back to article Your F-35s need spare bits? Computer says we'll have you sorted in... a couple of years

Delayed upgrades to F-35 fighter jets along with bespoke logistics software that displays spare part lead times in years are keeping some aircraft grounded, according to a report from the US air force station where the core of Britain's future F-35 operators are being trained. Lockheed Martin's Autonomous Logistics Information …

  1. wolfetone Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    No WW3 for a while yet then. Thank God!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I wouldn't count your chickens too soon, if socialism starts to take a proper hold (Spain, Italy etc..) then the only outcome will be war. Trade wars, protectionism, nationalism and crazy wannabe dictators with a small hand are all good markers as well.

      That's my cheery Friday comment done.

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        "if socialism starts to take a proper hold (Spain, Italy etc..) then the only outcome will be war."

        Er, right...

        "Trade wars, protectionism, nationalism and crazy wannabe dictators with a small hand are all good markers as well."

        I've heard him called many things, but I have never heard of Trump being called a socialist.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Do you think the elite(People/Corporations with lots of money and influence in governments) will allow their way of life to be compromised? Hey, I'm not a socialist I'm a realist, The second part are other indicators not related to socialism.

          Just my opinion.

          1. jason 7 Silver badge

            War is great for those elite types. They just make sure it all happens thousands of miles from where they live.

            That's what Africa and the Middle East is for.

        2. Lars Silver badge
          Happy

          "I have never heard of Trump being called a socialist.". Well, lifetime presidents are more common among socialists so we have to wait and see.

        3. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

          I've heard him being called a National Socialist.

        4. Paranoid android

          "I've heard him called many things, but I have never heard of Trump being called a socialist."

          Don't forget Hitler was a "National socialist".

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          >but I have never heard of Trump being called a socialist.

          Today? No. But who knows about tomorrow - they may change his meds..

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Trump is the only one actually starting a trade war - so you can't pin that one on 'socialists' can you !

      3. rtfazeberdee

        Bollox, socialism is not your problem - Nationalism is the problem because they hate everyone else who is not like them

      4. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Bizarro world

        if socialism starts to take a proper hold (Spain, Italy etc..)

        Admit it, you haven't read a single thing about political events in either Spain or Italy over this last month, have you?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Bizarro world

          Actually I have, Spain are swearing in a socialist prime minister whose mandate is effectively zero, he won't be able to do or change a single thing. Italy have formed a government of populists and nationalists (racists in other words), so yeah it's not a socialist government but it does leave it all a bit messy which is where a socialist movement could rise. The problem we have from my viewpoint is that capitalism is only working for the few and the more the gap widens, the more poor people we have, the more chance you have of socialism rising and when it does it's mandate is to change the status quo which will never be allowed to happen by those it will effect. It's either socialism or nationalism and either will lead to war. That's what I think anyway.

          1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

            Re: Bizarro world

            The outgoing PM in Spain lost a vote of no confidence, with well over half the MPs voting gainer him. He didn't have any mandate either. But I don't see you railing against the massive corruption in politics Rajoy represented, presumably as that's not the axe you are here to grind.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Bizarro world

              and what axe do you think I have to grind? Do you think I'm a socialist because I believe capitalism doesn't work? Do you think I support either PM? Hate to break it to you but I'm not a supporter of either. My point which is still valid is that the world is on the brink and it'll go one of two ways, socialism or nationalism will rise causing another war. That as I said is my opinion, yes it's bleak but look around you, so is the world. There are no politics that aren't corrupt, that's an opinion you form once you open your eyes to it all. It's funny how people read into your words what they want to see and make assumptions without thinking of other possibilities.

    2. macjules Silver badge

      We don' need no F-35

      Given that we have most of the former Soviet Union's money in our corrupt money-laundering banks fine traditional banking institutions I doubt that the UK needs much of a defence force - we just have to suspend Mr Putin's debit card for a while.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We don' need no F-35

        @macjules

        Well you can say one thing, no ones going to bomb London anytime soon without annoying the Russians.

      2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: We don' need no F-35

        we just have to suspend Mr Putin's debit card for a while.

        Not sure about that. The 1Bn+ Abramovich withdrew from UK investment project (firing tens of people who were working on the Chelsea Stadium redevelopment for him in the process) have been followed by others.

        So if we are to suspend his (and his friends) debit cards that better be done now. In a couple of weeks time the money will NOT be in the accounts. In fact, what makes you think it is there now?

        Well you can say one thing, no ones going to bomb London anytime soon without annoying the Russians.

        It is a question which Russians do you annoy - the one that are on good terms with the one holding the launch keys or the opposite ones. I would not be so sure that the "fear of annoying the second group" is a viable anti-missile defense. As far as the first group, I suspect it is following Chelski to more hospitable and warmer climes now (along with their money).

        1. macjules Silver badge

          Re: We don' need no F-35

          Well, the thing about money-laundering is that sooner or later you have so much freshly-laundered money that you are now a completely respectable, legal businessman and not at all someone who used to sell rubber ducks and retreaded tyres with a sideline in diverting large diesel shipments. When that happens you no longer need a football team in order to help wash your wealth.

    3. Daniel von Asmuth Bronze badge
      Mushroom

      What Weird War?

      You can call it the Second Gulf War or the War Against Tea, but we've been fighting it for almost 17 years now and it involves a rather long list of nations in one role or another.

      ......

      so if the enemy manage to shoot down an F-35, it will phone home and order a couple of millions of spare parts before hitting the turf, kool!

    4. JLV Silver badge

      Why do you say that?

      Give it another 5-10 years and the only jets we'll have will be F35s.

      Then we'll truly be fucked.

    5. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

      As Igor Kon once said: We probably won't have another world war, but we may get such a fierce fight for peace that won't leave a single stone in its place.

  2. Gti Jazz Blue
    Thumb Down

    I'll have some of that business please

    Are they serious £23m per plane to give it a software upgrade or does that include hardware upgrades to allow the software upgrade?

    I realise that there is going to be a lot of man hours in Dev, Testing and QA of the upgrade but that is serious wonga for a Software Upgrade of one unit.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'll have some of that business please

      I can assure you that even if the software upgrade requires a hardware upgrade, the cost of the hardware upgrade fraction would be a very small part of the "£23m per plane" mentioned.

      Software will be the death of military avionics. It really will.

      Read Arthur C Clarke's 'Superiority' just to get a sense of where we're headed.

      1. Archtech Silver badge

        Re: I'll have some of that business please

        This has very little to do with either software or military avionics. Or with national defence, come to that.

        It is purely a matter of business. How much blood can you squeeze out of a stone? (Don't worry if the stone lives or dies).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'll have some of that business please

      "Are they serious £23m per plane to give it a software upgrade or does that include hardware upgrades to allow the software upgrade?"

      I'm not saying this is at all a reasonable price, but avionics software costs have a tendency to escalate dramatically when your "integration test" involves having someone tool about at transonic speeds over the ocean in a small, fast jet so you can see if your new radar software works as expected.

      A jenkins build this is not.

    3. Mike Richards

      Re: I'll have some of that business please

      £23m includes the cost of the extended warranty and a premium rate phone call to the customer care team at Lockheed Martin.

      1. Commswonk Silver badge

        Re: I'll have some of that business please

        £23m includes the cost of the extended warranty and a premium rate phone call to the customer care team at Lockheed Martin.

        "So that we can deal with your query properly please tell us in a few words about the problem you are experiencing."

        ...

        ...

        ...

        "I'm sorry I didn't get that; so that we can deal with your query properly please tell us in a few words about the problem you are experiencing."

        (repeat, ad nauseam)

        1. Archtech Silver badge

          Re: I'll have some of that business please

          "Please try landing your F-35 and taking off again".

      2. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: I'll have some of that business please

        £23m includes the cost of the extended warranty and a premium rate phone call to the customer care team at Lockheed Martin. that's been outsourced to India

        FTFY.. Boob will be taking the calls this week.

    4. ciaran

      Re: I'll have some of that business please

      Frankly they are lucky that the older F35B are still usable. The aluminium structural components need a special treatment called "Laser Shock Peening", which is basically impossible after the plane has been built. Of course that only became evident, or even possible, after the testing showed that the plane was dead without it.

      I love it when Lockheed Martin claims that the change to aluminium bulkheads from Titanium - only for the B variant - has absolutely no effect on the lifespan of the plane. That kool-aid must be good, but I'll stick to the beer...

    5. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: I'll have some of that business please

      The actual software engineering time is probably just a fraction of the cost. Most of it is probably made up by all the paper pushers (Project managers, lawyers, etc) who insist in being involved to oversee the work.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'll have some of that business please

        A N e-m suggested, "...actual software engineering time is probably just a fraction of the cost. Most of it is probably made up by all the paper pushers..."

        DO-178 software, let's assume DAL C, *is* (literally) at least 95% paper pushing. Except it's part of (the new style of) software engineering, so the Coders get to do all the documents. If they're very well behaved, then they might even be permitted a few hours of actual coding.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'll have some of that business please

      I don't entirely understand why, but when I think of the F-35, the concept of Dev-Ops also comes to mind - something in my brain is subconsciously associating the two.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: I'll have some of that business please

        but when I think of the F-35, the concept of Dev-Ops also comes to mind

        Well - it's certainly Minimum Viable Product

        (Where MVP is defined as "something that look almost entirely like an aircraft but never actually is..")

    7. Barry Rueger

      Re: I'll have some of that business please

      Are they serious £23m per plane to give it a software upgrade or does that include hardware upgrades to allow the software upgrade?

      This is a truly bespoke service, and one which avoids the security risks associated with USB sticks or networked connections: each software upgrade will be typed in manually by a technician seated in the plane with a wired keyboard in her/his lap.

      1. GrumpyOldBloke

        Re: I'll have some of that business please

        > each software upgrade will be typed in manually by a technician seated in the plane with a wired keyboard in her/his lap.

        That was the original approach but led to problems. Critical code tended to be stubbed:

        eject() {

        return false;

        }

        closeCanopy {

        return false;

        }

        Now they use paired programming for critical systems. The junior programmer seated in the plane with a wired keyboard in her/his lap. The mentor sitting in a bunker 300 yards away with a remote video feed, a wireless keyboard and some sort of good luck charm like a bobbing Elvis.

    8. Archtech Silver badge

      Re: I'll have some of that business please

      I see you need a refresher course in Biz 101.

      Q: "How do you set the prices of your products?"

      A1: "Charge enough to cover your costs plus a fair margin".

      A2: "Charge every cent the market will bear".

      If you chose A1, go to the bottom of the class. And YOU'RE FIRED.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: I'll have some of that business please

        Depends.

        A1 can kill all your competitors, leaving you free to A2 later.

    9. Dave 15

      Re: I'll have some of that business please

      mmm, and if it is as good as the latest windows 10 fuckup which has disabled all the computers my wife used for work and has caused us to start a long overdue move to linux then the upgraded f35s will be bluescreening and rebooting regularly at all sorts of inconvenient times... thought you were going to shoot that missile, well sorry, that caused a memory problem you will just have to wait... landing gear down? so sorry but it appears some critical part of the boot software has crashed and we will need to restart everything... or is that just crash everything into the deck?

      The saints preserve us from yet more American crap, lets dust off the drawings and build some Harriers , at least they worked, could be built here, WE were allowed to service the damned things without sending them to Italy and Turkey

    10. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'll have some of that business please

      I take it you’ve never paid VCE for an RCM upgrade...

  3. Peter2 Silver badge

    Broadly, it appears from his comments that too many jets to servers results in the system at that location becoming noticeably slow.

    Which would be fair enough if we were talking about many hundreds of jets to a single server, but I don't think they've even built that many yet. Sounds like a serious design flaw on the server side of things.

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      If it's anything like the UK the problem is they haven't upgraded the internet connection to the base since the days of dial-up, despite adding more and more online management systems.

  4. Pete4000uk

    Israel F35

    I hear they have actually used one in a recent raid. Not sure what it actually did but some aleged photos show it with radar reflectors on which would hide its true radar image.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Israel F35

      Found The Aviationist article. The author of same appears to be a bit of a dough-head. He can't estimate 12 NM as compared to image of land ~60° down in photo? Seriously? He doesn't even contemplate the radar reflectors being stowable during flight (true or not, they should be).

    2. ArrZarr Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Israel F35

      Isn't the F-35 meant to be a stealth plane? Why would it need additional RADAR-messing kit on it?

      1. Thoguht Silver badge

        Re: Israel F35

        "Stealthy" doesn't mean "cloaked". Maybe the reflectors would change the radar signature so that the Russian-supplied air defence systems can't get all calibrated and ready for it in its natural state. You know, a bit like when a newly-designed car goes out for road-test and they paint it with patterns to disguise the shape. Or perhaps it deploys the reflectors when it's in friendly airspace to stop commercial aircraft bumping into it all the time.

      2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Israel F35

        Pick from:-

        A) Disguising the radar profile of the latest, greatest and stealthy aircraft from all the surveillance Syria & Russia have looking for it. And given some of those radars have very long range detection, could potentially get intelligence from any F-35's pootling above Israel, Turkey etc.. Which might be another reason why NATO would prefer a friendlier and less nosy Syria.

        B) So Israel's air controllers can detect it.

      3. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: Israel F35

        "Stealthy" aircraft generally have radar reflectors bolted on except when they're actually on a mission, so that friendly air traffic control can see them, and enemies don't know how stealthy it might really be.

      4. jason 7 Silver badge

        Re: Israel F35

        Well if a 'stealth plane' takes 20 years to become operational you don't think that radar technology hasn't also advanced in that time to take account of such things? I bet radar tech moves much faster.

        The radar system just has to have an inkling of what to look for whether its a plane or a 'large seagull'

    3. ciaran

      Re: Israel F35

      The photos are just photos. A F35 can indeed fly in civilian airspace, The F35 is quite good at posing for photos....

    4. GrumpyOldBloke

      Re: Israel F35

      Didn't the F35 used in an Israeli raid get hit by a bird in Oct-17. It was reported that while it made it back to base it's condition was pronounced terminal. The plane not the bird.

      1. Pete4000uk

        Re: Israel F35

        I doubt the bird was much better off

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ILS 101

    Logistics is funny. They'll set (for example) 95% Availability, and then be completely mystified why the 5% Non-Availability would ever occur. They'll make a series of WAGs (wild-ass guesses) for the input assumptions, and then be perplexed by the 5% turning out to be 17%; the phrase 'Sensitivity Analysis' might as well be Greek. They'll see a critical and expensive part, absolutely essential about once every six years, sitting unused for five years, and thus decide that it must be immediately disposed-of. Because that shelf isn't free. Being ITAR, the expensive item is crushed and ground to dust. Then it's desperately required the following week. They're really bad with wear out items; the sudden surge in demand for Brake Pads after 3 years would catch them off guard.

    On the bright side, they're experts with Pivot Tables, which they feel qualifies them for a Fields Medal.

    1. Milton Silver badge

      Re: ILS 101

      Please accept an Upvote for that nice line.

      On the bright side, they're experts with Pivot Tables, which they feel qualifies them for a Fields Medal.

      It could easily be used to describe a good-sized minority of corporate fauna throughout the world (and a solid majority of everything above middle management, especially in the truly woeful US and UK worlds of corporate imbecility): they fanny about with Excel, get some cells to go red and imagine they know all about IT. They'd be funny if they didn't do so much damage.

  6. Thoguht Silver badge

    American Electric Lightning?

    The squadron has 30 jets on charge...

    Must be that new F35-E, then.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's an old saying.....

    If the engines are Pratt & Whitney the seat better be Martin Baker.

    1. Thoguht Silver badge

      Re: There's an old saying.....

      Except now the HUD has moved into the pilot's helmet, although using the ejector seat still improves your chances of survival should you need to use it, it can apparently cause some pretty nasty injuries to smaller pilots.

    2. Milton Silver badge

      Re: There's an old saying.....

      If the engines are Pratt & Whitney the seat better be Martin Baker.

      I wasn't aware of the saying, or the justification for it, if any: but the fact is, there's only one engine. ISTR some Candian idiot (=politician) being asked a few years back, during controversy over that country's deeply incompetent F-35 acquisition process, what he thought about an eyewateringly expensive single-engined fighter experiencing an engine failure in the far north—his response: "It won't." Facepalm, anyone?

      I'd be particularly concerned about the F-35B, with its fearsomely complicated gearing and transmission for the lift fan (which is deadweight and wasted space for 99% of the mission), which has to reliably transfer enormous horsepower in the most testing conditions of temperature and stress at the most critical times (landing on a flight deck already a-gaggle with birds swilling with fuel and laden with ordnance).

      Despite their (absurdly premature) declaration of initial operational status, the US Marine Corps may be the best hope for the RN not to have an early tragedy on one of its carriers: with luck, USMC will get the bad news before we do, and some kind of risk mitigation can be put in place. (Though what that will be, considering our government was too stupid to specify CATOBAR carriers, I just don't know.)

      Either way, it would be embarrassing to put one of our carriers out of action even before it's seen the full 24 hours of life expectancy it can hope for in a war involving anyone who has subs and/or anti-ship missiles. (Lousy planes + too few escorts = carriers fit only for Third World ADPTO missions. There's nothing like a £275,000 strike resulting in the write-off of one rusty SUV and a cannabis-steeped goat-fondler.)

      Yes, I accept that any procurement which results in an F-35 purchase must by definition be incompetent, but even so ...

      Do try to keep up with the military terminology: ADPTO = Anti-Datsun-Pickup-Truck Operations. A very important component of the Global War on Terror™

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: There's an old saying.....

        "landing on a flight deck already a-gaggle with birds swilling with fuel and laden with ordnance"

        I'm pretty sure they only park them on the flight deck fuelled and armed when they're in fully working order, so I doubt this is a situation the F-35 will encounter all that often.

      2. Richard 12 Silver badge

        They learned the techniques with the Harriet

        Come to a halt beside the carrier then once in a stable hover, slide slideways over and onto the deck.

        That way, if you miss, only one plane goes in the drink and there's no kaboom.

  8. Filippo

    Logistics software?

    Here we have a device that's full to the brim of so much cutting-edge tech that it costs very nearly too much to be actually used, and they trip on logistics software? A problem that, while admittedly hard, gets handled by tens of thousands of companies worldwide every day, and has been for decades?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Logistics software?

      Combining two areas of concern, Logistics with Software. (See posts above.)

      I'd rather have an office next to a bomb disposal workshop than be within the half-mile disaster radius of Logistics Software.

      "Did you order the replacement parts?"

      "No, the software says that you've used zero. So it predicts zero usage."

      "There's none in stock. We've been grounding aircraft."

      "So you've not used any. See?"

      "Correct. Of the zero stock, we've been issued zero."

      "The software is very advanced. Beyond human comprehension."

      "Not just a linear extrapolation then? Can you enter negative five, just there?"

      "Yep, oh look. It's ordering five now. They'll be here on Monday."

      "Thanks."

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Logistics software?

        "Yep, oh look. It's ordering five now. They'll be here on Monday."

        Wait 'till he realises that which month (or year!) wasn't specified. Just "Monday".

      2. Wellyboot Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Logistics software?

        J.I.T is fine for the cavalry to arrive in a cowboy 'B' movie, During a shooting war where the delivery truck may be a target - not so much.

        For a real logistics setup take a look at the RAF repair operations during the battle of britain. Dozens of shot up & flight hour limit Spitfire & Hurricane were were returned to service daily, enough to make a substantive difference to the sortie rate. I know they're much simpler planes but the 'no widget = no fly' was just as relevant.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Logistics software?

          Wellyboot mentioned Just In Time (JIT).

          JIT can be a very good thing for manufacturing, where almost everything can be planned in advance.

          Applying JIT to Logistical Support of Repair Stations, which must respond to failures which can only ever be roughly modelled in advance, is simply being thick. Repair Stations needs shelves. Or plenty of parking spots for grounded aircraft.

    2. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Re: Logistics software?

      Do not underestimate the military's problems with logistics, generally when the budget gets cut the easiest/only way to make the necessary savings is to not buy the spares. When combined with buying into a just-in-time procurement policy invented by Japanese companies making more cars in a day than you have aircraft then you're setting yourself up to fail.

  9. Blockchain commentard Silver badge

    Imagine the delay when Turkey takes over our planes maintenance. A few years won't look so bad then !!!

  10. steelpillow Silver badge
    Trollface

    Turkey shooting

    Trump will have banned all high-grade military exports to Turkey by the time the maintenance facility is ready to open for business.

    It will take another fifteen years for the address of the Turkish facility to be expunged from every last auto-despatch pivot table.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Turkey shooting

      I'm the spirit of 'Chicken Tax'-avoiding Utility Vehicles from Turkey, the freshly-repaired F35s will be sent back to the USA with an inexplicable set of bench seats and temporary side windows installed in the back.

      [Obscure Reference Alert. But hopefully funny to those that can connect the dots.]

      1. Cpt Blue Bear

        Re: Turkey shooting

        "I'm the spirit of 'Chicken Tax'-avoiding Utility Vehicles from Turkey"

        A big thank you for sending me on that history lesson. That bit of history goes straight into the arsenal.

  11. Andy 97
    FAIL

    These planes had better be really good.. I hope I get to see some flying within my lifetime.

  12. AndyMulhearn

    Two for the price of two?

    Do we get to buy two so that one can be kept in the air and the other used as a donor for spares to keep the other one in the air?

    It's that Friday feeling so I'll get my coat...

    1. Norman Nescio Silver badge

      Re: Two for the price of two?

      Do we get to buy two so that one can be kept in the air and the other used as a donor for spares to keep the other one in the air?

      That was exactly the same strategy as adopted by the owners of classic Jaguar cars. If you were spotted trundling about the streets in one, it showed you could afford to have the other in the garage being fixed/being a spares donor. The nouveau riche simply bought expensive cars that worked, and so could be spotted a mile off, and avoided.

      My method of avoiding the riche of any sort was forced upon me: I could only afford to travel by Routemaster and watch the antics of the haves from afar.

      1. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: Two for the price of two?

        Interested to know which classic Jaguars you are talking about?

        1. Cpt Blue Bear

          Re: Two for the price of two?

          I'm guessing pretty much anything up to the XJs and driving one of those was a sign you were a real estate agent or similar and also best avoided.

          1. Norman Nescio Silver badge

            Re: Two for the price of two?

            Cpt Blue Bear is correct, anything up to and including the XJ.

            A bosses boss of mine had an XJ-S HE, and loved it, but commented that it needed a season ticket for the garage, it went back so often. That said, it spent a lot of its time on the newly opened M40, commuting between Warwick and London.

  13. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    So basically, if an adversary hacks ALIS, all the F35s are grounded. Brilliant.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Bingo.

      As a matter of fact it does not need to hack ALIS. It is sufficient to prevent an update of data into ALIS by whatever means for an aircraft to refuse to fly. Last one I heard was 45 days.

      Additionally, ALIS also has mission assignment and command functionality. So if you do not have a link at least some aspects of getting an aircraft ready to go out and kill someone or something cannot be done.

      It is truly what it is - "If the wars were fought using the Cloud". Who, when and how in NATO countries agreed to it needs to be tried for grand treason and hanged. Publicly.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Who, when and how in NATO countries agreed to it needs to be tried for grand treason and hanged. Publicly.

        Lots of suitable flagpoles at MoD Abbey Wood. But still a few weeks work to get through the thousands of civil servants who need cleansing. And, being bureaucrats they'd want to be euthansed according to a "methodology".

        I propose a method of computerised random selection. Technically it counts as a process, particularly if it is written down, but the uncertainty - well, they'd hate that.

        1. Sanguma

          And, being bureaucrats they'd want to be euthansed according to a "methodology".

          J I T euthanasia?

    2. Sanguma

      Memoirs Found in a Bathtub

      by Stanislaw Lem.

      "Where's those spare parts I ordered?"

      "ALIS says you ordered them in 337 BC."

      "What?"

      "They'll be delivered in a thousand years' time. Please be patient."

      Or maybe that's from The HitchHiker's Guide To The Galaxy, still retailing for significantly more than five Altairian Dollars with revision charges still to be added on ...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If they haven't got the F-35 and it's supply chain sorted by now can't that be claimed to be a breech of contract and have the whole thing cancelled?

    1. CanadianMacFan

      Unfortunately the lawyers are the only thing that works correctly on this project.

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      breech of contract

      As in "wadded up and fired out of a cannon"?

  15. Zmodem

    just laser scan them all, and buy a metal 3d printer, BAE probably has some star trek classified metals to use

    1. GrumpyOldBloke

      That's the cost. If an intelligent nation had to build one would they end up with an F35.

      1. Zmodem

        you don't need to build one, a metal part would probably needs replacing once a year, which you can just make in 2 hours on a 3d printer

        better if the planes are going to be in a classified location on a air craft carrier

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "a metal part would probably needs replacing once a year, which you can just make in 2 hours on a 3d printer"

          I fear you do not understand the limitations of 3d printers.

          Currently very few strong parts can be made with them, and those which can probably take a lot more than 2 hours. The Bugatti brake caliper takes 45 hours to print, then has to be heat treated, then undergoes a mechanical treatment, and then needs another 11 hours to CNC finish.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Wow, that's interesting. Do you work in that sector?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              "Wow, that's interesting. Do you work in that sector?"

              No, I stopped bashing metal in 2000. But I've followed developments since out of curiosity because the holy grail has always been a magic manufacturing method that produces the part to net size in one hit, and it's interesting seeing how close (or far) things are getting.

              Information about the Bugatti part is available on line. The real advantage of 3d printing is that you can have internal features that simply cannot be achieved by external machining. But that doesn't mean that you get the resulting part quicker or cheaper, just that its properties will be better in some way.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Zmodem mentioned, "BAE"

      Billions Above Estimate

      1. Zmodem

        Re: Zmodem mentioned, "BAE"

        its gets boring with american's talking about skunkworks, when lockheed were all british scientists and now they are MiT students

        1. Zmodem

          Re: Zmodem mentioned, "BAE"

          as far as the whole 3d metal printing goes, there is a startup company, which is building a whole space rocket with custom metal for their own custom metal printer, and a interview is > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxyUygCO_Zs

  16. tempemeaty
    FAIL

    That winged Money Pit™️ just keeps on getting deeper...

  17. Dacarlo
    Joke

    This reminds me of a song...

    ALIS? Who the f*@k is ALIS?!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Something I don't understand about the purchase and sale of military equipment is that if a country buys, as in this example, fighter aircraft from another country what is the guarantee that replacement parts and even replacement aircraft will be available in the future? I understand that design and manufacture of many pieces of advanced warfare equipment would be difficult for many countries but there's no national security in that context without a nation building their own. I think Trump and Erdogan illustrate that nicely.

    Conversely, where are protections of the, possibly, new technology used in a nations technology that is built into these aircraft, insert any advanced device, once that device has been sold to another nation?

    If a nation does buy aircraft from another nation the only way to guarantee the purchasing nation's ability to keep those in the air and have replacement aircraft is to have the ability to build all the parts for that aircraft within the nation that has purchased that aircraft.

    So, the nation or company that developed said aircraft would then sell the design specs and material manufacturing specs to another nation I suppose. There'd have to be an agreement to not sell any of that on.

    The F-35, to my limited understanding, looks like a semi-functional money pit. I wonder how the Saab Gripen stacks up and what are other potential replacements?

    https://saab.com/air/gripen-fighter-system/gripen/gripen/

    As a side note, neither nor anyone I know have any connection to Saab or any of it's subsidiaries, of which I am aware :)

    1. Zmodem

      everything is expected to last 30 years before new is brought again

      if you want an upgradable plane, you buy the eurofighter and easily fit it out with all your custom classified hardware and turn it into the RAF typhoon which can take down a lockheed raptor in a dog fight

      the only thing that is the same on the eurofighter and the RAF typhoon, are the physic's of the flyby wire system and the design

      1. Zmodem

        if you watch some documentaries, other countries being able to upgrade it without the need for BAE System's is part of the design, and the eurofighter just uses standard universal molex ribbons for most of it

        plug and play on a eurofighter

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Something I don't understand about the purchase and sale of military equipment is that if a country buys, as in this example, fighter aircraft from another country what is the guarantee that replacement parts and even replacement aircraft will be available in the future?"

      During the 1980s the company I worked for was approached by someone apparently loosely connected to the FO with some machine parts, and enquired if we could replicate them. One of our engineers, who had spent a lot of time in the ME, remarked that they looked remarkably like bits off a certain model of Russian tank. They were.

      It seems the Russians had supplied Saddam Hussein with said tanks, and then expected favours in return for spare parts. Certain persons at the FO had had the bright idea that if we supplied Saddam with these frequently required spares, he would be more amenable to the suggestions of HMG.

      Knowing as we did that there were certain export controls on these things we politely indicated that it wouldn't be possible without full engineering drawings, materials specifications and the rest, and he buggered off. When the Matrix Churchill case happened, I was relieved but unsurprised.

      Putin to Erdogan: "Want some F-35 spares cheap along with those S-400s you ordered?"

  19. DaemonProcess

    Long lead times are nothing new for an aircraft at the start of it's service. Tornado engines took over a year to build and ship for a long time. When you buy an aircraft you should keep long lead time spares for the next 10 years. Back in the 90s the RAF had some spares that were 30 years old and yes they had wasted money on certain items that were hardly used while other items became unexpected consumables. I'm sure the same is true of the navy and army.

    The UK is already completely reliant on the USA for defence, there's no going back now. If we dared to buy Mirage or Saab there would be repercussions - the USA could simply start refusing to repair F35s until we changed our mind. The top end example of UK/USA reliance is AWE is run by a joint company with Lockheed Martin being the majority shareholder, according to the FT.

    1. Zmodem

      the f35 is rubbish, BAE Systems exists so britain can be independant, because america stole the TR-3B research during the lockheed martin merger and it was all tits and tantrums so the MoD setup BAE Systems for classified research,

      britian has "100" typhoons before the MoD stopped saying how many they really have, and does'nt care for stealth and only needs the f35b to replace the harrier for basic patrol operations, the stealth typhoon has been in the making for years with the taranis stealth drone being the stepping stone

      1. Zmodem

        its like railguns, america could'nt work out how to make so BAE Systems knocked one up

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Zmodem

          Sounds indecent.

          But if it's innuendo you want, let me give you some.

          1. Zmodem

            its a classified top secret secret which is let out in aload of 1990s UFO documentaries that are made in britian with people from the MoD and military knowing exactly how the TR-3B works and everyone saying its american

            if america had true anti gravity and pulse propulsion and a dark space program and everyone likes to dream of, a railgun would have been easy

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A day late and a dollar short - failure to meet customer requirements

    Otherwise known as a defect.

    In the F35's case, one of many.

  21. tempemeaty
    Alert

    How much more over complicated can they make the %$#@ing thing!?

    This is so farking over teched it's starting to get scary as hell.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019