Friday, August 05, 2016

F-35 News. They just can't push down the cost curve!

via Defense News.
The Air Force is facing a variety of demands, James added, and there simply may not be space in the budget to afford any more F-35s.
“Realistically speaking, given that we've had so much difficulty getting sequestration lifted, I worry about the money. I'm not sure where the money would come from,” she said.
Carlisle noted Aug. 2 that increasing the number of F-35s bought would boost economic order quantity, bringing the cost per jet closer to its $85 million target. On the other hand, moving slowly could lead to the Air Force spending more money upgrading fourth-generation airplanes that would otherwise be removed from service.
“I need more [F-35s] sooner to replace legacy airplanes and airplanes that are going to require money to do service life extension and do capability increases if I don’t replace the F-35,” he said. “So I would like to see the numbers go up to at least 60 if I can. 80 would be optimum, but given the fiscal constraints that we’re in today, 80 would be very, very hard to get to.”
And then this.
Boosting the buy in 2018 is an unlikely prospect because the Air Force would have to take money from other procurement accounts in order to do so, he said. Even then, it has few options. The service cannot make big cuts to its KC-46 tanker program without breaking its fixed-priced contracting agreement. Slashing other procurement programs, like the T-X trainer and Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, would not yield enough cash to meaningfully increase procurement.
“You’re left with two choices,” Aboulafia said. “You either grow the topline [budget]. Good luck with that. Or you take cash away from the bomber, which doesn’t appear to be likely.”
Ramping up to a rate of 60 per year in 2021 is still the current plan, James said, but that could change.
“We're working our way through the next five year plan, the [program objective memorandum] that we're putting together right now, and everything in that POM at this point, is still up for discussion,” she said.
You get the force of connection here?  That slimy ass Air Force General is doing his very best to boost the number of F-35's despite the fact that it hasn't completed development.

I wonder if the good general thinks people believe him when he talks about having to upgrade legacy aircraft and the implication that it would be a waste of money when we all know that these "early" F-35's require modification/upgrades that will make legacy upgrades look cheap in comparison?

But even better is the fact that the real goal is to up production in any way possible to push down the cost curve.  They couldn't get an allied country to go for early buys and the budget won't allow them to do it either.

This is just too good!

The budget train wreck is slow motion and so is the F-35 death spiral. 

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