Tuesday, 22 October 2019
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US defence procurement

Articles taken from Flight International Magazine.

USAF rules out new F-15s and F-16s to narrow 'fighter gap'

Delays and cost overruns for the Lockheed Martin F-35 have not changed the US Air Force's plans to deactivate about 250 fighters later this year, says its chief of staff, Gen Norton Schwartz.

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Articles taken from Flight International magazine:

8th July: Ninth F-35 joins flight test fleet

Nine of the original 14 F-35 flight test aircraft have flown after the debut on 6 July of the fourth conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) variant, known as AF-3.

The 42min sortie began at 18:20, local time, outside Lockheed Martin's final assembly plant in Fort Worth, Texas, with company test pilot Bill Gigliotti at the controls. Area storms stopped the flight short, Lockheed says.

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Articles taken from Flight International Magazine.

May 27th: Lockheed waits on Dutch JSF decision

Lockheed Martin is facing a tense several weeks on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter programme, with the Netherlands' continued involvement in the project in limbo because of political instability.

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Articles taken from Flight International magazine.

1st June:  Israel conducts study on size of F-35 fleet

The Israeli air force is preparing a long-term forecast on its fleet requirements, as part of the decision process leading to its planned procurement of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. In its forecast, the service will attempt to assess its needs for manned combat aircraft 30 years from now. The work is intended to determine whether it has a need for more than the 22-25 F-35s being eyed for purchase.

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Articles taken from Flight International magazine.

Monthly audits show F-35 production plagued by parts shortages

US government auditors monitoring the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter programme have warned that Lockheed Martin expects delays of aircraft deliveries will continue for at least another year.

The Defense Contracts Management Agency (DCMA) also has expressed fears Lockheed Martin will never fully recover, citing parts shortage trends indicating the F-35 assembly line in Fort Worth, Texas, "will not be able to achieve or sustain [full] rate production".

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By Robert Gates, U.S. Secretary of State for Defense

Consider an account of just one White House meeting in March 1956.   President Eisenhower sat down with his top defense advisors to discuss the Pentagon budget.  The meeting notes show Eisenhower becoming exasperated that  "no one ever comes up to him and says 'let's get rid of something.'"

He then observed that it took the Army 50 years to get rid of horses.  Ike questioned why the new Navy missiles cost so much more than the weapons they replaced and queried why the Army should have a 1500-mile ballistic missile program, since, in his words, "the Army does not have the equipment to see where they are hitting."

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By Nick Paterson

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are not the latest or greatest scientific development to explode onto the technological battlefield in modern times.  On the contrary, UAVs have been around for some 50 years and flew missions during both the Korean and the Vietnam Wars.  They have also routinely been used to provide electronic intelligence, communications intelligence, and bomb damage assessment: cheaper and safer than manned aircraft.

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By David Hayes, Chairman of the Export Group for Aerospace and Defence (EGAD)

The history of US export control reform has been a long and, for the most part, unproductive one. There is, unfortunately, little to support any optimism that the current attempts, of which I am by the way an advocate, will result in the revolution which they seek to bring about. In fact, anything beyond a little evolution may be too much to expect.

That the current Administration has the will to make the changes is not in doubt; perhaps even a greater will than previous efforts, e.g. National Security Presidential Directive 19. The difficulty lies in the probable actions of both Congress and the Senate; particularly at a time when both chambers are as polarised as is currently the case after the healthcare reform legislation and with the 2010 midterm elections looming. Accusations of "Weak on national security" will be bandied about, both by opportunists and those with genuinely held concerns that any changes will be detrimental to US national security. My own view is that failure to make the changes will be of greater detriment but I am not an American.

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by Mike Burleson

If you thought the recent knife fights over the F-22 Raptor fighter cancellation was tough, you haven't seen anything comparable as the massive Joint Strike Fighter program implodes under the weight of immense costs in the next decade. At least, that is yours truly's prediction, as all the signs of disaster on a colossal scale, dare I say Biblical proportions, of this likely the most costly and important international weapons venture in all history. Listen to Winslow Wheeler's take in the Huffington Post:

"A financial disaster? How can that be? Visiting the F-35 plant in Fort Worth, Texas last August, Secretary of D Robert Gates assured us that the F-35 will be "less than half the price ... of the F-22." In a narrow sense, Gates is right. At a breathtaking $65 billion for 187 aircraft, the F-22 consumes $350 million for each plane. At $299 billion for 2,456, the F-35 would seem a bargain at just $122 million each.

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by Mackenzie Eaglen

While few expect any tough votes if the Senate's FY 2010 defense appropriations bill arrives on the floor this autumn, one outstanding question remains: Given that Members have largely acquiesced to all of President Obama's defense cuts, will Congress continue funding the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) alternate engine (F-136)?

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