Monday, October 26, 2009

F-35 follows F-22 into Money Pit

Reports are coming in regarding a review (re. audit) on the programs costs of developing the new JSF aircraft, the F-35. Seems Lockheed-Martin will need an additional $17 BILLION dollars.


"A preliminary Pentagon cost estimate that the F-35 could cost as much as $17.1 billion more than currently planned is prompting calls from congressional sources for the program to be reassessed and restructured."

The F-22 got into finical trouble early in its program life and the Prime Contractor started out calling it a "Strike Fighter the FA-22" selling an inherit capacity of most aircraft, fighter ones too, to carry bombs. This new capability was carried out to help sell the cost overrun that eventually led to the aircrafts demise (in a sense).

From Lockheed-Martin:

Lockheed-Martin acknowledges that modest risks to our cost and schedule baselines exist, but we envision no scenario that would justify a substantial delay to completion of development or transition to productions milestones. We are on track to field 5th Generation fighters to nine countries and 13 services"

True enough, but by their own admission they have completed 85% of their engineering development effort but completed only 2% of the aircraft flight tests. And to me, this is a huge warning flag. If you 'finish' out the Engineering Development phase before a substantial test effort is performed on the system how do you expect to pay for any item you find in testing that needs to be addressed before IOC? Pay for it as a "new" requirement? That is the business model used in the past. Or are they are counting on nothing cropping up during the remaining 98% of the flight testing? Seems too ambitious to me.

No wonder there is such a large push to eliminate the F136 engine program, which is an effort to field a second engine for the F-35. Seems they need the money to finish the basic program! What next, F-35 cookies?

BT: Jimmy T sends.


Buck said...

Pay for it as a "new" requirement?

Yup. Engineering Job Change Orders (JCOs), the lifeblood of industry.

JimmyT said...

Buck, that is the Lockheed Business Plan right there in a nutshell!!

BT: Jimmy T sends.

virgil xenophon said...

And all this was unexpected?

JimmyT said...

VX, No surprise here! I figured that since LMAS will not be building as many F-22's as they had thought they would, they are going to jack up the overrun on the F-35 and cover those lost profits!! I do love Lockheed.

BT: Jimmy T sends.