in low-interest bridge loans for a Pentagon-proposed package of V-22 Ospreys, F-15 radars and precision-strike weaponry that it ultimately intends to fund with future military aid from the US.

 

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, when visiting here in April, announced that Washington “would make available to Israel a set of advanced new military capabilities” to augment Israel’s qualitative military edge.

 

At the time, Israeli defense and industry sources criticized the premature publicity generated by the Pentagon-proposed package, insisting negotiations on cost, quantities, payment terms and delivery schedules had not yet begun.

 

But in the past two months, MoD efforts to secure a US-backed loan for eventually US-funded systems on offer have intensified, with preliminary responses from relevant authorities in Washington expected later this summer, sources from both countries said.

 

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon aimed to advance the issue in meetings with lawmakers and Jewish leaders on Capitol Hill on Thursday. On Friday, Ya’alon is scheduled to fly to the Pentagon aboard an Osprey, where he will be greeted by Hagel ahead of their talks.

 

Under the novel, Israeli-proposed funding plan, US government guarantees would allow MoD to initiate near-term contracts for advanced, Pentagon-offered weaponry with cut-rate cash from commercial banks. Israel would pay only interest and servicing fees on the government-backed loan, with principle repaid from a new, 10-year military aid package that President Barack Obama — during a visit here in March — promised to conclude before the current bilateral aid agreement expires in 2018.

 

Israel is slated to receive $3.1 billion in annual Foreign Military Financing (FMF) grant aid through 2017, minus some $155 million in rescissions due to US government-mandated sequester. Those funds, sources from both countries say, have already been tapped to cover payments on existing contracts for Israel’s first squadron of F-35I joint strike fighters, heavy armored carriers, trainer aircraft engines, transport planes and a host of US weaponry.

 

“Basically, they’re talking about the US government assuming the risk of billions of dollars in loans to be repaid by the US government with FMF promised in the out years,” a US source said.

 

In a Wednesday interview, the US source characterized discussions as “very preliminary” and said he had not yet heard a definitive figure for the amount of government-backed loans sought by Israel.

 

A second US official added: “There are a lot of creative options on how to fund these advanced platforms.”

 

$5 Billion or More

 

Several current and former Israeli officials, all of whom asked not to be named, estimated MOD’s official request, once submitted, could well exceed $5 billion if the Pentagon agreed to include a second squadron of F-35Is in the prospective funding plan.

 

The pending request for bridge funding would likely include $1 billion for up to eight V-22 tilt-rotors; $500 million to retrofit active electronically scanned array radars into F-15I fighters and another $1 billion for a variety of air-to-ground weapons. A second squadron of F-35Is — if approved for inclusion in the package — would boost requested funding by nearly $3 billion, sources here said.

 

At this point, Israeli government and industry sources said MoD and the Israel Air Force are still mulling Hagel’s offer to include aerial refueling tankers as part of the security assistance package.

 

In a Wednesday interview, a Defense Department source said the White House’s Office of Management and Budget and the Congressional Budget Office would have to score the Israeli-requested loan to determine the servicing fees that Israel would pay in addition to interest and FMF-funded principle.

 

Aside from the Pentagon, he said the State Department, Treasury, National Security Staff and congressional leaders would be involved in the review process and that the requested US-backed loan would have to be approved by Congress.

 

Danny Ayalon, a former deputy foreign minister and ambassador to Washington who was involved in earlier bilateral negotiations on loan guarantees and security assistance agreements, noted that Israel retains more than $3 billion in unused guarantees as a result of an October 2012 agreement with the US Treasury. That agreement gave Israel four more years to use the remainder of the $9 billion in Washington-backed loans granted in 2003 and set to expire later this year, provided they are used to promote economic growth.

 

“The remaining $3 billion-plus in US guarantees cannot be applied to investments in military hardware. But it’s my understanding that they could be converted to the kind of US-backed loans you’re talking about, if our good friends in Washington decide that’s what they want to do,” Ayalon told Defense News.

 

No Strings, But Expectations

 

In interviews here and in Washington, US officials were loath to link the pending response to Israel’s irregular financing request to Jerusalem’s readiness to resume long-stalled Palestinian peace talks. All underscored Washington’s unconditional commitment to Israel’s security.

 

Nevertheless, a senior US source noted that the unprecedented uptick in security support from the Obama White House was part of larger confidence-building efforts aimed at “encouraging the Israeli government to take those risky, yet necessary steps toward peace.”

 

The senior source referred to Obama’s March 20 press conference in Jerusalem with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when the US president said, “I actually believe that Israel’s security will be enhanced with a resolution to this [Israel-Palestinian peace] issue.”

 

When asked if US strings would be attached to the multibillion-dollar funding package under review, the source replied: “It’s not a matter of quid pro quo. There won’t be strings, but there are expectations.”

 

Disavowing Israel's Deputy Defense Minister

 

Bilateral discussion on US-backed loans and up to $37 billion in addition FMF aid through 2028 comes at a time of intensified shuttle diplomacy by US Secretary of State John Kerry, aimed at bringing Israel and the Palestine Authority back to the negotiating table.

 

It also comes at a time of political posturing within Netanyahu’s right-of-center Likud Party and of early signs of the fierce ideological divides threatening the staying power of Israel’s barely three-month-old coalition government.

 

In the run-up to this week’s meetings in Washington, aides to Ya’alon and Netanyahu took pains to disavow untimely and embarrassing comments by Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon, an adamant opponent of the two-state solution championed by the White House and an overwhelming majority of the international community.

 

In a interview with the online Times of Israel, Ya’alon’s deputy insisted the Netanyahu government — despite the prime minister’s stated, personal support for “two states for two peoples” — would block any peace deal that would result in an independent Palestinian state.

 

Aggravating the faux pas, Danon suggested that Netanyahu was duping Washington and the international community with his ostensible support for resumed peace talks, since “he knows that Israel will not arrive at an agreement with the Palestinians in the near future.”

 

An MoD aide told Defense News that Danon’s remarks were politically motivated to advance himself within the Likud Party, and that they do not represent Ya’alon or Netanyahu — both Likud Party members — or the government of Israel. Similarly, a statement attributed to officials in the prime minister’s office rebuffed Danon’s remarks, insisting, “The Netanyahu government is interested in renewing diplomatic negotiations without preconditions.”

 

A spokesman for Danon said the deputy defense minister’s remarks reflected his well-known opposition to the establishment of a Palestinian state and would not jeopardize his ability to carry out his duties at the Israel MoD

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15 juin 2013 6 15 /06 /juin /2013 11:55
photo S. Fort

photo S. Fort

14/06/2013 Michel Cabirol – LaTribune.fr

 

Canada, Malaisie et Inde. Trois campagnes export évoquées par le nouveau patron de l'avionneur Eric Trappier lors de sa conférence de presse avant l'ouverture du salon aéronautique du Bourget. Trois campagnes où Dassault Aviation veut croire en ses chances de succès.

 

Faut-il croire aux chances du Rafale au Canada ? Difficile même si le gouvernement canadien est très agacé par la facture en très nette hausse présentée par Lockheed Martin pour l'avion de combat américain, le F-35. Aussi, Dassault Aviation a décidé de jouer sa carte sans complexe avec le Rafale. "Nous sommes très volontariste au Canada", a souligné vendredi le PDG, Eric Trappier. Pourquoi ? "Le Canada, a-t-il expliqué, est un pays important pour nous puisque c'est un pays qui avait fait le choix unilatéral de participer au programme JSF, aujourd'hui F-35, dans le cadre de son développement. Ce choix pourrait être remis en cause. Les autorités canadiennes ont lancé un appel à informations pour étudier une alternative au F-35". Pour le nouveau PDG de l'avionneur, c'est donc "l'occasion de montrer que nous avons l'excellence avec le Rafale". Dassault Aviation est donc en train de répondre au RFI (Request for information) lancé par le gouvernement canadien. Au passage, il a fustigé les choix des pays européens, comme le Danemark et les Pays-Bas, qui ne semblent pas quant à eux remettre en cause leur choix d'acquérir des F-35 en dépit d'une facture qui gonfle. "En Europe, il existe un Buy American act qui semble laisser supposer que c'est toujours mieux d'acheter américain", a-t-il regretté.

 

Eric Trappier estime que le Rafale a ses chances au Canada. Pour plusieurs raisons. "Les militaires canadiens ont vu le Rafale en opération que ce soit au Mali ou même avant, en Libye", a-t-il fait valoir. Les militaires canadiens ont pu apprécier les performances opérationnelles de l'appareil. "Cela démontre très clairement que les avions de combat français, Rafale en particulier, sont au bon niveau pour répondre aux besoins opérationnels" de l'armée de l'air canadienne. Parallèlement, le patron de Dassault Aviation a rappelé que "le F35 a des difficultés". Notamment au niveau financier avec une facture sur les coûts de développement de plus en plus élevée et des coûts de support de l'appareil qui pourraient faire reculer certains pays acheteurs. L'heure de vol du F-35 serait deux plus chère que celle du Rafale, estime-t-on dans l'armée de l'air. "C'est l'occasion de montrer qu'en termes budgétaires les avions américains, même s'ils bénéficient de l'avantage du dollar, dérivent fortement dans leurs développements", a insisté Eric Trappier. Et de rappeler que "cela n'a pas été le cas du Rafale". "La Cour des comptes a montré que ce programme, qui a été décidé il y a plus de 20 ans, a eu 4 % à peu près de dérive budgétaire", a-t-il expliqué. Pour le PDG de Dassault Aviation, "le Rafale est un modèle dans ce domaine contrairement au F-35, qui a un développement qui dure et qui rencontre certaines difficultés techniques et surtout quelques problématiques budgétaires". Il a conclu que "les Canadiens se posent des questions sur le calendrier et sur la problématique budgétaire. Car, semble-t-il, le F35 va coûter cher en terme opérationnel".

 

Dassault très actif en Malaisie

 

Dassault Aviation est "très actif en Malaisie", a précisé Eric Trappier, qui a rappelé que l'avionneur avait envoyé à plusieurs reprises le Rafale surplace. La Malaisie, qui souhaite remplacer d'ici à 2015 sa flotte de MIG-29 russes, a présélectionné les trois concurrents européens - le Rafale, l'Eurofighter, fabriqué par EADS, BAE Systems et Finmeccanica, et le Gripen du suédois Saab - ainsi que le F18 de Boeing et le Sukhoi russe. Elle souhaite 18 avions de combat. Eric Trappier a réaffirmé que Dassault Aviation était prêt à installer une chaine d'assemblage du Rafale en Malaisie : "nous avons des partenariats industriels avec des entreprises en Malaisie. Nous avons commencé à travailler il y a deux ans. Nous sommes prêts à installer une chaîne d'assemblage si la demande se confirme". Et de souligner que "ce n'est pas le cas pour les autres compétiteurs". Pour le patron de l'avionneur, "c'est un grand avantage". Interrogé pour savoir si une chaine d'assemblage du Rafale était intéressante pour 18 appareils seulement, Eric Trappier a estimé que si les Malaisiens "la veulent, ils l'auront. Aussi, s'ils veulent se la payer, ils l'auront. Ce n'est pas compliqué de transférer une chaine d'assemblage".

 

Enfin, en Inde, "la négociation se poursuit", a-t-il précisé. Elle se poursuit sur deux volets : la vente de Rafale et sur les licences de fabrication de l'ensemble des composants du Rafale. Prié d'expliquer si le partage des responsabilités entre la France et l'Inde était un point de blocage, Eric Trappier a expliqué que ce travail entre les sociétés françaises et les sociétés indiennes se poursuivait. "Il n'y a jamais eu de blocage", a-t-il affirmé. Tout au plus "il y a des discussions volontaristes, qui sont quelques fois difficiles puisque c'est quand même un gros sujet. Mais cela se poursuit dans la très bonne humeur avec HAL (l'industriel indien choisi pour être le partenaire de Dassault Aviation, ndlr) et le ministère de la Défense indien. Il espère que cela aile "le plus vite". "Si on écoute nos amis indiens et si on s'écoute nous-mêmes, on aimerait bien finir en 2013. Quand je dis finir, c'est signer un contrat", a-t-il souligné. L'Inde a choisi le Rafale en janvier 2012 après un appel d'offres portant sur 126 appareils et potentiellement sur une option de 63 avions supplémentaires. "Des discussions sont en cours sur cette option", a déclaré Eric Trappier.

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14 juin 2013 5 14 /06 /juin /2013 11:20
Pentagon procurement chief “cautiously optimistic” about F-35 production ramp-up

Jun. 13, 2013 by Dave Majumdar

 

Washington DC -- The Pentagon's top acquisitions official says that he is cautiously optimistic that the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has made enough progress in its development to ramp up its production rates starting in fiscal year 2015.

 

"At this point I can say that I'm cautiously optimistic that we will be able to raise production as planned," says Frank Kendall, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics. "The development programme is executing close to plan, a couple of areas are slipping a little bit in schedule, but the slips are not dramatic."

 

As such, Kendall says unless some sort of serious new problem emerges, the Pentagon will be able to order a ramp-up in production of the tri-service stealth fighter later this "fall". The decision would be reflected in the President's 2015 budget proposal, he says, and will follow the existing five-year spending plan.

 

That means the Pentagon will buy 42 planes in fiscal year 2015, 62 in 2016, 76 in 2017 and 100 in 2018. Production is currently running at 29 aircraft per year plus a few more for international customers.

 

Kendall says the while sequestration cuts are a problem, the Pentagon will do everything it can to increase the F-35's production rates. "The F-35 is our highest priority conventional warfare weapons system," he says. "Because of that, we'll do everything we can to protect it."

 

Meanwhile is also good news on the sustainment costs, which are projected to come down "significantly", Kendall says. The Pentagon is working hard to reduce those lifecycle costs-which could involve adding competition to sustaining the jet. "I think we will make a substantial dent in the current projections," he says.

 

Kendall adds that the F-35's cost per flying hour should decline significantly after a review he expects to conduct in the fall. The current cost figures are based on older estimates by the Pentagon's Cost Assessments and Program Evaluation office, he says, but those need to be updated. "I can tell you that the number is coming down," Kendall says.

 

Kendall cautions, however, that the F-35 programme still has a long way to go. The jet is only 40% of its way through its flight-test programme, and there are still many aerodynamic and structural tests that have still to be completed. Additionally, software needs to be developed and weapons integration needs to be tested. There are also fixes to problems that were discovered earlier that need to be verified.

 

As always, software development could still be an issue. For example a critical design review for the next software block has slipped by 45 days. But there has been "nothing dramatic" that might derail the programme.

 

"It's too early to declare victory," Kendall says, but the programme is on a much more sound footing than it was two years ago. "There is plenty of risk left in the programme."

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13 juin 2013 4 13 /06 /juin /2013 16:20
Québec s'intéresse aux avions de combat

12 juin 2013 Tommy Chouinard - La Presse

 

Après avoir fustigé Ottawa pour son projet d'achat d'avions de combat, le gouvernement Marois lui demande de « favoriser » Lockheed Martin afin de contribuer à la relance des installations d'Aveos.

 

Mardi, Québec a confirmé une subvention de quatre millions de dollars à Lockheed Martin pour un projet de 31 millions qui doit créer 220 emplois à Montréal. Cette subvention a convaincu le géant américain de la défense de choisir Montréal pour faire des travaux d'entretien de moteurs d'avion, au lieu de transférer les équipements dans une usine de San Antonio.

 

« Maintenant, l'important, l'étape suivante, c'est de voir si on va être capable d'avoir des contrats des F-35, qu'ils soient effectués chez nous », a affirmé mercredi la ministre déléguée à la Politique industrielle et à la Banque de développement économique du Québec, Élaine Zakaïb.

 

Elle s'est ensuite défendue d'être favorable à l'achat d'avions de combat. Rappelons que Lockheed Martin fabrique le F-35. « Non... Écoutez... La question ne se pose pas. Ce n'est pas à nous de décider s'il y a acquisition ou pas des F-35 », a répondu Mme Zakaïb, visiblement embarrassée. Elle a ajouté plus tard: « On aimerait qu'une partie de ces contrats puissent être donnés aux entreprises du Québec, et Lockheed Martin est bien placé pour être capable d'en faire à partir de ses installations dans la région métropolitaine ». Si le fédéral choisit d'acheter des avions de combat, « j'espère que le contenu canadien sera un critère et que ce sera possible que le gouvernement fédéral favorise une entreprise qui est installée chez nous », a-t-elle dit.

 

Le Parti québécois tenait un tout autre discours il n'y a pas si longtemps. En campagne électorale, la première ministre Pauline Marois se disait opposée à l'achat d'avions de combat. « Une partie de nos salaires, des profits de nos entreprises, de nos achats prend la direction d'Ottawa. Et là, ce n'est pas nous qui choisissons. C'est Stephen Harper. Il a choisi de subventionner les pétrolières, d'acheter des avions, des bateaux, des prisons. Ce n'est pas notre choix. Pour nous, c'est l'éducation avant les prisons, les familles avant les escadrilles ! » affirmait-elle.

 

Élaine Zakaïb a souligné que le contrat signé avec Lockheed Martin n'est pas conditionnel à ce que le fédéral achète son F-35. « Leur engagement de créer des emplois est clair, c'est écrit dans le contrat, et il y a des pénalités s'ils ne le font pas », a-t-elle insisté.

 

Rappelons que le gouvernement Harper a l'intention de remplacer sa flotte de CF-18. Il avait d'abord choisi d'acheter 65 F-35, mais un rapport indépendant dévoilé en décembre a révélé que la facture serait beaucoup plus élevée que prévu. Il a été forcé de recommencer le processus à zéro.  Quatre appareils sont maintenant considérés : le F-18 Super Hornet de Boeing, le Rafale de Dassault, l'Eurofighter Typhoon d'EADS et le F-35.

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11 juin 2013 2 11 /06 /juin /2013 12:20
F-35A AIM-120 missile

F-35A AIM-120 missile

Jun 7, 2013 ASDNews Source : US Air Force

 

An F-35A conventional takeoff and landing aircraft completed the first in-flight missile launch of an AIM-120 over the Point Mugu Sea Test Range, June 5.

 

It was the first launch where the F-35 and AIM-120 demonstrated a successful launch-to-eject communications sequence and fired the rocket motor after launch -- paving the way for targeted launches in support of the Block 2B fleet release capability later this year.

 

The Air Force F-35A variant has seen significant development in training and operations recently including the beginning of pilot training at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., the delivery of the first operational test aircraft to Edwards and Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., the first operational aerial refueling and the completion of high angle of attack testing.

 

"It's a testament to the entire military-industry test team," said Lt. Col. George "Boxer" Schwartz, F-35 Integrated Test Force director, who also piloted the flight. "They've worked thousands and thousands of hours to get to the point where we are today. It's fantastic to see that it's all paid off. We're rolling into a lot of additional weapons work in the coming months to put that expanded capability on the aircraft."

 

The F-35A 5th Generation fighter is designed to carry a payload of up to 18,000 pounds using 10 weapon stations. The F-35A features four internal weapon stations located in two weapon bays to maximize stealth capability. The CTOL aircraft can also utilize an additional three external weapon stations per wing if required.

 

The U.S. Air Force has established an F-35A initial operating capability target date of December 2016. By this date, the Air Force will have fielded an operational squadron with at least 12 aircraft along with Airmen trained and equipped to conduct basic close air support, interdiction and limited suppression, and destruction of enemy air defense operations in a contested environment.

 

Moving into the active phase of weapons test is another large step toward delivering Block 2B software capability that will enable initial combat deployment.

 

"We've spent years working on the design of the aircraft, and many months ensuring that weapons could be contained within the aircraft and dropped as designed," said Charlie Wagner, F-35 weapons director. "This event is the result of tremendous effort and collaboration in the F-35 Enterprise, and marks a turning point in F-35 capabilities; the AIM-120 launch is one small but critical increment toward proving combat capability,"

 

The 5th generation F-35 Lightning II combines advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment. Three distinct variants of the F-35 will replace the A-10 and F-16 for the U.S. Air Force, the F/A-18 for the U.S. Navy, the F/A-18 and AV-8B Harrier for the U.S. Marine Corps, and a variety of fighters for other countries.

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10 juin 2013 1 10 /06 /juin /2013 16:20
F-35 Composite Component by Elbit Systems-Cyclone

F-35 Composite Component by Elbit Systems-Cyclone

Jun 10, 2013 ASDNews Source : Northrop Grumman Corporation

 

Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) supplier in Israel – Elbit Systems-Cyclone – delivered its first advanced composite component for the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter center fuselage produced by Northrop Grumman. This delivery is a significant milestone for the F-35 program, as it is the first composite part manufactured by a country committed to purchasing future F-35s under the U.S. foreign military sales agreement.

 

The composite component delivered is one of 16 unique parts to be manufactured by Elbit Systems-Cyclone under a seven-year F-35 agreement with Northrop Grumman, which was signed in December 2011.

 

"We're anticipating receiving more than 50 component deliveries from Cyclone this year, so this is a great start and shows Cyclone's commitment to the program," said Michelle Scarpella, vice president of the F-35 program for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. "With the first delivery under its belt, Cyclone has demonstrated that it is equipped and qualified to manufacture and deliver quality composite parts for the joint strike fighter aircraft, 19 of which Israel has committed to purchasing."

 

As a principal member of the Lockheed Martin-led F-35 industry team, Northrop Grumman performs a significant share of the work required to develop and produce the aircraft. In addition to manufacturing the F-35 center fuselage, Northrop Grumman designed and produces the aircraft's radar and other key avionics including electro-optical and communications, navigation and identification subsystems. Northrop Grumman also develops mission systems and mission-planning software, leads the team's development of pilot and maintenance training system courseware, and manages the team's use, support and maintenance of low-observable technologies. In 2012, the company delivered 32 center fuselages and is on track to exceed 2012 delivery quantities in 2013.

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10 juin 2013 1 10 /06 /juin /2013 12:20
JSM in internal carriage bay of the F-35 JSF

JSM in internal carriage bay of the F-35 JSF

Jun 10, 2013 ASDNews Source : Kongsberg Gruppen

 

KONGSBERG and Lockheed Martin have completed a fit check of the Joint Strike Missile (JSM) in the internal carriage bay of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft.

 

This test follows just four weeks after the JSM conducted a fit check on the external pylons.

 

As part of this second fit check, the JSM was loaded into the JSF's internal carriage bay and conducted a series of tests to prove the physical characteristic of the JSM complies with the requirements for internal carriage.

 

"JSM is a true fifth generation missile. The first long-range, stealthy and passive, sea- and land target precision strike missile developed for the JSF. The combined capability of the JSF and JSM provides JSF users with unique and innovative strike capabilities”, says Harald Ånnestad, President Kongsberg Defence Systems.

 

About the Joint Strike Missile

JSM is designed as a long-range, low-observable stand-off weapon able to engage both land and naval targets. It has been specifically engineered for internal carriage on the F-35A and F-35C variants of JSF to enable the aircraft to maintain its stealth characteristics.

 

    High probability of penetrating air defense systems through a combination of capabilities such as low radar signature, super sea-skim, variable speed, range and high-g maneuvers.

    Automated Target Recognition with Imaging target seeker for discrimination between red, white and blue ships.

    Advanced engagement planning system which exploits the geography in the area of operations.

    Target library including hit-point, fuze setting and optimal end-game.

    A two-way networking data link will provide Target Update, Re-Targeting, Mission abort and Bomb Hit Indication (BHI)

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6 juin 2013 4 06 /06 /juin /2013 12:50
Pilot Completes First F-35 Vertical Landing for Royal Air Force

Jun 06, 2013 (SPX)

 

Patuxent River, MD - Squadron Leader Jim Schofield became the first Royal Air Force pilot to complete a vertical landing of a Lockheed Martin [LMT] F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) Lightning II on May 28. Following the flight, Schofield commented on the F-35B's handling capabilities.

 

"The F-35 has truly revolutionised STOVL flying," said Schofield.

 

"With legacy types, such as Harrier, the pilot was always working hard to land the aircraft onto a hover pad or ship. Now with F-35B, at the press of a button the aircraft transforms into 'short take-off or vertical landing' mode whereupon the aircraft can take off or hover hands-off.

 

"This means pilots will require less training and operating the aircraft will be much safer than legacy types. It's a fantastic aircraft to fly."

 

The U.S. Marine Corps plans to declare Initial Operational Capability with the STOVL in 2015.

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6 juin 2013 4 06 /06 /juin /2013 07:20
Lawmakers Reject Withholding F-35 Funds

June 5, 2013 by Brendan McGarry - defensetech.org

 

A Republican-led defense panel in Congress easily rejected a proposal to withhold most funding for the F-35 fighter jet next year.

 

The House Armed Services Committee on June 5 voted 51–10 against the amendment sponsored by Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., while debating its version of the 2014 defense authorization bill. The legislation sets policy goals and spending targets for fiscal 2014, which begins Oct. 1.

 

Calling it a “good government issue,” Duckworth proposed freezing procurement funding for the Joint Strike Fighter program until Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel certified that the manufacturer, Lockheed Martin Corp., fixed problems with the aircraft’s software and several pieces of hardware, including the helmet-mounted display, fuel dump system and arresting hook.

 

“I want contractors to be held accountable and I want to fix the technical problems before we give them another $6 billion of taxpayer money,” she said during the hearing. “There’s nothing wrong with flying before we buy. In fact, most of us test drive cars before we [buy].”

 

The Defense Department next year plans to spend $8.4 billion to buy 29 F-35 Lightning II aircraft, including 19 for the Air Force, six for the Marine Corps and four for the Navy. The funding includes $6.4 billion in procurement, $1.9 billion in research and development and $187 million in spares.

 

Duckworth said she has “serious concerns” that buying production models of the planes while they’re still being tested — a practice known in acquisition parlance as concurrency — has led to developmental problems and a 68-percent surge in the projected cost of the program.

 

The Joint Strike Fighter is the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons program, with an estimated cost of $391 billion to develop and build 2,457 aircraft.

 

Duckworth cited comments made last year by Frank Kendall, the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer, in which he criticized his own department’s decision to begin production of the single-engine jet years before its first test flight as “acquisition malpractice.”

 

Many of the aircraft’s most vaunted technologies “remain untested and unready,” Duckworth said. Flight testing of the software package designed for initial aircraft operations, known as Block 2B, was only 5 percent complete as of last month, she said.

 

Rep. Michael Turner, R-Ohio, chairman of the panel’s Tactical Air and Land Forces subcommittee, said the amendment would effectively halt funding for the F-35 program, triggering delays and additional cost increases.

 

“We believe that we address the issues with the F-35 in the mark,” he said.

 

Turner was referring to language his subcommittee drafted in the legislation that would order the Pentagon to establish an independent team of subject matter experts to review software development for the program and submit a report to lawmakers by March 3, 2014.

 

Turner also cited as evidence of progress in the program a March report from the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of congress, subtitled, “Outlook Is Improved, but Long-Term Affordability Is a Major Concern.”

 

The Pentagon last week announced that the Marine Corps will begin operational flights of the F-35 fighter jet in 2015, followed by the Air Force in 2016 and the Navy in 2019.

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5 juin 2013 3 05 /06 /juin /2013 18:20
USMC AV-8B Harrier II hovering - photo D. Miller

USMC AV-8B Harrier II hovering - photo D. Miller

05/06/2013 by Paul Fiddian - Armed Forces International's Lead Reporter

 

The USMC Harrier II fleet is set to have its service life extended to 2030, with the F-35 Lightning II now further off entering service than originally expected.

 

Previously, the Marine Corps' AV-8Bs were due to be phased out in 2027 but, now, they'll remain in service for a minimum of three more years.

 

The USMC would have got its first F-35Bs this year but, now, their arrival's been put back to 2015 at best. Therefore, the USMC Harriers are being upgraded and in their favour is an abundance of extra airframes, spare parts and support equipment recently obtained from the UK, which no longer operates the Harrier.

 

The UK's Harrier Force was retired in December 2010 as a result of the SDSR (Strategic Defence and Security Review). The then-redundant airframes were initially stored but, shortly afterwards, sold to the US, after it became apparent that the F-35 programme was not proceeding as expected. Some now consider it ironic that the F-35's predecessor is, in effect, temporarily taking the new aircraft's place within the USMC.

 

USMC Harriers

 

The AV-8B VSTOL (Vertical Short Take Off and Landing) aircraft is a development of early Harrier models which, in turn, led to the UK's GR5, GR7 and GR9 versions. It features a redesigned wing and fuselage, a raised cockpit and other aerodynamic and systems enhancements, along with a weapons hardpoints increase.

 

Introduced in 1985, the AV-8B Harrier II remains in widespread USMC service and also equips the Spanish and Italian navies.

 

Powered by a Rolls-Royce vectored-thrust turbofan, it has a top speed of Mach 1 and a range of 1,200 miles. Its weapons include AIM-120 AMRAAM and AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, AGM-65 Maverick and AGM-84 Harpoon air-to-ground missiles, CBU-100 cluster bombs and Paveway laser-guided bombs.

 

The AV-8B Harrier II's operational career includes deployments in the Iraq War, Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) and Operation Odyssey Dawn (Libya).

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3 juin 2013 1 03 /06 /juin /2013 06:35
Canada’s F-35 Debate Very Heated Compared To The One In Australia

June 2, 2013. By John Newman - Defence Watch Guest Writer

 

Firstly I like to say that I enjoy reading your Defence Watch page very much, as an Australian it is interesting to see the Canadian perspective on defence matters, including the regular reporting of defence matters here in Australia too.

 

But I especially enjoy reading, what appears to be the very very heated public debate that is going on in Canada regarding the F35.

 

In Australia the F35 debate has really been far more isolated to mostly newspaper reports on cost, delays and performance issues, but with what has been very little reaction from the general public overall.

 

Yes of course when you visit the various defence forums there is certainly more heated debate with the pro and anti F35 advocates, but in general it is certainly not the ‘big’ issue here in Australia with the general public as it appears to be in Canada.

 

And especially so when both major political parties are not fighting each other over the F35 program as a whole.

 

I thought you might be interesting in reading this:

 

Parliamentary Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade - 16/05/2013 - Department of Defence annual report 2011-12

 

It is a transcript of a very recent  report to a Parliamentary Joint Committee on Defence by two senior ADF members, Vice Admiral Peter Jones and Air Vice Marshall Kym Osley, it makes interesting reading.

 

Before going into the transcript, I just wanted to recap the path to date of the F35 in Australian terms (I’m sure you are probably aware of some of these things, but I thought I’d recap anyway):

 

·         Going back to the early 2000’s, the original plan was to obtain 100 F35A’s to replace the remaining 71 Classic Hornets and 21 remaining F111C’s.

 

·         In 2007 the Government decided to retire the F111C’s early (2010) and replace them with a ‘bridging’ capability of 24 FA18F Super Hornets for a period of approximately 10 years, till around 2020.

 

·         Shortly after this the new Government decided to have 12 of the FA18F’s ‘prewired’, prior to delivery, for possible conversion to EA18G Growler Electronic Attack aircraft at a later date.

 

·         By the 2009 Defence White Paper and the 2009 Defence Capability Plan (DCP), the Government confirmed that the plan was for 100 F35A’s, with an initial 72 (three operational and one training Sqns to replace the Classic Hornets) approved and at a later date, around 2020, when the FA18F’s were to retire, consider purchasing the remaining 28 F35A’s.

 

·         The 72 approved F35A’s were to be ordered starting with 14 in 2012 and to be followed later by another 58.

 

·         In early 2012 the Government, due to ‘concerns’ about further delays and cost issues with the F35 program ‘delayed’ the majority of the initial order, by that time it was committed to 2 F35A’s  (currently under construction) and delayed the next 12 till 2014.

 

·         At this time the Government announced that it would also investigate ‘options’ so as not to allow a ‘capability’ gap to occur between the planned retirement of the Classic Hornet fleet and the introduction of the F35A’s.

 

·         During 2012 an Auditor General report on the Classic Hornet fleet confirmed that they should make it through to their planned airframe life which would be around the year 2020 mark.

 

·         Also During 2012 the Government confirmed that all the 12 ‘prewired’ Super Hornets would be converted to ‘full’ EA18G Growler configuration (which would have meant that half of the fleet would have to be removed from service to then be sent off for conversion).

 

·         In late 2012 the Government sent a Letter of Request to the US on price and availability of an additional 24 Super Hornets, pricing was obtained for 12 FA18F’s and 12 EA18G’s. (The concern in defence forum circles was that this may have meant that moving forward the RAAF would have a ‘split’ fleet of 48 Super Hornet/Growlers and an approximately same amount of F35A’s, the goal to have an ‘all’ F35A fleet would disappear for many decades to come.

 

·         In early May this year, 2013, a new Defence White Paper was released confirming that the Government was satisfied with the progress of the F35 program and reaffirmed that the commitment’s commitment to the approved 72 F35A’s would proceed.

 

·         Interestingly, it also announced that the plan to upgrade the ‘prewired’ FA18F’s would not proceed, instead an additional 12 ‘new’ build EA18G’s, at a cost of $2.94Billion, would be acquired instead (this meant that half of the Super Hornet fleet didn’t have to be pulled from service for conversion, and avoided the subsequent reduction in capability).

 

·         It also announced that the 24 FA18F’s would now remain in service till around 2030 (instead of the original 2020 date) and prior to that time it would be for a future Government to decide on replacing them with the remaining 28 F35A’s originally proposed to bring the fleet up to 100 F35A’s.

 

What this means is that by about the mid 2020’s the RAAF fast jet fleet will consist of 72 F35A’s (three operational and one training Sqn), 24 FA18F’s (one operational and one training Sqn) and 12 EA18G’s (one operational Sqn).

 

Hope this doesn’t seem too long winded?  I just wanted to paint a clear as possible picture of the ups and downs, and up again, of the Australian F35 programme to date.

 

Getting back to the transcript of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Defence report, and I won’t repeat it all here as you can read it at your leisure, but there were three interesting paragraphs on the cost of the F35:

 

“From a cost perspective, the approved AIR 6000 phase 2A/B stage 1—that is, the ‘first 14 aircraft’—remains within budget. The unapproved AIR 6000 2A and 2B stage 2—that is, the ‘next 58 aircraft’—remains within its Defence Capability Plan provision.

 

“There is now strong alignment between the aircraft acquisition cost estimates from the independent US Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation Office, the US F-35A Joint Program Office, and the Australian New Air Combat Capability Project Office. However, the aircraft costs are sensitive to US and partner nation purchase profiles. The actual costs for each successive low-rate initial production lot continue to be below the US congressional estimates. Our first two aircraft are expected to be around, or less than, the $130 million estimate that Defence has had since before 2011. Overall, in 2012 dollars and exchange rate at A$1.03 to US dollars, 72 F35As are expected to cost an average of A$83.0 million—unit recurring flyaway cost—if ordered in the 2018-19 to 2023-24 time frame.

 

“The latest official US congressional F-35A cost estimates, sourced from the publicly available Selected Acquisition Report of 2011, are consistent with the Australian estimates and indicate the cost of the F-35A—unit recurring flyaway cost—reducing from a price of about $130 million in US then dollars for aircraft delivered in 2014 reducing over time down to about $82 million in US then dollars for aircraft delivered in the 2020 time frame.”

 

It’s interesting to see that the RAAF’s first two F35A’s are going to cost around $130m each, but it is expected that the 72 F35A’s will average out at $83m each.

 

Yes it is certainly an increase from the original estimates, but interestingly, over the years the Australian Government has always stated that it has made ‘provision’ for extra costs in the budget allowances anyway.

 

I suppose this is something that the Australian Government learnt a long time ago, just look at the significant cost increases in F111C project, that major Defence project costs are always going to exceed initial expectations, so it’s better to ensure that more money is allocated than not.

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2 juin 2013 7 02 /06 /juin /2013 11:20
F35 IOC Dates

June 2, 2013 by WiseApe – Think Defence

 

A Report to Congress posted on AviationWeek gives the IOC dates for the three versions of F35, along with their respective software blocks

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2 juin 2013 7 02 /06 /juin /2013 11:20
U.S. Air Force Agrees To Accept F-35 With Limited Software and Weapons Capability

June 1, 2013. David Pugliese - Defence Watch

 

From Aviation Week:

 

The U.S. Air Force, by far the largest presumed user of the F-35 fighter, has agreed to declare initial operational capability with a much more limited software and weapons capability that initially planned, according to a report sent to Congress May 31.

 

The Air Force now plans to declare initial operational capability (IOC) with 12 F-35As (and trained pilots and maintainers) in December 2016, before the long-awaited 3F software package is fully tested. The service previously planned to wait for the 3F package because it allows for an expanded engagement envelope and more diverse weapons.

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1 juin 2013 6 01 /06 /juin /2013 21:20
F-35: le Canada examinera de plus près les nouvelles données américaines

Un F-35B largue une bombe guidée de 453 kg (Photo: Archives/Lockheed Martin)

 

01/06/2013 par Jacques N. Godbout – 45eNord.ca

 

Les données américaines du Bureau du Programme d’avions de combat interarmées ayant été fournies au Congrès américain le 23 mai, des responsables du gouvernement canadien vont rencontrer des responsables américains afin de recevoir et clarifier les données propres au Canada pour la Mise à jour annuelle du ministère de la Défense nationale sur les coûts liés au F-35.

Conformément à l’engagement de fournir un compte rendu dans un délai d’au plus 60 jours, pris dans le cadre du Plan à sept volets, la Mise à jour de la Défense nationale de 2013 au Parlement sur les coûts du F-35 devrait prête au cours de l’été et, dit le Secrétariat national d’approvisionnement en chasseurs dans un communiqué, « déposée dès que possible».

Le Secrétariat national d’approvisionnement en chasseurs faisait d’ailleurs le point vendredi 31 mai sur les progrès réalisés par le gouvernement du Canada dans le cadre du Plan à sept volets relatif au remplacement de la flotte de CF-18, plan que le gouvernement Harper avait lancé en 2012 en réponse au rapport dévastateur du vérificateur général qui l’accusait d’avoir sous-estimé gravement les coûts d’acquisition du F-35 de Lockheed Martin.

Au cours des derniers mois, le Secrétariat a axé ses travaux sur le quatrième volet du plan, à savoir l’évaluation des options.

Il avait demandé le 3 mai aux entreprises pouvant offrir un avion de chasse pour remplacer les Cf-18, de donner leur avis du la méthode d’évaluation du questionnaire sur les capacités de l’avion, puis, le 31 mai 2013, on leur a présenté les questionnaires sur le prix et les retombées industrielles.

La méthodologie d’évaluation a donc été affichée vendredi sur le site du Secrétariat.

Cette méthodologie, les trois questionnaires et l’approche relative à l’analyse des options ont été élaborés par le Secrétariat et l’Aviation royale canadienne, dit le Secrétariat, «en plus d’être examinés et mis à l’épreuve par le Panel d’examinateurs indépendants qui se rencontre à intervalles réguliers et veille à ce que les travaux d’évaluation des options soient menés de façon rigoureuse et impartiale», les examinateurs étant MM. Keith Coulter, Philippe Lagassé, James Mitchell et Rod Monette.

À lire aussi:

Le Pentagone annonce la première baisse des coûts pour le F-35 >>

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1 juin 2013 6 01 /06 /juin /2013 11:20
photo USAF

photo USAF

May. 31, 2013 - By AARON MEHTA – Defense News

 

WASHINGTON — The F-35 joint strike fighter will be operational for the US Marines in December 2015, followed by the Air Force in December 2016 and the Navy in February 2019.

 

The initial operating capacity (IOC) dates were delivered to Congress on May 31 and announced shortly thereafter.

 

IOC will be achieved for each service when they “acquire enough aircraft to establish one operational squadron with enough trained and equipped personnel to support the various missions prescribed by each service,” according to a Pentagon news release. The size of each squadron varies from service to service, with 10 aircraft for the Marines, 12 for the Air Force and 10 for the Navy, according to their service-specific releases.

 

Of the 2,443 F-35 jets the US plans to purchase, 1,763 will be the Air Force F-35A conventional takeoff model. The 2016 IOC date for the USAF is earlier than previously reported.

 

The Air Force and the Marines, whose F-35B jump-jet model will be the first to become active, will achieve IOC with the Block 2B software, which is being tested at Edwards AFB in California and Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. Although not the final version of the software, 2B allows most defensive capabilities, which would allow the US to use F-35s in conflict.

 

In comparison, the Navy has decided to wait on declaring IOC for its F-35C carrier variant for the more robust Block 3F software upgrade, according to a Navy spokesperson.

 

The Pentagon “made a good decision to go for initial operating capability with Block 2B software so they can take the F-35 to war if needed,” Rebecca Grant, an analyst with Iris Research, said. “It’s a smart move and tracks what they did with early IOCs for B-2 and F-22. USAF pilots can drop bombs and fire missiles from the F-35 with the Block 2B software.

 

“They’ll add other types of weapons down the road along with more capabilities, but this is a great start that puts the F-35 in war plans sooner.”

 

The IOC decisions are the latest in a series of good news that proponents of the fighter cite as proof the troubled program is on an upswing. In the Pentagon’s selected acquisitions reports released May 23, the program’s overall cost dropped $4.5 billion, the first time costs had decreased.

 

The setting of a firm IOC date shows that “the worst of the instability has been arrested, and possibly even a little bit reversed,” Richard Aboulafia, an analyst with the Teal Group, said. “It implies stabilization, and cost seems to be stabilizing too.”

 

 

That could boost confidence among international partners and possibly increase sales for the fifth-generation fighter.

 

“It’s very difficult for foreign customers to place orders while everything looks like it’s in free fall,” Aboulafia said. “Hopefully, there will be some confidence from this decision.”

 

Both South Korea and Denmark are debating whether to purchase the F-35 for their fighter replacement programs. The Korean decision is expected this year, perhaps as early as June, while the Danish decision should come in mid-2015.

 

“We appreciate the confidence in the F-35 program expressed by the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy with the announcement of their Initial Operating Capability (IOC) dates today,” Michael Rein, Lockheed spokesman, wrote in a statement. “Our top priority is to continue to execute our plan to support these IOC dates starting with the Marine Corps in December 2015.”

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30 mai 2013 4 30 /05 /mai /2013 18:20
Représentants d'entreprises canadiennes remerciés par Lockheed Martin pour leur participation au programme F-35. De gauche à droite : Peter Timeo, Dan Snyder, Michael Cybulski, Larry Glenesk, Tom Elias, Claude Baril, Jean Gravel, Gabe Batstone, Steve O'Bryan (Lockheed Martin), Kevin Russell, Mike Dorricott, Mark Van Rooij, Dave Mitchell, Doug Dubowski, Randy Joe et Scott McCrady. (Groupe CNW/Lockheed Martin)

Représentants d'entreprises canadiennes remerciés par Lockheed Martin pour leur participation au programme F-35. De gauche à droite : Peter Timeo, Dan Snyder, Michael Cybulski, Larry Glenesk, Tom Elias, Claude Baril, Jean Gravel, Gabe Batstone, Steve O'Bryan (Lockheed Martin), Kevin Russell, Mike Dorricott, Mark Van Rooij, Dave Mitchell, Doug Dubowski, Randy Joe et Scott McCrady. (Groupe CNW/Lockheed Martin)

OTTAWA, le 29 mai 2013 /CNW

 

 Lockheed Martin a accueilli aujourd'hui plusieurs entreprises canadiennes ayant participé à la conception et à la construction du F-35 au salon professionnel CANSEC pour leur exprimer sa reconnaissance. Chacune de ces entreprises a contribué au développement et à la production du F-35 Lightning II, depuis plus de 15 ans avant la date d'acquisition prévue du premier avion, créant ainsi des centaines d'emplois au Canada. Plus de 70 entreprises se sont partagé 450 M$ de contrats, et les possibilités d'affaires pendant toute la durée du partenariat pourraient se chiffrer à 10 G$.

« Le partenariat avec l'industrie canadienne au cours des dix dernières années est précieux aux yeux de Lockheed Martin », a déclaré Steve O'Bryan, vice-président, Intégration du programme et développement du F-35 à Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. « Dès les premiers stades du programme, le gouvernement canadien a fait en sorte que l'industrie joue son rôle, et aujourd'hui, chaque F-35 livré comprend des composants canadiens. »

Parmi les entreprises canadiennes ayant participé à cet événement de reconnaissance, citons :

  • Apex (Nouveau-Brunswick), choisi récemment pour fabriquer des ferrures pour le fuselage avant et des tronçons de voilure conçus pour le modèle du F-35 à décollage et à atterrissage tactiques (CTOL) et pour le modèle porte-avions (CV).
  • Avcorp Industries (Colombie-Britannique) a été retenue par BAE Systems comme le seul fournisseur de l'ensemble de l'aile extrême, unique au F-35 CV.
  • Asco Aerospace (Colombie-Britannique) fabrique la cloison en titane la plus complexe du tronçon de voilure du F-35, l'importante structure des longerons et les cadres en aluminium du fuselage avant ainsi que les longerons en titane du bord d'attaque de l'aile extrême d'Avcorp pour le modèle CV de l'avion.
  • CMC Electronics (Québec) produit un émetteur récepteur optique pour Harris Corporation, utilisé dans près de 57 endroits différents sur le F-35. CMC fournit aussi un module de récepteur à laser utilisé dans le système de ciblage électro-optique.
  • Celestica (Ontario) produit plus de 15 cartes de circuits imprimés pour le système de gestion thermique de l'électricité (PTMS) du F-35. Les composants sont envoyés à Honeywell Aerospace, à Toronto, pour leur assemblage dans un sous-système complexe de contrôle.
  • Composites Atlantic (Nouvelle-Écosse) fabrique le revêtement externe du contour pour Northrop Grumman. Les panneaux sont situés dans le fuselage central supérieur. L'entreprise fabrique aussi des garnitures composites complexes pour les portes de la soute d'armement.
  • GasTOPS (Ontario) conçoit et fabrique des capteurs uniques pour le moteur F-135 de Pratt & Whitney, installé sur tous les F-35. Ces capteurs fournissent des informations sur l'état des paliers réacteurs et des aubes en vue d'améliorer la gestion de la maintenance. GasTOPS développe aussi un capteur sur l'état des aubes du ventilateur de sustentation qui sera utilisé sur tous les F-35 à décollage court et atterrissage vertical (STOVL).
  • Handling Specialties (Ontario) a conçu et fabriqué un outillage d'assemblage unique utilisé dans la fabrication des ailes du F-35 dans les installations de Lockheed Martin à Fort Worth, au Texas. Handling a aussi fabriqué l'outillage utilisé dans l'assemblage final et la vérification systématique de l'avion.
  • Heroux Devtek (Ontario/Québec) doit assembler des boîtes en aluminium utilisées dans le système complexe de gestion du courant et de la chaleur (PTMS), développé et produit par Honeywell Aerospace, à Toronto. Ces unités sont utilisées sur tous les modèles du F-35. Heroux Devtek a aussi conçu, qualifié et fabrique aujourd'hui tous les loquets des portes des trains d'atterrissage principal et avant.
  • ITL Circuits (Ontario) fabrique des cartes de circuits imprimés pour l'éclairage externe utilisé sur tous les modèles du F-35.
  • Magellan Aerospace (Manitoba/Ontario) fait partie du programme F-35 depuis la phase de démonstration du concept, en 1998. Magellan a signé des contrats avec Lockheed Martin, BAES et Rolls Royce. De nombreuses divisions produisent des composants essentiels, notamment les empannages horizontaux pour décollage et atterrissage tactiques (CTOL), les logements de la boîte relais des moteurs du F-135, les portes de logement et le déflecteur de volet du ventilateur de sustentation de tous les modèles ADCAV.
  • NGRAIN (Colombie-Britannique) a développé un logiciel essentiel au système d'évaluation de l'état de l'avion (LOHAS), lequel permet d'entretenir le revêtement extérieur du F-35 pendant les opérations. Le système LOHAS aide les spécialistes de la maintenance à s'assurer, entre les vols, que le caractère furtif et l'aérodynamique du F-35 sont prêts et fournit une aide si des travaux doivent être entrepris sur l'avion.

Le F-35 Lightning II, chasseur de 5e génération, combine des caractéristiques avancées de vol furtif à la rapidité et à l'agilité de l'avion de chasse, des informations recueillies par capteurs et entièrement fusionnées, des opérations facilitées par réseau et un soutien de pointe. Trois modèles distincts du F-35 remplaceront le A-10 et le F-16 de la U.S. Air Force, le F/A-18 de la U.S. Navy, le F/A-18 et le AV-B Harrier du Corps des Marines américains ainsi que divers chasseurs d'au moins 10 autres pays.

Établie à Bethesda dans le au Maryland, Lockheed Martin, est une entreprise aérospatiale et de sécurité mondiale qui emploie environ 118 000 personnes dans le monde. Elle se consacre principalement à la recherche, à la conception, au développement, à la fabrication et à l'intégration et au maintien de systèmes, de produits et de services technologiques de pointe. Son chiffre d'affaires net s'est élevé à 47,2 G$ en 2012.

 

 

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30 mai 2013 4 30 /05 /mai /2013 17:35
Eurofighter

Eurofighter

May 30, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: The Korea Times; published May 30, 2013)

 

Bidding for $7.5 Bil. Fighter Program Set to Start

 

The bidding process for the $7.5 billion next-generation fighter procurement project will kick off at the start of June instead of midway through the month, the Defense Acquisition and Procurement Agency (DAPA) said Thursday.

 

“We plan to let bidders tender offers about a week earlier,” a DAPA official said.

 

The change in schedule aims at purchasing a high-end fleet of 60 multi-role fighter jets within budget constraints.

 

In order to replace Korean Air Force’s aging F-4s and F-5s with high-tech combat aircraft, Boeing’s F-15 Silent Eagle, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS)’s Eurofighter Tranche 3 are competing to secure the contract.

 

There is speculation that the bid price will go beyond DAPA’s budget and so the accelerated schedule will enable the procurement office to purchase the aircraft at reasonable price without a hitch.

 

“Our first goal is to buy 60 fighter jets within the budget. As we are scheduled to make the final selection by the end of June, we may not have enough time for negotiations if we start receiving offers from mid-June,” the official said.

 

“In addition, an earlier schedule will quiet criticism on the most-expensive procurement deal in our history.”

 

He added that DAPA had already informed the bidders of the schedule change.

 

The DAPA official also said that those involved in negotiations may not be able to make a decision on some clauses and will need to consult with head office, which will take time.

 

In order to secure the sale of 60 fighter jets, the three defense firms are throwing around “sweet deals” if they win the contract.

 

Eurofighter said that it will investment 2 trillion won in Korea’s indigenous fighter program, or the KF-X program, while Lockheed Martin said it will help Korea Aerospace Industries’ (KAI) T-50 be selected for the U.S. Air Force’s trainer procurement project.

 

Boeing promised to establish an avionics maintenance, repair and overhaul facility in Yeongcheon, North Gyeongsang Province, which will be its first such facility in Asia.

 

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29 mai 2013 3 29 /05 /mai /2013 11:20
F-35B celebrates 1 year at Eglin

May 29, 2013 ASDNews Source : US Air Force

 

The Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron-501 celebrated the one-year anniversary of flying the F-35B Lightning II here Wednesday, May 22, by continuing to train up the pilots and maintainers on the nation's newest fifth-generation fighter.

 

"This is a once in a lifetime chance to get to write the first chapter in a story that will last 50 years and beyond," said Lt. Col. David Berke, the commander of VMFAT-501 located at the 33rd Fighter Wing's F-35 Integrated Training Center.

 

The low-observable fighter is designed to meet the needs of the services for the next half a century, making use of integrated sensors, the active electronically scanned array radar, and the distributed aperture system. Combined they provide the pilot with increased situational awareness and survivability.

 

Being able to fly such a technologically advanced fighter brings great responsibility for cultivating tomorrow's defenders of freedom.

 

"We owe it to our country to get it right," said Berke. Under his charge, the unit is laying the foundation for pilot and maintenance training at Eglin and providing the fleet with highly-trained people as it moves forward toward providing the Marine Corps with an initial operating capability.

 

Since May 22 last year, the unit has flown 833 local training sorties and logged more than 1,100 flight hours executing about 40 to 50 sorties a week. "This is a bounding leap from the three or so sorties flown a week last year at this time," said Berke.

 

Other accomplishments include verifying joint technical data for weapons loading thus paving the way for instructions for all three services and the partner nations; authoring well over one-thousand maintenance procedures; and collaborating with industry and other F-35 sites to mature the jet, he said.

 

A senior leader with the F-35 program since flying the X-35 prototype aircraft in the early years and who is now the 33rd Fighter Wing's vice commander as well as an F-35B instructor pilot agreed.

 

"If you look at what they have accomplished in air-to-air refueling training, ground hot refueling, multi-aircraft missions, first fleet pilots trained.... you don't just see one-time events," said Marine Corps Col. Arthur Tomassetti. "What you see is a pattern of not just demonstrating new capability but turning it into repeatable and routine operations."

 

By being able to refuel with a truck planeside while the jet is running has allowed the unit to "increase its ability to turn sorties by 40 percent," he said. The hot refueling allowed eight F-35s to fly 16 sorties in three hours recently.

 

In addition to the unit accomplishments made locally, VMFAT-501 has been the catalyst to accomplishments at Marine Fighter Attack Squadron-121 at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz.

 

VMFA-121 is the first operational fleet squadron anywhere in the world for the F-35 and comprised of flyers and maintainers trained at Eglin, according to Berke. Just last week a pilot trained here made his first vertical landing at Yuma. This feature allows the pilot to hover the fighter and set it down much like a helicopter.

 

"The ability to land in austere conditions is a key difference with the B variant of the F-35," said Berke. The Marines are planning to train the same way at Eglin in the fall.

 

For the upcoming year of flying, the Eglin unit also looks forward to receiving more jets to include its first Block 2A aircraft which means a software upgrade and increased capability, he said.

 

"We'll grow to 18 jets by this time next year," said Marine Corps Capt. Mario Valle, a maintenance officer at the training squadron. "And in the next couple weeks we are ready to welcome a third United Kingdom pilot and UK jet."

 

The Marines set another first this past year by hosting the first international pilots and maintainers imbedded at an F-35 training squadron. There are 14 maintainers and two pilots from the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy working seamlessly with the unit, said Valle.

 

As Valle reflected upon the past year he cited the team efforts by Lockheed Martin, Pratt and Whitney, Rolls Royce, the Marine Corps, Navy, the Air Force and operational test as key to past performance and the outlook for the future achievements.

 

"Our success has been based on relationships."

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29 mai 2013 3 29 /05 /mai /2013 07:20
Photo Lockheed Martin

Photo Lockheed Martin

May 28, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: US Department of Defense; issued May 24, 2013)

 

Defense Department Press Briefing on the State of the Air Force in the Pentagon Briefing Room (excerpt)

 

Excerpts from a May 24 media briefing by Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, and Director of Air Force Public Affairs Brig. Gen. Les Kodlick.


…/…

DONLEY:
“The F-35 program has remained steadily on track over the past two years. Sequestration's impact on the RTD&E money for the program will likely impact software development to some degree, and sequestration cuts to production accounts will cut up to five new F-35As this year. The F-35 is a vital capability that we believe the nation needs to stay ahead of adversary technological gains, and it provides the multi-role capabilities that the anti-access and aerial denial environment of the future will require.

“The multi-service international nature of the program will also reap huge interoperability gains and future combat and will save us a lot of money along the way, just like the F-16 program did with the benefits of the multinational fighter program, et cetera.

“Currently, 22 F-35s are flying at Eglin Air Force Base, forming the backbone of our training fleet. They've flown over 1,200 sorties so far. We have four F-35As that have also been delivered to Nellis Air Force Base to begin operational testing. And we're excited that this program is on the road to success, and we're grateful that our international partners remain as committed to the Lightning II as we are.”

…/…

Q: Amy Butler, Aviation Week: I'd like to get a little more discussion about the F-35 going, if possible. We've got the SAR out now. We've been told for a couple of years now, since (inaudible) took office, that O&S was something that the department needed to get its arms around, that it was a big problem. And I know that each of the services have done their excursions to look into how they can contribute to a solution, but the SAR does not reflect that. According to the SAR, it's the same O&S costs, the same costs per flying hour, with some sort of a normalization to the F-16.

So how should we take that? Does the -- does the department have its hands around this problem? What are some of the fixes to get the cost per flying hour and the O&S costs down? And then I'd like to ask a follow-up, as well, on where you guys are on IOC and whether or not you're going to take the 2B or the (inaudible) software.

SEC. DONLEY: So just to start off -- and I'm sure the chief would -- would have some comments, as well on your last question, we will make an IOC notification to Congress next week. We owe them a report by June 1st. That's on track. It's been coordinated between the Air Force and the Navy, both the Department of the Navy and the Marine Corps. So we're working on that, and a report will go to Congress next week, I think on time.

First question was O&S cost. It continues to be an issue in the department. You didn't -- you saw the numbers that came out in the SAR. But I'll just offer that there is no final answer on O&S costs. I mean, we continue to work on O&S costs and efficiencies in the program, discussing ways to share costs, mitigate costs, make smart choices between how we structure contracts and logistics support between blue-suit and contractor support.

So there are lots of issues and opportunities to continue to work O&S costs. So, you know, I think it continues to be an issue that we look at, and we'll continue to work toward driving this cost down.

Q: OK, well, I guess the disconnect, it seems, is that we continue to be told this -- we, not just the media, but international partners, people who might want to buy this aircraft. But the official documentation doesn't reflect any of this. So what -- what about this discussion? How do we reconcile that? How is this not just rhetoric?

SEC. DONLEY: Well, it's ongoing discussion inside the department, and if -- if and as we have better data, that'll be reflected in program estimates going forward. So it just is a matter...

Q: (inaudible)

SEC. DONLEY:... it is a matter of continuing discussion. We're always trying to drive down the costs where we can, and are always questions internally to the program about how we do logistic support and how we cost operations going forward. So there's no single number that -- that, you know, sort of locks in for the lifetime of the program. This is a 30-year program-plus, so these numbers will adjust as we get smart, as we continue to deploy the aircraft, as we find efficient ways to operate it.

Q: OK. Well, General Welsh, can I get your input on this and your assessment of the normalization process for the F-16 cost per flying hour vice the F-35?

GEN. WELSH: Amy, I think that what's been going on for the last year almost now is trying to come to agreement on an apples-to-apples comparison between the two numbers. This has been worked very hard by the program office, by the Lockheed Martin program office, by OSD AT&L. There's a lot of people involved in this discussion, and I think we've normalized to a couple of numbers now, about $25,000 per flying hour for the F-16 C/D model and about $32,000 roughly for the F-35. That number may continue to adjust itself slightly, as we decide what factors are in or not, but that gives us an idea now.

That number is down from the original estimates, which is a good thing. We are also getting more and more practical data based on the number of sorties we're now flying, actually flying the airplane, and over time that will give us a much better feel for the long-term costs.

We're not flying in a fully operational mode yet. It's still in test. We're just starting our training programs. So that data has to mature. Just like every airplane program that has a projected cost for support and sustainment, we don't really know until we support and sustain it for a while.

Some of the equipment that will help with that process is still being developed, and once we get more fidelity on that over the next couple of years, I think we'll have a much better feel for what the airplane's going to cost. (end of excerpt)


Click here for the full transcript, on the Pentagon website.

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