2010年1月11日月曜日

F35 調達見直し

F35調達計画の見直しをしそうだ。
 ゲーツ米国防長官が航空自衛隊の次期主力戦闘機(FX)の候補になって
いる次世代戦闘機F35戦闘機について、国防総省の調達計画を見直すよう
命じたと報じた。見直しは、開発の遅れを予測する声があることが理由
とみられる。

日米安保不要論のゲーツは、トップセールスで、F35を日本に売込みに
来たが、開発計画がかなり遅れているため、483機を調達する計画を122機
の調達を控えるよう担当者に指示。当初予定よりも10機削減するようだ。
F35は、2034年までに、US仕様(?)2456機を調達する方針。

報道によると日本の戦闘機生産産業は1100社
MHI F-2技術要員の70%は、MRJ等の民間機に移動
  F-2製造は2011年9月終了
  F-16技術要員は60人体制

IHI F-2用エンジン(GE F110ライセンス生産)はF-2製造終了ともに終了
  心神(ATD-X)用エンジンXF5-1の開発遅延

8カ国以上で生産台数を決めているのに、US仕様の減産はあっても輸出
仕様の減産をできるのだろうか。

F35 共同開発検討

---米がF35の調達計画見直し 日本の選定作業に影響か---
2010.1.8 17:43
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/world/america/100108/amr1001081745014-n1.htm

 米メディアは8日までに、ゲーツ米国防長官が航空自衛隊の次期主力戦闘機(FX)の候補になっている次世代戦闘機F35戦闘機について、国防総省の調達計画を見直すよう命じたと報じた。
 F35は老朽化が進む空自F4戦闘機の後継機を決めなければならない日本に対してゲーツ長官が推奨している機種だが、開発中のため日本が調達可能になる時期が見通せないのが難点。実際に開発に遅れが生じれば、日本のFX選定作業に影響を与える可能性がある。
 同省は2015年までに計483機を調達する計画だったが、ゲーツ長官は昨年12月23日、このうちの約25%に当たる122機の調達を控えるよう担当者に指示。皮切りとして11会計年度(10年10月~11年9月)分は当初予定よりも10機削減する。(共同)


---米、F35の調達計画見直し 日本のFX選定に影響か---
2010年1月8日 16時45分
http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/s/article/2010010801000532.html

 【ワシントン共同】米メディアは8日までに、ゲーツ米国防長官が航空自衛隊の次期主力戦闘機(FX)の候補になっている次世代戦闘機F35戦闘機について、国防総省の調達計画を見直すよう命じたと報じた。見直しは、開発の遅れを予測する声があることが理由とみられる。
 F35は老朽化が進む空自F4戦闘機の後継機を決めなければならない日本に対してゲーツ長官が推奨している機種だが、開発中のため日本が調達可能になる時期が見通せないのが難点。実際に開発に遅れが生じれば、日本のFX選定作業に影響を与える可能性がある。
 同省は2015年までに計483機を調達する計画だったが、ゲーツ長官は昨年12月23日、このうちの約25%に当たる122機の調達を控えるよう担当者に指示。皮切りとして11会計年度(10年10月~11年9月)分は当初予定よりも10機削減する。
 調達予算のうち28億ドル(約2615億円)以上を開発や性能評価試験などの費用に充てるという。
 国防総省は34年までに計2456機を調達する方針。同省の予算資料は、この全体計画を縮小するかどうかについては言及していない。


---Aircraft with advantages, or the next generation of wasted money?
By Kent Harris, Stars and Stripes
European edition, Sunday, January 10, 2010
http://www.stripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=67129

The Air Force is spending hundreds of billions of dollars on two fighter jets that probably will never be used to support troops on the ground in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Congress has decided to cap production of the F-22, removing funding for the fifth-generation fighter from the 2010 military budget. And the F-35 - also known as the Joint Strike Fighter - won’t be ready for prime time before 2013, according to the latest estimates.

Critics of the new fighters say they are too expensive and not needed in today’s warfare, while proponents argue that the current aircraft are not as advanced as the F-22 and F-35, both of which would help the U.S. maintain air superiority for decades to come.

The programs have come under heavy criticism, mainly for cost overruns.

Each F-22 - there are about 140 of them assigned to six stateside bases - will have cost about $350 million under current estimates. The U.S. is awaiting delivery of roughly 50 more of them.

Winslow Wheeler, director of the Straus Military Reform Project of the Center for Defense Information and a vocal critic of both programs, predicts each F-35 might eventually cost almost $200 million.

Guy Ben-Ari, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the costs are "raising eyebrows left and right. At the end of the day, it comes down to resources, and they’re not endless."

Despite those concerns, the fighters’ advantages cannot be ignored, some officials say.

Maj. John Peterson, requirements officer for the F-35A at Air Force headquarters, said each fifth-generation fighter has four features that make it superior to fourth-generation models such as the F-16, F-15 and F/A-18. Some fourth-generation models might have some of the capabilities, but none has all four, he said.

Those four are the ability to evade enemy radar; maneuverability; the ability to take on varied tasks; and the ability to translate more data into usable information for the pilot.

A look at each aircraft:
F-22 Raptor

Christopher Preble, writing on the blog he maintains for the Cato Institute, said he believes the F-22 "likely never will" participate in actions over Iraq or Afghanistan. But Preble, director of foreign policy studies for the institute, said that doesn’t necessarily make it a bad aircraft.

"I have no reason to question the F-22’s capability," he said in a recent telephone interview.

Ben-Ari, a member of CSIS’ Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group, agreed with that assessment.

He said the F-22 might be able to carry out missions to support ground troops, but said that other aircraft such as the F-16 and A-10 are better designed to do so. The F-22 is thought to be better suited for taking on enemy aircraft and anti-aircraft positions as opposed to enemy forces engaged with friendly troops on the ground.

But there is the cost factor.

Preble cited a Washington Post article that stated that the cost of flying an F-22 is about $40,000 per hour.

So using the F-22 for a mission that other aircraft could handle, Ben-Ari said, "would be in the same manner as a Lamborghini used to bring your kids to school. You could do it, but do you really need to?"

Maj. Clay Bartels, F-22 requirements officer for Air Force headquarters at the Pentagon, said he believes the F-22 could take on ground-support missions today if called upon. But he said its primary role - ensuring U.S. superiority in the skies - isn’t needed in today’s wars.

"Air superiority is achieved already," he said in a phone interview.

Supporters say the F-22 is so technologically superior to other fighters that it will use advanced detecting and targeting systems to take out enemy planes from miles away. In such cases, enemy planes might not have even known they were in a fight until it was too late.
F-35A Joint Strike Fighter

The Air Force expects to receive the first of its 1,763 aircraft in 2013 - if testing goes according to plan.

The Marine Corps recently took possession of the first versions of the F-35 from Lockheed Martin and has begun its own testing. Congress overrode Pentagon misgivings and decided to spend an additional $465 million on an alternative engine for the F-35.

The Air Force, which projects that the F-35 will make up half its fleet in 2025, is involved in a system development and demonstration phase that Peterson said is set to last until 2014.

Wheeler, who once worked for the General Accounting Office, said that means the service will have purchased a significant number of aircraft that haven’t been fully tested. And he said he believes too much of the current testing is in the form of simulated models and table-top theories. He said more tests must involve actually flying the F-35.

---

Peterson and Bartels said the F-35 and F-22 are designed to provide specific, complementary roles for the service. But they’re only part of the picture. The service projects that some of the current generation of fighters will be used for decades to come.

Ben-Ari said the Air Force needs to not only deal with conflicts today, but also plan for future ones. "For the missions we’re conducting today, the current fleet is capable," he said. "For future ones … I’m not so sure.

"You can’t just draw up a design for a new aircraft and produce it in six months," he said. "You’re hedging against future risk. No politician or military officer wants to be the one who, looking back through history, canceled a project or ignored a risk."


---Japanese Review Bolsters Non-F-35 Order Case---
Jan 8, 2010
By Bradley Perrett
http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_channel.jsp?channel=defense&id=news/asd/2010/01/08/01.xml&headline=Japanese%20Review%20Bolsters%20Non-F-35%20Order%20Case

Japan is risking a rapid loss of fighter engineering skills, an official review of the industry warns, while urging the government to avoid fully importing combat aircraft.

Estimates of future engineering effort starkly illustrate an unspoken argument for Japan to buy and develop advanced versions of the Eurofighter Typhoon, Boeing F-15 or Boeing F/A-18E/F to fill its requirement for 50 fighters.

“An industrial base is difficult to rebuild once experienced engineers and mechanics leave the industry, so it is essential to keep it for future fighter development,” says the Commission on Reform of Fighter Production Technology Base.

About 70 percent of the engineering work force for the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries F-2 fighter has already been assigned to other business units, the report says. Only 60 engineers are now working on the F-16-based effort, Japan’s only fighter production program.

Moreover, F-2 production is due to end in September 2011. With it will go IHI’s production line for the General Electric F110 engine. The development of the IHI XF5-1 engine for the ATD-X stealth fighter technology demonstrator “will only delay the decline in propulsion capability,” the commission says.

“For the fighters operated by our country, it is desirable to keep a complete in-country industrial base required for maintenance, technical support and capability enhancement.”

But in a notable concession, it accepts that Japan cannot be wholly independent: “Many other countries rely on foreign sources for part of their [fighter] industrial base for budgetary and technological reasons. Japan is no exception.”

That seems to undermine the implicit threat behind the ATD-X program: that if the U.S. refuses to supply Japan with the F-22, then Japan will develop its own stealth fighter.

The Japanese fighter industrial base is composed of 1,100 companies.

The airframe engineering effort for military aircraft is now at a peak above 1.1 million worker hours, about a third of that work applied to ATD-X development, a third to maintenance and the rest to the already declining F-2 program and the C-X transport and XP-1 maritime patrol aircraft.

The end of the F-2 program will alone cut military airframe engineering by 40 percent, and by 2014 there will be negligible fighter airframe engineering under way in Japan, reports the panel. The story for engines is similar, although electronics engineering will be maintained at a higher level thanks to upgrade work.

The implication of these figures is that to maintain the industrial base, Japanese engineers need development work. The Lockheed Martin F-35, a leading contender for the F-X requirement, is unlikely to yield much - or at least not until improved versions can be considered many years from now. Production work on the F-35 would, however, be available to Japan, since Lockheed has a large parcel of work that has not been allocated to partner nations in the project.

But Eurofighter and Boeing have both stressed that Japan can take their current fighter designs and add features if it wants to do so.

Eurofighter has gone as far as saying that Japan could do anything it wanted with the Typhoon design.

A further possibility to relieve the fighter work drought in Japan would be an extra batch of F-2s, featuring improvements over the current version. Such an order may not be far from official thinking.

A former chief of aircraft development at the defense ministry’s Technical Research and Development Institute has written in Japan Military Review that if additional F-2s were ordered, the price must go down.

Despite deflation in Japan, it has cost more to build F-2s in recent years than it did in the 1990s to build F-15s, which are much larger.


---Reports: Pentagon proposes cuts in F-35 production---
January 08, 2010 12:05:00 AM
http://www.newsherald.com/news/reports-80418-cuts-york.html



NEW YORK - The Pentagon is proposing delays and production cuts for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter through 2015, according to media reports Thursday.

The proposal is based on concerns that military contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. has fallen behind schedule on development and testing.

The Defense Department will release its official budget request for fiscal 2011 on Feb. 1. A representative said there have been no final decisions and no official statement on the reported cuts.

Other media sources reported Thursday that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates already had ordered the delay.

Lockheed Martin said the total number of planes produced would be the same, although some would be pushed out into later production.

“Should these changes become reality, they may have implications for fiscal 2011 and beyond production quantities, but not necessarily the program budget,” company spokesman Christian Geisel wrote in an e-mail to the Northwest Florida Daily News, a sister paper to The News Herald.

More than $2.8 billion was to be set aside in the next fiscal budget to purchase the stealthy jet fighter. Instead, the money would be used to continue its development, reports said.

In Thursday's reports, the Pentagon is considering a cut of 10 planes from its planned F-35 purchases for 2011, and a total reduction of 122 through 2015. Geisel and officials at Eglin Air Force Base would not speculate what the reduction would mean for the base.

“The bottom line is that any potential changes to production numbers are very pre-decisional at this time, so it is difficult to say what, if any, impact there might be,” Geisel said.


---Pentagon May Cut Production For Lockheed's F-35 -Reports---
JANUARY 7, 2010, 2:36 P.M. ET
By Christopher Hinton
http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20100107-711526.html?mod=WSJ_latestheadlines

The Pentagon is proposing delays and production cuts for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter through 2015, in a setback for Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT), on concerns that the military contractor has fallen behind schedule on development and testing, according to media reports Thursday.

The Defense Department will release its official budget request for fiscal 2011 on Feb. 1, and a representative said there have been no final decisions and no official statement on the reported cuts.

Lockheed Martin, Bethesda, Md., said the total number of planes would be the same, though some would be pushed out into later production.

"Should these changes become reality, they may have implications for fiscal 2011 and beyond production quantities, but not necessarily the program budget," company spokesman Christian Geisel wrote in an email.

More than $2.8 billion was to be set aside in the next fiscal budget to purchase the stealthy jet fighter, but that would instead be used to continue its development, reports said.

The rollback would be a short-term blow to Lockheed, which is looking to ramp up its production rate for the F-35 to one a day within the next five to six years. Higher production rates help lower the individual cost for each plane, and the company is relying heavily on automated and assembly-line manufacturing to reach its target.

Just last year, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he wanted to accelerate the program's ramp-up to squeeze out even more costs. At the time, Gates sought to purchase 513 F-35s through 2015, and ultimately have a fleet of 2,443.

According to Thursday's reports, the Pentagon is considering a cut of 10 planes from its planned F-35 purchases for 2011, and a total reduction of 122 through 2015.

In a note, equity-research firm Broadpoint AmTech lowered its rating on Lockheed Martin to neutral from buy, citing the reported delays.

"A pending adjustment to the JSF program was well telegraphed; however, the extent of the actual production delays exceeds expectations," Broadpoint AmTech said.

The firm cut its price target for Lockheed stock to $73 from $86.

Shares of Lockheed traded recently at $74.49, off nearly 3%. For the year, the stock is down about 9%.

The United States is not the F-35's only customer, but it is by far the largest. The United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, Norway, Denmark, Australia and Turkey also are members of the program.

Sales of the F-35 are expected to exceed $16 billion by 2016, or about 25% of Lockheed's total revenue, according to data provided by Bernstein Research.

The fly-away cost for the jet is about $83 million, according to the military, though Lockheed expects that to drop to $80 million by 2014.

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