Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 2795
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Jun 28, 2018 9:59 pm

An audio report on the economic advantages the F-35 is bringing to Eielson AFB in Alaska.

F-35 Plan Released

The Fairbanks-North Pole area is at the start of a mini-boom, as the region prepares for the basing of 2 squadrons of F-35 fighter jets at Eielson Air Force Base. Challenges and opportunities presented by the F-35 basing are the focus of a draft plan released this week by the Fairbanks North Star Borough. KUAC’s Dan Bross reports.

http://fm.kuac.org/post/f-35-plan-released
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 2795
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Jun 28, 2018 10:04 pm

Click bait title. Anyone who thinks a Eurofighter is a better nuclear delivery platform than an F-35 has rocks in their head... Might be better for Germany from an economic point of view but certainly not from a capability perspective.

This Nuclear-Armed Fighter Might Spell Big Trouble For The F-35

Germany has officially asked the United States to explore certifying its Eurofighter aircraft to carry tactical nuclear weapons. The move might signal that Berlin does not want to purchase America’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Under NATO’s nuclear sharing arrangement, the United States bases tactical nuclear weapons in various countries in Europe. In the event of a conflict, Washington would release these weapons (the B61 gravity bomb) to the host nations, which would delivery them using their own nuclear-capable aircraft (flown by pilots trained in nuclear missions).

Germany’s Air Force, the Luftwaffe, is one of the NATO countries that host U.S. tactical nuclear weapons and is equipped with delivery systems. In specific, the Luftwaffe has designated its Tornado fighters as its dual-use aircraft (i.e. ones capable of both conventional and nuclear missions). Although Berlin has around 85 Tornado fighters, these are rapidly aging and scheduled to be retired in 2025.

...

https://taskandpurpose.com/germany-nucl ... hter-f-35/

More at the link above.
 
ZaphodHarkonnen
Posts: 758
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 10:20 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Jun 28, 2018 11:18 pm

Ozair wrote:
Click bait title. Anyone who thinks a Eurofighter is a better nuclear delivery platform than an F-35 has rocks in their head... Might be better for Germany from an economic point of view but certainly not from a capability perspective.

This Nuclear-Armed Fighter Might Spell Big Trouble For The F-35

Germany has officially asked the United States to explore certifying its Eurofighter aircraft to carry tactical nuclear weapons. The move might signal that Berlin does not want to purchase America’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Under NATO’s nuclear sharing arrangement, the United States bases tactical nuclear weapons in various countries in Europe. In the event of a conflict, Washington would release these weapons (the B61 gravity bomb) to the host nations, which would delivery them using their own nuclear-capable aircraft (flown by pilots trained in nuclear missions).

Germany’s Air Force, the Luftwaffe, is one of the NATO countries that host U.S. tactical nuclear weapons and is equipped with delivery systems. In specific, the Luftwaffe has designated its Tornado fighters as its dual-use aircraft (i.e. ones capable of both conventional and nuclear missions). Although Berlin has around 85 Tornado fighters, these are rapidly aging and scheduled to be retired in 2025.

...

https://taskandpurpose.com/germany-nucl ... hter-f-35/

More at the link above.


Agreed. With the USAF integrating the B61 into the F-35 it becomes a very nasty nuclear strike asset. Even ahead of the Rafale let alone the Typhoon. Now there are fair reasons for choosing one of the Eurocanards but it has nothing to do with the best capability.
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 2795
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Jun 28, 2018 11:44 pm

JAGM is the Hellfire/Maverick replacement missile and will be a great additional to the F-35. Expectation is it will be included in Blk 4.1 from 2021/22 and will use the same racks as the SDBs, allowing a combination of payloads and will certainly be able to meet variable CAS weapons requirements.

JAGM-F Missile - HASC authorizes $5M for Navy and $5M for Marine Corps Fighter Aircraft Studies and Analysis in FY19 NDAA

On Wednesday, May 9th 2018 during the FY19 NDAA markup, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) passed two "En Bloc" amendments for the JAGM-F missile program for the FY19 National Defense Authorization Act. En Bloc amendments are cleared in a bi-partisan process in advance by the HASC and are voted on during the day-long markup process. Both En Bloc votes that included JAGM-F were unanimous.

For those not familiar with the process, the House Armed Services Committee conducts their mark-up of the NDAA in an open, televised forum and members of the public can sit in the limited public seating area and watch the debate and votes in person. Some of the amendments can be controversial. The ones on the JAGM-F were not, and had senior, bi-partisan support.

Here is a link to a Defense News article that lists the En Bloc amendments.

The first amendment passed by the full committee (EB7 117r1) authorizes an additional $5M for JAGM-F missile studies and analysis for the Navy for their F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and F-35C aircraft, and an additional $5M on a separate line for the USMC for their F/A-18C/D, AV-8B and F-35B/C aircraft.

The second amendment (EB2 177) requests a briefing by the Department of the Navy to the committee on the services' plans for JAGM-F integration on its fighter aircraft to replace the Laser Maverick missile that will be out of inventory in the coming decade. This type of briefing request is expected when the committee authorizes additional funding, to ensure the services have a good plan moving forward.

The US Air Force has requested $31.596M in the FY19 budget to begin JAGM-F integration activities on their aircraft, and the $10M for the DoN will allow both the Navy and Marine Corps to begin their studies and analysis in concert with the Air Force in FY19 and beyond.

The JAGM-F missile is an eject-launched, fighter-capable derivative the JAGM missile that is a dual-mode seeker missile incorporating an active millimeter-wave radar and a semi-active laser seeker. The JAGM missile is a follow-on to the the Hellfire missile and will IOC on the US Army's Apache helicopter and the US Marine Corps' Cobra helicopter.

https://www.coaspire.com/news/2018/5/10 ... -fy19-ndaa
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 2795
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Jun 29, 2018 2:46 am

1000 sorties and a total of 1400 hours flown on Australian F-35s. The RAAF fleet will grow to 10 by the end of the year including two arriving at RAAF Base Williamtown in December.

1000 Giant Leaps Forward

Our personnel at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, US, celebrated a capability milestone after Australian F-35A aircraft completed 1000 sorties.

The Australian Partner Maintenance Liaison Officer, SQLNDR Chris Myles, said reaching 1000 sorties was a significant achievement for the team in the US as it recognised a successful collaborative effort.

“We could not have reached 1000 sorties in the time we had if it wasn’t for our strong partnerships – that’s RAAF, USAF and Lockheed Martin, all pulling in the same direction,” SQNLDR Myles said.

“We only accepted our latest four aircraft in recent months so the vast majority of those hours have been clocked by A35-001 and A35002.” Australian training operations at LAFB have progressively increased in tempo since acceptance of our first two aircraft in 2014.

“Reaching over 1400 operational hours at this stage of the introduction of the F-35A is a testament to the high serviceability of the Australian aircraft,” SQNLDR Myles said.

SQNLDR David Bell, the pilot who launched the 1000th sortie and the second Australian to fly the F-35A, reflected on what this means to the Australians flying and maintaining the F-35A.

“The jets’ capabilities have matured significantly over the past 1000 sorties,” SQNLDR Bell said.

“As a team, we’ve learned many lessons that will hold us in good stead when we bring our first two aircraft home later this year.” The introduction of the F-35A into Australian service is a significant step in the evolution of a fifth-generation air combat capability.

Air Force has six F-35A aircraft and expects delivery of four more aircraft in 2018.

Australia’s first two F-35A aircraft to be permanently based at RAAF Base Williamtown are on schedule to arrive in December.

https://www.airforce.gov.au/news-and-ev ... ps-forward
 
User avatar
Mortyman
Posts: 5357
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2006 8:26 pm

Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:55 am

Ozair wrote:
1000 sorties and a total of 1400 hours flown on Australian F-35s. The RAAF fleet will grow to 10 by the end of the year including two arriving at RAAF Base Williamtown in December.

1000 Giant Leaps Forward

Our personnel at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, US, celebrated a capability milestone after Australian F-35A aircraft completed 1000 sorties.

The Australian Partner Maintenance Liaison Officer, SQLNDR Chris Myles, said reaching 1000 sorties was a significant achievement for the team in the US as it recognised a successful collaborative effort.

“We could not have reached 1000 sorties in the time we had if it wasn’t for our strong partnerships – that’s RAAF, USAF and Lockheed Martin, all pulling in the same direction,” SQNLDR Myles said.

“We only accepted our latest four aircraft in recent months so the vast majority of those hours have been clocked by A35-001 and A35002.” Australian training operations at LAFB have progressively increased in tempo since acceptance of our first two aircraft in 2014.

“Reaching over 1400 operational hours at this stage of the introduction of the F-35A is a testament to the high serviceability of the Australian aircraft,” SQNLDR Myles said.

SQNLDR David Bell, the pilot who launched the 1000th sortie and the second Australian to fly the F-35A, reflected on what this means to the Australians flying and maintaining the F-35A.

“The jets’ capabilities have matured significantly over the past 1000 sorties,” SQNLDR Bell said.

“As a team, we’ve learned many lessons that will hold us in good stead when we bring our first two aircraft home later this year.” The introduction of the F-35A into Australian service is a significant step in the evolution of a fifth-generation air combat capability.

Air Force has six F-35A aircraft and expects delivery of four more aircraft in 2018.

Australia’s first two F-35A aircraft to be permanently based at RAAF Base Williamtown are on schedule to arrive in December.

https://www.airforce.gov.au/news-and-ev ... ps-forward



Great News. But why has Australia not receaved any F-35's in Austrlia yet and why hasn't Austrlia reached a larger number than 10 by 2018 ? Norway has 7 in Arizona and 6 in Norway ... and we will receave another 3 by the end of the year in Norway. I would have thoguht that Australia had come further than Norway ?
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 2795
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Jun 29, 2018 12:14 pm

Mortyman wrote:
[

Great News. But why has Australia not receaved any F-35's in Austrlia yet and why hasn't Austrlia reached a larger number than 10 by 2018 ? Norway has 7 in Arizona and 6 in Norway ... and we will receave another 3 by the end of the year in Norway. I would have thoguht that Australia had come further than Norway ?

Perhaps the respective ages of the fleet have something to do with it? Norway's F-16s are older than the RAAF Hornets, the bulk of the Norwegian F-16 fleet arrived by 1984 while the RAAF received the bulk of their fleet by 1988. The RAAF has a reasonable bed down schedule, with all (classic) Hornets removed from service by 2023. The RAAF receive eight aircraft from LRIP 10 and eight again from LRIP 11. After that the intent is to participate in the block buy and have all 72 ordered jets in service by 2023.
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 2795
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:50 pm

A couple of shots of Australian F-35As at Luke AFB.

Image

Image
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 2795
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:09 pm

A sligthtly extended timeframe between landing in the UK and the first sortie from UK soil by UK personnel.

New F-35 stealth fighter jet takes first flight from Norfolk base

One of Britain’s F-35 stealth fighter jets took off from RAF Marham today, marking the maiden flight of the multimillion-pound aircraft since they first touched down in the country.

Four of the supersonic warplanes, which had been based at US Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina, crossed the Atlantic earlier this month to become permanently stationed in Britain.

And one took off from the Norfolk airbase today (Thursday), marking the first time the aircraft had become airborne in the weeks since they landed on UK soil on June 6.

The officer commanding 617 squadron, wing commander John Butcher, said the first flight was a “great step forward”, and that the jets in the skies above Norfolk will be an “increasingly familiar sight”.

He said: “I am looking forward to hearing how that went when I get back to base.

“But I know the aircraft took off and landed safely, and now we just need to see how the processes [that] are in place [work] now that we have done one flight.

“We need to make sure the engineers are going through the correct processes, we need to make sure the logistics and supply chain are there and in place to support us.

“And we need to make sure that any outstanding actions that may have come from this first flight are covered off. So it could still be a few more days before we fly again.”

Wg Cdr Butcher said the plan for the first flight was to “stay mainly local”, so that the systems could be checked, and the performance of the aircraft could be observed.

Asked why it has taken three weeks to get from the initial UK landing to the first flight, he said that “in big handfuls” acceptance checks on the jets have had to be carried out.

“We have had to move them across from the American electronic servers across to ours, and do all of the data checks and make sure all of the data is there from an airworthiness perspective, to then verify those and accept them on to the squadron,” he said.

“We have had some bits of missing data during that transfer, so we have been working through that.

“But, this is all business as usual for us

“None of it is anything that we didn’t plan for in terms of contingency, so we have been working through those in a methodical fashion to make sure that we can get the jets into a serviceable state to take them flying in a safe manner.”

The UK’s £9.1 billion programme to buy 48 of the F-35s, the world’s most advanced fighter jet, over the next decade, has come under fire over capability and expense.

Reports have suggested that the effective cost of each plane is as much as £150m when logistics and support are taken into account.

Five more UK F-35 are also expected to arrive from the US at RAF Marham by the end of July or beginning of August.

Britain currently has 15 F-35Bs - the short take off and vertical landing variant of the jets - and has pledged to purchase 138 in total from American Aviation giant Lockheed Martin.

The jets will be jointly operated by the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy and will operate from land and sea, including off the decks of the new £3.1 billion Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers.

Since their arrival, 617 squadron are now working towards declaring initial operating capability from land by the end of December.

Wg Cdr Butcher said it has been “really fantastic” to be back at RAF Marham, and said the base is “absolutely” ready for the jets to be there.

“RAF Marham has done a lot of work to get itself ready to receive us, and now that we are there as a squadron and a formed unit, with our own jets there is a very different feeling... to the week prior to us landing,” he said.

“The station has very much come into focus, they can see the aircraft out on the flight line being worked on by 617 squadron engineers, and we are in our operating environment... there are many positive elements to us now finally being at RAF Marham.”

http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/f-35-stealt ... -1-5583280
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 2795
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:13 pm

Pretty impressive that NG have delivered over 400 F-35 center fuselages and have already started work on number 500!

Northrop Grumman begins full-rate production of F-35 center fuselage

Officials at Northrop Grumman got the green light to being full-rate production of the F-35 Lightning II center fuselage. This milestone marks the beginning of a 1.5-day production interval (PI) meaning a center fuselage will be produced every day and a half.

Frank Carus, vice president and F-35 program manager, Northrop Grumman says that the 400th F-35 center fuselage was completed and delivered to Lockheed Martin last month and production of the 500th F-35 center fuselage began last week.

A core structure of the F-35 Lightning II aircraft, the center fuselage is produced on Northrop Grumman's integrated assembly line (IAL) at its Palmdale Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence. In addition to producing the jet's center fuselage and wing skins for the aircraft, the Northrop Grumman develops, produces, and maintains several sensor systems, avionics, mission systems and mission-planning software, pilot and maintainer training systems courseware, electronic warfare simulation test capability, and low-observable technologies.

http://mil-embedded.com/news/northrop-g ... -fuselage/

Image
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 2795
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:07 am

A minor issue emerging between the CAPE estimate and those provided by the JPO for the economic quantity buy authorised in FY18. The issue essentially is about the cost savings that will be available to foreign partners for the bulk buy and the disparity between what JPO and CAPE estimate will be saved.

The delta has likely come from the CAPE using data generated from a host of different acquisition programs over a long period of time while the JPO has used bottom up figures available to them from inside the program. Will be interesting to see whose figures are accurate in the long run. The JPO has a large body of production and sub-contractor information available now and based on the lean manufacturing and modern technologies being used, that are assisting them in forecasting these values while CAPE has traditionally used information that is out of date or based on historical norms.

Projected F-35 EOQ cost savings cut in half in CAPE estimate

The Defense Department's recent $660 million award to Lockheed Martin to support an F-35 economic order quantity buy will yield less than half of what the program expected in cost savings, according to a letter obtained this week by Inside Defense. The funds were part of a $735 million contract awarded to the company June 8 and will support a multiyear procurement deal among international partners and foreign military sales customers for low-rate initial production lots 12, 13 and..

https://insidedefense.com/daily-news/pr ... e-estimate
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 2795
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:10 am

The Turkish F-35 saga continues...

Trump guarantees F-35 deliveries to Ankara, says Turkish minister

Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu says in a TV interview that US president Donald Trump personally promised to ensure the delivery of the Lockheed Martin F-35A to his country.

Opposition from the US Senate, House of Representatives and State Department to the delivery of the F-35A to Turkey is putting the final delivery of the stealth fighter at risk. Lawmakers and government officials complain that Turkey’s decision to purchase the Russian-made Almaz-Antey S-400 Triumf anti-aircraft system, alleged human rights abuses and military decisions by the country’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan put the Middle Eastern nation out of line with US interests.

But, Trump told Turkey’s government that he would take the steps necessary to make sure the NATO ally received the aircraft it ordered from Lockheed Martin, according to the country’s foreign minister in an interview with Turkish television station NTV on 29 June.

The National Security Council confirmed that the US president spoke with Erdoğan, but declined to confirm or deny that the F-35 was part of the conversation.

"President Trump spoke to President Erdogan on June 26 to congratulate him on his reelection and to reaffirm the strong bonds between the United States and Turkey as NATO Allies and strategic partners," said the NSC. "The two leaders recommitted to efforts to resolve issues in the bilateral relationship and to increase cooperation in addressing shared strategic challenges."

...

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... ur-449849/
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 2795
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Jul 02, 2018 1:36 am

In place of a new thread I am posting this here given I consider the F-35 to be the favourite for the selection. Based on capability, cost and Singapore being a security member of the program they have much to gain from operating the jet. No idea if Singapore will end up ordering or even announcing in the coming months, they have swayed back and forth quite a bit over the last few years.

SAF acquires new fighting machines to do more with less, will reveal replacement for F-16 fighter jets soon

The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is overhauling its arsenal, adding new warplanes, submarines and warships as it gears up for a future with fewer soldiers.

High on the agenda is the replacement for the ageing F-16 fighter jets, with Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen saying on Friday (Jun 29) that a decision will be made in the coming months.

“F-16s would face obsolescence beyond 2030,” Dr Ng said of the 30-year-old jets. “To plan for a replacement is not as if you are going to buy a new car, you actually need a lead time of eight to 10 years.”

For the past few years, speculation has swirled around potential replacements, with Lockheed Martin’s fifth-generation F-35 fighter emerging as top contender. As early as 2013, Dr Ng had told Parliament that the F-35 was one option.

But Singapore has consistently maintained that it would not be rushed into a decision.

“You need to know first of all what platform, what your needs are, how you are going to maintain. You also need to know how you are going to train your pilots, where you are going to train pilots, especially on such a small island,” Dr Ng said.

“We thought long and hard about it, taken our time to choose a replacement, and we would be making a definitive decision likely in the next few months.”

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/si ... s-10485834
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 2795
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Jul 02, 2018 9:48 pm

Continuing supply parts issues which are primarily related to both a larger fleet in service and a significantly rising production rate. Growing pains…

F-35 programme still struggling with acquiring spare parts

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme continues to struggle to acquire the proper amount of spare parts, six months after the Pentagon’s weapon tester announced it was a problem.

Air Combat Command (ACC) chief General James Holmes said on 28 June that while it is not unusual for a new airplane to have a spare parts problem, supply remains an issue. The Pentagon’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) said in his January report for fiscal year 2017 (FY 2017) that the percentage of the entire F-35 fleet that cannot fly while awaiting replacement parts is increasing owing to inadequate supply support. The tester blamed concurrency of production and development, lower-than-expected reliability for parts, inadequate fault isolation, and early programme decisions to not adequately fund procurement of spares.

Gen Holmes believes the primary issue is the F-35 programme ramping up production. As more aircraft are developed and delivered, he believes the US Air Force (USAF) will better refine the break rate on parts and improve planning for how many of them it will need.

“That prediction and getting it right takes you a few years to work through,” Gen Holmes told reporters at a Defense Writers Group breakfast in Washington.

The USAF, the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO), and prime contractor Lockheed Martin did not return requests for comment by press time.

Gen Holmes said commercial airlines have been successful in reducing the number of flights lost to maintenance from roughly 50–60 per month down to 1–2 and that the F-35 programme is working at applying those same tools to improve F-35 availability.

http://www.janes.com/article/81424/f-35 ... pare-parts
 
tommy1808
Posts: 8652
Joined: Thu Nov 21, 2013 3:24 pm

Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Jul 03, 2018 5:44 am

Ozair wrote:
. I also don’t think the author considered the treaty implications of a German aircraft carrying French nuclear weapons.


What do you think those treaty implications are? The only treaty that doesn´t allow Nuclear weapons is the NPT, and that contains nothing special about the US that doesn´t apply to France.

If there is any reason why French nuclear weapons would be legally any different from US nuclear weapons, i´d like to know it.
Other than making a treaty between Germany and France i don´t see much in the way of treaties at all, and since the France PAL is based on the US PAL integration probably won´t be all too difficult as well.

best regards
Thomas
This Singature is a safe space......
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 2795
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Jul 03, 2018 9:57 pm

tommy1808 wrote:
Ozair wrote:
. I also don’t think the author considered the treaty implications of a German aircraft carrying French nuclear weapons.


What do you think those treaty implications are? The only treaty that doesn´t allow Nuclear weapons is the NPT, and that contains nothing special about the US that doesn´t apply to France.

If there is any reason why French nuclear weapons would be legally any different from US nuclear weapons, i´d like to know it.
Other than making a treaty between Germany and France i don´t see much in the way of treaties at all, and since the France PAL is based on the US PAL integration probably won´t be all too difficult as well.

best regards
Thomas

Tommy I have explained that position multiple times in the Germany Tornado replacement thread and that interpretation of the treaty is clear and accurate. France’s role and position, or non-position within NATO, when both nuclear sharing and the NPT were signed means they would become a proliferator should they intend to share weapons with any nation, including NATO partners.
 
tommy1808
Posts: 8652
Joined: Thu Nov 21, 2013 3:24 pm

Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Jul 04, 2018 4:57 am

Ozair wrote:
Tommy I have explained that position multiple times in the Germany Tornado replacement thread and that interpretation of the treaty is clear and accurate. France’s role and position, or non-position within NATO, when both nuclear sharing and the NPT were signed means they would become a proliferator should they intend to share weapons with any nation, including NATO partners.


So there is nothing. The NPT doesn't make any difference between the United States and France, they can do everything with their nukes the US can, including sharing them with other countries, provided they don't hand over actual control before a war starts.

Best regards
Thomas
This Singature is a safe space......
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 2795
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Jul 04, 2018 6:39 am

tommy1808 wrote:
Ozair wrote:
Tommy I have explained that position multiple times in the Germany Tornado replacement thread and that interpretation of the treaty is clear and accurate. France’s role and position, or non-position within NATO, when both nuclear sharing and the NPT were signed means they would become a proliferator should they intend to share weapons with any nation, including NATO partners.


So there is nothing. The NPT doesn't make any difference between the United States and France, they can do everything with their nukes the US can, including sharing them with other countries, provided they don't hand over actual control before a war starts.

Best regards
Thomas

Tommy, the treaty is clear.
Each nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; and not in any way to assist, encourage,
or induce any non-nuclear-weapon State to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, or control over such weapons or explosive devices.

https://www.un.org/disarmament/wmd/nuclear/npt/text

NATO Nuclear sharing, which is interpreted as US sharing of nuclear weapons (at no time was another Nuclear power sharing weapons, for example the UK who were present within the sharing agreement) with specified European Powers, is exempt from the treaty and has been from the start. No that isn’t written down in the treaty but the respective nuclear powers at the time were all aware of NATO nuclear sharing, including the Soviet Union, and no statement preventing that agreement was placed into the treaty text. The treaty also does not make, despite your claim, any distinction between peace and war, in fact the term war or conflict etc are not found in the treaty anywhere.

As such France as a signatory does not get to revisit the grandfathered acceptance of US NATO nuclear sharing but we both know they aren’t going to, just like we both know they aren’t going to share warheads with another nation and just like we both know the discussion on this is academic at best…
 
tommy1808
Posts: 8652
Joined: Thu Nov 21, 2013 3:24 pm

Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Jul 04, 2018 7:40 am

Ozair wrote:
Tommy, the treaty is clear.


yup, it is. Nuclear weapon sharing is either illegal for the US as well, or just as legal for France.

is exempt from the treaty and has been from the start. No that isn’t written down in the treaty but the respective nuclear powers at the time were all aware of NATO nuclear sharing, including the Soviet Union, and no statement preventing that agreement was placed into the treaty text.


The NATO nuclear sharing agreement was kept secret until well after the NPT was signed. Therefore no exception could have been written into the NPT and secret treaties can not be grandfathered, since most treaty parties obviously couldn´t consent. The language of the treaty was however modified to allow Nuclear Weapon sharing. That ambiguity is not limited to US weapons and available for use to all Nuclear Weapon states. As you said yourself: "No that isn’t written down in the treaty".

The treaty also does not make, despite your claim, any distinction between peace and war, in fact the term war or conflict etc are not found in the treaty anywhere.


I am not making that Claim, the NATO nuclear sharing partners are making that claim, because otherwise US Nuke sharing would be illegal. They put it "unless and until a decision were made to go to war, at which the NPT would no longer be controlling".

As such France as a signatory does not get to revisit the grandfathered acceptance of US NATO nuclear sharing


There is no "grandfathering", as most signatory nations didn´t even know about NATO nuclear sharing when they signed.

So, again, there is nothing preventing the French (or UK, China or Russia) from Nuclear sharing, if such a regulation existed US nuclear sharing would be just as illegal.

The US position on control was that control means independent power to use nuclear weapons, that position was accepted by the SU (not that it matters being a secret NATO Agreement only known to a select number of NPT member states) and has, since not being contested, become part of common international law. Hence the US position is that under similar structures each and every NWS can set up nuclear sharing agreements with whatever NNWS they chose, as long as they don´t hand over actual control before a war has started.

best regards
Thomas
This Singature is a safe space......
 
mxaxai
Posts: 562
Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2016 7:29 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Jul 04, 2018 12:45 pm

Ozair wrote:
In place of a new thread I am posting this here given I consider the F-35 to be the favourite for the selection. Based on capability, cost and Singapore being a security member of the program they have much to gain from operating the jet. No idea if Singapore will end up ordering or even announcing in the coming months, they have swayed back and forth quite a bit over the last few years.

SAF acquires new fighting machines to do more with less, will reveal replacement for F-16 fighter jets soon

The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is overhauling its arsenal, adding new warplanes, submarines and warships as it gears up for a future with fewer soldiers.

High on the agenda is the replacement for the ageing F-16 fighter jets, with Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen saying on Friday (Jun 29) that a decision will be made in the coming months.

“F-16s would face obsolescence beyond 2030,” Dr Ng said of the 30-year-old jets. “To plan for a replacement is not as if you are going to buy a new car, you actually need a lead time of eight to 10 years.”

For the past few years, speculation has swirled around potential replacements, with Lockheed Martin’s fifth-generation F-35 fighter emerging as top contender. As early as 2013, Dr Ng had told Parliament that the F-35 was one option.

But Singapore has consistently maintained that it would not be rushed into a decision.

“You need to know first of all what platform, what your needs are, how you are going to maintain. You also need to know how you are going to train your pilots, where you are going to train pilots, especially on such a small island,” Dr Ng said.

“We thought long and hard about it, taken our time to choose a replacement, and we would be making a definitive decision likely in the next few months.”

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/si ... s-10485834

Obviously, the only viable option is the F-35 if you want a fairly cheap fighter-bomber today.

But by 2030, that may change. Additionally, Singapore is a small, densely populated island. Apparently, the F-35 is louder than the F-16, and there are fairly strict regulations in place to mitigate their noise impact. Unlike for example Denmark, Singapore does not want to do their training offshore.
But they also want to close one of their airbases to make room for residential buildings, so they have a desire to reduce the number of aircraft without sacrificing capability, something the F-35 is quite good at. Maybe all they needed was to discuss a good price with Trump or his team during the recent visit.
 
ZaphodHarkonnen
Posts: 758
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 10:20 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Jul 04, 2018 12:49 pm

Does anyone know if the noise issue is only present at full power take offs? I imagine if you only have some AAMs and a partial fuel load you could happily do take offs at a lower power. Leaving full power take offs for overseas training and war.
 
User avatar
seahawk
Posts: 7250
Joined: Fri May 27, 2005 1:29 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Jul 04, 2018 1:05 pm

I would say the F-35 is louder than the F-16 under nearly every circumstance.
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 2795
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:45 pm

mxaxai wrote:
Obviously, the only viable option is the F-35 if you want a fairly cheap fighter-bomber today.

But by 2030, that may change.

What other airframe will be comparable and in production by 2030, noting that by that date F-35 will have hit Blk 5 with a new engine? Even the mythical new European fighter jet won’t likely IOC until 2040.

mxaxai wrote:
Additionally, Singapore is a small, densely populated island. Apparently, the F-35 is louder than the F-16, and there are fairly strict regulations in place to mitigate their noise impact.

Not so proportionally louder that it will impact operations. If you have been to Singapore you note that jets fly all around the island often all through the night. Most Singapore residents have no issue with the Singaporean Military nor Air Force operations.

mxaxai wrote:
Unlike for example Denmark, Singapore does not want to do their training offshore.

???

Singapore does most of their training offshore in the US, France, Australia and have been seeking to lease an airbase in NZ for F-16 training. Singapore is probably the best example of an air force that does do almost all their training offshore and also base a large portion of their military offshore, including Air Force and Army units.

Due to severe airspace constraints within Singapore, the RSAF operates its aircraft at several overseas locations to provide greater exposure to its pilots. With the F-16C/D Fighting Falcons, KC-135R Stratotankers, AH-64D Apaches and CH-47SD Chinook helicopters based in the United States, the Marchetti S-211s, PC-21s, and Super Puma helicopters in Australia, and the TA-4SU Super Skyhawks in France, almost one third of the force's inventory is based outside Singapore.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic_ ... _Air_Force

mxaxai wrote:
But they also want to close one of their airbases to make room for residential buildings, so they have a desire to reduce the number of aircraft without sacrificing capability, something the F-35 is quite good at.

Paya Lebar is being closed by 2030 but Tengah is being expanded. They aren’t reducing the size of the air force, just relocating assets to better align and that is additionally on of the reasons they are seeking NZ access.


mxaxai wrote:
Maybe all they needed was to discuss a good price with Trump or his team during the recent visit.

Trump doesn’t sell US military aircraft, nor does he have any idea how much they cost. If Singapore acquire the F-35, they will do so the same way they have acquired every other piece of US equipment they operate.
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 2795
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:57 pm

seahawk wrote:
I would say the F-35 is louder than the F-16 under nearly every circumstance.

It depends on which variant of F-16.

Image

Image



ZaphodHarkonnen wrote:
Does anyone know if the noise issue is only present at full power take offs? I imagine if you only have some AAMs and a partial fuel load you could happily do take offs at a lower power. Leaving full power take offs for overseas training and war.


Lt Gen Bogdan on noise levels 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.

http://elementsofpower.blogspot.com/201 ... to-go.html

The noise issue has been factored in at a number of airbases globally. For example the RAAF have extended the runway at RAAF Williamtown to allow for longer take-offs that don’t use afterburner. The reality is that most take-offs don’t require AB anyway and the subsequent noise footprint is therefore comparable to other military fighter jets.
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 2795
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Jul 05, 2018 9:49 pm

A few older slides on F-35 potential for laser weapons and how F135 improvements will allow it to happen.

Engine and electrical improvements will allow the F35 to add combat lasers in the mid-2020s

Pratt and Whitney is proposing improved power, electricity and efficiency for the F35 engine.

Increased electrical power and better heat management would allow for combat laser pods to be added to the F35.

Electrical and thermal upgrades would be available by 2023, along with the thrust and fuel efficiency improvements. They previously had proposed about 6-10% power and fuel efficiency improvements, but that was not funded.

P&W and GE Aviation are developing competing versions of a next-generation fighter engine. The Adaptive Engine Transition Programme (AETP) will run a competition between the P&W XA101 engine demonstrator and GE’s XA102. The currenty F135 should get a drop-in engine replacement by the mid-2020s. There will be an adaptive bypass airflow feature that could extend the range of the F-35 as much as 25%.



Image

Image

Image
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 2795
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Jul 05, 2018 9:53 pm

Reportedly the UAE visited the Israeli F-35 base to view the aircraft...

UAE seeks to buy F-35 fifth-generation fighter jets

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been seeking to buy an unknown number of F-35 Lightning II fifth-generation fighter jets, said in the report byi24NEWS.

According to the Israeli news portal, the UAE seeks to purchase its own fleet of the advanced F-35 fighter jets, built by US defense giant Lockheed Martin, and amid reports of a burgeoning Israeli-Gulf alliance against Iran.

The UAE is building one of the most modern armed forces in the region and for this purpose visited Israel to review operations of the advanced US-made F-35 fighter jets. A delegation from the USA was also present at the time of the UAE visit to Nevatim Air Base in Israel.

However, there is no official confirmation of both the visit of the UAE delegation to Israel and the negotiations on the F-35 at the moment.

The F-35 Lightning II is a 5th Generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations, and advanced sustainment. Israel is the only country in the Middle East to have the F-35 fighter jet, where they are operated by the IAF’s Golden Eagle Squadron, based in the Nevatim Air Base in the center of the country.

https://defence-blog.com/aviation/uae-s ... -jets.html
 
DenverA330
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 8:57 pm

Re: F-35 news thread

Sat Jul 07, 2018 4:57 am

 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 2795
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Sat Jul 07, 2018 5:11 am

DenverA330 wrote:

Was just coming to post the article. Not a great surprise but I'm not sure yet what this actually means. They have indicated the order total of 90 but I don't believe Italy officially have that many on order, just intent to acquire. Will be interesting to see how many non Italian orders are built at the Italian FACO going forward as well. It is clear though this isn't a trade off for more Eurofighters, the intent is to push the funds into social welfare programs.
 
DenverA330
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 8:57 pm

Re: F-35 news thread

Sat Jul 07, 2018 5:17 am

Ozair wrote:
DenverA330 wrote:

Was just coming to post the article. Not a great surprise but I'm not sure yet what this actually means. They have indicated the order total of 90 but I don't believe Italy officially have that many on order, just intent to acquire. Will be interesting to see how many non Italian orders are built at the Italian FACO going forward as well. It is clear though this isn't a trade off for more Eurofighters, the intent is to push the funds into social welfare programs.


Italy to me has always seemed to be a strange factor in the F-35 program as a whole, in that it has always seemed to gain more from the production and sustainment contracts than from actually operating the aircraft. I'm not a big supporter of the F-35 program as a whole, but does Italy really need the JSF as anything more than a replacement for their Tornados? I would think 40 would be more than sufficient, even accounting for a/c down for repair, maintenance, etc.
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 2795
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Sat Jul 07, 2018 11:37 am

DenverA330 wrote:

Italy to me has always seemed to be a strange factor in the F-35 program as a whole, in that it has always seemed to gain more from the production and sustainment contracts than from actually operating the aircraft.

Italy are a Lvl 2 partner with the Netherlands. Not sure how much they have contributed so far but Italy has won over US$1.7 billion in work already and was expected to gain a lot more, likely around the US$10 billion mark. They initially expected to order 131 F-35s in a mix of A and B but reduced the order to 90 and perhaps now even more.

DenverA330 wrote:
I'm not a big supporter of the F-35 program as a whole

Well we can't all be perfect ;)

DenverA330 wrote:
does Italy really need the JSF as anything more than a replacement for their Tornados? I would think 40 would be more than sufficient, even accounting for a/c down for repair, maintenance, etc.

The F-35 in Italian service is planned to replace the Tornado, AMX and AV-8B. That fleet in total comprises 62 Tornados, 34 AMX and 14 AV-8B. The initial 131 F-35A/B mix was probably too many but the later firmed 90 seemed about right.
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 2795
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:09 pm

Some F135 related info worth posting in the thread. The F135 has demonstrated some incredible reliability numbers. In bold below.

Fast 5: Details of Pratt & Whitney’s Gatorworks


GatorWorks’s objective is to cut engine development time for military engines by half. What metrics are you working toward for the first project?
Let me back up. Over the last few years, we have spent a lot of time listening to customers and getting feedback on what Pratt & Whitney is doing well, what we’re not doing well and what our priorities are. The Department of Defense and the U.S. Air Force are looking for more agile and more rapid development, and more insertion of commercial capabilities into military technologies, whether that be suppliers, software, actual hardware technology. One of Pratt & Whitney’s strength is that we leverage our commercial and military businesses. If we step back at look at how successful we’ve been over multiple generations of products, we see that the large military engine development cycle hasn’t improved dramatically—it’s the 10-year cycle to go from a clean sheet to the next-generation of engines. That cycle does have some tremendous benefits. If you look at Pratt & Whitney’s single-engine reliability and safety records, we set the standard in the industry. If you look at the performance of the F135, it’s the most accomplished fighter engine ever produced. If you compare the F135 in its first 100,000 hours of service, which we just recently passed, to that of the F119 and F100, when each of those engines was at that point of service, we’re at 13 times more reliable at 100,000 hours. Over time, to clarify, we’ve improved the reliability of the F119 and F100, but it goes to show the benefits of our development cycles. What we’re wrestling with is, how do we maintain the strengths of what Pratt & Whitney has, yet be responsive to the services.

http://www.mro-network.com/engines-engi ... gatorworks
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 2795
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:58 pm

Some POGO commentary on the F-35/A-10 fly-off. I won't copy the whole article but IMO as usual POGO are drawing conclusions not justified by the data they are presenting.

Close Air Support Fly-off Farce

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is finally going up against the battle-proven A-10 close air support attack plane for the long-promised close air support fly-off. The unpublicized tests began on July 5, and will conclude on July 12, according to a copy of the testing schedule reviewed by the Center for Defense Information at the Project On Government Oversight. But the tests, as designed, are unlikely to reveal anything of real value about the F-35’s ability to support ground troops in realistic combat situations—which the F-35, as the presumptive replacement for the A-10, must be able to demonstrate.

A close air support test should involve large numbers of ground troops in a highly fluid combat simulation in varied terrain, across many days. It should test the pilot’s ability to spot targets from the air in a chaotic and ever-changing situation. The test should also include a means of testing the program’s ability to fly several sorties a day, because combat doesn’t pause to wait for airplanes to become available.

But the Air Force scheduled just four days’ worth of tests at desert ranges in California and Arizona. And, according to sources closely associated with the fly-off, not a single event includes ground troops, or any kind of fluid combat situation, which means these tests are hardly representative of the missions a close air support aircraft has to perform.

These tests put Air Force leadership in a difficult position.

They want their largest and highest-priority weapons buy, the troubled $400 billion F-35 multi-mission fighter, to quickly replace the A-10 close air support attack plane they’ve been trying to get rid of for over two decades. The now-former Pentagon weapons testing director, Dr. J. Michael Gilmore, said in 2016 that a close air support fly-off would be the only way to determine how well the F-35 could perform the close air support role compared to the A-10—or whether the F-35 could perform that role at all. The testing office and the various service testing agencies had already meticulously planned comparative tests to pit the F-35 against the A-10, F-16, and the F-18, because the F-35 program is contractually required to show better mission effectiveness than each of the legacy aircraft it is to replace.

Many Air Force leaders strenuously objected to the fly-off, claiming that the F-35 would perform the mission differently so it wouldn’t be fair to compare its performance to the A-10. These tests are only happening now—albeit in an inadequate form—because Congress mandated them nearly three years ago. The Senate established strict criteria and specific scenarios for the tests. These include demonstrating the F-35’s ability to visually identify friendly forces and the enemy target in both day and night scenarios, to loiter over the target for an extended time, and to destroy targets without a joint terminal attack controller directing the strike.

The Congressionally approved plan includes a schedule for tests and funding for elaborate tactical test ranges with combat-realistic, hard-to-find targets defended by carefully simulated missile and gun defenses, and appropriate ground-control teams for the close-support portion of the test scenarios. Testing to date has revealed the F-35 is incapable of performing most of the functions required for an acceptable close-support aircraft, and it seems unlikely the criteria outlined by Congress and testing officials would have produced the results Air Force leaders wanted.

...

http://www.pogo.org/straus/issues/weapo ... farce.html
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 2795
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Jul 12, 2018 2:18 am

More confirmed evidence now that the USAF is looking at an engine upgrade for the F-35 fleet in the mid 2020s. The AETP engines promise a 30% increase in range and at least a 5% increase in thrust on the current F135. This is another one of the reasons I believe the USAF is not in a hurry to acquire current F-35 above the 60 a year production rate. In 2025 all Blk 4 improvements will be essentially done and a new engine will provide a significantly more capable aircraft than today at likely the same cost. I could easily see the production rate for the USAF going above 100 a year past that point. Older F-35s would likely flow into the reserve and Guard units to replace existing legacy aircraft.

USAF starts work on defining adaptive engine for future fighter

US Air Force officials have taken the first concrete step towards defining a new class of adaptive jet engines to power the next generation of combat aircraft that come after the Lockheed Martin F-35.

A $437 million contract modification awarded to GE Aviation on 29 June also draws the first sharp line between an ongoing effort to develop a 45,000lb-thrust adaptive engine replacement for the F-35 fleet and a follow-on series of engines designed for the still-undefined aircraft that will replace the Lockheed F-22.

Pratt & Whitney, the powerplant supplier for the F-35 and F-22, also is expected to receive a similarly sized contract modification to develop a competing engine design for a future air superiority aircraft.

Both GE and P&W are already working on a related but separate development effort called the Adaptive Engine Transition Programme (AETP). The AETP was described when it was announced in 2016 as an effort to develop and test adaptive engines for a sixth-generation fighter propulsion system, with the possibility of re-engining the F-35 with a more powerful and fuel efficient alternative to the P&W F135.

But the new award clarifies that the competing AETP engines — embodied by GE’s XA100 and P&W’s XA101 demonstrators — are focused on a potential bid to re-engine the F-35 in the mid-2020s.

The new contract modification for GE, meanwhile, funds “next generation adaptive propulsion risk reduction for air superiority applications”, the Department of Defense states in the 29 June contract award.

In an interview with FlightGlobal, Dan McCormick, GE’s general manager for the Advanced Combat Engine Programme, agrees that the AETP demonstrators are “F-35 design-centric”. The new programme awarded in June is aimed at the next generation of aircraft, he says.

In keeping with the USAF’s secretive approach to defining the next air superiority fighter, critical details of the new programme — including its work scope and name — are not released.

“There is a significant amount of design work planned in the programme,” McCormick offers. “Because of its classification, I can’t talk about detailed content.”

It is clear that the unnamed programme features adaptive engine technology. In this context, that means an engine that can vary the volume of air flow that bypasses the core. By opening a “third stream” of air flow in cruise mode, the USAF believes such an architecture can improve specific fuel consumption of the engine by 25%, increasing range and reducing in-flight refueling requirements.

The USAF and the US Navy have been pursuing adaptive engine technology since the launch of the Adaptive Versatile Engine Technology (ADVENT) programme in 2007. The follow-on adaptive engine technology demonstrator (AETD) programme started in 2012. Four years later, GE and P&W started to work on the AETP demonstrators.

GE plans to deliver the XA100 demonstrator’s first engine to test next year under the AETP programme, McCormick says. In addition to adaptive bypass airflow, the XA100 will feature ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) in the rotating high pressure turbine blades, allowing GE to use higher temperatures or reduce cooling loads in the engine design.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... ut-450053/

Some USAF AETP info.

Image
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 2795
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Sat Jul 14, 2018 10:42 pm

Some good plans to reduce overall acquisition and sustainment of the F-35 fleet.

4 ways Lockheed’s new F-35 head wants to fix the fighter jet program

The F-35 fighter jet is the U.S. Defense Department’s largest and most expensive weapons program, with a projected life-cycle cost of more than $1 trillion.

That price tag makes it a huge moneymaker for prime contractor Lockheed Martin, but with big opportunity comes big responsibility to fix the various problems that have cropped up during the Joint Strike Fighter’s development. As Lockheed’s new general manager of the F-35 program, Greg Ulmer is the latest official charged with fixing those issues.

Defense News sat down with Ulmer in June for a wide-ranging interview about the F-35’s future and how Lockheed is addressing continued challenges in the program. Here are the four major points that the program head detailed:

1. Full-rate production

The F-35 flew its final developmental flight test in April, and after its initial operational test and evaluation period starting this fall — where the F-35 will be assessed by the Pentagon’s independent weapons tester — the department will make a decision about whether to move into full-rate production.

“We are positioned to support [full]-rate [production], which means all the tooling is in place, the training to equip and train the employees to do that work, the materials on order, the workflow through the factory in terms of our planning have been laid to support that,” Ulmer told Defense News in a June 22 interview.



However, still left on the checklist is buying the “last stretch of tooling” necessary to support full-rate production, he said. Lockheed and the F-35 Joint Program Office are still in discussions on a contract for that equipment.

The biggest challenge will be ensuring the raw materials are ready and on the production room floor when it’s time to begin fabricating a new F-35, as well as ensuring the supply base can support both production and sustainment.

“So we’re constantly looking at: Are the lead times appropriate? Do I have enough capacity within the supply chain, and how can I improve that?” he said. “Is there [a] way to resequencing [or] refine our sequence of work? As we go faster, we learn how to go faster — so continuously refining our work instructions.”

2. Follow-on modernization

Once the F-35 is approved for full-rate production, the program will immediately move onto its Block 4 follow-on modernization effort, where the jet will get new sensors, weapons and IT upgrades.

Last September, Vice Adm. Mat Winter, the government’s F-35 program head, announced that Block 4 had been reconceptualized as an agile software development — now known as Continuous Capability Development and Delivery, or C2D2 — where incremental software updates will be created and tested at a faster clip than the more traditional waterfall method.

Lockheed has “quite a bit of experience” with agile software development in its Skunk Works technology unit, but less so in its aeronautics business, Ulmer said.

The aeronautics unit has already begun embedding military users within its development cycle, allowing troops to weigh in on a product as it is being created and tested. However, that will need to be more formalized for C2D2, he said.



“That means we’re going to contract different than we are today. We’re going to be a lot more formal with actually bringing the war fighter forward into the development cycle as we do that,” he said. “We’re doing that right now with the JPO, working on those contracting methods.”

Lockheed has engaged the Pentagon’s new software guru, Jeff Boleng, who was named the special assistant for software acquisition in April. Boleng has visited the F-35 production line “a couple times” to get up to speed on the program, Ulmer said.

“Right now he’s trying to learn F-35. It’s that simple. What is our architecture? He’s mentoring both industry and DoD OSD [the Department of Defense’s Office of the Secretary of Defense] relative to the opportunity space that he sees from his experience on how to apply an open-systems architecture [and] how you might restructure that architecture,” he said.

3. Sustainment

As the development phase wraps up, numerous Defense Department officials have voiced concerns about the mammoth costs of sustaining the F-35 throughout its life cycle.

The Pentagon has conveyed that it wants to see at least a 38 percent reduction in sustainment costs by 2036, Ulmer said. While Lockheed isn’t the only company responsible for bringing down cost, it plans to meet its end of the bargain.

“We have projects in place that we are predicting that we are going to meet or exceed that 38 percent reduction over that time period,” he said.

One big push that will help improve sustainability of aircraft is a “technical refresh” for early versions of the Joint Strike Fighter. Jets that were produced in the first six lots of aircraft have poor availability — hovering around 50 percent or less — mostly due to having earlier versions of hardware or subsystems that were less reliable, Ulmer said.

The tech refresh will update older F-35s with new computing tech and improved, more reliable subsystems.

Lockheed has also improved the preventative health onboard maintenance system aboard the aircraft, which tells the user when a part needs to be replaced. Early on, the system would often falsely convey that parts were broken, which drove up sustainment costs and the average time between part failures, Ulmer said.

4. Autonomic Logistics Information System

The F-35’s logistics system — the Autonomic Logistics Information System, or ALIS — has historically been one of the biggest headaches for both Lockheed, which manufactures the product, and the military maintenance community. ALIS used to do everything from mission planning, repairs and the ordering of spare parts, but maintainers have complained about slow speeds and the high number of workarounds needed to use the system.

Over the past 18 months, Lockheed has focused on incremental software upgrades to ALIS that can improve performance, Ulmer said. The company has also sent out Lockheed representatives to a number of military bases — including Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina, Marine Corps Air Station Yuma in Arizona, and Hill Air Force Base in Utah — to get feedback from ALIS users.

“We just sit down with the maintainers and the operators and we learn what are their issues relative to implementation or use of ALIS. Then we rack and stack, in our discussions with them, their priorities. ‘What would you do to improve ALIS operations?’ ”

One metric that Ulmer pays attention to is how long it takes for maintainers to register a newly delivered F-35 within the ALIS system.

“We are seeing very good metrics now. Typically within a day or two, that instance has been established and that airplane is flyable,” he said.

But, as Lockheed has been told, it takes too long to re-establish F-35s as part the ALIS system after the jets have been forward deployed.

“Every part on the airplane, ALIS keeps that pedigree with it. So as the airplane ages, that pedigree gets longer and longer and longer, so the data file gets bigger and bigger,” he said. “We’re learning from an architectural point of view you don’t need to carry all of that data with you.”

https://www.defensenews.com/digital-sho ... t-program/
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 2795
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Sat Jul 14, 2018 10:46 pm

Potentially some significant savings in a similar plan to the savings that were seen with the EODAS supplier change.

Competition for F-35 electronic warfare system could be on the horizon

A shake-up may be coming for the F-35 supply base, as Lockheed Martin considers opening up new competitions for the jet’s electronic warfare and communications systems.

The goal? To drive down the life-cycle costs of key technologies — especially during operations and sustainment — by forcing defense firms to face off against each other.

“We’re working toward the $80 million target” for a single F-35A model, said Eric Branyan, Lockheed’s vice president for F-35 supply chain management. “To do that, one of the most effective means is to conduct competitions.”

In an June 22 interview at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas, Branyan stressed that the company had not made a firm decision on whether to recompete the electronic warfare system currently provided by BAE Systems or the Northrop Grumman-made communications, navigation and identification, or CNI, system.

However, Lockheed is exploring its options, having sent out a request for information to a handful of defense contractors who specialize in such technologies.

“We’re evaluating right now the RFI responses and determining if it’s a good time to go do a competition and what would that competition entail,” Branyan said. “Sometimes you look at what’s there and it’s not a sea change enough that’s worth the effort to go do the competition. It wouldn’t be enough for a change in cost and performance.

“Also there may be different elements we compete. We may not do the full system, we may do parts of them if there’s something there’s more advantageous to get the technology and cost improvements on. So we’re going through that trade study now.”

In its quest to cut costs on the program, Lockheed has already recompeted several systems, including the aircraft’s memory system and the panoramic cockpit display. Most notably, the company confirmed in June that Raytheon would produce a new version of the distributed aperture system, or DAS, which would save $3 billion over the cost of the program.



Lockheed plans to decide whether to recompete the EW and CNI systems by the end of 2018. The Pentagon’s F-35 Joint Program Office would also weigh in, as there could be up-front engineering and development costs that would have to be folded into the budget and the jet’s modernization strategy.

Branyan declined to detail which companies Lockheed had solicited as part of the RFI process, but said that most companies tend to respond because the F-35 business case — which includes 2,456 F-35s for U.S. customers and hundreds more for the international market — guarantees steady, profitable work.

The F-35 is considered to have a formidable electronic warfare capability due to its current EW suite, the AN/ASQ-239, although the Pentagon has revealed few details about how the system allows the F-35 to find and jam enemy radars.

BAE Systems declined to comment on how it could improve the AN/ASQ-239, should a contest move forward.

“Similar to many large programs, Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, is evaluating the most affordable approach to integrate new capabilities and reduce life-cycle costs,” BAE said in a statement. “As part of this cost-reduction effort they have issued a request for information to which we have responded.”



Integrating a new electronic warfare system would be the most ambitious of the F-35 recompetes so far. The risk it would pose to the program is not necessarily insignificant, but it could be worth it if it helps Lockheed pare down costs, said Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst with the Teal Group.

“You could also make an argument for improving the plane at this point,” he said. “In terms of its time since entering service, it’s way early for major changes. But in terms of its time since development started, it’s way late for major changes.”

The Raytheon-built DAS — which fuses together imagery from the F-35’s six electro-optical infrared cameras to project a complete picture of the battlefield to the pilot’s helmet — could provide a model on how to quickly develop and integrate advanced tech like a new EW system.

In order to equip the 15th lot of F-35s slated for delivery in 2023, Raytheon will have to sprint to be ready to build at full rate — 150 ship sets per month — by July 2022, Branyan said.

A critical design review for the new DAS is scheduled for April 2019, and from there the company will move quickly through integration, ground tests and flight qualification.

Branyan said he’s not worried that incorporating the Raytheon system could pose undue risk to the program. There’s no fallback option to continue production of Northrop’s DAS, the current model aboard the F-35, but the test plan includes about a year of buffer time in case the system needs additional work.

“All the working parts of it were already flying on other platforms. So it’s a very mature technology. Essentially they’re just repackaging it into the F-35 and integrating it into our interfaces,” he said.

https://www.defensenews.com/digital-sho ... e-horizon/
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 2795
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Sat Jul 14, 2018 10:52 pm

Not sure the results of this will actually satisfy either camp on the capability and/or effectiveness of either platform for CAS.

DoD Says A-10 vs. F-35 'Fly-Off' Is Over. But Will Results Satisfy?

While the congressionally mandated close-air support tests between the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and A-10 Warthog wrapped up this week, lawmakers may not be satisfied with the results as questions continue to swirl about how each performed.

"I personally wrote the specific provisions in the [Fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act] mandating a fly-off between the F-35 & A-10," Rep. Martha McSally, an Arizona Republican, tweeted Friday. "It must be carried out per Congressional intent & direction."

McSally, a former A-10 pilot whose home state includes Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, said she had reached out to Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein to "ensure an objective comparison."

The requirement that the two aircraft go up against each other was included as a provision in the bill amid congressional concerns over plans to retire the A-10 and replace it with the F-35. McSally was one of the architects of the bill's language.

Her comments follow a Project on Government Oversight report that slams what it calls skewed testing techniques, saying the flights overwhelmingly favored the F-35.

The watchdog organization, which obtained the Air Force's test schedule and spoke to unidentified sources relevant to the event, claimed that the limited flights also curbed the A-10's strengths while downplaying the F-35's troubled past and current program stumbles.

The Defense Department says it is complying with the required testing.

The JSF operational test team and other Initial Operational Test and Evaluation officials "faithfully executed" the F-35 vs. A-10 comparison test "in accordance with the IOT&E test design approved in 2016," and did so in compliance with 2017 NDAA requirements, said Army Lt. Col. Michelle L. Baldanza, spokeswoman for the Office of the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E).

The testing happened from July 5 to 12 at Edwards Air Force Base, California, Baldanza said in an email.

"The [Joint Operational Test Team] will continue to schedule and fly the remaining comparison test design missions when additional A-10s become available," she said.

She said the data points collected will add to the scope of the side-by-side comparison test.

The "matched-pair" fourth-generation A-10 and fifth-generation F-35A comparison test close-air support missions "are realistic scenarios involving a Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC), surface-to-air threats, some live and inert air-to-ground weapons employment, and varying target types," which include "moving target vehicles and armored vehicles across different conditions," such as day and night operations and low-to-medium threat levels, Baldanza said.

"The challenging scenarios are designed to reveal the strengths and limitations of each aircraft," she said, referring to radars, sensors, infrared signatures, fuel levels, loiter time, weapons capability, electronic warfare and datalinks.

"Each test design scenario is repeated by both aircraft types while allowing them to employ per their best/preferred tactics and actual/simulated weapons loads," Baldanza said. "Therefore, references to individual scenarios or specific weapons loadouts will not reflect the full scope of the comparison test evaluation."

DOT&E will analyze the flight test data collected and results will be compiled in an IOT&E report as well as DOT&E's "Beyond Low-Rate Initial Production" report.

The reports will offer comparative analyses of "differences, strengths, and weaknesses of the F-35A versus the A-10 across the prescribed comparison test mission types [and/or] scenarios," the DoD said.

For these reasons, the Air Force has consistently avoided calling the highly anticipated test a "fly-off." Aviation enthusiasts and pilots have also said putting the the two aircraft side-by-side remains an apples-to-oranges comparison.

In addition to a variety of rockets, missiles and bombs fastened to hardpoints under its wings, the A-10 most notably employs its GAU-8/A 30mm gun system, which produces an iconic sound that ground troops never forget.

"There's just nothing that matches the devastation that that gun can bring," A-10 pilot "Geronimo" said in the 2014 mini-documentary "Grunts in the Sky: The A-10 in Afghanistan." The nearly four-year-old footage was made public in January.

"The ground troops that I work with -- when they think close-air support, they think A-10s," Staff Sgt. Joseph Hauser, a Joint Terminal Attack Controller then based at Forward Operating Base Ghazni in Afghanistan, said in the footage.

But the F-35, a stealth platform with high-detection sensors that is expected to have a wide variety of munitions once its delivery capacity software is fully implemented, is meant to penetrate a contested airspace using its very-low-observable abilities.

Those qualities are what will get the fighter through the door before it performs a CAS-type role, officials say.

"In a contested CAS scenario, a JTAC would absolutely want to call this airplane in, and we practice just that," said Capt. Dojo Olson, the Air Force's F-35A Heritage Flight Team commander and a pilot with the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona.

Olson spoke with Military.com during the Royal International Air Tattoo airshow here at RAF Fairford, England.

"We practice close-air support, and we practice contested close-air support, or providing close-air support in a battlespace that is not just totally permissive to fourth-generation airplanes," he said.

"We foresee future combat environments where even in close-air support, even in counterinsurgency operations, there will be air defense systems," added Steve Over, F-35 international business development director. "And you need to have sensors that will be able to find the target."

The service has also expanded how it defines close-air support. For example, bombers such as the B-52 Stratofortress and B-1B Lancer can execute CAS missions -- but only by using precision-guided weapons.

"It may not do it the exact same way as legacy systems do," Over said. "The most prominent legacy close-air support platform that's currently in use is the A-10, and it uses a large Gatling gun on the nose of the aircraft."

He added that the F-35A model also has a Gatling gun -- the GAU-22/A four-barrel 25mm gun, made by General Dynamics. "But more than likely it's going to be using other precision-guided munitions" such as small-diameter or laser-guided bombs, he said.

Olson agreed.

"You can provide [CAS] from a precision-strike platform from tens of thousands of feet in the air, so there's a lot of different types of" the mission, he said. "Getting up close and personal like an A-10? Of course, the airplanes … they're apples and oranges."

https://www.military.com/daily-news/201 ... tisfy.html
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 2795
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Sat Jul 14, 2018 10:56 pm

Some more considered and factual analysis and commentary on the corrosion issue.

Lockheed Martin dispels F-35 corrosion fears

Lockheed Martin soothes customer concerns over recent corrosion and depressurisation issues.

As a fifth generation aircraft, the F-35 is the perfect blend of all-aspect stealth even when armed, low-probability-of-intercept radar, high-performance air frames, advanced avionics and highly integrated computer systems bringing an unrivalled, gods-eye view of the battlespace.

However, as with any new and highly complex technology, the aircraft have suffered some delays and experienced lessons learned with some of the technological innovations that will make the aircraft the dominant fighter aircraft of the 21st century.

As identified recently, a small number of earlier batch aircraft were discovered to have a small amount of corrosion when cycling through a maintenance and sustainment depot in the US. A lengthy investigation and root cause analysis determined that the surprising defect was the result of primer not being applied to the fastner holes in the aircraft's fuselage.

When speaking with Defence Connect, director of F-35 international business development Steve Over was quick to highlight Lockheed's rapid response to the issues identified in late 2017.

"We have developed a remediation plan in close collaboration with our customers. It was decided that the issues presented weren't urgent, so they would be rectified as the aircraft cycled back through maintenance depots," he said.

Over went further, saying, "Occasionally things like this happen and we have worked closely with our customers to design and enact a resolution action plan."

In response to the recently identified issues, Over said, "We would like to do better, our customers deserve it and we will deliver it."

Meanwhile, recent publicity surrounding apparent depressurisation and oxygen supply issues, allegedly similar to those experienced in the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, were also identified when a number of pilots stationed at Luke Air Force Base presented with physiological symptoms similar to hypoxia, including oxygen deprivation, ear pain and sinus issues.

In response to the claims of depressurisation concerns around the F-35 cockpit, Over was clear when he said that it was not a depressurisation issue and that slow progress had been made regarding the root cause analysis, with a number opportunities to improve the robustness of the design identified.

Meanwhile, the complex physiological issues experienced by the small number of pilots could not be directly attributed to hypoxia (oxygen deprivation) and it would be prudent to await the final findings of the thorough investigation for a likely cause.

Australia will officially take delivery of two F-35As which will arrive at RAAF Williamtown in December of this year, which will serve as the regional maintenance and modification facility for the Asia-Pacific region, highlighting the truly global and integrated nature of the immense F-35 project, while RAAF Amberley will eventually serve as the Asia-Pacific engine maintenance and repair facility with secondary facilities located in Japan.

The RAAF has been putting it's pilots through their paces with their American and wider global counterparts, with six instructor pilots currently based at Luke AFB and a new cadre of four beginning their training last week. Over was, as with Lockheed Martin general manager for training and logistics systems Amy Gowder, quick to highlight that 2018 would be a landmark year for Australia's transition to the F-35, as an additional four Australian F-35s will be based at Luke AFB by the end of the calendar year for training and development.

Australian pilots have gone on to complete 1,500 flight hours in the F-35A and lay the groundwork for what will become Australia's contribution to the broader program's Continuous Capability Development Delivery scheme, which will see the aircraft evolve throughout the operational life of the weapons system.

Over was pleased to highlight that following a long, sometimes tumultuous program Lockheed was delivering the F-35, which Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Leo Davies is quoted as saying will "replace nothing, because they change everything".

"After almost a 17-year journey together to deliver this transformational capability to Australia, [Lockheed Martin] are in line to meet the obligations of the original contract we signed in 2001," said Over.

Australia is spending about $17 billion to buy 72 fighters of the F-35A variant, with the aircraft due to reach initial operating capability by December 2020. Four aircraft have been delivered to Australian pilots training in the US, according to the Defence ­Department’s official website.

The latest Defence Connect Podcast with Lockheed Martin local industry partner Milskil's CEO and managing director, John Lonergan, is available here.
 
itchief
Posts: 179
Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2015 10:15 pm

Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Jul 15, 2018 3:40 pm

LRIP 11 a done deal with cost coming down for each aircraft.

https://www.defensenews.com/breaking-ne ... ing%20News
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 2795
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:57 pm

itchief wrote:
LRIP 11 a done deal with cost coming down for each aircraft.

https://www.defensenews.com/breaking-ne ... ing%20News


Thanks for posting that. This article from Reuters, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-brit ... SKBN1K50D3 lists the price for the A model coming down to US$89 million per copy, including engine, so a 6% reduction on the LRIP 10 pricing.

Image
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 2795
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Jul 15, 2018 10:09 pm

A paper from the 2018 Aviation Technology, Integration, and Operations Conference is available for download that discusses the evolution of the F-35 air vehicle from initial concept to the three variants. You will need a login to access the specific paper.

F-35 Air Vehicle Configuration Development

https://arc.aiaa.org/doi/abs/10.2514/6.2018-3367

Image
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 2795
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Jul 17, 2018 10:42 pm

Some more sustainment talk out of Farnborough.

F-35 Program Partners Focus On Upgrades and Sustainment

With 309 jets now delivered and the production rate increasing as planned, the focus on the F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter program is shifting from acquisition to sustainment and upgrades. In two media briefings this week at the Farnborough Airshow, program officials from Lockheed Martin (LM) and industry partners described progress.

According to Greg Ulmer, LM’s F-35 vice-president and general manager, the Blueprint 1 affordability initiatives that have already been implemented will achieve $4 billion in savings over the program’s lifecycle.

A Blueprint 2 scheme now being defined could save an additional $2 billion. He said LM has now signed performance-based logistics (PBL) contracts with some of its subcontractors that are helping to ensure that various line replacement units (LRUs) are available in a timely fashion when customers request them.

As for upgrades, the Block 4 nomenclature has apparently been dropped in favor of "continuous capability development and delivery" (C2D2), reflecting a spiral approach. For instance, this applies to the controversial Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS), where quicker and smaller updates are now the plan.

Ulmer highlighted the recent award to Raytheon of a contract to replace Northrop Grumman as the supplier of the Distributed Aperture System (DAS) on future F-35 production aircraft. Raytheon’s product is twice as capable and five times more reliable, while saving 10 to 15 pounds (4.5 kg to 6.8 kg) of weight, he said. Also coming soon is LM’s own automatic ground collision avoidance system (auto-GCAS). This was developed for the F-16, and its integration into the F-35 is proving easier than anticipated.

The target unit recurring flyaway cost (URFC) for the F-35A remains $80 million by 2020. Major airframe subcontractors BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman both described initiatives that are helping achieve this. For instance, they are implementing robotic drilling of the countersunk holes for fasteners. BAE Systems has also upgraded the autoclaves that cure carbon fiber composite skins.

Pratt and Whitney said that it aims to reduce sustainment costs for the F135 engine by 50 percent within a decade, to the same level as the much less powerful F100 that equips the F-16. “The F135 is already the most reliable engine that we have ever produced, with a mission capable rate of 97 percent,” said Matthew Bromberg, president of P&W's military engines.

When asked by AIN whether the F-35 industry partners could ever commit to the type of availability contract that has been implemented for some other military aircraft, Ulmer said “there is definitely a discussion going on.” But, he said, it is first necessary to capture prognostics and other "big data" about the aircraft in service.

Bromberg also cautioned that it was still too early to commit, but agreed that “we’re on our way” to offering such deals to F-35 operators. According to Ulmer, the current availability rate for newer F-35s entering service averages 60 percent.

https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news ... ustainment
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 2795
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Jul 17, 2018 11:29 pm

Perhaps Turkey are finally getting what they wanted in the first place…


U.S. Offers NATO Ally This Deal Amid Fears F-35 Secrets Are At Risk

The State Department is discussing a deal to sell Turkey Raytheon's Patriot missile-defense system after the NATO ally and F-35 partner bought a Russian S-400 system.

U.S. Ambassador Tina Kaidanow, the acting assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, told reporters during the Farnborough Airshow that government officials were in talks with Turkey over the Raytheon system but didn't say if talks were happening at the air show.

Allies needed to "understand the real serious downside of these acquisitions" like the S-400 and that she hope allies would "look instead to our systems and put interoperability first," she said.

While Kaidanow didn't mention the F-35, the Patriot negotiations come as Congress voted to block sales of Lockheed Martin's F-35 to Turkey over Ankara's decision to buy Russia's S-400.

Pentagon officials worry that Russia could gain access to the F-35's secrets if the fifth-generation fighter is sold to Turkey as Ankara forms closer ties with Russia in the Syria war.

If such intelligence were to leak, it could render the F-35 vulnerable to the Russian air-defense system.

The S-400 represents a unique threat to the U.S. because of its ability to detect incoming aircraft from longer ranges. Its radar can spot a fourth-generation fighter — like Lockheed's F-16 or Boeing's F-15 and F/A-18 — before the fighter's radar can pick up the air-defense system.

For now, Lockheed's F-35 and F-22 as well as the Northrop Grumman B-2 bomber are seen as the only aircraft effective against the S-400 due to their stealth capabilities.



https://www.investors.com/news/turkey-o ... sian-s400/
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 2795
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Jul 19, 2018 9:49 pm

A Loren Thompson article that I don't really agree with. I think the lower USAF production rate, expected to max at 60 a year, is a relunctance to take Blk 3F jets when Blk 4 will be available so soon. I fully expect prodcution to ramp once most Blk 4 updates have been implemented, and likely a new engine around the same time, to over 100 aircraft a year and poetntially reduce a few years off the back end of USAF production.

How The Air Force Could Become The Biggest Threat To The F-35 Fighter's Success

Two decades and three presidents after development of what was once called the Joint Strike Fighter commenced, the F-35 fighter is looking like a success. Three variants tailored to the needs of the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps have met all of their performance objectives. A test program consisting of over 9,000 separate flights has been completed without a single major mishap. Prices for the airframe and engine are falling in each successive production lot. And allies are clamoring to buy the plane.

Nobody needs the F-35 more than the Air Force, which today is operating the oldest combat fleet in its history. Most of the fighters in that fleet were designed long before words like "stealthy" or "digital" became commonplace in military parlance. With U.S. strategy shifting to an emphasis on great-power competition, the ability of these legacy aircraft to survive in airspace near Russia and China is increasingly being questioned. You needn't take my word for that since I have business ties of one sort or another to several companies working on the program; just check out the various forecasts available at http://www.af.mil.

The F-35 is the only fighter currently in production that can cope with the emerging warfighting environment. It is invisible to radar. It collects and shares information across vast expanses of the electromagnetic spectrum. It generates ten times as much radiated power for jamming or deceiving enemies as legacy aircraft. And after the most complex flight test program in history, the Air Force knows that all of its key features actually work. So the service is planning to buy F-35s at the rate of about one per week for many years to come.

At that rate, though, it will take decades to recapitalize a fleet that is already on its last legs. Which brings me to an unsettling reality. Because the Air Force version accounts for 72% of the joint buy, and because its "A" variant is the one that most allies want, investment choices that Air Force leaders make over the next dozen or so years will decide whether the F-35 achieves the role originally envisioned for it in revitalizing U.S. air power. If the Air Force scales back its current plan to buy 1,763 F-35s, that will have profoundly negative consequences for other military services, allies and overall U.S. security.

The reason why is easy to understand. From its inception, F-35 was conceived as a tri-service program with extensive allied involvement. Participants shared development costs in the expectation that a big production run of planes sharing common features would be more economical than everybody doing their own thing. Those development outlays, which now approach $100 billion, were predicated on the assumption that all the key players were committed to their roles. If the Air Force were to cut its buy or limit its rate, the plane would become less affordable for everyone.

Evidence is beginning to accumulate that the Air Force is not as focused on seeing the F-35 succeed as previously thought. For example, it is not ramping up production of its version at the rate that would deliver the greatest economies, and it is warning that if costs to keep the plane flying are not reduced, it may have to shrink its buy by hundreds of planes. The rationales for these moves are shaky at best, based on muddled thinking and outdated information that ignores key features of the F-35 bargain proposition.

For example, the notion that F-35 is expensive to operate ignores the fact that it will become much less expensive as it matures; ignores the fact that the latest F-35s are already the highest performing aircraft in the Air Force inventory; ignores the fact that the plane is delivering far better reliability than specified by requirements documents; and ignores the fact that its productivity on combat missions will exceed the performance of legacy aircraft by hundreds of percent.

That doesn't mean that operating costs can't be reduced faster and deeper than planned, but it does raise the question of why the Air Force is not thinking in more rigorous terms about the plane described in its annual acquisition report as "the centerpiece of our future fighter precision attack capability." I suspect I know the answer to that question, because I saw a similar breakdown of analysis occur in the Army during the last decade. To put it simply, the Air Force has become too enamored with big ideas about the future to think clearly about the present.

The biggest idea captivating Air Force leaders is that "near peer" adversaries, meaning Russia and China, are catching up with U.S. warfighting technology and may soon surpass it. The service stated in its Air Superiority 2030 Flight Plan that "the Air Force's projected force structure in 2030 is not capable of fighting and winning" against the "array of potential adversary capabilities" it will likely face. You might infer therefrom that the service needs to buy stealthy, networked F-35s faster, but its flight plan highlights other items.

For instance it wants a "penetrating counterair" capability -- maybe a plane, maybe a family of systems -- that can operate within Russian and Chinese air space circa 2030. That would enable it to protect the Air Force’s next-generation bomber in attacks on the most densely-defended targets, or conduct search-and-destroy missions against time-sensitive targets. Obviously, this would require greater endurance than traditional fighters. It also wants unmanned strike and reconnaissance aircraft that can survive in contested airspace, perhaps directed by pilots in penetrating planes.

In addition, it wants all of its warfighting assets linked by a robust network so that each operator can benefit from the reconnaissance and kill capabilities of all the others, and any attrition of assets can be covered via redundancy in the system. And these assets would not be confined to air-breathing platforms -- the network would stretch across multiple warfighting "domains," including space and the electromagnetic spectrum. Electronic and cyber warfare would be ubiquitous in the high-end battlespace it envisions.

Meanwhile, at the low end of counter-terror and counter-insurgency operations, the service wants to acquire planes less costly than the F-35, perhaps turboprops rather than jets, that can deal with enemies who lack their own air forces or air defenses. So F-35 potentially ends up in a squeeze play between the lower-cost systems envisioned for addressing irregular threats and the higher-capability systems needed to address future near-peer competitors. Add in all the other stuff needed for space resilience, mobility, training and so on, and the F-35 program of record starts to look shaky.

I've been following such big ideas since the end of the Reagan era, so I can tell you with some confidence that most of them never come to fruition. What they usually end up doing is undermining programs already in hand before suffering a "controlled flight into terrain." For instance, the Army had its own plan for a networked family of combat systems that absorbed many billions of dollars before disappearing in the shifting sands of Mesopotamia. The service's modernization agenda never fully recovered.

Ironically, the Joint Strike Fighter was, at its birth, the Clinton Administration's all-purpose pretext for not spending money on other weapons. The program was so ambitious that it is a miracle the fighter has succeeded to the degree it has. But now the same kind of loose thinking that so frequently infects military investment plans in peacetime threatens to derail the one aircraft that can assure U.S. global air dominance through mid-century. And the place where that loose thinking is most out of control is the U.S. Air Force.

There's nothing wrong with planning for the future. It's an essential facet of military preparedness. But the Air Force needs to be realistic about how frequently past forecasts have proven wrong, and how tight budget resources will likely be in the next decade. There probably will never be a penetrating counterair system due to changing technological, geopolitical and fiscal circumstances. There may not even be a next-generation bomber. The one option the service can count on is that there definitely will be an F-35.

The question is whether the Air Force will make the most of that option, and in the process enable its sister services and America's allies to do likewise.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lorenthomp ... a6a45825dd
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 2795
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Jul 19, 2018 10:07 pm

Some impressive numbers from Hill AFB using the F-35, including nearly 8000 sorties from September 2015 to today.

Hill AFB now has half its F-35 fleet, 39 more planes coming before end of 2019

The 388th and 419th fighter wings now have exactly half of their F-35 fighter fleet, which means in the next year or so, 39 new combat jets will be touching down at Hill Air Force Base.

Last week, the base received its 39th F-35 Lightning II — halfway to its full complement of 78 aircraft. The 388th Fighter Wing’s Public Affairs office said nearly 8,000 sorties have been launched since the first two jets touched down in September 2015.

The base was selected as the Air Force’s preferred home for the F-35 in December 2013 after a four-year environmental review process.

Since the initial delivery in late 2015, the base has been accepting one to two aircraft each month. Once the full fleet of 78 Lightning IIs is complete, which is expected sometime in 2019, the planes will be divided among three fighter squadrons.

On July 9, Col. Joshua Wood took command of the 388th Operations Group, where he will oversee the three combat fighter squadrons and an additional operations support squadron.

“Our Airmen play a vital role in deterring the enemy, and if that deterrence fails, stepping into the gap to rapidly deploy combat air power,” Wood said in a press release.

The F-35 figures to help sustain Hill Air Force Base for years to come. The jet’s predecessor, the F-16, flew out of Hill for nearly 40 years.

The F-35 operation initially brought 260 new positions to the 388th and another 200 reserve positions to the 419th. In addition to the base’s combat flying mission, Hill’s Ogden Air Logistics Complex performs maintenance on all Air Force F-35s and the complex has added hundreds of new maintainers since the jet arrived at Hill.

Since the base was named home for the F-35 in 2013, Hill has received hundreds of millions of federal dollars for new construction and other operations associated with the jet.

Hill’s F-35s have already deployed several times, including an “in-theater” deployment to Japan in November of 2017. The deployment consisted of 12 jets and more than 300 airmen, both stationed at Kadena Air Base. The group returned in May.

http://www.standard.net/Local/2018/07/1 ... nd-of-2019

Image
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 2795
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:53 pm

Continued staffing increases at Fort Worth to support the production ramp up.

Lockheed adds 1,800 workers to ramp up F-35 fighter production

Lockheed Martin will add 400 workers to boost production of the F-35 fighter jet, the most expensive in U.S. history, after making a good on an earlier promise to President Trump to increase the aircraft's workforce by 1,800.

"The F-35 is an iconic product," Lockheed Chief Executive Officer Marillyn Hewson said in a statement. "The program supports 194,000 direct and indirect jobs nationwide, and as we ramp up production we are creating even more opportunities for American workers."

Lockheed, based in Bethesda, Md., trumped rival defense contractor Boeing for the right to develop the aircraft in 2001, the first year of George W. Bush's presidency. The stealthy, supersonic plane was designed to replace aging fighter jets such as the Air Force's F-16s and the Navy's F/A-18s while deftly handling both precision air-to-ground strikes and mid-air combat with other jets. It's expected to cost more than $406 billion.

...

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/busi ... production
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 2795
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:23 pm

LM and their partners have published a number of papers this year on the F-35 and its various mission systems through the 2018 Aviation Technology, Integration, and Operations Conference.

The following links require access to the ARC database to access but some highlights are below. Kudos to BIO on another site for the info.

F-35 Mission Systems Design, Development & Verification
https://arc.aiaa.org/doi/abs/10.2514/6.2018-3519

F-35 Information Fusion
https://arc.aiaa.org/doi/abs/10.2514/6.2018-3520

F-35 Aerodynamic Performance Verification
https://arc.aiaa.org/doi/abs/10.2514/6.2018-3679

F-35 Production – Advanced Manufacturing and the Digital Thread
https://arc.aiaa.org/doi/abs/10.2514/6.2018-3369

Some excerps
1. In addition to receiving information from the onboard sensors, the F-35 receives off-board tracks and measurements from the Link 16 datalink and the Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL). Designed for 5th Generation aircraft, MADL provides fusion-quality data on all air and surface tracks to other members of the flight group. These data include the track state, track covariance, identification features, and passive RF data. The amount and fidelity of the off-board information provided by MADL was one of the largest challenges for the fusion design. The capability of the sensors and information sharing across MADL presented a challenge for sensor fusion. The challenge was to ensure that the tracks displayed were real and not duplicated, which would result in display clutter. The last few software builds in the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase of the F-35
program were aimed at tackling display clutter problems. The objective was to ensure that the pilot had accurate and timely information to make real-time tactical decisions in the cockpit. This paper discusses the design, development, and verification of each of these systems, as well as the system of systems integrated into the F-35 aircraft.


The EO DAS integration began with a single sensor installation within a pod. This pod was mounted on an F-16 to support initial testing and data collection for image processing algorithm validation. This podded system was also mounted on a QF-4 drone to enable testing of the missile warning function. The next step in integration was to mount a sensor in an integration-representative fashion on the Northrop Grumman-owned BAC 1-11 flying testbed. The first introduction of multiple EO DAS cameras into the integrated avionics system was performed on the Lockheed Martin CATB platform. This marked the beginning of integrating the EO DAS sensors into the Lockheed Martin-developed
fusion algorithms. The final step to fully incorporate the EO DAS into the integrated avionics system came in March 2011, with the first flight testing on an F-35.

Key EO DAS operational functions in Block 1 of Flight Test Update B are navigation forward-looking infrared (NAVFLIR) and missile warning. Block 2 of Flight Test Update B added surface-to-air missile (SAM) launch point reporting and situational awareness IRST. These EO DAS functions are available simultaneously and serve to enhance
situational awareness and defensive response.

The fusion functionality is divided into two major sub-functions: air target management
(ATM) and surface target management (STM). The purposes of these functions are to optimize the quality of air and surface target information, respectively. Their functionality is implemented in three primarily software modules: the A/A tactical situation model (AATSM), the A/S tactical situation model (ASTSM), and the sensor schedule (SS).


The AATSM software module receives data from onboard and off-board sources about air objects in the environment. It then integrates this information into kinematic and identification estimates for each air object. Similarly, the ASTSM software module receives data from onboard and off-board sources about surface objects in the environment. It then integrates this information into kinematic and identification estimates for each surface object. Objects that are ambiguous between air and surface are sent to both tactical situation models (TSMs). Each TSM assesses the quality of its tracks to identify any information needs. The system track information needs (STINs) are sent from the TSMs to the SS software module. The SS prioritizes the information needs by track and selects the
appropriate sensor mode command to issue in order to satisfy the information need. The SS provides the autonomous control of the tactical sensors to balance the track information need and the background volume search needs. Measurement and track data is sent to fusion from the onboard sensors (e.g., radar, EW, CNI, EOTS, DAS) and off-boards sources (e.g., MADL, Link 16). When this information is received at the TSM, the data enter the data association process. This process determines whether the new data constitute an update for an existing system (fusion) track or potentially new tracks. After being associated with a new or existing track, data are sent to the state estimation to update the kinematic, identification, and rules of engagement (ROE) states of the object. Kinematic estimation refers to the position and velocity estimate of an object. It can also include an acceleration estimate for maneuvering air track. The kinematic estimate also includes the covariance for the track, an estimate of the track accuracy. Identification estimation provides an estimate and confidence of the affiliation, class, and type (platform) of the object.

The identification process also evaluates the pilot-programmable ROE assistant rule to
determine when the sensing states and confidences have been met for declaration. Estimation publishes the updated track state (kinematic, identification, and ROE statuses) to the system track file. At a periodic rate (about once a second), each track is prioritized and then evaluated to determine whether the kinematic and identification content meets the required accuracy and completeness. Any shortfall for a given track becomes STINs. The STIN message for the air and surface tracks are sent to the SS to make future tasking decisions for the onboard sensor resource. The process continues in a closed-loop fashion with new pieces of data from the sensors or datalinks.


2. The terms data fusion, sensor fusion, and information fusion are often used interchangeably, and yet these terms have subtle distinctive connotations within the community. The Joint Directors of Laboratories (JDL) Data Fusion Model defines a useful categorization of fusion algorithms and techniques used in the solution of many general fusion problems [11]. They define data fusion as the combining of information to estimate or predict the current or future state of the environment. Level 1 fusion is focused on object assessment. Level 1 fusion algorithms include: (1) data association algorithms, which determine whether information from multiple sources describes the same object; and (2) state estimation algorithms, which estimate the current (and, in some cases, future) state of the physical object in the environment. The estimate includes both the kinematic state (e.g., position, velocity) and an estimate of the object’s identification (ID). Level 2 fusion focuses on aggregating the Level 1 objects, inferring relationships between/among the objects and corresponding events, and assessing the unfolding situation. Level 3 fusion assesses the impact of perceived, anticipated, or planned actions in the context of the unfolding situation, for instance, in terms of lethality
and survivability. Level 4 fusion is focused on process refinement, including sensor resource management or sensor feedback to modify sensor actions and refine the overall situational picture.

5th Generation aircraft are designed to process the sensor measurements rather than the sensor tracks, resulting in an integrated system track containing the most precise track accuracy and enabling cooperative sensing across aircraft. Measurement-level processing can provide earlier discovery of objects in the environment that are hard to detect. By processing the measurement-level data, the system can use detections from any sensor (or aircraft) to confirm a track before any single sensor can make the declaration. The focus on the measurement data rather than track data also means that combat ID information from a sensor is retained by the system track, even when the track is no longer in the sensor’s field of view since the system track can be maintained by other sensors or aircraft. In addition to improved accuracy and detection performance, the introduction of an Autonomous Sensor Management capability provided the ability to react and refine objects in the environment much faster than any human could respond [14]. The addition of the Autonomous Sensor Manager is referred to as Closed Loop Fusion. This capability provides the fusion process a feedback loop to coordinate the actions of the sensors in a complementary way to detect, refine, and maintain tracks based on system priorities [15]. The sensor management capability evaluates each
system track, determines any kinematic or ID needs, assesses those needs according to system track prioritization, and cues the sensors to collect the required information. Analogous to John Boyd’s Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act (OODA) Loop [16], which expressed the engagement advantage related to the pilot’s ability to understand and react to an adversary, closed loop fusion accelerates the ability of the pilot to understand and respond to an object in space faster and often at a much greater range than legacy systems.

IV. The F-35 Information Fusion Approach


Prior to the introduction of the 5th Generation fusion systems, fusion historically only referred to the data
association and estimation processes. The earliest partitioning of the F-35 fusion capability envisioned the sensor management capability to be independent of the fusion process. However, there was already strong evidence that the autonomous sensor manager was fundamental to efficient fusion performance and sensor optimization. During the early stages of design, the sensor manager was repartitioned to the F-35 fusion design. Figure 4 shows the top-level functional architecture of the F-35 fusion design, highlighting the data association, estimation (both kinematic and ID), and sensor management functionality

The F-35 Information Fusion design isolates fusion algorithms from both the sensor and datalink inputs, as well as any consumers of fused data. Essentially, the fusion algorithms comprise a black box, known internally as the fusion engine, and sensor inputs and data consumers are encapsulated in external software objects known as virtual interface models (VIMs). For incoming data, the sensor-specific or datalink-specific VIMs fill in missing data (e.g., navigation state, sensor bias values), preprocess the information, and translate it into a standard form for the fusion process. For
data leaving fusion, the outgoing VIM, known internally as the fusion server, provides data to the various consumers of fused information, both onboard and off-board. The fusion server isolates users of the fused information from both the fusion process and data sources. Legacy fusion implementations reported fusion tracks as a monolithic block (i.e., one size fits all) where all data consumers received the same message. Any propagation of the data or conversion was the responsibility of the recipient. This created a coupled interface between fusion and the data consumers. When a new data source was introduced to fusion, the interface changes to make this data available impacted all consumers of that message, whether the data was used or not, making changes to fusion very costly. The fusion server sends each information consumer a tailored message that contains only the information required to support that consumer. This isolates that consumer from changes to any data source or to the fusion algorithm. The use of VIMs enables the fusion
architecture to be extensible to new sensors and data sources, as well as new data consumers, over its lifetime.

One of the key architecture decisions for F-35 fusion is how to share information among aircraft. Independent data can be incorporated optimally into a filter for the highest accuracy. However, if dependent data is incorporated under the assumption of independence, the result will be track instability and, eventually, track loss [18]. Data consumers on the F-35, including the pilot, receive the kinematic and ID estimate of each track based on all available data sources, both onboard and off-board. This is referred to as the Tier 3 solution. However, when sharing information with other
aircraft, each F-35 shares the information describing a track based solely on measurements from onboard sensors. This is referred to as the Tier 1 solution. By ensuring that the information received from MADL is independent, the track information can be converted into equivalent measurements [19] by the recipient supporting both track-to-track and measurement-to-track of the information. The sharing of Tier 1 data ensures that the information is not coupled to any specific fusion algorithm and provides a method for dissimilar fusion platforms to share optimal fusion data in the future (Fig. 5). In late 2016, Lockheed Martin and the U.S. government used this technique to share an F-35 fused track of a target drone across MADL to a surface-based weapons system that had no line of sight to the drone....



On the F-35 program, we successfully implemented a modeling and simulation-based approach to aerodynamic performance verification. Applying conservatism to performance calculations early in the program protected against potential uncertainties in configuration, weight, or aerodynamics levels. Our rigorous process controlled aircraft weight growth and helped to ensure that the performance of the final F-35 design met the KPP requirements of the program specification. The efforts of a government/contractor team culminated in delivering a credible, flight testbased aerodynamics and performance database that accurately represents the performance of the F-35. This will be applicable for not only specification verification but also the operational performance products used by the fleet.


Affordability is and will continue to be a focus for the F-35 program in the years to come. Lockheed Martin, our
suppliers, and the customer community have invested significantly in affordability through the Blueprint for
Affordability Program (BFA). As BFA Phase 1 concludes, it is showing an impressive return on this collective
investment, as measured by dividing dollars saved ($2 million per aircraft) by dollars invested. BFA Phase 2 began in
2018 and will provide funding for additional projects (Fig. 17).
The F-35 program aims to achieve an $80 million aircraft cost at full-rate production. As with most programs like
F-35, the supply chain is responsible for more than 70 percent of the aircraft’s cost. This is why Lockheed Martin is
developing and transferring technology to simplify the supply chain. Doing so enables its suppliers to take advantage
of manufacturing technology advancements.

One of the features of the F-35 program is its long-term production forecast (Fig. 4). This gives the F-35 the ability
to develop and implement new technologies for cost savings now and for years to come. Multi-year buys are
anticipated in the near future, which will also help to reduce the cost of the aircraft.
One particular focus is on how the mechanics consume engineering data on the factory floor. 3-D digital models
and access to the 2-D paper drawings created from them are provided to the mechanics on the floor. Work instructions
have graphics in some instances but can be expensive to maintain and tend to be limited to complex installations, as
previously discussed. One remedy is to provide engineering data in augmented-reality-style glasses (Fig. 18). The
ability to provide work instructions hands-free with voice-activated commands has shown promise in improving data
accessibility. However, it is complicated by the same problems mentioned earlier for static graphics: obsolescence
and maintenance. In the example in Fig. 20 the mechanic reads the wire number aloud and the pin location lights up
in the pin diagram view in his glasses. (In the future, the glasses could be reading the wire number directly.) In cases
like harness routing, mechanics need 3-D views of the engineering models in order to route the harnesses. Movies for
complex installations are now available to the mechanics at their work instruction terminals and eventually perhaps in
glasses. The efficient creation, consumption, change, and utilization of the engineering data may provide affordability
savings for current and future programs. Such efforts include the development of digital twin technologies by
manufacturing and sustainment.
 
User avatar
Slug71
Posts: 1112
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2017 6:08 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Jul 25, 2018 2:04 am

Ozair wrote:
LM and their partners have published a number of papers this year on the F-35 and its various mission systems through the 2018 Aviation Technology, Integration, and Operations Conference.

The following links require access to the ARC database to access but some highlights are below. Kudos to BIO on another site for the info.

F-35 Mission Systems Design, Development & Verification
https://arc.aiaa.org/doi/abs/10.2514/6.2018-3519

F-35 Information Fusion
https://arc.aiaa.org/doi/abs/10.2514/6.2018-3520

F-35 Aerodynamic Performance Verification
https://arc.aiaa.org/doi/abs/10.2514/6.2018-3679

F-35 Production – Advanced Manufacturing and the Digital Thread
https://arc.aiaa.org/doi/abs/10.2514/6.2018-3369

Some excerps
1. In addition to receiving information from the onboard sensors, the F-35 receives off-board tracks and measurements from the Link 16 datalink and the Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL). Designed for 5th Generation aircraft, MADL provides fusion-quality data on all air and surface tracks to other members of the flight group. These data include the track state, track covariance, identification features, and passive RF data. The amount and fidelity of the off-board information provided by MADL was one of the largest challenges for the fusion design. The capability of the sensors and information sharing across MADL presented a challenge for sensor fusion. The challenge was to ensure that the tracks displayed were real and not duplicated, which would result in display clutter. The last few software builds in the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase of the F-35
program were aimed at tackling display clutter problems. The objective was to ensure that the pilot had accurate and timely information to make real-time tactical decisions in the cockpit. This paper discusses the design, development, and verification of each of these systems, as well as the system of systems integrated into the F-35 aircraft.


The EO DAS integration began with a single sensor installation within a pod. This pod was mounted on an F-16 to support initial testing and data collection for image processing algorithm validation. This podded system was also mounted on a QF-4 drone to enable testing of the missile warning function. The next step in integration was to mount a sensor in an integration-representative fashion on the Northrop Grumman-owned BAC 1-11 flying testbed. The first introduction of multiple EO DAS cameras into the integrated avionics system was performed on the Lockheed Martin CATB platform. This marked the beginning of integrating the EO DAS sensors into the Lockheed Martin-developed
fusion algorithms. The final step to fully incorporate the EO DAS into the integrated avionics system came in March 2011, with the first flight testing on an F-35.

Key EO DAS operational functions in Block 1 of Flight Test Update B are navigation forward-looking infrared (NAVFLIR) and missile warning. Block 2 of Flight Test Update B added surface-to-air missile (SAM) launch point reporting and situational awareness IRST. These EO DAS functions are available simultaneously and serve to enhance
situational awareness and defensive response.

The fusion functionality is divided into two major sub-functions: air target management
(ATM) and surface target management (STM). The purposes of these functions are to optimize the quality of air and surface target information, respectively. Their functionality is implemented in three primarily software modules: the A/A tactical situation model (AATSM), the A/S tactical situation model (ASTSM), and the sensor schedule (SS).


The AATSM software module receives data from onboard and off-board sources about air objects in the environment. It then integrates this information into kinematic and identification estimates for each air object. Similarly, the ASTSM software module receives data from onboard and off-board sources about surface objects in the environment. It then integrates this information into kinematic and identification estimates for each surface object. Objects that are ambiguous between air and surface are sent to both tactical situation models (TSMs). Each TSM assesses the quality of its tracks to identify any information needs. The system track information needs (STINs) are sent from the TSMs to the SS software module. The SS prioritizes the information needs by track and selects the
appropriate sensor mode command to issue in order to satisfy the information need. The SS provides the autonomous control of the tactical sensors to balance the track information need and the background volume search needs. Measurement and track data is sent to fusion from the onboard sensors (e.g., radar, EW, CNI, EOTS, DAS) and off-boards sources (e.g., MADL, Link 16). When this information is received at the TSM, the data enter the data association process. This process determines whether the new data constitute an update for an existing system (fusion) track or potentially new tracks. After being associated with a new or existing track, data are sent to the state estimation to update the kinematic, identification, and rules of engagement (ROE) states of the object. Kinematic estimation refers to the position and velocity estimate of an object. It can also include an acceleration estimate for maneuvering air track. The kinematic estimate also includes the covariance for the track, an estimate of the track accuracy. Identification estimation provides an estimate and confidence of the affiliation, class, and type (platform) of the object.

The identification process also evaluates the pilot-programmable ROE assistant rule to
determine when the sensing states and confidences have been met for declaration. Estimation publishes the updated track state (kinematic, identification, and ROE statuses) to the system track file. At a periodic rate (about once a second), each track is prioritized and then evaluated to determine whether the kinematic and identification content meets the required accuracy and completeness. Any shortfall for a given track becomes STINs. The STIN message for the air and surface tracks are sent to the SS to make future tasking decisions for the onboard sensor resource. The process continues in a closed-loop fashion with new pieces of data from the sensors or datalinks.


2. The terms data fusion, sensor fusion, and information fusion are often used interchangeably, and yet these terms have subtle distinctive connotations within the community. The Joint Directors of Laboratories (JDL) Data Fusion Model defines a useful categorization of fusion algorithms and techniques used in the solution of many general fusion problems [11]. They define data fusion as the combining of information to estimate or predict the current or future state of the environment. Level 1 fusion is focused on object assessment. Level 1 fusion algorithms include: (1) data association algorithms, which determine whether information from multiple sources describes the same object; and (2) state estimation algorithms, which estimate the current (and, in some cases, future) state of the physical object in the environment. The estimate includes both the kinematic state (e.g., position, velocity) and an estimate of the object’s identification (ID). Level 2 fusion focuses on aggregating the Level 1 objects, inferring relationships between/among the objects and corresponding events, and assessing the unfolding situation. Level 3 fusion assesses the impact of perceived, anticipated, or planned actions in the context of the unfolding situation, for instance, in terms of lethality
and survivability. Level 4 fusion is focused on process refinement, including sensor resource management or sensor feedback to modify sensor actions and refine the overall situational picture.

5th Generation aircraft are designed to process the sensor measurements rather than the sensor tracks, resulting in an integrated system track containing the most precise track accuracy and enabling cooperative sensing across aircraft. Measurement-level processing can provide earlier discovery of objects in the environment that are hard to detect. By processing the measurement-level data, the system can use detections from any sensor (or aircraft) to confirm a track before any single sensor can make the declaration. The focus on the measurement data rather than track data also means that combat ID information from a sensor is retained by the system track, even when the track is no longer in the sensor’s field of view since the system track can be maintained by other sensors or aircraft. In addition to improved accuracy and detection performance, the introduction of an Autonomous Sensor Management capability provided the ability to react and refine objects in the environment much faster than any human could respond [14]. The addition of the Autonomous Sensor Manager is referred to as Closed Loop Fusion. This capability provides the fusion process a feedback loop to coordinate the actions of the sensors in a complementary way to detect, refine, and maintain tracks based on system priorities [15]. The sensor management capability evaluates each
system track, determines any kinematic or ID needs, assesses those needs according to system track prioritization, and cues the sensors to collect the required information. Analogous to John Boyd’s Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act (OODA) Loop [16], which expressed the engagement advantage related to the pilot’s ability to understand and react to an adversary, closed loop fusion accelerates the ability of the pilot to understand and respond to an object in space faster and often at a much greater range than legacy systems.

IV. The F-35 Information Fusion Approach


Prior to the introduction of the 5th Generation fusion systems, fusion historically only referred to the data
association and estimation processes. The earliest partitioning of the F-35 fusion capability envisioned the sensor management capability to be independent of the fusion process. However, there was already strong evidence that the autonomous sensor manager was fundamental to efficient fusion performance and sensor optimization. During the early stages of design, the sensor manager was repartitioned to the F-35 fusion design. Figure 4 shows the top-level functional architecture of the F-35 fusion design, highlighting the data association, estimation (both kinematic and ID), and sensor management functionality

The F-35 Information Fusion design isolates fusion algorithms from both the sensor and datalink inputs, as well as any consumers of fused data. Essentially, the fusion algorithms comprise a black box, known internally as the fusion engine, and sensor inputs and data consumers are encapsulated in external software objects known as virtual interface models (VIMs). For incoming data, the sensor-specific or datalink-specific VIMs fill in missing data (e.g., navigation state, sensor bias values), preprocess the information, and translate it into a standard form for the fusion process. For
data leaving fusion, the outgoing VIM, known internally as the fusion server, provides data to the various consumers of fused information, both onboard and off-board. The fusion server isolates users of the fused information from both the fusion process and data sources. Legacy fusion implementations reported fusion tracks as a monolithic block (i.e., one size fits all) where all data consumers received the same message. Any propagation of the data or conversion was the responsibility of the recipient. This created a coupled interface between fusion and the data consumers. When a new data source was introduced to fusion, the interface changes to make this data available impacted all consumers of that message, whether the data was used or not, making changes to fusion very costly. The fusion server sends each information consumer a tailored message that contains only the information required to support that consumer. This isolates that consumer from changes to any data source or to the fusion algorithm. The use of VIMs enables the fusion
architecture to be extensible to new sensors and data sources, as well as new data consumers, over its lifetime.

One of the key architecture decisions for F-35 fusion is how to share information among aircraft. Independent data can be incorporated optimally into a filter for the highest accuracy. However, if dependent data is incorporated under the assumption of independence, the result will be track instability and, eventually, track loss [18]. Data consumers on the F-35, including the pilot, receive the kinematic and ID estimate of each track based on all available data sources, both onboard and off-board. This is referred to as the Tier 3 solution. However, when sharing information with other
aircraft, each F-35 shares the information describing a track based solely on measurements from onboard sensors. This is referred to as the Tier 1 solution. By ensuring that the information received from MADL is independent, the track information can be converted into equivalent measurements [19] by the recipient supporting both track-to-track and measurement-to-track of the information. The sharing of Tier 1 data ensures that the information is not coupled to any specific fusion algorithm and provides a method for dissimilar fusion platforms to share optimal fusion data in the future (Fig. 5). In late 2016, Lockheed Martin and the U.S. government used this technique to share an F-35 fused track of a target drone across MADL to a surface-based weapons system that had no line of sight to the drone....



On the F-35 program, we successfully implemented a modeling and simulation-based approach to aerodynamic performance verification. Applying conservatism to performance calculations early in the program protected against potential uncertainties in configuration, weight, or aerodynamics levels. Our rigorous process controlled aircraft weight growth and helped to ensure that the performance of the final F-35 design met the KPP requirements of the program specification. The efforts of a government/contractor team culminated in delivering a credible, flight testbased aerodynamics and performance database that accurately represents the performance of the F-35. This will be applicable for not only specification verification but also the operational performance products used by the fleet.


Affordability is and will continue to be a focus for the F-35 program in the years to come. Lockheed Martin, our
suppliers, and the customer community have invested significantly in affordability through the Blueprint for
Affordability Program (BFA). As BFA Phase 1 concludes, it is showing an impressive return on this collective
investment, as measured by dividing dollars saved ($2 million per aircraft) by dollars invested. BFA Phase 2 began in
2018 and will provide funding for additional projects (Fig. 17).
The F-35 program aims to achieve an $80 million aircraft cost at full-rate production. As with most programs like
F-35, the supply chain is responsible for more than 70 percent of the aircraft’s cost. This is why Lockheed Martin is
developing and transferring technology to simplify the supply chain. Doing so enables its suppliers to take advantage
of manufacturing technology advancements.

One of the features of the F-35 program is its long-term production forecast (Fig. 4). This gives the F-35 the ability
to develop and implement new technologies for cost savings now and for years to come. Multi-year buys are
anticipated in the near future, which will also help to reduce the cost of the aircraft.
One particular focus is on how the mechanics consume engineering data on the factory floor. 3-D digital models
and access to the 2-D paper drawings created from them are provided to the mechanics on the floor. Work instructions
have graphics in some instances but can be expensive to maintain and tend to be limited to complex installations, as
previously discussed. One remedy is to provide engineering data in augmented-reality-style glasses (Fig. 18). The
ability to provide work instructions hands-free with voice-activated commands has shown promise in improving data
accessibility. However, it is complicated by the same problems mentioned earlier for static graphics: obsolescence
and maintenance. In the example in Fig. 20 the mechanic reads the wire number aloud and the pin location lights up
in the pin diagram view in his glasses. (In the future, the glasses could be reading the wire number directly.) In cases
like harness routing, mechanics need 3-D views of the engineering models in order to route the harnesses. Movies for
complex installations are now available to the mechanics at their work instruction terminals and eventually perhaps in
glasses. The efficient creation, consumption, change, and utilization of the engineering data may provide affordability
savings for current and future programs. Such efforts include the development of digital twin technologies by
manufacturing and sustainment.


This project is maturing nicely now.
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 2795
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Jul 25, 2018 3:10 am

Slug71 wrote:
This project is maturing nicely now.

One of my frustrations Slug is that this information has been available for years now but because it is accessible typically behind paywalls most people don’t see it. Case in point is the often stated F-16 dogfight loss but when that report was released a scientific paper available through aiaa went into great detail about the respective scenarios used, why the test team orchestrated those specific scenarios and how the test program was able to use those to enhance the control laws. Once you read that report it makes the sensational claims of some appear absurd.

The other side is the above aiaa text should give you a good idea of what it has taken to build a 5th gen aircraft and in some areas how far ahead the platform is from contemporaries. It also shows how much is under the hood and cannot be gleaned from visual appearances.
 
User avatar
Nomadd
Posts: 79
Joined: Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:26 pm

Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Jul 25, 2018 9:31 pm

Ozair wrote:
Slug71 wrote:
This project is maturing nicely now.

One of my frustrations Slug is that this information has been available for years now but because it is accessible typically behind paywalls most people don’t see it. Case in point is the often stated F-16 dogfight loss but when that report was released a scientific paper available through aiaa went into great detail about the respective scenarios used, why the test team orchestrated those specific scenarios and how the test program was able to use those to enhance the control laws. Once you read that report it makes the sensational claims of some appear absurd.

The other side is the above aiaa text should give you a good idea of what it has taken to build a 5th gen aircraft and in some areas how far ahead the platform is from contemporaries. It also shows how much is under the hood and cannot be gleaned from visual appearances.

They went through the same crap with the M1, right before it began it's 38 year long and counting domination of the tank world. Same with the AH-64.
 
ThePointblank
Posts: 3016
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:39 pm

Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:31 am

Nomadd wrote:
Ozair wrote:
Slug71 wrote:
This project is maturing nicely now.

One of my frustrations Slug is that this information has been available for years now but because it is accessible typically behind paywalls most people don’t see it. Case in point is the often stated F-16 dogfight loss but when that report was released a scientific paper available through aiaa went into great detail about the respective scenarios used, why the test team orchestrated those specific scenarios and how the test program was able to use those to enhance the control laws. Once you read that report it makes the sensational claims of some appear absurd.

The other side is the above aiaa text should give you a good idea of what it has taken to build a 5th gen aircraft and in some areas how far ahead the platform is from contemporaries. It also shows how much is under the hood and cannot be gleaned from visual appearances.

They went through the same crap with the M1, right before it began it's 38 year long and counting domination of the tank world. Same with the AH-64.

And it's the same characters as well who spew this FUD as well, time and time again. They almost never change. Look at the writers of the articles from 30-40 years ago who wrote such stories, and see what they are doing now.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos