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ssteve
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Re: F-35 News Thread - 2020

Sat Nov 21, 2020 10:16 pm

Ozair wrote:
Really good write up in AFM on the Vermont ANG and their transition to the F-35. Being the first ANG unit to convert to the F-35 required some significant effort and preparation and that is borne out in the article. Also interesting that the unit transitioned from CAS to SEAD with the F-35.


Wild weasels now... I hadn't heard that either. Interesting. Makes them more of a Kosovo team and less of an Afghanistan team.

I was in Winooski last week as a flight of four was in final overhead. They're party of the scenery here now.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News Thread - 2020

Mon Nov 23, 2020 11:21 pm

Not too often you see the supersonic release of an internally held weapon from a 5th gen fighter. In this case all the more interesting given it is a B-61…

Watch An F-35 Drop A B61 Nuclear Bomb In This First-Ever Declassified Video

Sandia National Laboratories, in cooperation with the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the U.S. Air Force, recently completed a round of flight tests as part of the integration of the new B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb onto the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter. Sandia has also released first-of-its-kind video footage of one of these test sorties, which involved the first-ever release of an inert version of this weapon from an internal bomb bay on a plane flying faster than the speed of sound and that also provides an unprecedented look at the bomb's rocket spin stabilization system.

...

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/3 ... fied-video

The video is here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1JGe1j ... e=emb_logo
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News Thread - 2020

Mon Nov 23, 2020 11:25 pm

The RAAF conducted an exercise at Eglin AFB earlier this month with the USAF that used RAAF US based aircraft. After the exercise the RAAF then flew these same aircraft back to Australia via Hawaii. The end result being the RAAF now have 30 F-35A in country.

Lightning cooperation spans ocean

Air Force’s F-35A Lightning II participated in Exercise Lightning Spear at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, United States from October 12 to 28.

The exercise was an important continuation training for No. 3 Squadron personnel in line with their ongoing focus of the integration of people and systems for the F-35A.

Officer Commanding No. 81 Wing Group Captain John Haly said the exercise demonstrated crucial capability of the growing Lightning force in Australia.

“Working with the United States Air Force provides important military-to-military engagement opportunities for Air Force to build on our shared understanding of a platform we both operate,” Group Captain Haly said.

“Our Air Force team has used this exercise to further develop their skills as world-class air and ground crew.”

The team then conducted Exercise Lightning Ferry to bring an additional nine Lightning aircraft back to Australia.

The aircraft travelled from Luke Air Force Base, Arizona to RAAF Base Williamtown via Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii, sustained by Air Force’s KC-30A multi-role tanker transports.

Group Captain Haly said the support provided to Air Combat Group by Air Force’s Air Mobility Group and Combat Support Group contributed to Exercise Lightning Ferry’s success.

“The ferry allowed us to demonstrate our ability to deploy a significant fighter capability halfway across the world in a short period of time,” Group Captain Haly said.

“Our maintenance, logistics, administration, operations, electrician and air load personnel work together to make our force truly expeditionary.”

With these new additions, Air Force now has 30 F-35A Lightning II aircraft in Australia of the planned 72-strong fleet.

All Air Force personnel involved in Exercises Lightning Spear and Lightning Ferry followed strict isolation and quarantine protocols, in line with national and state requirements.

https://news.defence.gov.au/internation ... pans-ocean

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Ozair
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Re: F-35 News Thread - 2020

Thu Dec 03, 2020 9:02 pm

The US is in the process of connecting UK and USA based F-35 simulators to each other which will improve training. While not new for fighters in general good to see that these connections will improve training opportunities and as you'd expect partner nations will also connect their simulators, such as the RAF mentioned below.

Lockheed Martin moves to connect USAF F-35 simulators in USA and UK in 2021

Lockheed Martin plans to connect full-mission simulators in the USA and in the UK at RAF Lakenheath through a software upgrade starting in 2021, allowing US Air Force (USAF) pilots to virtually train with one another across international borders.

The Distributed Mission Training system, which was developed by Lockheed in partnership with the F-35 Joint Program Office and the USAF, allows pilots of several different aircraft types to practice flying together in separate simulators.

The company also says the Royal Air Force’s F-35 simulators in the UK are next in line to be connected to the Distributed Mission Training system, an ability which would allow British and American pilots to train together virtually.

...

https://www.flightglobal.com/fixed-wing ... 99.article
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News Thread - 2020

Thu Dec 03, 2020 9:09 pm

The USMC have declared IOC for their first squadron of F-35Cs. No indication yet which carrier they will deploy on initially though. These are some of the approx 80 F-35Cs that will be operated by the USMC.

The Marine Corps’s first carrier-based F-35 squadron is officially ready for combat

The first Marine Corps F-35 squadron established to fight from Navy aircraft carriers is officially ready to deploy.

Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 314, known as the “Black Knights,” has achieved initial operational capability (IOC), meaning the squadron of fifth-generation F-35C Lighting II Joint Strike Fighters can deploy to carriers for global combat operations, according to a 3rd Marine Air Wing statement Tuesday.

The “Black Knights” are the first Marine Corps F-35C squadron. Until now, the service has been flying F-35Bs, a short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) variant that achieved IOC in 2015.

The F-35B can fight from airstrips on land and from amphibious assault ships at sea. This variant was the first F-35 to fly into combat, launching from the amphibious assault ship USS Essex to conduct strikes against the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2018.

With the addition of the F-35C to the Marine Corps’ arsenal, the service will also be able to fight from Navy aircraft carriers. Lt. Col. Duncan French, executive officer for VMFA-314, said the F-35C provides the Corps “with a complementary increase in combat projection.”

...

https://taskandpurpose.com/news/marine- ... or-combat/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News Thread - 2020

Thu Dec 03, 2020 9:12 pm

Apparently support for the F-35 from the US Greek Ambassador and that Greece would be a welcome partner in operating the aircraft.

USA ‘welcomes’ Greece’s interest in buying the F-35

The US Embassy in Greece has welcomed Athens’ interest in buying the Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter.

The endorsement comes as tensions between NATO allies Greece and Turkey grow over a variety of issues, including conflicting claims over exclusive economic zones in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“The United States, at the highest levels, has welcomed Greece’s interest in acquiring the F-35 for the Hellenic Air Force,” says US Ambassador to Greece, Geoffrey Pyatt on 30 November. “We have signaled our support for procurement and are working closely together on a future acquisition programme, which would enhance Greece’s defence capabilities, ensure interoperability with US Armed Forces and improve regional stability.”

The statement rebuffs speculation that the USA might not be willing to supply the stealth fighter to Greece. “All reports to the contrary are false and misrepresentations of US policy,” says Pyatt.

...

https://www.flightglobal.com/fixed-wing ... 31.article
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News Thread - 2020

Thu Dec 03, 2020 9:14 pm

Japan has signed a follow-on second contract for the JSM for their F-35 aircraft before even receiving the first delivery of missiles from their first order.

Second contract for Kongsberg to provide Joint Strike Missile for Japanese F-35 fighter aircraft

According to a press release published on December 1, 2020, Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace AS (KONGSBERG) has entered into a second follow-on contract with Japan to supply the JSM (Joint Strike Missile) for their fleet of F-35 fighter aircraft.

The JSM (Joint Strike Missile) is a 5th generation stealth air-to-surface missile developed to fill F-35A anti-surface warfare (ASuW) and land-attack capability gaps. JSM can be carried internally in the F-35 thus ensuring the aircraft’s low-signature capabilities. The JSM has superior performance against well-defended sea- and land targets across long distances.

“The international F-35 user community is continuing to show 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. “Our relationship is growing even stronger with this second follow-on contract”, says Eirik Lie, President, Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace AS.

...

https://www.navyrecognition.com/index.p ... craft.html
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News Thread - 2020

Thu Dec 03, 2020 9:22 pm

The Italians have started training both A and B aircraft together including with external weapons.

Check Out These New Photos Of The Italian F-35A and B Flying Together In “Beast Mode” For The First Time

On Nov. 26, 2020, the Italian Air Force carried out the first ever training mission with the F-35 in “Beast Mode”. During the test, an F-35A and an F-35B of the 13° Gruppo (Squadron) of the the 32° Stormo (Wing), based at Amendola, in southeastern Italy, flew together with internal and external weapons for the very first time.

The F-35A MM7360/32-10 carried four GBU-12s LGBs (Laser Guided Bombs) on the external pylons and two AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles in the weapons bay while the F-35B, MM7453/32-14, carried four GBU-12s. Interestingly, among the images released by the Aeronautica Militare two showed the aircraft flying in formation: the F-35A with the open bays and the F-35B in STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) mode.

...

The mission on Nov. 26, marked various Italian “firsts”: first sorties in “Beast Mode” for both the F-35A and B model; first formation flying in this configuration for the two types; first short take off and landings for the F-35B in “Beast Mode”. The mission was supported by the Reparto Sperimentale Volo, the Italian Air Force Test Wing, based at Pratica di Mare, as part of the F-35 OT&E (Operational Test and Evaluation), and also by the various ground support teams, who were involved in the preparation and execution of the flights with the peculiar payload config.

“The continuous training of pilots, maintainers and support personnel, also in this configuration, is crucial for the constant growth of the Armed Force in the use of F-35A and F-35B exploiting all their capabilities,” said Col. Stefano Castelnuovo, Commander of the 32nd Wing.

https://theaviationist.com/2020/11/27/c ... irst-time/

I found it interesting that both the A and B model flew with the external AAM pylons on the outer wing but didn't have any missiles loaded there. Perhaps that will be expanded as part of this testing and certification.
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Ozair
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Re: F-35 News Thread - 2020

Thu Dec 03, 2020 9:46 pm

The RAF now have twenty one F-35Bs in country after their latest delivery. The ramp up for the RAF is a bit slower than other air forces as they move towards that initial 48 aircraft by 2025.

Lockheed Martin delivers next three F-35B aircraft to the U.K.’s Royal Air Force

The next three F-35B Lightning II short take-off and vertical landing aircraft departed the Lockheed Martin production facility recently to the United Kingdom.

In a release Friday, Air Officer Commanding No 1 Group, Royal Air Force, Allan Marshall said the new stealth fighter jets to increases the British fleet to 21 F-35s.

...

https://defence-blog.com/news/lockheed- ... force.html

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Ozair
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Re: F-35 News Thread - 2020

Thu Dec 03, 2020 10:13 pm

The Spanish Navy is warning Government that it will need to acquire the F-35B in the next five years or they will suffer a significant erosion of skills and increased costs and time. With the AV-8B fleet running out of hours and the F-35B the only option to maintain fixed wing fighter aviation from their LHDs you can see the urgency. Main issue apparently is funding which is very constrained at the moment. Doesn't mean the Spanish Navy won't be able to stand up this capability again in the future, just that the cost and effort to do so will be greater the closer to or post AV-8B retirement it becomes.

The Spanish Navy’s rocky road to get the F-35

The Navy’s long aspiration to acquire F-35B fighter planes to replace their Harriers, as other operators of that aircraft have done, has run out of time, the message from the institution’s top director, AJEMA If it does in the next few years if there is no increase (budgets) we will lose skills, which opens a very difficult path to get this 5 generation fighter-bomber.

Since the beginning of this century, the consecutive AJEMA (Admiral Chief of the Navy General Staff) has been warning of the need for the FLOAN 9th Squadron to replace its AV-8B Plus Harrier II fighter-bomber with the Lockheed Martin F-35, its version of the short takeoffs and vertical landing, the Bravo. With this initiative, Spain will follow the path of the United Kingdom, as well as the United States Marines and the Italian Navy, who are partners with the Navy in providing technical and logistical support to the Harrier.

In the absence of a budget to implement the program, the time factor is now added, not time to be more specific. AJEMA insists that the institution will have a critical future for the next several years if budget cuts for the Navy don’t end, with the loss of key skills like fixed-wing naval aviation, which former Commander FLOAN has explained at length.

One of the keys to the temporary problem was given by the chief admiral of the planning department of the General Staff of the Navy, Vice Admiral Gonzalo Sanz Alisedo: it was to enter service no later than 2028-2030. To achieve this goal, the acquisition of the F-35B would have to begin in the next five or six years.

...

https://baviation.cn/the-spanish-navys- ... cias/1043/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News Thread - 2020

Thu Dec 03, 2020 10:21 pm

The US Senate will likely vote next week on whether to block the sale of F-35s and other weapons to the UAE. Will be interesting to see which way this goes. If the sale is denied the UAE have indicated they will seek other suppliers to meet their needs.

Senate to vote on banning $23 billion UAE arms sales next week

The Senate will vote next week on legislation to halt the Trump administration’s $23 billion sale of F-35 fighter jets, Reaper drones and munitions to the United Arab Emirates, a lawmaker said Thursday.

Four pending joint resolutions of disapproval offer lawmakers a chance to block the Trump administration’s 11th hour proposal to transfer arms to the Emirates. Critics say the sales, meant to bolster the UAE against Iran, ignores risks to Israel and to sensitive military technology posed by UAE’s ties to Russia and China.

Asked about the legislation, Sen. Bob Menendez, who is sponsoring the effort to bar the weapons sale with Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., told reporters: “It’s ripe, it’s ready, it has privilege on the floor. We are gathering support for it and I would think sometime next week.”

...

https://www.defensenews.com/congress/20 ... arms-sale/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News Thread - 2020

Mon Dec 07, 2020 10:05 am

First Danish F-35 has put weight on wheels and is progressing well for delivery in early 2021.

First F-35A for Denmark progressing towards delivery

The first Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II for the Royal Danish Air Force is standing with weight on wheels for the first time, a significant milestone for the jet as it moves down the production line at Lockheed Martin’s mile-long assembly plant in Fort Worth, Texas.
Denmark’s first F-35, known as AP-1, was lifted by an overhead crane on September 15 from an electronic mate and alignment station where its forward and rear fuselage sections were joined to the wing-center fuselage assembly.

The aircraft will now travel to final assembly, where its control surfaces will be added, along with final systems and engine installation.

...

https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/first-f ... -delivery/

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889091
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Re: F-35 News Thread - 2020

Mon Dec 07, 2020 8:56 pm

Ozair, would you know if this has the lightning fix already incorporated in the build?
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News Thread - 2020

Mon Dec 07, 2020 11:35 pm

889091 wrote:
Ozair, would you know if this has the lightning fix already incorporated in the build?

My understanding is all F-35s coming off the production line have correctly installed lightning protection, so the OBIGGS system, but issues have been detected post delivery at maintenance units. That halted deliveries earlier in the year for three weeks before they resumed again. Not sure if a maintenance practise that is damaging the respective components or something else. Post that June delay to deliveries the JPO issued a 25nm distance from thunderstorms but I can’t remember if that has been lifted or not.
 
889091
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Re: F-35 News Thread - 2020

Tue Dec 08, 2020 11:46 am

Cheers mate.

Fuel tank inerting with Nitrogen is not something new - I assume it is also present on the Raptor. Granted, the F22 EIS date was much earlier but the fundamentals remain the same. Australia can experience severe thunderstorms up north, especially during summer so hopefully then can have this resolved ASAP.

Also interesting to note that the RAAF pranged a Super Hornet today at Amberley. I guess the F35s arrived just in time. Reports indicate that 2 pilots ejected safely - was it a Growler that was involved? If so, this would be 2nd Growler that the RAAF has lost, right? Having said that, it looks like this aircraft can be repaired and put back into service.
 
mxaxai
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Re: F-35 News Thread - 2020

Thu Dec 10, 2020 3:31 am

Ozair wrote:
The US Senate will likely vote next week on whether to block the sale of F-35s and other weapons to the UAE. Will be interesting to see which way this goes. If the sale is denied the UAE have indicated they will seek other suppliers to meet their needs.

In a close (but somewhat expected) decision, the Senate today failed to block the sale of F-35 and MQ-9 Reaper drones. Not that they had a realistic chance anyway, since the president could have vetoed a successful blockage to ensure the sale.
Senate bid to block UAE arms sales falls short
Both resolutions — one focused on the F-35 jets and the other on Reaper drones — narrowly fell short of a majority. The resolution opposing the F-35s failed on a 47-49 vote. The drones resolution failed 46-50, with both of Arizona’s Democrats Sens. Krysten Sinema and Mark Kelly voting against it, ensuring the resolution would fail in the closely divided Senate.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/nation ... t-n1250622

Up to 50 F-35 will likely make the UAE air force the strongest of the entire region, save for fellow F-35 operator Israel.
 
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747classic
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Re: F-35 News Thread - 2020

Thu Dec 10, 2020 6:30 pm

The USAF road map of the 20-year-old-design F-35A may be cut from 1763 to 1050 aircraft due competition of older generation aircraft (F-15EX, F-16 and A-10) and new developments.

See : https://aviationweek.com/aerospace-defe ... 74bab38f6f
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News Thread - 2020

Sun Dec 13, 2020 9:16 pm

The UK remain committed to more than 48 F-35Bs but won’t make a decision on the final number until approx. 2025. As many have suggested the final number is probably going to be in the 70-90 region which would allow both carriers to have an airwing embarked and training commitments continue.

British F-35 buy is still a moving target, defense ministry tells lawmakers

British Ministry of Defence officials have confirmed the military will buy more than the 48 F-35B combat jets already on order, but they were reluctant to be drawn on exactly when and how many aircraft may eventually be involved when they gave evidence to the parliamentary Defence committee Dec 8.

The number and profile of a future order will in part be decided by the outcome of assessment work the British are doing on their future combat air strategy, Air Marshal Richard Knighton, the deputy chief of the defense staff for capability, told the committee hearing.

“We know we need to increase the number of F-35Bs to support the [Royal Navy] carrier through to its out-of-service date. The precise number will dependent a bit on the work we do and the investment we are making on the FCAS,” he said, referring to the UK-led Tempest program. “We expect to make a definitive judgement around the total future fleet in the 2025 timeframe,” Knighton added.

...

https://www.defensenews.com/global/euro ... lawmakers/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News Thread - 2020

Sun Dec 13, 2020 9:20 pm

A number of announcements were made in Australia regarding the F-35 this week but probably the biggest was the statement that Australian Industry have now won 2.7 billion in industrial work on the program with a number of companies, such as Quickstep mentioned below, marking significant growth to support this program and now others with high tech composites.

Ministers make a flurry of F-35 announcements

...

In another release, Minister Reynolds highlighted the size of Australia’s contribution to the F-35 program, which includes 50 Australian companies sharing $2.7 billion in contracts.

Finally, NSW-based Quickstep announced that it has produced its 10,000th F-35 component.

...

https://www.australiandefence.com.au/ne ... ouncements

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Ozair
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Re: F-35 News Thread - 2020

Sun Dec 13, 2020 9:24 pm

A local environmental group is suing the National Guard over the environmental process using the select Truax Field to host the F-35.

National Guard sued over environmental review of F-35 projects at Truax Field

A group opposed to basing F-35 fighter jets in Madison is suing the National Guard over its environmental review of construction to prepare Truax Field to host the new planes.

Safe Skies Clean Water Wisconsin claims the National Guard Bureau violated federal environmental law by “failing to adequately study and disclose” the effects of 27 projects expected to begin early next year.

The Air Force earlier this year selected the 115th Fighter Wing as one of two units to get the next batch of the $90 million F-35s, which will replace the current fleet of 33-year-old F-16s. The first planes are scheduled to arrive in 2023.

...

https://madison.com/wsj/news/local/envi ... fa1e3.html
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News Thread - 2020

Sun Dec 13, 2020 9:30 pm

Interesting work on making the F-35 FRCE as optimal as possible.

Vertical lift modules raise the bar for storage options on F-35 line

New storage solutions are delivering big benefits on the F-35 Lightning II aircraft modification line at Fleet Readiness Center East, with everyone from aircraft maintenance professionals to program leadership noticing improvements in safety and efficiency.

As part of remodeling efforts of the F-35 modification line, FRCE installed new vertical lift modules – also known as vertical stackers – to house aircraft parts and supplies. Collocated with each of the renovated modification bays, the system helps corral items that have traditionally been placed on carts and stands across the hangar area.

“It’s really cleaned up our hangar deck,” said Wes Klor, the supervisor on the F-35 modification line at FRCE. “All of the parts racks and wagons that were used to transport and temporarily store the parts, the A-frames that hold the common hardware – all of those things are gone. Everything is inside the stackers, which takes a lot of things off the floor.”

...

https://www.dvidshub.net/news/384686/ve ... -f-35-line
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News Thread - 2020

Sun Dec 13, 2020 10:09 pm

Below is a google translated excerpt from a Spanish news article that talks about Morocco gaining access to the F-35 as part of their recognition of Israel. I haven’t seen anything else regarding Morocco but with the UAE probably going F-35 it is certainly possible.

Rest of the article compares the F-35 to the Eurofighter and then comparisons between Moroccan and Spanish aircraft.

F-35 vs Eurofighter: why Morocco's new fighter is superior to Spain's

Morocco's new diplomatic status with Israel has unlocked the acquisition of one of the most advanced military aircraft of the moment: the Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter. Built in the United States, this fifth-generation aircraft is measured against the European Eurofighter Typhoon, in which Spain plays a key role as a partner in the project.

Both the F-35 and the Eurofighter are the fifth generation aircraft ("almost fifth" for some analysts in the case of the European) most advanced with a special emphasis on electronic warfare with a view to modernizing military operations. Probably the two most important fighters in the world today and that will play a fundamental role in the coming decades.

Also joining this exclusive club are the Russian Sukhoi Su-57, which will be bought by Algeria, and the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, whose access to other nations is banned by the US Department of Defense as a secret technology. If the acquisition of the F-35 by Morocco is confirmed, the military capacity of the African country would be boosted in an extraordinary way.

...

https://www.elespanol.com/omicrono/tecn ... 045_0.html
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News Thread - 2020

Sun Dec 13, 2020 10:20 pm

747classic wrote:
The USAF road map of the 20-year-old-design F-35A may be cut from 1763 to 1050 aircraft due competition of older generation aircraft (F-15EX, F-16 and A-10) and new developments.

See : https://aviationweek.com/aerospace-defe ... 74bab38f6f


Steve Trimble seems like a nice guy but some of the things he writes doesn’t make a lot of sense and I get that impression here. For example the F-35 was never slated to replace the F-15C/D in service and so the USAF deciding to go for the EX isn’t that great a surprise and we also know reduced transition time is the primary factor in the decision.

Could the USAF only acquire 1050 F-35? Certainly possible that the buy could be reduced but that still leaves a massive number of legacy F-16s and A-10s in the fleet that will need to be replaced. The presence of the loyal wingmen won’t IMO replace a large number of manned aircraft but merely supplement existing and new build aircraft with more capability. I’d also expect Congress to keep funding F-35s into the middle and late 2030s even when the USAF doesn’t factor them into yearly funding allocations.
 
texl1649
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Re: F-35 News Thread - 2020

Mon Dec 14, 2020 2:42 pm

I suspect it is the black world of ‘new developments’ that might pose a threat to long term F-35 procurements post, oh, around 2035 (for the USAF). We’ve known for a while there is some sort of fleet of something (a la F-117) out in the desert based on the images of the rebuilt/expanded hangars for some time now.

We just don’t know what or how many they are, which would be useful info...

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/3 ... ge-airport
 
889091
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Re: F-35 News Thread - 2020

Mon Dec 14, 2020 5:10 pm

Did LM factor this into their pricing model? A 40% reduction in airframes (USAF) is a big hit.....
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News Thread - 2020

Mon Dec 14, 2020 9:04 pm

texl1649 wrote:
I suspect it is the black world of ‘new developments’ that might pose a threat to long term F-35 procurements post, oh, around 2035 (for the USAF). We’ve known for a while there is some sort of fleet of something (a la F-117) out in the desert based on the images of the rebuilt/expanded hangars for some time now.

We just don’t know what or how many they are, which would be useful info...

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/3 ... ge-airport


I expect those are loyal wingmen being tested even with the recent award to Boeing, Kratos and someone else. The USAF has a plan for between 48 to 60 F-35s a year until at least the mid 2030s (the last SAR had production until 2043 but obviously doesn't factor in this potential reduction). Between today and then that is approx. 750 to 900 aircraft. If the USAF looks at a replacement in 2035 that still puts upwards of 1300 F-35s in USAF service, as well as 350 F-35B and another 350 F-35C.

The other thing motoring along is the Digital Century Series but I expect those won’t replace core F-35 orders but sit across the top. The F-35 is an excellent base aircraft for the fleet, same as the F-16, and the USAF can then add boutique high end capability via DCS designs.

889091 wrote:
Did LM factor this into their pricing model? A 40% reduction in airframes (USAF) is a big hit.....

LM get a guaranteed profit on every F-35, something like 6%, which isn’t great from an Industry perspective, LM probably profit more from the dev programs and new block work. The long term revenue that comes from selling and then sustaining the fleet is what the market favours and why LM stock has done so well, it is essentially solid from a revenue perspective for a long time.

The F-35 production line is running at 150 a year now and higher than that from 2023 and likely to remain at that high level until at least 2030 and probably closer to 2033. 150 jets a year for 10 years is 1500 aircraft above the 600 or so they have already delivered. That is four times the Eurofighter orders, seven times Rafale orders and fourteen times Gripen orders before you factor in Blk 4/5/6 improvement work and an expected operational timeframe to the 2060s I don’t think they will be short on revenue. Then factor in that an evolved F-35 design with a new engine is certainly possible from 2028-30 which may capture export market share from FCAS and Tempest. Then factor in LM probably have a foothold in future DCS work or UCAV etc.

I don’t see LM having a funding or profitability issue but they are probably their own worst enemy, there are enough examples of Primes that fell on their swords because they over reached.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News Thread - 2020

Wed Dec 23, 2020 1:07 am

The stuff we don't know about going on in the background.. I wonder what impact this may have had on future contract discussions and LM's generally better attitude to picking up the bill for issues the last few years.

Air Force Opened Criminal Probe After a Lockheed F-35 Grounding

Air Force and Pentagon investigators opened a criminal probe of Lockheed Martin Corp. in 2016 over faulty coolant line tubing inside F-35 jets after 57 were either temporarily grounded or required production line fixes, according to officials confirming the previously undisclosed inquiry.

The U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas reviewed a criminal “product substitution” case developed by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and the Pentagon Inspector General’s investigative arm but declined last December to prosecute, Linda Card, an Air Force spokeswoman, said in an email on Thursday.

Lockheed voluntarily agreed to replace the faulty tubing at a cost of $19 million, the inspector general’s office disclosed in its new semi-annual report. “After Lockheed Martin repaid the U.S. Government and all criminal and administrative remedies were exhausted, the case was administratively closed” in June of this year, Card said.

...

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... -grounding
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News Thread - 2020

Wed Dec 23, 2020 1:10 am

Nice to see how the XQ-58 could be used as a comms gateway as well as a wingman asset. In expect the network becomes a lot more survivable when you have the ability to distribute it across so many loyal wingman working with the manned fighters.

Apparently the issue with the XQ-58's connectivity was a loose connector during the rocket take-off that will reportedly be fixed for future iterations.

Skyborg Drone Translates Between F-35 and F-22 in Test

The Air Force successfully got an F-22, F-35B, and XQ-58A Valkyrie “attritable” drone talking to each other in a Dec. 9 test, demonstrating a connectivity between stealth platforms the service has sought for years. It was also the fifth flight of the Valkyrie—flying in formation with the F-22 and F-35.

The Kratos-made Valkyrie, one of the “Skyborg” class of drones, carried a “gatewayONE” translator system, allowing an Air Force F-22 and a Marine Corps F-35B to communicate using their otherwise incompatible datalinks: the Intra-Flight Data Link, or IFDL, on the F-22, and the Multifunctional Advanced Data Link, or MADL, on the F-35. The datalinks let F-22s and F-35s communicate with other jets like themselves without being detected or overheard, but weren’t designed to be interoperable, separated as they were by 20 years of technology advance.

While the test began using the Valkyrie’s onboard translator payload, the communications payload lost connectivity shortly after the aircraft’s rocket-powered takeoff, the Air Force said.

...

https://www.airforcemag.com/skyborg-dro ... 2-in-test/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News Thread - 2020

Wed Dec 23, 2020 1:12 am

Another piece of new tech that assists in reducing production hours and improves the quality of the build of each jet.

Fastems to Deliver a Laser Cleaner Robot for F-35 Lightning II Wing Assembly Line

Fastems is delivering two Automated Structure Laser Cleaner (AutoSLC) units for the F-35 Lightning II Wing Line. The delivery of the new project is estimated to be completed near the end of 2021.

Fastems’ AutoSLC solution is based on a robotized system, which is equipped with a laser ablation scan head, designed to automatically remove primers and other protective coatings from F-35 wing components. Laser ablation provides a pristine surface to which nutplates can be mechanically bonded without using attach rivets. Previous methods of coating removal entailed manual sanding and solvent wiping which proved to be timely and yielded inconsistent bonding results. The Fastems AutoSLC system will process more than 3,000 drilled holes, reducing touch labor hours and improving aircraft quality for the end customer.

The AutoSLC’s new technical advancements, such as automated image processing, gathers information on quality anomalies for traceability and process improvement. It will also include a tailored operating system based on Fastems Fastems MMS (Manufacturing Management System). The solution is expected to shorten lead times by approximately 88 hours per unit, driving down the cost of the F-35.

...

https://www.sme.org/technologies/articl ... mbly-line/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News Thread - 2020

Wed Dec 23, 2020 1:15 am

The US Military will get an extra 17 F-35s on top of the budget President Trump submitted bringing the total funded in this budget to 96.

Here are the new toys that Congress is giving the Pentagon for Christmas

...

Nestled within that nearly $700 billion of freedom, lawmakers have included lots of stocking stuffers, including $9.6 billion for a total of 96 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, which is 17 jets more than Trump had originally asked force in his budget request for the year.

In layman’s terms, the F-35 is the toy that all the cool kids have and only a few can afford. It may not “do” everything it’s supposed to, and there’s a good chance it will break after you open it. But there’s no doubt that the lawmakers in whose districts the planes are made will be shouting, “Ho, Ho, Ho!” this Christmas!

...

https://taskandpurpose.com/news/pentago ... christmas/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News Thread - 2020

Wed Dec 23, 2020 1:18 am

Eielson AFB is building quickly and will shortly become one of the larger F-35 bases in the world.

U.S. Air Force: eighteen F-35As plus twelve F-16s and two KC-135s executed a huge Elephant Walk

The 354th Fighter Wing and the 168th Wing Air National Guard completed a readiness exercise Dec. 18, 2020, verifying the wing’s ability to rapidly generate combat airpower at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. More than 30 fighters and two refueling aircraft were generated.

The formation, eighteen U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning IIs and 12 F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned to the 354th Fighter Wing and two KC-135 Stratotankers assigned to the 168th Wing, executed on the runway is known as an “Elephant Walk”. This formation tested the rapid readiness of every flying unit on Eielson AFB and displayed the airpower of the 354th FW and the 168th Wing together.

...

http://en.aviation-report.com/usaf-18-f ... hant-walk/

Image
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News Thread - 2020

Wed Dec 23, 2020 1:20 am

An interesting claim if true. I think the UAE and Israel have already had a reasonably good relationship behind closed doors but this would certainly take it to a new level.

UAE’s strange proposal to end Zionists’ concern over F35 deal

In a report on Friday, London-based Al-Araby Al-Jadeed quoted some Western sources as saying that the UAE has offered the proposal to the Israeli regime’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and also to the US officials. The proposal tries to preserve so-called Israel’s military superiority in the region, according to the source.

Abu Dhabi has suggested that Israeli pilots would supervise the American fighters for a ‘specific period of time’ provided that they would then train Emirati pilots. Israelis would also supervise the operations of these fighters during this period.

...

https://en.mehrnews.com/news/167306/UAE ... r-F35-deal
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News Thread - 2020

Wed Dec 23, 2020 1:25 am

The USMC have cleared a full motion video solution which will allow the F-35 to transfer video to JTACs. A long stated and probably valid criticism of the F-35 was its lack of Rover to communicate with JTACs in this way. This now overcomes this issue and given the volume of testing completed as described below looks to be working well.

USMC F-35Bs Adds a New Capability to Their Toolbox

The F-35’s U.S. Operational Test Team (UOTT) based out of Nellis AFB, NV, completed operational testing on a new Interim Full Motion Video (IFMV) capability on August 11, 2020 at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, AZ. This is the first time a Joint Terminal Air Controller (JTAC) or Forward Air Controller (FAC) has been able to receive video downlink from an F-35B’s Electro Optical Targeting Sensor (EOTS) to supplement their situational awareness in direct support of ground force missions on the battlefield. iFMV acts as an interim solution to the existing gap between USMC aircraft currently able employ this capability when using both LITENING and ATFLIR targeting pods.

Pilots from Marine Test and Evaluation Squadron 1 (VMX-1) flew 2 F-35Bs specially equipped with this capability alongside USMC AV-8 Harriers and F/A-18 Hornets, USN F/A-18 Super Hornets, and USAF C-130s in support of FACs from Marine Air Weapons Training Squadron 1 (MAWTS-1) and the fleet. Using the Yuma Live-Fire Range Complex, the F-35B pilots employed 10,000 lbs of precision-guided high explosive ordnance and 1,100 25mm rounds against targets identified by JTAC/FACs to test the new system’s capabilities.

...

http://www.militaryspot.com/news/usmc-f ... ty-toolbox
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News Thread - 2020

Wed Dec 23, 2020 1:28 am

The second squadron for Eielson AFB has been officially stood up. The 355th has a strong history and it is good to see it reactivated.

355th Fighter Squadron Activated to Fly F-35s at Eielson

Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, now has its second F-35A squadron.

The 355th Fighter Squadron officially stood up during a Dec. 18 ceremony at the base, joining the 356th Fighter Squadron that activated earlier this year. The base will eventually be the home to 54 of the aircraft, and with F-22s at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, will be the home to the highest concentration of fifth-generation fighters in the Defense Department.

“The 354th FW has been tasked with standing up two combat-coded F-35A squadrons for a total of 54 F-35As at Eielson AFB,” squadron commander Lt. Col. Samuel Chipman said in a release. “The 355th FS is the final addition to this tasking.”

...

https://www.airforcemag.com/355th-fight ... t-eielson/
 
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Re: F-35 News Thread - 2020

Thu Dec 31, 2020 1:41 pm

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F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

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