Mihir wrote:Let's try this another way, shall we? Why don't you provide:
- 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?
Major problems (req. hardware changes):
2. Fuel Dump Subsystem
3. Integrated Power Package
4. Transonic buffet
5. Heat damage - horizontal tail surfaces
6. ALIS - immature
7. Lightening protection - uncertified
8. Flight testing behind schedule
9. Software development behind schedule
1. Jitter being fixed with IMU device. Image acuity and latency addressed in VSI Gen 3 helmet (LRIP 7).
introduced and tested.
3. Reliability issues raised after a IPP failure in 2011. Malfunctioning valve identified.
4. No fix. Flight performance scaled back by modifying FCS.
5. New coatings developed
and currently being implemented.
6. Development proceeding; not critical for export customers.
7. Certification in 2014-16 time-frame.
8. Now running ahead on schedule with over 50% of the flight testing complete. Of the 10000+ hours accumulated to date, over 5000 were clocked in 2013.
9. Still running behind schedule. Block 3F software completion expected only by 2017.
Cost to Retrofit LRIP aircraft:
Total: $1.7 billion - average cost under $6 million per unit. Drops with every new lot -
LRIP 2: $16.6 mil
LRIP 3: $15.7 mil
LRIP 4: $14.6 mil
LRIP 5: $10 mil
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.
Trouble is you don't seem to have done the legwork. And if a cut of 400 fighters (original requirement approx 2850) paints a poor picture, what does it say about the cut of Rafale aircraft; 100 aircraft (out of 320)?
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.
Are you're going to rebut that argument with "Striker really" ? Basically, you've sidestepped the basic issue, (that a similar albeit less sophisticated system is already operational), with a sermon on how you would have managed the project. Specifically
, what part of the solution being implemented to fix the jitter do you think is unfeasible?
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?
Dear Sir, what you originally said was that 'when the aircraft goes supersonic its skin starts peeling off'. It had to be pointed out that the peeling and bubbling happened on specific areas near the exhaust and the entire skin didn't have to be replaced.
As for tests, I think you mean why didn't they test it at 2000K inside a supersonic wind tunnel.
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.
They've implemented a different coating for the horizontal tail plane.
Viv S wrote: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".
Add Italy, Turkey, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, plus smaller NATO air forces including Norway, Denmark and Netherlands. The only major western air forces not signed (and therefore 'laughing at concurrency') are the Luftwaffe and AdlA. As it happens, Germany is cutting Eurofighter orders while France cuts Rafale orders.
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.
Well, you should either come up with a estimate (even a tentative one) of your own, or refrain from vague generalizations like 'bloody expensive', which could mean anything from $5 mil to $50 mil granting you luxury of always claiming you were right.
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.
And how do the 719 problems compare with other fighter programs. Is it a high figure, is it a low figure? What' the figure for the F-22, what's it for the Tejas? What's been the progress between that calculation and present date? Without context, '719 problems' doesn't mean anything.
With regard to the retrofit costs; they've obviously been factored in, or the cost of concurrency would have been zero
A working, combat capable F-35 that is ready by the time the Rafale enters IAF service is very much a mirage.
Please post specifics not generalizations. Which block qualifies as 'working, combat capable' in your opinion? You need to decide, justify it, and then we'll see whether it'll be operational in 2015 or 2017 or 2019.
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.
How many of those countries have picked the Rafale so far? UK, Italy and Turkey are industrially committed to the F-35. Norway
have settled on the F-35 (at least partially because falling costs), with only Denmark still considering alternatives, though even its expected to follow suit. What is more likely are order cuts from Europe, and though their size is small relative to the total F-35 acquisition, they're still more than made up thanks to orders from Asia.
Mihir wrote:Nope, they have just decided to focus on fixing the original HMD. They haven't actually fixed anything yet.
... touted a fix ... which officials hope will solve jitter picture and lag time issues ... is expected to fix the jitter ... could fix the lag ...
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.
The IMU to fix the jitters has already been implemented on the Gen 2 and as of May 2013, it was being flight trialed along with the software was modified. The fixes are to be fine-tuned for the Gen 3, while improving the night vision.
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.
The F-35's time-frame is not concrete enough to warrant a potential Rafale substitution, but its still productive to factor in the AMCA which right now is absolute vaporware and will not be in service before 2035 (extrapolating from the F-35 and PAK FA programs)?
With regard to the PAK FA, while it will excel in the air superiority role, its design trade-offs make it less suited for strike missions than its peers. To add to which it doesn't have any equivalent to the DAS or EOTS, is unlikely to field comparable ESM systems or comparable range of air-to-ground munitions, and the extent to which non-Russian equipment or weaponry can be mated is still unknown.
However (for a change!) lets assume that it all works out fine in this case; fact is the Rafale's USP was it so called omni-role capability, now if the heavy lifting is to be done by the PAK FAs and MKIs, what's the point of blowing billions to merely fill the roster? We may as well stick to the Tejas and save ourselves a bundle.