2010年3月5日金曜日

F35開発遅延 13ヶ月

F35の開発が当初より、13ヶ月遅延しているそうだ。
 米空軍のドンリー長官は、開発中のF35の導入時期が当初予定の2013年
から2年遅れ、価格も大幅に上昇するとの見通しを示した。F35は空自の
FXの有力候補。

米政府がトップセールスを行なっても、信頼性の低いエンジンに、
開発遅延で、配備は24ヵ月後。さすが、おバカゲーツだけのことはある。
共同開発国は、大枚をはたいて、開発費、製品費が高騰した機体を買う
のだろうか。メンテ代はもっと高額になり、半永久的に搾り取られ
る。

中国軍が、F35開発会社経由で、F35の設計情報を一部窃盗したと報道が
あったが、遅延し、設計変更が続く現状では、博物館くらいしか情報の
価値を付けられない。

FXはEUROFIGHTERが優位となるが、その先には米国との問題が持ち上がる。
国産開発の方が、こう言う問題へのリスクは少ないと思う。

F35 開発責任者更迭
T50 試験飛行
F-35 米国防省トップセールス
F35 設計情報流出


---ステルス機「F35」米空軍配備2年遅れに---
2010年3月3日18時35分 読売新聞
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/world/news/20100303-OYT1T00835.htm

 【ワシントン=小川聡】米メディアが2日、ドンリー米空軍長官の話として報じたところによると、航空自衛隊の次期主力戦闘機(FX)の有力候補であるステルス機「F35」の米空軍への配備開始が予定より2年遅れの2015年となる見通しとなった。
 現時点で約1億4100万ドル(約125億円)とされる1機の調達価格も高くなる公算が大きい。
 米海兵隊は12年12月の配備計画を変更していないが、FX選定作業にも影響が出そうだ。


---米空軍のF35導入は15年に 日本の機種選定に影響も---
2010年3月3日 07時42分
http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/s/article/2010030301000078.html

 【ワシントン共同】米空軍のドンリー長官は2日、開発中の次世代戦闘機F35の導入時期が当初予定の2013年から2年遅れ、価格も大幅に上昇するとの見通しを示した。F35は航空自衛隊の次期主力戦闘機(FX)の有力候補。米軍による調達遅れは日本の機種選定に大きな影響を与えそうだ。
 空軍当局によると、ドンリー氏は運用開始の時期について「詳しく調査した結果、当初予定の13年から、15年の終わりごろに遅れそうだ」と語った。運用を始める最終決定は戦闘能力を検証する空軍戦闘部隊に委ねられるとした。
 F35をめぐっては開発計画中にトラブルが相次ぎ、ゲーツ国防長官が2月に国防総省の担当責任者更迭を発表。開発メーカーのロッキード・マーチン社に対しても開発費の拠出を一部凍結した。
 日本政府は老朽化が進むF4戦闘機の後継機となるFXを当初は08年春までに選定する予定だったが、既に作業が大幅に遅れている。F35のほかにFA18やユーロファイターなどが候補に挙がっており、空自は今年秋ごろの機種決定を目指している。


--- Air Force: F-35 jet to become operational by 2015, after 2 years’ delay---
Submitted by Surjit Singh on Wed, 03/03/2010 - 12:24
http://topnews.net.nz/content/22450-air-force-f-35-jet-become-operational-2015-after-2-years-delay

According to a Tuesday revelation by the Air Force Secretary Michael Donley, the force’s plan to begin the use the Pentagon’s marquee fighter jet, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, will likely be delayed by two years; thereby leading to “significantly more” costs that initially projected.

Clearly the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons system, the F-35, also called the F-35 Lightning II, has largely been hyped as a vital component of the US military’s future strategy; to be made available to theAir Force, the Navy, and the Marine Corps, and nine US allies.

Updating the reporters about the delay, Donley said that the F-35, which was scheduled to become operational for the Air Force in 2013, will likely not be ready for the service till 2015 - owing to some ‘serious’ contract-related issues discovered by the Pentagon.

The hiccups seemingly began last month when Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he would dismiss Marine Maj. Gen. David R. Heinz, the executive officer overseeing the development of the F-35; and withhold $614 million in performance bonuses from the program’s lead contractor, Lockheed Martin of Bethesda.

However, Gates had reiterated that there were “no insurmountable problems, technological or otherwise, with the F-35.”

Meanwhile, about the “concerning” increase in the F-35’s price-tag, Richard Aboulafia, defense industry analyst at the Teal Group in Fairfax County, said that the cost to build each of the planes will now be $65-$70 million.


---UPDATE 1-Pentagon slips F-35 schedule, reviews costs---
Tue Mar 2, 2010 11:22am EST
By Andrea Shalal-Esa
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN0216143420100302?type=marketsNews

Pentagon delays F-35 development by 13 months
U.S. Air Force sees no alternative to F-35

WASHINGTON, March 2 (Reuters) - U.S. Air Force Secretary Michael Donley on Tuesday underscored the Pentagon's commitment to the Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) F-35 fighter program and said the program would likely survive a mandatory live-or-die review triggered by cost overruns on the program.

Pentagon acquisition chief Ashton Carter last week signed an acquisition decision memorandum implementing restructuring steps outlined by top defense officials in recent weeks.

In the Feb. 24 memo, which was first reported by the DODBuzz.com website, Carter said the Pentagon was extending the development phase of the program by 13 months; adding one carrier variant plane for extra testing; and moving a decision about moving into full-rate production to November 2015, when initial operational testing is completed.

Donley told defense reporters the Pentagon was still working through details before notifying Congress about a probable breach of the Nunn-McCurdy cost thresholds that would trigger a review that could lead to the program's cancellation.

But said no "showstoppers" had emerged that could lead to a decision to cancel the program.

There also were no alternatives in the Pentagon's weapons arsenal, he added.

In Carter's memo, he agreed to add $2.8 billion to the development cost of the F-35, and said the Pentagon would withhold $614 million in award fees from Lockheed and the other contractors on the program, Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC.N) and BAE Systems (BAES.L).

Donley said the Pentagon was restructuring its contract with Lockheed to encourage the company to make good its earlier promises on the program and meet the schedule.

He said it was unclear how many additional jets could be purchased of the 122 that were removed from the Pentagon's five-year budget plan.

Carter's memo said the department would request long lead procurement funding for 48 fighter planes in fiscal 2011.

Donley said moves by Lockheed to lower costs on the program would allow the department to buy more aircraft than planned in the fiscal 2011 budget plan, and could allow the military to re-accelerate the now-delayed timetable for moving into full-rate production and operational use of the new planes.

Donley also said he was not aware of any further management changes in the F-35 program "on the government side" after a decision last month to remove Marine Corps Major General David Heinz, who was running the program. He said it was unclear when a replacement for Heinz would be named, but said Senate confirmation was needed since it would now be a three-star position.

Carter and the chief executives of the prime contractors working on the F-35 programs are due to meet at the Lockheed plant in Fort Worth, Texas, later this week.

Donley said the Air Force was considering funding a service life extension program for the Lockheed F-16 fighter planes, given the expected delays in fielding of the F-35, but said not final decisions had been made.

It was not yet clear if any funding for such a program would be added to the fiscal 2011 budget or later budget years, he said. (Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa)


---US Air Force, lawmakers spar over 2nd F-35 engine---
Tue Feb 23, 2010 5:01pm EST
By Andrea Shalal-Esa
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN2320581820100223?type=marketsNews

Chairman waiting for Pentagon data
Air Force says issue is a "close call"

WASHINGTON, Feb 23 (Reuters) - U.S. Air Force officials defended on Tuesday a Pentagon decision to cancel development of the second engine for Lockheed Martin Corp's (LMT.N) F-35 jet fighter, but acknowledged it was a "close call."

Challenged to explain why the Pentagon was so adamantly opposed to the program, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley told the House Armed Services Committee: "We will say up front this has been one of the most difficult issues we have wrestled with. In some respects, it can be considered a close call."

Representative Ike Skelton, the Missouri Democrat who heads the committee, said lawmakers were still waiting to see the business case analysis used to make the decision, a document Defense Secretary Robert Gates promised them three weeks ago.

Congress has rebuffed the Pentagon's attempts to kill the second engine in each of the past four years and lawmakers are bracing for another big fight this year, especially since Gates has already threatened to recommend a presidential veto.

Gates told Congress earlier this month that recent estimates showed it would cost $2.5 billion to $2.9 billion to complete work on a second engine being developed by General Electric Co (GE.N) and Britain's Rolls-Royce Group Plc (RR.L) as an alternate to the fighter's primary engine, which is built by Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp (UTX.N).

But lawmakers say those numbers are at odds with a 2007 Pentagon estimate and more recent statements by defense officials. They argue a second engine would hedge against a fleet-wide grounding in future years, help stimulate more innovation and shore up the U.S. industrial base.

"We have still not received this analysis and remain deeply concerned about receiving it quickly," Skelton told Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz.

Skelton and six other committee members sent a letter to Gates dated Feb. 16, saying the best information they had clearly supported continued work on the engine.

"We maintain great respect for your judgment and the sincerity of your position, but have not been provided any analysis that supports your view," the lawmakers said, citing a "major disconnect" between the Pentagon and the committee over the issue. A copy of the letter was obtained by Reuters.

Representative Adam Smith, the new head of the air and land forces subcommittee, told Donley he was puzzled by the Pentagon's view, especially since defense officials argued convincingly about the benefits of competition in other cases.

Donley said the department expected to respond "very soon" to the lawmakers' request for more information, adding that funding the alternate engine was "another rock on top of the F-35 program" at a time when it was facing its own challenges.

Officials decided to cancel the second engine because the firm costs still needed to complete it appeared to outweigh any "soft savings that might be out there in the future," he said.

"It just looks too cloudy to us," he said.

Schwartz said it would not be good for the F-35 program if second engine funding resulted in fewer aircraft purchases.

Rick Kennedy, a spokesman for GE, said testing of the GE-Rolls engine resumed in late January after a three-month halt caused when a loose nut damaged its turbine blades. He said the engine had already been run for 60 hours this year, more than the 53 hours of testing completed all of last year.

Two more engines would be in testing by late spring.

In their letter, lawmakers said about 75 percent of the development of the second engine had been funded. Kennedy said it would take about $900 million more to complete development program, plus some $400 million in pre-production tooling.

The House lawmakers told Gates that the additional $1.75 billion in funding approved by Congress over the past four years may have turned the cost case into a "net savings" and, at the very least, should result in a break-even situation. (Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa; editing by Andre Grenon)

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