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USAF QDR: More F-22, less F-35?

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  • USAF QDR: More F-22, less F-35?

    Analysts Predict QDR Will Bring JSF Cuts

    A Pentagon tactical aircraft study being done for the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) likely will recommend fleetwide reductions that will lead to a cut in domestic F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) purchases, said Lexington Institute analyst Loren Thompson.

    The QDR team in the Office of Net Assessment “is likely to recommend a 30 percent cut in tactical air forces,” Thompson said.

    That would likely mean the Air Force would return to its earlier plans to buy about 400 F/A-22s Raptors and 1,000 F-35s. “In the case of the Navy, that cut could result in elimination of the carrier-based variant of the F-35,” he said.

    The JSF program office did not comment by press time.

    In June, the Pentagon’s quarterly Selected Acquisition Report (SAR) noted its plan to buy 2,458 JSFs to replace Air Force F-16s, the A through D models of the Navy F/A-18, and Marine AV-8Bs. But JSF program officials in September acknowledged that the Air Force ultimately will buy fewer than its planned 1,760.

    The Teal Group, which tracks the military aviation industry, also says JSF cuts are coming. It believes the Air Force purchase will drop to about 1,200.

    John Kent, the JSF spokesman for prime contractor Lockheed Martin, said, “If there was a single-service, U.S.-only program, talk of reductions by the OSD [Office of Secretary of Defense] might be more damaging.”

    Should the program be cut, however, it would be the second time since it was launched in 2001.

    The Navy buy, now slated to be about 480, used to be 548. The cut helped boost the per-plane cost between $5 million and $10 million.

    A congressional analyst said that could devastate a program that has made affordability a key pillar. As numbers drop, unit prices would rise.

    Christopher Bolkcom, aviation analyst for the Congressional Research Service (CRS), said major domestic cuts could boost the cost per fighter past the $100 million cited in the current SAR, a number that includes research, development and construction costs.

    Teal’s Richard Aboulafia said the JSF fly-away price tag needs to be about $45 million to be competitive. Initially, the export plane was planned to cost $30 million to $40 million in fiscal 1994 dollars.

    Domestically, per plane fly-away costs for each service was estimated at about $35 million for the Marines, $31 million to $38 million for the Navy and $28 million to $31 million for the Air Force.

    After a rebaselining of the program announced in 2004, the 2005 per-plane fly-away costs rose to about $55 million to $60 million for the Marines and Navy, and $45 million for the Air Force.

    Lockheed executives said there will be enough orders to make the plane affordable for domestic and foreign buyers.

    “We have always believed the numbers would be floating,” Kent said. “But they would always remain big.”

    Despite cuts, Aboulafia added, the JSF program would survive.

    “With 1,000 for the Air Force, and as long as the Marines keep their 400 or 500 planes, that should make for a manageable program,” he said, “providing the exports come through.”

    Despite gloomy forecasts, Bolkcom said, the JSF likely will get the volume it needs to be a viable domestic and export program.

    As a stealthy multimission aircraft that serves different services — not to mention different world militaries — the JSF would seem to fit the bill for what the Pentagon says it’s been wanting, he said.

    “This is multinational,” Kent said. “There are a whole lot more customers.”

    On a related note:

    " F/A-22 Squadron Deploys to Hill AFB (Posted: Thursday, October 13, 2005)
    by 1st Lt. Genieve David & 1st Class Stefanie Torres
    75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs and 388th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

    The Air Force’s newest fighter aircraft, along with more than 150 Airmen, will begin arriving Saturday for the first-ever deployment of the world’s first operational F/A-22 Raptor squadron, from Langley AFB, Va.

    The 27th Fighter Squadron, of the 1st Fighter Wing, is deploying here as part of the Air Force’s effort to achieve Initial Operational Capability with the aircraft by December. The first deployment of the F/A-22 marks a significant point in the history of the development of their aircraft as well as acts as a test of its deployed capabilities and maintainability.

    This is the squadron’s first attempt in showcasing they are capable of a deployment from home station, can travel to unfamiliar territory and effectively fly missions in a different environment than they are used to, said Lt. Col Bill Fisher, commander of Hill’s 86th Fighter Weapons Squadron, Detachment 1.

    The F/A-22 is designed to project air dominance, rapidly and at great distances, and defeat threats attempting to deny access to our nation’s military forces. The F/A-22 cannot be matched by any known or projected fighter aircraft.

    “The F/A-22 is significantly larger than the F-16, so they take up more concrete (on the flightline),” Colonel Fisher said. “The Raptor deployment footprint is also larger than the typical fighter squadron, with flightline maintenance facilities, stand-alone electric generators, a deployable debriefing facility and communications equipment, including a satellite dish, which all needs to be placed near the aircraft.”

    Organizations throughout Hill have contributed to ensure this first deployment here is a success, Colonel Fisher said. This includes providing airfield waivers, communication networks, logistical support, and lodging and food.

    “The 86th Fighter Wing Squadron Detachment 1, 388th Fighter Wing and the 75th Air Base Wing have all been working hard to accommodate the deployed aircraft and personnel,” said Col. Robert Beletic, 388th Fighter Wing commander.

    The 388th Operations Support Squadron has provided training schedules that lets all 388th Fighter Squadrons have dissimilar training opportunities with the Raptor pilots. “The schedule will help the aircrew of both the F-16s and F/A-22s prepare for upcoming combat deployments,” said Colonel Fisher.

    The 388th Range Squadron is scheduled to provide needed support on the Utah Test and Training Range for the first-ever weapons employment by operational F/A-22s to targets on the range on Tuesday.

    “As a part of their hospitality, the 388th Range Squadron is providing work areas for the aircrew in the Deployed Unit Facility, and maintenance bays are being provided as well,” Colonel Fisher said.

    “I am very proud of our people for the outstanding job they are doing to host the F/A-22,” said Colonel Beletic. “The support from the men and women of Team Hill is especially impressive given that everyone is also busy preparing for the Operational Readiness Inspection.”"

    Get ready for the F-22 world. Coming soon to a war near you...
    Last edited by Bill; 14 Oct 05,, 21:43.

  • #2
    “This is multinational,” Kent said. “There are a whole lot more customers.”
    There damn well better be.
    “Never let yourself be persuaded that any one Great Man, any one leader, is necessary to the salvation of America. When America consists of one leader and 158 million followers, it will no longer be America.”
    ― Dwight D. Eisenhower


    • #3
      I can't decide if this is good or bad. I think it would be good for more F-22s, though.


      • #4
        The USN can wait a bit longer to get new AC i guess...eitehrway, the USN itself already has one of the msot powerful airforces on Earth right now and there arent too many countries out htere that can take it on.


        • #5
          A single 120 million US$ plane for three 45 million US$. Does it mean f35 is getting delayed or simply not good enough for what it thought to be in the first place.
          Hala Madrid!!


          • #6
            Originally posted by indianguy4u
            A single 120 million US$ plane for three 45 million US$. Does it mean f35 is getting delayed or simply not good enough for what it thought to be in the first place.
            F35 is for filling in the numbers.the danger comes from the fact that china is rising and so its increasingly more imp for Us to have more and more air superiority. And so the decision to compromize F35 numbers for more F22.


            • #7
              Ha that is quite funny that I predicted this in my thread the other day, although I'm not so sure that the F-22 will get the funding that the JSF loses due to the fact, that this DD hates the F-22, because it doesn't fit in to there inexpensive light, but large armed forces. Although I believe the F-22 numbers will climb up to at least, 339 or 379, although that it was the Chair Force ;) is kicking around. I mean it sounds like a good plan on paper, although the F-35 B, I don't see that getting totally taken off the table, maybe it will just have lower numbers, but I don't see the Navy not getting any JSF's due to the fact that they put a good bit of funding in to RD.


              • #8
                Go the hell away. Punk.