DenverA330
Topic Author
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 8:57 pm

Outgoing Pentagon DOT&E Director Casts Gloomy Light on Progress of F-35 Program

Sat Jan 14, 2017 1:02 am

"In his last scathing report on the F-35, outgoing top Pentagon weapon tester Michael Gilmore gave early 2019 as an optimistic target date for initial operational test and evaluation. Even as the F-35 Joint Programme Office plans to reduce time in developmental testing in order to move ahead with IOT&E, Gilmore warns that hundreds of deficiencies will push full combat tests to late 2018 or early 2019 at the earliest."

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/hundreds-of-deficiencies-could-push-f-35-tests-to-2-433177/

After following the F-35 procurement saga over the past few years, this article really made me think: "Is there anything that can be done to mitigate the financial and operational damage caused by the years of F-35 delays and cost overruns?" I mean at this point, it seems that the USAF and its partner nations are going to be stuck with operationally flawed aircraft for at least the next ten years until the weapons system can mature. Some of the defects noted in this report remind me of the pre-Bogdan F-35: LRIP 10 being delivered without Block 3F software, 'excessive and violent oscillations' after a cat launch, Block 4 software being pushed back into the 2020's, and the capabilities of the F-35's electro-optical targeting system being less than stellar: “Environmental effects, such as high humidity, often forced pilots to fly closer to the target than desired in order to discern target features and then engage for weapon employment, much closer than needed with legacy systems, potentially alerting the enemy, exposing the F-35 to threats around the target area or requiring delays to regain adequate spacing to set up an attack."

At this point, are Western-aligned Air Forces resigned to years of waiting for a design that may or may not ever reach its specified operational characteristics or an affordable price? What can be done to help this weapons system succeed?
 
ThePointblank
Posts: 2796
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:39 pm

Re: Outgoing Pentagon DOT&E Director Casts Gloomy Light on Progress of F-35 Program

Sat Jan 14, 2017 4:15 am

Here's the issue I have with DOT&E.

It's an redundant organization. The US Military brass has dismissed Michael Gilmore's reports by saying the DOT&E director “has never found anything he’s tested to be effective.” They also said the Pentagon’s testing office has no incentive to conclude that military systems are operating properly because “it’s not a story if it works.” The reason is that DOT&E doesn't have to pay for testing weapons; the military has to pay for all of the tests DOT&E demands, damned the budget or timelines.

DOT&E wants things done their way, in the order they specify, and to have tests performed that are in reality quite redundant because the information was already gathered in another test. DOT&E constantly refusing to do concurrent IOT&E testing, which is the primary reason why the decision to go to full rate production is being pushed back so far.

DOT&E has never had to be held to account for the money that is spent on testing that they demand, or be held accountable for unnecessary delays because they want testing done their way. DOT&E seems way more interested in empire building and bureaucracy where the means justify the ends. The best comparison there is for someone like Michael Gilmore is Sir Humphrey Appleby from Yes, Minister, in which he takes delight in creating more and more red tape just for the sake of red tape and more bureaucracy.

Furthermore, DOT&E never does any actual testing; they just compile testing already done by the actual testers themselves and assemble them into a report. Those testing reports could easily be months, maybe a year old by the time Michael Gilmore gets his hands on them to write a report, with a fix already in the pipeline. And that's beside the fact that he constantly gets information wrong; for example, he got the USMC F-35B's IOC date completely wrong, or makes apples to oranges comparisons (for example, comparing the CAS loiter time of a USMC F-35B to a USAF A-10).

The F-35's reported issues, in the broader context of development, are fairly minor issues. And the reason why the JPO will push back the timeline on fixing some of those issues is because they have bigger fish to fry in getting new capabilities or fixing major problems done. Every new development project will have it's developmental issues; that's a given.
 
echster
Posts: 396
Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2004 4:01 pm

Re: Outgoing Pentagon DOT&E Director Casts Gloomy Light on Progress of F-35 Program

Sun Jan 15, 2017 6:27 pm

DenverA330 wrote:
What can be done to help this weapons system succeed?


I have not given much thought to this, but here are my two cents.

Halt any and all work on the C-model; dump the remaining development money into the A- and B-models; buy the USN more F-18E/F (or a Gen 4.5 F-18); retire older USN F-18A/B/C/D; go back to the C-model when the A- and B-models are fixed and fully ready to join the fight.

Could Boeing rapidly produce and deliver a Gen 4.5 F-18 similar to the Silent Eagle to replace the F-18A/B/C/D? If so, go with that and then replace the oldest F-18E/Fs when the F-35C is ready to join the fight.
 
VSMUT
Posts: 1001
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2016 11:40 am

Re: Outgoing Pentagon DOT&E Director Casts Gloomy Light on Progress of F-35 Program

Sun Jan 15, 2017 9:12 pm

echster wrote:
Could Boeing rapidly produce and deliver a Gen 4.5 F-18 similar to the Silent Eagle to replace the F-18A/B/C/D? If so, go with that and then replace the oldest F-18E/Fs when the F-35C is ready to join the fight.


They have been working on the Advanced Super Hornet concept for at least the past 5 years, including test-flying of various components/concepts of it. My guess is that they could have an initial prototype/demonstrator in the air within a year.
 
Ozair
Posts: 1584
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: Outgoing Pentagon DOT&E Director Casts Gloomy Light on Progress of F-35 Program

Sun Jan 15, 2017 9:22 pm

echster wrote:


Halt any and all work on the C-model; dump the remaining development money into the A- and B-models;

There is little development remaining on the A & B models that doesn’t directly impact the C model. All are waiting for software 3F in final configuration as the software is common across all variants. As far as dev money and time remaining, the whole SDD program is due to wind up at the end of this year and has probably US$1 billion or less remaining to be spent.

What is your issue with the C model anyway? Other than being the variant less procured and the variant with the least chance of export it is still moving reasonably well. The two main issues with it are the nose gear oscillations and the wing-edge AIM-9X carriage.

The nose gear oscillations are being made out to be bigger than it is, the oscillations only impact during light launches (no weapons and very light fuel load) as was the case during the last set of carrier trials. The initial solution is just launch the F-35C at higher weights until the program team can fix the oscillation issue, which will probably require a few relatively simple changes.

The wing-edge carriage is dependent on some strengthening of the folding wing tip. Again a fix is identified, it just isn’t a major priority compared to the software and other smaller issues.

echster wrote:
buy the USN more F-18E/F (or a Gen 4.5 F-18); retire older USN F-18A/B/C/D; go back to the C-model when the A- and B-models are fixed and fully ready to join the fight.

This really isn’t a solution and the SH is already supposed to be a Gen 4.5 jet. Problem is GAO has already identified that the SH is deficient in operating in high threat environments. The F-35C is not meant to IOC until 2019 and the USN has a reasonably slow uptake of jets, by their own choice, so there is time to get these issues remedied.

echster wrote:
Could Boeing rapidly produce and deliver a Gen 4.5 F-18 similar to the Silent Eagle to replace the F-18A/B/C/D? If so, go with that and then replace the oldest F-18E/Fs when the F-35C is ready to join the fight.

As already said, the SH is supposed to be that type of airframe already. Boeing has peddled the Advanced Super Hornet concept but the ASH hasn’t had any takers, and zero interest from the USN, except for Kuwait possibly funding the conformal fuel tank option.

The issue remains the dev cost of the ASH concept and who funds it. There remain only two current operators of the SH, neither of which is interested in funding the ASH dev program. The USN already has a significant number of other acquisition programs it has to fund right now for ships/boats so can afford to wait and acquire F-35C in small numbers for the next few years while kinks are ironed out.

Final thoughts, the DOT&E report is always out of date. Many of the issues identified have either already been fixed or fixes identified. Gilmore doesn't spend time reporting on things that have been fixed and so big issues that he previously claimed were deal breakers are quietly dropped in subsequent reports. The SDD program has also been running essentially to time and budget since 2012 and they continue to make the timelines they determine, despite Gilmore’s pessimism.
 
Sooner787
Posts: 1911
Joined: Thu Jul 18, 2013 1:44 am

Re: Outgoing Pentagon DOT&E Director Casts Gloomy Light on Progress of F-35 Program

Tue Jan 17, 2017 2:48 am

Appears the Navy is playing it smart by shooting for IOC in 2019.
Hopefully more bugs will have been ironed out.

I also can't help but think that now that the Israeli's have their
1st 35's on property, their expertise would come in handy in
ironing out all these bugs
 
ThePointblank
Posts: 2796
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:39 pm

Re: Outgoing Pentagon DOT&E Director Casts Gloomy Light on Progress of F-35 Program

Tue Jan 17, 2017 3:12 am

Sooner787 wrote:
Appears the Navy is playing it smart by shooting for IOC in 2019.
Hopefully more bugs will have been ironed out.

I also can't help but think that now that the Israeli's have their
1st 35's on property, their expertise would come in handy in
ironing out all these bugs

The USAF declared IOC a while back. The USMC have started their first overseas deployment with the F-35B last week:

https://www.dvidshub.net/video/504779/m ... california
 
ThePointblank
Posts: 2796
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:39 pm

Re: Outgoing Pentagon DOT&E Director Casts Gloomy Light on Progress of F-35 Program

Tue Jan 17, 2017 7:30 am

I would also add, case in point, that DOT&E is costing the US taxpayer money, to the tune of half a billion dollars, because they don't want to be flexible and allow the testing schedule to be rejigged:

http://breakingdefense.com/2016/12/33483/

Pentagon IOT&E director Michael Gilmore — famous for his independence and his withering critiques of high-priced programs — has refused to allow work-arounds to save time, Bogdan said. The delays will add about $532 million to the cost of the program, but Bogdan said $100 million of that reflected past cuts imposed by the Pentagon to pay bills elsewhere


So, there you have it. The government could have saved half a billion dollars on the F-35 had DOT&E allowed the F-35 program office to work the schedule to recover time and money.
 
DenverA330
Topic Author
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 8:57 pm

Re: Outgoing Pentagon DOT&E Director Casts Gloomy Light on Progress of F-35 Program

Mon Feb 13, 2017 6:20 am

Well your point is irrelevant, because the DOT&E isn't going anywhere and serves as one of the only sort of checks the taxpayer has on military procurement. Plus, speaking as an actual US taxpayer, half a billion dollars over the life of this disaster is literally less than a molecule in a drop of water in a bucket compared to the US procurement budget, much less that of the F-35 program. I mean, even if those costs were directly sunk into the program, it would buy five extra F-35's? I'm also curious why you spend what appears to be an inordinate amount of time on internet message boards going after any sort of criticism about the F-35 when your home country is quite possibly going to go with the Super Hornet instead of the F-35. If I were you I would either try to get a job at LM or at the US DoD if that was an option. It would probably be a better use of your time.
 
Ozair
Posts: 1584
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: Outgoing Pentagon DOT&E Director Casts Gloomy Light on Progress of F-35 Program

Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:26 am

DenverA330 wrote:
Well your point is irrelevant, because the DOT&E isn't going anywhere and serves as one of the only sort of checks the taxpayer has on military procurement. Plus, speaking as an actual US taxpayer, half a billion dollars over the life of this disaster is literally less than a molecule in a drop of water in a bucket compared to the US procurement budget, much less that of the F-35 program. I mean, even if those costs were directly sunk into the program, it would buy five extra F-35's?

Why don't you actually address the issues?

Gilmore's report, as usual, was full of old or sensationalized information. Instead of raging against a guy who expressed an opinion widely held within defence circles, why don't you show us where Gilmore has been right? Take the last four or five DOT&E reports and point out where Gilmore identified an issue that still isn't fixed? I could do the same thing and find example after example where Gilmore cried Wolf and the program resolved the issue, moving past an individual attempting to justify his existence...
 
CX747
Posts: 5723
Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 2:54 am

Re: Outgoing Pentagon DOT&E Director Casts Gloomy Light on Progress of F-35 Program

Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:33 am

Plenty of guys in the know shake their head at the F-35. That's why it's already earned itself the nickname "Fat Amy". The plane does have new tech and some good features. Smart guys are figuring out, how best to use it. In the end, we hopefully have something that can carry the water of today's aircraft in tomorrow's combat environment.
"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." D. Eisenhower
 
User avatar
kanban
Posts: 3731
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2008 1:00 am

Re: Outgoing Pentagon DOT&E Director Casts Gloomy Light on Progress of F-35 Program

Mon Feb 13, 2017 6:01 pm

Process auditors are never popular with either the manufacturing wonks or program fan boys even when they are right.. yet they have a vital role to perform. There appear to be enough incomplete and delayed components/systems that one wonders what the military is accepting and why.
 
Ozair
Posts: 1584
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: Outgoing Pentagon DOT&E Director Casts Gloomy Light on Progress of F-35 Program

Mon Feb 13, 2017 9:55 pm

kanban wrote:
There appear to be enough incomplete and delayed components/systems that one wonders what the military is accepting and why.

News flash, Military accepts system for IOC that has yet to finish development, just like they did with F-22, SH, F-16, F-18, C-17, P-8, F-15, E-2D to name a few.

Military continues to function, internet crashes...
 
User avatar
kanban
Posts: 3731
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2008 1:00 am

Re: Outgoing Pentagon DOT&E Director Casts Gloomy Light on Progress of F-35 Program

Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:14 pm

Yet some posters claim because they accepted the system for IOC with deficiencies, that the deficiencies no longer exist. And them compound the justification by pointing to other aircraft where politics played a heavy role in obtaining IOC status.

My main issue has always been just because the government was sloppy in insisting on contract compliance in the past is no reason to continue with that being the preferred contracting mode.
 
Ozair
Posts: 1584
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: Outgoing Pentagon DOT&E Director Casts Gloomy Light on Progress of F-35 Program

Mon Feb 13, 2017 11:55 pm

kanban wrote:
Yet some posters claim because they accepted the system for IOC with deficiencies, that the deficiencies no longer exist. And them compound the justification by pointing to other aircraft where politics played a heavy role in obtaining IOC status.

My main issue has always been just because the government was sloppy in insisting on contract compliance in the past is no reason to continue with that being the preferred contracting mode.

You may not like the process but it has been used for over a generation and will continue to be used for the future.

The US military knows the advantages and disadvantages of the current contract mechanism but continues to use it. Given the difficulties around the development of advanced military hardware they clearly see this process as necessary.
 
User avatar
kanban
Posts: 3731
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2008 1:00 am

Re: Outgoing Pentagon DOT&E Director Casts Gloomy Light on Progress of F-35 Program

Tue Feb 14, 2017 12:32 am

Ozair wrote:
kanban wrote:
Yet some posters claim because they accepted the system for IOC with deficiencies, that the deficiencies no longer exist. And them compound the justification by pointing to other aircraft where politics played a heavy role in obtaining IOC status.

My main issue has always been just because the government was sloppy in insisting on contract compliance in the past is no reason to continue with that being the preferred contracting mode.

You may not like the process but it has been used for over a generation and will continue to be used for the future.

The US military knows the advantages and disadvantages of the current contract mechanism but continues to use it. Given the difficulties around the development of advanced military hardware they clearly see this process as necessary.


BS, it's pure laziness on both the OEM and Military's part, and as a taxpayer it's abhorrent and so are the justifications.
 
Ozair
Posts: 1584
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: Outgoing Pentagon DOT&E Director Casts Gloomy Light on Progress of F-35 Program

Tue Feb 14, 2017 1:08 am

kanban wrote:

BS, it's pure laziness on both the OEM and Military's part, and as a taxpayer it's abhorrent and so are the justifications.

Laziness has nothing to do with it. Whether you like the justifications or not is immaterial to the fact that the US Military will continue to use these contract methods.

Why don't you write your congressman and see what he says...
 
ThePointblank
Posts: 2796
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:39 pm

Re: Outgoing Pentagon DOT&E Director Casts Gloomy Light on Progress of F-35 Program

Tue Feb 14, 2017 3:52 am

kanban wrote:
Ozair wrote:
kanban wrote:
Yet some posters claim because they accepted the system for IOC with deficiencies, that the deficiencies no longer exist. And them compound the justification by pointing to other aircraft where politics played a heavy role in obtaining IOC status.

My main issue has always been just because the government was sloppy in insisting on contract compliance in the past is no reason to continue with that being the preferred contracting mode.

You may not like the process but it has been used for over a generation and will continue to be used for the future.

The US military knows the advantages and disadvantages of the current contract mechanism but continues to use it. Given the difficulties around the development of advanced military hardware they clearly see this process as necessary.


BS, it's pure laziness on both the OEM and Military's part, and as a taxpayer it's abhorrent and so are the justifications.

Disagree. The premise for accepting hardware with deficiencies early is to allow the end users to get their hands on the equipment so they can train on them, and have the end users provide feedback on what they would like to see in the hardware. The second part is important; it allows the manufacturer and the military to concentrate their efforts on the important issues first that are identified. Sometimes, a problem that is discovered in testing has no effect at the end user's level, and as such, a fix is pushed to the back in favour of dealing with issues where the end user does notice the problem.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: jarheadk5, meecrob, youpitof and 4 guests

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos