PCB007 Magazine

PCB-Sept2016

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12 The PCB Magazine • September 2016 F-35 DECLARED COMBAT-READY cators and CMs [3] deemed capable and are certi- fied to support our military. Appropriately, the level of commitment by those that currently support F-35 through advanced certifications such as IPC Class 3 Trusted Source, IPC J-STD 001 with Space, and AS9100—and that have also made the required CAPEX and process development invest- ments—are well-poised to enjoy near term divi- dends as the U.S. Air Force moves the F-35 pro- gram from its current LRIP (low rate initial production) build rate to more of a matured production status. While a 15-year com- mitment to a program is certainly long, the po- tential reward is com- mensurate. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is full of electron- ics suites, has a cost per aircraft of over $100 million each, and the program is both the largest air- plane and the largest weapons system pro- curement in Pentagon history, with a projected service life of sixty years. To those that made a sus- tained commitment to support the F35 program, well played! In a March 2014 column, Foreign Military Sales: Back to the Future for Sales Opportuni- ties, I detailed what I felt to be the tremendous upside opportunities to support legacy electron- ics manufacturing as the prime contractors, in a sequestered U.S./DOD budget environment, repositioned their businesses to support foreign military sales (FMS) initiatives. The column closely examined Lockheed Martin's F-16 fight- er jet, the potential for increased sales of the F-16 to our allies, and identified the prime con- tractors that had significant electronics content position for the upgrade packages. As the F-35 consortia countries recognize that their ability to actually procure and field the 5 th generation fighter (F-35) could take up to a decade, their primary near-term initiative is to purchase the 4 th generation alternative F-16 fighter with up- graded electronics suites. The demand for USA technology is so high in the FMS market, that there are now ongo- ing government initiatives to streamline the approval process by all the stakeholders: DoD, Commerce and State. American competitive- ness in the global market is highly dependent upon the ability to expedite the FMS process, as it is a highly competitive landscape. Our current turn-time on the approval process is one to two years, with other countries of- fering platform alternatives to the F-16 and turning deals in months. Despite the ap- proval delays, and high- lighting the tremen- dous growth in FMS spending, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) [4] an- nounced 2014 FMS FY spending of $34.2 billion and 2015 FY FMS spending of over $47 billion. The upward trend continues in 2016, with Defense News [5] high- lighting a Guggenheim Se- curities report that shows FMS spending through the first half of FY 2016 is on track to meet or sur- pass last year's totals. There are several pend- ing FMS cases that could increase this substan- tially; one example, according to Defense News, is a pending $40−50 billion FMS military fund- ing plan for Israel which could include F-35s, Boeing F-15s (Israeli version) and the Textron- Boeing MV-22s. The FMS spending environment warrants a deeper dive as many munitions programs are now processing through the DSCA process in support of United Arab Emirates (UAE) initia- tives to combat ISIS. I will explore that in detail in the next col- umn. Lastly, for those of you attending SMTAI in Chicago in late September, I am honored to be named the Chair for Roadmaps in their Spot-

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