Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:06 pm

The JPO have certainly spread these contracts around. I hope that by doing so they have been able to get very good deals on the cost to repair the respective LRUs and that it can contribute to a reduction in the long term sustainment costs.

Mitsubishi Electric to provide F-35 avionics maintenance from 2025

The Japanese Ministry of Defense's (MoD's) Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA) announced on 13 February that the Pentagon has officially selected Japan to provide some avionics maintenance work for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) from 2025.

An ATLA spokesperson told Jane's that Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (Melco) will be responsible for servicing four avionics components out of a total of about 400 in the F-35. Meanwhile, an MoD source said that the company is likely to carry out this work for F-35s deployed in the Asia-Pacific region, including those operated by US forces.

A Melco spokesperson confirmed the announcement, but declined to disclose where exactly the work is set to be carried out.

https://www.janes.com/article/86608/mit ... -from-2025
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:08 pm

F-35 JPO will brief Congress on Block 4 modernization plan in coming months

The F-35 joint program office will brief Congress on its Block 4 modernization plan in the coming months, according to the program executive officer.

That plan was characterized as "high risk" in a recent report by the Pentagon's top weapons tester, who also called for an assessment of the cost to test and continuously modernize software.

Asked about the director of operational test and evaluation's report, F-35 PEO Vice Adm. Mat Winter said the plan does come with a "sense of uncertainty and risk."

"The [Defense] Department knows that and DOT&E is recognizing that and providing that in their assessment. So I don't see any issue with what they wrote because that's good program management understanding," he told reporters here at the AFCEA West conference.

https://insidedefense.com/insider/f-35- ... ing-months
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Feb 20, 2019 3:38 am

estorilm wrote:
Wish there was some better information out there about Red Flag - I had heard there would be a substantial F-35 presence and sortie rate over there a few weeks ago, but was trying not to get too excited till things wrapped up and news came out.


I haven't seen many articles other than those in the thread but did come acorss this one which does add a little bit more to the info on RF 19-1.

'Trial by Flag' for new F-35A pilots

The desert screams by below. The clouds scream by above. Both stretch on into the horizon. It’s deceptively calm in the cockpit. There’s a constant, seemingly discordant stream of chatter coming through his helmet. The digital screens in front of him, along with images projected onto his visor, provide enough information to save lives and take a few as well. In the sky ahead are more than 60 advanced enemy aircraft, flown by some of the best fighter pilots in the world. They are hunting – looking to kill him and his wingmen. He just graduated pilot training. Welcome to Red Flag.

“I haven’t been flying that long. There are things that stand out in my career. My first solo flight, my first F-35 flight and my first Red Flag mission. I don’t think I’ll ever forget those things,” said 1st Lt. Landon Moores, a new F-35A Lightning II pilot with the 388th Fighter Wing’s 4th Fighter Squadron.

Moores is one of a handful of young F-35A pilots who recently graduated their initial training and are currently deployed here as part of Red-Flag 19-1. Now they are being battle-tested.

“Going from F-35 training a little over a month ago to a large force exercise with dozens of aircraft in the sky is pretty crazy,” Moores said. “For the initial part of the first mission, I was just kind of sitting there listening. I was nervous. I was excited. Then the training kicked in.”

Red Flag is the Air Force’s premier combat training exercise where units from across the Department of Defense join with allied nations in a “blue force” to combat a “red force” in a variety of challenging scenarios over three weeks.

“For us, the biggest difference between this Red Flag and our first with the F-35A two years ago is that we have a lot of pilots on their first assignment,” said Lt. Col. Yosef Morris, 4th FS commander. “Putting them alongside more experienced wingmen is what Red Flag was designed for.”

What combat training looks like has changed dramatically over the years, Morris said.

“When I was a young pilot in the F-16, I had a couple of responsibilities in the cockpit. One, don’t lose sight of my flight lead. Two, keep track of a bunch of green blips on a small screen in front of me, and correlate the blips to what someone is telling me on the radio,” Morris said. “Now, we’re flying miles apart and interpreting and sharing information the jets gather, building a threat and target picture. We’re asking way more of young wingmen, but we’re able to do that because of their training and the capabilities of the jet.”

Captain James Rosenau flew the A-10 in four previous Red Flags, but he’s brand new to the F-35. He graduated the transition course in December 2018.

“I loved the A-10 and its mission. It’s like a flying tank. Like Chewbacca with chainsaw arms. A very raw flying experience,” Rosenau said. “Obviously the F-35 is completely different. It’s more like a precision tool. After seeing the F-35 go up against the near-peer threats replicated here at Nellis, I’m a big believer.”

The two aircraft are similar in one way. They do very specific things other aircraft aren’t asked to do.

“In the A-10, I liked being the guy who was called upon to directly support troops on the ground. To bring that fight to the enemy,” Rosenau said. “Now I like being the guy who can support legacy fighters when they may be struggling to get into a target area because of the threat level. We have more freedom to operate. We have this big radar that can sniff out threats. We can gather all of that and pass it along or potentially take out those threats ourselves.”

The threat level is high at Red Flag. From the skill and size of the aggressor forces in the air to the complexity and diversity of the surface to air threats, there is a real sense of the ‘fog and friction’ of war. The adversary force also uses space and cyber warfare to take out or limit technology that modern warfighters rely on. Cutting through the clutter is a strength of the F-35A.

“One of the jet’s greatest assets is to see things that others can’t, take all the information it’s gathering from the sensors and present them to the pilot,” Moores said. “One of our biggest jobs is learning how to process and prioritize that. For the more experienced pilots it seems like it is second nature. … If we don’t, it’s not like we’re getting killed (in the F-35), but we could be doing more killing.”

The pilots say seeing the F-35A’s capabilities being put to use as part of a larger force has been invaluable.

“When we mission plan with other units, it’s not always about kicking down the door,” said Rosenau “It may be about looking at what the enemy is presenting and ‘thinking skinny.’ With the F-35, we can think through a mission and choose how we want to attack it to make everyone more survivable.”

https://www.dvidshub.net/news/310624/tr ... 35a-pilots

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Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:11 pm

Likely further use over Syria of the F-35 by Israel.

Source: Israeli F-35 destroyed Chinese-made radar during airstrikes in Syria

Last month, an Israeli satellite imagery analysis company ImageSat confirmed that Chinese-made JY-27 radar of the Syrian Air Defense at Damascus airport destroyed by Israeli airstrikes on January 20th.

No airstrike details were given and the quoted ImageSat did also not contain any further information but some source said that radar was destroyed by Israeli F-35i Adir fighter jets.

The source claims that F-35i Adir fighter jet of the Israeli Air Force has destroyed Chinese design JY-27 radar of the Syrian Air Defense near Damascus International Airport on 20 January.

The JY-27 radar of the Chinese manufacturer CETC is a fully solid-state and fully coherent long-range early warning system. It is designed and developed to provide early warning information and detect low-observable air targets in so-called “Stealth technology”, included F-35 and F-22 fighter aircraft. Besides, it provides the early warning information for weapons system as well.

Representatives of the Israeli Air Force refused to comment on this issue.

In fact, the recent raids reveal Israel’s continuing ability to defeat Syrian air defense facilities, but some military experts said that radar was destroyed by the kamikaze-drone.

For reference, F-35I Adir (“Mighty One” in Hebrew) is a modified Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fifth-generation multirole stealth fighter jet of Israel Defense Forces.

https://defence-blog.com/news/source-is ... syria.html
 
estorilm
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Feb 21, 2019 1:39 pm

Ozair wrote:
Likely further use over Syria of the F-35 by Israel.

Source: Israeli F-35 destroyed Chinese-made radar during airstrikes in Syria

Last month, an Israeli satellite imagery analysis company ImageSat confirmed that Chinese-made JY-27 radar of the Syrian Air Defense at Damascus airport destroyed by Israeli airstrikes on January 20th.

No airstrike details were given and the quoted ImageSat did also not contain any further information but some source said that radar was destroyed by Israeli F-35i Adir fighter jets.

The source claims that F-35i Adir fighter jet of the Israeli Air Force has destroyed Chinese design JY-27 radar of the Syrian Air Defense near Damascus International Airport on 20 January.

The JY-27 radar of the Chinese manufacturer CETC is a fully solid-state and fully coherent long-range early warning system. It is designed and developed to provide early warning information and detect low-observable air targets in so-called “Stealth technology”, included F-35 and F-22 fighter aircraft. Besides, it provides the early warning information for weapons system as well.

Representatives of the Israeli Air Force refused to comment on this issue.

In fact, the recent raids reveal Israel’s continuing ability to defeat Syrian air defense facilities, but some military experts said that radar was destroyed by the kamikaze-drone.

For reference, F-35I Adir (“Mighty One” in Hebrew) is a modified Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fifth-generation multirole stealth fighter jet of Israel Defense Forces.

https://defence-blog.com/news/source-is ... syria.html

They must be providing a gold mine of info to Lockheed and defense / research agencies on both the performance of the aircraft and the radar signatures and behavior of the enemy SAM's.

The best thing is that in a passive mode, they can't really turn off their radars because they don't know it's coming. Israel is probably on the forefront of providing modern identification and targeting information for modern US weapons systems.

Plus in general, the IAF really knows how to use their equipment. It's a bummer they're clearly not able to say much about their ops, but obviously they aren't hesitating for one second to throw their most expensive assets directly into combat. Are their aircraft even upgraded to Block 3F yet?
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:05 pm

estorilm wrote:
Are their aircraft even upgraded to Block 3F yet?


Only the first two jets were delivered with Blk 3i, the remaining jets all arrived with Blk 3F.

Lockheed delivered the first two F-35Is to Israel in 2016 as part of the eighth lot of low-rate initial production, which featured Block 3i software. The IAF’s remaining F-35Is were delivered in Lot 9 with Block 3F software, allowing a broader set of weapons options and a wider flight envelope.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... ke-448789/
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:21 pm

Ozair wrote:
estorilm wrote:
Are their aircraft even upgraded to Block 3F yet?


Only the first two jets were delivered with Blk 3i, the remaining jets all arrived with Blk 3F.

Lockheed delivered the first two F-35Is to Israel in 2016 as part of the eighth lot of low-rate initial production, which featured Block 3i software. The IAF’s remaining F-35Is were delivered in Lot 9 with Block 3F software, allowing a broader set of weapons options and a wider flight envelope.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... ke-448789/

Ah thanks! That must be quite a feeling driving those things into contested airspace with (what appears to be) complete immunity. They are definitely getting their money's worth out of that deal.
I'm a little surprised it seems like their F-35s are getting so many sorties this early actually - they've obviously had incredible success with the F-15's.
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Feb 22, 2019 2:16 am

If only the head in the sand types on the German Tornado thread would come over here.
Better yet the German politicians that made the decision to make the worst possible decision. I understand their desire for FCAS but I wonder if anyone has pointed out to them what they could learn about 5th gen operations if they had the F35. Just dumb!
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Feb 22, 2019 4:07 pm

Today, an important milestone in the F-35 program is highlighted. The RNoAF F-34A fighter planes have reached their first 1000 hours of air from Norwegian soil and are well on their way to reaching IOC (initial operational capability) during 2019.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Feb 22, 2019 10:35 pm

Mortyman wrote:
Today, an important milestone in the F-35 program is highlighted. The RNoAF F-34A fighter planes have reached their first 1000 hours of air from Norwegian soil and are well on their way to reaching IOC (initial operational capability) during 2019.

A great milestone, pretty impressive they have accumulated so many hours before IOC. Any idea when in 2019 they are targeting for IOC?
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Feb 22, 2019 10:41 pm

Take A Look At These Crazy Cool Shots Of An F-35 Flying At Low Level Through The Snow-Covered Sierra Mountains

The stunning photographs in this post were taken on Feb. 21, by our friend and photographer Christopher McGreevy.

They show a 461th FLTS F-35A from Edwards Air Force Base, at low level, on the Sidewinder low level route, enroute to the famous “Jedi Transition”.

While we are used to see some great photographs of the F-35s, F-16s, and many other types thundering over the desert in the “Star Wars” canyon, the rare snow days in California provided a fantastic background for these shots McGreevy shot from an unusual spot, deep in the Sierra Mountains.

As mentioned several times here at The Aviationist, what makes the low level training so interesting, is the fact that aircraft flying the low level routes are involved in realistic combat training. Indeed, although many current and future scenarios involve stand-off weapons or drops from high altitudes, fighter pilots still practice on an almost daily basis to infiltrate heavily defended targets and to evade from areas protected by sophisticated air defense networks as those employed in Iran, Syria or North Korea. While electronic countermeasures help, the ability to get bombs on target and live to fight another day may also depend on the skills learnt at treetop altitude.

To be able to fly at less than 2,000 feet can be useful during stateside training too, when weather conditions are such to require a low level leg to keep visual contact with the ground and VMC (Visual Meteorological Conditions). Aircraft involved in special operations, reconnaissance, Search And Rescue, troops or humanitarian airdrops in trouble spots around the world may have to fly at low altitudes.

Even a stealth plane (or helicopter), spotted visually by an opponent, could be required to escape at tree top height to survive an engagement by enemy fighter planes or an IR guided missile.

That’s why low level corridors like the Sidewinder and the LFA-7 aka “Mach Loop” in the UK are so frequently used to train fighter jet, airlifter and helicopter pilots.

And such training pays off when needed. As happened, in Libya, in 2011, when RAF C-130s were tasked to rescue oil workers that were trapped in the desert. The airlifter took off from Malta and flew over the Mediteranean, called Tripoli air traffic control, explained who they were and what they were up to, they got no reply from the controllers, therefore continued at low level once over the desert and in hostile airspace.

https://theaviationist.com/2019/02/22/t ... mountains/

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Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Feb 25, 2019 9:16 pm

Some impressive build numbers by NG for the F-35 center fuselage.

Northrop Grumman completed the 500th center fuselage for F-35 Lightning II

U.S. weapons maker Northrop Grumman Corp reported a delivered 500th Center Fuselage for the F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft.

“We deliver an F-35 center fuselage every 36 hours and I am very proud to say we have made all our deliveries since the inception of the program,” said Frank Carus, vice president and F-35 program manager, Northrop Grumman. “Our dedicated team works closely with the customer and suppliers to improve quality and affordability in support of the warfighter.”

According to a news release put out by Northrop Grumman Corp, designated AU-18, the 500th F-35 center fuselage is for a conventional takeoff and landing variant for the Royal Australian Air Force. Northrop Grumman began production on the AU-18 center fuselage in June 2018 and completed work on Feb. 21. Northrop Grumman has been producing center fuselages for all three F-35 variants since May 2004.

“We have set the standard for the production of military aircraft,” said Kevin Mickey, sector vice president and general manager, military aircraft systems, Northrop Grumman. “Our teams and suppliers are constantly finding better, more affordable ways to deliver a superior product on-time, at-cost and, as with this center fuselage, ahead of schedule. When you couple this level of commitment with advanced manufacturing technologies, it’s just a win-win situation for us, our customer and the warfighter.”

A core structure of the F-35 aircraft, the center fuselage is designed and produced on Northrop Grumman’s integrated assembly line, a state-of-the-art facility supported by technologies exclusive to or pioneered by Northrop Grumman bringing together robotics, autonomous systems, virtual 3D and predictive automation to the forefront of center fuselage production.

Lockheed Martin is the industry lead for the F-35 program and Northrop Grumman plays a key role in the development, modernization, sustainment and production of the F-35. In addition to producing the center fuselage and wing skins for the aircraft, the company develops, produces and maintains several sensor systems, avionics, mission systems and mission-planning software, pilot and maintainer training systems courseware, electronic warfare simulation test capability, and low-observable technologies.

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

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Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Feb 25, 2019 9:21 pm

I don't think many people realised how many sorties F-35s flew from the USS Essex in support of combat forces in the Middle East. That is some excellent operational experience to learn and improve the jet as well as TTPs.

Stealth Strike: The Marines' Version of the F-35 Flew More Than 100 Combat Sorties

As it returns from its first combat deployment, the Marines' version of the F-35 is no longer a baby-faced boot.

F-35Bs flew more than 100 combat sorties against the Taliban and ISIS while deployed aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Essex, said Lt. Col. Kyle Shoop, commander of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211.

"We overall supported more than 50 days of combat flying for over 1,200 flight hours," Shoop told Task & Purpose. "We supported both Operation Freedom's Sentinel up in the Afghanistan region as well as Operation Inherent Resolve over Syria/Iraq. We employed ordnance in both theaters on numerous days," Shoop said. "Every single one of the pilots employed ordnance in theater. So, we were very busy."

The Essex quietly left San Diego in July along with the F-35B squadron and the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked. The F-35B got its first taste of combat in September against a Taliban weapons cache in Afghanistan.

The aircraft that flew the mission had two names inscribed on it, Shoop said: Medal of Honor recipient Capt.Henry Talmage "Hammering Hank" Elrod and Lt .Col. Christopher "Otis" Raible , the squadron's former commander, who was killed in 2012 while repelling a Taliban attack on Camp Bastion while armed only with a pistol.

During its deployment, the F-35B squadron flew close air support missions over both Afghanistan and Syria, Shoop said. In Syria, the aircraft also helped assess the damage done by coalition airstrikes in bad weather because the F-35's radar is far better than the F/A-18 Hornets' sensors.

Neither Syrian or Russian air defenses attempted to engage the F-35Bs during the missions against ISIS, he said.

"We would see Russian airplanes airborne as well as Syrian, but everyone maintained their lines of de-confliction that were set up prior," Shoop said.

Overall, the F-35 exceeded expectations during its first deployment, Shoop said. The squadron was able to keep 75 percent of its aircraft operational at all times, allowing it to "fly pretty much at will."

All of the F-35 pilots were awarded air medals because of the high number of combat missions they flew, said Col. Chandler Nelms, commanding officer of the 13th MEU.

Some of the MEU's Marines also contributed to the fight against ISIS, Nelms said. An infantry platoon and a CH-53E detachment went to Iraq to provide a reaction force and assault support airlift, and an artillery platoon deployed to Syria with M777 Howitzers.

Nelms declined to say if any of his Marines had been nominated for valor awards.

The Essex is slated to return home soon, but not everyone with the MEU is coming back. Cpl. Jonathan Currier was declared dead in August after falling overboard in the Mindanao Sea. Currier was a CH-53E Super Stallion crew chief.

"The loss of Cpl. Currier is felt across the MEU and across the ARG [amphibious ready group] and it has been since last August," Nelms said. "Everybody misses him. We just recently held a memorial on our return transit to continue our remembrance of his selfless service and honor his life. It was a tough loss and our hearts just really go out to his family."

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/ ... ties-45567
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Feb 25, 2019 11:28 pm

I've put this here given the JSOW is capable of internal F-35 carriage and already IOC with the F-35C. It will be interesting to see which international customers acquire the ER version for their respective F-35 fleets.

Raytheon to be awarded TMRR and EMD contracts for JSOW-ER missile

The US Navy (USN) is to award Raytheon a sole-source contract for the technology maturation risk-reduction (TMRR) and engineering, manufacturing, and development (EMD) phase of the extended-range (ER) variant of the AGM-154 Joint Stand-Off Weapon (JSOW).

A notification, issued by the US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) on 7 February, covers the TMRR and EMD phase of the JSOW-ER long-range air-to-surface missile that is intended to equip both the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and Lockheed Martin F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft.

Deployment of the missile is due no later than fiscal year 2023 (FY 2023).

The JSOW-ER has the same size, shape, and weight as the baseline JSOW glide-weapon, but incorporates a Hamilton Sundstrand TJ-150 turbojet (as fitted onto Raytheon's MALD [miniature air-launched decoy]) to give it a reported range of about 463 km (compared with 22 km for the JSOW), while Raytheon has said it expects a maximum effective range of 555.6 km when launched under optimum conditions.

As noted by Jane's Weapons: Air-Launched , the JSOW-ER shares the same upgraded imaging infrared (2IR/IIR) seeker as the AGM-154C-1-variant JSOW, which includes new modes (modified software) to engage moving targets at sea. It is equipped with a Rockwell Collins TacNet 1.0 (two-way strike common weapon datalink [SCWDL]) that enables the launch aircraft or another designated controller to provide real-time target updates to the weapon, or to reassign it to another target mid-flight.

In terms of its warhead, the JSOW-ER can be fitted with the same penetrating effect as the multistage BROACH (Bomb Royal Ordnance Augmented Charge) developed by BAE Systems, but with less blast/fragmentation. It might incorporate less steel in the warhead or adopt a new fragmentation sleeve. The demonstrator airframe flown in October 2009 had a hollow space containing fuel where a BLU-111 warhead would be fitted onto a standard weapon, while Raytheon noted that a production JSOW-ER would have a smaller warhead to accommodate the necessary fuel tank.

https://www.janes.com/article/86249/ray ... er-missile
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Feb 25, 2019 11:29 pm

Some criticism, mostly valid, of ALIS.

Here we have the poster child for how not to develop technology

Let’s look backward, shall we, to October 2001. That’s when Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. in Fort Worth, Texas, received an $18.98 billion cost-plus-award-fee contract for the Joint Strike Fighter Air System Engineering and Manufacturing Development Program. According to award details, the objectives were to “develop an affordable family of strike aircraft and an autonomic logistics support and training system.”

So, a little more than 17 years ago.

Nothing about the timeline is terribly unusual for development of a military platform. The F-35 program faced more than its fair share of problems and criticisms tied to delays, cost overruns and manufacturing problems that needed to be addressed. But as far as time to full-rate production, complex systems take a long time.

Theoretically, though, it would seem ludicrous to allocate nearly two decades to develop a tech system, considering how rapidly technology evolves. And that brings us to ALIS.

Again, the F-35 has wrestled with a lot of challenges over the years. But what currently receives the most attention — criticism actually — is ALIS. It’s not working. And it’s frustrating maintainers to no end. Our air warfare reporter, Valerie Insinna, has extensively reported on the problems, but here it is in a nutshell: After years of updates and improvements, the F-35’s system, designed to bring efficiency to maintenance and flight operations, continues to be beset by data gaps and bugs that actually make it harder, not easier, to keep the F-35 mission-ready. Maintainers are figuring out ways to work around ALIS and its failures to get the job done. That’s a problem.

There’s a saying in the tech community: "Fail fast, fail often.” It would appear ALIS is nailing the latter, but taking far too long to do it.

And there’s a reason for that. Nothing about ALIS development mirrored the best practices of the tech community, and the result was “good code in a fairly bad user interface and a bad architecture,” as noted by the Air Force’s top acquisition official, Will Roper, in a recent interview with Defense News. Why is that? ALIS is a proprietary system built to Defense Department standards. Let’s break that down a bit. Proprietary means little to no leveraging of commercial technology or open standards. It means a single point of failure. And with standards predetermined by the Department of Defense, the ability to take an agile and therefore adaptable approach to development was all but squashed.

This issue is top of mind for me, as we’ve been reporting a lot recently about the cultural disconnect between the Pentagon and the tech community — “Silicon Valley,” some might say, though not really bound anymore by that specific geography. And, truly, you might say ALIS is the poster child for the failures within the traditional defense community to understand how best to develop technology. To resurface a tongue-in-cheek comment from Josh Marcuse, director of the Defense Innovation Board, about the Pentagon’s approach to innovation: “It’s OK to fail, you just have to fail very slowly, you have to fail very expensively and you have to fail with a high degree of documentation.” It would appear ALIS met that standard beautifully.

The Air Force is moving forward on a way to to fix things — a promising and actually innovative approach called Mad Hatter (clever, right?) that one can only hope will also offer up some better practices for future development.

The F-35 is not your typical tech development program. I get that. One might argue that the sensitivity of the data managed by the logistics systems, combined with the complexity of requirements, prevent commercial practices or open standards from being used. But that argument doesn’t hold water. Smart tech development doesn’t happen in lieu of security.

Did the defense community understand that back in 2001? Maybe not. But let’s hope everyone knows it now.

https://www.defensenews.com/opinion/201 ... echnology/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Feb 25, 2019 11:35 pm

Some commentary on the changing nature of warfare through the introduction of the F-35 and other advanced platforms to the RAAF. The comparisons to bringing the Hornet into the RAAF in the early 80s demonstrate how much learning needs to occur to understand and use the F-35 to its full capability. I consider it early days yet for how transformational the platform will be and most nations are just scratching the surface of how and where they will operate in the future.

RAAF marrying minds and machines (part 1)

In past conflicts, many hours, days or weeks were spent gathering and analysing intelligence before an attack was launched on an enemy. Advances in science and technology have brought that time down to minutes, and sometimes even seconds, making it nearly impossible for the human brain to process the incoming avalanche of data in the time that will be available to air crews in future wars.

Royal Australian Air Force chief Leo Davies says the RAAF is training its personnel to more effectively harness the speed and accuracy with which artificial intelligence can process information to give them the edge in intense conflicts.

Air Marshal Davies says this phenomenon of ‘augmented intelligence’ will shift the RAAF from being a force that uses humans to operate machines and to cooperate with other humans, to one in which humans and machines operate together.

The goal is to out-think an enemy and to harness machine processing and sensors which see further, faster and more clearly—and to do that very fast.

The RAAF chief says the force’s advantages are its quality people and sophisticated equipment. ‘We will leverage these strengths to cognitively overwhelm our competitors by imposing human-inspired dilemmas at machine tempo across multiple domains.’

The RAAF believes that humans alone cannot cope with the deluge of data likely in modern combat, or respond to events happening at speeds and in domains beyond human comprehension.

However, its planners say machines are as yet unable to define intent and purpose or to imagine the alternative futures needed to develop effective strategies, and they can’t be held legally and morally accountable. Combinations are necessary to cope with the complexity and speed of future competition and maximise the air force’s ability to create, exploit and adapt to asymmetries.

The goal is to combine the strengths of humans and machines to create a human edge in the information age, in an ethical, moral and legal manner.

Davies says it’s vital that in introducing the F-35 joint strike fighter and other fifth-generation capabilities such as the P8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, the RAAF doesn’t make the mistakes of the past. A previous RAAF chief suggested to him that when the F/18 Hornets were introduced the air force wasted years flying them as it had operated its previous fleet of Mirage fighters.

The Mirage was a high-speed, high-altitude interceptor with a modest radar and a reliance on ground control, with a missile suite that was only just adequate. Tactics were developed around that technology. The Hornet radar could see much more and its electronic warfare suite could see the radars of other aircraft. ‘It had a very capable missile system, and would fly for longer, and be performance positive at medium and high altitude’, Davies says.

‘We only used about 30% of its capability in the first four years. We were chained to our old tactics and procedures.’

The RAAF needs to understand everything that a P-8 can deliver, in surface picture, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and electromagnetic spectrum and analysis, Davies says. ‘How would we get the important bits of that P-8 mission happening at 9 am to the F-35 mission that’s going to happen at 10 am in a different part of the world?

‘What bits are important, how do we send it, how do we use it? And when you ask those questions, we start to understand how each aircraft type we have has such a significant overlap with the rest of the fleet, and the army and the navy.

‘The F-35 now spends much of its mission helping other assets stay safe, be mission effective, and make decisions on their own with just a little packet of data, rather than themselves taking on every part of the fight’, the RAAF chief says. ‘We certainly find the F-35 able to orchestrate the battlespace because of superior sensor awareness.’

The F-35 has forced the RAAF to rethink the way it plans to fight, says Davies. ‘We train differently, we integrate differently. We need to receive information to make better decisions faster than the enemy can and be successful in battle if we need to be.’

Davies says that when Super Hornets operated with the army on exercises, the troops were surprised by how much the aircraft could ‘see’ on the other side of the hill and their ability to immediately pass on synthetic-aperture radar imagery to give the soldiers a current picture. With that came the aircraft’s ability to use its infrared scanners to detect enemy positions and movements at night with an assessment of what the target was.

The troops could then make decisions faster and manoeuvre with less risk.

That shows a need to spread the word through the whole of the ADF, Davies says. ‘Our maritime force needs to know what the future frigate, the new submarine, and the air warfare destroyer and the LHDs will do. We need to educate the navy on what the Triton will do, we need to integrate the Seahawk Romeo with the P-8—where can we share, and where can we improve each other’s situational awareness. This is a defence force that we hope never needs to be sent to battle, which means for me that we need to build a deterrence value.

‘What I think is very real, but not spoken about as much as it perhaps should be, is a situation where any potential adversary will look at Australia and decide, “That is going to be a tough fight. That is not worth fighting. I don’t want to go there.”’

‘That’, says Davies, ‘is as valuable as winning the missile fight, should you end up in a bad place.’

https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/raaf- ... es-part-1/
 
Planeflyer
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Feb 26, 2019 4:27 am

Difficult to break away from legacy thinking.
 
Elshad
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Feb 26, 2019 8:20 am

 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Feb 27, 2019 2:49 am

A long but very interesting article from AirForce news about the Blk 4 changes to the F-35. Some great features emerging as well as the ability to prioritise and react better to the demands of the user community.

Keeping the F-35 Ahead of the Bad Guys

The F-35 is expected to complete initial operational test and evaluation late this year, certifying the Block 3F version is fully combat-ready. By that time, work will be well underway for dozens of planned upgrades, collectively known as Block 4.

Block 4 comprises some 53 improvements to counter both air- and ground-based threats emerging from China and Russia. None of these upgrades will change the aircraft’s outer appearance, or “mold line.” Instead, they are primarily new or enhanced features executed in software, which will be rolled out in stages, with updates every April and October starting in 2019 and continuing through at least 2024.

“Instead of doing two-year deliveries … we decided to go to a more continuous capability framework,” said Vice Adm. Mathias W. Winter, F-35 Program Executive Officer, in a December interview.

Now that Block 3F has been “verified and validated,” the Lightning II is a “mature” system, Winter said, and ready to accept “modernization, enhancement, and improvements.” Exactly how many early production F-35s will be upgraded to the 3F configuration may be revealed in the 2020 budget submission to Congress.

Most existing F-35s are getting the Technology Refresh 3 package. Known as TR3, Winter said it includes “updated cockpit displays, updated memory system capacity, and updated core processing and computer power.”

Together, these “ensure that we have growth [capacity] well into the 2030 time frame.”

In fact, TR3 makes the Block 4 improvements possible, Winter said.

“Think of TR3 [as] your brand-new … laptop that has a new cool display with better graphics. It has a new processor inside so it can go faster, and it’s got terabytes of storage and memory system in there.” The Block 4 upgrades are like “the programs; the applications and outcomes that fill your computer.”

Handled at the squadron level, TR3 upgrades can be completed “in a couple of days,” Winter said. That’s in contrast to TR2 modifications that require depot-level installation of structural and component improvements.

The Block 4 upgrades will be “80 percent” software, Winter said, and delivered more rapidly than in the past.

Block 3F “allowed us to … do software faster,” according to Winter. “We can [now] go to a more agile, relevant, and flexible code-verify-test-deliver cadence, based on the warfighter’s direction to us [and] based on what capabilities they need, [and] when, to pace the threat. So, that’s the philosophy.”

Winter calls this Continuous Capability Development and Delivery, or C2D2.

The Government Accountability Office recommended last June that Block 4 be delayed until initial operational testing was complete, but Winter certified that the rapid advance of threat systems posed an urgent risk, and the Pentagon proceeded with a Block 4 contract award in November.

Block 4 includes 53 new capabilities “mapped … to six-month delivery cycles over the next six years, to 2024,” Winter said.

Updating every six months instead of every two years marks a cultural shift from “the traditional waterfall acquisition to an agile, rapid capability/continuous delivery” model, Winter noted. The new model is more akin to commercial product cycles, where rapid, iterative software releases are now the norm.

Indeed, the last Block 3F software was delivered in December and the first Block 4 update is planned for April 2019.

Combat operators, rather than program managers, will decide how to prioritize the updates, Winter said. If the combat operator wants to “wait, for whatever operational reason, we have the flexibility to be able to do that.”

The specific content of the Block 4 upgrade remains closely held, but breaks down broadly into six categories:

Integration of seven new weapons, including the Small Diameter Bomb II, British weapons such as the ASRAAM and Meteor air-to-air missiles; Turkey’s Standoff Missile and Norway’s Joint Strike Missile;
Eight logistics and support changes;
13 electronic warfare updates;
Seven interoperability and networking changes;
Seven cockpit and navigation upgrades; and
11 radar and electro-optical system enhancements.
In addition to those improvements, which will be common to all variants, some updates will answer unique service requirements. For example, Winter mentioned, only the Navy wants its F-35Cs to be able to launch the Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) C1 version.

The F-35 has four basic missions: air superiority, or offensive and defensive counterair; suppression or destruction of enemy air defenses (known as SEAD and DEAD); close air support; and strategic attack against high-value strategic and mobile targets.

“The Block 3F can service all four of those,” said Winter. Block 4 “brings on advanced capabilities and enhancements” to counter adversaries as their “capabilities increase against those mission sets.”

Block 4 also adds a fifth basic mission, Winter said: “extended surface warfare.” Upgrades will enhance radar “for maritime surveillance, identification and targeting,” he explained, “because ‘maritime surface’ and ‘land surface’ are two different problems.” Search patterns on the open ocean will be improved, as will “being able to sense the order of battle in the maritime world.”

Although the F-35 can carry the new Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile, or LRASM, externally, Winter said the principal new anti-ship missiles coming in Block 4 are the JSOW C1 for the Navy and the Norwegian JSM. The program has “not been asked” about whether the stealthy LRASM can fit inside the F-35’s weapon bays, he said, nor has the Navy asked to integrate the SLAM-ER (Standoff Land Attack Missile-Extended Range) version of the Harpoon anti-ship missile.

The Block 4 updates identified thus far have a completion point in the mid-2020s. A program official said “there will certainly be other Block updates” to follow. If current production schedules hold, the F-35 will remain in production through at least 2040. A “Block 5” will “probably kick in around 2028-2030,” one Pentagon official suggested, and feature “what we think of today as really ‘out there’ stuff, like lasers.”

The “tagline” for Block 4 is “‘technically feasible while operationally relevant,’” Winter said. That term is essential because, “we don’t want to overcommit. It’s got to be technically feasible.”

Besides improvements to the aircraft themselves, Block 4 updates must also be applied simultaneously to ALIS (Autonomic Logistics Information System), the Mission Data Files and training systems, such as simulators.

ALIS maintains an automatic, aircraft-specific logbook of maintenance actions, parts consumption, and noteworthy events (such as overstressing a landing gear door or an accident affecting stealth surfaces), then maps these data points across the entire fleet. The system can track trends regarding the actual use and consumption of parts and maintenance man-hours, and thus anticipate future demand.

Mission Data Files have been one of the most laborious projects attending the F-35. A software center at Eglin AFB, Fla., staffed by a small army of computer coders, constantly updates the threats F-35s could encounter in specific regions, and these files are downloaded into the aircraft before operational missions.

The level of detail in the MDFs is extremely fine-grained and includes every fighter, radar, surface-to-air missile battery, airborne sensor aircraft, and other knowable threat. The Israeli Air Force Chief of Staff told an industry source last year that, waiting to take off in the F-35, he already had a “full picture of the entire Middle East” on his displays, including everything airborne and all potential threats.

The MDFs have to be constantly validated and verified to account for even small changes in adversaries’ order of battle.

"The certification/validation philosophy right now is 100 percent,” Winter said. However, it still takes eight months to compile an MDF “because we’re using engineering/manufacturing tool suites that were used to just determine how to do this.”

Winter said the program is set to migrate by April 2019 to new tools that will speed up the process.

Air Force leaders have allowed that they’ve been going slow in buying F-35s.

They prefer to wait for the Block 4 version to start coming off the production line, with all the bells and whistles they want for the bulk of the force. Doing so would reduce the cost of upgrading the fleet.

In order to get there, though, the F-35 must survive as a program.

Undersecretary of the Air Force Matthew P. Donovan said in January that F-35 sustainment costs remain too high.

“F-35 sustainment costs are going to have to come down,” according to Donovan. Compared to 4th-generation fighters such as the F-15, he acknowledged, there is a “tax for LO,” or low observability. However, to be affordable in large numbers, F-35 sustainment costs “have got to be comparable” to those of the aircraft—the F-16, A-10, and F-117—it replaces.

The Air Force has a goal to reduce F-35 sustainment costs by 38 percent, and Donovan said “we are trying to pull that to the left” and accomplish it sooner than predicted.

Last October, then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis directed the Air Force to increase mission capable rates for the F-22, F-16, and F-35 to at least 80 percent. At the time, the F-35 rate was 54 percent overall, but for 3F aircraft recently off the production line, the rate was better than 80 percent.

Winter agreed that spare parts are the “long pole in the tent” for getting the F-35 fleet up to the 80 percent standard.

“We have initiatives underway to increase spare parts production,” he said, including accelerating the rate at which parts can be repaired by the F-35 depot at Hill AFB, Utah. This will allow industry to concentrate on making more new parts, rather than fixing older ones, he said.

The Air Force has until Sept. 30 to achieve the 80 percent mission capable rate, assuming the order stands under Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan or his successor.

Winter confessed that “supply chain performance” is his greatest concern with regard to readiness, and he also recognizes that sustainment costs are key to keeping the F-35 viable.

“We are getting after that supply chain performance and their ability to meet [our] capacity demands, he said. “So, that’s working.”

http://www.airforcemag.com/MagazineArch ... -Guys.aspx

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Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Feb 27, 2019 2:55 am

Some info on Australian ammunition development for the F-35.

Rheinmetall launches F-35-specific munition

A new high quality munition product designed specifically for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) has been launched by Rheinmetall Defence Australia.

The 25mm frangible armour piercing (FAP) ammunition "possesses superior lethality against enemy vehicles in air-to-ground engagement and enemy aircraft in air-to-air engagements" and is already in service with the United States Air Force.

“The 25mm FAP is a true all-purpose munition for the 21st century,” said Rheinmetall Defence Australia managing director Gary Stewart.

“Importantly, the FAP technology contains no explosives, ensuring maximum safety in the aircraft or in storage and transportation, as well as enabling it to be used in training.”

The FAP round was developed by Rheinmetall to "provide the F-35 a non-DU and non-HE cartridge with superior lethality against modern infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) at extreme slant ranges while still remaining deadly against enemy aircraft in air-to-air engagements", with each round fitted with a heavy metal alloy penetrator that disintegrates into multiple fragments.

As those fragments move deeper within the target, the number of fragments increase, which turns "into a cascade of heavy metal".

This means it is "highly effective" at neutralising armoured targets on the ground and in the air, according to Rheinmetall.

This design also never ricochets, due to the projectile core disintegrating upon impact, which is unlike conventional aircraft ammunition.

The round was developed for and in conjunction with NATO air forces.

Rheinmetall is the largest supplier of military vehicles to the Australian Defence Force, and recently announced the establishment of a $60 million 155mm artillery shell forging facility in Maryborough, Queensland, alongside munitions partner NIOA.

https://www.defenceconnect.com.au/key-e ... c-munition
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:04 pm

Some more info on the ALIS issues and how the USAF is combating them. It looks like they have a good plan going forwrd to significntly reduce the complexity and overhead of the current verison.

How the US Air Force’s Kessel Run team plans to solve one of the F-35 program’s biggest headaches

Setting the weekly flying and maintenance schedule for an F-35 squadron is a weeklong process. It takes hours for multiple people to download data from the jets and comb through it, paste information into different spreadsheets, and continuously update each system.

With a new app called Kronos, on track to be delivered in early March, the U.S. Air Force is hoping it can trim the amount of time for that process to 15 minutes.

Kronos was developed by the Air Force’s Kessel Run software development team as part of a new effort called Mad Hatter, which was established late last year to solve pilot and maintainer gripes with the F-35 fighter jet.

If all goes well, it could lead to a much bigger overhaul of the F-35’s troubled logistics backbone, known as the Autonomic Logistics Information System, or ALIS, said Will Roper, the Air Force’s top acquisition official.

“There are many things about ALIS that are very frustrating and time consuming,” Roper told Defense News on Feb. 12 in an exclusive interview. “The goal [of Mad Hatter] is not simply to fix ALIS within the constraints that define it. It is to make the operator — the maintainer — more efficient, to make their user experience more pleasant.”

To build Kronos, the Air Force is relying on a team of developers from Kessel Run; Lockheed Martin, which manufactures the F-35 and ALIS; and Pivotal Software, Inc., which has created software and data analytics applications for the Air Force over the past several years.

Those coders are also working with a specialized group of maintainers from Nellis Air Force Base — called the Blended Operational Lightning Technician team or BOLT — who have helped shape the product, will test it and then return feedback to the Mad Hatter team once the first iteration of Kronos has been delivered, Roper said.

“You can imagine: What do the users want? They want Wi-Fi on the flight line. We believe we can do that securely. They want to have a touch screen where they have one database that can touch ALIS and all the other tools, that translates automatically. These are not Herculean tasks,” he said.

“This is today’s technology, so the fact that we will think of this as innovation in the Air Force when it’s technology we all enjoy when we go home means we need to reboot ourselves. We need to expect this for the maintainers,” he added.

Mad Hatter is still in its earliest stages, but it has already attracted the attention of top Air Force officials, including Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, who name-dropped the effort during an October congressional hearing. “The Defense Department and the Air Force is terrible at buying software,” she acknowledged, but added that Kessel Run was changing that paradigm.

“There is a logistics system that supports the F-35 called ALIS. It cannot scale. It has got huge problems. It drives the maintainers nuts. And so we put together a team of Lockheed Martin, Air Force programmers and maintainers on the flight line,” she said. “They named themselves. The new program is called Mad Hatter, rather than ALIS. It is always the young techies that come up with something.”

Two other applications will follow closely on the heels of Kronos. Titan will help expeditors determine fleet status, assigning tasks between maintenance teams as the workflow changes. Meanwhile, Athena is built for squadron leadership and will help section chiefs ensure maintainers are trained and performing work to build competency.

“We’ll start with the BOLT [aircraft maintenance group] at Nellis — they’re going to be acting as a guinea pig or a petri dish for this code,” Roper said.

“If it works well, then there’s an option for the Air Force and the Navy to move that beyond Nellis and to deploy elsewhere,” he said. “There’s nothing about this tool that is peculiar to F-35s, so we’re thinking beyond just F-35s. Maybe F-22s can be run this way. Maybe even fourth-gen systems.”

And once Mad Hatter has a chance to prove itself with its initial apps, it may move onto a more substantial task: creating an experimental, cloud-based version of ALIS, and then helping build future software drops.

The team has begun the process of re-hosting the latest iteration of ALIS, version 3.0.1.2, on Pivotal’s cloud foundry, Roper said.

“That allows you to start breaking the code up into modules and triaging parts of the code that we think can be used as they are, or parts of the code that can be used with modification, or parts of the code that we need to change to make compatible with cloud,” he said. “It also allows us to use cloud development tools, which is a big deal.”

The bigger picture

ALIS’ problems are legion and legendary in the defense acquisition community. New software builds take more than a year to formulate and are often late. Data gaps have caused canceled missions. In a report released in January, the Pentagon’s director of test and evaluation blasted the lack of progress in fixing the logistics system’s longtime technical issues — some of which have been on the books since 2012.

“Users must employ numerous workarounds due to data and functionality deficiencies. Most capabilities function as intended only with a high level of manual effort by ALIS administrators and maintenance personnel,” the report stated.

So how did a system designed to streamline maintenance processes become such a burden?

ALIS is a proprietary system built to Defense Department standards that existed before the existence of concepts like cloud computing and DevOpps software. In order for the ALIS infrastructure to improve, it may need to move to modern, cloud-based tools, Roper said.

“There is good code there, but it’s good code in a fairly bad user interface and a bad architecture — bad in the sense that it’s 1990s technology and we’re in 2019,” he said.

“As they go through the code, think of it as apps in a smartphone, knowing that it’s an old phone that needs to improve. So we’re eventually going to ditch the ’90s flip phone, re-host on a modern smartphone, and we want to know what apps are pretty good to use, what apps can be used in part with reuse, and what things we need to recode,” he said. “It’s early, but so far a lot of the code appears reusable down at the app level.”

Fixing ALIS and moving the F-35 to a more agile software development approach is a stated goal for both Lockheed and the F-35 Joint Program Office. How exactly that happens is not set in stone.

While the Mad Hatter effort kicked off in October, teams have only been coding since January. Before that, Lockheed and the Air Force sat at the negotiating table, solidifying how much reach the government would have into ALIS and what data it would own.

Roper views Mad Hatter as a pathfinder for the program office’s own agile software development effort for F-35 Block 4 upgrades, which it calls Continuous Capability Development and Delivery.

In January, Naval Air Systems Command, which manages F-35 contracts, posted a notice stating its intent to sole-source a contract to Lockheed for “ALIS Next.” That effort “will re-design ALIS in accordance with current information technology and software development best practices,” the solicitation said.

“We’re partnering with Kessel Run on prototyping ALIS improvements for the warfighter and working closely with the JPO on a strategy for the rapid development and delivery of ALIS software driving long-term sustainability of the program,” said Reeves Valentine, Lockheed’s vice president of F-35 logistics. “Lockheed Martin is investing in ALIS to improve data integrity, reduce hardware infrastructure and labor costs, ultimately improving aircraft availability through ALIS.”

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2019/02 ... headaches/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:07 pm

Some more cost per flight hour information including the timeframe LM project to bring the cost down below current 4th gen aircraft. I expect it will be less than the 15-20 years proposed by LM but that is more generally based on the lower staffing and different operational environments the respective operators will use the aircraft.

Lockheed expects F-35 flying costs will take time to come down: executive

Lockheed Martin Corp expects it will take around 15 to 20 years to bring the cost per flight hour of the F-35 below fourth-generation fighter jets such as the F-16, the head of the F-35 program said on Wednesday.

The U.S. Air Force, the largest global customer for the F-35, has launched a push to drive down the cost of flying and servicing F-35s to the same levels as current fighters without stealth capabilities.

Lockheed Martin Vice President and General Manager F-35 Program Greg Ulmer said there was an effort to lower the cost per flight hour to $25,000 by 2025 but further savings would take longer.

“Today it is different customer by customer but I think $35,000 per flying hour is a good number,” he told Reuters in an interview at the Australian International Airshow.

“If we project that out based on the initiatives we have in place, we believe as we move out to the 2035-2040 timeframe we can get that cost down to under what a fourth gen is today,” in the range of $20,000-25,000 per flight hour.

Initiatives involved in lowering the cost to $25,000 an hour include reducing the number of mechanics needed to support each plane, Ulmer said.

Lockheed is also looking to refine diagnostic systems to reduce false alarms as well as to ensure there are proper spare parts available for maintenance and repairs.

Lockheed Martin Vice President and General Manager Training and Logistics Services Amy Gowder said the United States had been late to install enough capacity for F-35 repairs due to delays in funding approvals.

“The U.S. has been very slow to fund that in the depots specifically like Hill Air Force Base,” she said. “They should have started those projects a few years ago.”

That was becoming increasingly problematic as more planes were added to the fleet, Gowder said.

“When you have 180 aircraft it is probably okay. Now we have 300. It is the scale of the volume increases which is why there is a concern,” she said.

“That is putting more pressure on the supply chain in the near term.”

The U.S. Air Force did not respond immediately to a request for comment outside usual business hours.

Operating costs were a big issue when military officials from the United States, Israel and F-35 user nations in Europe - Britain, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Turkey, the Netherlands - met in Germany in September last year.

Experts say the U.S. Air Force could cut back its planned purchases of the aircraft unless it can lower the flying costs.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-aust ... SKCN1QG0D5
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Feb 28, 2019 5:15 am

Some more RAAF/RAN F-35B opinion.

The F-35 at sea—not quite déjà vu

The recent revisiting on The Strategist of the arguments around taking the F-35 to sea cast my mind back to the bitter carrier debate of the 1970s and early 1980s. The current discussion certainly doesn’t appear to bring with it the same level of interservice acrimony, political manoeuvring or sheer dirty-trickery that took place back then. Nevertheless, the isolated and zero-sum nature of some of the arguments and counterarguments seems familiar, and it occurs to me that—despite the great strides we’ve made in jointery—the one-dimensional character of our strategic capability planning really hasn’t changed all that much.

The back and forth over combat ranges, weapons loads, sortie rates and the many other comparisons between the different F-35 variants really misses the point. Unless we know what we’ll need our military to do, and precisely what kind of environment it will need to do it in, a comparison of these indicators is pretty academic.

If all we’ll ever want the LHDs to do are flag-waving exercises or moving an amphibious force around within about 400 miles of an established airbase, or in a permissive environment with established sea control, then modifying the LHDs and procuring some F-35B short take-off and vertical landing variants in place of some F-35As probably isn’t worth it. But I don’t know anyone with that level of strategic certainty.

As we enter this new reality of strategic competition, move within the so-called warning time we’ve relied on for so long, and face a strategic environment that is less and less certain, surely flexibility and integration should be the hallmarks of our military capability, especially given our limited force size.

Rather than maintaining a pair of amphibious ships that are good for a very limited number of wartime tasks, we should look to maximise their potential and give future decision-makers a range of options for a variety of circumstances—not to mention helping to complicate the operational environment for any adversary.

Using the ships for a different purpose would of course affect their ability to simultaneously achieve their core amphibious role, but that isn’t a reason to deny ourselves the option. A flexible platform capable of configuration for local air defence, trade protection, strike, close air support, extended ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance), massed airborne anti-submarine warfare, and/or amphibious operations is surely better than the one-trick pony we have.

The ability to mix and balance the operational potential of the platforms—limited though they may be—to meet the needs of the day, in a decreasingly predictable environment, would give us an exponentially stronger and more flexible capability over the long term. But despite having (or being about to have) almost all the component parts, or variants thereof, this is not the capability we’ve ended up with. Not even close.

So how did we get here? Despite the procurement of two large and complex LHDs, joint strike fighters and a whole host of other potential force multipliers over the years, we somehow managed to avoid bringing them together in anything resembling a deliberately coordinated capability. It’s tempting to imagine a reality in which our armed reconnaissance helicopters were marinised for LHD operations, our multirole helicopters equipped with automatic folding rotor blades, our tanks capable of being embarked without sinking their landing craft, our new fighters capable of being launched and recovered, and a flight deck with the necessary heat resistance. But, alas, we have none of those things.

Unhappily, although the concept of jointery has progressed significantly since the last carrier debate, our strategic approach to capability remains very much one-dimensional and platform-centric. A key factor here is that our strategic guidance remains broad enough to allow the different services to take their own individual perspective on capability, especially in view of the inherently differing nature of the three strategic defence objectives. As a former chief of navy once said of such guidance, ‘It’s main use was to give each of the services a peg upon which to hang their requests of manpower and equipment, and the language of the document was such that a peg could be found for almost any request.’

So while the professional acrimony that existed between Pritchett, Synnot, Willis, Dunstan, McNamara and others during the debates of the early 1980s is thankfully behind us, the differing strategic beliefs and desires of the services are not. That disjointedness is reflected most starkly in the RAN’s increasing focus on power projection and sea control, while the RAAF remains anchored in its traditional defence of Australia and sea denial doctrine.

And while these differing approaches can all be aligned to the same guidance, the net result is a set of platforms and systems which—while seemingly justified in isolation—don’t provide us with a mutually reinforcing capability beyond the sum of their parts. That’s not to say that they’re not interoperable in the strict sense of the word: many different platforms can communicate and share sensor data, for instance; they’re just not designed to achieve the same strategic objectives.

In the passive regional strategic environment of recent years, we’ve had the luxury of being able to fall back on warning time, the ‘core force’, ‘for but not with’ and other resource-saving measures, and we’ve been able to accommodate this lack of integrated capability. The flip side of that approach, obviously, is that a changed environment requires a more integrated, larger and more potent maritime force.

We should start by examining the force we have, and making the changes needed to transform an assortment of existing but largely disparate systems into the potent power-projection capabilities they should be. And at the capability-planning level, it’s time to step up, set a clear direction and pull some pegs out of the wall.

https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/the-f ... e-deja-vu/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Feb 28, 2019 5:53 am

Some great F-35B info, amongst other reporting, about the time spent with the 13th MEU. Obviously some serious lessons learned and this will significantly impact future USMC operations. It expands a bit on the info provided in an earlier report.

First Marine F-35B Combat Deployment Hints at New Roles for Amphibious Ready Group

After eight months at sea with a squadron of F-35B Lighting II Joint Strike Fighters, the Marines and the Navy are seeing how the next-generation aircraft will expand the effectiveness of U.S. amphibious forces.

The Essex Amphibious Ready Group and 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit are nearly back to California after deploying in July to the Pacific and Middle East. The ARG/MEU’s return – with the embarked Wake Island Avengers of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 211 – marks the end of the first combat deployment of the JSFs, 13th MEU commanding officer Col. Chandler Nelms told USNI News by phone Friday from USS Essex (LHD-2).

The Marine Corps is slowly replacing its aging fleet of AV-8B Harrier attack aircraft with the fifth-generation fighter that boasts suites of advanced avionics, navigation, communications and weapons systems that added a wide range of new capabilities to the Essex ARG.

“It’s got the short-takeoff capability of the Harrier, the speed and payload of a (F/A-18) Hornet, and it’s got the forcible entry options that stealth technologies give us,” Nelms said.
“Because of its air-to-air capability and its sensors for air-to-ground capabilities, it also provides a new dynamic for the ARG commander, for the commodore, while we’re out conducting blue-water operations or littoral operations or defending the ARG. … On its first deployment, it was kept very busy.”

“[It] increases battlespace awareness with data fusion and the ability to share information with the ships and the ships’ combat control system,” Capt. Gerald Olin, Amphibious Squadron 1 commander and Essex ARG/MEU commodore, told USNI News from Essex. “So it’s really an extension of our sensors, and it also brings to the table a greater increased lethality than what we had with previous generation aircraft.”

The ARG, composed of Essex, dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD-47) and amphibious transport dock USS Anchorage (LPD-23), deployed across three fleets in Asia and the Middle East. While deployed, the F-35 squadron conducted operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

“The aircraft and its integration with the ship and integration with the mission exceed my expectations,” Lt. Col. Kyle Shoop, who commands VMFA-211, told USNI News. “Just in our time with 5th Fleet, we supported over 50 days of combat for over 1,200 flight hours … didn’t drop a single line of FRAG or combat support.”

At times, the jets flew off Essex for long missions, “and we kept employing ordnance in both theaters,” Shoop said, referring to Afghanistan for Operation Freedom Sentinel and Syria and Iraq for Operation Inherent Resolve.

“The jet itself proved to be very reliable. Throughout that whole time period, Marines did a great job keeping it serviceable,” he said. “We were gone away from the ship for an extreme amount of time – a lot of times over five, six hours away from the ship – and they’d turn them around that night to fly again the next day. So that went really well.”

The F-35B performed “like we expected,” Shoop added. “Some of the sensors onboard would do better than, say, a Harrier would through adverse weather or things like that. So it proved to be pretty versatile."

The F-35B crews operated from Essex for nearly all missions, except when the ship pulled into port for a mid-deployment repair.

“We did step off the ship during that time to keep employing the aircraft in theater, so we did a short period of time ashore,” Shoop said. “We were used for defensive counter-air in-theater, as well as sustaining alerts on the ship, able to launch with air-to-air weapons,” he added.

Shoop said squadron Marines were excited and appreciated the significance of the jet’s first operational combat deployment.

“They knew there were a lot of eyes outside of this ship that were on them and how they were performing,” he said. “So they were very aware of that and knew they needed to be extra diligent the whole time.”

The busy flight schedule and maintenance demands have provided more data and lessons about the F-35B.

“We learned some things along the way, especially with supportability of low-observable airplane aboard the ship,” Shoop said. “Obviously, there’s a lot of corrosion concerns aboard the ship. Saltwater is on it all the time, so for over eight months we got to learn a lot of lessons from that. In fact, Lockheed was out here just recently. We hosted them. They are very interested in coming to check out one of the airplanes as we come back ashore, to capture those lessons, maybe change some materials, et cetera.”

“We also got to sort out the logistics chain, test that thing and make sure it was up to speed. And it was. They answered the mail, they were very flexible,” he added. “We got to obviously see how well outfitted the Afloat Spares Package, or ASP, is aboard the ship, and it proved to cover down on most of the parts that were needed.”

The ASP was crafted based on computer models, but the eight months of real-world data “gives the supply chain a good snapshot of what they need to to do outfit to ensure LHDs with F-35s while aboard,” he said. Despite “some bumps along the way” they had readiness “up about 75 percent or greater the entire time.”

The addition of the F-35B also gave commanders an aircraft capable of helping defend the amphibious task force. Its onboard systems provided a data link so “we could communicate with and incorporate into our defensive posture,” said Olin, whose career includes operational deployments with carrier strike groups.
“That’s kind of the model I’m used to. We were able to emulate that, to some extent, here on the Essex ARG by using the F-35 for deck-launched interceptor support, defensive counter-air, anti-surface warfare type of missions. So that was a really great addition to the package here, above what we and I had experienced with the AV-8 Harrier on the last deployment.”

“I think we have already proven that the [F-35B] is reliable and that it integrates well on the amphibious shipping,” Nelms said. “So the next step now is just continue to develop the tactics, the techniques, the procedures of how we fight with that. We got a really good look at that on this deployment, and I think there’s a lot more to be explored in the future.”

https://news.usni.org/2019/02/27/first- ... eady-group
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:32 pm

Congratulations to the USN and LM for finally getting the last IOC declaration by the US Services. The USN was always going to be last given they mandated Blk 3F software and had the lowest volume of aircraft C variants being manufactured.

Potentially the best looking of the three variants as well, depending on the aspect.
Navy Declares Initial Operational Capability for F-35C Joint Strike Fighter

The Navy declared today that its F-35C Joint Strike Fighter was operationally ready to deploy and conduct missions around the world.

The initial operational capability (IOC) declaration comes after the Navy’s first F-35C squadron, Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147, conducted aircraft carrier qualifications aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) in early December, received its safe-for-flight operations certification on Dec. 12 and spent the intervening weeks working with the Navy’s test community to prove it could operate and maintain the new stealthy jets.

“The F-35C is ready for operations, ready for combat and ready to win,” Commander of Naval Air Forces Vice Adm. DeWolfe Miller said in a statement today.
“We are adding an incredible weapon system into the arsenal of our Carrier Strike Groups that significantly enhances the capability of the joint force.”

Before the Navy would declare VFA-147 operationally capable, the squadron had to prove several things, Joint Strike Fighter Wing commodore Capt. Max McCoy told USNI News in November: the squadron had to be fully manned, with all pilots qualified for shore-based operations and then carrier operations from Vinson; the pilots had to prove they could conduct a range of operations and maneuvers; the maintainers had to prove they could keep the new planes flying; and the Navy had to prove it could sustain the squadron through a mature logistics system.

The Navy added in its statement that “in order to declare IOC, the first operational squadron must be properly manned, trained and equipped to conduct assigned missions in support of fleet operations. This includes having 10 Block 3F, F-35C aircraft, requisite spare parts, support equipment, tools, technical publications, training programs and a functional Autonomic Logistic Information System (ALIS). Additionally, the ship that supports the first squadron must possess the proper infrastructure, qualifications and certifications. Lastly, the Joint Program Office (JPO), industry, and Naval Aviation must demonstrate that all procedures, processes and policies are in place to sustain operations.”

“We’re very proud of what our sailors have accomplished in the Joint Strike Fighter community,” McCoy, the JSF wing commander, said in the statement.
“Their commitment to mission delivered fifth-generation capability to the carrier air wing, making us more combat effective than ever before. We will continue to learn and improve ways to maintain and sustain F-35C as we prepare for first deployment. The addition of F-35C to existing carrier air wing capability ensures that we can fight and win in contested battlespace now and well into the future.”

“The F-35C will revolutionize capability and operating concepts of aircraft carrier-based naval aviation using advanced technologies to find, fix and assess threats and, if necessary, track, target and engage them in all contested environments,” Rear Admiral Dale Horan, the director of the Navy’s F-35C Fleet Integration Office, said in the statement.
“This accomplishment represents years of hard work on the part of the F-35 Joint Program Office and Naval Aviation Enterprise. Our focus has now shifted to applying lessons learned from this process to future squadron transitions, and preparing VFA-147 for their first overseas deployment.”

Today’s declaration greenlights the squadron to begin preparing for the first-ever deployment with the F-35C as part of a carrier air wing – likely aboard Vinson in 2021.

The Navy had hoped to declare IOC by August 2018 but had listed February 2019 as the threshold requirement, or the minimum acceptable date.

The Marine Corps declared IOC on its F-35B vertical takeoff and landing variant on July 31, 2015, and the Air Force declared IOC on its F-35A conventional variant a year later on Aug. 2, 2016. In addition to flying its own F-35B variant, the Marine Corps will also buy four squadrons of F-35C carrier-variant JSFs to operate onboard Navy aircraft carriers.

F-35C Testing and Fielding Timeline
- F-35Cs began arriving at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in 2011 for testing, and by November that year a JSF had conducted its first ground-based catapult launch from Pax River. In 2012, the final test jets had arrived at Pax River; a carrier-landing assistance tool began ground-based testing, and the first external weapons test flight took place.
- In 2013 the first F-35Cs were delivered to a squadron – Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 101, the Navy’s F-35C fleet replacement squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.
- On Nov. 3, 2014, an F-35C made its first-ever arrested landing on a carrier, aboard USS Nimitz (CVN-68). The jets then conducted 11 days of sea trials aboard Nimitz, completing Developmental Test-I with Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 (VX-23) and meeting all test objectives to prove interoperability between the ship and the planes and carrier suitability for at-sea operations. In September 2015 DT-II was conducted aboard USS Eisenhower (CVN-69).
- In September 2017 USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) conducted its first F-35C at-sea operations, and in December USS Lincoln (CVN-72) hosted carrier qualifications for the Navy’s first nine pilots who were set to conduct at-sea F-35C operations.
- In August 2018, Lincoln hosted the first integrated air wing operations, where the ship’s crew launched and recovered, towed and maintained both F-35s and other aircraft types at the same time, rather than carefully handling the new airplanes separately. This integrated air wing operation used airplanes from VFA-125, a fleet replacement squadron, and VFA-147.
- In December 2018, VFA-147 began its bid for independence – the squadron reached the safe-for-flight milestone, which allowed it to fly and maintain the planes without supervision from the fleet replacement squadron.

https://news.usni.org/2019/02/28/navy-d ... ke-fighter
 
texl1649
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:08 pm

I noticed this headline and thought it almost seemed out of place/wrong. GE completes design phase for re-engined F-35?

http://www.defense-aerospace.com/articl ... ngine.html

https://aviationweek.com/awindefense/ge ... -candidate
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:56 pm

texl1649 wrote:
I noticed this headline and thought it almost seemed out of place/wrong. GE completes design phase for re-engined F-35?


It is quite correct. The AETP program is funding both PW and GE through the next engineering phase of development for the variable cycle engines. GE have finished the detailed design work and will progress towards build and test. A key design criteria was for the engine to be sized to fit into the F-35, hence why we talk about a mid 2020s timeframe when the F-35 could go through an upgrade which would include this new engine. The benefits as seen below are significant enough that it is clearly worth the cost.

Image


texl1649 wrote:
http://www.defense-aerospace.com/articles-view/release/3/200429/ge-completes-detailed-design-of-xa100-adaptive-cycle-engine.html

https://aviationweek.com/awindefense/ge ... -candidate

As an aside, your links are a perfect example of why Defence Aerospace is such a poor source for F-35 related news. While GE and Aviation Week made it clear the AETP is for the F-35 the editor of the website, Giovanni de Briganti, cannot go as far as to suggest the F-35 will have a new engine that will provide those benefits and it suits his editing to remove any mention. A perfect example of biased editing that has gone on for years and clearly continues.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sat Mar 02, 2019 12:04 am

Half the number I was expecting for the initial order but it probably represents the first of a significant order volume over the next 5-10 years. Most are expecting the Bee to be the variant of choice.

Singapore plans to buy four F-35 jets with option for eight more

Singapore plans to buy an initial four F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin Corp, with an option to purchase eight more, as it looks to replace its ageing F-16 fleet, the city-state’s defense minister said on Friday.

Ng Eng Hen said in parliament that the ministry of defense will issue a letter of request (LOR) to the United States for the purchase, which must be approved by the U.S. Congress.

With Southeast Asia’s largest defense budget, the wealthy city-state is a key prize for global arms companies as it looks to invest in new technology and upgrade its equipment.

“Our LOR will request an initial acquisition of four F-35s, with the option of a subsequent eight if we decide to proceed,” Ng said. “Singapore has the endorsement of both the U.S. Administration and the Department of Defense for our proposed purchase of F-35s, but the Congress must still approve it.”

Ng added it was an “opportune time” for Singapore to put in the request because the price of F-35s - which ranges from $90 million to $115 million - has been steadily falling amid high demand from the United States and ten other countries, including Britain, Italy, Australia, Japan and South Korea.

A Lockheed executive told Reuters a year earlier that talks with Singapore had centered on the F-35B version short take-off and landing variant that is “a nice fit for a smaller land-constrained environment”.

Lockheed did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.

Singapore’s fleet of around 60 F-16 jets, which first entered service in 1998, will be retired soon after 2030.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-sing ... SKCN1QI3H3
 
estorilm
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Mar 03, 2019 10:28 pm

Ozair wrote:
Half the number I was expecting for the initial order but it probably represents the first of a significant order volume over the next 5-10 years. Most are expecting the Bee to be the variant of choice.

Singapore plans to buy four F-35 jets with option for eight more

Singapore plans to buy an initial four F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin Corp, with an option to purchase eight more, as it looks to replace its ageing F-16 fleet, the city-state’s defense minister said on Friday.

Ng Eng Hen said in parliament that the ministry of defense will issue a letter of request (LOR) to the United States for the purchase, which must be approved by the U.S. Congress.

With Southeast Asia’s largest defense budget, the wealthy city-state is a key prize for global arms companies as it looks to invest in new technology and upgrade its equipment.

“Our LOR will request an initial acquisition of four F-35s, with the option of a subsequent eight if we decide to proceed,” Ng said. “Singapore has the endorsement of both the U.S. Administration and the Department of Defense for our proposed purchase of F-35s, but the Congress must still approve it.”

Ng added it was an “opportune time” for Singapore to put in the request because the price of F-35s - which ranges from $90 million to $115 million - has been steadily falling amid high demand from the United States and ten other countries, including Britain, Italy, Australia, Japan and South Korea.

A Lockheed executive told Reuters a year earlier that talks with Singapore had centered on the F-35B version short take-off and landing variant that is “a nice fit for a smaller land-constrained environment”.

Lockheed did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.

Singapore’s fleet of around 60 F-16 jets, which first entered service in 1998, will be retired soon after 2030.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-sing ... SKCN1QI3H3

Catching up with the news from the past week, and I keep coming up with the same thoughts - I just can't believe how successful the B variant of this program is. It was always an impressive aircraft (going back to those first few documentaries showing it hovering without a hover pit, achieving supersonic flight, etc) but wow - part of me always thought it would be somewhat of a gimmicky aircraft, similar to the Harrier (no offense, it had its roles - but it was never a front-line fighter OR seller in the global defense scheme).

For the most complicated variant to be doing more (arguably) than any other model as far as sorties are concerned, and with no apparent limitation from its STOVL capabilities is proof that the "transformer age" has really arrived. It's so cool to see such a monumental engineering challenge actually meet expectations and be seamless - not just on the drawing boards, but in practice.

Other counties must be seeing some very good data, as the B is consistently chosen over the significantly cheaper A. Even Japan's huge order for 100 additional aircraft was split surprisingly, adding 42 of the B's. Being able to convert a few of their helicopter carriers to include supersonic stealth strike aircraft without the need for billions of capital investment in a new carrier class is exceptional.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Mar 04, 2019 12:57 am

estorilm wrote:
Catching up with the news from the past week, and I keep coming up with the same thoughts - I just can't believe how successful the B variant of this program is. It was always an impressive aircraft (going back to those first few documentaries showing it hovering without a hover pit, achieving supersonic flight, etc) but wow - part of me always thought it would be somewhat of a gimmicky aircraft, similar to the Harrier (no offense, it had its roles - but it was never a front-line fighter OR seller in the global defense scheme).

It is interesting given a lot of the initial issues the three aircraft faced were related to weight associated with the Bee which probably ultimately benefitted all three variants anyway. I’ve said a number of times that I think the Bee will likely have, as a ratio of US to non US users, the higher number of exports. It could quite easily see 300 odd aircraft exported and possibly more over numbers acquired by the US services.

estorilm wrote:
Other counties must be seeing some very good data, as the B is consistently chosen over the significantly cheaper A. Even Japan's huge order for 100 additional aircraft was split surprisingly, adding 42 of the B's. Being able to convert a few of their helicopter carriers to include supersonic stealth strike aircraft without the need for billions of capital investment in a new carrier class is exceptional.

Not sure it has been consistently chosen over the A but it certainly has a niche market captured very well.
 
Planeflyer
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Mar 04, 2019 3:51 am

I thought the B the oils be chosen due to the ease of targeting airfields w missiles so it is good to see how reliable it is.
 
LightningZ71
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Mar 04, 2019 5:46 am

What will be quite interesting will be how much the B gains from the AETP. While the engine itself will generate more thrust, the lift fan would need a bit of work to take advantage of that extra shaft power to generate more lift thrust. However, even if it doesn't generate a single pound of extra lift in practice, the decreased fuel consumption and increased flight performance will make a huge difference in the operational effectiveness of the assault/helicopter carriers that operate it around the world. While they won't generate the sortie rate that a CATOBAR carrier is capable of, the actual aircraft in flight will be almost as capable as the C model in its IOC form.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Mar 04, 2019 7:52 am

LightningZ71 wrote:
What will be quite interesting will be how much the B gains from the AETP. While the engine itself will generate more thrust, the lift fan would need a bit of work to take advantage of that extra shaft power to generate more lift thrust.

I don't expect the AETP to generate much improvement for the B as you suggest given the aircraft will likely require modification and the Bee liftfan isn't in a great position for it.

LightningZ71 wrote:
However, even if it doesn't generate a single pound of extra lift in practice, the decreased fuel consumption and increased flight performance will make a huge difference in the operational effectiveness of the assault/helicopter carriers that operate it around the world. While they won't generate the sortie rate that a CATOBAR carrier is capable of, the actual aircraft in flight will be almost as capable as the C model in its IOC form.

Agree. Even if the Bee continued with the F135 there will be sufficient improvement available, such as the Growth Option One and Two from P&W, that will increase thrust, range and overhaul time. Growth Option One is a simple drop in replacement.

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-release ... 64863.html

The effectiveness and long range striking power of smaller carriers will increase and the limits will come down to aircraft numbers and not aircraft capability. The sortie rate of the USS Essex on its recent trip is an excellent example of the persistent ops schedule the jet can sustain.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Mar 05, 2019 12:00 am

An interesting report on the budget request expectations for the F-35 in 2020. It appears that the Pentagon have requested six fewer than the SAR suggests although there is no indication of where those six will be removed from, USAF or USN. As the article suggests though the previous two budgets have seen significant additional airframes added, certainly above the six reduced so this may by a bit of foxing by the Pentagon in the hope Congress will add additional F-35s again as well as potentially fund, amongst other programs, the F-15X.

Will be interesting to see if Senator Inhofe gets his way and triples F-35 procurement by 2024. It would certainly bring down the acquisition cost and put it close to or at the highest rate the F-16 ran to for a couple of years.

Pentagon Wants 78 Lockheed F-35s in 2020, Six Fewer Than Planned

The Pentagon will request 78 F-35 jets built by Lockheed Martin Corp., six fewer than previously planned, in the budget expected to be sent to Congress next week, according to defense officials.

The cutback from the 84 fighters projected a year ago for fiscal 2020 is a setback for Lockheed, the No. 1 defense contractor, even as interest in the plane from foreign buyers increases. The officials asked not to be identified in advance of the budget release.

It’s likely to raise questions from skeptical lawmakers about why the Defense Department, which has spent years saying it needs the more advanced F-35, cut back the planned purchases even as the Air Force is seeking money to buy eight new, upgraded F-15 jets from rival Boeing Co. They would be the first F-15s the Pentagon bought since 2001.

Among the likely questions is whether Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, a former Boeing official, played any part in the decision to buy fewer planes from Lockheed and more from Chicago-based Boeing. However, Shanahan has recused himself from participation in all Boeing matters.

Combat Capability
If recent history is a guide, Congress will increase the F-35 request in the final version of the fiscal 2020 budget. Despite a history of performance setbacks, the F-35 has drawn praise for its flying qualities as the Air Force, the Marine Corps and now the Navy have declared that the aircraft has an initial combat capability. It also retains strong support in Congress as a job creator. Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed boasts that it uses 1,500 suppliers in 46 states and more internationally.

For the current year, Congress appropriated $9.34 billion for 93 F-35s, 16 more than requested. For fiscal 2018, lawmakers added 20 F-35s to the 70 requested.

Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, has said he wants to triple F-35s purchased by 2024, making it the most ambitious procurement request on his agenda for next year.

Shanahan’s Praise
While Shanahan has pledged to stay out of Boeing decisions, he isn’t hesitant to praise the F-35 built by its rival. In an interview last Thursday with Bloomberg News, he sought to make clear he’s a fan.

“What’s really important for people to always take away is I’ve found the aircraft -- the F-35 as a product, its capability and performance -- to be eye-watering. It is high, high-performing -- no ambiguity -- no ifs, ands or buts.”

But Shanahan said he’s focusing on “program execution,” which includes driving down the long-term costs of maintaining and operating the fleet of 2,456 F-35s that the U.S. plans to acquire.

“This is the largest program in DoD history and the cost of sustainment is about the same cost as nuclear modernization,” he said, referring to an estimated price tag of more than $1 trillion over at least several decades, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Because the F-35 is just entering its decades-long expected service life, he said, “if you were ever going to fix” the sustainment cost and “if you were ever going to realize high performance -- you would do it on the front end. We have a small window.”

‘Big Opportunity’
Shanahan said he has “decades of experience” in managing the costs of operating aircraft, and that his concern about the high costs of operating and maintaining multibillion-dollar weapons systems isn’t limited to Lockheed.

“People write about like it’s” just Lockheed, Shanahan said. “It’s Lockheed, it’s BAE, it’s Northrop,” he said. “There’s a lot of opportunity to achieve higher levels of performance. There’s a big opportunity.”

While that sounds like a long-term agenda, Shanahan hasn’t commented on whether he expects President Donald Trump to nominate him for defense secretary, a job that’s been vacant since Jim Mattis stepped down at the end of last year in protest of the president’s vow to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.

Compared with the taciturn Mattis, Shanahan has been vocal in supporting Trump’s initiatives, from reducing troops in Syria to using the military to bolster security at the Mexico border. He says his acronym is GSD, for “get stuff done.”

“Let’s not worry about whether he’s a ‘yes man’ or a ‘no man’ but whether he’s a ‘can-do’ man,” Shanahan said of himself in the interview. “I just spend all my time getting stuff done.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... an-planned
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Mar 05, 2019 1:03 am

Continued enhancement of the AN/ASQ-239 as well as preparation for Blk 4 enhancements.

BAE announces upgrades to F-35 EW systems

BAE Systems has announced the successful insertion of new technology into its F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) electronic warfare (EW) systems that will "improve warfighters’ ability to conduct critical missions in contested airspace".

BAE has upgraded its AN/ASQ-239 system, which creates a smaller footprint, reducing volume and power requirements, as well as creating space for Block IV modernisation updates.



The AN/ASQ-239 system protects the F-35 with "advanced technology for next-generation missions to counter current and emerging threats", and is equipped with offensive and defensive EW options for both pilot and aircraft by integrating radar warning, targeting support and self protection, in order to detect and defeat surface and airborne threats.

The pilot is afford maximum situational awareness thanks to the always-on AN/ASQ-239 system, and is able to identify, monitor, analyse and respond to potential threats by using advanced avionics and sensors.

BAE said the system update also "resolves issues with manufacturing obsolescence that would have otherwise required costly redesign work".

“We’ve delivered almost 400 EW systems to date, and now we’ve updated the architecture and are manufacturing it at a high rate of production. This technology insertion gives the EW system room to grow, and will help the F-35 maintain its dominance of the electromagnetic spectrum,” said Deborah Norton, vice president of F-35 solutions at BAE Systems.

“The successful insertion of DTIP was the result of the outstanding focus, dedication, and teamwork of our engineering and production teams working in close coordination with our customer.”

The Digital Channelized Receiver/Techniques Generator and Tuner Insertion Program (DTIP) technology was introduced by BAE in 2018, with the first deliveries starting in July.

BAE has the capability to deliver 11 monthly systems for the F-35 thanks to their $100 million manufacturing space and increased employee intake.

https://www.defenceconnect.com.au/key-e ... ew-systems
 
Planeflyer
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Mar 05, 2019 3:36 am

Ozair, are all systems on the F35 open architecture?
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Mar 05, 2019 4:37 am

Planeflyer wrote:
Ozair, are all systems on the F35 open architecture?

No it isn’t in the industry sense of the word. The software architecture has been designed to be modular and hardware independent though, as evidenced by the aircraft having multiple hardware upgrades already with the hardware changeover pretty seamless.

The intention is to go to open architecture in Blk 4 but I haven’t seen any info on that since this 2015 article,

The future airborne capability environment (FACE) consortium is working with the F-35 Lightning II program office in anticipation that future upgrades to the aircraftâs avionics software will be open to vendors other than Lockheed Martin [LMT].
Pentagon officials, including Air Force Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, chief of Air Force F-35 integration, have called for future block upgrades to the aircraftâs software to be bid out to other companies. That would require Lockheed Martin to at least make the software interfaces compatible with other vendors products.

Air Force acquisitions chief William LaPlante has said the service would push for open systems architectures in the Block 4 upgrades, the first capability enhancement planned after the service's variant of the aircraft goes operational in 2016. FACE is a consortium of voluntary industry members that have signed on to develop a set of technical standards for avionics and communications software. Included in requirements for future programs, the FACE standards are designed so that software will be decoupled from hardware. Lockheed Martin will not be shut out of F-35 block upgrades, even if they do carry requirements for FACE conformance. The company is a member of the consortium designing the standards and could develop technologies to them regardless of membership.

Historically, common interfaces have been required in hardware, while software is typically tied to hardware and, therefore, proprietary and stovepiped, Doug Schmidt, a professor at Vanderbilt University and the Software Engineering Institute, said at Defense Dailys 2014 open Architecture Summit.
The F-35 is both the most expensive and most technologically complex weapon every developed. Its 8 million lines of software code four times as many as the F-22 Raptor are in the process of being completed and verified by Lockheed Martin. The complexity of writing and re-checking the code is one reason that the program is infamously over budget and behind schedule. Lockheed Martin owns the intellectual property to the software and is, therefore, the only company that can do the work.
There is no mandate for any Pentagon program office to include FACE standards in their requirements documents, said Terry Carlson, assistant program officer for FACE information management at Army program executive office aviation and current chair of the FACE steering committee.
F-35 program management can dip into the library and find FACE certified conformant software products and use them if they so choose Carlson said. Each program has the choice whether to do it or not. We certain go out and educate and encourage but there is no mandate.

David Boyette, project manager for modular integrated survivability aviation science and technology at the Army Aviation & Missile Research Development and Engineering Center and a representative to FACE, said the consortium has been aggressive in its outreach efforts, preaching to message and benefits of open architecture standards in avionics to program managers throughout the Defense Department.
âm optimistic,Boyette said. We actually do have some people in F-35 now who are, lets just say, very knowledgeable about FACE. Hopefully we are be able to get some toeholds into that program as they go through their refresh cycles.
Boyette and Carlson both spoke Monday at a forum here hosted by the Open Group, which advocates for common standards and open architecture in software and information technology. FACE is a subsidiary consortium of the Open Group.
For that to happen, FACE first has to establish a third-party certification authority, which should be done in a couple months, Boyette said. Currently avionics software vendors can build to the FACE standards and measure their conformance with tools provided online by FACE. They will only be able to advertise products as FACE conformal once each technology is independently certified as such by the authority.
Each new product that adheres to the interface standards will be cataloged in ainto which program managers can delve for technologies that suit individual hardware platforms.
Boyette gave the example of a common household light bulb. From Thomas Edisons initial design to modern LED bulbs, the socket into which bulbs screw has not changed. What changes is the application powered by the interface of the bulb and the socket.
We are defining and locking down what those interfaces are for software capabilities and allowing vendors, software suppliers to innovate and bring the real flavor of their software design into that top level of the architecture while still allowing interoperability across systems, Boyette said.
Open architectures and common development standards like those FACE is promoting, would allow competition and innovation to lower the cost of developing advanced weapons like the F-35, Boyette said.
The broader idea is to bring down the cost of developing and upgrading current and future aircraft platforms because the cost curve from jets like the F-15 to the F-22 and F-35 is growing exponentially and is not sustainable, Boyette said.
As we shift from a hardware-centric world to a software-centric world, were really starting to see those costs grow exponentially higher,Boyette said. â(EURO)oeWe need to figure out ways to bring that cost curve down and make these platforms actually affordable.
Manufacturers of commercial aircraft experienced the same exponential development cost as aircraft became more technologically advanced. In response to the trend, companies like Boeing [BA] and Airbus began establishing software development standards to allow reuse across their fleets, Boyette said.
The [Boeing] 787 is really the first true example of that standards-based software reuse across platforms, he said. They were able to drastically reduce the cost of bring that system to the customer. What we want to do is do the same thing on the military side.

https://www.defensedaily.com/stovepiped ... tegorized/
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:44 pm

First live missile firing from a Norwegian F-35A in Norway. The missile was a AIM-120 air to air missile

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQdNOTCMzoU
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Mar 11, 2019 7:54 pm

Japan is the first of what I expect to be numerous acquirers of the JSM.

KONGSBERG Awarded JSM Joint Strike Missile Contract With Japan

KONGSBERG and the Government of Japan are not disclosing the value or volume of the contract. The JSM development started in 2008 and was completed in mid-2018 after a series of successful validation test firings.

“This is an important international breakthrough which demonstrates the importance of cooperation between Norwegian authorities, Norwegian Defence Research Establishment and Norwegian industry”

CEO of KONGSBERG Geir Håøy
The JSM is the only long-range sea- and land-target missile that can be carried internally in the F-35 and thus ensuring the aircraft’s low-signature (stealth) capabilities. JSM is a new missile that will expand the overall capabilities of the F-35. No other weapon on the market today, can perform the same types of missions.

“The international F-35 user consortium is showing great interest in the JSM and KONGSBERG is very proud to have been selected by Japan to provide the JSM for their F-35 fleet. This is a major milestone for the JSM program, entering into the production phase”

https://www.navalnews.com/naval-news/20 ... ith-japan/

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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Mar 11, 2019 7:58 pm

A single F-35 test aircraft will be based on Israel to allow the IAF to test their specific modifications.

Israel Prepares List Of Customized F-35 Upgrades

An F-35 equipped with a special suite of test instruments that will be delivered to the IAF in 2020, a process that took two years. “This unique aircraft will allow us to test the systems we want the F-35 to carry so that it can perform the complicated missions we intend it to perform,” an IAF official says....The test aircraft will enable the IAF’s flight test center to enhance the air-to-air and air-to-ground capabilities of the Adir using the highly classified Israeli systems. Although the details of those systems are classified, it is known that Israeli companies such as Rafael have developed new versions of existing equipment that can be carried by the F-35 in its stealthy mode.

https://aviationweek.com/awindefense/is ... 5-upgrades
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Mar 11, 2019 8:01 pm

Some more expansion on the woes being felt using ALIS at some units.

Key piece of F-35 logistics system unusable by US Air Force students, instructor pilots

The F-35 fighter jet’s logistics backbone has proven so clunky and burdensome to work with that the U.S. Air Force’s instructor pilots, as well as students learning to fly the aircraft, have stopped using a key piece of the system, Defense News has learned.

The Autonomic Logistics Information System, built by F-35 manufacturer Lockheed Martin, was supposed to consolidate training, maintenance and supply chain management functions into a single entity, making it easier for users to input data and oversee the jet’s health and history throughout its life span.

ALIS has been a disappointment to maintainers in the field, with updates coming behind schedule and many workarounds needed so it functions as designed. But the Air Force’s F-35A instructor and student pilots at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, and Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, were so disappointed with the performance of ALIS’ training system that they bailed entirely, confirmed Col. Paul Moga, commander of Eglin’s 33rd Fighter Wing.

“The functionality in ALIS with regards to TMS — the training management system — was such a source of frustration and a time waste to the instructor pilots and the simulator instructors and the academic instructors that we at [Air Education and Training Command] in coordination with us [at Eglin] and Luke made a call almost a year ago to stop using the program,” Moga said during a Feb. 26 interview.

Moga said the command’s F-35 training squadrons are “not going to start using TMS again until it works.”

So in the meantime, F-35A training squadrons have adopted a legacy system, Northrop Grumman’s Global Training Integrated Management System. GTIMS is used by the Air Force, Army and Navy across a number of aircraft inventories to manage training schedules and cut the man-hours and costs associated with doing that work, according to a Northrop fact sheet.

At this point, GTIMS provides a more agile, efficient user experience than ALIS’ training management system, Moga said. But it doesn’t sync with ALIS, so pilots and instructors must do “double data entry” so that each system has a record of flight records, currencies and qualifications.

Even with that headache, using GTIMS is worth not having to deal with ALIS, he said.

“It’s not optimum, but it’s a lot better than it was before just relying solely on TMS,” Moga said. “Because between us and Luke, we couldn’t take any longer having instructors saying: ‘It takes me 45 minutes just to have access to a grade sheet, let alone fill it out.’ ”

The list of problems with ALIS goes back years, with the Pentagon’s independent weapons tester regularly pointing out deficiencies in annual reports. But the Air Force is just starting to get vocal in its exasperation with the system.

At the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium held last week, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson turned it into a punchline, jokingly saying: “I can guarantee that no Air Force maintainer will ever name their daughter ‘Alice.’ ”

The line got a lot of laughs.

ALIS, Wilson said, was “a proprietary system so frustrating to use, maintainers said they were wasting 10-15 hours a week fighting with it … and looking for ways to bypass it to try to make F-35s mission-capable.”

It’s unclear whether any of the other U.S. services have followed the Air Force’s decision to abandon ALIS’ training management system.

While the Marine Corps does use TMS, it also uses legacy systems like the Marine Sierra Hotel Aviation Readiness Program, or M-SHARP, as well as Advanced Skills Management, said Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Chris Harrison.

A request for comment was not immediately returned by the Navy.

In a statement to Defense News, a spokesman for Lockheed Martin said the company is investing $180 million in ALIS and other data systems through 2021. The company is also working to modernize the ALIS architecture and improve data integrity, speed and automation.

“We’ve heard direct feedback from the user community regarding the Training Management System and are working to improve it. The newest version of TMS contains functionality and user experience improvements, including the ability to customize flexible training plans. This is being fielded in the latest ALIS 3.0 upgrade and we continue to improve the tool in 2019,” Lockheed spokesman Mike Friedman said.

Life with ALIS

On the maintenance side, ALIS is improving … very slowly.

Tech. Sgt. Joshua Wells is an ALIS expediter for the 33rd Fighter Wing. One of two people in the squadron with that title, his entire job revolves around helping maintainers and support personnel use ALIS, and ironing out problems with the system that might occur throughout the day.

Wells takes a pragmatic view on ALIS’ performance. He calls it “a great tool for researching prior maintenance as opposed to digging through hundreds of thousands of pages” of documentation, and said the latest software update in January has led to some positive changes.

The speed of the servers is improving, but only so many ALIS users can use the system simultaneously. At a certain point, a user may have to wait for someone to log off before moving forward, he said.
Certain parts on the aircraft have a time limit at which scheduled maintenance or a replacement must take place. The latest ALIS update has sped up the time taken to process that data, “but we still have hiccups,” Wells acknowledged.

Users also continue to see challenges with gaps in the technical data that follows each part or subsystem, like the ejection seat. A 2018 report by the Pentagon’s director of operational test and evaluation noted that Lockheed’s subcontractors on the F-35 do not always input information into ALIS in a standardized way, as they do not use the system. The Air Force has specifically said this problem can cause missed sorties and is one of the top five drivers of non-mission-capable rates.

“They are way better than where they were,” Wells said of the data gaps, adding that he has to call Lockheed Martin personnel “significantly less” for help getting data than he used to with older versions of the system.

While the Defense Department hasn’t spelled out a cohesive plan for ALIS’ future, there are signs the system could change in significant, fundamental ways in the coming years. Naval Air Systems Command, which manages F-35 contracts across the department, put out a solicitation in January for “ALIS Next,” which it envisions as a Lockheed Martin product that “will re-design ALIS in accordance with current information technology and software development best practices.”

The Air Force is beginning to look at that problem through its Mad Hatter effort, which pairs coders from its Kessel Run software lab with F-35 maintainers at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.

Currently, Mad Hatter’s developers are building apps that will — hopefully — help to make ALIS more efficient and user-friendly, such as an app to expedite the creation of maintenance schedules. Users at Nellis will then test that app and provide feedback, shaping it into something customized to their needs.

But perhaps even more importantly, the Mad Hatter project has begun the process of hosting ALIS on the cloud, which will allow developers to “triage” code so that what is good and usable is separated from bad code that needs to be reworked, said Will Roper, the Air Force’s top acquisition official.

“There is good code there, but it’s good code in a fairly bad user interface and a bad architecture — bad in the sense that it’s 1990s technology and we’re in 2019,” he told Defense News in February.

“As they go through the code, think of it as apps in a smartphone, knowing that it’s an old phone that needs to improve. So we’re eventually going to ditch the ’90s flip phone, re-host on a modern smartphone, and we want to know what apps are pretty good to use, what apps can be used in part with reuse, and what things we need to recode,” he said. “It’s early, but so far a lot of the code appears reusable down at the app level.”

Despite all the problems, Wells is hopeful that the system will continue to improve. When this reporter asked if ALIS’ problems were just growing pains, he gave a resigned laugh.

“Long growing pains, but yes,” he said.

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2019/03 ... or-pilots/
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Mar 11, 2019 8:03 pm

AARGM-ER integration on the F-35B/C has been confirmed with the awarding of this contract.

Contracts for March 7, 2019

Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, Northridge, California, is awarded a $322,504,595 cost-plus-incentive-fee contract to provide for the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) of the AGM-88G, Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile – Extended Range (AARGM-ER). The EMD effort includes the design, integration and test of a new solid rocket motor for the AARGM-ER for use on the F/A-18E/F, EA-18G and F-35A/C aircraft platforms. Work will be performed in Northridge, California (98 percent); and Ridgecrest, California (2 percent), and is expected to be completed in December 2023. Fiscal 2019 research, development, test and evaluation (Navy) funds in the amount of $55,087,929 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant Federal Acquisition Regulation 6.302-1. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity

https://dod.defense.gov/News/Contracts/ ... e/1779133/
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Mar 11, 2019 8:09 pm

Another Red Flag 19-1 article about the capability of the F-35 to enhance the battlespace.

The National Defense Strategy warns of a new era of potential conflict with revisionist powers Russia and China. The Air Force just offered a preview of that lethal battlespace.

After refueling at night over a southern-Nevada dust bowl called Texas Lake, scores of U.S. and coalition warplanes crossed into contested air space on a mission to suppress state-of-the-art enemy air defenses. The formation was soon bombarded with warning signals as radars of advanced surface-to-air (SAM) missile batteries with the reach of Russia’s S-300 and S-400 air defense systems switched on.

Electronic jammers struck as fighter pilots tried to communicate with an E-8 Joint STARS command-and-control aircraft; rear-area command cells had satellite linkages disrupted by cyberattacks. Starbursts of surface-to-air missile launches flashed on the ground below, and cockpit alarms warned that the formation was being painted with multiple radars from enemy aircraft with paint schemes and capabilities designed to replicate the likes of the advanced Sukhoi Su-30 Flanker fighters in the arsenals of both Russia and China.

Because this was the final mission in a three-week Red Flag exercise, however, the “Blue Force” pilots did not panic when confronted with a coordinated attack by Red Force Aggressor Squadrons operating in all domains – air, ground, space and cyberspace. Working in tandem, fifth generation F-22 Raptors and F-35 Lightning aircraft escorting the Blue Force formation exploited their stealth and speed to close quickly with the most immediate threats. The F-35s used their unprecedented sensor suites to gather, fuse data and distribute a common picture of the threat array to other aircraft. Fourth generation F-15s, F-16s, F-18s and British Eurofighters used that targeting data to launch beyond-visual range missiles and bomb strikes on SAM sites as strike aircraft proceeded successfully to other enemy targets. The simulated warfare felt surprisingly real in the cockpits of warplanes traveling at supersonic speeds.

In that Red Flag exercise completed last month, 2,900 personnel from 39 separate units participated in 26 distinct missions and flew 95 aircraft from the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, Royal Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force. Everthing gleaned from intelligence about China and Russian forces was thrown at the allied pilots.

“On the last week of a Red Flag exercise we really throw everything we have at the Blue Force and replicate the toughest adversary possible, because that’s what they will face in a high-end fight against a ‘near peer’ competitor,” said Col. Travolis “Jaws” Simmons, commander of the 57th Adversary Tactics Group, the umbrella organization for all the Aggressor Squadrons that operate out of Nellis Air Force Base, home to Red Flag exercises and the Air Force’s elite Fighters Weapons School. “We turn the temperature way up in those final missions, because we want the Blue Force pilots and operators to leave Red Flag knowing that they took our best punch, and to take that confidence into combat if and when the time comes. That’s our ideal goal.”

Red Flag grew out of the Air Force’s experience in Vietnam, when studies indicated it took a pilot roughly 10 combat missions to become experienced enough to have a reasonably good chance of survival. Beginning in 1975, the Air Force began spending hundreds of millions of dollars on simulated combat exercises to give its pilots that experience before they went to war.

For pilots without combat experience, Red Flag still represents not only the first time they witness an entire Blue Force strike package of many different types of aircraft assembled in the air, but also the first time they fly against determined opponents mimicking adversary tactics and capabilities. Pilots with ground-attack missions have to coordinate attack routes and mid-air refueling schedules with other attack cells, everyone relying on friendly air superiority fighters and directions from command-and-control aircraft.

For U.S. and coalition air forces that have spent most of the last two decades conducting combat missions against an enemy without airplanes as part of the war on terror, it was an opportunity to become acquainted with the far more challenging scenario of fighting in a high-intensity battlespace against a “near peer” competitor like Russia or China.

Brig. Gen. Robert Novotny, commander of the 57th Wing at Nellis Air Force Base, oversees Red Flag exercises. “For the first time in a long time, the National Defense Strategy has prioritized the high-end threat, which tells wing commanders throughout the Air Force, who for years have been most concerned with preparing for their next counter-terrorism deployment, that they now need to rebalance a bit and focus on the high-end fight against our toughest potential adversaries,” he said in an interview. “That’s the fight we have always prided ourselves on replicating at Red Flag.”

Over the years Red Flag has expanded from its original focus on combat survivability and the air-to-air mission, Novotny notes, to incorporate training in all of the Air Forces five core functions – air superiority, air-to-ground strike, ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance), command-and-control (C2), and personnel rescue and recovery. All of those missions are conducted against a dedicated sparring partner in the Aggressors, unrivaled experts in enemy weapons systems and tactics, and train so much in force-on-force exercises that they punch well above their weight in the air.

“A lot of our airmen have had experience deploying downrange to places like Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, which gives them familiarization with employing their weapons systems against a real enemy, but those operations have been conducted in a very permissive environment with uncontested air superiority and freedom of movement in all domains,” said Novotny. By contrast at Red Flag, he noted, U.S. and coalition operators confront an opponent who fights back in all domains and can replicate the most advanced weapons systems and platforms available around the world, from redundant, integrated air defense systems using fiber optics like China fields in the Pacific and Russia operates in Kaliningrad, to advanced fighters like the twin-engine Russian Sukhoi Su-30 Flanker, which has been exported to China and India.

The latest exercise also incorporated some of the political ambiguity, Identify Friend or Foe (IFF) challenges, and proxy war protocols that Air Force pilots have encountered in Syria, where they share the battlespace with Syrian, Iranian, Turkish, Israeli and Russian forces, as well as allied and adversarial paramilitaries and non-state actors.

“On top of those ‘rules of engagement’ challenges, Blue Forces at Red Flag are contested in the air, subject to Aggressor missile strikes on their operating and logistics bases, and hit with cyberattacks on their command-and-control and space systems designed to disrupt satellite communications and GPS [Global Positioning System] targeting,” said Novotny, who notes that the 64th Aggressor Squadron is flying double the number of sorties it logged just last year. “So the Aggressors are a marquee feature at Red Flag, and their mission of knowing, teaching and replicating enemy capabilities is critical to what we do.”

In keeping with the focus on improving combat survivability for air crews, Blue units typically send their least experienced pilots and operators for the premiere training. In the recently completed 19-1 Red Flag exercise, for instance, the 4th Fighter Squadron of the 388th Fighter Wing stationed at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, sent a dozen pilots who had never been to Red Flag nor seen combat in the squadron’s F-35 fighters, and four that were straight out of initial pilot training.

At Nellis, Red Flag officials also adopt a “building block” approach with visiting units. From tragic experience with numerous deadly plane crashes in the early years of Red Flag, they know that throwing too many challenges, too soon, at inexperienced fighter pilots can overwhelm them. “Typically in the first week, the Blue team has to crawl before they can walk, and it takes them time to learn the strengths and weaknesses of friendly weapons platforms that they don’t normally see at home base, and how to integrate them all effectively into a single strike package,” said Simmons of the 57th Adversary Tactics Group. “After what is usually a rough first week, Blue team’s learning curve goes up quickly, and the Aggressors dial it up and become more dynamic and adaptive in how we respond to their operations.”

The primary tool in that learning process, and an essential element of Red Flag’s culture of constant self-improvement, is what Nellis officials call “the Great Unveiling” – hours-long and brutally honest after-action debriefings following each mission. Participants famously leave their rank at the door of the debriefing amphitheater, and with the aid of video screens and big data collected at the heavily instrumented Nevada Test and Training Range, Red and Blue force pilots and operators calculate hits, misses and casualties. They also discuss which “audibles” called in the air worked, and those that backfired. Often the picture of the air battle that emerges from that comprehensive analysis is far different than the one pilots perceived from their cockpits.

“The debrief is where pilots find out if they really did as good as they think, commanders included, and thus it’s where most of the learning occurs at Red Flag,” said Simmons. Debriefs are never unprofessional, he said, but the conversations can get heated. “Frankly, you have a lot of pilot egos in that room, and nobody wants to stand on that stage embarrassed at becoming the `DFP’ – the Debrief Focal Point. The DFP is the main thing that went wrong on the mission, and you might spend two hours analyzing and talking about that one mistake to make sure it never happens again in actual combat. That can require speaking truth to power. So the debrief is our secret sauce, and part of the beauty of Red Flag.”

The last mission of the 19-1 Red Flag was an advanced suppression of enemy air defenses at night. By the third week, the Blue Force had solved the puzzle of weapons system integration, designing a strike force echelon able to exploit the strengths and mask the weaknesses of each individual aircraft. The biggest learning curve in that process was understanding how fifth generation aircraft can use their unmatched stealth, speed and sensor capabilities to increase the effectiveness and survivability of the entire strike package.

“The F-22s and F-35s were able to use our stealth and speed to get closer to the threats and soften them up, collect a lot of information about the battlespace, and then use the F-35’s data link in particular to communicate that picture to the rest of the strike package so that fourth generation aircraft like the F-15s and F-16s could attack those targets with their missiles and bombs,” said Lt. Col. Yosef Morris, commander of the 4th Fighter Squadron of F-35s. “While we struggled at that mission in the first week, by the last week we broke down the biggest integrated air defense system the Aggressors could field, and allowed our strike aircraft to successfully get through to their targets. So we left Red Flag highly confident in our ability to operate in a high-threat environment against a near-peer competitor, both in terms of operating our own aircraft and in integrating them into a larger strike package. You can’t get a confidence boost like that anywhere else in the world other than actual combat.”

The combat edge of stealthy fifth-gen aircraft in high-intensity air combat, and their force multiplying effect when carefully integrated in a “high-low” mix with fourth generation fighters that may have superior endurance and weapons carrying capacity, is one of the prime lessons of recent Red Flag exercises. In last year’s simulations, F-35s have reportedly achieved a kill ratio against Aggressors as high as 15 to 1.

“The F-22 and F-35 have complicated our job here at Red Flag, because their speed, stealth and sensor fusion capabilities make it difficult for our Aggressors to really challenge and push them,” said Brig. Gen. Novotny. Nellis officials are working hard to modernize the air defense systems and Aggressor Squadron capabilities at Red Flag so they can keep pace, he noted, but it’s not a fair fight. “I’m an F-15 pilot with over 3,000 hours in the air, so I’m pretty cocky about my capabilities, but I sure wouldn’t want to go to war against a high-end threat without those fifth generation aircraft flying alongside.”

(We have asked for the F-35’s kill ratio for this Red Flag and have not yet received it. The Air Force increasingly argues that the kill ratio isn’t as relevant for the F-35 as in days past because of the key role it plays in providing targeting information to fourth generation aircraft. The argument pretty much boils down to: who killed the enemy — the plane that detected it and targeted it or the plane that actually fired the weapon that killed it. We’ll take both sets of data, with the needed caveats. The Editor.)

https://breakingdefense.com/2019/03/red ... -in-years/
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Mar 12, 2019 8:17 pm

Poland is keen to acquire a 5th generation capability and while other airframes may be considered I think it is pretty clear this acquisition will, unless they do something stupid, almost certainly result in the F-35 being selected.

Poland eyes F-35 for Harpia requirement

Warsaw has prioritised its Harpia fighter programme as part of a new technical modernisation plan for its armed forces, while its aged RAC MiG-29s remain grounded following a 4 March crash.

Poland plans to acquire 32 "fifth-generation" aircraft to replace its remaining MiG-29s and a ground-attack fleet of Sukhoi Su-22s. It is believed to be particularly interested in the Lockheed Martin F-35, although other candidates could include the Boeing F-15 or F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, the Eurofighter consortium's Typhoon and the Saab Gripen E.

Defence minister Mariusz Blaszczak has initiated a process to implement the programme as soon as possible. This will include the appointment of a plenipotentiary to oversee the activity.

His action follows a meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda, who has suggested advancing the Harpia procurement with financing from the state budget, as was the case with Warsaw's previous procurement of 48 Lockheed F-16C/Ds.

Operations with the Polish air force's remaining 28 MiG-29s remain suspended, meanwhile, following a crash involving an example from its 23rd Tactical Air Base at Minsk Mazowiecki. Its pilot ejected safely, following a technical malfunction.

The incident marked the service's third loss of a MiG-29 within 15 months, also including a December 2017 mishap and a fatal accident in July 2018. Investigations into the earlier crashes are continuing.

Poland's defence ministry has criticised the previous government's decision to extend the service lives of its MiG-29s and Su-22s, rather than acquire replacements. Its action included stretching the MiG-29's expected operating life to 40 years or 4,000 flight hours, opting to modernise 16 of its in-service aircraft and adopting condition-based maintenance procedures.

Warsaw has previously indicated an intention to have replacement aircraft in operational use from 2024, and it is unclear if the proposed new procurement model could accelerate this schedule.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... nt-456554/
 
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Mar 12, 2019 8:30 pm

A current F-35 pilot, in popular mechanics puff words, describes the advantages the situational awareness of the F-35 provides over previous generations.

An F-35 Pilot Explains What It's Like to Fly the Joint Strike Fighter

Lots of people love the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, one of the most advanced, stealthiest warplanes on the planet. And lots of people loathe it, pointing to the ballooning costs and arguing America's newest fighter is more flash than function. But what's it like to fly it?

Despite all the public acrimony about the plane, we haven't heard much from the men and women who will strap into the cockpit. So, with F-35s now entering service in the U.S. and abroad, Popular Mechanics asked Air Force pilot and host of “The Professionals Playbook” podcast, Major Justin “Hasard” Lee, what it takes to fly the fighter.

“The first time I saw an F-35 was in 2015 at Nellis AFB [in Nevada],” Lee recalls. “They were new and sleek, albeit a bit husky. Their clamshell canopy along with the pilot’s Darth Vader helmet stood out. Looking into the cockpit I could see what looked like a massive iPad on the dashboard...the memory of [the F-35] taxing by is definitely seared in the back of my mind.”

Lee caught a glimpse of his future, but it would still be some time before he was able to get into the cockpit of the the fifth generation fighter (F-35s and F-22s are called 5th generation because of their advanced systems, while older fighters like the F-16 and F/A-18 belong to the 4th generation). “I flew F-16’s for seven years before I had the opportunity to cross over,” Lee continues. “F-35’s were number one on my list of around 20 different assignments.”

Lee accumulated nearly 400 hours of combat flight time with the F-16 Fighting Falcon before flying the F-35. Today, though, up-and-coming pilots have a much more direct route. Last year, the U.S. Air Force graduated its first class of what the fighter pilot community calls “5th-gen babies.” These fledging aviators were born into the world of the F-35 and its array of advanced systems. “They haven’t had to endure some of the frustrations, such as an old mechanically scanned radar, that come with fourth generation fighters,” Lee says.

Still, if you want to become an F-35 pilot, the odds aren’t in your favor. “I can remember my first day when the base commander gave us a pep talk and then asked us how many wanted to be fighter pilots,” says Lee. “All 30 of us raised our hands, to which he replied ‘good luck’ and walked out of the room.”

Lee went on to fly the T-6 high-performance prop plane for six months until seven pilots were picked for the “fighter track.” For another six months, these seven freshman pilots cut their teeth on T-38 supersonic jet trainers. After a year of flying, only four out of a class of 30 had the right stuff to become a fighter pilot.

Strapping the Jet on Our Backs
Despite the generational leap in technology from the F-16 to F-35, Lee says jumping cockpits wasn’t as dramatic as you’d expect.

“The F-35 buttons and software were derived in large part from the F-16,” he says. “There are more buttons, and each one has more functions, but in general, each one does something similar to what it did in the F-16.”

Familiar or not, the first flight inside $100 million worth of state secrets makes even a seasoned fighter pilot sweat. “There are no two-seat versions of the F-35. The first time you fly, you’re by yourself,” says Lee. “As soon as you take off, the only person that can bring the jet back and land is you."

He continues: “Once you become proficient in flying a fighter we call it ‘strapping the jet on our backs’ because it feels like you and the jet are one entity. My first flight was far from it and each switch actuation took several seconds to consciously think about—which in the air, flying a mile every 6 seconds, feels like minutes on the ground.”

While many parts of a mission easily translate from an old warbird to the new one, the F-35 offers a never-before-seen level of streamlined situational awareness. The F-35’s low-radar observability may be the plane’s flashiest capability, but pilots love how the F-35 fuses data from multiple sources into a single field of view. It’s really what separates the aircraft from anything that’s flown before.

“In the F-16, each sensor was tied to a different screen...often the sensors would show contradictory information” says Lee. “The F-35 fuses everything into a green dot if it’s a good guy and a red dot if it’s a bad guy— it’s very pilot-friendly. All the information is shown on a panoramic cockpit display that is essentially two giant iPads.”

Playing Well With Others

The F-35's ability to integrate all that information into an easy-to-interpret display doesn’t just benefit one pilot. As Lee points out, that integrated feed improves the situational awareness of any other aircraft around an F-35.

“Advanced sensors, sensor fusion, and networking capabilities allow us to be the ‘quarterback’ in the air,” Lee says. “Because ‘4th-gen’ fighters will be around for several decades, a significant part of our job is maximizing their potential. We can let them know where the enemy is by voice or over the network.”

The F-35 also received iPhone-like software updates and patches that translate directly into added capabilities and improved performance in the physical world. Lee says that the aircraft’s software wouldn’t permit the F-35 to turn nearly as hard as its air frame allowed until just such a software update last year. In five to 10 years' time, the F-35 might look the same, but its performance will be almost unrecognizable.

“Some may argue that certain ‘4th gen’ attributes are better today, but they aren’t looking 10 years into the future,” says Lee. “Those platforms are over 40 years old. They’ve been phenomenal workhorses but iterative improvements aren't going to win a high-end conflict in the 2030s.”

These new updates mean pilots must stay on top of these changes. Failing to study up on the latest update could mean “being left behind” says Lee, or even life-threatening. But its these steady flow of updates—along with its stealth and sensor fusion chops—that make the F-35 the new apex hunter of the skies.

“The reason the F-15 and F-16 have remained relevant for so long is because they were a forward-leaning departure from 3rd-gen fighters," says Lee. “Think of what we were flying 40 years before them: biplanes.”

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

Tue Mar 12, 2019 8:43 pm

Italy is apparently behind in their payment to the JSF program... Probably related to the number of jets Italy expects to acquire, and how the funds are calculated based on the expected order quantity, given the uncertainly on the total number of jets Italy will end up ordering.

Italy hasn't paid 389mn in F35 invoices

Air Force Chief of Staff General Alberto Rosso told parliament on Tuesday that Italy has not paid "389 million euros in invoices issued in 2018" by Lockheed Martin for F35 fighter jets. Reporting to a joint session of the Lower House and Senate defence committees, Rosso expressed "major concern about uncertainty over the programme" and the "hypothesis of a quantitative reduction" in the number of aircraft Italy will buy.
The general said the alternative would be "older and more expensive" aircraft. The Air Force chief said that "this aircraft is the future.
"Any slowdown or fall in the number would be worrying not just for us, but also for the nation's industry, given the economic impact of the programme".

http://www.ansa.it/english/news/science ... 69551.html
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Mar 13, 2019 2:30 am

The USMC have taken a hit on the F-35B. The USN have requested ten fewer jets in 2020, five less in 2021, three in 2022 and one in 2023 while pushing up the F-35C by four aircraft in 2020.

The article indicates this isn’t a loss of faith in the jet but “tied to force structure mixes,” which probably means they have sufficient assets for the planned deployments, as well as sufficient vessels that have been refi to handle F-35 operations.

The USN has also requested an additional 24 SH which is in line with their previously announced FY19 plans and to improve availability.

As an aside, the USN won’t refuel the Truman, which was commissioned in 1998 and therefore likely retire it. A crazy decision in an effort to afford the acquisition of two new Ford class carriers and even more so considering that the USN already long lead acquired half a billion dollars worth of material for it. They have also cut a couple of Burkes from 2021/22, pushed two Flt II San-Antonio out past 2024 while increasing by one Burke and an extra Virginia in 2020.

Navy Unveils Record Budget, Pushing Above 300 Ships

The Navy plans to request a record $205.6 billion topline budget for 2020, money that will be pumped into ramped-up operations, buying new subs, destroyers and aircraft while pushing the fleet above the 300-ship mark for the first time since the early 2000s.

The service’s biggest acquisition program — the $128 billion Columbia-class submarine effort — is also being sped up, with $1.7 billion in funding on the way to a 2021 build date.

The request is the most detailed document we’ve seen to date outlining the Navy’s planned strategic direction in the coming years, offering a picture of a service trying to push into the future of unmanned systems and fifth generation aircraft, while doubling down on large hulls and adding thousands of sailors as the fleet grows.

One of the most significant reveals today was that the Navy plans to reach its goal of 355 ships by 2034, Rear Adm. Randy Crites told reporters here. The Navy’s new force structure plan should be released by the end of the week outlining how it plans to get there, he said.

As we reported, the service will forgo the mid-life refueling of the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier in 2024. The Navy had already spent $538 million on reactor core part in 2008 and 2011 in anticipation of the Truman work, parts that will now be ”placed on the shelf in availability” in case they’re needed in the future for other modernization efforts, Crites said.

It will also fund two new Ford-class carriers, buy an extra Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and a third Virginia-class submarine in 2020. The plan, however, drops to just two Arleigh Burkes a year in 2021 and 2022 compared to the previously planned purchase of three a year.

The request lists $160.8 billion in base funding and a massive $44.8 billion for overseas contingency operations, up from $36.6 billion over last year’s request. The uptick is part of a Pentagon-wide budget gimmick that shifts $164 billion from the base budget to the wartime funding account (OCO) to get around the budget cap placed on the budget by the Budget Control Act.

Capitol Hill is unlikely to approve the OCO move, which will ensure plenty of fireworks this spring and summer.

The budget also calls for $61.1 billion for procurement, $20.4 billion for research and development, and $68.5 billion for operations and maintenance, a 33 percent increase from 2019. The number of ships in the water are slated to increase from 296 to 301 ships.

The Navy is requesting $23.8 billion on shipbuilding and conversion programs, including $22.2 billion to buy 12 new ships.

In addition to the new Virginia subs, Ford-class carriers and destroyers, the Navy is also funding the lead ship in the new guided-missile frigate (FFG(X)) program, slated to cost $1.28 billion.

On the cuts side, in addition to the Truman and the destroyers, the Navy will push two San Antonio-class Flight II landing dock ships, known as LPDs, out past 2024 (the budget equivalent of solitary confinement).

“The hard choices required to achieve this balance include trade-offs in legacy force structure allowing the trade space to accelerate investments in future force capabilities for the future fight,” the service’s budget document said, adding it is “developing and fielding new capabilities in the areas of unmanned vehicles, directed energy, artificial intelligence, hypersonics and other advanced weapons technology.”

The the aircraft budget, the Navy wants to spend $18.6 billion to purchase 148 aircraft, including 20 F-35Cs, which is four more compared to last year’s plan. But it also wants to buy 10 F-35Bs, 10-plane fewer than estimated last year. There is also a line for 24 more F/A-18E-F Super Hornets.

When it comes to the proposed F-35 cuts, those decisions were “tied to force structure mixes,” Crites said, adding that the Navy and Marines are looking to avoid duplicating efforts.

Elsewhere, the Marine Corps F-35B program was slashed by 19 planes over the Future Years Defense Plan (FYDP), with 10 fewer in 2020, five in 2021, three in 2022 and one in 2023.

https://breakingdefense.com/2019/03/nav ... 300-ships/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:19 pm

Turkey continues to push for F-35 being delivered at the end of the year.

Turkey expects F-35 jets to be delivered from US in November: Minister

Turkey expects the delivery of the F35 fighter jets from the U.S. in November, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has said.

“Despite some statements, F-35 process goes smoothly; our pilots, maintenance team continue training in the U.S.,” Akar told a luncheon with top Turkish generals in the capital Ankara on March 13.

“We expect delivery of F-35s in November to the [eastern] Malatya province, relevant preparations for infrastructure were completed,” Akar added.

He was accompanied with the Chief of Staff Yaşar Güler, Land Forces Commander Ümit Dündar, Naval Forces Commander Adnan Özbal and Air Forces Commander Hasan Küçükakyüz at the luncheon.

“In our visit to the U.S., they told us that Turkey is one of the countries that has fully fulfilled its responsibilities, both financial and other pledges,” Akar said.

The defense chief added that Turkey continues to do its part in designing and manufacturing some parts of the F-35s.

...

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey ... ter-141882
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:25 pm

The JPO has acknowledged it hasn’t been as diligent as it should of managing GFP but has a plan in place that the auditors are satisfied with to bring it up to standard.

DoD inspector general slams F-35 program office for allowing Lockheed to manage government property

The F-35 Joint Program Office has not adequately tracked government property leant or leased to Lockheed Martin and its subcontractors, an oversight that a new investigation by the Defense Department’s inspector general said could impact readiness.

Building the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter requires the use of government property such as materiel, special tooling like molds used to form the jet’s structure and unique test equipment.

Over the lifespan of the program, the F-35 JPO has not followed the mandated procedures used to manage government-furnished property, or GFP, and instead depended on Lockheed and its subcontractors to keep track of such equipment, stated a DoD IG report released Friday.

“As a result, the DoD does not know the actual value of the F‑35 property and does not have an independent record to verify the contractor‑valued government property of $2.1 billion for the F‑35 program,” the report said. “Without accurate records, the F‑35 Program officials have no visibility over the property and have no metrics to hold the prime contractor accountable for how it manages government property.

“The lack of asset visibility restricts the DoD’s ability to conduct the necessary checks and balances that ensure the prime contractor is managing and spending F‑35 Program funds in the government’s best interest and could impact the DoD’s ability to meet its operational readiness goals for the F‑35 aircraft.”

The report claims the program office did not:

Maintain a record of GFP known as an “accountable property system of record,” or APSR.
Award contracts with complete GFP lists.
Coordinate with the Defense Contract Management Agency on the contracting actions necessary to transition property from being “contractor acquired” to “government furnished.”

In short, “DoD officials failed to implement procedures … to account for and manage government property for more than 16 years” and, during that time, did not hold specific officials responsible for the resulting mismanagement, the report said.

As a result, the IG asserts that the JPO hasn’t been able to provide the level of oversight needed to establish that contractors aren’t misusing government property. Lockheed has self-reported losing $271 million in government property, but the Pentagon has no way to validate that figure, the report noted.

Meanwhile, Defense Contract Management Agency officials indicated that confusion over the inspection procedures necessary to shift equipment from the “contractor-acquired property” label to the GFP designation led to delays in the ability to use that equipment — which could have a detrimental effect on readiness.

In a statement, the F-35 JPO responded that it was not surprised by the report’s findings and that efforts are underway to address the IG’s recommendations.

“The F-35 Program will continue to inventory, track and contractually account for all GFP associated with the F-35 system, and will diligently strive for opportunities to improve as highlighted by the DoD IG report,” the statement said. “By incorporating both the lessons learned from the DoD IG findings and the JPO’s own internal assessments, we expect to measurably enhance our management of GFP.”

The IG recommended a course of action that it advised should be put in place before the move to full-rate production later this year.

It suggests that the JPO should ensure current lists of GFP are complete and accurate before awarding contracts. It calls for appointing a “component property lead” and “accountable property officer” to ensure that happens and that a formal APSR is created. The IG also directs the program to create procedures that ensure the APSR is updated with the latest data.

The F-35 JPO, in its response, said that a component property lead will be named and will be responsible for ensuring all government property is properly tracked and maintained — and that all relevant financial statements are accounted for.

“Prior to the onset of full-rate production, the JPO has begun physical inventories at all F-35 sites housing GFP. This inventory is expected to run through the end of calendar year 2019,” it said. “Some corrective actions already determined are in process for Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Lot 12 and should be complete prior to [a full-rate production] decision. These actions will be worked in concert with the stand-up of the F-35 Program’s Accountable Property System of Record.”

The IG, in its report, said it was satisfied with the corrective actions proposed by the JPO, but that it would review their implementation at a later date.

Creating a record of government property will not be as simple as copying over Lockheed Martin’s record.

Lockheed estimates there are 3.45 million pieces of government property used for the F-35 program, and that equipment is worth an estimated $2.1 billion. However, its records are not written to the same standard that the Defense Department mandates.

For instance, federal regulations require that government records keep track of the contract number associated with a given piece of GFE, while Lockheed did not include that information. Other data recorded by the company — such as the name of a part or its quantity — were incomplete by Pentagon standards.

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2019/03 ... -property/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Mar 19, 2019 2:24 am

Meteor now funded for F-35 by the UK with SPEAR also coming along. The UK will have some very effective and capable jets especially given the STOVL.

UK begins integrating next-gen weapons for F-35

The company announced on 18 March that it had been subcontracted by Lockheed Martin to begin integrating the MBDA Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) and the Selected Precision Effects at Range (SPEAR) air-to-surface missile aboard the aircraft.

The Meteor, which has been developed by France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and the UK, has a speed of more than Mach 4 and a range in excess of 100 km. Whereas similar-type missiles have a relatively short boost-phase after launch, after which they glide to the target while bleeding energy, the Meteorʼs ramjet means it is propelled up to the point of impact. This reduces the adversary aircraft’s chances of escaping the missile and gives the pilot more assurance of success when engaging enemy aircraft, leading it to be been described by industry and military officials as a step-change in air-to-air combat capabilities.

The SPEAR is a datalinked turbojet-powered stand-off ground-attack weapon that is expected to possess a range of about 100 km. It will be released from an aircraft regardless of its position relative to the target, and although it will be able to engage numerous target types, its subsonic speed and relatively small warhead will likely require a saturating attack using multiple missiles.

Both of these weapon types will be carried in the internal bays of the F-35 to maintain the aircraft’s low-observable characteristics, while they will also be carried externally for missions that require a greater weapons load without the need for stealth. Meteor and SPEAR 3 integration is expected to run through to 2025.

As noted by BAE Systems, the Meteor and SPEAR 3 work is part of a wider package that includes further integration of the MBDA AIM-132 Advanced Short-Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM) and the Raytheon Paveway IV laser-guided bomb (LGB) in support of delivering initial operating capability (IOC) for the UK.

https://www.janes.com/article/87284/uk- ... s-for-f-35

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