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The Loren Ranger

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Loren B. Thompson of the Lexington Institute didn’t much care for our F-35 story last week. On his Early Warning blog, he calls it a “misleading” and “sloppy” story that left out all the positive news about the $396 billion program.

Unfortunately, a growing number of Pentagon officials acknowledge the Defense Department can’t afford the full 2,457-plane buy, regardless of Thompson’s (no relation) view of the program.

l ranger

The Loren Ranger

Beyond that, they argue a mixture of F-35s and existing warplanes is sufficient, the tri-service approach failed, the program has been mismanaged for close to a decade, and that its costs-performance tradeoff is heading in the wrong direction.

But don’t take our word for it: take it from this editorial last fall in Aviation Week magazine, the bible of the aerospace trade and a firm supporter of the defense industry.

Just not as much a supporter as the Lexington Institute, which gets a “significant” chunk of its $2.5 million in annual funding from defense contractors.

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Don_Bacon
Don_Bacon

Foreign sales are needed to keep unit costs lower
U.S. officials are counting on 10 other nations to buy 700 F-35s.

F35 foreign sales

 United Kingdom -- 138 planned, 48 committed
 Italy --  was 131, now 90
 Netherlands -- was 85, but will be less
 Canada -- under review
 Turkey -- 100 seems firm
 Australia -- was 100, will be less
 Norway -- 52
 Denmark -- 0, possible in future

 Total foreign -- less than 500, maybe 400 or less with more erosion

US -- 2,443

Don_Bacon
Don_Bacon

Well, you're in good company.

 Bill Sweetman, Aviation Week, Oct 18, 2012
Aviation Week’s editorial of October 1 recommended re-injecting some competition into the US fighter business, and has taken some flak from Lockheed Martin consultant Loren Thompson, writing in Forbes. “Wrongheaded...  ridiculously misleading… they don’t understand the numbers,” fumes Thompson.

And Sweetman piles on with this quote from Dr. Thompson from three years ago:
"If you don't follow the defense business closely, then you can be excused for believing that the F-35 joint strike fighter is in trouble."
Sweetman again: Within weeks, the program manager had been fired. Within months, outside review teams found enough nasties in the woodshed to delay the program by multiple years, and tens of billions, getting us to a point where (as Thompson doesn’t seem to want to tell Forbes readers) we still don’t have an initial operational capability date.
http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx?plckPostId=Blog:27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7Post:7d4840f7-616f-4279-a3ae-ece678980c57

and from Forbes--
Mr. Thompson is a paid consultant for Lockheed Martin Corporation. . .He is also the chief operating officer of the non-profit Lexington Institute, a think tank often referred to as the “defense industry’s pay-to-play ad agency,”
http://www.forbes.com/sites/bruceupbin/2011/05/24/spacex-responds-to-forbes-contributor-loren-thompson/