PPRuNe Forums - View Single Post - F-35 Cancelled, then what ?
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Old 28th Apr 2019, 02:50
  #11856 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 799

i thought it might help if I replied to your post.

Iím not sure that itís 27 years since the programme started, itís 18 since the SDD contract was awarded in 2001. You can certainly trace the programmeís origins back to CALF and the JSF effort, but those were technology demonstration efforts, effectively pre-prototypes.

If you looked at, say, Typhoon, you could make the UKís EAP the start point and get to a not dissimilar timeframe. My opinion ( and thatís all it is) is that combat jet design is getting harder and harder as time goes on, and the risks involved are not easing.

F-35 is a very, very advanced jet. The STOVL variant is especially advanced, and there were significant risks that had to be overcome in the SDD phase. That took time. And, as Iíve posted before, some incredibly talented Brits working the issues.

On the other hand, as Iíve also posted a number of times, the F-35 programme has suffered serious delays that were avoidable. My take is that there were three main areas where LM screwed up. (There were others)

First one was a absurdly over optimistic programme that assumed that advanced CAD would ensure that everything would be right first time and allow a far shorter development schedule. This placed severe pressure on the early design stage and led to:

Number two - really poor structural design of the airframe, which led to a severe overrun in weight. This is unforgivable in any combat aircraft, but simply lethal for s powered lift aircraft like the F-35B. By the time LM were told that they had a problem, all the variant designs were grotesquely heavy. The redesign added around two years to the programme.

(I should note that both F-22 and Typhoon also had serious weight issues during their development phases).

Number three was a poorly designed and again over optimistic mission systems integration effort. The DOD knew that this area wasnít LMís strong suit, but the Ďwinner takes allí policy for the competition gave them the job. By any standard, theyíve made a poor fist of it. The decision to have only one Systems Integration Lab (jointly made by LM and the customers) was an especially poor one, as it has caused serious bottlenecks in software development and testing.

My estimate is that had LM got these areas right, the programme would have been about 18 months to two years faster.

Hope this helps a bit. Best regards as ever to all those who have given their talent and hard work to make the aircraft what it is.

Engines is offline