Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Dec 14, 2018 10:44 pm

Dutchy wrote:
petertenthije wrote:
According to de Telegraaf the Netherlands have commited to increase their JSF order of 37 planes with roughly 15 more.

https://www.telegraaf.nl/nieuws/2918995 ... raaljagers


That is a bit over-optimistic, in the spring we will know more ;)

Over optimistic in what sense, too early for the claim of a commitment for an additional 15?

If this does happen I expect it to be the first of a number of top ups for some of the European partners. Another 15 from the Dutch, a similar increase from Norway is possible, Denmark could increase their fleet above the current planned 27 and I could even see Belgium upping their numbers. Increasing F-35 acquisitions is a good way to meet NATO commitments and all of the above have been active with their air forces supporting international operations over the last 20 years. Most of these nations also topped up F-16 orders in subsequent years so the precedent is there.
 
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Mortyman
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sat Dec 15, 2018 12:41 am

Ozair wrote:
Dutchy wrote:
petertenthije wrote:
According to de Telegraaf the Netherlands have commited to increase their JSF order of 37 planes with roughly 15 more.

https://www.telegraaf.nl/nieuws/2918995 ... raaljagers


That is a bit over-optimistic, in the spring we will know more ;)

Over optimistic in what sense, too early for the claim of a commitment for an additional 15?

If this does happen I expect it to be the first of a number of top ups for some of the European partners. Another 15 from the Dutch, a similar increase from Norway is possible, Denmark could increase their fleet above the current planned 27 and I could even see Belgium upping their numbers. Increasing F-35 acquisitions is a good way to meet NATO commitments and all of the above have been active with their air forces supporting international operations over the last 20 years. Most of these nations also topped up F-16 orders in subsequent years so the precedent is there.


Norway already have 52 planned. it would surprise me immensely if the Norwegian government orders more. Then again, rumours have it that NATO would like Norway to have more … We shall see ...
 
Planeflyer
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sat Dec 15, 2018 2:38 am

Ozair, do you think that some countries switch from A to the B version?
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sat Dec 15, 2018 9:04 pm

Planeflyer wrote:
Ozair, do you think that some countries switch from A to the B version?

It is possible but I doubt it will occur often. The operating concepts of the two aircraft are reasonably different to the point that it would likely be a significant doctrinal change for the respective Air Force to move that way. The Bee also has a higher acquisition and operating cost which isn't factored into most long term budgets.

The countries I think are likely to order the F-35B in the future are Spain, Singapore, Japan (soon to order) and Turkey. Outside chance are Australia, South Korea and perhaps a couple of Middle East nations. I can't see any of the European operators switching to Bees. If India eventually went for the F-35 I could also see them interested in a subfleet of Bees.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Dec 16, 2018 8:36 pm

Perhaps an increase from the expected 100 or simply Erdogan getting the numbers mixed up.

Erdogan - Turkey to Buy 120 F-35 Jets Amid Speculation Deal Will Be Canceled

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday that Ankara intended to buy 120 US-made F-35 fighter jets amid speculations that the transfer might be halted.

"We will buy 120 F-35 aircraft produced by the United States. Some of the components for the aircraft are produced in Turkey," Erdogan said, speaking at a rally in Istanbul, which was aired by the NTV broadcaster.

The president's statement comes after Erdogan's aide Ibrahim Kalin told reporters on Saturday on the sidelines of the Doha Forum that Ankara had doubts that the United States may cancel the deliveries of its F-35 fighters to Turkey if the latter buys the Russian air defense system S-400.

Earlier, US officials have warned that if Ankara goes ahead with its plans to purchase the S-400 systems, the United States could withhold the transfer of F-35 jets to Turkey. In addition, the US Congress has passed legislation that would block the transfer of the jets. On December 5, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu noted that Ankara did not see any problems with the supply of F-35 fighter jets.
The first two F-35 fighter jets were transferred to Turkey at defence contractor Lockheed Martin’s facility in Fort Worth, Texas in June. According to Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar, the United States will hand over two more F-35s in March 2019. The purchase is made under the US-sponsored multinational F-35 development program, which Ankara joined in 2002.

https://sputniknews.com/military/201812 ... s-erdogan/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Dec 17, 2018 9:05 pm

Some interesting commentary about the potential Japanese order for a 100+ more F-35s. Key issues include whether Japan can squeeze the acquisition within their budget, how the acquisition may impact European partners and whether the F-35 is the best aircraft for the future.

Some rational consideration of the budget and what it will cost to modify the Izumo class, acquire all the aircraft and create a new fleet air arm. Japan doesn’t have so much a money problem as it has a perception problem. Japan undoubtedly has the economic foundation to afford greater spending on the military but that would obviously come at the expense of other programs.

Aside from the funding I don’t see the Japanese acquisition of the F-35 impacting European partners or programs. They are already an F-35 customer, are already working on an upgraded Meteor AAM with the UK to equip their F-35 with and have a military that is dominated by US, albeit Japanese manufactured, equipment. The F-35 acquisition also isn’t shutting the door on their next gen fighter as the acquisition is being used to replace all the F-4 fleet as well as the older F-15 fleet essentially one for one. The F-35 will bring lower operating costs and increased capability.

The article is somewhat flawed in the description of the F-35s capabilities, the quotes from Garran Mulloy show he didn’t really do his research on the capabilities of the F-35 and the aircraft it is proposed to replace.

Budgetary, tactical questions hang over Japan’s F-35 force

Japan’s planned purchase of almost 150 US-built F-35s stealth fighters – at an estimated price tag of somewhere between $8 billion and $11 billion – is a massive and complex undertaking for multiple reasons.

It makes good sense in terms of Japan’s alliance with the US and may also provide a political-economic hedge against potential trade pressure from Washington. Tactically, the seaborne variants, to be deployed on the platform of two Izumo-class helicopter carriers which will be converted to the aircraft carrier role, will extend Japan’s airborne strike capabilities. And the overall buy replaces a fleet of aging aircraft.

However, the purchase is problematic from a budgetary standpoint, and could also hinder native arms developments. The creation of a new fleet air arm demands a wide range of back-up and logistic requirements to be put in place, while the new carrier requirements could detract from other necessary naval capabilities.

Moreover, the massive buy of US weapons could hinder potential European partnerships.

Budget battle ahead
Japan’s decision to buy so many of the pricey F-35s comes at a time when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Liberal Democratic Party are also looking at a massive outlay for a pair of the US Aegis Ashore anti-missile systems.

The two procurements will put an enormous strain on Abe as he tries to figure out how to keep the entire Japanese defense apparatus in balance with only modest budgetary increases.

The more spent on these programs means fewer funds available for native developments, such as Japan’s next-generation unmanned aircraft and submarines, as well as new and perhaps revolutionary anti-submarine warfare platforms which could prove to be significant game changers in the region.

Experts see a huge budgetary challenge shaping up.

“Under the new mid-term defense program, spending would grow at a 1.1% per year average, outpacing the 0.8% annual grown in the current spending program. Defense spending will still not exceed the 1% of GDP cap that Japan has long adhered to (unless Japan switches to the NATO method of calculating defense spending). It is now about 0.9% of GDP,” said Professor William Brooks of the Johns Hopkins University’s School for Advanced International Studies in Washington.

“Moreover, 80% of the defense budget goes for payments for previously purchased equipment and personnel expenses. So there is not a lot of leeway. The rest of the budget will be eaten up by the expensive F-35s.”

“The budget is very tight, (and) the bottlenecks are multiple. Recruitment and retention the greatest of all. The Maritime Self Defense Force has too many ships already and too few sailors now. How that will work with an expanded force, nobody knows,” Garren Mulloy, Associate Professor of International Relations at Daito Bunka University in Saitama, Japan told Asia Times.

“Aegis Ashore and (the F-35 acquisition) are two massive money-eating projects.”

The right plane for the job?
The F-35 is a single engine aircraft, but Japan’s Air Self Defense Force has always wanted its next warplane to be a twin-engine fighter, said Mulloy. “While the F-35 is stealthy, it has a shorter range and less air combat capability than the F-15 and possibly the F-2 as well,” said Mulloy, referring to the home-grown variant of the American F-16.

The carrier-based variant of the F35 will, of course, add force-projection range to Tokyo’s asset portfolio as it will be based on an ocean-roving platform. But the introduction of a fleet fighter wing creates multiple issues.

Mulloy describes the F-35B as providing “a very limited capability at very high cost … The F-35 is also very expensive to service and demands all-new simulator systems, etc. The F-35B is far from the ideal aircraft for Japan.”

It is not just the F35B itself. The conversion costs for the two helicopter carriers, demands for escort vessels and logistical support, as well as a massive aviation support and training network, also need to be taken into account, Mulloy said.

But other experts insist that the F-35 purchase makes sound sense, given the fleet of aging aircraft that need to be replaced.

“The reason Japan is purchasing 147 F-35s is to replace the last of three squadrons of F-4EJ/RF-4 Phantom IIs that will retire in 2020 and after that, about 100 F-15J/DJ Eagles that were built to an earlier standard and are more difficult to upgrade,” said Mike Yeo, Asia Reporter at Defense News.

“Japan has already set the 2030s as the planned entry into service date of its next-generation fighter. This will replace Japan’s fleet of indigenous Mitsubishi F-2 fighters, and possibly after that, the newer F-15s that Japan plans to upgrade,” Yeo said.

He added that the F-35 buy now planned makes sense from a long-term scheduling standpoint, as well from both an economy of scale and an alliance standpoint.

The non-tactical benefit
Certainly, with Abe wary of the Donald Trump administration’s unpredictability, the political benefits for the Japan-US alliance associated with the deal are appealing: The massive purchase of the top-end fighters should help to keep Tokyo out of Washington’s trade-war crosshairs.

“Japan has been criticized by the Trump administration for the over $60 billion trade deficit and this F-35 purchase addresses Washington’s demands that Japan purchase more US defense equipment to offset the trade imbalance,” said Professor of National Security Affairs Terry Roehrig at the US Naval War College, who is also the Director of the Asia-Pacific Studies Group.

The Japanese acquisition might also fill an upcoming hole in US export sales. “There is also a likelihood that Turkey will be excluded from purchasing the F-35 over its acquisition of the Russian S-400 anti-aircraft system,” Roehrig said. “Japan’s increased buy of the plane will help offset this loss.”

Both the US Air Force and US Marines will be deploying a large number of F35s warplanes on Japanese soil in the near future; Japan’s purchase should make for excellent cooperation and interoperability.

But while Japan will be well-served by acquiring a certain number of F-35s, Japan needs to be more open to developing closer ties with European partners.

“There is great defense synergy between European partners and Japan which could work with fighters as well,” said Mulloy. “Put all your eggs in the F-35 basket and the chances of failure, or of US sanctions, which have suddenly become believable in the Trump era, become real concerns.”

Beyond the aerial space
Roehrig is keeping a sharp eye on China’s expanding and increasingly more capable submarine force. This ominous Chinese trend worries Roehrig, who is concerned that in the process of re-tasking its Izumo-class ships to support F-35Bs, Japan may risk adversely impacting Tokyo’s anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities.

“Placing these planes on Izumo-class ships will provide Japan greater reach and allow it to more effectively protect its southern islands from Chinese intrusion,” said Roehrig. “Yes, Japan will gain increased reach and combat power – but will it come at the expense of these vessels’ excellent ASW capabilities? Now, these ships carry 12 to14 helicopters that are very effective at detecting submarines. Removing helicopters to make room for aircraft would decrease its ASW capability.”

All this suggests that Japan has much to consider as it plans to greatly expand the role of the F-35 JSF and F-35B. The big questions are how many F-35s are needed and how will this number impact other vital Japanese defense priorities.

http://www.atimes.com/article/budgetary ... -35-force/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Dec 18, 2018 8:37 pm

Well the numbers are in, 63 more F-35A and 42 F-35B which should be enough to sustain approximately 20 deployed on the Izumos am maintain training and maintenance of the fleet long term. I wonder if this will be the last order or, dependant on how future development of their own jet goes, whether Japan will continue to top up in the mid to late 2020s

With massive F-35 increase, Japan is now biggest international buyer

Japan will officially increase its order of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, including procurement of the F-35B model — making the Pacific nation the second-largest buyer of the Lockheed Martin-made jet.

Tokyo previously planned to procure 42 F-35A models. However, a source close to the program confirmed that Japan will be adding 63 F-35A models, as well as 42 F-35B models, for a total of 147 F-35 fighters.

The announcement, anticipated for weeks, was rolled out as part of Japan’s new defense plan Tuesday.

The package would make Japan second only to the United States in terms of procured F-35s, with the United Kingdom (138 total fighters) now third. Japan also becomes the fourth user of the "B" model, joining the U.S. Marine Corps, the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force and the Italian Navy.

From an operational standpoint, the decision to procure the F-35Bs are notable, as it comes hand in hand with a plan to use an existing ship design as an aircraft carrier. The presence of Japanese carriers armed with F-35Bs would be a clear signal of power projection to China, analysts have said, and also ease coordination with U.S. Marine Corps F-35Bs already stationed in Japan. Japan is in the process of standing up its first operational F-35 unit.

Since coming to office, U.S. President Donald Trump has made increasing arms sale abroad a key effort, with Japan a frequent target.

In a company statement, prime contractor Lockheed Martin called the decision “a testament to the aircraft’s transformational capability and its increasing role in promoting regional stability and enhancing the US-Japan security alliance.”

https://www.defensenews.com/global/asia ... nal-buyer/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Dec 18, 2018 9:12 pm

A reduction in the F-35 buy is one of the measures currently being floated to reduce the deficit. The suggestion would be to acquire additional F-16s and F-18s for the USAF and USN respectively while continuing to operate the current fleet of F-35. I doubt it will occur given the capability difference between the jets is such that replacing the numbers that way probably won’t accomplish the mission goals the respective services have.

Of the three variants I think the F-35C would be the most in danger of being cut given the USN has an active production line for the Super Hornet and the USN will be the sole operator of the F-35C.

The bigger saving would apparently come from retiring the F-22 fleet which would save US$30 billion to 2028 while also cutting the B-1B fleet would save an additional US$18 billion over the period.

CBO floats variety of cost cutting ideas, including fewer F-35s

The Congressional Budget Office floated a number of cost-cutting ideas for the US federal government including reducing the number of additional Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II purchases, retiring the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor or Rockwell B-1B Lancer bomber fleets, and deferring development of the Northrop Grumman B-21 stealth bomber.

As part of a report titled “Options for reducing the deficit: 2019 to 2028”, the CBO outlined dozens of cuts in discretionary spending, within and outside of the Department of Defense, that could close the US government’s gap between revenue and expenditures. The agency’s analysis was in light of a federal deficit that is projected to rise to an average of 5.1% of GDP between 2022 and 2025 – losses which would drive the federal government’s debt to levels higher than what was incurred during World War II.

The plan to cancel additional F-35 purchases between 2019 and 2028 is estimated to save the Pentagon $13 billion, according the CBO. Instead of buying the F-35, the US Air Force would purchase 510 F-16 Fighting Falcons, and the Navy and Marine Corps would purchase 394 F/A-18 Super Hornets, through 2028. Those purchases would occur on the same schedule as that currently in place for the F-35s. The services would continue to operate the 429 F-35s that have already been purchased.

“An advantage of this option is that it would reduce the cost of replacing DoD’s older fighter aircraft while still providing new F-16s and F/A-18s with improved capabilities—including modern radar, precision weapons, and digital communications—that would be able to defeat most of the threats that the United States is likely to face in the coming years,” the CBO says. “The F-35s that have already been purchased would augment the stealthy B-2 bombers and F-22 fighters that are currently in the force, improving the services’ ability to operate against adversaries equipped with advanced air defense systems.”

There would be drawbacks as well, the CBO notes.

“A disadvantage of this option is that a force composed of a mix of stealthy and non-stealthy aircraft would be less flexible against advanced enemy air defense systems. If the United States was unable to neutralise such defenses early in a conflict, then the use of F-16s and F/A-18s might be limited, effectively reducing the number of fighters that the United States would have at its disposal,” according to the agency. “Although the Marine Corps would end up with fewer STOVL fighters capable of operating from amphibious assault ships under this option, enough F-35Bs have already been purchased to fully replace the STOVL AV-8B Harriers that perform that function today.”

However, reducing acquisitions of the F-35 would be less impactful than retiring the F-22 or B-1B, which are expensive to fly, maintain and upgrade.

“Retiring the F-22 fleet would reduce costs by about $30 billion through 2028,” says the CBO. “That amount comprises three categories of savings: operation and maintenance (about $16 billion); upgrades and modifications (about $9 billion); and military personnel (about $5 billion).”

Additionally, retiring the B-1B would reduce costs by about $18 billion through 2028, according to the CBO. Most of the savings would result from eliminating the costs for operation and maintenance of the B-1B fleet and the costs for the military personnel in the squadrons that would be inactivated.

Yet, the most impactful change in USAF procurement plans might be deferring further development of the B-21 stealth bomber, which could save about $32 billion from 2020 through 2028, according to the CBO. The B-21 is expected to enter service in the mid- to late-2020s.

One benefit of this approach would be that the B-21 programme could take advantage of forthcoming aerospace technologies not yet available, the CBO argues.

“Taking advantage of future technological developments could be particularly valuable for weapon systems that are expected to be in use for several decades,” says the agency. “Even with a 10-year delay, a new bomber would still be available before today’s bombers reached the end of their service life.”

However, the CBO notes that the USAF would be rolling the dice if it chose to delay the B-21, as by 2035, the USAF’s B-52s will be about 75 years old, its B-1Bs will be about 50 years old, and its B-2As about 40 years old. What’s more, larger numbers of stealthy bombers might be useful in operations against adversaries that employed advanced air defenses, such as China or Russia.

“Fewer bombers would be available for operations in places like the western Pacific Ocean, where long distances and limited basing options would make long-range aircraft such as the B-21 particularly useful during a conflict,” says the CBO.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... ng-454494/


The irony of the above article being published in the same time as the below,

CBO: US Air Force funding too little to replace aging aircraft

The US Air Force’s average funding level in recent years is too little to replace, on a one-for-one basis, aging aircraft with new aircraft in the coming decades.
That’s according to research by the Congressional Budget Office, which notes that costly-to-replace Lockheed Martin F-16C/D and Boeing F-15C/D fighters, F-15E multirole fighters, Lockheed Martin C-130 cargo aircraft, and Rockwell B-1B bombers are nearing the end of their service life.

CBO projects that replacing aircraft in the current fleet would cost an average of $15 billion a year in the 2020s. That figure would rise to $23 billion in the 2030s and then fall back to $15 billion in the 2040s.
In comparison, appropriations for procuring new aircraft averaged about $12 billion per year between 1980 and 2017. The USAF annual appropriation for procuring new aircraft averaged about $9 billion between 2010 and 2017, according to the CBO.

Replacement costs would be lower if the Air Force decided to extend the service life of some aircraft or if the costs of procuring some aircraft were lower than CBO projects, the agency notes.

The USAF’s fleet includes about 2,000 fighter and attack jets; 150 long-range bombers; 1,100 airlift, cargo, and utility planes; 450 tankers; 500 reconnaissance and electronic warfare aircraft; 1,200 trainer planes; and 150 helicopters and tiltrotors, according to the CBO’s accounting.

The largest share of the fleet is 26 – 30 years old; those aircraft entered service in the late 1980s and early 1990s, funded by the defense buildup of the 1980s, says the CBO. The service’s annual appropriations for procuring new aircraft peaked in 1986 at about $29 billion, but then trended downward until the late 1990s.

Those aging Cold War-era aircraft could prove expensive to replace. The largest costs for the USAF are projected to be for replacing aircraft ages 26 - 30 years old, and those that are 31 - 35 years old, such as the B-1Bs, F-15C/Ds, and F-16C/D. Another group of aircraft with big replacement costs are those more than 55 years old, which mostly includes the Boeing KC-135 aerial refueling tankers and B-52 bombers.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... in-454408/
 
ZaphodHarkonnen
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Dec 18, 2018 9:18 pm

You could also just tax the richest more. I know that's a crazy idea to float but it might just work.
 
DarkKnight5
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Dec 19, 2018 1:26 am

ZaphodHarkonnen wrote:
You could also just tax the richest more. I know that's a crazy idea to float but it might just work.

You could also just spend less. Maybe that’s crazy too...
 
LMP737
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JMSDF Carriers to get F-35

Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:16 pm

It will be interesting to see F-35's with the rising sun landing on the "boat".

https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/18/asia/jap ... index.html
Never take financial advice from co-workers.
 
Ozair
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Re: JMSDF Carriers to get F-35

Thu Dec 20, 2018 1:14 am

LMP737 wrote:
It will be interesting to see F-35's with the rising sun landing on the "boat".

https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/18/asia/jap ... index.html

For me the last paragraph of the article was the most interesting,

The main assembly point for the F-35 is Fort Worth, Texas, but the jets are also put together in Nagoya, Japan, and Italy. Japanese government officials said all the planes in the new order will be imported.


That seems to indicate that Japan will not be locally assembling the aircraft in Japan but will take all from likely the US production line. Not sure if the statement is accurate, given the Japanese FACO assembles jets with mostly foreign parts or if there have been issues that prevent or reduce the feasibility of Japanese assembly. Perhaps could also be a delivery timeframe issue.
 
Ozair
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Re: JMSDF Carriers to get F-35

Thu Dec 20, 2018 4:43 am

Ozair wrote:
LMP737 wrote:
It will be interesting to see F-35's with the rising sun landing on the "boat".

https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/18/asia/jap ... index.html

For me the last paragraph of the article was the most interesting,

The main assembly point for the F-35 is Fort Worth, Texas, but the jets are also put together in Nagoya, Japan, and Italy. Japanese government officials said all the planes in the new order will be imported.


That seems to indicate that Japan will not be locally assembling the aircraft in Japan but will take all from likely the US production line. Not sure if the statement is accurate, given the Japanese FACO assembles jets with mostly foreign parts or if there have been issues that prevent or reduce the feasibility of Japanese assembly. Perhaps could also be a delivery timeframe issue.

Answered my own question through another article,
Japan has programmed the acquisition of a further 105 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightnings, including F-35Bs for operation from converted helicopter carriers. As an initial move toward the larger F-35 force, Japan will buy 45 aircraft of the type in the five fiscal years beginning April 1, 2019, including eight F-35As previously programmed.

Setting out its policy in a document published Dec. 18, the defense ministry also said it would drop local assembly of F-35s, which has been blamed for contributing to the high price Japan has been paying for the stealth fighters.…

...Unlike most of the first batch of Japanese F-35s, those bought in fiscal 2019 and later will not be put together at the MHI final assembly and checkout plant at Nagoya. Instead, Japan will take them directly from Lockheed Martin, as most customers do.

The F-35As that Japan bought in fiscal 2016 cost $131 million each, compared with the price of $108 million the U.S. paid at about that time for deliveries from Lockheed Martin. Japanese media have pointed the finger at local assembly as a factor in the high price.

The Nagoya plant is being outfitted for maintenance, although Lockheed Martin has said that this alteration will not affect final assembly capacity. The ministry may have decided that, since MHI now knows how to put F-35s together, a process that will later be applied in overhauls, there is no longer much point in paying for such work during procurement...."

http://aviationweek.com/defense/japan-p ... ing-stovls
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:58 pm

A signifiant about turn from where this Italian Government was in relation to their time in opposition.

Italian government praise for F-35 shows early doubts waning

Italy’s populist government has given its clearest sign yet that it is firmly backing the F-35, following early pledges to scrap the program by the Five Star party, one of two parties making up Rome’s governing coalition.

“It is obvious we cannot deprive our Air Force of a great air capability that puts us ahead of many other countries,” said junior defense minister Angelo Tofalo during a speech in Italy’s parliament this week.

Tofalo is a member of the Five Star party, which formed a governing coalition in June this year with the League party after courting votes with its condemnation of the fighter program.

Last year, the party said it would cancel Italy’s plans to buy 131 aircraft.

Since taking office, the new government’s defense minister Elisabetta Trenta — who was tapped for office by the Five Star party — has said the government will consider slowing down orders, rather than cancelling the program.

Last month, a government source told Defense News Italy would buy six or seven aircraft in the next five years instead of the previous plan to buy around ten.

Tofolo’s statement took the positive appraisal of the F-35 one step further.

“We have talked about the F-35 for many years in Italy, often in a distorted way, whereas you often need to really know and evaluate information,” he said.

“The F-35 program is now moving, and is 20 years old, and contrary to what is often said it is an aircraft which surely has the benefit of optimum technology, maybe the best in the world at this time,” he added.

Italy has so far taken delivery of 10 F-35As and one F-35B, which were assembled at the country’s final assembly line in Cameri, northern Italy. The Italian aircraft based at Amendola air base have totalled 2,000 flying hours, and in a first for Europe the fledgeling fleet were given Initial Operating Capability status on Nov. 30.

https://www.defensenews.com/global/euro ... ts-waning/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Dec 20, 2018 11:46 pm

A big year and just in time, LM has delivered the as contracted 91 jets and expected to deliver over 130 next year. I can't think of a jet that has delivered at a faster rate since the F-16.

Lockheed Martin reaches 2018 F-35 delivery target of 91 jets

Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) said on Thursday it has reached its 2018 target to deliver 91 F-35 fighter jets to the United States and its allies, as the defense contractor built 38 percent more jets this year.

The F-35 accounts for about a quarter of Lockheed’s total revenue. During the third quarter, F-35 production volume and payments for maintenance increased in the quarter.

The cost of the most common variation of the jet, the F-35A, is now $89.2 million after the most recent round of contract negotiations announced in September.

Lockheed Martin said that in 2019 it aims to deliver more than 130 F-35s representing a 40 percent increase in production over 2018. The Bethesda, Maryland-based weapons maker is aiming for annual production to more than 160 jets in 2023.

In November, Lockheed received $6 billion in funding toward a multiyear commitment on a batch of 255 jets from the United States and its allies.

This year, more international customers have signed on to buy the jet. In October, Belgium said it chose the F-35 over the Eurofighter Typhoon to replace its aging F-16s in a 4 billion euro ($4.55 billion) deal.

Other U.S. allies have been eyeing a purchase of the stealthy jet. Potential new customers include Finland, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates.

Despite the consistent growth, the F-35 has been widely criticized for being too expensive, including by U.S. President Donald Trump and other U.S. officials, who have also pointed to numerous production delays and cost overruns.

Earlier this year, all Lockheed Martin’s U.S. and international F-35 fighter jets were grounded for engine inspections following a crash of an F-35B on Sept. 28 near Beaufort, South Carolina.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa- ... SKCN1OJ0HT
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Dec 21, 2018 12:02 am

The somewhat irrelevant battle between the A-10 and F-35 looks to continue again shortly.

Pentagon F-35 vs A-10 Close Air Support Evaluation Hits Next Phase

The Pentagon-led F-35 vs. A-10 Close Air Support assessment is nearing its next phase of evaluation, following an initial “first wave” of tests in July of this year -- designed to test which of the two aircraft might be best suited to confront heavy enemy fire when performing high-risk CAS missions.

“Mission performance is under evaluation,” Vice Adm. Mat Winter, Program Executive Officer, F-35 program, told reporters earlier this year.

Pre- Initial Operational Test & Evaluation test phases, are currently underway at Edwards AFB and Naval Air Station China Lake, officials said.

“Mission performance is being evaluated in the presence of a robust set of ground threats and, to ensure a fair and comparable evaluation of each system’s performance, both aircraft are allowed to configure their best weapons loadouts and employ their best tactics for the mission scenario” a statement from the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation said.

Long-revered by ground troops as a “flying-tank,” the combat proven A-10 has been indispensable to ground-war victory. Its titanium hull, 30mm cannon, durability, built-in redundancy and weapons range has enabled the aircraft to sustain large amounts of small arms fire and combat damage - and keep flying.

At the same time, as newer threats emerge and the high-tech F-35 matures into combat, many US military weapons developers and combatant commanders believe the JSF can bring an improved, new-generation of CAS support to ground troops. Thus - the ongoing Office of the Secretary of Defense comparison.

Upon initial examination, some might regard a stealthy, 5th-Gen F-35 as ill-equipped or at least not-suited for close air support. However, a closer look does seem to uncover a handful of advantages.

Long-range, computer-enabled F-35 sensors could enable the aircraft to see and destroy enemy ground targets with precision from much higher altitudes and much farther ranges than an A-10 could; the speed of an F-35, when compared to an A-10, would potentially make it better able to maneuver, elude enemy fire and get into position for attack; like the A-10s 30mm gun, the F-35 has its own 25mm cannon mounted on its left wing which could attack ground forces; given its sensor configuration, with things like a 360-degree Distributed Aperture System with cameras, the F-35 brings a drone-like ISR component to air-ground war. This could help targeting, terrain analysis and much-needed precision attacks as US soldiers fight up close with maneuvering enemy ground forces.

An F-35 might be better positioned to respond quickly to enemy force movement; in the event that enemy air threats emerge in a firefight, an F-35 could address them in a way an A-10 could not, obviously; an F-35 would be much better positioned to locate enemy long-range fires points of combat significance and destroy hostile artillery, mortar or long-range-fires launching points. Finally, while the A-10 has a surprising wide envelope of weapons, an F-35 could travel with a wider range of air-ground attack weapons - armed with advanced targeting technology.

Also, fighter-jet close air support is by no means unprecedented. F-22s were used against ISIS, F-15s were used against insurgents in Iraq - and the F-35 recently had its combat debut in Afghanistan.

There are, however, some unknowns likely to be informing the current analysis. How much small arms fire could an F-35 withstand? Could it draw upon its “hovering” technology to loiter near high-value target areas? To what extent could it keep flying in the event that major components, such as engines or fuselage components, were destroyed in war? How much could A-10 weapons and targeting technology be upgraded?

Regardless of the conclusions arrived upon by the ongoing assessment, it is likely both the A-10 and F-35 will perform CAS missions in the immediate years ahead.

While the Army's reverence for the A-10 is a long-established fact, the service does also seem to like the F-35 for Close Air Support as well.

“When you are in a firefight, the first thing infantry wants to do it get on that radio to adjust fire for mortars and locate targets with close air support with planes or helicopters. You want fires. The F-35 has increased survivability and it will play a decisive role in the support of ground combat,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told reporters at the Association of the United States Army Annual Symposium in October.

https://defensemaven.io/warriormaven/ai ... JvtEMrzKg/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:15 pm

Ozair wrote:
A signifiant about turn from where this Italian Government was in relation to their time in opposition.

Italian government praise for F-35 shows early doubts waning

Italy’s populist government has given its clearest sign yet that it is firmly backing the F-35, following early pledges to scrap the program by the Five Star party, one of two parties making up Rome’s governing coalition.

“It is obvious we cannot deprive our Air Force of a great air capability that puts us ahead of many other countries,” said junior defense minister Angelo Tofalo during a speech in Italy’s parliament this week.

Tofalo is a member of the Five Star party, which formed a governing coalition in June this year with the League party after courting votes with its condemnation of the fighter program.

Last year, the party said it would cancel Italy’s plans to buy 131 aircraft.

Since taking office, the new government’s defense minister Elisabetta Trenta — who was tapped for office by the Five Star party — has said the government will consider slowing down orders, rather than cancelling the program.

Last month, a government source told Defense News Italy would buy six or seven aircraft in the next five years instead of the previous plan to buy around ten.

Tofolo’s statement took the positive appraisal of the F-35 one step further.

“We have talked about the F-35 for many years in Italy, often in a distorted way, whereas you often need to really know and evaluate information,” he said.

“The F-35 program is now moving, and is 20 years old, and contrary to what is often said it is an aircraft which surely has the benefit of optimum technology, maybe the best in the world at this time,” he added.

Italy has so far taken delivery of 10 F-35As and one F-35B, which were assembled at the country’s final assembly line in Cameri, northern Italy. The Italian aircraft based at Amendola air base have totalled 2,000 flying hours, and in a first for Europe the fledgeling fleet were given Initial Operating Capability status on Nov. 30.

https://www.defensenews.com/global/euro ... ts-waning/


An interesting comparison, the Defence minister advocating for the jet while the Prime Minister has now come out with the below comments. Not a great surprise given the budget is the biggest issue Italy is facing right now.

Italy will review F-35 jet programme in 2019: Deputy PM

Italy's Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said F-35 fighter jets are not a priority for the country and that his government would review the programme in 2019.

"I have always been critical and will remain critical of this programme despite it being a great technology ... but useless military spending must be cut, not increased," Di Maio said on Rai3 television.

Di Maio's 5- Star Movement, part of the governing coalition with the far-right League, has repeatedly said it would cut Italian defence spending and would scrap the F-35 plan.

In June, Defence Minister Elisabetta Trenta said the government would not reduce its order of 90 F-35 jets but rather slow it down, stretching out its purchase plan.

The F-35 stealth jet is made by Lockheed Martin Corp , with companies including Northrop Grumman Corp , United Technologies Corp's Pratt & Whitney and BAE Systems Plc also involved.

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/wo ... m-11053208
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:08 pm

Continued expansion of the manufacturing base for the F-35.

Israel Begins Production of State-of-the-Art Wings for Lockheed’s F-35 Stealth Fighter

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has begun production on wings that are invisible to radar for the Lockheed F-35 stealth fighter, The Jerusalem Post reported Thursday.

“The construction of the new production line significantly upgrades IAI’s technological capabilities, automation and robotics, and will enable the company to establish itself as a major player in the military and civilian aerostructures,” a statement from IAI read.

The production line is expected to be operational for 20 years, and to generate more than $2.5 billion in revenue during the next 10 to 15 years.

Initially, the production line is set to fabricate 700 kits in its first phase, with deliveries expected to start early in 2019. A 2016 statement said that the production line was expected to produce some 811 kits by 2034.

The wing sets will be manufactured using a state-of-the-art composite layer of materials called AFP (Automatic Fiber Placement). The threads, which are 3mm thick, are what give the wings the ability to escape detection by radar.

The contract between IAI and Lockheed Martin to create this production line was signed in 2013.

Israel purchased a fleet of F-35 aircraft from Lockheed and took delivery of the first ones two years ago. In December 2017, the Israeli Air Force announced that its squadron of F-35s was “operational.” In May of this year, IAF Commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin said that Israel had been the first nation to use the F-35 in actual combat.

Israel is the only country that the Pentagon allows to modify the planes, due to the close military cooperation between the two countries as well as Israel’s experience modifying American F-15s and F-16s to integrate the jets with their own systems. Some custom communications and sensor hardware that Israel developed for the jets has been incorporated by the U.S. into its own aircraft.

http://www.thetower.org/6997-israel-beg ... h-fighter/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:09 pm

Continued expansion of the manufacturing base for the F-35.

Israel Begins Production of State-of-the-Art Wings for Lockheed’s F-35 Stealth Fighter

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has begun production on wings that are invisible to radar for the Lockheed F-35 stealth fighter, The Jerusalem Post reported Thursday.

“The construction of the new production line significantly upgrades IAI’s technological capabilities, automation and robotics, and will enable the company to establish itself as a major player in the military and civilian aerostructures,” a statement from IAI read.

The production line is expected to be operational for 20 years, and to generate more than $2.5 billion in revenue during the next 10 to 15 years.

Initially, the production line is set to fabricate 700 kits in its first phase, with deliveries expected to start early in 2019. A 2016 statement said that the production line was expected to produce some 811 kits by 2034.

The wing sets will be manufactured using a state-of-the-art composite layer of materials called AFP (Automatic Fiber Placement). The threads, which are 3mm thick, are what give the wings the ability to escape detection by radar.

The contract between IAI and Lockheed Martin to create this production line was signed in 2013.

Israel purchased a fleet of F-35 aircraft from Lockheed and took delivery of the first ones two years ago. In December 2017, the Israeli Air Force announced that its squadron of F-35s was “operational.” In May of this year, IAF Commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin said that Israel had been the first nation to use the F-35 in actual combat.

Israel is the only country that the Pentagon allows to modify the planes, due to the close military cooperation between the two countries as well as Israel’s experience modifying American F-15s and F-16s to integrate the jets with their own systems. Some custom communications and sensor hardware that Israel developed for the jets has been incorporated by the U.S. into its own aircraft.

http://www.thetower.org/6997-israel-beg ... h-fighter/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:16 pm

When you put the below report of upgraded surface warfare capability during early Blk 4 it makes sense why the USN has delayed IOC compared to the other US services and is waiting for Blk 4.

Updated F-35 Will Get Maritime Strike Capability

The Block IV version of the F-35 will add a fifth “mission thread” to the four missions it already performs—that of “expanded surface warfare”—Joint Strike Fighter Program Executive Officer Vice Adm. Mat Winter said in a Wednesd​ay interview with Air Force Magazine.

The Joint Program Office also has endorsed keeping Turkey as an F-35 partner despite concerns about that country buying a Russian-made missile defense system, Winter said. He also confirmed Japan’s expanded order for F-35s and said the Navy is on track to be operational with the C model of the fighter in two months.

The new mission boils down to improved capability “in maritime strike,” Winter told Air Force Magazine. The four core missions in the F-35 baseline version are: air superiority, suppression and destruction of enemy air defenses, close air support, and strategic attack of key targets.

The Block 3F version can do limited strikes against ships, but Winter explained the radar and other sensor functions needed to attack land targets are different for attack of sea targets. The update in Block IV will allow the F-35 to be effective in the sea strike role as well, he said.

The Navy/Air Force Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM), a variant of the AGM-158 JASSM-ER, is not a fundamental element of the new mission capability, Winter said. Although the F-35 has had fit checks of LRASM externally and can probably carry the weapon internally, the Navy’s threshold munition for the mission is the AGM-154 Joint Stand-Off Weapon, or JSOW, he said, noting that LRASM may be added later.

Winter said the Joint Program Office was tasked to provide a judgement on the potential effects of Turkey being expelled from the F-35 program. Turkey, one of the original partners on the program, has come under criticism for human rights violations and its plan to buy the Russian S400 air defense system. Congress has expressed the fear that F-35s operating in close proximity to the S400 could give Russian technicians crucial insights into spotting and tracking the stealthy F-35.

“We supported the department’s report in November that provided our concerns and the impact of the current Turkey-US relationship,” Winter said. The program’s “industrial base evaluation” of the effects of ousting Turkey—which produces parts for the F-35, is standing up an engine depot, and will buy 100 of the jets—would be a drag on the program, and Turkey should be retained in the consortium if possible, Winter asserted.

“The facts are that Turkey produces 844 parts for me, and they are quality parts, affordable parts, and delivered on time,” he said. “Turkey ‘s industrial establishment for F-35 is one of my best partners, and they do great work.” His “official line” is that Turkey remain “a committed partner, and we are continuing to execute the program of record, with Turkey participation, in providing their aircraft, establishing their footprint, and preparing for their arrival of aircraft in-country next November.”

Winter noted, though, that his office is continuously exploring work-arounds that can be put in place if any partner drops out or suffers severe production issues that might imperil the program, which sources parts and materials from all its partner countries.

“I am doing appropriate acquisition supply chain risk management, like I do everywhere. And so, I’m not doing anything special” with regard to Turkey, Winter said.

Winter confirmed that Japan has just added 105 F-35s to its existing order for 42 of the fighters, and that this expanded buy would include a mix of both F-35A conventional takeoff models and​ F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing types, for “a total of 147 F-35s,” he said. The Marine Corps operates the F-35B exclusively.

The additional aircraft would include 42 F-35B airplanes, which would likely operate from Japanese “helicopter carriers,” which are flat-top ships analogous to Navy amphibious assault ships, which are used by the Marine Corps.

The F-35Bs would also allow the Japanese Self-Defense Forces to operate cooperatively with Marine Corps F-35Bs stationed in Japan.

The new request will modify a previous letter of agreement governing the aircraft, Winter said. Japan’s order will make that country, eventually, the second-largest operator of the F-35 after the US, eclipsing Britain’s planned inventory of 138 of the fighters. Other international operators of the F-35B include Britain and Italy.

Winter also said the Navy is “on track” to declare Initial Operational Capability with the F-35C onboard the USS Carl Vinson in February.

“They just finished their ‘safe for flight’ [certification] with VFA-147 on board ​the Carl Vinson last week, that’s a major milestone,” Winter reported. “That means all the elements for VFA-147 will be available for the first squadron for deployment. ...The training systems are the remaining elements that are being delivered.”

http://www.airforcemag.com/Features/Pag ... ility.aspx
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:20 pm

Some F-35C specific slides from the Tailhook conference earlier in the year posted by BIO on another forum, credit to him for finding this stuff.

Image

Image

Image
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:31 pm

Tech refresh 3 of the F-35 is receiving additional funding as per the expected timeframes and in readiness for Blk 4.

Lockheed Martin contracted for F-35 computer system updates

The U.S. Navy awarded a roughly $712.5 million order to Lockheed Martin for the company's work on the F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter.

The order, tacked onto an existing agreement, will fund Lockheed Martin's development of the aircraft's Technology Refresh 3 System, which will update the computer systems on board the F-35 Lightning II, the U.S. Defense Department announced Thursday.

Lockheed Martin's work on the system, also called the TR3, will include design efforts through the fleet release stage. Work will take place in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be finished by March 2023.

The F-35, across three different variants, is a fifth-generation fighter expected to replace much of the air fleet for the U.S. Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.

The United States and its allies are expected to purchase thousands of F-35s.

A total $207.1 million in fiscal 2018 and 2019 research, development, test and evaluation funds from the Navy and Marine Corps and funds from non-U.S. Department of Defense entities will be obligated at the time of the award.

https://www.upi.com/Defense-News/2018/1 ... 546006270/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:40 pm

Check Out This Shot Of An F-35 Flying Through The Star Wars Canyon Generating Shock Wave Light Distortion

“Star Wars Canyon” (aka Rainbow Canyon) which empties into the Panamint Valley region of Death Valley National Park does not need any introduction: it has become very popular among serious aviation photographers from all around the world who daily exploit the unique opportunity to shoot fast jets, warbirds and also airlifters during their transit through the so-called “Jedi Transition”

Though there are no schedules as to air traffic through the low level route (which can range from sparse to busy), it is the scene of some of the finest examples of low level flying by some of the best pilots.

Last week, some F-35A Lightning jets out of Edwards Air Force Base, California, were using the canyon for some advanced training. This shot, was taken during that training. Although Death Valley and the immediate vicinity are famous for being dry, arid desert, there is enough moisture left in the air to be squeezed out by the aerodynamics of some aircraft to form vapor such as the vortices from this Lightning II’s wingtips. While the jet wash and heat wave from the exhaust are obvious and common in many photographs, there is also a subtle change. There is distortion at the belly of the fighter (right side of the photo) which almost appears to be that of a camera being zoomed out during the shot. However, if this were the case, the effect would be seen throughout the entire image which it’s not.

In this case, the distortion that our friend and renowned photographer Jim Mumaw caught in this cool photograph is actually caused by the shock waves around the 5th generation aircraft.

At speed lower than the transonic region, air flows smoothly around the airframe; in the transonic region, airflow begins to reach the speed of sound in localized areas on the aircraft, including the upper surface of the wing and the fuselage: shock waves, generated by pressure gradient resulting from the formation of supersonic flow regions, represent the location where the air moving at supersonic speed transitions to subsonic. When the density of the air changes (in this case as a consequence of shock waves) there is a change in its refractive index, resulting in light distortion.

“Cameras often catch moments like this one which our eyes cannot,” Mumaw comments.

https://theaviationist.com/2018/12/23/c ... istortion/

Image
 
Planeflyer
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Dec 28, 2018 10:32 pm

Cool, thanks for all the posts this past year.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sat Dec 29, 2018 10:43 am

Planeflyer wrote:
Cool, thanks for all the posts this past year.

No worries. It was great to be away from the internet for a few days so I think I will only post once or twice a week in this thread, just to keep it up to date.

There is plenty of good info in the thread and I expect a lot more into 2019.
 
HaveBlue
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sat Dec 29, 2018 8:39 pm

Ozair wrote:
Check Out This Shot Of An F-35 Flying Through The Star Wars Canyon Generating Shock Wave Light Distortion



Incredible shot, and rare phenomenon to see!
 
estorilm
Posts: 609
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Dec 31, 2018 4:00 pm

Ozair wrote:
Check Out This Shot Of An F-35 Flying Through The Star Wars Canyon Generating Shock Wave Light Distortion

“Star Wars Canyon” (aka Rainbow Canyon) which empties into the Panamint Valley region of Death Valley National Park does not need any introduction: it has become very popular among serious aviation photographers from all around the world who daily exploit the unique opportunity to shoot fast jets, warbirds and also airlifters during their transit through the so-called “Jedi Transition”

Though there are no schedules as to air traffic through the low level route (which can range from sparse to busy), it is the scene of some of the finest examples of low level flying by some of the best pilots.

Last week, some F-35A Lightning jets out of Edwards Air Force Base, California, were using the canyon for some advanced training. This shot, was taken during that training. Although Death Valley and the immediate vicinity are famous for being dry, arid desert, there is enough moisture left in the air to be squeezed out by the aerodynamics of some aircraft to form vapor such as the vortices from this Lightning II’s wingtips. While the jet wash and heat wave from the exhaust are obvious and common in many photographs, there is also a subtle change. There is distortion at the belly of the fighter (right side of the photo) which almost appears to be that of a camera being zoomed out during the shot. However, if this were the case, the effect would be seen throughout the entire image which it’s not.

In this case, the distortion that our friend and renowned photographer Jim Mumaw caught in this cool photograph is actually caused by the shock waves around the 5th generation aircraft.

At speed lower than the transonic region, air flows smoothly around the airframe; in the transonic region, airflow begins to reach the speed of sound in localized areas on the aircraft, including the upper surface of the wing and the fuselage: shock waves, generated by pressure gradient resulting from the formation of supersonic flow regions, represent the location where the air moving at supersonic speed transitions to subsonic. When the density of the air changes (in this case as a consequence of shock waves) there is a change in its refractive index, resulting in light distortion.

“Cameras often catch moments like this one which our eyes cannot,” Mumaw comments.

https://theaviationist.com/2018/12/23/c ... istortion/

Image

O..M..G..

...he's going to make some mulah off of that one!
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:26 am

LOL, apparently the F135 is the sound of freedom over Texas...

Proud of the ‘sound of freedom’ in Fort Worth? Here’s how to keep it with you

The loud roar of airplanes on the city’s west side has never been a bother to most locals.

Sure, the noise from aircraft such as the F-35 fighter jets temporarily stops conversations.

But many locals say the sound of those airplane engines symbolizes one thing: “The Sound of Freedom.”

State Sen. Jane Nelson wants Texans to be able to keep that F-35 pride with them no matter where they go.

Nelson, R-Flower Mound, has filed a bill requiring the state to create a license plate featuring the F-35 fighter jet — which is built at Lockheed Martin’s plant in west Fort Worth — along with the local motto: “The Sound of Freedom.”

Texans would be able to buy this specialty license plate — as they already may buy plates honoring everything from the military and colleges to Dr Pepper and sports teams such as the Dallas Cowboys — if Senate Bill 240 is approved by the Texas Legislature in 2019.

“The F-35 is a significant point of pride for Senate District 12 where it is manufactured,” said Nelson, R-Flower Mound, and the dean of the Tarrant delegation. “It is crucial in our country’s pursuit to promote and defend freedom around the globe and this legislation affirms Texas’ position as a hub for the aerospace industry.”

State lawmakers head back to work on Jan. 8 and will wrap up on May 27.

If Nelson’s proposal is approved, the license plates would be available some time after Sept. 1, 2019.

https://www.star-telegram.com/news/loca ... 09865.html
 
DarkKnight5
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Jan 03, 2019 6:26 am

Ozair wrote:
LOL, apparently the F135 is the sound of freedom over Texas...

Proud of the ‘sound of freedom’ in Fort Worth? Here’s how to keep it with you

The loud roar of airplanes on the city’s west side has never been a bother to most locals.

Sure, the noise from aircraft such as the F-35 fighter jets temporarily stops conversations.

But many locals say the sound of those airplane engines symbolizes one thing: “The Sound of Freedom.”

State Sen. Jane Nelson wants Texans to be able to keep that F-35 pride with them no matter where they go.

Nelson, R-Flower Mound, has filed a bill requiring the state to create a license plate featuring the F-35 fighter jet — which is built at Lockheed Martin’s plant in west Fort Worth — along with the local motto: “The Sound of Freedom.”

Texans would be able to buy this specialty license plate — as they already may buy plates honoring everything from the military and colleges to Dr Pepper and sports teams such as the Dallas Cowboys — if Senate Bill 240 is approved by the Texas Legislature in 2019.

“The F-35 is a significant point of pride for Senate District 12 where it is manufactured,” said Nelson, R-Flower Mound, and the dean of the Tarrant delegation. “It is crucial in our country’s pursuit to promote and defend freedom around the globe and this legislation affirms Texas’ position as a hub for the aerospace industry.”

State lawmakers head back to work on Jan. 8 and will wrap up on May 27.

If Nelson’s proposal is approved, the license plates would be available some time after Sept. 1, 2019.

https://www.star-telegram.com/news/loca ... 09865.html


I’m here for the fighter jet license plate, for sure. Especially compared to the options available in my state...
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sat Jan 05, 2019 2:44 am

The USN remains on target for F-35C IOC likely to be declared in early February.

Navy's F-35C on Track to Be Combat Ready Next Month

The U.S. Navy is on track to reach critical milestones and declare its F-35 Joint Strike Fighters ready for combat next month.

There have been no reported delays in the service's F-35C reaching initial operating capability (IOC) next month, Navy spokeswoman Lt. Lauren Chatmas told Military.com on Friday.

The Joint Strike Fighter Fleet Integration Office "is confident in meeting milestones as planned," Chatmas said.

While no official February date has been announced, the work "is still on target, still proceeding as planned," she said.

Last month, the Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147 "Argonauts" out of Naval Air Station Lemoore, California, completed a critical milestone aboard the USS Carl Vinson, a turning point in reaching IOC for the Navy's stealth jet.

The "Argonauts" are slated to become the service's first operational F-35C squadron. Once IOC ready, VFA-147's first deployment is scheduled aboard the Vinson in 2021.

The progression comes as the Navy plans to deactivate its F-35 squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, and move operations to NAS Lemoore, centralizing its Joint Strike Fighter operations out west.

The JSF program as a whole is continuing its formal operational test phase, which it entered in December.

The Joint Program Office and the aircraft's manufacturer, Lockheed Martin Corp., announced Dec. 6 that all three F-35 variants belonging to the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps will be field-tested "for the purposes of determining the weapons systems' operational effectiveness and operational suitability for combat."

For example, F-35 pilots at Edwards Air Force Base, California -- home to the Air Force Test Center, which tests a variety of aircraft and weapons -- have flown more than 30 missions since the testing was announced, according to the Air Force.

"Formal Initial Operational Test & Evaluation will test the system and identify areas for improvement in the most stressing operationally representative environments," JPO spokesman Joe DellaVedova said last month.

Pilots, maintainers, engineers and Lockheed Martin officials, among other experts, will work with the JPO and the Defense Department to identify operational and technical areas that could be upgraded or enhanced.

The IOT&E testing is expected to be complete late this summer, DellaVedova said.

https://www.military.com/defensetech/20 ... month.html

Image

From certain profiles the F-35C certainly looks the best of the variants, the big wing and stabs even out the fuselage.
 
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Nomadd
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sat Jan 05, 2019 3:16 pm

Ozair wrote:
LOL, apparently the F135 is the sound of freedom over Texas...

Proud of the ‘sound of freedom’ in Fort Worth? Here’s how to keep it with you

The loud roar of airplanes on the city’s west side has never been a bother to most locals.

Sure, the noise from aircraft such as the F-35 fighter jets temporarily stops conversations.

But many locals say the sound of those airplane engines symbolizes one thing: “The Sound of Freedom.”

State Sen. Jane Nelson wants Texans to be able to keep that F-35 pride with them no matter where they go.

Nelson, R-Flower Mound, has filed a bill requiring the state to create a license plate featuring the F-35 fighter jet — which is built at Lockheed Martin’s plant in west Fort Worth — along with the local motto: “The Sound of Freedom.”

Texans would be able to buy this specialty license plate — as they already may buy plates honoring everything from the military and colleges to Dr Pepper and sports teams such as the Dallas Cowboys — if Senate Bill 240 is approved by the Texas Legislature in 2019.

“The F-35 is a significant point of pride for Senate District 12 where it is manufactured,” said Nelson, R-Flower Mound, and the dean of the Tarrant delegation. “It is crucial in our country’s pursuit to promote and defend freedom around the globe and this legislation affirms Texas’ position as a hub for the aerospace industry.”

State lawmakers head back to work on Jan. 8 and will wrap up on May 27.

If Nelson’s proposal is approved, the license plates would be available some time after Sept. 1, 2019.

https://www.star-telegram.com/news/loca ... 09865.html

Lived near Seminole and saw B-52s, B-1s, F-117s and just about everything else. Nobody ever complained. It wasn't a good place for snowflakes.
The 117s did generate a few UFO reports. Not just the shape, but the weird way they maneuvered.
 
HaveBlue
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sat Jan 05, 2019 4:12 pm

Nomadd wrote:
The 117s did generate a few UFO reports. Not just the shape, but the weird way they maneuvered.


That seems odd. The shape is very weird but as a low G airplane it wasn't particularly maneuverable and in any case its flight profile should have been fairly benign. Can you explain how an F-117's maneuvers would be weird? Seeing an F-22 doing the 'falling leaf' or loops inside 100' or hovering, that would seem strange to those not in the know, can't see what an F-117 is even capable of that would cause pause for anyone.
 
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Nomadd
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Jan 06, 2019 12:35 am

HaveBlue wrote:
Nomadd wrote:
The 117s did generate a few UFO reports. Not just the shape, but the weird way they maneuvered.


That seems odd. The shape is very weird but as a low G airplane it wasn't particularly maneuverable and in any case its flight profile should have been fairly benign. Can you explain how an F-117's maneuvers would be weird? Seeing an F-22 doing the 'falling leaf' or loops inside 100' or hovering, that would seem strange to those not in the know, can't see what an F-117 is even capable of that would cause pause for anyone.

I'm not talking about doing tricks, but normal flight. Their pitch and roll transitions seemed almost instantaneous compared to normal planes.
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Jan 06, 2019 7:37 pm

Nomadd wrote:
HaveBlue wrote:
Nomadd wrote:
The 117s did generate a few UFO reports. Not just the shape, but the weird way they maneuvered.


That seems odd. The shape is very weird but as a low G airplane it wasn't particularly maneuverable and in any case its flight profile should have been fairly benign. Can you explain how an F-117's maneuvers would be weird? Seeing an F-22 doing the 'falling leaf' or loops inside 100' or hovering, that would seem strange to those not in the know, can't see what an F-117 is even capable of that would cause pause for anyone.

I'm not talking about doing tricks, but normal flight. Their pitch and roll transitions seemed almost instantaneous compared to normal planes.


I very seriously doubt that. I'm too tired to Google reference points but simply based on its mission and the compromises made at the time to achieve this I doubt the F-117 has better roll and pitch rates than fighters such as the F-14/15/16/18/22/35 that were designed specifically with these in mind, but let's pretend it does, why would people see that? It is a tactical bomber yet you are claiming that it was acting more sprightly then air to air dominant fighters, makes zero sense. There is no way and I've never seen it claimed anywhere else except by you that the F-117 shape didn't make people wonder but that its performance did. It was an under performer if anything in kinematics yet you think this causes people to think it was an UFO? No way.
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:24 am

Some info on how the 58th AMU made some strides on clearly aircraft from fuel line issues, significantly reducing the time required to inspect and replace as required.

Innovation in tight spaces

As Hurricane Michael churned toward the Emerald Coast of Florida, F-35A Lightning IIs from the 33rd Fighter Wing evacuated to Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, to avoid the storm’s path and potential catastrophic damage. As Michael passed, narrowly missing Eglin AFB, a different type of storm brewed on the horizon that would test nomad innovation.

There was talk within the F-35 community of a one-time inspection, or OTI, order being passed down.

Every aircraft at the 33rd FW needed to have a fuel line on the engine inspected. Parts within a specific batch number needed to be removed and replaced. All of the wing’s aircraft were grounded until they were inspected and fixed if needed.

This had a profound impact back at Eglin AFB but brought even more complications for the aircraft still at Barksdale AFB.

“It was particularly worrisome for us because we had jets off station without access to all of our tools and personnel,” said 1st Lt. Patrick Michael, 58th Aircraft Maintenance Unit assistant officer in charge. “We didn’t have the guidance for changing out the part yet. The preliminary guidance said we would need to remove the engine to access and remove the line.”

The current guidelines used for aircraft maintenance required that the entire engine be removed, which would require at least 36 hours per jet. Furthermore, engine trailers and tool boxes would need to be transported to the location, extending the timeline.

When the OTI was made official on Oct. 12, leadership at all levels of the 33rd Maintenance Group and 33rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron saw an opportunity for Airmen to demonstrate how capable they are. They extended a challenge…find a better way.

The maintainers at Barksdale AFB determined eight of the jets failed the requirements of the OTI. The remaining jets returned to Eglin AFB. Maintainers working with field support engineers from Lockheed Martin and Pratt and Whitney set out to find a way to replace the fuel line without removing the engine.

Crew chiefs determined they could access the part through a hole just big enough to fit a hand. The location of the fuel line is nearly impossible to see. They needed to detach and set aside another component without removing it, making room even scarcer.

Despite how difficult it was, they succeeded in finding the fix. The first across the F-35’s global presence.

Within three days of the official notification, the 58th AMU had identified the jets that were deficient, found the fix, got it reviewed and approved to execute and were on their way to Barksdale AFB to implement the new procedure.

“Especially coming on the heels of Hurricane Michael, the fuel line OTI had the potential to put our training timeline well behind schedule,” said Lt. Col. David Cochran, 58th FS director of operations. “Initial estimates were for our students to graduate almost two months late. Instead, our maintenance team got us back up to a full schedule within two weeks and enabled on-time graduations for nine new F-35 pilots.”

Every training mission requires teamwork between countless organizations to prepare jets for flight and get them in the air. The actions that took place following the OTI highlighted the significance and effectiveness of the many organizations working together within the 33rd MXG.

At the group level, the plans and scheduling section ordered new parts and opened lines of communication with leadership ensuring appropriate communication was taking place. They identified aircraft that were unaffected by the inspection, enabling them to return home earlier. Maintenance was then prioritized across the fleet to enable normal operations at the wing to continue.

The quality assurance section helped by validating the new technical data and inspection process. They also sent a member of their team to Barksdale AFB to provide assistance and oversight, eventually streamlining the repairs.

Members from the 33rd MXS Low Observable and Fuels sections provided additional maintenance assistance and augmented the initial group of maintainers that deployed to recover the jets. They drove hundreds of miles to deliver support equipment and the required consumables to complete the repair. Their actions shaved days off of delivery times and avoided several thousand dollars in transportation costs.

“The F-35 program tends to bring parties together under one common cause, maturing the program,” said Chief Master Sgt. Matthew Coltrin, 33rd MXS superintendent.

Coltrin went on to say that their partnership is strong because many of the functions that existed within a traditional maintenance squadron with fourth generation aircraft now lie within the fifth generation aircraft maintenance squadron.

“More now than ever we rely on each other to accomplish organic maintenance. On fifth gen aircraft it takes a village. No squadron can go it alone,” said Coltrin.

To this date, only one other unit has replicated the same maintenance on three jets. This is because of what sets the 33rd FW maintenance team apart from others.

“The maintainers at the 33rd Fighter Wing have a maturity unlike anywhere else in the enterprise,” said Joseph Frasnelli, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics F-35 chief of maintenance and operations at Eglin AFB. “The 58th AMU forged their own path with their leadership’s support…and they knocked their (fuel line changes) out in a significantly quicker time.”

When the OTI was first accomplished, the fuel line swap took about 24 hours, 12 hours less than removing the entire engine and performing the maintenance on a stand. As they repeated the task on additional aircraft they were able to shave another four hours from that time, enabling jets to return home faster. That speed and accuracy ensured the wing could continue accomplishing one of its primary missions, training F-35A pilots.

While facing adversity on more than one front, 33rd FW maintainers leaned forward and solved a problem that no one else could. That mindset resonates throughout the wing as Airmen work to find innovative methods to address issues before and as they arise.

"I couldn't be more proud of our nomad maintainers, as this is truly innovation at its best,” said Col. David Moreland, 33rd MXG commander. “These outstanding maintenance professionals were confronted with a problem, but not constrained by it. They used adversity as an opportunity. Their efforts and this innovative solution not only saved the entire F-35 fleet thousands of hours of non-mission capable time, it had a direct impact on the warfighter by restoring combat capability around the globe."

https://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display ... ht-spaces/
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:53 pm

Presumably the reference to 36 & 24 hours is man hours rather than elapsed time?
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Jan 07, 2019 8:01 pm

SamYeager2016 wrote:
Presumably the reference to 36 & 24 hours is man hours rather than elapsed time?

That time is I believe referring to the total time required to conduct the fuel line inspection and replacement. The engine has to be removed, a reasonably simple and quick process, at which point the engine is broken down for the replacement to occur. I'm not sure if that is man hours or elapsed time but given most units were able to conduct the inspections of their fleets of aircraft, which involved removing the engine, in 24-36 hours then man hours could be correct. The article wasn't well written to explain the differences or at least be less ambiguous.
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:15 pm

First photo of the latest Koninklijke Luchtmacht (KLu, Royal Netherlands Air Force) F-35A, serial F-004 (c/n AN-04), performing its first flight at Ft Worth JRB (TX). https://twitter.com/scramble_nl/status/ ... 5482512386

Image

Showing force by the Royal Norwegian Air Force 4th & 5th gen fighter aircraft in this picture of a combined elephant walk at Ørland Main Air Station. The photo shows ten Fighting Falcons and six Lightning IIs. https://twitter.com/scramble_nl/status/ ... 6495273985

Image
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:21 pm

Great to see the USAF has experienced aircrew to complete the OT&E. Maj Winiecki has F-16 and A-10 operational experience so should be very well placed to assist the USAF in evaluating the F-35A in a host of scenarios.

First Female Air Force F-35 Test Pilot Marks Mission Milestone

Another woman has completed a major milestone in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Maj. Rachael Winiecki, of the 461st Flight Test Squadron, recently became the first female test pilot to lead an F-35 mission at Edwards Air Force Base, California, according to the service.

Winiecki, who's flown the A-10C Thunderbolt II and F-16 Fighting Falcon on various missions, is part of a team overseeing developmental testing of all F-35 variants, which began last month at the base.

"I may be the first female developmental test pilot [in the F-35], but [test pilots] are just one small part of the test enterprise," she said in the release.

Winiecki's background in the A-10 is one of the reasons she was selected for the job, according to Lt. Col. Tucker Hamilton, 461st FLTS commander. Winiecki has previously flown A-10 missions in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and the Pacific, according to the release.

"Major Winiecki was selected to become an F-35 test pilot based on her exceptional flying ability and the important voice she brings to the F-35 development as a prior A-10 pilot," Hamilton said.

Winiecki's close-air support experience allows her to apply lessons to the F-35, as well as critique them.

"I really do appreciate the perspective that I can bring coming from the A-10 and the F-16 to hopefully bring some influence from that perspective. As testers, the contacts we have back in the combat Air Force are valuable," she said.

Last July, close-air support tests between the F-35 and A-10 Warthog finished up at Edwards as part of a congressionally mandated requirement that the two aircraft go up against each other.

The stipulation was included as a provision in the fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act amid congressional concerns over plans to retire the A-10 and replace it with the F-35.

A Project on Government Oversight report slammed the "skewed" testing, saying at the time the flights overwhelmingly favored the F-35. But aviation enthusiasts and pilots have also said putting the two aircraft side-by-side remains an apples-to-oranges comparison.

It's why the Air Force consistently avoided calling the highly anticipated test a "fly-off."

After Winiecki's flight, the Air Force stressed that the stealth jet has air-to-ground capabilities, even if they don't exactly mirror the A-10.

Winiecki said keeping officials in the loop when comparing testing techniques is important.

"We can reach out to our networks to solicit feedback, solicit information on how we could and should accomplish our mission sets in the future," she said. "That's really where we can open doors. I can reach back to my friends and contacts in my previous community just like other test pilots here."

The service did not specify what type of flights Winiecki carried out at Edwards. She worked side-by-side with her crew chief, Airman 1st Class Heather Rice of the 412th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, for the flight.

More women are coming to the test field, Winiecki said.

"I am grateful for the women who have broken barriers previously; they built the path," she said. "I look forward to the day when sorties like this are a regular occurrence."

Winiecki follows other women who have accomplished similar feats in the fifth-generation jet.

Last year, Col. Gina "Torch" Sabric became the first female F-35 pilot in the Air Force Reserve.

In 2015, Lt. Col. Christine Mau became the first woman ever to fly the plane.

https://www.military.com/dodbuzz/2019/0 ... stone.html
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:26 pm

Interesting public comments from Shanahan on the program compared to what he may have said in private. I agree with him that LM didn't run the program well enough, especially in that 05-11 timeframe, although to claim Boeing would have done better is probably baseless given their issues on both the commercial and military side over a similar period.

Trump's new Pentagon chief reportedly said the $1 trillion F-35 is 'f---ed' and shouldn't have been made

The new defence chief, a former Boeing employee, has reportedly been extremely critical of Lockheed Martin’s embattled F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter in private meetings, raising questions about whether he is biased in overseeing the largest weapons program in history.

Acting Secretary of Defence Patrick Shanahan, who took over in the wake of former Defence Secretary Jim Mattis’ resignation, spent over 30 years at Boeing before he joined the Department of Defence in 2017 as the deputy secretary of defence.

Although he signed an ethics agreement recusing himself from participating in matters involving Boeing, the new defence chief has continuously bashed a key program for one of Boeing’s top competitors in high-level meetings at the Pentagon and other private gatherings, Politico reports, citing former government officials who personally heard Shanahan make comments critical of the F-35.

Shanahan reportedly called the F-35 stealth fighter “f—ed up,’ saying that Lockheed Martin “doesn’t know how to run a program.”

“‘If it had gone to Boeing, it would be done much better,'” a former official recalled Shanahan saying, Politico reported.

Lockheed beat out Boeing in the Joint Strike Fighter competition, with the Department of Defence ultimately picking Lockheed’s X-35, later the F-35, over Boeing’s X-32 in 2001. Had Boeing been awarded the contract, the military’s JSF might look very different.

Shanahan is said to have “dumped” on the aircraft regularly, with one former Trump administration official noting that he “went off” on the program last year. “He would complain about Lockheed’s timing and their inability to deliver, and from a Boeing point of view, say things like, ‘We would never do that,'” the former official revealed.

In other private meetings, Shanahan has reportedly called the program “unsustainable,” complaining about the cost of the stealth fighters, with separate versions built for the Navy, Marines and Air Force. The F-35 is expected to cost more than $US1 trillion over the life of the program, making it the most expensive weapon in US military history.

Current administration officials, however, told Politico that Shanahan’s comments are being taken out of context, stressing that he is not advocating for Boeing. “I don’t believe that’s the case at all. I think he’s agnostic toward Boeing at best,” one official explained. “I don’t think there’s any intent to have Boeing favoured in the building.”

This is not the first time Shanahan’s loyalties have been called into question. The Pentagon is supposedly planning a request for $US1.2 billion for 12 Boeing F-15 X fighter jets, a decision that was made at Shanahan’s urging, according to Bloomberg News.

Air Force leaders had previously stated that there was no reason to buy these advanced fourth-generation fighters because these aircraft lack the necessary stealth capabilities provided by fifth-generation planes like the F-35, according to Defence News.

Despite the allegations, Shanahan’s office says he remains committed to the recusal. In public, he has spoken highly of the F-35 program.

“The F-35 is our future,” he said in September at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space and Cyber Conference. “I think we can all agree that it is a remarkable aircraft, with eye-watering capabilities critical to the high end fight.”

“I tip my hat to its broad team of government, industry, and international partners. Having worked on programs of similar size and complexity, I have enormous respect for your talent and commitment.”

https://www.businessinsider.com.au/trum ... ?r=US&IR=T
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Jan 10, 2019 3:00 am

"Acting Secretary of Defence Patrick Shanahan, who took over in the wake of former Defence Secretary Jim Mattis’ resignation, spent over 30 years at Boeing before he joined the Department of Defence in 2017 as the deputy secretary of defence."

Really? Ex- Boeing Exec against LM? Talk about FAKE news...
harder than woodpecker lips...
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:05 am

Even just a few years ago the F-35 seemed to always be having some problem. Finally LM seem to have their act together on the program.
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:25 pm

Without saying it directly I believe the UK just declared IOC with their F-35s. Congratulations, the start of many years of service.

Defence Secretary sets sights on next century of British air power

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has today revealed that Britain’s combat air power has reached new heights whilst speaking in a brand-new hangar displaying one-hundred years of fighter jets.

Speaking at RAF Marham, the Defence Secretary announced the UK now has nine F-35 Lightning jets ready to be deployed on operations around the world.

The F-35 Lightnings will form the backbone of the UK’s combat air fleet alongside the Typhoon jets, which the Defence Secretary also announced have now been fitted with a state-of-the-art complex weapons suite to vastly increase its capability.

Under ‘Project Centurion’, worth £425m over the past three years, the Typhoon now has deep strike cruise missile Storm Shadow, air-to-air missile Meteor and the precision attack missile Brimstone at their disposal.

It means the jets have boosted capabilities to intercept airborne missiles and strike ground based targets, seamlessly taking over from the Tornado’s attack role as it nears retirement.

Completed on-time and to budget, the upgrades transform the fleet into a world-leading multi-role combat air platform for decades to come.

Military engineers and personnel have worked together with hundreds of UK workers from British defence firms including BAE Systems, MBDA and Leonardo to reach the milestone.

The Defence Secretary made the announcement in front of four different aircraft, in a brand-new maintenance hangar at RAF Marham, which he opened today along with a state-of-the-art new training centre.

These facilities, along with resurfaced runways and new landing pads to accommodate the jet’s ability to land vertically, are a key part of the £550m being invested in the Norfolk base.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
As we bid farewell to the RAF’s first century, we are setting our sights on the next 100 years. Our nation is moving into a new era outside the EU, and our huge achievements in air capability make our commitment to a role on the world stage clear to both our allies and our enemies.

The incredible F-35 jets are ready for operations, a transformed Typhoon has the power to dominate the skies into the 2040s and we continue to look even further into an ambitious future. The RAF has long shown Britain at its great and global best, and today it lifts our nation to even greater heights.

The year ahead will see the F-35 Lightning pilots and ground crew continue learning how to operate and maintain the jets in the new centre, which features state-of-the-art simulators, classrooms, and physical aircraft mock-ups.

The facility provides a real-life training environment replicating the challenges that both pilots and crew will face in supporting and operating the F-35 Lightning.

Pilots from 617 Squadron, who are already based at RAF Marham, will practice flying the next generation aircraft from four full mission simulators.

Having the F-35s ready for operations on time is a huge landmark in what is the biggest defence project in history, which the UK has been a leading partner in for almost 25 years.

Around 150 UK personnel had been working with the jets in the US before the first batch of aircraft came to the UK last summer.

Not only does the programme offer the UK a game-changing military capability, but with British industry manufacturing 15% of a global orderbook of over 3,000 jets, it supports around 25,000 UK jobs and is projected to be worth around £35bn to the national economy.

The Defence Secretary made the announcement in front of four aircraft, which represent the past and future of British fighter jets.

They included the Tornado, which has been in-service since 1979, making its combat debut in the 1991 Gulf War, and which will be retired later this year.

Its unique capabilities have now been transferred to the Typhoon.

In addition to the Typhoon and F-35, the Tempest concept fighter jet model was also on show.

The model, which represents an example of what the UK’s future capability might look like, was unveiled last Summer at Farnborough International Air Show, when the Defence Secretary launched the nation’s Combat Air Strategy to ensure the UK remains a world-leader in the sector for years to come.

The aim is then for a next-generation capability to have initial operational capability by 2035.

Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier said:
I am proud to confirm that the RAF’s Combat Air capability has taken yet another significant step towards the realisation of our Next Generation Air Force. With its cutting-edge stealth technology, our F-35s are now ready to deploy on operations and, alongside our combat-proven Typhoon, offer a step-change in our ability to employ air power around the world.

Furthermore, the successful integration of Stormshadow, Brimstone and Meteor on Typhoon completes and enhances the transition of world-class capabilities from Tornado and allows a stalwart of the RAF’s Combat Air inventory to retire from service.

The successful attainment of these milestones and the potential offered by Project TEMPEST will continue to assure the RAF’s ability to protect the nation, defend the United Kingdom’s interests and support the national prosperity agenda now and well into the future.

The RAF has already trialled its Typhoon and F-35 Forces’ interoperability.

In a series of operational trials, the evidence clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of both platforms when operating alongside one another.

With its larger payload and increased agility and range, the Typhoon will operate in concert with the stealthy F-35 and its next-generation sensors, making the RAF one of the few air forces with the ability to exploit the synergy of 4th and 5th generation combat aircraft and delivering the UK a potent force equipped to counter evolving threats in the global environment.

The UK is a world-leader in the combat air sector, which supports over 18,000 highly skilled jobs with a mix of skills and technologies unique in Europe.

The sector delivers a turnover in excess of £6bn a year and has made up over 80% of defence exports from the UK over the last ten years.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/defe ... -air-power
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:50 pm

Below is a link to a video of an F-35 dropping five Paveway IV weapons at the same time including a moving target shown at the end of the video. Pretty impressive capability!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_cont ... h66TgI85fg
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:40 pm

More Turkey info on S-400 and the F-35. I expect it not to come to a head until Turkey plans to move F-35s from Luke AFB to Turkey which I believe is approx mid 2020.

Turkey refuses to cancel S-400 order, risking F-35 delivery again

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said his country would consider buying Raytheon-made Patriot missiles from the US government, but would not cancel its order of S-400 anti-aircraft missiles from Russia as a condition of the deal.

The US State Department approved the possible sale of 80 Patriot MIM-104E missiles, 60 PAC-3 missiles and related equipment for $3.5 billion to Turkey in December 2018. It was part of an apparent attempt to get the country to cancel its order for the lmaz-Antey S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile system. The US military is concerned that the S-400 system, which is advertised as having anti-stealth capabilities, could expose vulnerabilities in the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II stealth fighter, which Turkey has also purchased and is awaiting delivery.

However, in a recent interview with Turkish broadcaster NTV Cavusoglu says that cancelling the S-400 order is off the table.

“The S-400 agreement is already a finished deal,” he says. “We can deal with the United States for the Patriot, but if it's about the S-400, no.”

Turkey is a partner in the development and manufacturing of the F-35. In coordination with Northrop Grumman, the main fuselage manufacturer for the F-35, Turkish Aerospace Industries manufactures and assembles centre fuselages, produces composite skins and weapon bay doors, and air inlet ducts. In total, 10 different Turkish firms make parts for every F-35.

In a letter sent to the House Armed Services Committee Chairman in July, former Secretary of Defense James Mattis said that removing Turkey’s parts manufacturers from the aircraft supply chain could delay delivery of 50-75 stealth fighters for up to 18-24 months.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... -d-454939/
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:59 pm

Head to the link below or the other thread to see the specific videos in question.

Instagram Videos of USAF F-35 Demo Team Practice Leak Some New Maneuvers.

Following the Air Force’s official announcement of the new F-35A Lighting II Demonstration Team on December 4, 2018, demo pilot Capt. Andrew Olson, callsign “Dojo”, was captured in video during what may be a partial practice session or quick flyover at Luke AFB near Phoenix, Arizona.

Four clips appeared on Instagram on Thursday, January 10, 2019 and quickly collected over a thousand views. They were first posted by Instagram user user @theromanticjaguar and then reposted by @andyo_dojo, demo pilot Capt. Olson on Instagram.

https://theaviationist.com/2019/01/12/i ... maneuvers/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Jan 14, 2019 12:02 am

Interesting that the UK could be sending the F-35B to conducts ops against ISIS from the Northern Spring.

New RAF F35 jets to be sent to Cyprus base after being declared 'combat ready'

Britain's newest fighter jets have been declared "combat ready" and will soon be deployed on operations.

Sky News understands a plan is being drawn up for the jets to be sent to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus this spring.

If initial operations run smoothly, it is possible that they could be used on strike missions against Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria by the summer.

Speaking at their home base, RAF Marham in Norfolk, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: "The incredible F35s are ready for operations.

"I won't go into specifics (on) where they're going to be deployed (but) this is a fighting aircraft that is there to be used and to keep Britain safe.

"Just in the last 19 days we've seen 10 strikes against Daesh (IS). We cannot be complacent, we cannot sit back, we cannot take it for granted that Daesh would be defeated."

The news comes weeks after Donald Trump announced that he would pull US troops out of Syria.

Mr Williamson continued: "The US has made clear it's a conditions-based approach they will take in Syria and we will continue to work with them and other allies.

"Our nation is moving into a new era outside the EU, and our huge achievements in air capability make our commitment to a role on the world stage clear to both our allies and our enemies."

The design and manufacture of the F35, primarily by US firm Lockheed Martin, has been the most expensive weapons programme in history and is running considerably over original budget expectations.

The UK currently owns nine F35s but has committed to ordering 138 over the next 30 years.

They will be flown jointly by the RAF and Royal Navy and are capable of landing on the UK's new aircraft carriers.

The announcement coincides with the retirement of the Tornado aircraft - a long stalwart of Britain's armed forces.

It was introduced into service in 1979 and first saw operational duty during the 1991 Gulf War. It went on to fly missions in Afghanistan, Libya and Syria.

https://news.sky.com/story/new-raf-f35- ... y-11603911

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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:12 pm

South Korea will soon have F-35s operated by the ROKAF in country.

South Korea to receive first two F-35A stealth jets in March

Lockheed Martin plans to deliver the first two F-35A stealth fighter jets to South Korea in March.

The aircraft will arrive in the end of March and be deployed by May, The Korean Times and the South China Morning Post reported Sunday.

The F-35A, which features conventional takeoff and landing, is one of three variants of the single-seat, single-engine fighters.

In all, 10 fight planes will be delivered by the end of the year. Before arriving in Korea, they will stop in Hawaii and Guam, as well as being refueled by U.S. tankers.

South Korea wants the F-35As to play a key role in South Korea's preemptive strike system against North Korean missile provocation.

Last month, South Korean President Moon Jae-in called for a "strong defense capability" despite negotiation with North Korea.

"Peace is being made on the Korean peninsula but it is still a precarious peace," he said.

North Korea reacted angrily after high-ranking South Korean officials attended a ceremony for the F-35A last March at Lockheed Martin's assembly line in Fort Worth, Texas.

"The South's war maniacs are indulging in a spending spree to buy F-35A Stealth jet fighters. This stems from an adventurous plot to stage a pre-emptive strike against us that goes along with US attempts to start a war," the ruling Worker's Party daily, Rodong Sinmun, said.

South Korean fighter pilots have received flight training for the jets, including the first solo mission last July, at Luke Air Base in Arizona.

In March 2014, South Korea agreed to purchase 40 of the radar-evading strike aircraft for $6.8 billion with the final delivery by 2021.

At the time, South Korea became the third country to purchase the F-35 through the Foreign Military Sales program, joining Israel and Japan.

South Korea chose the F-35 over the F-15 Silent Eagle from Boeing and the Eurofighter Typhoon.

https://www.upi.com/Defense-News/2019/0 ... 3486/?sl=1
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:46 pm

Loren Thompson’s view on future sustainment of the F-35. I tend to agree that sustainment costs will come down significantly as the capability matures and as the OEMs continue to drive efficiency and quality in the parts. Interesting that the USAF uses nine maintainers compared to LM using just three for the jet although there are obvious reasons why the USAF would overstaff maintenance units including to compensate for casualties during conflict.

The F-35 Fighter Is A Success. So How Do We Keep It Ready & Reliable For The Next 50 Years?

The F-35 fighter has successfully completed flight testing. It is now joining the combat fleets of three U.S. military services and a dozen overseas allies. By the end of 2019, nearly 500 fighters will have been delivered.

Each of the three fighter variants being built for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps meets all of the performance objectives set out at the program’s inception. F-35 is by far the most survivable and lethal tactical aircraft ever built. Cost per plane is falling in each successive production lot, and reliability is running well ahead of expectations.

F-35 can look forward to 50 years of operations, during which it will undoubtedly be the most widely used tactical aircraft in the world. But that doesn’t mean the management challenge is over. Now the U.S. and its allies must implement a program for keeping the fighters in the air and ready for combat at a price they can afford.

Military planners refer to the diverse activities involved in maintaining and operating weapons systems as “sustainment.” If F-35 is like other military-aircraft programs, then the price of sustainment between now and when the last F-35 retires in 2070 will represent roughly 70% of total life-cycle costs. Sustainment is the main reason why F-35 has been called a “trillion-dollar program.”

Nobody in the general media ever writes about sustainment. Describing how components are repaired and parts are kept stocked makes for dull copy compared with recounting operational missions against heavily defended targets in hostile air space. But the military trains ten F-35 maintainers for every F-35 pilot it turns out, and without the work of those maintainers the pilots would never get off the ground.

The F-35 global sustainment system is huge, providing 15 distinct types of support to 16 different military services at three dozen locations. For example, in Europe heavy airframe maintenance is provided by Italy and the United Kingdom, while engine maintenance is provided by Norway, the Netherlands and Turkey. A separate sustainment system is being stood up in Japan and South Korea for their F-35s (Japan recently disclosed it would double its buy of the fighter).

I have some superficial understanding of this system, because airframe maker Lockheed Martin and engine maker Pratt & Whitney contribute to my think tank. So does BAE Systems, a key industrial partner in Britain and builder of the plane’s electronic-warfare architecture (BAE and Lockheed are also consulting clients). But my grasp of what sustainment entails is probably not much better than yours; when somebody says “sustaining engineering” to me, I look at them blankly.

If you pay any attention to U.S. military budgets and programs though, you are probably going to be hearing a lot more about F-35 sustainment in the years ahead. With development hurdles surmounted, keeping the F-35 flying now bulks as the biggest bill that the program will need to pay. I did a back-of-the-envelope calculation last year and came to the conclusion F-35 sustainment will cost an average of $11.8 billion per year in today’s dollars through 2070 if the military services buy all the fighters they say they need. My calculation was based on outdated data, but it illustrates the scale of resources that might be required.

The good news is that $11.8 billion is about one day’s worth of federal spending at current rates to sustain most of the tactical aircraft in the joint fleet for a year–aircraft far more capable than the planes in the fleet today. The bad news is that the Pentagon has never spent anywhere near this amount of money sustaining a single family of aircraft, so controversy is likely. In fact, it is already upon us to some degree.

In December the Pentagon’s Under Secretary for Acquisition & Sustainment, Ellen Lord, sent a report to Congress describing the gap between what the F-35 is expected to cost to keep flying through 2070 and the amount of money the military services say they have available for that purpose. There is a reasonable degree of alignment between resources and needs in the case of the sea services, but in the case of the Air Force there is a big gap. Specifically, the Pentagon says it costs about $7 million to operate each Air Force variant of the plane per year, and the service can only afford about $4 million. So a 43% gap needs to be closed.

This isn’t as hard as it sounds, because F-35 has just begun operating in limited numbers and sustainment concepts are still being refined. Eventually there will be economies of scale due to size and commonality across the join fleet, and sustainers will move down the learning curve in pursuing efficiencies. For instance, contractor Lockheed Martin maintains an F-35 with three personnel, while the Air Force provides similar support with nine personnel. The difference is mainly organizational, and over time the Air Force will likely implement efficiencies.

New planes such as F-35 are invariably are more expensive to sustain than mature planes that have been flying for many years. The supply chain for spare parts has not been ironed out, maintainers don’t fully understand all the intricacies of a new system, and large organizations are slow to adapt to changing technology. F-35 compounds these problems because it is revolutionary in all regards, from its stealthy airframe to its super-efficient engines to its sensing capabilities that seldom get discussed in public.

F-35 is actually the first fighter ever built that had a sustainment system developed in parallel, but so much has changed in the world of information technology since the program’s inception that the sustainment system may need to be rearchitected. Once the dozens of efficiency initiatives being implemented by the joint program office and services are in place, the Air Force variant will probably cost around $25,000 per hour to operate, compared with around $20,000 per hour for a legacy F-16. That is arguably a bargain, when you consider how much more survivable, lethal and capable the F-35 is.

But much of the context surrounding such judgments will get lost in media reporting on sustainment costs. What news consumers will get is eye-popping projections of future costs, because whopping price-tags are what attract those eyes to a story in the first place. In other words, media coverage of F-35 sustainment could end up being just as misleading (meaning wrong) as coverage of the plane’s development was. So fasten your seatbelt; it will all work out in the end.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lorenthomp ... 8a46037f33
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 3496
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:23 pm

A great insight to the F-35B from a serving RAF pilot who has enough experience to be taken seriously. Some interesting information contained within, especially in the context of the differences between the F-35B that Williams has flown compared to the A model (reduced fuel, lower G restrictions, increased weight etc). Also interesting that the UK has yet to acquire any of the GAU-22 gun pods for the aircraft.

Interview with a British F-35B Lightning II pilot: Semper Fidelis to Semper Paratus

RAF Wing Commander Scott Williams is currently flying the F-35B Lightning II, the world’s most advanced fighter, with the US Marine Corps. We interviewed him to find out more about what is also the world’s most controversial aircraft.
What were your first impressions of the F-35B? Technologically mind-blowing and a true engineering marvel. As a pilot it flies extremely smoothly and the handling is exceptional, especially when converting flight regimes to slow speed or jet-borne modes; that transition is almost imperceptibly smooth with no adverse characteristics. High angle-of-attack manoeuvring is very easy and forgiving, with excellent nose and flight control ‘authority’ throughout. Power is very apparent with impressive acceleration in dry power on take-off.

Which three words would you use to describe the F-35B? Lethal; Game-changing (I consider that one word!); Growth.

“‘…FIGHTING THE F-35 IS LIKE GOING INTO A BOXING MATCH AND YOUR OPPONENT DOESN’T EVEN KNOW YOU’RE IN THE RING YET!’”
What are the greatest myths about the F-35B? That it isn’t operational; that stealth doesn’t ‘work’; that external stores on F-35 defeats the point of its design.

What are the best and worst things about the aircraft? The best thing is how quickly and effectively the F-35 allows the pilot to make decisions – fusing sensor and other data from onboard and off-board sources to display what’s out there and what’s going on. Worst thing? I’d like a bit more fuel but what pilot doesn’t?!

Have you flown basic fighter manoeuvres against Typhoons (or any other types) if so, how did the aircraft do? I haven’t flown BFM in the F-35B against Typhoon or other types (yet!) but I’m sure I will soon.

Though the aircraft is not designed primarily as a WVR ‘dogfighting’ platform -and this may not be a desirable way to fight- how would it do in this respect? Pretty darn well, but there are so many factors that determine the outcome of a WVR fight; pilot proficiency, situational awareness, missile capabilities, countermeasures…every one of these things make a difference but if one were to postulate that in 1000 BVR engagements only a few would likely end up in a WVR fight, you need to ask yourself where you should invest the money, proportionally. Designing a lightweight dogfighter was arguably relevant in the 1970s as fly-by-wire tech gave birth to increasing (super)manoeuvrability; today it isn’t anywhere near as important but still cool for air shows.

Can the aircraft currently work communicate well with Typhoons, what are the considerations in working together? I won’t talk about what we do with Typhoon but the communications have been tested on trials and they work. I’d say a generic consideration for working latest generation fighters with legacy platforms is ensuring you understand their capabilities and limitations.

What is your most memorable mission in the F-35B? There are a few, but the one that stands out for me has to be my first STOVL flight. Comparing the aircraft to the Harrier first-hand was a unique privilege and genuinely brought a smile to my face. I think the UK and US teams who developed the STOVL Control Laws (CLAW), and the pioneering research from the VAAC Harrier and test pilots, were responsible for a huge triumph. Boscombe Down, take a bow!

What’s the best thing about the sensors? How they interact and complement each other with sensor fusion. For 15 years I’ve flown aircraft that need a targeting pod strapped on – these things were normally only bought in limited numbers so you’d get to use them on specific events. Having a targeting pod on every single F35 (the EOTS – Electro-Optical Targeting System) is hugely beneficial for training in all missions.

How good is the situational awareness compared to other aircraft you have flown and how does that change things? Nothing compares to it. Nothing. And information changes everything. When you look at Boyd’s well-known OODA loop, traditionally the hardest things are to answer ‘what’s out there’, ‘what’s it doing’, ‘what do I need to do’. That decision loop can cause paralysis which can lead to a quick demise in a combat fight. F-35 helps enormously in this regard and allows the pilot to act rather than react – reacting is what we’ll make the enemy do. Constantly.

When will the British have a combat capable F-35 force? The UK has a combat capable F-35 force today and declared Initial Operating Capability very recently, so are able to deploy on combat operations at any point from herein. The Block 3F capability is highly combat capable, despite what you may wish to believe or what is written by a number of prominent bloggers.

What would you change about the F-35B? Across all three variants the B does has the least fuel, but I believe it makes up for that with the ability to operate from the QE Carriers, bases with much shorter runways (~3000ft, predominantly for a re-supply tactical AT platform), or even other nations’ carriers when required.

How does its reliability and ease of maintenance compare with other aircraft you’ve flown? Most of the previously reported reliability issues have been software-related in my experience. Maintenance is logical and designed to be as straightforward as possible but the still maturing F-35 global sustainment enterprise results in delays in supplying spares to a high number of demanding customers and countries. With 8.6+ million lines of software code, this aircraft is many times more complex in how it operates compared to a Typhoon (or even an F-22 Raptor) but the latest software and hardware combinations in Block 3F have resulted in improved reliability for sure!

Will a F-35B fly the close support mission in a different way to a GR4 or Typhoon? F-35 will be able to fly the mission in a much more hostile and contested airspace than a GR4 and Typhoon by virtue of its low observable capabilities. However, the rudiments of how a pilot conducts CAS do not necessarily change that much but differences in platform sensor capabilities are an example. It’s well documented that F-35 does not currently have a CCD capability in the EOTS so we’re restricted to infra-red only. That’s something I’d like to see improved soon in impending upgrades and it’s ‘in the plan’ so to speak. Expanded weapons integration in future will also open the variety of effects that we can give the ground commander too.

Do you like the helmet system? The HMD is a truly incredible piece of kit because it really does bring a further dimension to the situational awareness for the pilot. If you then consider the built-in Night Vision Camera and ability to project full-coverage IR imagery of the outside world no matter where you point your head, the ability to point or cue a weapon quickly by day or by night is a great capability.

What should I have asked you? What’s it like working closely with the US Marines! It’s awesome – those guys and girls work like Trojans to achieve the mission and we have a close relationship building for cooperation in future.

How would you rate its BVR capabilities? Second to none really. First to see is first to shoot, is first to kill. I recently heard a comment from someone that ‘…fighting the F-35 is like going into a boxing match and your opponent doesn’t even know you’re in the ring yet!’ I like that comment because our lethality is enhanced by being able to deliver the killer or knock-out blow to our opponents before they get enough awareness on what’s going on to prepare or do something about it.

How would you rate its ground attack and recce abilities compared to the GR4 or Typhoon? We only have Paveway IV currently, however this will expand with SPEAR 3 and other weapons in future but the single weapon option is a bit of a limitation of sorts right now, even though PWIV is an excellent weapon that’s proven itself against our enemies time and again. There is also potential for UK to procure the GAU-22/A Gun Pod if needs be and the USMC have already employed it. The variety of recce options on F-35 are good – from EOTS (IR) to DAS, to Radar Mapping, we have a true all-weather and, in many cases, multi-spectral recce capability. However, F-35 isn’t a dedicated “recce” platform so you can perhaps understand why there’s no pod like the RAPTor on Tornado as an example.

Tell me something I don’t know about the F-35B. “I could tell you but I’d have to kill you”…

What is your rank and with which air arm do you serve? Wing Commander, Royal Air Force

What is your unit? Currently VMFAT-501 (USMC F-35B Fleet Replacement Squadron or FRS). However, this year all of my Royal Navy and Royal Air Force Instructor Pilots (IPs), Engineers and Mission Support staff will form the nucleus of 207 Squadron at RAF Marham on 1 July 2019, and we will also fly our aircraft back to the UK later that month.

Which types have you flown? Harrier GR7/GR9; Tornado GR4 (post-SDSR10, after Harrier was retired early) and I now fly the F-35B Lightning and instruct both US Marine and UK students on VMFAT-501.

Why was 207 Sqn chosen for the F-35B? Will the RAF and RN share F-35s? The choice was intentional — and was made due to the fact that 207 originated as 7 (Naval) Squadron, RNAS, in 1916. When the independent RAF was born on 1 April 1918 and subsumed RNAS and RFC squadrons, 7(N) re-badged to become 207 Sqn. So the number plate was purposefully chosen to have both Naval and Air Force lineage. We don’t ‘share’ the F-35B Lightning like one might share a car with a friend or partner. Instead the Lightning Force – and by that I specifically mean the aircraft, its personnel, equipment and support infrastructure – is all jointly-manned by serving Royal Navy and RAF personnel, including our vital civilian and reservist staff who make up what we call the ‘Whole Force’.

https://hushkit.net/2019/01/15/intervie ... r-paratus/

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