LRIP-6 and F-35

The US military’s next budget proposal remains mostly a mystery, but the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) has given us a sneak preview about one key detail.

The JPO on Wednesday posted a notice saying they intend to buy 53 Pratt & Whitney F135 engines for the sixth lot of low-rate initial production (LRIP-6). Since the F135 is the only engine in the JPO’s program of record, the number of engines and jets in LRIP-6 are equal.

Buying 53 F-35s in LRIP-6 means the Department of Defense is cutting the order by 29 jets compared to the 2009 plan. We knew that the program restructuring announced on 1 February moved 122 total aircraft out of the six-year order plan, but the individual numbers were not disclosed.

The change means that Lockheed’s ramp-up rate from LRIP-5 to LRIP-6 decreases from nearly 2.0 to about 1.25.

It’s also not clear how many orders by foreign customers might be included in the LRIP-6 deal. The 2009 plan assumed 36 additional aircraft sales to foreign partners in 2012, including 10 by Turkey, eight by Australia, six by the United Kingdom, six by Italy and six by the Netherlands.   

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6 Responses to LRIP-6 and F-35

  1. John S. 17 September, 2010 at 6:52 pm #

    “It’s also not clear how many orders by foreign customers might be included in the LRIP-6 deal. The 2009 plan assumed 36 additional aircraft sales to foreign partners in 2012, including 10 by Turkey, eight by Australia, six by the United Kingdom, six by Italy and six by the Netherlands.”

    Would the JPO purchase F135s on behalf of these foreign customers, or would those F135 orders be placed directly from the foreign customer to P&W?

  2. Stephen Trimble 17 September, 2010 at 6:58 pm #

    JPO manages acquisitions on behalf of SDD and PSFD partners. It would also presumably process FMS deals for non-partners. I’m sure the F-35 will not be sold as a direct commercial sale, but not sure about the engines.

  3. Atomic Walrus 17 September, 2010 at 7:50 pm #

    How does the program budget for spare engines? Could the actual number in LRIP-6 be lower as a result?

  4. Stephen Trimble 17 September, 2010 at 7:53 pm #

    That’s a good question, but spares are not included in the 53. If the JPO buys spares, it will be in a separate procurement.

  5. Jetcal1 17 September, 2010 at 8:38 pm #

    If they omit the spares, they will contribute to a long and fine tradition of not providing sufficient levels of spare support to a new aircraft.

    I suspect this bird is going to be a bit of a FOD monster. From there I can see the bare firewalls game being played and the press braying about the lack of availability of the latest expensive DoD toy.

  6. Uk Directory Information 12 October, 2010 at 11:18 pm #

    Something Anna Donaldsonmight have missed in his latest review of Technorati were these effectively unmoderated comments using JS-Kit.

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