Viv S wrote:Mihir, let me again rephrase my question - are the problems with the F-35 i) unfixable, ii) prohibitively expensive to fix, or iii) prohibitively time-consuming. And what sort of margin would be reasonable in terms of cost escalation (5%,10%,15%..?) and delay (1yr,2yr,3yr..?)
Let's try this another way, shall we? Why don't you
- A detailed list of the problems with the F-35
- The proposed solutions
- The schedule to develop, test, and implement each solution
- The costs associated with each fix
- Probability figures outlining how likely they are to stick to those projected costs and timelines? Or better still, a probability distribution that shows a range of possible outcomes and the probability associated with each?
I will then give you all the numbers and estimates you want. If the above aren't know then I suggest we avoid engaging in further speculation. The only concrete figure I have is that the program saw a 70% increase in overall costs for 400 fewer fighters; and that is before the F-35 is nowhere near ready. It does not paint a pretty picture.
Viv S wrote:
The impression you're giving (without saying it outright) with regard to the HMD is that... its nearly unfixable because it so over-complicated/cursed. I would however like to point out that the F-35's HMDS is not the first-of-its-kind even if it is intended to be the most sophisticated, and the similar 'Striker' helmet
developed by BAE is already operational on the Eurofighter.
Striker? Really? If that's your argument, let us say that the F-35 is similar to the F-16 and be done with it, ja? And yes, I *am* making the case that the HMD is extremely complicated and will take a long time to fix. If the program managers wished to deploy a system of this sort, they should have done so on a less complex project that was largely ready for operations so that the overall program risk could be managed. Or even better, they should have sanctioned the development of the HMD and its associated sensors before the F-35 was conceived, testing it out on something like a T-38 or a modified Phantom/F-16/B-52. But no, they decided to go with brand new, untested systems everywhere.
Viv S wrote:The bubbling and peeling was observed specifically in areas near the exhaust when the afterburner was employed at supersonic speeds. The (false) impression you're giving is that the skin itself majorly faulty. And even if no solution is found and panels on sections of the horizontal tail-plane have to be replaced with a less stealthy alternative, the aircraft's overall VLO characteristics will barely be compromised especially compared to something like the PAK FA.
Dear sir, if the skin bubbles and peels when the F-35 flies on afterburners, it *is* majorly faulty. The fact that this problem was noticed so late in the program speaks volumes about the mess that program management was. As Spey says, how the hell did they not test the skin by simply putting it in an oven and checking if it maintained integrity at high temperatures?
As for replacing the panels with a non-stealthy alternative, do you know what area of the tailplane is affected? If the bubbling happens on the elevators or rudders, one can't just replace it with non-stealthy coating for it will compromise stealth all round. In either case, we don't know how Lockheed proposes to solve the problem, so any speculation is meaningless.
Viv S wrote:
What do we get when these issues are pointed out? Stories about how there are 75 planes flying already. The world laughs at the joke that is "concurrency", but that doesn't stop the fanbois from harping on about how awesome it really is (someone mentioned Sanku-esque methods of debate?).
Actually most of the world is an F-35 customer (most first-rate air forces in any case).
Ah, I didn't know that China, France, India, Russia, and Pakistan* were F-35 customers. The only proven first-rate air forces I see acquiring F-35s are the US, Canada, Britain, Australia, and Israel. That's five, not "most".
*Oops, did I just open a can of worms by calling the PAF a first-rate air force? I think I just did!
Viv S wrote:I've posted the concurrency costs as well which as per you are $[bloody expensive]/unit while the US DoD (which has no credibility in your eyes) is $6 mil/unit.
Sir, if you insist, after I narrated all that Ramayan, that Sita was kidnapped by Duryodhan and rescued by the great hero Kartikeya, I have nothing left to say.
Those LRIP costs and concurrency costs are meaningless because 719 problems, some of them very serious, remain to be fixed, and we do not know when or at what cost they will be solved.
Viv S wrote:
The only argument in this whole debate that has any teeth is that the US has the capability to pour as much money into the program as it would take to produce a working, combat capable F-35.
Which would imply that a working combat capable F-35 is not as much of a mirage as you've made it out to be.
A working, combat capable F-35 that is ready by the time the Rafale enters IAF service is very much a mirage.
Viv S wrote:
Even then, one wonders what it would cost a country like India to acquire the final product. And there are limits to which financial muscle alone can overcome massive technological, managerial, and organizational hurdles. The F-35 is beginning to show us those limits, IMHO.
3000+ units to be operated by over 15 air forces and navies. And as large as the hurdles, that's an unprecedented scale of manufacture.
So? Do those numbers automatically imply that everything will shortly be hunky-dory? It may just happen that some those European countries that have invested in the F-35 finally decide that it isn't worth the money and purchase Gripens or Rafales or JF-17s (:P) instead.
Viv S wrote:
... touted a fix ... which officials hope will solve jitter picture and lag time issues ... is expected to fix the jitter ... could fix the lag ...
Mihir wrote:Nope, they have just decided to focus on fixing the original HMD. They haven't actually fixed anything yet.
Don't look now, Viv, but I think you just strengthened my argument. "Hope" indeed. Maybe they should graduate to "prayers" and see if those do any good.
Viv S wrote:The flip-side is since the early 2000s the Chinese air defences have undergone a rapid and continuing transformation, with the proliferation of S-300 class systems, multiple classes of AEW&C aircraft, modern 4G fighters and vastly improved training standards. At a time when the Russians are working to expand their strike capability (with the PAK DA development), the Rafale can hardly be relied upon to prevail against a larger better equipped PLAAF.
Fair argument. But the Rafales are hardly taking on the PLAAF alone. The IAF plans to acquire the PAK-FA and AMCA as well.