Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Aug 24, 2018 1:12 am

For those that care about this stuff

New Clues Point To F-35, Super Hornet As Wingmates In 'Top Gun' Sequel

Lockheed Martin's (LMT) F-35 looks like it will play a major role in the upcoming "Top Gun" sequel after all, pairing up with Boeing's (BA) F/A-18 Super Hornet in a Hollywood summer blockbuster showcasing the Navy's fighter jets.

A squadron of F-35Cs, which are the Navy versions of the new stealth fighter, arrived in Jacksonville, Fla., Wednesday to participate in a training exercise with the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier through the end of the month, according to The Florida Times Union.
The mission of the VFA-101 "Grim Reapers" is to "train and qualify F-35C aircrew and maintenance professionals," according to its website.

The F-35 training coincides with a Paramount Pictures film crew shooting on the USS Abraham Lincoln for "Top Gun: Maverick." The Navy said the crew started filming on Sunday and will stay until Saturday.

Naval Air Force Atlantic spokesman Cmdr. Dave Hecht told the Virginian-Pilot that no actors were on deck and that the crew was capturing footage of air operations, including takeoffs and landings of the Super Hornet.

The Boeing jet was seen as the likely star of the movie after Tom Cruise, who played Maverick in the first "Top Gun" movie, tweeted a picture of himself in May standing in front of what appears to be a Super Hornet.

But after actor Glenn Powell landed a role in the "Top Gun" sequel earlier this month, he posted a picture of himself on Instagram standing in front of an F-35.The F-35 in the post had a VX-9 designation on its side, meaning it's part of the Navy's Air Test and Evaluation Squadron at the Naval Air Weapons Station, China Lake, Calif.However, those VX-9 F-35s are currently undergoing operational testing as part of at Edwards Air Force Base nearby in California. Powell's Instagram post has since been deleted.

The movie should deliver a public relations windfall for the F-35 and Super Hornet amid tough contract competitions abroad as well as the prospect of tighter budgets at home.

https://www.investors.com/news/top-gun- ... -lockheed/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Aug 24, 2018 1:34 am

Some late deliveries in previous years but apparently LM and the JPO both believe they will make the required timeframe this year. Will see if that happens or not but at the moment the DCMA thinks approximately seven jets will likely be late.

Lockheed Poised to Get $11 Billion F-35 Contract Despite Delays

Lockheed Martin Corp. continues to deliver its next-generation F-35 aircraft late because of production flaws, even as the Pentagon is poised to award the company a potential $11 billion contract that’s the biggest yet.
The contractor for the costliest U.S. weapons system has been “late to contract requirements” in providing 209 of 308 of the planes to U.S. and international customers through June 30, the Defense Contract Management Agency said in a statement to Bloomberg News. While Lockheed and the Pentagon’s F-35 program office said they expect on-time delivery of all 91 F-35s due this year, the contract agency predicted seven won’t make that deadline.

“The government expects and needs better performance by Lockheed Martin and its suppliers,” Mark Woodbury, a spokesman for the Defense Contract Management Agency, said in the statement. Major improvements on the assembly floor will be “more difficult to achieve since many of the easy corrections have already been made,” he added.
While the Pentagon’s F-35 office concurs with most of the contract agency’s concerns, according to Joe DellaVedova, a spokesman, he said Lockheed “remains on track” to deliver all 91 jets this year. Carolyn Nelson, a Lockheed spokeswoman, said the company is making steady progress in eliminating production-line failings.

By early September, the Defense Department is expected to complete the award of a potential $11 billion contract for 141 F-35s for the U.S. and allies, the 11th production batch. A $5.6 billion down payment was awarded in July 2017. The Pentagon and Lockheed have also been negotiating a larger “block buy” of 440 aircraft for international partners.
The F-35 accounted for 27 percent of second-quarter sales for Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed and is expected to be its main source of growth as production increases to about 160 aircraft a year by the early 2020s.

Both the Pentagon and Lockheed have invested “considerable funding to improve the capacity and quality of the F-35 manufacturing process but aircraft are still being produced behind schedule with a high number of defects,” the contract management agency said.
Although previous U.S. fighter jet programs have encountered similar difficulties, Lockheed’s production line “has a considerably larger amount” of assembly floor issues, the agency said.

“There’s really no way of slowing down F-35 funding, no matter what problems arise,” said Richard Aboulafia, a military aircraft analyst who follows the program for the Teal Group of Fairfax, Virginia. “It’s the only game in town for the U.S. Air Force and the Marines, and for much of the industrial base and for exports, so any kind of delay would have unpleasant consequences for everyone involved.”
Asked what leverage the Pentagon has to improve Lockheed’s performance, Aboulafia said “wish I knew.”

Nelson, the Lockheed spokeswoman, said “as we ramp up production, each year we have lowered cost, reduced build time, improved quality and on-time delivery. F-35 production is stable, costs are coming down and the 310-plus aircraft in the fleet are delivering exceptional capability every day.”She said delivery of 91 aircraft this year will represent a 40 percent increase from 2017. Next year, she said, the company intends to deliver 131 F-35s.

Defects, or “quality variances” per delivered aircraft have dropped with each lot, and “our time required” for reworking and repairs has decreased by 79 percent since the first early production contract.Despite a history of performance setbacks, the stealthy F-35 retains strong support in Congress as a next-generation fighter and as a job creator. Lockheed boasts that it uses 1,500 suppliers in 46 states and more internationally.

This week, the Senate is debating a fiscal 2019 defense appropriations measure (H.R. 6157) that would add $1.2 billion for 12 more F-35s than the 77 the Pentagon requested. Earlier the House approved adding 16 F-35s in its version of the measure. The added jets would be delivered in early 2020, Nelson said.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/lockheed ... 00998.html
 
ZaphodHarkonnen
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Aug 24, 2018 8:28 am

Ozair wrote:
Prep work for the impending first landing and take off on QE.

British test pilots from the RAF and BAE practice flying F-35B test aircraft BF-02 off a ski jump at Naval Air Station #Patuxent River #PaxRiver Mayland on 13 Aug preparing for the arrival of #carrier HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH #QnLz. BF-02 is one of the original #JSF test aircraft.

https://twitter.com/CavasShips/status/1 ... 3146824705

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Gotta admit I'm looking forward to the first videos to come out from the testing. Especially the SRVL functionality testing.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sat Aug 25, 2018 10:09 pm

Some very interesting info on the Helmet including some of the difficulties faced during development.

F-35: Under the Helmet of the World’s Most Advanced Fighter

One of the F-35 Lightning II’s most impressive and controversial components is the $400,000 helmet produced by a joint venture between Rockwell Collins and Elbit Systems of America.

Plagued by issues — and criticism — throughout its development, the Gen III Helmet-Mounted Display System (HMDS) is finally in use and the companies behind it say pilots are effusive about its performance. Rockwell is even looking at ways to leverage the base technology for other uses, outside the F-35 or the military altogether, according to Business Development Manager Joe Ray.

The price tag is high, but “helmet” doesn’t really do the HMDS justice. The system consists of a number of components, such as a virtual HUD, beyond just the helmet to help save weight by replacing analogous systems on other jets. It also provides some unique and groundbreaking functionality — Rockwell Collins fellow and mastermind behind the HMDS Bob Foote said it is the first aircraft primary flight display that is worn by the pilot.

Each carbon-fiber helmet is 3D-milled to custom fit each pilot. Fit data is stored so replacements can be crafted to order. The custom fit ensures that alignment of the pilots' eyes and helmet displays is precise, which allows pilots greater ability to see the display during high-G maneuvers, Foote said.

That alignment is particularly important in the F-35 because so much crucial data is provided to the pilot on the helmet’s display. Not least of which is the technology that lets pilots “see through the plane,” in the words of Elbit America Senior Director of Communications Rod Gibbons.

The helmet uses a tracker to tell where the pilot is looking at any given time, then, working with the Distributed Aperture System (DAS)’s 360-degree real-time video, augments the vision in both eyes (as opposed to just one, thanks to pilot feedback) with additional information, even if the pilot isn’t looking out the cockpit’s windshield.

Using the same tracker, pilots can essentially aim their weapons just by looking at a target. A built-in, visor-projected night vision system without the need for separate goggles. And continuous iteration and stripping out weight, combined with the balance provided by custom-fitting, means the helmet is light and balanced enough to help combat fatigue, which is important for long cockpit sessions that will involve high-G flying.

This didn’t all come painlessly, though. “We certainly were meeting the requirements, but that doesn't mean we necessarily met the expectations,” Foote said.

Beyond trying to generally drive down weight and price, there were a handful of specific issues that Rockwell, Elbit and Lockheed had to work out before the helmet would be ready for operational use.

One involved a blooming effect during night-time usage that was especially problematic for F-35Cs trying to land on aircraft carriers.

“The thing that they discovered with our previous display technology, which was active-matrix LCD (liquid-crystal display) — AM-LCD, was that there was a certain amount of bleed-through of our back-lighting technology,” Foote said. “So they would sort of see this green haze in front of them from the backlight, and it was making it difficult for them to find the aircraft carrier which obviously creates an unacceptable situation.”

Greg Lemons, Lockheed Martin’s missions systems expert for the F-35, compared the glow to a TV that’s on with nothing on the screen in a dark room. It’s not bright, but there’s still a noticeable glow, and it was plenty to impair the pilots’ ability to operate in dark conditions, he said.

The solution the companies found centered on a technology change from AM-LCD to organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays, which shut off much more quickly and completely, eliminating the offending green glow.

Another issue involved latency in the tracker. Eliminating as much latency as possible is always a concern for something that is going to be ever-present in pilots’ vision so they can receive visual data and react. Air-to-surface gun strafing performance, in particular, was not meeting requirements thanks to latency with the helmet tracker, according to Lemons.

“We started out with a purely magnetic based tracker that just didn't have the performance we needed to meet our requirements on helmet line-of-sight accuracy for strafing,” Lemons said. “The change that was made was to put an optical-magnetic hybrid tracker into the aircraft, sort of blending those two together along with getting some changes into the helmet itself by actually applying an inertial measurement unit on the helmets to improve the data we had on position and rates of the helmets so we can get a predicted line of sight faster with more accuracy.”

With those issues ironed out, Rockwell’s Ray said pilots are “ready to make it a little bit more customizable when they get on the aircraft; they want to move symbology here and there.” Nothing is imminent on that front, but a few years down the line, in future-generation helmets, he said Rockwell and Elbit are definitely considering ways to allow additional customization as one of the improvements.

Beyond that, both Lockheed and the military are always focused on keeping weight down, cutting costs and more processing power. Combining and presenting all the data an F-35 generates to a pilot in a timely manner takes a powerful processor, and Foote said that task is only going to get more demanding.

Rockwell Collins is also considering other applications. The Joint Program Office isn’t the only group interested in an advanced piece of helmet technology.

“We're looking at special mission aircraft,” Ray said. “The JSOC (Joint Special Operations Command) guys are very interested—and not just airborne applications but also maritime and ground applications. We actually received some information, believe it or not, from the Department of Interior where they're looking at an application of using something like this to fight fires on the west coast.”

The trick there is just to make sure to find the balance between the important capabilities — the wide field of view, the situational awareness, the comfort — and the price. The DOD can pay $400,000 for what Ray calls “the Ferrari,” but firefighters can’t.

https://www.aviationtoday.com/2018/08/2 ... d-fighter/

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Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sat Aug 25, 2018 10:10 pm

ZaphodHarkonnen wrote:

Gotta admit I'm looking forward to the first videos to come out from the testing. Especially the SRVL functionality testing.

Agree, it should be very impressive. I am hoping to get my first in person look at the jet soon, hoping the RAF put on a good show at Duxford.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sat Aug 25, 2018 10:24 pm

A short video of the F-35 firing its 25mm cannon. Video is at the link below.

Video: CHECK THIS OUT: F-35 performs a strafing run

An F-35A from the 4th Fighter Squadron fires the aircraft's 25mm cannon at the Utah Test & Training Range.


https://www.marinecorpstimes.com/video/ ... afing-run/
 
Planeflyer
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Aug 26, 2018 10:07 pm

The last thing you want to be doing w a stealth ac is a stranding run!
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Aug 27, 2018 12:22 am

Planeflyer wrote:
The last thing you want to be doing w a stealth ac is a stranding run!

I disagree. The intent of the aircraft is to operate from low to high threat areas for the respective services and that will, at some point in the future, involve strafing adversary ground units. Just because the aircraft can survive a high threat IADS doesn’t mean it won’t find utility in lower threats conflicts. For example using all aircraft, from A-10s to B-1s, for shows of force and other low level passes were a standard application of airpower in Iraq and remain important in Afghanistan and will continue to be called upon.

Additionally, the aircraft is designed to operate with significant A2A or A2G payloads when stealth is not required and given the aircraft now costs essentially the same as an F-16 to acquire, while costing only about 15% more per hour to operate, it is significantly more effective and survivable across all the mission sets. I am sure it would have reduced complexity, and cost, to remove the gun altogether but it was kept for a reason and it wasn’t just for the A2A mission set.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Aug 27, 2018 10:42 pm

Check out these incredible photos of an Air Force F-35 stealth fighter tearing across Lake Michigan

Crowds of spectators recently had a rare opportunity to see America’s advanced stealth fighter in action at the Chicago Air and Water Show, where the F-35 Heritage Flight Team put on an impressive show.

The F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, a fifth-generation stealth fighter developed by Lockheed Martin, is the most expensive weapons system ever built, but its superior capabilities supposedly make up for its soaring costs.

The supersonic, multi-mission fighter, according to the developer, features unmatched electronic warfare, air-to-surface, air-to-air, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), and stealth capabilities designed to enhance the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. The F-35 program has, however, faced many setbacks.

During the recent airshow in Chicago, Airman 1st Class Alexander Cook captured several stunning photos of Capt. Andrew “Dojo” Olson, F-35 Heritage Flight Team pilot and commander, performing aerial maneuvers in an F-35A. The pictures were posted online by the 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs Office.

https://www.businessinsider.com.au/chec ... ?r=UK&IR=T

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Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Aug 28, 2018 10:31 pm

Some helmet green glow stuff for which a fix is already developed and being implemented.

F-35 Helmet Bug Means Only Expert Pilots Can Do Night Carrier Landings

The Navy is close to fixing a technical bug in the sophisticated F-35 Joint Strike Fighter helmet that amounts to a dangerous hindrance for aviators attempting to land in the black of night on a moving aircraft carrier.
F-35C pilots describe the bug as a green glow created by the LED technology in the Generation III helmet-mounted display, which spills over and prevents them from seeing a carrier's lights at night.

"At night on carriers is about the darkest you can get when there is no moon," Cmdr. Tommy "Bo" Locke, commander of Navy Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 125 told a group of defense reporters in the flight hangar on the Abraham Lincoln Monday.
For a week now, Locke's squadron has been participating in Operational Testing I, a milestone that represents the first time the F-35C Lightning II has joined in regular carrier flight operations at sea.

The Navy has attempted to fix the helmet problem with software upgrades to allow pilots to dim the green glow, but so far, only the most seasoned F-35C pilots are allowed to make carrier landings at night.

Currently, to be qualified to land on the carrier in the dark without fixes to the F-35 helmet, pilots need 50 carrier landings, officials said.
"There are some complexities with the green glow that we deal with right now, but we only do it with experienced pilots," Locke said. "In that really dark environment, you can't get the display down low enough where you can still process the image on the display, and once you bring the display up high enough where you can that information it conflicts with the outside world."

The Navy is working on a solution that relies on "organic LED," or OLED, technology that should be ready for fielding by "sometime early next year," Locke said. "It reduces the green glow; there's a much crisper picture that will allow us to avoid the disorientation with the green glow," he said.

F-35C pilots first reported the problem with the $400,000 helmet in 2012. Since then, the Navy has attempted to fix the problem with software upgrades, but to no avail. "Generically what happens with the older-style helmet, when you want to dim it, you turn it down and there is still a back plane that glows and that causes the green glow," said Rear Adm. Dale Horan, director of the F-35C Fleet Integration Office.

With the new helmet using OLED, "when you want it to work, you turn it on and raise to the level you need, so when it's not working -- when you don't need it -- it's off. So it's not creating that background glow," Horan added.
Horan called the fix involving organic LED an "elegant solution."

"From my perspective, there have been a lot of rumors and concerns and issues; they tend to sound insurmountable when you first talk about them," Horan said. "But when you get sailors out there that want to solve the problem and industry that wants to participate and a country that says 'we need this aircraft,' you tend to solve problems."

https://www.military.com/defensetech/20 ... dings.html
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Aug 29, 2018 9:33 pm

The first Turkish solo flight in an F-35. As expected Turkish pilots and ground crew continue to train on the jet while the political theatre continues around them.

Turkish Pilot Flies F-35 In US

A Turkish fighter pilot flew F-35 aircraft for the first time as part of the on-going training in the US, the Turkish General Staff was quoted as saying by Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.
Early July, the Pentagon said Turkish pilots and maintenance personnel were being trained on the F-35 fighter jet in the state of Arizona.

Turkey took delivery of its first F-35 fighter jet at a ceremony in Fort Worth, Texas, on June 21. The first F-35 aircraft delivered is also the first fifth-generation fighter jet to enter the Turkish Air Force Command inventory.
Turkey plans to get 100 F-35 fighter jets in upcoming years.

The country is expected to receive six F-35 jets by 2020. Four of these jets will be staying in the U.S. until 2020 and the two of them will be transferred to the integrated air base in Turkey's eastern province of Malatya.
Turkey will receive the remaining 24 jets from its first 30-jet order package by 2024.

http://www.defenseworld.net/news/23255/ ... F_35_In_US
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Aug 29, 2018 11:03 pm

A longer article and some photos of the F-35C working on the Abraham Lincoln.

F-35Cs Operating in First Joint Strike Fighter Integrated Air Wing Test Aboard USS Abraham Lincoln

The Navy’s F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter has been incorporated into a carrier air wing’s cyclic flight operations for the first time alongside aircraft from Carrier Air Wing 7.
Since the JSF naval variant conducted its first takeoff and landing on a carrier in 2014, the plane has done extensive testing ashore and at sea. But never has the fighter been normalized in this way, with the ship’s flight deck crew treating it the same as any other aircraft onboard. For the first time, F-35Cs launched, recovered and maneuvered around the flight deck alongside F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, EA-18G Growlers and E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes. Previous periods at sea had the F-35Cs operate by themselves in controlled test settings.

Rear Adm. Dale Horan, director of Joint Strike Fighter Fleet Integration for the Navy, told reporters on the ship that this first operational test event was meant to validate “how the airplane handles on the aircraft carrier, how we do maintenance, how we sustain it while we’re at sea. And then how it integrates with the ship, how it interoperates with communications, data links, other aircraft, and then how we conduct the mission and tie into the other aircraft that are conducting that mission and how effective they are when they do it.”
He said the F-35Cs – which came from both Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 125 and VFA-147, an F-35C fleet replacement squadron and operational squadron, respectively, out of Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif. – were not simply launching and recovering but also, “conducting missions they would do in combat, if required. Conducting that training.”

The Navy had previously set an objective date for reaching initial operational capability (IOC) in August 2018, which the service will not meet. The threshold objective – the minimum requirement, compared to the ideal objective date – is February 2019, and Horan said he thinks the service can still meet that timeline.
“We are moving in that direction and we will see. We’ll get together after this [operational test] and see how it went and see if we think things are lining up and whether we can meet that. If we can’t, we’ll make a decision and change that schedule,” he said. “Right now it seems that we’re moving in that direction” for a February 2019 IOC declaration.”

Ahead of that declaration, the fighters will have to conduct a formal initial operational test and evaluation event at sea, compared to the ongoing Operational Test-I event that does not count towards IOT&E. That evaluation should take place this fall. Additionally, Horan said, a squadron will have to be manned, trained and equipped to operate 10 aircraft at sea; an adequate logistics chain will have to be in place; at least one aircraft carrier will have to be modified, equipped, trained and certified to operate the F-35Cs; and other items.
“Most of those things are coming together, and the main thing really left is to demonstrate operational capability, the capability of the 3F (software) configuration in an operational test,” Horan said, referring to the 3F software variant the Navy is now using.
As for the carrier modifications, Lincoln underwent a mid-life refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH) that wrapped up last summer. During that four-year maintenance availability, the ship was outfitted with everything it needs to operate F-35s and was therefore chosen to conduct F-35C operational test and evaluation events. According to current Navy planes, USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) will conduct the first F-35C carrier deployment in 2021.

https://news.usni.org/2018/08/27/f-35cs ... am-lincoln

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Slug71
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:31 am

I cant help but think if it didn't have that 'hump' behind the canopy (and had a canopy like the F-22's), it would be more aesthetically pleasing. It wouldn't look so chubby. But just a personal feeling and it's turning into a real good plane. Looks good on a carrier too.
 
ZaphodHarkonnen
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Aug 30, 2018 8:20 am

Here's an interesting thought. With the SRVL that the UK is developing as a feature for the B version. Do you think it would be possible to mix B model F-35s into carrier operations. While they can't use a cat or trap the short take off from a cat position and a rolling vertical landing on the angled trap section should be totally doable.

I'm not asking if it would actually be done (because it probably wouldn't) but more would it even be doable to mix some Bs into the regular carrier complement if there was some sudden need.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Aug 30, 2018 9:17 am

ZaphodHarkonnen wrote:
Here's an interesting thought. With the SRVL that the UK is developing as a feature for the B version. Do you think it would be possible to mix B model F-35s into carrier operations. While they can't use a cat or trap the short take off from a cat position and a rolling vertical landing on the angled trap section should be totally doable.

I'm not asking if it would actually be done (because it probably wouldn't) but more would it even be doable to mix some Bs into the regular carrier complement if there was some sudden need.

It is certainly possible as the Bee takes off from the Wasp LHDs without a ski jump but I think the takeoff distance would significantly complicate CVN operations. The takeoff distance for the Bee is 550ft with two GBU-32s, two AIM-120s and fuel for 450nm combat radius. Compare that to the catapult length of a CVN being 325ft. Therefore a Bee is going to need close to double the deckspace length for takeoff.

Landing is easier and the Bee should have no problems landing on the CVN within the standard landing footprint.

Slug71 wrote:
I cant help but think if it didn't have that 'hump' behind the canopy (and had a canopy like the F-22's), it would be more aesthetically pleasing. It wouldn't look so chubby. But just a personal feeling and it's turning into a real good plane. Looks good on a carrier too.

I like the nickname Stubby for the jet which I think suits.
 
ZaphodHarkonnen
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Aug 30, 2018 10:03 am

Ozair wrote:
ZaphodHarkonnen wrote:
Here's an interesting thought. With the SRVL that the UK is developing as a feature for the B version. Do you think it would be possible to mix B model F-35s into carrier operations. While they can't use a cat or trap the short take off from a cat position and a rolling vertical landing on the angled trap section should be totally doable.

I'm not asking if it would actually be done (because it probably wouldn't) but more would it even be doable to mix some Bs into the regular carrier complement if there was some sudden need.

It is certainly possible as the Bee takes off from the Wasp LHDs without a ski jump but I think the takeoff distance would significantly complicate CVN operations. The takeoff distance for the Bee is 550ft with two GBU-32s, two AIM-120s and fuel for 450nm combat radius. Compare that to the catapult length of a CVN being 325ft. Therefore a Bee is going to need close to double the deckspace length for takeoff.

Landing is easier and the Bee should have no problems landing on the CVN within the standard landing footprint.


Yup, the take off distance would be a major limiting issue then. So while technically doable it really isn't operationally useful. Maybe with EMALS they could come up with some light pull for the B model that wouldn't overstress the nose gear but still help shrink the takeoff roll. Hell, that could even be useful for a mid life refit for the QE class.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Aug 30, 2018 10:17 pm

POGO having a fit over what is a normal and standard process for military aviation.

F-35 Program Cutting Corners to “Complete” Development

Officials in the F-35 Joint Program Office are making paper reclassifications of potentially life-threatening design flaws to make them appear less serious, likely in an attempt to prevent the $1.5 trillion program from blowing through another schedule deadline and budget cap.
The Center for Defense Information at the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) obtained a document showing how F-35 officials are recategorizing—rather than fixing—major design flaws to be able to claim they have completed the program’s development phase without having to pay overruns for badly needed fixes. Several of these flaws, like the lack of any means for a pilot to confirm a weapon’s target data before firing, and damage to the plane caused by the tailhook on the Air Force’s variant, have potentially serious implications for safety and combat effectiveness.

https://www.pogo.org/investigation/2018 ... evelopment

The report, the JSFPO Deficiency Review Board Minutes dated 04 June 2018, from which the "scandal" has arisen is available here, https://www.documentcloud.org/documents ... -2018.html
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Aug 30, 2018 10:34 pm

ZaphodHarkonnen wrote:
Yup, the take off distance would be a major limiting issue then. So while technically doable it really isn't operationally useful. Maybe with EMALS they could come up with some light pull for the B model that wouldn't overstress the nose gear but still help shrink the takeoff roll. Hell, that could even be useful for a mid life refit for the QE class.

I think a modification of the QE for EMALS is highly unlikely to happen. The ship is already capable of the sortie generation required for it and as with the previous British MoD backflip to swap to the F-35C the cost of that type of refit would be significant…

I also don’t think the F-35B will ever be capable of an EMALS takeoff. The nosewheel between the A/B and C are significantly different enough that a decent engineering modification would be necessary to allow that to happen. The Bee actually has a lower take off distance from the QE due to the ski jump, contractually 450 feet, and likely less than that given that was the threshold value and the jet is already exceeding threshold for non ski jump operations. I expect we will get some solid information on that over the next three months.

Finally, given the number of navies that will operate F-35B from ski jump equipped vessels there is a bright future for the aircraft as well as other aircraft types to operate from that layout. I expect to see a number of future UCAVs that are built or suitably modified specifically for ski jump operations.
 
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Slug71
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Aug 31, 2018 2:00 am

Ozair wrote:
Slug71 wrote:
I cant help but think if it didn't have that 'hump' behind the canopy (and had a canopy like the F-22's), it would be more aesthetically pleasing. It wouldn't look so chubby. But just a personal feeling and it's turning into a real good plane. Looks good on a carrier too.

I like the nickname Stubby for the jet which I think suits.


Yeh that's a good one.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Aug 31, 2018 2:41 am

I see some F-4 phantom in this image...

Image
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Aug 31, 2018 4:33 am

The site of the Australian F135 MRO facility has been selected.

Construction of new Joint Strike Fighter maintenance facility in Queensland

TAE Aerospace will develop a Turbine Engine Maintenance Facility (TEMF) in Bundamba, south-east Queensland, which will support in-country sustainment of Australia’s fifth-generation F-35A Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft.
The TEMF will enable deeper-level maintenance, where JSF F135 engine modules are disassembled, repaired and reassembled for testing.
The Minister for Defence, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, said the new facility was a testament to the strength of Australia’s defence industry and the contribution it made to the global F-35 Program.
“TAE Aerospace’s new facility will support maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade (MRO&U) activities for not only Australian F135 engines but also engines from around the Asia-Pacific region and the world,” Minister Pyne said.
“TAE Aerospace is 100 per cent Australian-owned with 237 employees at several sites across Australia, with contracts to support Classic Hornet, Super Hornet, Growler and M1 Abram tank engines.
“The addition of the F135 engine MRO&U activities will add a minimum of 15 aerospace technician jobs to its workforce and up to 85 additional jobs as part of the future F-35 Global Support Solution.”
The Australian Government has approved the acquisition of 72 F-35A JSF aircraft to replace the current fleet of 71 ageing F/A-18A/B Classic Hornets.
“The global F-35 Program has had a positive impact on Australia’s growing defence industry, which has collectively been awarded in excess of $1 billion in production contracts and will support up to 5000 Australian jobs by 2023,” Minister Pyne said.

http://www.defence.gov.au/casg/NewsMedi ... Queensland
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Aug 31, 2018 5:52 am

Ozair wrote:
Some helmet green glow stuff for which a fix is already developed and being implemented.

F-35 Helmet Bug Means Only Expert Pilots Can Do Night Carrier Landings

The Navy is close to fixing a technical bug in the sophisticated F-35 Joint Strike Fighter helmet that amounts to a dangerous hindrance for aviators attempting to land in the black of night on a moving aircraft carrier.
F-35C pilots describe the bug as a green glow created by the LED technology in the Generation III helmet-mounted display, which spills over and prevents them from seeing a carrier's lights at night.

"At night on carriers is about the darkest you can get when there is no moon," Cmdr. Tommy "Bo" Locke, commander of Navy Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 125 told a group of defense reporters in the flight hangar on the Abraham Lincoln Monday.
For a week now, Locke's squadron has been participating in Operational Testing I, a milestone that represents the first time the F-35C Lightning II has joined in regular carrier flight operations at sea.

The Navy has attempted to fix the helmet problem with software upgrades to allow pilots to dim the green glow, but so far, only the most seasoned F-35C pilots are allowed to make carrier landings at night.

Currently, to be qualified to land on the carrier in the dark without fixes to the F-35 helmet, pilots need 50 carrier landings, officials said.
"There are some complexities with the green glow that we deal with right now, but we only do it with experienced pilots," Locke said. "In that really dark environment, you can't get the display down low enough where you can still process the image on the display, and once you bring the display up high enough where you can that information it conflicts with the outside world."

The Navy is working on a solution that relies on "organic LED," or OLED, technology that should be ready for fielding by "sometime early next year," Locke said. "It reduces the green glow; there's a much crisper picture that will allow us to avoid the disorientation with the green glow," he said.

F-35C pilots first reported the problem with the $400,000 helmet in 2012. Since then, the Navy has attempted to fix the problem with software upgrades, but to no avail. "Generically what happens with the older-style helmet, when you want to dim it, you turn it down and there is still a back plane that glows and that causes the green glow," said Rear Adm. Dale Horan, director of the F-35C Fleet Integration Office.

With the new helmet using OLED, "when you want it to work, you turn it on and raise to the level you need, so when it's not working -- when you don't need it -- it's off. So it's not creating that background glow," Horan added.
Horan called the fix involving organic LED an "elegant solution."

"From my perspective, there have been a lot of rumors and concerns and issues; they tend to sound insurmountable when you first talk about them," Horan said. "But when you get sailors out there that want to solve the problem and industry that wants to participate and a country that says 'we need this aircraft,' you tend to solve problems."

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


Nobody thought of an "off" switch???
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Aug 31, 2018 10:50 am

AirlineCritic wrote:

Nobody thought of an "off" switch???

The F-35 has no HUD so if you turn off the helmet you lose altitude, speed, bearing, AoA etc. The OLEDs fix the issue so just a matter of time till enough OLED helmets are available.

Throughout this whole process though it bears acknowledging that the USN still isn't IOC with the F-35C. They are likely to declare IOC in Feb 2019 so all this work is still preparation for that milestone.
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sat Sep 01, 2018 4:09 pm

Ozair wrote:
AirlineCritic wrote:

Nobody thought of an "off" switch???

The F-35 has no HUD so if you turn off the helmet you lose altitude, speed, bearing, AoA etc.


You are correct it has no HUD, but 100% incorrect about the rest. ALL of that data can be displayed on the screens along with the attitude indicator in the cockpit.
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Sep 03, 2018 9:24 pm

checksixx wrote:
Ozair wrote:
AirlineCritic wrote:

Nobody thought of an "off" switch???

The F-35 has no HUD so if you turn off the helmet you lose altitude, speed, bearing, AoA etc.


You are correct it has no HUD, but 100% incorrect about the rest. ALL of that data can be displayed on the screens along with the attitude indicator in the cockpit.

He obviously meant you lose that information while flying 'head up'... You have all that data available head down even when the HUD/HMS is working.
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Sep 04, 2018 9:37 pm

The perils of hose and drogue refuelling where shredding a basket is not uncommon. Damage although classified as Class A still allowed the F-35C to land back on the Lincoln.

F-35C, Super Hornet Damaged During At-Sea Aerial Refueling

An F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter flying from USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) was damaged during an aerial refueling exercise, in the first major flight mishap for the carrier version of the JSF.

The engine of an F-35C from Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 125 was damaged while receiving fuel from an F/A-18F Super Hornet from VFA-103 on Aug. 22, Navy officials confirmed to USNI News. Debris from an aerial refueling basket was ingested into the F-35C’s engine intake, resulting in the damage, Naval Air Forces Atlantic spokesman Cmdr. Dave Hecht said on Tuesday.
Both fighters were able to land safely – the Super Hornet flew to Naval Air Station Oceana, Va., while the F-35C returned to Lincoln. No injuries were reported and the incident is currently under investigation, Hecht said.

Damage to the F-35C was reported as a Class A mishap – the most serious type for a military aircraft. An incident is classified as Class A when an aircraft suffers more than $2 million in damage, is totally destroyed or involves a serious or fatal injury to the aircrew. The damage to the F-35 was above the $2 million threshold, Hecht said. A new F135 engine for the JSF costs about $14 million, according to the most recent contract award to engine builder Pratt & Whitney.

The Super Hornet was also damaged but was reported as a Class C mishap because there were no injuries and the total estimated cost of damage to the aircraft is between $50,000 and $500,000, Hecht said.

The F-35 was flying in an integrated air wing test event aboard Lincoln that Navy officials described as a validation of how the aircraft operates and is maintained and sustained at sea. This first-ever at-sea operational test for the F-35C, launching and recovering alongside Super Hornets, E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes and C-2A Greyhounds, is a first glimpse of what the future air wing will look like once the F-35C reaches initial operational capability and is more widely fielded.

The test offered the Navy a way to gauge how well the F-35 “integrates with the ship, how it interoperates with communications, data links, other aircraft, and then how we conduct the mission and tie into the other aircraft that are conducting that mission and how effective they are when they do it,” Rear Adm. Dale Horan, director of Joint Strike Fighter Fleet Integration for the Navy, explained to reporters during a media event last week aboard Lincoln.

The F-35Cs operating on Lincoln were from VFA-125, a fleet replacement squadron, and VFA-147, an operational squadron. Both are based out of Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif.

Navy expects to achieve initial operational capability (IOC) for the F-35C in February 2019. Before achieving IOC, though, the F-35C has to conduct a formal initial operational test and evaluation event at sea, which is expected to occur in the fall. The Navy will also have to show it can man, train, equip and operate 10 F-35Cs at sea, along with establishing an appropriate support network to supply parts and personnel, ahead of declaring IOC.

https://news.usni.org/2018/09/04/f-35c-damaged-36249

The above is some rationale factual reporting but I am sure the irrational will emerge shortly...
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Sep 05, 2018 2:55 am

angad84 wrote:
checksixx wrote:
Ozair wrote:
The F-35 has no HUD so if you turn off the helmet you lose altitude, speed, bearing, AoA etc.


You are correct it has no HUD, but 100% incorrect about the rest. ALL of that data can be displayed on the screens along with the attitude indicator in the cockpit.

He obviously meant you lose that information while flying 'head up'... You have all that data available head down even when the HUD/HMS is working.


Nah...obvious would have been saying the helmet would just go dark. The implication was that since there was no HUD, and without the data displayed on the visor, you wouldn't have any of that data available to you. That was clearly the point, and clearly wrong.
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Sep 05, 2018 2:57 am

Ozair wrote:
The above is some rationale factual reporting but I am sure the irrational will emerge shortly...


Agreed. Waiting to see "Navy's F-35 can't refuel in mid-air..." in the headlines.
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Sep 05, 2018 3:21 am

Interesting comments on the agility of the development team and the frequency that they can push out updates and additional capability. NG clearly also understands they will need to remain competitive else the radar could be put up for recompete as happened with EODAS.

F-35 AESA: The Most Advanced Jet’s Biggest Antenna

Active electronically scanned arrays (AESA) date back more than 20 years, but the F-35’s Northrop Grumman-built AN-APG-81 AESA is unlike any of its predecessors.

The AESA is "the biggest antenna on any airplane, so it gathers the most data,” said Dan Dixon, Northrop Grumman’s director of F-35 development planning. The electronically scanned nature of the AESA allows it to quickly scan any direction, compared to a mechanically scanned radar, whose range is constrained by the direction it is facing and how quickly its motors can turn it.

The AESA can also harvest information from all over the electromagnetic spectrum, so there is a lot coming in. Digesting all that data requires a lot of processing power, which is where technological advancement in recent years has been key. On a jet like the F-35, the system needs to be able to correlate what it’s receiving with other electronic warfare systems and radar information to provide a holistic picture.

Dixon said the feedback that Northrop gets from pilots about the fused information package they ultimately receive is positive, and the military is pleased with the ripple effect of increased situational awareness for the entire fleet. He said, however, that there’s more work to do on that front, determining who gets what information through multifunction advanced datalink and Link 16.

“It’s basically the internet of the sky for all U.S. and coalition partners,” Dixon said. “You would have had to do that with your voice in the past … It’s a mix of who gets what, but I have the opportunity to choose the richness of the data that gets exchanged. I think that’s probably the game-changer at that point.”

Dixon said that the Northrop team “is spiraling capability every week” in a way that “commercial folk would find compelling.” He said that software and apps are being updated on a weekly basis, and that the platform is agile in a way belied by stories of decade-long processes for follow-on modernization to complete a goal.

He said the testing and verification process and a desire by operators to have a stable baseline for a couple of years to unify training prevents the major updates from happening as fast as they could from a developmental standpoint.
“Even though behind the scenes you’re brewing up additional capabilities for the next drop,” Dixon said, “about every two years seems to be what the warfighter is requesting. It’s perceived stability and operational performance.”

The biggest challenge in the past for Northrop and a major focus going forward, as with the JSF in general, is on affordability.
“Joint Program Office is under a lot of pressure to work affordability initiatives in, and we get it. That’s all recompete-driven, so the enterprise gets it, too,” Dixon said. “Nobody’s above reproach. We treat it that way. We’re always looking for affordability features; We’ve come down 30-40% since we started making the radar.

"…We’ve spent as much time finding ways to produce our system more affordably as we do in finding technical upgrades, which is important for the enterprise. We’ve all adjusted, I think, and there are other competitors out there who sure would like to be a part of a 3,000-aircraft buy, no matter when you cut in.”

https://www.aviationtoday.com/2018/09/0 ... est-radar/
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Sep 05, 2018 9:55 pm

A long article that The National Interest picked up from War is Boring. If you want an example of how to completely ignore factual evidence, gloss over or blatantly ignore the capabilities of the F-35 while highlighting the deficiencies of previous generation aircraft and claiming the F-35 retains those deficiencies then this is the article for you...

Is the F-35 Really Just Another F-4 Phantom?

Under these circumstances, an F-35 patrolling, say, a no-fly zone might have to approach closer to a hostile aircraft and expose itself to detection and sacrifice its stealth advantage. A faster and more maneuverable fourth-generation jet like an F-15 or Rafale would seem preferable in such a scenario. Of course, that limitation could be solved simply by employing older fourth-generation jets for such air superiority roles, while reserving the F-35s for the deep-penetrating strike roles and intelligence-gathering roles they are optimized for.
Conventional wisdom can offer contradictory insights. Are we doomed to forget the past, and thus condemned to repeat it? Or are we always preparing to fight the last war while failing to think ahead about how the next one will be fought?

From the standpoint of military strategy, it is at once important to learn from operational experience, without blindly assuming that future conflicts will playout in the same fashion. This brings us to the controversial, thousands of which are set to enter wide-scale service in the three warfighting branches of the U.S. military and at least nine other countries.
...

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/ ... ntom-30547
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Sep 06, 2018 1:21 am

This is the first photo I have seen of two AIM-120s in one bay.

British-armed F-35B Lightning jet takes to the skies

Britain’s new stealth fighter jet, the F-35B Lightning, has carried out its first trials armed with UK-built weapons, showcasing the major role that the UK plays in the supersonic aircraft and bringing it a step closer to operations on the frontline.

Defence Minister Stuart Andrew revealed that a British F-35 Lightning jet reached the landmark milestone whilst he was on a visit to the Defence Electronics and Components Agency (DECA) in Wales.

The Welsh site is set to become a global repair hub for the cutting-edge aircraft, providing crucial maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade services for F-35 avionics, electronic and electrical components, fuel, mechanical and hydraulic systems.

The jet, which was flown by a British pilot from RAF 17 Squadron, took to the skies from Edwards Air Force base in southern California for the momentous flight carrying ASRAAM air-to-air missiles.

Defence Minister Stuart Andrew said:
The F-35 Lightning fleet has moved another step closer to defending the skies and supporting our illustrious aircraft carriers with this landmark flight. Exceptional engineering from the UK is not only helping to build what is the world’s most advanced fighter jet, but is also ensuring that it is equipped with the very best firepower.

This flight by a British pilot, in a British F-35 jet with British-built weapons is a symbol of the major part we are playing in what is the world’s biggest ever defence programme, delivering billions for our economy and a game-changing capability for our Armed Forces."

The trials were the first-time UK weapons have flown on a British F-35, and represent a key part of the work-up towards Initial Operating Capability in December.

The ASRAAM missiles, built by MBDA in Bolton, are just some of the essential parts the UK is supplying the F-35 programme. ASRAAM stands for ‘Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile’. The missiles will enable pilots to engage and defend themselves against other aircraft ranging in size from large multi-engine aircraft to small drones.

British companies are building 15% by value of all 3,000 F-35s planned for production. It is projected that around £35 billion will be contributed to the UK economy through the programme, with around 25,000 British jobs also being supported.

The F-35B Lightning multi-role fighter jet is the first to combine radar evading stealth technology with supersonic speeds and short take-off and vertical landing capability.

The fighter jets will be jointly manned by the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy and can operate from land and sea, forming a vital part of Carrier Strike when operating from the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers.

617 Squadron, based at RAF Marham, will carry out their own weaponry flights in the next few months.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/brit ... -the-skies

Image

Image
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:28 pm

A very interesting career path for Gina and wish her all the best in charge of the 419th.

Air Force Reserve’s first female F-35 pilot

Before she climbed into the world’s most advanced fighter jet to become the Air Force Reserve’s first female F-35 pilot, Col. Gina “Torch” Sabric had already flown 10 airframes and racked up 22 years of flying experience.

“My family can tell you I’ve wanted to be a fighter pilot forever,” said Sabric, the first female commander of the 419th Fighter Wing at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. “I’ve always been fascinated with air and space.”

Service is in her DNA. Growing up in Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania, her mother was a nurse and her father a police officer, and she had several uncles who served in the Air Force. But it was a trip to a local airshow, that turned her aviation dream into a tangible goal.

“My dad was a private pilot, so he took me to an airshow when I was a little girl, and I remember looking up at those airplanes and being amazed,” Sabric said. “Ever since then, I knew I was going to be a pilot.”

Twice in her teens she went to U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala. A few years later, she had followed in her dad’s footsteps, earning a private pilot’s license while studying aerospace engineering at Penn State. By 1995, Sabric was ready to join the Air Force and had no doubts she’d be wearing a flight suit.

“If you really want something, you work your hardest to get it.”

Sabric proved herself as the top graduate from navigator training, launching her career first as an F-15E Strike Eagle weapons system officer and later as a distinguished graduate from pilot training into the F-16 Fighting Falcon. Add to that the MQ-9 Reaper, a remotely piloted aircraft, and the T-38 Talon, which she flew as “red air,” or simulated enemy against F-22 Raptors. Most recently, she flew special operations missions in the C-146A Wolfhound out of Duke Field, Florida.

“I don’t have the typical flying career,” Sabric said of the multiple airframes she’s flown. “I’ve had the opportunity to bounce around with different aircraft and mission sets. I think it’s made me a better pilot because I’ve had the opportunity to experience so much outside the fighter world.”

Her career is different in other ways, too. Sabric said she’s grown accustomed to answering questions about being a woman in the fighter world – one that, until 1993 when Jeannie Leavitt became the Air Force’s first female fighter pilot, was dominated by men.

“In the nineties, women were just getting into fighters,” Sabric said. “Back then, you were either the only girl in pilot training, or just one of two. But once you prove yourself in the cockpit, gender doesn’t matter anymore. A fighter pilot is a fighter pilot and everyone has to do the same job.”

Sabric said a lot has changed in the past 20 years. She doesn’t feel like “the token girl” in the squadron. She has more than 2,500 flying hours, including time in combat, and has deployed numerous times in support of Operations Allied Force, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, and Noble Eagle.

“It’s great to know that today there are little girls, like me, who look up and see fighter jets and say, ‘I can do that.’”

Sabric said she loves talking to school groups and touting some of the ways both men and women can serve in the Air Force Reserve.

“When you take off the helmet and the long hair comes out, that’s a good thing for girls to see,” Sabric said. “I remember when I was a lieutenant, we brought a group of Girl Scouts to the F-15E simulator. That was really eye-opening to me because it was a moment when I realized how far we’ve come. We were able to show these girls what opportunities were open to them that weren’t just a few years earlier.”

Still, there’s only a small number of women fighter pilots in the Air Force, and only three others – all active duty – in the F-35 community.

Sabric said the birth of her son, Tyler, in 2011 was the deciding factor in leaving active duty for the Air Force Reserve, as it offered more flexibility in how and where she served.

“The Reserve provides an opportunity to serve either part time or full time when it works for you and your family,” she said. “It’s unique because everyone is here by choice. About two-thirds of our Airmen serve part time, and they do a phenomenal job of balancing work – both military and civilian – and family, because they want to serve in some capacity.”

Earlier this year, the Reserve brought Sabric, a single mom, to Hill AFB in Northern Utah, where less than three years earlier the 419th FW and its active duty counterpart, the 388th FW, received the Air Force’s first operational F-35A Lightning II. Since then, the two wings have flown the F-35 in a “Total Force” partnership, launching more than 9,000 sorties and logging nearly 15,000 hours in the jet.

“When I was told I got this job, a huge smile came across my face and I thought, ‘Wow, I just got the golden ticket,’” Sabric said. “It’s an amazing opportunity to be a fighter pilot and fly the latest fifth-generation aircraft at an operational wing. It doesn’t get any better.”

Sabric became fully qualified in the F-35 in August, having finished two months of training at Eglin AFB, Fla., and additional flying hours at Hill.

“I’m still new in the airplane,” Sabric said. “Every sortie you learn something new, so as I continue to fly I’ll continue to learn. What the F-35 brings to the fight now, it’s lightyears beyond fourth-gen aircraft.”

Aside from the stealth technology that keeps the F-35 virtually invisible to radar, Sabric said the most impressive aspect of the jet is its “sensor fusion” – the vast wealth of information it collects and sends that can be shared with other aircraft, giving pilots a bigger picture of the battlespace.

“Learning the F-35 is a challenge, and it’s a lot of new information to process and interpret,” Sabric said. But her diverse flying experience prepared her to make yet another switch. “Luckily, it’s still stick and rudder, and flying is flying.”

Sabric looks forward to helping the F-35 reach full operational capability at Hill. By 2019, the base will be home to 78 jets and four fighter squadrons capable of worldwide deployment. It’s a responsibility and privilege she couldn’t have imagined as a girl growing up in Tobyhanna.

“Sitting in this seat for the 419th, surrounded by these beautiful mountains, flying the premier fighter of the Air Force – I could not be happier to be where I am right now.”

https://www.afrc.af.mil/News/Article-Di ... -35-pilot/
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sat Sep 08, 2018 1:04 am

Norwegian industrial participation in the F-35 Programme:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oei0XxTruS4&t=8s
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Sep 09, 2018 9:42 pm

Really interesting overview of the development program and some great insights into some of the challanges faced by the program.

How F-35 Experience Could Reduce Hurdles To Developing Fighters

For designers of the next wave of combat aircraft, experience developing fifth-generation fighters looms large. And as the Lockheed Martin F-35 moves from prolonged development into operational testing and follow-on modernization, debate centers on how to avoid repeating the program’s many challenging issues.

When Lockheed Martin won the $19 billion contract in 2001, the F-35 system development and demonstration (SDD) time line was pegged at an aggressive 126 months. After three program replans, it now totals 213 months and $34 billion. And while development flight-testing was completed in April, follow-on work first must address deficiencies carried over from SDD.
- Fundamental F-35 program assumptions drove the challenges faced in development
- Testing required almost twice the planned flight volume
- Regression testing of software fixes became the major driver

Seeds of the F-35’s challenges were sown early. Combining differing service requirements into a single three-variant fighter, to be developed concurrently with rapidly accelerating production, was the Pentagon’s response to deep post-Cold War budget cuts. Demands for design commonality, capability blocks and rapid assembly were among the challenges baked in from the outset.

With the conventional-takeoff-and-landing F-35A and short-takeoff-and-landing (STOVL) F-35B already operational and F-35C carrier variant expected to follow by February 2019, program officials provided a “deep dive” into the engineering effort behind SDD at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ Aviation 2018 conference in Atlanta in June.

The F-35 is a small aircraft, and densely packed. The A is only 2 ft. longer than an F-16C, but at 29,300 lb. its empty weight is almost 45% greater—and that is before all 18,250 lb. of its mission fuel is stored internally. The B and C are heavier. At 70,000 lb., the F-35’s maximum takeoff weight is almost 50% heavier than the latest F-16’s.

After award of the SDD contract, plans quickly unraveled, and the culprit was weight. Initial weight estimates used parametric tools developed by Lockheed based on past designs, adjusted to account for the F-35’s unique features. As detail design progressed, bottom-up weights based on build-to packages became available. They were heavier than projected.

It was evident that design optimization was not going to close the roughly 4,800-lb. gap between over-optimistic estimates and actual weights. Most affected was the weight-critical F-35B. “By the end of 2003, it was clear the B would fail to have any real STOVL capability,” says Arthur Sheridan, then-Lockheed’s STOVL chief engineer, now program management principal for F-35 customer programs.

The reason was that past aircraft on which the parametric models were based were optimized designs. The F-35 could not reach that degree of optimization because of fundamental design features. Internal weapons bays and quick-mate assembly joints prevented optimum structural load paths. Limited space, particularly around the lift fan, bays and engine, prevented optimum routing of wires, pipes and ducts.

The result was 2004’s seven-month STOVL Weight Attack Team (SWAT) effort by 550 engineers worldwide to fundamentally redesign the F-35. More than 600 changes were made to reduce weight by 2,600 lb. and improve thrust by 700 lb., while another 745 lb. was found by revising the requirements’ ground rules.

Changes affected all three variants. Cross-sectional area was increased to improve structural load paths and internal equipment volume, but at the expense of supersonic performance. Quick-mate joints were replaced with conventional integrated-mate joints, reducing weight but almost doubling the final-assembly timespan. The SWAT effort saved the STOVL F-35 and improved all three variants.

Removing weight was not enough; it had to stay off. After the SWAT, Lockheed adopted a 3% weight-growth curve, compared to an industry-standard 6-8%. Initially met with skepticism, the discipline paid off: When formally weighed for contract compliance, all three variants came in below their not-to-exceed targets. “Today, aircraft are routinely delivered below weight,” says Sheridan.

Weight-shaving has consequences. The main wing carry-through bulkhead that failed early in F-35B durability testing was made of aluminum, to reduce weight. Titanium bulkheads in the A and C were unaffected. The bulkhead crack was one of several factors that sparked the F-35B’s next existential crisis, in 2011, when the Pentagon imposed a two-year probation and threat of cancellation on the STOVL variant.

The main reason was poor reliability of the STOVL propulsion system, notably vibration of the auxiliary air inlet doors, clutch overheating, driveshaft expansion and overheating of the roll-post actuators. Fixes were developed, probation was lifted after a year, and ultimately the doors, clutch plates, driveshaft axial flex couplings and actuators were redesigned.

Today, the B exceeds its two unique key performance parameters, says F-35 test pilot Dan Levin. The aircraft beats its short-takeoff performance target by 20% and vertical-landing bring-back by more than 7%, he says, although the Pentagon’s 2018 Selected Acquisition Report notes both requirements were reduced from original levels.

The SWAT reduced commonality between variants. One weight-saving change was to F-35B weapon bays that accommodate a 1,000-lb. munition, not the 2,000-lb. weapon in the A and C. The bays are different, but the non-pyrotechnic suspension and release equipment, stores management system and external wing stations are essentially common.

The bays posed a major design challenge because, to minimize cross-sectional area, they house not only weapons, but also aircraft systems. This required definition of—and strict adherence to—stay-out zones to prevent conflicts caused by weapon deflection and separation. The team even combined all of the weapon envelopes to create a “Blob of Bombs” fit-check tool to ensure the cluttered bay is conflict-free.

To save weight, the F-35 has relatively shallow bays with roof-mounted air-to-ground munitions and door-mounted air-to-air missiles. Angling the air-to-ground weapons nose-inboard helped the bays fit into the fuselage, says Doug Hayward, who led weapons integration and is now director of F-35 systems engineering.

Wind-tunnel tests showed shallow bays would avoid the weight of acoustic-suppression devices, but there are concerns about the life of some weapons in the bay environment. “In a couple of places we exceed specification limits, so we have to requalify [the weapons] to the F-35 bay,” he says. There are also concerns with high bay temperatures, operational testers report.

To save weight, the F-35B’s gun is in an underfuselage pod carried only if required for the mission. The F-35C uses a similar “missionized” gun, while the F-35A houses the four-barrel gun internally. The 25-mm GAU-22 is optimized for air-to-ground firing, and operational testers report accuracy issues with the internal gun. “Podded gun dispersion is better than internal,” says Hayward.

Weight can be blamed indirectly for other program challenges. Eliminating the headup display (HUD) to save weight and make room for a touch-screen panoramic cockpit display model made the helmet-mounted display (HMD) the primary flight instrument. Fighters that have followed the F-35’s large-display lead have retained low-profile HUDs, to avoiding making the helmet flight-critical.

The HMD technology was immature. Performance issues included night-vision acuity, tracking alignment, imagery latency, symbology jitter and “green glow.” It took several redesigns to resolve the issues, and the result was a heavier helmet that created another problem: greater risk of neck injury on ejection for light pilots. This has led to development of the Gen III Lite helmet and addition of a head-support panel and lightweight-pilot switch for the Mk16E ejection seat.

The F-35 is the first production aircraft to use a flight-control law known as nonlinear dynamic inversion (NDI). Conventional control laws use a series of linear controllers, or gain schedules, that cover the flight envelope. But designers wanted a single control law for all three F-35 variants, extending from highly nonlinear high-angle-of-attack (AOA) flight down to the STOVL transition from aerodynamic to propulsive controls. Mapping gains through such a wide envelope would have been complex and labor-intensive.
“There are key aerodynamic differences between the variants, but we wanted to design a control law that would deliver Level 1 flying qualities throughout the flight envelope for all three aircraft,” says Jeff Harris, senior manager for F-35 control-law design. “There is one OFP [operational flight program] on all the aircraft, so everything needs to fit into that.”

Instead of gain-tuning, NDI uses an onboard aerodynamic model of the aircraft. In response to pilot inputs, the model produces desired accelerations that are translated into surface commands. “The model is doing two things: looking at control effector position and predicting pitch, roll and yaw acceleration in the next 1/80th-sec. OFP cycle; and computing effector control power around the current position,” says F-35 test pilot Dan Canin.

NDI provides the flexibility to redistribute control power to other effectors when a surface hits a rate or position limit, fails or is damaged. A conventional control mixer that blends the surfaces based on computed gains has limited ability to handle failures, says Harris. But NDI control allocation requires accurate aerodynamic models of the different variants. Early F-35 flight-testing identified some modeling errors, including the impact on directional stability of opening all the STOVL doors.

All three variants had issues with abrupt wing stall and roll-off in transonic maneuvers—a problem that affects other fighter designs. The rapidly changing aerodynamics as shocks migrate across the aircraft are difficult to model, so the control laws were augmented outside the basic NDI to achieve adequate handling qualities. The same technique was used at high AOA.

Requirements call for maneuverability “on par with any fourth-generation fighter,” says Canin, “which is an achievement for an aircraft with an outer mold line driven by other requirements.” The F-35 has to be able to use all the maneuverability it has. The program office called for air-to-air tracking up to stall AOA, or alpha, followed by predictable and controllable post-stall handling. “The aircraft has to be departure-resistant in any normal tactical maneuver and recover with minimal pilot input,” he says.

“At high AOA, the [aerodynamic] model is very challenging to build, so there is some augmentation outside the model to correct for errors,” says Canin, adding: “High-alpha control is all about allocation of horizontal tail power for yaw and pitch.”
Tests involved about 100 flights per variant, attacking the 50-deg. AOA limiter to force departure and demonstrate recovery. “It always did,” he says. “The aircraft is extremely departure resistant.”

The F-35 can enter deep stall, but recovery is automatic and not initiated manually as in the F-16, the control system sensing and pitch-rocking the aircraft out of the stall. “Unlike the F-16, the F-35 does not have an inverted deep stall,” says Canin.
The F-35 is the first fighter with power-by-wire flight controls. Electro-hydrostatic actuators (EHAS) are key parts of an integrated, more electric systems architecture designed to save weight and space, but which led to development challenges. The EHAS, for example, were originally highly common, but became unique for each variant. Issues including thermal management and regenerative power from airloads pushing back on control surfaces were particularly severe in the carrier variant.

Carrier suitability drove several design differences in the F-35C, including bigger wing and tails for lower approach speed, the addition of ailerons for improved roll control, beefier landing gear and tailhook. It also created unique challenges. First was the tailhook, which missed the arrestor wire in initial testing. When the wheels rolled over the wire, they created a transverse “kink” wave that pressed the wire against the deck as the hook arrived. The hook point was too blunt to scoop the wire, and the hold-down damper too weak to stop it from skipping.

Commonality, weight and stealth all played roles here. Fuselage length was minimized to save weight. “We wanted to keep it as short as possible, as aircraft weigh 600-700 lb./ft.,” says Mark Counts, who led configuration design and is now senior manager of Lockheed’s F-35 engineering project office. And while the F-35B’s shaft-driven lift fan allowed the engine to be mounted aft in all three variants, not centrally as in the Harrier, it is still farther forward than in the F-16.

Combined with the need for stealthy stowage, this placed the tailhook much closer to the main wheels than on other carrier aircraft—7.1 ft. versus 18.2 ft. on the F/A-18E/F. The wire did not have time to bounce back. An 18-month effort led by Northrop Grumman redesigned the tailhook with a sharper hook point, strengthened Y-frame and shank, and increased hold-down force. When tests resumed in December 2013, the F-35 could catch the wire.

Another issue was vertical oscillations during catapult launch, violently jarring the pilot. When hooked to the catapult shuttle, the nose-gear strut is compressed to store energy that is released on leaving the catapult to pitch the aircraft nose-up. The fix is to reduce strut compression and for pilots to tighten their lap belts, says F-35 test pilot Tony Wilson.

A third issue affecting only the F-35C involved structural loads with AIM-9X missiles on stealthy external pylons outboard of the wing fold. These loads exceed design limits during high-AOA buffeting and landing, and more robust outer wing sections are being developed.

On approach to the carrier, the F-35C uses integrated direct lift control (IDLC). This rapidly deflects the wing trailing-edge flaps and ailerons to provide a “heave” response to pilot input that improves flight-path control, says Wilson. IDLC is also part of Delta Flight Path mode, in which the aircraft automatically captures and maintains the desired glideslope, reducing pilot workload. “Delta Flight Path is a game changer,” says Wilson, adding it also was instrumental in allowing the team to efficiently complete loads tests that made up most of carrier suitability evaluations.

Development of the F-35 required substantially more flight-testing than planned. The last SDD flight in April was the program’s 9,235th—almost twice the originally planned 5,000 flights, a number dictated to both competitors because of the government costs involved in testing. “The JPO did not want flight test to be a discriminator on cost,” says J.D. McFarlan, Lockheed’s vice president of F-35 test and verification.

The test program later was increased to 7,700 flights. “It turned out to be about 1,500 more,” McFarlan says. Flight-sciences testing only required “a couple of hundred” more: The F-35A came in at 1,700 flights as planned, while the B—at 2,500—“took a couple of hundred more flights because of challenges with all the doors. The C testing did not grow too much, but saw a significant pause with the tailhook redesign.”

But mission-systems testing “took about 1,200 more flights than planned,” says McFarlan. This was driven by regression testing. “Every time we changed the software to make a fix, we had to make sure we had not messed anything up.”
Software originally was planned to be released in blocks, but issues ranging from capability to stability led to the blocks overlapping.
Block 3i, the limited combat capability with which the U.S. Air Force declared the F-35A operational in August 2016, rehosted onto new hardware the Block 2B software with which the U.S. Marine Corps had declared the F-35B operational a year earlier. “The entire Block 3i program was all regression, no new capability, and took 500 flights. We had no idea it would take that much,” he says.
For Block 3F, the full SDD warfighting capability, the team switched tactics to rapidly fielding fixes for critical deficiencies, including to sensor fusion, releasing more than 30 versions of the software. “We had a lot more software drops than planned,” says McFarlan, adding: “Fusion is a challenge.”

At its core, the mission system fuses and shares data from onboard sensors and offboard sources—radar for multitarget tracking, electronic warfare for passive emitter geolocation, distributed aperture system for missile warning and infrared search-and-track, the electro-optical targeting system and data links.

Traditionally, fusion involves combining the data from multiple systems and building a blended track based on the best features of each sensor. The F-35 uses closed-loop sensor fusion. “The system decides what it needs to know and tasks the sensors to get what is missing,” says Thomas Frey, Lockheed’s F-35 information fusion chief scientist. And instead of sensor tracks, the fusion is based on sensor measurements.

Measurement-based fusion increases track accuracy and enables cooperative sensing across aircraft, says Frey. Autonomous sensor management provides the information needed for each track based on priority. When targets cross boundaries around the aircraft, the system tries to bring each track to a set content—or quality—needed to enable the pilot to make decisions. Evidence-based combat identification displays an identity for each track plus a confidence level, allowing better decisions, he explains.

Pratt & Whitney’s F135 engine performed “quite well” during development, says McFarlan, although turbine-blade failures in ground test and the inflight uncontained failure of a fan integrally bladed rotor interrupted testing. Reliability of the Pratt engine became critical to flight-testing after development of the General Electric/Rolls-Royce F136 alternate powerplant was canceled in 2011 without more F135s being added to the program.

With completion of SDD, the program is moving into follow-on modernization. This is an almost $11 billion development effort, planned as a more agile, incremental process involving software updates and hardware upgrades at six-month intervals. “Over the next 10 years, we will introduce approximately 60 new capabilities,” says Jeff Babione, who became vice president and general manager of Lockheed’s Skunk Works in March after heading the F-35 program.

The F-35 is not clear of the undergrowth. Operational testers have yet to evaluate the aircraft but, based on criticism of its capability, reliability and supportability by the Pentagon’s director of operational test and evaluation, they may find fault with the F-35’s operational suitability and effectiveness at this stage.

Key assumptions that shaped the F-35 program proved unrealistic, particularly the ability to streamline development. “We can’t stand to take 20 years again,” says Babione, looking ahead to sixth-generation aircraft. “We are just starting operational test and evaluation after 10 years of development testing. We have to expect to field with less actual tests.”

http://now.eloqua.com/es.asp?s=96691307 ... Id=13994#1
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:23 pm

A few interesting points, the first that sustainment continues to be a focus and I expect there will be a new revision on the long term sustainment cost at some point. The second interesting thing is Turkey was included in the discussions and clearly they remain an active part of both the industrial and the military components of the program. Finally having 550 F-35s in Europe by 2034 is a significant number!

European F-35 fighter jet users push to drive down operating costs

The U.S. military and European operators of the radar-evading F-35 fighter jet have agreed to work together more closely to help lower the cost of operating the new warplanes as growing numbers arrive in Europe, officials said.
Operating costs were a big issue when senior military officials from the United States, Israel and F-35 user nations in Europe - Britain, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Turkey, the Netherlands - met in Germany last week, they said.

"We discussed the importance of ensuring that future costs - specifically for sustainment - are kept to a minimum so that we don't have to cut into future purchases," U.S. Air Force Colonel Leslie Hauck, who heads the fifth generation integration office at the U.S. Air Force headquarters in Europe, told Reuters. U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff General David Goldfein this year launched a big push to drive down the cost of flying and servicing the Lockheed Martin Corp jets to the same levels as current fighters without stealth capabilities.

Experts say the Air Force - the biggest buyer of the F-35 - could cut back its planned purchase of 1,763 aircraft unless it can lower the cost of flying the world's most advanced fighter aircraft.
The latest Pentagon selected acquisition report on the program put the cost per flying hour of the F-35 at around US$30,000 per flying hour in 2012 dollars, compared to around US$25,500 per hour for an older-generation F-16 fighter. Fuel cost changes could boost that sum in inflation-adjusted dollars.

The cost of buying new jets has come down and is expected to reach US$80 million per aircraft by 2020, but more work is needed to reduce the cost of operating the jets, Hauck said. He said the Air Force wanted to cut the operating cost by 38 percent. He said air chiefs from the user nations discussed the issue at the Royal International Air Tattoo, the world's largest military air show, in England in July, and it would be a key focal point during a working-group meeting in November.

The Pentagon's F-35 program office last week said it would compile and distribute information from users about maintenance procedures, staffing requirements and other key metrics.
"There are things that we can do with our group. But there's not a good mechanism now to share the lessons learned," Hauck said, noting that his office was also reaching out to F-35 users in Asia - Japan, Australia and South Korea - for their input.

Together the allies will have some 64 F-35s in Europe by 2019 and 550 by 2034, General Tod Wolters, the head of U.S. and NATO air forces in Europe, told officials at last week's meeting. The first U.S. F-35s are set to arrive in 2021.

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/bu ... s-10703506
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:44 pm

I didn't realise the Essex group was moving deployin that far afield. Sad news about Cpl Currier as well.

Marine F-35Bs with the 13th MEU enter Middle East for first time

F-35Bs embarked with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, or MEU, have recently just entered the U.S. Central Command area of operations for the first time. According to a photo uploaded by the Marine Corps showing the F-35B, the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship Essex entered the 5th fleet area of operations. The U.S. 5th Fleet is responsible for the Red Sea, Persian Gulf and parts of the Indian Ocean, and is a component command of CENTCOM.

The 13th MEU’s entrance into the CENTCOM arena heralds the first time the F-35B has entered the volatile Middle East arena and puts the high-tech aircraft closer to the fight against possible ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria, or as a counter to sophisticated Russian and Syrian air defense systems in Syria. But the 13th MEU’s F-35s are not going to be dropping ordnance on targets in the Middle East just yet.

The 13th MEU is slated to kick of a two-week Theater Amphibious Combat Rehearsal, or TACR, off the coast of Djibouti on Sept. 8, according to a command release.

About 4,500 Marines and sailors will participate in the maritime exercise that will include simulated air defense training, mine countermeasure training, quick-reaction force drills, deck landing qualifications, and at-sea ship interdictions, according to a command release. “TACR allows us to demonstrate the enhanced capabilities and tactical lethality that embarked F-35Bs on an ARG bring to the region,” Col. Chandler Nelms, the 13th MEU commander, said in a commander release.

Marines assigned to the MEU recently just wrapped up the 24th iteration of the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training exercise in Malaysia and a theatre security cooperation training evolution in Sri Lanka.
But not everything has been smooth sailing for the MEU.

On August 9, Cpl. Jonathan Currier was reported overboard from the Essex off the coast of the Philippines, which set of a massive five-day international search and rescue effort. The corporal was never found and later pronounced dead by 13th MEU officials.

The deployment of the F-35B aboard the 13th MEU is also the first time the F-35 has been deployed on ship from the continental United States.

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

Tue Sep 11, 2018 1:15 am

Will be interesting to see where Israel goes re more F-35As or new F-15s. I think more F-35As are a foregone conclusion given they will eventually replace the F-16 fleet but how much of the F-15 fleet stays past 2030 is the question.

Not sure which way they will go with CH-47 or CH-53K.

Israel Keeps Eyes On F-35Bs; Lockheed-Boeing Battle It Out For Fighters, Choppers

Until last week there was a shadow war, fought behind closed doors, mainly in the highly guarded complex of the Israeli Defense Ministry and the Israeli Air Force headquarters in Tel Aviv. And in some newspapers. But now the war has gone public and the big guns could be heard all over Israel’s national security establishment when one of the opponents sent a high level delegation to Israel.

The war is between Lockheed Martin and Boeing. The battles are between F-35’s or advanced F-15’s, and between the CH-53K and the CH-47 Chinook.

The proposed deal to purchase additional F-15 for the Israeli airforce ( IAF)  includes the upgrade of the existing F-15I. The deal may have a total price of almost $4 billion for 25 F-15Is. This version has an airframe with an extended life span and large area display cockpit.
A high-ranking Lockheed Martin delegation met in recent days with the top figures in the Israeli Defense Ministry and Air Force headquarters.

The Lockheed Martin delegation was headed by Orlando Carvalho, the outgoing head of Lockheed’s crucial aeronautics division. He was accompanied by Michele Evans, who will succeed him.

Caravalho said F-35A’s that will be ordered starting in 2020 will carry a price tag of $80 million. And he confirmed that the IAF still has “an interest” in the F-35B , the STOVL version.

About the heavy helicopters the IAF wants to acquire to replace its aging CH-53’s, he said that the CH-53K’s may be more expensive, “But the Israeli airforce always wants leading edge technology and our product, the CH-53K, is simply that. We supplied all the needed information to all the relevant parties and we expect a decision in three to six months.”

So far, Lockheed has delivered 12 F-35 Adirs and three more will be delivered this year. “The IAF is conducting its own F-35 pilot training at Nevatim Air Base – the first F-35 customer outside the U.S. to stand up its own in-country training capability.”

The Lockheed delegation’s visit and talks with the top people in the ministry of defense and IAF kept the lights on in the Boeing office here until late in the evening. Officially, Boeing will not react to the Lockheed Martin visit, but there is no doubt that the Chicago-based company is readying counter arguments.

In recent deliberations within the IAF’s high command , the leading direction was clear: buy more F-15’s while delaying the purchase of a third F-35 squadron.

The rationale behind this is that, while the F-35 performs best when its stealth characteristics are essential, the need in later phases of combat is for other aircraft with advanced avionics that can operate in conjunction with the F-35 and carry heavy weapons loads.

https://breakingdefense.com/2018/09/isr ... -choppers/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:16 pm

A couple of months delay likely due to the current software version of Blk 3F not having updated Air to Air Range Infrastructure support to handle the testing ranges required.

F-35 operational testing delayed until latest software delivers

The F-35 fighter jet was slated to fly into operational testing this month, but that entry date will be pushed back a couple months as the Pentagon’s independent weapons tester waits for the latest software to be delivered.

Robert Behler, the Pentagon’s director of operational test and evaluation, has delayed the start of the F-35’s initial operational test and evaluation, or IOT&E, until his office gets the newest software release — a version of the jet’s 3F software known as 30R02 — according to an Aug. 24 memorandum obtained by the Project on Government Oversight.

Earlier this year, the DOT&E office began some testing of the F-35 prior to the official start of IOT&E using the stealth fighter’s 30R00 software, which is currently operational on the newest Joint Strike Fighters.

That version was sufficient for those initial tests, which involved two-ship missions taking on low-end threats, Behler stated.
“Software version 30R02, which is fielding in the next two months, provides the latest instantiation of operationally relevant and production representative aircraft software that will better support the required testing to adequately address the remaining mission areas,” including air interdiction, offensive counter air, suppression of enemy air defenses and electronic attack, according to Behler.

If the software is delivered by October, as Behler seems to predict in his memo, IOT&E could potentially start around the November time frame. The Pentagon is expected to make a decision on whether to move the F-35 into full-rate production by October 2019, the Government Accountability Office wrote in a June 2018 report.

Behler goes on to say that the 30R00 contains deficiencies with regard to the Air-to-Air Range Infrastructure system — which allows for range-based testing and training — that are fixed in 30R02.

“AARI must be functioning adequately to ensure test results are accurate, understandable and defensible. Changing AARI software versions in the midst of IOT&E could potentially result in inconsistencies in data collection and affect the validity and adequacy of the test and evaluation," Behler noted.

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2018/09 ... -delivers/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:06 am

RAAF’s new F-35 Lightning aircraft set to make cameo at Pitch Black 2020

The new F-35 Lightning aircraft weren’t in Australia in time for Pitch Black 2018, but they are likely to make an appearance next time at Pitch Black 2020, showcasing RAAF progress to becoming a true fifth-generation air force.

The first two F-35s arrive in Australia in December and they’ll be followed by eight more next year.

 Pitch Black, the RAAF premier multinational training exercise, was held from late July to mid-August in the Top End dry season.
Personnel from 16 nations participated, with more than 130 aircraft from nine nations taking part in a series of complex exercises.

It featured a number of firsts, including participation of the RAAF’s F/A-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft.

Air Commander Australia Air Vice Marshal Zed Roberton said F-35 was well and truly on track to enter RAAF service.
“The next Pitch Black will most likely involve F-35 for the first time, bringing a level of complexity and new generation technology that is hard to replicate around the world,” he told reporters during the exercise.

Air Commodore Mike Kitcher told reporters, “They (F-35) may participate in a very small way in Pitch Black 20 but by Pitch Black 22 they will be participating definitely.”

Australia’s first F-35s have been a long time coming.

 In 2002, then Howard government defence minister Robert Hill announced Australia would join the F-35 System Design and Development phase, making the nation a relatively junior partner in the program.

It was then expected the new aircraft would enter service in a decade, replacing F/A-18 Hornets and F-111s.

The program encountered a series of technical problems, which produced delays and cost blowouts. F-35 remains highly controversial.   

The RAAF is now looking at initial operating capability (IOC) in late 2020, with 12 aircraft with 3 Squadron at RAAF Williamtown plus six more in a training squadron.

Full operating capability (FOC) with 72 aircraft is planned for the end of 2023.

That places Australia a fair way behind other operators. In 2015, the US Marine Corps declared IOC for its first squadron of F-35B aircraft.

That was followed a month later by the US Air Force declaring IOC for a squadron of F-35A aircraft.

The Israeli Air Force is already flying its F-35A aircraft on operations and, according to media reports, has already conducted at least two strike missions.

AVM Roberton said the RAAF, with its F-35s, Wedgetails and other advanced aircraft, was set to become the first fifth-generation air force in the world.

“Unlike the US, which will still maintain many of the older systems, we are small enough and agile enough that we will be operating at that top end of technology,” he said.

“That is so important for Australia, given our strategic interests, the size and scale of our nation and where we operate but also our ability to work seamlessly with all the other nations.

“It makes us a partner of choice for those other nations because they know not just the capability of our systems but just how capable the RAAF and ADF are at operating those systems.”

Lockheed Martin director of international business development Steve Over said four characteristics made an aircraft fifth generation, of which the first was stealth.

F-35’s multi-spectral sensor suite exist on no other fighter in the world and its datalinks could communicate with other F-35s in a stealthy manner, sharing vast amounts of information.

Finally, F-35’s sensor fusion and computers automate all battlespace interpretation, creating a logical three-dimensional image for the pilot of every aspect of the battlespace.

“It is truly game changing technology,” he said.

When maximum stealth is needed, F-35 carries all its weapons internally, but in a non-contested environment when stealth is not required, the aircraft can carry more than 18,000 pounds of ordnance on wing hardpoints.

https://www.defenceconnect.com.au/strik ... black-2020
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:14 am

The pitfalls of a global supply chain that not all companies are so used to operating with US Industry like Australian companies.

Lockheed F-35 US exec backs Aussie supply chain

Australian firms supplying components for the F-35 Lightning fighter aircraft stand head and shoulder above their peers and Lockheed Martin’s job would be much easier if there were more such firms in their supply chain, a senior Lockheed official says.

Steve Over, Lockheed Martin director of international business development, said the limit on more Australian firms joining the F-35 program came from the lack underlying aerospace industrial capacity.

“Without question the 15 companies that are supplying pieces and parts for F-35 are head and shoulders above their peers in our global supply chain,” he told Defence Connect in an interview in Fort Worth, Texas.

“If we could have more companies around the rest of the world that are as capable, as persistent, as tenacious and really be partners with us in trying to achieve our program level objectives, our lives would be much, much easier.”

Over named Marand, Heat Treatment Australia, Quickstep, BAE Systems Australia, Lovitt Technologies and Levett Engineering as examples of these fine Australian firms.

“The great thing for them is, they are building pieces not just for Australia’s 72 airplanes but for this program of record, which could easily grow to more than 4,000 aircraft,” he said.

“There are Australian parts on every F-35 that is delivered around the globe.”
Australia is committed to buying 72 F-35A aircraft, with two to arrive in Australia later this year. Australia could eventually acquire as many as 100.

Two jets were delivered in 2014 but remained at Luke US Air Force Base in the training pool for Australian, US and international pilots.
Over said this had been a big year for Australia, with seven aircraft delivered and the eighth within a week of ferrying from Fort Worth to Luke Air Force Base.

As at June, Australian aircraft, mostly the first two, had flown more than 1,000 sorties and more than 1,500 flight hours.
As production ramps up costs are going down. More than 200 are now in production in the Fort Worth facility, with 91 to be delivered in 2018.

There will be eight additional aircraft for Australia in 2019, then 15 in each of the next three years.
Over said cost reductions came from learning how to build the aircraft more efficiently.

“The other thing is scale – economic order quantity. The program is really ramping to full rate production. Last year we delivered 66 airplanes. This year we will deliver 91. In 2019 we will deliver 131 and by the time we get to 2020, we will be delivering something well in excess of 150 airplanes a year,” he said.

“That scale means we are able to negotiate with our supply chain to get the best prices.”
Over said another factor driving down costs was the proposed block buy. Rather than single yearly production contracts, lots 12, 13 and 14 will be aggregated into a single contract for 442 airplanes.

“That allows us to create certainty in the supply chain with all of our suppliers and to negotiate the best prices,” he said.
“We are mercilessly driving towards an airplane that delivered in 2020 will be a US$80 million F-35A.”
Over said he expected F-35 would be produced in similar numbers and for the same length of time as F-16, one of the world’s most successful fighters.

F-16 was supposed to be less than 1,000 aircraft for five air forces. Forty-four years on 29 nations have bought more than 4,600 F-16s.
For F-35, the current program is for 3,443 aircraft for the eight partner nations and the US. Over said he expected additional foreign military sales would take that to more than 4,000 aircraft produced beyond 2040.
“You are buying in at the early phases of an absolute cutting-edge, state-of-the-art piece of military technology that is decades ahead of adversary systems that are being fielded in the same timeframe,” he said.

“With continued investment and modernisation, this airplane will not only be relevant but well ahead of the threat for a generation to come which is exactly where you want to be,” he said.

Over said he wished there were more Australian companies in the F-35 supply chain.
“It’s not because we don’t want it, it’s because there is just not that much in the way of underlying aerospace industrial capacity in Australia,” he said.

Over said F-35 delivered fifth-generation capability to the Australian Defence Force but what that involved wasn’t widely understood.
He said there were four key discriminators, starting with stealth. F-35’s multi-spectral sensor suite existed on no other fighter in the world.

F-35 datalinks could communicate with other F-35s in a stealthy manner, sharing vast amounts of information.
Finally, F-35’s sensor fusion and computers automated all battlespace interpretation, creating a logical three-dimensional image for the pilot of every aspect of the battlespace.

“It is truly game changing technology,” he said.

https://www.defenceconnect.com.au/strik ... pply-chain
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 3117
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:29 am

Good that Nammo now has a gun on site that allows them to test ammunition right at the factory.

Nammo completes first live fire trials of GAU-22 gun for F-35 aircraft

Norwegian / Finnish aerospace and defence group Nordic Ammunition Company (Nammo) has concluded the maiden live fire trials of the GAU-22 Gatling gun. Developed specifically for the F-35 Lightning II, the four-barrelled GAU-22 gun was fired at Nammo’s purpose built facility in Raufoss, Norway. The gun is currently the only weapon of its kind being used outside the US.

Nammo Aircraft Ammunition programme director Anders Nyhus said: “This setup is really unique, in that allows us to do all the testing we need just minutes away from the production site.

“That again means that can cut down the time between a production lot leaving the factory, and when it is tested and ready to go to the customer. It also means we can have a much higher confidence in the quality of the products we deliver, as we are able to control every aspect of the process from beginning to end.”

The GAU-22 Gatling gun and its associated facility have been procured through an agreement with the Norwegian Defense Materiel Agency as part of the development of Nammo’s APEX-ammunition for the F-35.

The APEX is the only ammunition type that is available for the F-35 fighter jets and will enable the aircraft to use its gun effectively in any scenario.

Nammo serves the only ammunition provider for the F-35 aircraft able to carry out a complete range of verification and acceptance testing for every production lot independently.

https://www.airforce-technology.com/new ... -gun-f-35/
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 3117
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:57 pm

Some further reporting and images of the Marines now operating the F-35B from the Essex in the Middle East.

Marines Prepared to Use F-35Bs in Middle East Combat If Needed; No Other Naval Aviation Nearby

The Marine Corps’ F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters are the only ship-based fixed-wing aircraft in the Middle East right now, and service leaders say the new jets are ready to handle any fight in Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan they may be tasked with.
Though the F-35Bs have never seen combat before, they are now the only available fighters from the Navy or Marine Corps in the region, and service leaders say they are not going to ease the F-35 into operations. Whatever 5th Fleet and U.S. Central Command leadership asks of naval aviation, the F-35Bs deployed with the Essex Amphibious Ready Group and 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit will be ready to handle, they say.

“The deployment of the F-35B into U.S. Central Command is a major milestone for the program and validates the aircraft is in the fight right now, conducting real-world operations; it is actively supporting combatant commanders. We look forward to demonstrating the capability of our newest, advanced stealth aircraft during this deployment,” Capt. Christopher Harrison, a spokesman at Headquarters Marine Corps at the Pentagon, told USNI News.

“The F-35Bs on the 13th MEU are able to execute any mission that may arise in U.S. Central Command while simultaneously providing a high-end deterrent to any near-peer threat that may emerge. These aircraft feature Block 3F software which provides ‘full warfighting capability’ from its fully-enabled data link to increased weapons delivery capacity. The F-35’s ability to operate in contested areas, including anti-access/area-denial environments that legacy fighters cannot penetrate, provides more lethality and flexibility to the combatant commander than any other fighter platform.”

USNI News previously reported the Block 3F software allows the plane to load up with more ordnance than the F/A-18C Hornet can carry through external pylons, or it can clear the wings and rely only on internal weapons carriage to preserve its fifth-generation stealth capability.

Whereas the U.S. military faced relatively uncontested air space over Afghanistan and Iraq for the better part of the last 17 years, the fight over Syria is much more complex. The Syrian government has its own jets in the air and air defense systems on the ground. Russian forces and other players complicate the air space, as the U.S. has tried to provide close-air support for U.S. and partner forces on the ground.

Lt. Christina Gibson, a spokeswoman for U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, told USNI News that, rather than ease the new F-35Bs into operations, leaders would leverage the advanced capabilities the jets bring to this complex airspace.

“The F-35B Lightning II is a significant advance in air superiority. It combines next-generation fighter characteristics of radar-evading stealth, supersonic speed, fighter agility and advanced logistical support with the most powerful and comprehensive integrated sensor package of any fighter aircraft in history, providing the [Marine Air-Ground Task Force] unparalleled lethality and survivability,” she said.
“The F-35B can provide close air support in threat environments where other current platforms would not survive, or require multiple aircraft packages. It provides unparalleled protection to our Marines and Sailors on the ground.”

Gibson added that the new plane provides more options to operational planners by being able to get into spaces that legacy F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets and AV-8B Harriers couldn’t, and “allows pilots and the MEU commander to do more to protect our warfighters and coalition partners on the ground. The F-35B allows us to approach our mission from a position of strength in the CENTCOM [area of responsibility], enabling maritime superiority that enhances stability and ensures security while providing support to operations on the ground.”

The Essex ARG and 13th MEU chopped into U.S. 5th Fleet at the beginning of September – during a time when no capital ships at all have been in the region to provide strike aviation to Operation Inherent Resolve or Operation Freedom’s Sentinel since the Iwo Jima ARG chopped out of 5th Fleet in mid-July. No aircraft carriers have been in the region since USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) stopped conducting strikes against the Islamic State from the Mediterranean in mid-June, and no carriers have operated from within the 5th Fleet area of responsibility since USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) sailed from 5th Fleet into 7th Fleet in late March.

During this amphibious force’s time in 5th Fleet, the Essex ARG and 13th MEU will do what most other ARG/MEUs do during their deployments: they will train with partners’ militaries, they will conduct sustainment training, and they will be ready to respond to crises that arise, as well as support the named operations in the Middle East if called upon. The presence of the F-35s doesn’t change any of that, Gibson said, but she added that leaders were excited to show off the new capability and approach each task with a more sophisticated weapon.

“The ARG/MEU team will participate in exercises and, as tasked, combat operations during their deployment in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. From these exercises and operations, the Navy/Marine Corps team will demonstrate the capabilities that the F-35B brings to the ARG/MEU and how to best employ those capabilities,” she said.

“The Essex Amphibious Ready Group and the 13th Marine Corps Expeditionary Unit are conducting a Theater Amphibious Combat Rehearsal to demonstrate the ability to secure littoral environments, as part of the Theater Counter Mine and Maritime Security Exercise. Commencing September 8th, the U.S. 5th Fleet is leading four exercises across the theater with regional and global partners which demonstrate our capability, intent, and resolve to ensure freedom of movement and navigation through all three critical choke points across the theater simultaneously. The F-35B allows the ARG/MEU to demonstrate resolve to provide air and maritime superiority to ensure security at sea and on land with the introduction of the world’s most advanced fighter aircraft. The F-35B allows us to approach our mission from a position of strength in the Central Region and to ensure freedom of movement and navigation through all three critical choke points across the theater simultaneously.”

https://news.usni.org/2018/09/12/marine ... ion-nearby

Image

Image
 
estorilm
Posts: 462
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2009 3:07 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Sep 14, 2018 3:07 pm

Ozair wrote:
Some further reporting and images of the Marines now operating the F-35B from the Essex in the Middle East.

Marines Prepared to Use F-35Bs in Middle East Combat If Needed; No Other Naval Aviation Nearby

The Marine Corps’ F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters are the only ship-based fixed-wing aircraft in the Middle East right now, and service leaders say the new jets are ready to handle any fight in Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan they may be tasked with.
Though the F-35Bs have never seen combat before, they are now the only available fighters from the Navy or Marine Corps in the region, and service leaders say they are not going to ease the F-35 into operations. Whatever 5th Fleet and U.S. Central Command leadership asks of naval aviation, the F-35Bs deployed with the Essex Amphibious Ready Group and 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit will be ready to handle, they say.

“The deployment of the F-35B into U.S. Central Command is a major milestone for the program and validates the aircraft is in the fight right now, conducting real-world operations; it is actively supporting combatant commanders. We look forward to demonstrating the capability of our newest, advanced stealth aircraft during this deployment,” Capt. Christopher Harrison, a spokesman at Headquarters Marine Corps at the Pentagon, told USNI News.

“The F-35Bs on the 13th MEU are able to execute any mission that may arise in U.S. Central Command while simultaneously providing a high-end deterrent to any near-peer threat that may emerge. These aircraft feature Block 3F software which provides ‘full warfighting capability’ from its fully-enabled data link to increased weapons delivery capacity. The F-35’s ability to operate in contested areas, including anti-access/area-denial environments that legacy fighters cannot penetrate, provides more lethality and flexibility to the combatant commander than any other fighter platform.”

USNI News previously reported the Block 3F software allows the plane to load up with more ordnance than the F/A-18C Hornet can carry through external pylons, or it can clear the wings and rely only on internal weapons carriage to preserve its fifth-generation stealth capability.

Whereas the U.S. military faced relatively uncontested air space over Afghanistan and Iraq for the better part of the last 17 years, the fight over Syria is much more complex. The Syrian government has its own jets in the air and air defense systems on the ground. Russian forces and other players complicate the air space, as the U.S. has tried to provide close-air support for U.S. and partner forces on the ground.

Lt. Christina Gibson, a spokeswoman for U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, told USNI News that, rather than ease the new F-35Bs into operations, leaders would leverage the advanced capabilities the jets bring to this complex airspace.

“The F-35B Lightning II is a significant advance in air superiority. It combines next-generation fighter characteristics of radar-evading stealth, supersonic speed, fighter agility and advanced logistical support with the most powerful and comprehensive integrated sensor package of any fighter aircraft in history, providing the [Marine Air-Ground Task Force] unparalleled lethality and survivability,” she said.
“The F-35B can provide close air support in threat environments where other current platforms would not survive, or require multiple aircraft packages. It provides unparalleled protection to our Marines and Sailors on the ground.”

Gibson added that the new plane provides more options to operational planners by being able to get into spaces that legacy F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets and AV-8B Harriers couldn’t, and “allows pilots and the MEU commander to do more to protect our warfighters and coalition partners on the ground. The F-35B allows us to approach our mission from a position of strength in the CENTCOM [area of responsibility], enabling maritime superiority that enhances stability and ensures security while providing support to operations on the ground.”

The Essex ARG and 13th MEU chopped into U.S. 5th Fleet at the beginning of September – during a time when no capital ships at all have been in the region to provide strike aviation to Operation Inherent Resolve or Operation Freedom’s Sentinel since the Iwo Jima ARG chopped out of 5th Fleet in mid-July. No aircraft carriers have been in the region since USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) stopped conducting strikes against the Islamic State from the Mediterranean in mid-June, and no carriers have operated from within the 5th Fleet area of responsibility since USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) sailed from 5th Fleet into 7th Fleet in late March.

During this amphibious force’s time in 5th Fleet, the Essex ARG and 13th MEU will do what most other ARG/MEUs do during their deployments: they will train with partners’ militaries, they will conduct sustainment training, and they will be ready to respond to crises that arise, as well as support the named operations in the Middle East if called upon. The presence of the F-35s doesn’t change any of that, Gibson said, but she added that leaders were excited to show off the new capability and approach each task with a more sophisticated weapon.

“The ARG/MEU team will participate in exercises and, as tasked, combat operations during their deployment in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. From these exercises and operations, the Navy/Marine Corps team will demonstrate the capabilities that the F-35B brings to the ARG/MEU and how to best employ those capabilities,” she said.

“The Essex Amphibious Ready Group and the 13th Marine Corps Expeditionary Unit are conducting a Theater Amphibious Combat Rehearsal to demonstrate the ability to secure littoral environments, as part of the Theater Counter Mine and Maritime Security Exercise. Commencing September 8th, the U.S. 5th Fleet is leading four exercises across the theater with regional and global partners which demonstrate our capability, intent, and resolve to ensure freedom of movement and navigation through all three critical choke points across the theater simultaneously. The F-35B allows the ARG/MEU to demonstrate resolve to provide air and maritime superiority to ensure security at sea and on land with the introduction of the world’s most advanced fighter aircraft. The F-35B allows us to approach our mission from a position of strength in the Central Region and to ensure freedom of movement and navigation through all three critical choke points across the theater simultaneously.”

https://news.usni.org/2018/09/12/marine ... ion-nearby

Image

Image

Pretty incredible that a combat-ready unit of F-35s is on station in the middle east.

I didn't really think the B would see action first - as it seems the most complicated of the variants, but I don't recall the B ever having a single setback unique to the variant.
 
LightningZ71
Posts: 452
Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2016 10:59 pm

Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Sep 14, 2018 3:45 pm

A lot of people have been remarking over the years how the F-35 will have a big impact on USN/USMC operations as it allows much better force projection from the gator navy flat tops. Yes, it's not a Nimitz class carrier with its crazy high sortie rate, but for so much of what what the USN does, an assault ship with F-35s is more than capable enough to handle the mission. The lack of AWACS in many areas is not an issue as the US has bases ashore that have complimentary assets that can provide much of the needed capabilities there. Couple that with the F-35s unique abilities to provide a lot of those capabilities by itself.
 
ZaphodHarkonnen
Posts: 800
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:14 pm

LightningZ71 wrote:
A lot of people have been remarking over the years how the F-35 will have a big impact on USN/USMC operations as it allows much better force projection from the gator navy flat tops. Yes, it's not a Nimitz class carrier with its crazy high sortie rate, but for so much of what what the USN does, an assault ship with F-35s is more than capable enough to handle the mission. The lack of AWACS in many areas is not an issue as the US has bases ashore that have complimentary assets that can provide much of the needed capabilities there. Couple that with the F-35s unique abilities to provide a lot of those capabilities by itself.


One of the big selling points on the F-35 for ages has been that you need fewer aircraft to get a mission done due to its self escort ability and stealth. I think this is where we start seeing the endgame where a couple of aircraft can now do what required dozens of aircraft previously. So that small carrier that can only carry a dozen planes or less? Suddenly it's now capable of single strikes that were previously just not doable. Of course it still can't keep up the cadence of a larger ship with more aircraft, but single planned strikes are quite different.
 
Planeflyer
Posts: 1168
Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:49 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:19 pm

ZaphodHarkonnen wrote:
LightningZ71 wrote:
A lot of people have been remarking over the years how the F-35 will have a big impact on USN/USMC operations as it allows much better force projection from the gator navy flat tops. Yes, it's not a Nimitz class carrier with its crazy high sortie rate, but for so much of what what the USN does, an assault ship with F-35s is more than capable enough to handle the mission. The lack of AWACS in many areas is not an issue as the US has bases ashore that have complimentary assets that can provide much of the needed capabilities there. Couple that with the F-35s unique abilities to provide a lot of those capabilities by itself.


Exactly, good for pointing it out.


One of the big selling points on the F-35 for ages has been that you need fewer aircraft to get a mission done due to its self escort ability and stealth. I think this is where we start seeing the endgame where a couple of aircraft can now do what required dozens of aircraft previously. So that small carrier that can only carry a dozen planes or less? Suddenly it's now capable of single strikes that were previously just not doable. Of course it still can't keep up the cadence of a larger ship with more aircraft, but single planned strikes are quite different.
 
User avatar
AirlineCritic
Posts: 1487
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sat Sep 15, 2018 4:04 am

Was this video already posted here?

"F-35 Supersonic"

https://www.facebook.com/VFA125/videos/310940339672680/
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 3117
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Sep 17, 2018 2:09 am

Some logical comments from a retired USAF fighter pilot.

Modernization or death: Heed history’s lessons on the F-35

If you go to war, you must be equipped to win. That was the message veteran pilots from the Vietnam War delivered to me when I entered the U.S. Air Force in 1974. The same holds true today. That is why I am concerned when doubts are raised about the future of the F-35 fighter program.

Modernizing America’s aerial arsenal with advanced capabilities is not an optional activity. Failing to do so will undermine the U.S. military’s effectiveness around the globe and put aircrews at undue risk.

Some historical context here is important: The air war over Vietnam was an incredibly formative experience for the Air Force. The jets airmen took into combat, like the F-4 Phantom and the F-105 Thunderchief, were designed in the 1950s to fight a nuclear conflict. This proved far different than what they encountered in Southeast Asia. Too many men were killed or captured trying to make due with equipment that was not up to the job. Airmen were determined to address these shortfalls in the post-war years by fielding a new “fourth generation” of fighter aircraft designed to incorporate the lessons from Vietnam.

In 1981, I was an Air Force captain stationed at Nellis Air Force Base — home to one of those fighters, the then-brand-new F-16 Fighting Falcon. It was an incredible aircraft, featuring leading-edge technologies such as fly-by-wire flight controls and redundant flight-control computers, unheard of maneuverability, along with unprecedented levels thrust and fuel efficiency.

However, there was one problem: Our early F-16s kept crashing. We lost four aircraft in my first 44 days at Nellis. Wing commanders were lucky to last a month. In fact, there was a macabre joke circulating that if you wanted one of the new jets, just buy an acre of land off the end of the runway and wait.

Similar teething problems afflicted other fourth-generation aircraft. Yet all these aircraft evolved into incredibly capable fighters and have stood as the backbone of U.S. combat aviation for the past 40 years.

All levels of the military and government committed to overcoming the technical obstacles and seeing these fighter programs through to completion. It was literally a choice of modernization or death. If Vietnam-era Air Force fighters could hardly hold their own in the 1960s, there was no way we could execute missions successfully against the Soviet Union’s latest aircraft and air defenses in the 1980s and beyond.

America finds itself at this same juncture today. Fourth-generation fighters like the F-15, F-16 and F/A-18 have served their country well, but they are no longer survivable against modern enemy defenses, and they lack many capabilities necessary for operations in the modern information age.

Successful air combat today and tomorrow demands a fifth-generation solution: the F-35, and lots of them. This new aircraft dominates in the areas that define modern air combat: stealth technology, advanced sensors, computing power and the ability to collaborate in real time with other combat assets.

While last-generation fighters have been modernized to field limited elements of these new capabilities, attributes like stealth cannot be bolted onto a legacy airplane. The idea that we should keep flying fourth-generation capabilities because they are “good enough” and less expensive — though not by much, or for much longer — simply does not reflect reality. Try to sell that to your son or daughter in the cockpit as they take off into airspace controlled by the latest Russian and Chinese weapons systems.

Concerns regarding the F-35’s budget and schedule growth based on early development challenges are valid to a certain extent. But every new military aircraft program — none as complex and ambitious as the F-35 — has hit some turbulence in the early phases. Furthermore, while developing cutting-edge military capabilities is not a risk-free proposition, failing to modernize will always yield a far greater expense — one measured in lives lost and strategic objectives surrendered.

Fighter pilots of my generation were able to execute our missions successfully and make it back to base throughout the Cold War, Desert Storm, Bosnia, Kosovo and beyond because airmen before us stood up and built the fighter inventory they knew reality demanded. The F-35 represents the next step in this journey for the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and our allies. Yesterday’s technology will not bring victory in potential conflicts against China, Russia and hostile nations (like Iran) that buy or host their equipment. This nation and our allies need the F-35 now, in quantities that allow our forces to prevail so we don’t have to say “never again” — again.

Pete Gavares served 28 years as a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force, retiring as a colonel in 2002. He flew combat missions in Operation Northern Watch.

https://www.defensenews.com/digital-sho ... -the-f-35/
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 3117
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Sep 17, 2018 2:11 am

AirlineCritic wrote:
Was this video already posted here?

"F-35 Supersonic"

https://www.facebook.com/VFA125/videos/310940339672680/

I hadn't seen that link, thanks for posting.
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 3117
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Sep 17, 2018 2:13 am

Looks like it will be 93 F-35s funded out of this Defence Budget.

F-35 inventory soars in new Pentagon spending bill

Beyond the 77 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters authorized by the 2019 defense policy bill, congressional appropriators are adding another 16 for a total of 93.

Congressional conferees on Thursday finalized a $674.4 billion defense spending bill for next year packaged with funding for the departments of Education, Labor, Health and Human Services, or Labor-HHS — and a continuing resolution through Dec. 7 for some other parts of the government.

As usual, appropriators used their annual defense spending bill to offer tweaks to the existing shopping list for military hardware from the previous version, which President Donald Trump signed into law last month.

The new compromise spending bill, which trumps the authorization bill, buys three littoral combat ships instead of two and 13 Bell-Boeing V-22 Ospreys instead of seven — among other differences.

The Navy and Marine Corps continue to invest in vertical takeoff aircraft and announced a $4.2 billion contract for dozens of new V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft just weeks ago.

...

https://www.defensenews.com/congress/20 ... ding-bill/

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