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cpd
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:46 am

I do know where the sound of freedom phrase comes from, and certainly with regard to those century series planes which were loud. I also love fighter aircraft - I really do. But I do have a limit. Day time I wouldn't mind so much, and if the airbase was there before you then you've got to accept some degree of noise.

There are always ways to do those operations needed any address concerns by the community, especially in peace time.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Mar 06, 2018 10:13 am

Those early lot F-35 aircraft have been bringing down the availability rate for the aircraft. The recent budget allocation from the USAF to bring all early lot aircraft to 3F will go a long way to fixing the readiness rate as well as a big increase in production numbers for new jets that have no concurrency cost.

Lockheed Predicts Record-Setting Readiness Rates Soon for F-35

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter's availability rate may not be perfect now, but in a few years time the plane's manufacturer anticipates the stealth plane will outpace its fighter counterparts in readiness, the head of the corporate program said Monday.

"I am certain the F-35 will set records for aircraft availability for a modern fighter in the future, without a doubt," said Jeff Babione, Lockheed Martin Corps executive vice president and general manager of the F-35 Program.

Babione's comments come days after Vice Adm. Mat Winter, director of the F-35 Joint Program Office, said only 51 percent of the 280 operational F-35s purchased to date by U.S. and international partners are available for flight.

Reiterating Winter, who last week gave a public slap on the wrist to the fifth-gen's manufacturer over various ordeals with the program, Babione said the reliability of the first batches of aircraft, including low-rate production lots 2 through 5, aren't as high as the aircraft in lots 6 and beyond.

https://www.military.com/defensetech/20 ... -f-35.html
 
Ozair
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Re: Ben & Jerry's co-founder arrested for protesting F-35 noise

Tue Mar 06, 2018 11:01 am

Runway28L wrote:

The airticle speaks for itself, but I have to ask... how does an F-35 sound any different from the F-16s that the Vermont ANG already has? How has this all of a sudden become a problem with residents?

It really depends on the version of the F-16. The below table shows the readings from 2013.

Image

This issue has been going for awhile and there is a lot of disinformation being spread. When I search for news articles on the F-35 I have not bothered posting any of this because it really has little to do with the F-35 and everything to do with people protesting any type of military presence.

Some comments by then head of the JPO Lt Gen Bogdan in 2014

Studies of F-35 noise relative to legacy fighters will be released Friday, and will show that “on the ground, at full military power,” which is full power without afterburner, the F-35 is “actually quieter, by a little bit” than legacy aircraft such as the F-15, F/A-18, and F-16, F-35 Program Executive Officer Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan said Thursday...

...This “real noise data” should dispel rumors that the F-35 will be much louder than its predecessors. Part of the reason is that the F-35 is “very sleek in its outer mold line, without a lot of drag,” Bogdan said. Using afterburner, however, the F-35 is considerably noisier than its predecessors, as it generates 43,000 pounds of thrust. Its noise will be on a par with the old F-4 Phantom, Bogdan reported. Although its character is different, the F-4 noise is deeper than that of the F-35, he said.


My understanding is that F-35s will require less afterburner use on take-off and reach altitude faster than F-16s so the actual noise footprint will be lower.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Mar 06, 2018 8:20 pm

The processors on the F-35 will be upgraded as part of tech refresh 3 which is apparently planned for Block 4.2 in the early 2020s. This is the first contract award for that work.

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded $24,000,000 for modification P00007 to a previously issued cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order (N0001917F0108) placed against basic ordering agreement N00019-14-G-0020. This modification provides for the procurement of Integrated Core Processor prototypes to support laboratory system integration for all Joint Strike Fighter aircraft variants. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed in April 2019. Fiscal 2018 research, development, test and evaluation (Marine Corps) funds in the amount of $11,100,000 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.

https://www.defense.gov/News/Contracts/ ... e/1458273/
 
ZaphodHarkonnen
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Mar 06, 2018 8:45 pm

salttee wrote:
ZaphodHarkonnen wrote:
People buy into the myth that the A-10 can survive any anti aircraft weapons and that the GAU-8 can destroy anything with laser like precision with only a single pass. At the same time they see this stealth fighter which they 'know' is super fragile and has a piddly little gun and costs hundreds of millions for each plane.

When we know the reality is vastly different. That the A-10 cannot survive against a near peer opponent for more than a few minutes. That the GAU-8 is great but nowhere nearly as precise as is needed these days. That the F-35 can attack and be gone before the enemy has any idea what's happening. We know this. But the public as a whole tends to hear the A-10 fanatics first. Once the F-35 has shown it can do anything the A-10 can do, only better. Then I would expect the A-10 fanatics to lose a lot of their strength.


Most of the above is either strawman argument or hyperbole. The facts are that the F-35 can do most of what the A-10 can do, and in some cases better; while the A-10 can do most of what the F-35 can do (in ground attack), and in some cases better. If we are engaged with a near peer opponent, that would mean Russians, and if we were engaging Russians, F-35s would probably be better used elsewhere. The A-10 has done a great job in Syria/Iraq at much lower cost than the case with F-35s would have been and they are saving F-35 airframe hours while doing it, which is no small thing. In fifteen years when the A-10s are nearing end of life, things may be different, but for now we don't need a Cadillac to service a hog farm.


A-10 fanatic


The replacement for an A-10 is not an F-35. It's a MQ-9 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predator_B

Against a near peer opponent the F-35 will be one of the few things that can stay in the general area until stealthier UCAVs are developed and deployed. Against an opponent that can't really shoot back the current generation of UCAVs are better than A-10s with a much better set of eyes and ability to stay on station. A-10s are great as they're available and cheaper to run than other options, but you don't hear a lot about A-10s being deployed all over the place and doing close air support nearly as much as Predators.

Ozair wrote:
The processors on the F-35 will be upgraded as part of tech refresh 3 which is apparently planned for Block 4.2 in the early 2020s. This is the first contract award for that work.

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded $24,000,000 for modification P00007 to a previously issued cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order (N0001917F0108) placed against basic ordering agreement N00019-14-G-0020. This modification provides for the procurement of Integrated Core Processor prototypes to support laboratory system integration for all Joint Strike Fighter aircraft variants. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed in April 2019. Fiscal 2018 research, development, test and evaluation (Marine Corps) funds in the amount of $11,100,000 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.

https://www.defense.gov/News/Contracts/ ... e/1458273/


Now that's interesting. One of the huge selling points of the F-35 avionics design was that you could change out the hardware underneath without having to rewrite everything. This is will prove if all the work the software devs have done is right.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:43 pm

ZaphodHarkonnen wrote:

Now that's interesting. One of the huge selling points of the F-35 avionics design was that you could change out the hardware underneath without having to rewrite everything. This is will prove if all the work the software devs have done is right.

Should be good to go given they have already tech refreshed the ICP from Blk 2B to Blk 3i but the proof of course is always in the final product.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Mar 07, 2018 7:42 am

F-35A has been cleared for its full flight envelope and combat load with the F-35B & C to follow shortly.

F-35 Finally Can Use All Its Weapons In Combat

he newest U.S. Air Force F-35s, both stateside at Hill AFB, Utah, and overseas in the Pacific, finally can employ the stealth fighter’s full suite of air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons in combat.
The F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) has delivered the flight clearances, simulators, threat information, and logistics system required for the Air Force’s F-35As equipped with the latest software load to employ all of its weapons throughout the full flight envelope, according to the JPO, Lockheed Martin and Air Force officials.

This milestone gives the Block 3F-configured F-35As assigned to the 34th Fighter Squadron stationed at Hill and those forward-deployed to Kadena Air Base, Japan—on North Korea’s doorstep—some lethal capabilities. The aircraft now can fire Raytheon’s short-range AIM-9X Sidewinder missile, the GAU-22 25mm gun, and Boeing’s precision-guided Small Diameter Bomb, all while flying up to 9Gs at 1.6 Mach.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Marine Corps short takeoff, vertical-landing F-35B and U.S. Navy F-35C carrier variant configured with the 3F software will be able to deploy with their full operational capability in May and June, respectively, F-35 Program Executive Officer (PEO) Vice Adm. Mat Winter said during a Feb. 28 media roundtable. For the F-35Cs, this means the aircraft will be able to deploy Raytheon’s AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) in combat and fly to 1.3 Mach.

http://aviationweek.com/defense/f-35-fi ... ons-combat
 
estorilm
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Mar 07, 2018 1:21 pm

Ozair wrote:
F-35A has been cleared for its full flight envelope and combat load with the F-35B & C to follow shortly.

F-35 Finally Can Use All Its Weapons In Combat

he newest U.S. Air Force F-35s, both stateside at Hill AFB, Utah, and overseas in the Pacific, finally can employ the stealth fighter’s full suite of air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons in combat.
The F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) has delivered the flight clearances, simulators, threat information, and logistics system required for the Air Force’s F-35As equipped with the latest software load to employ all of its weapons throughout the full flight envelope, according to the JPO, Lockheed Martin and Air Force officials.

This milestone gives the Block 3F-configured F-35As assigned to the 34th Fighter Squadron stationed at Hill and those forward-deployed to Kadena Air Base, Japan—on North Korea’s doorstep—some lethal capabilities. The aircraft now can fire Raytheon’s short-range AIM-9X Sidewinder missile, the GAU-22 25mm gun, and Boeing’s precision-guided Small Diameter Bomb, all while flying up to 9Gs at 1.6 Mach.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Marine Corps short takeoff, vertical-landing F-35B and U.S. Navy F-35C carrier variant configured with the 3F software will be able to deploy with their full operational capability in May and June, respectively, F-35 Program Executive Officer (PEO) Vice Adm. Mat Winter said during a Feb. 28 media roundtable. For the F-35Cs, this means the aircraft will be able to deploy Raytheon’s AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) in combat and fly to 1.3 Mach.

http://aviationweek.com/defense/f-35-fi ... ons-combat

Awesome! What was the schedule for this? I feel like this happened sooner than I believed it would.

Is this the full 9X with high off-boresight capability? On an airframe level I mean - the F22 can fire it too, but without full off-boresight capabilities.

Were there any expansions of the flight envelope with this drop?
 
sovietjet
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Mar 07, 2018 3:48 pm

Is Mach 1.3 the top speed for the F-35C? That seems quite low...
 
VSMUT
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Re: Ben & Jerry's co-founder arrested for protesting F-35 noise

Wed Mar 07, 2018 3:55 pm

Runway28L wrote:
The airticle speaks for itself, but I have to ask... how does an F-35 sound any different from the F-16s that the Vermont ANG already has? How has this all of a sudden become a problem with residents?


The F-35 is much more noisy than the F-16. This is a major issue in both Norway and Denmark, where massive additional costs have been incurred due to this.
 
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Tugger
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Re: Ben & Jerry's co-founder arrested for protesting F-35 noise

Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:04 pm

VSMUT wrote:
Runway28L wrote:
The airticle speaks for itself, but I have to ask... how does an F-35 sound any different from the F-16s that the Vermont ANG already has? How has this all of a sudden become a problem with residents?


The F-35 is much more noisy than the F-16. This is a major issue in both Norway and Denmark, where massive additional costs have been incurred due to this.

Well of course, the engines are very different. The F-16 has some 23,000 lbf with afterburner and the F-35 has 40,000lbf with afterburner. So with near twice the power there will be more noise.

Tugg
I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Mar 07, 2018 8:36 pm

estorilm wrote:
Awesome! What was the schedule for this? I feel like this happened sooner than I believed it would.

Is this the full 9X with high off-boresight capability? On an airframe level I mean - the F22 can fire it too, but without full off-boresight capabilities.

This is right at the expected timeframe as per the rebaseline schedule that has bene in place since 2011. Yes this is full HOBS with the AIM-9X and the HMD.

estorilm wrote:
Were there any expansions of the flight envelope with this drop?

The primary release for the F-35A was to Mach 1.6 and all weapons being released. The F-35B/C have the full weapons release now but waiting for the last envelope expansion which is the top speed of Mach 1.6.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Mar 07, 2018 8:40 pm

sovietjet wrote:
Is Mach 1.3 the top speed for the F-35C? That seems quite low...

That is the current max speed. The jet will be cleared for Mach 1.6 in June which is the top speed and same across the three versions. Given the F-35C has not even gone IOC yet with the USN, since the rebaseline it was always going to be 2019 when that happened, the USN will have a jet that has full warfighting capability from the start. The USMC will go FOC later this year once the final limits are lifted on the F-35B and they have a specified number of block 3F jets.
 
Ozair
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Re: Ben & Jerry's co-founder arrested for protesting F-35 noise

Wed Mar 07, 2018 8:43 pm

VSMUT wrote:
Runway28L wrote:
The airticle speaks for itself, but I have to ask... how does an F-35 sound any different from the F-16s that the Vermont ANG already has? How has this all of a sudden become a problem with residents?


The F-35 is much more noisy than the F-16. This is a major issue in both Norway and Denmark, where massive additional costs have been incurred due to this.

As per the chart I posted above it depends on the variant. The other issue is that an F-35 does not have to use afterburner as much as an F-16 for similar payloads, hence the overall noise footprint is lower.

As for massive additional costs, really you need to quantify what massive means because in the context of operating military capabilities the land buy backs IVO military airfields that occurred in Denmark have had little financial impact.
 
sovietjet
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:16 pm

Ozair wrote:
sovietjet wrote:
Is Mach 1.3 the top speed for the F-35C? That seems quite low...

That is the current max speed. The jet will be cleared for Mach 1.6 in June which is the top speed and same across the three versions. Given the F-35C has not even gone IOC yet with the USN, since the rebaseline it was always going to be 2019 when that happened, the USN will have a jet that has full warfighting capability from the start. The USMC will go FOC later this year once the final limits are lifted on the F-35B and they have a specified number of block 3F jets.


I see. OK well still, M1.6 seems like a low speed as well. How can the F-16 reach M2.0 with a much weaker engine and dirtier airframe but the F-35 can't? Are they planning to increase the allowed top speed past M1.6? Something doesn't add up...
 
ZaphodHarkonnen
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:22 pm

sovietjet wrote:
Ozair wrote:
sovietjet wrote:
Is Mach 1.3 the top speed for the F-35C? That seems quite low...

That is the current max speed. The jet will be cleared for Mach 1.6 in June which is the top speed and same across the three versions. Given the F-35C has not even gone IOC yet with the USN, since the rebaseline it was always going to be 2019 when that happened, the USN will have a jet that has full warfighting capability from the start. The USMC will go FOC later this year once the final limits are lifted on the F-35B and they have a specified number of block 3F jets.


I see. OK well still, M1.6 seems like a low speed as well. How can the F-16 reach M2.0 with a much weaker engine and dirtier airframe but the F-35 can't? Are they planning to increase the allowed top speed past M1.6? Something doesn't add up...


How often has a fighter needed to do Mach 2 or even higher? There's your answer. ;)

There's no need to go that much faster. And the faster you go the more it costs as you have to deal with more airframe heating and fuel usage. Also that top speed for the F-16 is probably in a clean or near clean configuration, which they never really do outside of airshow routines. Compare that to the F-35 that can do that with a full internal load. So day to day use it will likely be faster.

We're also past the days where you needed that burst of speed to close with your target into visual range. Modern missiles can close that distance much faster than any manned aircraft.

So a whole set of reasons, boiling down to the fact it just isn't worth the cost.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:34 pm

ZaphodHarkonnen wrote:
So a whole set of reasons, boiling down to the fact it just isn't worth the cost.

As you say cost and operational utility are the primary factors.
From the operational utility side the US conducted numerous studies on the typical speeds used in air combat over the last 60 years and came to the conclusion few airframes fly above Mach 1 for extended periods of time. Even the F-22 with supercruise ability typically only conducts that supercruise for short periods of time.
 
RetiredWeasel
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Mar 08, 2018 3:31 am

Ozair wrote:
ZaphodHarkonnen wrote:
So a whole set of reasons, boiling down to the fact it just isn't worth the cost.

As you say cost and operational utility are the primary factors.
From the operational utility side the US conducted numerous studies on the typical speeds used in air combat over the last 60 years and came to the conclusion few airframes fly above Mach 1 for extended periods of time. Even the F-22 with supercruise ability typically only conducts that supercruise for short periods of time.


I accrued close to1400 hours in a Mach 2 aircraft, the F-4, and never ever saw any speed over about 1.5. And most of my mach 1 busts were purely accidental..not all but most. The main mission in the squadrons I flew in were air to ground, and during the 70's and 80's low level, terrain masking, ingress and egress was the flavor of the day. Going supersonic with a semi-dirty airplane burned way too much gas down low if you could even get there. And up above 20,000 it still burned a lot of gas but you could do it if you needed to to get out of dodge. But not for long. as Ozair stated.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Mar 08, 2018 9:26 am

An interesting issue. We aren't hearding the same feedback from the USAF so I wonder what the root cause of the problem is. Is ALIS not capable of exporting to Navy systems? It would seem reasonably easy to create a REST API for the system but perhaps LM wants to get a foothold in Navy logistics and sees this as an avenue in.

If so, like the contract discussions going on with LRIP 11 they will end up losing in the end.

U.S. Navy vexed by lack of access to F-35 logistics coding

The U.S. Navy remains frustrated by its inability to connect the F-35’s logistics software with the other logistics software programs it uses.

Efforts to integrate the F-35’s Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) with the Navy’s other internal logistics systems is thwarted by developer Lockheed Martin’s insistence that the software code is proprietary, said Vice Admiral Paul Grosklags in a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Navy and Marine Corps Aviation Programs on 6 March.

“It is certainly our desire and our plan to interface ALIS with the rest of our naval aviation sustainment systems, (such as) DECKPLATE, AMSRR; those types of things we use for all of our other types of aircraft,” he said in the hearing.

“One of our challenges right now, quite honestly, is the government gaining insight into the coding within ALIS. Right now much of that is held as proprietary. We have very little, limited rights and access to the data coming out of ALIS.”

The issue is contractual in nature. It is being taken up with Lockheed Martin by Vice Admiral Mathias Winter, head of the F-35 joint program office, said Grosklags. The Navy could not provide a timeline for a fix, he told the Senate committee.

Grosklags said software issues were the Achilles’ heel of the F-35 program.

“Quite honestly, the plans for follow-on development and this six month period of software releases will not be possible without the government getting additional insight from Lockheed Martin into the software development,” he said. “It’s not just about the sustainment (software). It’s about our ability to turn it, test it, and deploy it to the fleet. If we do not have that insight, it will not work.”

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... cs-446566/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Mar 08, 2018 9:33 am

Below is one of those things that happens when ramping up production, similar to the issues BAE had with the Eurofighter, especially given no one has run a fighter production line at the rates of the F-35 since the F-16. I expect this will sort itself out in the next couple of years as the production line matures and the staff become more experienced. I would also be interested to know if this is happening in Italy and Japan as well or just isolated to the Fort Worth plant given the respective production rates.

Stealth features responsible for half of F-35 defects, Lockheed program head states

As the production rate of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 joint strike fighter goes up, the company is wrestling with quality escapes involving the jet’s low observability features, which now amount to about half of all defects on the aircraft, the company’s vice president of the program revealed Monday.

Last week, Vice Adm. Mat Winter, the head of the government’s F-35 Joint Program Office, slammed Lockheed for what he sees as its too-slow progress on eliminating so-called quality escapes — errors made by Lockheed’s workforce that could include drilling holes that are too big or installing a dinged part.

While those errors are minor, the rework done to bring the plane up to requirements is driving up the amount of money and time spent producing an airplane, Winter said.

Speaking to reporters at Lockheed’s media day on Monday, Jeff Babione acknowledged that low observability, or LO, capabilities in particular are posing a challenge to the company.

In part, that’s because they are so unique and because production is ramping up quickly.

“That’s something that no other weapon system since the F-22 has had to do, and the F-22 never did it at the rates that we’re trying to do it. Once we get a handle on that, you’re going to see a dramatic reduction in the quality escapes that are made around the LO system,” he said.

In order to reduce the F-35’s signature, the panels making up its airframe must be precisely aligned. As each panel goes through the production process — build, then installation, then joining to other panels — small deviations can make it very difficult to meet standards, even for an experienced mechanic.

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2018/03 ... ad-states/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Mar 08, 2018 9:37 am

The below level of funding seems about right for the dev work going on with the jet for block 4. The advantage the program has is that all the partner nations contribute to this development, and all benefit from the development as well.

F-35 development and support to cost $1 billion annually

The Joint Program Office (JPO) estimates that continued development of the F-35 to deal with evolving threats and changing warfighting environments will cost the U.S. government more than $1 billion a year between 2018 and 2024.

The figure came to light during testimony from Vice Admiral Mathias Winter to the U.S. House Armed Services Committee on 7 March.

In total, JPO estimates that continuous capability development and delivery (C2D2) of the F-35 will cost $16.4 billion over that seven year time period, with some $11 billion going toward development and $5.4 billion toward procurement.

Vice Admiral Winter, who leads JPO, said development costs will be shared with U.S. allies, leaving the Department of Defense on the hook for $7.2 billion.

U.S. Rep. Nicola Tsongas said she requested the estimate from JPO after not being able to pin down an official baseline cost for the program.

“This potential cost of $16 billion is an astonishingly high amount and, as far as I am aware, greatly exceeds any cost figures previously provided to congress,” said Tsongas in the hearing.

“The cost of the follow-on effort to improve the capability of the F-35, mostly through software upgrades, has been exceedingly difficult for Congress to nail down over the past several years. If Congress agrees to support this effort at this cost and under the proposed management regime, it should only do so fully aware of the significant risks involved.”

The $7.2 billion for development would be spent to continue improving the F-35 aircraft, its mission data files, autonomic logistics information system, simulators, threat databases, mission planning and reprogramming laboratories, said Vice Admiral Winter. Procurement costs would be for modification kits to upgrade the fighter – not to buy more aircraft, according to the office of Rep. Tsongas.

Development costs in excess of billion dollars a year come as Vice Admiral Winter boasted in his written testimony that the price of the F-35A fell below $100 million for the first time in LRIP Lot 10 to $94.3 million, a 7.5 percent decline from Lot 9 aircraft. Prices for production aircraft are expected to continue to decline as JPO continues to negotiate Lot 11, he wrote.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... nn-446565/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Mar 08, 2018 8:25 pm

For those interested below is the link to the Senate Armed Services committee testimony by Vice Admiral Winters on 7th March.
http://docs.house.gov/meetings/AS/AS25/20180307/106951/HHRG-115-AS25-Wstate-WinterM-20180307.pdf


This link is the the testimony of USAF Lt Gen Harris.
http://docs.house.gov/meetings/AS/AS25/20180307/106951/HHRG-115-AS25-Wstate-HarrisJ-20180307.pdf


Below is some of the up to date info.

Block 3F

The F-35 is prepared to enter combat if required. The delivery of Block 3F improves warfighting capability with enhanced sensors and targeting, improved data links, improved threat countermeasures, and enhanced weapons capability to include air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground munitions, and weapons employment throughout the full aircraft flight envelope. Initial Block 3F software was delivered with later LRIP Lot 9 F-35A aircraft starting in August 2017 and included Block 3F Mission Systems capabilities required to conduct all critical mission threads including: Strategic Attack, Close Air Support, Suppression/Destruction of Enemy Air Defenses, and Air Superiority. Block 3F capabilities are in the fleet today and will continue to be delivered with LRIP Lot 10 F-35 aircraft. Since the initial Fleet Release of Block 3F software in August 2017 the F-35 JPO, in close coordination with U.S. Services and International Partners, has addressed critical Deficiency Reports (DRs) in order to deliver mission systems improvements and maximize F-35 mission effectiveness for LRIP Lot 10 Block 3F aircraft.

The latest Block 3F software has demonstrated the capability maturity and stability to complete all required Missions Systems test points and address critical DRs as directed by the Services via the F-35 Configuration Steering Board. In addition, the Program is taking the necessary Airworthiness and Weapons Certification steps to enable full combat capability with Block 3F hardware, software, and weapons carriage with LRIP Lot 10 F-35 aircraft delivered during 2018.

The Program continues to deliver Block 3F capability for the F-35A and is on track to deliver Block 3F capabilities to the F-35B and F-35C later this year in May (BF-63) and July (CF-34), respectively. This capability delivery will support fleet operational needs, deployments, and entry into formal Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) in fall 2018.



On IOT&E

With warfighting capability delivered, it is essential to prove the effectiveness of the F-35 through thorough test and evaluation. There are forty seven Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) test readiness criteria that must be met before formally beginning IOT&E. Examples of readiness criteria include: aircraft and weapons envelope certification, verified and validated Block 3F mission data file production, and the number of aircraft in a Block 3F configuration.

Formal IOT&E is currently expected to begin during the late third quarter of 2018. To help mitigate delays in Program development, the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E), in coordination with the operational test agencies, agreed to permit the execution of select “Pre-IOT&E” activities prior to satisfying all forty-seven readiness criteria. Pre-IOT&E activities are occurring in two increments in early 2018.In January and February of this year, six F-35s (two of each variant) deployed to Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska for the first increment of Pre-IOT&E activities. The six F-35s conducted cold weather testing in sub-zero degree (Fahrenheit) temperatures and assessed the F-35 air vehicle system’s effectiveness, suitability, and mission capability during alert launches. PreIOT&E Increment Two is expected to begin mid-2018 and will evaluate the F-35 in tactical missions such as Close Air Support (CAS), Strike Coordination and Reconnaissance (SCAR), Aerial Reconnaissance (Recce), and Forward Air Controller (Airborne) (FAC-A).

These tests will include weapons delivery effectiveness evaluations. They will also include assessments of F-35B and F-35C variants in shipboard operations. Formal IOT&E includes Defensive Counter Air missions and combined mission scenarios executed by two 4-ships of F-35s to achieve realistic complexity, threat densities, and schedule-range-cost efficiencies.



On Block 4 (C2D2)

With recent progress and goals in mind, the development of F-35 warfighting capability does not end with the delivery of Block 3F software. Rather, it is the foundation upon which continuous enhancements and improvements will be made to increase capabilities that make the F-35 more lethal and survivable.

To ensure the F-35 remains a relevant, capable warfighting platform, the Block 4 capability set was approved by the U.S. Services and Partner nations, and formally endorsed by the Joint Requirements Oversight Committee during spring 2017. With Block 4 requirements defined, the JPO determined that legacy linear development and delivery approaches could not deliver the required capability on the necessary timeline at available funding levels.

The F-35 program is taking a new approach to deliver post-SDD capabilities in order to provide the warfighters F-35 weapon system modernizations, enhancements, and improvements faster and more frequently. Under this new capability delivery paradigm, software sustainment and modernization will no longer be two separate efforts. C2D2 is a strategy that allows support and enhancements to fielded capabilities while also delivering advanced capabilities. This effort reflects a shift to a more agile process that enables the F-35 enterprise to incrementally develop, integrate, test, and deliver the Block 4 capability set on an operationally-relevant timeline.

Objectives of C2D2 include a six-month enhancement and improvement software delivery cycle and a twelve-month interval for modernization. The approach includes a sequence of two capability drops aligned with a cycle of Technology Insertions. Technology Insertions leverage rapid commercial off-the-shelf computer upgrades to keep pace with technology and minimize obsolescence while solving diminishing manufacturing source issues. Maintaining hardware currency provides the flexibility to quickly develop and implement changes to meet the evolving threat. On a longer range cycle, as industry moves to a next generation of computing architecture, F-35 C2D2 will plan a Technology Refresh (TR) to capture the next higher level of computing capacity.

While such a change is involved and complex, these upgrades are essential to the viability of the F-35 throughout its full lifecycle. Based on experience from the F-22, an eight-to-ten year span between Technology Refresh events will maintain viable warfighting capability throughout each cycle. TR-3 is planned for implementation as soon as possible, but not later than LRIP Lot 15, with an objective of accelerating into LRIP Lot 14.
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:03 am

On the block 4 upgrade: 16bn price tag

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2018/03 ... price-tag/
Many happy landings, greetings from The Netherlands!
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:34 am

Dutchy wrote:
On the block 4 upgrade: 16bn price tag

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2018/03 ... price-tag/

The article I posted a couple of days ago from Flight global has all the same info.

Sensationalism aside, the $16 billion price tag, which as the article from Flight Global states is not actually $16 billion, is quite reasonable for a fleet this size, especially in the context of how big the fleet will grow. The annual funding represents approximately 1% of yearly US defence R&D funding, so a drop in the ocean for a capability that will be shared by all three services and become the backbone of tactical fighter aviation for the next 30 years.

In that context, the blk 4 upgrade will end up covering sensors, weapons, software, processors, communications, ALIS-upgrades, Simulator upgrades and other classified capabilities based on how much they can fit in given cost and schedule constraints and test equipment and infrastructure availability.
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:33 pm

Not unexpected result given the program has been pretty stable for a few years now.

Lockheed F-35 Cost Stabilizes at $406 Billion, Pentagon Says

The Pentagon’s estimated cost to develop and purchase Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 jet, the costliest U.S. weapons program, has stabilized for now, according to a new report to Congress.

The total acquisition cost for the advanced fighter is projected at $406.1 billion, virtually unchanged from the $406.5 billion estimated last year, according to the Defense Department’s latest Selected Acquisition Report, which will be sent to Congress this week. The projections were obtained in advance by Bloomberg News.

Within the total -- which includes research, development and initial support such as spare parts and military construction -- the estimated cost to procure 2,456 U.S. aircraft has ticked down to $345.4 billion from $346.1 billion, or a 0.2 percent decline.

That’s good news for the F-35, which has wide support in Congress but a past marred by cost overruns. Last year, the annual acquisition report on major weapons estimated that costs would rise about 7 percent to $406.5 billion after several years of declining projections.

The acquisition estimates are separate from a projection of about $1.1 trillion for long-term operations and support to keep the aircraft flying until 2070. Those costs have drawn the concern of the military services and Ellen Lord, the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer, who’s responsible for such “sustainment” expenditures.

Lockheed and its subcontractors are trying to improve production processes as the Pentagon plans major increases in the pace of F-35 purchases. Parts shortages, unavailable aircraft and lingering unresolved technical issues also must be resolved as the program soon ends its 17-year development phase. In September, the F-35 is due to begin as much as one year of rigorous combat testing that’s required by law.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... tagon-says
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:41 pm

This article shouldn't be a surprise to many who are following the F-35. The production ramp up has meant that some suppliers have not been able to keep up, combined with a number of different block versions operating in the field. This is little different to other production ramps in history and will be overcome as the supply chain stabilizes and the block 3F configuration becomes the dominant version in the global fleet.


Lack of Spare Parts Is Keeping F-35s on the Ground


The logistics system designed to keep the F-35 fleet flying often doesn’t, with more than a fifth of grounded planes sitting idle waiting for spare parts. The result is fewer airplanes available for training—and increasingly, combat—as the system struggles to keep an ever-growing number of jets flying.

Aviation Week & Space Technology reports that parts shortages and bureaucracy are hampering efforts to keep the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in the air. In particular,it includes an anecdote about an Air Force major whose helmet had a broken plastic clip, a problem that would have grounded him for two weeks as he waited for a replacement. It was only when the issue was escalated to the Joint Program Office, which runs the F-35 program, that rules were bent to fix the problem.

The single anecdote speaks volumes about the F-35 program’s logistics system. The program is designed to centralize the repair and spare parts program as much as possible, to increase efficiency and reduce costs. Instead of every F-35 base stocking plastic clips, helmets, or even engines, a centralized, global computer system would keep track of all working and spare F-35 parts worldwide, sending them to bases worldwide in a timely manner as needed. Repairs are done at a handful of depots to minimize costs and maximize efficiency.

On paper that sounds like a great idea, no doubt inspired by the just-in-time nature of companies such as Amazon and UPS. Together, the two companies can ship millions of types of goods globally from a handful of distribution centers, overnight on a consumer’s whim, often for completely trivial reasons. In practice, the F-35 program needs two weeks to ship a plastic helmet clip to someone who needs it more urgently than the typical Amazon Prime customers needs their latest impulse buy.

According to AW&ST, the parts shortage is so severe that at Eglin Air Force Base, “maintainers are constantly battling for parts.” Twenty two percent of the F-35s grounded globally are unable to fly because they are waiting on parts. The F-35’s only forward-deployed until, Marine Corps F-35Bs regularly based in Japan, has a readiness level just over fifty percent. In October 2017, the average time to repair a part was 172 days, twice the F-35 program’s goal.

https://www.popularmechanics.com/milita ... he-ground/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:03 pm

From below Lot 13 will be 145 aircraft, which includes US and partner/FMS aircraft and Lot 14 will include 69 partner/FMS aircraft. Significant production rates and good incentive for suppliers to be as lean as they can and invest in meeting production demands given the 150+ production rate from Lot 14 will be the norm.

Lockheed Martin Secures $1.5B Deal for F-35's Spare Parts

Lockheed Martin Corp. 's LMT Aeronautics business segment recently clinched a modification contract for purchase of long lead material and parts related to low rate initial production (LRIP) of F-35 Lightning II air systems. Work related to this deal is scheduled to be completed by December 2018.

Details of the Deal

Valued at $1.5 billion, the contract was awarded by the Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland. The deal will serve the U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, non-U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) participants and foreign military sales (FMS) customers.

Per the modification, the long lead material and parts will be acquired for 145 of the 13 th Lot of F-35 jet for the Services, non-U.S. DoD participants and FMS customers, and for 69 of the 14 th Lot of the aircraft for the non-U.S. DoD participants and FMS customers.

https://www.nasdaq.com/g00/article/lock ... i10c.dv=13
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:07 am

Just when the India acquiring the F-35 talk had started to die down along comes this article and quote from a USN Admiral,

U.S. Pacific Command Boss Mentions Potential Sale Of F-35 To India

Just as India's once again hits the reset button on its premier fighter aircraft procurement program and becomes ever more disillusioned with Russia's 5th generation fighter offering, the head of U.S. Pacific Command has supposedly stated that he supports the sale of F-35s to India. This would be the first official admission that such a possibility is even on the table, although The War Zone has long suspected this would be the case.

First reported on by Stratpost.com, during a recent House Armed Services Committee hearing USPACOM boss Admiral Harry Harris Jr. is quotes as stating the following:

“At the moment, India is considering a number of U.S. systems for purchase, all of which USPACOM fully supports: the F-16 for India’s large single-engine, multi-role fighter acquisition program; the F/A-18E for India’s multi-engine, carrier-based fighter purchase; a reorder of 12-15 P-8Is; a potential purchase of SeaGuardian UAS; MH-60R multi-role sea-based helicopter; and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter...

...India will be among the U.S.’s most significant partners in the years to come due to its growing influence and expanding military. As a new generation of political leaders emerge, India has shown that it is more open to strengthening security ties with the U.S. and adjusting its historic policy of non-alignment to address common strategic interests. The U.S. seeks an enduring, regular, routine, and institutionalized strategic partnership with India. USPACOM identifies a security relationship with India as a major command line-of-effort...

...USPACOM will sustain the momentum of the strategic relationship generated by the POTUS-Prime Minister-level and the emerging 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue through strengthening our military-to-military relationship and working toward additional enabling agreements to enhance interoperability...

...Over the past year, U.S. and Indian militaries participated together in three major exercises, executed more than 50 other military exchanges, and operationalized the 2016 Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA). Defense sales are at an all-time high with India operating U.S.-sourced airframes, such as P-8s, C-130Js, C-17s, AH-64s, and CH-47s, and M777 howitzers.”

The potential confirmation comes after India has denied that they are interested in the F-35, or that they have been briefed directly on the program. But rumors of background talks about the possibility of purchasing the stealth fighter have persisted.

http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/19 ... dia-report
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:10 am

Not sure I'm wholly comfortable with selling the F-35 to Taiwan. There would have to be some very hefty security constraints around access to the platform.

Taiwan renews interest in F-35 to counter Chinese first strike

Taiwan has flagged continued interest in the Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jet, possibly as part of an upcoming new round of arms purchases from the United States.

Speaking to parliament, Defense Minister Yen Teh-fa confirmed Taiwan’s long-standing interest in the F-35, although he did not mention which variant of the F-35 or how many aircraft Taiwan was interested in acquiring.

However, previous reports have said Taiwan is interested in the F-35B short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing, or STOVL, version, which is also used by the U.S Marine Corps, Italy and the United Kingdom. Japan and Singapore are also reportedly interested in this variant.

Yen said his ministry was also reviewing the possibility of acquiring the Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker midair refueling tanker. If followed through, this would be the first time Taiwan will have a dedicated midair refueling capability.

Taiwan sees the F-35B and its STOVL capabilities as a way to offset the threat of a first strike by China, allowing the island to retain the ability to generate air power in the event of its runways being disabled.

Arms sales to Taiwan have often been a fraught affair, with China ― who sees the island as a breakaway province and has not ruled out the use of force to retake it ― applying increasingly intense pressure to diplomatically isolate Taiwan.

The U.S. does, however, maintain strong de facto diplomatic relations with Taiwan’s government, and the Taiwan Relations Act enacted by Congress in 1979 commits the U.S. to “make available to Taiwan such defense articles and defense services in such quantity as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability.”

In recent years, the most advanced U.S. weapons have been out of Taiwan’s reach so as to avoid incurring China’s wrath.

Taiwan’s Air Force currently operates a mix of Lockheed Martin F-16A/B Fighting Falcons, locally built AIDC F-CK-1 Ching-kuo and French Dassault Mirage 2000-5 fighters. All three types were operationalized in the mid- to late 1990s and are facing obsolescence issues. Taiwan in the midst of upgrading the former two and looking at options to upgrade the latter.

However, it wants new fighter types to counter China’s increasing military advantage over the island’s armed forces in the face of China’s rapidly modernizing military.

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2018/03 ... st-strike/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Mar 18, 2018 3:20 am

Another big contract for LM to support the F-35.

Navy awards Lockheed $481M for F-35 spare parts

Lockheed Martin has secured an additional $481 million from the U.S. Navy's Naval Air Systems Command for the procurement of spare parts in support of F-35 Lightning II production efforts, the second contract the company has been awarded this week related to the F-35.

The new cost-plus-fixed fee delivery order, announced Thursday by the Department of Defense, amends a previously issued basic ordering agreement for the F-35 for the Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, non-DoD participants and foreign military sales customers.

The work, which is expected to be completed by June 2022, will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, El Segundo, Calif., Orlando, Fla.,Nashua, N.H., Baltimore, Md., Warton, Britain, and Nagoya, Japan.

https://www.upi.com/Navy-awards-Lockhee ... 521220822/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Mar 19, 2018 10:20 am

Some reasonable analysis from ASPI in Australia.

As the article indicates the RAAF should be in no hurry to replace the SH until Blk 4 is complete and perhaps even some Blk 5 updates are available. The flip side is waiting too long to replace the SH will require more sustainment funding for the SH fleet, less of an issue given the growler will be around for awhile, but also lessen the opportunities that come from operating essentially a single airframe fighter fleet all of the same standard.

F-35 update: the good, the bad and the unknown

The past couple of weeks have been a case of ‘good news and bad news’ for customers of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. As a country about to commit to the bulk of its currently approved 72 aircraft purchase, it’s to be hoped that our defence procurement people have been watching recent developments closely. We’re now looking at a longer wait and a higher price for some of the key capabilities we’re after—especially a dedicated maritime strike capability.

But let’s start with some good news. The USAF budget request for the 2019 financial year was released recently and, as was the case in the past few years, the forward prices reflect an increasingly mature production effort.

The figure below, drawing on budget requests since 2013, shows the ‘flyaway price’ of the air force variant that Australia is buying. As usual, I’ve included a calculated ‘learning curve’ of prices that represents the industry standard. This year’s figures are shown in black and the predicted prices are flattening out as expected. There are only very slight year-on-year changes over 2017, 2018 and 2019.

So far so good. The bad news is in two parts. First, those numbers are just budget placeholders, and don’t yet represent contracted figures. It’s not unusual for there to be a certain amount of argy-bargy between the government and contractors during price negotiations, but the public discourse between the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin is getting a little heated.

We’re now five months past the Pentagon’s preferred October 2017 contract signature date. If all else fails, the Pentagon can take unilateral action to finalise the deal, as it did in 2016. But it would be better for both parties to agree on the price and terms.

The contract details matter to Australia. Despite having been partners in the program since 2002, the amount we end up paying will still reflect the production costs in the US-based program—there are no fixed price deals here.

The second lot of bad news concerns the jet’s capabilities. The figures above refer to aircraft at ‘Block 3’ standard. Many of the capabilities we really want—especially a dedicated anti-ship weapon—won’t be delivered until later capability blocks. We’re now starting to get some public indications of the costs of those future capability increments, and they aren’t especially reassuring.

The F-35 ‘modernisation program’, in truth, actually includes many of the capabilities that customers originally thought would be in earlier deliveries but have since been pushed out in order to streamline the already-delayed development program. The upgrades now might carry a price tag of US$16 billion, considerably more than previous estimates. The international partners in the program will potentially be required to pay US$3.7 billion of those additional costs.

The bulk of the upgrades—though not all—will be implemented through software, rather than through physical modifications to the aircraft or its subsystems. That’s only partially reassuring though—the aircraft’s processors probably need replacing to run later software loads, and software development and testing are also frequent sources of delays.

And not everything can be done with code. My reading is that a decision is needed in the next couple of years as to whether to include the required hardware modifications on the production line, or to retrofit them later. There are pros and cons to either approach.

Changing the hardware fit on the production line now, just as the benefits of the learning curve are kicking in, risks slowing the production rate and bumping back up the learning curve until the changes are completely assimilated. But retrofitting later necessarily takes aircraft offline for a while and is generally more time consuming (read: expensive) than building changes in from the start. And it’s unclear how any such decisions would impact the move towards a multi-year ‘block buy’.

So it seems that Australia faces additional costs—or a longer wait—for capabilities we previously identified as ‘must haves’. Block 3 aircraft will be very capable and would certainly be a step up in capability from the Hornets and Super Hornets we’ve sent to Iraq in recent years. But those missions don’t reflect our regional strategic circumstances, which really require advanced maritime strike capabilities.

The F-35 program continues to offer a mix of promised advanced capability and disappointment. While there’s no real alternative for the 2020s (and probably for some time beyond), we’re still going to be flying Super Hornets until the Block 4 or 5 F-35s mature. And potential adversaries are working on closing the gap, so the F-35s’ slow development means that users will get less utility from the purchase than would have been the case had the jets been delivered close to the original schedule.

In that context, I think it’s worth reiterating something that Malcolm Davis and I wrote a couple of years ago: the RAAF shouldn’t rush to buy more F-35s early in the 2020s. Time’s moving on, and there might be smarter options coming along.

https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/f-35- ... d-unknown/

I'm less worried about the cost to update RAAF F-35 aircraft to Blk 4 standard. Given the classic Hornet fleet required and received extensive updates throughout its lifetime to maintain capability the upgrade to Blk 4, and subsequently Blk 5, will be SOP for the RAAF fleet.
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:40 pm

Some good info in the article about how the F-35C brings a new precision landing system to the fleet, releasing the pilot to spend his training time on more tactical matters.

Navy Will Send Stealthy, Carrier-Launched F-35C to War in 2021

US Navy leaders have announced that the first-of-its kind carrier-launched F-35C stealth fighter will deploy for its first operational deployment on the USS Carl Vinson -- in 2021.

The anticipated historical deployment could be accelerated by the 2019 budget proposal which supports a transition of the F-35C program from a developmental phase to more formal test and evaluation before being declared operational later this year, Rear. Adm. S.D. Conn, Director, Air Warfare Chief of Naval Operations, told Congress.

“Stealth technology and advanced integrated systems enable the F-35C to counter rapidly evolving air-to-air and surface-to-air threats. Whether the mission requires the execution of strike, Close Air Support, counter air, escort, or electronic warfare, the F-35C is vital to our future,” Conn testified.

The emergence of a carrier-launched stealth fighter is intended to give the Navy more combat attack flexibility and an improved ability to fight sophisticated enemy air defenses from a sea-based carrier. Such an ability can allow a maneuvering carrier to hold targets at risk from closer proximity if land-bases are far from the combat vicinity. As a 5th-generation fighter, the F-35C will be able to exceed the attack capabilities of the existing F/A-18 Super Hornet by having an ability to operate over higher threat areas, detect targets from much farther ranges and relay sensor data more efficiently.

With a broad wingspan, reinforced landing gear, ruggedized structures and durable coatings, the Navy's F-35C is engineered for harsh shipboard conditions. Its avionics equip the pilot with real-time, spherical access to battlespace information. The aircraft is engineered to provide commanders at sea, in the air and on the ground with an instantaneous, high-fidelity single picture view of ongoing operations.

Being engineered for a carrier, the F-35C's 51-foot wingspan is larger than the Air Force's F-35A and Marine Corps' F-35B short take-off-and-landing variants. It can fire two AIM-120 air-to-air missiles and two 2,000-pound Joint Direct Attack Munitions. The F-35C can reach speeds up to Mach 1.6 and travel more than 1,200 nautical miles.

The F-35C is also able to fire the AIM-9X. In the future it will have an ability to drop a Small Diameter Bomb II - a high-tech weapon now in development able to track and destroy moving targets from great distances using a tri-mode seeker. The SDB II uses millimeter wave, laser and infrared guidance technology and has now been tested on an F-35.

The new stealth Joint Strike Fighter will join the carrier air wing and fly alongside the F/A-18 Super Hornet, E2D Hawkeye surveillance planes and other aircraft. Over the next five years, the Navy plans to acquire as many as 60 or more of the new fighters, Navy officials have told Warrior Maven.

The F-35C is engineered with a new technology called Delta Flight Path which helps pilot land on a carrier deck more easily.

Test pilots and engineers credited the F-35C's Delta Flight Path technology with significantly reducing pilot workload during the approach to the carrier, increasing safety margins during carrier approaches and reducing touchdown dispersion.

Carrier landing is never easy as pilots must account for the wind-speed, atmospheric conditions and speed of the ship. Pilots follow a yellow light on the flight deck of the ship called the Freshnel Lens to help the trajectory of the approach, called their glide slope, Navy experts have explained to Warrior.

In a previously released document described as the "Naval Aviation Vision," the F-35C is described as being engineered with reinforced landing gear and durable coatings to allow the F-35C to withstand harsh shipboard conditions while delivering a lethal combination of fighter capabilities to the fleet.

The aircraft has gone through several rounds of testing to advance what’s called carrier integration and carrier qualification – an effort to seamlessly integrate the new aircraft into the carrier platform and carrier air wing, service officials have explained.

Assessments of the F-35C have also included efforts to refine a precision-landing technology called Joint Precision Approach & Landing Systems, or JPALs.

JPALS, slated to be operational by 2019, works with the GPS satellite navigation system to provide accurate, reliable and high-integrity guidance for fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, Navy statements said.

Also, Navy information described JPALS as a system featuring anti-jam protection to ensure mission continuity in hostile environments.

“JPALS is a differential GPS that will provide an adverse weather precision approach and landing capability,” a Navy statement said.

By 2025, the Navy's aircraft carrier-based air wings will consist of a mix of F-35C, F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, EA-18G Growlers electronic attack aircraft, E-2D Hawkeye battle management and control aircraft, MH-60R/S helicopters and Carrier Onboard Delivery logistics aircraft such as the Navy Osprey tiltrotor aircraft variant.

https://www.themaven.net/warriormaven/s ... UiaPNpN10A
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Mar 20, 2018 8:47 pm

The National Interest at its finest reporting 7 month old info and as usual mixing fact with fiction.

F-35: Is America's Most Expensive Weapon of War the Ultimate Failure?

Jim Roche, then-Secretary of the Air Force, made an announcement on October 26, 2001, that all aviation enthusiasts had been waiting for: a winner had been picked to design and build the Joint Strike Fighter. The American people were assured the new jet would enter service in 2008 and be a high-performance replacement for the military’s aging airframes while only costing between $40 million and $50 million.

The F-35 has now entered an unprecedented seventeenth year of continuing redesign, test deficiencies, fixes, schedule slippages, and cost overruns. And it’s still not at the finish line. Numerous missteps along the way—from the fact that the two competing contractors, Lockheed Martin and Boeing, submitted “flyoff” planes that were crude and undeveloped “technology demonstrators” rather than following the better practice of submitting fully functional prototypes, to concurrent acquisition malpractice that has prevented design flaws from being discovered until after production models were built—have led to where we are now. According to the latest annual report from the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E), 263 “high priority” performance and safety deficiencies remain unresolved and unaddressed, and the developmental tests—essentially, the laboratory tests—are far from complete. If they complete the tests, more deficiencies will surely be found that must be addressed before the plane can safely carry our Airmen and women into combat.

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-bu ... lure-24984
 
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Re: Ben & Jerry's co-founder arrested for protesting F-35 noise

Wed Mar 21, 2018 12:50 am

VSMUT wrote:
Runway28L wrote:
The airticle speaks for itself, but I have to ask... how does an F-35 sound any different from the F-16s that the Vermont ANG already has? How has this all of a sudden become a problem with residents?


The F-35 is much more noisy than the F-16. This is a major issue in both Norway and Denmark, where massive additional costs have been incurred due to this.

Not "massive costs", at least not here in Denmark. Some people living near Skrydstrup Air Base seem to receive some compensation and/or taxpayer paid three layers windows replacing two layers.

Funny thing is that now it has been relieved that at Skrydstrup the F-16s also make more noise than agreed with neighbors. And have done so for decades. But nobody noticed. :roll:
Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Mar 21, 2018 8:34 pm

Frist flight of South Korea's first F-35A.

Here’s South Korea’s First F-35A Lightning II Stealth Aircraft During Its Maiden Flight

On Mar. 19, 2018, the first F-35A destined to the ROKAF performed its maiden flight at Lockheed Martin Ft. Worth facility, Texas. Piloted by LM F-35 Chief Test Pilot and Test Flight Director Alan Norman, the aircraft flew as “Lightning 41”, taking off at 14.48LT and landing at 16.40LT. The photo in this post was taken by Highbrass Photography’s Clinton White during South Korea’s F-35’s first sortie (designated C01).

Known as AW-1, the aircraft is the first South Korean 5th generation combat aircraft out of 40 F-35A Conventional Take Off and Landing (CTOL) variant jets that the ROKAF with all aircraft slated for delivery by 2021.

The Republic of Korea concluded its F-X III fighter acquisition program with the signing of a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) between the U.S. and Korean governments on Sept. 30, 2014. In December 2017, South Korea’s Defence Acquisition Program Administration established a process for procuring the 20 additional aircraft, the Joongang Ilbo newspaper reported, citing multiple government sources.

https://theaviationist.com/2018/03/20/h ... en-flight/

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Looks amazingly like every other F-35A first flight...
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Mar 22, 2018 9:35 pm

A good result for the F-35 in the Congress Omnibus spending bill with an additional 20 aircraft allocated to the US Military above their funding request.

The omnibus spending bill would add an extra 143 aircraft for the military

F-35 joint strike fighter

Unsurprisingly, it was a good year for Lockheed Martin’s F-35. Congress added $2.9 billion for an additional 20 joint strike fighters, which would put total FY18 procurement at 90 planes.

If the spending bill is passed, the Navy and Marine Corps will get not only the number of joint strike fighters requested in the budget, but also the ones detailed in their “unfunded requirements lists” sent every year to Congress. For the Navy, that’s eight F-35C carrier takeoff and landing variants. Meanwhile, the Marine Corps would get 24 F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing variants and two F-35Cs.

The Air Force will get 56 F-35A models — just four short of its unfunded requirement.

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2018/03 ... -military/
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Mar 23, 2018 8:31 pm

Would be an interesting decision if the USAF chooses to replace a squadron of A-10s at Davis-Monthan or Whiteman.

USAF weighing beddown options for Air Force Reserve Command F-35 base



The Air Force is considering four bases as options to host 24 F-35As for the Air Force Reserve and will host a series of meetings in April to support its beddown decision.

In a March 22 Federal Register notice of its intent to develop an environmental impact statement, the service states Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, TX, is its preferred alternative and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, AZ, Whiteman Air Force Base, MS, and Homestead Air Reserve Base, FL, as reasonable alternatives.

The squadron would include 24 aircraft and two backup jets. The aircraft would replace 24 F-16s if based at Homestead ARB or NAS Fort Worth JRB or 24 A-10s if either Davis-Monthan AFB or Whiteman AFB are chosen.


https://insidedefense.com/insider/usaf- ... -f-35-base
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Mar 26, 2018 8:38 pm

The tail hook and bunce issues are now behind the jet and all is looking good for the USN to IOC the F-35C next year.

Into the Fold: F-35C Carrier Qualifications Aboard Lincoln

Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) completed fleet carrier qualifications (CQ) for the F-35C Lightning II program, marking another milestone for the new aircraft, while underway March 17-21.

Pilots assigned to the "Rough Raiders" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 125 and the "Grim Reapers" of VFA 101 accomplished day and night qualifications with 140 traps in anticipation of F-35C operational testing later this year.

Aboard for part of the CQ was Rear Adm. Dale Horan, director of the U.S. Navy F-35C Fleet Integration Office, who was previously embarked aboard Abraham Lincoln during a nine-and-a-half-month deployment in 2002.

"I have tight ties to Lincoln," said Horan. "It's personally interesting for me, but also professionally, it's really neat to see this aircraft out there with other aircraft; we haven't done that before. Previously, all the CQ evolutions have just been F-35s."

The F-35C complements the tactical fighter fleet with a dominant, multirole, next-generation aircraft capable of projecting U.S. power and deterring potential adversaries. The continued integration of the F-35C into the carrier air wing will enable the carrier strike group of the future to be more lethal and survivable in high-end threat environments.

One of the major milestones for this carrier qualification evolution was the operational use of the F-35C's foldable-wing feature. This feature is a critical component of the integration of F-35Cs with F/A-18C Hornets, F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers, facilitating the movement of the different platforms on the flight deck and rehearsing for operating as part of a full air wing aboard the carrier.

"My original platform is the Hornet, which I've flown for the past three years," said Lt. Nick Rezendes, a pilot attached to VFA 101, who qualified on the F-35C during this CQ. "I wanted to switch to flying the Navy's newest aircraft, and now that I have, I wouldn't mind sticking with it for the rest of my career."

Another important piece of this underway period was the continued integration of the F-35's Autonomic Logistic Information System (ALIS) with Abraham Lincoln. ALIS is a secure, off-board fleet management tool that integrates F-35 mission planning, maintenance, supply chain and sustainment information. Operators were able to plan, maintain, and sustain F-35C systems by transmitting up-to-date data to users and maintainers worldwide.

During Abraham Lincoln's previous F-35C Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) carrier qualifications in December of 2017, an operational squadron accomplished the use of the Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (JPALS) for the first time. The GPS-based, all-weather landing system works to provide accurate and reliable information for carrier landing approach, allowing F-35Cs to land during inclement weather.

"It's pretty clear that this aircraft is the Navy's future for strike warfare," said Horan. "It's shaping up to be a fantastic aircraft. As with any program, there are always complexities in getting it fielded, but we are working through those. This aircraft is very capable and it'll be really neat to watch it develop."

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

http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=104832
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Mar 26, 2018 8:41 pm

A high resolution image of the F-35B coming in to land on the USS Wasp while operating in the Indo-pacific region.

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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Mar 26, 2018 9:20 pm

A decent article with some comments from the Australian Air commodore in charge of Air Combat Group Air about what the F-35 brings to the RAAF. Additionally there are some comments on the industrial benefits including so far $1 billion dollars in contracts for Australian Industry.

F-35 moving close to entering service

After years of delays, cost blow-outs and questions over its performance, the focus on the Joint Strike Fighter is shifting from development and production to sustaining operations ahead of the permanent basing of the first two aircraft in Australia later this year.

The Royal Australian Air Force insists the much-maligned F-35 remains the best choice to defend the skies despite the litany of problems documented against it, which most recently includes accuracy of its weapons, unavailability of planes and cybersecurity vulnerabilities according to the latest US government report.

Commander Air Combat Group Air Commodore Michael Kitcher said while there had been delays, Australia's aircraft were being delivered on time and pilots liked what they experienced.

"The best way I can describe the capability of the aircraft is there are a lot of people who have never flown the aircraft that might choose to be purported experts on it," he said.

"But when I talk to the aircrew that fly the aircraft there is nothing but praise for its capabilities and the fact that it is a step change in capability from anything else we've got.

"The jet is performing well [but] that is not to say there are no challenges. It is still a new aircraft being introduced but I believe we understand the nature of most of those challenges and are working through them.

"The guys talk about the fact they will go flying and they will do things as a two-ship and four-ship F-35s (missions) they would not even dream about doing with the classic Hornet or Super Hornet, and achieve kill-ratios that you could not replicate in other non-fifth generation platforms."

Lockheed Martin director of international business development Steve Over said the latest US Department of Defense report into the project had been finalised before the latest software update had been completed in December.

He said that every operational capability Lockheed Martin had contracted for in 2001 had been delivered in the completed Block 3F software package.

"Is it perfect? No it's not perfect," he said.

"The thing they track is deficiency reports but what we did before we made that final cut of Block 3F, the Joint Program Office and the services all sat down together and made a list of everything that had to be fixed in 3F, and went and made those corrections, and those corrections have been validated."

Canberra has ordered 72 of the fifth-generation fighter, and expects over time the price of each aircraft will average $116 million.

The RAAF has had two aircraft at a US airforce base since late 2014 to train pilots and ground crew and within days four more will be delivered, with a further four in the third quarter of 2018.

Come December and the first two jets will make their way to Williamtown RAAF base in the NSW Hunter Valley, with Air Commodore Kitcher saying there was a fair degree of excitement about their impending arrival.

"In general I've got people who are mad keen to get on the F-35," he said.

'They have had to earn the right to be a provider'

While the F-35 is seen very much as an American jet, it has always been a development partnership with Australia, the United Kingdom, Italy, Canada, Turkey, the Netherlands, Norway and Denmark, paving the way for companies indigenous to those countries to participate in production.

More than 50 Australian firms have shared in $1 billion of contracts to deliver parts and services to the project, a tally expected to double by 2023.

While Australia is often derided as a high-cost country for manufacturing, Over said it was the contrary for aerospace.

"Every opportunity that has been afford to Australia industry, they have won in a competitive environment fair and square around the world, with the best of the best aerospace companies participating," he said.

"This hasn't been a grant to Australian industry, they have had to earn the right to be a provider to us."

As deliveries ramp up, Australia will play a key role in maintaining and sustaining the F-35's airframes, engines, electronics and avionics for regional air forces as well as the RAAF.

Lockheed Martin's in-country lead for the F-35 program, Andrew Doyle, said many of the skills and technologies to maintain the RAAF's older jets were transferable to the F-35 but there would be opportunities to develop new skills as the new jet was more "information-intensive".

"I think it's testament to Australia as a nation making an early commitment to the F-35, giving Australian industry a seat at the table to compete for production opportunities and sustainment opportunities at the outset of the program when supply chains are being allocated," he said.

http://www.afr.com/news/special-reports ... 320-h0xr0t
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Mar 27, 2018 9:10 pm

Some good info on the F-35A deployment to Japan and what the aircraft has been doing there as well as some very sagely advice from a USAF F-15 pilot at the very end.

How is the F-35 improving its dogfighting skills in Japan?

The F-35 has caught flack for what critics decry as lack of dogfighting prowess, a reputation that has followed the Joint Strike Fighter for years.

But in the skies above Kadena Air Base in Japan, F-35 operators are getting the chance to prove those detractors wrong.

In October, more than 300 airmen and 12 F-35A conventional takeoff and landing jets from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, arrived in Japan, marking the Air Force’s first-ever F-35 deployment to the Asia-Pacific region. Since then, pilots have focused primarily on the air-to-air fight — a rarity for the F-35, a stealthy fifth-generation jet that is more known for its air-to-ground capability.

Click here to read more reporting from Kadena Air Base!

Kadena’s location on the island of Okinawa, a small 466-square-mile plot of land surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, offers a prime location for F-35 operators to practice aerial combat, said Capt. Ryan Fantasia, an F-35A pilot with the 34th Fighter Squadron.

“The airspaces are all over the water, so it’s a lot harder to look down and see the ground or anything like that. Plus, the Eagles are here,” he said, referring to the two F-15C/D Eagle fighter jet squadrons based at Kadena.

F-35A pilots train with F-15C/Ds anywhere from a couple times a month to a couple days a week, Fantasia told Defense News in February. Sometimes those exercises include Eagles from the 44th and 67th fighter squadrons at Kadena; while other days, F-35 pilots mix it up with F-15s from the Japan Air Self-Defense Force.

“It’s a blast. I really, really enjoy it,” said Fantasia, a fairly new pilot who graduated in January from the inaugural F-35 basic flight class. Fantasia and the five other “B-course” graduates are the first pilots trained from the start to be F-35 operators. They didn’t have prior experience in another combat aircraft like an F-22 or F-16.

Now, those pilots get to learn not only from the more knowledgeable F-35 operators based at Hill, but the F-15 pilots of Kadena, whose training consists of tactics and techniques that have been passed down and refined over nearly four decades.

“The training itself, we’re really taking advantage of the joint part of the exercise,” Fantasia said. “So the ability to see everybody’s different capabilities and then ultimately put that into one fluid scenario, it really allows for a lot of successes out there and a lot of chances to learn from each other.”

During his last flight, Fantasia faced off in a one-on-one fight that allowed him to practice basic fighter maneuvers — things like high-G turns, high climbs and high angle-of-attack moves that allow a pilot a more advantageous position when in a close-quarters fight.

Fantasia didn’t say whether he went up against another F-35 or an F-15, but the older fourth-generation jet still can pose a challenge in a dogfight.

The F-15C sustained has a long run as the Air Force’s premier air superiority jet, from the time it was introduced in the 1970s to 2005, when the fifth-gen F-22 was fielded. It’s famed for its incredible aerial combat record, with no losses ever recorded.

An F-35A from Hill Air Force Base's 34th Fighter Squadron sits on the ramp at Kadena Air Base, Japan. (Jeff Martin/Staff) An F-35A from Hill Air Force Base's 34th Fighter Squadron sits on the ramp at Kadena Air Base, Japan. (Jeff Martin/Staff)
The F-35’s record against fourth-generation fighters hasn’t always garnered the jet positive attention. In 2015, War Is Boring obtained a five-page brief authored by an F-35 test pilot, who wrote that the Joint Strike Fighter had been outclassed by the F-16. The pilot dogged the F-35 as too slow and not maneuverable enough to evade the F-16 or to shoot it down, the report stated.

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At the time, the Defense Department defended the F-35 by pointing out that the aircraft involved in the test was a very early model with a flight envelope limited to only 5.5 G’s. The jet also did not feature many of the mission systems, stealth coating or helmet display functionality considered by some as the defining features of the F-35, which are now widely available.

In February, the F-35s at Kadena got the latest block 3F software, the full combat capability version that allows the aircraft to fly its entire flight envelope and up to 9 G maneuvers. But even before that, the Joint Strike Fighter’s air-to-air game has shown improvement, achieving a 20-to-1 kill ratio at its first Red Flag event in early 2017.

Capt. Brock McGehee, a pilot from Kadena’s 44th Fighter Squadron who has been flying F-15s for two years, characterized the F-35 as an “extremely capable” air-to-air fighter, during a February interview with Defense News.

“It’s just kind of scary a little bit to fly around in the dark with an invisible airplane that’s around you somewhere,” he said. “Those guys are very good pilots, their situational awareness is very high and they do a good job of keeping us in the loop of where they are when they’re on the same team as us.”

McGehee compared the F-35 to its fifth-generation brother, the F-22 Raptor. Both are stealth aircraft, making them very difficult to detect at long distances. But in close combat, an F-15 will engage an F-22 and F-35 very differently, he said. He declined to discuss specifics that could reveal tactics, techniques and procedures and provide an adversary with hints about how to best either aircraft.

“An F-22, if you’ve ever watched the demo of it, you can turn inside out. It’s ridiculous,” he said. “An F-35, it turns differently. So that’s just [basic fighter maneuver] kind of awareness for us of what to do differently.”

So can the F-15 beat the F-35 in dogfights?

“I mean, sometimes,” McGehee said, adding that all aircraft lose in aerial combat sometimes, and for various reasons.

“Part of it is the aircraft and part of it is the man in the aircraft,” he continued. “We’ve got some really talented pilots here who are able to gain the offensive on a lot of other pilots. A pilot who understands this aircraft very well and is very skilled at it is pretty lethal no matter what he’s flying, so it’s possible.”

https://www.defensenews.com/smr/kadena- ... -in-japan/
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Mar 27, 2018 9:12 pm

UK to meet with F-35 JPO on operations and sustainment

The No. 2 civilian in the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence is meeting with the F-35 joint program office today to discuss the operations and sustainment cost of the Joint Strike Fighter.

The United Kingdom is “very pleased” with the development of the F-35 and the fact that acquisition costs are “coming down in line with the way we assumed it way,” Permanent Secretary of the MOD Stephen Lovegrove told reporters at a breakfast in Washington today.

The next area of “intense interest” for his nation is the operations and sustainment cost of the F-35, according to Lovegrove.

“In the U.K., typically that is where we have done a less good job of containing costs,” he said. “It’s a very, very complicated platform.”

In addition to meeting with U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan today, Lovegrove said he is convening with a team from the JPO to discuss operations and sustainment costs. “We need to work very, very hard on that,” he added.

“We’ve got headroom in the program, but there is a degree of uncertainty here,” Lovegrove said.

The United Kingdom plans to buy a total of 138 F-35 aircraft, with 48 put on contract so far, the secretary confirmed.

https://insidedefense.com/insider/uk-me ... ustainment
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Mar 28, 2018 8:24 pm

This is essentially a rehash of earlier reporting. Given the overall US fighter fleet will reduce by the time the last USAF F-35 leaves the factory, and the cost to operate is not much greater than an F-16, current assessment is 14%, then I don't see a lot of value in these assessments. If we totalled up the costs of the current fleet and put those into the context of sustaining future fighters it is likely those costs will be greater than that for operating a large F-35 fleet that is operationally more effective.

The Air Force Could Lose 590 F-35 Fighters Because It Can't Afford to Maintain Them

The U.S. Air Force may have to cut its purchases of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 by a third if it can’t find ways to reduce operations and support costs by as much as 38 percent over a decade, according to an internal analysis.

The shortfall would force the service to subtract 590 of the fighter jets from the 1,763 it plans to order, the Air Force office charged with evaluating the F-35’s impact on operations and budgets, in an assessment obtained by Bloomberg News.

While the Defense Department has said it has gained control over costs for developing and producing a fleet of 2,456 F-35s for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps — now projected at $406 billion — the internal analysis underscores the current and looming challenges of maintaining and operating the warplanes.

It may cost as much as $1.1 trillion to keep the F-35s flying and maintained through 2070, according to the current estimate from the Pentagon’s independent cost unit.

A chart in the Air Force analysis, which was completed in December, said the service has “very limited visibility into how” increasing funds going to Lockheed for “contractor support” are spent.

First Disclosure

The analysis represents the first public disclosure of the potential impact if support costs aren’t reduced. Using figures developed in 2012, the Air Force faces an annual bill of about $3.8 billion a year that must be cut back over the coming decade.

The Air Force analysis doesn’t represent anything close to a final decision, according to spokeswoman Ann Stefanik. The potential reduction in aircraft was a “staff assessment on aircraft affordability. It’s premature for the Air Force to consider buying fewer aircraft at this time,” Stefanik said.

The Air Force is working with the Pentagon’s F-35 program office to reach the 38 percent reduction in operation and support costs through 2028 from the $38 billion calculated in 2012, she added.

The long-term support concerns are on top of current F-35 challenges including parts shortages, unavailable aircraft and technical issues that must be resolved as the program ends its 17-year development phase. In September, the F-35 is to begin as much as a year of rigorous combat testing that’s required by law. Successful testing would trigger full-rate production, the most profitable phase for Lockheed, as soon as late 2019.

The F-35 program is accelerating: Congress bankrolled 90 jets, or 20 more than requested, in the spending bill for the current fiscal year.

Lockheed’s Costs

Half of the operations and support expenditures are tied to Lockheed’s costs and include “program management, depot maintenance, part repair, software maintenance, engineering,” Stefanik said. Those costs “are growing with the increase in flight hours. The Air Force is working to gather visibility into cost data to better understand the rationale for the growth,” she said.

The remaining costs are managed by the Air Force, including military personnel and fuel, she said. Upkeep costs for the F-35 are also a challenge for allies buying the plane, including the U.K., Australia and Italy.

Stephen Lovegrove, the U.K.’s No. 2 civilian defense official, told reporters Tuesday at a Defense Writers Group breakfast in Washington that although the F-35 “is doing everything we hoped it would do,” his country also is grappling with the size and scope of the future support costs for a “very, very complicated platform.”

Lovegrove, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Defence, said he’d be discussing the “slightly unknown territory” of long-term costs in meetings with F-35 program officials. The U.K. is buying 138 of the Marine Corps version of the F-35 designed to be flown off aircraft carriers.

‘Bit Frustrated’

“I am constantly being asked by parliamentarians in the U.K. what the total cost is going to be and they are sometimes, understandably, a bit frustrated when I have to tell them, ‘At the moment nobody is entirely sure,’” Lovegrove said.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office said in an October report that “there is little doubt” the F-35 “brings unique capabilities to the American military, but without revising sustainment plans” the military “is at risk of being unable to leverage the capabilities of the aircraft it has recently purchased.”

It’s a sentiment shared by Undersecretary Ellen Lord, the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer, who told reporters in January that “right now, we can’t afford the sustainment costs we have on the F-35. And we’re committed to changing that.”

http://fortune.com/2018/03/28/air-force-f-35-cost-cuts/
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:37 pm

The USN has indicated some of the issues it is facing as it prepares for IOC in early 2019. As expected the cat launch bounce has been fixed, as has the AIM-9x wing issue. Some continuing issues with the gen III helmet which will apparently be fixed with the new helmet arriving.

All in all I don't see anything that will prevent IOC on time.

Navy faces several challenges before declaring F-35C wartime ready in 2019

Horan said “some” of the Block 3F deficiencies need to be corrected before the Navy declares IOC but not all of them. He is most concerned about the software deficiencies related to green-glow and cockpit oscillations.

The Navy is using a Gen III helmet with updated software before the new organic-LED helmets are delivered.

“The current helmet we have software implementation to help them adjust the gain and intensity and that's working OK but not great,” he said. “We require a pilot to have 50 traps in another type of aircraft before we let them [carrier qualify] and do missions in the F-35 with that helmet.”

Horan anticipates delivery of the organic-LED helmets early next year but the service will not have them for IOT&E.

“Whether DOT&E wants to come back and look at it after they field it, that's a separate issue,” he said. “What we'll have is the older helmet with the software fixes so that the experienced pilots . . . will be able to conduct missions off the ship.”

The service recently approved measures to improve catapult ride quality for pilots in the F-35C, he said.

“We adjusted the repeatable-release holdback bar, adjusted the tension on that so it doesn't apply quite the same pulse to the nosegear on catapult launch,” he said. “We taught the pilots to pay a little more attention to strap-in because that made a difference. We're finding that it's still an aggressive cap shot but it's not a safety concern, it's not a health concern so we're comfortable that issue's resolved.”

The service tested the new procedures during shipboard testing once in December and again in a more recent test. The commanding officers of the two squadrons told Horan they are comfortable and the issue is resolved.
.
Another challenge previously facing the service was the F-35C could not carry the AIM-9X missile.Horan said the Navy has funded and approved the plan to strengthen the F-35C wingtip so that it can support the AIM-9X missile weight. Four jets have been modified with the fix and the delivery schedule is two kits each month.“We're comfortable we'll have all six of the IOT&E jets ready to go” by September, he said...Thirty-two F-35C jets will require the modification and the Pentagon anticipates the retrofits will be completed by the end of 2018, the paper reads...

The Navy has not determined if intermediate-level maintenance will be available during the first F-35C shipboard deployment, Horan said.

“This is not a showstopper for first deployment,” he added.

The Navy and Marine Corps set aside $42 million in fiscal year 2019 for intermediate-level maintenance that is required at sea and is also expected to reduce stress on the supply chain.

"The Marine Corps' intermediate-level (I-level) maintenance capability will enable the organic repair of both support equipment and aircraft components to include Alternate Mission Equipment (AME) and F-35 gun pod repairs, engine component repair, low observable material repair procedures, limited hydraulic component repair, and limited airframe structures repair," according to March 7 written testimony submitted to Congress by Lt. Gen. Steven Rudder, deputy commandant for aviation. "Cost is driven down through more efficient troubleshooting, a decrease in the cost of moving parts to and from OEM manufacturers, and better maintenance and sparing efficiency."

The service projects an I-level maintenance capability will save $451 million in lifetime ownership costs while also improving aircraft availability, according to the testimony.

Winter reiterated the cost savings estimate over a 20-year lifecycle. The JPO's Level of Repair Analysis team conducted Maintenance Task Analysis on 29 specific components to support I-level maintenance for the Navy and Marine Corps, according written testimony he submitted during the same March hearing.

Horan said the Navy is in the process of developing the F-35C intermediate-level maintenance concept of operations. He anticipates it being finalized by the end of the year.

“We have a ways to go before we actually [purchase] long lead items and that kind of stuff to actually get into the fleet,” he said.

CONOPs development includes how the Navy and Marine Corps will contract the spare parts needed. The F-35 program is different compared to other acquisition programs for spare parts contracting because instead of the individual services being responsible, the JPO negotiates for the entire enterprise.

https://insidedefense.com/daily-news/na ... ready-2019
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Apr 03, 2018 12:04 am

An interesting report on the possible use of Israeli F-35s to identify targets over Iran. I am sceptical and can see a few issues with the report including the ranges required.

The F-35 is unlikely to have, without A2A refuelling, the range to conduct the mission stated. In its favour is that Israeli F-16s conducted a strike in 1981, Operation Opera, which flew armed F-16s significantly further than their advertised range. Perhaps the Israelis were able to extract some extra range out of the F-35 with climb profile management and high altitude optimal speed flight (I have seen some unofficial figures attributing F-35 combat radius at optimal profiles to greater than 1100nm). The F-35 currently has no external fuel tanks and I’m not aware of any modifications to allow fuel to be carried within the internal bays, although that would seem a smart idea to use the space for this type of mission.

Alternatively, the article could represent attempts to justify large weapons purchases occurring in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait by describing an Israeli threat of flying an essentially undetectable aircraft over Arab countries.

Lots to consider including the overall credibility of the source, the article is below.

ISRAELI STEALTH FIGHTERS FLY OVER IRAN

Two Israeli F-35 fighter jets entered Iranian airspace over the past month, Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida reported on Thursday. The act is a signal of heightened regional tensions, especially in light of recent Israeli military attacks in Syria, including against Iranian bases in the country.

Sources quoted in Al-Jarida stated that two stealth fighters flew over Syrian and Iraqi airspace to reach Iran, and even targeted locations in the Iranian cities Bandar Abbas, Esfahan and Shiraz.

The report states that the two fighter jets, among the most advanced in the world, circled at high altitude above Persian Gulf sites suspected of being associated with the Iranian nuclear program.

It also states that the two jets went undetected by radar, including by the Russian radar system located in Syria. The source refused to confirm if the operation was undertaken in coordination with the US army, which has recently conducted joint exercises with the IDF.

The source added that the seven F-35 fighters in active service in the IAF have conducted a number of missions in Syria and on the Lebanese-Syrian border. He underlined that the fighter jets can travel from Israel to Iran twice without refueling.

Israel has admitted to launching about 100 air strikes on Syria over the past five years, targeting Hezbollah terrorists, weapons convoys and infrastructure, and it is believed to be behind dozens more.

On March 21, the IDF cleared for publication that Israel was behind the 2007 destruction of a nuclear reactor that was under construction in northern Syria.

In February, Israeli F-16 fighter jets entered Syrian airspace, striking 12 Iranian targets in Syria in response to an Iranian drone that was shot down over Israel. Two Israeli crew members were wounded when they ejected from their jet before it crashed, which was later determined to be caused by pilot error.

In response to the Iranian drone, a senior Israeli official warned that Israel will react with force to Iran's efforts to entrench itself further in Syria.

"...the Iranians are determined to continue to establish themselves in Syria, and the next incident is only a matter of time,” he said, warning that Israel does not rule out that that the Islamic Republic will continue to try to attack Israel.

http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Report ... ran-547421
 
sovietjet
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Apr 03, 2018 6:17 pm

What kind of datalinks can the F-35 use? I already know it can use Link 16 and MADL but that neither is compatible with the IFDL on the F-22. What else can it use? Can it use Link 22, SADL, EPLRS, JREAP, etc..?
 
Ozair
Topic Author
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Apr 03, 2018 10:28 pm

sovietjet wrote:
What kind of datalinks can the F-35 use? I already know it can use Link 16 and MADL but that neither is compatible with the IFDL on the F-22.

Link 16 and MADL are the primary two. The F-22 was slated to be upgraded to MADL but the cost prohibited it. There are now moves to make the F-22 IFDL compatible with MADL and also provide F-22 with Link 16 transmit capability (it currently has receive) but that is not expected until approx 2023.

sovietjet wrote:
What else can it use? Can it use Link 22, SADL, EPLRS, JREAP, etc..?

Info on the communications infrastructure here, http://www.northropgrumman.com/Capabili ... asheet.pdf

No native Link 22 but the message format for Link 22 is J series so that and Link 16 are compatible as long as there is a gateway in the middle, typically a P-8 or naval vessel. As has been reported by the RN the desire is to put MADL on to as many vessels as possible as the significantly enhanced picture provided by the F-35 through MADL is too complex for Link 16 to handle.

Link 16 is being pushed further to the edge and the intent is to get most ground units onto Link 16 networks or at least have gateways that provide interfaces between Link 16 and FBCB2-BFT.

EPLRS has been retired, JREAP is just a protocol and I don’t see much of a future for SADL. Link 16 and in the future probably enhancements of MADL for ground interface is the way forward. The use by the three US services of the F-35 will go a long way to improve the interoperability that has historically been more complex than necessary. It is probably one of the hidden cost savings with huge interoperability benefits that is almost never reported.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Apr 03, 2018 10:30 pm

Blk 4 work now officially starts.

JPO launches F-35 Block 4 effort

The US Joint Program Office (JPO) has begun the process for rolling out Block 4 (full combat) capabilities onto the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

A USD211.3 million contract for “pre-modernization efforts” related to a Block 4.1 software drop was awarded to the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) on 2 April, with work to be completed by the end of July 2019.

Now known as Continuous Capability Development and Delivery (C2D2), Block 4 will enable the F-35 to employ its full panoply of sensors and munitions. With the wider Block 4 capability to be rolled out in four increments (Block 4.1, 4.2, 4.3 and 4.4), Block 4.1 is primarily software based, although it does also introduce some new capabilities as well as correcting deficiencies to older ones carried over from the system design and development (SDD) phase of the programme, which is shortly due to conclude.

http://www.janes.com/article/78975/jpo- ... k-4-effort
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Apr 03, 2018 10:34 pm

Continued interest from the UAE for the F-35. Probably a matter of when and not if now although the when may still be in to the mid 2020s.

UAE banks on Trump to turn F-35 ban upside-down

UAE wants to acquire F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, probably as part of a mixed fleet

The Lockheed Martin F-35A Joint Strike Fighter promises to bring advanced operational capabilities to those air forces that operate it, and to allow a previously unknown degree of interoperability and harmonization with the US Air Force. Advanced sensors, low observability (‘stealth’) and connectivity combine to give unmatched mission performance and survivability, and the aircraft is increasingly being seen as something that no air force that aspires to ‘full spectrum’ capability can do without.

At the same time, development of the F-35A has been beset by technical, political and cost difficulties, and Lockheed Martin and the US Government have been keen to export the type in order to recoup the costs and ‘share the pain’!

Before President Trump took office, requests for the F-35 from Gulf and Middle Eastern air forces were firmly rebuffed, with the US agreeing to export the aircraft to only one regional air force. The US has followed a long-standing policy of ensuring that this one particular nation in the Middle East maintains a Qualitative Military Edge and has historically provided that nation with the weaponry and assistance required to allow it to defend itself against any combination of regional foes, while denying that nation’s neighbours and near-neighbours weapons that might threaten its military dominance in the region. Emirati requests for the F-35 have been rebuffed since 2011.

But the Trump administration has tacitly recognized the importance of the United Arab Emirates as a vital regional ally, which provides basing and port facilities for the US military and which hosts thousands of Americans deployed with the US Air Force’s 380th Air Expeditionary Wing.The UAE is also the only Arab country to have participated in six US-led coalition operations since the 1991 Gulf War, supporting the US in the Balkans and Afghanistan as well as in the region. In a recent report, the US-UAE Business Council highlighted the UAE’s material contribution to US interests and security in the Arabian Gulf and globally, including counterterrorism.

Danny Sebright, the Council’s President, pointed out that: “The UAE has become not just a consumer of security, but also a provider of security in the Gulf region and the wider Middle East.”

Perhaps even more importantly, the UAE could be of pivotal importance in US attempts to counter nuclear and non-nuclear threats from a resurgent Iran.
But recently there have been strong signs that the UAE could increasingly turn to non-Western countries for major military procurements in the future, despite an underlying preference for US weaponry. When the UAE’s attempts to procure armed Reaper UAVs were unsuccessful, the Emirates purchased armed Chinese UAVs as a supplement to unarmed Predator drones, while Russia has claimed that the UAE is interested in a potential purchase of Sukhoi Su-35 fighters. In February 2017 the UAE and Russia signed a letter of intent to jointly develop a fifth-generation fighter based on the MiG-29. The UAE is among the world’s biggest defence spenders, and has long been one of the largest customers for the US Foreign Military Sales programme. The US has no wish to lose this lucrative market for its weaponry.

The Trump administration is therefore actively pursuing enhanced strategic co-operation with the Emirates, building on the expanded 15 year US-UAE Defense Co-operation Agreement that was signed in May 2017. At the same time, Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s is understood to have raised the subject of the F-35A during his meetings with President Trump and US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in Washington DC.

At the Dubai Air Show, American and Emirati officials confirmed that the UAE was in preliminary discussions with the United States centred around a future purchase of ‘two squadrons’ of Joint Strike Fighters (probably about 24 aircraft). The USAF’s vice chief of staff, General Stephen Wilson said that he expected the UAE would soon be briefed on the F-35, but could or would not provide any information as to when that might happen.

Wilson acknowledged that Middle Eastern nations shared the same threats, interests and responsibilities, and said that the US would: “explore options for those nations and partners to benefit from this capability. So the discussions are ongoing now with the new administration on selling F-35s to partner nations that need them and require them. They’ve started the process. Now with that you need discussion bilaterally between nations ... so further things on that will have to come from the UAE.”
The UAE Air Force and Air Defence (UAE AF & AD) has made no secret of its interest in acquiring fifth-generation fighter aircraft.

Brigadier General Rashed Al Shamsi, deputy commander of the UAE AF & AD, described the need to strengthen the UAE’s air capacity during a briefing at the Dubai air show, explaining that the Air Force “required connected multi-role platforms with the ability to share data, which had enhanced intelligence collection and distribution capabilities, and that was capable of timely and reactive dynamic targeting.” This, he said, meant that “to have a fifth-generation capability is something of interest to the UAE Air Force and Air Defence,” noting that he had “heard that the United States could now be willing to sell the UAE the F-35.”

The UAE Air Force and Air Defence has seen the advantages of fifth generation aircraft at first hand, training and exercising with USAF F-22As and F-35As on numerous occasions, both in the USA and in the UAE itself. It has watched as regional rivals have acquired the kind of advanced, ‘double-digit’ SAMs and integrated air defence systems that threaten the survivability of ‘conventional’ fourth generation fighters and that make Low Observable aircraft worth their weight in gold!

The UAE could use the F-35A as a powerful intelligence gathering platform, even during peacetime training missions. F-35As could also provide an invaluable deterrent against any overt Iranian aggression, since they would be able to mount limited retaliatory air strikes, without necessarily having to mount a major air campaign to take down all enemy air defences.

Staff Major General Pilot Abdullah Al Hashimi, Assistant Undersecretary for Support Services in the UAE Ministry of Defence, explained that: “We in the UAE already live in a fifth generation environment and have a fifth generation mindset; so acquiring the F-35 fighter jet is just a step forward.”

Any Emirati F-35 purchase would be limited to the purchase of two squadrons of F-35As (24 aircraft), at least in the first phase. This would require a major restructuring of the UAE AF & AD, perhaps requiring the procurement of a second aircraft type. A specialized committee is assessing the risks, threats and needs of the air force and to work out how a future fighter force might look.

The UAE has continued to consider a range of re-equipment plans, including the acquisition of advanced fourth generation fighters instead of, or augmenting F-35As. These options include the Dassault Rafale and the Eurofighter Typhoon (now in service or on order with four of the six GCC air forces). In the meantime, contracts have been placed with Lockheed Martin and Thales for upgrades to the Lockheed Martin F-16E/F Desert Falcons and Dassault Mirage 2000-9s now in service.
If negotiations are eventually successful, the United Arab Emirates would become the first GCC nation to operate a Low Observable, fifth generation combat aircraft. Though other air forces in the region hope to persuade the USA to supply F-35As, it would seem unlikely that a UAE purchase would necessarily lead to approval for other requests.

http://www.arabianaerospace.aero/uae-ba ... -down.html
 
sovietjet
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Apr 04, 2018 12:19 am

Ozair wrote:
Link 16 and MADL are the primary two. The F-22 was slated to be upgraded to MADL but the cost prohibited it. There are now moves to make the F-22 IFDL compatible with MADL and also provide F-22 with Link 16 transmit capability (it currently has receive) but that is not expected until approx 2023.


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