Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Jan 17, 2019 10:37 pm

We have seen reports for a number of years on the F-35 being able to track and identify ballistic missiles from tactically significant ranges. In this context they are looking at boost phase intercept and it makes sense to use a stealth platform with advanced sensors and datalinks to operate IVO BM threat areas.

If we looked at how the USAF hunted SCUDs in the first Gulf War and transplanted the F-35 into that construct it would be interested to see how many aircraft were required and the fewer number of sorties required. Additionally the ability to potentially intercept the missile in flight against just targeting the launcher on the ground ideally before but also after launch would be significant.

US Air Force looks at using F-35 as ballistic missile interceptor

The US Air Force and Missile Defense Agency (MDA) are examining integrating the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II into the US ballistic missile defense system.

The stealth fighter’s abilities, especially its sensors, were highlighted as part of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Review, released on 17 January, which stressed Russia, China, Iran and North Korea’s growing arsenal of cruise and ballistic missiles as a potential threat to US security.

“DoD’s newest tactical aircraft, the F-35 Lightning II, has a capable sensor system that can detect the infrared signature of a boosting missile and its computers can identify the threatening missile’s location. The F-35 also can transmit tracking data to the Joint Force for network centric warfighting,” says the report. “It can track and destroy adversary cruise missiles today, and, in the future, can be equipped with a new or modified interceptor capable of shooting down adversary ballistic missiles in their boost phase and could be surged rapidly to hotspots to strengthen US active defense capabilities and attack operations.”

A joint report for integrating the F-35 into the US missile defence would be issued within the next six months, says the Pentagon.

Adding the F-35 into US missile defenses is part of a larger plan to move anti-missile systems closer to threatening adversaries as potential conflict or launches arise. For example, surface-to-air missiles, such as the ground-based, Raytheon-made MIM-104 Patriot or Lockheed Martin-made Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) systems, as well as the ship-based, Lockheed Martin-made Aegis Combat System, could be moved into position quickly in a crisis to strengthen the USA’s defense against rogue state missile threats, says the Defense Department.

The Missile Defense Review also noted the potential uses of airborne lasers as a counter ballistic missile weapon.

“Intercepting offensive missiles in their boostphase (before the re-entry vehicle separates from the booster) using kinetic interceptors and/or directed energy would increase the likelihood of successfully countering the threat,” says the report. That would “complicate an aggressor’s attack calculus by reducing its confidence in its missile attack planning, and reduce the number of midcourse or terminal active defense interceptors needed to destroy the adversary’s remaining offensive missiles.”

Using the F-35 as a platform for shooting lasers at launching ballistic missiles was not mentioned in the review, though the MDA’s Low-Power Laser Demonstrator programme was noted. In September, as part of that programme the agency awarded nearly $70 million in contracts to Lockheed Martin, Boeing and General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems to further develop airborne anti-ballistic missile lasers.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... il-455100/
 
itchief
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sat Jan 19, 2019 2:50 am

Japan to cease in country assembly of F-35's,

https://www.defensenews.com/industry/20 ... rd%20Brief
 
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Slug71
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sat Jan 19, 2019 4:18 am

itchief wrote:
Japan to cease in country assembly of F-35's,

https://www.defensenews.com/industry/20 ... rd%20Brief


That's rather interesting. I wonder why?
 
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Nomadd
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sat Jan 19, 2019 6:23 am

Slug71 wrote:
itchief wrote:
Japan to cease in country assembly of F-35's,

https://www.defensenews.com/industry/20 ... rd%20Brief


That's rather interesting. I wonder why?

Money. They got practical and admitted that in country assembly would cost them a fortune and have no real benefit.
 
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Slug71
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sat Jan 19, 2019 4:57 pm

Nomadd wrote:
Slug71 wrote:
itchief wrote:
Japan to cease in country assembly of F-35's,

https://www.defensenews.com/industry/20 ... rd%20Brief


That's rather interesting. I wonder why?

Money. They got practical and admitted that in country assembly would cost them a fortune and have no real benefit.


Haven't they already set up the facilities for the domestic production? Pretty sure they've already completed at least 1. But could be wrong. That would be a big waste of money.
I can see how the premium to build them locally would be better off spent purchasing extra aircraft though. IIRC, the domestic built aircraft cost about $30m more.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sat Jan 19, 2019 11:03 pm

itchief wrote:
Japan to cease in country assembly of F-35's,

https://www.defensenews.com/industry/20 ... rd%20Brief


Not sure why DefenseNews has decided to run this story now. The news that Japan was going to import all the aircraft was released at the time of the announcement and on the previous page of this thread.

The main assembly point for the F-35 is Fort Worth, Texas, but the jets are also put together in Nagoya, Japan, and Italy. Japanese government officials said all the planes in the new order will be imported.

https://edition.cnn.com/2018/12/18/asia ... index.html
 
JayinKitsap
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sat Jan 19, 2019 11:07 pm

Slug71 wrote:
Nomadd wrote:
Slug71 wrote:

That's rather interesting. I wonder why?

Money. They got practical and admitted that in country assembly would cost them a fortune and have no real benefit.


Haven't they already set up the facilities for the domestic production? Pretty sure they've already completed at least 1. But could be wrong. That would be a big waste of money.
I can see how the premium to build them locally would be better off spent purchasing extra aircraft though. IIRC, the domestic built aircraft cost about $30m more.


The Japanese are shifting it to be the MRO facility, staffed by those trained to assemble.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sat Jan 19, 2019 11:10 pm

LM seems pretty confident they can make the delivery numbers given the 40% increase. They have only missed by a couple in one year so at the moment their delivery history is good. The only issue I see would be if US/Turkey went south and then it isn't LM's fault that that situation has arisen.

When was the last time a fighter jet manufactured more than 130 in a year?

ANALYSIS: F-35 production ready to soar in 2019

Production of the F-35 Lightning II is on course to make its latest rate rise this year, after Lockheed Martin met its contractual target to deliver 91 of the fifth-generation fighter during 2018.

Detailing last year's delivery total, Lockheed says a combined 54 aircraft were handed over to the US Air Force, US Marine Corps and US Navy, while 21 went to partner nations. The remaining 16 were shipped to Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme customers.

Lockheed has hailed its achievement of the 2018 delivery target as "demonstrating the F-35 enterprise's ability to ramp up to full-rate production". "Year-over-year, we have increased production, lowered costs, reduced build time, and improved quality and on-time deliveries," notes Greg Ulmer, the company's general manager of the F-35 programme.

That optimism will face a stern test during 2019, however, with an expected 40% increase in output to see Lockheed hand over in excess of 130 units: a rise of at least 39 from last year and roughly double the volume transferred in 2017, when 66 examples were completed.

Flight Fleets Analyzer records a current active fleet of 352 F-35s, assigned to 10 nations. This total includes assets being used in support of initial operational test and evaluation, which are excluded from our annual World Air Forces directory listing.

Our data shows that the US armed services account for 75% of the global F-35 fleet, with the USAF's inventory alone representing a 49% share. Between them, Australia, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, Turkey and the UK have received 88 F-35s. The leading international users so far are the UK (17), Norway (16) and Israel (14).

Lockheed uses a further 13 test airframes in support of the programme: five short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) examples, and four each in the conventional take-off and landing and carrier variant models.

Notable milestones for the programme last year included the completion of its 11-year-long system development and demonstration phase, during which some 9,200 sorties were flown, totalling some 17,000 flight hours.

Production deliveries passed the 300 mark in mid-year and the annual target was met despite the USAF briefly suspending its acceptance of new jets while a contractual dispute was resolved over repairing an exterior panel corrosion issue. The Italian navy, meanwhile, took delivery of its first F-35B from a final assembly and check-out line at Cameri air base (below).

Operational highlights included two air-to-surface combat debuts in the Middle East region, respectively involving the Israeli air force's F-35I "Adir" fleet and the USMC's F-35B.

In Europe, the Italian air force's December declaration of initial operational capability status with its A-model jets was swiftly followed by the Royal Air Force's 617 Sqn achieving the same milestone with its STOVL examples. This followed more UK success, during initial landing trials conducted aboard the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMSQueen Elizabeth. The Royal Australian Air Force's 3 Sqn also received the nation's first operational F-35As, at its Williamtown base in New South Wales.

Some gloss was removed from these successes, however, when the USMC lost an F-35B during a training flight staged from MCAS Beaufort, in South Carolina - the first crash involving a Lighting II.

Another cause of programme headwinds stemmed from strained relations between the USA and international partner Turkey, which could see Washington DC block the transfer of F-35As to the nation over its planned purchase of advanced surface-to-air missile systems from Russia. Training is, however, still being provided to Turkish pilots and maintainers at Luke AFB, in Arizona.

Regarding future business prospects, Belgium has commenced discussions linked to a potential acquisition of 34 F-35As, having selected the type instead of the Eurofighter Typhoon. The Netherlands is eyeing an increased acquisition, which would boost its eventual fleet size by 15 aircraft, to 52. Japan, meanwhile, has indicated that it could purchase up to another 105 F-35s to meet its future fighter requirements, on top of the 42 to which it has already committed.

Lockheed also appears to be edging closer to agreeing a multi-year contract arrangement with the US Department of Defense, which would support a key programme objective on price reduction. The unit cost for an F-35A in the most recent round of production was $89.2 million, and the company says the programme is "on track to deliver an $80 million" aircraft during lot 14 of low-rate initial production during 2020.

Worth an estimated $22.7 billion, a multi-year deal covering 255 aircraft is now being discussed with the DoD. This proposed total would include 106 for the US services, plus 89 for international partners and 60 for FMS buyers.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... 19-455123/

Some graphics showing the number of F-35s manufactured per year and those delivered and in service.

Image

Image
 
Planeflyer
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Jan 20, 2019 12:04 am

Ozair wrote:
A great insight to the F-35B from a serving RAF pilot who has enough experience to be taken seriously. Some interesting information contained within, especially in the context of the differences between the F-35B that Williams has flown compared to the A model (reduced fuel, lower G restrictions, increased weight etc). Also interesting that the UK has yet to acquire any of the GAU-22 gun pods for the aircraft.

Interview with a British F-35B Lightning II pilot: Semper Fidelis to Semper Paratus

RAF Wing Commander Scott Williams is currently flying the F-35B Lightning II, the world’s most advanced fighter, with the US Marine Corps. We interviewed him to find out more about what is also the world’s most controversial aircraft.
What were your first impressions of the F-35B? Technologically mind-blowing and a true engineering marvel. As a pilot it flies extremely smoothly and the handling is exceptional, especially when converting flight regimes to slow speed or jet-borne modes; that transition is almost imperceptibly smooth with no adverse characteristics. High angle-of-attack manoeuvring is very easy and forgiving, with excellent nose and flight control ‘authority’ throughout. Power is very apparent with impressive acceleration in dry power on take-off.

Which three words would you use to describe the F-35B? Lethal; Game-changing (I consider that one word!); Growth.

“‘…FIGHTING THE F-35 IS LIKE GOING INTO A BOXING MATCH AND YOUR OPPONENT DOESN’T EVEN KNOW YOU’RE IN THE RING YET!’”
What are the greatest myths about the F-35B? That it isn’t operational; that stealth doesn’t ‘work’; that external stores on F-35 defeats the point of its design.

What are the best and worst things about the aircraft? The best thing is how quickly and effectively the F-35 allows the pilot to make decisions – fusing sensor and other data from onboard and off-board sources to display what’s out there and what’s going on. Worst thing? I’d like a bit more fuel but what pilot doesn’t?!

Have you flown basic fighter manoeuvres against Typhoons (or any other types) if so, how did the aircraft do? I haven’t flown BFM in the F-35B against Typhoon or other types (yet!) but I’m sure I will soon.

Though the aircraft is not designed primarily as a WVR ‘dogfighting’ platform -and this may not be a desirable way to fight- how would it do in this respect? Pretty darn well, but there are so many factors that determine the outcome of a WVR fight; pilot proficiency, situational awareness, missile capabilities, countermeasures…every one of these things make a difference but if one were to postulate that in 1000 BVR engagements only a few would likely end up in a WVR fight, you need to ask yourself where you should invest the money, proportionally. Designing a lightweight dogfighter was arguably relevant in the 1970s as fly-by-wire tech gave birth to increasing (super)manoeuvrability; today it isn’t anywhere near as important but still cool for air shows.

Can the aircraft currently work communicate well with Typhoons, what are the considerations in working together? I won’t talk about what we do with Typhoon but the communications have been tested on trials and they work. I’d say a generic consideration for working latest generation fighters with legacy platforms is ensuring you understand their capabilities and limitations.

What is your most memorable mission in the F-35B? There are a few, but the one that stands out for me has to be my first STOVL flight. Comparing the aircraft to the Harrier first-hand was a unique privilege and genuinely brought a smile to my face. I think the UK and US teams who developed the STOVL Control Laws (CLAW), and the pioneering research from the VAAC Harrier and test pilots, were responsible for a huge triumph. Boscombe Down, take a bow!

What’s the best thing about the sensors? How they interact and complement each other with sensor fusion. For 15 years I’ve flown aircraft that need a targeting pod strapped on – these things were normally only bought in limited numbers so you’d get to use them on specific events. Having a targeting pod on every single F35 (the EOTS – Electro-Optical Targeting System) is hugely beneficial for training in all missions.

How good is the situational awareness compared to other aircraft you have flown and how does that change things? Nothing compares to it. Nothing. And information changes everything. When you look at Boyd’s well-known OODA loop, traditionally the hardest things are to answer ‘what’s out there’, ‘what’s it doing’, ‘what do I need to do’. That decision loop can cause paralysis which can lead to a quick demise in a combat fight. F-35 helps enormously in this regard and allows the pilot to act rather than react – reacting is what we’ll make the enemy do. Constantly.

When will the British have a combat capable F-35 force? The UK has a combat capable F-35 force today and declared Initial Operating Capability very recently, so are able to deploy on combat operations at any point from herein. The Block 3F capability is highly combat capable, despite what you may wish to believe or what is written by a number of prominent bloggers.

What would you change about the F-35B? Across all three variants the B does has the least fuel, but I believe it makes up for that with the ability to operate from the QE Carriers, bases with much shorter runways (~3000ft, predominantly for a re-supply tactical AT platform), or even other nations’ carriers when required.

How does its reliability and ease of maintenance compare with other aircraft you’ve flown? Most of the previously reported reliability issues have been software-related in my experience. Maintenance is logical and designed to be as straightforward as possible but the still maturing F-35 global sustainment enterprise results in delays in supplying spares to a high number of demanding customers and countries. With 8.6+ million lines of software code, this aircraft is many times more complex in how it operates compared to a Typhoon (or even an F-22 Raptor) but the latest software and hardware combinations in Block 3F have resulted in improved reliability for sure!

Will a F-35B fly the close support mission in a different way to a GR4 or Typhoon? F-35 will be able to fly the mission in a much more hostile and contested airspace than a GR4 and Typhoon by virtue of its low observable capabilities. However, the rudiments of how a pilot conducts CAS do not necessarily change that much but differences in platform sensor capabilities are an example. It’s well documented that F-35 does not currently have a CCD capability in the EOTS so we’re restricted to infra-red only. That’s something I’d like to see improved soon in impending upgrades and it’s ‘in the plan’ so to speak. Expanded weapons integration in future will also open the variety of effects that we can give the ground commander too.

Do you like the helmet system? The HMD is a truly incredible piece of kit because it really does bring a further dimension to the situational awareness for the pilot. If you then consider the built-in Night Vision Camera and ability to project full-coverage IR imagery of the outside world no matter where you point your head, the ability to point or cue a weapon quickly by day or by night is a great capability.

What should I have asked you? What’s it like working closely with the US Marines! It’s awesome – those guys and girls work like Trojans to achieve the mission and we have a close relationship building for cooperation in future.

How would you rate its BVR capabilities? Second to none really. First to see is first to shoot, is first to kill. I recently heard a comment from someone that ‘…fighting the F-35 is like going into a boxing match and your opponent doesn’t even know you’re in the ring yet!’ I like that comment because our lethality is enhanced by being able to deliver the killer or knock-out blow to our opponents before they get enough awareness on what’s going on to prepare or do something about it.

How would you rate its ground attack and recce abilities compared to the GR4 or Typhoon? We only have Paveway IV currently, however this will expand with SPEAR 3 and other weapons in future but the single weapon option is a bit of a limitation of sorts right now, even though PWIV is an excellent weapon that’s proven itself against our enemies time and again. There is also potential for UK to procure the GAU-22/A Gun Pod if needs be and the USMC have already employed it. The variety of recce options on F-35 are good – from EOTS (IR) to DAS, to Radar Mapping, we have a true all-weather and, in many cases, multi-spectral recce capability. However, F-35 isn’t a dedicated “recce” platform so you can perhaps understand why there’s no pod like the RAPTor on Tornado as an example.

Tell me something I don’t know about the F-35B. “I could tell you but I’d have to kill you”…

What is your rank and with which air arm do you serve? Wing Commander, Royal Air Force

What is your unit? Currently VMFAT-501 (USMC F-35B Fleet Replacement Squadron or FRS). However, this year all of my Royal Navy and Royal Air Force Instructor Pilots (IPs), Engineers and Mission Support staff will form the nucleus of 207 Squadron at RAF Marham on 1 July 2019, and we will also fly our aircraft back to the UK later that month.

Which types have you flown? Harrier GR7/GR9; Tornado GR4 (post-SDSR10, after Harrier was retired early) and I now fly the F-35B Lightning and instruct both US Marine and UK students on VMFAT-501.

Why was 207 Sqn chosen for the F-35B? Will the RAF and RN share F-35s? The choice was intentional — and was made due to the fact that 207 originated as 7 (Naval) Squadron, RNAS, in 1916. When the independent RAF was born on 1 April 1918 and subsumed RNAS and RFC squadrons, 7(N) re-badged to become 207 Sqn. So the number plate was purposefully chosen to have both Naval and Air Force lineage. We don’t ‘share’ the F-35B Lightning like one might share a car with a friend or partner. Instead the Lightning Force – and by that I specifically mean the aircraft, its personnel, equipment and support infrastructure – is all jointly-manned by serving Royal Navy and RAF personnel, including our vital civilian and reservist staff who make up what we call the ‘Whole Force’.

https://hushkit.net/2019/01/15/intervie ... r-paratus/



Mind if I cut and paste this to the Germany Considers Tornado Replacement Thread?
 
EBJ68
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Jan 20, 2019 12:31 am

According to the article, it's too expensive to build airframes at such low volume. Lockheed Martin can sell them to Japan for much less and likely deliver them faster.
 
itchief
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Jan 22, 2019 3:00 pm

Ozair wrote:
itchief wrote:
Japan to cease in country assembly of F-35's,

https://www.defensenews.com/industry/20 ... rd%20Brief


Not sure why DefenseNews has decided to run this story now. The news that Japan was going to import all the aircraft was released at the time of the announcement and on the previous page of this thread.

The main assembly point for the F-35 is Fort Worth, Texas, but the jets are also put together in Nagoya, Japan, and Italy. Japanese government officials said all the planes in the new order will be imported.

https://edition.cnn.com/2018/12/18/asia ... index.html


This news is still gaining momentum so someone must be pushing it.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... io-455175/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:12 pm

itchief wrote:

This news is still gaining momentum so someone must be pushing it.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... io-455175/

I'd say it is basically click bait reporting now. It appears that everyone is just rehashing the defensenews article into a whole slew of circular reporting. Flight's article says japan is still considering the decision to manufacture domestically or not but from what I linked earlier that decision has already been made and that information released over a month ago.
 
texl1649
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:28 pm

F-16 production in Fort Worth peaked @ 30 per month in 1987, I believe (this excludes Dutch/Belgian/Turkish/other assemblies). The F-35 would...have a ways to go to match that.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:30 pm

The continuing debate on Australia and the F-35b off the LHDs.

Should Australia follow Japan and take the F-35 to sea?

Japan’s decision to deploy the short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant of the joint strike fighter, the F-35B, from its Izumo-class warships will transform them into what many predicted they would eventually become—small aircraft carriers. The jets based on JS Izumo, and its sister ship the Kaga, will be constrained to short-range roles by Japan’s lack of an in-flight refuelling option for the F-35B.

The dozen or so aircraft likely to be embarked won’t be enough to constitute a traditional carrier air wing, but they will better support the defence of Japan’s vulnerable archipelagic regions in the Southern Ryukyu and maybe the Senkaku Islands.

However, Tokyo should be hesitant about deploying these ‘carriers’, even with destroyer escorts, into the teeth of China’s anti-access/area-denial capability. That’s a problem, because China’s A2/AD perimeter already extends out as far as Guam, with the deployment of its DF-26 anti-ship ballistic missiles, submarine-launched anti-ship cruise missiles and long-range airpower.

The key challenge for Japan—and the United States—is in confronting the dilemma of whether the aircraft carrier can survive in a contested environment. It’s a question that’s also relevant to Australia, should it ever be tempted to deploy an F-35B on its Canberra-class landing helicopter docks.

The possibility of flying F-35Bs from the LHDs was discussed in an ASPI report by Richard Brabin-Smith and Benjamin Schreer and a series of articles in The Strategist in 2014 (I contributed some of those—here and here), prior to the release of the 2016 defence white paper. A new white paper is likely perhaps as soon as 2020, and with Japan’s decision sure to stimulate further debate in Canberra, it’s useful to have another look at whether we should follow Tokyo’s lead.

The conceptual driver for the discussion is to equip the ADF so that it can best project power and support expeditionary forces in distant deployments beyond the range of land-based air cover. HMA Ships Canberra and Adelaide are larger than Australia’s last aircraft carrier, HMAS Melbourne (which was sold to China and turned into a floating casino), and both have the ‘ski jump’ necessary for operating STOVL aircraft. Our acquisition of the conventional F-35A raises the possibility of getting up to 28 F-35Bs to operate off the LHDs as part of phase 2C of the AIR 6000 project.

The F-35B would give us some clear operational advantages. A small force of the jets based on the LHDs could provide a limited level of air support for expeditionary joint taskforces, and take on roles including fleet air defence, close air support for ground forces, and penetrative intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

Fifth-generation fighters like the F-35 are the apex predators of the skies and the plane’s most important asset is its ability to act as a stealthy node in a ‘system of systems’ network. The F-35B could supercharge defensive networks like the ‘cooperative engagement capability’ on our Hobart-class destroyers and Hunter-class future frigates, contributing to their survival and boosting their combat effectiveness.

We would also be better placed to support other F-35B operators—including the US, UK and Japan—as well as the US Navy, which flies the F-35C from its traditional ‘big-deck’ aircraft carriers.

But using the F-35B would also present us with some real challenges. It seems unlikely that the Canberra and Adelaide would be converted to operate the jets because of the significant work and money involved and the associated reduction in the ships’ amphibious potential. Brabin-Smith and Schreer estimated in 2014 that it would cost $500 million to convert one LHD, including adapting the deck to handle the heat generated by the F-35B’s engine.

The report argued that:

Despite their capacity to accommodate a number of STOVL aircraft, the LHDs are multi-purpose amphibious assault ships—not dedicated aircraft carriers. Because of their finite capacity, they can’t carry a full complement of helicopters, and amphibious troops with their vehicles and equipment, and simultaneously deploy a useful number of STOVL aircraft and additional support aircraft. Even in a ‘STOVL-only’ configuration, the LHD would face challenges in generating enough F-35B sorties continuously to protect itself and ships in company against a capable adversary.

At most, a single LHD could carry between 12 and 16 jets, and not all aircraft would be airborne all the time. The design compromises required for STOVL capability also mean that the ‘B’ is the least capable variant of the F-35 in terms of speed, range and weapons payload—especially in full stealth mode where it is most useful.

While the jet’s limitations seem like a big disadvantage in the context of traditional aircraft carrier operations, perhaps it’s time to think about the combination of F-35B and LHD differently. As I noted earlier, the F-35’s data-integration and networking capabilities give the aircraft its warfighting edge. The move to a fifth-generation paradigm shouldn’t be restricted to the RAAF; the navy also needs to adopt a network-centric mindset.

It’s clear that any LHD carrying F-35Bs would have to be defended by surface ships. In a coalition taskforce, Australian and allied naval forces could protect the LHD, but in some scenarios we might need to deploy independently or lead a regional coalition. That would place greater demand on our naval assets to form a taskforce supporting the LHD, though the navy’s three Hobart-class destroyers and nine Hunter-class future frigates should provide that capability.

Using the F-35B to enhance the warfighting potential of the LHD’s escorts is an interesting prospect that needs to be explored further. There’s significant potential for force multiplication if the F-35B is used in conjunction with platforms like the E-7A Wedgetail and unmanned aerial vehicles also based on the LHDs, to act as both intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets and networking nodes. Looking further ahead, an even more intriguing option would using the LHD to house unmanned combat aerial vehicles.

The strategic outlook now is far more dangerous than the 2016 defence white paper predicted, and that demands a rethink of Australia’s force structure and overall level of defence spending. The arbitrary figure of 2% of GDP set out in the 2016 white paper should be a mandatory floor and the strategic case needs to be made for further growth in defence spending.

Additional funding would raise the prospect of a larger navy than that anticipated in the 2016 integrated investment program. If the money is made available, a third LHD with a wing of between 12 and 16 F-35Bs, supported by a larger fleet of destroyers and frigates, is an option that should be on the agenda in any force structure debate.

In considering the F-35B, Australia, like Japan and the US, must reckon with a more dangerous strategic environment and the reality that adversary capability is progressing swiftly. We have arrived back at the more fundamental question for Western carrier-equipped navies confronting Chinese and Russian A2/AD: can the aircraft carrier survive?

https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/shoul ... 35-to-sea/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:39 pm

A whole bunch of reporting on Sinapore's announced acquisition.

Don’t worry, F-35, Singapore still loves you a lot

Only defense analysts can get depressed over a victory. This week the Singaporean Ministry of Defense and the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) finally ended their long, coquettish courtship with Lockheed Martin and pulled the trigger on buying the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

http://www.atimes.com/dont-worry-f-35-s ... you-a-lot/

What’s Behind Singapore’s F-35 Fighter Jet Decision?

On January 18, as expected, Singapore announced that after years of consideration, it had selected the F-35 as the best option for it to replace its current aging F-16 fighter jets. The decision has once again drawn attention to the city-state’s longstanding efforts to modernize its air force capabilities, even as it has left the specifics unclear about how it will proceed in the coming years.

https://thediplomat.com/2019/01/whats-b ... -decision/

Commentary: Was Singapore’s announcement to buy a small number of F-35s too slow, too tentative?

Buying a small number allows the Republic of Singapore Air Force to understand how best to integrate the Joint Strike Fighter's game-changing capabilities into its existing doctrine and systems, says Mike Yeo.

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/co ... r-11147932

What to make of Singapore’s move to buy F-35 fighter jets

Singapore announced on Friday (Jan 18) that it would buy a "small number" of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters for "a full evaluation of their capabilities and suitability before deciding on a full fleet".

If the sparse 127-word Ministry of Defence (Mindef) statement spread over two paragraphs left you with more questions than answers, you are in good company.

https://www.todayonline.com/commentary/ ... ghter-jets
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:42 pm

The Story Behind The F-35 Mock-Up Painted In Arctic Camouflage Scheme at Lockheed Martin’s Plant in Fort Worth

Some of our readers asked us to investigate the story behind an F-35 mock-up painted in arctic color scheme, located at Lockheed Martin’s Forth Worth, after the mysterious model was featured on the reputable F-16.net forum.

The mock-up has been sitting in a LM yard, from at least Apr. 2012 to December 2018, when it was moved (the aircraft can still be seen in the latest imagery). Since 2012, photos taken from space show the F-35 model in different locations, along with other test articles and mock-ups, including the X-35 and A-12.

“There aren’t a lot of photos / points in time when the yard was shot from space, but on Jan 2016, Jan 2017 and Feb 2017 it’s also missing from the yard (there are no photos between those 3 times though, so it might have been gone for 13+ months, or it might have just been gone the days, weeks or months that those photos were taken),” says user Dragon029, who also pointed us to the somehow mysterious aircraft.

In this thread you can see all the satellite images Dragon029 has collected: they show all the locations the F-35 mock-up has been in the last 7 years.

As mentioned above, the “arctic F-35” was last moved in December last year. User hawgwash took a clear shot of the mock-up as it was being moved. Here it is:

We have asked Lockheed Martin to provide some details about the mock up and here’s the reply we got from Michael Friedman, a Lockheed Martin spokesman for the F-35 program:

“The image is a model that resembles an F-35A that was originally used to test aspects of our Aircraft Test Facility. The model has since been used in various exercises and testing to include flight line safety and fire suppression testing. The paint scheme, which was created with spare F-16 paint, was chosen by the artisans and is not directly related to the model and its role in the program.”

Mystery solved.

https://theaviationist.com/2019/01/21/t ... ort-worth/

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Nomadd
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:27 pm

Ozair wrote:
The continuing debate on Australia and the F-35b off the LHDs.

Should Australia follow Japan and take the F-35 to sea?

Japan’s decision to deploy the short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant of the joint strike fighter, the F-35B, from its Izumo-class warships will transform them into what many predicted they would eventually become—small aircraft carriers. The jets based on JS Izumo, and its sister ship the Kaga, will be constrained to short-range roles by Japan’s lack of an in-flight refuelling option for the F-35B.

The dozen or so aircraft likely to be embarked won’t be enough to constitute a traditional carrier air wing, but they will better support the defence of Japan’s vulnerable archipelagic regions in the Southern Ryukyu and maybe the Senkaku Islands.

However, Tokyo should be hesitant about deploying these ‘carriers’, even with destroyer escorts, into the teeth of China’s anti-access/area-denial capability. That’s a problem, because China’s A2/AD perimeter already extends out as far as Guam, with the deployment of its DF-26 anti-ship ballistic missiles, submarine-launched anti-ship cruise missiles and long-range airpower.

The key challenge for Japan—and the United States—is in confronting the dilemma of whether the aircraft carrier can survive in a contested environment. It’s a question that’s also relevant to Australia, should it ever be tempted to deploy an F-35B on its Canberra-class landing helicopter docks.

The possibility of flying F-35Bs from the LHDs was discussed in an ASPI report by Richard Brabin-Smith and Benjamin Schreer and a series of articles in The Strategist in 2014 (I contributed some of those—here and here), prior to the release of the 2016 defence white paper. A new white paper is likely perhaps as soon as 2020, and with Japan’s decision sure to stimulate further debate in Canberra, it’s useful to have another look at whether we should follow Tokyo’s lead.

The conceptual driver for the discussion is to equip the ADF so that it can best project power and support expeditionary forces in distant deployments beyond the range of land-based air cover. HMA Ships Canberra and Adelaide are larger than Australia’s last aircraft carrier, HMAS Melbourne (which was sold to China and turned into a floating casino), and both have the ‘ski jump’ necessary for operating STOVL aircraft. Our acquisition of the conventional F-35A raises the possibility of getting up to 28 F-35Bs to operate off the LHDs as part of phase 2C of the AIR 6000 project.

The F-35B would give us some clear operational advantages. A small force of the jets based on the LHDs could provide a limited level of air support for expeditionary joint taskforces, and take on roles including fleet air defence, close air support for ground forces, and penetrative intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

Fifth-generation fighters like the F-35 are the apex predators of the skies and the plane’s most important asset is its ability to act as a stealthy node in a ‘system of systems’ network. The F-35B could supercharge defensive networks like the ‘cooperative engagement capability’ on our Hobart-class destroyers and Hunter-class future frigates, contributing to their survival and boosting their combat effectiveness.

We would also be better placed to support other F-35B operators—including the US, UK and Japan—as well as the US Navy, which flies the F-35C from its traditional ‘big-deck’ aircraft carriers.

But using the F-35B would also present us with some real challenges. It seems unlikely that the Canberra and Adelaide would be converted to operate the jets because of the significant work and money involved and the associated reduction in the ships’ amphibious potential. Brabin-Smith and Schreer estimated in 2014 that it would cost $500 million to convert one LHD, including adapting the deck to handle the heat generated by the F-35B’s engine.

The report argued that:

Despite their capacity to accommodate a number of STOVL aircraft, the LHDs are multi-purpose amphibious assault ships—not dedicated aircraft carriers. Because of their finite capacity, they can’t carry a full complement of helicopters, and amphibious troops with their vehicles and equipment, and simultaneously deploy a useful number of STOVL aircraft and additional support aircraft. Even in a ‘STOVL-only’ configuration, the LHD would face challenges in generating enough F-35B sorties continuously to protect itself and ships in company against a capable adversary.

At most, a single LHD could carry between 12 and 16 jets, and not all aircraft would be airborne all the time. The design compromises required for STOVL capability also mean that the ‘B’ is the least capable variant of the F-35 in terms of speed, range and weapons payload—especially in full stealth mode where it is most useful.

While the jet’s limitations seem like a big disadvantage in the context of traditional aircraft carrier operations, perhaps it’s time to think about the combination of F-35B and LHD differently. As I noted earlier, the F-35’s data-integration and networking capabilities give the aircraft its warfighting edge. The move to a fifth-generation paradigm shouldn’t be restricted to the RAAF; the navy also needs to adopt a network-centric mindset.

It’s clear that any LHD carrying F-35Bs would have to be defended by surface ships. In a coalition taskforce, Australian and allied naval forces could protect the LHD, but in some scenarios we might need to deploy independently or lead a regional coalition. That would place greater demand on our naval assets to form a taskforce supporting the LHD, though the navy’s three Hobart-class destroyers and nine Hunter-class future frigates should provide that capability.

Using the F-35B to enhance the warfighting potential of the LHD’s escorts is an interesting prospect that needs to be explored further. There’s significant potential for force multiplication if the F-35B is used in conjunction with platforms like the E-7A Wedgetail and unmanned aerial vehicles also based on the LHDs, to act as both intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets and networking nodes. Looking further ahead, an even more intriguing option would using the LHD to house unmanned combat aerial vehicles.

The strategic outlook now is far more dangerous than the 2016 defence white paper predicted, and that demands a rethink of Australia’s force structure and overall level of defence spending. The arbitrary figure of 2% of GDP set out in the 2016 white paper should be a mandatory floor and the strategic case needs to be made for further growth in defence spending.

Additional funding would raise the prospect of a larger navy than that anticipated in the 2016 integrated investment program. If the money is made available, a third LHD with a wing of between 12 and 16 F-35Bs, supported by a larger fleet of destroyers and frigates, is an option that should be on the agenda in any force structure debate.

In considering the F-35B, Australia, like Japan and the US, must reckon with a more dangerous strategic environment and the reality that adversary capability is progressing swiftly. We have arrived back at the more fundamental question for Western carrier-equipped navies confronting Chinese and Russian A2/AD: can the aircraft carrier survive?

https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/shoul ... 35-to-sea/

That article wasn't an analysis as much as an arguement. Something objective would be more interesting.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:32 am

Nomadd wrote:
That article wasn't an analysis as much as an arguement. Something objective would be more interesting.

ASPI is very much as the name describes a policy think tank and can certainly lean to the argument side. There is a whole bunch of additional material on Australia and the consideration of F-35B off the LHDnot from ASPI so let me know if you are interested and I can provide the links. Some good sources and assessments and some questionable but worth reading anyway.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:47 am

Thought I would post this here given the F-35 is the prime candidate to benefit from CUDA should it go into production.

Lots of value in a weapon like this on a stealth platform as well as how the combinations may play to the advantage of mission planning. It is being sized to allow for two missiles to replace a single AMRAAM on the A2A door station and four missiles on the A2G station of each bay. That would bring the loadout to a very respectable 12 AAMs internally while preserving a full stealth configuration with minimal drag. Additionally you could see configs such as 8 SDB II and 4 CUDA AAMs or 8 CUDA AAMs internal and a Meteor AAM on each bay door.

USAF Funds Lockheed’s ‘Half-Raam’ Missile Flights

The U.S. Air Force has funded a flight test demonstration program for Lockheed Martin’s Cuda air-to-air missile, pushing the concept forward more than five years after it first appeared, the company says.

The flight tests, funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), will evaluate how the Cuda compares to the range and terminal phase maneuverability of the Raytheon AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-To-Air Missile (Amraam), says Frank St. John, executive vice-president of Lockheed’s Missiles and Fire Control business area.

Sometimes called the “half-raam”, Lockheed designed the Cuda to achieve similar range to the AIM-120 in a package about half the size, allowing existing fighters such as the F-22 and F-35 to carry twice the number of air-to-air missiles internally.

The “AIM-120-like” range of the proposed Cuda missile may seem counter-intuitive in such a relatively small package, but Lockheed insists it’s possible. After launch, the AIM-120’s rocket motor boosts for only several seconds, then uses momentum and control fins to maneuver as it nears the target.
The half-sized Cuda also is a boosted missile. To compensate for the reduced volume of propellant, Lockheed adds a divert and attitude control system (DACS) derived from the ground-based PAC-3 missile. The DACS inserts small rocket thrusters in the nose of the missile. Combined with aft-mounted control fins, such thrusters could, in theory, render the Cuda more effective than the AIM-120 during the terminal-phase of a long-range intercept.
In addition to the F-22 and F-35, Lockheed also views Cuda as playing a potential role in the Air Force’s Next-Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program. Lockheed’s Aeronautics business area, with its Skunk Works division in Palmdale, California, leads the company’s discussions with the Air Force on the NGAD area, but Missiles and Fire Control also participates with a suite of technologies, St. John says.

In addition to new missiles, Lockheed also is evaluating how to pair such weapons with a range of sensors, including infrared search and track (IRST).
“There’s actually AFRL funding now for moving Cuda along. There’s also sensors — distributed aperture sensors, IRST sensors being funded as well,” St. John says. “We’re doing the collaborative [operational analysis] work with the folks in Palmdale about how do those sensors and weapons enable a future air dominance platform. I can’t get into too much more than that because of the security classifications.”

http://aviationweek.com/awindefense/usa ... le-flights

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Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Jan 24, 2019 5:33 am

texl1649 wrote:
F-16 production in Fort Worth peaked @ 30 per month in 1987, I believe (this excludes Dutch/Belgian/Turkish/other assemblies). The F-35 would...have a ways to go to match that.

I doubt the F-35 will reach that many per year, unless something unfortunate happens and production has to rise significantly.

Per here, http://www.f-16.net/fleet-reports_article18.html the highest year of delivery for the F-16 was 286 as you suggest in 1987. That is approx 24 a month, and probably a little higher when you include shutdown periods, which was very impressive.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Jan 24, 2019 5:44 am

No surprise the Canadian Government continues to hedge its bets and stay in the program, if only to protect the significant number of jobs and money flowing in from F-35 industrial participation.

Canada to keep paying for F-35 development as fighter-jet competition ramps up

Canada is poised to contribute tens of millions of dollars toward further development of the F-35 stealth fighter even as the federal government wrestles with whether to buy the plane or not.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, the Department of National Defence’s head of military procurement says there are no plans for Canada to quit as one of nine partner countries in the F-35 stealth fighter program until after the Trudeau government completes the competition to determine which fighter jet will replace Canada’s aging fleet of CF-18s.

“We’re committed to staying there (in the program) until we understand where the competition will bring us,” said Patrick Finn, assistant deputy minister of material at National Defence.

The competition is expected to be launched this spring.

The F-35 is one of four planes currently slated to participate in the $19-billion competition, which will result in the purchase of 88 new fighter aircraft to serve as the air force’s backbone for the coming decades.

The Trudeau Liberals campaigned on a promise not to buy the F-35s in 2015, but have since backed away from that pledge. The Harper Conservatives first announced plans to buy 65 F-35s in 2010, but ran into controversy over cost.

Staying on as a partner in the F-35 program comes with advantages, Finn says, including the ability for Canadian companies to compete for billions of dollars in contracts associated with building and maintaining the stealth fighter.

Partners are also allowed to buy the F-35 at a lower price than non-partners, who must pay a variety of fees and other costs to purchase the plane.

“We want to keep the F-35 as an option, as a contender in the competition,” Finn said.

“We want to also make sure that while that’s unfolding, that Canadian industry that have competitively won contracts get to continue to do that.”

The Defence Department says Canadian companies have won more than $1.25 billion in F-35-related contracts over the years.

Yet there are also costs to being a partner; Canada has so far invested more than $500 million into the program over the past 20 years, including $54 million last year.

Its next annual payment is due this spring and there will likely be more as the competition isn’t scheduled to select a winner until 2021 or 2022. The first new aircraft is expected in 2025 and the last in 2031.

There are some technical issues that government officials are working through that could impact how it runs the competition to replace the CF-18s.

One of those is how to ensure the various bids are all measured equally. In addition to Lockheed Martin’s F-35, bids are expected from Boeing’s Super Hornet, Eurofighter’s Typhoon and Saab’s Gripen.

All four companies recently provided feedback on a draft process that the government has drawn up to run the competition, and another round of consultations is scheduled for mid-February.

A big question facing Lockheed is how it can meet Ottawa’s usual requirement that companies who are awarded large military contracts invest back into Canada on a dollar-for-dollar basis.

The F-35 partnership agreement that Canada signed with the other countries bars such promised investments and instead stipulates that companies must compete for the work.

Finn said all four jet companies have unique challenges and circumstances, and that officials in charge of the competition could inject some flexibility into how the requirement is handled.

“There is absolutely flexibility and I would say my colleagues in (the federal industry department) demonstrate that on a weekly, monthly basis,” he said.

“They would be the first to say, and they’re very good at saying, is: ‘Well listen, the first intent is to get the right military capability. We want to have the offsets as well, and with a given market segment, what it is that we do and how do we do it.”‘

https://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/c ... ompetition
 
RJMAZ
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Jan 24, 2019 5:50 am

Ozair wrote:
Sometimes called the “half-raam”, Lockheed designed the Cuda to achieve similar range to the AIM-120 in a package about half the size, allowing existing fighters such as the F-22 and F-35 to carry twice the number of air-to-air missiles internally.

How is this possible though? With similar tech in the full length AMRAAM size it will always fly much further.

I do however like the idea of having four 80-100nm D AMRAAMs on the main bay pylons and four 50-60nm half-raam CUDA missile on the door.

I think the USAF should get rid of the AMRAAM altogether and go with the SLAMRAAM-ER which would actually be easier to fit two on the main pylon and would be easy to integrate as it has the same seeker as the current AMRAAM. This would make a 150nm anti-awac duty missile and then have four Cuda's for fighters on the bay doors.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Jan 24, 2019 5:59 am

For those interested an insight into the demo the USAF will run this year with the F-35.

F-35 Demo team Pilot practises new maneuvers

Capt. Andrew “Dojo” Olson, F-35A Lightning II Demonstration Team commander and pilot has spent the last three months, designing, developing and practicing the maneuvers of the all new demo profile.

A total of 14 maneuvers make up the aerobatic performance, many which have never been seen by public audiences.

“The maneuvers showcase the full envelope of the F-35,” said Olson. “On the slow end, we’ll get down to less than 100 miles per hour of air speed, just barely hanging there but in complete control. Then on the high end, we’re going to take it up to just below the sound barrier for the high speed pass. We’re also going to be pulling up to 9Gs, nine times the force of gravity, and carving the jet into the air at huge angles of attack of more than 50 degrees.”

Some maneuvers in the demonstration include: -High Alpha Half Cuban -Weapons Bay Doors Pass -Minimum Radius Turn to High Alpha Loop -Pedal Turn -Square Loop -Slow Speed to Power Climb with a Split-S Reposition -Inverted to Inverted Roll -Tactical Pitch
Each air show demonstration is scheduled to last approximately 30 minutes. Half of the show will be spent performing jaw-dropping maneuvers and the other half performing the Heritage Flight profile with select vintage war planes.

Olson said that he does not have a favorite maneuver but spoke about the Pedal Turn with enthusiasm.

“When you watch the ground footage from the pedal turn, it’s almost unbelievable to witness what you’re seeing,” he said. “Any inverted maneuver, where you’re up-side-down at negative 1G and hanging from the straps in the seat, is a really fun maneuver to do. You’re seeing the world from a whole different perspective.”

Olson mentioned that hanging in the straps is not something often done in fighter aircraft, so seeing this one-of-a-kind performance is sure to be a spectacle. To achieve such a unique demo profile, he has been preparing in many ways.

“By the time it’s done, we’ll be at close to 30 training flights,” Olson said. “Countless hours in the simulator, academics on the ground before the first flight ever occurred and then after every training event there is careful analysis of the video from both the ground and in the cockpit.”

Viewing the videos after each flight has proven essential to this historic demo pilot’s training as he continues to refine his skills in the aircraft.

“I’m just a human trying to fly this thing as best as I can, making sure my mistakes are small, manageable and correctable every time,” Olson said.

And just as a lot of flying time is important to the training, the simple things are just as essential to a high-performance athlete like Olson.

He says getting in the gym, staying fit, eating right and getting plenty of sleep are just a few of the things he keeps in mind, saying the flight is a workout in-and-of-itself. “

Other demo teams may give you a sample of one or two of these maneuvers, but nowhere else will you see all of the best maneuvers on the planet combined into one epic demo,” said Olson. “There’s no filler in this flight. It’s a light the afterburner and rage for 30 minutes kind of show.”

The F-35 Demo Team is scheduled to perform at air shows across the country in 2019. During their historic inaugural season, Olson and the team of six maintainers and support personnel plan to interact with as many air show attendees as they can. So get your sunscreen out and earplugs in because 2019 is shaping up to be the most intense air show season ever.

http://www.aerotechnews.com/blog/2019/0 ... maneuvers/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Jan 24, 2019 8:25 am

RJMAZ wrote:
How is this possible though? With similar tech in the full length AMRAAM size it will always fly much further.

I do however like the idea of having four 80-100nm D AMRAAMs on the main bay pylons and four 50-60nm half-raam CUDA missile on the door.

Not sure how they are getting the range figures. I imagine it isn't compared to an AIM-120D though, more likely the shorter ranged C-5/7. The missile has no warhead so perhaps increases range by using that space and weight for propellant as well as an optimised flight profile for long range intercepts.

The Elements of Power blog had a reasonable write up on CUDA when the concept was first floated in 2012, http://elementsofpower.blogspot.com/201 ... ssile.html

RJMAZ wrote:
I think the USAF should get rid of the AMRAAM altogether and go with the SLAMRAAM-ER which would actually be easier to fit two on the main pylon and would be easy to integrate as it has the same seeker as the current AMRAAM. This would make a 150nm anti-awac duty missile and then have four Cuda's for fighters on the bay doors.

The USAF is clearly looking at increasing missile loads as well as new missiles to equip their 5th gen aircraft. I like the idea of a SLAMRAAM-ER but perhaps as the missile for an arsenal aircraft or loaded on the F-15/Super Hornet "missile trucks" that people reference. Use the 5th gens closer to the fight to identify the targets and lob the longer ranged missiles from further away with hand off to 5th gen aircraft for mid course and final engagement.
 
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Nomadd
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Jan 24, 2019 2:36 pm

Ozair wrote:
Nomadd wrote:
That article wasn't an analysis as much as an arguement. Something objective would be more interesting.

ASPI is very much as the name describes a policy think tank and can certainly lean to the argument side. There is a whole bunch of additional material on Australia and the consideration of F-35B off the LHDnot from ASPI so let me know if you are interested and I can provide the links. Some good sources and assessments and some questionable but worth reading anyway.

That would be great. You often need to compile your own objective database by reading opposing arguments.
 
estorilm
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Jan 24, 2019 3:35 pm

Ozair wrote:
For those interested an insight into the demo the USAF will run this year with the F-35.

F-35 Demo team Pilot practises new maneuvers

Capt. Andrew “Dojo” Olson, F-35A Lightning II Demonstration Team commander and pilot has spent the last three months, designing, developing and practicing the maneuvers of the all new demo profile.

A total of 14 maneuvers make up the aerobatic performance, many which have never been seen by public audiences.

“The maneuvers showcase the full envelope of the F-35,” said Olson. “On the slow end, we’ll get down to less than 100 miles per hour of air speed, just barely hanging there but in complete control. Then on the high end, we’re going to take it up to just below the sound barrier for the high speed pass. We’re also going to be pulling up to 9Gs, nine times the force of gravity, and carving the jet into the air at huge angles of attack of more than 50 degrees.”

Some maneuvers in the demonstration include: -High Alpha Half Cuban -Weapons Bay Doors Pass -Minimum Radius Turn to High Alpha Loop -Pedal Turn -Square Loop -Slow Speed to Power Climb with a Split-S Reposition -Inverted to Inverted Roll -Tactical Pitch
Each air show demonstration is scheduled to last approximately 30 minutes. Half of the show will be spent performing jaw-dropping maneuvers and the other half performing the Heritage Flight profile with select vintage war planes.

Olson said that he does not have a favorite maneuver but spoke about the Pedal Turn with enthusiasm.

“When you watch the ground footage from the pedal turn, it’s almost unbelievable to witness what you’re seeing,” he said. “Any inverted maneuver, where you’re up-side-down at negative 1G and hanging from the straps in the seat, is a really fun maneuver to do. You’re seeing the world from a whole different perspective.”

Olson mentioned that hanging in the straps is not something often done in fighter aircraft, so seeing this one-of-a-kind performance is sure to be a spectacle. To achieve such a unique demo profile, he has been preparing in many ways.

“By the time it’s done, we’ll be at close to 30 training flights,” Olson said. “Countless hours in the simulator, academics on the ground before the first flight ever occurred and then after every training event there is careful analysis of the video from both the ground and in the cockpit.”

Viewing the videos after each flight has proven essential to this historic demo pilot’s training as he continues to refine his skills in the aircraft.

“I’m just a human trying to fly this thing as best as I can, making sure my mistakes are small, manageable and correctable every time,” Olson said.

And just as a lot of flying time is important to the training, the simple things are just as essential to a high-performance athlete like Olson.

He says getting in the gym, staying fit, eating right and getting plenty of sleep are just a few of the things he keeps in mind, saying the flight is a workout in-and-of-itself. “

Other demo teams may give you a sample of one or two of these maneuvers, but nowhere else will you see all of the best maneuvers on the planet combined into one epic demo,” said Olson. “There’s no filler in this flight. It’s a light the afterburner and rage for 30 minutes kind of show.”

The F-35 Demo Team is scheduled to perform at air shows across the country in 2019. During their historic inaugural season, Olson and the team of six maintainers and support personnel plan to interact with as many air show attendees as they can. So get your sunscreen out and earplugs in because 2019 is shaping up to be the most intense air show season ever.

http://www.aerotechnews.com/blog/2019/0 ... maneuvers/

I was literally just going to post this today, I had some friends in our Warbird organization go to ICAS this year to sort out our air show schedule, and they mentioned running into "Dojo" and the buzz surrounding the 2019 air show Demo Team.

We got a hint of this with the F-35 performance at RIAT towards the very end of last year (many videos). I think they had just received a Block 3F aircraft and were playing around a bit.

The practice videos of "Dojo" figuring out and perfecting maneuvers for the first official F-35 demo season are nothing short of spectacular - again, this has to be possible only now, due to the 9g capability of the latest software.

THIS IS THE YEAR that all the nay-sayers immediately shut up while looking like complete fools. Sure, it's still an expensive platform, but maneuverability and performance questions will be instantly silenced.

This is one maneuver which better find its way into the demo! :eek: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RTWnFaQfHU
 
JayinKitsap
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Jan 24, 2019 4:08 pm

estorilm wrote:
THIS IS THE YEAR that all the nay-sayers immediately shut up while looking like complete fools. Sure, it's still an expensive platform, but maneuverability and performance questions will be instantly silenced.


So true that THIS IS THE YEAR, probably 2 to 3 years ago there always was talk that the F-35 couldn't perform etc. For the last year it seems that the F-35 became THE CHOICE for the best fighter. Quite interesting to see.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Jan 25, 2019 3:55 am

Nomadd wrote:
Ozair wrote:
Nomadd wrote:
That article wasn't an analysis as much as an arguement. Something objective would be more interesting.

ASPI is very much as the name describes a policy think tank and can certainly lean to the argument side. There is a whole bunch of additional material on Australia and the consideration of F-35B off the LHD not from ASPI so let me know if you are interested and I can provide the links. Some good sources and assessments and some questionable but worth reading anyway.

That would be great. You often need to compile your own objective database by reading opposing arguments.

The following is probably the best link I can provide, http://www.f-16.net/forum/download/file.php?id=29146 which contains a collection of F-35B and LHD material over the last seven or so years. Plenty of info there and differing points of view (although visually difficult to read...)

Some of the major points are
- Cost to modify the LHD if necessary for F-35B ops
- Cost to acquire and operate the Bee
- Utility of the capability from such a small vessel and the number of aircraft/sorties it could realistically generate
- Whether to modify an existing Canberra LHD or acquire a new one specifically for the role
- The ability of the RAN to support two LHDs at sea

I don't think the question is whether the F-35B is a great capability to have. It is more about whether it is worth having in small doses, the cost to acquire and what RAAF assets it would come at the expense of.
 
Planeflyer
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Jan 25, 2019 4:58 am

Speaking of cost how much cost,rcs reduction and time were involved moving the 35 from a 7 to 9 g ac?

In your opinion was it a good trade?
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Jan 25, 2019 6:38 am

Planeflyer wrote:
Speaking of cost how much cost,rcs reduction and time were involved moving the 35 from a 7 to 9 g ac?

In your opinion was it a good trade?

I'm not sure you can separate out a cost for the respective capabilities of the jets. The thing to note is they weren't built to 7G and then pushed to 9. The three aircraft were always designed for the following,

F-35A - 9G - 50 AoA
F-35B - 7G - 50 AoA
F-35C - 7.5G - 50 AoA

The F-35A builds on the F-16's 9G 25 AoA capability. The F-35B has a reduced G load compared to the AV-8B (8G I believe) but has significantly better AoA and bring back capability, sensors, payload, range etc. The F-35C is very close to the Super Hornet, also a 7.5G airframe, but the Super Hornet likely has a higher AoA with a lower range, fuel load and overall payload.

There probably isn't any specific reason the Bee and Cee have lower G ratings other than the additional weight of the STOVL and CV equipment respectively and the USN and USMC/RN didn't require greater capability. Higher G would likely have required more internal reinforcement for probably little overall benefit and higher cost.

As for overall good trade, yes. The USMC and USN didn't require that higher G level, especially in an era of HOBS missiles and HMS and a stealth platform that will dominate BVR combat.
 
estorilm
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Jan 25, 2019 1:05 pm

Planeflyer wrote:
Speaking of cost how much cost,rcs reduction and time were involved moving the 35 from a 7 to 9 g ac?

In your opinion was it a good trade?

Ozair covered this really well already, but I just need to drive home the fact that Lockheed designed these aircraft from the ground up to do exactly what "Dojo" was doing in that video; they just had to wait nearly 10 years to actually see it happen. It's purely software; flight controls and envelope expansion, verification, and probably lots of safety checks/tests/programming as well. I think that's why there's so much excitement in the airshow community (let's face it, most F-35 operators already knew the planes COULD do this stuff).

It also has to be incredibly rewarding for the LM folks to watch the bird really "fly free" so-to-speak, for the first time.

Seriously - for those who haven't yet, WATCH THE 2019 F-35 DEMO PRACTICE VIDEOS. :cloudnine:
 
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Nomadd
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Jan 25, 2019 8:24 pm

How are those G limits figured? At GTOW, some standard fuel/payload configuration or something else?
 
Planeflyer
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sat Jan 26, 2019 2:30 pm

Guys, thanks for the detailed explanation.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sat Jan 26, 2019 9:56 pm

Nomadd wrote:
How are those G limits figured? At GTOW, some standard fuel/payload configuration or something else?

Usually at 50% fuel with a standard AAM load, (which gives a typical total weight) and at various altitudes.

EM diagrams are typically the way that turn rates, lift limits and Ps are explained.

An example of a comparative analysis for the F-4J and A-4M.

Image

The lift limit for the respective aircraft show their max G at the respective loads and altitude. The peak of the lift limit curve is the max instantaneous turn rate, A-4M is approx 20 deg while the F-4J is approx 14 deg, while the sustained turn rate is taken from the solid red and blue lines which are the Ps. At zero the aircraft neither gains or loses speed. The figures are approx 14 deg for the A-4M and 12 and a bit for the F-4J.

It is usually hard to find EM diagrams as it outlines the capability of the aircraft so typically classified. Some examples of the F-16 which shows how the lift limit and turn rates change with altitude.

Image

Image
 
Planeflyer
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Jan 27, 2019 4:38 am

Cool stuff. I assume if you exceed the limits a stall ensues?... or worse?
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Jan 27, 2019 9:12 am

Planeflyer wrote:
Cool stuff. I assume if you exceed the limits a stall ensues?... or worse?

Obviously on the slow side yes, at the higher side it depends on the aircraft. Many current fighter aircraft have G limiters so the FCS won't let the aircraft push past the limits. The aircraft could probably quite comfortably go to more G than the limit but that necessitates structural inspections etc that ground crew don't want to do and creates long term fatigue issues. It also usually results in blackout or G-LOC for the pilot. As for what happens when you try and push past the lift limit not really sure other than insufficient lift to sustain the G load. If in an instantaneous turn then the aircraft is shedding speed so moves along or below its lift limit, for a sustained turn the aircraft remains stable at that G level (with that optimal sustained turn rate usually below the lift limit, especially at altitude).
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Jan 27, 2019 9:17 am

Continued testing for OT&E.

Test team verifies recovery procedures for the F-35 Lightning II

412th Test Wing Public Affairs has reported that team of testers from Edwards Air Force Base linked up with representatives from Lockheed Martin company to go over crash recovery procedures for the F-35 Lightning II aircraft.

According to a report, members from the 412th Maintenance Squadron performed the actual procedures on the aircraft for what is referred to as crash, damage, disabled aircraft recovery, or CDDAR. Different methods were verified such as using an aircraft sling attached to the F-35 to be lifted by a crane; “belly bands” that can be placed underneath the jet and attached to a crane; and inflatable airbags or lifting bags that can be used to raise a crashed or disabled F-35.

“Each item used can be tailored to the incident,” said Robert Miller, 412th Logistics Test Squadron, F-35 Joint-Service Technical Order Development, Edwards Verification Site lead. “For example, if the right main landing gear is collapsed, there are procedures using any of the above items to lift the disabled side.”

Miller said the 412th MXS is responsible for local crash recovery response and are the subject matter experts for all things CDDAR. At the verification event, there were also members from the 412th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron who assisted in aircraft access, cover removal and aircraft preparation before and after the event.

Miller added his and the 412th Logistics Test Squadron’s F-35 responsibility is performing oversite of all things verification for any maintenance procedures performed on the fifth-generation fighter. Lockheed Martin sent an engineer and the crash recovery procedures author from Fort Worth, Texas, to the event.

“These are procedures we have in the F-35 operating community we hope are never used,” Miller said. “However, in the event of an incident, the CDDAR team needs well vetted and tested procedures in order to recover the aircraft. If the aircraft is still on the runway, it may become time sensitive to remove the aircraft. There are so many variables and there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ when it comes to recovering a disabled aircraft.”

Miller concluded the F-35 technical order verification team works with all variants of the F-35 and the CDDAR procedures will be adapted to a great extent for the use on ships for the Marine and Navy versions now being developed.

https://defence-blog.com/news/test-team ... ng-ii.html

Image
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Jan 27, 2019 9:29 am

IT related support services contract to the F-35 JPO including cyber security work.

General Dynamics Awarded F-35 Joint Strike Fighter IT Support Contract

General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT) announced today it was recently awarded the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) F-35 IT program support contract. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) awarded a task order against a previously issued General Services Administration, Government Wide Acquisition Alliant Contract (GS00Q09BGD0030) to General Dynamics One Source, a joint venture between GDIT and General Dynamics Mission Systems. The contract holds an estimated ceiling value of $155.6 million and includes a base period of two years with three one-year options. GDIT will provide knowledge-based, information assurance and cybersecurity IT services to the F-35 JSF Virtual Enterprise (JVE) network in support of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office (JPO).

"We are excited to bring a full platform of next-generation services as the primary IT provider of the F-35 JPO," said Senior Vice President Leigh Palmer, head of GDIT's Defense Division. "Through GDIT's impressive offerings, we will enable full scale technology solutions for the successful execution of the F-35 JPO."

Through this contract, GDIT will provide a full range of IT and cybersecurity services for the entire JVE. These services will include program management, enterprise performance management, enterprise architecture, implementation of emerging capabilities and requirements, life cycle management, operations & maintenance, enterprise data management, service desk support and IT training.

The F-35 JPO is a joint, multi-national program. It serves as the Department of Defense's focal point for defining affordable, next-generation strike fighter aircraft weapon systems across the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and American allies. The F-35 JPO's objective is to develop and deploy the F-35 air system – a three-variant family of fifth-generation strike fighter aircraft. The international nature of the F-35 JPO, combined with the highly-sensitive technologies of the total air system, requires comprehensive IT and cybersecurity services.

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-release ... 83290.html
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Jan 27, 2019 10:51 am

UK F-35B testing continues with the firing of ASRAAM off the US west coast.

@17SqnRAF F35B “plugged into” a RAF Voyager tanker from @RAFBrizeNorton prior to heading into the Point Mugu Test Ranges on the west coast of USA, to conduct missile test firings - the first ASRAAMs fired from a UK F35B. All very successful. Well done @17SqnRAF.

https://twitter.com/AOC_1_Group/status/ ... 5221667842

Image
 
Planeflyer
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Jan 27, 2019 2:26 pm

Ozair wrote:
Planeflyer wrote:
Cool stuff. I assume if you exceed the limits a stall ensues?... or worse?

Obviously on the slow side yes, at the higher side it depends on the aircraft. Many current fighter aircraft have G limiters so the FCS won't let the aircraft push past the limits. The aircraft could probably quite comfortably go to more G than the limit but that necessitates structural inspections etc that ground crew don't want to do and creates long term fatigue issues. It also usually results in blackout or G-LOC for the pilot. As for what happens when you try and push past the lift limit not really sure other than insufficient lift to sustain the G load. If in an instantaneous turn then the aircraft is shedding speed so moves along or below its lift limit, for a sustained turn the aircraft remains stable at that G level (with that optimal sustained turn rate usually below the lift limit, especially at altitude).



Thanks, one more question, based the graphs above stall speed for the ac look to be about .2 Mach. Assuming this is accurate can I conclude that in the air show video that started us off discussing g limits,the ac is in a stall condition at several points?

From my little understanding part of what happens in a stall is that pilot’s ability to maneuver is severely constrained so what is the combat utility to any of this especially in a F35 w extremely low rcs and great situational awareness instrumentation. Am I missing something?
 
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Nomadd
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Jan 27, 2019 4:43 pm

Ozair wrote:
Nomadd wrote:
Ozair wrote:
ASPI is very much as the name describes a policy think tank and can certainly lean to the argument side. There is a whole bunch of additional material on Australia and the consideration of F-35B off the LHD not from ASPI so let me know if you are interested and I can provide the links. Some good sources and assessments and some questionable but worth reading anyway.

That would be great. You often need to compile your own objective database by reading opposing arguments.

The following is probably the best link I can provide, http://www.f-16.net/forum/download/file.php?id=29146 which contains a collection of F-35B and LHD material over the last seven or so years. Plenty of info there and differing points of view (although visually difficult to read...)

Some of the major points are
- Cost to modify the LHD if necessary for F-35B ops
- Cost to acquire and operate the Bee
- Utility of the capability from such a small vessel and the number of aircraft/sorties it could realistically generate
- Whether to modify an existing Canberra LHD or acquire a new one specifically for the role
- The ability of the RAN to support two LHDs at sea

I don't think the question is whether the F-35B is a great capability to have. It is more about whether it is worth having in small doses, the cost to acquire and what RAAF assets it would come at the expense of.

That's a great compilation. Takes a while to get through.
There does seem to be some pretty strong opposition to the 35Bs on LHDs other than technical hinted at.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Jan 27, 2019 9:14 pm

Planeflyer wrote:
Thanks, one more question, based the graphs above stall speed for the ac look to be about .2 Mach. Assuming this is accurate can I conclude that in the air show video that started us off discussing g limits,the ac is in a stall condition at several points?

Yes at high AoA the wing is no longer providing lift to the airframe and hence is in post stall maneuvering. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supermane ... cteristics

Planeflyer wrote:
From my little understanding part of what happens in a stall is that pilot’s ability to maneuver is severely constrained so what is the combat utility to any of this especially in a F35 w extremely low rcs and great situational awareness instrumentation. Am I missing something?

Little to no combat utility for the very slow speed post stall characteristics of the flight envelope. It is a consequence of aircraft that have high AoA capability and good thrust. The high AoA is incredibly useful in combat especially with HOBS missiles and HMS. WVR combat has moved from high sustained turn rates to high instantaneous turn rates with rapid energy recovery and aforementioned HOBS missiles.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Jan 27, 2019 9:23 pm

Nomadd wrote:
Ozair wrote:
Nomadd wrote:
That would be great. You often need to compile your own objective database by reading opposing arguments.

The following is probably the best link I can provide, http://www.f-16.net/forum/download/file.php?id=29146 which contains a collection of F-35B and LHD material over the last seven or so years. Plenty of info there and differing points of view (although visually difficult to read...)

Some of the major points are
- Cost to modify the LHD if necessary for F-35B ops
- Cost to acquire and operate the Bee
- Utility of the capability from such a small vessel and the number of aircraft/sorties it could realistically generate
- Whether to modify an existing Canberra LHD or acquire a new one specifically for the role
- The ability of the RAN to support two LHDs at sea

I don't think the question is whether the F-35B is a great capability to have. It is more about whether it is worth having in small doses, the cost to acquire and what RAAF assets it would come at the expense of.

That's a great compilation. Takes a while to get through.
There does seem to be some pretty strong opposition to the 35Bs on LHDs other than technical hinted at.

Probably a lot of opposition from the RAAF from the Australian perspective and as mentioned some questions on the utility of such a small number of aircraft.
 
Planeflyer
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Jan 27, 2019 10:42 pm

Ozair wrote:
Planeflyer wrote:
Thanks, one more question, based the graphs above stall speed for the ac look to be about .2 Mach. Assuming this is accurate can I conclude that in the air show video that started us off discussing g limits,the ac is in a stall condition at several points?

Yes at high AoA the wing is no longer providing lift to the airframe and hence is in post stall maneuvering. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supermane ... cteristics

Planeflyer wrote:
From my little understanding part of what happens in a stall is that pilot’s ability to maneuver is severely constrained so what is the combat utility to any of this especially in a F35 w extremely low rcs and great situational awareness instrumentation. Am I missing something?

Little to no combat utility for the very slow speed post stall characteristics of the flight envelope. It is a consequence of aircraft that have high AoA capability and good thrust. The high AoA is incredibly useful in combat especially with HOBS missiles and HMS. WVR combat has moved from high sustained turn rates to high instantaneous turn rates with rapid energy recovery and aforementioned HOBS missiles.


Thanks for the education.
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Jan 28, 2019 9:36 am

It will be interesting to hear how the F-35 performs now a couple of years later. I'd less interested in the kill ratios and more interested in overall performance, sortie generation and how the aircraft assisted the overall battle space picture.

'Lethal' F-35A heading to Red Flag 19-1

Pilots and maintainers from the 388th Fighter Wing are bringing the F-35A and ‘increased lethality’ as they take a lead role in Red Flag 19-1 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada,

From Jan. 26 - Feb. 15, approximately 200 Airmen from Hill AFB, including reservists from the 419th Fighter Wing, will participate in what is known as the Air Force’s premier combat training exercise.

The 388th FW debuted the F-35A Lightning II at Red Flag in 2017 and came away with a 20:1 kill ratio. The jet is even more capable now, pilots say.

“We have an upgraded software suite that has improved our sensor fusion. We’ve got an expanded flying envelope with more maneuverability. We have the ability to employ more weapons, including the 25-mm cannon,” said Lt. Col. Yosef Morris, 4th Fighter Squadron commander. “When you couple those things with the two years we’ve had to improve our tactics, we’re bringing a much more lethal F-35A to this Red Flag and ultimately to the battlefield.”

The three-week exercise sees friendly “Blue Force” take on enemy “Red Force” aggressors in intense training environments to test air-to-air, air-to-ground, and space and cyber warfare. This year, once again, the F-35A is set to provide offensive and defensive counter air, suppression of enemy air defense, and close air support against enemy forces.

Pilots and maintainers from Hill AFB will work with other Air Force units flying a variety of aircraft alongside allies from Great Britain and Australia.

Typically, about 2,000 personnel and more than 100 aircraft participate in Red Flag exercises, which take place throughout the year at Nellis AFB.

“Red Flag provides training, especially for some of our younger Airmen, that is hard to replicate anywhere else, just in the size and scope of our missions,” Morris said. “From planning and flying with other units and allied nations, to our maintainers generating sorties at a combat pace in a ‘deployed’ setting, it’s a great learning experience.”

While at Red Flag 19-1, F-35 maintainers will generate multiple sorties and will be challenged to maintain a high ops-tempo during both day and night missions.

The first operational F-35As arrived at Hill in October 2015 and reached initial operational capability in August 2016. The active duty 388th FW and Air Force Reserve 419th FW fly and maintain the jet in a Total Force partnership, which capitalizes on the strength of both components. By the end of this year, Hill AFB will be home to 78 F-35s.

https://www.acc.af.mil/News/Article-Dis ... flag-19-1/

Image
 
bigjku
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Jan 28, 2019 12:27 pm

Ozair wrote:
It will be interesting to hear how the F-35 performs now a couple of years later. I'd less interested in the kill ratios and more interested in overall performance, sortie generation and how the aircraft assisted the overall battle space picture.

'Lethal' F-35A heading to Red Flag 19-1

Pilots and maintainers from the 388th Fighter Wing are bringing the F-35A and ‘increased lethality’ as they take a lead role in Red Flag 19-1 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada,

From Jan. 26 - Feb. 15, approximately 200 Airmen from Hill AFB, including reservists from the 419th Fighter Wing, will participate in what is known as the Air Force’s premier combat training exercise.

The 388th FW debuted the F-35A Lightning II at Red Flag in 2017 and came away with a 20:1 kill ratio. The jet is even more capable now, pilots say.

“We have an upgraded software suite that has improved our sensor fusion. We’ve got an expanded flying envelope with more maneuverability. We have the ability to employ more weapons, including the 25-mm cannon,” said Lt. Col. Yosef Morris, 4th Fighter Squadron commander. “When you couple those things with the two years we’ve had to improve our tactics, we’re bringing a much more lethal F-35A to this Red Flag and ultimately to the battlefield.”

The three-week exercise sees friendly “Blue Force” take on enemy “Red Force” aggressors in intense training environments to test air-to-air, air-to-ground, and space and cyber warfare. This year, once again, the F-35A is set to provide offensive and defensive counter air, suppression of enemy air defense, and close air support against enemy forces.

Pilots and maintainers from Hill AFB will work with other Air Force units flying a variety of aircraft alongside allies from Great Britain and Australia.

Typically, about 2,000 personnel and more than 100 aircraft participate in Red Flag exercises, which take place throughout the year at Nellis AFB.

“Red Flag provides training, especially for some of our younger Airmen, that is hard to replicate anywhere else, just in the size and scope of our missions,” Morris said. “From planning and flying with other units and allied nations, to our maintainers generating sorties at a combat pace in a ‘deployed’ setting, it’s a great learning experience.”

While at Red Flag 19-1, F-35 maintainers will generate multiple sorties and will be challenged to maintain a high ops-tempo during both day and night missions.

The first operational F-35As arrived at Hill in October 2015 and reached initial operational capability in August 2016. The active duty 388th FW and Air Force Reserve 419th FW fly and maintain the jet in a Total Force partnership, which capitalizes on the strength of both components. By the end of this year, Hill AFB will be home to 78 F-35s.

https://www.acc.af.mil/News/Article-Dis ... flag-19-1/

Image


Have always figured there will be a ton of awkwardness among Eurofighter nations operating both types when the F-35 is wiping the floor with what most still claim is their main air to air fighter. It’s not controversial for the USAF or USN to state this. But for the ones building a competing product things may get uncomfortable.
 
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monomojo
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Jan 28, 2019 2:35 pm

RJMAZ wrote:
Ozair wrote:
Sometimes called the “half-raam”, Lockheed designed the Cuda to achieve similar range to the AIM-120 in a package about half the size, allowing existing fighters such as the F-22 and F-35 to carry twice the number of air-to-air missiles internally.

How is this possible though? With similar tech in the full length AMRAAM size it will always fly much further.


Speculation: range calculations necessarily include energy requirements for terminal phase high-g maneuvers to intercept the target. By including the DACS motors from PAC-3 for end-game maneuvers, less energy is needed at the terminal phase to ensure an intercept, so less rocket motor is needed to provide the same range.
 
bigjku
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Jan 28, 2019 6:31 pm

monomojo wrote:
RJMAZ wrote:
Ozair wrote:
Sometimes called the “half-raam”, Lockheed designed the Cuda to achieve similar range to the AIM-120 in a package about half the size, allowing existing fighters such as the F-22 and F-35 to carry twice the number of air-to-air missiles internally.

How is this possible though? With similar tech in the full length AMRAAM size it will always fly much further.


Speculation: range calculations necessarily include energy requirements for terminal phase high-g maneuvers to intercept the target. By including the DACS motors from PAC-3 for end-game maneuvers, less energy is needed at the terminal phase to ensure an intercept, so less rocket motor is needed to provide the same range.


Also a drastically smaller warhead as you use hit to kill approach and have a very small lethality enhancing charge inside. So you are accelerating a significantly lighter weapon. I agree you won’t get the same performance as an AMRAAM length weapon with the same tech (hit to kill warhead, divertless ect) but that is really the question. It’s can we get a weapon that is useful across 80% of the engagement envelope of a current AMRAMM sand fit two of them in the same space. That seems possible. I don’t frankly see a lot of use for weapons that reach further than the AIM-120D in broad service.

And you always have the option to carry a handful of long spears in revamped AIM-120’s if you wanted to range extend it (or Meteor I suppose) while also carrying a complement of these shorter ranges weapons. A configuration of say three AIM-120 and 4 small missiles would be very possible. Or two and 8. Or two, 4 and 4 small bombs.
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Jan 29, 2019 12:01 am

More blk 4 changes coming as the platform continues to evolve.

BAE Systems to undertake ‘Project Heisenberg’ of upgraded F-35 EW suite

The programme office for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) will award BAE Systems a sole-source contract to conduct flights trials of the aircraft's future electronic warfare (EW) and countermeasures suite.

The US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) disclosed on 25 January that BAE Systems will conduct tests of a modified version of its AN/ASQ-239A suite aboard the CATBird surrogate test aircraft. This demonstration of elements of the EW/countermeasures suite on the modified Boeing 737 airliner known as the Cooperative Avionics Test Bed (CATBird) is referred to as Project Heisenberg.

"This effort provides risk reduction and early assessment of C2D2 [Continuous Capability Development and Delivery]/Block 4 EW capabilities, along with evaluation of the associated mission data files," NAVAIR said, adding, "The scope of work required for this effort consists of proposing, developing, integrating, deploying, and operating a modified AN/ASQ-239A suite in a receive-only flight-test/demonstration configuration."

This contract supports the multiple variants of the F-35, with an award anticipated for the third quarter of fiscal year 2019 (FY 2019).

As noted by BAE Systems, the AN/ASQ-239 system protects the F-35 against current and emerging threats. "Equipped with offensive and defensive electronic warfare options for the pilot and aircraft, the suite provides fully integrated radar warning, targeting support, and self-protection, to detect and defeat surface and airborne threats."

The company added, "The system provides the pilot with maximum situational awareness, helping to identify, monitor, analyse, and respond to potential threats. Advanced avionics and sensors provide a real-time, 360° view of the battlespace, helping to maximise detection ranges and provide the pilot with options to evade, engage, counter, or jam threats.

"Always active, AN/ASQ-239 provides all-aspect, broadband protection, allowing the F-35 to reach well-defended targets and suppress enemy radars.

https://www.janes.com/article/85990/bae ... 5-ew-suite
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:56 pm

More discussion and suggestion from ASPI on the Australian Defence Force operating the F-35 from their LHDs.

Plan ‘B’ for the F-35

The Australian Defence Force’s equipment is good and getting better. But the ADF’s current and planned force structures have some significant limitations in their ability to deliver some crucial military effects. In an era of strategic uncertainty, both in the threats we will face and in the capacity of our allies to help us face them, it’s useful to think about ways to address those limitations sooner rather than later. As always, the perfect (particularly when delivered sometime off in the never-never) is the enemy of the good. Also, given the strategic uncertainty, a future government will need to increase defence spending, or at least realise that its current investment plan needs some serious reviewing.

So what are those limitations? First, we are acquiring the conventional ‘A’ variant of the best tactical aircraft in the world, the F-35 joint strike fighter. But its range is limited even with air-to-air refuelling, particularly if we want a sustained presence in an area, rather than one that involves flying out, launching munitions and flying home. Once a naval or amphibious taskforce is more than 1,000 nautical miles (1,852 kilometres) away from our air bases, it’s pretty much on its own. A thousand nautical miles isn’t very far in the Indo-Pacific, or even in our patch of it in the South Pacific.

Second, our amphibious taskforce has only limited ability to provide fire support to lodged land forces. The short range of naval gunfire means that ships have to get close to enemy defences, leaving them vulnerable to the land-based anti-ship missiles we ourselves are interested in acquiring. The navy’s landing helicopter docks, Canberra and Adelaide, can carry the armed Tiger helicopter, but experience in Afghanistan and the Middle East shows that even relatively unsophisticated adversaries can make life very difficult for helicopters.

Third, our fleet has a very limited long-range land-strike capability. The Harpoon missile has some ability to strike land targets, but even our air warfare destroyers can carry only eight of them. We could put a true long-range strike weapon on one of the AWDs, but it will always be competing with air defence missiles for a home in the ship’s vertical launch cells. The future frigate will have more cells, but the first ship won’t be operational until at least 2030 and then they’re scheduled to come only every two years. The future submarine is not being optimised for strategic strike.

Fourth, our fleet has some ability to strike surface maritime targets. But Russian and Chinese anti-ship missiles have longer ranges than the Harpoon. The integrated investment program contains a project to acquire a more modern missile, but the number of vertical launch cells will always be a limitation, and ships can reload only back in Australia. Plus, if our missile can reach them, theirs can probably reach us. Submarines certainly have a serious anti-surface capability, but we’ve only got six of them and won’t get more for at least 15 years.

Fifth, adversary aircraft armed with long-range anti-ship missiles can launch them from outside the range of our defensive missiles. Our fleet can try to shoot down missiles coming at it, but it can’t stop enemy aircraft from repeatedly launching, returning to base and rearming.

All of this may not really matter if we’re confident that all we’ll need to do is plug into a US-led taskforce and rely on it to provide all of those missing elements. But if the challenge we’re now facing is that we may not be able to always and absolutely rely on the US to provide that support when we need it, then our force structure has a problem.

All the effects outlined above can be delivered by the F-35: close air support; defensive and offensive counter-air; and maritime and (with the right missile) long-range land strike. The problem is we can’t necessarily deliver the F-35 to where we need it.

How do we get the F-35, with its sensor suite, its data-sharing capability and its weapons load, into the fight—and, by doing so, allow the rest of the ADF to fight where we need it to?

One approach would be to get access to more airbases. But there aren’t many airbases capable of supporting the F-35 in our immediate region, and we’d always be reliant on host-nation support. Operating from an established land base also means the adversary knows where you are and, with the help of a spotter with a mobile phone sitting by the airbase, when you’re coming.

You know where this is going. Put the F-35 on a ship. But that’s only part of it. The suggestion is to acquire a squadron of the short take-off and vertical landing variant of the JSF, the F-35B, and a third LHD optimised to support air operations. What does that give the ADF? The bottom line is, a lot more options that the adversary has to deal with. Even in an age of space surveillance and electronic warfare, it’s harder to deal with an enemy airbase that’s moving.

Moreover, the F-35B doesn’t need to operate from a ship and can use a lot more airfields than the conventional JSF. It will be interesting to see where the resourceful US Marine Corps takes its F-35B as it learns to operate it. Is a Swedish approach, of operating from highways, on the cards?

I’m well aware of the threats posed by Chinese anti-access capabilities, and I’m not suggesting that having F-35Bs will mean that the ADF can go up against the Chinese fleet alone in the South China Sea. But I can’t see how a maritime or amphibious taskforce that includes an LHD with an F-35B is somehow more vulnerable than one without it. And if it’s too dangerous to send an F-35B–equipped LHD to sea, then it’s certainly too dangerous to send an LHD without the F-35B but with over 1,000 troops on it to sea. Moreover, the F-35B, whether operating from land or from an LHD, gives a lot of capability in scenarios short of full-scale war against China. A dozen F-35Bs flying two sorties a day, each with 24 guided 250-pound bombs on board, would provide a lot of close air support in an insurgency situation like that which unfolded in the Philippine city of Marawi, for example.

And in terms of options, if we’re in a scenario where we’re mainly concerned with a submarine threat, the third LHD could operate as an anti-submarine helicopter carrier and at the same time retain much of its original amphibious capability.

There are certainly other options Australia could consider, but it’s hard to think of alternatives that are available now. The new US bomber, the B-21 Raider, will provide a lot of the effects described above when it enters service, but it’s likely to cost around A$1 billion per aircraft. Unmanned combat aerial vehicles are coming, but they can’t do the whole job yet. A third Spanish-built LHD and F-35B squadron could be delivered in around five years (even with the modifications that allow it to carry all of those munitions and aviation fuel), well before the navy’s new frigates and submarines arrive.

Yes, the F-35B has a shorter range and a lower payload than the conventional variant the RAAF is already getting. But it has exactly the same sensor suite, sensor fusion and data-sharing ability. These make every asset in a taskforce better. When you really get down to it, the question is, would we prefer to have an F-35 with slightly less capability in the fight, or no F-35 and potentially no ADF in the fight at all?

https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/plan-b-for-the-f-35/

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