JSF næsten dobbelt så dyr som planlagt - Gates udstikker ny retning for programmet

Som nævnt kort tidligere, så har den amerikanske forsvarsminister Robert Gates udstukket en ny retning for JSF-programmet på baggrund af et såkaldt "Technical Baseline Review". Evalueringen viser blandt andet at Gates særlige "Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE)" anslår enhedsprisen per JSF, på tværs af modellerne, til i gennemsnit at blive 92 mio. dollars. Langt fra de lovede 50 mio. dollars. Det tal skal ned, lyder meldingen fra Gates.

Herunder er gengivet udmeldingen fra Gates om JSF-programmets fremtidige kurs på baggrund af baseline-evalueringen:

JSF Fact Sheet
Secretary of Defense Gates’ program decisions regarding JSF were made on the basis of a Technical Baseline Review (TBR), the most thorough and in-depth review of the JSF program in years, conducted by the new JSF Program Executive Officer, VADM Dave Venlet, at the direction of Undersecretary of Defense (AT&L) Ashton Carter after last year’s Nunn-McCurdy breach. The TBR involved 120 technical experts reviewing every detail of the program over a period of months, supported by the full strength of the Departments of Navy and Air Force expertise in tactical aircraft.

Secretary Gates’ direction for the JSF program is as follows:

Development and test program (System Design and Development, SDD)
- De-couple testing of STOVL from CV and CTOL versions so that all are proceeding as rapidly as possible and STOVL is not delaying the other variants.

- Add $4.6B to the SDD program through its completion in 2016 (on top of the $9.2B to-go already planned, for a total to-go SDD cost of $13.8B; through FY11 approximately $37B has been spent on JSF SDD). Also extend schedule (so that SDD ends in early 2016 instead of mid-2015 as planned in last year’s JET II Revised schedule).

- Extra SDD funding needed because: (a) TBR found that additional testing will be needed that was not previously planned; (b) cost estimates for previously planned testing were too low.

- All three Services will reassess their planned IOCs based on revised SDD schedule; they have not done so yet.

- Budget for a US buy of 32 aircraft in FY12, approximately the same as FY11.

- There are two reasons for holding JSF production at current levels for another year: (a) the final assembly process at Ft. Worth is still maturing; (b) slowing production reduces concurrency risk while development and testing are continuing.

- Beginning in FY13, ramp up production by a factor of 1.5 per year, in accordance with the recommendations of the Manufacturing Review Team.

- This is the ramp that optimally balances efficiency against concurrency risk. It is the fastest we estimate at this time, based on the TBR, that future production can prudently be increased.

- This ramp, plus planned US buys, leaves adequate room for partner country orders and foreign military sales.

- Slowing production in the next few years will not have a significant effect on overall JSF unit costs in the future.

- Within the US ramp, STOVL will be put on “probation” by being held at a production rate of 6 per year in FY12 and FY13.

- Reason for probation is that STOVL is experiencing technical issues unique to this variant that will add to the aircraft’s cost and weight.

- Probation period is two years because that is the time it will take to engineer solutions to these issues and assess their impact.

- At the end of probation, an informed decision can be made about whether and how to proceed with STOVL.

- In the meantime, 6 per year is the minimum number required to ensure continuity in the engineering workforce involved in assembly of STOVL at Ft. Worth without loss of learning, and to sustain the supplier base of STOVL-unique parts.

- For FY11, STOVL production will be scaled back to 3 aircraft, since 16 were funded in FY10 and these have still not been produced.

- To compensate for the production delays in JSF, the Department of the Navy will buy 41 more F/A-18s in FY12-14.

Cost control
- CAPE still estimates that the unit cost of JSF, averaged over variants, has almost doubled since the program began (from $50M in FY02 dollars to $92M) – this cost growth is unacceptable and must be reversed.

- A rigorous “should cost” effort is underway between the JPO and the JSF contractors to reverse JSF cost growth.

- Some progress towards cost reduction was made in LRIP4, an FPIF contract with a target cost substantially lower than the CAPE ICE estimate and 50/50 share line.

The TBR gives the Department the best basis it has had in years to plan and manage the JSF program."

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