2011年12月10日土曜日

F35 開発計画再検討へ

F35の開発計画を再検討するようだ。
 空自がFXの候補とする最新鋭戦闘機F35について、米国防総省の開発
担当者が、機体に亀裂が生じるおそれがあることなどを理由に生産の
ペースを遅らせるべきだとの考えを示した。大詰めを迎える日本のFX
選定作業にも影響を与えそうだ。

不具合
・金属疲労試験の結果、機体に亀裂が生じるおそれが判明
・開発と生産を同時並行させるやり方を「根本的な判断の誤りだ」
・GE-RR製エンジン開発中止

豪州
・7月にF35 100機の早期購入を断念。FA18導入を決定。

疲労試験を実施したところ、部品の一部や部分に疲労を発見。
部品の要求仕様である8000時間を満足できなかったと言うことらしい。
米軍事予算削減、金属疲労により、F35Aの飛行試験さえ、継続は難しい。
F-4EJ改、F-15J共にF-35の置換えを狙ったが、採用は現実的に無理。
豪州のように、FA-18の置換えが早期対策だろう。

ユーロファイタを選択した場合、NATO参加の色がさらに濃くなる。
国会の審議に耐えられるのか。

F35 F15Jの後継機候補か
AIR-TO-AIR REFUELLING
F15Jタンク脱落調査結果発表


Awesome footage F/A-18 Hornet fighter flying low over Canberra


---陰の主役はユーロファイター FX機種選定秘話---
2011.12.4 17:00
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/politics/news/111204/plc11120417000006-n1.htm

 航空自衛隊の次期主力戦闘機(FX)の機種選定が大詰めを迎えている。政府は11月末までに導入機種を決める方針だったが、12月にもつれ込んだ。欧米の3機種が名乗りを上げ、1機あたりの調達価格が100億円を超える可能性もある一大商戦だけに選定作業は厚いベールに包まれているが、漏れ伝わってきた「秘話」を紹介する。

■英語の提案書に苦労
 FXは昭和46年に導入が始まり老朽化した空自F4戦闘機の後継機。(1)米英などが共同開発中のF35ライトニング2(2)米海軍のFA18E/F(3)欧州共同開発で英独伊などが採用しているユーロファイター-が候補となっている。
 「英語に苦労しているんですよ」。防衛省幹部はそう話す。選定作業は空幕・次期戦闘機企画室が中心となり、メーカーなどが提出した提案書の内容を審査しているが、英語で記述された提案書の読解に四苦八苦しているというのだ。
 提案書を募集する際の文書で「英語も可」と付記してしまったためだ。別の幹部は「防衛省は客なのだから、日本語しか受け付けないと書けばよかった」と後悔するが、後の祭り。企画室に召集された精鋭たちは辞書を片手に分厚い提案書と格闘する日々を送ったという。

■なりふり構わぬ英政府
 早くから空自が本命視していたのがF35。敵のレーダーに捕捉されにくいステルス性が特徴で、3機種の中で唯一の第5世代戦闘機と呼ばれる。
 格の違いにあぐらをかいているわけではなかろうが、政府への売り込みは地味だった(もしかしたら営業活動もステルスなのかもしれないが)。F35とFA18という2機種を提案している手前、米政府がどちらかに肩入れすることができないことも影響している。
 逆に、果敢に各界への浸透を図ったのがユーロファイター陣営。対日活動を主導したのはBAEシステムズと英政府で、とりわけ英政府のなりふり構わぬ攻勢は話題となった。
 11月3日にフランス・カンヌで野田佳彦首相と会談したキャメロン英首相はユーロファイターの採用を働きかけた。「F35が有力」とのマスコミ報道が続くと、ディビッド・ウォレン駐日英国大使は同月23日の読売新聞に寄稿し、ユーロファイターの導入を強く求めた。
 防衛省に日参するにとどまらず、あまり知られていない安全保障関係の政府庁舎でユーロファイター陣営の関係者を目撃したこともある。

■隠れユーロ派
 そうした売り込みが一定程度、功を奏しているのも事実だ。「FXは無理にしても、何か英政府の熱意に報いてやれないものか」と外務省首脳が部下に漏らしたとされるのもそれを証明している。
 公言こそしないが、政界や防衛省では「隠れユーロ派」は間違いなく増殖している。F35の開発遅延に対する懸念や、日本の防衛産業へのメリットが少ないといったことはよく指摘されるが、防衛省内にはこんな声もある。
 「ユーロファイターに試乗したことのある空自パイロットは機体・運動性能を高く評価している」
 ここで実名を挙げるのは控えるが、国会議員や官僚OBで著名な「日米同盟重視派」にも隠れユーロ派が複数いる。彼らに共通するのは、いつまでも米国一辺倒ではなく、F35の開発では米国と手を組みつつ、一方で米国抜きでユーロファイターを開発した英国流の「二股」を見習うべきだという考えだ。
 ただ、前沖縄防衛局長の不適切発言で、米軍普天間飛行場(沖縄県宜野湾市)移設問題はますます混迷を深める。国防費削減により米軍のF35の調達機数が減るとも指摘され始め、「この政治状況でFXにユーロファイターを導入すれば虎の尾を踏む」(政府高官)ことになり、隠れユーロ派が仮面を脱ぐのは難しいようだ。(半沢尚久)


---F35の生産、遅らせるべき 米軍担当者が見解---
2011年12月3日10時42分
http://www.asahi.com/international/update/1203/TKY201112030114.html

 航空自衛隊が次期戦闘機(FX)の候補とする最新鋭戦闘機F35について、米国防総省の開発担当者が、機体に亀裂が生じるおそれがあることなどを理由に生産のペースを遅らせるべきだとの考えを示した。大詰めを迎える日本のFX選定作業にも影響を与えそうだ。
 開発担当のデービッド・ベンレット海軍中将が、軍事専門メディア「AOLディフェンス」の取材に応じた。ベンレット氏は、金属疲労試験の結果、機体に亀裂が生じるおそれが判明したと説明した。
 また、この1年間に見つかった数々の問題によって「多くの計画変更と多額の支出があったことに、驚きを禁じ得ない」と指摘。開発と生産を同時並行させる現在のやり方を「根本的な判断の誤りだ」とし、今後は生産を遅らせて開発を急ぐべきだとした。ただ、生産をどの程度遅らせるかは明かさなかった。


---米国防総省、F35計画見直しに着手 FX選定で日本「正念場」---
2011.12.3 22:26
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/world/news/111203/amr11120322300007-n1.htm

 【ワシントン=佐々木類】日本の次期主力戦闘機(FX)の最有力候補とされる米ロッキード・マーチン社製の最新鋭戦闘機F35が、金属疲労実験の結果、機体に多数の亀裂が生じるとの恐れが明らかになり、米国防総省が開発計画の見直しに乗り出した。オーストラリアやカナダではすでにF35導入計画見直しの動きが出ているほか、米国側からも日本のFX調達計画を懸念する声が出始めている。
 「日本だけが(トランプのババ抜きで)ババを引く可能性があり、戦略的な過ちを犯しかねない」
 こう語るのは日本の防衛政策に詳しい米大手国防産業の幹部だ。オーストラリアはすでにF35の早期購入を断念し、米海軍の主力戦闘攻撃機FA18導入へシフト。F35の導入遅れで生じる“力の空白”を埋める方向にかじを切り始めた。
 F35の共同開発国のカナダも「米財政削減に伴う国防費削減の行方を見極める必要がある」(マッケイ国防相)と慎重な姿勢に転じている。
 「F35の生産計画を遅らせるべきだ」と主張した米海軍のベンレット中将は、国防総省で同機の開発計画を担当する。これまでも開発の遅れを懸念する声は米政府内にもあったが、直接の担当者の証言で、もはやF35の開発遅れは不可避の情勢だ。 
 こうした中、米ゼネラル・エレクトリック(GE)と英ロールス・ロイスは2日、F35の代替エンジン自費開発を断念すると発表した。「F35の機体の開発、生産スケジュールが不確実で、自費開発による利益確保に影響を及ぼしかねない」からだ。
 オバマ政権に影響力のある「新アメリカ安全保障センター」(CNAS)の上級顧問、パトリック・クローニン氏は2日、産経新聞に「日本がF35を選択すれば、日本と日米同盟に極端な危険を引き起こす」と述べた。米国内で生産計画を遅らせるべきだとの論議が起きている中、「日本が、F35の購入を決めても米国がもろ手を挙げて喜ぶわけではなく、導入が遅れて日本政府が批判されることになっても、米国はその責任を負おうとしない」(クローニン氏)とみられるからだ。
 こうした懸念について、ロッキード・マーチン社は2日、「試験飛行などの結果が示す通り、開発はきわめて順調で、安全面での問題も全くない」と反論している。


---F35生産さらに遅れも 不具合で、FX選定影響も 米高官が指摘---
2011.12.2 23:37
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/politics/news/111202/plc11120223380014-n1.htm

 ロイター通信は2日、日本の次期主力戦闘機(FX)の候補の一つになっている次世代ステルス戦闘機F35について、米国防総省高官が生産スケジュールを遅らせるべきだとの見方を示したと報じた。金属疲労を調べる試験などで不具合が見つかったことが理由で、日本政府による年内のFX選定に影響を与えるのは必至。
 ロイターによると、高官は、不具合は過去約1年の間に見つかったとし、生産計画の変更や費用への影響の大きさは「われわれを驚かせている」と語ったという。
 F35は米国やカナダなど9カ国が共同開発。これまでも開発費高騰やスケジュール遅延が指摘されている。(共同)


---Further troubles with Strike Fighter project---
Updated December 03, 2011 12:21:05
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-12-02/further-troubles-with-strike-fighter-project/3709970

The US admiral who runs the Pentagon's biggest weapons program is calling for slower production of the radar-evading F-35 Joint Strike Fighter until problems with the airframe can be fixed.

The comments by Vice Admiral David Venlet come at a critical time for the $US382 billion ($373 billion) weapons program, which is under tough scrutiny as US officials struggle to find massive budget cuts over the next decade.

The Pentagon has restructured the F-35 program twice in recent years, with the number of jets in the next contract falling to 30 from 42. Vice Admiral Venlet did not say how much further he thought production should slow.

In July, Defence Minister Stephen Smith refused to guarantee Australia would buy 100 F-35s, saying the project was getting close to the cost and delay overruns Defence built into the order.

The Federal Government placed a tentative order for 100 of the stealth aircraft to replace its ageing fleet of less-capable F/A-18 Hornets and the now-retired F-111 fighter-bomber.

Vice Admiral Venlet told the AOL Defence website he was not questioning whether to proceed with the program, but was surprised at the number and cost of "analysed hot spots" that had cropped up over the past year.

He said the required changes were not a safety matter and did not impede the plane's ability to perform its missions.

"Most of them are little ones, but when you bundle them all up and package them and look at where they are in the airplane and how hard they are to get at after you buy the jet, the cost burden of that is what sucks the wind out of your lungs," he told AOL Defence.

As a result, he said, it would be "wise to sort of temper production for a while here until we get some of these heavy years of learning under our belt and get that managed right".
Miscalculations

Vice Admiral Venlet also criticised the Pentagon's decision to speed up deliveries of the new planes by having Lockheed Martin build production model airplanes even as flight testing was still under way.

US lawmakers and government watchdog groups have long questioned that approach, called concurrency, saying it added risk and cost to the program.

"Fundamentally, that was a miscalculation," Vice Admiral Venlet said.

He said more changes were required than hoped and new planes had to be torn apart for structural modifications to ensure they would last the full 8,000 flight hours planned.

Still, Vice Admiral Venlet said it was too late to radically change course.

"I have the duty to navigate this program through concurrency. I don't have the luxury to... say how much I dislike it and wish we didn't have it," he said.
Cost implications

Lockheed, the Pentagon's biggest supplier, told investors on Thursday that the F-35, which will eventually account for about 20 per cent of the company's revenues, was progressing well and was ahead of schedule on flight testing.

The company argues that slowing production will reduce the economies of scale that Lockheed is counting on to lower the cost of building the plane.

But Vice Admiral Venlet said slowing production would cut the cost of replacing parts in jets that are being built before testing is complete.

He said fatigue testing was still in an early stage but had already resulted in redesign costs that could add $US3 million to $US5 million to cost of each plane.

The last low-rate production contract had an average price of about $US111 million per plane, far above the target cost of about $65 million when the plane is in full production.


---GE, Rolls Royce kill F-35 alternate engine program---
Stars and Stripes
Published: December 2, 2011
http://www.stripes.com/ge-rolls-royce-kill-f-35-alternate-engine-program-1.162269

After billions of dollars and nearly a decade-long battle, the F35 Joint Strike Fighter alternate engine is dead, according to ABC News.

General Electric and Rolls Royce decided to kill the engine after an Oct. 31 meeting with Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter in which Carter reiterated that the department would not spend a penny to develop the engine, as first reported by Aviation Week.

For years, the Defense Department has called the program wasteful, but Congress has continued to fund it. In January, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates named the second engine as one of the program he wanted to kill in order to save money.

"Every dollar spent on excess overhead or unneeded programs - such as the extra engine for the [Joint Strike Fighter] - is a dollar not available to support our troops and prepare for threats on the horizon,” he said.


---Op-Ed: Air frames and airheads- The F35 fighter costs fly higher---
By Paul Wallis
Dec 2, 2011 in Technology
http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/315411

The new issues with the fighter that’s so stealthy it can’t even get into operation are air frame modifications. These new issues require planes in production to be modified. That’s not good, and buyers like Australia are getting restive.
These $111 million flying contractor retirement packages have been taking forever to get operational. They were originally supposed to cost $65 million. There’s not a lot of information which suggests that the extra $56 million is producing a better plane, either, just a more costly one. Depending on your ability and willingness to digest various forms of military supply chain-speak, consider these statements:

Vice Admiral Venlet (the admiral running the program) also criticised the Pentagon's decision to speed up deliveries of the new planes by having Lockheed Martin build production model airplanes even as flight testing was still under way.
US lawmakers and government watchdog groups have long questioned that approach, called concurrency, saying it added risk and cost to the program.
"Fundamentally, that was a miscalculation," Vice Admiral Venlet said.

He said more changes were required than hoped and new planes had to be torn apart for structural modifications to ensure they would last the full 8,000 flight hours planned.
Some observations:
1. Building production models while testing wouldn’t have done the Wright Brothers, or any aviation firm since, a lot of good. The idea is to get the thing into the air and make sure it stays there.
2. Taking planes apart to modify the airframe is like taking a building apart to modify the foundations while it’s being built. It’s not the greatest option around for homeowners or aircrew.
There’s a big cultural issue here, and it revolves around who’s doing the damn design, Lockheed or the pixies. Lockheed don’t need to be told how to design good planes. They’re famous for it. The new problems are numerous airframe issues, which suggests that someone’s been playing with the hard points and systems. That’s not exactly best design practice, and it suggests a lot of afterthoughts.
There is another approach to building warplanes. It’s based on designing a good platform, rather than a store window dummy version of a fighter. A case in point, ironically, is the Russian T50. It’s a plain Jane, much overpowered, simple design which looks like it can have any systems mounted. It has a lot of hard points and is currently designed to get into the air, rather than do a sort of fashion show of new systems. It’s also a very cheap plane by comparison.
From the Australian perspective, although it’s true the Royal Australian Air Force likes to have the latest, the latest expensive-everything spoiled brat of an aircraft isn’t necessarily a thrill by definition:
1. 8,000 flight hours equates to 333.3 days. The average life of a fighter in service is up to 20 years. That means this thing could be flown for a total time of about 15 days per year, or roughly 1 hour per day, over that period. What a bargain. Does it come with training wheels, too?
2. Given that half of a modern fighter’s life is spent in hangars undergoing equally expensive upgrades and maintenance, this fighter is risking becoming a real weekend warrior. What if we actually need to use it for something, like going to the shop to buy some milk? Do we need insurance, or will there be a special $50 million refuelling attachment for that?
3. Presumably it would also be preferred if nobody fights any long wars. Wouldn’t want to void the warranty, now would we?
4. We have thousands of miles of area to cover with these fantastically fabulous, frantically flagged, frilly, fiscally fraught, fiendishly funded, frequently foreseen, furtively flown, fatalistically fabricated, frivolous, flippant, facetious, funloving, frequently faulty, futuristically foppish, faddish, failing, fishy, finicky, ferally financial, fatuously famous, farcically fieldtested, flying f***ups (that’s 35Fs) and we’re paying for what, exactly? The joy of discovering new ways to spend money?
My old man was an industrial designer. When you design a product, you don’t design it on the basis of every bloody whim which blows in with the breeze. Lockheed know that. The air forces involved know that. Everybody who’s ever made a paper dart knows that. Maybe the talking furniture creating these production issues should know that.
Some of the most famous American planes, notably the Mustang, were designed on a “stick an engine on some wings and give it as much firepower as it can carry and maybe a place to put the pilot” basis. They were designed to be fighting planes, not exercises in accountancy.
The US builds the best fighters in the world, despite its insane culture of costs on top of costs. The F35 is at risk of becoming the first plane in history to be literally shot down by its own makers before it even gets into the air.
Here’s a little challenge for US aircraft designers- Can you build a fighter for $1 million? It needs an engine, wings, controls and perhaps (let’s go nuts) something to fire at someone. It can be made of plastic, paper, die cast, whatever. All it needs to do is get in the air and do its job.


---JSF's Build And Test Was 'Miscalculation,' Adm. Venlet Says; Production Must Slow---
By Richard Whittle
Published: December 1, 2011
http://defense.aol.com/2011/12/01/jsf-build-and-test-was-miscalculation-production-must-slow-v/

WASHINGTON: Fatigue testing and analysis are turning up so many potential cracks and "hot spots" in the Joint Strike Fighter's airframe that the production rate of the F-35 should be slowed further over the next few years, the program's head declared in an interview.
For more news and information on the swiftly-changing defense industry, please sign up for the AOL Defense newsletter. For the quickest updates, like us on Facebook.

"The analyzed hot spots that have arisen in the last 12 months or so in the program have surprised us at the amount of change and at the cost," Vice Adm. David Venlet said in an interview at his office near the Pentagon. "Most of them are little ones, but when you bundle them all up and package them and look at where they are in the airplane and how hard they are to get at after you buy the jet, the cost burden of that is what sucks the wind out of your lungs. I believe it's wise to sort of temper production for a while here until we get some of these heavy years of learning under our belt and get that managed right. And then when we've got most of that known and we've got the management of the change activity better in hand, then we will be in a better position to ramp up production."

Venlet also took aim at a fundamental assumption of the JSF business model: concurrency. The JSF program was originally structured with a high rate of concurrency -- building production model aircraft while finishing ground and flight testing -- that assumed less change than is proving necessary.

"Fundamentally, that was a miscalculation," Venlet said. "You'd like to take the keys to your shiny new jet and give it to the fleet with all the capability and all the service life they want. What we're doing is, we're taking the keys to the shiny new jet, giving it to the fleet and saying, 'Give me that jet back in the first year. I've got to go take it up to this depot for a couple of months and tear into it and put in some structural mods, because if I don't, we're not going to be able to fly it more than a couple, three, four, five years.' That's what concurrency is doing to us." But he added: "I have the duty to navigate this program through concurrency. I don't have the luxury to stand on the pulpit and criticize and say how much I dislike it and wish we didn't have it. My duty is to help us navigate through it."

Lockheed Martin, prime contractor on the Pentagon's biggest program, has been pushing hard to increase the production rate, arguing its production line is ready and it has reduced problems on the line to speed things up. Speeding up production, of course, would boost economies of scale and help lower the politically sensitive price per plane.

But slowing production would help reduce the cost of replacing parts in jets that are being built before testing is complete, Venlet said. Although fatigue testing has barely begun -- along with "refined analysis" -- it's already turned up enough parts that need to be redesigned and replaced in jets already built that the changes may add $3 million to $5 million to each plane's cost.

The price of the F-35, being built by Lockheed Martin Corp. in three variants, has averaged roughly $111 million under the most recent Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Lot 4 contract.

The required changes to the aircraft aren't a matter of safety or of the F-35's ability to perform its missions, Venlet said. They're necessary, though, to make sure the plane's structural parts last the 8,000 hours of service life required. Nor are the weaknesses surprising in the world of fighter jets, he added. The discoveries are "not a quote 'problem with the airplane,'" Venlet said. "It's a fighter made out of metal and composites. You always find some hot spots and cracks and you have to go make fixes. That's normal. This airplane was maybe thought to be a little bit better, wouldn't have so much discovery. Well, no. It's more like standard fighters."

Venlet declined to say how much he thinks production should be slowed. Earlier plans called for the Pentagon to order 42 F-35s in fiscal 2011, but that was cut to 35 and more recently it was dropped to 30. Previous plans, which Venlet's comments and the unprecedented pressure to cut the defense budget make clear will change, had been to ramp up orders to 32 in fiscal 2012, 42 in fiscal 2013, 62 in fiscal 2014, 81 in fiscal 2015 and 108 in fiscal 2016 before jumping to more than 200 a year after fundamental fatigue and flight testing is done.

Officially the "Lightning II," the F-35 is a stealthy attack jet Lockheed is building with major subcontractors Northrop Grumman Corp. and BAE Systems for the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and 11 allied nations. There is a conventional take off and landing (CTOL) version, an aircraft carrier-suitable (CV) model and a short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) jump jet that hovers and lands much like a helicopter. The U.S. services alone are scheduled to buy 2,443 to replace a variety of older fighters, making the $379 billion program the Pentagon's largest.

Venlet's comments address a key issue in negotiations between the government and Lockheed for the next contract, LRIP 5. The government paid for design changes and retrofits through the first four lots, but Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall issued a memo in August requiring Lockheed to bear a "reasonable" share of such costs in LRIP 5. Lockheed complained last month that the government was refusing to reimburse it for parts the company was buying in advance for LRIP 5 aircraft as the price and terms of that next production contract are negotiated.

"We negotiated the LRIP 4 contract with a certain amount of resources considered to pay for concurrent changes," Venlet said. "We were probably off on the low side by a factor of four. Maybe five. And we've discovered that in this calendar year, '11, and it's basically sucked the wind out of our lungs with the burden, the financial burden." On top of that, he added, the cost of concurrency changes figures to grow as more testing is done -- one reason it's important to slow production rather than testing.

"Slowing down the test program would be probably the most damaging thing anybody could do to the program," Venlet said. "The test program must proceed as fast as possible."

Flight testing of the F-35, though going extremely well lately, is only 18 percent complete, Venlet said. As of Nov. 29, 1,364 test flights had been flown -- 896 of them in the past 10 months, despite two stoppages of a couple of weeks each to fix problems found by flying. Under a new program baseline created after the JSF project breached cost limits under the Nunn-McCurdy law, about 7,700 hours of flight tests are planned. "That's a lot," Venlet said, adding that number will grow if more problems are found.

Fatigue testing has barely begun, Venlet said. The CTOL variant's fatigue testing is about 20 percent complete; the CV variant has not started yet. For the STOVL variant, fatigue testing was halted at 6 percent last year and has not resumed after a crack in a large bulkhead in the wing was found, requiring a major redesign of that part.

That bulkhead crack was one of five discoveries in the F-35B that required engineering changes, one reason former Defense Secretary Robert Gates placed it on "probation" last January and said the Marine's plane should be canceled if the problems weren't solved within two years. Venlet repeated earlier statements that he was sure the changes needed to take care of the problems are now in place, though he wants to await final testing of them this winter before saying it's time for the jump jet to come off of probation.

After discovering the bulkhead crack in the B variant last year, Venlet explained, "We said, 'Well, where else do we need to look?' The fallout of that additional analysis has revealed additional spots that (may fail in) less than 8,000 hours of service life. We call them 'analyzed low-life hot spots.'" In other words, he said, engineering analysis indicates those spots "are going to crack" well before the parts in question have flown 8,000 hours.

"The question for me is not: 'F-35 or not?'" Venlet said. "The question is, how many and how fast? I'm not questioning the ultimate inventory numbers, I'm questioning the pace that we ramp up production for us and the partners, and can we afford it?"

1 コメント:

匿名 さんのコメント...

F35の事を調べてたら、このサイトに行き当たりました。AOLディフェンスの例の記事を探していたので有難かったです。