Why I love Farnborough

The Farnborough Air Show doesn’t officially start until tomorrow, and I’ve only been in London for less than 24 hours, but I already have my favorite story of the year.

The article below will be printed in tomorrow’s Flight Daily News. Here’s your sneak-peek.

Top JSF official blasts Boeing for barbs 

Stephen Trimble / London

Boeing is”spreading lies and half-truths” about the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)programme in a “desperate” effort to bolster domestic andforeign sales of its F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, JSF programme executive Lt GenCharles “CR” Davis tells Flight Daily News.

In anunusually candid, exclusive interview on the eve of the Farnborough Air Show, Davis blasted Boeingexecutives for making what he thinks are grossly inappropriate statements aboutthe health of his acquisition programme.

“If Boeinghas to say something negative about JSF to sell their aircraft, that tells methere is something wrong with their aircraft,” Davis said.

Contactedfor a response, Tom Bell, a Boeing business development official, said he wasunaware of the specific comments that triggered Davis‘ outburst, and so he could not give adirect response.

Moregenerally, however, Bell pointed out that twoJSF development partners – Australiaand Denmark- have already acquired or are considering acquiring F/A-18E/F’s instead.

“Peoplewith greater insight than I are looking at the offerings available,” Bell said. “Let peopledraw their own conclusions about why.”

Davis said he has neither contactedBoeing executives about his accusations, nor does he intend to. Asked if he waswaiting for Boeing to initiate contact, he quickly repied: “Yes, I am.”

Davissaid he has read two recent articles – one in the US press and one in the foreignpress – quoting Boeing executives saying the JSF programme would likely bedelayed again and further exceed development costs by more than $10 billion.

It waspointed out to Davisthat Boeing had delivered hundreds of Super Hornets ontime and on-budget, whilethe F-35′s programme costs have increased by about 50% and the developmentphase has been delayed more than 18 months since contract award in 2001.

Davis responded that the F-35′s recordcan not be compared to the F/A-18E/F. The F/A-18E/F is based on an existingairframe and re-used the avionics of the original aircraft.

“That’s thebaseline they’re measured against. How hard is that?” Davis asked.

In reply, Bell said:  “I think characterizing the F/A-18E/F as ajust a simple programme is maybe a little simplistic in and of itself. Boeingis very proud of delivering increased capability at decreased costs anddelivering real capability to the warfighter now.”


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