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Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:12 pm

RAF Marham runway resurfaced ahead of F-35 arrival

Preparations for the arrival of the UK’s new F-35 multi-role combat aircraft have taken a major step forward with the completion of resurfacing work on the secondary runway at RAF Marham. This took place with little to no impact on operational activity, the UK Defence Ministry announced today, June 4.

Preparations for the arrival of the UK’s new F-35 multi-role combat aircraft have taken a major step forward with the completion of resurfacing work on the secondary runway at RAF Marham. This took place with little to no impact on operational activity, the UK Defence Ministry announced today, June 4.

The first F-35 Lightning aircraft are due to arrive at their new home at RAF Marham shortly. The game-changing aircraft, which will be operated by both the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, will be based at RAF Marham. Preparations are on track for the aircraft to be able to deploy from RAF Marham to deployed operating bases by the end of the year. In due course they will also deploy to the Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers.

The resurfacing work was undertaken by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) through its contractors, a joint venture of Galliford Try and Lagan Construction. It forms part of a £250 million DIO programme of investment at the station and involves resurfacing about 90% of the airfield operating surfaces; all of this while the Tornado Force maintained operations from the airfield.

Rob Dawson, DIO’s Principal Project Manager, said:
The completion of the resurfacing of the secondary runway is one a series of milestones for the work DIO and our contractors are undertaking to prepare RAF Marham to be the main operating base for the new F-35B aircraft. Along with work being completed by our colleagues at Defence Equipment and Support, this investment will transform RAF Marham with a host of new and upgraded facilities for the aircraft and the men and women who will operate them.

"It’s fantastic to have the secondary runway handed back to the station after the completion of the resurfacing in preparation for the imminent arrival of the F-35 Lightning. To see the Tornado’s take off from it for the first time was a real milestone in the programme and we look forward to the next historic event in the next couple of weeks when the F-35’s will touch down on the new runway as it arrives at its home base for the first time," RAF Marham Station Commander Group Captain Ian Townsend said:

"The Galliford Try Lagan Construction joint venture is delighted to have successfully reached this important stage of the project. We have a well-established relationship with DIO and this, combined with our experience of complex airside work, augurs very well for the remainder of the programme," James Aikman, Project Director, Galliford Try Lagan Construction, said.

Resurfacing the 1,855m long runway required the construction of two batching plants to prepare the specific asphalt and concrete needed for the new surface. Preparing the materials on site increased efficiency.
RAF Marham is currently the home of the RAF’s Tornado fleet, which will begin operating from the runway immediately before being joined by the F-35s in due course. With the aircraft currently on operations it was important that this activity could be maintained without restriction. During the work, flying was only halted for three weeks while construction teams resurfaced an intersection between the main runway and the secondary runway. This was completed a day early despite poor weather.
The remainder of the work being undertaken at RAF Marham continues, including construction of three vertical landing pads to enable the F-35s to use their vertical landing capability and a squadron headquarters for 617 Squadron (The Dambusters).
Other work includes a high voltage power upgrade, refurbishment of 12 Hardened Aircraft Shelters and a small gym and canteen as well as a hangar, offices and technical facilities for 207 Squadron.

http://www.airrecognition.com/index.php ... rival.html
 
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Mortyman
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Jun 05, 2018 6:59 am

Ozair wrote:
Mortyman wrote:

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

It does look short but I think the image has been adjusted. I do like the often used nickname for the F-35 of "Stubby" given its broader waist but similar length to the F-16.

Speaking of Israel F-35, this image was posted on Fightersweep the other day, which shows a graphic of Israel F-35Is with camo and external fuel tanks...

Image



Are there external fuel tanks available for the F35? I know some F-22 were fitted out with it for a trip to Japan, but I haven't seen any F-35 with it...
 
ZaphodHarkonnen
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Jun 05, 2018 8:59 am

Mortyman wrote:
Ozair wrote:
Mortyman wrote:

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

It does look short but I think the image has been adjusted. I do like the often used nickname for the F-35 of "Stubby" given its broader waist but similar length to the F-16.

Speaking of Israel F-35, this image was posted on Fightersweep the other day, which shows a graphic of Israel F-35Is with camo and external fuel tanks...

Image



Are there external fuel tanks available for the F35? I know some F-22 were fitted out with it for a trip to Japan, but I haven't seen any F-35 with it...


Pretty sure there are plans for drop tanks for the F-35 but they're not yet cleared to carry them.

Remember that the integral fuel capacity of the F-35 is pretty much a previous generation fighter with drop tanks. So there is no immediate need to get drop tanks on them yet.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:50 am

ZaphodHarkonnen wrote:
Mortyman wrote:
Ozair wrote:
It does look short but I think the image has been adjusted. I do like the often used nickname for the F-35 of "Stubby" given its broader waist but similar length to the F-16.

Speaking of Israel F-35, this image was posted on Fightersweep the other day, which shows a graphic of Israel F-35Is with camo and external fuel tanks...

Image



Are there external fuel tanks available for the F35? I know some F-22 were fitted out with it for a trip to Japan, but I haven't seen any F-35 with it...


Pretty sure there are plans for drop tanks for the F-35 but they're not yet cleared to carry them.

Remember that the integral fuel capacity of the F-35 is pretty much a previous generation fighter with drop tanks. So there is no immediate need to get drop tanks on them yet.

There are a couple of concepts floating around and all are very old such as these,

Image

Image

As far as I am aware all work was stopped on external fuel tanks long ago based on analysis that the fuel tanks wouldn't provide much of a range increase. The Israelis appear to be where the requirement has come from and who may desire it for more range given their unique location and threat requirements. There has also been talk of conformal fuel tanks but I'm not sure how accurate that is. A better option than external fuel tanks would likely be an upgrade with an ADVENT type engine in 2025 which promises a 30% increase in range.

For the F-22, it does have external fuel tanks which are used for transit and for some long range interceptions against Russian aircraft. They have the unique ability to be jettisoned with both the tank and pylon to preserve stealth.

Image
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:42 pm

F-35 JOINT STRIKE FIGHTER: Development Is Nearly Complete, but Deficiencies Found in Testing Need to Be Resolved

Available here, https://www.gao.gov/assets/700/692307.pdf

From what I have read a reasonable review of the current state of the program.
 
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Dutchy
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Jun 06, 2018 6:31 am

Still amazing that there are that many deficiencies at the phase.

As of January 2018, the F-35 programme had 966 open deficiencies—111 category one deficiencies, which could jeopardise safety, security, or another critical requirement; and 855 category two deficiencies, which could impede or constrain a successful mission, according to the GAO. At least 25 category one deficiencies and 165 category two deficiencies would not be resolved before planned full-rate production.


https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... -d-449236/
Many happy landings, greetings from The Netherlands!
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Jun 06, 2018 10:16 am

Dutchy wrote:
Still amazing that there are that many deficiencies at the phase.

As of January 2018, the F-35 programme had 966 open deficiencies—111 category one deficiencies, which could jeopardise safety, security, or another critical requirement; and 855 category two deficiencies, which could impede or constrain a successful mission, according to the GAO. At least 25 category one deficiencies and 165 category two deficiencies would not be resolved before planned full-rate production.


https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... -d-449236/

Noting that between now and the end of OT&E those 111 category one deficiencies will drop to approx 25 and the category two from 855 to 165 there are obviously fixes either in place or in the process of being incorporated so it is not as extreme as it sounds. It appears, and is quite common in systems development, that these may not be able to be retired until the aircraft actually conducts OT&E as that is where the fixes are verified and validated. I anticipate that some of these outstanding deficiencies will be caught by Blk 4 when it arrives and the agile software development planned will cover off on high priority category one and two software issues.

It is also worth noting that some of those deficiencies may never be solved because the requirement that created it has changed or been superseded but may not be able to be retired. Military aircraft progress progress through their lives with deficiencies from their dev program, numerous examples exist today from the F-22 and SH programs.

Finally it would be interesting to know the break down of how many of these impact the aircraft directly and how many are rolled up in ancillary systems such as ALIS or production line equipment. As the GAO report is up to mid Feb and it is now into June there could prospectively be a lot that have been fixed and retired already.
 
LightningZ71
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:20 pm

Something to consider, the F-18 E/F went into the year 2000 with nearly 100 defined deficiencies that included issues with stability and performance shortfalls in certain flight regimes. Many of those deficiencies were never resolved as requirements were amended, or work on those issues was deemed too expensive to pursue for the degree of the deficiency. Some were just considered unsolvable and just left to training to inform pilots so as not to get into situations where it would cause a safety problem.

(this is a bit of a look into the F-18 program that talks about some of those issues... https://books.google.com/books?id=syS19 ... 15&f=false
)

Every air force program in the last 30+ years has gone into normal operation with a list of issues that range from mildly annoying to potentially lethal to the untrained. The question is, is the platform capable of performing the missions intended for it without putting its operators in unnecessary danger and in a sustainable fashion? The F-35 is very nearly there by everything we're seeing as the public. Is it perfect? Hardly. It's a cutting edge piece of hardware that is still under development and will continue to be in development even after it's in general deployment.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:50 pm

This is certainly a vote of confidence in the program. While the House typically increases the buy each year on top of the requests made by the services this is an over 20% increase.

House eyes major boost in F-35 jet purchases

A defense spending bill being considered in the House would dramatically boost funding for the Pentagon to buy more F-35 joint strike fighters in 2019.

The House Appropriations Committee released a draft version of its annual defense bill Wednesday that provides $9.4 billion for 93 of the high-tech Lockheed Martin aircraft, which is 16 more than the 77 requested by the military.

The bill also differs from the two versions of the annual defense authorization bills being put forward by the House and Senate. The House has authorized 77 F-35s while the Senate is weighing the purchase of 75 due to cost concerns about sustaining the aircraft.

The $675 billion appropriations bill is slated for a mark up in the House Appropriations defense subcommittee on Thursday. The Senate has yet to release a defense appropriations bill.

“With the changing global dynamics and ever-growing threats to our security, it is absolutely imperative that our military is properly trained, equipped, and fully supported in order to do their jobs,” Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., the committee chairman, said in a statement.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/poli ... -purchases
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Jun 12, 2018 3:17 am

Lockheed Martin F-35 Fighter Poised To Become One Of America's Biggest Exports

The Pentagon's F-35 fighter has completed its development program and begun deploying overseas. About 300 have been delivered, and that number will double by the end of 2020. The U.S. military plans to buy 2,443 of the stealthy aircraft in three distinct variants tailored to the needs of the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.

To date, public discussion of F-35 has focused mainly on what the fighter can do for U.S. warfighters, and at what cost. But there is another dimension to the F-35 story, and that is the positive impact the plane will have on America's trade balance as overseas friends and allies acquire well over a thousand of the fighters, mainly to replace aging F-16s bought during the Cold War.

The F-35 program from its inception has had eight partner countries that helped pay for its development and now are poised to purchase over 600 of the planes. But that is just the beginning of the program's trade impact. An additional 800 planes are expected to be bought by other countries through the Foreign Military Sales program. That process has already begun, with Israel, Japan and South Korea signing on before development was even completed.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lorenthomp ... 4eef14d54d

More at the link above but no surprise that manufacturing an aircraft that will likely see 1000+ orders outside the US should be a significant benefit for the US and partner economies. That is before you factor the expected 40 years of service most airframes are likely to provide and the support contracts associated with that.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Jun 12, 2018 1:56 pm

Pentagon And Lockheed Martin Deliver 300th F-35 Aircraft

The F-35 Joint Program Office and Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] delivered the 300th production F-35 aircraft, demonstrating the program’s continued progress and momentum. The 300th aircraft is a U.S. Air Force F-35A, to be delivered to Hill Air Force Base, Utah.

"The F-35 weapons system is a key enabler of our National Defense Strategy and is providing our warfighters the combat proven, advanced capabilities they need to meet mission requirements," said Vice Admiral Mat Winter, program executive officer for the F-35 Joint Program Office. "The 300th production aircraft delivery is a significant milestone that highlights the effective F-35 Enterprise collaboration across the JPO, U.S. services, partners and industry. Moving forward, our F-35 team remains committed to driving costs down, quality up and faster delivery timelines across our development, production and sustainment lines of effort."

The first 300 F-35s include 197 F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variants, 75 F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) variants, and 28 F-35C carrier variants (CV) and have been delivered to U.S. and international customers. More than 620 pilots and 5,600 maintainers have been trained, and the F-35 fleet has surpassed more than 140,000 cumulative flight hours.


https://www.f35.com/news/detail/pentago ... 5-aircraft

More at the link above. Pretty impressive numbers in bold including now past 140k flight hours.

The 300th F-35.
Image
 
ZaphodHarkonnen
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Jun 12, 2018 2:07 pm

As someone on another forum pointed out. This means there have now been more F-35As built than the entire F-22 production run. 197 vs 195.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:05 pm

Not sure I agree with the article's title given NG made it clear they didn’t see the business potential of the deal stacking up to their internal requirements and were happy to cede the market to Raytheon. What it does show though is how LM and the JPO are driving cost out and increasing capability at the same time.

‘Major Upset’ As Lockheed Ditches Northrop For F-35 DAS Sensor

Northrop Grumman was pushed aside today by Lockheed Martin as it picked Raytheon to build perhaps the F-35’s most important sensor, the Distributed Aperture System.

“It’s a major upset,:” Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group said when I asked him to discuss the signficance of the decision. “And from a revenue standpoint, F-35 remains almost the only game in town. It also shows that they’re determined to reduce F-35 costs. Major component changes like these are extremely rare, particularly at this stage of a procurement program.”

Northrop Grumman’s system, long touted as a revolutionary capability allowing pilots to see all around their aircraft, top to bottom, front to back and giving the F-35 the power to detect missile launches from as much as 1,000 miles away (the standard official number is 800), as well as allowing the plane to target ground artillery, has had problems for years. The 2015 report by the director of Operational Test and Evaluation said this: “The F-35B fleet exhibited only a 14 percent average FMC rate, however. Failures in the Distributed Aperture System (DAS), electronic warfare (EW) system, and Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS) were the highest drivers pushing aircraft into Partial Mission Capable (PMC) status.” The OTE usually lists problems in their order of importance. And Lockheed made a point of saying in today’s announcement that the Raytheon system will provide five times the reliability of Northrop’s product.

The Raytheon win should mean “billions” in revenue for the company, according to Loren Thompson, a defense consultant and member of the Breaking Defense Board of Contributors.

“The DAS win will be worth billions of dollars to Raytheon across the lifetime of the F-35 fighter program. The shift in suppliers is part of a broader push by Lockheed Martin to wring cost out of the program,” he notes. “With most of the technical risk now retired from the program, cost reduction has become a top priority for managers.”

Lockheed signaled its dissatisfaction with Northrop at the Singapore Air Show in April when Lockheed’s director of F-35 international business development, Steve Over, told Aviation Week: “We’ve found a supplier that can produce a better DAS system at a significantly lower price that has significantly better performance. So, we’re trying to find a way to break that into production right now. It’s somebody other than Northrop.”

The Raytheon-built DAS will be integrated into F-35 aircraft starting with Lot 15 aircraft, expected to begin deliveries in 2023.

https://breakingdefense.com/2018/06/maj ... as-sensor/

Some of the value from the switch.

Image
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:24 pm

No specific clarification on what the Growth 2.0 provides other than "Significant" but given the growth 1.0 option is 10% thrust and 6% fuel reduction you would expect close to double those numbers for Growth 2.0. Would be interesting to know how much of Growth 2.0 could be retrofitted to older engines or if a straight engine swap would be necessary.

Pratt & Whitney is pitching a new version of the F-35 engine

Pratt & Whitney is developing upgrades to the F-35’s engine that will give it the power and cooling necessary to make the U.S. Defense Department’s most sensor-heavy fighter jet even more of a powerhouse.

The new Growth Option 2.0 upgrade for the F135 engine, launched on Tuesday, adds a more advanced power and thermal management system that could be used to help the F-35 incorporate new weapons and sensors, the company said.

It also integrates a new compressor and turbine technologies that yield greater thrust and fuel savings, which were part of the Growth Option 1.0 concept unveiled in 2017.

In a June 12 interview with Defense News, Matthew Bromberg, president of Pratt & Whitney’s military engines unit, said the company decided to work on improvements to the F135’s power and thermal management system, or PTMS, based on feedback from the F-35 Joint Program Office.

Pratt in 2017 tested an early version of the Growth Option 1.0 motor called the fuel burn reduction demonstrator engine, which demonstrated that the upgrade could improve thrust by up to 10 percent and reduce fuel consumption by up to 6 percent.

But while the community that flies the F-35B short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing variant was gung-ho on the thrust improvements, the JPO said that better power and cooling was what was really needed — especially as the program transitions from the development phase to modernization, also known as Block 4 or Continuous Capability Development and Delivery, Bromberg said.

Pratt has already begun testing some technologies from the Growth Option 2.0 suite in various rigs and demonstrators. Bromberg called the upgrades “relatively low risk” and said it could probably be proven out in a four-year technology demonstration program.

But he declined to talk about completed testing or to quantify the new power and cooling improvements, saying only that they were “significant.”

Although the Defense Department hasn’t signed onto an upgraded F135 engine as part of the Continuous Capability Development and Delivery effort, Pratt executives have been hopeful that it will do so as it finalizes that strategy.

“As the F-35 program moves forward with the Continuous Capability Development and Delivery strategy, we strive to stay in front of propulsion advances needed to enable F-35 modernization,” Bromberg said in a statement. “We’re continuously assessing customer needs and responding with technology options to keep them ahead of evolving threats.”

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

Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:27 pm

More oversight for the program that already has more scrutiny and review processes than any other in recent US military history.

Senate Wants More Oversight of F-35 Sustainment Costs

The U.S. Senate has approved a proposal that would require the Pentagon to regularly brief lawmakers on efforts to contain sustainment costs for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The measure would require that the U.S Defense Department, in its quarterly F-35 program briefings to the congressional defense panels, include “an assessment of efforts to ensure that excessive sustainment costs do not threaten the ability to purchase the required number of aircraft.”

The proposal, by Sen. Todd Young, received Senate approval late June 11 as an amendment to the fiscal year 2019 defense authorization bill. The bill already called for quarterly program updates but did not specifically require that they address efforts to curb sustainment costs.

Military leaders have expressed concern about the F-35’s high sustainment costs, saying they must come down for the plane to be affordable. For example, the Air Force, which plans to buy 1,763 Lockheed Martin-built F-35s, more than any other service, hopes to wring out enough savings to allow the stealth fighter’s sustainment costs to match those of legacy fighters.

http://www.aviationtoday.com/2018/06/13 ... ent-costs/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:49 pm

Ex-Rolls-Royce engineer nicked on suspicion of giving F-35 info to China

A former Rolls-Royce engineer has reportedly been arrested on suspicion of breaching the Official Secrets Act by allegedly handing British F-35 engine secrets to China.

Rolls-Royce's one-time chief combustion technologist Bryn Jones, 73, was arrested at his Derbyshire, UK, home by the Metropolitan Police's Counter Terrorism Command on Tuesday.

MI5 is said to have received intelligence that "classified defence information" may have been passed to China as part of a plot involving Jones. Jones was apprehended during an "ultra discreet" police operation that included a search of a nearby office.

The Sun reported that the engineer, who left Rolls-Royce in 2003 for academic and consultancy roles, had 40 years' experience "in the development of new combustion technology for aero gas turbines and aero derivative engines".

Jones is reportedly a visiting professor in gas turbine combustion at China's Aeronautical University of Xian.

The F-35B, which is the short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) variant of the supersonic stealth fighter, has a lift fan that rotates its jet engine's thrust through 90 degrees for takeoffs and landings. The lift fan mechanism was mostly designed by Rolls-Royce, building on the original design work for the Pegasus engine that powered the Harrier jump-jet. It makes up a significant chunk of the 15 per cent of each F-35B that is built in Britain.

Exact details of the lift fan's design and construction are highly classified, not least because such details could not only give an adversary key information about radar and infrared signatures but also let them copy the design. China has already put together a visual replica of the F-35A, variously named in Western media as the J-31 or FC-31, and a STOVL version of that aircraft could cause headaches for Western militaries in years to come.

A Met Police spokesman said: "At approximately 1425 hours on Tuesday officers arrested a man in Derbyshire as part of an investigation under the Official Secrets Act. The man, who is in his 70s and worked within private industry, has been taken to a police station in Derbyshire where he remains in custody."

The Daily Telegraph later reported that Jones had been released from police custody.

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/06/1 ... legations/

Given he has been released he clearly is not seen as a flight risk. He finished up in 2004 so an info he may have provided is a few years out of date now.
 
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Mortyman
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Jun 15, 2018 1:24 am

Ozair wrote:
Lockheed Martin F-35 Fighter Poised To Become One Of America's Biggest Exports

The Pentagon's F-35 fighter has completed its development program and begun deploying overseas. About 300 have been delivered, and that number will double by the end of 2020. The U.S. military plans to buy 2,443 of the stealthy aircraft in three distinct variants tailored to the needs of the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.

To date, public discussion of F-35 has focused mainly on what the fighter can do for U.S. warfighters, and at what cost. But there is another dimension to the F-35 story, and that is the positive impact the plane will have on America's trade balance as overseas friends and allies acquire well over a thousand of the fighters, mainly to replace aging F-16s bought during the Cold War.

The F-35 program from its inception has had eight partner countries that helped pay for its development and now are poised to purchase over 600 of the planes. But that is just the beginning of the program's trade impact. An additional 800 planes are expected to be bought by other countries through the Foreign Military Sales program. That process has already begun, with Israel, Japan and South Korea signing on before development was even completed.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lorenthomp ... 4eef14d54d

More at the link above but no surprise that manufacturing an aircraft that will likely see 1000+ orders outside the US should be a significant benefit for the US and partner economies. That is before you factor the expected 40 years of service most airframes are likely to provide and the support contracts associated with that.


Bigger than the F-16 program ?
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:29 am

Mortyman wrote:
Bigger than the F-16 program ?

Interesting question. Perhaps the comparative increased price of an F-35 compared to an F-16 provides the program with a greater overall export value? The F-16 program also manufactured a lot of aircraft outside the US, two lines in Europe and one in Turkey and Korea, but for the F-35 so far only Italy and Japan will have a FACO. Japan has paid significantly for that and Italy may lose some future production if they don’t order enough aircraft.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sat Jun 16, 2018 1:20 pm

An interview with the Chief of the Air Staff for Denmark. All the questions asked of him are at the link but some good info on how and when Denmark plan to introduce the F-35.

Denmark’s air chief on standing up the F-35 and dealing with Russia

Denmark’s government announced its intent to buy 27 F-35A joint strike fighters in June 2016. The aircraft were meant to become the backbone of the Danish Air Force for years to come. But standing up the jets with a relatively small force, while taking part in operations around the globe, has created a headache for planners in Copenhagen.

Maj. Gen. Anders Rex, Denmark’s chief of the air staff, is in charge of making that transition work. During a recent visit to Copenhagen, Rex sat down with Defense News to explain how that transition will happen and describe the country’s interaction with Russia in recent years.

https://www.defensenews.com/smr/nato-pr ... th-russia/
 
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Mortyman
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sat Jun 16, 2018 6:52 pm

Ozair wrote:
An interview with the Chief of the Air Staff for Denmark. All the questions asked of him are at the link but some good info on how and when Denmark plan to introduce the F-35.

Denmark’s air chief on standing up the F-35 and dealing with Russia

Denmark’s government announced its intent to buy 27 F-35A joint strike fighters in June 2016. The aircraft were meant to become the backbone of the Danish Air Force for years to come. But standing up the jets with a relatively small force, while taking part in operations around the globe, has created a headache for planners in Copenhagen.

Maj. Gen. Anders Rex, Denmark’s chief of the air staff, is in charge of making that transition work. During a recent visit to Copenhagen, Rex sat down with Defense News to explain how that transition will happen and describe the country’s interaction with Russia in recent years.

https://www.defensenews.com/smr/nato-pr ... th-russia/


27 aircraft is a very low number I think ...
 
josepha1
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Jun 17, 2018 12:16 am

How many losses has the F-35 had vs. other fighters jets in the same time period of testing, ect.?
 
ThePointblank
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Jun 17, 2018 2:15 am

josepha1 wrote:
How many losses has the F-35 had vs. other fighters jets in the same time period of testing, ect.?

For the F-35, only one can be considered a loss; it was a F-35A that suffered a engine fire while on the ground.

In the case of the F-16, within a year of introduction into service, 2 aircraft were written off as total losses out of a total fleet size of 96, with an annual loss rate of about 2% for the first 5 years of service. The attrition rate then declined, to about 0.13% today.
 
vr773
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Jun 17, 2018 12:56 pm

Ozair wrote:
Lockheed Martin F-35 Fighter Poised To Become One Of America's Biggest Exports

The Pentagon's F-35 fighter has completed its development program and begun deploying overseas. About 300 have been delivered, and that number will double by the end of 2020. The U.S. military plans to buy 2,443 of the stealthy aircraft in three distinct variants tailored to the needs of the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.

To date, public discussion of F-35 has focused mainly on what the fighter can do for U.S. warfighters, and at what cost. But there is another dimension to the F-35 story, and that is the positive impact the plane will have on America's trade balance as overseas friends and allies acquire well over a thousand of the fighters, mainly to replace aging F-16s bought during the Cold War.

The F-35 program from its inception has had eight partner countries that helped pay for its development and now are poised to purchase over 600 of the planes. But that is just the beginning of the program's trade impact. An additional 800 planes are expected to be bought by other countries through the Foreign Military Sales program. That process has already begun, with Israel, Japan and South Korea signing on before development was even completed.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lorenthomp ... 4eef14d54d

More at the link above but no surprise that manufacturing an aircraft that will likely see 1000+ orders outside the US should be a significant benefit for the US and partner economies. That is before you factor the expected 40 years of service most airframes are likely to provide and the support contracts associated with that.


Author is on Lockheed Martin's payroll so that article is more fan mail than analysis. Thanks for posting though.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Jun 17, 2018 9:48 pm

Mortyman wrote:

27 aircraft is a very low number I think ...

Agree 27 is not a great number but you need to put the new fleet into context with the old. Denmark initially acquired 58 F-16A/Bs, ordered a second batch of 12 aircraft and then acquired 8 attrition replacements. Like the Dutch who initially ordered a total of 177 F-16s and now operate 61, the Danes operate 30 F-16 aircraft today, so that fleet reduction is right in line with European trends for reduction in fighter jet numbers. Even Norway operates now only 46 of an initial 72 F-16 ordered.

vr773 wrote:
Author is on Lockheed Martin's payroll so that article is more fan mail than analysis. Thanks for posting though.

I'm not sure what your point is?

Loren Thompson clearly declares that LM is a contributor to the Lexington Institute in his bio and in all the articles he writes on the F-35.

I focus on the strategic, economic and business implications of defense spending as the Chief Operating Officer of the non-profit Lexington Institute and Chief Executive Officer of Source Associates. Prior to holding my present positions, I was Deputy Director of the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University and taught graduate-level courses in strategy, technology and media affairs at Georgetown. I have also taught at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. I hold doctoral and masters degrees in government from Georgetown University and a bachelor of science degree in political science from Northeastern University. Disclosure: The Lexington Institute receives funding from many of the nation’s leading defense contractors, including Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and United Technologies


But still what does that matter. I'm hardly posting only positive articles on the F-35 in this thread, I post the good, bad and ugly so in that context what difference does an article from Loren Thompson make, especially when what he is talking about is almost entirely based on facts and informed assessment? If you disagree on what he has stated, then given this is a forum, there is clearly an opportunity to discuss it.

So…which parts do you consider fan mail and why?
Last edited by Ozair on Sun Jun 17, 2018 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Jun 17, 2018 9:59 pm

ThePointblank wrote:
josepha1 wrote:
How many losses has the F-35 had vs. other fighters jets in the same time period of testing, ect.?

For the F-35, only one can be considered a loss; it was a F-35A that suffered a engine fire while on the ground.

In the case of the F-16, within a year of introduction into service, 2 aircraft were written off as total losses out of a total fleet size of 96, with an annual loss rate of about 2% for the first 5 years of service. The attrition rate then declined, to about 0.13% today.

Additionally the F-35A that had the engine fire is being repaired so won't be recorded as a hull loss.

As stated previously the F-35 SDD program has been the most extensive aviation testing program in history and additionally one could argue one of the most conservative to prevent aircrew and aircraft loss. Had the program moved with the haste of the 50s, 60s and even 70s, the aircraft would likely have been in service years earlier but perhaps minus a couple of test airframes and pilots.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Jun 17, 2018 10:24 pm

Interesting that the first Dutch F-35A to be received will come from the Italian FACO.

Work On The First European-built F-35 For The Netherlands Starts At Cameri FACO in Italy

On Jun. 15, Dutch Secretary of State for Defense Barbara Visser gave a symbolic start signal to the assembly of the first F-35 for the RNlAF at Cameri Final Assembly and Check Out (FACO), in northwestern Italy. She did so by placing her signature on the hull of the AN-9, the ninth of the Netherlands’ 37 F-35A CTOL (Conventional Take Off and Landing) stealth jets on order. The first eight F-35A are being assembled at Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth facility in the U.S. with two F-35s already used for testing at Edwards AFB, California, and the rest heading to Luke Air Force Base for pilot training.

AN-9 will be the first F-35 to arrive in the Netherlands: the aircraft is expected to roll off the production line in February 2019. It will undertake test and acceptance flights in Italy before moving to Leeuwarden in October 2019.

On May 23, 2016, the first two Dutch F-35A aircraft, AN-1 (F-001) and AN-2 (F-002), arrived at Leeuwarden air base, in the Netherlands, at the end of the type’s first eastbound transatlantic crossing, for a short “tour” in anticipation of the type’s final arrival at the end of 2019. The two aircraft started their journey to Europe from Edwards Air Force Base, California, and crossed the Pond as “NAF 81” (then “Archer 1” and “Archer 2”) after a stopover in Patuxent River, Maryland, supported by two KDC-10s. During their brief European deployment, on Jun. 10, 2016, the two RNlAF F-35s made the type’s international airshow debut during the “Luchtmachtdagen 2016” airshow at Leeuwarden Air Base.

29 F-35A jets for the Royal Netherlands Air Force will be built at Cameri that has already assembled ten F-35A for the Italian Air Force and the first F-35B for the Italian Navy (out of 60 CTOL and 30 STOVL procured by the Italian MoD).

The Italian FACO, a 101-acre facility including 22 buildings and more than one million square feet of covered work space, housing 11 assembly stations, and five maintenance, repair, overhaul, and upgrade bays, is owned by the Italian Ministry of Defense and is operated by Leonardo in conjunction with Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. According to Lockheed, 800 skilled personnel are engaged in full assembly of the Conventional Take-off/Landing F-35A and F-35B aircraft variants and is also producing 835 F-35A full wing sets to support all customers in the program. It has the only F-35B production capability outside the United States and was selected in December 2014 as the European F-35 airframe Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul and Upgrade center for the entire European region.

https://theaviationist.com/2018/06/16/w ... -in-italy/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Jun 17, 2018 10:35 pm

Fair warning, Loren Thompson article...

Good news on the efforts to reduce sustainment of the F135. It appears that there are some reasonably concrete plans in place for this reduction and that the numbers spoken about may be achievable. Additionally these reductions will also assist in reducing sustainment costs for the B-21 which is likely to have a variant of the F135.


Lockheed, Pratt Disclose F-35 Cost-Cutting Moves As Air Force Secretary Presses For Economies

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson is a formidable intellect. One of the first women to graduate from the Air Force Academy, she became a Rhodes Scholar (D.Phil, Oxford) before serving on the National Security Council staff and then representing New Mexico's First District in Congress for 11 years -- during which she was a member of the armed services and intelligence committees. Like her father and grandfather, she is an instrument-rated pilot. Having spent seven years as an Air Force officer, she knows her service well.

So when Wilson decides to press for changes in a program, chances are she will prevail. One of her top priorities recently has been reducing the life-cycle costs of the F-35 fighter. From a technical and operational perspective, the F-35 has become a smashing success. It has satisfied all of the "key performance parameters" established at its inception, aircraft are being delivered on time, and prices are falling in each successive production lot. But Wilson is not happy about how much it will cost to keep the fighters flying through 2070.

The Navy and Marine Corps will be flying their own versions of the F-35, but Wilson's service will absorb a whopping 72% of the domestic production run -- 1,763 fighters -- as it replaces aging Cold War planes. The Air Force variant is also the version most in demand by U.S. allies (Israel recently used two of them to reach targets in Iran). So Wilson has a double incentive to cut the plane's operating cost -- to assure her own service modernizes in a timely fashion, and to assure allied air forces can afford to keep up.

The Air Force has set a goal of reducing projected operating and support costs across the lifetime of the F-35 program by 38%, which is a tall order for a program that until recently was focused on other matters -- like proving its capabilities in the biggest flight-test program ever executed. Now that the capabilities are demonstrated though (F-35 is achieving 20-to-1 kill ratios against adversary aircraft in exercises) Wilson really wants to get the price down.

She has not been subtle in telling contractors what the stakes are. Simply put, if the cost of "sustainment" -- operations and support -- doesn't fall by the requisite 38%, then the Air Force may have to buy hundreds fewer planes than it was planning. It took Marillyn Hewson, CEO of lead airframe contractor Lockheed Martin, about two nanoseconds to get the message. She formed an internal review panel that figured out how to meet Secretary Wilson's cost goals.

This week, both Lockheed Martin and engine maker Pratt & Whitney disclosed initiatives aimed at cutting costs on the F-35. In the case of Lockheed Martin, it will change suppliers for the F-35's critical "distributed aperture system" that provides spherical protection of the fighter against missiles and aircraft to a distance of over 800 miles. By switching to Raytheon, it says it will cut unit production costs by 45% and post-production sustainment costs by 50%. The latter savings result in part from a 500% gain in reliability.

In the case of engine maker Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies, the goal is to slash the cost of operating the F-35's engine from $7,000 per hour to $3,500 -- roughly the same cost to operate the engines on legacy F-16 fighters. According to InsideDefense.com, Pratt military-engines chief Matthew Bromberg told a group of journalists this week his goal is to cut engine operating costs by 50% over ten years, so that the Air Force and other F-35 users get a far more capable propulsion system for the same price as legacy systems.

Secretary Wilson told me two months ago there are plenty of ways of cutting aircraft sustainment costs, and now contractors are proving she was right. Lockheed Martin is shifting electronic-warfare system provider BAE Systems to a performance-based subcontract that will greatly reduce costs, and plans similar adjustments with eight other suppliers of critical components. Pratt & Whitney has identified multiple potential modifications to what is already the world's most capable fighter engine that will make it even more capable.

The more recently-produced F-35s are already the highest-performing fighters in the Air Force's fleet. The fighters from production lot nine, funded in 2015, exceed Air Force operational requirements for reliability by 46%, and that performance will likely improve further as the program moves down its learning curve. The F-35 has cost less to build than the government expected in each successive production lot. But Secretary Wilson is right that there are plenty of options for further reducing costs.

Among those options are technology insertions (such as greater automation), process improvements, recompetition of key components, redesign of some parts, and a rethink of how the program's "autonomic logistics" system is configured. In the years since the F-35 award was first made, information technologies have progressed at a furious pace, suggesting that the vast amounts of data the F-35 collects in each flight might be better used to diagnose and predict sustainment issues.

As I have written previously, much of what appears in the media about F-35 operating costs is misleading. Government estimates are all out of date, failing to reflect the most recent operational data. And even if you use those outdated, exaggerated projections, what you discover is that it will cost roughly one day of federal spending per year through 2070 to keep all the F-35s in the joint inventory flying. During most of that time, F-35 will make up a majority of tactical aircraft in the joint fleet.

So the cost of sustainment is not some sort of crisis that threatens the future of F-35. In a way, the current discussion is a good sign: it signals that the discussion has moved on as technical risk has been largely eliminated from the program. But Secretary Wilson is right to press contractors for further cost reductions because the federal budget is headed for big deficits in the years ahead, and her service will be bearing most of the cost of operating F-35. It appears Wilson's efforts are already delivering results for taxpayers and warfighters.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lorenthomp ... onomies/2/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Jun 17, 2018 11:00 pm

Loooong article on the stress and fatigue testing of the F-35 variants.

The Marines Are Still Trying To Figure Out When Their F-35Bs Might Literally Fall Apart

Earlier in June 2018, anyone driving on the highways near the city of Wichita, Kansas might have caught a glimpse of what seemed to be a UFO on the back of a large flatbed truck. What they were actually looking at is part of the work being done to answer the very important question of just how long an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is supposed to last before it's no longer airworthy. So far, the U.S. Air Force's F-35As and U.S. Navy's F-35Cs look to be as durable as expected, but tests on an example of the U.S. Marine Corps's F-35B have exposed more serious issues.

On June 6, 2018, the F-35 aircraft, an A model, arrived at Wichita State University’s National Institute for Aviation Research, or NIAR, as part of the Joint Strike Fighter program's durability testing regimen. Manufacturer Lockheed Martin had sent the jet from its Fort Worth plant to the research facility so that specialists could tear it down and inspect its internal structure to determine whether it had adequately withstood earlier tests. At present, the F-35A, B, and C are all supposed to have a lifespan of 8,000 flight hours.

“As part of the F-35 program, durability ground test aircraft undergo exhaustive testing to validate the structural integrity of the airframe to withstand a variety of maneuvers it will experience throughout its lifetime,” NIAR said in a statement to the Kansas Department of Transportation. The latter organization also released images and other information about the plane on the back of the truck to allay any possible public concerns.

This isn’t the first time NIAR has helped analyze the results of structural and durability tests on F-35 aircraft. In August 2017, the facility received an F-35B model for inspection. The institute also performs a wide array of other aviation testing services for the U.S. government and private companies and hosts two additional centers that it operates in cooperation with the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Air Force.

Lockheed Martin has built a total of six ground test articles, two of each of the three F-35 variants, to support these experiments and has been actively stress and fatigue testing the airframes since 2009. The company and its subcontractors have used a host of different test stands and other equipment to drop and otherwise simulate typical operations and maneuvers that the aircraft will experience during its expected life cycle.

The U.S. military’s central Joint Program Office (JPO) for the Joint Strike Fighter has mandated that testing put each type of jet through testing that simulates the equivalent of three full life cycles, or 24,000 flight hours.

This doesn’t mean that each one of the test F-35s will go through that full amount of abuse or that contractors can’t perform normal, expected repairs and preventive maintenance during the experiments. The objective is to simulate typical use, not simply shake the airframes apart. Lockheed Martin only set aside one of each type specifically for ground fatigue testing, as well. The other three aircraft have gotten subjected to different kinds of stress tests, including getting shot at to see how the airframe might hold up in combat.

The F-35A that arrived at NIAR in June 2018 had just finished the third cycle of tests for that variant. The F-35C was slated to finish its final round of testing in December 2017, but it is unclear if that has occurred and when analysis of the results might begin.

“For all variants, this testing led to discoveries requiring repairs and modifications to production designs and retrofits to fielded aircraft,” the Pentagon’s Office of the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation, or DOT&E, reported in its most recent annual review of the program, covering the 2017 fiscal year, which ended on September 30, 2017. This is, of course, exactly why the U.S. military conducts these tests in the first place.

But while the F-35A and C variants look set to meet the stated durability goals, the Marine Corps’ F-35B has had considerably more trouble. The F-35 JPO suspended durability testing on that variant in February 2017 after one of the two test articles finished the second simulated life cycle, according to DOT&E.

“Due to the significant amount of modifications and repairs to bulkheads and other structures, the program declared the F-35B ground test article was no longer representative of the production aircraft, so the JPO deemed it inadequate for further testing,” the Pentagon testing office’s report noted. “The program canceled the testing of the third lifetime with [the F-35B known as] BH-1 and made plans to procure another ground test article, but has not yet done so.”

It is very likely that the F-35Bs structural woes are, in no small part, due to a massive effort early in the Joint Strike Fighter's development to cut the weight of that variant in particular. Beginning in 2004, a group of engineers at Lockheed Martin called the STOVL (Short Take Off/Vertical Landing) Weight Attack Team, or SWAT, found ways to shave more than 2,700 pounds off the Marine Corps' version. They trimmed 1,300 pounds from the A and C types, too.

This weight reduction project was critical to advancing the program at the time, but persistent reports of cracks in bulkheads and other components, along with other issues, have raised questions about what got sacrificed to meet those targets.

Now, there is a very real concern that the B variant may not meet the 8,000 flight hour target. These jets may have a shorter service life than the other types “even with extensive modifications to strengthen the aircraft,” DOT&E warned.

On top of that, these versions are having serious problems with the durability of their wheels specifically. Unlike the F-35As and Cs, the B models have the ability to take off and land vertically, which requires tires that are at the same time durable enough for a conventional landing and soft enough to cushion the jet when it comes straight down.

As it stands now, ground crews have to change the tires, on average, after fewer than 10 full-stop conventional landings, which is less than half the target number. Lockheed Martin has reportedly sourced a possible replacement tire design, but will only begin testing it sometime in late 2018, according to a report on the F-35 program that the Government Accountability Office (GAO), a congressional watchdog, released earlier in June 2018.

Ensuring that the jet’s airframe, as well as other ancillary components, last as long as they’re supposed to, is extremely important for both safety and sustainment reasons. Without an accurate understanding of when the planes will literally fall apart, the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marines Corps, as well as foreign operators, could risk putting pilots in the cockpit of aircraft that simply aren’t airworthy.

It is also an essential component for long-term planning with regards to sustaining the F-35 fleets since these tests will provide additional data on what components are most likely to fail and when. This, in turn, can help give an early sense of what portions of the airframe might need an overhaul or outright replacement, and how much that might cost, during any service life extension program down the road.

The Air Force is already in the process of starting a major life extension project for its F-16C/Ds, as parts of that fleet begin to get near their maximum allowable flight hours. The U.S. Navy is similarly embarking on a similar program to breath additional life into its F/A-18E/F Super Hornets.

Having a good understanding of the structural lifespan of the F-35 could be even more important given the inherent complexities associated with any heavy maintenance on the jets due to their stealthy features. Delays and other setbacks for the Joint Strike Fighter Program, which have extended its development time overall, mean that these issues could come to the fore sooner rather than later, too.

On May 30, 2018, the U.S. Navy, which leads the F-35 JPO at present, awarded Lockheed Martin a contract worth more than $45 million to, in part, to “support service life extension” work on the developmental test Joint Strike Fighters. The oldest members of this fleet of aircraft, which now numbers more than a dozen in total, have been flying for more than a decade already for testing purposes.

An accurate appraisal of how long a lifespan each of the aircraft has will also be increasingly important as the U.S. military looks to move to full-rate production of the aircraft. With more jets coming off the production line, the cost to implement any necessary, but complex structural fixes or improvements will similarly grow.

The aforementioned GAO report was highly critical of the Pentagon’s push to move ahead and step up production without having first fixed a host of unspecified serious deficiencies with the aircraft, including six having to do with the “air vehicle” itself. The review noted that the JPO did not have a well-established plan for how and when to integrate any upgrades into existing and future aircraft as part of its Continuous Capability Development and Delivery (C2D2) concept, either.

The report also pointed out that the JPO has yet to give a full accounting of the costs associated with bringing jets up to the “final” Block 4 standard and building new ones in this configuration or what those aircraft will actually look like in terms of mission systems and capabilities. Any major changes in the aircraft’s structure or other components could change the stressed on certain portions of the airframe and potentially have an impact on the aircraft’s overall lifespan.

It’s worth noting that the JPO determined the existing F-35B ground test article was no longer suitable for tests due to how much the airframe had changed over the course of previous experiments. It did, however, accept the results of the second round of testing.

Not knowing the specific conclusions from the existing testing on any of the F-35 variants, it’s hard to judge how significant the impact of the repairs and configuration changes may or may not have on the jets’ life expectancy. With regards to the F-35B, what may happen is that it could simply end up with a shorter official service life than the other two variants.

If the actual lifespan is closer to 6,000 flight hours, this would put them on par with the U.S. Navy’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, which are now slated to get upgrades to extend their lives out to 9,000 hours. The U.S. military will still need to buy another F-35B to be sure, though.

As of yet, inspectors have not yet formally certified any of the three versions as having an approximately 8,000 flight hour-long service life. In the meantime, until these important figures get settled, residents of Wichita and the surrounding environs may continue to see F-35s under wraps heading to NIAR so specialists can examine them.

http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/21 ... fall-apart

F-35A being transported to NIAR
Image

F-35B after a live fire test.
Image
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Jun 17, 2018 11:34 pm

Looks like the US first delivery of a Turkish F-35 will go ahead. Whether in the long term the aircraft leaves the country is probably still up for debate.

US to deliver first F-35 to Turkey on June 21

The U.S. is set to deliver the first F-35 fighter jet to Turkey on June 21 despite opposition in Congress.

A Lockheed Martin spokesman told Defense News that there will be a rollout ceremony at its production facilities in Fort Worth next week.

“The F-35 program traditionally hosts a ceremony to recognize every U.S. and international customer’s first aircraft. The rollout ceremony for Turkey’s first F-35 aircraft is scheduled for June 21,” the spokesman said in a written statement.

“The aircraft will then ferry to Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, where Turkish pilots will join the F-35A training pool.”

AA
The U.S. Senate is due to vote on the annual defense policy bill, which could prevent Turkey from buying F-35 fighter jets.

The F-35s will replace the aging fleet of F-4 and F-16 aircraft. Last December, the Pentagon said that Italy and Turkey would provide the initial heavy maintenance of the F-35 fighter jets and their engines.

Turkish defense firms’ key role in project

The single-pilot and single-engine, fifth-generation JSF/F-35 joint strike fighter stands out as a fighter jet that can perform various missions, such as air-ground assault, reconnaissance, tactics, and defense with low visibility.

The airplanes are being produced in three versions: conventional (horizontal) landing and departure, short take-off and vertical landing, and carrier based (F-35C/CV).

The modern F-35 fighter is being developed and built by U.S. defense contractor Lockheed Martin for the U.S., the U.K., Australia, Italy, Norway, Turkey, the Netherlands, Denmark and Canada in a project worth about $400 billion, making it the world's most expensive weapons program.

In terms of industrial participation, the Turkish defense industry plays an important role in the program as parts supplier for the F-35 program.

Ten Turkish firms, including ASELSAN, Kale Aviation, Microwave and Electronic Systems (MiKES), ROKETSAN, and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), are involved in the production of parts and electronic systems, and the engine maintenance for the F-35s.

https://www.yenisafak.com/en/news/us-to ... 21-3413990
 
Andre3K
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Jun 19, 2018 4:07 pm

I'm seeing reports from not so major news sources that Congress has blocked F-35 sales to Turkey. If true, I'm about to do a joy dance.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Jun 19, 2018 9:31 pm

Andre3K wrote:
I'm seeing reports from not so major news sources that Congress has blocked F-35 sales to Turkey. If true, I'm about to do a joy dance.

Not sure that is correct. The following has just been published by CNN,

Turkey to get F-35 jets Thursday despite opposition from Congress

Despite opposition from the US Congress, Turkey is set to receive its first F-35 Joint Strike Fighters on Thursday during a ceremony in Fort Worth, Texas, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

"Lockheed Martin will hold a rollout ceremony for Turkey this Thursday in Fort Worth, and the two jets will follow-on to Luke Air Force Base in Arizona at a later date," Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Mike Andrews told CNN.

"Turkish F-35 pilots and maintainers have arrived at Luke Air Force Base and will begin flight academics soon," he added.

Although Turkey has long been a participant in the development of the F-35 program, the US Senate had sought to block Turkey from receiving the stealth warplanes through language in the National Defense Authorization Act amid a deterioration of the US-Turkey relationship.

The Senate's version of the defense bill expressed concern over Ankara's planned purchase of the S-400 anti-aircraft system from Russia and what it labeled Turkey's unlawful and wrongful detention of Andre Brunson, a US citizen.

Many US officials have expressed concerns that a major Russian military system like the S-400 would be incompatible with the NATO systems used by Turkey's alliance partners.

The Senate bill also calls on Secretary of Defense James Mattis to submit to Congress "a plan to remove the Government of the Republic of Turkey from participation in the F-35 program" as well as list the "steps required to prohibit the transfer of any F-35 aircraft currently owned and operated, by the Government of the Republic of Turkey, from the territory of the United States."

The Senate overwhelmingly passed its version of the defense authorization bill on Monday.

Congressional efforts to block the sale to Turkey have drawn criticism from Turkish officials.

"We have been in that program, including some joint production, production of the parts of F-35s in Turkey," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told PBS earlier this month.

"Turkey has been paying the installments on time, on due time. And Turkey have met all the requirements, but you cannot cancel this because of the S-400s that we are buying. It is a totally different issue," he added, saying Turkey should not be forced to choose between the US and Russia.

Andrews said the Department of Defense "does not comment on proposed legislation," adding that "Turkey is a close, key NATO ally, and has been an international participant with the F-35 program since 2002."

The Senate bill still needs to be reconciled with the House's version and the final version would need to be signed by President Donald Trump.

https://edition.cnn.com/2018/06/19/poli ... index.html
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Jun 19, 2018 9:38 pm

Some information on the Mission Data Files that are use dby teh F-35 to identify what is present in the battlespace.

The F-35 Is Getting Ready to Fight Russia's Stealth Fighter and China's J-20

The Air Force is now adding new information about enemy aircraft to the F-35's "threat library" database designed to precisely identify enemy aircraft operating in different high-risk areas around the globe - such as a Chinese J-20 stealth fighter or Russian T-50 PAK FA 5th Gen fighter, service leaders said.

Described as the brains of the airplane, the "mission data files" are extensive on-board data systems compiling information on geography, air space and potential threats in areas where the F-35 might be expected to perform combat operations, Air Force officials explained.

"New threat changes are monitored and incorporated into updated mission data files based on the established priorities. Mission Data Files have been fielded to the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force, in support of operations, test, training and exercises," Maj. Emily Grabowski, Air Force spokeswoman, told Warrior Maven.

Consisting of hardware and software, the mission data files are essentially a database of known threats and friendly aircraft in specific parts of the world. The files continue to be worked on at a reprogramming laboratory at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Air Force officials said.

The mission data files are designed to work with the aircraft's Radar Warning Receiver engineered to find and identify approaching enemy threats and incoming hostile fire. The concept is to use the F-35s long range sensors to detect threats - and then compare the information against the existing library of enemy threats in real time while in flight. If this can happen at a favorable standoff range for the F-35, it will be able to identify and destroy enemy air-to-air targets before being vulnerable itself to enemy fire.

The mission data packages are loaded with a wide range of information to include commercial airliner information and specifics on Russian and Chinese fighter jets. For example, the mission data system would enable a pilot to quickly identify a Russian MiG-29 if it were detected by the F-35’s sensors.

"The Mission Data Files are based on the requirement," Grabowski said

While progress at the Eglin laboratory has been steady, the integration of the mission data files for the F-35 have experienced some delays, prompting the current effort to quicken the pace so that the operational aircraft has the most extensive threat library possible.

Overall, the Air Force is developing 12 different mission data files for 12 different geographic areas, Air Force officials have told Warrior Maven in previous interviews.

While Grabowski said that Mission Data File information on particular enemy platforms and specific global threat areas was naturally not available for security reasons, she did say the technology is now supporting the latest F-35 software configuration - called 3f.

As the most recently implemented software upgrade, Block 3f increases the weapons delivery capacity of the JSF, giving it the ability to drop a Small Diameter Bomb, 500-pound JDAM and AIM 9X short-range air-to-air missile, service officials explained.

"Mission data has been fielded in support of version 2B, 3i, and 3f," Grabowski added.

The Air Force is already working on a 4th drop to be ready by 2020 or 2021. Following this initial drop, the aircraft will incorporate new software drops in two year increments in order to stay ahead of the threat. The service is also working to massively quicken the pace of software upgrades as a way to respond quickly to new threats.

Block IV will include some unique partner weapons including British weapons, Turkish weapons and some of the other European country weapons that they want to get on their own plane, service officials explained.

Block IV will also increase the weapons envelope for the U.S. variant of the fighter jet. A big part of the developmental calculus for Block 4 is to work on the kinds of enemy air defense systems and weaponry the aircraft may face from the 2020’s through the 2040’s and beyond.

In terms of weapons, Block IV will eventually enable the F-35 to fire cutting edge weapons systems such as the Small Diameter Bomb II and GBU-54 – both air dropped bombs able to destroy targets on the move.

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-bu ... inas-26328
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Jun 19, 2018 9:56 pm

Some interesting comments on how the RAF is shaping the introduction of the F-35 and establishing a self-sustaining capability including a stealth finishing facility.

An Update on Leveraging the F-35 in Shaping a Way Ahead: The Perspective of Air Commodore David Bradshaw

Air Commodore Bradshaw was appointed as Lighting Force Commander, Royal Air Force Marham in April 2017 and he succeeded Air Commodore now Air Vice-Marshal H. Smyth.

Earlier, I have had the chance to discuss the standing up of the F-35 within the RAF with Air Vice-Marshal Smyth and that conversation in 2016 highlighted the core significance of RAF and Royal Navy collaboration in standing up the F-35 as a carrier based aviation system.

“As an RAF pilot with significant maritime and carrier operational experience, we are shaping a collegiate and joint way ahead with the Royal Navy which brings the RAF domain knowledge of ways to operate in the extended battlespace with the coming of the F-35B to the new Queen Elizabeth class carrier.

Being radical, I think it would make sense to put a picture of the Queen Elizabeth class carrier on our RAF recruiting poster;the RAF and the RN are jointly delivering the UK’s future Carrier Strike capability, and a all RAF Lightning pilots will spend some of their time at sea, as I did throughout my 16-year career in Joint Force Harrier – we are forging an integrated approach together, which is incredibly exciting.”

This collaborative aspect was driven home during the May 1 2018 visit to RAF Marham by having a chance to talk with both the RAF Lighting Force Commander and his deputy, Captain Adam Clink, Royal Navy.

Air Commodore David Bradshaw is a fast jet pilot with almost 3000 hours flying experience of which 2000 hours were in Harrier GR7 / 9 as a front line pilot, Qualified Weapons Instructor and Display Pilot.

He has seen operational service over the Balkans and Iraq, the latter from both land and HMS Illustrious.

As a group captain, he commanded 904 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW), Kandahar, followed by RAF Leeming and 135 EAW. Staff roles have included: Group Captain Lightning; Assistant Director (Integration) within the Directorate of Equipment Capability, Deep Target Attack; Chief-of-Staff Strategy within the Air Staff; and as the MoD member of the Prime Minister’s Strategic Communications Team during the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya.

Air Commodore Bradshaw assumed command of the UK Lightning Force in spring 2017 and is responsible for generating an Initial Operational Capability in 2018 with an embarked operational capability from HMS Queen Elizabeth in 2020.

The discussion with Air Commodore Bradshaw focused on standing up the Lightning Force at RAF Marham but in such a way that the RAF and Royal Navy could work together to shape innovative ways to pursue combat innovation in the period ahead.

Much of the effort currently under way at RAF Marham is to set up the F-35 while continuing to operate two squadrons of Tornados, but the infrastructure is being put in place to reach beyond that point and to shape the kind of multi-domain combat learning essential for effective 21st century operations.

Recently, I visited RAAF Williamtown and talked with Air Commodore Kitchner about the RAAF rebuild of the base and the transition in the next couple of years from Hornets to F-35s. My conversation with Air Commodore Bradshaw started with his comparing the RAF approach to that of the RAAF.

Air Commodore Bradshaw: “The RAAF at Williamtown have carved out an entire part of their airfield and have created a hugely impressive F-35 enclave in which everything needed to support the air system is clustered.

“We have taken a different approach, in part because we are operating two squadrons of Tornados at RAF Marham through the transition period but mainly to make best use of existing infrastructure to keep costs as low as possible while still delivering a Main Operating Base fit for the future.

“You can see going around the base the build up of our new F-35 infrastructure but see the Tornados flying over head.

“We need to manage both and we are leveraging Tornado infrastructure in part as well as we draw down the Tornado Force.

“For example, we are reusing Tornado hardened aircraft shelters from which to operate F-35s in the future.”

The Dambuster squadron arrived on June 6, 2017 and thereby began its operational life at RAF Marham. As Air Commodore Bradshaw noted: “We are building out a standard squadron infrastructure that you expect but one modernized to exploit the best of F-35 and meet the security requirements as well.”

They are also building what they call “Freedom of Action” facilities to ensure UK sovereignty over their operational aircraft. Such a facility is the stealth finishing facility to ensure maximum stealth performance of the aircraft in operational conditions.

But the UK is building out from outset an approach to leverage the F-35 as a driver of combat innovation, something I like to call F-35 2.0.

This is how Air Commodore Bradshaw put it. “The F-35 Integrated Training Center is the jewel in the crown of the F-35 effort at RAF Marham.

“We are working from the start to leverage the synthetic training environment enabled by the ITC, to provide a foundational capability that can empower our broader effort.

“We call this broader effort the Defence Operational Training Capability (Air) Core System.

“This approach will be to link the various key warfighting elements together to innovate and train for the evolving 21st century battlespace.”

“With the DOTC system, we are looking to work F-35 with Typhoon, with AWACs, with Type 45 Air Warfare Destroyer and our JTACs, to shape a multi-domain warfare approach.

“We are building the ITC as a key element not just to empower our use of the F-35 but to leverage its information and C2 capabilities to drive change throughout the force.”

The UK has built an all-F-35 fast jet carrier. This makes it the only one in the world.

Although the US carrier community has certainly been a key partner in helping the UK stand up its new carriers, a point made often in discussions with the RAF and the Royal Navy, they are clearly going down a path of doing something a bit different.

This is how Air Commodore Bradshaw put it:

“We have designed the Lightning Force from the very beginning to be joint. My deputy is a Royal Naval officer. The entire Lightning Force is a mix of light and dark blue.

“From the outset, we have a different view to many other Air and Naval forces about how we will use our F-35s.

“Taking our unique joint approach either to a deployed operating location or onto the Queen Elizabeth Class carrier, we need to exploit the opportunity to do it the right way for the UK and not necessarily slavishly follow another model that might exist elsewhere in the world.”

Obviously, with the political changes underway in Europe and elsewhere, the UK is looking to shape partnerships which protect its interests and provide strategic opportunities to shape its capabilities going forward.

And flying a force of F-35s and Typhoons provides them with an interesting opportunity to work with Europe going forward.

“With the F-35, we will have unique opportunities to work with our Northern European allies, including the Norwegian, Danish and Dutch Air Forces as well as out USAF neighbors at RAF Lakenheath.

“And with the Typhoon, we have good opportunities to work with the Germans, Spanish and Italians.

“And with the Italians flying a mixed force of F-35A, F-35B and Eurofighter, we have great opportunities to work together as well.”

In short, shaping a new operating base at RAF Marham and working with the two Queen Elizabeth carriers provides a significant opportunity for shaping air combat innovation, including in the sustainment area.


https://sldinfo.com/2018/06/an-update-o ... -bradshaw/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:11 am

I don’t agree with much of the argument presented, including the link between nuclear sharing and future equipment integrations given a European aircraft already integrated nuclear weapons. I also don’t think the author considered the treaty implications of a German aircraft carrying French nuclear weapons.

Amid NATO Infighting, the Future of the F-35 Is Shrinking

The most sophisticated fighter jet in the world, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, will play a smaller role in the future of European security than originally conceived. On Monday, the Senate amended its version of the 2019 defense authorization act to block the sale of the fifth-generation fighter jet to Turkey. The reason: the NATO ally’s purchase of the Russian S-400, a radar and missile battery with a lethal range of 250 km. In routine operation, the sensor- and transmitter-packed jet exchanges electronic data with friendly anti-air systems and sensors, and if Turkey were to do this, data collected by the Russian-built weapon might find its way back to Moscow.

The House version of the bill also expresses concerns about the S-400 and Turkey and requires a report 60 days after the bill’s enactment to assess Turkey’s purchase of the system and possible consequences to U.S. aircraft.

Turkey inked the S-400 deal last year, over strenuous objections from the U.S. and other NATO-member governments concerned about an ally using Russian air defense systems. “A NATO-interoperable missile defense system remains the best option to defend Turkey from the full range of threats in the region,” Pentagon spokesperson Johnny Michael told CNBC last fall.

Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim called Monday’s decision “lamentable.” It’s also very inconvenient for Turkey’s political elite, coming just days before Turkish elections.

The U.S. military has gotten up close and personal with the S-400 over Syria, where the Russian military has deployed to aid the Assad regime. Its deadly presence reshaped how the U.S.-led coalition flies air ops, Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigan told reporters in September. “‘We are consistently monitoring them to see if something changes their intent because we have to manage that and respond quickly…We look at it every day. It’s an everyday discussion to make sure our force can manage that risk.”

Strained Atlantic relations aren’t just affecting today’s jet sales and development today, but potentially decisions far off as well.

France and Germany have agreed to work together on a sixth-generation fighter, the so-called Future Combat Air System, or FCAS, to begin to replace the Tornado by 2040. The previous chief of the Luftwaffe, Lt. Gen. Karl Müllner, had been in favor of replacing the Tornado with the F-35. Partly for that reason, he was dismissed in May.

Going with the F-35 would “eliminate the need for a next-gen European fighter and possibly cripple Europe’s capacity to develop such a system for years to come,” said Ulrich Kühn, a German political scientist and senior research associate at the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation.

The move has ramifications far beyond what new jets are sitting on the tarmac in Western Europe in ten years.

“Since Germany takes part in NATO nuclear sharing, a new platform would have to be certified by the U.S. to deliver U.S. B61s,” thermonuclear gravity bombs, Kühn pointed out on Twitter. He was responding to an article that ran Sunday in the German Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper. “But [the] new fighter should be nuke capable,” says Kühn. “Now, German Airbus officials have started asking the Gretchen Question: what nukes shall the FCAS carry? U.S. or French ones?” Kühn argues that the question of how to develop the FCAS as a nuclear capable jet will be one of the most important decisions that Germany will take in the next few years and could have ramifications for the future of the nuclear umbrella over Europe.

What was supposed to be a unified, highly interoperable American weapons web could become more fractured, less under American control. “The decision about the FCAS as a nuclear platform will have wide-ranging repercussions on Germany, the EU and NATO,” he says.

The U.S. military has been pushing allies to buy the F-35 not just to expand America’s weapons reach but because the jet is a flying intelligence fusion cell as much a bomb-dropper. One of its core selling features is its ability to transmit rich targeting intelligence to nearby drones or faraway jets or even Aegis warships rigged for missile defense miles away.

That interoperability is key to the Pentagon’s vision of future wars. As alliances with Western partners fray, those plans may need revision

https://www.defenseone.com/technology/2 ... ng/149136/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:39 am

Early build F-35s continue to cycle through the depots to be updated to the latest blk 3F standard.

FRC East achieves another F-35 milestone,completeing first F-35A, C, modifications

The first Air Force F-35A Lightning II, AF-10, inducted at Fleet Readiness Center East at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., for modifications departed for the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., June 7, 2018.

The departure of the jet represents another successful milestone, demonstrating FRC East depot capability to perform heavy maintenance at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point. The Depot has now received, modified and returned all variants of the fifth generation aircraft.

FRC East is the primary depot source of repair for both F-35B and F-35C variant workloads, while serving as a backup depot repair facility for the F-35A variant.

The command inducted the first A- and C-variants in August and November 2017, respectively. The aircraft underwent structural, mechanical and software modifications to standardize these aircraft to the current production configurations. The modifications improve capability and increase lethality of the F-35 variants.

The F-35C, Navy variant, is one of the 10 aircraft designated by the Navy to meet its goal of initial operating capability by August 2018.

“FRC East has successfully demonstrated capability on all F-35 variants,” said Donald Jeter, F-35 Program manager.

http://www.aerotechnews.com/blog/2018/0 ... fications/
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:19 am

Apologies if I missed it somewhere, but does anyone know when the F-35B trials on HMS Queen Elizabeth are due to start?
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:42 am

afterburner33 wrote:
Apologies if I missed it somewhere, but does anyone know when the F-35B trials on HMS Queen Elizabeth are due to start?

Trials expected to start in September.

HMS Queen Elizabeth is expected to start fixed-wing flight trials with three or more F-35Bs off the eastern coast of the US around September this year.

https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/hms-que ... jets-year/

Below is a graphic of the timelines for the carrier and associated aircraft.

Image

Good info on the trials below with more at the link.

Why F-35 trials aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth will be conducted by American jets flown by British pilots

The first jets that will perform F-35 trials on-board HMS Queen Elizabeth will be mostly American owned aircraft but flown by British pilots.

The aircraft that will be landing on the supercarrier will belong to the Joint Operational Test team. The team’s mission is to build confidence in the aircraft towards helping clear the F-35 to make the legally mandated advance from Low Rate Initial Production to Full Rate Production. The RAF’s No 17 (Reserve) Test and Evaluation Squadron comprises ten percent of the test program in the JOTT we understand.

The reason that most if not all of the aircraft to touch down will be American isn’t some scandalous outrage (just watch how some papers report this, though) but rather most of the F-35Bs in Joint Operational Test team are American.

After speaking to one of the pilots in the test programme, we understand that the UK only has three (BK1, 2 & 4) test jets that are “orange wired” to take data for post-flight analysis, the rest being operational aircraft. Therefore, it is highly likely that the jets to go on HMS Queen Elizabeth later this year will be “mostly, if not entirely, American but flown by UK pilots”.

We were told by one of the UK pilots currently flying the jet that the reason for this is that the JOT team dictate the availability of test jets out of a pool. Our contact said:

“It would be nothing more than symbolic to make UK jets available for the trials and that comes at a significant effort since all of them are based at Edwards AFB in California, not on the East Coast where the ship trial is due to take place.

Therefore, the most obvious and cheaper choice is to use the F-35B test jets based at Pax River, which are US ones. British test pilots like Andy Edgell, Nath Gray, will obviously fly them but there’ll be US pilots too because that’s how Joint Test works.”

https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/why-f-3 ... sh-pilots/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:18 pm

josepha1 wrote:
How many losses has the F-35 had vs. other fighters jets in the same time period of testing, ect.?

I had forgotten this incident but in light of your recent question the USMC have announced that an F-35B that was involved in a fire a couple of years ago is now the first official loss of an F-35. The cost to repair is apparently not economic. More info below and no official message has been promulgated regarding striking that aircraft from the register yet as it may end up in a training institution.

The Marine Corps has lost its first F-35

An F-35B that erupted into flames caused by a faulty bracket nearly two years ago has been struck by the Marine Corps, making it the first loss of an F-35 for the Corps.

The Corps made the determination that the costs to repair the costly high-tech fighter would not be worth the return on investment.

However, the Marines have not put out an official strike message for the F-35B because the Corps has not decided whether the aircraft will be used as a trainer for maintenance or a museum centerpiece.

“With the specific F-35B involved in this discussion, the Marine Corps’ cost-benefit analysis determined the repair costs would not yield a sufficient ROI [return on investment] to justify the expenses,” Capt. Christopher Harrison, a Marine spokesman, told Marine Corps Times. “The decision was made to strike the F-35B; however, there has not yet been a strike message as the disposition decision has not yet been made.”

On Oct. 27, 2016, a fire broke out mid-air on F-35B forcing the pilot to land at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina.

The faulty bracket, which was known as a potential hazard by officials overseeing the F-35 program, grazed electrical wiring near hydraulic lines. A fire erupted when an electrical short ignited a small hydraulic leak.

Despite the loss of the F-35 the Marine Corps has made some recent historic strides with its F-35 program.

Earlier this year, the F-35B made its first deployment aboard the amphibious assault ship Wasp with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, or MEU. And during that deployment, live munitions were loaded onto an F-35 for the first time while underway.

The 13th Marine Expeditionary is also slated to deploy with F-35s. That unit is still amid pre-deployment workups.

https://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/y ... irst-f-35/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:28 pm

Ha, an unusual delivery ceremony for the first Turkish F-35 was just held, including a guy singing with a rather large pair of leather wings...

Turkey's F-35 Rollout Ceremony Got Pretty, Pretty, Weird

Rollout events for major new combat aircraft are often flashy, overwrought affairs to begin with, but the Lockheed Martin event to celebrate the delivery of Turkey's first completed F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was particularly over the top, featuring traditional music and song together with a dancer who performed at one point while wearing a pair massive leather wings that looked like something out of Leonardo Da Vinci's notebooks.

What this sometimes surreal celebration didn't have was any direct reference to the very serious and steadily escalating political spat between the U.S. and Turkish governments that threatens to upend the stealth fighter deliveries over the latter country's purchase of Russian-made S-400 surface-to-air missile systems.

Lockheed Martin hosted the ceremony on June 21, 2018, at its plant in Fort Worth, Texas that builds the F-35. In the near future, the Turkish Air Force will fly its two initial F-35As to Luke Air Force Base in Arizona to begin training alongside the U.S. Air Force and other international Joint Strike Fighter partners. Turkey has been actively involved in the F-35 program from the beginning and plans to purchase more than 100 of the jets in total, making it one of the largest customers to date. Turkish defense contractors are also involved in the production of certain components of the aircraft and are slated to provide maintenance support to other European customers in the future.

http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/21 ... ty-strange

Image
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:40 pm

Will be interesting to see if a report is ever released about this investigation. In light of recent years, and the US Government forcing a price on LM for the air vehicle, I wonder if LM have been trying to extract some additional revenue from other sources above and beyond the standard margins. Obviously LM shouldn't get a bonus if they are not meeting delivery targets for spares.

Lockheed’s F-35 Bonus Fees Under Scrutiny by Pentagon’s Watchdog

The Pentagon’s inspector general is reviewing bonuses paid to Lockheed Martin Corp. for performance on contracts to support its F-35 jets in light of questions about whether the military services are getting the spare parts they need.

The review will assess “the information used to support all incentive fees paid” and “whether that information substantiates the fee,” Bruce Anderson, a spokesman for acting Inspector General Glenn Fine, said in an email. “Depending on what we find, we could make recommendations to improve what fees are being used,” he said.

Lockheed’s production and support contracts for the F-35, the costliest U.S. weapons program, provide for incentive fees, which are paid out if performance goals are met or exceeded. The 300th aircraft was delivered this month out of the planned U.S. purchase of 2,456 F-35s.

“The audit isn’t about aircraft production. It’s about the incentive fees paid to Lockheed Martin on the F-35 sustainment,” or support, contracts, Anderson said. The amounts paid haven’t been disclosed.

The inspector general’s auditors will visit F-35 units at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, Naval Station Lemoore in California, and the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina.

“Our objective is to determine whether the DoD is receiving ready-to-issue parts” and is paying fees according to plan, Theresa Hull, assistant inspector general for acquisition, wrote in a memo outlining the audit.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... s-watchdog
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Jun 22, 2018 3:49 pm

First F-35B to be written off for the USMC.

https://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/y ... rd%20Brief
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Jun 24, 2018 11:17 pm

Interesting graphic on the planned global fleet of F-35s.

The Countries Where F-35 Sales Are Taking Off

Since the first F-35 rolled off Lockheed Martin’s production line in 2006, the fifth-generation multirole stealth fighter has taken the world by storm. U.S. F-35s deployed to Europe and the Pacific in 2017, and Israel has reportedly already used its jets in combat in the Middle East. Soon, the Arab world might get its first F-35 — the United Arab Emirates is in talks with the United States about buying the aircraft. To date, the program’s reach has expanded to 12 nations around the globe, and all signs point to the F-35 continuing to dominate the Western fighter market for decades to come. But tensions between historically close NATO allies could threaten the fate of one partner nation’s F-35 fleet: Turkey.
Here’s the breakdown of the global F-35 fleet.


http://foreignpolicy.com/2018/06/22/the ... aking-off/

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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Jun 25, 2018 10:07 pm

Israel now has twelve aircraft in the country.

Three new F-35 stealth fighter jets land in Israel

Three more F-35 fighter jets landed in southern Israel on Sunday, the army announced, giving Israel at least a dozen of the state-of-the-art stealth aircraft.

The F-35 jets, known in Israel by their Hebrew name, the “Adir,” meaning mighty or great, arrived at the Israeli Air Forces’ Nevatim base, southeast of Beersheba, on Sunday afternoon.

The stealth fighters joined the nine others that make up the IAF’s Golden Eagle Squadron.

“In a short while, the aircraft will begin taking part in the IAF’s operational activity,” the air force said.

Israel began receiving the fifth-generation F-35 stealth fighter from the United States in December 2016. The aircraft were declared operational approximately a year later.

Last month, the head of the air force revealed that Israel had used the fighter jets operationally, which the IDF said made it the first military do so.

Israel has, for now, agreed to purchase 50 F-35 fighters in total from the United States, which are scheduled to be delivered in installments of twos and threes by 2024.

On May 22, IAF commander Amikam Norkin revealed that the F-35 fighter jet conducted airstrikes on at least two occasions.

“The Israeli Air Force has twice carried out strikes with the F-35, on two different fronts,” Norkin told a conference of air force chiefs visiting Israel from around the world.

“I think that we are the first to attack with an F-35 in the Middle East — I’m not sure about other areas,” he said.

The Israeli military later went further, saying that this was the first operational use of the fighter jet in the world, not only in the Middle East.

The air force chief did not specify when those two attacks took place, but said the F-35 did not carry out strikes during Israel’s massive bombardment of Iranian targets in Syria on May 10.

The fifth-generation F-35 fighter jet has been lauded as a “game-changer” by the Israeli military, not only for its offensive and stealth capabilities, but for its ability to connect its systems with other aircraft and form an information-sharing network.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/three-new ... in-israel/
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Jun 25, 2018 10:17 pm

Norway now has 6 in Norway and 7 in Arizona


Interesting to see that Norway will be among the top 4 countries in Europe with F-35 power …
 
Andre3K
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Jun 25, 2018 10:18 pm

Since when is Canada ACTUALLY buying some?
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Jun 25, 2018 10:21 pm

An amusing article solely for the fact it claims the Su-57 is better but then says we not sure of any of the information used to draw that conclusion...

Russian Su-57 v US F-35: Which is better?

Su-57 retains a considerable advantage over the F-35 in the air, according to Military Watch. But there is a big question: is the comparison legitimate in the absence of real data?
Military Watch says the two fighters are significantly different. Lockheed Martin F-35 is a light aircraft with lower than average maneuverability. It was designed as a lighter and less costly complement to the elite F-22 Raptor air superiority fighter, a platform no longer in production.

The Su-57 by contrast was designed as a heavy air superiority platform and is more capable in an air-to-air combat role, adds Military Watch. The analysis gives advantage to the Sukhoi Su-57 in its speed, altitude, sensors, missile carriage, engagement range, and maneuverability.

It also reminds its readers that the US Senate adopted the 2019 draft Pentagon budget that would terminate Turkey's participation in the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program. The act would also ban the transfer of rights to F-35. Among the reasons for the move is the threat that Turkey might share the data on F-35 Lightning II following its purchase of the Russian S-400 surface to air missile system. Turkey responded by promising to buy Russian made Sukhoi Su-57 instead of the US fighters.

According to Military Watch, in this case the Turkish air fleet would be more dangerous than it would have been if Ankara purchased the US stealth fighter. Fifth generation fighter benchmarking is a routine exercise for Western media. Domestic authors have tried their hand at it, too, but it is not that widespread in Russia.

To start with, we do not have the data for F-35, leave along the Russian Sukhoi Su-57, although the level of transparency for foreign military hardware has traditionally been higher than in Russia. For example, it does not make sense to compare the speed parameters of operational and prototype aircraft. It is irrelevant just like the altitude.

Today, fighters do not chase each other like they used to in the skies of WWI and WWII. Maneuverability is a much more complex parameter for benchmarking. Under certain circumstances, maneuverability does play a key role but it is no longer as paramount as it used to be. To reiterate, maneuverability is not critically important for a fifth generation fighter.

Also, it is extremely difficult to compare the aircraft in terms of payload capability but it is a less important factor than in the past. It is clear that a 25-tonne aircraft could carry between five and eight tonnes. But it is not a must-have: the French Rafale can also carry eight tonnes. Eventually, it all comes down to the range that you can carry the payload.

Which brings us to the main point: the right combination of payload capacity and range is key for any contemporary aircraft. Basically, it means how far you can go and be still capable of waging an effective air-to-air combat. But this is exactly what's missing in open sources: there is no available data on the combination of carriage and range for fifth generation aircraft.

Separately, the info on carriage and range would be interesting but not as important as data on the combination of the two parameters. Onboard radar specifications are a major differentiating factor. Again, it's not its maximum range that is vital but the range of detection of specific targets with concrete radar cross section parameters.

Most military pundits are not aware of the parameters, and are unlikely to know them. And those who have the info will never share the real data about the radars on fifth generation fighters. There is another metric to judge the efficiency of a radar – jamming resistance. But you would never find any data on it.

It is clear why: it is considered one of the main radar secrets on fifth generation aircraft. Theoretically, a radar with an Active Phased Array Antenna is supposed have a higher level of ECM resistance. But we do not have the hard data about it or the materials or combination of materials have been used.

Even specialists who operate fifth generation aircraft may not know it. They might have some general ideas about the frequency range or its software but may not be briefed on what is really happening inside those devices. As for radar signature for fifth generation fighters, another critical parameter for planes of this kind, there is hardly anyone who can give you any info. There are two or maybe three labs in the world where you can measure radar signature. It is done using highly sophisticated equipment and complicated math models.

Another important factor is how well its sensors are integrated: how coordinated is the info coming from different sources including its onboard radar, electronic surveillance, airborne early warning radars, satellites, ground and airborne command posts. It is obvious that we will not be getting this data anytime soon. For example, right now the US is modifying the system that ensures 360-degree visibility for the F-35 pilot. It seems it didn't work out, but this is based on circumstantial evidence only. There is no reliable information on the subject.

And finally, a few words on the munitions for the fifth generation fighter jets. Here, too, we have no factual information at our disposal. No one really knows what the new promising long-range air-to-air missiles could be capable of. You can make certain conclusions based on the infrared-guided missiles, but it's much more complicated when it comes to radar guidance systems.

To sum up, most specifications of the fifth generation fighter aircraft are classified and at this stage constitute a state and military secret. Comparing them in the media is inappropriate, to say the least. At this point, all the data and comparisons published in the media can be perceived as nothing more than fake news. Getting any independent opinion on the subject would require concerted effort from the intelligence community of an entire country. Acquiring some data that way is entirely possible, but leaking it to open sources is completely unimaginable.

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/430797-f35-su57-fighter-jets/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Jun 25, 2018 10:49 pm

Andre3K wrote:
Since when is Canada ACTUALLY buying some?

The asterisk at the bottom of the image explains the context, that Canada still is a member of the program and continues to pay its dues each year under the Trudeau Government, and has a stated Government requirement for 88 aircraft.

Mortyman wrote:
Norway now has 6 in Norway and 7 in Arizona


Interesting to see that Norway will be among the top 4 countries in Europe with F-35 power …

No surprise for me. I have always seen Norway as a nation that takes its defence reasonably seriously and additionally develops and manufactures some excellent defence kit.
 
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Mortyman
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Jun 25, 2018 11:18 pm

Ozair wrote:
Andre3K wrote:
Since when is Canada ACTUALLY buying some?

The asterisk at the bottom of the image explains the context, that Canada still is a member of the program and continues to pay its dues each year under the Trudeau Government, and has a stated Government requirement for 88 aircraft.

Mortyman wrote:
Norway now has 6 in Norway and 7 in Arizona


Interesting to see that Norway will be among the top 4 countries in Europe with F-35 power …

No surprise for me. I have always seen Norway as a nation that takes its defence reasonably seriously and additionally develops and manufactures some excellent defence kit.


Not really. The air force and the special forces are the only parts that is focused on. The navy and especially the army has been downgraded severly in the last 25 years. Compared to what we had in the early 90's, the army today is awfully small. Problem is that our politicians focus on high tech rather than volume and don't understand that they have to have both. Money is the leading guideline rather than millitary strategy.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:22 pm

Looking likely for an increase of twelve aircraft over the currently requested 77 for 2019 US production.

Lawmakers Back Lockheed’s F-35 Jet for Production Boost

Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 received a vote of confidence Tuesday from a congressional defense funding panel, three months before the Pentagon’s costliest program is to start vigorous testing to demonstrate its combat capability.

The Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee added $1.2 billion to speed the purchase of 12 fighters on top of the 77 the Pentagon requested, as the panel approved its defense spending measure for fiscal 2019. Earlier this month, the House Appropriations Committee added 16 F-35s in its version of the measure at the urging of Representative Kay Granger, who has Lockheed’s F-35 assembly plant in her Texas district.

The votes all but guarantee that the final version of the defense spending bill will provide for an acceleration of F-35 production for the second consecutive year. The Senate is scheduled to take up the $675 billion defense bill on Thursday, and the House may act as soon as this week. Congress added 20 F-35s to the 70 requested by the Defense Department in the current year.

Despite a history of performance setbacks, the F-35 retains strong support in Congress as a next-generation fighter and as a job creator. Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed boasts that it uses 1,500 suppliers in 46 states and more internationally.

https://www.bloombergquint.com/politics ... -lawmakers
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Jun 28, 2018 4:48 am

A great safety feature that should hopefully make its way to other existing and future fighter aircraft.

Lockheed Martin soon implementing Auto-GCAS on F-35

Lockheed Martin in 2019 will implement an Auto-GCAS system on the F-35

Lockheed Martin will soon implement on its F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) an Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto-GCAS) that allows the aircraft to take control and avoid crashing, according to a key executive.

Jeff Babione, company vice-president and general manager of advanced development programmes, said on 26 June that Auto-GCAS was recently installed on the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon and, in the last year or two, has saved the lives of five or six pilots.

http://www.janes.com/article/81371/lock ... as-on-f-35
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