UH60FtRucker
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F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Wed Apr 07, 2010 11:41 pm

I am loathed to start yet another F-35 thread, especially another negative one... but the program is simply sinning out of control. Lockheed Martin is proving themselves to be completely inept at cost control, the DoD is proving completely inept at project oversight... not to mention tone deaf to the rising sound of the war drums to cut DoD funding.

What the hell is going on here? Talk about the world's biggest project implosion.

Quote:
Including inflation, the government now expects each F-35 to cost an average of $133.6 million. But even that figure could swell to more than $150 million when revised estimates are completed in June.

Lockheed Martin counters this by saying:

Quote:
But Lockheed Martin spokesman Chris Geisel said in an e-mailed statement: "We can foresee no scenario in which F-35 unit costs are even close to the projections ... cited in the Inside Defense article."

Yet only a month ago, speaking before a Senate committee, DoD project managers said:

Quote:
The F-35 unit cost estimate is incomplete because the $114 million to $135 million "Average Procurement Unit Cost" , to buy 2,443 aircraft does not include any research, development, test and evaluation for the F-35. The best available estimate of those additional development costs is about $60 billion. When added to the estimated $329 billion to produce the F -35s, the unit cost vary from $139 million to $160 million.

...So it appears that the cost of the aircraft could very well approach those numbers. Those same officials reported that the first batch of 43 aircraft will cost approximately $201million per unit! But that the costs would go down over time, as the learning curve made production more efficient.

One of the division directors of the CDI, Winslow Wheeler, says that we cannot rely on claims that the "learning curve" will eventually reduce the costs of the F-35, and uses the F-22 as a prime example:

Quote:
Indeed, the F-22 program is an excellent precursor for the F-35. Both aircraft are "fifth generation" aircraft that combine "stealth" with complex long range, radar systems. ..... Both rely heavily on extensive computerization. .... Both programs employ concurrent development and production. .... Both are from the same prime contractor and to a large extent the same aviation bureaucracy in the Pentagon. .... There are no other contemporary US aircraft with a more closely related design, production, and bureaucratic heritage. Due to its more complex nature, the schedule and cost of the F-35 can be expected to experience more delays and increases in the future than the F-22 did. In other words, using the F-22 "learning curve" should underestimate future F-35 developments.

see further:

http://www.military.com/news/article...sts-set-to-soar-says-pentagon.html
http://www.military.com/opinion/0,15202,213006,00.html

It just does not appear that this program will ever meet the promises made.   
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Stitch
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F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Thu Apr 08, 2010 12:18 am

Well it's not too late to kill it and buy more F-15's (including the "Stealth Eagle") and F/A-18s...

It would be kind of karmic if the F-35, which effectively killed Boeing as a manufacturer of manned fighters, ends up bumping Lockheed-Martin out of the market and hand it back to Boeing.
 
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par13del
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F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:23 am

Quoting Stitch (Reply 1):
Well it's not too late to kill it and buy more F-15's (including the "Stealth Eagle") and F/A-18s...

Except the Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz saying that they will not purchase any new F-15's or F-16's in whatever variant - article presently up on Flight Global - as they only want 5th gen a/c. they will continue with their plan to retire some 250 a/c later this year. He did mention a small caveat, that they would investigate the probability of a service life extension program.
I get the feeling that they are once again going down the F-22 road, if they kill as many programs as they can or retire as many serviceable a/c as they can, the congress will have no option but to purchase the a/c they want in the numbers that they want. Duh, did not work for the F-22 and I am betting it will not work for the F-35. Yes there is a prposal afoot to continue to purchase more F-22's since a fighter gap seems to be on the way, I'm sure that their feasibility study on service life extension of the current F-15's and F-16's wil reveal that the option is not avaliable. Expect them to come back to the table demanding an additional production run for the F-22, also expect the OEM to increase the cost as the line would already have been winding down.

There will be a lot of pilots looking for jobs in the civilian market, no way do I see the purchase of 1,000+ F-35's at the current prices, also expect a number of foreign customers to cancel, after all, whats the benefit of having the latest and greatest when you can only afford two frames? 
 
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Dreadnought
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F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Thu Apr 08, 2010 3:03 am

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Thread starter):
...So it appears that the cost of the aircraft could very well approach those numbers. Those same officials reported that the first batch of 43 aircraft will cost approximately $201million per unit! But that the costs would go down over time, as the learning curve made production more efficient.

Hard to believe that the F-35 was supposed to be the cheaper alternative to the F-22, much like the F-16 was to the F-15. Now it looks like it would be cheaper to cancel the F-35 and put the F-22 back in production.
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Arniepie
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F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Thu Apr 08, 2010 3:35 am

Quoting par13del (Reply 2):
There will be a lot of pilots looking for jobs in the civilian market, no way do I see the purchase of 1,000+ F-35's at the current prices, also expect a number of foreign customers to cancel, after all, whats the benefit of having the latest and greatest when you can only afford two frames?

That might even happen sooner than you think.
Both the Netherlands and the UK are going through an election year and the JSF is still a hot election topic.
In the Netherlands , some of the biggest parties are already making it one of their bigger issues to cancel the project and look in to alternatives.

In times like these with a weak economy and also when they are fighting battles that call for more Helo's and other more field related equipment (unmanned drones, transport planes, ... ) iso "fancy fighters" , the JSF might be on the chopping block for good while looking for cheaper alternatives in fewer numbers (F16 block ????, Sup Hornet, EF2000, Rafale or Grippen NG)
[edit post]
 
CO787EWR
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F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Thu Apr 08, 2010 4:57 am

I'm not a big military buff... but this seems ridiculous to me. From what I've read (if I'm wrong do tell me) the F-35 isn't that great of a fighter. The F-22 can carry JDAM's and with the ability to supercruise it can drop them way out of town. So why are they letting the F-35 still live? Politics? Buercracy? I say order more Raptors.
 
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cpd
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F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:28 am

Quoting CO787EWR (Reply 5):
Politics? Buercracy?

That's the very reason you can't have more Raptors. If you had signed the death knell for the Raptor, you'd feel pretty embarrassed if you then had to try and bring it back into production again - right?

And besides, if F35 got cancelled, the USA would be in one hell of a huge mess with partner nations who have also invested large amounts of money into developing the plane.

Remember, it's not just the USA pouring money into this incredibly expensive project, other countries are too. Where is the corporate governance? The project looks like it's starting to go off the rails.

Have to wonder of the Australian DoD was wise and right to purchase F-18 Super Hornets as an interim measure when they did- looks like they might be all we get for a long time, the F35 isn't looking promising at the moment. With 20/20 vision in hindsight, it's looking like a smart idea.

The first of the new Hornets started arriving the other week. Maybe the F-111C might need to be kept going for a little while longer as well to provide some long distance, high speed and heavyweight strike muscle as a deterrent.

We've never, ever used them in combat (they were considered too valuable for our national security), but just having them was worthwhile. They carried a meaningful weapons load at long distances and at the sort of speeds that would were useful. Good deterrent.
 
baroque
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:58 am

Quoting cpd (Reply 6):
The first of the new Hornets started arriving the other week. Maybe the F-111C might need to be kept going for a little while longer as well to provide some long distance, high speed and heavyweight strike muscle as a deterrent.

Deterrent against what exactly. A surprise attack from ayam at Blok M in Jakarta
http://www.expat.or.id/info/nightifejakarta-barsclubsdiscos.html

Time for Howard's doctrine of pre-emptive strike to be buried and without that exactly what are we deterring? Kiwis, marauding Raskols from Port Moresby. Or are we planning to attack Chinese bulk carriers stuck on the barrier reef.

I am sorry cpd, this deterrent reflex nonsense has gone on far too long.   
 
connies4ever
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Thu Apr 08, 2010 9:51 am

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Thread starter):
Quote:
The F-35 unit cost estimate is incomplete because the $114 million to $135 million "Average Procurement Unit Cost" , to buy 2,443 aircraft does not include any research, development, test and evaluation for the F-35. The best available estimate of those additional development costs is about $60 billion. When added to the estimated $329 billion to produce the F -35s, the unit cost vary from $139 million to $160 million.

...So it appears that the cost of the aircraft could very well approach those numbers. Those same officials reported that the first batch of 43 aircraft will cost approximately $201million per unit! But that the costs would go down over time, as the learning curve made production more efficient.

I always tend to agree with postings from UH60, he has experience in the mil-av area, and also likely access to information generally that we don't.

In an earlier thread I opined that Canada should bail from the JSF program and look at what Australia did -- acquire F/A-18E/F/Gs. Our existing F-18A/Bs (although basically upgraded to C/D standard) are getting a little long in the tooth. At the current acquisition cost of the E/F/G variant, we could probably afford a near 1-for-1 replacement, say 90-100 or so in total. That should be enough to equip about 4 operational units plus a training squadron, and leave a small attrition replacement element. For the types of conflicts Canada is likely to be involved in over the next 20-30 years, the E/F/G variant should be effective. Beyond that, we're likely to look at UCAVs.

Quoting Stitch (Reply 1):
Well it's not too late to kill it and buy more F-15's (including the "Stealth Eagle") and F/A-18s...

Killing it at this point might send a very powerful message to defense industries world-wide. There would certainly be a ripple effect throughout the US and with partner nations, but so be it.

Quoting par13del (Reply 2):
Except the Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz saying that they will not purchase any new F-15's or F-16's in whatever variant - article presently up on Flight Global - as they only want 5th gen a/c. they will continue with their plan to retire some 250 a/c later this year. He did mention a small caveat, that they would investigate the probability of a service life extension program.

Chiefs of Staff should know they are expendable, particularly in an election year.
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GST
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:21 am

In addition to the financial burden on many governments, what would buyers like the Royal Navy do if the F-35 was scrapped? They have Harriers in desperate need of replacement, and no significant air to air capacity to speak of. Would they have the QE class come in with catapults and order Rafales or F-18s? I would love to see Rafales wearing British roundels, and it would make it much easier to operate in harmony with the French Carriers as you would have the same capability, but it would be difficult to swallow in parliament unless BAE was making them under license.
 
baroque
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:04 am

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 8):
In an earlier thread I opined that Canada should bail from the JSF program and look at what Australia did

I think even these costs will not be enough to break the "we have been right all the time in supporting this project" frame of mind. Or alternatively, my god, the oost of admitting this mistake is even greater, we must grit our teeth a bit harder. The US congress seems to be nearest to having the intestinal fortitude required for sanity.

So the white elephant of all white elephant will probably roll on at a cost of other things that might even be useful.
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:20 am

Quoting Baroque (Reply 10):
The US congress seems to be nearest to having the intestinal fortitude required for sanity.

Now that, in itself is weird.

Quoting Baroque (Reply 10):
So the white elephant of all white elephant will probably roll on at a cost of other things that might even be useful.

I think you are right. Oz has already signed their contract. The costs of the F-35 will exceed anything else, ever, including the A-400, which looks like a bargan compared to the F-35.

When will the USAF gain enough sanity to cut the order for their 1300 + F-35s by half, and buy the F-15SE, as the new "low cost" fighter? Will other Air Forces stand up and do that, or something similar, too?
 
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:29 am

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Thread starter):
What the hell is going on here?

Who the heck knows?

These clowns had a flying prototype, for God's sake.

Didn't they learn anything from that expensive exercise?

Quoting par13del (Reply 2):
I get the feeling that they are once again going down the F-22 road, if they kill as many programs as they can or retire as many serviceable a/c as they can, the congress will have no option but to purchase the a/c they want in the numbers that they want. Duh, did not work for the F-22 and I am betting it will not work for the F-35.

The jury's still out on F-22. Each F-35 delay makes it more likely the F-22 production is restarted.

Quoting par13del (Reply 2):
There will be a lot of pilots looking for jobs in the civilian market, no way do I see the purchase of 1,000+ F-35's at the current prices, also expect a number of foreign customers to cancel, after all, whats the benefit of having the latest and greatest when you can only afford two frames?

I agree. F-22 was at $200M/frame or so and that was deemed too expensive. F-35s at a similar cost are way too expensive.

I pity the first person to eject out of a F-35, floating down on a parachute watching the $200M F-35 smash into the ground or water, presumably taking their career, or a big chunk of it, down with it.

Quoting CO787EWR (Reply 5):
So why are they letting the F-35 still live? Politics? Buercracy? I say order more Raptors.

F-22s can't take off vertically or land on carriers.

Quoting Baroque (Reply 10):
I think even these costs will not be enough to break the "we have been right all the time in supporting this project" frame of mind. Or alternatively, my god, the oost of admitting this mistake is even greater, we must grit our teeth a bit harder. The US congress seems to be nearest to having the intestinal fortitude required for sanity.

Clearly the F-35 is heading for a Nunn-McCurdy hearing in Congress, which should make for some interesting political theater.
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par13del
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:36 am

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 3):
Hard to believe that the F-35 was supposed to be the cheaper alternative to the F-22, much like the F-16 was to the F-15.

Not an alternative for the US Air Force, but to continue the hi-lo mix of fighter a/c where the larger F-15 with greater range and payload would clear the skies and the smaller F-16 handle point CAP patrols, it is supposed to complement the F-22 with less range, payload and similar stealth capabilities. I think stealth was an "option" put in to allow third country sales as in US Air Force use, it would not be expected to initiate or clear enemy skies to establish air superiority, that's the job of the F-22. The big issue for this a/c was supposed to be the integration of the lift fan in a VSTOL frame, the stealth capabilities are nothing new beyond the F-22, improvements yes, but not new science, the F-16 has been around for years with one engine, so developing a working engine should also not be new science.

So the big question is how did the US Air Force, the DOD, Pentagon, Congress and all these other oversight bodies boot the ball on this program, cost have been escalating from day one, parts and supplies did not just become an issue overnight, who was hiding this elephant and who let it out?

There is stimulus and there is stimulus, the F-35 became the stimulus package for its OEM and suppliers, the reason why it occured so early is because they had the foresight to see the financial crisis coming before the rest of us, can't blame them for their premonitions  
 
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:54 pm

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 11):
Oz has already signed their contract.

But at what price?

Well about AUD$3.2B actually for 14 F-35A which is approx $228M per aircraft (USD$208M) although that is likely a program cost rather than a flyaway price. Consideration is to be given to a follow on purchase to provide operational capability sometime in 2012.

What do partner nations do if the F-35 has blown out of perportion or been cancelled?

Perhaps bailing early and buying one of the alternatives now and avoid the rush later?

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kc135topboom
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Thu Apr 08, 2010 2:27 pm

Quoting stealthz (Reply 14):
What do partner nations do if the F-35 has blown out of perportion or been cancelled?

Perhaps bailing early and buying one of the alternatives now and avoid the rush later?

Good questions. The answer would have to be all the Gen 4.5 aircraft (F-15SE, F-16E/F Block 60+, Typhoon Trench 3, Rafiel, F/A-18E/F, etc.) would become more attractive. The only factor that makes the F-35A/B/C a Gen. 5 fighter is stealth, but it actually has less capability than the Gen most Gen. 4.5, and only slightly more capable than the Gen. 1 F-117A, which only depended on stealth for self defense (it could not shoot down an opponent). The F-22A is the only true western Gen. 5 fighter platform.

Quoting stealthz (Reply 14):
But at what price?

Well about AUD$3.2B actually for 14 F-35A which is approx $228M per aircraft (USD$208M) although that is likely a program cost rather than a flyaway price. Consideration is to be given to a follow on purchase to provide operational capability sometime in 2012.

But doesn't the RAAF order for the F-35As include the maintenance, training, and spares packages? Still at $208M USD each they could have gotten almost twice as many F-15SEs.

The F-15SE has the same frontal RCS as the F-35A/C does, and is actually a smaller frontal RSC than the F-35B, according to Boeing.
 
LMP737
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Thu Apr 08, 2010 2:34 pm

Quoting par13del (Reply 2):
Except the Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz saying that they will not purchase any new F-15's or F-16's in whatever variant - article presently up on Flight Global - as they only want 5th gen a/c. they will continue with their plan to retire some 250 a/c later this year.

When it comes right down to it it's not up to the General what type aircraft are bought. It is up to the civlilian leadership of the Pentagon. With that said I don't think the F-35 is going to get cancelled.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 11):
The costs of the F-35 will exceed anything else, ever, including the A-400, which looks like a bargan compared to the F-35.

Apples and oranges.

[Edited 2010-04-08 07:35:04]
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Stitch
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Thu Apr 08, 2010 2:37 pm

Quoting cpd (Reply 6):
That's the very reason you can't have more Raptors. If you had signed the death knell for the Raptor, you'd feel pretty embarrassed if you then had to try and bring it back into production again - right?

Well Boeing builds the aft third of the F-22, so you could be sure of a number of Congresscritter's support for a new buy. And no worries about securing the House Defense Subcommittee's approval since Norm Dicks, D-WA is now Chairman.

Quoting cpd (Reply 6):
And besides, if F35 got cancelled, the USA would be in one hell of a huge mess with partner nations who have also invested large amounts of money into developing the plane.

Unless those partners themselves cancel first.
 
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par13del
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Thu Apr 08, 2010 2:55 pm

I like a good conspiracy, anyone think the front and center issue of cost overruns on the F-35 coming to light immediately after the proposed cancellation of the F-22 is any coincidence?
In some quarters the F-117, C-17, A-10, F-15, F-16 were all diminished to secure additional funds for more F-22's when the price started going up, one way to minimize the cost increase is to ensure that the cost of the next alternative goes even higher, thus making the F-22 cheaper.

Not yet drinking to go further off the deep end to look at who the suppliers are for the F-35 and how many also provide parts for the F-22, would be some interesting research. Parts suppliers are sometimes paid up front, the primary contractor is the one left holding the bag when the program starts heading into a negative position.

I miss the X-Files  
 
CO787EWR
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Thu Apr 08, 2010 3:03 pm

Quoting Revelation (Reply 12):
F-22s can't take off vertically or land on carriers.

I honestly didn't think about that... but I have a ? for the insiders is the F-35 much more capable than the F-16F-18TyphoonRafaleGripen? They seem like much better buys to me... they lack stealth but the US Air-Force does have the B-2 and the F-22 at its disposal.
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Thu Apr 08, 2010 4:07 pm

Quoting Revelation (Reply 12):
F-22s can't take off vertically or land on carriers.

IIRC, there was a F-22N proposal

Quoting CO787EWR (Reply 19):
I honestly didn't think about that... but I have a ? for the insiders is the F-35 much more capable than the F-16F-18TyphoonRafaleGripen?

Yes

Quoting CO787EWR (Reply 19):
They seem like much better buys to me... they lack stealth

Correct.
 
ANZUS340
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Thu Apr 08, 2010 4:55 pm

Being an election year, with the Democratic Party trying to win some favor in the country, the F35 is unlikely to get the chop. It is all politics. The Republican Party would make a lot of hay over health care, the changing nuclear policy, the cutting of the manned space program and the chopping of the F35. Nope, this baby will fly-sadly I might add. I would love to see, as others have stated, additional F18s, F15s, Rafales and Typhoons in the world's skys. I dream of US carriers with F18s and Rafales exercising with USAF Typhoons, F15SEs and F22s.
 
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Revelation
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:23 pm

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 20):
Quoting Revelation (Reply 12):
F-22s can't take off vertically or land on carriers.

IIRC, there was a F-22N proposal

I can't wait to see how much LockMart will want do to the work...  
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JoeCanuck
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:12 pm

The US ate the 7 billion dollars they had sunk into the Comanche program. They should pull the plug on the F-35 fiasco.

What a sad joke...
What the...?
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:29 pm

Quoting JoeCanuck (Reply 23):
The US ate the 7 billion dollars they had sunk into the Comanche program. They should pull the plug on the F-35 fiasco.

What a sad joke...

Yes, we did and we ate all the money sunk into the VH-71A/B/C, too. We did buy the overpriced F-22, and come to think of it, weren't both those programs, and the F-35 all LM programs?

Are we seeing a trend here?
 
Kiwirob
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:38 pm

Quoting GST (Reply 9):
what would buyers like the Royal Navy do if the F-35 was scrapped?

Probably buy the Rafalel.

Quoting GST (Reply 9):
Would they have the QE class come in with catapults and order Rafales or F-18s?

CVF was designed so that it could be fitted with catapults, so dumping the F35 isn't too big a problem, however some officials would end up with a bit of egg on their faces.

Last year Norway chose the F35 over Gripen NG, this kis now looking like a huge and very expensive mistake, the funny thing was one of the reasons why the F35 was chosen was because the govt said SAAB couldn't give them a fixed price.
 
UH60FtRucker
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:39 pm

Quoting JoeCanuck (Reply 23):
The US ate the 7 billion dollars they had sunk into the Comanche program. They should pull the plug on the F-35 fiasco.

You know, honestly we ought to seriously look to the RAH-66 as possible "road map."

Once the Army came to the realization that the Comanche was no longer needed, and far too expensive... General Cody helped convince the Army to do the right thing, and drop the program. But instead of just walking away, they used all the money that had been set aside to fund the program, to spread across the rest of Army Aviation.

Because he canceled the Comanche, the Army now has:

-UH/MH-60M
-CH/MH-47F
-AH-64D Block III
-UH-72A
-C-27J
-ARH-70A (canceled, but ARH program still going, will announce new airframe sometime in 2011)

Thousands of brand new airframes, by simply canceling less than 200 Comanches. Perhaps we ought to buy a few more F-22s, and then take all that money and buy upgraded F-15s/16s, and a new build A-10?

I don't know, I'm not an expert, but it just seems like there are much more appealing options out there.
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ptrjong
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:45 pm

Wow, interesting how widespread the scepticsim about the F-35 is in this community - nobody is saying 'well, it's becoming a bit more expensive than planned, but that's normal and it will be a great aircraft.'

Personally, I've always thought that at least it was stupid for countries like mine to invest in such an undeveloped project in which they don't actually have anything to say.

Peter 
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UH60FtRucker
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:51 pm

Quoting ptrjong (Reply 27):
'well, it's becoming a bit more expensive than planned, but that's normal and it will be a great aircraft.'

But that's the problem... it's not "a bit more expensive"... it's "grossly more expensive.

...We're potentially seeing a $150-$200million aircraft, that was first billed as a ~$70million aircraft. It's obscene.
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Thu Apr 08, 2010 9:00 pm

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 28):

True, but I'd expect some enthousiasts to ignore that fact, as the F-14's supporters tended to to. But this doesn't happen in the case of the F-35, perhaps because in our guts, the very aircraft doesn't convince us.
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morrisond
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Thu Apr 08, 2010 9:25 pm

What was the fly away price on the last F-22's?

If they were to restart production wouldn't the marginal cost of producing say another 700-800 be significantly less than finishing F-35 as all the tooling and development is F22 paid for? If you bought 100's in one shot, couldn't you get a price of say under $150 million.

Also wouldn't 1 F22 be worth more than 1 F35 from a capability standpoint? You wouldn't need to substitute on a 1 for basis, reducing crew, maintenance and basing needs.

If it were me I would scrap the F35, buy another 400 F22's for the Airforce to replace F35a, 400 for the navy to replace the F35 Carrier version (you would need a bigger wing, stronger gear and a hook but it shouldn't be that expensive as electronics and engines should be the same). Then fill out what you need in frames with more F15SJ and F18E/F.

No Carrier aircraft should have only one engine.

Plus then I would restart A10 production for close Air Support with new engines to replace F35B. The Vertical Abilities of the F35b bring an incredibly high cost, the A10 would be better at Close Air Support than F35b, carry a lot more ordinance, probably has better range, can operate from Short and Austere airfields, and the last time I checked you don't need Stealth to defeat tanks - When your down in the Mud supporting the troops stealth and state of the art electronics don't do you a lot of good.
 
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Thu Apr 08, 2010 9:37 pm

Quoting morrisond (Reply 30):

If it were me I would scrap the F35, buy another 400 F22's for the Airforce to replace F35a, 400 for the navy to replace the F35 Carrier version (you would need a bigger wing, stronger gear and a hook but it shouldn't be that expensive as electronics and engines should be the same). Then fill out what you need in frames with more F15SJ and F18E/F.

I think you are seriously underestimating the cost of "carrierising" something like the F-22, ESPECIALLY if LM is doing the work!
 
JohnM
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:01 pm

Quoting morrisond (Reply 30):
The Vertical Abilities of the F35b bring an incredibly high cost,

I would guess the lift fan vert landing version is a big technical challenge and costs lots of money. Dump that version. How much payload can it carry anyway? Tell the USMC and RAF to get over it, it's dragging the whole program down. Hanging on the the Harrier concept? How much bomb tonage has been dropped in the last 25 years by Harriers? It can't be even 1% of air dropped weapons. Hell of a waste of money, when other aircraft can do the job.
 
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:11 pm

Quoting morrisond (Reply 30):
400 for the navy to replace the F35 Carrier version (you would need a bigger wing, stronger gear and a hook but it shouldn't be that expensive as electronics and engines should be the same).

Well, we've seen what we got when LM tried to "stretch" the EH-101 into the VH-71, a helicopter that costs more than a VC-25 does, and thus a canceled program.

Quoting GST (Reply 31):
I think you are seriously underestimating the cost of "carrierising" something like the F-22, ESPECIALLY if LM is doing the work!

        
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morrisond
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:20 pm

Quoting JohnM (Reply 32):
I would guess the lift fan vert landing version is a big technical challenge and costs lots of money. Dump that version. How much payload can it carry anyway? Tell the USMC and RAF to get over it, it's dragging the whole program down. Hanging on the the Harrier concept? How much bomb tonage has been dropped in the last 25 years by Harriers? It can't be even 1% of air dropped weapons. Hell of a waste of money, when other aircraft can do the job.

Agreed the USMC and RAF would be much better off with A-10's, in what close air support mission would an F35B beat an A10?

You could probably adapt the A10(probably a lot easier than Carrierising the F22) to fly off the U.K.'s new carriers and supplement with F35C and you would have everything covered.

Quoting GST (Reply 31):
I think you are seriously underestimating the cost of "carrierising" something like the F-22, ESPECIALLY if LM is doing the work!

Probably but it would be nice to see!

I'm with John M just scrap the B. I would also suggest scrapping the A. Just build one frame. You may be able to save some weight by using A landing gear on C land variant's, but wouldn't the C give you more lift for weapons and greater internal fuel storage for a bigger combat radius?

Won't the C outturn the A in a dogfight when it gets slower? Wouldn't you rather have the longer loiter of the C and the ability to carry more bombs/missiles?
 
Flighty
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:44 pm

It looks like this program is going to be very successful, from the standpoint of providing "jobs" and a sizable shareholder reimbursement.

Lockheed has a powerful abililty to rape the public. Certain people find that inspiring.

Quoting ANZUS340 (Reply 21):
the F35 is unlikely to get the chop. It is all politics.

Of course not. The F35 is a powerful source of government gravy dollars, busywork, + joyful lobbying. It is a complete success. Until someday when we need to win a war and we have no modern airplanes, because we forgot how to manage programs for WINNING wars with good airplanes.

But winning wars ISN't the goal. It's holding the taxpayer down and repeatedly violating that taxpayer, and splitting the money. And laughing about it and going to the country club. If we were actually trying to make a weapon, there are ways to get it done in 12 months and under budget (source: WWII)
 
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:19 pm

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 25):
Last year Norway chose the F35 over Gripen NG, this kis now looking like a huge and very expensive mistake, the funny thing was one of the reasons why the F35 was chosen was because the govt said SAAB couldn't give them a fixed price.

Yes and at the same time they said that the Gripen would end up twice as expensive as the F-35...due to the fact that 50% would crash under it's lifetime....? ...ok....very confusing times for some of us....if my memory doesen't fail me i think i read that the prize for Norway's fighter is of no concern,they will buy it anyway,perhaps the solution is to send them a really FAT bill  
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cpd
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Fri Apr 09, 2010 12:03 am

Quoting Baroque (Reply 7):
Time for Howard's doctrine of pre-emptive strike to be buried and without that exactly what are we deterring?

Indonesia was the threat, and was always consider a threat from long ago in the time when Howard would have hardly been out of school, if that. That's why we need a kick-proverbial plane like F-111, or something similar.

Although Indonesia might be friendly at the moment - who knows what might happen later on.

At the moment, the F35 is looking like a very expensive exercise, and may not be necessary, along with the entire air force, navy and army - because none of them would be needed according to your reasoning.  

For Australia, vertical takeoff and landing of F35s, along with the carrier ability isn't really needed - we don't have aircraft carriers anyhow. We rely on flying planes long distances and renting Omega Air Tankers to refuel them because we got rid of our own tankers before the new ones were ready.

That's why we need big, long range planes - because we don't have the luxury of aircraft carrier battlegroups - and hence where the F111 is so good. It carries a big weapons load over a useful distance and high speed, and it can do double duty as a recon aircraft.

Can't help but think the F35 is not really the right plane for the needs of Australia. What we need, they don't make anymore. And you could bet that any new one would be $400,000,000 or more per plane, given current standards.  
 
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par13del
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Fri Apr 09, 2010 12:36 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 24):
Yes, we did and we ate all the money sunk into the VH-71A/B/C, too. We did buy the overpriced F-22, and come to think of it, weren't both those programs, and the F-35 all LM programs?

Are we seeing a trend here?
Quoting GST (Reply 31):
ESPECIALLY if LM is doing the work!
Quoting Revelation (Reply 33):
Well, we've seen what we got when LM tried to "stretch" the EH-101 into the VH-71,

For a minute there I thought I was dreaming and this was about Boeing, my bad  
Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 26):
You know, honestly we ought to seriously look to the RAH-66 as possible "road map."

Once the Army came to the realization that the Comanche was no longer needed, and far too expensive... General Cody helped convince the Army to do the right thing, and drop the program. But instead of just walking away, they used all the money that had been set aside to fund the program, to spread across the rest of Army Aviation.

An excellent idea, to get the ball rolling we need some politician to make the proposal and package it in a way that it can be stated that it is an all new Air Force initiative never before implemented in the history of US defense procurement.
I think such face saving for not following the Army is acceptable as long as the cost is dealt with.

Quoting Flighty (Reply 35):
If we were actually trying to make a weapon, there are ways to get it done in 12 months and under budget (source: WWII)

I hope you are right, with globalization, out-sourcing and automated assembly plants, the software for the "robots" may not be available and folks who know how to by hand have long since passed away.  
Quoting cpd (Reply 37):
What we need, they don't make anymore. And you could bet that any new one would be $400,000,000 or more per plane, given current standards.

Well the next a/c the US had with capabilities coming close to the F-111 was the F-15E Mud Hen - Strike Eagle - certainely a more powerful platform than the F-18's purchased, if my memory is correct it was offered as a replacement but was rejected, those reasons may look poorly based on the current situation. I must admit, based on your distances, the more expensive F-15 would have been a better bet when the original Hornets were purchased.
 
BMI727
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Fri Apr 09, 2010 12:52 am

Quoting CO787EWR (Reply 5):
From what I've read (if I'm wrong do tell me) the F-35 isn't that great of a fighter.

Too many compromises. Apparently nobody in DoD learned from the F-111. You just can't ask one airframe to be everything to everybody and not make compromises.

Quoting CO787EWR (Reply 5):
The F-22 can carry JDAM's and with the ability to supercruise it can drop them way out of town.

I've seen concepts for F-22 bomber variants which seemed promising.

Quoting CO787EWR (Reply 5):
Politics? Buercracy?

Partly, plus the fact that the F-22 is not approved for export and I don't really want it to be save a few nations. However, my guess is that if the US pulled out, the F-35 would become too expensive for most export nations.

Quoting cpd (Reply 6):
If you had signed the death knell for the Raptor, you'd feel pretty embarrassed if you then had to try and bring it back into production again - right?

Well if SecDef Gates keeps going the way he is, there might be no DoD left to lead.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 12):
F-22s can't take off vertically or land on carriers.

Killing the F-35 would put the Navy in a bit of a bind. I would let them start their own program and tailor it to their needs. If any contractors are willing to work with them that is...  

Quoting Stitch (Reply 17):
Well Boeing builds the aft third of the F-22, so you could be sure of a number of Congresscritter's support for a new buy. And no worries about securing the House Defense Subcommittee's approval since Norm Dicks, D-WA is now Chairman.

Deals like this is why you want a long supply chain.

Quoting morrisond (Reply 30):
Plus then I would restart A10 production for close Air Support with new engines to replace F35B.

   100% agreed. The A-10 will do a better job for less money. What is there not to like?
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
JoeCanuck
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Fri Apr 09, 2010 3:52 am

Pull the plug. Do this enough times and companies will get the clue.
What the...?
 
checksixx
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Fri Apr 09, 2010 4:10 am

I don't think about the money. I certainly don't factor in flight test and program development costs when researching the cost of an aircraft. That practice came about mainly due to F-22 haters and has bloomed over into every program on the planet. The fact remains that the unit fly-away cost is what the aircraft actually costs. Now I do agree that Lockheed Martin should never have quoted a specific price per airframe like they did...big mistake. Fact is that if you want all the bells and whistles, you're going to pay for it. If you don't want that, then you won't pay for it...its a very easy train of thought. Of course, we have to waste millions of dollars to have hearings about it when the vendor is required to provide that data to the purchaser at anytime they request it.

Bottom line is...its a new aircraft with many new technologies...how can you not expect it to be expensive and have teething problems during testing?
 
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Fri Apr 09, 2010 4:30 am

Quoting checksixx (Reply 42):
Bottom line is...its a new aircraft with many new technologies...how can you not expect it to be expensive and have teething problems during testing?

I'm sorry but I don't think you can just wave your hand and dismiss this as "teething problems." When the entire point of the program was stated from day 1 to be a cost effective replacement for the F-16/F-18, that acted like an F-22lite... and now it's approaching F-22 costs... this is an epic boondoggle.

And not to mention, even if these absurd cost explosions are "to be expected"... it does not change the fact that we are quickly approaching shrinking budgets... there is no way we are going to be able to fund the rest of the force, and still buy all the airframes we need.

This project has spun out of control, and there really isn't anyone out there, or here, offering realistic solutions. As far as I can see, people who support this program can only offer up a meager "sorry, we're just gonna have to deal with it" answer. It's pretty pathetic.
Your men have to follow your orders. They don't have to go to your funeral.
 
BMI727
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Fri Apr 09, 2010 5:51 am

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 43):

Exactly. The best reason to buy the F-35 is that it is cheaper than the Raptor. Now that it isn't so cheap, why stay with the less capable plane?
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
JoeCanuck
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Fri Apr 09, 2010 7:41 am

Quoting checksixx (Reply 42):
Bottom line is...its a new aircraft with many new technologies...how can you not expect it to be expensive and have teething problems during testing?

Because they promised something and missing those promises is costing billions of dollars to taxpayers. Don't pitch something you can't deliver. That's a better solution.
What the...?
 
Flighty
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Fri Apr 09, 2010 11:06 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 44):
Exactly. The best reason to buy the F-35 is that it is cheaper than the Raptor. Now that it isn't so cheap, why stay with the less capable plane?

But it's the same old fallacy. Something that doesn't exist yet, is going to work great and going to be cheaper.

On major point here is, Boeing had to deliver the 787 to actual free market customers who had the bargaining position to say "FU Boeing" if things went to pot.

The 787 was very challenging to make, but Boeing swallowed their lumps and got it out. The government is not so skillful at negotiating a good contract. That's the main difference. Otherwise airlines would be getting $475 million 787-8s that barely can fly. But they did much better than that.

Companies are lazy. They only do what the contract requires. That is why you write a good contract. Or else, let the company get a little hungry for the work. Then they will come running.
 
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Fri Apr 09, 2010 11:37 am

If they are going to cost that much then more F-22s should be ordered.... perhaps the F-35 should be pushed back a few years to allow for the costs of developing these new materials to fall a bit and maybe pushing back the need to have the very best/latest tech a few years so that they are actually affordable (since they are so far ahead of anything else out there). Remember this is likely to be the last US fighter built that holds a pilot... once we get to 2030 onwards there won't likely be any fighter pilots for the USAF except the ground based ones.
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par13del
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Fri Apr 09, 2010 12:05 pm

Quoting checksixx (Reply 42):
Bottom line is...its a new aircraft with many new technologies...

Well for many that is exactly the point, what new technology is this a/c bringing to the market, the version which will be purchased the most is not the lift fan version, to my knowledge thats the only true new tech, first fighter a/c with lift fan. The F-35 is supposed to be the F-22 lite, similar situation to the F-15 and the F-16, the tech for the F-35 has already been proven and deployed on the F-22, which is supposed to clear the skies and maintain dominance, the F-22lite is supposed to patrol under her protection and drop some bombs, what are we missing? It's a point defence multi-role a/c not a deep strike penetrator, it does not have the legs for that.
I'm with the Army below.

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 43):
I'm sorry but I don't think you can just wave your hand and dismiss this as "teething problems." When the entire point of the program was stated from day 1 to be a cost effective replacement for the F-16/F-18, that acted like an F-22lite... and now it's approaching F-22 costs... this is an epic boondoggle.
 
rheinwaldner
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Fri Apr 09, 2010 12:13 pm

I agree it is a shame.

But if the F-35 fails I have some questions:

Can the US ever design new fighters again? If yes, what would be different? How different could any new figher design ever be to have more success? How can the features of the F35 be tweaked to make it more affordable (because it seems costly AND incapable)? How can the US armed forces live in the medium and long term with equipement that is behind the best UK, German, France or Russian equipement (except the air superiority role, which loses importancy)? If the US is not able to close the already now existing gap+creating some buffer to their competitors, how could they ever? If the combined US efforts fail to design a state-of-the-art mass fighter, how could they ever again?

There is an astonishing trend:
- There are hardly any recent&new military aircraft designs.
- There are even less recent&new&succesful military aircraft designs (0?).
- People earnestly speak of buying new lots of 30 year old fighter designs.
- Cargo aircrafts designs from the fifties are leaving the factory in 2010 and are celebrated as state-of-the-art.
- No US military aircraft&helo programe past 1985 was not overbudget/under promise.
- The US strategic bomber is from the fifties too. Newer designs only were produced in second-rank numbers.
- The new tanker likely will be based on a civil design that already has two successors in the civil market.
- Because this is no comfortable thought many people prefer to extend the live of more than half-century old aircraft for more than another half century.
- The best carrier based aircraft is no longer US built.
- Today programs seem so bloated that nobody can explain plausibly why these gigantic efforts are required to gain mickey-mouse inprovements.
- Usually even creating versions of an existing frame goes beyond any reasonable amount of effort (CH-153K).
- I mean why exactly took it year by year by year to design KC-767's from 767's?

How can e.g. Saab design aircrafts that beat any US program since the F-16 regarding program management&success?

In the light of that I would concentrate on the F-35. It must be a success. Go the A-400 path. Reduce the scope. The idea of a modular kit that allows meeting specific purposes while avoiding the cost of each aircraft having all the rings and bells is not wrong.

How would the world look if the largest number of at least 4.5 gen aircrafts would come from Sweden, UK, Germany, France or Russia (I hardly dare to mention China)? Bar the F-22 the US armed forces would be much less convincing than even today. If the F-35 fails I would have lost the faith in the ability of the US to design fighters. Even the largest faith that F15/F16/F18 could compensate the gap would not overcome that. And it is reliance on believe if those three types shall remain the cornerstones past 2020.
 
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RE: F-35 Costs About To Soar, Says Pentagon

Fri Apr 09, 2010 12:17 pm

Quoting Flighty (Reply 35):
Lockheed has a powerful abililty to rape the public.

Understatement of the day.

Some people in the tanker threads think of Boeing as this almighty political engine, but it has NOTHING on Lockheed.

In fact whenever Boeing tries to pull a fast one, it gets caught (first tanker scandal, FIA satellites, rocket launcher scandal, etc).

Lockheed seems to get whatever the hell it wants no matter how bad it fouls up.

Well they eventually did pull the rug on the VH-71 but even that took major amounts of political nonsense to drive a stake through its heart, and it may still come back from the dead. Apparently we are still sending LM millions of dollars to keep a bunch of employees in NY state busy contemplating what a VIP helo may be some day.

Quoting Flighty (Reply 35):
Certain people find that inspiring.

I find it disgusting.

Quoting par13del (Reply 38):
For a minute there I thought I was dreaming and this was about Boeing, my bad

As above, Boeing is/are rank amateurs compared to Lockheed.

Quoting Flighty (Reply 46):
Something that doesn't exist yet, is going to work great and going to be cheaper.

Indeed, one can say an awful lot about something that doesn't exist yet.

And since you brought up the 787 I am strongly fighting the urge to say something about the A400M, but I'll take the high road and say I hope they both some day reach and exceed thier original promises.
Inspiration, move me brightly! Light the song with sense and color.
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