Sunday, January 22, 2017

This Fighter Program's Problems are Outrageous!

Time for another round of Name That Program!

(Any of this seem familiar?)
XXXXXXXX noted that:  
(1) XXXXXXXX has revised the XXXXXXXX flight test program by decreasing the data collection requirements that were originally planned; 
(2) program documents state that, although flight testing is behind schedule, program decisions to reduce test points will enable the XXXXXXXX to regain lost time and complete development testing in XXXXXXXX, as originally planned;  
(3) XXXXXXXX program documents identified numerous deficiencies relative to the aircraft's operational performance;   
(4) the most challenging technical issue is XXXXXXXX; 
(5) until these issues are resolved through software or hardware changes that have been adequately tested, the cost, schedule, and operational performance impact of resolving these deficiencies cannot be determined;

(6) the XXXXXXXX remains confident that it can correct these deficiencies;  
(7) in addition, XXXXXXXX that assesses risk areas in the XXXXXXXX program stated in XXXXXXXX, that operational testing may determine that the aircraft is not operationally effective or suitable;
(8) a XXXXXXXX preliminary operational assessment report, which is classified and based on limited data and analysis, identified 16 major deficiencies with the XXXXXXXX aircraft but concluded that the XXXXXXXX is potentially operationally effective and suitable;  
(9) the XXXXXXXX has consistently stated that the XXXXXXXX will be developed and produced within the cost estimates established for the program;  
(10) certain key assumptions on which the cost estimate was made have been overtaken by events;  
(11) program documents state that the current development effort is funded based on the assumption that problems would not occur during testing;  
(12) unanticipated aircraft deficiencies have occurred, and most of the program's management reserve has been depleted;  
(13) since the flight test program has about 1 year remaining, it is probable that additional deficiencies will develop;  
(14) correcting current and potential future deficiencies could result in the development effort exceeding the congressional cost cap;  
(15) the XXXXXXXX unit procurement cost estimates are understated;  
(16) these cost estimates were based on what has become unrealistically high quantities of XXXXXXXX aircraft that will be bought; and  
(17) more realistic assumptions indicate that, although the total procurement cost will decrease, the XXXXXXXX unit cost will be more than the XXXXXXXX currently estimates.

Answer below the fold. Drumroll.....

This was the F-18E/F program in 1998. Good thing this was the GAO and not DOT&E reporting. Of course even DOT&E was less of a micro-management focused bean-counter organization full of nay-saying morons during about the same timeframe.

Its interesting how the F-18E was getting all the benefit of the doubt at the time, considering it couldn't carry stores without some self-destruction, had the mother of all wing drop problems and got a pass on the range spec before they fixed the store pylons to add more drag.

And at the time of these reports the life cycle stress testing of the F-18E airframe was nowhere near where it would find the kinds of cracks everyone was making a big deal over for the F-35  years later in fielded F-18E/Fs. But unlike the F-35 program, the F-18 program did not find their problems through testing ground articles years earlier in the process.  Some of the F-35's test success in this area is no doubt due in part to lessons learned for the F-18E/F. It would just be nice for the ahistorical mouth-breathers to remember that the history is there instead of making up stories about how uniquely 'bad' the F-35 is. While "those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it", when you add in J.R. Pierce's maxim:
"Novices in mathematics, science, or engineering are forever demanding infallible, universal, mechanical methods for solving problems"

...Then the rest of us are doomed to forever hearing how bad something is just because those 'Novices' don't know WTF they are talking about, or they're someone  who wants to sell us their 'bill of goods' (aka B.S.).


Angus McThag said...

I guessed right about it being the Super Bug!

I was going to go with an earlier plane, but the language of the points made me think it was fairly recent.

Arkady said...

I was going for either F-22 or Super Bug, kinda on the mark!

The Business Insider article really got me at "Boeing's field record of delivering F/A-18 projects on time and on budget", the only word that popped up into my brain in response was "Nope!".