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More F-35 "fun" - Latest service life assessments are bleak

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posted on Feb, 3 2019 @ 09:07 AM
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a reply to: ApacheHelicopetr

a reply to: ApacheHelicopetr

As long as there is a bidding process, there will be overruns. You can limit the amount that the taxpayer is liable for, but without some kind of competitive process, you have no procurement process.




posted on Feb, 3 2019 @ 10:49 AM
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a reply to: ApacheHelicopetr

If you ask someone to do what's never been done before and stiff them for every penny that it takes over their estimate, no one is going to be interested in building anything for you. The company is not going to pour capital into a project that's never been done before and assume all the risk for you.

The best thing for the government to do would be to employ their own experts who can look at a proposal and say, "that's not a realistic projection". This is done to some degree, but not well.

Say I contract a guy to dig a well for my cabin in the woods and we both look at the terrain and study it and agree we should probably hit the water table at around 450'. We don't know for sure. No one has dug here before. We've got data from a few wells within a ten or twenty mile radius, and we figure as best we can that's how deep we need to go. He does his math, estimate he can do it $20 a foot ($9000). It's an estimate, not a fixed-price offer. He has no idea what he's going to run into. What if he runs into bedrock at 400'. And/or the water is deeper. He needs a different drillhead he doesn't own, or has to design one, or needs guys with that experience, and it takes more man-hours. He's going to ask for more money and explain why. He needs another 5 grand. You can tell him, stop, don't spend another dime. We're done. But now you've spent $20 per 1' x 400'= $8000 and have no well.
At that point, you can hire another guy to start another well at a spot 100 yards away where he thinks he can do it for $11k total knowing what you know now. He might be wrong, too. Don't know until you start digging. Or you can bite the bullet and pay the 5k for the first guy to finish. A different company and well means more time and now you've spent at least $19k (8k failure +11k new) on getting a well. Finishing means $13k (Probably. You hope).

Sometimes companies underbid but still don't get the contract. A company who dug a well for a next-door neighbor says, "listen, it's going to be $12k and here's why... There's solid rock at ~400' next door. Water's at 500'. Probably true at your place, too. If not, it'll be cheaper, but that's my estimate." A contractor without experience in the area says, "there's probably water at 400'. I can do it for $8k". You should probably pick the more experienced guy with a track record.

None of them are going to offer to build you a well on a fixed price contract unless they know exactly what they are getting into. No one. So you hope you pick the most experienced, best managed, least risky company and budget accordingly.

But again, when you're doing something for the first time, you simply don't know what you're running up against. And there is always, always something unexpected.



posted on Feb, 3 2019 @ 10:59 AM
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The Army is being pretty smart about the FVL program, for example. They basically said, "We want a lot more speed and range. And we want to retain or increase maneuverability/agility. What can you build for me at what price point? " Really vague, nonspecific wish-list. Companies got to decide how much capability they'd offer for what price. Then they doen-selected to a couple teams and without giving them more specific direction said, "Show me. Build something like you proposed so I can see how realistic your proposal is".
They have seeded some money, but industry is in it for something like 85%. Or for every dollar the army spent on the program to date, industry has spent five. Pretty smart risk-reduction on their part because they have a history of asking for the moon and then being surprised by the pricetag and delays.

They also have a history of cancelling those programs. So you have Textron already signaling "Hey, we've spent tens of millions of dollars on this already. We're not spending more until we see a program of record with a real RFP that involves production."

There's only so far you can get a company down the road before they want to know they aren't wasting their time and money.



posted on Feb, 3 2019 @ 11:46 AM
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a reply to: RadioRobert


The Army is being pretty smart


I have to admit, I choked when I read that part. US Army has run a really good procurement in quite some time.



posted on Feb, 3 2019 @ 12:06 PM
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a reply to: anzha

I included their dubious history on aviation in particular, but many other programs. They do okay on modernization of existing platforms, uparmoring, etc. They are in love, though, with "the future" -- NextGen-itis. Which is always "surprisingly" pricey.



posted on Feb, 4 2019 @ 01:01 PM
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a reply to: RadioRobert

We'll see how JLTV goes as it reaches line units.



posted on Feb, 4 2019 @ 01:19 PM
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a reply to: hawkguy

Four days for senior NCOs and master drivers to flip their loaner training vehicle.



posted on Feb, 4 2019 @ 01:43 PM
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a reply to: hawkguy

Did a little survivability work in support of JLTV before the EMD phase back a decade or so ago. Haven't really followed it closely because it's not really my baliwick. I've seen a few (LM, Oshkosh, AM-G) down at Yuma over the years. I think they finally backed off the one-for-one replacement goal, so we'll see how it goes.



posted on Feb, 4 2019 @ 10:18 PM
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a reply to: RadioRobert

I drove the M-ATV a bit back a little while ago and while I liked it, I had some less than fantastic opinions of the contractors I worked with from Oshkosh. But those could just be a few bad apples.

Zaph, I saw many a M-ATV almost roll over in my short time with the things (many of which were driven by master drivers), I'm surprised it took them that long.



posted on Feb, 4 2019 @ 11:23 PM
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a reply to: hawkguy

The running joke was that it took them one day to flip it, and three for the E-4 Mafia to admit it happened.



posted on Feb, 5 2019 @ 09:02 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

I know someone in this thread said something to the effect that this was only the B model. Recent testimony has stated that the airforce is also unhappy with the A model for many reasons.

breakingdefense.com...



I asked Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, the top uniformed official for Air Force acquisition, how concerned the Air Force is that Lockheed Martin has not been able to improve fleet availability above 60 percent for three years. The Director of Operational Test and evaluation issued his annual report yesterday and that fact was the grimmest in the review of the F-35. “There was no improving trend in fleet aircraft availability….Fleet-wide average availability is below program target value of 60 percent and well below planned 80 percent needed for efficient conduct of IOT&E,” the report says. “The trend in fleet availability has been flat over the past 3 years; the program’s reliability improvement initiatives are still not translating into improved availability.”



posted on Feb, 5 2019 @ 09:15 AM
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a reply to: Fools

All three versions have their issues, no one ever denied that. They're being worked out, but it's taking way too long, in large part because of early bad decisions. The A model issues have nothing to do with the B model structural concerns however.



posted on Feb, 6 2019 @ 07:04 AM
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off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


 




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