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JSF: a preliminary assessment

Bill Sweetman
Aerospace & Technology Editor Jane’s Information Group October 26, 2006
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Joint Strike Fighter progress
• Current status • First flight expected by year-end • Customers falling into line with PSFD process • Schedule, weight mostly stable since 2005 • Survived Congressional challenge in FY2007 • Some continued cost increases

October 26, 2006

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JSF – international issues
• Workshare • Trend towards assurance of national workshare • FACO to be established in Italy • Maintenance and sovereignty • Early 2006 tiff with UK apparently patched up • Costs • Still uncertain – no contractual commitments • Stealth • Determined under national ORD • Still no “all JSFs are equal in LO terms” statement • National weapon integration • Defined by national ORD; customer pays
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JSF – Domestic issues (1)
• Potential competitors eliminated • J-UCAS cancelled • F-22 still capped • Super Hornet Block 3 bypassed

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JSF – Domestic issues (2)
• Budgetary • Overall massive deficit as OIF/OEF continue • USN collision with shipbuilding program • Politics, Doctrine and Focus • Increased concern with WMDs and missiles • Competition from new weapons • Long Range Strike and Prompt Global Strike

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JSF – The future
• History of US aircraft procurement • F-22
• Plan: 750 aircraft at $70m • Outcome: Under 300 aircraft at $150 m

• B-2
• Plan: 132 aircraft • Outcome: 21 aircraft with chronic problems

• A-12
• Plan: 1,200 aircraft for USAF/USN • Cancelled 1991

• V-22
• Development started 1984 • IOC 2007? Unit cost $100 million

• F/A-18E/F
• Met cost and schedule • Range, agility below expectations

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JSF – The future
• Is there a chance of a death spiral? • Development cost increasing
• Not all of this is due to management, but it is there

• Congress pushing for delays • Avionics are a critical path
• This was a problem with F-22

• Watch for structural issues
• Always a risk with an emergency weight-loss exercise

• Expect numbers to reduce
• Costs (particularly early production) will increase • USAF 1000-1400; USN/USMC 400 • F-35C is most vulnerable version

• But JSF is vital to Marines and to USAF fighter force
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JSF: The claims
• Lockheed Martin and the USAF say: • Stealth, supersonic speed and integrated avionics make the F-22 and F-35 “fifth-generation” fighters • Stealth will be combined with superior situational awareness • F-35 will have 1.8-2.5 x range of “legacy fighters” • Average unit cost will be $45-$60 million • Support metrics 33-60 per cent better than legacy

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JSF: economics
• Cost • Then-year average procurement cost (based on GAO)
• F-35A - $76 m • F-35B - $109 m • F-35C - $112 m

• Pre-MYP (LRIP) aircraft will be more expensive
• F-35A - $100 m+ • F-35B/C - $150 m

• O&S costs remain to be proven • Acquisition cost advantage is based on numbers and rates • There is no free lunch

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Why do the B & C cost more?

Because they are substantially different and built in smaller numbers

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Cost, size and schedule
• Why do fighters cost so much? • Remember when this was a monster?

• And this was the Common Affordable Lightweight Fighter?

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My, how you’ve grown
F-4C Length Wingspan Wing area Empty weight Normal TO weight Max TO weight Thrust 62.9 ft 38.5 ft 530 sq ft 28276 lb 50341 lb 58000 lb 34000 lb F-35A 51.1 ft 35 ft 460 sq ft 29036 lb 52394 lb 57500 lb 43000 lb F-35C 51.4 ft 43 ft 668 ft2 32072 lb 57100 lb 66000 lb 43000 lb

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JSF: How good is it really?
• Performance • Mach 1.5 top speed • Supercruise not a requirement • Agility comparable to F-16, F/A-18A • Range comparable to F-16C Advanced Block 50
F-35A • 600 nm hi-lo-hi • 2 x 2000 lb JDAM • 2 x AIM-120 • No SRAAMs • External fuel is ferry-only

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JSF: Armament
• Weapon load-out • Four usable stations in LO mode
• SDB is only way to carry more than four weapons • No mixed load-outs without SDB • Can’t trade bombs for AAMs

• 11 usable stations in non-LO mode
• Centerline station is dedicated to gun • Outer stations SRAAM-only

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What you really get…
• … is one of these…

… and one of these (plus selfdefense and much better SA)

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JSF stealth
• Stealth is important • “Day one stealth” concept based on GW1 • But limited warload = more sorties • What if defenses are not destroyed?
• Only 10 per cent of systems were destroyed in Allied Force

• Non-LO mode • No indications that signature is managed • Active EW? Towed decoy?
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A question…

NOT survivable in daylight due to risk of visual detection by fighters

SURVIVABLE in daylight due to speed, altitude or extreme LO

?
And do we mean a USAF F-35A? An RAF F-35A? A Turkish F-35A?
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October 26, 2006

Stealth questions
• Detection developments since 1980 • Networking – increases value of transient detection • HF and ultrawideband radars • Passive bistatic radars • Passive detection and datalinks • Track-before-detect facilitated by memory • Tracking developments since 1980 • AESA

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Competition
• Typhoon • Highly capable air-to-air • Higher acceleration and three times the missile load • Unproven air-to-ground • Firm order base – larger than F-22 or F/A-18 • Rafale • Beats F-35 range/payload with two-thirds the OEW • Needs AESA/Meteor • Needs French government backing • Gripen • Proven low-cost solution
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Why buy JSF?
• It’s the volume, stupid • Two per cent of JSF equals 20 per cent of Rafale • JSF acquisition cost is all about 250/year production rate
• Avionics hardware similar to F/A-18E/F • Engine technology basically similar to EJ200, F414 • Note the much higher cost of F-35B and F-35C

• 10X volume for support and upgrades • Even if the program gets cut in half, it’s 125/year • “Nobody got fired for buying IBM” • F-16, F/A-18 exports did what it said on the tin

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Conclusion

• • • • •

There are markets for other aircraft The F-35 does not surpass every competitor in all respects We are five years into a 12-year development program US track record is not good The game is not over

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