[Vredeslijst] Fwd: What's new in Nukes - nieuwsbrief van de No Nukes campagne [info op ikvpaxchristi.nl]

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Op 18-10-10 13:02:47 schreef IKV Pax Christi – No Nukes Team:

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In this issue:
- The Joint Strike Fighter — Capable or just Costly? 
- Online resources for this article
- The Joint Strike Fighter Program – Country Profiles
- Online resources for this article
- $80 billion for the U.S. Nuclear Complex?
- Online resources for this article
- Eerste editie 'What's new in Nukes'
- De Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)
- Amerikaanse kernwapens moderniseren?
- Meer weten en in actie komen?

The Joint Strike Fighter — Capable or just Costly? 
The Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program is a joint effort by the
US, the UK, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Norway, Denmark
and Italy with Singapore and Israel as "Security Cooperation
Partners" to develop a cost-effective multi-role advanced fighter
aircraft. The initial pitch was to share development and testing
costs, while giving participating states lucrative contracts for
the construction of aircraft components and access to related
technology. The current situation of the JSF however is a far cry
from its original promise. Development costs have skyrocketed,
the final price tag on a F-35 is likely to be at least three
times the initial estimate and its actual military utility has
been challenged by experts.
At the same time, the F-35 project comes at a crucial time for
the future of tactical nuclear weapons in Europe. Nuclear-capable
aircraft in the Netherlands and Italy are due for retirement
soon, and the Joint Strike Fighter is not yet designed to handle
the American B-61 free-fall bombs the two countries still host.
Making the F-35 "dual-capable" would mean additional costs of at
least $339 million, another cost increase completely at odds with
popular opinion, which favours the removal of these weapons

The project now
While the main contractor- Lockheed Martin- and the Pentagon
officials in charge of the JSF program keep on repeating their
mantra of "affordability, lethality, survivability", criticism is
increasing in the governments and parliaments of countries
participating in the joint research program.
The promise of a cheap but versatile aircraft at a per-unit cost
of about $ 34 million has long been abandoned. As of now, the
total cost of a single F-35 ranks between $139 and $160 million
and it is still likely to increase. Increased costs depend on
whether or not one includes research and development (R&D)
expenses, which have increased a whopping 40%, even though the
entire program is two years behind schedule. High maintenance
costs, weapons, training and other related expenses will add to
budget strains.
Originally, the plan was to produce three F-35 configurations.
One would be a regular model for the Air Force, the second would
be capable of vertical landings (for the Marines), and the third
would be an aircraft carrier-launched plane. All three would be
based on the same airframe and largely the same components. The
idea is that this would reduce development costs and allow for
smart manufacturing processes. This assumption has now been found
to be false by a Pentagon task force which reported that in the
production of test planes, as few as 25% of the components could
actually be used in all three F-35 configurations. This has sent
production into delay and caused costs to continue rising.
The per-unit final price will increase further if partner
countries cut their orders due to overall cost increases. The
initial expectation was to sell 600-730 planes to partner nations
in addition to the 2400 planes planned for the US military.
However, several countries have already admitted they will not
maintain their initial orders and the US military orders are
hotly contested in Congress.
In fact, the House Armed Services Committee in the US has already
cut the F-35 production budget for next year. They have reduced
it to allow only 30 of the 43 fighters planned to go into
production. Around the world, only five test planes have actually
been contracted for, the total orders so far rest on "gentlemen's
agreements" that could easily be abandoned as prices soar.
The original premise of the JSF program, to develop a
cost-effective alternative to the F-22 fighter is now
questionable due to rising costs. The F-22 currently costs about
$200 million per unit, carries a greater payload than the F-35
and is widely acknowledged to be likelier to survive any mission
than the F-35, mostly due to its true stealth design. The planned
"stealthy" design of the F-35 has severely decreased in
capability due to design changes and compromises during its
System Development and Demonstration phase.
Expert analysis and computer modelling have found that the F-35
will not deliver the promised "unconditional superiority" in the
scenarios it was initially developed for. Due to the lack in
stealth capabilities, it will not be able to reliably evade
ground radars and Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs) and carry out
bombing missions inside enemy territory to clear the airspace for
other aircraft.
Defence Penetration and Air Superiority are key tenets of US
military strategy as a backbone for ground operations. However as
more details surface about the final F-35 configuration, its
ability to counter current-generation Russian aircraft (which are
sold to China and India, amongst others) and to make up for lower
numbers with technical superiority has been questioned. 
This does not pose major problems for the US, who can rely on an
established regiment of 187 F-22 aircraft for critical missions
and reserve the F-35 for less dangerous scenarios, where the air
has been cleared by F-22s and other aircraft. But countries like
Australia that see themselves as having to counter perceived
regional threats essentially without outside support are
increasingly doubtful if their current $3.1 billion commitment to
the F-35 will deliver on its promise.
If we take a break from modelling scenarios of global
conflagration that military planners indulge in to take a sober
look at the actual conflicts in today's world of asymmetric
warfare and humanitarian operations, the picture becomes even
more troubling for the F-35. Terrorist groups don't have access
to high-performance radars or SAM systems. Military aircraft in
such conflicts are being used either for bombing missions (where
the US military already has more stealth-capable aircraft that
carry a higher payload), or to provide Close Air Support (CAS)
for ground troops. Close Air Support is a less demanding mission
where speed and low maintenance requirements count most.
The F-35 can only sustain supersonic flight over short periods of
time. It has too little internal storage for fuel and weapons.
This can be ameliorated by mounting external fuel tanks and
weaponry, but this would sacrifice any remaining stealth
US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recently pointed out that
even the state-of-the-art F-22 has never flown a single mission
in either Iraq or Afghanistan, because other planes could fly CAS
missions more reliably and without the risk of losing a $200
million plane.
Put simply, for conflicts that militaries actually face today and
will likely face in the near-future, the JSF simply won't deliver
a good return on investment. They are more likely to deprive the
forces on the ground of tested and reliable lower-tech equipment
that they actually need.

What's next?

As of today, none of the partner nations in the JSF program have
signed contracts to buy any specific number of F-35 planes. They
should refrain from doing so until the costs per unit are
finalised and independently confirmed estimates of the total unit
price (including weapons systems) and maintenance costs are
Until that time, public debate should shift from the specific
costs/benefits of the JSF towards a general discussion of actual
military needs, which are more likely to include well-tested,
robust, low-maintenance third- and fourth-generation aircraft, or
even a shift of focus from high-end fighter jets altogether.
There is a need to acknowledge the change towards low-tech,
asymmetrical conflict scenarios that will shape military
requirements more than outdated cold-war scenarios of major wars
between highly developed states.
For Italy and the Netherlands, this debate must also include
their future role in the NATO nuclear paradigm, since the ongoing
commitment to maintain aircraft capable of carrying nuclear
weapons (who are widely acknowledged to play a strictly political
role) imposes severe restrictions on sensible military planning
and will continue to incur huge costs in support of a policy that
probably won't survive the next decade. 

Online resources for this article
How Much Will Each F-35 Cost?
Winslow Wheeler, Center for Defence Information, March 30th, 2010
US Joint Strike Fighter (F-35) Hits Afterburners on Cost Overrun
Robert Charette, IEEE Spectrum, March 12th 2010
Making JSF Nuclear-Capable Will Cost $339 Million
Travis Sharp, Nukes of Hazard Blog, April 20, 2010
F-35 JSF: Cold War Anachronism Without a Mission
Guido Kopp, Air Power Australia, March 3rd 2009

The Joint Strike Fighter Program – Country Profiles
Participation in the JSF development phase is controversial in
all partner countries. In Australia, Italy and the Netherlands,
the main complaint is the lower than estimated return on
In March 2010, the Australian minister of defence materiel and
science, Greg Gambet, called on Lockheed to give Australian
companies more work. Italy suspended work preparing a JSF
assembly line to be built at Cameri until it obtains from
Lockheed Martin 'an adequate and tangible response' to the
requests for greater involvement of Italian industry in the

In Australia, procurement has been equally controversial, to say
the least. Australia committed in March to buying a first batch
of 14 F-35, type A, at 221 million Australian Dollar a piece. The
planes will be of little use to the defence tasks of the
Australian military, as the entire batch will remain in the US
for training and testing.
In Norway, the 2008 commitment to buy 48 F-35A has been contested
ever since. The decision to buy F-35 was based on the idea that
the JSF would be cheaper than competitor Gripen. But soon after
the decision, it turned out that the wrong wrong exchange rate
was used, instantly adding more than 40% to the price per
aircraft. To make matters worse, Norway never negotiated a fixed
prize. The 2008 unit price of 52 million USD is by now complete
Denmark, also a partner in the development phase of the JSF, in
March this year signaled it would buy Super Hornets as its next
fighter, a cheaper and readily available aircraft. 
Israel plans to buy over a hundred F-35, but is dissatisfied by
the steep price increases, and by the delays. Moreover, Israel is
planning to tweak the planes to make them more adept to tasks
planned by the Israeli Air Force. The resulting "F-35 I" would by
now have a price tag of over 200 million per piece, where once
the quoted price was 80 million. And then the US refuses to give
up the airplane software source codes, meaning that much of the
customization cannot be done by Israel itself. 
In the Netherlands, a parliament majority has turned against the
idea of buying JSF altogether. Only delay tactics by the current
caretaker government have prevented a complete withdrawal from
the idea to buy what was originally 78 F-35A, but will now
maximum 50 – the price level has forced the Dutch ministry to cut
out a whole squadron.
Companies that have benefited from JSF participation have refused
to pay back the government for its investment, as had been agreed
upon at the start of the project in 2002. Claiming that they
would have been awarded most of the contracts even without
government support, and 'unfair' exchange rate changes over the
years, the companies collectively, and successfully challenged
the deal in court.The taxpayers will have to cough up more than
€245 million.
Canada is currently in political turmoil, because the government
forgot to tell parliament it was planning to commit to buying 80
F-35 – the biggest military procurement in the history of the

In the background, the similarly controversial 'nuclear tasks' of
European NATO countries play an important role. Belgium, Germany,
Italy and the Netherlands all host U.S. sub-strategic nuclear
weapons on their territory. The bombs are to be dropped from
fighter jets over their targets. But in all those countries, the
planes that have to drop them are scheduled to retire in the
coming 10 to 15 years. Replacement of the planes is expensive,
and limits the choice countries have. The F-35 is the only plane
currently in development for which there are plans to develop a
version that can drop those nuclear bombs.

Germany and Belgium are not planning on buying F-35, which raises
questions about their commitment to their nuclear tasks. In a
recent statement, Germany says it chooses to extend the life
expectancy of its Tornado fighters. But while that may work as a
temporary measure, it will only postpone the moment that Germany
has to default on its nuclear tasks. The Netherlands could
theoretically do something similar with its 'dual capable' F-16
squadron designated to drop the B61 nuclear bombs. And if the
delays of the JSF program continue at this rate, they may well
have to invest in extending the life of the F-16 fleet anyway. 

Online resources for this article
Australia pushes Lockheed to allocate more JSF work
Leithen Francis, FlightGlobal, April 5th, 2010
JSF acquisition answers some questions, raises others
Gerard Frawley, Australian Aviation, November 29th, 2009
Italy Threatens To Halt JSF Plant Work
Tom Kington, Defense News, February 1st, 2010
Rome's JSF Commitment Unquestioned, for Now
Tom Kington, Defense News, September 6th, 2010
Norway Picks JSF
Gerard O'Dwyer, Defense News, November 20th, 2010
Denmark Bails From JSF – Report
Bill Sweetman, Aviation Week, March 15th, 2010
Israeli Plans to Buy F-35s Moving Forward
Defense Industry Daily, August 30th, 2010

$80 billion for the U.S. Nuclear Complex?
Since the April 2010 Nuclear Posture Review the Obama
administration has declared its intention to spend more than $80
billion over the next decade on nuclear weapon complex
Linton Brooks, who was in charge of the US nuclear complex as
head of the National Nuclear Security Administration during the
Bush administration, said at a briefing in Washington, "I ran
that place for five years and I'd have killed for that budget."

For the 2011 fiscal year, the Obama administration has proposed
one of the largest increases in spending on nuclear weapons
infrastructure in US history, ramping up the budget of Los Alamos
National Laboratory by 22% which is said to be the largest
one-year jump since 1944. Another flagship project is the
construction of the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement
Nuclear Facility, whose total pit production capacity would
roughly equal the total arsenal of the UK (less than 200 weapons)
– per year. All this on top of an already existing stockpile of
warhead components that is projected to last at least 100 years
or even longer.
According to the Washington Post, the Obama administration also
plans to spend "well over $100 billion" on delivery systems,
including new land-based missiles, new submarine-launched
missiles, new submarines and bombers.

The B61 free-fall nuclear bomb, the one hosted by Turkey, the
Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Germany under NATO nuclear
sharing arrangements, is also due for a makeover. While not many
details are publicly available about the "Life Extension
Program", a whopping $251.6 million in funds for the "design
definition and cost study" alone has been requested for the
fiscal year 2011. Revamped electronics inside the new B-61 will
also render it incompatible with current aircraft of countries
involved in nuclear sharing, putting pressure on them to replace
them with expensive new Dual-Capable Aircraft.
All these spending programs come labelled as a way to ensure the
safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile. But there
is no reason to ramp up warhead production capacities and develop
new delivery systems when the declared aim is to reduce, and
eventually eliminate nuclear weapons. The current weapons
stockpile is more than enough to maintain a credible deterrent
while disarmament negotiations take place, and everything about
these initiatives is sending the wrong message to other states
about the willingness of the US to put its money where its mouth

President Obama's vocal commitment to nuclear non-proliferation
and disarmament is well appreciated and has arguably already
shown its first fruits in the negotiation of the New START treaty
and the moderate success of this year's Non-Proliferation Treaty
Review Conference.

However, the US will not be able to take leadership on these
issues and make substantial advances towards a safer world free
of nuclear weapons if its commitment is perceived as hollow
A decade-long, $80bn nuclear modernization program certainly does
not contribute to an atmosphere of confidence that is needed to
cooperate on nuclear reductions.

Online resources for this article
Factsheet: Halting Unnecessary Nuclear Weapons Production
Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, Spring 2009
Bunker mentality: Is NNSA digging itself into a hole at Los
Greg Mello, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, May 16th, 2010
The U.S. Nuclear Weapons Complex
Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, 2010
A New Strategic Posture for the United States and a Nuclear
Weapons Complex to Support it
Nuclear Weapons Complex Consolidation Policy Network, Spring 2009
Nuclear Plan Shows Cuts and Massive Investments
Hans Kristensen, Federation of American Scientists Strategic
Security Blog, July 12th, 2010
US Air Force might modify B-61
Elaine M. Grossman, Global Security Newswire, 2008
Extending the life of B-61 nuclear weapons could cost $4 billion
Walter Pincus, Washington Post, July 19th, 2010

Eerste editie 'What's new in Nukes'
Susi Snyder, Programmaleider nucleaire ontwapening

Er liggen nog altijd zo'n 200 Amerikaanse, zogeheten 'tactische'
kernwapens in Europa. Deze wapens zijn verdeeld over vijf landen:
Nederland, BelgiŽ, Duitsland, ItaliŽ en Turkije. Al deze landen
maken op dit moment plannen om te investeren in nieuwe
gevechtsvliegtuigen. De keuze voor nieuwe vliegtuigen biedt een
uitgelezen mogelijkheid om de Amerikaanse kernwapens in Europa,
die geen militair doel meer dienen, ter discussie te stellen.Deze
(eerste) editie van 'What's new in Nukes' gaat over de financiŽle
aspecten van het moderniseren van de Amerikaanse kernwapens in
Europa en de vliegtuigen die ze kunnen vervoeren. Daarnaast een
overzicht van mogelijkheden om zelf in actie te komen. We kijken
er naar uit om ons, samen met u, in te zetten voor een
kernwapenvrije wereld! 

De Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)
Het Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)-programma is een initiatief van de
Verenigde Staten en tien partnerlanden. De bedoeling van het
programma is om een goedkoop, veelzijdig inzetbaar en modern
gevechtsvliegtuig te ontwikkelen. Oorspronkelijk was het plan om
ontwikkelings- en testkosten te delen en landen die hieraan
meewerkten lucratieve contracten te geven om onderdelen te
produceren. Inmiddels is er zo veel mis gegaan in dit proces dat
de prijs per toestel is verdriedubbeld. Daarnaast kent de
ontwikkeling van de JSF dermate veel technische problemen dat de
vraag rijst of dit nu nog wel de juiste opvolger is van de
F-16.Lees het hele artikel (in het Engels)

Amerikaanse kernwapens moderniseren?
Over de hele wereld werd enthousiast gereageerd op de oproep van
President Obama voor een kernwapenvrije wereld. Maar de mooie
woorden van zijn speech in Praag ten spijt, laten zijn daden op
het gebied van kernontwapening veel te wensen over. 
Een belangrijk punt van zorg is de modernisering van de
Amerikaanse kernwapeninstallaties - een netwerk van acht grote
complexen die verantwoordelijk zijn voor het onderhoud van de
Amerikaanse kernwapens. Dit onderhoud gaat in de komende tien
jaar mogelijk 60 miljard dollar extra kosten. Lees het hele
artikel (in het Engels)

Meer weten en in actie komen?
www.jsfnieuws.nl [http://www.jsfnieuws.nl]Wilt u meer weten over
de aanschaf van de JSF en de modernisering van Amerikaanse
kernwapens? Hou dan onze website [http://www.nonukes.nl] in de
gaten. Het laatste nieuws rondom de JSF vindt u onder andere op
JSFnieuws .

Wilt u in actie komen voor een kernwapenvrije wereld? Dat kan
onder andere door een kort videofragment in te sturen aan het
project Millionpleas [http://www.millionpleas.com] van de
International Campaign to Abolisch Nuclear Weapons. Of richt
zelf, in navolging van internationale politici, een Bende van
Vier op die zich inzet voor een wereld zonder kernwapens. Meer
informatie vindt u op de website van de No Nukes Campagne



No Nukes is de campagne van IKV Pax Christi voor een wereld
zonder kernwapens. 

IKV Pax Christi is het samenwerkingsverband van het
Interkerkelijk Vredesberaad (IKV) en Pax Christi Nederland. 
Wij streven naar een wereld zonder kernwapens door te informeren,
schrijven, lobbyen en actie te voeren, zowel in Nederland als
Wilt u meer weten over No Nukes? Ga dan naar nonukes.nl. 


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