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F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Thu Dec 31, 2020 1:39 pm

Please continue to post your news and your discussion here.

Link to previous thread:

F-35 News Thread - 2020
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Fri Jan 01, 2021 9:57 pm

RAAF snuck in just in time with their IOC for the F-35. The aim was to declare IOC before the end of 2020 and hence they made it with a couple of days to spare which given COVID restrictions was probably a little surprising. The remainder of the RAAF fighter fleet will transition over to the F-35 by 2023.

IOC declared for RAAF F-35 fleet

Defence Minister, Linda Reynolds CSC and Defence Industry Minister, Melissa Price have announced a major milestone in the transformation of the Royal Australian Air Force declaring Australia’s F-35A Lightning II fleet can now be deployed on operations, with Initial Operational Capability being officially achieved.

It is designed to be the most lethal, technologically advanced air combat capability ever fielded by the Royal Australian Air Force.

The F-35 combines low observability, unprecedented levels of sensor fusion and computational power, and a suite of next-generation weapons to boot, but it hasn't been without its teething problems.

Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said the F-35s are the most advanced, multi-role stealth fighter in the world.

“The fifth-generation F-35A, along with the F/A-18F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler, is key to our air combat capability and critical to achieving the objectives set out in the 2020 Defence Strategic Update to Shape, Deter and Respond,” Minister Reynolds said.

“For the last two years, Defence has rigorously tested the F-35A fleet to assess aircraft and system performance, and declare this important milestone,” Minister Reynolds added.

“The Australian Defence Force now has an F-35A squadron ready to conduct technologically advanced strike and air combat roles, and another squadron dedicated to providing world-class training here in Australia.

...

https://www.defenceconnect.com.au/strik ... f-35-fleet
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Sat Jan 02, 2021 12:20 am

The declaration of FRP has been delayed again with continuing issues and delays with the joint simulation environment preventing the final testing from occurring. FRP is somewhat of an academic statement anyway given the F-35 line is essentially now running at FRP anyway, the delay just prevents the US from participating in block buys.

Pentagon Keeps $398 Billion F-35’s Full-Rate Production on Hold

The Pentagon has put a decision on approving full-rate production of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 on indefinite hold, as officials remain unable to say when the fighter jet will be ready for combat testing that’s been delayed repeatedly since 2017.

The most recent of many milestones for a full production decision on the $398 billion program -- “no later than March” of next year -- has been scrapped by Ellen Lord, the Defense Department’s undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment.

“Technical challenges and the impact of Covid-19” have delayed preparation of the simulation facility where the sophisticated testing of the costliest U.S. weapons system will be conducted, Jessica Maxwell, Lord’s spokeswoman, said in a statement when asked about a previously undisclosed Dec. 18 memo by Lord. She said a new date would “based on an independent technical review.”

...

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... f=IYQ5mP1s
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Sat Jan 02, 2021 12:23 am

Polish F-35 aircrew will start training next year before the aircraft arrives in Poland. Likely they will fly with the joint training unit at Luke.

F-35 pilots to start training next year - ministry

Polish pilots will begin training next year on the F-35, the stealth, multi-role combat aircraft due to enter service in the Polish air force in 2024, the defence minister announced on Thursday.

Mariusz Błaszczak told the TV Trwam Catholic broadcaster that the pilots will train on the aircraft purchased by Poland. In January Poland bought 32 5th-generation F-35s from the US for USD 4.6 billion.

...

https://www.thefirstnews.com/article/f- ... stry-18775
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Sat Jan 02, 2021 12:26 am

Three big contracts for LM to continue sustainment of the global F-35 fleet.

Lockheed Martin nabs $1.4B in F-35 contracts

Lockheed Martin was awarded three contracts totaling $1.4 billion for the F-35 program this week, according to the Pentagon.

The largest deal, worth $1.3 billion, is a one-year deal for support and training for the United States' F-35 program, with more than half the work taking place at Lockheed's Fort Worth, Texas, worksite, the Department of Defense said on Monday.

The deal is funded by a combination of sources, including fiscal 2021 operation and maintenance funds from the Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy and Air National Guard, as well as foreign military sales funds and other funds from foreign partners.

The Department of Defense awarded two smaller F-35-related contracts to Lockheed this week.

One, a $101.5 million contract, funds sustainment services for Britain's F-35 program. The other, a $46 million contract, covers production and delivery of a redesigned electronic warfare/counter measures quad-channel for U.S. and foreign F-35s.

...

https://www.upi.com/Defense-News/2020/1 ... 609274681/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Sat Jan 02, 2021 12:30 am

Joint training between the F-35 and the B-2. The mission was the last for this particular class of students before they graduate.

From virtual to reality: F-35A, B-2 conduct joint training mission

Ten F-35A Lightning II fighter jets from the 63rd Fighter Squadron “Panthers” participated in a joint capstone training mission with two B-2 Spirit stealth bombers assigned to the 509th Bomb Wing, Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, Nov. 18, 2020.

The Panther Capstone, an offensive counter air attack mission, enabled F-35 and B-2 pilots to operate their aircraft in a joint combat environment against multiple advanced adversary air and surface-to-air missile threats.

“This was a first-time event for Whiteman’s B-2s integrating with Luke’s F-35s,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Diller, 509th BW program manager and B-2 pilot. “As the number of F-35s increase, the understanding and interoperability between the various platforms must increase. What better way to facilitate this than at the capstone event at the F-35 schoolhouse?”

The F-35 is the U.S. Air Force’s latest fifth-generation fighter designed to provide the pilot with unsurpassed situational awareness, positive target identification, and precision strike in all weather conditions.

“The F-35 was built to be able to escort low observable (LO) assets like the B-2 into highly defended territory in order for them to be able to hold targets at risk,” said Capt. Sean Gossner, 63d FS instructor pilot and flight commander. “We finally got to practice this with real B-2s for the first time at Luke Air Force Base with the Panthers.”

The 63rd FS, known colloquially as the Panthers, trains students to become F-35 pilots. They often use virtual simulations to replicate B-2s for this training, but this mission offered training for students using real-world assets instead.

“Typically, we train for LO escort by using simulated assets that are not actually airborne with us, which leads to various training limitations,” said Gossner. “To be able to bring together everything with 10 F-35s and two B-2s against a robust air threat picture and surface-to-air missile threat picture was incredible training for us.”

The Panthers are a U.S.-only B-course squadron at Luke AFB, which hosts five partner nations for training. This opened the doorway for taking training with a B-2 from a virtual environment to reality.

“We’re really the only ones [here] with the ability to integrate with the B-2 in this capacity,” said Gossner. “One of the biggest benefits to this are the relationships that we’ve built with the B-2 pilots. We had the ability to go out to Whiteman Air Force Base to mission plan with them to understand how they think about threats and the tactical problems and then share with them how we think about the same issues.”

Of the 10 F-35 pilots, six were instructors and four were students who were preparing to graduate. According to Gossner, no students who have graduated from Luke AFB have ever participated in a flight like this prior to arriving at their operational unit.

“Our B-coursers who are graduating are going to graduate as fully mission ready wingmen,” said Gossner. “With this being such a core part of our mission, we really wanted to put the emphasis on such a high-end training to prepare our B-course graduates for the fights that they are going to be in and that could be as soon as they get to their new units.”

Gossner and Dilller said they hope both units can conduct this training more often, ensuring Luke AFB delivers combat-ready Airmen to provide a more lethal force around the globe.

https://www.aetc.af.mil/News/Article-Di ... g-mission/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Mon Jan 04, 2021 11:07 pm

Looks like Israel is going to acquire a third F-35 squadron before it makes a decision on more F-15s or continue further along the F-35 path.

Israeli Defense Minister Seeks Third F-35 Squadron

The Israeli Defense Minister expressed his preference for the country to acquire a third F-35 squadron in comments to media on Monday.

Speaking to Ynet TV, Defense Minister Benjamin Gantz stated, “Right now we have two [F-35] squadrons. I reckon we will expand that. That is what I requested of the Americans. I would buy another F-35 squadron and then examine what to do with the balance – continuing to expand the F-35 [procurement], going for F-15s?”

Gantz traveled to the U.S. in September 2020 and, the following month, hosted his American counterpart, then-Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, in Tel Aviv.

Israel presently has placed orders for 50 F-35s and has received around half of the jets. The first began arriving in December 2016, and Israel has confirmed that the aircraft have subsequently seen combat duty. Over the last few years, the Air Force has engaged in deliberations over whether to add another F-35 squadron or purchase more F-15s instead. The F-35 provides stealth capability, while the F-15s are able to carry heavier payloads. A final decision on the purchase has been expected for some time, but may have been delayed over political gridlock in Israel.

...

https://dsm.forecastinternational.com/w ... -squadron/
 
texl1649
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Mon Jan 04, 2021 11:24 pm

I would be surprised if at some point the Israeli’s don’t grab a squadron of F-15EX/QA/SA’s just because in any defensive capacity air war stealth won’t really be required for their fleet (all will be landing/taking off from a handful of airfields/hitting targets within a few hundred miles.)

Plus, it would make sense for them to maintain two primary types, and understand exactly what the Qataris/Saudi’s have as toys too.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Mon Jan 04, 2021 11:58 pm

texl1649 wrote:
I would be surprised if at some point the Israeli’s don’t grab a squadron of F-15EX/QA/SA’s just because in any defensive capacity air war stealth won’t really be required for their fleet (all will be landing/taking off from a handful of airfields/hitting targets within a few hundred miles.)

Stealth isn’t about taking off and landing though, it is about dominating the air war and the F-35 will do that far better than the F-15EX. Once its wheels are up it won’t be detected by regional powers, air or land based, and will fit in to the overall information and battle management system in a way the F-15EX cannot.

texl1649 wrote:
Plus, it would make sense for them to maintain two primary types

I expect it will be a long long time until Israel returns to a two type fleet. Israel have 220+ F-16s still in service and even with an additional third F-35 squadron it will likely be the middle 2030s before Israel says goodbye to the F-16 and early F-15s and becomes F-35/F-15 only.

texl1649 wrote:
and understand exactly what the Qataris/Saudi’s have as toys too.

That isn’t really a valid reason to go out and acquire a new fleet of aircraft though. I am sure the Israelis know enough about the F-15 and would be given the delta between the F-15E and EX if they asked for it. Additionally other than the FBW changes you could make a case that the Israeli F-15s are likely already ahead from a capability standpoint to Saudi and Qatar F-15s.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Tue Jan 05, 2021 9:42 pm

The USAF is looking to acquire some of the F-35 test aircraft that are currently in storage. These test aircraft could be used for additional training and testing activities now being run by the USAF and not the now finished SDD program. I doubt we will see these run as Aggressors given their age and unique configurations but good that there is still some utility left in these airframes.

I’d expect the 461st at Edwards and maybe the 422nd at Nellis to get these aircraft.

US lawmakers permit US Air Force to acquire F-35A test aircraft

The fiscal year (FY) 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which became law on 1 January 2021, allows the US Air Force (USAF) to utilise, modify, and operate six Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) conventional variant test assets.

This is subject to written approval by the Secretary of Defence, currently Christopher Miller. The six F-35A test assets are aircraft AT-1 through to AT-6, which are currently held by the federal government in long-term storage at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB) in California.

The USAF and the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) did not return requests for comment prior to publication.

An expert believes this legislation benefits the USAF because it may be able to modify and use these aircraft in situations where using new, operational F-35As would be cost-prohibitive. A retired USAF pilot, who was given anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to reporters, told Janes on 4 January that these situations include exercises and maintenance training.

They also include using the aircraft to experiment with new technologies or to train new test pilots. Using test aircraft in these situations would be much cheaper than using “full-up” F-35As, the retired pilot said.

These original test aircraft are in long-term storage because they are the oldest version of the F-35 and do not resemble the current A-model versions. These test assets have older avionics and test instrumentation, for example, and thus have very limited utility in their current configuration.

...

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news ... t-aircraft
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Fri Jan 08, 2021 2:16 am

Spear 3 will be a good weapon for the UK. I expect once integration is complete there will be other F-35 users who will be keen to acquire this capability.

The British pick MBDA’s Spear 3 cruise missile for their F-35s

British F-35B combat jets are to be equipped with a new mini cruise missile following the signing of a £550 million (U.S. $750 million) production contract by the Ministry of Defence and contractor MBDA, the company announced Jan. 6.

The deal should see the Spear 3 missile achieve initial operation capability on the aircraft in 2025, making it the primary air-to-ground weapon for the Lockheed Martin-built jets now coming into service with the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.

For the moment, the weapon, which has a range in excess of 140 kilometers, is destined to be fitted solely to the F-35B models. But that could change, with Ministry of Defence officials admitting there is a possibility Spear 3 might also eventually be installed on the Royal Air Force’s fleet of Eurofighter Typhoon fighters.

...

https://www.defensenews.com/global/euro ... eir-f-35s/

Image
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Fri Jan 08, 2021 2:20 am

South Korea have released a new conceptual design for their future light carrier. Interesting to see they have gone for a two island design as well as not having a ski jump. Not sur if that means the ship will have a primary amphib role and therefore losing the parkings spots with a ski jump was important but an interesting decision nonetheless.

RoKN unveils revised conceptual design for future light aircraft carrier

The Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN) unveiled on 3 January a revised conceptual design for its future next-generation light aircraft carrier.

The latest design, which confirms that the vessel will not feature a ski-jump, features a twin-island arrangement. The computer-generated imagery (CGI) also appears to confirm that the service plans to operate Lockheed Martin F-35B short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) Joint Strike Fighters from the vessel. Naval helicopters, somewhat similar in appearance to the Sikorsky/Lockheed Martin MH-60R Seahawk, can also be seen on the carrier.

The RoKN pointed out, however, that the latest conceptual design can be further revised during the basic and detailed designed stages.

...

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news ... ft-carrier

Image
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Fri Jan 08, 2021 2:25 am

Ozair wrote:
The USAF is looking to acquire some of the F-35 test aircraft that are currently in storage. These test aircraft could be used for additional training and testing activities now being run by the USAF and not the now finished SDD program. I doubt we will see these run as Aggressors given their age and unique configurations but good that there is still some utility left in these airframes.

I’d expect the 461st at Edwards and maybe the 422nd at Nellis to get these aircraft.

US lawmakers permit US Air Force to acquire F-35A test aircraft

The fiscal year (FY) 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which became law on 1 January 2021, allows the US Air Force (USAF) to utilise, modify, and operate six Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) conventional variant test assets.

This is subject to written approval by the Secretary of Defence, currently Christopher Miller. The six F-35A test assets are aircraft AT-1 through to AT-6, which are currently held by the federal government in long-term storage at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB) in California.

The USAF and the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) did not return requests for comment prior to publication.

An expert believes this legislation benefits the USAF because it may be able to modify and use these aircraft in situations where using new, operational F-35As would be cost-prohibitive. A retired USAF pilot, who was given anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to reporters, told Janes on 4 January that these situations include exercises and maintenance training.

They also include using the aircraft to experiment with new technologies or to train new test pilots. Using test aircraft in these situations would be much cheaper than using “full-up” F-35As, the retired pilot said.

These original test aircraft are in long-term storage because they are the oldest version of the F-35 and do not resemble the current A-model versions. These test assets have older avionics and test instrumentation, for example, and thus have very limited utility in their current configuration.

...

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news ... t-aircraft


I may be incorrect on my thinking that these were test jets, there is some debate going on that they may in fact be the Turkish aircraft that haven't been delivered. Will post more when I see a news article with more concrete info.
 
CRJockey
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Fri Jan 08, 2021 9:13 am

Ozair wrote:
South Korea have released a new conceptual design for their future light carrier. Interesting to see they have gone for a two island design as well as not having a ski jump. Not sur if that means the ship will have a primary amphib role and therefore losing the parkings spots with a ski jump was important but an interesting decision nonetheless.

RoKN unveils revised conceptual design for future light aircraft carrier

The Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN) unveiled on 3 January a revised conceptual design for its future next-generation light aircraft carrier.

The latest design, which confirms that the vessel will not feature a ski-jump, features a twin-island arrangement. The computer-generated imagery (CGI) also appears to confirm that the service plans to operate Lockheed Martin F-35B short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) Joint Strike Fighters from the vessel. Naval helicopters, somewhat similar in appearance to the Sikorsky/Lockheed Martin MH-60R Seahawk, can also be seen on the carrier.

The RoKN pointed out, however, that the latest conceptual design can be further revised during the basic and detailed designed stages.

...

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news ... ft-carrier

Image


Thanks for sharing, interesting.

What a again was the advantage of going two island design? Survivability or simply better partinioning of lower deck space? And I was under the impression, that a Ski Jump would "always" be beneficial if you cannot implemend a cat design. Is deck space really the more important factor?

Thanks for the insight.

Regards
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Fri Jan 08, 2021 10:00 am

CRJockey wrote:

Thanks for sharing, interesting.

What a again was the advantage of going two island design? Survivability or simply better partinioning of lower deck space?

Actually it is more about flight deck space and air turbulence. As the ship will be gas turbine powered the exhausts have a large influence on the island design. From a UK article on why the QE has two islands and I expect the South Koreans have come to the same conclusions.

HMS Queen Elizabeth and her sister ship are attracting a lot of attention and one of the most common questions is, why does she have two islands?

Instead of a traditional single island, the carrier has two smaller islands. The forward island is for ship control functions and the aft (FLYCO) island is for flying control.

The reason for two islands is, simply put, due to the gas turbine exhausts. The design would have either had two small islands or one large, long island. The two smaller islands were chosen. The location and alignment of the islands are based around the 2.4 metre diameter gas turbine exhausts which were pre-fitted in the island and below in the ship superstructure.

Advantages of the two island configuration are increased flight deck area, reduced air turbulence over the flight deck and increased flexibility of space allocation in the lower decks. The flight control centre in the aft island is in the optimum position for control of the critical aircraft approach and deck landings.

...

https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/why-doe ... o-islands/

More info at the link above but I am sure you get the idea.

CRJockey wrote:
And I was under the impression, that a Ski Jump would "always" be beneficial if you cannot implemend a cat design. Is deck space really the more important factor?

Thanks for the insight.

Regards

The ski jump allows for shorter take off or same take off with heavier loads. I expect it really is just a decision on the number of parking and landing spots with and without. The USMC knows the benefits a ski jump provides but the primary purpose of their LHD/LHA vessels are amphibious assault and therefore they are prepared to sacrifice the shorter take off distance for the extra landing spot. Alternatively you have Australia which has a ski jump on their Canberra LHD with no fixed wing aircraft. Removing the ski jump from the design was going to cost too much so Australia opted to keep it there. It may find a use in the future but for now with no plans to operate the F-35B it literally is not used.
 
CRJockey
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Fri Jan 08, 2021 10:31 am

Ozair wrote:
...


Thanks Ozair, your explanations are much appreciated.

And for what it is worth: I really like the lines of the ship. Elegant.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Wed Jan 13, 2021 9:00 pm

Bloomberg has apparently got hold of an early copy of the DOT&E report for the F-35 for the last year. As expected there are a number of issue still to fix and a number of those, especially the critical ones as quoted below, have been fixed but waiting final testing and confirmation.

F-35 Flies With 871 Flaws, Only Two Fewer Than Year Earlier

Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35, the fighter jet already being flown by the U.S. and eight allies, remains marred by 871 software and hardware deficiencies that could undercut readiness, missions or maintenance, according to the Pentagon’s testing office.

The Defense Department’s costliest weapons system “continues to carry a large number of deficiencies, many of which were identified prior to” the development and demonstration phase, which ended in April 2018 with 941 flaws, Robert Behler, the director of operational testing, said in a new assessment obtained by Bloomberg News in advance of its publication.

...

Only 10 of the 871 unresolved deficiencies cited by Boehler involve potentially serious “Category 1” issues, defined as critical deficiencies that could jeopardize pilot or aircraft safety or degrade mission effectiveness. That’s compared with 102 such problems among the 941 cases cited in 2018.

Lockheed said in a statement that none of the 10 current deficiencies are “1A” problems that could affect pilot or aircraft safety but instead are in “Category 1B,” which the program office defines as representing “a critical impact on mission readiness,” training or maintenance.

“Though we have not seen the report, we track all F-35 deficiency reports,” Lockheed spokesman Brett Ashworth said in a statement. He said about 70% of the 871 pending items “are categorized as low priority or are with the F-35 Joint Program Office for resolution.”

Of the 10 pending “mission impacts” deficiency reports, nine have “closure resolution plans, with seven already delivered to the government awaiting action,” and the others currently being reviewed.

...

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... ar-earlier
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Wed Jan 13, 2021 9:05 pm

A potential issue for the sale of the F-35 to UAE. After passing through the Congress attempt to stop the sale this is certainly a from left field attempt to block it. Not likely to succeed but if it did would certainly set an interesting new standard for US weapons sales.

Lawsuit threatens $23B weapons sale to UAE

A small, 2-year-old nonprofit think tank has taken a step that most advocacy organizations never dare try: It has sued the U.S. State Department to derail a $23 billion arms sale to the United Arab Emirates.

In a legal claim announced last month, the New York Center For Foreign Policy Affairs asserted that the Trump administration failed to provide a reasonable explanation for its decision to sell F-35 fighter jets and other weapons to the UAE, which places it in breach of the Administrative Procedure Act. It has asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to find the sale invalid.

The case is unusual, as is the theory of the case, but so is the Trump administration’s approach to the sale, said Brittany Benowitz, a legal expert on human rights and arms trade.

Such legal challenges rarely succeed, but if this one does, it could halt the deal even if Washington and Abu Dhabi follow through with plans to sign contracts in the waning days of the Trump administration.

...

https://www.defensenews.com/congress/20 ... le-to-uae/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Wed Jan 13, 2021 9:18 pm

One of the Blk 4 awards for NG that will continue the tight avionics and systems alignment of the F-35. Blk 4 is more than 80% software improvements and hence why these awards will be common place.

Northrop Grumman to enable new F-35 warfighting capability

Northrop Grumman Corporation has received a contract award from Lockheed Martin Corporation to enable new functionality to protect the 5th Generation F-35 Lightning II multi-role fighter. As part of a collaborative arrangement between Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin, the three companies will integrate Northrop Grumman’s AN/ASQ-242 Integrated Communications, Navigation and Identification (ICNI) and BAE Systems’ AN/ASQ-239 Electronic Warfare/Countermeasures (EW/CM) system for optimal operational utility.

Northrop Grumman's ICNI system provides F-35 pilots with more than 27 fully-integrated operational functions. Using its industry-leading software-defined radio technology, Northrop Grumman's design allows the simultaneous operation of multiple critical functions while greatly reducing size, weight and power demands on the advanced F-35 fighter. These functions include Identification Friend or Foe (IFF), automatic acquisition of fly-to points, and various voice and data communications such as the Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL).

...

https://www.intelligent-aerospace.com/m ... cni-system
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Wed Jan 13, 2021 9:58 pm

The Cavour will be off the US East Coast similar to the previous QE trips to conduct F-35B trials from mid February with the trials expected to take approximately six weeks. The modifications required for the ship to operate the F-35B were completed last May as part of a planned refit.

Italy—Cavour Carrier Due To Begin F-35B Trials In February

https://www.militaryperiscope.com/news/ ... s-february
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Thu Jan 14, 2021 8:16 pm

USMC F-35Bs are support operations off the coast of Somalia including regular use of the external GAU-22 gun pod. Some nice images below.

F-35Bs Armed With Gun Pod Continue Supporting Operation Octave Quartz With Armed Aerial Patrols over Somalia

The U.S. Marine Corps F-35Bs are among the combat aircraft supporting OOQ (Operation Octave Quartz) in the Horn of Africa.
Octave Quartz is the name of the U.S. operation to reposition forces in Somalia to other East Africa operating locations while maintaining pressure on violent extremists and supporting partner forces. “Joint Task Force – Quartz operations support U.S. Africa Command and international efforts that promote a peaceful and stable Somalia. Violent extremist organizations like al-Shabaab present long-term threats to U.S. and regional interests,” reads every public statement released by the U.S. DoD about the operation in the Horn of Africa.

Among the aircraft providing CAS (Close Air Support) to the U.S. forces in the region are the U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning IIs assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 122 also known as the Flying Leathernecks, deployed off Somalia aboard amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8).

...

The aircraft are, at least externally, in the standard USMC F-35B configuration: they carry radar reflectors (aka RCS – Radar Cross Section – enhancers), no external loads (sometimes the aircraft are fitted with the AIM-9 launchers) and the ventral GAU-22 25mm gun, in a GPU (Gun Pod Unit)- 9/A.

...

https://theaviationist.com/2021/01/13/f ... r-somalia/

Image

The circle reticle in the image below apparently represents operational use of the gun.
Image
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Fri Jan 15, 2021 8:47 pm

The DOT&E report for the F-35 has been released, https://www.dote.osd.mil/Portals/97/pub ... B0QQ%3d%3d

Some good and bad in there and some of the usual issues continue to plague the program. The JSE remains a real drag on finishing OT&E while software quality continues to be an issue.
 
estorilm
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Mon Jan 18, 2021 8:09 pm

Ozair wrote:
Spear 3 will be a good weapon for the UK. I expect once integration is complete there will be other F-35 users who will be keen to acquire this capability.

The British pick MBDA’s Spear 3 cruise missile for their F-35s

British F-35B combat jets are to be equipped with a new mini cruise missile following the signing of a £550 million (U.S. $750 million) production contract by the Ministry of Defence and contractor MBDA, the company announced Jan. 6.

The deal should see the Spear 3 missile achieve initial operation capability on the aircraft in 2025, making it the primary air-to-ground weapon for the Lockheed Martin-built jets now coming into service with the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.

For the moment, the weapon, which has a range in excess of 140 kilometers, is destined to be fitted solely to the F-35B models. But that could change, with Ministry of Defence officials admitting there is a possibility Spear 3 might also eventually be installed on the Royal Air Force’s fleet of Eurofighter Typhoon fighters.

...

https://www.defensenews.com/global/euro ... eir-f-35s/

Image



PRIMARY air-to-ground weapon? I think they mean stand-off A2G, as I'm pretty sure we all prefer the good ol' JDAM lol.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Mon Jan 18, 2021 10:29 pm

estorilm wrote:
PRIMARY air-to-ground weapon? I think they mean stand-off A2G, as I'm pretty sure we all prefer the good ol' JDAM lol.

Except the UK doesn’t use the JDAM, they have the Paveway II and IV in their inventory. I expect unless a larger weapon is required then SPEAR 3 will likely become the default for their F-35 fleet. They have Brimstone already integrated on Typhoon as well as the Paveway II/IV and no plans to integrate Brimstone onto the F-35B.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Thu Jan 21, 2021 8:02 pm

Readiness still isn't where it needs to be for the F-35 fleet and it appears that the canopy delamination issue is still impacting the fleet despite the JPO bringing on an additional supplier last year.

The Defense Department still isn’t meeting its F-35 readiness goals

The F-35 joint strike fighter is still struggling to meet its mission capable rate goals, with current figures well below the military’s target, the Pentagon’s outgoing acquisition chief told reporters on Jan. 19.

The Lockheed Martin-made F-35′s mission capable rate — which describes the percentage of aircraft that can meet at least one of its assigned missions — currently sits at 69 percent, falling short of the military’s longstanding 80 percent goal, said Ellen Lord, whose time as the undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment ended Jan. 20 at noon after Joe Biden was inaugurated as president.

When looking at fully mission capable aircraft able to perform all of the F-35′s assigned missions, “we’re currently at 36 percent fully mission capable, and we are striving to be at 50 percent for the fleet,” she added.

Lord attributed the low percentage of fully mission capable jets to ongoing issues with the F-35′s canopy and the F135 engine’s power module.

...

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2021/01 ... ess-goals/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Thu Jan 21, 2021 8:05 pm

Hmmm, deliveries starting as soon as 2027... That seems a long time away to me, perhaps this was part of the accommodation with Israel that the UAE could order F-35 but not operate them until past a specific date.

UAE signs up for F-35 in 11th hour of Trump administration: report

Hours before the swearing in of US President Joe Biden, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has reportedly signed a deal for 50 Lockheed Martin F-35As and 18 General Atomics Aeronautical Systems MQ-9B Reaper unmanned air vehicles (UAVs).

Reuters, citing unnamed sources, said that Abu Dhabi signed off the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) package deal in the dying hours of Trump administration. It adds that deliveries could start as soon as 2027.

...

https://www.flightglobal.com/defence/ua ... 55.article
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Thu Jan 21, 2021 8:29 pm

Was probably just a matter of time before the LRASM was integrated with the F-35 given the US and Australia will operate the missile and potentially others to follow. The USN has yet to acquire the JSM which can be carried internally on the F-35 but LRASM is significantly bigger and is external carriage only.

Lockheed Martin Progressing Towards LRASM Integration On F-35

During the Surface Navy Association (SNA) 2021 Virtual Symposium held last week, Lockheed Martin was showcasing a new artist impression showing two LRASM fitted on a F-35 Lightning II.

This image was new to us. Naval News contacted Lockheed Martin to ask about it, wondering if it meant that the company is looking to integrate the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) aboard the next generation fighter. Here is what a Lockheed Martin spokesperson told us:

“There is warfighter interest in both JASSM-ER and LRASM, and Lockheed Martin is working to ensure outstanding weapon standoff and effects. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control and Lockheed Martin Aeronautics are completing key risk reduction actions in order to provide the warfighter with increased capabilities in accelerated timeframes. We are currently investing in F-35 integration efforts for JASSM-ER in areas such as the digital transformation of elements of smart factory assets. Also, initial fit checks for LRASM on the F-35 have been completed. Planned integration efforts will continue through 2021.”

...

https://www.navalnews.com/naval-news/20 ... n-on-f-35/

Image
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Thu Jan 21, 2021 8:33 pm

Some interesting comments

The Outgoing Secretary of Defense Thinks the F-35 Is a "Piece of..."

In the twilight of his extremely short tenure, the sixth and final person to the hold the office of Secretary of Defense under President Donald J. Trump had some pretty strong words to say about the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher C. Miller, a former U.S. Special Forces officer who was appointed to his position on November 9, 2020, called the fighter jet a “piece of ... ” and didn't finish his statement. (Any guesses?)

...

https://www.popularmechanics.com/milita ... -comments/

but the most amusing part was his comments on his interview with an F-35 pilot...

Although, I gotta tell you, yesterday we were talking to some guy, some lieutenant colonel, or colonel, said ‘what are you flying?’ Said ‘F-35,’ I was like that’s a piece of…and he was like…and he laughed, and I was like, ‘no seriously, tell me about it,’ and he was…an F-16 guy, F-35, he said…‘unbelievable aircraft,’ I’m not…I…that investment, for…that capability, that we’re never supposed to use, ‘well, we have to deter, blah blah bluh blah…Are we fifth generation?


So Miller thinks it isn't very good but then interviews a pilot who says it is an unbelievable aircraft...
 
744SPX
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Thu Jan 21, 2021 9:48 pm

Not saying the SecDef is right, but to be fair, I've never seen interviews with pilots of new fighter aircraft who diss their own plane (at least any built in the last 40 years). The best reviews come from test pilots, or pilots who have the opportunity to fly multiple contemporary aircraft types within a short period of time, IMHO. Ret, Gen. John Jumper is someone who I would have liked to see give a pilot's assessment of the F-35.
 
GDB
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Thu Jan 21, 2021 9:55 pm

Six Sec Defs in 4 years?
So the last dupe really had the insight and ability to do the job?
Short as his tenure was, seems he fit right in.
 
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N328KF
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Sat Jan 23, 2021 3:15 pm

At this point, does anyone really expect the UAE F-35 deal to stick? It was obviously political and could be destabilizing.
 
CX747
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Sat Jan 23, 2021 11:50 pm

2018 study. New administration will have it's own thoughts but I think I like the spread it out idea. F-35s, F-15EX and F-16 Block 70/72s. Maintain F-22 and A-10 fleets. Focus on getting the NGAD to market and fielded in a timely manner.

https://aviationweek.com/defense-space/ ... tion-shake
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Sun Jan 24, 2021 5:35 am

CX747 wrote:
2018 study. New administration will have it's own thoughts but I think I like the spread it out idea. F-35s, F-15EX and F-16 Block 70/72s. Maintain F-22 and A-10 fleets. Focus on getting the NGAD to market and fielded in a timely manner.

https://aviationweek.com/defense-space/ ... tion-shake

I highly doubt there will be a USAF F-16 blk 70 buy. I expect this is the same USAF messaging they made to LM as a few years back when the program was having issues. Essentially fix up the problems and reduce the cost or we go elsewhere. Now it is fix the problems and reduce the sustainment cost or we go elsewhere. Of course the elsewhere is still LM so not sure there is as much bite as the first time.

If it happens, how long would it take to build up F-16 production again to deliver the numbers the USAF needs? These types of plans look good on paper but ignore the reality of the threat the USAF is preparing for and the additional support these extra 4th gens require such as more tankers and EW aircraft.

I expect if LM can get the sustainment cost down to 25k per flight hour by 2025 as they are suggesting then F-35 production will continue as expected to the early 2040s. The capabilities coming from a 2028 F-35 is going to be pretty incredible and hard to see that being passed over for an F-16 no matter the block.

The NGAD is good in theory but better to count the strike fighter in production today than the one on the drawing board for tomorrow. The F-22 can testify to that...

A better plan is to go all in on the skyborg program. Production of those should be quicker than a larger fighter aircraft as well as not tying them, at least with the XQ-58, to an airfield.
 
744SPX
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Sun Jan 24, 2021 4:16 pm

I would rather they fix the F-35 problems, but there just doesn't seem to be any motivation to do so. I don't know if threats will change that.

Frankly, there is really only one glaring problem they need to fix, and that is the issue with high speed flight duration and afterburner use duration (as in there should be no restrictions on duration compared to 4th gen fighters or the F-22). That is a pretty fundamental contractual requirement that Lockheed was supposed to deliver from the start of the JSF program. They really have no excuse and should pay for that fix out of their own pocket.
 
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Tugger
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Fri Mar 05, 2021 6:10 pm

Sorry for this being an old story but I just love and hate the moronic statements news makes about the F-35.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFo-5TBIRPI
This is is by the BBC and they titled it "Tiny bird takes down most expensive fighter jet ever built" even though nothing of the sort actually happened. Just inspections per the norm it anything is witnessed to be ingested by ANY jet engine!

It is pretty sad.

Tugg
 
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Mortyman
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Fri Mar 05, 2021 6:57 pm

WHY has the F-35 received so much Negative Attention? Real Fighter Pilot Explains

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eUDF6ICE0s
 
vr773
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Sat Mar 06, 2021 4:16 am

https://www.defensenews.com/congress/2021/03/05/ripping-f-35-costs-house-armed-services-chairman-looking-to-cut-our-losses/

I’m glad Germany made the right decision to not buy it but I feel sorry for the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Norway etc. who gave in to US pressure.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Sun Mar 07, 2021 3:32 am

vr773 wrote:
https://www.defensenews.com/congress/2021/03/05/ripping-f-35-costs-house-armed-services-chairman-looking-to-cut-our-losses/

I’m glad Germany made the right decision to not buy it but I feel sorry for the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Norway etc. who gave in to US pressure.


The F-35 is not going away. You are just seeing the impact of changing political climate in the US. The House Chairman quoted in the story is a Democrat from Washington State - Boeing country.

For better or for worst the F-35 is he only game in town. Perhaps that politician is angling to push the Airforce into the next competition for the next fighter or drone and is setting up fundings to do it.

bt
 
steman
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Sun Mar 07, 2021 10:51 am

vr773 wrote:
https://www.defensenews.com/congress/2021/03/05/ripping-f-35-costs-house-armed-services-chairman-looking-to-cut-our-losses/

I’m glad Germany made the right decision to not buy it but I feel sorry for the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Norway etc. who gave in to US pressure.


I wonder why, if the F-35 is so bad, we don´t hear any complaints from the other operators. Not even those who have already received many and even put them in service in real events like Israel or Italy
 
vr773
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Sun Mar 07, 2021 11:57 am

bikerthai wrote:
vr773 wrote:
https://www.defensenews.com/congress/2021/03/05/ripping-f-35-costs-house-armed-services-chairman-looking-to-cut-our-losses/

I’m glad Germany made the right decision to not buy it but I feel sorry for the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Norway etc. who gave in to US pressure.


The F-35 is not going away. You are just seeing the impact of changing political climate in the US. The House Chairman quoted in the story is a Democrat from Washington State - Boeing country.

For better or for worst the F-35 is he only game in town. Perhaps that politician is angling to push the Airforce into the next competition for the next fighter or drone and is setting up fundings to do it.

bt


What about the US Air Force Chief of Staff? Is he also in Boeing‘s pocket?

https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/320295-the-us-air-force-quietly-admits-the-f-35-is-a-failure
 
vr773
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Sun Mar 07, 2021 12:04 pm

steman wrote:
vr773 wrote:
https://www.defensenews.com/congress/2021/03/05/ripping-f-35-costs-house-armed-services-chairman-looking-to-cut-our-losses/

I’m glad Germany made the right decision to not buy it but I feel sorry for the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Norway etc. who gave in to US pressure.


I wonder why, if the F-35 is so bad, we don´t hear any complaints from the other operators. Not even those who have already received many and even put them in service in real events like Israel or Italy

I don‘t think a week goes by that the purchase isn’t criticized in other countries as well.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Sun Mar 07, 2021 2:30 pm

vr773 wrote:
What about the US Air Force Chief of Staff? Is he also in Boeing‘s pocket?


He has his own agenda, and it's not necessarily political.

Don't get me wrong many posters here knows that I'm pro Boeing. But when a C-change like this happens all of the sudden, you have to look behind the curtain and try to guess what's really going on.

It wasn't too long ago when the Air Force, or factions within the Air Force, fought for buying more F-35s instead if the F-15X? What changed since then? The political climate changed and perhaps the internal power struggles within the Pentagon as well.

And then the timing. All of this breaks soon after Boeing flew their wingman drone and the F-15X seems to be on schedule - thus probably will be on budget. It may be a coincident. But I've been around too long to know that people up high do not make such statements without having sat through a few planning meetings to discuss the ramifications.

bt
 
GDB
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Thu Mar 11, 2021 3:54 am

Initial Italian Navy trials at sea earlier this month;
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POyb4dEXDq0
 
texl1649
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Sat Mar 13, 2021 12:41 pm

Interesting piece on the F-35 saga over the past year, but I continue to focus more on the depot development and the issues around ALIS/Odin for spare parts. This is a big part of the whole readiness/cost issue imho.

“For years, one of the biggest weaknesses of the F-35 program has been the deeply flawed maintenance and spare parts computer network called the Autonomic Logistics Information System, known as ALIS. Pentagon leaders finally admitted defeat in 2020 and pulled the plug on ALIS. It will be replaced with the cloud-based Operational Data Integrated Network (ODIN), but the report warns that program officials are repeating many of the same mistakes made with ALIS, which would saddle the troops on the maintenance line with another flawed product.”

https://www.pogo.org/analysis/2021/02/i ... rossroads/

Odin is at Edwards now and maybe one other base, but I haven’t read much analysis of how it is really working (if better etc.). I expect it couldn’t be much worse, and Alis is one of those ‘little things’ that really have drug the program down from a mission-capable rate, and cost perspective that are, if you will, outside of the ‘blame’ on the aircraft/engineers themselves.

A lot of data at the link/embedded analysis, which I don’t think is a typical ‘bash the F-35’ piece as we see so commonly nowadays.
 
ThePointblank
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Sun Mar 14, 2021 6:13 am

The ODIN software being developed for the F-35 is being developed in house by the USAF and DoD through the F-35 Project Office, with Lockheed Martin and Pratt lending technical support. It's a different creature compared to ALIS.
 
mxaxai
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Thu Mar 25, 2021 12:25 am

An F-35B managed to damage itself with its own gun. https://www.military.com/daily-news/202 ... annon.html

The F-35B [...] was conducting a nighttime close air support mission on March 12 on the Yuma Range Complex when a PGU-32/U Semi-Armor Piercing High Explosive Incendiary-Tracer (SAPHEI-T) 25mm round exploded after leaving the fighter's cannon, Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Andrew Wood confirmed to Military.com on Tuesday.

The jet was attached to VMX-1, the Marines' Yuma-based test and evaluation squadron, Wood said. "The mishap did not result in any injury to personnel, and an investigation of the incident is currently taking place"
 
889091
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Thu Mar 25, 2021 1:12 am

Did the Marines' AV-8 Harrier fire this type of round too? If so, it may be just bad luck (and very expensive) that this happened.
 
bajs11
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Thu Mar 25, 2021 1:43 pm

https://www.defensenews.com/global/euro ... g-for-138/

While Air Marshal Richard Knighton, the deputy chief of the Defense Staff for capability, said in December that Britain knows it must “increase the number of F-35Bs to support the [Royal Navy] carrier through to its out-of-service date,” he expected to see “a definitive judgement around the total future fleet in the 2025 time frame.”
 
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Nomadd
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Thu Mar 25, 2021 3:28 pm

889091 wrote:
Did the Marines' AV-8 Harrier fire this type of round too?

Harrier, MK38, Bradley and other stuff.
 
texl1649
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Re: F-35 News and Discussion Thread - 2021

Thu Mar 25, 2021 5:43 pm

Yes that is a quite common round, and really has nothing to do with any kind of fault of the F-35. Stuff fired off to blow stuff up can be dangerous to operate.

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