JSF security technology costing up to US $1bn

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JSF security technology costing up to US $1bn

Onderstaand (verkort) artikel uit Jane's International Defence Review (JIDR) gaat in op wat eind vorig jaar al eens het nieuws haalde, nl de ontwikkeling van een parallelle 'JSF-Lite' (een 'uitgeklede' JSF, zoals die voor beoogde exportlanden, als Nederland, beschikbaar zal komen). JIDR komt tot de conclusie dat die parallele versie verantwoordelijk is voor 1 miljard US$ kostenstijging.

Hoewel staatssecretaris Van der Knaap eerder een vraag van kamerleden Timmermans/Blom (PvdA) over de gevolgen voor stealth capaciteiten ontweek (zie antwoorden 12 januari 2004, op mindef.nl), bevestigt JIDR dat Nederland bij aanschaf waarschijnlijk een minder 'stealthy' en dus kwetsbaarder type krijgt, met alle gevolgen voor de effectiviteit van de JSF. Niet alleen krijgt Nederland - als het inderdaad de JSF aanschaft - een inferieur gevechtsvliegtuig, het krijgt bovendien ook de rekening voor de extra kosten daaraan verbonden gepresenteerd! Overigens schreef staatssecretaris Van der Knaap op 8 maart jl. aan de Kamer dat ook Nederland een JSF met stealth eigenschappen zal krijgen, aangezien dat "inherent aan het ontwerp" van de JSF is. Daarmee gaat hij voorbij aan de veronderstelling in het artikel in JDIR, dat Nederland als gevolg van de Amerikaanse "Disclosure policy", qua zichtbaarheid voor de vijandelijke radar moet inleveren ten opzichte van de VS.

Gelukkig is de kans dat Nederland alsnog afziet van de JSF vandaag weer wat gestegen, nu de 'business case' opnieuw doorgerekend gaat worden.

http://www.janes.com/defence/air_forces/news/idr/idr040416_1_n.shtml

JSF security technology costing up to US $1bn

Jane's International Defense Review - 16 April 2004
By Bill Sweetman

Up to US$1 billion of the projected cost overrun on the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is attributable to the development of 'anti-tamper' (AT) technology to protect stealth features on the JSF, together with a 'sanitized' and probably less stealthy export configuration of the fighter.

Some of this overrun is reflected in a supplemental contract awarded to Lockheed Martin in November 2003, valued at US$603 million and covering the development of an "international partner version" for the JSF.

Building export JSFs with less sensitive - and less effective - low observable (LO) features is practicable because the primary structure of the JSF is conventional, with most of the LO systems being added at the end of the assembly line. The program office has consistently declined to clarify US policy on this issue, and people close to the program have made conflicting statements.

Most recently, however, a JSF program official said that the export versions "would look the same" - implying that materials under the surface might be different. Another source says that "all JSFs will have stealth features" but will not confirm that all of them will be identical in LO performance. The November contract's reference to an "international partner version" also suggests that such an approach is being taken. The value of the contract would reflect the need to conduct a separate radar cross-section (RCS) validation program.

The clear implication is that the 'international' JSF would have a larger RCS than the US version, would be easier to detect by hostile radars and would consequently be more susceptible to attack. That, in turn, would have consequences for the overall effectiveness of the fighter. Like other LO aircraft, it does not carry active jamming equipment or a towed decoy, and it cannot use high-off-boresight air-to-air missiles when in stealth mode.

JSF is the first US stealth aircraft to be offered for export. Rules on the export of stealth technologies, as well as of dual-use technologies that are important to stealth, are not made by the JSF program office, but by senior Pentagon leaders, who define disclosure policy with the help of the Low Observables Executive Committee (LO-EXCOM). The EXCOM includes representatives from the services, intelligence agencies and all major stealth programs, including 'black' or unacknowledged programs.

The use of less sensitive materials on export JSFs is likely to be accompanied by a range of new AT measures, an area that has received increasing attention since 11 September 2001. The objective is "to protect critical technologies in US weapon systems that may be sold to foreign governments or that could possibly fall into enemy hands".


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