Friday, January 6, 2017

Pay As You Go F-35

Ever wonder how many F-35's are delivered in total? "Winging It" has and it has come down to a very convoluted and confused process. The military would rather not have everyone know how many F-35's are flying at any one time but there is a back door going through appropriations or contract signings in which an interested party could surmise the flying count and mark the progress of the F-35 program as a whole. 

Below is the Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) contracts and count basis by the year, where assumption makes the case for flying copies of the F-35 (A,B,C versions).

Winging It Table from various sources:

Fig. 1

The notation comes with several assumptions applied to the end count of 2016. One assumption asserts Lockheed continues building the F-35 without ever stopping for contract approvals. This is done with stop gap payments from the government to Lockheed for the reason of maintaining an efficient program where a stoppage would cost the government billions more to restart the program. With the Government own cost estimations imposed on Lockheed. LRIP 9 was a force on the contract by the US Government. It is difficult to actually know the 2016 production count with LRIP contract uncertainty in play.

However, when LRIP 9 was signed the table assumes that those units proposed have been built and delivered. LRIP 10, is another story and is the biggest LRIP bundle to date having 90 coming from all types. It is certain Lockheed has not as of yet delivered any of those LRIP 10's. It should be the last LRIP contract before high rate production begins for the F-35.