Friday, May 20

The F-35 Disaster

F-35: Dodging One Bullet, Taking Another.
And, finally, Lockheed can expect fallout from McCain's apparent belief the company is avoiding shouldering any of the cost overrruns caused by its poor performance on the program. Carter said the current cost-plus development contract only allows the Pentagon to withhold awards fees. But the contract is being renegotiated...
Is there any way to interpret the F-35 program as something other than an unmitigated disaster?

We will never build the quantities necessary to approach any economies of scale and all the other savings that were promised have already evaporated.

Then, to add insult to injury, LockMart continues to profit from American taxpayers.

I used to think F-35 was too big to fail, but now it's starting to look like the failure will be too large to salvage. We will start to lose our international 'partners' and end up building many fewer jets. Will anyone else (besides the Israelis, who we basically give them to), hold out to buy any?

I'm starting to think the B will get canceled outright. Will any Cs get built or will the Navy go with Super Hornets til they can get to UCAV? Probably some As will get built, at least.

Can a good argument be made that we should just cancel the whole thing and make do with upgrades to what we have? Would it be possible to re-open the 22 line? Can we stomach doing any more business with LockMart?

What was the mistake? Overreach. We thought we could do more, more cheaply, than we really could. In hindsight, we never should have tried to build the 'Joint' -- three versions with a common planform. We certainly should have built more 22s. We should have stuck with more incremental developments of 16s and 18s and UAVs.

The Pentagon and LockMart are probably equally to blame, but only one of those is profiting in the midst of this disaster.

I said it before, I'll say it again: it's a good thing we probably won't be fighting with a near-peer air force any time soon.
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