Monday, June 1, 2009

AV Week story on production cuts fuels debate

Just to follow up on a story we highlighted here on Friday afternoon: Graham Warwick of Aviation Week reported that JSF program chief General David Heinz was concerned that development of a second engine from within the existing F-35 budget would cut production by dozens of aircraft and push up program costs.

Blogger Eric Palmer writes today in a post titled “Time to cut what gets in the way” that “killing the F-136 now is better than standing around later wondering why the program went bad.”

The story has also gotten the attention of AV Week’s Bill Sweetman, who says of General Heinz’s comments: “That's a remarkable statement, because it forecasts nothing less than disaster if the F136 costs are not pulled out of the program.”

We’ll be following this very closely so come back often---or subscribe to our feed.


  1. You might want to quote what I wrote in context. It seems really odd that the F136 price tag would kick the whole program into a terminal cost/numbers spiral, and in earlier posts I've made the case that the JSF (of all programs) is one where a second engine could be beneficial. What do you guys plan to charge for the next 5 per cent thrust bump, anyway?

  2. Actually, we made your entire commentary available. All viewers have to do is click on your name and they can view the full story on your blog. We actually agree with points in your commentary and have read and followed the responses of your blog followers with great interest. For example: On 6/2 at 9:11 a.m., Solomon wrote: “Oh and why don't we have two engines for the F-22 if its such a wonderful idea? The service chose and the loser went away. All I'm saying is that they need to go away again and if they feel that the market is there for the product then fund it privately.”

    Gen Heinz has stated his concerns about continued funding of the alternate engine resulting in further F-35 aircraft cuts. This will raise the price of the aircraft, potentially causing some international partners to not buy the F-35, which will again raise the price of the jet, causing a spiraling or "domino effect." The focus should be on the adverse impact continued funding of the alternate engine has on the overall F-35 program, the Department of Defenses’ desired level of output and the ability for international partners to afford this critical capability.

    Regarding the “5% thrust bump” you mentioned, we currently have no requirement for thrust growth, however it should be noted that the qualification and incorporation of any thrust increases for the aircraft system would again create redundant cost if required on two engines.