Posts

Showing posts from August, 2013

Silent Eagle wins S. Korea's FX fighter competition (by default)

Image
After eliminating the F-35 from South Korea's FX fighter competition, Seoul has now disqualified the Eurofighter Typhoon from the process as well.  Although EADS Typhoon bid came under the 8.3 trillion won ($7.2 billion US) budget, it did so by reducing the requested amount of two-seat fighter from 15 to 6, as well as basing prices on the British pound.  (S. Korea's insistence on 15 two-seat fighters begs the question of why the single-seat only F-35 was even considered).

So what can Canada learn from South Korea's FX selection?

The main reason the F-35 was disqualified was because Lockheed Martin could not offer a fixed price based on the US government's foreign military sales regulations.  By American law, no foreign country can acquire US made military hardware for less than what it costs the US military.  Since the F-35 is still in development, final pricing is still unknown.

Also, since the F-35's price will be determined by the total amount of orders it rec…

South Korea's FX fighter competition... And then there were two.

Image
Two of the three manufacturers vying for South Korea's FX fighter competition have both submitted bids under the US $7.2 billion dollar budget.  This effectively excludes the the third, as Seoul has made it very clear that none of the manufacturers could make it under the proposed budget, steps would be taken to restart the process from scratch.


Both Boeing and Eurofighter have submitted last minute bids that undercut the budget limit.  Doing so, the F-15SE "Silent Eagle" and Typhoon tranche 3.  Unsurprisingly, it was Lockheed Martin that was unable to follow suit with the F-35A.  The Pentagon's foreign military sales program (FMS) forbids foreign military buyers from getting a better price than the U.S. military.

Currently, the F-15SE would seem like the favorite, as S. Korea has never before bought European jets, and the ROKAF already flies the similar F-15K "Slam Eagle".  This makes transition a snap, with less of a "learning curve" associated…

Is the F-35 in danger of cancellation?

Image
To view the latest Lockheed Martin PR, the Joint Strike Fighter is progressing quite nicely, thank you.  Costs are coming down, the 100th jet is being built, and 2400 new jobs will be created as production ramps up.  In a recent Twitter based question and answer session, Lockheed Martin test pilot extolled the F-35's virtues, and stated that the JSF program will provide Canada with "niche industrial participation is unique capability to sustain high-tech industry for 4 decades."


So what's the panic?


Sequestration.  The forced budget cuts required by the U.S. government have put the F-35 program's future in doubt.



U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has stated that the U.S. may have to make the hard decision of choosing between a much smaller force or a modernized one.  How big will  these cuts be?  The U.S. Army would see a cut in personnel from 490,000 to 380,000.  The USMC would be cut from 182,000 to 150,000.  The USN would be hit hard, as well.  2-3 aircraft carr…

The F-35... Good news/Bad news?

Image
I've avoided mentioning the F-35 for a while.

I've been critical of it in the past, both on the basis of what I believe is a flawed concept and execution, as well as it's suitability for Canada.  I've tried to take a step back and reevaluate the F-35, but so far I'm far from convinced.

GOOD NEWS:

So far, the F-35 program has been safe from budget cuts, and likely will be for the near future.Its price is dropping...  Well...  Sort of.Construction of the F-35 has started in Italy.The Netherlands have take custody of their first two Lightning IIs.Production has continued, without significant new problems popping up.

BAD NEWS:

In order for the F-35 program to continue, the U.S. Military may need to make some serious cuts to personnel.  U.S. sequestration mandated "furloughs" will undoubtedly slow down F-35 flight testing and development.The software still has bugs and is proving to be a little bit of a challenge to fix.Those Dutch F-35s?  Straight to storage.The…