donderdag, 30 augustus 2012 Vliegbasis
Uit een Amerikaans artikel van eind augustus blijkt dat de JSF 135 miljoen dollar kost en de motor nog een 26 miljoen. Heel wat duurder dan de prijs die de Nederlandse minister van Defensie noemt, te weten 69 miljoen Euro.
F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is important for Massachusetts business
File photo | Associated PressThe Lockheed Martin F-35B is shown during an unveiling ceremony in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/Donna McWilliam, File)
The Republican | Michael S. GordonTell Tool PRV Aerospace in Westfield.
WESTFIELD — Tell Tool has invested $6 million in equipment and facilities upgrades in the hope that the Westfield company will soon be doing $10 million a year in business making fuel and hydraulic control manifolds for the next generation fighter jets.
But the military has been slower than expected to order the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets, and work is currently only about $4 million a year, leaving Tell Tool President Dave Smith with too much expensive manufacturing capacity and a tough decision to make.
“All we know is that there will be 50 airplane builds this year, and there were supposed to be 118 airplanes built this year,” Smith said. “The ramp-up just hasn’t been there. In terms of future employees, it’s probably about 20 people that we won’t need but that we’ve been planning on. Until the business is up, nothing is for sure.”
Tell Tool has been expanding its workforce, up to 145 employees from 85 three years ago, on the strength of a growing aerospace business. The 20 additional F-35 employees would have made it 165 workers or more.
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has an average cost of $135 million per plane, plus an additional $26 million for the F135 engine built by United Technologies subsidiary Pratt & Whitney. It’s destined to replace a number of fighter aircraft for the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps as well as for the armed forces of a number of U.S. allies around the world.
According to Lockheed Martin, the main contractor of the project is responsible for 33,000 direct and indirect jobs. Lockheed Martin said it has 1,300 domestic suppliers in 45 states and Puerto Rico. In nine years, the F-35 has infused $60 billion into the economy.
In Massachusetts, the F-35 is responsible for 1,500 jobs and $90 million in economic activity at 99 separate subcontractors. In Connecticut, the F-35 is credited with $635 million in economic activity, with 8,300 jobs at 84 separate suppliers.
Many of those suppliers are right here in the Pioneer Valley, said Allan W. Blair, the president and chief executive officer of the Western Mass Economic Development Council.
“If you stand outside one of these machine shops in Westfield and look up to see an aircraft overhead, civilian or military, chances are one of these little local machine shops has a part in that airplane. People just don’t realize that,” Blair said.
It’s one reason local government and business officials are watching the defense budget very closely, Blair said. They are also advocating very hard too keep Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield or Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee open despite the budget crunch. Efforts to protect those bases and their civilian jobs have dominated much of the local conversation.
“But people need to realize that the defense appropriations bill is really a jobs bill,” Blair said.
According to published reports, the American military plans to buy 2,443 of the aircraft. But the Pentagon has proposed delaying the purchase of 179 of the planes for five years.
The Republican / Michael S. GordonAugust 22, 2012 – Westfield – Staff photo by Michael S. Gordon – A solution pours down on a macine part being formed inside one of the four Mazak 730-5X II multi-tasking 5-axis vertical machining centers at Tell Tool PRV Aerospace .
“But I can’t see them possibly cutting the F-35,” said Richard W. Patterson, vice president of new business development for B&E Group, LLC in Southwick. “There is not another fifth-generation (fighter) on the drawing board.”
Patterson said current warplanes are aging and the United States needs to provide the latest and greatest to our allies in order to keep them in the fold. But on the other hand, the planes are hugely expensive.
“The country is broke. We have got to stop spending somewhere,” Patterson said. “Do we want to be another Greece? Do we want to be another Spain?”
B&E has about 100 employees and has been making parts for the F-35 or the early-stage prototypes for about five years. Those parts include a control rod on the F-35 models that take off and land vertically. B&E’s parts help redirect the jet thrust on those jets as they transition from horizontal to vertical flight. But those parts account for only about $1 million out of a $40 million-a-year business.
“We do a lot more work with commercial aviation, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, we have a lot of content in that,” he said. “They already have 800 of them sold.”
Only 31 have been built thus far.
Smith said he’s in a tougher spot at Tell Tool. He spent $6 million over the past year or so, $4 million in machining equipment and $2 million in utilities and infrastructure work to house and power that equipment.
“I can’t let that asset sit idle,” he said. “A lot of it depends on the general economy. Will there be more aircraft work? Or can we go out and get work from someone else?”