Sunday, November 22, 2015

Hope in the UK that the F-35 program will change...

via BBC
Britain is to speed up the purchase of new fighter jets to step up its "aircraft carrier punch" Chancellor George Osborne says, as the government prepares to outline defence spending.
The move will be part of Monday's Strategic Defence and Security Review.
It means the UK will have 24 F35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft available on its two new aircraft carriers by 2023.
This has been burning up the conversation on the blog this morning so I spent a few minutes to get the actual article.  But wait.  They're talking by 2023.  That tells me that once again the Brits are "being cheeky".  The program office is still selling the lie that they will "bend the cost curve" so the Brits are being polite and saying that if you can do so then we'll buy the plane...check this part out and note the wording...
"By 2023, we will be able to have these jets - some of the most powerful in the world - the F35, on the decks of these carriers and Britain, second only to the United States, will be able to project power abroad in order to defend ourselves at home."
Well of course they will have the second most powerful carrier least for a year or two till the Chinese get their carriers one else except the French operate full size carriers these days and their ship is on its last legs.

But this last portion is what has everyone atwitter...
In Monday's defence review, David Cameron is also expected to commit the UK to purchasing 138 F35 jets overall and over a longer period of time.
This is the part where the Brits are being 'cheeky'.  What is the longer period of time?  Do you really think that a program line will be kept running over a 30 year period for an airplane that has this many problems this early in development and over a period of 20 plus years?

I don't.  Neither do the Brits.  They're practical.  They were simply being polite.  They were being nice.  They didn't want to laugh in the program office's face.

But make no mistake about it.  They know better.  Planes deferred are planes that aren't bought.  But make note about a part that I skipped but should be highlighted...
The 18 others on order will be used in the training fleet or in maintenance,according to the Sunday Times.
This tells us so much.

The planes that the Brits are buying NOW are worthless.  Only as training and maintenance demonstrators do they have value.  This tells us that the upgrade costs will be so high that the Brits balked.

And that's the rub.  Even for the Brits the costs are just too damn much.  Focus is solidly on the price of these planes for our allies now.  They didn't bend the cost curve and  its coming back to haunt.

This isn't good news.  This is hope in the UK that the F-35 will change...and they're backing it up by hedging their bets.... 

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