Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Aug 01, 2019 9:22 pm

F-35 portion of total cost estimation. While the cost of the overall program has increased I find these assessments essentially pointless because the vast majority of the costs are calculated inflation and not actual program costs. There is simply too much uncertainly on cost projections 10 years from today let alone 20, 30, 40 or 50 years ahead…

Pentagon Tops $2 Trillion in Costs to Field Major Arms Programs

...

A new Pentagon report projects the F-35 fighter jet program’s lifetime costs will be $73 billion more than previously estimated.
That also explains why Lockheed Martin Corp.‘s F-35 jet, the world’s costliest weapons program, has become even more expensive.

The estimated total price for F-35 research and procurement has risen by $22 billion, according to the report, and the estimate for operating and supporting the fleet of fighters over more than six decades grew by almost $73 billion to $1.196 trillion. The increase reflects for the first time the current cost estimates for a major set of upgrades planned in forthcoming “Block 4” modifications, according to the report. Bloomberg News first reported the projected cost increase in April.

...

https://about.bgov.com/news/pentagon-to ... -programs/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Aug 01, 2019 9:39 pm

Good to see both the Italian Navy and Air Force are keen to get their hands on F-35Bs. According to the article a joint squadron similar to the way the UK is operating is likely the best solution.

Italy Navy, Air Force debate where to base F-35Bs

As the first Italian F-35B pilots begin training in the United States, a tug of war between the Italian Navy and Air Force over the aircraft means there is still no certainty about where Italy’s STOVL jets will be based, and who will have ultimate authority over them.

“These pilots will be back in Italy next year after training and we still don’t know where they are going,” said an Italian analyst knowledgeable of the debate in Italy.

The standoff suggests that moves in Italy to create increasing synergies between armed forces have a way to go. “This is a long way from being resolved,” said a defense source who asked not to be named.

Italy is likely to order 30 F-35Bs, which will be evenly split between the navy and air force. The first two jets, which are destined for the navy, are currently undergoing trials in the US.

...

https://www.defensenews.com/global/euro ... se-f-35bs/
 
frmrCapCadet
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Aug 04, 2019 12:55 pm

It is always helpful (and truthful) to express the cost of long term projects in terms of some sort of constant dollar. Even better a small graph with three heading showing original estimates, inflation to date, and long term inflation, so that constant dollar actual increases can be seen (or not be seen). Probably there are some charts like this out there. Anybody have something along this line?
Buffet: the airline business...has eaten up capital...like..no other (business)
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Aug 04, 2019 9:41 pm

frmrCapCadet wrote:
It is always helpful (and truthful) to express the cost of long term projects in terms of some sort of constant dollar. Even better a small graph with three heading showing original estimates, inflation to date, and long term inflation, so that constant dollar actual increases can be seen (or not be seen). Probably there are some charts like this out there. Anybody have something along this line?

The F-35 SAR has a section on sustainment costs which list the then year dollar amount and the base year dollar amount. From a sustainment perspective those figures currently sit at

Base year US$620 billion
Then year US$1123 billion

Source link is https://fas.org/man/eprint/F-35-SAR-2018.pdf with the CAPE estimate starting on page 95.

So inflation and other cost estimations comprise approx. 40% of the then year figure. That figure is a flight hour cost from 2011-2070, covers 2447 aircraft, each with a 30 year service life and assumes the following hours per year, F-35A 250, F-35B 316, F-35C 306. It doesn’t include the additional 13 F-35B added in the last couple of years.

The CAPE assessment hasn't been redone in a few years so there is potential a new figure will be available at some point.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Aug 04, 2019 10:11 pm

Runway28L wrote:
Is this the first frame for the 158th Fighter Wing (Vermont ANG)? Aircraft had its first flight earlier today.

http://www.f-16.net/aircraft-database/F ... file/9288/


Confirmed it was the first aircraft destined for the 158th.

Vermont Air National Guard preparing for arrival of F-35s

The first F-35 fighter jet that will be based at the Burlington International Airport has taken its first flight with the tail markings of the Vermont Air National Guard.

The Guard said the F-35 left Wednesday from Fort Worth, Texas.

The Vermont National Guard, the first Guard unit in the country to be assigned the F-35s, is due to take delivery at the South Burlington airport of the first aircraft next month.

...

https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/your ... -of-f-35s/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Aug 04, 2019 10:14 pm

Noise concerns at another potential ANG base although further down the article makes it clear the newly released maps are worst case scenarios and actual flights are likely to have less of a noise impact.

New fighter jet study shows noise could be worse

Since 2017, Madison has been in the running to be the new home for the next-generation F-35 fighter jets.

But people near the airport have their worries.

This after an Air Force study released earlier this week shows that thousands more people would be impacted by the noise than are impacted now.

“You can’t hear yourself think from all the noise,” Frank Gehrke, who’s lived nearby for 50 years, said.

Residents in the Hawthorne neighborhood already deal with plenty of noise from F-16 jets at Truax Field in Madison.

“It’s loud enough that if we’re watching TV or talking, we’ll have to pause,” Andrew Molnar, another nearby resident, said.

According to an Air Force study, the proposed F-35 jets are much louder than F-16s.

The neighborhood would go from an average less than 60 decibel range, the sound of a typical conversation, to a 65-75 decibel range, which peaks at the sound of a vacuum cleaner three feet away.

...

https://wkow.com/news/2019/08/03/new-fi ... -be-worse/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Aug 05, 2019 12:11 am

We had seen these figures before but thought I would repost given the GAO report has just been released.

Block 4 Upgrades Prompt Rise in F-35 Program Cost

The total cost of the F-35 program grew by $25 billion in 2018—or about $95 billion when adjusting for inflation—in part because of a new slate of upgrades known as Block 4, the Pentagon said in an annual acquisition report published Aug. 1.

Acquisition alone—including research and development, procurement, and military construction costs—rose by $15.3 billion compared to the 2012 baseline, or $22.2 billion when adjusted for inflation.

The Pentagon also noted a dispute between its cost assessment and program evaluation shop, which believes Joint Strike Fighter operations and sustainment costs are rising, and the F-35 Joint Program Office, which argues those costs are shrinking.

Lifetime costs for the entire fleet of US-operated F-35s span design and development, purchase of the jets, repairs, spare parts, modifications, upgrades, operations, military construction, and inflation over a 53-year period. The Air Force flies the F-35A; the Marine Corps the B variant; and the Navy the C variant.

...

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

Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:49 am

Overall some poor analysis from this article. The ranges listed for the jets is wrong, they have likely just taken it off a the LM instead of looking at any of the last three SARs which shows the F-35A radius is 670nm, so 1340nm, 12% longer than suggested and is a profile calculated with significant fuel burn limitation to simulate an old less efficient engine flying an A2G mission (heavier configuration). The F-35B is at 1010nm off an LHD while the F-35C is at 1280nm.

I also found it ironic that the article criticizes the range given it is longer now than all current USAF fighter strike aircraft anyway (bombers of course excepted). Saying that, the new engine does promise some great fuel savings, as well as likely a sustained supercruise capability, so is a win win all round.

ANALYSIS: F-35's next engine to reach for more range

One criticism – among many – of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is that the fighter lacks the range needed to conduct long-range stealth strike missions. While Lockheed Martin has studied adding external fuel tanks to extend the aircraft's range, slinging the bulky hardware under the F-35 would ruin its minimal radar cross section, giving away the stealth fighter's chief advantage.

In place of extra onboard fuel, the US Navy (USN) has boosted the flight endurance of its F-35C variant by using its Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet as a substitute in-flight refuelling tanker. The service is also funding the development of four Boeing MQ-25A Stingray unmanned in-flight refuelling tankers for $805 million.

Still, the F-35's range handicap remains particularly dangerous for hypothetical combat operations against mainland China – shorter endurance might mean that air bases, in-flight refuelling tankers and aircraft carriers have to be deployed within the threat envelope of Chinese defences. In addition, it reduces the number of potential bases from which the F-35 can operate effectively.

The F-35A used by the US Air Force (USAF) has an internal fuel tank capacity of 8,280kg (18,300lb) and a range of 1,200nm (2,200km). The USN’s F-35C has an internal fuel tank capacity of 9,000kg and a range of 1,200nm. The US Marine Corps' short take-off and vertical-landing F-35B has a fuel capacity of 6,130kg and the shortest range of the three types, at only 900nm.

The USAF is looking at how the F-35 can do more with its fuel capacity. One important effort is the service's Adaptive Engine Transition Program, which aims to create a novel engine that has not only more power, but also more fuel economy.

...

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... ge-459856/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:06 am

Another missile defence connection for the F-35 which will enhance the US Army’s ability to detect, track and potentially engage incoming threats.

F-35 talks to US Army’s missile command system, says Lockheed

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter demonstrated its ability to send data to the U.S. Army’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System during the Orange Flag Evaluation 19-2 at Palmdale, California, and Fort Bliss, Texas, in June.

F-35 manufacturer Lockheed Martin announced in an Aug. 6 statement that the jet, in a live demonstration, sent track data to the IBCS through the F-35 ground station and “F-35-IBCS adaptation kit.”

The Northrop Grumman-developed IBCS was able to “receive and develop fire control quality composite tracks during the exercise, leveraging the F-35 as an elevated sensor," the statement added.

...

https://www.defensenews.com/land/2019/0 ... nd-system/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:10 am

Looks confirmed now that F-35s will replace the F-22s at Tyndall AFB and house three squadrons likely from 2023.

F-35 fighter jets coming to Tyndall Air Force Base

The Trump administration is confirming that a U.S. Air Force base in the Florida Panhandle that was devastated by Hurricane Michael will be rebuilt so it can house F-35 fighter jets.

Vice President Mike Pence tweeted Tuesday that squadrons of F-35 fighter jets will be based at Tyndall Air Force Base outside Panama City beginning in 2023.

...

https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/your ... orce-base/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:16 am

I would be interested to know if this terrible availability rate has actually impacted the operational test fleet meetings its goals. I haven’t seen any other reports indicating as such. I’d also be interested to know what is causing this, older airframes, parts being prioritised to front line squadrons etc.

F-35 Test Fleet Struggling with Low Readiness Rates

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighters in the operational test fleet at California’s Edwards Air Force Base are suffering from low readiness rates that may threaten the successful completion of the crucial combat-testing phase of the program, as shown in a chart created by the Joint Program Office’s Integrated Test Force and obtained by the Project On Government Oversight (POGO).

...

https://www.pogo.org/investigation/2019 ... ess-rates/

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Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Aug 07, 2019 7:05 am

USMC continues to explore the expeditionary use of the F-35B.

USMC hunting for unmanned systems to support F35 in expeditionary airfields

US marines and sailors are testing out a host of unmanned technologies that could potentially help solve some of their logistical challenges when operating in remote areas, including the arming and refuelling of F-35B Lightning II aircraft.

With the Pentagon shifting its focus from counter-insurgency operations towards a large-scale military conflict with China and Russia, the US Marine Corps (USMC) and US Navy (USN) have been looking for ways to strengthen ties and operate in isolated locations. As part of the move, the duo has been hosting Advanced Naval Technology Exercises (ANTXs) designed to evaluate emerging technologies and rush them to the field.

...

https://www.janes.com/article/90315/usm ... -airfields
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Aug 08, 2019 12:53 am

Good to see these woman moving onto the F-35 and that the ejection seat now allows more woman to fly the F-35. Also interesting that the USMC is now taking F-35C pilots straight out of flight school, shows a confidence in the aircraft and the training pipeline being sufficiently mature.

First female Marine F-35B pilot graduates soon, while first female Marine is selected to fly F-35C

The first female Marine F-35B pilot is set to graduate from training soon, according to Marine officials.

The female Marine pilot has been undergoing F-35B training at Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 aboard the Marine air station at Beaufort, South Carolina, a Marine official told Marine Corps Times Wednesday.

While her graduation is fast approaching, another female Marine, 1st Lt. Catherine Stark, was recently the first female Marine selected to train and fly the F-35C, according to Marine spokesman Capt. Christopher Harrison.

Stark recently had her aviation wings pinned on during a ceremony aboard Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas, following completion of flight school on Aug. 2.

Stark will soon begin nine to 12 months of F-35C training at the Navy’s F-35C Fleet Replacement Squadron in Lemoore, California.

...

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

Tue Aug 13, 2019 1:39 am

Quite an impressive feat. While I don't expect any F-35s to go direct from the factory to combat this shows how the intent to bring every part of the prodcuction cycle into te one vendor has been able to strealmine the process.

Record-setting first sortie for wing's newest F-35A

The 388th Fighter Wing set a speed record for bringing online a newly-delivered aircraft last week, flying a local sortie less than five hours after accepting delivery of its 68th F-35A Lightning II.

Aircraft tail number 5261 left Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth, Texas, production facility a little after 8 a.m. Aug. 1, landed at Hill Air Force Base at 10 a.m., and by 3 p.m. had taken off on its first combat training mission.

“The F-35A program’s production and delivery plan was designed to allow rapid aircraft induction and quick use by the customers,” said Col. Michael Miles, 388th Maintenance Group commander. “We’ve shown the enterprise it’s possible.”

...

https://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display ... est-f-35a/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Aug 13, 2019 1:51 am

I've only included the F-35B sections below but an the whole article is worth a read on how the UK developed and operated the ski jump. A great graphic as well of the various ski jump angles and lengths over the years.

Royal Navy aircraft carrier ski jumps – a history

...

Work on ski jump trials with the F-35B began in 2014 in the United States at NAS Patuxent River, initially using offline and manual simulation. Most of the work involved exploring what would happen if problems occur during take-off, such as a sudden drop in wind velocity, loss of engine power, blown tyres or nose wheel failure. A UK company, Williams Fairey Engineering Limited (WFEL) was awarded a £2M contract to construct a test ramp in the Centre Field at Pax River. The design was based on the CVS ramp profile and completed in 2009, although the first F-35B ski-jump STO was not made until June 2015.

By June 2016, 31 test launches had been made testing a variety of approach speeds and internal loads with speeds off the end of the ramp ranging from 65-95 knots. Some issues were discovered during testing but nothing serious and the results informed the minor design changes to flight control software. A second phase of trials numbering around 150 launches was begun in 2017 to understand the characteristics of the aircraft during overspeed or underspeed take-offs and carrying external weapons, including asymmetric loads. When the first jet was successfully launched from HMS Queen Elizabeth’s ski jump on 25th September 2018, years of simulations and preparation ensured it was considered a very low-risk aspect of the programme.

Despite its vertical landing and ski-ramp launch, the 21st Century F-35B Lightning II has very little in common with the Harrier designed in the 1960s. The Harrier had four side-mounted swivelling nozzles used to direct thrust down or aft. The supersonic F-35B has a more conventional jet tailpipe but is fitted with a 3-Bearing Swivel Module (3BSM) which rotates down from the horizontal to generate 18,000 pounds of downward thrust from the engine exhaust. To provide longitudinal balance, a cold air shaft-driven lift fan directly behind the cockpit also provides up to 20,000lb of additional vertical thrust during take-off and landing. The lift fan incorporates a vane box which can direct thrust upto 50º aft to provide extra forward thrust during the rolling take off. There are also roll posts under each wing which can deliver up to 2,000 pounds thrust to give lateral balance. To maximise forward thrust, the roll posts are turned off for a few seconds during the STO run and switched back on just as the aircraft leaves the ramp.

Automation has made both landing and take-off, much simpler procedures for the F-35 Pilot. A Harrier pilot had a tricky job to manually operate the stick, the throttle, and the nozzle lever with his hands during launch. Advanced control law software in the F-35 means the pilot must only push the throttle to full power, release brakes, and steer towards the centre of the ski-jump. Sensors on the aircraft detect the change in pitch rate and attitude, taking the controls into ‘ski-jump mode’ it automatically sets the horizontal tail position, engine nozzle angles, and changes the balance of thrust between the lift fan and the tail nozzle. When on the ramp, more of the forward thrust comes from the lift fan, but as the aircraft leaves the ramp the 3BSM is very gradually moved so that the engine thrust moves from about 45º to the horizontal. Once flying, the lift fan is disengaged and the doors closed to aerodynamically ‘clean up’ the aircraft.

It is interesting to observe that while the F-35B is exceptionally capable and has low pilot workload, its mechanical complexity is staggering with the greatest number of moving parts ever put into a fast jet.
...

https://www.savetheroyalnavy.org/royal- ... a-history/
 
GDB
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:40 am

Thanks, while I know about the 1970's ski-jump development, the 1944 idea of launching the (awful) Barracuda aircraft and the changes from the 1970's and 80's ski jumps to the ones on the QE class, is very interesting.
 
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KPDX
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:35 pm

Bit of a classic self-plug, but I figured you guys would actually find this of interest. Photo I got of AF-207 coming in to Carswell yesterday after a test flight. Flight #2 for this bird.

 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:26 am

A couple of article on Exercise Northern Lightning which is going on from Aug 12-23.

Tactical training exercise gives us an inside look at what makes F-35 jets so special

F-35 fighter jets are at Volk Field for the next week and a half, being used in the Northern Lightning exercise, a joint training including units from the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy using some of the world's most advanced aircraft.

...

He said the stealth feature of the F-35 allows the planes to be undetected, giving them the first-shot advantage.

"In the F-16 everybody saw me from hundreds of miles away probably, and so they could shoot me really whenever they wanted to. In the F-35 they can not see you, and if they can see you they can’t really shoot at you until it’s way late, and by that time you really have already taken multiple shots against them," said Clements.

...

https://www.channel3000.com/news/tactic ... 1108911066

A second article on Northern Lightning,

Northern Lightning exercise returns to Volk Field August 12-23

Volk Field Combat Readiness Training Center is hosting aircraft and nearly 1,000 personnel from approximately 20 active duty Air Force, National Guard, Navy and Marine Corps units as part of the annual Northern Lightning Counterland training exercise, which runs August 12-23.

August’s edition of the exercise is the second iteration of Northern Lightning this year, the first of which occurred in May.

Northern Lightning is a tactical level, joint training exercise replicating today’s air battle space with current and future weapons platforms. A variety of the world’s most advanced aircraft including the F-35, F-22, F-16, EA-18, and C-130 will participate in the exercise.

...

https://dma.wi.gov/DMA/news/2019news/19112

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Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:29 pm

Some great operational experience working from temporary bases in the Middle East. Again shows how the USAF is looking for more flexibility around basing and how the F-35 has been designed to support this operating concept.

F-35s Practice Adaptive Basing in the Middle East

F-35As stationed in the Middle East practiced how they can participate in combat operations from a temporary base by deploying from the United Arab Emirates to another, undisclosed location, the service said Aug. 12.

An undisclosed number of Joint Strike Fighters deployed to the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing and operated out of an austere area with a skeleton crew of support airmen as part of an adaptive basing exercise called “Agile Lightning” from Aug 4-7.

Airmen and support equipment piled into a C-17 to stand up operations for the stealth fighter, and once established at the base, they flew “essential missions” to protect US assets in the region, according to an Air Forces Central Command release.

...

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

Thu Aug 15, 2019 4:17 am

But they still need a runway which I’m sure are easy to map out and target?

Isn’t this austere concept tailor made for the B?
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:37 am

Planeflyer wrote:
But they still need a runway which I’m sure are easy to map out and target?

Isn’t this austere concept tailor made for the B?


Runway or road would be sufficient. The B austere concept is a bit different because the USMC deploy organically with all their own assets within an MEU supporting the deployment of that capability. The B also doesn’t need the lengths the CTOL would require and therefore open up a significantly more potential locations.

The main point really is the invalid assertion that the USAF needs 10,000ft runways and hardened shelters to operate from. Even if you hit their runways they are still going to be able to generate combat power.

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