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Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 2631
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Apr 04, 2018 1:51 am

sovietjet wrote:
Ozair, thanks for the response. What is the advantage of MADL over Link 16 besides being more secure? Are there any disadvantages?

Much higher data-rate, probably at least a couple of orders of magnitude, from MADL which significantly increases the volume of information that can be transferred. While Link 16 transmits small sets of data and positional information MADL is designed to transmit sensor data amongst the linked F-35, so each contributes to an overall sensor picture. MADL is almost certainly at a higher frequency and directional compared to Link 16 with is 960–1,215 MHz and omnidirectional giving MADL LPI characteristics. At a guess MADL likely has something like DSSS making it harder to jam.

Some info on MADL can be found here, http://sldinfo.com/2014/11/crafting-21s ... tribution/ which although from 2014 shows they were already considering how to extend MADL onto other platforms and into the ground environment.

A disadvantage may be cost, I haven’t seen an actual cost figure for MADL but it is probably going to cost more given it requires a set of directional antennas on one platform compared to Link 16 which often use a single omnidirectional antenna. An advantage for cost comes from the volume of production, with prospectively 3000 aircraft flying with MADL in its current form.

There is no reason you could not refit an existing aircraft with MADL but the US appears to be pursuing a podded form which makes sense given not every aircraft will need MADL and not every aircraft will see benefits from MADL (for example avionics cannot handle distributing mass sensor data). If you can have one legacy platform converting from MADL to Link 16 then the F-35 fleet could stay in a stealth EM configuration but the rest of the 4th gen fleet benefits from its sensors and likely closer proximity to the threat.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Apr 05, 2018 10:00 pm

Some very interesting comments that are published in the May 2018 Vol.19 No.5 edition of Combat Aircraft on the performance of the F-35 in BFM.

"...New jet, new missions
While technicians have gained valuable experience of turning spanners on the F-35, the four Dutch Lightning II pilots have striven to understand the aircraft from a tactical perspective. ‘We worked on getting a better understanding of how we can execute the D-SEAD [destructive suppression of enemy air defenses] mission — it’s a new mission set the F-35 brings to the RNLAF,’ adds De Smit. ‘Additionally, we have been looking at how we can execute mission concepts that are very familiar to us like close air support [CAS]. The new variable message format [VMF] is the new datalink protocol that we use to talk to ground forces. VMF is fully digital and enables us to send, in addition to voice commands, imagery back and forth to the JTACs [joint terminal attack controllers]. In addition, the synthetic aperture radar can make images from a long distance through the weather. This is a whole new aspect in the CAS mission and will be a game-changer in the dialogue between JTAC and pilot because it offers a new way of finding and verifying targets.’

Within the detachment, the 323rd Test and Evaluation Squadron (TES) commander Lt Col Ian ‘Gladys’ Knight is leading the way when it comes to Dutch experience with the F-35. ‘In CAS’, he says, ‘VMF gives us options for supporting ground forces in a way we never had in the F-16. Instead of using voice radios and getting eyes on the target using a targeting pod close-in, we’re able to use the SAR to make images of the target area and generate very accurate target co-ordinates. We pass these to the ground forces and confirm a target location using VMF from beyond visual range, assuring that enemy forces are not alerted to our air presence. All the while we can be flying in pretty bad weather with long on-station times. This would have been impossible to do with our F-16s.’..."
&
"...Dogfighting in the F-35...
...‘The F-35 is a very different aircraft, and it took pilots a while to adjust and figure out how to max-perform it. What didn’t help is that until about 18 months ago we were restricted in envelope, which meant we couldn’t pull as much g as we wanted to, nor fly with high-alpha. It was an eye-opener for all of us when those restrictions were lifted and we finally got to see the full potential. Actually, it was an eye-opener for a lot of adversary pilots as well.’

The F-35 is far larger than the F-16, and it carries twice as much fuel and three times the payload. ‘Consequently, the F-35 loses energy a bit faster than the F-16 at higher speeds,’ continues Knight. ‘But the slow-speed handling is amazing. The F-35 pilot has the option to continuously point the nose at the adversary, even at ridiculously slow speeds, which is a great capability to have in combination with high off-boresight missiles and a helmet-mounted sight. You need to be careful maneuvering the aircraft at higher speeds, because if you keep pulling back on the stick the aircraft will give you as much alpha as it can, but it will bleed a lot of energy in the process. It’s up to the pilot to recognize when to try to maintain airspeed and energy and when to give that away to prosecute with missiles or guns. I typically tell new pilots that the F-35 sits somewhere in between the F-16 and F/A-18 when it comes to within visual range maneuvering.’

Knight divulged a little more information about flying basic fighter maneuvers (BFM) in an F-35. ‘When our envelope was cleared to practise BFM we got the opportunity to fight some fourth-generation fighters. Remember, back then the rumors were that the F-35 was a pig. The first time the opponents showed up [in the training area] they had wing tanks along with a bunch of missiles. I guess they figured that being in a dirty configuration wouldn’t really matter and that they would still easily outmaneuver us. By the end of the week, though, they had dropped their wing tanks, transitioned to a single centerline fuel tank and were still doing everything they could not to get gunned by us. A week later they stripped the jets clean of all external stores, which made the BFM fights interesting, to say the least…

‘High-g maneuvering is fun, but having high fuel capacity and the ability to carry lots of stores is great too. During the weeks when we were flying BFM we also needed to drop a GBU-12 [laser-guided bomb] on the China Lake weapons range. Back in our F-16 days we’d have had to choose, since there is no way you can BFM with a bomb on your wing, let alone having the fuel to fly both missions in a single sortie. With the F-35, however, this isn’t much of an issue. On one of the sorties, my colleague, Maj Pascal ‘Smiley’ Smaal, decided he would fly BFM and still have enough fuel to go to the range afterwards and drop his weapon. During the debrief, the adversary pilot told us he was confused as to why we went to the range after the fight. When ‘Smiley’ told him that he was carrying an inert GBU-12 the entire time and that he then dropped it afterwards during a test event, the silence on the other end of the line was golden.’..."
 
Ozair
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Posts: 2631
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Apr 05, 2018 10:04 pm

Some rational logic on the big sustainment costs being claimed for the future F-35 fleet.

Why Trillion-Dollar Estimates To Keep the F-35 Fighter Flying Are Really Misleading

The program isn't troubled. It's doing fine. But every few months I feel the need to write a piece demonstrating how misleading the news coverage is. What I'd like to address today is the frequently-cited "fact" that it will cost over a trillion dollars to keep the F-35 flying during its service life. I most recently saw this number repeated in a Bloomberg News story, which stated, "It may cost as much as $1.1 trillion to keep the F-35s flying and maintained through 2070, according to the current estimate from the Pentagon's independent cost unit."

There actually is an official estimate of that amount for lifetime operations and support costs of the F-35, but it is outdated and very misleading. Let's look at a few reasons why it shouldn't be taken seriously.

First of all, who in the real world ever tries to estimate the cost of owning a car or a house for over 50 years? Nobody does, because the number is of little use in the present and the future is not knowable. Consider, for example, that medium latte that you bought at Starbucks on your way to work this morning. At four dollars a pop, it's going to cost you $50,000 to buy one each weekday if you keep doing it for 50 years. And that's assuming the price doesn't go up. Any ongoing expenditure you can mention would look astronomically huge if you computed it for over half a century.

Second, the estimate cited in the Bloomberg piece is stated in "then-year" dollars, which means with inflation included. Believe it or not, the Pentagon has a projected inflation rate for every year through 2070. Obviously, the projections are likely to be wrong. So let's take out the inflation and calculate what the total operations and support bill through 2070 would be in today's dollars. It's about $690 billion -- spread over 58 years. If you divide that total by the number of years, it would cost the military $11.8 billion annually to support F-35. That's about one day's worth of federal spending each year at current rates to keep most of the tactical aircraft in the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps flying. Sounds cheap to me.

Third, the cost estimates that the Pentagon uses to project future support expenses are years out of date and depend in part on past experience with aircraft not designed to the standards of a fifth-generation fighter like F-35. Being years out of date matters with an aircraft that has only recently become operational, because there is little real-world data to back up the estimates. What actual operational experience since the estimates were created shows is that F-35 is out-performing expectations with regard to reliability and availability. Planes from the latest production lots look less costly to support than those from earlier lots (on which estimates were based) because the program is moving down a learning curve -- as all programs do.

Fourth, even the most up-to-date data on F-35 support costs would paint a misleading picture when compared with legacy fighters such as the Air Force's F-16 or the Navy's F/A-18, because those are mature airframes that have been in service for several decades, whereas F-35 is only now beginning to deploy overseas. The reason it costs twice as much per hour to operate a new F-35 as an F-16 is because the F-35 fleet is small, key processes such as the provision of spare parts are not yet refined, and few of the enhancements to the F-16's configuration that made it easier to support have yet been identified for F-35, much less implemented. That will all happen with the passage of time, greatly reducing the cost of keeping F-35 in the air.

Fifth and finally, there are numerous options available to the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps to reduce the cost of operating F-35 as the number of aircraft in the operational fleet grows. Some of these involve more efficient use of skilled maintainers, some involve smoothing out the kinks in logistics systems, and some involve simply getting used to the unique features of the fighter -- which really is different from tactical aircraft of the past. At present, the automated logistics system designed to predict problems in the aircraft isn't up to speed, and even when it is it will probably need to be rearchitected in light of operational experience. As processes are adjusted, the cost of supporting the fighters will fall steadily.

But don't expect to see any of that in the news coverage surrounding the program. The simple reality of the news business is that scandals and screw-ups attract more interest than programs that are unfolding smoothly. So even though there is a high likelihood that the operations and support costs for the tri-service fleet of F-35 fighters will be far below what present projections indicate, no editor is going to tell a reporter to go chase that story. What we will get instead is episodic coverage of apparent problems that one by one are fixed (assuming they are real problems), and then no follow-up coverage of the progress that has been made. The good news is that the progress is real, and the F-35 will keep America ahead of adversaries for many decades to come.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lorenthomp ... 98cf4e2466
 
ZaphodHarkonnen
Posts: 674
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Apr 06, 2018 8:43 am

Ozair wrote:
Some very interesting comments that are published in the May 2018 Vol.19 No.5 edition of Combat Aircraft on the performance of the F-35 in BFM.

"...New jet, new missions
While technicians have gained valuable experience of turning spanners on the F-35, the four Dutch Lightning II pilots have striven to understand the aircraft from a tactical perspective. ‘We worked on getting a better understanding of how we can execute the D-SEAD [destructive suppression of enemy air defenses] mission — it’s a new mission set the F-35 brings to the RNLAF,’ adds De Smit. ‘Additionally, we have been looking at how we can execute mission concepts that are very familiar to us like close air support [CAS]. The new variable message format [VMF] is the new datalink protocol that we use to talk to ground forces. VMF is fully digital and enables us to send, in addition to voice commands, imagery back and forth to the JTACs [joint terminal attack controllers]. In addition, the synthetic aperture radar can make images from a long distance through the weather. This is a whole new aspect in the CAS mission and will be a game-changer in the dialogue between JTAC and pilot because it offers a new way of finding and verifying targets.’

Within the detachment, the 323rd Test and Evaluation Squadron (TES) commander Lt Col Ian ‘Gladys’ Knight is leading the way when it comes to Dutch experience with the F-35. ‘In CAS’, he says, ‘VMF gives us options for supporting ground forces in a way we never had in the F-16. Instead of using voice radios and getting eyes on the target using a targeting pod close-in, we’re able to use the SAR to make images of the target area and generate very accurate target co-ordinates. We pass these to the ground forces and confirm a target location using VMF from beyond visual range, assuring that enemy forces are not alerted to our air presence. All the while we can be flying in pretty bad weather with long on-station times. This would have been impossible to do with our F-16s.’..."
&
"...Dogfighting in the F-35...
...‘The F-35 is a very different aircraft, and it took pilots a while to adjust and figure out how to max-perform it. What didn’t help is that until about 18 months ago we were restricted in envelope, which meant we couldn’t pull as much g as we wanted to, nor fly with high-alpha. It was an eye-opener for all of us when those restrictions were lifted and we finally got to see the full potential. Actually, it was an eye-opener for a lot of adversary pilots as well.’

The F-35 is far larger than the F-16, and it carries twice as much fuel and three times the payload. ‘Consequently, the F-35 loses energy a bit faster than the F-16 at higher speeds,’ continues Knight. ‘But the slow-speed handling is amazing. The F-35 pilot has the option to continuously point the nose at the adversary, even at ridiculously slow speeds, which is a great capability to have in combination with high off-boresight missiles and a helmet-mounted sight. You need to be careful maneuvering the aircraft at higher speeds, because if you keep pulling back on the stick the aircraft will give you as much alpha as it can, but it will bleed a lot of energy in the process. It’s up to the pilot to recognize when to try to maintain airspeed and energy and when to give that away to prosecute with missiles or guns. I typically tell new pilots that the F-35 sits somewhere in between the F-16 and F/A-18 when it comes to within visual range maneuvering.’

Knight divulged a little more information about flying basic fighter maneuvers (BFM) in an F-35. ‘When our envelope was cleared to practise BFM we got the opportunity to fight some fourth-generation fighters. Remember, back then the rumors were that the F-35 was a pig. The first time the opponents showed up [in the training area] they had wing tanks along with a bunch of missiles. I guess they figured that being in a dirty configuration wouldn’t really matter and that they would still easily outmaneuver us. By the end of the week, though, they had dropped their wing tanks, transitioned to a single centerline fuel tank and were still doing everything they could not to get gunned by us. A week later they stripped the jets clean of all external stores, which made the BFM fights interesting, to say the least…

‘High-g maneuvering is fun, but having high fuel capacity and the ability to carry lots of stores is great too. During the weeks when we were flying BFM we also needed to drop a GBU-12 [laser-guided bomb] on the China Lake weapons range. Back in our F-16 days we’d have had to choose, since there is no way you can BFM with a bomb on your wing, let alone having the fuel to fly both missions in a single sortie. With the F-35, however, this isn’t much of an issue. On one of the sorties, my colleague, Maj Pascal ‘Smiley’ Smaal, decided he would fly BFM and still have enough fuel to go to the range afterwards and drop his weapon. During the debrief, the adversary pilot told us he was confused as to why we went to the range after the fight. When ‘Smiley’ told him that he was carrying an inert GBU-12 the entire time and that he then dropped it afterwards during a test event, the silence on the other end of the line was golden.’..."


Well that's extremely interesting, and amusing.

So much for all those claims that the F-35 is a sitting duck and couldn't manoeuvre. It really does look like the F-35 is going to be a very successful system.
 
Ozair
Topic Author
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Apr 06, 2018 10:05 pm

ZaphodHarkonnen wrote:

Well that's extremely interesting, and amusing.

So much for all those claims that the F-35 is a sitting duck and couldn't manoeuvre. It really does look like the F-35 is going to be a very successful system.

It certainly continues to reinforce that the F-35 is meeting the goals of the program. As far as we know, the threshold requirement was F-16 like BFM performance while the objective was F/A-18 like BFM performance. Given the F-35A has F-18 AoA ability combined with 9G capability of the F-16 it certainly looks to have the best of both worlds. Another article I read recently described the F-35 as a like a four engined hornet given how fast it is and how quickly it recovers energy. Certainly enough to hold its own and likely excel when combined with its stealth and situational awareness advantages.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Apr 08, 2018 9:47 pm

The DEC 2017 SAR has been released and available at the link below. Some highlights include the following,

• Demonstrated STOVL T/O performance improved to 471 ft. from 549 ft. in the previous years SAR
• Demonstrated CV Mission Radius (Navy profile) is now 670 nm. Previously this had been TBD
• URF (minus the engine) estimate of the F-35A dropped from $67.7 Million (2012) to $67.6 Million, that of the F-35B increased from $77.1 Million to $77.4 Million and that of the F-35C increased from $78.1 To $78.7
• The URF estimate of the CTOL engine remain unchanged, that of the STOVL system went from $26.7 Million to $26.8, while that of the CV went from $11 Million to $11.1 Million. All in 2012 dollars.
• CAPE’s O&S estimates are unchanged because they did not update it this cycle but will be doing so during the Milestone-C decision next year.

https://www.scribd.com/document/3757516 ... -FY19-2017

Good news on the reduced take off length for the F-35B. This should significantly improve the operation of the F-35 from smaller amphibs such as the Korean Dokdo class.

Another interesting note is the USMC has swapped 13 F-35C to B versions (which was announced last year) but that the USN has upped their buy by 13 F-35C to fill the gap. The total expected US orders now stand at 2456 aircraft being procurred until 2043.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Apr 08, 2018 9:58 pm

Some info on how the USAF is trying to overcome the parts shortage.

Air Force moving to address F-35 spare-parts problems

The Air Force is taking a three-pronged approach to addressing spare-parts issues threatening the F-35 stealth fighter jet program at Eglin Air Force Base and elsewhere, according to its Air Education and Training Command.

Last month, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., whose district includes Eglin AFB, said problems with acquiring spare parts and repairing parts for the F-35 could seriously compromise the base’s role in training pilots for the next-generation fighter jet.

“While we’ve not been late in graduating any pilots yet, I’ve been told that we are rapidly approaching the inability to accomplish the mission,” Gaetz said.

Questions posed at various levels of Air Force command following Gaetz’s comment went unanswered until a few days ago. The deputy director of public affairs at AETC, which has broad responsibilities for training across the Air Force, responded via email late last week to questions initially posed to Eglin’s public affairs office.

Lt. Col. Tracy Bunko stressed that the “supply challenges do not pose any safety concerns for our aircraft, which are always maintained and operated within applicable USAF guidance and policies.”

Bunko said that AETC is working with Air Force Materiel Command and the F-35 Joint Program Office “to accurately assess the supply impacts and establish a way forward.”

The Materiel Command provides acquisition management services and logistics support to the Air Force. The Joint Program Office manages the F-35 program for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, the U.S. military services that will be using the F-35.

According to a recent report in Defense News, the Department of Defense is considering moving F-35 management from the joint office to offices within each of the services using the aircraft.

Among the strategies for dealing with spare parts and repair issues with the F-35 is increasing the pace of establishing “organic depot repair capabilities,” Bunko said. “Organic” repair facilities are facilities operated by the military, as opposed to the current situation, where the Department of Defense has had to rely on contractors to address spare parts and repair issues.

That developing approach will, Bunko said, “improve spares availability and reduce repair costs.”

Also according to the email, the F-35 program has established an initiative “to actively address spares demand by exploring alternative replacement technologies and parts.” The email did not specify what sorts of alternatives would be explored, and Friday calls to the AETC were not returned immediately.

Bunko went on to note that the F-35 program has been taking steps to address some of its spare parts issues for at least the last two years. In that time, she said, $2.1 billion has been spent to address what her email called “urgently needed spares” for three versions of electronic warfare hardware and software in the aircraft.

The Air Force is the single largest customer for the F-35. In all, the Air Force plans to buy nearly 1,800 F-35s, with the Navy and Marine Corps slated to purchase nearly 700 F-35s. A number of U.S. partner nations have been, and will be, purchasing the aircraft.

The F-35 is projected to remain in service until 2070.

http://www.thedestinlog.com/news/201804 ... s-problems
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Apr 09, 2018 1:38 am

Some interesting comments by one of the British Falklands War fighter pilots. Seems he favours getting rid of much of the land based British Eurofighter fleet (perhaps he is just a Naval aviator at heart...)

Falklands fighter ace calls for cost controls over UK’s £9.2bn F-35 project

Harrier hero Commander Nigel ‘Sharkey’ Ward was the commanding officer of 801 Naval Air Squadron during the Falklands War, based on aircraft carrier HMS Invincible.

Flying more than 60 missions, with three air-to-air kills, he was the campaign’s leading night pilot.

But now the war hero has written to the UK’s defence committee over fears the US Air Force could cut its number order of F-35 Lightning IIs – causing costs to soar for Britain’s own fleet of the stealth jets.

His comments come as the MoD accepted the 15th order of the new warplane – which will one day fly off the flight deck of the Royal Navy’s two new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.

The US Defence Department has said it might need to cut 590 jets from its 1,763 order if manufacturing giant Lockheed Martin can’t find a way to slash operational and support costs.

The MoD said the UK’s programme was still ‘on track and within budget’.

But Cdr Ward said such a ‘major reduction’ would lead to a surge in costs for other nations purchasing the F-35.

He said: ‘This would in turn lead to severe financial embarrassment for the defence budget.’

Cdr Ward said the UK now needed to focus on ensuring to ‘guarantee the procurement of just enough jets to provide effective air groups’ for the carriers – a figure he said needed to be at least 60.

He also urged military chiefs to consider cutting back on Britain’s current £80bn land-based fleet of 160 Typhoon jets, reducing them to 60, in a bid to make a dent in the MoD’s £21bn budget blackhole.

Britain has ordered 48 F-35bs at a price of about £191m per jet – which includes the cost of spares, maintenance and training. The jets will begin flight trials from HMS Queen Elizabeth later this year.

An MoD spokesman said: ‘The F-35 programme remains on track and within budget, providing a game-changing capability for our armed forces. We continue to drive down costs with every purchase, while British industry benefits from an orderbook of over 3,000 jets.’

The MoD added the Typhoons were ‘world-class fighter jets’ that ‘continued to be ordered by nations across the world’,

A Lockheed Martin spokeswoman said: ‘F-35 unit costs have declined by more than 60 per cent since the first production lot and through efficiencies, economies of scale, systems improvements and cost-reduction projects, we expect to significantly enhance readiness and lower sustainment costs.’

https://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/defen ... -1-8449130
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:04 pm

Australia now has five aircraft at Luke AFB and will receive a further five this year to continue training before the Squadron moves to RAAF Base Williamtown.

Next three RAAF F-35A Joint Strike Fighters mission-ready

Australia has taken delivery of the next three F-35A aircraft from Lockheed Martin.

Minister for Defence Senator the Hon Marise Payne and Minister for Defence Industry the Hon Christopher Pyne MP congratulated Defence and Lockheed Martin on reaching the important milestone.

Minister Payne said our F-35 program is on track to provide Australia with a fifth generation aircraft at the forefront of air combat technology.

“These latest aircraft are fitted with the program’s final software system, which unlocks the aircraft’s full war-fighting potential including weapons, mission systems and flight performance,” Minister Payne said.

“The stealthy, advanced F-35A is a step change in the Australian Defence Force’s capabilities, giving Australia an edge against the emergence of advanced capabilities in our region.”

“Australia is the first international partner to accept jets with Block 3F capability, and this is another key step towards introducing the aircraft into service before its arrival in Australia in December this year.”

Minister Pyne said this is another significant point in the Joint Strike Fighter program.

“Australia now has five aircraft at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, USA, where our pilots are currently training. Five more aircraft are scheduled for delivery by the end of 2018.

“More than 50 Australian companies have directly shared in more than A$1 billion in production contracts to date, providing further opportunities to small and medium Australian businesses which benefit through supply chain work.

“In 2016, the F-35 Program supported more than 2,400 jobs across Australia, which is set to grow to 5,000 by 2023.

The Australian Government is investing in 72 F-35A Lightning II aircraft to replace the current fleet of 71 ageing F/A-18A/B Classic Hornets.

https://www.airforce.gov.au/news-and-ev ... sion-ready

Image
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:56 pm

Completed integration of JSOW-C is expected shortly. JSOW is one of those odd US weapons which is used by the USN only and reasonable number of export customers, all of which will operate or are potential F-35 operators.

Raytheon’s Joint Standoff Weapon integrated into the Navy’s F-35

Raytheon is set to announce that its Joint Standoff Weapon’s C variant has been successfully integrated into the internal weapons bay of the Navy variant of the F-35.

A recent test of the JSOW C demonstrated that the weapon could be toted inside the F-35C and deploy seamlessly. The weapon will move directly into an operational test, a step before being declared ready for use in combat, said Mark Borup, with Raytheon’s Missile Systems division.

The weapon was integrated with the F/A-18 Super Hornet and achieved operational status in June of 2016. Because of the existing test data on the weapon from the Super Hornet tests, the Navy was comfortable hurrying along the integration process.

“The Navy deemed that, with all of the other tests on other platforms ... that the one test would be sufficient to certify it to move on to operational test,” Borup said. “Because it is a mature system, with lots of recent test data ... what they really needed to do was make sure that it could operate from end-to-end from an F-35 without any issues and it passed all of those tests.”

The JSOW C has a 70-plus mile range and is used for medium-range engagements with anything from air defenses to reinforced concrete structures.

The weapon integrates both GPS-targeted and an infrared seeker.

The Navy’s F-35C has a number of weapons lined up that its supposed to be able to operate with.

Once configured with 3F software that enables full warfighting capability, an F-35C will be able to carry five different weapons inside of its internal weapons bays: JSOW, GBU-31/32 Joint Direct Attack Munitions, AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) and GBU-12 Paveway II bombs.

https://www.defensenews.com/digital-sho ... avys-f-35/

JSOW C-1 (which I think the article is actually talking about) is a pretty impressive weapon with a dual seeker, Link 16 datalink that allows re-targeting by any link member while inflight and a decent range of 70nm.

I expect the RAAF to use the JSOW for their F-35As as they already use the weapon on the SH and potentially a few other customers will take up the weapon as well.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Apr 10, 2018 2:30 am

Italian Air Force F-35A Lightning II Aircraft Have Completed Their First Deployment To “Deci”

Last month, four F-35A aircraft with the 13° Gruppo (Squadron) of the 32° Stormo (Wing) from Amendola, in southeastern Italy, have deployed to Decimomannu airbase, in Sardinia, to undertake training activities that have lasted about two weeks.

According to what local photographers and spotters observed, the aircraft arrived on Mar. 7 and departed to return to Amendola between Mar. 22 and 23. During the same period, the local-based RSSTA (Reparto Sperimentale e di Standardizzazione Tiro Aereo – the Air Gunnery Standardization and Experimentation Unit) hosted also T-339 (MB.339), T-346 (M-346) and A-11 (AMX) jets belonging to the ItAF units involved in the periodical firing activities in the Sardinian range.

As usual when it deals with the Italy’s Joint Strike Fighter, little is known about the deployment except that the aircraft, invisible to radars but not to the eyes of locals, were there in those days. As a consequence, the type of activity conducted by the F-35s is unknown; however, since the Italian Air Force F-35 CTOL (Conventional Take Off and Landing) stealth jets have already been declared operational in the air-to-air role lately, it’s quite likely that the JSF mainly focused in activities required to achieve the IOC (Initial Operational Capability) in the air-to-ground role. “The weapon system is operating in accordance with the schedule and within the envisaged scenarios” an official source said.

https://theaviationist.com/2018/04/07/i ... t-to-deci/

Image
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Apr 10, 2018 10:00 pm

5 Reasons Why the F-35C is Poised to Strengthen U.S. Navy Air Power

1. The Legacy Fleet is Aging

The U.S. Navy’s existing fleet of F/A-18 Hornets and F/A-18 Super Hornets is aging fast, with many in need of replacement or costly and time consuming Service Life Extension Plans (SLEP) to extend the aircraft beyond their original 6,000 hour flight limit.

The F-35C will deliver an 8,000 flight hour airframe and will replace, supplement and enhance the U.S. Navy’s existing fleet for decades to come.

2. Evolving Threats Demand New Capabilities

Rising threats from advanced surface-to-air missiles, air-to-air missiles, and tactical aircraft are advancing and fielding at a rapid pace, requiring new capabilities not available in 4th generation fighters.

With true stealth designed in from day one, coupled with sensor fusion, unprecedented battlespace awareness, and electronic attack, the F-35C provides the warfighter the ultimate ability to more effectively execute assigned missions in the face of advancing threat capabilities around the globe.

And with more than 18,000 pounds of weapons capacity, and nearly 20,000 pounds of internal fuel, the F-35C delivers transformational lethality, survivability, combat radius, and mission flexibility.

3. F-35’s Sensor Capability and Connectivity Will Enhance All Platforms

The transformational F-35 is more than just a strike-fighter. It is a powerful force multiplier with an advanced sensor and communications suite that can significantly enhance the capabilities of other air, surface and ground-based platforms.

The F-35 can be used as a broad area sensor to provide early warning, over-the-horizon information on potential targets or incoming threats. When paired with U.S. Navy systems like Aegis for example, the aircraft can significantly increase the capability to detect, track and engage missile threats. The U.S. Marine Corps also recently conducted a joint live-fire integration exercise with HIMARS and the F-35B serving as a sensor-to-shooter communications relay.

4. The F-35 Enhances 4th Generation Fighters

U.S. Services have successfully employed the F-35 in multiple demanding deployments and exercises, and the F-35 is supporting operations around the globe today.

The F-35 is proving to be a transformational weapon system that not only provides significantly better battlespace accessibility compared to legacy aircraft but also makes legacy aircraft more survivable and effective by sharing its fused sensor information for unmatched threat and battlespace awareness among all air and surface assets currently operating in conjunction with Expeditionary Strike Groups, and soon with Carrier Strike Groups.

By 2025, the Navy's Aircraft Carrier air wings are scheduled to include F-35Cs, F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft, E-2D Hawkeye battle management and control aircraft, MH-60R/S helicopters, and CV-22 carrier on board delivery logistics aircraft.

5. As the Program Matures, Costs Are Coming Down

The F-35 program is maturing rapidly and costs are coming down. Lockheed Martin has delivered more than 280 aircraft, trained more than 580 pilots and 5,600 maintainers and the F-35 fleet has surpassed more than 130,000+ cumulative flight hours.

F-35 unit costs have declined by more than 60% since the first production lot and we continue to reduce costs across production and sustainment. The F-35C specifically is on track to reach a unit cost of about $97 million by 2020, a cost that is considered comparable to legacy fighters.

And as aircraft mature, reliability improves, and the F-35 enterprise gears up to support a growing operational fleet, F-35C is expected to improve mission readiness and drastically reduce sustainment cost.

With significantly more capability for an equivalent cost as legacy aircraft, the F-35C is poised to affordably strengthen U.S. Navy air power for decades to come.

https://www.f35.com/news/detail/5-reaso ... -air-power
 
Planeflyer
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Apr 11, 2018 12:43 am

Ozair, thanks for all your efforts. Really helpful!

What is the combat radius of the c?
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Apr 11, 2018 1:14 am

Planeflyer wrote:
Ozair, thanks for all your efforts. Really helpful!

What is the combat radius of the c?

Timely question as the last couple of SARs did not list a combat radius for the F-35C. The recent SAR has now indicated a combat radius for the F-35C at 670nm. Page 18 at this link https://www.scribd.com/document/375751665/JSF-Selected-Acquisition-Report-FY19-2017 has the info. The objective is 730nm while the threshold is 600nm so the C is now sitting comfortably in the middle of that.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Apr 11, 2018 9:50 pm

Now that shared concurrency costs is essentially over for new production jets we can see both LM and the US DoD are keen to push the cost of any new modifications to the other partner. I haven't heard what the "complex logistical fix" is that needs to be remedied but I think eventually LM are going to have to fund fixes to the current fleet. It also depends on where the issue originates from, a LM or subcontractor production fault or from a design issue provided by the JPO.

An element of this may also be the US DoD throwing their weight around to force a LRIP 11 contract decision from LM.

Pentagon stops accepting F-35 jets from Lockheed over repair cost dispute

The U.S. Department of Defense has stopped accepting most deliveries of F-35 jets from Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) because of a dispute over who will cover costs for fixing a production error found last year on more than 200 of the stealthy jets, three people familiar with the matter said.

Last year the Pentagon stopped accepting F-35s for 30 days after discovering corrosion where the carbon fiber exterior panels of the planes were fastened to the airframe. Once a fix had been devised, the deliveries resumed, and Lockheed hit its target aircraft delivery numbers for 2017.

Deliveries were paused again over a dispute as to who will pay for what will likely be a complex logistical fix that could require technicians to travel widely to mend aircraft based around the world, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

When the Pentagon stops taking delivery of F-35s, foreign customers can also be affected. So far at least two foreign governments have stopped accepting F-35s as a result of this issue, two of the sources said.

The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A Lockheed spokeswoman said on Wednesday: “Production on the F-35 program continues and we are confident we will meet our delivery target of 91 aircraft for 2018. While all work in our factories remains active, the F-35 Joint Program Office has temporarily suspended accepting aircraft until we reach an agreement on a contractual issue and we expect this to be resolved soon.”

It was not clear when the suspension of deliveries began.

The delivery pause is the latest of several production issues that have arisen in the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons program, and comes at a time when the administration of President Donald Trump has criticized the cost of the fighter.

In 2016, a fix for insulation problems in the fuel tanks and lines of the jets caused a slowdown in deliveries.

Two jets were received by the Pentagon despite the suspension because of specific needs in the field, one of the people said.

During routine maintenance at Hill Air Force Base in Utah last year, the Air Force detected “corrosion exceeding technical limits” where the carbon fiber exterior panel is fastened to the aluminum airframe. A lack of protective coating at the fastening point that would have prevented corrosion was identified as the primary problem, the Pentagon said at the time.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-lock ... ssion=true
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Apr 11, 2018 10:27 pm

Some interesting photos have been released from the F-35 Integrated Test Flight Team including in-air testing of the deployment of the drag chute.

Images at the link below.

The F-35 Joint Programme Office has released some interesting pictures of the F-35 Integrated Test Flight team at Edwards AFB) (CA). The ITT recently completed in-air deployments of the Norwegian Drag Chute System.
The drag chute is for the present unique to Norwegian F-35As and rapidly decelerates Royal Norwegian Air Force F-35s after landing on the country's icy runways.
The in-air deployment tests were required in order for the maximum amount of force to be applied to the entire system. Pending final data review, all drag chute testing is complete and Norway is on track for full certification of the system by the end of this year.
The Royal Netherlands Air Force is said to be interested too in the system, but no purchases yet. The drag chute system is detachable.

https://www.facebook.com/Scramblemagazi ... =3&theater
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Apr 12, 2018 4:39 am

Given the steps already taken to integrate the F-35 into the ISR network this seems the next logical step. Almost certainly as the article suggests a newer faster missile will be required over the AIM-120 to make this a more effective capability.

F-35 Ready For Missile Defense By 2025: MDA Chief

F-35 Joint Strike Fighters could detect, track, and, possibly, even shoot down ballistic missiles by 2025, the Missile Defense Agency director told Congress this morning.

“I’d say six to seven years to essentially work out the Concept of Operations (and) develop the capabilities — (whether) it’s sensor-based or a new fast missile that’s hung on the bottom of an F-35 for the BMDS (Ballistic Missile Defense) mission — integrate those capabilities, test them, and deliver them into a theater of operations,” Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves told the Senate appropriations subcommittee on defense. “We see that deployed capability as, if not a game changer, then a significant contributor to future ballistic missile defense.”

This is the first time we’ve heard a senior official say how long it might take to incorporate F-35s into missile defense. The military has tested out the concept in the past. In 2014, an F-35 infrared sensor installed on a surrogate aircraft successfully tracked a launch and transmitted tracking data over the military’s standard Link-16 network. In 2016, an actual Marine Corps F-35B detected and tracked a missile, then passed the data over the Navy’s NIFC-CA network to the Aegis missile defense system, which shot the threat down.

So F-35 fans have been talking up the plane’s missile defense potential. Congressman Duncan Hunter boasted last year that the stealth fighter could not only track ICBMs — whose fiery launch is “like an Act of God,” hard to miss — but also shoot them down with its current air-to-air missile. “You can shoot down missiles coming out of North Korea in the boost phase with CAPS (Combat Air Patrols) of F-35s and AMRAAMs, and I’ve got a map to show it,” he declared.

Maybe. The AMRAAM missile isn’t designed to chase an ICBM into space, so it would have a narrow window to kill one before it escaped the atmosphere. Greaves’s wording suggests using the F-35 to shoot ICBMs might require developing “a new fast missile,” which would take years to develop.

What the F-35 can already do is act as a sensor. Its Distributed Aperture System (DAS) can pick up the infrared emission of a boosting rocket, its computers can pinpoint the threat’s location, and its network connections can transmit tracking data to the rest of the force. What’s more, since the US military is buying a projected 2,443 F-35s — 1,763 for the Air Force alone — there’ll be lots of them in danger zones around the world. Developing a new weapon to turn them into missile killers would be expensive, but tweaking them to make them missile trackers is probably not, and it would add a whole new kind of sensor to the global missile defense system.

“I was talking with the undersecretary for policy, (John) Rood, and he suggested — and I immediately agreed with him — that just about any AOR (Area of Responsibility) that we move to deploy to mitigate a conflict, platforms such as the F-35 will the present,” Greaves told the subcommittee. “The idea we have is to leverage, as an example, that sensor capability, integrate it with other sensors….and provide engagement quality information. It’s a tremendous potential.

“Our job is to look outside of the classic missile defense system” — Patriot, THAAD, GBI — “and look for sensors and shooters that would be able to contribute when integrated into the BMDS, and we see F-35 as one,” Greaves said. “We’ve been working with the Air Force at least the last few months, and we did a test (with the Navy) a few years ago.”

Besides the Air Force, Greaves said the regional Combatant Commanders (COCOMs) would play a vital role, specifically in figuring how to use the F-35 in real-world missions: “The Concept of Operations (CONOPS) is not my area; that is for the combatant commander,” Greaves said.

https://breakingdefense.com/2018/04/f-3 ... mda-chief/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Apr 12, 2018 10:42 pm

Congratulations to LM and the JPO, it has been a long time coming but the F-35 has finally finished all test flights for the SDD phase. As I have been saying for years now, the test program mandated on the program has been the most comprehensive in history. It has also been very successful with no in flight mishaps and the sole major ground incident an engine fire.

F-35 Completes Most Comprehensive Flight Test Program In Aviation History

The F-35 program has accomplished the final developmental test flight of the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase of the program.
“Completing F-35 SDD flight test is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication from the joint government and industry team,” said Vice Adm. Mat Winter, F-35 Program Executive Officer. “Since the first flight of AA-1 in 2006, the developmental flight test program has operated for more than 11 years mishap-free, conducting more than 9,200 sorties, accumulating over 17,000 flight hours, and executing more than 65,000 test points to verify the design, durability, software, sensors, weapons capability and performance for all three F-35 variants. Congratulations to our F-35 Test Team and the broader F-35 Enterprise for delivering this new powerful and decisive capability to the warfighter.”

The final SDD flight occurred April 11, 2018 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., when Navy test aircraft CF-2 completed a mission to collect loads data while carrying external 2,000-pound GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) and AIM-9X Sidewinder heat-seeking missiles.

From flight sciences to mission systems testing, the critical work completed by F-35 test teams cleared the way for the Block 3F capability to be delivered to the operational warfighter. More than a thousand SDD flight test engineers, maintainers, pilots and support personnel took the three variants of the F-35 to their full flight envelope to test aircraft performance and flying qualities. The test team conducted 6 at-sea detachments and performed more than 1,500 vertical landing tests on the F-35B variant. The developmental flight test team completed 183 Weapon Separation Tests; 46 Weapons Delivery Accuracy tests; 33 Mission Effectiveness tests, which included numerous multi-ship missions of up to eight F-35s against advanced threats.

“The F-35 flight test program represents the most comprehensive, rigorous and the safest developmental flight test program in aviation history,” said Greg Ulmer, Lockheed Martin’s vice president and general manager of the F-35 program. “The joint government and industry team demonstrated exceptional collaboration and expertise, and the results have given the men and women who fly the F-35 great confidence in its transformational capability.”

Developmental flight test is a key component of the F-35 program’s SDD phase, which will formally be completed following an Operational Test and Evaluation and a Department of Defense decision to go into full-rate aircraft production.

While SDD required flight test is now complete, F-35 flight testing continues in support of phased capability improvements and modernization of the F-35 air system. This effort is part of the Joint Program Office’s Continuous Capability Development and Delivery (C2D2) framework, which will provide timely, affordable incremental warfighting capability improvements to maintain joint air dominance against evolving threats to the United States and its allies.

https://www.f35.com/news/detail/f-35-co ... 0002216698
 
itchief
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Apr 13, 2018 3:19 pm

Ozair wrote:
5 Reasons Why the F-35C is Poised to Strengthen U.S. Navy Air Power

1. The Legacy Fleet is Aging

The U.S. Navy’s existing fleet of F/A-18 Hornets and F/A-18 Super Hornets is aging fast, with many in need of replacement or costly and time consuming Service Life Extension Plans (SLEP) to extend the aircraft beyond their original 6,000 hour flight limit.

The F-35C will deliver an 8,000 flight hour airframe and will replace, supplement and enhance the U.S. Navy’s existing fleet for decades to come.

2. Evolving Threats Demand New Capabilities

Rising threats from advanced surface-to-air missiles, air-to-air missiles, and tactical aircraft are advancing and fielding at a rapid pace, requiring new capabilities not available in 4th generation fighters.

With true stealth designed in from day one, coupled with sensor fusion, unprecedented battlespace awareness, and electronic attack, the F-35C provides the warfighter the ultimate ability to more effectively execute assigned missions in the face of advancing threat capabilities around the globe.

And with more than 18,000 pounds of weapons capacity, and nearly 20,000 pounds of internal fuel, the F-35C delivers transformational lethality, survivability, combat radius, and mission flexibility.

3. F-35’s Sensor Capability and Connectivity Will Enhance All Platforms

The transformational F-35 is more than just a strike-fighter. It is a powerful force multiplier with an advanced sensor and communications suite that can significantly enhance the capabilities of other air, surface and ground-based platforms.

The F-35 can be used as a broad area sensor to provide early warning, over-the-horizon information on potential targets or incoming threats. When paired with U.S. Navy systems like Aegis for example, the aircraft can significantly increase the capability to detect, track and engage missile threats. The U.S. Marine Corps also recently conducted a joint live-fire integration exercise with HIMARS and the F-35B serving as a sensor-to-shooter communications relay.

4. The F-35 Enhances 4th Generation Fighters

U.S. Services have successfully employed the F-35 in multiple demanding deployments and exercises, and the F-35 is supporting operations around the globe today.

The F-35 is proving to be a transformational weapon system that not only provides significantly better battlespace accessibility compared to legacy aircraft but also makes legacy aircraft more survivable and effective by sharing its fused sensor information for unmatched threat and battlespace awareness among all air and surface assets currently operating in conjunction with Expeditionary Strike Groups, and soon with Carrier Strike Groups.

By 2025, the Navy's Aircraft Carrier air wings are scheduled to include F-35Cs, F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft, E-2D Hawkeye battle management and control aircraft, MH-60R/S helicopters, and CV-22 carrier on board delivery logistics aircraft.

5. As the Program Matures, Costs Are Coming Down

The F-35 program is maturing rapidly and costs are coming down. Lockheed Martin has delivered more than 280 aircraft, trained more than 580 pilots and 5,600 maintainers and the F-35 fleet has surpassed more than 130,000+ cumulative flight hours.

F-35 unit costs have declined by more than 60% since the first production lot and we continue to reduce costs across production and sustainment. The F-35C specifically is on track to reach a unit cost of about $97 million by 2020, a cost that is considered comparable to legacy fighters.

And as aircraft mature, reliability improves, and the F-35 enterprise gears up to support a growing operational fleet, F-35C is expected to improve mission readiness and drastically reduce sustainment cost.

With significantly more capability for an equivalent cost as legacy aircraft, the F-35C is poised to affordably strengthen U.S. Navy air power for decades to come.

https://www.f35.com/news/detail/5-reaso ... -air-power
 
Bongodog1964
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Apr 13, 2018 7:20 pm

Ozair wrote:
Some interesting comments by one of the British Falklands War fighter pilots. Seems he favours getting rid of much of the land based British Eurofighter fleet (perhaps he is just a Naval aviator at heart...)

Falklands fighter ace calls for cost controls over UK’s £9.2bn F-35 project

Harrier hero Commander Nigel ‘Sharkey’ Ward was the commanding officer of 801 Naval Air Squadron during the Falklands War, based on aircraft carrier HMS Invincible.

Flying more than 60 missions, with three air-to-air kills, he was the campaign’s leading night pilot.

But now the war hero has written to the UK’s defence committee over fears the US Air Force could cut its number order of F-35 Lightning IIs – causing costs to soar for Britain’s own fleet of the stealth jets.

His comments come as the MoD accepted the 15th order of the new warplane – which will one day fly off the flight deck of the Royal Navy’s two new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.

The US Defence Department has said it might need to cut 590 jets from its 1,763 order if manufacturing giant Lockheed Martin can’t find a way to slash operational and support costs.

The MoD said the UK’s programme was still ‘on track and within budget’.

But Cdr Ward said such a ‘major reduction’ would lead to a surge in costs for other nations purchasing the F-35.

He said: ‘This would in turn lead to severe financial embarrassment for the defence budget.’

Cdr Ward said the UK now needed to focus on ensuring to ‘guarantee the procurement of just enough jets to provide effective air groups’ for the carriers – a figure he said needed to be at least 60.

He also urged military chiefs to consider cutting back on Britain’s current £80bn land-based fleet of 160 Typhoon jets, reducing them to 60, in a bid to make a dent in the MoD’s £21bn budget blackhole.

Britain has ordered 48 F-35bs at a price of about £191m per jet – which includes the cost of spares, maintenance and training. The jets will begin flight trials from HMS Queen Elizabeth later this year.

An MoD spokesman said: ‘The F-35 programme remains on track and within budget, providing a game-changing capability for our armed forces. We continue to drive down costs with every purchase, while British industry benefits from an orderbook of over 3,000 jets.’

The MoD added the Typhoons were ‘world-class fighter jets’ that ‘continued to be ordered by nations across the world’,

A Lockheed Martin spokeswoman said: ‘F-35 unit costs have declined by more than 60 per cent since the first production lot and through efficiencies, economies of scale, systems improvements and cost-reduction projects, we expect to significantly enhance readiness and lower sustainment costs.’

https://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/defen ... -1-8449130


There's many a post about him on Pprune, you would be hard put to find a more bitter retired naval aviator. Many years ago I read his book about the Falklands war, the central theme was that everything done by his squadron on HMS Invincible was right and everything done on HMS Hermes by both the Navy and RAF and anything done by the RAF via Ascension was wrong. Great way to make friends, especially when many of his own squadrons pilots were RAF !!!. Since retiring from the Navy he has relentlessly bashed the RAF whenever half a chance has arisen, the figures quoted for his latest campaign is that the RAF fleet of Typhoons should be cut from 180 to 60 in order to guarantee the financing of the F35. What a great idea, scrapping virtually new aircraft
 
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Nomadd
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sat Apr 14, 2018 8:50 am

"He also urged military chiefs to consider cutting back on Britain’s current £80bn land-based fleet of 160 Typhoon jets"
Now that's an expensive airplane.
 
LightningZ71
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sat Apr 14, 2018 7:23 pm

Yeah, I don't think that too many people were under the impression that the Typhoon was in any way inexpensive. No doubt, it's a superb WVR dogfighter, and you do NOT want to get in a knife fight against it, but that capability had a significant cost.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Apr 16, 2018 3:04 am

Some more info, this time the USMC, on looking to integrate the F-35 sensors into the ground picture, or at least provide that sensor picture to ground units.

Marine Corps experimenting with sharing F-35’s data with soldiers

The US Marine Corps is experimenting with several ways to provide soldiers on the ground a link to sensor data gathered by the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II and other unmanned aircraft on a tablet computer.

The effort was disclosed by Lt Gen Steven Rudder, deputy commandant of the Marine Corps for aviation, during testimony before a US House Armed Services Committee hearing on fiscal 2019 budget requests for combat aviation programmes. In response to a question by Rep Jim Langevin about the service’s investment in “game-changing technologies,” Rudder pointed to the programme as what he called a simpler but impactful effort.

“We’re doing some experimentation right now out at our weapons tactics squadron with tablets,” said Rudder. “The goal would be, if you look out into the future, that corporal, that squad leader that’s going into the objective area on his tablet he’s got the same information that the F-35 is seeing or any unmanned system in the area is providing.”

The F-35 has several radios that can transmit data, the multifunction airborne data link (MADL), Link-16 and SINGCARS, but lacks the common data link used to transmit sensor data from other Rover-equipped aircraft to the ground.

But the USMC is experimenting with new ways of using the F-35's existing radios to beam sensor data to ground units.

We're "taking all the information that’s being derived from the F-35 series of aircraft", Rudder says. "There are several different efforts out there right now to take all the waveforms (from the F-35) and condense it into the ability to get it down to the corporal on the ground."

Lockheed has equipped the F-35 with four major systems: the Northrop Grumman APG-81 radar, BAE Systems ASQ-239 Barracuda electronic warfare suite, Lockheed electro-optical targeting system and Northrop distributed aperture system. A mission computer in the cockpit then fuses inputs from all four sensors -- as well as data from other F-35s -- into a single picture of the battlefield for the pilot to view. The F-35 pilot can share that picture with other aircraft using Link 16, but it doesn't have a way of directly transmitting that information to the ground.

In the last decade, the USAF has deployed two different aircraft to service as flying communications gateways and relay stations. These two aircraft -- the RQ-4 Block 20 Global Hawk and the Bombardier Global 6000-based E-11 -- translate encrypted messages sent using the Link 16 waveform into messages that can be received by other radios, including communications systems used by ground forces.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... ta-447666/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Apr 17, 2018 9:41 pm

Some info on some of the testing conducted during the now finished SDD phase. Some reasonably difficult scenarios that will be expanded on now the jet moves to IOT&E.

Is the F-35 Now the Ultimate Drone Killer?

Previous test data and observers have confirmed the F-35 identified and targeted the drone with its mission systems sensors, passed the target ‘track’ information to the missile, enabled the pilot to verify targeting information using the high off-boresight capability of the helmet mounted display and launched the AIM-9X from the aircraft to engage the target drone, a statement from the F-35 JPO said.

When a single F-35 used sensors, on-board computers and targeting systems to find, track and destroy two airborne drones at the same time with air-to-air missiles, the emerging 5th Gen fighter transitioned into a new era for offensive attack missions.

An F-35 pilot fired two Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles at maneuvering drones in the air, brining synchronized attack to a new level for the aircraft, using an integrated targeting sensor, called the Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS).

“Two AMRAAMs had multiple targets - to shoot two airborne targets simultaneously. It was a complex set up that happened over the Pacific. They were shooting at drones,” Lt. Col. Tucker Hamilton, F-35 Test Director, Edwards AFB, told reporters.

The test, which of course brings substantial tactical implications, was referenced as a decisive element of the Pentagon’s now completed multi-year System Development and Demonstration (SDD) test phase for the F-35.

The SDD phase completion milestone, which paves the way for accelerated full-rate production of the aircraft, lasted more than a decade – and included more than 46 weapons tests, Hamilton added.

“We needed to see if it could fly high and fast pulling 9Gs. We also conducted mission system testing of all the sensors which allow us to execute a mission. This included countermeasures, data-links, radar and weapons delivery accuracy to ensure that the F-35 can find, fix and track targets,” Hamilton said.

The technical advances with weaponry enables the now deployed F-35s to draw upon an expanded mission set should it engage in air-to-air combat; Air Force F-35As have recently been deployed near the Korean peninsula and conducted a series of combat preparation exercises with allies. Marine Corps Short-Take-Off-and-Vertical-Landing F-35Bs are now deployed to Japan.

“The next test/demonstration will be pre-IOT&E (Initial Operational Test and Evaluation) activities, which will evaluate the F-35 in operational representative missions. These activities are expected to begin in mid-2018,” Air Force Officer Maj. Emily Grabowski, told Warrior Maven in a written statement.

Part of this can naturally be understood as somewhat of a deterrent against potential enemies likely to contemplate an air-to-air attack on an F-35. However, an actual air-to-air encounter, or dogfight, is not likely to be a frequent warzone occurrence should the F-35 wind up in combat.

The F-35 is engineered with an ability to dogfight and engage in air-to-air combat, yet it was also designed with an array of next-generation sensors designed to see, detect and destroy enemy targets from much farther ranges than existing fighter jets can. The concept is to find, see and eliminate enemy air threats well before the F-35 itself can be detected.

This is enabled, F-35 developers explain, with various sensor systems and computer algorithms. The aircrafts Distributed Aperture System (DAS) places 360-degree cameras around the aircraft to give pilots a long-range, comprehensive view of the surrounding threat landscape. DAS sensor data, combined with EOTS targeting information are integrated onto a single screen for pilots to analyze, through a computer-enabled process referred to as “sensor fusion.” In discussions with Warrior Maven, a former Air Force Chief Scientist described this as an early iteration of now fast-evolving AI technology.

Faster decisions, leading to the faster destruction of enemy targets, are integral to a pilot’s completion of the Air’ Force’s long-discussed OODA-loop phenomenon, wherein pilots seek to quickly complete a decision-making cycle - Observation, Orientation, Decision, Action – faster than an enemy fighter. The concept, dating back decades to former Air Force pilot and theorist John Boyd, has long informed fighter-pilot training and combat preparation.

If pilots can complete the OODA loop more quickly than an enemy during an air-to-air combat engagement, described as “getting inside an enemy’s decision-making process, they can destroy an enemy and prevail. Faster processing of information, empowering better pilot decisions, it naturally stands to reason, makes a big difference when it comes to the OODA loop.

These concepts were heavily emphasized during SDD phase testing, F-35 pilots said.

“We did 43 days of high-risk counter-air testing and worked altitude and speed maneuvers at Edwards AFB,” David Nelson, F-35 Test Pilot, Palmdale, said.

Subjecting the F-35 to a range of extreme combat circumstances has also been fundamental to F-35 SDD testing to ensure the aircraft could operate and fight while freezing or baking, test pilots said.

“The most surreal was taking the jet into the climatic chamber and freezing it down to 40 below and baking it up to 120-degrees Fahrenheit - all the while hovering an F-35 inside the hanger,” said Andrew Maack, Chief Test Engineer, Naval Air Station Patuxent River

The final SDD flight occurred 11 April 2018 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. when Navy test aircraft CF-2 completed a mission to collect loads data while carrying external 2,000-pound GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munitions and AIM-9X Sidewinder heat-seeking missiles, an F-35 Joint Program Office statement said.

In fact, as part of the SDD, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter fired an AIM-9X Sidewinder infrared-guided air-to-air missile for the first time over a Pacific Sea Test Range in 2016.

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-bu ... ller-25416
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Apr 18, 2018 9:35 pm

The US has been restricted from conducting a multiyear buy until the F-35 is out of LRIP although partner nations are planning to sign up to a multiyear buy before that point. The practise is sound, having generated savings for the USN with SH acquisition. I expect the savings to be greater for the F-35 than the SH as the production rates are significantly higher and expectations the USAF will move from 60 F-35A a year to 100+ by 2025.

DOD reveals F-35 multiyear procurement strategy to start in 2021

The Department of Defense has quietly revealed a long-term plan for signing a series of cost-saving, multi-year procurement contracts to buy a total of nearly 2,000 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II starting in Fiscal 2021.

As the F-35 moves towards full-rate production in three years, the US Air Force and Navy plan to transition from purchasing the aircraft in one-year blocks to multiyear procurement contracts, according to a Selected Acquisition Report released in in late March.

The USAF plans to start the first round of multiyear procurement deals with a three-year contract in 2021, followed by successive five-year procurements beginning in fiscal 2024 until the end of the programme.

The USN plans to continue one-year procurements through fiscal year 2023, followed by successive five-year procurements from fiscal year 2024 until the end of the programme.

Multiyear procurement contracts are a special mechanism that Congress permits the DOD to use for a limited number of programmes at full-rate production to reduce costs by several percent. In total, the DOD plans to purchase 2,456 F-35s: 1,763 F-35As for the USAF; 353 F-35Bs and 67 F-35Cs for the Marine Corps; and 273 F-35Cs for the USN.

Multiyear procurement would guarantee Lockheed Martin large volumes of production work for years to come. For example, the US Air Force plans to purchase 60 F-35As each year starting in 2024. The Joint Program Office’s first planned five-year procurement contract in 2024 would thus guarantee Lockheed Martin 300 orders for the aircraft.

The value of multiyear procurement is not lost on Lockheed Martin.

“Multiyear procurements are a key tool to reducing F-35 acquisition costs, improving industrial base stability and enhancing efficiencies,” said Lockheed Martin. “We are working closely with the Department of Defense on the acquisition approach for an F-35 multiyear procurement beginning in 2021, and we have submitted savings information to our customers to help support their analysis and decisions.”

The Joint Program Office wrote in the SAR that it is pursuing other cost-saving initiatives, including a shared database of parts costs with Lockheed Martin to be used to negotiate “fair and reasonable” pricing for the US and partner nations, as well as looking for production line efficiencies that could save money.

Lockheed Martin delivered 66 F-35 Lightning II aircraft in 2017. In 2018, the goal is to deliver a total of 91 aircraft to the US and partner nations; with 85 aircraft to be delivered from the Fort Worth, Texas production line, two aircraft from the Italian production line and four aircraft from the Japanese production line. Lockheed had delivered 265 planes to US and international customers at the end of 2017.

The price of the F-35 has fallen in recent years as production has ramped up and efficiency has improved, but the Joint Program Office is pushing for the price to fall further. The flyaway cost of the USAF’s F-35A fell to $94.6 million in Lot 10 of low-rate initial production, which was signed last year.

Lockheed has committed to reduce the F-35A’s price further to about $85 million by Lot 13. However, Lockheed chief financial officer Bruce Tanner said in 2017 that his company’s ability to hit the $85 million target could be in jeopardy if the DOD didn’t find additional production efficiencies and implement multiyear buys.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... -s-447785/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Apr 18, 2018 9:39 pm

Good to see 617SQN back again after a short hiatus.

UK re-forms 617 Sqn for F-35B era

The Royal Air Force's 617 Sqn – the UK's first frontline unit to field the Lockheed Martin F-35B – has been officially re-formed during a ceremony in Washington DC.

Staffed by a mix of RAF and Royal Navy pilots and support personnel, lead elements of 617 Sqn are currently involved in training at MCAS Beaufort in South Carolina, using the UK's current 15 short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) Lightning IIs.

The Ministry of Defence says the UK's first F-35Bs will arrive at the type's home base at RAF Marham in Norfolk "this summer", with the service having previously outlined plans to transfer nine jets from the USA with support from Airbus Defence & Space A330 Voyager tanker/transports.

Initial operational capability for the F-35B is scheduled to be declared in December 2018 for land-based operations and the Lightning II is also to be progressively cleared for use from the RN's two Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers by late 2020.

Pointing to the history of the "Dambusters" unit, defence secretary Gavin Williamson notes: "It is fitting that by flying the world's most advanced fighter jets, our new squadron will be ensuring that the legend of world-leading air power lives on."

Prior to its introduction of the F-35B, 617 Sqn was equipped with Panavia Tornado GR4s. The RAF is scheduled to retire its last examples of the variable-geometry strike aircraft by April 2019.

The MoD has so far committed to acquiring 48 of the STOVL type for delivery by 2024, while the UK maintains an overall requirement for up to 138 F-35s.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... ra-447809/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:51 pm

The ownership of repair costs for produciton errors continue...

Lockheed Resists $119 Million in Fixes for Its $406 Billion F-35

Lockheed Martin Corp. is contesting a repair bill of $119 million to $180 million on the $406.1 billion program to develop and build F-35 jets, according to Pentagon contract data.

The dispute over poor workmanship that resulted in corrosion damage last year on some of the fighter jets illustrates the disputes that arise from time to time between the Pentagon and its biggest contractor over its costliest weapons program.

The problem was linked to a primer that’s supposed to be applied as a protective layer on aluminum fasteners to prevent corrosion. The Defense Department temporarily stopped deliveries of F-35s for the month ending Oct. 20 to assess the issue. Delivery of five planes is currently on pause until the dispute over who pays is resolved.

Lockheed stands to make billions as production of the F-35 ramps up. The Defense Department estimates jet procurement will cost about $292 billion, according to its latest Selected Acquisition Report on the fighter. The final fiscal 2018 omnibus budget bill approved $10.2 billion for 90 aircraft, which is 20 aircraft and $2.6 billion more than the Trump administration’s request.

“We’re not going to comment or negotiate this issue in the press,” Pentagon F-35 program spokesman Joe DellaVedova said in an email “regarding repair work to remediate” the flaw in “primer quality,” and “we look forward to a swift resolution.” Carolyn Nelson, a spokeswoman for Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed, said in an email that “we won’t discuss specific cost figures and contracting terms” but “we are working closely with” the Pentagon “to reach a resolution.”

Vice Admiral Paul Grosklags, commander of the Naval Air Systems Command, which oversees the Navy’s model of the F-35, told a House panel last week that the initial corrosion problem was a “mistake made by the contractor during production, and they should pay for that out of their bottom line, not our top line.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... llion-f-35
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:59 pm

Why Does the Public Have Trouble Understanding the F-35? Air Force Reserve Pilots Tell Us Why the F-35A is a Powerful Force Multiplier

“Think of the Apple computer when it was first built in the 1970s and the iPhone now. That is the difference we are talking about.”
That’s how U.S. Air Force Reserve Major Scott Trageser, callsign “Worm”, described the single largest benefit of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program for the U.S. Air Force Reserve and USAF along with other F-35 partner nations.

Maj. Scott “Worm” Trageser and Capt. Mark “Quatro” Tappendorf of the Air Force Reserve 466th Fighter Squadron, 419th Fighter Wing, from Hill AFB, Utah, spoke to TheAviationist.com about their Lockheed Martin F-35A Lighting II aircraft before flying an aerial refueling training mission over the Atlantic Ocean with KC-10 Extender aerial tankers from the 514th Air Mobility Wing of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst last week.

“The ability to put all this new software, new radar technology, new electronic warfare in a thing called ‘fusion’ and package it in a low-observable platform. It is a huge advantage. I can get in there and kill their guy before he sees me, both air-to-air and air-to-ground.”

Maj. Trageser and Capt. Tappendorf described perhaps the single most significant force multiplier of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program, and likely the most misunderstood.

Think of how you use your smartphone connected with your car: While driving you get directions, find restaurants, make reservations and invite friends for dinner. You can even voice-text them to bring a gift to dinner or change the location of the event while on your way. Your car’s sensors help you stay in your lane and avoid collisions with other moving cars while you communicate. A new app you just downloaded tells you if there is a speed trap ahead or if there are delays along the way. Your smartphone and car integrates to become a driving systems manager, social coordinator and concierge directed by you through voice communication.

Envision a similar, hardened “smart” networking capability flying into a heavily defended airspace, collecting information about ever-changing defenses and defeating them while remaining nearly impossible to detect, finding and automatically prioritizing multiple targets in the air and on the ground even as they change, securely sharing that information with other weapons systems and even employing their weapons against multiple targets, all while going up to Mach 1.5+.

In the F-35, there’s an app for that.

Proliferate that force-multiplying capability by sharing it with your most trusted friends who help bring the overall program cost down with a group buy-in, and you have a rudimentary understanding of the F-35 program concept.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program as a whole passed a major milestone last week when it accomplished the final developmental test flight of the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase of the program on April 12, 2018.

The System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase was a massive, historically unprecedented flight test and development program that has, “Operated for more than 11 years mishap-free, conducting more than 9,200 sorties, accumulating over 17,000 flight hours, and executed more than 65,000 test points to verify the design, durability, software, sensors, weapons capability and performance for all three F-35 variants” according to U.S. Navy Vice Admiral. Mat Winter, Director, Joint Strike Fighter Program, Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Vice Adm. Winter went on to say, “Congratulations to our F-35 Test Team and the broader F-35 Enterprise for delivering this new powerful and decisive capability to the warfighter.” Vice Adm. Winter’s remarks were published in an April 12, 2018 media release by Lockheed Martin.

Eleven years ago, when the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter SDD program began the U.S. Department of Defense said in an official statement that:
“Nine nations are partnering in the F-35’s SDD phase: The United States, United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Australia. Partnership in SDD entitles those countries to bid for work on a best value basis, and participate in the aircraft’s development. Additionally, Israel and Singapore have agreed to join the program as a Security Cooperation Participants.”

But the F-35 program headlines also include speed bumps associated with any major international technology program and there are still many (for someone “too many”) things yet to be fixed.

Defensenews.com’s Valerie Insinna reported in an April 12, 2018 article that, “The Pentagon has suspended acceptance of most F-35 deliveries as manufacturer Lockheed Martin and the F-35 program office debate who should be responsible for fixing jets after a production issue last year.”

Insinna quoted a Lockheed spokeswoman as saying, “While all work in our factories remains active, the F-35 Joint Program Office has temporarily suspended accepting aircraft until we reach an agreement on a contractual issue and we expect this to be resolved soon.”

In another March 5, 2018 report by program expert Insinna, she reported that, “Stealth features [are] responsible for half of F-35 defects.”
But the F-35 operators seem to consider these delays minor given the ambition and scope of the overall F-35 Joint Strike Fighter vision, a program that Time magazine called, “The costliest weapons program in human history.”

Commensurate with the massive costs associated with F-35, the program has changed nearly every aspect of the modern battlefield, from gender integration to insurgent tactics.

For the first time ever, a woman took command of the U.S. Air Force Reserve’s 419th Fighter Wing, the Air Force’s only reserve F-35A fighter wing at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. Colonel Regina “Torch” Sabric assumed command on April 14, 2018 from Col. David “Shooter” Smith, who previously served as the commander since November 2015.

According to an official release from Hill AFB, “Sabric will lead more than 1,200 reservists who train in F-35 operations, maintenance, and mission support, along with a medical squadron. These reservists serve part-time – at least one weekend per month and two weeks per year – and train to the same standard as active duty.”

Colonel Sabric’s command of the 419th marks multiple milestones for U.S. air power that include integration of reserve assets, gender equality and operational deployment of what is arguably the most advanced air combat technology on earth.

At the same time and half way around the globe, the arrival of F-35I Adir aircraft into operational Israeli service on December 6, 2017 has somehow struck fear in Israel’s adversaries and, as part of what was probably a PSYOPS campaign, the presence of the aircraft in Israeli service has sparked unsubstantiated rumors that it has already been used in secret air strikes and missions in Syria or Iran. It is likely that air defenses in the region have already had to make adaptations to try to counter the threat of the new Israeli F-35Is, even though it is unlikely they have yet to be flown in combat. Merely the arrival of Israel’s F-35Is has already begun to change the battlespace in the region, giving Israel a powerful new deterrent.

Before Maj. Scott “Worm” Trageser and Capt. Mark “Quatro” Tappendorf left our briefing to prepare for our refueling mission over the Atlantic, Maj. Trageser told us, “We used to have over 50 fighter squadrons in the combat air force, now we have around 26.” That has made the quality over quantity and force-multiplier integration of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program even more relevant.

https://theaviationist.com/2018/04/18/w ... ultiplier/

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Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:02 pm

A good video is available at the following link, https://vimeo.com/262716684 showing the USMC loading live GBU-32s while at sea.

Arming the F-35 the Marine Corps Way

Marines with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 mount 1,000 pound Guided Bomb Units onto an F-35B Lightning IIs on the flight deck of the USS Wasp (LHD-1) while underway in the Philippine Sea, March 24, 2018.

This event marked the first time an F-35 has been loaded with live ordnance at sea during an operational deployment. GBU-32s are GPS guided joint direct attack munitions that attach to VMFA 121’s F-35Bs.

As the Marine Corps’ only continuously forward-deployed MEU, the 31st MEU provides a flexible force ready to perform a wide range of military operations.

https://sldinfo.com/2018/04/arming-the- ... corps-way/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Apr 19, 2018 12:59 am

Some info from current USAF ad RAF chiefs on how the F-35, and other future networked systems, can and are changing warfare.

‘A Computer That Happens To Fly’: USAF, RAF Chiefs On Multi-Domain Future

“I grew up flying fighters,” says Gen. David Goldfein, the Air Force Chief of Staff, “and I will tell you, when I see the F-35, I don’t see a fighter. I see a computer that happens to fly.”

It’s not just the F-35, Goldfein told a Mitchell Institute audience this morning: “You also have to think about an Aegis cruiser in a different way. You’ve got to think about a Brigade Combat Team in a different way.”


Gen. David Goldfein
“I’m so adamant that, if we start thinking about these systems as not the planes or ships or what have you but as computers we need to connect….it gives you new insight,” Goldfein elaborated to reporters after his public remarks.

So think in terms of computers that float or submerge; that crawl on tracks or roll on wheels; that fly with rotors or on wings. The platforms we have today — ships, subs, tanks, trucks planes, helicopters, etc. — will mostly still be around in 20 to 30 years, “so the fundamental question then becomes is, how do we connect them,” Goldfein says. “That connective tissue is something all the chiefs are talking about, all moving forward under this concept of multi-domain operations.”

“It’s a unique period of time in the US military,” Goldfein said. “The joint chiefs, we’ve all fought together, and we all fought together and grew under this guy named Jim Mattis (who was the general overseeing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan before he became Defense Secretary). And you will hear us all talking about this concept of multi-domain operations.”

RAF photo
Air Chief Marshall Sir Stephen Hiller, head of the Royal Air Force, in full uniform
But what in heaven and earth is a multi-domain operation? Goldfein argues it’s the United States’ decisive “asymmetric advantage.” When people ask him how the F-35 would fare against China’s new J-20 stealth fighter, for example, he tells them “that’s a 20th century discussion,” Goldfein said. “A J-20 is never going to see an F-35 by itself. It’s going to see an F-35 connected to low earth orbiting satellites in several constellations. It’s going to see it connected to penetrating ISR (intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance), stand-off ISR, to smart weapons technology, to a light maneuver brigade, to an Aegis cruiser, to our allies and partners.”

Don’t focus on individual platforms. Focus on the networks, which are advancing at a much faster rate, agreed British Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, speaking alongside Goldfein at a celebration of the Royal Air Force’s centennial. The first battle-winning example of an airpower network was actually the British air defenses in the Battle of Britain, he argued, which used radar to spot the enemy, command posts to correlate the data, fighters to act on it, and radio to connect it all. You probably remember the indelible images of women in uniform moving planes around on a large table, with generals looking down as they leaned on the balustrade above. But today the power of information technology is vastly greater and just keeps growing.

Like the US Air Force, the RAF will be flying many of the same planes in 20 years, Hillier said. “What will be different will be this next generation networked air force (with) air, space and cyber (in an) integral multi-domain process, with command and control that is radically different than the way we do it at the moment — rather than a centralized function, a much more distributed function.”

https://breakingdefense.com/2018/04/a-c ... in-future/
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Apr 19, 2018 4:32 pm

Ozair wrote:
Some info on some of the testing conducted during the now finished SDD phase. Some reasonably difficult scenarios that will be expanded on now the jet moves to IOT&E.

Is the F-35 Now the Ultimate Drone Killer?

[


Whilst demonstrating super accuracy I really question the cost/benefit of using an (expensive) AMRAAM to destroy a (cheapish) drone. Isn't there a cheaper way of destroying a drone without requiring a F-35 to fire an AMRAAM at it?
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Apr 19, 2018 9:48 pm

SamYeager2016 wrote:
Ozair wrote:
Some info on some of the testing conducted during the now finished SDD phase. Some reasonably difficult scenarios that will be expanded on now the jet moves to IOT&E.

Is the F-35 Now the Ultimate Drone Killer?

[


Whilst demonstrating super accuracy I really question the cost/benefit of using an (expensive) AMRAAM to destroy a (cheapish) drone. Isn't there a cheaper way of destroying a drone without requiring a F-35 to fire an AMRAAM at it?

So the relationship is usually the other way around, the AMRAAM is cheap compared to the drone. When the article says drone it is not referring to a small cheap air vehicle but almost certainly either a QF-4, now retired, or a QF-16. These are expensive systems and are reused where possible.

Some info on a similar test can be found here, https://theaviationist.com/2016/08/31/u ... -survives/

The U.S. Air Force has just released some information about the QF-4 drone‘s last flight along with a video and some photographs. Interestingly, the aircraft that have flown as unmanned aerial targets for several DoD and foreign military sales customers testing next generation weapons, flew its last sortie supporting an F-35 mission on Aug. 17.

According to Lt. Col. Ronald King, the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron, Detachment 1 commander, the aircraft was shot at by the F-35 Lightning II with two AIM-120 AMRAAMs (advanced medium range air-to-air missiles).

In the above case the AIM-120s were destructed before they impacted the QF-4 but in the test from the article I quoted it appears that the missiles were possibly allowed to hit and destroy the respective targets (or as with the test above, once the missiles initiated self-guidance they were self-destructed and the drones were saved for another day)

So in the context of your question, the USAF uses drones that replicate real life aircraft, including their emissions and visual signature given this was a test of the EOTS system to guide AIM-120s independent of other systems. The QF-16s can be programmed to conduct significant manoeuvres, including supersonic and 9G as well as, operating as a clean jet, a reasonably low RCS target.

Info on the QF-16 program can be found here, https://www.boeing.com/defense/support/qf-16/index.page
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:00 am

Pretty impressive that this is already being used by deployed units. It will be interesting to see how this move towards 3D printing impacts long term sustainment of the F-35 and other aviation capabilities. The other side of this is having material available to generate that 3D printed part that meets the low observable requirements for the jet (obviously for those parts that are assessed to have RCS consideration).

Marines Use 3-D Printer to Make Replacement Part for F-35 Fighter

Marines with Combat Logistic Battalion 31, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, are now capable of “‘‘additive manufacturing,’“ also known as 3-D printing.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Daniel Rodriguez, a maintenance officer with Combat Logistics Battalion 31, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, holds a 3-D printed plastic bumper for an F-35B Lightning II landing gear door aboard the USS Wasp while underway in the Pacific Ocean, April 19, 2018. Marines with CLB-31 are now capable of ‘additive manufacturing,’ also known as 3-D printing, which is the technique of replicating digital 3-D models as tangible objects. The 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit partners with the Navy’s Amphibious Squadron 11 to form the Wasp Amphibious Ready Group, a cohesive blue-green team capable of accomplishing a variety of missions across the Indo-Pacific.

This innovative process uses 3-D printing software to break down a digital model into layers that can be reproduced by the printer. The printer then builds the model from the ground up, layer by layer, creating a tangible object.

Marine Corps Sgt. Adrian Willis, a computer and telephone technician, said he was thrilled to be selected by his command to work with a 3-D printer.

“I think 3-D printing is definitely the future -- it’s absolutely the direction the Marine Corps needs to be going,” Willis said.

The Marine Corps is all about mission accomplishment and self-reliance. In boot camp, Marine recruits are taught to have a “‘figure-it-out’” mindset, and 3-D printing is the next step for a Corps that prides itself on its self-sufficiency.

“Finding innovative solutions to complex problems really does harken back to our core principles as Marines,” Willis said. “I’m proud to be a part of a new program that could be a game-changer for the Marine Corps.”

The Marines deployed here use their 3-D printer as an alternative, temporary source for parts. As a permanently forward-deployed unit, it’s crucial for the 31st MEU to have access to the replacement parts it needs for sustained operations. The 31st MEU’s mission -- to deploy at a moment’s notice when the nation calls -- is not conducive to waiting for replacement parts shipped from halfway around the world. So 3-D printing capabilities dovetail with the MEU’s expeditionary mandate.

“While afloat, our motto is, ‘‘Fix it forward,’” said Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer 2 Daniel Rodriguez, CLB-31’s maintenance officer. “3-D printing is a great tool to make that happen. CLB-31 can now bring that capability to bear exactly where it’s needed most -- on a forward-deployed MEU.”

Proving this concept April 16, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 successfully flew an F-35B Lightning II aircraft with a part that was supplied by CLB-31’s 3-D printer. The F-35B had a plastic bumper on a landing gear door wear out during a recent training mission. Though a small and simple part, the only conventional means of replacing the bumper was to order the entire door assembly -- a process that’s time-consuming and expensive.

Using a newly released process from Naval Air Systems Command for 3-D printed parts, the squadron was able to have the bumper printed, approved for use and installed within a matter of days -- much faster than waiting for a replacement part to arrive from the United States.

“As a commander, my most important commodity is time,” said Marine Corps Lt. Col Richard Rusnok, the squadron’s commanding officer. “Although our supply personnel and logisticians do an outstanding job getting us parts, being able to rapidly make our own parts is a huge advantage.”

VMFA-121 also made history in March as the first F-35B squadron to deploy in support of a MEU.

Making further use of the MEU’s 3-D printing capability, the MEU’s explosive ordnance disposal team requested a modification part that acts as a lens cap for a camera on an iRobot 310 small unmanned ground vehicle -- a part that did not exist at the time. CLB-31’s 3-D printing team designed and produced the part, which is now operational and is protecting the drone’s fragile lenses.

The templates for both the plastic bumper and lens cover will be uploaded to a Marine Corps-wide 3-D printing database to make them accessible to any unit with the same needs.

The 31st MEU continues to brainstorm new opportunities for its 3-D printer, such as aviation parts and mechanical devices that can be used to fix everyday problems. Though only in the beginning stages of development, officials said, the 31st MEU will continue to push the envelope of what 3-D printing can do in the continued effort to make the MEU a more lethal and self-sufficient unit.

https://www.defense.gov/News/Article/Ar ... 5-fighter/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:16 am

More about Turkey acquiring the S-400 and how this might impact the Turkish acquisition of the F-35.

I’m not really sure how this is going to play out over the next 12 months. It could go along a whole set of different possibilities from no F-35 to Turkey to the F-35 and the S-400 operating regularly IVO each other. Any restriction or denial of the jet to Turkey won’t impact the overall program of record much but would likely introduce some industrial pressure to meet demand for 90+ jets to be delivered this year and subsequent 120+ delivers in the years after. Turkey not receiving the F-35 would also see the engine MRO contracts go to a different European vendor, perhaps the UK or Netherlands.

US diplomat threatens Turkey's F-35 role in S-400 spat

A senior US diplomat has threatened to use the Lockheed Martin F-35 programme as a retaliatory tool against Turkey for acquiring a sophisticated air defence system from Russia.
Assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell’s remarks during 18 April hearing in Congress escalated a simmering confrontation with a NATO ally and combat partner against ISIS, which agreed to acquire the Almaz-Antey S-400 Triumf system even as it plans to take delivery of its first F-35A later this year.
Breaking from a string of ambiguous statements by the Trump Administration, Mitchell’s testimony made specific threats of potential retaliation if the Turkish government follows through on the acquisition of the S-400 system.
“Ankara claims to have agreed to purchase the Russian S-400 missile system, which could potentially lead to sanctions under section 231 of [countering America’s adversaries through sanctions act] and adversely impact Turkey’s participation in the F-35 programme,” Mitchell says.
The S-400 is Russia's most advanced surface-to-air missile system on the export market. It's advertised with an "anti-stealth range" up to 81nm (150km).
In the past, US officials have complained that Turkey's S-400 systems would not be interoperable with NATO's networks. But the acquisition also raised concerns that Turkey's possession of the S-400 and the F-35 could be used to compromise the latter, with Russia and its allies gaining invaluable intelligence.
It was not clear specifically how Turkey’s role in the F-35 programme could be affected, but the Trump Administration has several tools at its disposal.
Turkey joined the F-35 programme in 2002 as a level 3 partner, investing $195 million in the system development and demonstration phase. Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) is deeply involved in the F-35A supply chain, supplying composite parts since 2008. TAI also is a secondary source to Northrop Grumman for the centre fuselage, with a long-term agreement to supply 400 of the complex assemblies to Lockheed over the life the programme.
The Turkish air force, meanwhile, plans to acquire 100 F-35As. The first batch of 14 are already purchased, with deliveries scheduled to begin later this year. A total of 30 F-35As are scheduled for delivery to the TuAF by the end of 2022.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... sp-447859/

I noted some other reporting the other day indicated Turkey is looking to accelerate its own 5th gen fighter development so perhaps internally they give the denial of F-35 a higher chance of occurring and are attempting to mitigate the impact. Greece would certainly be happy if Turkey doesn’t receive the F-35…
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Apr 22, 2018 11:39 pm

Some good info on the schedule for the UK to induct the F-35B as well as the new QE carriers.

Majority of British F-35B fleet to arrive in UK this summer

The Ministry of Defence say the first 9 of the UK’s currently 15 strong F-35B fleet will arrive at RAF Marham in Summer.

It is understood that the jets will be supported on the move by Voyager tankers.

British F-35B initial operational capability is scheduled will be declared in December 2018 for land and the from the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers in 2020.

Recently 617 Squadron, immortalised by the Dambuster raid of World War II, was reformed to fly the F-35. Gavin Williamson announced the new 617 Squadron after an event in Washington DC to mark the centenary of the RAF, which was attended by Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“The 617 Squadron name was made famous by ‘The Dambusters’, who played such a vital role in the Second World War. So it is fitting that by flying the world’s most advanced fighter jets, our new squadron will be ensuring that the legend of world-leading air power lives on. The F-35B Lightning will defend our nation and ensure that Britain remains a pioneer in innovation, with a unique ability to adapt to this increasingly dangerous world.

The UK is currently flying the F-35B Lightning, a multi-role fighter jet capable of a wide range of operations. It is the world’s first jet to combine radar evading stealth technology with supersonic speeds and short take-off and landing capability.”

Lightning Force Commander Air Commodore David Bradshaw said:

“This is a most momentous day for the UK Lightning Force as we celebrate the reformation of 617 Squadron. Manned by highly capable Royal Air Force and Royal Navy personnel and equipped with the truly remarkable F-35B Lightning, 617 Squadron will once again provide potent, flexible Air Power for the nation.

In a simple yet highly significant ceremony held in the heart of Washington DC amongst friends and colleagues as part of celebrations for RAF100, the famous Dambusters marked the start of another exciting chapter in their Squadron’s proud history. I very much look forward to welcoming 617 Squadron home to RAF Marham this summer as they prepare for operational service from land and sea.”

Today’s 617 Squadron, currently training with the UK’s 15 F-35B Lightning jets in America, will move to the UK with a number of aircraft to their new home at RAF Marham this Summer. Like their predecessors they will be operating at the forefront of aircraft technology. The aircraft will be jointly operated by the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy and have the ability to operate from land and sea, forming an integral part of Carrier Strike operating from the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers.

The MoD has so far committed to 48 jets but has expressed an intent to purchase 138 of the aircraft, whether or not that is financially feasible remains to be seen.


https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/majorit ... is-summer/

Image
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Apr 22, 2018 11:43 pm

Strike planned at Italy F-35 assembly line

Workers at Italy’s F-35 assembly line have announced a strike next Tuesday to protest the widespread use of employment agency contractors at the site.

Unions planning the one-day strike said 600 staff at Cameri Air Base — where Italy is performing F-35 final assembly work — are working on agency contracts, while only 270 are employed directly by Italian defense firm Leonardo, which runs the site.

“There is no job security for staff,” said Sergio Busca a representative of the UILM union at the site. “Leonardo has long promised to hire them, but we are getting frustrated,” he added.

Italy’s commitment to the F-35 fighter jet may be in doubt, as an Italian political party which has promised to scrap the program edges closer to power.

Owned by the Italian government and operated by state defense firm Leonardo in partnership with Lockheed Martin, Cameri has delivered nine F-35As to the Italian Air Force.

https://www.defensenews.com/industry/20 ... mbly-line/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Apr 22, 2018 11:45 pm

A long article covering South Korea's acquisition of the F-35 including allegations of corruption.

South Korea’s F-35 purchase under probe

Despite the celebrated rollout of the first F-35 Lightning II fighter jet for the South Korean Air Force last month, the fifth-generation stealth aircraft is not widely welcomed by the Seoul government.

The contract of procuring 40 F-35As signed under the former Park Geun-hye administration has been under intensive investigation with regard to possible influence-peddling over the Lockheed Martin-built multirole fighter’s selection process and price lobbying.

The Board of Audit and Inspection of Korea, or BAI, has widened its probe against the F-35 selection from Seoul’s 2014 F-X III competition, according to defense sources.


“The BAI inspection over the F-35 purchase was launched late last year, and the inspection has been widened since January,” Kang Hwan-seok, spokesman of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, or DAPA, told Defense News. The spokesman declined to elaborate on the contents of the probe.

According to Defense Ministry officials, the state watchdog recently summoned former defense chiefs, including Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin and DAPA Commissioner Lee Yong-geol, to probe doubts regarding the F-35 selection process.

The inspection is focused on determining why the DAPA overturned its original decision of choosing Boeing’s F-15 Silent Eagle as the preferred bidder, and why the agency quietly changed the Foreign Military Sales-based variable price contract to a fixed one.

In September 2013, Boeing, which offered the stealthy F-15 Silent Eagle, was selected as the preferred bidder for the $7.4 billion F-X III contract for 60 aircraft, as rival Lockheed Martin failed to submit proposals below the budget. The Eurofighter-led Typhoon consortium was also priced out.

But the decision was overturned a couple of weeks later after a group of retired Air Force generals sent a pubic letter to the presidential office, calling for a reconsideration of the purchase of the F-15 Silent Eagle, which the former Air Force leadership argued doesn’t have a clear advantage over North Korea.

The DAPA’s executive meeting presided over by Kim Kwan-jin subsequently voted down the Silent Eagle and restarted the F-X III acquisition from scratch. Kim said at the time that rejecting the Silent Eagle was influenced by “political judgement.”

The Joint Chiefs of Staff later revised the F-X III operational requirements, putting a higher priority on stealth capabilities, leading to the de facto private contract for the F-35. The number of fighters to be procured was decreased from 60 to 40, in an apparent move to meet the F-35 budget proposal. The final contract was signed in March 2014.

“The F-X III selection process is a black mark on DAPA’s procurement records,” said Charles Park, a researching member of the Defense Management Research Institute affiliated with Kookmin University in Seoul. “No one can deny the F-35 has better stealth capabilities than the F-15 Silent Eagle. But the Silent Eagle won the race fairly under due rules. Nevertheless, the DAPA did a flip-flop on its decision without warrant.”

The price of acquiring the Joint Strike Fighter is also a bone of contention.

Under the FMS contract with the U.S. government, South Korea was supposed to pay the unit price of F-35s on the low-rate initial production basis.

Seoul initially signed the contract for the unit price of some $120 million, and the price reductions were required to be returned to the Seoul government. As of March 2018, the unit price has been reduced to $94 million, according to Lockheed Martin’s report on F-35 program status and fast facts.

The DAPA, however, signed a revised agreement in 2016 with the U.S. government to fix the F-35 price tag at about $120 million. Asia Economy, a local daily, reported the DAPA decided to fix the price to provide price reductions to Lockheed Martin for helping the development of South Korea’s military satellites.

“Lockheed Martin agreed to support the launch of five South Korean military satellites as part of F-35 offset deals but didn’t implement the deal properly, citing its budget restraints,” Rep. Woo Sang-ho of the ruling Democratic Party said during a parliamentary audit of government offices last October.

“Under the rules, Lockheed Martin was accountable for some $28 million of liquidated damages for delay, but the DAPA decided to exempt the compensation and rather offer the price reductions of F-35As to the U.S. company,” Woo said. “This is clear violation of DAPA regulations, and the price reductions should have belonged to South Korean taxpayers.”

A Lockheed Martin spokesperson pointed out that the price contract was signed between the governments of Korea and the United States.

“Any price contract was made between the two governments under the FMS, so we’re not in a position to comment,” the spokesperson told Defense News.

DAPA spokesman Kang said he could not reveal the contents of the evised F-35 contract, but added that “the price fixing is true.”

Some local experts believe the probe into the F-35 deal could have a negative impact on the Air Force’s plan of introducing 20 more F-35As.

“As inter-Korean relations begin to thaw, the military leadership keeps a low key on weapons procurement programs such as the F-35,” said Kim Dae-young, a research fellow at Korea Research Institute for National Strategy. “In the meantime, the probe into the previous F-35 acquisition could affect new procurement plans.”

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2018/04 ... der-probe/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Apr 22, 2018 11:49 pm

A convoluted and incoherent article from National Interest... Excerpt only below.

Is the F-35 Really Worth the $1,500,000,000,000 Price Tag?

The F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter is estimated to be the most expensive weapons system in human history, based on its projected lifetime cost of $1.5 trillion dollars ($406 billion for the aircraft, the rest in lifetime operating costs)—and that’s before we factor in the endless cost overruns.

One could argue there is a certain logic to this. The United States spends greater sums on the military than any other country (though some spend a greater percentage of GDP), and it has emphasized air power as its chief military instrument in recent decades. Additionally, different variants of the F-35 are prepared to equip the Air Force, Navy and Marines through most of the twenty-first century, and the type is also slated to serve in the air forces or navies of Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, South Korea and Turkey—with more countries likely to join the list.

However, the F-35 program has been notoriously mismanaged and perpetually over budget, and remains far behind schedule. The Pentagon was persuaded to pay for “concurrent” production of F-35s before it had been developed into a fully operational prototype; today Lockheed is shipping non-feature-complete F-35s, which will need to be expensively upgraded later when new components and systems are finally ready. Listing everything that was and continues to be wrong with the F-35 procurement process could be the subject of many articles.

But at the end of the day, however mismanaged the program may have been, does the F-35 at least amount to a decent jet fighter?

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-bu ... -tag-25487
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Apr 23, 2018 12:12 am

The US Congressional Research Service has released a summary of the F-35 program to date. It is reasonable in its coverage although many of the statements quoted are old and not relevant to today.

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program

The largest procurement program in the Department of Defense (DOD), the F-35 Lightning II is a strike fighter aircraft being procured in different versions for the United States Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy. Current DOD plans call for acquiring a total of 2,456 F-35s. Allies are expected to purchase hundreds of additional F-35s, and eight nations are cost-sharing partners in the program with the United States.

The F-35 promises significant advances in military capability. Like many high-technology programs before it, reaching that capability has put the program above its original budget and behind the planned schedule.

The Administration’s proposed FY2019 defense budget requested about $10.7 billion in procurement and R&D funding for the F-35 program. This would fund the procurement of 48 F- 35As for the Air Force, 20 F-35Bs for the Marine Corps, 9 F-35Cs for the Navy, and continuing development.

FY2018 defense authorization act: The FY2018 defense authorization bill funded F-35 procurement at $9.9 billion for 90 aircraft (56 F-35As, 24 F-35Bs, and 10 F-35Cs, an increase of 20 aircraft and $2.4 billion from the Administration’s request), plus $1.5 billion in advance procurement, the requested level. The conference report accompanying the bill included language
• authorizing economic order contracting for up to $661 million in parts for F-35s to be procured in fiscal years 2019 and 2020;
• limiting funds to be expended on F-35 follow-on modernization (Block 4 software) pending a previously-required report that contains the basic elements of an acquisition program baseline for that modernization, and;
• requiring the congressional defense committees be notified if Congress takes any action that would delay development of F-35 dual-capable aircraft (meaning those able to deliver nuclear weapons).

FY2018 defense appropriations bill: The final omnibus budget bill funded F-35 procurement at $10.2 billion for 90 aircraft (56 F-35As, 24 F-35Bs, and 10 F-35Cs, an increase of 20 aircraft and $2.6 billion over the Administration’s request), plus $1.5 billion in advance procurement, the requested level


https://fas.org/sgp/crs/weapons/RL30563.pdf
 
estorilm
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Apr 23, 2018 7:09 pm

Ozair wrote:
More about Turkey acquiring the S-400 and how this might impact the Turkish acquisition of the F-35.

I’m not really sure how this is going to play out over the next 12 months. It could go along a whole set of different possibilities from no F-35 to Turkey to the F-35 and the S-400 operating regularly IVO each other. Any restriction or denial of the jet to Turkey won’t impact the overall program of record much but would likely introduce some industrial pressure to meet demand for 90+ jets to be delivered this year and subsequent 120+ delivers in the years after. Turkey not receiving the F-35 would also see the engine MRO contracts go to a different European vendor, perhaps the UK or Netherlands.

US diplomat threatens Turkey's F-35 role in S-400 spat

A senior US diplomat has threatened to use the Lockheed Martin F-35 programme as a retaliatory tool against Turkey for acquiring a sophisticated air defence system from Russia.
Assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell’s remarks during 18 April hearing in Congress escalated a simmering confrontation with a NATO ally and combat partner against ISIS, which agreed to acquire the Almaz-Antey S-400 Triumf system even as it plans to take delivery of its first F-35A later this year.
Breaking from a string of ambiguous statements by the Trump Administration, Mitchell’s testimony made specific threats of potential retaliation if the Turkish government follows through on the acquisition of the S-400 system.
“Ankara claims to have agreed to purchase the Russian S-400 missile system, which could potentially lead to sanctions under section 231 of [countering America’s adversaries through sanctions act] and adversely impact Turkey’s participation in the F-35 programme,” Mitchell says.
The S-400 is Russia's most advanced surface-to-air missile system on the export market. It's advertised with an "anti-stealth range" up to 81nm (150km).
In the past, US officials have complained that Turkey's S-400 systems would not be interoperable with NATO's networks. But the acquisition also raised concerns that Turkey's possession of the S-400 and the F-35 could be used to compromise the latter, with Russia and its allies gaining invaluable intelligence.
It was not clear specifically how Turkey’s role in the F-35 programme could be affected, but the Trump Administration has several tools at its disposal.
Turkey joined the F-35 programme in 2002 as a level 3 partner, investing $195 million in the system development and demonstration phase. Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) is deeply involved in the F-35A supply chain, supplying composite parts since 2008. TAI also is a secondary source to Northrop Grumman for the centre fuselage, with a long-term agreement to supply 400 of the complex assemblies to Lockheed over the life the programme.
The Turkish air force, meanwhile, plans to acquire 100 F-35As. The first batch of 14 are already purchased, with deliveries scheduled to begin later this year. A total of 30 F-35As are scheduled for delivery to the TuAF by the end of 2022.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... sp-447859/

I noted some other reporting the other day indicated Turkey is looking to accelerate its own 5th gen fighter development so perhaps internally they give the denial of F-35 a higher chance of occurring and are attempting to mitigate the impact. Greece would certainly be happy if Turkey doesn’t receive the F-35…

Yeah wow, if you can read between the lines here - this send up some MAJOR RED FLAGS for me.

I would NOT want the F-35 to be flying around the S-400 targeting / acquisition radars ever, much less for an indefinite period of time.

I'm not really too worried about the system as it stands now, but it's capabilities are such that it could probably become fairly lethal with the right information.

In my personal opinion, I wouldn't want those two systems anywhere near eachother. I'd imagine Lockheed is all over this behind closed doors though.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Apr 25, 2018 3:16 am

Some very good and insightful comments from Shanahan, Deputy Defence Secretary, given his previous industry experience.

Griffin Developing Consolidated Hypersonic Roadmap, Shanahan Lauds F-35

Asked about calls from some watchdog groups to scrap the F-35 because it suffers from technical deficiencies, Shanahan waved off the criticisms.

The F-35 is a great airplane,” Shanahan said twice. Any comments he’s made about its problems have to do not with its capabilities, but with “program execution,” and “there’s a real difference” between those two things.

“The airplane itself is a high-performing, advanced, fifth-generation fighter,” he said. But “everything that leads up to sustainment is what we” in the aerospace industry “consider ‘spring training.’” Program execution is now the key, he said, because “when you’re producing at the volumes that we’re producing now, this is the opportunity [at which] … you take cost out. Everybody knows that. You get on rate, the job goes to: take cost out, take cost out, take cost out … That’s the law. It’s like physics.”

He said the Pentagon won’t “turn the screws” on Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer of the F-35, “but we’re going to drive affordability on the program” because if the aircraft is to be affordable, sustainment and future improvements must be worked out now. “When the aircraft goes into use … it has to work all the time,” Shanahan asserted.

The three big chores with the F-35 now, he said, are “the development of Block IV, there’s the increases for production, and introducing new customers.”

In the Block IV program, he said, decisions are being made in the POM ‘20 about what changes to incorporate, and “how do those changes earn their way onto the airplane? By that I mean … they’re not ‘nice to haves.’ They really add performance and value either in capability, reliability, or taking cost out.”

He also said it’s critical to get those decisions right, because “if we’re just dropping in all kinds of changes, it undoes everything you’ve put in place.” Beyond that, “with every airplane I’ve ever been on, … when you go into operation, you find things .... the whole idea is, find ‘em, fix ‘em. … And you do that for years. Find ’em, fix ‘em...”

The issue, though, is “about risk management for program execution. It’s not about, ‘is it a high performing aircraft?” The F-35 certainly is “a high performing aircraft,” he said. “It will always get better technically, because we’ll continue to invest in it, it will always get better from an affordability standpoint because that’s the diet that we’re on, and from a reliability standpoint, we’ll always keep fixing the airplane. So it can run like a 737.” Shanahan was a Boeing executive for 30 years.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Apr 26, 2018 1:39 am

The GAO has released a report, with both a classified and unclassified version, that outlines some of the issues that have been identified by the USMC operating the F-35B and asks why these haven’t been shared with the other services.

DOD Needs to Share F-35 Operational Lessons Across the Military Services

Conclusion
The Marine Corps has internally documented lessons learned from its F-35-related operational activities, but DOD does not formally share these lessons learned across all services participating in the F-35 program. Given that the F-35 program plans to rapidly expand over the next few years and that all three services plan to deploy and operate in the Pacific, now is the time for DOD to make sure that lessons learned are communicated effectively across all services. Without a communications mechanism, the services are at risk of not having access to key information that could affect their movements, exercises, operations, and sustainment of the aircraft in the Pacific and in other areas where they operate.

https://www.gao.gov/assets/700/691469.pdf

This obviously isn’t a specific F-35 issue as much as it is a too often identified issue of the respective US services not communicating with each other.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Apr 26, 2018 1:43 am

The below article is Flight Global's take on the GAO report but focused on sustainment issues. Much of this has been reported previously but posting here for clarity and completeness.

F-35 deployment to Japan hit with sustainment problems

Since the US Marine Corps’ deployment of the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan in January 2017 the aircraft has been hit with an assortment of sustainment problems.
Many problems plaguing the first overseas deployment of the F-35 are logistical in nature and are related to the aircraft’s distance from maintenance and parts manufacturing facilities in the USA, according to a 25 April report titled “DOD Needs to Share F-35 Operational Lessons Across the Military Services” by the Government Accountability Office.

There are 16 F-35Bs in the VMFA-121 deployed at Iwakuni.

Issues with the F-35B supply chain include lengthy travel times for parts, inaccurate estimated delivery dates, delays at customs and difficulty shipping Autonomic Logistics Information System equipment, known as ALIS.

For instance, the Marine Corps learned that it needs to take “into consideration weather concerns when shipping ALIS equipment,” GAO said. “While the aircraft were transferred to Japan through Alaska, ALIS was moved through Hawaii because of concerns about how the freezing temperature would affect the logistics system.”

Other issues with sustaining the F-35 in Japan include long repair times, shortages and poor reliability of certain aircraft parts.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... le-448025/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Apr 26, 2018 1:46 am

Not sure what the cause was but couldn’t have been too serious given the aircraft taxied off the runway to dispersal afterwards.

U.S. F-35 makes emergency landing

An F-35B cutting-edge stealth fighter of the U.S. Marine Corps made an emergency landing at a base of the Air Self-Defense Force in Fukuoka Prefecture on Tuesday morning. There has been no report of injury or property damage.

The fighter, belonging to the Iwakuni base in the nearby prefecture of Yamaguchi, made the emergency landing on the runway at the ASDF’s Tsuiki Air Base in the town of Chikujo around 11 a.m. due to a problem with its body, according to the ministry.

It is the first time that an F-35B has made an unscheduled landing at a place in Japan other than U.S. bases in the country.

http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0004395201
 
estorilm
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Apr 26, 2018 2:21 pm

Ozair wrote:
Not sure what the cause was but couldn’t have been too serious given the aircraft taxied off the runway to dispersal afterwards.

U.S. F-35 makes emergency landing

An F-35B cutting-edge stealth fighter of the U.S. Marine Corps made an emergency landing at a base of the Air Self-Defense Force in Fukuoka Prefecture on Tuesday morning. There has been no report of injury or property damage.

The fighter, belonging to the Iwakuni base in the nearby prefecture of Yamaguchi, made the emergency landing on the runway at the ASDF’s Tsuiki Air Base in the town of Chikujo around 11 a.m. due to a problem with its body, according to the ministry.

It is the first time that an F-35B has made an unscheduled landing at a place in Japan other than U.S. bases in the country.

http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0004395201

Something with some level of redundancy presumably.

Is there anything published about critical control surfaces and redundancy? Just out of curiosity. I'd imagine there isn't a lot of space to have something like electronic backups and such.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Apr 26, 2018 9:40 pm

estorilm wrote:
Something with some level of redundancy presumably.

Is there anything published about critical control surfaces and redundancy? Just out of curiosity. I'd imagine there isn't a lot of space to have something like electronic backups and such.

The F-35 uses electrohydrostatic actuators. The sales brochure is available here, http://www.parker.com/literature/Control%20Systems%20Division/CSD%20literature/CSDBrochure.pdf?bcsi_scan_f3c628fb27335eb8=fRR23jBpLmyDvRSXuWOA0VIJaE4FAAAABQSACA==&bcsi_scan_filename=CSDBrochure.pdf

While some program info is here,

Image

Lots of info on the internet about them,

Image

Image

Image
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Apr 26, 2018 10:10 pm

F-35 strike canceled in Italy as Leonardo offers jobs

Workers at Italy’s F-35 fighter jet assembly line canceled a planned strike for April 24 following guarantees that more of them will be given staff contracts by Italian firm Leonardo.

The workers at Cameri Air Base in northern Italy, where Leonardo is assembling jets for Italy and Holland, previously announced a one-day strike to protest what they described as the widespread use of employment agency contractors.

But the strike was suspended as the firm made an offer to take on 80 staff, said Sergio Busca, a representative of the UILM union at the site.

“It was not easy to speak about strike action since this is a strategic site, but we felt compelled to do it,” Busca said.

Unions have said 600 staff at Cameri are working on agency contracts, while only 270 are employed directly by Leonardo, which runs the site in partnership with Lockheed Martin. Leonardo has said 520 staff are on agency contracts.

At a staff meeting held Monday ahead of the planned strike, a decision was taken to postpone the walkout in order to hear Leonardo’s proposals at a meeting scheduled on Tuesday, the day of the strike.

“Leonardo had previously promised to hire 150 of the contract workers, but only took on 70 in 2016. At the meeting they said they would hire the other 80 by June,” Busca explained. “There will be another meeting on May 28 when Leonardo will tell us about further hirings. As a result, the strike was suspended.”

A Leonardo spokesman said the offer to hire workers was not forced by the strike action but was part of an existing plan, which would see a string of new hires up until autumn 2018.

He defended the use of agency staff, stating: “The system means we can train up the expert workers we need and then hire them full time.”

Cameri has to date delivered nine F-35As to the Italian Air Force, while in January the first F-35B to be assembled outside the U.S., which is destined to fly with the Italian Navy, was handed over to Italy at Cameri.

Italy is currently due to purchase 60 F-35As and 30 F-35Bs, while Cameri is also due to assemble 29 F-35As for the Royal Netherlands Air Force.

In 2014, the 101-acre site at Cameri was named by the U.S. Defense Department as its F-35 heavy airframe maintenance, repair, Overhaul and upgrade facility for the European region.

https://www.defensenews.com/industry/20 ... fers-jobs/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Apr 27, 2018 4:44 am

estorilm wrote:
Yeah wow, if you can read between the lines here - this send up some MAJOR RED FLAGS for me.

I would NOT want the F-35 to be flying around the S-400 targeting / acquisition radars ever, much less for an indefinite period of time.

I'm not really too worried about the system as it stands now, but it's capabilities are such that it could probably become fairly lethal with the right information.

In my personal opinion, I wouldn't want those two systems anywhere near each other. I'd imagine Lockheed is all over this behind closed doors though.

Some further info on the US/Turkey F-35 issue with three US Senators putting forward a bill to block transfer of the jets to Turkey. Nothing about S-400 mentioned and lots about the human rights violations Turkey has conducted in the last few years.

Three U.S. senators move to block F-35 transfers to Turkey

Three U.S. senators introduced a measure on Thursday aimed at blocking the transfer of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to Turkey, a NATO ally and one of nine partner nations involved in producing the high-tech, radar-evading aircraft.

The bill, by Republicans James Lankford and Thom Tillis, and Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, comes at a time of deteriorating relations between the United States and Turkey, which supported the fight against Islamic State but has become increasingly worried about U.S. backing for Kurdish fighters in north Syria.
The three senators, in introducing the bill, issued a statement expressing concern that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan had embarked on a “path of reckless governance and disregard for the rule of law.”
“Turkey’s strategic decisions regrettably fall more and more out of line with, and at times in contrast to, U.S. interests. These factors make the transfer of sensitive F-35 technology and cutting-edge capabilities to Erdogan’s regime increasingly risky,” Lankford said in the statement.

The Turkish embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Turkey plans to buy more than 100 of the F-35 aircraft. Turkish companies have been involved in producing parts for the fighter, and Ankara is scheduled to begin receiving its first aircraft within a year.

The bill would restrict the transfer of F-35s to Turkey and limit Ankara from receiving intellectual property or technical data needed to maintain and support the fighters.

It would allow the U.S. president to waive the restrictions by certifying Turkey is not taking steps that would undermine NATO security and not wrongfully detaining U.S. citizens.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa- ... SKBN1HX3NO
 
estorilm
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Apr 27, 2018 2:15 pm

Ozair wrote:
estorilm wrote:
Yeah wow, if you can read between the lines here - this send up some MAJOR RED FLAGS for me.

I would NOT want the F-35 to be flying around the S-400 targeting / acquisition radars ever, much less for an indefinite period of time.

I'm not really too worried about the system as it stands now, but it's capabilities are such that it could probably become fairly lethal with the right information.

In my personal opinion, I wouldn't want those two systems anywhere near each other. I'd imagine Lockheed is all over this behind closed doors though.

Some further info on the US/Turkey F-35 issue with three US Senators putting forward a bill to block transfer of the jets to Turkey. Nothing about S-400 mentioned and lots about the human rights violations Turkey has conducted in the last few years.

Three U.S. senators move to block F-35 transfers to Turkey

Three U.S. senators introduced a measure on Thursday aimed at blocking the transfer of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to Turkey, a NATO ally and one of nine partner nations involved in producing the high-tech, radar-evading aircraft.

The bill, by Republicans James Lankford and Thom Tillis, and Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, comes at a time of deteriorating relations between the United States and Turkey, which supported the fight against Islamic State but has become increasingly worried about U.S. backing for Kurdish fighters in north Syria.
The three senators, in introducing the bill, issued a statement expressing concern that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan had embarked on a “path of reckless governance and disregard for the rule of law.”
“Turkey’s strategic decisions regrettably fall more and more out of line with, and at times in contrast to, U.S. interests. These factors make the transfer of sensitive F-35 technology and cutting-edge capabilities to Erdogan’s regime increasingly risky,” Lankford said in the statement.

The Turkish embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Turkey plans to buy more than 100 of the F-35 aircraft. Turkish companies have been involved in producing parts for the fighter, and Ankara is scheduled to begin receiving its first aircraft within a year.

The bill would restrict the transfer of F-35s to Turkey and limit Ankara from receiving intellectual property or technical data needed to maintain and support the fighters.

It would allow the U.S. president to waive the restrictions by certifying Turkey is not taking steps that would undermine NATO security and not wrongfully detaining U.S. citizens.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa- ... SKBN1HX3NO

I just visited this thread to post the news, but of course you beat me to it haha.

Doesn't surprise me AT ALL. Hell Russia would probably give them the S400's for free in exchange for the targeting an radar data. :lol:

I suppose LM probably doesn't care much as they've got order books filled up for decades.

Ozair wrote:
estorilm wrote:
Something with some level of redundancy presumably.

Is there anything published about critical control surfaces and redundancy? Just out of curiosity. I'd imagine there isn't a lot of space to have something like electronic backups and such.

The F-35 uses electrohydrostatic actuators. The sales brochure is available here, http://www.parker.com/literature/Control%20Systems%20Division/CSD%20literature/CSDBrochure.pdf?bcsi_scan_f3c628fb27335eb8=fRR23jBpLmyDvRSXuWOA0VIJaE4FAAAABQSACA==&bcsi_scan_filename=CSDBrochure.pdf

While some program info is here,

Image

Lots of info on the internet about them,

Image

Image

Image

Awesome information, thanks!

This is essentially what I imagined - though redundancy on the wing control surfaces seems to be internal to the unit itself. I can't imagine how much weight/complexity that saves especially considering pumps, plumbing, fluids, etc. Reminds me a lot of the EBAs and EBHAs Airbus developed for A380 redundancy/backup.
Last edited by estorilm on Fri Apr 27, 2018 2:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
estorilm
Posts: 284
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2009 3:07 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Apr 27, 2018 2:29 pm

TheDrive has a lengthy article about the issues with Turkey and the legislation to prevent F-35 export, as well as a detailed history of issues leading up to the senate proposal.

http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/20445/senate-bill-to-ban-f-35-sales-to-turkey-an-unprecedented-attempt-to-check-erdogans-actions

Senator Lankford said the following in an official statement regarding the reasoning behind the bill: ....These factors make the transfer of sensitive F-35 technology and cutting-edge capabilities to Erdogan’s regime increasingly risky.....
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