The Price of an F35

Does anyone actually know, not Peter Luff, Minister of State for Defence Equipment

The honest answer is we don’t know. The Americans are not reducing the total numbers of JSF but changing the profile of those purchases. Other partner nations are indicating they are going to reduce their actual off take.  This is likely to have implications for JSF prices particularly in the early stages which is when this country intends to procure its (fighters).

Something else we don’t know is the cost and operational implications of the switch to CATOBAR beyond an estimate of just shy of a billion pounds.

Or

How we are going to turn a conventional carrier into the flexible Carrier Enabled Power Projection

Construction is going well and the training and cooperation agreements with the US and French navies seem to be equally on track but project CVF/JCA still has a great deal of risk and uncertainty that has still to be resolved.

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glen towler
glen towler
February 21, 2012 9:50 pm

Why buy something if you have no idea how much it is going to cost makes no sense at all good to to cancel F35 and buy F18 Super Hornets for the carriers.

Observer
Observer
February 21, 2012 9:52 pm

Well, flyaway cost was quoted as 135M by wiki, excluding weapons and electronics, so with all those added in, I’d give ~300M USD as a ballpark figure.

solomon
solomon
February 21, 2012 9:56 pm

ok. i can see weapons being an additional cost. thats standard for any fighter and usually isn’t included in the costs. but where the heck did you get electronics as being extra? you don’t need sniper pods or such for the F-35!

Topman
Topman
February 21, 2012 10:00 pm

‘you don’t need sniper pods or such for the F-35!’

What does it use for targeting and recce, is it all internal?

Observer
Observer
February 21, 2012 10:06 pm

….. solomon. Flyaway costs are for the avionics, airframe and engine only. Bare bones plane in other words. You need more to make it combat worthy. Where the heck did you get the idea it was an “ëxtra”?

Observer
Observer
February 21, 2012 10:08 pm

“F-35A weapons system unit cost is US$183.5M (FY 2011)[6]”

From wiki

So that gets it to about 310 million. A conventional “legacy” plane cost only half that much.

solomon
solomon
February 21, 2012 10:12 pm

all the avionics are already included in the airplane. they’re carried internally. you’re being biased in your cost estimation. believe me, i’ve been all over this debate. the figure that you’re quoting is waaaaaay high. the F-35B is supposedly the most expensive model and it has a cost of 135 mil and its not in high rate production rate. that puts it on par with the cost of a Rafale and cheaper than a Typhoon.

solomon
solomon
February 21, 2012 10:13 pm

because its stealthy, you don’t get a bare bones plane with the F-35. another one of the differences that needs to be taken into account when looking at the actual cost of the airplane.

you can’t do an apple to apple comparison.

Mark
Mark
February 21, 2012 10:15 pm

All systems internal on f35 and come with the a/c. Eo-das will do the targeting a built in sniper pod is basically incorporated in the system. We could argue from now to we buy them the price. We will now more in about 6-8 weeks.

Gabriele
Gabriele
February 21, 2012 10:15 pm

“What does it use for targeting and recce, is it all internal?”

The EOTS does it all and includes the laser to acquire the targets. Laser that is produced for the F35 program by the UK, somewhere near Edinburgh if i’m not mistaken. No targeting pods for the F35 indeed. And each plane comes will full targeting capability, unlike current planes who need pods to be made available for the missions.

“Why buy something if you have no idea how much it is going to cost makes no sense at all good to to cancel F35 and buy F18 Super Hornets for the carriers.”

Frankly, at the equivalent stage of testing and development of Typhoon, the price of Typhoon was as unknown as the F35’s price is now.
If not even less clear, indeed.

Chances are, indeed, that once production is ongoing, the price of the F35 will be a lot more stable and well known than the cost of Typhoon that remains controversial to this day.

Topman
Topman
February 21, 2012 10:20 pm

‘somewhere near Edinburgh if i’m not mistaken’

SELEX by chance?

‘The EOTS does it all’

I wonder to what quality the recce pics/video will be?

Fatman
Fatman
February 21, 2012 10:22 pm

There is no standard price for a combat jet – everything is negotiable and depends on the package such as spares, training, simulators, special national equipment (such as radios and possibly EW equipment). UK F-35Cs will be modified to carry British systems such as ASRAAM, Meteor and SPEAR which may demand additional expenditure. You also have to factor in the R&D costs and how much the various contributing governments will try to get back as a commercial export/sales levy on top of the basic price.

Then you have to take into account the future exchange rate between dollar and pound, euro, etc. My guess is that a package per aircraft in say 2018-2020 at 2012 prices won’t be less than $160m per airframe and could easily push $200-$225m when you factor in both rising development costs and the necessary support package. That is $4.8-$5.4 bn for 24 aircraft to equip a carrier, or as much as the carrier itself.

Of course if this rise continues unabated we will reach a point where it may become too politically and financially contentious to continue with the F-35. Since the F-18 is scheduled to end production in 2014 a decision point is arriving rapidly.

Rafale is probably not the answer since a UK purchase or lease will kill the Typhoon export market stone dead. Perhaps we should be asking the USN to provide the air group for the Prince of Wales and simply concentrate on supplying the ship. Now that really would be a joint NATO effort. The bottom line in every sense is the economic one: it is questionable that the UK can run a big carrier programme on the existing or planned defence budget unless something else goes.

jim72
jim72
February 21, 2012 10:28 pm

@topman
i was curious myself a while back
if you chuck “f35 eots” into youtube there are a few videos

Chris Werb
Chris Werb
February 21, 2012 10:43 pm

I’d read that the distributed EO system on the F-35 did not provide anything like the magnification or resolution of an aimiable, limited FoV system like Sniper. Does the F-35 have the equivalent of a Sniper/Litening pod built in as well as its distributed EO?

solomon
solomon
February 21, 2012 10:47 pm

Fatman,
EW systems will not differ from those planned. it could mess up the stealth characteristics of the airplane. spares and such i’ll give you but you’re still operating in legacy procurement mode.

solomon
solomon
February 21, 2012 10:48 pm

Chris. i’ve read the exact opposite. as a matter of fact our armed forces are trying to get that system installed on other aircraft and if we could afford it, it would be on the F-22.

as a matter of fact it wouldn’t surprise me to see a push by the MoD to perhaps even try and install it on the Typhoon.

Topman
Topman
February 21, 2012 11:00 pm

‘EW systems will not differ from those planned.’

Aren’t the IAF getting a very different from everyone else?

‘as a matter of fact it wouldn’t surprise me to see a push by the MoD to perhaps even try and install it on the Typhoon.’

A version of etos you mean?

Fatman
Fatman
February 21, 2012 11:01 pm

Solomon
Don’t count on it. The The UK will be using JSF with pylons to carry hot launch systems like SPEAR as well as Storm Shadow. Images are already around of ASRAAM being mounted on wing pylons – so what do you think will also eventually be found in these pylons? The full stealth mode will be for limited operational use only – despite all the Lockheed blurb about its customers using identical aircraft it is already clear that certain ones will be adapting them for national requirements. Israel for one is determined to get its own EW aboard and of course not all EW equipment is meant for pure jamming. The JSF is too small to carry every possible system it needs internally although I am sure it will start off that way – as the stealth advantage evaporates there will be a move towards additional systems.

solomon
solomon
February 21, 2012 11:09 pm

Israel will not be able to get the source codes to the airplane so it will be carrying pods externally. to be quite honest there is no room for separate EW systems. external pods…if a customer wants them is up to that customer. the customer is increasing the cost of the weapon SYSTEM…not Lockheed martin.

yes a version of etos.

Mark
Mark
February 21, 2012 11:10 pm

http://www.youtube.com/user/LockheedMartinVideos may help a bit. The weapons integration is done as a package by lm for the first block no one else. And just because its a nice current pic http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/pictures-f-35-bulks-up-with-external-weapons-load-368548/

As for price lrip is currently running about 150m dollars at the minute and the Italians say there’s will be cheaper than typhoon. I think only time will tell and it will be very dependant on which year we buy them in.

solomon
solomon
February 21, 2012 11:11 pm

but lets be honest about Israel. they made a commotion about wanting to install their own systems as a backdoor attempt to get production slots and to try and formulate a path for them to get upgrade opportunities.

i’m a supporter of that country but after the incidents with them selling gear to China, i wouldn’t have gone for the deal either. the US agreed and did not bow to their wishes.

Topman
Topman
February 21, 2012 11:25 pm

‘yes a version of etos’

No I don’t think so, such a system isn’t really possible with typhoon.

solomon
solomon
February 21, 2012 11:29 pm

sorry i meant eots. and why not? once the upgrade to AESA is done, room should be available for its integration. i’m not talking in the near term…more likely toward the middle of its service life…around 2025-2030.

as a matter of fact my mythical upgrades for the typhoon would include fitting it with the F-22’s engines…some of the F-35’s avionics to include the EOTS, and to add some stealth pods along with the removal of the canards to make it stealthier.

wf
wf
February 21, 2012 11:34 pm

@solomon: removing canards on the Typhoon really is mythical. It’s an unstable design in pitch, at least in subsonic flight, and the canards provide a lot of the pitch control for that. Can’t just pull them off :-)

solomon
solomon
February 21, 2012 11:50 pm

most modern fighter planes are unstable in flight. thats nothing new. remember i’m also talking about the 2025-2030 time period. improvements in flight control especially in the form of fly by wire should make it doable.

but i noticed no comment on the bigger F-22 engines!

Brian Black
Brian Black
February 21, 2012 11:55 pm

Is it important that we have a price right now? We’ll have the price before some joker signs the purchase contract. But what’s the latest date by which we need to make a choice?

Fatman mentioned the costs of integrating our choice weapon systems. But isn’t weapon integration done by block upgrade during aircraft production, so paying for things like Meteor, Brimstone and Stormshadow early should open up the export market for sales to later non-US F35 customers, right? Or have I got that wrong.

Brian Black
Brian Black
February 22, 2012 12:07 am

Two F35 engines, Solomon. For commonality.

solomon
solomon
February 22, 2012 12:15 am

understood Brian, but can you imagine what F-22 engines could do for the Typhoon? it would be the P-51 story in reverse! i bet the Typhoon would push 2.75 plus…with ease. it doesn”t have to carry around the added bulk of being stealthy so you’d get tremendous umph with them in the Typhoon. why that hasn’t been recommended as part of an upgrade path is really beyond me. heck it might even push beyond mach 3 if they tweak it right. i guess what i’m saying is that the Typhoon has alot of potential but it just doesn’t seem to be exploited like it should.

wf
wf
February 22, 2012 12:37 am

@solomon: no amount of “fly by wire” will compensate for missing control surfaces. If you want to remove the canards, you are talking about a new design.

The F119 has nearly double the thrust of the Ej200. This means double the mass flow…which means intakes of double the size, and since the engines are going to be wider, complete fuselage redesign and range cut by nearly half since specific sfc is probably comparable between the EJ200 and the F119

The Typhoon is primarily made of carbon fiber. It doesn’t take being heated to 400 C very well at M2.7. It’s also designed for supersonic flow at M1.8.

You are talking nonsense. Please read something on aircraft design, Supersonic Fighter Development by Roy Braybrook is a good book, without heavy engineering

solomon
solomon
February 22, 2012 1:09 am

uh removing the canards is not a design change and how can you say that no amount of soft ware will solve issues with it? is simply becomes a delta winged airplane.

yes the F119 has double the thrust but that doesn’t necessarily translate into double the intake size. the inlet on the F-16 hasn’t noticeably increased even though engine thrust has. as far as design limits of the airframe? not sure but it appears from the outside that the limiting factor is engine performance, not the composition of the airframe.

i might be talking nonsense in your eyes but in actuality…and let me say it slow so you’ll listen. i’m talking about these updates during the 2025-2030 timeframe.

don’t get snippy cause you were wrong;)

Aussie Johnno
Aussie Johnno
February 22, 2012 1:25 am

@Solomon…Israel will notbe able to get the source codes…..
Israel pushed hard to be able integrate its systems on F35’s it acquires. The US resisted this but offered a plug and play option which would allow access to the aircraft databus to run nation specific avionics in a stand alone mode. This specifically related to Israele EW. If this capability eventuates all our governments should demand it to atleastchip away at Lockheed’s strangle hold on the future.
On the matter of F-35 cost atleast admire a polly who gives an honest answer once in a while. No one knows what an F35 will cost at the end of LRIP.

solomon
solomon
February 22, 2012 1:45 am

Aussie that would be a mistake. if everyone follows Israel’s example then we’ll all have the stealth equivalent of Rafale’s with very poor upgrade paths because everyone will be going there own way.

the US military will be fine because of the projected size of the F-35 fleet but others will be in a hurt locker.

martin
Editor
February 22, 2012 2:19 am

@ Fatman – Allot of those F35 picks showing under wing pylons were based on F35B projections. The internal bombays were to small for weapons such as Meteor and it was one of the key reasons for switching to F35C. God only knows how long it will take to get the JCA integrated with all our weapons such as Meteor and Brimestone but atleast unlike EF it will come with a number of weapon systems already tested and integrated and a very strong development path. I think we should also remember that F35 is a joint US UK development aircraft. Yes we are very much the junior partner but we will be building 15% of the aircraft. A little less than half of our share of EF but with potentially 6 times more aircraft being developed this is a fantastically important aircraft for British industry and I just can’t see how we can not purchase it. It’s also the only 5th generation fighter option in town as anything that comes after will likely be 6th genration and may be some decades off.

Now the sensible option has been taken to replace not only Harrier but Tornado with the F35C I would like to see us stretch out our procurment and take advanatge of cheaper airframes further down the production run.

Jed
Jed
February 22, 2012 2:46 am

Ahh Solomon is back, always right about everything… even his reading of the tea leaves as to the future of aeronautical engineering developments…. bless him

“i might be talking nonsense in your eyes but in actuality…and let me say it slow so you’ll listen. i’m talking about these updates during the 2025-2030 timeframe.

don’t get snippy cause you were wrong;)”

Perhaps he was getting snippy because he is right ? Please explain what aerodynamic, or electronic improvements you fore-see for your stated timeframe that will allow you to simple remove major control surfaces that are an integral element of the aircraft design ?

Let me say it slow, so you understand – learn to admit that there is a slight possibility you could actually be wrong about something !

Hannay
Hannay
February 22, 2012 3:04 am

Werb

EOTS is a conventional targeting pod like SNIPER (I think the guts are SNIPER actually) but carried in an LO housing with a more limited aperture. EODAS is a distributed aperature system made up of multiple cameras around the airplane; it is not used for air to ground targeting though may be useful for situational awareness and cueing EOTS onto target.

@Solomon

Removing the canards from Typhoon leaves you with only the rudder and flaperons as control surfaces. The only pitch authority you have comes from slowly moving LEF and TEF. At the same time you’ve also massively changed the CP and CG of the aircraft. Removing the canards isn’t going to reduce signature much anyway unless the UK invents some sort of super-RAM paint – in which case painting the canards is a better idea.

@TD

Of course we know how much F-35 costs; we’ve already purchased three of them. Working out a price for an indeterminate number of UK aircraft at an indeterminate time in the programme, alongside a fluid production ramp up with Israeli, Japanese and maybe Korean aircraft in the slots before us all add up to quite some uncertainty. Should this be a problem if the price is within a 5-10% bracket?

Buying F-18 because we know the price sounds crazy, and you still have all the risk and cost of CATOBAR conversion of the carriers. And when you assess cost-effectiveness rather than just cost….

Chris.B.
February 22, 2012 5:45 am

Pulling the Canards (primary pitch control surface) off the Typhoon? I’m sure that wont cause any issues….

Theoretically you could redesign the rear of the wings to accommodate the necessary control surfaces, but that’s going to be a lot of arse ache for not a huge amount of gain.

And if you want to put F119 engines in a Typhoon then you’re talking about an extension of the engine bay by over 1 metre, or thought of another way, a 25% increase. In addition, the fuselage would have to be widened to accommodate an increase in engine size from about 30ish inches to about just over 50 inches. That’s roughly a 66% increase in engine diameter, per engine.

Frankly, you’d be better off just building a new jet.

Observer
Observer
February 22, 2012 6:10 am

“In February 2011, the Pentagon put a price of $207.6 million for each of the 32 aircraft to be acquired in FY2012, rising to $304.15 million ($9,732.8/32) if its share of RDT&E spending is included.[15][16]”

solomon, looks like my estimates were only off by USD$6M. Translation: All your fanboy cheerleading on the F-35 can’t beat a proper cost estimation.

As for your snub of the Israeli IAI, I’d advise you to look at Israel’s history before implying incompetence on their part. They’re arguably the most experienced fighting force on the planet and that is including comparison to the US. Their stuff is close and in some cases superior to American stuff and a far sight more practical. They know what they’re doing. You don’t.

Frankly, I see a lot of what you’re doing as being brainwashed into thinking “F-35 = everything good”, and trying to convert everything you can into a F-35 copy regardless of how insane the idea is. Yanking off a major control surface is one of the most terrible ideas you can ever do to a plane, even the MANTA project for the F-22 went nowhere.

The Typhoon is designed for something else, don’t try to change it into an F-35 copy, you’ll get a “neither here nor there” plane.

Aussie Johnno
Aussie Johnno
February 22, 2012 6:12 am

Solomon, what was offered is just a plug and play setup. It would give the capacity to hook something extra into the databus without effecting the rest of the avionics. Lockheed is probably hoping that Israel forgets, bet you they don’t.
The F-35 is probably the most integrated aircraft ever considered. The problems with that is:
1. The US will know everything you want to do; and
2. currently the only way you will be able to change anything is pay Lockheed!

If you want an example of that just look at the C-130J. The RAAF has operated the ‘H’for 30 years. It got a systems and structural upgrade at 20 years and it is still running. Just compare that with the digitial ‘J’ with repeated software and hardware upgrades and the darn this is just 10 years old!
The J may be cheaper to maintain mechanically (largely because of the engines) but the electronics constantly cost $’s and you have fight your way through a users group to get anything changed…and that is precisely what is coming with the F-35.

Observer
Observer
February 22, 2012 6:34 am

@Aussie

Don’t forget the part where they’re packing everything including the kitchen sink into such a small airframe that there really isn’t much room left for modifications. Or some large weapons for that matter. They’re trying to go 3x AMRAAMs per weapons bay, but the bay looks a bit too small, might be trouble for the future.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
February 22, 2012 6:36 am

Hi Johnno,

“you have fight your way through a users group to get anything changed…and that is precisely what is coming with the F-35” as the Norwegians (and Australians!) know, trying to get JSM onboard (before the 4th iteration of code line, whenever that will be, as the 1st one seems to be taking ages)
– so LM gets the plane deal by promising to promote the indigenous missile world-wide (for total fleet of 3.500, at that point)
– and when the deal is in the bag, that promoting is shoved by half a decade into the distant future

Topman
Topman
February 22, 2012 7:00 am

‘sorry i meant eots. and why not?’

Not really req’d. As I understand eots is a sniper pod built into the a/c itself. Since Typhoon is swing role it’s not always required, so it’s a weight penalty, you’re carrying it around all the time when you don’t need to. When you do need something like that just stick a LIII pod on.

As to the rest about new engines to get to mach 3 and canard removal. I can only echo the others here.

solomon
solomon
February 22, 2012 7:49 am

you’re all without imagination….large engines have been fitted into small airplanes before

question ole’ boy….and i don’t mean to offend but what exactly are you going to do if some type of upgrade beyond Tranche 3 isn’t planned for the Typhoon? you’re going to have one squadron of F-35’s and what are basically obsolete Typhoons in the 2025-2030 time period. also notice the development cycle of airplanes now. the follow on to the F-35 isn’t in development yet. i haven’t even heard of a study. so even if new build Typhoons are available they’ll still be technological dinosaurs and thats not even considering the fact that they still lack features that some consider essential today.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
February 22, 2012 8:02 am

Hi Sol,

F-16V definitely is not a dinosaur;and calling the airframe middle aged would be a compliment.
– why would the Typhoon (being a competent and largish airframe) become one?

Fatman
Fatman
February 22, 2012 8:15 am

Solomon, I think you will find the Typhoons will be phased out of service by the early 2030s, leaving the UK with one manned combat type. There is no intention for major structural or mechanical upgrades, although I am sure the electronics and weapons systems will progress a bit further. Have a look at last week’s Anglo-French summit communique if you want to see which direction future development is progressing – not towards manned aircraft. Once the F-35s or whatever leave service the UK on present planning appears to have no further manned fast jets in prospect. So I would forget the fantasies about major re-working of Typhoon. We recently tried that experiment and it was called Nimrod MRA4. The MOD won’t be repeating that financial error anytime soon. Less a failure of imagination, more a case of engineering and fiscal realism. But if you can prove your upgrade ideas will work at an affordable cost I have no doubt the most senior levels of the defence procurement world will soon be on the phone offering you a 6-figure salary and a decent bonus too.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
February 22, 2012 8:28 am

This is a third of a year old piece; the budget proposals may have already changed it?
” The navy currently plans to buy 680 F-35B and F-35C aircraft, for (on average) $100 million each. A UCAS (Unmanned Combat Aerial System) costs less than half that, and provides most of the same capabilities. ”
from http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/09/us-navy-wants-to-replace-f-35s-with-x.html

Topman
Topman
February 22, 2012 8:54 am

it’s not really about having no imagination. We can all pull fantasy ideas out of thin air. With enough money anything is possible, but it’s not even slightly practical or realistic.

Gabriele
Gabriele
February 22, 2012 8:58 am

“UK F-35Cs will be modified to carry British systems such as ASRAAM, Meteor and SPEAR which may demand additional expenditure.”

Some 600 million pounds were to go into “Uk national requirements” which included integration of ASRAAM, Storm Shadow, Paveway IV, Brimstone and (maybe) Meteor.

In 2006, the national requirements expenditure was halved, deferring integration of Brimstone, Meteor and Storm Shadow and changing the profile of use of ASRAAM (from integrating 4 internal, now they will be integrated as 2 internal and 2 on the external wing pylons).
At entry in service, the UK F35 will have AMRAAM, ASRAAM and Paveways including the Paveway IV.

MBDA is considering self-funding Meteor integration to aim to export orders, so the MOD might be lucky there.
Even if it is not, the F35 will come into service at an higher readiness level than Typhoon has reached now after years of service.

“As for price lrip is currently running about 150m dollars at the minute and the Italians say there’s will be cheaper than typhoon.”

It is very likely. The UK contribution to F35 design and development is in the order of 2 billions. The development cost on the unitary jet price will thus be negligible compared to, say, the non-recurring costs that burden the acquisition of a Typhoon. This alone is sufficient to make the F35 effectively cheaper.
Also, cost of the LRIP planes is shrinking and is bound to shrink further. Of course, it would be better if the US acquired the 179 F35s that they are delaying past 2017, but the impact is unlikely to be particularly devastating.

Ultimately, when around 2015 the british order is firmly decided, there will be an unitary cost and a fixed budget given to the RAF and RN, say 5 billions, which is a figure which emerged frequently as of late.
The services will then buy as many F35s as 5 billion pounds can afford. The better exchange rate pound/USD, the more the 5 billions will buy.
As simple as that.

“Solomon, I think you will find the Typhoons will be phased out of service by the early 2030s, leaving the UK with one manned combat type.”

Currently the 2030 OSD date is indicatively around, but i highly doubt it will be respected.
A Typhoon take on the “GR4” mid-life update of Tornado is very likely, and the EJ200 has a consistent built-in growth margin to accommodate said upgrade without extensive rebuilding needs.

As always happens, the Phoon will live longer than planned at the start. I’d be very surprised if it did not.

@Topman

“SELEX by chance?”

Yes, it’s probably SELEX, or a company working for them anyway.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
February 22, 2012 9:59 am

RE “withdrawn from UK service in favour of Meteor and I can’t see it being retained just for JCA, seems like something that will be ripe for cutting, if not already.”
– there should enough of margin (2015 to 2020) for Meteor to sort itself out, even fit into the internal bay in the new version
– ASRAAM is an ideal self-defence weapon for a “bomber” with its off-bore launch capabilities

AMRAAM will of course continue to evolve, and the new versions will be also integrated (for other customers). So a good insurance policy, but I doubt the current stock would be usable around 2020 (but would need fresh cash, so what’s the point when the ASRAAM/Meteor pair should be ideal)

martin
Editor
February 22, 2012 10:09 am

It is SELEX formally BAE systems fromally Marconi etc etc.

@ Solomon – I can’t see any manned aircraft Typhoon or the F35 Dave lasting much past 2030. Manned aircraft take so long to develop and UCAS’s are coming on leaps and bound’s at a much reduced cost.

Again just to bring back the economics of the UK purchase. Assuming a $400 billion total program with the UK getting 15% of that we should expect to see spending in the UK of some $60 billion. Based on RUSI figures HMRC gets 30% of that money straight in its pocket not including the multiplyer effects. Thats around $20 billion three times more than we are spending on the aircraft. Given these figures I think its vital the UK keeps up with F35 orders of 100+.

Desk Jockey
Desk Jockey
February 22, 2012 11:27 am

The actual price of buying an F35 will not be known until you are ready to sign the contract. That is quite normal as there are so many variables to be negotaited over. The MOD will have estimated figures to work from, but they will never release those publicly, too easy for journos to take them out of context and cause mayhem. When the contract is signed is when you know what the actual price is. If other countries sign contracts before the UK, they should give an indication of likely prices, but should not be treated as actual prices.

It has to be said, I think people are in danger of over-selling the utility of the F35. First and foremost, it needs to be a stealthy-ish bomb truck for penetration strikes against a high-end adversary. I don’t see it doing much AA work because think about who the UK/US/Western world would have to do that with – China? N Korea? Russia? For that job, a decent 4th or 5th gen fighter just needs to carry a lot of missiles and some great electronics. The adversaries have a numbers advantage, a stealthy jet that can only fire 3 or 4 AA missiles is pretty limited. This is where Typhoon looks like a much better prospect. Add in the ability to bomb low/mid-end adversaries and all your air needs are now covered. Not necessarily by using the best tools for the job, but having ‘good enough’ tools that combined can do nearly everything you need.

I have to chip in an say that ripping canards off Typhoon and shoving bigger engines in is not the best idea in the world…! Do you really want to be in a jet doing mach 3 against a huge wave of Chinese fighers armed with only a couple of missiles, or in a fighter that can keep reasonably ahead of them, but is able to fire off a lot more missiles? As for dropping bombs at mach 3, let’s not go there!

solomon
solomon
February 22, 2012 12:45 pm

ok. i put ideas out for an upgraded Typhoon. you shot them down. awesome. but what you all are failing to realize is that.

1. THE TYPHOON WILL BE OBSOLETE BY AROUND THE 2025-2030 TIME FRAME. the UK will be left with perhaps only 1 squadron of advanced fighter airplanes. without foreign orders the idea that any upgrades will be done inside the consortium are pretty grim. so what will you do?

2. if you only have one advanced fighter squadron during the time frame will you put them on carriers or will you keep them home for defense?

3. if you keep them home for defense then you’re out of the power projection business. sell the carriers now. mothball your amphibs and tell the world the truth. the UK does not want to pay the price to be a force for good in the world.

just my two cents. but someone needs to get with the idea of upgrading the Typhoon. you can put your eggs into the basket of UAVs. but thats only in the strike role. you can even say that you don’t need high tech fighters for home defense but that will only till the first PAK-50 buzzes by. talking about the present is fine but the near future is going to be a challenge unless planning starts now.

Observer
Observer
February 22, 2012 1:09 pm

@Solomon

Obsolete does not mean useless. You can still use obsolete planes, they don’t fall from the sky from shock at seeing a MiG.

“the UK does not want to pay the price to be a force for good in the world.”

Yay, balanced budget FTW!!

Face it solomon, you came up with a dreadful idea.
By the way, what’s the modernization plan for the “advanced” F-22? *sound of knife twisting*

Desk Jockey
Desk Jockey
February 22, 2012 1:13 pm

Solomon – I am glad you took the comments about your Typhoon idea in the light hearted spirit that they are intended. Ideas that can be challenged or taken further are always to be welcomed.

I would dispute your statement that Typhoon will be obsolete around 2025. We are still flying Tornadoes, designed and built in the 80s, this was back in the era when hand to eye co-ordination was still critical to being a fast jet pilot. Now that same pilot is all about information management and situational awareness. The planes can fly themselves, the pilot needs to provide the brains, judgement and decisions.

This is the open secret behind Typhoon. It flies well and the pilots like it, but that is not the important part, that is in the electronics. Maybe by 2025 there will be UCAVs that can match the Typhoon for flight performance, but they are a long way away from matching those critical elements of situational awareness and decision making. Being at the end of a radio/satellite link does not cut.

The future cannot be predicted so far out, but at this time no one is proving that anytime soon they can supply a thinking and fighting UCAV that can independetly beat a 5th gen manned fighter. Maybe by 2040? Maybe not even by then. Until this technical feat is accompllished, you cannot replace the Typhoon with a UCAV, although I would not be surpised if 4th/5th gen fighters will be the last of their kind. They still have a long life ahead of them.

Jim
Jim
February 22, 2012 1:22 pm

Just how many of these do we require. The French are buying 60 Rafale M for use om their one carrier Charles de Gaulle, which has a capacity of 40 aircraft. So its logical to say one QE class with the same capacity needs the same amount of aircraft. Attrition and spares included. Factor in RAF requirements say another 60, 4 x active squadrons and reserves, for a total of 120. A little bit less then the often quoted 150 to 138 in the press.

Well that my guess for the sweep stake.

Observer
Observer
February 22, 2012 1:24 pm

BTW solomon, you seem the “go to” guy here for things F-35, do you recall any live-fire tests done by the F-35? I’m a bit worried about the launch bay.

paul g
February 22, 2012 1:47 pm

the engine upgrades for EJ200 are oft quoted on places like wikki but as of yet i’ve not seen anything anywhere else, is there any likelyhood of these getting used. 30% more power and thrust vectoring, there’s alot of noise about 2000 jobs going at warton would the govt stump up cash for upgrades if it meant it would save jobs (all dependant on the loss of the india contract).

The govt needs to announce some good news stuff, and with links to high industry comments in the press, maybe would might see those improvements

Mark
Mark
February 22, 2012 2:09 pm

If memory serves eurojets Spanish side is responsible for thrust vectoring on typhoon. It will save no jobs at warton. We no longer wish fast jet final assembly in this country that’s been clear for the last decade. And ucav are a truly eye wateringly expensive option. I refer anyone to the recent global hawk NATO deal as this would be a low cost option to a further ucav price.

Robbie
Robbie
February 22, 2012 2:33 pm

TD, re £5 bet, A english name for Rafale?. Squally, NAAAAH!

Observer
Observer
February 22, 2012 2:35 pm

Mark, the US are complaining about the G-Hawk’s price too. :)

Alex
Alex
February 22, 2012 3:29 pm

English name for Rafale? “Merse” as in Mers el-Kebir, clearly. Or “Daveeed” because the F-35 is Dave.

paul g
February 22, 2012 3:52 pm

@ mark, i was thinking of the refits swopping out old engines for new. Although i live in wales i can switch between welsh or north west local news, and there some big shouts about warton going, it’s seems to have got all the parties unified about this and big dave knows he nedds to curry favour up in the north.

I know it’s pretty much a long shot but if some deal can be thrashed out with BAe (stop laughing at the back) dipping in to funds to subside a refit programme is better than shelling out whole heap of benefits to 2000 (highly skilled) unemployed people, plus the whatever goes from the many suppliers, news says up to 10,000 in the north west.
Perhaps i should go and stand in the corner for looking at it too sensibly!!

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
February 22, 2012 4:05 pm

Hi Mark (and Observer),

Yes, look at the price tags of Global Hawk for NATO (and the bid for Korea). And US itself skipping the next increment altogether…

But the moral of the story is that an early customer does not always get squeezed: Germany bought their a long time ago, and much cheaper (do they call them Eurohawks? Some modifications, made in Germany; maybe they were not in the published price and it was therefore artificially low)

solomon
solomon
February 22, 2012 4:13 pm

uh just a heads up. the first British pilot to fly the F-35C is posted on my website. i hope TD posts it here.

anyway back to the issue at hand. back to the canard issue. the Russians put canards on the SU-33 and then took them off for follow on carrier models. flyby wire SHOULD be able to handle the flight profile. and if you think that the Typhoon will be competitive in the 2025 time frame then i would ask how? the Russians will have stealth, the Chinese too. every ally except for the French and a few Nordic countries will be flying stealth aircraft and the US Air Force will be embarking on a 6th gen fighter. during this time everyone in the Pacific will be pushing for upgrades to the F-35 and if the current thinking holds true then the UK won’t be updating their F-35’s at the same rate. additionally the Typhoon will make up a preponderance of your fighter force. it doesn’t look good from my peanut gallery.

Mark
Mark
February 22, 2012 4:20 pm

Paulg

From conversions I’ve had I would say 2000 maybe conservative there is little work beyond sustainment and they have been trying to even get civil work from anywhere but that’s been coming since the government decided against the f35 final line and having a hawk one in India. It’s sad it’s come this but governments let it happen. They should have pushed much harder to break the Franco German strangle hold on airbus or taken the a400m final line it’s all to late now.

The tv nozzle is a change to the engine nozzle on the base engine I think if it was changed I would think it would be done on the pulse line at conningsby.

Mark
Mark
February 22, 2012 4:28 pm

Acc

I think the German cost of buying there 5 global hawks came to about 750-800m euro. The support costs have not been disclosed. The 2 navy x-47b demonstrator with no mission system 700m dollars. No one expects a ucav with jet level performance and deployability sub 200m each which it why all reference to that type of vehicle is disappearing. Can you really ever see a ucav standing qra or say carrying a nuclear bomb or any such mission. There will always be manned fastjets and f35 will I believe be the uks sole one at sometime in the future for no other reason than it will have a global supply chain with guarenteed spares access and total interoperability with us forces and this is something the us does very very well.

Observer
Observer
February 22, 2012 4:48 pm

@solomon

Stealth is overrated. And a marketing mass media term. The better and more proper term for it is LO (low observation) and honestly, its’ time is nearly done. Too many people know how it’s done now (hell, the original tech paper on stealth was Russian co-opted by Lockheed for the F-117) and know how to take countermeasures, for example the use of extreme long wavelength radar, radar overwatch to catch the top of the fighter instead of the front and occasional ultra-high powered pulses, as well as IR.

Measures, countermeasures, counter-counter measures. That’s the nature of war.

That is also why I think the F-35 is one step too late. It’s main selling point, “congressionally approved level of LO” has already been countered.

paul g
February 22, 2012 4:52 pm

seems the japanese are having words with the US they don’t want any changes to the price agreed at the signing of the contract, nor any changes to the delivery date. Good luck with that fellas….

Mark
Mark
February 22, 2012 4:55 pm

Observer

How expensive are such systems how reliable how widely avaiable? Could they track non low observable a/c from further away allowing more time to respond? Is I’ve said many times here all that signature reduction in f35 will allow is the same freedom of movement in a future operation than fastjets today enjoy in current operations. 3500 surface to au missiles were launched at allied a/c in the second gulf war this is what’s required.

Observer
Observer
February 22, 2012 5:05 pm

@Mark

The systems are universal, the changes are mostly software and radar placement.

Think Yugoslavia and F-117. If what is essentially a regional militia cound do it, others can too. And it wasn’t only a single plane, another was damaged too but managed to RTB. Which demonstrated reproducability.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
February 22, 2012 5:05 pm

Hi Mark,

No “Can you really ever see a ucav standing qra or say carrying a nuclear bomb” but that is a very small assigned fraction of the fleet.
– whatever happened to Scavenger?

Observer
Observer
February 22, 2012 5:07 pm

Well.. maybe some of the older radars need to change their emitters to hit the frequencies needed for anti-stealth work. AESA might not even need to.

solomon
solomon
February 22, 2012 5:20 pm

the F-117 shootdown was caused by a number of factors to include poor flight planning by the operations center. additionally they volley fired the missiles and got lucky so don’t bet too much on that tactic. in addition the rules of engagement and the way they set up their anti-air missile batteries and the questionable precision of the weapons in use at the time forced NATO to err on the side of caution when engaging them. those same factors could come into play again but lets hope not.

solomon
solomon
February 22, 2012 5:25 pm

Gabrielle. what are the planned upgrades for the Typhoon?

Observer. if stealth is dead then why is China and Russia building airplanes based on it?

Desk Jockey. uavs are fantastic but their limitations are becoming painfully obvious here in the US. additionally the USAF has shifted away from them it appears. the MQX and the Global Hawk were cancelled. thats ominous for the future of the airplanes.

jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix
February 22, 2012 5:34 pm

stealth is not dead.

all that can be said is that short wavelength LO is less effective than was the case in times past.

progress will always win.

Observer
Observer
February 22, 2012 5:34 pm

solomon, bullshit on the carelessness part, you’re just pissing into the wind. And that was 2 F-117s that were hit, not just one. As I said, it demonstrated reproducability. Most of the rah rah on stealth nowadays is just very aggressive marketing.

As for why the Chinese J-20s and Russian PAK are now being developed, it is because the programs were put in place long before and only now are they coming up with actual hardware. My read on it is that the programs started about the time of the F-117/B-2 revealing. Development time took too long.

Topman
Topman
February 22, 2012 6:00 pm

@ Mark

‘The tv nozzle is a change to the engine nozzle on the base engine I think if it was changed I would think it would be done on the pulse line at conningsby.’

How big a change is it? Is it just an EU change and that’s it? I don’t think it would be done there I don’t think it would be big enough.

Mark
Mark
February 22, 2012 6:38 pm

Topman

To be honest i never really followed it that closely as I never thought it was going to happen. I think thats what were talking about with a software update. This article from a while back is all goes into some detail.

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/eurojet-pushes-thrust-vectoring-technology-for-typhoon-333501/

Topman
Topman
February 22, 2012 6:48 pm

Thanks for the link Mark, no problem knew a couple of people who worked there and your comment got my attention.

Lord Jim
Lord Jim
February 22, 2012 9:26 pm

There is No way the Typhoon will be obsolete by 2030. that is like saying the F15/16/18 are all obsolete now! Looking at the way things are developing the Typhoon has a strong probability of still being around in 2040 or even longer. Unless an economic miracle occurs our defence budget is going to be insufficient for our aspirations well past 2020 and as a result some serious slight of hand will be needed to achieve any sort of resemblance to what the 2010 SDSR laid out.

As has been mentioned we will have a set pot on money to purchase a platform to operate off the CVF. Given this countries past record, I would have to say the F-35C is still the front runner as capability seems to trump capacity everytime a decision is made by the powers that be often to the severe detriment of the latter. I can easily imagine FF2020 becomming FF2030 and only 12-18 F-35 being purchased between 2020 and 2030.

AS for the “Upgrades” to the Typhoon those that have been suggested are about as possible as turning an F-35 into the next Space Shuttle. HTe RAF will come to realize that its future does lie with the Typhoon and funding will become available to incrementally improve the system as a whole. This will probably be a national affair supported by the requirements of export customers rather than the initial consortium.

The Anglo/French UCAV programme is NOT to produce a manned but a next generation replacement for current platforms like the Reaper. This would work with manned platforms not replace them. Fully autonomous AI UCAVs are a full generation away at least. Develolpement and lead times for new programmes are increasing.

Mark
Mark
February 23, 2012 3:41 pm

Yes it’s absolute bonker and would be totally totally pointless waste of time and money.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
February 23, 2012 4:53 pm

Actually,

It seems that the daft step is going to be missed (euros 50m for lip service) and
“– The second contract, worth about 10 million euros, will fund the initial specifications of the UCAS combat drone. It will define an unmanned combat aircraft that will follow on to the Neuron demonstrator project managed by Dassault Aviation. ”
… the money [already]spent on that one is in quite different class from what is mentioned in this “protocol”

Blacktail
Blacktail
February 24, 2012 1:34 am

I can’t say for sure how much the F-35 will cost the U taxpayer, but a good reference is what it will cost the *US* taxpayer. A lot of people talk of how confusing it is to learn even THAT, but it’s actually very simple.

All of the DoD’s big-ticket expenses are displayed publicly on the SARs (Selected Acquisition Reports), which may be viewed here;
http://www.acq.osd.mil/ara/am/sar/

As of the moment of this posting, the most recently-released SAR is for December 2010;
http://www.acq.osd.mil/ara/am/sar/

Under DoD projects, you can find the F-35, which is priced at $329.392 Billion, for 2457 units. $329.392 Billion / 2457 units = unit cost of $134 Million.

So, US$134 Million/F-35, right?

WRONG!

Note that the “Baseline Year” in the December 2010 SAR is 2002. Baseline Years are the dates from which all expenses are tracked, and a popular trick in the DoD to throw Congress and the public off the trail of wasteful spending is to “Re-Baseline” projects.

This method of statistical fraud moves the Baseline Year forward in time, sometimes well beyond the year the project actually began — and when a project is Rebaselined, all the expenses prior to the new “Baseline” year disappear with one stroke of a pen.

So how do we find out what the ACTUAL program cost is? Easy; go backwards through the SARs until the Baseline Year changes. That happens in the September 2001 SAR, where the F-35 — the called the “JSF”, now suddenly has a baseline year of 1994! It’s listed in the September 2001 SAR as costing $21.938 Billion.

Now that we know what the expenses both before and after the Re-baselining were, the FULL Project Cost can be determined by simply adding the current figure with that from the September 2001 SAR. $329.392 Billion + $21.938 Billion = $351.33 Billion.

$351.33 Billion / 2457 units = $142.991 Million… but only if you believe such an enormous number of F-35s will ever be built!

Also, see my predictions for the outcome of the F-35 Project, which I made in March of 2011;
http://blacktailfa.deviantart.com/journal/My-predictions-for-the-F-35-Lightning-II-JSF-219924902

Observer
Observer
February 24, 2012 5:26 am

Wow Black, pessimistic much? I’d agree with the 1st few points until the stabilizer breaking part, beyond that is really pessimistic.

My view is that it’ll end up underperforming and too expensive, but will still be sold as (B)Lockheed Martin has held the world up for too long on the promise of the superplane that the other countries have to buy it considering how much they spent on its’ development.

Well, we’ll see how it goes. I sort of have an impression of a possible new stealth fighter similar in configuration to the Vulcan but with its’ straight tail removed and sideways lying V-shaped canted tails added to the ends of the wings.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
February 24, 2012 9:06 am

Hi Blacktail,

Rebaselining is done here, too, but not too often
– no one knows how much the unit costs of Terriers was, as your formula would also have a minus item between the two plusses (the minus being the damages BAE paid after a court case; those damages being nowhere near big enough to wipe out the cost before rebaselining)

Anyway, so the F-35s will come in less than half price of F-22s? Japan was keen to pay the higher price to begin with (but was snubbed by the Congress)

Blacktail
Blacktail
February 24, 2012 10:38 am

Greetings ArmChairCivvy,

The F-35 will be much more expensive than that, as it’s customers scale-back and/or cancel their orders. For example, Italy has already reduced it’s original order of 131 F-35s to just 90;
http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-02-16/italy-to-cut-f-35-fighter-jet-orders-as-part-of-defense-revamp.html

And unless I overlooked another number, 131 – 90 = 41 F-35s cancelled (close to 30% of the original plan). Also, this didn’t figure into the equation I did above, so the unit cost of the F-35 will actually be MORE than that number.

Winslow Wheeler, a retired Pentagon analyst who was part of the design team who formulated the F-XX project (which spawned the YF-16 Fighting Falcon and YF-17 Cobra — F-XX was later re-named “Light Weight Fighter”, or LWF), has a few insights into the cost;
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/winslow-t-wheeler/how-much-will-each-f-35-c_b_521337.html

It seems he predicts it will become $200 Million.

I predict it will exceed $400 Million.

If the previous attempt at a tri-service, do-everything design with all the latest technological fads is any indication, the F-35 will be substantially more expensive that the DoD currently promises;
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/winslow-t-wheeler/a-tale-of-two-pigs_b_402103.html

Chuck Spinney, who co-designed the F-XX concept alongside Wheeler, knows a few other tricks the vested interests behind the F-35 will use (if they haven’t already) to inflate it’s cost;
http://battleland.blogs.time.com/2012/01/30/f-35-out-of-altitude-airspeed-and-ideas-but-never-money/

http://battleland.blogs.time.com/2011/07/19/the-defense-death-spiral/

Observer
Observer
February 25, 2012 10:07 am

@Blacktail

Still think you’re a bit too pessimistic. My guess on the F-35 unit cost is ~320M per. Almost twice the cost of a lot of fighters.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
February 25, 2012 3:01 pm

Hi Blacktail,

If you think of the “drop outs” with UK leading the way and you quoted the reduction by Italy (and discount the overall lateness of the programme, currently an attempt to compensate for “too much ambition in concurrency” as it has been put), howabout those reductions being taken up by first Israel and now Japan
– is there any effect on the the unit price , past the LRIP phase?

Dave
Dave
February 26, 2012 6:07 pm

When you consider what Boeing is doing with the F15 Silent Eagle, which can be potential retrofitted onto an earlier model, there is no reason to think that the Typhoon cannot be similarly upgraded. Everyone seems to be obsessed with stealth but how stealthy will the F35 be with an effective mission load? It seems to be hugely expensive piece of kit for not a lot of aircraft, certainly not a quantum leap over the Typhoon. And actually the proposed Naval Typhoon idea to India with thrust vectoring and conformal fuel tanks allowing a STOBAR aircraft with a high weight to thrust ratio seemed no more an expensive approach to our RN career needs, than equipping the carriers with catapults and then training an entire fighter wing.

McZ
McZ
February 26, 2012 7:32 pm

Sigh!

Really, some guys here really don’t know what they are talking about. LO is about deflecting radar in a certain waveband, reducing IR-signature and controlling the electronic emissions of an aircraft.

No, you can’t make a non-stealth plane stealth. You can achieve some minor reduction on the through special materials or absorbing paint. This costs money.

You can reduce emissions to a certain degree, but it will also add cost.

With Silent Eagle you will pay money for a CATOBAR-uncapable design, outdated in 2020 at latest, introducing one more type when all the world is trying to reduce types. Rafale has not integrated a single complex weapon the RAF is using. The French would love it, if we would pay to make it shinier for exports.

We can afford the F-35. At least we have to, because those Tornados will not fly forever. And yes, finally we will have a one-type RAF. Here are some folks constantly asking for the Danish model. Here it is.

McZ
McZ
February 26, 2012 7:35 pm

@blacktail

How can a plane be more expensive in it full-production phase than in LRIP?

Blacktail
Blacktail
February 27, 2012 11:26 am

McZ;

It’s all about the Project Cost divided by the Units, and the resulting Unit Cost. How many US warplane projects have been delivered on-budget, and exceeding, at, or even NEAR the number originally promised? Exactly.
More money will be spend, less units will be built, and paying a single cent less for each unit delivered than what it cost to develop AND build them is money lost.

Moreover, as problems are found, the project cost increases as the aircraft is modified in design in order to fix them, and testing almost always reveals expensive problems. This obviously increases the Project Cost.
I brought that up because only 17% of the F-35’s testing will actually be complete (after over 15 of development!) by the time the money is in the bank, and the airframes go into service; http://www.cdi.org/program/document.cfm?documentid=4569&programID=37&from_page=../friendlyversion/printversion.cfm

Moreover, two additional schemes are being employed to inflate the F-35’s cost — Front-Loading and Political Engineering. What these are and how they work are explained here;
http://pogoarchives.org/labyrinth/01/09.pdf

Monty
February 27, 2012 11:41 am

TD,

Much has happened to the F-35 project over the last 12 months. The B variant is apparently back on track while the C variant is too heavy to be agile in air-to-air combat.

The problem is that there is too much rumour and not enough fact. Please could someone produce a reliable up-to-date briefing on this topic. Thanks.

Mark
Mark
February 27, 2012 1:42 pm

Blacktail

Sorry project cost is a US problem only. All the partners have fixed development contributions. All the partners or any overseas buyer pays the unit recurring cost In the year of purchase plus whatever spares and training costs suitable for there own needs. Much like comparing the cost Saudi paid for typhoon against what we paid for typhoon.

The c versions isn’t to heavy. It is struggling on a specific transonic kpp. Which is a clean a clean f35c with internal weapons carriage has to accelerate the same as a clean f16 or f18.

Jim
Jim
March 8, 2012 7:48 am

The combat radius of the F-35B has been reduced by 15%, that make their range now 709 km compared to the F-35C’s 1,185 km. It has also be granted “10 % additional runway length for short take-offs” is this the final nail in the coffin for the B in British service. I fail to see it being of any use without external tanks fitted, losing the stealth capability.

Heres the link to the full story http://www.defpro.com/news/details/33113/?SID=57f6edb6fae9052df9e3c58d31a4ba3e

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
March 8, 2012 9:04 am

Jim, a good point “It has also be granted “10 % additional runway length for short take-offs” is this the final nail in the coffin for the B in British service.”
– we also paid $17m to LM to improve the software for “rolling landings” to be able to bring any weapons back (results unknown)

Aussie Johnno
Aussie Johnno
March 9, 2012 1:28 am

It will be interesting to see what, if anything, comes out of the planned F-35 partners meeting scheduled to be held out here next week.
In theory at least there should be some statement of number intentions coming out of the discussion but you don’t have high hopes. I note that the defence-aerospace.com website has carried press releases from Canada and Norway making soothing noises but no one else has said a word.
Talking about F-35 costs are pretty meaningless at the moment as the ultimate cost of the aircraft will depend on whether they can get the current production of 30-40 airframes a year up closer the 200 per annum that the original production costs were based on.

Jim
Jim
March 9, 2012 10:10 am

I have been thinking about the above 10% additional runway length. Of course we can not add 10% extra to the carriers but we can add EMALS. Can the B version be catapult launched? If so it could presumably take off with a full load. The reduced range is still a factor but better than any version of the Harriers.

jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix
March 9, 2012 10:36 am

“Can the B version be catapult launched?”

It is not to my knowledge reinforced to take the punishment of catapault launches.

Mark
Mark
March 9, 2012 10:38 am

Jim
F35b take-off length has increased from 544ft to 568ft of a us navy amphib. We have a 900ft ship is would be a non issue. But we shouldnt buy the b version as the c is the better uk option. The range hasn’t been newly reduced it was done and published at swat nearly 5 year ago.

Simon
May 8, 2012 7:35 pm

I’ll just shove £175m (ish) in here for B/C types and £25m less for A.

So if Gabby is right that’ll buy us 28… hmmm!

Frenchie
Frenchie
May 9, 2012 1:25 pm

F-35 Reality Check Ten Years On — Part 1: ‘Fifth-Generation’ and Other Myths

http://www.defense-aerospace.com/article-view/feature/135080/f_35-reality-check-10-years-on-%28part-1%29.html