Wednesday, March 12, 2014

F-35 "price sinks to US$80-85m" in FY2019 Dollars?

Some H8ters H8, Others are (Apparently?) 'Gobsmacked'

Hat Tip: 'Spazsinbad' over on

F-35 Numbers Growing, Prices Falling? 
Courtesy of 'Spazsinbad', I first read this at the Sydney Morning Herald website and wondered why I didn't see anything about it at any of the so-called 'leading' defense websites:

JSF price sinks to US$80-85m
Australia looks like paying a less than expected $US80-$US85 million for each F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft and that could drop if production ramps up. That's much cheaper than recent indications of over $US100 million ($A111.73 million) per aircraft. Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan, who heads the JSF acquisition program for the US military, said the price included profit for JSF manufacturer Lockheed Martin and was in 2019 dollars, accounting for inflation. That's less than the $130 million budgeted price for each of Australia's first two, which are in production set for delivery in the US later this year and next (Read it all here ).
The initial reaction around the web appears to be muted to say the least, especially compared to what it has been whenever hypothetical and amorphous outside cost 'estimates' have gone up. Could the Anti-JSF bias be any more blatant?

From the thread at the link above, I saw that the Euroshill was allegedly casting aspersions Gen. Bogdan's way, so I dropped in to find another Moronic Convergence at Defense-Aerospace. First de Briganti heads his 'piece' with:
Recent Statements by F-35 Program Chief Strains Credibility
Then, after opening with an 'incredulous' review of past cost numbers, he reports the JSFPO e-mail reply he received when he asked them to explain:
JPO spokesman Joe DellaVedova confirmed Bogdan’s figures in an e-mailed statement, adding that “The number [he] quoted is an affordability initiative we're working on with our industry partners.”  
He added that “Don't know if ‘contradiction’ is the right word to use or how you did the math or what is included in a FUC ... but the reality is we've been buying aircraft at a lower cost than what are in budget estimates” such as the FUC figures quoted above.  
“For example, in LRIP 7 (buy year 2013, delivery 2015), we negotiated with LM the price of $98 million for an air vehicle and we fully expect to negotiate a lower price in LRIP 8 and a lower price in LRIP 9,” he said.  
The $98 million cost quoted by DellaVedova is $28.8 million lower than the $126.8 million budgeted by the US Air Force for LRIP 7 aircraft, implying that the JPO was able to negotiate a reduction of 22% in the price of F-35A fighters

Where's the problem Giovanni?

Is it in your inability to do math: you can't or refuse to put two and two together without insisting it must be something other than 4? Or is it that you don't understand 'learning curves' and Economic Order Quantities? Somebody-- anybody!-- please, help that man.


Like Europe Needed Another Maroon: Diversity in the Strangest Places 

Evidently this Don Bacon character has found a European home, so that we now have a strange alliance formed between a European Defense PR Flack and an US Anti-Defense Isolationist.
Go Figure.
The Euroshill  gives Bacon a platform (again) to sputter from incoherently. His ability to determine what is a direct quote (hint: they are called quotation marks) and someone reporting what was said in a press release is apparently non-existent. But 'Non-existent' is still more than what I can say for his critical reading skills. (Is it possible for someone to NOT understand anything?) 
Example? How about the DoD press release (Emphasis mine) Bacon references:
Interim capability currently allows the F-35s to survey the battle space, absorb information and give the department a clear picture from an individual perspective, the general said. Meanwhile, he added, the software development aims to ensure not only that two jets can assess and fuse the information, but also that multiple systems can share and process the data -- systems such as F-22 Raptor fighters, Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft, B-2 bombers, satellites and ground stations.  
Bogdan explained that finishing interim capability as quickly as possible with the resources at hand will help the program move to the next development phase. So far, he said, airframe and engine production schedules are stable and predictable, measuring milestones in days and weeks, not months and years.
“It’s more important to know when those lines will come out so we can get them to those bases and start that stand-up,” the general said.
The developmental test program is 50 percent complete for 28 F-35s, Bogdan said. At this time last year, he added, the program office delivered about 36 airplanes, with plans this year to deliver 36 to 38.
Don Bacon's comment?
--"The developmental test program is 50 percent complete for 28 F-35s" makes absolutely no sense.
Pssst. Don. Look at the passage again. Keep looking at it until you realize the paragraphs are about the same topic: Interim Capability.
Bacon's comments on the DAS indicate a lack of technical knowledge impervious to reason, so I won't waste my time on them.  
Note: A friend e-mails me that he thinks Mr. Bacon is a retired Army officer. If so, I suspect he was the 'classification' of officer that Baron Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord warned us about.
The rest of the JSF Defamation League seems silent for now, but why do I suspect they are all just comparing notes to get their story meme straight?


Unknown said...

There are a lot of people who are going to be eating a lot of crow. :-)

Unknown said...

Where's the problem Giovanni?

The problem is he is paid by the Eurofighter Consortium and Dassault. SAAB appears to get him for free...

F-35 could be the most fantastic fighter ever built and cost $10m a pop. He wouldn't care, he'd still argue against it, because his paymasters pay him to do so...

Anonymous said...

I was wondering if the decision by Canada to delay its purchase will affect per unit price by much?

Eskodas said...

There is a huge misconception over the F-35 cost. If we look at 2001 estimates, add inflation to 2013 then look at the latest GAO we see that the aircraft is 20-25% over the goal, for the largest military project ever and its heavy mismanagement earlier in the program, that's not too bad, it could have been better though.