But...But...But...But...Tonight, I was curious as to how Aviation Week's ARES Blog would cover the news that F-35 Sustainment cost estimates were being lowered dramatically, and how the CAPE estimates to-date apparently involved some wildly unrealistic Ground Rules and Assumptions (GR&As). I should have let that 'itch' pass.
I suspect AvWeek must have taken exception to getting scooped by 'Slow Tony' Capaccio on a big aviation story, the kind that perhaps they should have found first. I 'suspect' so because when I dropped in to see what they had written, all they had was Sean Meade's '8/22 Frago' link to someplace with the rather dismissive title: Analysis: Lower F-35 Operating Costs Should Be Taken with A Pinch of Salt.
I clicked on the link and...gasp! It was the oh so cogent (/sarc) Giovanni de Briganti I've taken to task before. I (or anyone else for that matter) could go to his faux aero-news website almost any day to find some low-hanging fruit to debunk, so I'm usually not even tempted to bother....unless a presumably 'authoritative' website points to it, and even then I've resisted because of the whole "fish/barrel" thing. As usual, there's A LOT wrong with de Brigante's nonsense, but because it's late, and it's not worth too much of my time to beat down on this kind of stupidity, I'll just note the most egregious nonsense I found in de Brigante's so-called 'analysis' has the added benefit of also being the easiest one to explain to John Q. Public. I quote (bold emphasis mine):
The Marine Corps has also radically changed its F-35 operations to claim lower costs. Lt. Gen. Robert Schmidle, deputy Marine Corps commandant for aviation, told Reuters that the Marines would fly their F-35Bs “in STOVL mode just 10 percent of the time, far less often than the 80 percent rate factored into the initial estimates.” ...
...If STOVL is needed only 10% of the time, then it is, at best, a secondary capability, and is no longer enough to justify the F-35B variant’s exorbitant cost, both in terms of acquisition ($153 million, without engine, in LRIP Lot 5) and of operations ($41,000 per flight hour).
Furthermore, if STOVL operations are limited to 10% of flight activities, it is hard to see how Marine pilots will ever gain enough experience to fly STOVL missions from small, unprepared landing zones on the beachhead – the main, if not only, reason the Marine Corps says the F-35B is indispensable.Wow. Just. Wow. Let us note that Lt. Gen. Schmidle said they would be flying their F-35Bs (get ready to look for the key word here) “in STOVL MODE just 10 percent of the time".
STOVL "Modes" are for Doing 2 ThingsAnd you only want to be in a "STOVL Mode" when you are doing those two things. Can you guess what they are Mr. de Brigante? No?
How about 'take off'.....
|100th Short Takeoff|
Source: LM Aero Code One Magazine
|BF-4's First Vertical Landing |
Source: LM Aero Code One Magazine
Want to guess about what percentage of a normal sortie is spent taking off and landing? Way less than 10%. Which tells me the Marines will be practicing those STOVL takeoffs and landings quite a bit more than de Brigante's so-called 'analysis' was able to identify. Pffft. Not much of an analysis.
de Brigante's 'logic' above is akin to telling you that your car doesn't need brakes 90% of the time, so that must mean you don't need brakes.
Seriously AvWeek?You don't even cover the cost estimate reduction news, but you point to a juvenile attempt to diminish positive F-35 Program news.
I remember when Aviation Week was run by grownups for the aerospace community. Now?
|Frago Rock: Like another enterprise with a lot of silly nonsense, but with very little singing.|