Tuesday, September 13, 2016

More F-35 Development Problems

Here’s a darkly humorous bit about the F-35.  Even though it’s not yet in service, it seems that it’s been in development so long that some of its electrical components are already obsolete and hard or impossible to obtain.  From the defense.gov website,

“Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $10,019,765 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-13-C-0008) to exercise an option to procure additional diminishing manufacturing sources electronic components in support of the F-35 Lightning II aircraft.”

This happens to all ships and aircraft at some point during their service lives but not during development!

If we don't hurry, we're not going to have the parts to build these things.

I’d laugh if I wasn’t crying.


  1. """firm-fixed-price contract""'

    I like the part where they need $10 million more for a contract which is "firm-fixed-price"

    I guess the contract was not firm or fixed enough

  2. In my opinion, the biggest problem with the F-35 has always been the requirement for all three versions to use an 80% common airframe. Whoever it was that snuck that requirement into the program really dragged the whole thing down.

    The commonality requirements have since been relaxed and that has allowed the F-35 to make tremendous progress since then. It just goes to show that the entire thing could have been smoother if the whole 80% requirement hadn't happened in the first place.

    Requiring some degree of commonality was a good idea. It is good that all three versions have a common engine, cabin layout, avionics, radar, etc. But requiring 80% parts commonality throughout all three air-frames? Unbelievably stupid.

  3. I don't know how long this has been going on, but Lockheed was awarded a $241 million in July for the same purpose.


  4. There is a terrible mismatch between the civilian computer industry and the needs of military computing. In civilian industry, it's rare for a given component to stay in production for more than a decade. But the military needs them for much longer than that.

    Worse, the volumes of parts the military needs are tiny: there will never be more than 10,000 F-35s, but economic microchip production is measured in millions per year.

  5. We the Defense Contractors, in order to form a more perfect business model, establish obscene profit margins, insure complete lack of competition, provide non-working items, promote a culture of blind acceptance of poor quality, and secure the Blessings of Large Bonuses to ourselves and our Retired Flag Officers, do ordain and establish this corrupt system of contracting for all time.

  6. "In my opinion, the biggest problem with the F-35 has always been the requirement for all three versions to use an 80% common airframe."

    Commonalty between the A/B/C variants of the JSF is actually somewhere around 30-35%

  7. Ooooo oooo have they tried outsourcing to China, I understand they did a load of work on the F35 and other defence contracts.

    I bet they would give us a knock down price on a shed load of chips !

    On a more serious note, do you know what component ?



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