The F-35 (ordered by the Gillard government for Australia) is proving to be a very expensive and overly-heavy aircraft so the United States is coming up with something cheaper... Forbes Magazine;
The U.S. Air Force’s top officer wants the service to develop an affordable, lightweight fighter to replace hundreds of Cold War-vintage F-16s and complement a small fleet of sophisticated—but costly and unreliable—stealth fighters.
The result would be a high-low mix of expensive “fifth-generation” F-22s and F-35s and inexpensive “fifth-generation-minus” jets, explained Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Brown Jr.
If that plan sounds familiar, it’s because the Air Force a generation ago launched development of an affordable, lightweight fighter to replace hundreds of Cold War-vintage F-16s and complement a small future fleet of sophisticated—but costly and unreliable—stealth fighters.
But over 20 years of R&D, that lightweight replacement fighter got heavier and more expensive as the Air Force and lead contractor Lockheed Martin LMT +0.1% packed it with more and more new technology.
Yes, we’re talking about the F-35. The 25-ton stealth warplane has become the very problem it was supposed to solve. And now America needs a new fighter to solve that F-35 problem, officials said.
With a sticker price of around $100 million per plane, including the engine, the F-35 is expensive. While stealthy and brimming with high-tech sensors, it’s also maintenance-intensive, buggy and unreliable. “The F-35 is not a low-cost, lightweight fighter,” said Dan Ward, a former Air Force program manager and the author of popular business books including The Simplicity Cycle.
What a shame we can't change our order for the cheaper, lightweight, lower-tech version being developed. On the topic of overly expensive military equipment, it's looking like the Attack Class Submarines project will probably be cancelled - and possibly the Hunter Class frigates program scaled back too ABC;
A year after Naval Group pledged to spend 60 per cent of the massive contract value on local suppliers, the company is yet to enshrine the figure in a formal deal with the Commonwealth.
At the same time, there are fears Australia's ambitious $45 billion program to construct new anti-submarine frigates could go the way of a related Canadian warship project which is experiencing massive cost and time blowouts.
Sources have said Prime Minister Scott Morrison has become increasingly worried in recent months about Defence's ability to deliver the massive projects and has relayed his concerns directly to the Department's National Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise team.
Ahead of her meeting with Naval Group, Senator Reynolds has told Parliament she is annoyed with the slow progress of the negotiations with the French.
If the rumors of the Attack Class being cancelled and the Hunter Class being scaled back are true then there's probably 3,000 or so jobs on the line here in South Australia - which is really unfortunate but as a Commonwealth taxpayer I think its a relief after the $350 billion already spent on COVID despite the fact that we'll have more unemployment here in SA.
The problems have been numerous though including cost blowouts, refusal of the French contractor (Naval) to commit to spending money to establish supply chains in Australia as originally agreed (as in the article) and the fact that the contract is already well behind schedule with the first submarine not due to be delivered until 2030.