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Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue May 01, 2018 2:39 am

A decent sized contract that covers sustainment for the whole fleet of F-35s, including US and international partners.

Lockheed gets $1.4B contract for F-35 sustainment

Lockheed Martin on Monday won a $1.4 billion contract to sustain the global F-35 enterprise for the U.S. military and international customers.

According to Lockheed, the contract provides for “air system maintenance; pilot and maintainer training; depot activation; sustaining engineering; Automatic Logistics Information System (ALIS) support, data analytics and predictive health management; supply chain logistics” for all U.S. and international F-35s through April 30, 2019.

Of the $1.4 billion sum, about 73 percent will be paid by the U.S. Marine Corps, Air Force and Navy, while the other 27 percent will be covered by international customers.

The cost of sustaining the F-35 has been a growing concern for leaders across the Defense Department, from F-35 joint program executive officer Vice Adm. Mat Winter to Ellen Lord, the Pentagon’s undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment.

Bloomberg reported in March that the Air Force could be forced to cut as many as 590 F-35As from its 1,763 program of record should sustainment costs not improve. While Air Force leadership, including Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein, have said they have no plans to slash the program, reducing F-35 sustainment costs to that of fourth generation fighters like the F-16 remains a big priority.

Bridget Lauderdale, Lockheed Martin vice president of F-35 global sustainment, addressed the sustainment cost issue in a news release.

“We are taking aggressive actions to improve F-35 aircraft availability and reduce sustainment costs. As the sustainment system matures and the size of the operational fleet grows, we are confident we will deliver more capability at less cost than legacy aircraft,” she stated.

The company has already taken some steps to try to improve readiness and repair costs, including expanding the supply chain, buying spare parts ahead of need to boost availability and achieve economies of scale, and investing in diagnostic and data analytics technologies, it said.

So far, more than 280 F-35s have been delivered and operate from 15 bases worldwide.

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

Wed May 02, 2018 10:08 am

You need an Av Week subscription to read the rest. These are comments regarding Italy's introduction of the F-35, along with a host of other platforms, into service.

Italian Air Force Commander On How F-35 Will Transform The Service

Italy’s challenging economic climate is perhaps not the most conducive for evolving an air force, yet the nation is now taking deliveries of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters (JSF), maritime patrol aircraft, jet trainers and new intelligence-gathering assets. Aviation Week London Bureau Chief Tony Osborne caught up with the Italian Air Force commander, Enzo Vecciarelli, to find out how this evolution is gaining pace. What will the F-35 bring to the Italian Air Force?

http://aviationweek.com/defense/italian ... rm-service
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed May 02, 2018 10:14 am

Good news if LM and the US DoD are close to an agreement on LRIP 11. Further negotiations on the last three LRIPs as a bulk buy should bring some significant savings and really push costs down. Crazy that the agreement will likely cover between 460-480 aircraft, almost the entire Eurofighter or SH production run in one order...

Lockheed Martin negotiating final LRIP buy for F-35

Lockheed Martin is currently negotiating the final low-rate initial production (LRIP) lot for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), ahead of the first planned multiyear block buy.

Speaking to reporters in late April, the company’s vice-president for F-35 business development and strategy integration, Jack Crisler, said that with the LRIP 11 procurement for 141 aircraft now being negotiated, talks will start for the first three-year block buy that should help bring the aircraft’s unit price down. While the final LRIP 11 deal has yet to be agreed, the DoD has already awarded some USD8.8 billion in holding contracts and other related awards for the production lot.

“We are now delivering the [91] Lot 10 aircraft, and negotiating Lot 11,” Crisler said. “After Lot 11 the plan is for a three-year block buy to be negotiated with the Department of Defense [DoD] and the programme’s industry suppliers to reduce the recurring costs in the programme.”

This block buy will cover between 440 and 460 aircraft across production lots 12 to 14. With a 2007 Lot 1 unit cost of the conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) F-35A in excess of USD250 million, the 2020 cost of an LRIP 14 F-35A is projected to be USD80 million.

As noted by Crisler, the end of LRIP production will coincide with the conclusion of the system, design, and development (SDD) phase of the programme. The Block 3F full combat software was rolled out in December 2017, ahead of the completion of SDD flight trials in April. Initial operational test and evaluation will begin in the third quarter of 2018.

http://www.janes.com/article/79728/lock ... y-for-f-35
 
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JetBuddy
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed May 02, 2018 5:02 pm

There is growing pressure to halt sales of F-35 to Turkey, due to erratic behavior by Erdogan. The Turks are behaving less and less like allies.

"A growing number of members of the U.S. Congress are speaking out against the sale of 100 fighter jets to Turkey, Greek newspaper Kathimerini said ."

https://ahvalnews.com/us-turkey/turkeys ... -newspaper

https://sputniknews.com/military/201802 ... key-greek/

http://www.ekathimerini.com/225918/arti ... f-35-sales
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu May 03, 2018 1:37 am

JetBuddy wrote:
There is growing pressure to halt sales of F-35 to Turkey, due to erratic behavior by Erdogan. The Turks are behaving less and less like allies.

"A growing number of members of the U.S. Congress are speaking out against the sale of 100 fighter jets to Turkey, Greek newspaper Kathimerini said ."

https://ahvalnews.com/us-turkey/turkeys ... -newspaper

https://sputniknews.com/military/201802 ... key-greek/

http://www.ekathimerini.com/225918/arti ... f-35-sales


Yeah it is certainly becoming a mess. Pompeo's visit to Turkey to see their Foriegn Minister doesn't seemed to have helped either.

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/origin ... eting.html

We could be approaching the point where the US will take any current in production Turkish jets as they did previously with F-16 sales in the 80s and 90s. Not sure what will happen to the aircrew training at Luke with one of the joint squadrons or the supply chain in general. Perhaps deliveries will be delayed until a more clear path forward is reached.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu May 03, 2018 9:54 pm

The RAAF have taken delivery at WIlliamtown of the first equipment for the new training facility.

F-35A Training Equipment Delivered
One of the world’s largest aircraft has landed at RAAF Base Williamtown today carrying the first delivery of Australia’s state of the art training equipment for the Joint Strike Fighter.

Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne said the Antonov An-124 touched down this afternoon after a two day journey from the United Kingdom carrying equipment for the Australian F-35A Integrated Training Centre.

“Today’s deliver includes an Ejection Systems Maintenance Trainer which is a replica of the F-35A aircraft escape systems and a Weapons Load Trainer, which replicates the F-35A fuselage, including the weapons bay and wing hard points.

“The equipment delivered today will provide Australia with its own F-35 pilot and maintainer training capability and will form part of the overall Australian F-35A Training System,” Minister Payne said.

“Importantly this equipment will enable our pilots and crews to train without having to remove aircraft from flight schedules.

“This is an important milestone with two of Australia’s F-35A aircraft to be based at RAAF Base Williamtown from December 2018 and pilot training expected to commence at Williamtown from mid next year."

Minister Payne said future deliveries to Williamtown’s No. 2 Operational Conversion Unit will include six Full Mission Simulators required for F-35A pilot training.

“The first two of these six simulators will be delivered later this year,” she said.

The Antonov departed Yorkshire on 30 April 2018, with stop overs at Gujarat, India and Senai, Malaysia before arriving to Williamtown.

RAAF Base Williamtown last hosted an Antonov 124—the ‘baby’ of the Antonov heavy lift fleet—approximately ten years ago.

https://www.f35.com/news/detail/f-35a-t ... -delivered
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon May 07, 2018 2:39 am

Some more reporting on Turkey and the F-35.

Turkey says it will retaliate if US halts F-35 fighter jet sales

Turkey has said it will retaliate if the U.S. halts sales of new generation F-35 fighter jets in reaction to the Turkish government’s purchase of S-400 anti-ballistic missile systems from Russia.

“It’s not right for them to speak with us in a threatening way. If they take such a step at a moment when we are trying to mend our bilateral ties, they will sure get a response from Turkey. There no longer is the old Turkey,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told the private broadcaster CNN Türk in an interview on May 6.

“We told the U.S. about our response. I told this to the U.S. secretary of state [Mike Pompeo] in our meeting in Brussels,” Çavuşoğlu said.

The Turkish foreign minister’s statement came in response to a question about recent moves at the U.S. Congress that called on the U.S. government to sanction Turkey because of its growing ties with Russia particularly after its procurement of the S-400 air defense system.

“They should not question our good ties with Russia. The West should abandon this understanding. Countries in this geography have to pursue a balanced policy. Our NATO membership is not an obstacle for us to establish good ties with other countries. No one can argue that Turkey is seeking an alternative to its NATO membership,” he said.

The U.S. has to understand that it can no longer impose its own policies on other countries in the world and cannot sanction countries unilaterally, Çavuşoğlu stressed.

“There is the U.N. and other international organizations. All countries have to abide with resolutions taken by these organizations. But I am not obliged to approve decisions taken by an individual country. Therefore, U.S.’s attempt to impose sanctions on us is illogical and wrong. I would retaliate [in this case],” he said.

“What will happen then?” he said. “If the U.S. imposes sanctions or takes a step in this direction, Turkey will absolutely respond to this. But this is not something we wish. Why should it happen? Thus, the U.S. should give up this approach.”

Turkey needs to protect its citizens and defend its airspace but the U.S. hesitated to sell its Patriot systems, Çavuşoğlu recalled, underlining that threatening Turkey with sanctions was not befitting an ally.

S-400s will be under Turkey’s control

One of the most important concerns voiced in NATO about the Turkish deployment of a non-NATO system on its soils is that it would create an important loophole on the allied joint collective defense.

Reiterating that the S-400s will not be integrated with the NATO radars and systems, Çavuşoğlu stated that the sophisticated air defense systems will be controlled by the Turkish military and will not in anyway target NATO members as the enemy.

“We are already very sensitive on this. Not any defense system, not any weapon I procure or produce in Turkey can and will identify NATO members as the enemy,” he said.

FM to meet Pompeo in May

Çavuşoğlu and Pompeo held their first meeting on the margins of a NATO summit in Brussels in late April with an agreement to come together immediately in Washington D.C. The minister said he will either visit Washington D.C. before May 11 or after May 15 as he will accompany President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on a visit to London between these days.

The meeting of the two foreign ministers will focus on an initial agreement over a road map on how Turkey and the U.S. will coordinate its actions in Syria in a bid to avoid future tension because of the latter’s partnership with the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

“I have observed that U.S. authorities are also determined in the approval of this road map. We have received the invitation [for a visit to U.S.] right after the meeting [in Brussels]. This can constitute a venue for the normalization of our relations but we still have expectations from the U.S.,” the minister stated.

The said road map stipulates the withdrawal of the YPG from Manbij in a certain timeline and outlines how and by whom all these areas will be controlled.

US’ Jerusalem move can escalate tension

One other issue Çavuşoğlu expressed Turkey’s views and concerns on is the U.S. decision to remove its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and to implement this on May 14 on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the Israeli state.

“We wish that this decision will not be implemented. This is a decision which the EU is also against,” he said, calling on Washington not to insist on it. “This move would escalate the tension in the region and de-stabilize. It would annoy Israel, Palestine and all of us,” he added.

Another important decision by the U.S. is expected to be given on May 12 about the fate of the nuclear deal between the world powers and Iran. U.S. President Donald Trump has long been arguing that it was a very bad deal and that U.S. will withdraw from it despite strong rejections from prominent Western countries.

“We, as Turkey, want the continuation of the agreement. But if the agreement would be amended, it should be done through consensus. We are ready to contribute,” Çavuşoğlu said, but repeating that Turkey wants the continuation of the deal.

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey ... les-131366
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon May 07, 2018 11:45 pm

An agreement has been reached between LM and the US DoD so deliveries will now resume and LM is apparently confident they will meet the target of 91 aircraft for delivery in 2018. Clearly they haven’t stopped production during this delivery freeze so there should be a decent number of aircraft that will now rapidly flow through to the respective customers.

Lockheed resumes F-35 jet deliveries to Pentagon

The U.S. Department of Defense resumed accepting F-35 jet deliveries from Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) last week after reaching an agreement on covering the costs to fix a production error, the Pentagon told Reuters on Monday.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The cost of the fix was $119 million, people familiar with the situation had previously told Reuters.

The Pentagon had stopped accepting the jets on March 29, the Pentagon’s F-35 Joint Program office told Reuters in a statement. The dispute was over responsibility for paying to fix corrosion related to an error discovered in the second half of 2017.

The military, U.S. allies that own F-35s and Lockheed Martin are making the necessary repairs to all aircraft, the Pentagon’s office in charge of the fighter program said in the statement.When the Pentagon stopped taking delivery of F-35s, foreign customers also were affected. At least two foreign governments, Australia and Norway, had their jets caught up in the acceptance pause.

The majority of aircraft will be repaired within two years, the statement said.

Lockheed shares added to gains after the news and closed up 2 percent at $317.71.

Last year, the Pentagon stopped accepting F-35s for 30 daysafter discovering corrosion where panels were fastened to theairframe, an issue that affected more than 200 of the stealthy jets. 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. Once a fix had been devised, the deliveries resumed andLockheed hit its target aircraft delivery numbers for 2017. A lack of protective coating at the fastening point thatwould have prevented corrosion was identified as the primaryproblem, the Pentagon said at the time.

The fastening issue on the F-35 fleet did not affect flights, nor was it a safety concern, the Pentagon said last year.

On Monday, Lockheed said an agreement had been reached with the Pentagon, adding that it expected to hit its F-35 delivery target of 91 aircraft for 2018.

The pause was the latest production issue that has arisen in the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons program. In 2016, a fix for insulation problems in the fuel tanks and lines of the jets caused a slowdown in deliveries.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-lock ... SKBN1I827Q
 
MikeDrop
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue May 08, 2018 2:52 am

Ozair wrote:
The RAAF have taken delivery at WIlliamtown of the first equipment for the new training facility.

F-35A Training Equipment Delivered
One of the world’s largest aircraft has landed at RAAF Base Williamtown today carrying the first delivery of Australia’s state of the art training equipment for the Joint Strike Fighter.

Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne said the Antonov An-124 touched down this afternoon after a two day journey from the United Kingdom carrying equipment for the Australian F-35A Integrated Training Centre.

“Today’s deliver includes an Ejection Systems Maintenance Trainer which is a replica of the F-35A aircraft escape systems and a Weapons Load Trainer, which replicates the F-35A fuselage, including the weapons bay and wing hard points.

“The equipment delivered today will provide Australia with its own F-35 pilot and maintainer training capability and will form part of the overall Australian F-35A Training System,” Minister Payne said.

“Importantly this equipment will enable our pilots and crews to train without having to remove aircraft from flight schedules.

“This is an important milestone with two of Australia’s F-35A aircraft to be based at RAAF Base Williamtown from December 2018 and pilot training expected to commence at Williamtown from mid next year."

Minister Payne said future deliveries to Williamtown’s No. 2 Operational Conversion Unit will include six Full Mission Simulators required for F-35A pilot training.

“The first two of these six simulators will be delivered later this year,” she said.

The Antonov departed Yorkshire on 30 April 2018, with stop overs at Gujarat, India and Senai, Malaysia before arriving to Williamtown.

RAAF Base Williamtown last hosted an Antonov 124—the ‘baby’ of the Antonov heavy lift fleet—approximately ten years ago.

https://www.f35.com/news/detail/f-35a-t ... -delivered


Apologies if this is redundant, but is there a site that list the operational squadrons of F35s?

This article
https://www.f35.com/news/detail/wheels- ... -first-f-3
says that there is a US Navy squadron operational with the C version in Lemoore CA. I'm surprised by this. Are there others beyond Yuma and Lemoore?

Thanks!
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue May 08, 2018 3:37 am

MikeDrop wrote:

Apologies if this is redundant, but is there a site that list the operational squadrons of F35s?

I’m not aware of a specific website that lists all active F-35 squadrons.

MikeDrop wrote:
This article
https://www.f35.com/news/detail/wheels- ... -first-f-3
says that there is a US Navy squadron operational with the C version in Lemoore CA. I'm surprised by this. Are there others beyond Yuma and Lemoore?

Thanks!

There are currently three USN F-35C squadrons plus two test units;

VFA-101 Grim Reapers, a fleet replenishment squadron, based at Eglin AFB
VFA-125 Rough Riders, a fleet replenishment squadron, based at NAS Lemoore
VFA-147 Argonauts based at NAS Lemoore
VX-9 is an operational test and evaluation squadron based at NAWS China Lake
VX-23 is a development test and evaluation squadron based at NAS Patuxent River

Info is from here, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U ... ghter_(VFA)

The USMC also have personnel training with VFA-101 and plan to stand up four dedicated F-35C squadrons with the first, VMFA-314, transitioning in 2020.

The USN is slated to declare IOC in 2019, I believe with VFA-147, so will require one full squadron of aircraft, aircrew and maintenance staff fully trained and capable of conducting IOC level conflict. The USN always intended to IOC last as they wanted to do so with Blk 3F capability.
 
MikeDrop
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue May 08, 2018 4:11 am

Ozair wrote:
MikeDrop wrote:

Apologies if this is redundant, but is there a site that list the operational squadrons of F35s?

I’m not aware of a specific website that lists all active F-35 squadrons.

MikeDrop wrote:
This article
https://www.f35.com/news/detail/wheels- ... -first-f-3
says that there is a US Navy squadron operational with the C version in Lemoore CA. I'm surprised by this. Are there others beyond Yuma and Lemoore?

Thanks!

There are currently three USN F-35C squadrons plus two test units;

VFA-101 Grim Reapers, a fleet replenishment squadron, based at Eglin AFB
VFA-125 Rough Riders, a fleet replenishment squadron, based at NAS Lemoore
VFA-147 Argonauts based at NAS Lemoore
VX-9 is an operational test and evaluation squadron based at NAWS China Lake
VX-23 is a development test and evaluation squadron based at NAS Patuxent River

Info is from here, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U ... ghter_(VFA)

The USMC also have personnel training with VFA-101 and plan to stand up four dedicated F-35C squadrons with the first, VMFA-314, transitioning in 2020.

The USN is slated to declare IOC in 2019, I believe with VFA-147, so will require one full squadron of aircraft, aircrew and maintenance staff fully trained and capable of conducting IOC level conflict. The USN always intended to IOC last as they wanted to do so with Blk 3F capability.



Fantastic! Thanks! So no international units yet?
 
mxaxai
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue May 08, 2018 5:18 am

Ozair wrote:
Some more reporting on Turkey and the F-35.

Turkey says it will retaliate if US halts F-35 fighter jet sales

Turkey has said it will retaliate if the U.S. halts sales of new generation F-35 fighter jets in reaction to the Turkish government’s purchase of S-400 anti-ballistic missile systems from Russia.

One interesting thing is what will happen when Turkey tests their new S-400 system against the F-35 during training. And I am certain that they will. They might not publicly disclose that information but they will probably have a talk with one of the respective manufacturers afterwards.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue May 08, 2018 7:04 am

MikeDrop wrote:

Fantastic! Thanks! So no international units yet?

When you say international units you mean US units posted overseas? In that context yes the USMC has a squadron of F-35B based in Japan at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, and subsequently travelling round on USS WASP, and the USAF just finished a 6 month deployment of F-35A to Japan from Hill AFB.

The first permanent USAF F-35 presence overseas is expected to be the UK I believe in 2021. There is talk of F-35A or B being sent into CENTCOM in an operational role at some point in 2019 but only talk so far.
Alaska will get USAF F-35A Eielson AFB in 2020.

Nations operating F-35 outside of the US include Japan, Israel, Italy and Netherlands with Australia to stand up later this year.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue May 08, 2018 9:41 am

mxaxai wrote:
Ozair wrote:
Some more reporting on Turkey and the F-35.

Turkey says it will retaliate if US halts F-35 fighter jet sales

Turkey has said it will retaliate if the U.S. halts sales of new generation F-35 fighter jets in reaction to the Turkish government’s purchase of S-400 anti-ballistic missile systems from Russia.

One interesting thing is what will happen when Turkey tests their new S-400 system against the F-35 during training. And I am certain that they will. They might not publicly disclose that information but they will probably have a talk with one of the respective manufacturers afterwards.


I'm not convinced that scenario will occur although I will concede it is likely. Any turkish F-35 may have to always have the RCS enhancers attached negating the impact of S-400 detection or monitoring.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue May 08, 2018 9:59 pm

With Older F-35s 'On Life Support,' Wing Struggles to Train Pilots

One of the busiest F-35 Joint Strike Fighter training units is hoping the U.S. Air Force can help relieve some of the pressures of training student pilots with ineffective resources.

The 33rd Fighter Wing, the leading training wing for F-35 student pilots, hopes it will receive additional F-35A aircraft, along with considerable upgrades to its existing fleet, to keep up with training demands, said Col. Paul Moga, commander of the 33rd Fighter Wing here.

"Right now, production is king. We've got to find ways to solve this aircrew crisis, and our contribution to that is getting our students through the training program as quickly as possible," Moga said, referring to the service's ongoing pilot shortage.

Military.com sat down with Moga, head of the F-35A Lightning II flying program, during a trip accompanying Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson to the base.

Moga said the unit has found smarter ways inside the existing structure of the 33rd to get more quality sorties into the curriculum despite limitations.

"We're the first Air Force wing to start doing what we call 'hot swaps,'" Moga said.

The term refers to different student/instructor pairs swapping out for back-to-back flights in a single aircraft in order to save time and execute more sorties.

But lately it's not enough.
"We are at the end of our rope as far as finding creative ways to generate more sorties in the same amount of daylight with the same aircraft, because you run the risk [of overunning the fleet and breaking it]," Moga said.

The 33rd maintains 25 F-35As. The U.S. Navy, which also has a presence on the base and sends pilots through the training pipeline here, keeps 8 F-35Cs on station.

The wing is authorized to have 59 aircraft.

"It stresses the system. Every single day we are maximum-performing in regards to the amount of student training that we do," Moga said.

The sustainment of F-35s at Eglin is crucial to that training mission.

Although the F-35 is the Pentagon's newest and most advanced aircraft to date, the oldest of the fleet resides at the Florida base. Moga said the planes, part of Lockheed Martin Corp.'s earliest low rate initial production batches, need the additional work.

"Everybody's aware that that fleet is on life support right now, and they need to kind of crank up the machine a little bit if they plan on extending the utility of this fleet another five or 10 years," said Moga, who also oversees the maintenance training units here.

The fifth-generation stealth plane arrived here in 2011 and made the 33rd Fighter Wing the first U.S. F-35 training unit. The first class of student pilots started training in 2013.

While Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, trains pilots in its "B course" program and flies more sorties, prospective pilots come to Eglin for its academic training center program.

Luke's curriculum requires students to train for 8 months, more than double the time of pilots coming through training at Eglin. As a result, Eglin's throughput outpaces Luke's program even though it too only trains about six pilots at a time.

Moga said officials are trying to find ways to get more sorties out of the planes they have, but they are hopeful that additional F-35As can come to the base in the future to bulk up training for their students.

"Right now, just based on our availability and our mission capable rates, it's just not possible," Moga said.

The sustainment issues lie in the mission systems. Eglin's aircraft are "in dire need" of more mission system spare parts, the commander said.

The planes prospective pilots fly also have some of the oldest Block 2B software.

"They are the oldest software configuration outside some of the test aircraft out there," Moga said.

Moga said it could create a gap in training, as pilots who then head to Luke or Hill Air Force Base, Utah, would see newer software models.

"We can't produce a 3F graduate because we don't have any 3F aircraft," Moga said, referring to Block 3F software. The Defense Department's F-35 Joint Program Office is currently overseeing efforts to move to the even more advanced Block 4 software, which would give the F-35 a full range and larger weapons suite in combat operations sometime in the early 2020s.

The fleet here has only just now begun catching up with needed integration upgrades, Moga said.

And even if the wing received all the spare parts, a handful of aircraft are always down because they're receiving modifications or are getting depot maintenance, he added.

Originally, Eglin was supposed to receive 107 aircraft. But in 2009, Valparaiso Mayor Bruce Arnold sued the Air Force over concerns that noise levels and increased activity would disrupt citizens living near the base.

Yet even if the wing is authorized to keep less than half of the originally planned 107, it still remains more than 20 fighters shy of what it needs.

Moga said the capacity at Eglin is there for more aircraft, with hangar space, accompanying maintenance units, and a wide range to train on.

"I just want people to be aware there are untapped resources here at Eglin and we need to start taking advantage of it," Moga said.

For example, he said, because of how the unit falls under Air Education and Training Command, there's an entire maintenance squadron that could support two units.

The base's infrastructure is only one piece of the puzzle.

If the base was in a position to get more jets, the production rate for F-35A pilots could increase. But that's only if the Air Force needs it to.

Air Combat Command, which oversees all the combat-coded squadrons in the service, would need to be ready to task and absorb those pilots if production ramps up.

"If we got 12 more jets, we could increase our training by about 60 percent," Moga said. "If we got another squadron of 24 aircraft, we could [more than] double our production."



As per the last US budget docs the fleet of older Blk 2B aircraft are confirmed to be upgraded to Blk 3F standard over the next two years. That should improve availability but the number of aircraft actually present on the base appears to be the real issue. Not sure what the timeframe is for more aircraft to be allocated to Eglin training units but with production ramping up over the next two years perhaps more jets will be stationed there.

The other side of it is that this specific unit at Eglin trains current USAF fighter pilots converting onto the F-35. How much demand is there for increased training loads of those aircrew? Are the respective USAF squadrons calling out for more F-35A trained aircrew or do they have enough at the moment?

[/quote]
https://www.military.com/dodbuzz/2018/0 ... ilots.html
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu May 10, 2018 10:31 pm

Despite everything going on in Congress Turkey remains on target to receive its first F-35 next month.

Turkey to receive first F-35 fighter from US next month

The United States will deliver the first F-35 joint strike fighter to Turkey on June 21 as part of a longstanding partnership between the two allies, despite attempts by the U.S. Congress to block the procurement of such weaponry to the Turkish government.

According to defense industry authorities, the delivery of the first of the 30 F-35 fighters will be made on June 21 in a ceremony that will be held in the U.S.

The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), which are a part of the U.S. Department of Defense’s JSF program, along with a number of prominent NATO allies including the United Kingdom, Italy and the Netherlands, have been planning to upgrade their air force fleets with 100 F-35 aircrafts to be jointly produced under this program. The first package, however, is about the delivery of 30 F-35 fighters.

Pilots from the TSK will receive intense training at the headquarters of the main producer of the F-35, Lockheed Martin, before the fighters will be transported to Turkey later this year, sources have said. Sources have also informed that arrangements are underway on military bases in Turkey where the F-35s will be deployed.

Turkey’s current air defense is based on strong F-16 fleets. The TSK is planning to change some of these fleets with the incoming F-35s.

The delivery of the first F-35 fighter will take place at a time when a number of U.S. congressmen have been urging the U.S. administration to suspend the procurement of these fighters to Turkey because of the latter’s decision to upgrade its air defense systems with Russian S-400 anti-ballistic missile systems.

Turkey has strongly criticized the U.S. Congress’ move and vowed to retaliate. “If they take such a step at a moment when we are trying to mend our bilateral ties, they will definitely get a response from Turkey. There is no longer the old Turkey,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told private broadcaster CNN Türk in an interview on May 6.

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey ... nth-131537
 
1g
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu May 10, 2018 11:46 pm

First Turkish Air Force F-35 takes flight before delivery.

Also has a new roundel. Custom for F-35? Or updated? Or ceremonial?

https://twitter.com/scramble_nl/status/ ... 6576242688
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri May 11, 2018 2:11 am

1g wrote:
First Turkish Air Force F-35 takes flight before delivery.

Also has a new roundel. Custom for F-35? Or updated? Or ceremonial?

https://twitter.com/scramble_nl/status/ ... 6576242688

Thanks for posting and I think that roundel, if new, looks pretty good!
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue May 15, 2018 11:18 pm

Famous last words but it would seem counter-productive for the UK to acquire two 70kt Aircraft Carriers and then not fit them out appropriately.

Britain 'Unlikely To Reduce F-35 Order' Despite Budget Pressures

Britain is unlikely to reduce the number of F-35 stealth fighter jets despite budget pressures, according to the aircraft's manufacturer.

The UK is set to buy 48 F-35 fighter jets, the world's most advanced warplane, by 2025.

Yet the £9.1 billion programme has come under fire over capability and cost.

Politicians have publicly voiced their concern over the defence budget in recent weeks and the Modernising Defence Programme's capabilities are currently being reviewed.

The UK has pledged to buy 138 jets from the US manufacturer, Lockheed Martin.

Peter Ruddock, the chief of the company's UK arm, says he is "quietly confident" that the number of jets won't be reduced. He said:

"I think if anyone was looking at where to make savings, the F-35 would be a long way up the list and maybe close to the top of the list.

15 F-35s are currently being tested in the US ahead of flight trials off the £3.1 billion aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, later this year.

Once returning to home soil, the F-35s will be based at RAF Marham in Norfolk.

The UK has so far committed to purchasing the F-35B, which uses a short takeoff and a vertical landing approach - meaning it can operate from both ships and bases.

Last Friday, the Public Accounts Committee warned that in a worst-case scenario, the UK armed forces could be £21 billion short of the money needed to buy equipment over the next decade.

MPs warned the Government that the department "simply does not have enough money to buy all the equipment it needs".

Mr Ruddock said Lockheed Martin was "respectful" of the position the MoD finds themselves in when asked whether the financial situation was a concern.


https://www.forces.net/news/britain-unl ... -pressures
 
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Mortyman
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed May 16, 2018 9:43 pm

another 3 F-35's has just arrived in Norway
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed May 16, 2018 9:45 pm

The UK will have a decent number of F-35 home based in England by the end of July, quite the quick ramp up once they start arriving.

F-35 fighter jets to arrive at RAF Marham within weeks

The RAF's new F-35 Lightning II fighter jets will touch down at their new home in Norfolk next month, the defence secretary has announced.

Gavin Williamson said the aircraft - which cost almost £100m each - will arrive at RAF Marham after being tested and used for training in the US.

Four will cross the Atlantic in early June, with a total of nine based in the UK by the end of July, he said.

RAF Air Cmdr David Bradshaw called their arrival "hugely significant".

The F-35 Lightning II fighters are considered the most advanced - and most costly - combat jets in the world.

They will replace the Tornado GR4s at RAF Marham, which will be taken out of service in 2019 after almost 40 years.

The Tornados are currently deployed on reconnaissance operations over northern Iraq and Syria.

Mr Williamson revealed the news at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, on the 75th anniversary of the daring Dambusters raid carried out by the 617 Squadron.

The squadron has been reformed and will be the first to fly the state-of-the-art aircraft.

Mr Williamson said they were "giving the modern 617 squadron the very best of technology, the very best and the most advanced aircraft in the whole world".

"If you think about what the Dambusters were doing 75 years ago they were using the very cutting-edge technology in order to be able do the job that they had been asked to do," he added.

Mr Williamson confirmed the new aircraft would not be deployed over Syria yet because "quite considerable resources" were already there.

Air Cmdr Bradshaw, Lightning Force commander, said RAF Marham was "ready enough" to accept the jets after a revamp, calling their arrival "hugely significant".

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-norfolk-44141690
Last edited by Ozair on Wed May 16, 2018 10:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed May 16, 2018 10:05 pm

Mortyman wrote:
another 3 F-35's has just arrived in Norway

Is that in addition to the twitter post below talking about three more F-35s to arrive on the 22nd of May or the same aircraft?

https://twitter.com/scramble_nl/status/ ... 5556427776

The Norwegian AF will receive three additional F-35A at Ørland Main Air Station on 22 May. The flight will start in the morning and landing in the night.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu May 17, 2018 11:33 pm

An interesting new nickanme for the F-35 by USAF pilots. Will be interesting to see if it sticks.

The Air Force's Elite Weapons School Has Given The F-35 A New Nickname

It's Viper for the F-16, Warthog for the A-10, Moose for the C-17, Rhino for the F-4, and the list goes on. The USAF, along with the other services, have long histories of giving their combat aircraft new names, oftentimes of the animal kingdom variety, after the planes had already received their official monikers. This was near certain to be the case for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter once it was assigned the less than thrilling official name of Lightning II. Now it's become clear that a new name has caught on for the stealth jet among the top echelons the USAF's F-35 cadre, and that nickname is 'Panther.'

http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/20 ... ite-pilots

More at the link.
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri May 18, 2018 4:10 pm

Ozair wrote:
Famous last words but it would seem counter-productive for the UK to acquire two 70kt Aircraft Carriers and then not fit them out appropriately.



Reducing order size and stretching out deliveries, even though this increases unit costs, are common MoD budget ploys. Personally I wouldn't be surprised, although disappointed, to see both of these happen at some point. Barring wars I'm not sure if the UK has ever managed to achieve the delivery of the initial order of any equipment.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue May 22, 2018 12:10 am

SamYeager2016 wrote:
Reducing order size and stretching out deliveries, even though this increases unit costs, are common MoD budget ploys. Personally I wouldn't be surprised, although disappointed, to see both of these happen at some point. Barring wars I'm not sure if the UK has ever managed to achieve the delivery of the initial order of any equipment.

It will be interesting to see what happens. The UK intent to purchase 138 is a large number and probably overkill for the QE requirements. I still see the UK going for a large buy of F-35B, perhaps somewhere around 80 (enough to fill both aircraft carriers while maintaining operational conversion) and buy the remaining 50 odd as F-35As. The F-35A is probably going to be about 2/3 the cost of the Bee while being cheaper to operate. It would make a good replacement for the Tornado and T1 Typhoons by the early 2030s but I don’t expect we will see a decision on an acquisition like this until 2025 at the earliest.

I have seen the suggestions of increasing the Typhoon buy but I don't think this will happen. The UK involvement in the F-35 is nearly as great as Typhoon and if the UK was going to take a bet on which platform will be in service longer it is easy to see which way they will go. I also don’t think any Super Typhoon as mooted will be competitive with the F-35 on price, capability or long term sustainability.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue May 22, 2018 12:12 am

Japan to receive five more F-35A

This week, five Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) F-35A's, currently based at Luke AFB (AZ), will be ferried across the Pacific Ocean to their new home Misawa AB. Three more are expected later this Fiscal Year.

https://www.facebook.com/Scramblemagazi ... 0161943839
 
steman
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue May 22, 2018 9:43 am

Ozair wrote:
SamYeager2016 wrote:
Reducing order size and stretching out deliveries, even though this increases unit costs, are common MoD budget ploys. Personally I wouldn't be surprised, although disappointed, to see both of these happen at some point. Barring wars I'm not sure if the UK has ever managed to achieve the delivery of the initial order of any equipment.

It will be interesting to see what happens. The UK intent to purchase 138 is a large number and probably overkill for the QE requirements. I still see the UK going for a large buy of F-35B, perhaps somewhere around 80 (enough to fill both aircraft carriers while maintaining operational conversion) and buy the remaining 50 odd as F-35As. The F-35A is probably going to be about 2/3 the cost of the Bee while being cheaper to operate. It would make a good replacement for the Tornado and T1 Typhoons by the early 2030s but I don’t expect we will see a decision on an acquisition like this until 2025 at the earliest.

I have seen the suggestions of increasing the Typhoon buy but I don't think this will happen. The UK involvement in the F-35 is nearly as great as Typhoon and if the UK was going to take a bet on which platform will be in service longer it is easy to see which way they will go. I also don’t think any Super Typhoon as mooted will be competitive with the F-35 on price, capability or long term sustainability.


I never understood why the UK opted only for the B version of the F-35. Was it to have a Harrier replacement to be operated in a Joint Force with the RN? Surely the RAF could gain from using the F-35A, which is cheaper and more performing than the B. The Italians are going to do something like that with 15 Bs to be operated by the Air Force along 15 Bs of the Navy onboard two aircraft carriers and land based together in Southeastern Italy. But the Air Force will receive also 75 As to replace Tornados and Ghiblis.
Already almost 10 examples are active in the Air Force, including the first B model and some have been declared operative (IOC only) in the Air defense role. This is more of a political move to prevent further cuts from the new upcoming government, whose main Party has been against the F-35 purchase (but they are also famous for changing their minds very often on almost everything).
 
ZaphodHarkonnen
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue May 22, 2018 9:48 am

Ummmmm, I'm pretty sure the public plan from the UK is a split B and A buy. With enough Bs to provide an airwing for both carriers with the option to surge the training aircraft to take the carrier to full capacity.

I don't get where people are thinking the UK are going for a full B buy.

As for buying the B version at all? They need it for the QE carriers. They discovered it was too expensive to retrofit with cats and traps so the B is the only option.
 
mmo
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue May 22, 2018 12:19 pm

Seems as though the F-35I has already made it's combat debut. It had been rumored, but it was confirmed by the

https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/IAF-c ... -558030IAF
https://theaviationist.com/2018/05/22/e ... -aircraft/
If we weren't all crazy we'd all go insane!
 
estorilm
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue May 22, 2018 6:54 pm

mmo wrote:
Seems as though the F-35I has already made it's combat debut. It had been rumored, but it was confirmed by the

https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/IAF-c ... -558030IAF
https://theaviationist.com/2018/05/22/e ... -aircraft/


http://www.businessinsider.com/israels-f-35s-saw-combat-in-syrian-air-war-that-hit-russian-defenses-2018-5

New article sheds a small amount of additional light on one of the missions, saying it was in heavily contested airspace in Syria.

Also says that the previously released image of a Pantsir-S1 AA vehicle being destroyed may have been from an F-35. Russia had many excuses for how the image was obtained, including the system being "out of munitions" lol!

...this is interestingly plausible though.

Either way, regardless of your thoughts on the aircraft, it does make me proud to see it performing in enemy airspace so quickly after launch/delivery. It's a unique and deadly asset that I'm sure Israel is grateful to have at their disposal. If the past is any indicator, I'm sure they'll prove incredibly successful with the platform.
 
steman
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue May 22, 2018 7:30 pm

ZaphodHarkonnen wrote:
I don't get where people are thinking the UK are going for a full B buy.



I have only ever read of the intention to buy F-35Bs, no As. A total of 138. In the past there were talks of getting the C instead of the B, which would have allowed a lower number of aircrafts to be procured, thanks to the higher capability of the C compared to the B but the cost of adapting the QE Class to a Catobar were too high and the decision reverted back to only procuring the B variant of the Lighting II.
But I only can report what I have read in the past in aviation magazines, websites and what´s on Wikipedia now.
Can you maybe provide a source or link to the planned split procurement of A and B for the UK?
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue May 22, 2018 10:03 pm

steman wrote:
ZaphodHarkonnen wrote:
I don't get where people are thinking the UK are going for a full B buy.



I have only ever read of the intention to buy F-35Bs, no As. A total of 138. In the past there were talks of getting the C instead of the B, which would have allowed a lower number of aircrafts to be procured, thanks to the higher capability of the C compared to the B but the cost of adapting the QE Class to a Catobar were too high and the decision reverted back to only procuring the B variant of the Lighting II.
But I only can report what I have read in the past in aviation magazines, websites and what´s on Wikipedia now.
Can you maybe provide a source or link to the planned split procurement of A and B for the UK?

The plan for a long time had been 138 F-35B but I believe recent UK policy has changed that to reflect 138 F-35 of any variety. This is taken from a written question in the House of Lords.
Earl Howe, Minister of State for Defence and Deputy Leader of the House of Lords, has suggested that a change in F-35 variant may be on the cards after the first 48 F-35Bs.

The information comes to light in answer to a written question in the House of Lords asked by the Marquess of Lothian:

“To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they remain committed to the purchase of 138 F-35B jump–jets for the Royal Navy.”

Answered by Earl Howe

“As part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review in 2015, we reaffirmed our commitment to procure 138 F-35 Lightning II aircraft.
The first tranche of 48 aircraft will be of the F-35B variant, which will be jointly operated by the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, and capable of operating from both land and the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers. The decision on the variant of subsequent tranches of Lightning will be taken at the appropriate time.”

https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/governm ... 48-f-35bs/


As for the total number and how they arrived at 138, the following was provided by Air Cmdr. Harvey Smyth, the commander of the U.K.’s Lightning Force,
In 2015, the UK government’s Strategic Defence and Security Review confirmed a planned order of 138 F-35s, with 23 of them to be available for carrier duties by 2023. The UK will have an operational fleet of around 63 aircraft according to Smyth, which is less than half of the total number of F-35’s that the UK has agreed to purchase

However, as reported by AviationWeek, Smyth pointed out that “the total number would cover attrition replacements and the so-called sustainment fleet, which is defined as additional aircraft required to sustain the fleet to its out-of-service date as well as to cover maintenance. Other UK combat aircraft also have large sustainment fleets.”
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue May 22, 2018 10:06 pm

mmo wrote:
Seems as though the F-35I has already made it's combat debut. It had been rumored, but it was confirmed by the

https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/IAF-c ... -558030IAF
https://theaviationist.com/2018/05/22/e ... -aircraft/

Interesting, I think we can take that as confirmation of a first operational use. Not sure we will hear much more about it though...
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed May 23, 2018 12:36 am

Looks like Turkey is still keen to acquire F-35B aircraft to equip their LHD platforms, noting in the background is political pressure to prevent Turkey from getting F-35 (which seems too little to late to me).

TCG Trakya, On The Way

As Turkey counts down for delivery of the first F-35 Lightning II aircraft, another development came into light of the Turkish Navy front. According to the information obtained by C4Defence, the service plans to supply a total of 32 short-takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft. Today, there are two aircraft models with this feature and one is to retire. For this reason, the service is considering Lockheed Martin's F-35B aircraft program.

According to the information obtained, the service informed Chief of General Staff about the need to begin the construction of TCG Trakya, the twin of Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) TCG ANADOLU. The Navy stated that the timing of construction of the second ship would have many advantages both in terms of construction time and program cost.

The second phase of the program will include the supply of vertical landing aircraft to be deployed on TCG Trakya. Accordingly, the total number of F-35B aircraft demanded by the service will also be revised.

Although it is not officially requested from the US yet, the Navy plans to buy 16 aircraft per LHD. If all goes as planned, Turkey will have purchased 100 F-35As and 32 F-35Bs.

The Spanish Navantia Shipyard provides technical support to Sedef Shipyard. Sedef Shipyard utilizes Navantia's Juan Carlos 1 LHD ship experience. The Spanish Juan Carlos 1 ship is equipped with McDonnell Douglas design (now Boeing) AV-8B Harrier II platforms as well as vertical landing helicopters. Spain plans to retire these aircraft and supply the F-35B instead.

http://en.c4defence.com/Agenda/tcg-trak ... way/6374/1
 
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Mortyman
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed May 23, 2018 9:01 pm

Ozair wrote:
Mortyman wrote:
another 3 F-35's has just arrived in Norway

Is that in addition to the twitter post below talking about three more F-35s to arrive on the 22nd of May or the same aircraft?

https://twitter.com/scramble_nl/status/ ... 5556427776

The Norwegian AF will receive three additional F-35A at Ørland Main Air Station on 22 May. The flight will start in the morning and landing in the night.


It's the same aircrafts. I was wrong about the date ;-)
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed May 23, 2018 10:06 pm

The logic behind this article is severely lacking. It is lamenting the range of the F-35C, when that range is currently more than 100nm further than the SH, which the USN continues to acquire and will have acquired and operate in larger numbers. The article also fails to detail how much more survivable in the battlespace the F-35C is going to be over the SH and the classic Hornet.

Navy’s top-dollar stealth fighter may not go the distance

The Navy’s newest fighter jet, the stealthy F-35C, may not have the range it needs to strike enemy targets, the House Armed Services Committee said in a new report, raising troubling questions about whether the multibillion-dollar program is already outpaced by threats.

And critics say the Navy fighter — part of the Joint Strike Fighter initiative, the most expensive weapons program in history — may actually have been out of date years ago.

The committee’s conclusion, buried in the 606-page report on the fiscal 2019 defense authorization bill, is confirmation from lawmakers who support the jet program that the aircraft carrier-based version of the F-35 may not have enough effective range without refueling to function well in likely future wars.

“While the introduction of the F-35C will significantly expand stealth capabilities, the F-35C could require increased range to address necessary targets,” the report states.

The reason, experts say, is that the aircraft carriers from which the F-35Cs would operate may be required to sail too far away from enemies to avoid their increasingly long-range missiles.
The committee does not want to stop buying F-35Cs, but instead wants to start also buying new sorts of warplanes.

“After billions of dollars have been spent on the F-35C, but before the first aircraft are ready to deploy, lawmakers are already looking at the next carrier-based aircraft,” said Bryan Clark, a former Navy strategist now at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

Dan Grazier, of the Project on Government Oversight, said the House directive “highlights just how poorly conceived the Joint Strike Fighter program has been from the very beginning.” “The issue of anti-ship cruise missiles is not a new one,” he said. “The complexity of the F-35 program has dragged out the design process to nearly 20 years, which means we are not keeping pace with emerging threats.”

The F-35 program is developing and purchasing 2,456 jets in three different variants — the F-35C for the Navy, the F-35A for the Air Force and the F-35B for the Marine Corps — with allies expected to purchase hundreds more. The Navy will buy 273 F-35Cs for its carriers and another 67 for the Marine Corps, on top of the Marine Corps’ own model, which takes off and lands vertically.

The cost to develop and build all three models is projected to reach $406.1 billion, with another estimated $1.1 trillion to operate them.

More at the link below.
https://www.stripes.com/news/us/navy-s- ... e-1.528359

The good news for the F-35C is that a new engine is likely to arrive in approx. 2025 which will extend range by more than 30% while an existing F135 upgrade in 2020 should extend it by 10%. Either of those won’t make a difference to the range to anti-ship missiles which will continue to increase. It is highly unlikely that any manned platform from a CVN is going to be able to keep ahead of ASCM developments.

Fortunately the USN has plans in place for these types of threats, including already tested and verified using F-35 as a forward sensor that can detect targets and direct SM-6, a 260nm range SAM, onto the incoming threat. Naval SAMs can continue to evolve in line with ASCMs while emerging directed energy weapons used for ship defence will also likely return survivability to the ship.

https://www.raytheon.com/news/feature/s ... _of_a_kind
 
Planeflyer
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu May 24, 2018 4:38 am

Ozair wrote:
mmo wrote:
Seems as though the F-35I has already made it's combat debut. It had been rumored, but it was confirmed by the

https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/IAF-c ... -558030IAF
https://theaviationist.com/2018/05/22/e ... -aircraft/

Interesting, I think we can take that as confirmation of a first operational use. Not sure we will hear much more about it though...


Can’t understand why Israel would publicize this given how many more missions will be required in the next few years.

Nothing more demoralizing to take losses and not full understand why.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu May 24, 2018 9:54 pm

Planeflyer wrote:

Can’t understand why Israel would publicize this given how many more missions will be required in the next few years.

Nothing more demoralizing to take losses and not full understand why.

The Israelis rarely do something for no reason so I suspect there is an underlying message there, perhaps for example to Assad telling him they can attack anywhere anytime and he will never know? That would force him to allocate more forces for his protection or perhaps Israel is trying to reduce the number Iranian forces in Syria somehow...

Some more info on the use of the F-35 by Israel.

Strange notches on the F-35 raise questions about its first tastes of combat with Israel's air force

As reported yesterday, the Israeli Air Force F-35 stealth aircraft have had their baptism of fire taking part in air strike in the Middle East (Syria and another unspecified "front") lately.

"The Adir planes are already operational and flying in operational missions. We are the first in the world to use the F-35 in operational activity" the Israeli Air Force Commander, Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin, said during a IAF conference attended by 20 commander of air forces from around the world. Interestingly, Norkin also presented an image showing an IAF F-35I over Beirut, Lebanon that was not released in first place but surfaced on social media on May 23.

The somehow blurry image is interesting for at least a couple of reasons: first of all, it shows the aircraft flying at high altitude off (rather than "over") Beirut. Second, it seems to show that the aircraft was also operating with radar reflectors (highlighted in the image below), hence not in "stealthy mode":

Here's what radar reflectors, also known as RCS (Radar Cross Section) enhancers, are as explained in a previous article this Author posted here at The Aviationist earlier this year:

Stealth aircraft, such as the F-22 Raptor or the F-35 Lightning II 5th generation jets are equipped with Luneburg (or Luneberg) lenses: radar reflectors used to make the LO (Low Observable) aircraft (consciously) visible to radars. These devices are installed on the aircraft on the ground are used whenever the aircraft don't need to evade the radars: during ferry flights when the aircraft use also the transponder in a cooperative way with the ATC (Air Traffic Control) agencies; during training or operative missions that do not require stealthiness; or, more importantly, when the aircraft operate close to the enemy whose ground or flying radars, intelligence gathering sensors.

This is what we explained explaining how the Israeli the heavy presence of Russian radars and ELINT platforms in Syria cause some concern to the Israeli F-35 Adir recently declared IOC:

[…] the Russians are currently able to identify takeoffs from Israeli bases in real-time and might use collected data to "characterize" the F-35's signature at specific wavelengths as reportedly done with the U.S. F-22s.

In fact, tactical fighter-sized stealth aircraft are built to defeat radar operating at specific frequencies; usually high-frequency bands as C, X, Ku and S band where the radar accuracy is higher (in fact, the higher the frequency, the better is the accuracy of the radar system).

However, once the frequency wavelength exceeds a certain threshold and causes a resonant effect, LO aircraft become increasingly detectable. For instance, ATC radars, that operate at lower-frequency bands are theoretically able to detect a tactical fighter-sized stealth plane whose shape features parts that can cause resonance. Radars that operate at bands below 300 MHz (lower UHF, VHF and HF radars), such as the so-called Over The Horizon (OTH) radars, are believed to be particularly dangerous for stealth planes: although they are not much accurate (because lower frequency implies very large antenna and lower angle accuracy and angle resolution) they can spot stealth planes and be used to guide fighters equipped with IRST towards the direction the LO planes might be.

F-35s deployed abroad usually feature their typical four radar reflectors: to exaggerate their real RCS (Radar Cross Section) and negate the enemy the ability to collect any detail about their LO "signature". As happened during the short mission to Estonia and then Bulgaria, carried out by the USAF F-35As involved in the type's first overseas training deployment to Europe or when, on Aug. 30, 2017, four U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II joined two USAF B-1B Lancers for the JSF's first show of force against North Korea: the F-35Bs flew with the radar reflectors, a sign they didn't want their actual radar signature to be exposed to any intelligence gathering sensor in the area

Since they almost always fly with the radar reflectors, photographs of the aircraft without the four notches (two on the upper side and two on the lower side of the fuselage) are particularly interesting: for instance, some shots taken on Jan. 24, 2018 and just released by the U.S. Air Force show F-35As deployed to Kadena AB, Japan, in October as a part of the U.S. Pacific Command's Theater Security Package program, preparing to launch without their Luneberg reflectors.

According to Nir Dvori, the journalist who first published the image of the stealth aircraft off Beirut seemingly flying with RCS enhancers, "they test [the F-35] in all kind of options. Fly with and without reflectors". Indeed, the use of RCS enhancers would simply mean that stealthiness was not required for that specific mission during which they preferred to hide the aircraft's stealth features preventing the enemy to collect data about the aircraft and test their radar hardware against the Lightning II.

Moreover, the F-35 appears to be flying off Lebanon, accompanied by another aircraft (the photo ship), possibly another F-35 or a completely different type - even a G550 like those that continuously fly off Lebanon and Syria and are trackable by means of their Mode-S transponders. This means that the photo might well have been taken during a simple "recon" mission rather than a combat one. Meanwhile, according to Haaretz's Anshel Pfeffer:

Not all the missions that the F-35 has so far carried out needed this [stealth] capability. They took part in an airstrike on a Hamas tunnel on the border of the Gaza Strip. Hamas does not have radar, but F-35s were used on this relatively simple mission as part of the process through which its proves it various capabilities. More complex operations against Iranian and Hezbollah targets north of Israel would have utilized its stealth capabilities and some of these did not necessarily involve the F-35 launching missiles itself.

Therefore, it seems confirmed that:

Not all F-35 missions required stealth capabilities
The Adir jets were also used against "easy" targets
The F-35s have taken part in missions during those the Adir did not drop bombs (therefore, it probably acted as "combat battlefield coordinator," collecting, managing and distributing intelligence possibly sharing targeting data to older 4th Gen. aircraft).
The image seems to prove the F-35 have flown at high-altitude off Beirut (someone says it might have been in international airspace, 12 Nautical Miles from the coast, when the shot was taken, but this can't be verified based on the screenshot only).

http://www.businessinsider.com/strange- ... &IR=T&IR=T

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Planeflyer
Posts: 911
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri May 25, 2018 3:56 am

I thought about the idea that Israel usually has a good reason but I just could not think of one that would outweigh the uncertainty of taking losses w/o warning.

Given Iran’s intentions there will be many missions for the F35 in Syria.
 
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Mortyman
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Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2006 8:26 pm

Re: F-35 news thread

Sat May 26, 2018 12:23 pm

Image

Is it mer or does the F-35 look shortend in that photo ? Looks like a baby F-35 in that photo
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