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International Aerospace Discussion

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 28 Jan 2017 17:53

I think we can safely put the "Trump tweeted so the F-35 is going to be cancelled" meme to rest. Here is the exact memo from the SecDef. stating the scope of what they want to evaluate/assess. They wan't to reduce the cost, and likely in the short term pit the Advanced F-18 with the F-35C something that the USN (with regular SH) has been doing for the last 3-4 years where they have not built up their F-35C order-book (static orders and no production rate increase ) but have continued to buy Rhinos. The F-35C is the least mature of the three aircraft designs because this is how the program has been structured.

Notice that there is no mention of the USAF or the USMC having to evaluate the Advanced Super Hornet. The short term Navy purchase of the F-35 taking out the Marines is minuscule and the air-force is likely to make the difference. Under the McCain for example plan the F-35C production remain unchanged, while he added 90+ F-35A's and F-35B's over the five year production plan compared to what Obama had aimed at in his last FYDP.

Given the Navy's strong affinity for existing production lines expect this to continue till such point that their strike fighter situation improves.. Even the McCain proposal essentially called for this i.e. ramp up F-35C acquisition in the early 2020's and in the interim buy 52 more Super Hornets to make sure availability is high in the middle of next decade when the enterprise is going to be stressed from depot maintenance. Then when the F-18 units stop getting new aircraft, and they fully enter the multi year multi billion dollar FA-XX program the Navy will likely be inclined to buy more F-35C's to offset some of the delays and expenses on the new fighter. That's how they always work since their main priorities are obviously ships and submarines.

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The person Mattis has asked to lead this assessment is Robert Work, who along with Frank Kendall has been a strong supporter of the F-35 and has pushed the BBB through the services and Congress so he knows a few things about both the near peer competitiveness and how to bring costs down on programs. He is the current architect of the 3rd offset technology development and is sticking around for a few months to help out.

Assisting him would be Lt. Gen. Bogdan who will represent the JPO, and the US Navy's CNO and his team who interestingly said this just this past week -

https://youtu.be/PWSD5b0BeEI?t=1454

Meanwhile, the first 4 F-35C's have landed to NAS LeMore. The base will have 10 aircraft by the end of this year.


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby NRao » 29 Jan 2017 01:25

I was expecting countries like Poland to be potential clients for F-16 MII. But then Will Poland buy F-16s to replace its Su-22 and MiG-29 jets? Russia wary of Polish move

Previously, Poland had revealed that it could buy as many as 96 used F-16 single-engine supersonic multirole fighter aircraft fighter jets. These aircraft would however by overhauled and upgraded by a military plant in Poland, Defense News reported.


Everyone wants some form of make-in-their-nation.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Philip » 29 Jan 2017 20:51

"Mad Dog" Mattis has the F-35 firmly in his gunsights! With Trump's lead,the F-35 needs all its touted skills to survive!

http://ameriforce.net/mattis-take-aim-a ... -programs/
Mattis take aim at F-35, Air Force One programs
2 days agoby Bill Worth808
By Tom Vandend Brook, USAToday.com

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has ordered the Pentagon to launch a review on how to save costs on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, the Pentagon’s most costly weapons-buying effort in history.

Mattis’ memo, sent on Thursday, also calls on the military to determine whether the F-18 fighter can be modified to provide a “cost-effective fighter aircraft alternative.”

The Defense chief also directed the Pentagon to look for ways to save money for the Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization program, which is responsible for developing a replacement for the current presidential aircraft, which goes by the call sign Air Force One when the president is aboard.

President Trump has blasted the $400 billion F-35 program for out-of-control costs. In December, he tweeted that “billions of dollars can and will be saved on military (and other) purchases.” He also criticized the higher costs of Air Force One and met with the CEOs of both Boeing and Lockheed Martin, which make the presidential aircraft and the F-35.

The F-35 program is slated to supply all the services and close U.S. allies with differing variants of the radar-evading plane. The plane has been plagued by problems with cost overruns, performance and readiness for combat.

On Friday, the Pentagon called the review a “prudent step.”

“This action is also consistent with the president’s guidance to provide the strongest and most efficient military possible for our nation’s defense, and it aligns with the secretary’s priority to increase military readiness while gaining full value from every taxpayer dollar spent on defense,” Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said in a statement.

By Tom Vandend Brook, USAToday.com

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 29 Jan 2017 21:02

Philip wrote:"Mad Dog" Mattis has t`irmly in his gunsights! With Trump's lead,the F-35 needs all its touted skills to survive!

nt’s guidance to provide the strongest and most efficient military possible for our nation’s defense, and it aligns with the secretary’s priority to increase military readiness while gaining full value from every taxpayer dollar spent on defense,” Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said in a statement.

By Tom Vandend Brook, USAToday.com



The exact order that calls the program " Critical" is posted, just a couple of posts above. Notice that his intentions are to bring the cost down on the program, and to see if the Advanced Hornet can be a viable alternative to the F-35 C. Out goes the "stupid" notion of the USAF buying the F-18 a type that won't meet its JSF requirements. The USN will be buying more supers regardless, be it the current block or advanced variant.

That is a reflection of the burn rates of their current fleet and the looming strike fighter shortfall in the next decade and into early 2030's. It's also a reflection of the fact that the Navy does not wan't to increase capacity at the depots since it involves manpower addition which is cost prohibitive in the long run. They wan't to buy 40-60 extra Supers so that once there is a large backlog at the depot in 2025-2030 time-frame (on account of airframes waiting in line for their SLEP/SLAP's) they can still meet their carrier air wing, strike fighter requirement. I've been talking about this for well over a year now in the International Navy thread.

As described in my earlier post, the US Navy's CNO just stated his commitment to a two tier F-35 and F-18 set up.He called the F-35C at a different level to even an Advanced and upgraded F-18 (Video also posted). The USN will be using the F-35 differently, much like the USAF uses the F-22A for example. This is reflected in the #'s they are buying. If you take out the USMC F-35C's the USN's fleet size will be less than 300, while the Super and Growler fleet > 600. Their mission vis-a-vis strike fighters is also different to the USAF which is the main anti A2AD force provider for the COCOMS. I predict the USN will reverse this in the 2030's where the FA-XX assumes the role the current F-35C's serve, and the F-35C+'s become the Super-Hornet of the fleet.

Also, note who the SecDef has asked to do the analysis. Bob Works was a strong proponent of the JSF and 5th generation fighters in the Obama administration. He is also highly regarded in the bi-partisan HASC and SASC and within the Republican NatSec community in general. He, like Mattis, is also an ex Marine. I wouldn't discount the fact that what is likely to come out of this in terms of recommendations is an accelerated procurement over the FYDP (FY18-FY22) to reduce cost, increase capability and recapitalize the F-16, F/A-18 (USMC) and Harrier fleets faster.

While folks infatuate with the total numbers acquired and those projections the real important metric is annual production/buy rate since that determines unit cost, and ultimately allows them to buy aircraft affordably. Total requirements can be tuned up or down depending upon the strategy and need at the time. Remember the F-16 requirement initially was for 600 aircraft, and the F-22 for 700+. Similarly, the USN required a bit shy of 500 F-18E/F'/G's and are likely going to have bought 700 of them. These things are fluid and are reviewed periodically

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby shiv » 30 Jan 2017 07:51

Stop Disrespecting the Turboprop
The original specifications for the A-X — the Air Force project that produced the A-10 — involved turboprop propulsion, based on a Lycoming T55 turbine. The authors of the 1968 concept formulation package noted that at slow airspeeds — up to 460 miles per hour — the turboprop had a significant thrust advantage over the turbojet and turbofan and this was greatest with slow speeds.

These attributes would enable short takeoffs and good low-speed maneuvering.

Turboprop powered A-10? :D
Image

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Neshant » 30 Jan 2017 09:15


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby NRao » 30 Jan 2017 22:08

Somebody is happy. Of dog and pony shows.

Trump says Lockheed Martin has cut $600 million from F-35 program

President Trump said Monday that Lockheed Martin has cut $600 million from its next lot of 90 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter planes, capping weeks of private meetings with Lockheed Martin chief executive Marillyn Hewson, and public criticisms of the program’s cost.


Impressed. Just shy of 7 mil per.

So we may bottom out between $75-80 mil? Not bad Don.
Last edited by NRao on 30 Jan 2017 23:21, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 30 Jan 2017 22:43

NRao wrote:Somebody is happy. Of dog and pony shows.

Trump says Lockheed Martin has cut $600 million from F-35 program

President Trump said Monday that Lockheed Martin has cut $600 million from its next lot of 90 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter planes, capping weeks of private meetings with Lockheed Martin chief executive Marillyn Hewson, and public criticisms of the program’s cost.


Impressed. Just shy of 7 mil per.

So we may bottom out between $75-80 mil? Not bad Don.


You could probably dig up statements from the PEO aiming for a 6% price drop from LRIP-9 during LRIP-10 negotiations. That would be between 6-7 Million price drop on URF of F-35A.

The URF of $85 Million (A variant) target is for 2019 orders i.e. the full rate production. This is Lot-13 and we should start seeing Lot-13 pre-production contracts being announced next year.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby TSJones » 30 Jan 2017 23:12

boeing has new space suit for its new space capsule crew.

http://www.nbcnews.com/video/nasa-unvei ... 4197187759

shoes by reebok?

hmmm, what will the russians/chinese reply with?

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby NRao » 30 Jan 2017 23:20

I was reading a post on a college sports chat site. One poster, after a good deal of confusion, happen to note that there is a move to mark posts as sarcasm by either posting the content in the color green or with a /s at the very tail end.

I think I will follow that latest trend here on out. Will place the blame on Trumpism.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 31 Jan 2017 01:34

Full article at source

Trump Exaggerates Role In F-35 Price Reduction

U.S. President Donald Trump, in his latest comments about Lockheed Martin’s F-35, overstates his role in the Pentagon’s ongoing price reduction of the costly fighter.
Although a much-anticipated contract for the latest batch of F-35s has not yet materialized, Trump claimed early Jan. 30 that he has cut $600 million from the upcoming low-rate initial production lot 10, estimated to be about 90 aircraft.

“I got involved in that about a month ago ... they were having a lot of difficulty, there was no movement, and I was able to get $600 million approximately off those planes,” Trump told reporters.

Trump also took credit for ending years of delays and cost overruns on the controversial program...

But cost information provided by the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) shows the average unit price has been steadily decreasing since the first low-rate initial production (LRIP) lot in 2007. The most recent Lot 9 contract, which the Pentagon imposed unilaterally on Lockheed in November after 14 months of negotiations, came in at $6.1 billion for 57 jets and included a $102.1 million cost for an F-35A. JPO Chief Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan has repeatedly said the goal is to get the price of the jet down to $85 million a copy by 2019.

Further, the Pentagon already is expected to get about $600 million in savings in Lot 10. Bogdan told reporters in December—before Trump was inaugurated—that he anticipated savings of about 6-7% per unit in the upcoming Lot 10 contract, which will likely be on the order of $8-9 billion for 90 F-35s. If Lot 9 comes out to an average unit cost across all variants of $107 million, a 6% cut is $6.4 million. Multiply that by the expected 90 aircraft in Lot 10 and that adds up to $578 million—just under Trump’s promised $600 million reduction.


They've probably finalized the contract already. My guess is that the outgoing Acquisition boss concluded negotiations and the new appointee would sign it.

Nice time to go back to what the outgoing USN Secretary said last month -

“This may be the easiest promise that anybody has ever made. It was going to happen anyway”

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Philip » 31 Jan 2017 14:37

From Janes' IHS:

Turkey and UK agree to develop new fighter aircraft

Kerry Herschelman, Washington D.C. - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

30 January 2017

Image tweeted by Turkey's defence minister, Fikri Isik, on 28 January of Turkey's Milli Muharebe Uçagi (MMU) project, also known as the Turkish Fighter Experimental (TF-X) project. Source: TAI via Fikri Isik

Turkey and the United Kingdom signed a heads of agreement to collaborate on the development of Turkey's indigenous fifth-generation fighter project on 28 January.

The agreement was signed in Ankara by BAE Systems and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) in the presence of the Turkish prime minister, Binali Yildirim, and the visiting UK prime minister, Theresa May.

The non-binding agreement paves the way for the signature of a contract between the two companies that could be worth over GBP100 million and pave the way for even deeper co-operation over the lifetime of the project.

Known as the Milli Muharebe Uçagi (MMU) project locally and overseas as the Turkish Fighter Experimental (TF-X) project, the programme aims to build a modern air superiority aircraft to replace Turkey's F-16s. Turkey selected BAE Systems as its first choice international partner for the project in late 2015.

May, who is reported to have made preparations for closer post-Brexit trading links her top priority for the Turkey trip, said, "This agreement [TF-X] underlines once again that Britain is a great, global, trading nation and that we are open for business. It marks the start of a new and deeper trading relationship with Turkey and will potentially secure British and Turkish jobs and prosperity for decades to come."

Yildirim stated also during his joint press conference on 28 January with May that the two countries have displayed a common will to improve their economic and security relations.

He further noted that the two countries had forged a strategic partnership in 2010. He added that TF-X "is a project supported fully by both the Turkish Republic and Britain. It is an important project that will further the strength of both countries in the defence industry field".

Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, after meeting with May on 28 January, said that Turkey and the United Kingdom can work together in solidarities, both politically and as members of NATO.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Indranil » 31 Jan 2017 16:26

shiv wrote:Stop Disrespecting the Turboprop
The original specifications for the A-X — the Air Force project that produced the A-10 — involved turboprop propulsion, based on a Lycoming T55 turbine. The authors of the 1968 concept formulation package noted that at slow airspeeds — up to 460 miles per hour — the turboprop had a significant thrust advantage over the turbojet and turbofan and this was greatest with slow speeds.

These attributes would enable short takeoffs and good low-speed maneuvering.

Turboprop powered A-10? :D
Image

This, I absolutely love.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby NRao » 01 Feb 2017 04:25

Jan 18, 2017 :: Air Force mulls low-end fighter experiment

Scorpion is one of several aircraft the USAF will examine during an experiment slated for this spring that will consider low-cost fighter options, USAF chief Gen David Goldfein told an audience at a Washington think tank 18 January. The experiment is not a competition and the service has not issued a request for information, Goldfein adds.

“Right now we’re running an experiment where we go out to industry and say what do you have that’s commercial off the shelf, low cost that can perform this mission,” he says. “We’re going to do this experiment and see what’s out there, and I’m expecting many of the companies to come forward.”

Over the past year, the air force has thrown around the idea of procuring a low-end close air support aircraft designed for permissive environments, dubbed OA-X. The service has discussed ordering a cheap, commercially available aircraft as early as next year and was examining two fully developed aircraft, Beechcraft’s AT-6 and Embraer’s A-29 Super Tucano. But service heads are split on the idea of buying additional aircraft to fight in permissive battles. In August, the USAF’s chief of air combat command doubted the need for a low-end fighter when he foresees threats growing in anti-access area denial environments.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 01 Feb 2017 07:24

Cosmo_R wrote:^^^"Meanwhile, Johnson is dubious about how far the government will go in allowing India to select its own weapons for the F-16. "

The Israelis seem to have had little issue with integrating a whole lot of domestic stuff with the F-16I Sufa

".... Conformal Fuel Tanks, dorsal spine, and numerous fairings and bulges for undisclosed equipment. Rumor has it that a lot of the equipment is only installed after delivery to Israel.



The SUFAs have a unique EW suite with both unique active and passive antennas. The bulges you see are housing for the electronics up the spine and the blisters and warts for the active elements of the EA self defense suite and for the MAWS. It's a modified version of what they used on the F-15I's and they have offered the same to Singapore for their F-15 SG's. In the case that the IAF ends up getting F-16's, I would recommend the SUFA's mission systems be adapted as opposed to an all out adoption of the USAF CAPES configuration since while the latter has some really good elements (mission computers, radar and IRST) the EW suite is unlikely to be addressed given how low priority these upgraded aircraft are going to be given the number of F-35's, F-22 and upgraded F-15's.
Last edited by brar_w on 01 Feb 2017 23:03, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 01 Feb 2017 23:02

F-35A @ Nellis AFB (Las Vegas strip in the background) - Red Flag 17-1

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They've removed the Radar reflectors/luneberg lenses...



Meanwhile the Marines practicing ADGR via the V-22


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Kartik » 02 Feb 2017 03:52

Myanmar in advanced negotiations to licence build JF-17 fighter

After deciding to purchase 16 JF-17 Thunder multi-role combat aircraft in 2015, Myanmar is now in advanced negotiations with Pakistan to also licence-build the third-generation fighter, defence industry sources in Yangon and sources close to the Myanmar Air Force (MAF) told Jane's in mid-January.

If an agreement is reached, Myanmar's bid to manufacture the single-engine combat aircraft - co-developed by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and China's Chengdu Aerospace Corporation (CAC) - could mark a significant step forward in the country's efforts to expand its local defence industry.

As the MAF phases out its obsolete fleet of F-7M Airguard and A-5C 'Fantan' combat aircraft purchased from China in the 1990s, licensed production of the JF-17 Thunder would also mean that the aircraft will likely become the MAF's workhorse over the coming decades in much the same way as it has moved to prominence within the Pakistan Air Force (PAF).

..

The first of 16 imported JF-17s ordered by Myanmar are expected to go into service with the MAF later this year. Speaking on condition of anonymity, sources told Jane's that these aircraft will be of the Block II variant, which was first rolled out from the PAC's Kamra plant in 2015 and which, unlike the Block I variant, features an air-to-air refuelling capability and improved avionics and electronics.

..

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 02 Feb 2017 07:02


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby NRao » 02 Feb 2017 19:21


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 03 Feb 2017 00:15

Sticking to YT, the F-35B's at Iwakuni got some company...


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby PratikDas » 03 Feb 2017 05:49

Government investigators reportedly concerned about defect in SpaceX rocket engines, says WSJ
But SpaceX says its engines are “robust”

Government investigators may be worried about a potentially dangerous defect found in SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets — an issue that could compromise the safety of astronauts who are supposed to fly on the vehicle as soon as next year, the Wall Street Journal reports. Specifically, the officials have identified a pattern of cracking in the rocket’s turbine blades, which drive the turbopumps that rapidly funnel propellant into the engines. It’s a hurdle that may require design changes to the Falcon 9, WSJ argues, and could further delay the first launches of the Falcon 9 rocket with people on board.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Austin » 03 Feb 2017 16:12

Russian Knights are getting new Su-30SM replacing Su-27 Flanker for Aerobatic Display

Image

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 04 Feb 2017 07:49

Donald Trump's first F-35 deal ;)

F-35A Drops Below $100M For First Time In Latest Deal

The long-awaited agreement for the tenth batch of F-35s, announced Feb. 3, reflects a $728 million reduction when compared to the previous lot, according to a statement from the Joint Program Office (JPO). This falls in line with cost savings the JPO projected in December. At the time, JPO chief Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan predicted Lot 10 would reflect a price reduction of about 6-7% per unit from the $6.1 billion Lot 9 contract, which the Pentagon awarded unilaterally to Lockheed late last year.

Lockheed on Jan. 31 missed the deadline to appeal the Lot 9 deal, and will presumably move forward with the work.

In the latest contract agreement, which covers 90 aircraft total, the price of all three variants of the F-35 is down significantly. An F-35A now costs $94.6 million including engine and fees, a 7.3% reduction from Lot 9. Meanwhile, a U.S. Marine Corps F-35B fell by 6.7% to $122.8 million, and a U.S. Navy F-35C dropped by 7.9% to $121.8 million.

The announcement is a boon to Lockheed, the Pentagon and President Donald Trump, who made headlines last week when he claimed credit for $600 million in cost savings on the forthcoming contract. Although the savings were already in the works before Trump took office, Lockheed said Trump’s personal involvement in the negotiations accelerated the deal.

“President Trump’s personal involvement in the F-35 program accelerated the negotiations and sharpened our focus on driving down the price. The agreement was reached in a matter of weeks and represents significant savings over previous contracts,” said Lockheed spokesman Bill Phelps. “This is a good deal for the American taxpayer, our country, our company and our suppliers.”

The unit price of an F-35 has been dropping steadily since the first batch. Bogdan has repeatedly said the goal is to get the price of the jet down to $85 million a copy by 2019, which is on par with the cost of legacy fourth-generation fighters.


A breakdown of the aircraft type and operators from BreakingDefense

Here’s the breakdown of who’s buying which planes:

44 F-35A for U.S. Air Force
9 F-35B for U.S. Marine Corps
2 F-35C for U.S. Navy
3 F-35B for UK
6 F-35A for Norway
8 F-35A for Australia (presumably the sale occurs only if they don’t send us those refugees…)
2 F-35A for Turkey
4 F-35A for Japan
6 F-35A for Israel
6 F-35A for South Korea


If they increase production and try to enter an early block buy we could see the Fly-Away cost reach below $90 Million by the next production bump.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Singha » 04 Feb 2017 12:07

about the so called low cost COIN plane scorpion , a10 mki or whatever....I feel the mission creep and gold plating will soon take it into cost structure of the "cheap" LCS ships and the complexity of JSF.

if they want low cost they should probably just buy the brazilian super tucano instead of local manufacture and endless modifications ... and integrate only a limited set of munitions rather than kitchen sink. and no need for heavy duty EW and comms gear either

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby NRao » 04 Feb 2017 13:15

Ah ha. Here we go. Something I said way, way back. And posted IIRC in the single engine or LCA thread on this.

Work: Human-Machine Teaming Represents Defense Technology Future

Automated systems use algorithms based on old data, he said, noting that the coming technology assumes a thinking adversary who is constantly changing strategies.

The best example of such collaboration is the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, he added.

The F-35 is not a fighter plane, it is a flying sensor computer that sucks in an enormous amount of data, correlates it, analyzes it and displays it to the pilot on his helmet,” Work said.


This from 2015!!!!!


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 04 Feb 2017 18:13

Singha wrote:about the so called low cost COIN plane scorpion , a10 mki or whatever....I feel the mission creep and gold plating will soon take it into cost structure of the "cheap" LCS ships and the complexity of JSF.

if they want low cost they should probably just buy the brazilian super tucano instead of local manufacture and endless modifications ... and integrate only a limited set of munitions rather than kitchen sink. and no need for heavy duty EW and comms gear either


The idea here is to take the missions that are currently performed by the F-16, F-15, A-10, and even the AC-130 and see how many can be offloaded to a lower cost platform. These missions tend to focus on COIN but there are a few things that are common in all that platform, how they do strike, how they do CAS, and what other missions besides these they perform in a low threat environment. If your platform is unable to perform a decent amount of work, you will still end up offloading most of these missions back to the above aircraft making the purchase less effective. There is no heavy duty EW (whatever that may be) and what they are likely to put in there is essential communications equipment that is a requirement to perform the mission or that is already being used in theater by the platforms currently performing this mission.

The Scorpion is most definitely not gold plated. Their design goal is $20-25 Million Fly-Away, at a sub $3000 CPFH. You will need your full communication equipment and Link-16 because this is how you communicate with friendlies in the air, or on the ground. It is designed with an internal bay that can house sensors and equipment already available to the USAF and in its inventory.

Same with payload, it can house a vast amount of munitions these platforms are currently using in theater. Their recipe to get performance and lower cost is to design a straight wing that offers great range and loiter with payload, and to use commercial of the shelf components in the cockpit, propulsion and other materials. I'm sure they'll have a look at the Super Tucano but to say that the Scorpion is gold plated isn't really accurate. It's essentially a truck, an empty shell that its designers have designed to accommodated a vast amount of equipment the US already has and already uses on some of these missions.

Even the old A-10 has some of the best USAF Targeting pods, can network, use smart munitions, has L16 and is even ROVER compatible (VDL being a capability that even the F-35 won't get until the early 2020s). There is a minimum set of capabilities that the low cost platform must possess that allow it to replace some of the missions of the A-10, F-16 and other TacAir assets. The goal is to provide a LOWER cost platform, and not aim for the lowest price at all cost. The idea is also to look at something that is affordable to use and not necessarily the cheapest to procure. You can buy something for $10 Million and replace 15% of the missions or sorties you fly in a theater X, or you could spend $25 Million and replace 50+% of the sorties you fly. The idea with this has always been to reduce the O&S cost in the AOR where higher cost assets are performing missions that do not require a vast amount of their capability that is consuming funds.

To do this you must possess a minimum threshold of capability across the mission sets that these aircraft currently perform (CAS, strike, ISR, etc etc) so that you see those savings on the other end. You don't see the savings until you make it capable enough to a point where it becomes your primary go to platform for those missions. Otherwise you'll end up buying a really cheap platform offloading a small set of missions too it while using the same old TacAIR assets for others. A $5 or $10 Million unit price difference isn't going to matter to the USAF all that much in procurement, but the platfrom needs to be capable enough and designed with enough hooks to accommodate current and future missions otherwise they won't see a lot of the savings they project to see once its fielded.

See A-10 capability (2013)- http://media.jrn.com/documents/A-10C_Capes_Nov_13.pdf



A good test would be to have the CENTCOM commander sit in there, be given a set of capabilities, platforms and to be asked " How many legacy strike fighters can you pull out of the COCOM needs for strike, CAS or ISR". . You wan't the answer to be high enough to allow the force provider to actually see some savings from the investment..otherwise it becomes a pointless exercise of fielding a very low procurement cost assets and really using it for a small subset of capabilities your current fighters perform and having no significant impact on the cost to support the COCOM needs.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby shiv » 04 Feb 2017 19:30

brar_w wrote:The idea here is to take the missions that are currently performed by the F-16, F-15, A-10, and even the AC-130 and see how many can be offloaded to a lower cost platform. These missions tend to focus on COIN but there are a few things that are common in all that platform, how they do strike, how they do CAS, and what other missions besides these they perform in a low threat environment.

In case no one else says it or no one has noticed, this is an acknowledgement that the weapons and systems designed to fight a peer like the USSR are too costly and do not provide the necessary bang for buck efficiency against a low tech asymmetric war adversary.

Before WW1 ravaged Europe - "modern" weapons were used to colonize the turd world - which included India, the Chinese, the Moors, Malays, Koreans and the Arabs. Back then high tech defeated low tech. The idea of peer-to-peer warfare between relatively "equal" adversaries started with WW1 - and continued right up to 9-11. (at least for the West). India started facing asymmetric war in the late 1940s and it only got worse after 1980. But that is a digression

Now there is a realization that high tech weapons do not defeat low tech adversaries. They hurt them but it begins to hurt the user to keep using them. Hence the reinvention of COIN aircraft.

China is now trying to "challenge" the US in a high tech "per fights peer" battle and they are doing it more affordably (for themselves) than the US. Nowadays all the signals I get from the US is fear and respect of China and IMO China is doing to the US what the US did to the USSR - that is outcompete them on technology which the US could afford and the USSR could not. Eerily when this happened to the USSR they were wasting themselves fighting asymmetric war in Afghanistan - with the Taliban being infused with just enough technology to wear out the USSR, China is now ready to supply just enough high tech weapons to low tech adversaries of the US to keep the US sledging against low tech adversaries while they struggle to keep the the tech edge against China.

Interesting times.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 04 Feb 2017 19:36

In case no one else says it or no one has noticed, this is an acknowledgement that the weapons and systems designed to fight a peer like the USSR are too costly and do not provide the necessary bang for buck efficiency against a low tech asymmetric war adversary.


Right. I think this is a point that is understood by most here. If you're going to perform low intensity operations with gear designed for advanced threats there is a price you are paying that is attributable to a capability that is not required. Generally, this is an acceptable cost since you do not need to perform these missions long enough to warrant a completely new platform. In the case of the USAF, they are expected to remain engaged in the CENTCOM AOR for a while still and feel that there are savings to be had by offloading many of these missions to a lower cost platform.

Over the last 15 years, they have already done so by creating, practical from scratch an unmanned strike and ISR enterprise by carving out a nearly 50,000 person strong component at a time it's manpower was on the decline (post cold war). The sheer number of unmanned orbits they fly now is mind boggling. The initial reapers are allready nearing 30,000 hour extended airframe life and require recapitalization. A lower cost Manned strike/ISR platform is one step beyond that. Overall sticking to just ISR, the number of combat air patrols demanding full motion video they have performed globally has gone up by 300% in 11 years. All of this growth has been carried by the unmanned enterprise, most by the USAF unmanned enterprise. And these aren't the same CAP's they were performing in 2005, or 2010 (meaning more of the same)...the ability to support with each CAP has gone up exponentially largely through upgrades --

Image

Image doing that with a Gulf-War technology, equipment and cost structure. You wouldn't be able to meet that demand.

My point was that have already moved to a lower cost structure and it has been enabled by technology, but also by a change in their operational concepts. A lot of the missions these ISR and light Strike drones perform now would have been offloaded to expensive cold-war ISR assets or worst, fast jets that cost way more.

On the new A-X, you won't see substantial savings if you offload only a small fraction of the missions and still require the legacy strike fighters to be committed to the AOR. You need to offload enough missions where the force provider can pull sorties out of the AOR and reap the savings that justify the investment. That may not mean the lowest cost platform in terms of procurement or support. It means a cost-effective platform given the current and future mission needs.

I don't get Chinese high tech "affordable" argument here either. Do you have a breakup of their ballistic missile program cost and the money they are spending to create a defensive A2AD Integrated air and missile defense system? The money they are piping in or are expected to spend on acquiring a large modern air-force..How much they have to spend to get to say a 4 or 5 carrier Navy etc etc?. There are large unknowns when it comes to how much they are spending to get to a high end military capability. We can most definitely not gauge cost by just looking at prototypes that number in the single or low double digits. At some point they will have to spend substantial amounts of cash to move from R&D to actual operational deployment in number. This across their services.

Much like the US that has a diverse set of threats across its COCOM's the Chinese too have varying degree of national security needs across the Indo-Pacific and beyond (From Bollywood to Hollywood as they say). From India on the East, to Japan to the west, they have disputes with practically all of their surrounding neighborhood, and many of those nations are emerging or established economies and militaries. This is simply in their "near abroad'. At some point they probably want to venture out and compete in the high seas and expand their interests farther away. The cost of all that is not yet borne out in their national security spending - spending that itself is obscure since they remain largely non-transparent. Great Power competition requires the ability to study your adversaries strengths and weaknesses and adjust and develop asymmetric capability. In the Cold War this meant a series of Offset strategies where the US stopped competing Tik Tok cycles and pursued a series of offset strategies. Assault breaker was the last of these and is most commonly referred to as a component of the second offset strategy. Same will happen here (from both sides) but you are likely to see multiple smaller offset investments with shorter durations. US will look for those, and so will China and others.

And yes, very interesting times.

Nowadays all the signals I get from the US is fear and respect of China and IMO China is doing to the US what the US did to the USSR - that is outcompete them on technology which the US could afford and the USSR could not.


And what "technology" would that be?

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Rakesh » 04 Feb 2017 21:27

Latest F-35 prices & percentage drop from previous buy
https://twitter.com/marcusreports/statu ... 0027097089

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Rakesh » 04 Feb 2017 21:29

brar...your analysis please :)

90 F-35s at US $8.5 billion = $94 million a piece almost 1/3rd what india paid a piece for Rafale...
https://twitter.com/abhijit_iyer/status ... 2370713604

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 04 Feb 2017 21:35

Rakesh wrote:brar...your analysis please :)

90 F-35s at US $8.5 billion = $94 million a piece almost 1/3rd what india paid a piece for Rafale...
https://twitter.com/abhijit_iyer/status ... 2370713604


I've posted details a couple of posts above yours. I had predicted $95 Million based on where they were aiming for during the negotiations. These are URF's for the entire aircraft (including engine) and include contractor fees. Lockheed and P&W sign to deliver at this cost since all contracts post LRIP-5 are Fixed Price. As I have been saying for months now the URF reduction happens at a higher rate every other block since post-baseline they increase production every other block. They have till now largely followed this model i.e. Ramp Up ---> Sustain ----> Ramp up. LRIP8 and 9 production volume was largely similar (50's per year) and LRIP-10 takes it to 90. The URF cost goal for the CTOL (complete system plus fees) is $85 Million at FRP-1, which is Lot-13 or approximately 2-2.5 years away from contract award.

90 F-35s at US $8.5 billion = $94 million a piece almost 1/3rd what india paid a piece for Rafale...
https://twitter.com/abhijit_iyer/status ... 2370713604


That is an incorrect analysis in your tweet. The deal signed with Lockheed does not include the engine. It includes the airframe, mission systems and Lockheed fees. The JPO negotiates separately with P&W and signs a different contract with them. Those contracts happened last summer (together for both LRIP-9 and LRIP-10). Your twitter link takes LMA contract and divides it by 90 which is an inaccurate way to do this.

The Government supplied information takes the URF values for each variant -

LRIP 10 – F-35 Costs:

F-35A: $94.6 million

F-35B: $122.8 million

F-35C $121.8 million


The URF's for the B and C are higher for many reasons. One being that there is added procurement (B variant propulsion costs are higher) and another is that there are unique components that must be procured in small quantities (only 2 C variants are produced in LRIP-10).

These are URF's.

Total contracts signed for LRIP 10 are -

- JPO cost ceiling with LMA - $8.5 Billion (payments are made over time, the final contract only defines the ceiling of those payments)
- JPO P&W - $1.5 Billion

Doing the math in your tweet this comes to $111 Million but that obviously includes spares, services, ramp up cost for future lots and a host of other items that are non-recurring. The breakup of cost quoted above are URF or Fly-Away recurring costs.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby NRao » 04 Feb 2017 21:45

shiv wrote:
brar_w wrote:The idea here is to take the missions that are currently performed by the F-16, F-15, A-10, and even the AC-130 and see how many can be offloaded to a lower cost platform. These missions tend to focus on COIN but there are a few things that are common in all that platform, how they do strike, how they do CAS, and what other missions besides these they perform in a low threat environment.

In case no one else says it or no one has noticed, this is an acknowledgement that the weapons and systems designed to fight a peer like the USSR are too costly and do not provide the necessary bang for buck efficiency against a low tech asymmetric war adversary.

.......

Interesting times.


Nice post.

However, there is the old dimension of politically correct war too. Which even last week woke up, and passed judgement, in Yemen.

So, although I agree with the gist of your post, it is still not complete. At some point in time a war degenerates into a politically incorrect event. And then we have a decision.

So, my thinking had always been, why not start of as a politically incorrect event.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Indranil » 04 Feb 2017 21:51

Rakesh,

India paid about $92 million per Rafale aircraft.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Rakesh » 04 Feb 2017 21:52

Indranil: I was just surprised when I saw the tweet. That is why I asked brar for an explanation. That tweet is an apples to oranges comparison IMHO. Thank you brar for the analysis.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby shiv » 04 Feb 2017 22:16

brar_w wrote:
I don't get Chinese high tech "affordable" argument here either. Do you have a breakup of their ballistic missile program cost and the money they are spending to create a defensive A2AD Integrated air and missile defense system? The money they are piping in or are expected to spend on acquiring a large modern air-force..How much they have to spend to get to say a 4 or 5 carrier Navy etc etc?. There are large unknowns when it comes to how much they are spending to get to a high end military capability. We can most definitely not gauge cost by just looking at prototypes that number in the single or low double digits. At some point they will have to spend substantial amounts of cash to move from R&D to actual operational deployment in number. This across their services.


I can tell lies and pretend to answer your question. But let me be honest and state my viewpoint - which is not "popular". Increasingly China gets "respect" from American sources because they (the Chinese ) are copying everything that Americans have been taught to see as the latest and greatest.

I doubt if the Chinese are anywhere close to where the US is in tech terms - but they are so good at copying - they don't just copy hardware - they even copy rhetoric and the language of pride and Americans fall for this. Just like there is a perception problem about Chinese power in India wherein China is considered an almost unbetable adversary who will out spend, outnumber and out-everything India - the exact same impression is being conveyed to the US for China and a fair number of Americans are falling for it.

But impressions aside - what China is also copying is the arming of America's adversaries - which is exactly what the US did (and does) to all its own real and perceived enemy nations. This sets up China as a nation that will usurp some of the US's the monetary gains of arms exports while helping to bleed US forces who have to fight enemies armed by a China whose weapons are claimed to be state of the art. This is where China poses the biggest threat. China is trying to copy and replace the idea of US exceptionalism with Chinese exceptionalism

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 04 Feb 2017 22:31

what China is also copying is the arming of America's adversaries - which is exactly what the US did (and does) to all its own real and perceived enemy nations.


That goes both ways. There are far deeper, and greater military-military ties between US-South Korea, US-Japan, US-Phillapeans, US-Taiwan and even US-India than any of the outfits China supplies too. And most of what they supply in military hardware is not going to send headaches to the US alone but regardless these are not high end systems. If I look at the higher end threat, its Russia not China that is supplying higher end systems to say Iran than China. What China supplies to NoKo is unlikely to send headaches beyond the crazy wacko that can launch artillery barrages and ballistic missiles in the region.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Viv S » 04 Feb 2017 22:36

Rakesh wrote:brar...your analysis please :)

90 F-35s at US $8.5 billion = $94 million a piece almost 1/3rd what india paid a piece for Rafale...
https://twitter.com/abhijit_iyer/status ... 2370713604

Flyaway cost for our Rafales was €91.7 mil for the single seat variant & €94 mil for the two-seat variant.

The F-35A's export flyaway cost is almost exactly the same as the Rafale right now ($99 mil) but by 2019 it should be about $10 mil lower.

Indranil wrote:Rakesh,

India paid about $92 million per Rafale aircraft.

Euros not dollars.

€91.7 million = $99 million
Last edited by Viv S on 04 Feb 2017 22:43, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 04 Feb 2017 22:40

Rakesh wrote:Indranil: I was just surprised when I saw the tweet. That is why I asked brar for an explanation. That tweet is an apples to oranges comparison IMHO. Thank you brar for the analysis.


The F-35A currently (Those ordered yesterday, to be delivered in 18/2019) has a fly-away cost approximately at par to the twin Euro-Canards. The curves for both are on opposite trajectories - The F-35 is in Low Rate production, and is going to transition to Full Rate production in a couple of years. The Typhoon and Rafale are likely reduce production rates in the medium term (following the initial bump that the Rafale has to do to get export sales out). The cost of higher capability here is offset by the higher production rates hence it is price competitive.


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