Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Simple Upgrade?

Here’s a contract item for software upgrades to the F-35 that just stuns me.

Lockheed has been given a $17.6M contract to upgrade TWO F-35s to software Block 3F.  Work is to be completed by Sep 2021.

Are you kidding me??!  Almost $18M to upgrade software?  For two aircraft?  You plug in a jump drive and click on Copy or whatever the equivalent is in a military computer.  Ten minutes and you’re done.  The programming costs are already covered by the main F-35 contracts.  This is just the upgrade when the new block is ready.  Maybe they need a new hard drive or chip or something but those cost hundreds of dollars not millions.

Here’s the actual quote from the government website.

“Lockheed Martin Corp. …is being awarded a $17,599,996 not-to-exceed delivery order (550302) against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-14-G-0020).  This order provides for the procurement of retrofit modification kits and associated engineering installation services in support of the Block 3F upgrade of two F-35A aircraft for non-Department of Defense (DoD) participants.  Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas (90 percent); and Baltimore, Maryland (10 percent), and is expected to be completed in September 2021.”

The other baffling aspect of this is the completion date.  Sep 2021?  Why is a contract being issued six years prior to the need?  Couldn’t the government hold onto the money and earn some interest?


We’re just spraying Lockheed with the money hose!

8 comments:

  1. Much to the derision from the fanboys, the concurrency costs of needed rework on LRIP jets is going to average about $9M. We are a long way from sub $85M jets including the power plant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are spot on about the concurrency costs!

      Delete
    2. Its just the tip of the iceberg, software modification is the gift that keeps on giving. Those 150 or so early build F35s ( up to 2018) will likely only have a service life of under 10 years as it will be too costly to upgrade them. If people blanced at the A10 being pulled to pay for the F35, its going to get a whole lot more difficult, and F16s and F15s will be on the chopping block, just to pay for 'software modifications'

      Other reports say the 3F software is costing a lot more
      "Lockheed Martin has been contracted to deliver Block 3F software for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter for the US and UK militaries.

      The USD311.4 million contract announced by the Department of Defense (DoD) on 1 September covers delivery of the aircraft's full combat software to the US Air Force (USAF) (46%), US Marine Corps (USMC) (27%), US Navy (20%), and the United Kingdom (7%). According to the notification, work is expected to be competed in September 2021.

      The F-35's software and capability blocks are broken down into Block 1A - initial training, Block 1B - advanced training 1, Block 2A - advanced training 2, Block 2B (initial combat capability), Block 3i (initial full capability), and Block 3F (full combat capability).
      http://www.janes.com/article/53954/lockheed-martin-contracted-to-deliver-block-3f-software-for-f-35

      Saying the 3F is the full monty is misleading as that wont happen till Block 4 which was supposed to be only 4A and 4B, but has already moved to 4i , 4ii, and 4iii.

      The experience so far is that every is kicked down the road, as the plan is executed, but the achievements are moved onto the next block and the next

      Delete
    3. "The experience so far is that every is kicked down the road, as the plan is executed, but the achievements are moved onto the next block and the next"

      That's a great point. It would be one thing if the aircraft had been planned to have incremental increases in capability, STARTING FROM A BASIC AND CAPABLE DESIGN THAT ENTERED SERVICE 15 YEARS AGO! Unfortunately, the repeated failures and delays have turned it into an incremental program with no serviceable version along the path. Twenty years in to the program we still have nothing - the Marines PR stunt of declaring IOC is just that, PR.

      Delete
  2. This is just a stealth mode way to slip the Contractor more money rather than fight about in scope or out of scope items.

    Government only take an oath to "... Protect and Defend the Constitution of the United States ..." Not to protect or defend the Treasury and the taxpayer money therein.

    Corporate Socialism is here already.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "This is just a stealth mode way to slip the Contractor more money rather than fight about in scope or out of scope items."

      Hmmm ...... I hadn't considered that aspect. I'll have to give that some thought.

      Delete
  3. I suspect the $18m is not for the act of plugging in a thumbdrive, but for making the software.

    It's common to say- what! So much?! All you did was such and such.

    Few people see what happens in the weeks, months or years leading up to the such and such action.

    Please note I am not praising the F-35. Just giving some explanation about the price.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The software development is already contracted. This is for just the upgrade.

      Delete