Just a small addition from my part. the article on War is Boring blog from the hand of Dan Grazier says enough.
The military services and defense contractors have a long history of working and lobbying to avoid realistic operational testing of new weapons systems.
…The military services and defense contractors have a long history of working and lobbying to avoid realistic operational testing of new weapons systems. A common claim is that testing of this kind is too expensive and adds unnecessary delays to an already lengthy weapons acquisition process.
In fact, the most recent industry effort to avoid realistic testing resulted in a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act requiring DOT&E to “ensure that policies, procedures, and activities implemented by their offices and agencies in connection with defense acquisition program oversight do not result in unnecessary increases in program costs or cost estimates or delays in schedule or schedule estimates.”
However, these claims are false. The Government Accountability Office recently released an audit showing that operational testing does not cause significant cost increases or schedule delays in major weapons programs.
The Pentagon and defense contractors will continue to avoid independent, realistic testing out of their own self-interest. The GAO said it well in its recent report — “postponing difficult tests or limiting open communication about test results can help a program avoid unwanted scrutiny because tests against criteria can reveal shortfalls, which may call into question whether a program should proceed as planned.”
The JSF is tested on large scale… and it delivers many faults, issues and even some which are probably not possible to make it work. (the result is many times visible in decreasing KPI and technical performance measures). If they continue with a full open vulnerability test of the various software risks.. it could be so obvious the US has to stop the full JSF production… program. This area also touches the sovereignty question i raised time and time again about the JSF. Not only it’s the USG who decides if and when we operate the JSF (fleet consisting of a mere 35 + 2 test aircraft) we are depending on the World wide web to support the ALIS system and send and receive the always needed EW database.. without this the whole aircraft is useless and unable to operate… It probably still is able to fly… just like all “operational” aircraft are able to fly… but an operational aircraft should…. operate and execute missions…right? So besides the our sovereignty is “deliberately” risked and sold to the interests of USG, we also have the high risk of becoming targeted by international criminal, terrorist or foreign hackers. All because the Air Force and Industrial contractors don’t want to risk their program being scrapped (for not or under performing). They just want their money and deliver an seemingly incapable aircraft which will need upgrades from now on to forever.
Concurrency increases software risks and vulnerabilities –
Many (Dutch political parties at least: VVD, CDA, NIFARP, the Dutch Defence industries JSF promo -team (with Mat Herben and many other bobo’s bragging about the JSF’s performance if it was already for real…) and even our own (destructive) influence of experienced fighter pilots of the RNLAF are all claiming that concurrency is the way to go. Our minister from the VVD party will frame the faults, errors and misjudgment and increased costs and time as “normal” to these kind of projects… and her fellow politicians from many parties will accept this for a fact. The strange thing is, there are many programs working fine… according to preplanned timelines and budgets. There can be some cost overruns, and increases of projected O&S costs… that’s not my point. framing these huge… gigantic cost overruns, claims of 40% lower O&S costs, decreasing capabilities (while fighter pilots still claim enormous improvements vs 4th generation fighters…) is based on… thin air. It’s complete nonsense. This card blanche to the Military Industrial Complex is the same reflex we see towards the banking sector… give them all, protect their bad behaviour and performance (they don’t deliver what they promise now do they?) and protect their money grabing cultures. There are always alternatives, whatever our minister is claiming.
These are the facts about the alternatives.
….. In other words, acquisition decisions can be made based on performance achieved rather than capabilities hoped for.
This article supports my previous article:
…. Clearly the design of ALIS and it’s vulnerabilities is seriously flawed… How can they use so much money and resources and deliberately risk hacks, and thus risking availability of JSF fighters for users concerned. Some countries have several different fighter aircraft. Others, like the Netherlands can only operate one type. the JSF. More on this, read my article: How can Air Force guys (and girls) be so ignorant? they use the OODA Loop… don’t they?
To the War is boring article, some quotes:
Realistic weapon testing has come under assault yet again. The troubled F-35 recently hit another snag when, as first reported by Politico, the Joint Program Office refused to proceed with the required cyber security tests of the F-35’s massive maintenance computer, tests needed to determine the computer system’s vulnerability to hackers.
The JPO argued that such realistic hacker tests could damage the critical maintenance and logistics software, thereby disrupting flights of the approximately 100 F-35s already in service. But that simply raises obvious and disturbing questions about what could happen in combat.
In theory, ALIS would identify a broken part, order a replacement through the logistics system, and tell the maintenance crews what to fix. Cyber tests are particularly important for the F-35, which is commonly referred to as a “flying computer.” The plane has approximately 30 million lines of software code controlling all of the plane’s functions, from moving flight surfaces to creating images in its infamous $600,000 helmet.
All this is tightly integrated with the ALIS program, which many consider to be the plane’s largest vulnerability. Should an enemy hack the ALIS system successfully, they could disable F-35 systems in combat, cause disastrous crashes, or ground the entire fleet.
Highly concurrent programs increase the risk that systems built early in the process will require expensive fixes or retrofits after problems are identified during subsequent testing. The Defense Department’s Undersecretary of Acquisition, Technology and Logistics reported to Congress that the costs of concurrency for the F-35 program last year were $1.65 billion. These costs include “recurring engineering efforts, production cut-in, and retrofit of existing aircraft.”
The report hardly painted a flattering picture of the practice.
Concurrent software development issues are hardly new. Frank Conahan, an assistant comptroller with the then-named General Accounting Office, warned against the practice in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee in 1990. Even then, nearly a decade before the Joint Strike Fighter program began, Conahan correctly identified software development as the one of the biggest risks to success in highly concurrent programs.
“If the software doesn’t work, then the weapon system as a whole is not going to work the way it should,” he said.
But because the F-35 is already in multibillion-dollar production employing thousands of people in hundreds of congressional districts, the plane has a great deal of political support. At least, that is the image Lockheed Martin wishes to cultivate.
Parts of the aircraft are built in factories all across the country before eventually arriving in Fort Worth for final assembly. Lockheed Martin says the F-35 relies on suppliers from 46 states and provides an interactive map touting this fact.
The reality is the majority of the work is done in only two states, California and Texas. Several states counted in the 46 have twelve or fewer jobs tied to the F-35. Still, there are precious few politicians willing to cast a vote that will be portrayed as “killing jobs” when campaigning for reelection.
A much better way of doing business is known as “fly before you buy,” the almost universal buying practice in commercial, non-defense procurement. Former Director of Operational Test and Evaluation Tom Christie says when done properly it “will demand the demonstration, through actual field testing of new technologies, subsystems, concepts, etc. to certain success criteria before proceeding at each milestone, not just the production decision.”
In other words, acquisition decisions can be made based on performance achieved rather than capabilities hoped for.