Planeflyer
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Nov 04, 2019 1:29 am

As always very informative. Much appreciated.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Nov 05, 2019 8:29 pm

The six F-35s that were with the 31st T&E squadron have moved back to the 422nd at Nellis. All the IOT&E work has been completed minus the Joint training environment work for which test aircraft are not required.

Six F-35s reassigned to 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron

The 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron recently completed its initial operational test and evaluation mission and six F-35 Lightning IIs were reassigned to the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.

“The F-35 will continue through its operational test program,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Thulin, 31st TES Commander. “We consolidated the fleets at Nellis, so they can launch operationally relevant numbers of instrumented airplanes.”

Completing IOT&E allows for the Full Rate Production (FRP) decision to be made and leads into the production and fielding of more F-35s. The six F-35s is now assigned to the 422nd TES at Nellis. Following the F-35 movement, the 31st TES will continue to work on, or provide support for other test programs, Thulin said.

...

https://defence-blog.com/news/six-f-35s ... adron.html
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Nov 05, 2019 9:58 pm

For those interested in the air show demonstration by the F-35 team you can find the F-35A demo manoeuvres package here,

https://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/a ... ackage.pdf

Some things I found interesting are the limits and the fuel load. The minimum fuel load the aircraft will fly with is 12,000 lbs and the standard show is flown with full fuel. Impressive flying those manoeuvres based on that fuel state.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Tue Nov 05, 2019 10:36 pm

Well this is an interesting report. Not that I doubt that most companies are engaging in this type of operation but interesting none the less to have this clear an account of it going on with fighter jet selections.

Undercover reporter tells all after working for a Polish troll farm
...

The Guardian details one such campaign, which sought to influence what kind of fighter jet the Polish government spent its zloty on:
The accounts were used to undermine public support for the Polish government’s decision to place a major order with the American contractor Lockheed Martin for the F-35 fighter jet, promoting instead the Eurofighter Typhoon. […] [email protected] employees were reminded by their managers that “the F-35 is our enemy number one” but “don’t be too pushy with the Eurofighter, otherwise they will know they are being trolled”.

...

https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2019/1 ... roll-farm/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Nov 06, 2019 5:03 am

Apparently the Commander of JG74 is claiming the Eurofigher bested the F-35 in a series of WVR engagements.

#Luftwaffe Eurofighters recently went up against USAF F-35s in a visual dogfight. "They flew loads of funky manoeuvres, but I gunned them anyway." - chief JG74 at Neuberg AB. #AirbusTMB

https://twitter.com/GarethJennings3/sta ... 3324718086

As usual with these claims there is plenty of detail missing so it is hard to know what type of WVR sets they were conducting, whether starting neutral or offensive or defensive, and how the aircraft were configured. It is certainly plausible though that seasoned Eurofighter pilots will have had success against comparatively new F-35 aircrew.
 
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JetBuddy
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Nov 06, 2019 12:42 pm

Royal Norwegian Air Force declares Initial Operation Capability with the first F-35 squadron.

The squadron has been deployed to Rygge Air Station and have completed 51 out of 53 planned sorties for IOC testing

In 2020, RNoAF will deploy to Iceland for the NATO Air Policing role with F-35.

From 2022 the F-35 at Evenes will completely replace the Quick Reaction Force missions currently operated by F-16 at Bodø.

Full Operational Capability will happen in 2025. At that time the Joint Strike Missile will be ready and integrated into the bomb bays.

Link in Norwegian:

https://www.tu.no/artikler/historisk-me ... are/478198
 
checksixx
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Nov 07, 2019 12:55 am

Ozair wrote:
For those interested in the air show demonstration by the F-35 team you can find the F-35A demo manoeuvres package here,

https://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/a ... ackage.pdf

Some things I found interesting are the limits and the fuel load. The minimum fuel load the aircraft will fly with is 12,000 lbs and the standard show is flown with full fuel. Impressive flying those manoeuvres based on that fuel state.


Good read. The fuel loads have been available for several years from Air Combat Command. Give this a read...it was updated recently as well.

https://www.acc.af.mil/Portals/92/Change%205%20to%202019%20Demo%20Team%20and%20HF%20Support%20Manual%20%28002%29.pdf
 
DigitalSea
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Nov 07, 2019 5:48 am

The Demo F-35 is a perfect test aircraft.
 
Oroka
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Nov 08, 2019 4:27 am

Ozair wrote:
As usual with these claims there is plenty of detail missing so it is hard to know what type of WVR sets they were conducting, whether starting neutral or offensive or defensive, and how the aircraft were configured. It is certainly plausible though that seasoned Eurofighter pilots will have had success against comparatively new F-35 aircrew.


Not to mention that most people reading that headline will not know that the EF-2000 is an air superiority fighter and the F-35 is a light fighter, and that is easily a mismatched fight. Sure an experienced F-35 pilot could give a EF-2000 a run for its money, but the Typhoon was designed to be a purebred fighter and has the immediate advantage in a WVR turning fight. By that point the F-35 pilot had already screwed up by allowing a close in fight.
 
DigitalSea
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Re: F-35 news thread

Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:15 pm

F-35 To F-22: Can We Talk? Finally, The Answer Is Yes

WASHINGTON: Starting in December, the Air Force will try new network technology in real-world experiments every four months, the service’s new chief architect said today. The initial experiment next month will take three small but crucial steps towards the military’s goal of a comprehensive Multi-Domain Command & Control network linking all four services across all five domains, land, sea, air, space, and cyberspace:

New ways to share data between aircraft and ground forces (this one is tentative);
A cloud-based common operational picture that tracks where friendly forces are and displays a map of their constantly updated positions;
The highest-profile piece, a communications link that finally allows F-35 and F-22 stealth fighters to share data without giving away their position.
“I Iike the F-22/F-35 [experiment], because it’s a problem that everybody recognizes and everybody says, ‘oh, it’s really hard to do,” Preston Dunlap told me after discussing the effort at the Defense One conference here. ”I want to prove we actually can do hard things.”

Why is this so difficult? As stealth aircraft whose whole raison d’être is to evade detection, the F-22 and F-35 would rather not use conventional radios to communicate in combat because the transmissions are too easy for an enemy to pick up. So both jets use so-called Low Probability of Detection/Low Probability of Interception (LPD/LPI) communications – but they each use different ones that operate on different frequencies with incompatible software. F-22s use a unique Intra-Flight Data Link (IFDL) that works only with other F-22s, while the newer F-35s use the Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL), which can only talk to other F-35s.

Dunlap wouldn’t detail the approach his team is using to connect the two aircraft, but it involves a gadget called a “gateway” that effectively translates between IFDL and MADL. It’s also very, very nascent, he cautioned.

“It’s not 100 percent done. This is going to be like the 10 percent solution,” Dunlap told me. While he’s taking inspiration from the rapid-fire cycles known in the IT sector as DevOps (Development/Operations), the December experiment will not necessarily even be what the Silicon Valley would call “a minimum viable product.”

“Nothing will be solved in December,” he said. The goal is to get something that works well enough to test in real-world conditions and get feedback from real pilots. Then you take that data and improve your 10 percent solution to 12 percent, or 15 percent, or higher, and run the improved version through another test four months later – then rinse and repeat every four months until you get something good enough to field to actual combat forces.

“Really, December’s going to baseline the state of play and what’s available,” Dunlap told me. “Then we’ll come again in March/April with the lessons that we’ve learned out of that.”

“There’s nothing magical about four months, but the point is that we want to make sure we’re not losing the momentum going forward,” he said.

Over time, Dunlap aims to add more and more pieces to the project. His ultimate goal is to have something happening every four months in each of a half-dozen areas.

“I’ve got six product categories that we care a lot about,” he told me. “We want to be able to integrate sensors. We want to get data off of them. We want to secure the process. We want to be able to put applications [on the system] and connect capability and people together. And we want to output an effect.” (“Effect” is military jargon for anything from publishing a press release, to jamming a radar, to hacking a network, to blowing everything up).

“Across all those lines of effort, every four months we want those to be able to pull into an integrated set of exercises and operational scenarios,” he said. “Ideally, there’d be something from each of those” in each experiment.

“Some folks could say….it seems like that takes a lot of faith,” said Dunlap, a self-described “evangelist” for the new approach. “But it’s actually less faith [than a traditional 10-year procurement program], because you’re going to see faith become sight every four months.”

“You’ll to get to see the capability grow,” he told me, “and you can easily off-ramp things that aren’t working and on-ramp things that are starting to work.”


https://breakingdefense.com/2019/11/f-35-to-f-22-can-we-talk-finally-the-answer-is-yes/?_ga=2.64300527.1562643600.1572903399-652221560.1558640378
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:29 am

500 radars is a significant number!!! I haven’t heard of any issues with the APG-81 and we know if it capable of some very significant EA functions.

Northrop Grumman delivers 500th AN/APG-81 AESA radar for F-35

Northrop Grumman has delivered its 500th AN/APG-81 fire control radar for the F-35 Lightning II. The Northrop Grumman AN/APG-81 active electronically scanned array is the cornerstone of the F-35s advanced sensor suite, providing unparalleled battlespace situational awareness that translates into platform lethality, effectiveness and survivability.
“As a principal member of the Lockheed Martin-led F-35 industry team, our continued investment in facilities and equipment, production enhancements in process and design, and expanded supply chain capability through second sourcing helped reach this milestone,” said Chris Fitzpatrick, director, F-35 programs, Northrop Grumman. “The 500th delivery of this top-of-the-line fighter radar was made possible by our continuous focus on quality and excellence across our company.”
The AN/APG-81 radar has long-range active and passive air-to-air and air-to-ground modes that support a wide range of demanding missions. These modes are complemented by an array of stealth features as well as electronic warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance functions.



https://www.aerotechnews.com/blog/2019/ ... -for-f-35/

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Planeflyer
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:45 am

A great product that has huge room for growth
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Nov 13, 2019 8:32 pm

No surprise that the F-35 still isn’t hitting its availability targets, we have had numerous articles on this over the last few months. The key will be how it does over the next year given the investment by Lm and USDoD.

Lockheed’s stealthy F-35 breaks down too often, Pentagon says

The Pentagon’s chief weapons tester said the next-generation F-35 jet continues to fall short of full combat readiness targets and, despite some progress on reliability issues, all three versions of the fighter are breaking down “more often than planned.”

None of the Air Force, Marines and Navy variants of the Lockheed Martin fighter is meeting its five key “reliability or maintainability metrics,” Robert Behler, the Pentagon’s director of operational testing, said in prepared remarks Wednesday before two House Armed Services Committee panels.

The House subcommittees are reviewing the $428 billion program’s status and progress recovering from years of cost overruns and production delays.

“The operational suitability of the F-35 fleet remains at a level below service expectations,” Behler said in the prepared remarks. “In short, for all variants, aircraft are breaking down more often than planned and taking longer to fix.”

...

https://www.stripes.com/news/air-force/ ... s-1.607138
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Nov 13, 2019 9:29 pm

The JPO haven’t completely removed Turkey from the supply chain yet but have gone a decent way and expect to move off Turkey for the last few components in the next year. They won’t hit the march 2020 deadline for a complete move from Turkish suppliers given the few remaining sole source or high volume parts coming from Turkey.

F-35 program on track to replace Turkey, Pentagon officials say

Since removing Turkey from the F-35 program over its purchase of a Russian air defense system, the U.S. has found alternate suppliers for all but a dozen components Turkey is producing for the stealthy fighter jet.

As U.S. President Donald Trump met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House on Wednesday, the Pentagon’s F-35 program executive testified in Congress that he expects Turkey will be phased out on schedule, by March 2020. Lockheed and Pratt & Whitney, he said, have “spectacular progress” finding alternate suppliers.

“We began just over a year ago, very quietly but deliberately, taking actions to find alternate sources for all of those parts,” said the program executive, said Lt. Gen. Eric Fick, adding, “We are not quite there yet, so we have, on the air frame side, 11 components we have to mitigate to be at full-rate production ... and on the engines, there’s one: integrated bladed rotors, IBR’s.”

...

https://www.defensenews.com/congress/20 ... cials-say/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Nov 14, 2019 2:52 am

Urghhh….Things like this are really frustrating. Why can’t LM pull their finger out and realise this type of attitude doesn’t help the program nor allow it to reach the goals it needs to.

The Pentagon plan to save the F-35’s logistics system hinges on whether Lockheed will relinquish data control

The Pentagon and Lockheed Martin are at odds over how much data the military can have access to for its own jet, the F-35, and that’s creating renewed friction in the fight to fix longstanding issues with the automated logistics system vital to keeping it flying.
Both the Pentagon and Lockheed say a relaunched version of the Autonomic Logistics Information System, or ALIS, should be ready to start sending to squadrons by September 2020, both the military’s top acquisition official and the F-35 program manager expressed frustration to lawmakers at a House Armed Services subcommittee hearing Tuesday with how much control Lockheed asserts over crucial data for the system.

ALIS is an off-board system that runs the maintenance and logistics system for the F-35.
“One of the key elements of coming up with a new ALIS architecture, data standards, and all the other parts that would make a very good system is understanding the data set as it exists today — what all the algorithms are — and we are still in the process of going through that with Lockheed Martin,” said Ellen Lord, the under secretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment. “But understanding where all the intellectual property is and making sure the government has access to what it has paid for is a key part of rearchitecting ALIS.”

...

https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2019/ ... ta-rights/

This must be especially frustrating. I have dealt with this from vendors and it just slows down the process immensely.
“We still have concerns, there still are roadblocks as we go to execute,” Fick said. "Everything from something as simple as U.S. government documents that get uploaded into a system and come back with Lockheed Martin proprietary markings on it. That is a frustrating occurrence, but not one that prevents us from doing work.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Nov 14, 2019 9:42 pm

petertenthije wrote:
Ozair wrote:
I believe the aircraft has landed and been welcomed not with water but with foam...

Yeah, someone messed up badly.

Just prior to the F-35 landed at Leeuwarden a Volkel-based F-16 made an emergency landing at Leeuwarden due to fumes in the cockpit. I believe the runway was “foamed” for that landing. Clearly, someone forgot to switch back to water, or forgot to drain remaining foam from the hoses.

Whatever the cause might be, the poor F-35 will require a deep inspection. It will also be interesting to find out how the stealth paint holds up to highly corrosive foam.


Looks like F-009 has had no adverse effects from the foam bath on arrival.

Via Google Translate

Defense: F-35 does not seem to have had anything to do with a fire-fighting foam mistake

"The new F-35 fighter plane that was accidentally received at the end of last month with fire-fighting foam instead of water, seems to have suffered no damage. That is what the Royal Netherlands Air Force says after an inspection of the aircraft.

On October 31, the first F-35 in the Netherlands was sprayed by human error with fire-fighting foam at Leeuwarden air base. "In the fire extinguishers the buttons for foam and water are next to each other, and the fire brigade accidentally pressed the foam button," says an air force spokesperson.

It was feared that the engines of the F-35, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter, had been damaged. That is why photos were sent to the builders of the aircraft. "You can compare it to a viewing operation on the inside," says the spokesperson.

The images were then sent to engine builder Pratt & Whitney. "We have the doctors in-house, but the professors are with Pratt & Whitney," said the Air Force spokesperson. "They indicated that the foam did not cause any malfunctions."

For safety's sake, however, the engines are thoroughly rinsed again. The F-35 will remain on the ground for the time being, but that is according to plan. It is intended that the aircraft will be operational again soon.

https://amp.nos.nl/artikel/2310447-defe ... chuim.html
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Nov 18, 2019 12:20 am

The RN are stepping up the testing with a four ship launched in rapid succession and recovered the same way.

Royal Navy launch four F-35 fighter jets from aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth off coast of United States

Four jets have been launched in quick succession from HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time ever.

The four F-35 Lightning jets took off from the giant aircraft carrier off the coast of the USA.

The operation took place as part of Westlant 19 - a three-month exercise where aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, F-35s and supporting units are being rigorously tested under realistic warfighting scenarios, while visiting Canada and the USA.

The exercise was described as "absolutely awe inspiring to watch, hear and feel."

HMS Queen Elizabeth's official Twitter account said: "We have flown our first UKF35 multi-ship, launching 4 jets in quick succession and recovering on completion of their ‘mission’.

...

https://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/news/p ... -f-3541254

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Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Nov 18, 2019 2:35 am

Hill Unveils New Runway for F-35 Operations

The Air Force’s biggest F-35 operating base recently unveiled its new $45 million runway, bringing to a close a nine-month project that sent the base’s F-35s to other locations across the world.

The new 13,500-foot runway included new concrete pavement repairs, wider shoulders, a 55-foot widening to the taxiway, new overruns, improved signage, and upgraded lighting, according to a Hill release.

When the second phase of the construction project began in June, Hill sent its F-35s away to allow for the work. Twenty-four F-35s and about 250 airmen went to Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, to operate during this phase. F-35s and airmen also deployed to the Middle East to conduct combat operations out of Al Dhafra AB, United Arab Emirates.

Additionally, other F-35s and airmen deployed to Europe, with construction being a “catalyst” for this move, 421st Fighter Squadron pilot Capt. Joseph Walz told Air Force Magazine during the deployment. It was the first time since F-35s began arriving at Hill in 2015 that the base’s three squadrons had left the Utah location at the same time.

The construction project will help F-35 operations through an expected reduction in foreign object debris, Hill officials said.

...

http://www.airforcemag.com/Features/Pag ... tions.aspx
 
DigitalSea
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Nov 18, 2019 9:39 pm

Ozair, you're pretty knowledgeable on the F-35 program, does the US have a system in place to keep track of foreign F-35s or atleast access to their ALIS system? Thinking of terms of safeguarding it from espionage. Some of the countries we are selling the F-35 to, makes me feel as if the US may have rolled the dice in exchange for helping drive down the costs.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Nov 18, 2019 10:57 pm

DigitalSea wrote:
Ozair, you're pretty knowledgeable on the F-35 program, does the US have a system in place to keep track of foreign F-35s or at least access to their ALIS system? Thinking of terms of safeguarding it from espionage. Some of the countries we are selling the F-35 to, makes me feel as if the US may have rolled the dice in exchange for helping drive down the costs.


So ALIS in its original form transferred info that included geolocation data but the program issued a contract that modified that.

But some partners on the F-35 program worried that data flowing through ALIS to the United States — and to Lockheed Martin — could give both the U.S. military and the American defense contractor a window into that country’s flight operations, including when and where its F-35s are flying.
Although several foreign F-35 customers have publicly discussed concerns about sovereign data moving through ALIS, this report marks the first time it has been disclosed that those concerns were so severe that multiple countries threatened to withdraw from the program.
“[Two-plus] countries have threatened that, if sovereign data is not addressed, they will either (a) pull out of the F-35 program of (b) stop sending any data to the U.S.,” one document states.

https://www.defensenews.com/smr/hidden- ... hey-didnt/

From the same article further down, the solution was contracted and delivered earlier this year.
On Aug. 17, 2018, the Defense Department awarded a $26 million contract to Lockheed Martin to develop and test an “ALIS Sovereign Data Management” system that will allow foreign partners to more tightly control and protect their own data.
That effort has borne fruit, and certain partner nations have begun using the new data guard, which rolled out earlier this year, Winter said.
“Sovereign data management has been fielded to those that have aircraft. Norway has it. Israel has it. U.K. has it. Italy has it. We’re rolling it out to the Asia-Pacific here, now,” Winter said.


So now the partner nations have a better ability to control or restrict the data that is sent regarding F-35 operations though ALIS. As an aside I believe the US Government may have some say in the movement of aircraft, or at least that nations are required to inform the US when they move aircraft around their country, on a permanent basis.

From a cyber perspective ALIS has been tested and certified for use. It apparently runs on a separate VPN which, I assume, has sufficient safeguards. The aircraft can operate for an extended period of time without ALIS input/output or can operate to a deployed ALIS node which several nations and the USMC/USN have begun deploying.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Nov 21, 2019 8:39 pm

Quite the thermometer malfunction when you plan to test to -40 and actually end up at -65… Good that the kit still worked at that much lower temperature.

Airmen in Subzero Temps Discover F-35 Survival Kit Works Better Than Advertised

A survival kit designed to keep F-35 pilots alive in freezing conditions has proven its worth all the way down to -65 degree Fahrenheit. The new kit, designed by the airmen that will fly with it under their seats, is designed to be smaller than previous kits while protecting pilots from the elements until rescue.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter differs from older jets in one peculiar way: the space under the ejection seat is a third smaller than the same space in the F-16 Fighting Falcon. Unfortunately, that’s where the pilot survival kit goes. The pilots of the 356th Fighter Squadron will receive their F-35s in 2020, operating them out of Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska, so squadron personnel created a new kit using new materials designed to keep pilots alive in the Arctic cold.

...

The test to ensure the kit’s contents worked as planned took place at the International Artic Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. There, according to the website Stars and Stripes, airmen were placed in two different rooms, one dropping to -20 degrees and the other to -40 degrees. An undetected thermometer malfunction inadvertently exposed the airman in the latter room to -65 degrees, but those inside reported the system still worked as planned.

https://www.popularmechanics.com/milita ... vival-kit/

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Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Nov 21, 2019 9:05 pm

Good news for Raytheon with respect to export potential for the JSOW but also interesting to see how quick and easy the integration work is to bring the weapon over from the F-35C to the F-35A.

Raytheon Joint Standoff Weapon to be certificated for F-35A

The AGM-154 JSOW precision-strike glide bomb is to be certificated for the internal weapons bay of the US Air Force's F-35A Lighting II stealth fighter by the end of November 2019.

The weapon's manufacturer, Raytheon, says the approval would allow it to sell the standoff weapon to international operators of the F-35A. The conventional take-off and landing F-35A is the most popular variant of the type with international customers.

The US Navy has already qualified the JSOW on its F-35C variant and now the USAF is to use that testing data to integrate the weapon onto its aircraft, says Mark Borup, senior manager of business development for Raytheon Missile Systems’ air warfare systems.

“It is going to be fully integrated on the F-35-A and the importance of that is that the USA has a number of friends and allies who have the F-35A,” he says. “It's very significant. It's a capability that many of our friends and allies really, really advocate for.”

The JSOW can be carried externally on the Boeing F-15, Boeing F/A-18E/F and Lockheed Martin F-16. However, because of its 70nm (130km) glide range and its low radar-cross section, it could also be used by the F-35 stealth fighter on penetrating air strikes.

The glide bomb is GPS guided and can follow a waypoint path to its target. The latest variant of the weapon, the JSOW-C Block III, can be guided in its terminal phase by an infrared seeker and has a tandem warhead, among other improvements.

...

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... ic-462320/

For anyone interested these are some of the JSOW variants (I think the sub-munition version is missing) with a powered version reportedly in development. The current operators of the JSOW match well with existing and expected F-35 operators.

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GDB
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Nov 25, 2019 4:26 pm

To mark the end of the initial test/deployment of UK F-35B's on Queen Elizabeth, the RN have made this excellently produced video, with recruitment in mind too;
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXmnnFcGVSE
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Nov 28, 2019 8:14 pm

No surprise that Italy continues to invest in the F-35 program. Despite the rhetoric of a couple of years ago they have been consistent in their funding.

Italy Approves Second Phase of F-35 Investment Program: Minister

Italy will press ahead with an investment program for F-35 fighter jets, Defence Minister Lorenzo Guerini said, after uncertainty over further orders from the Rome government had raised questions on production plans.

"As the government aims to build on the investments made so far and seize the opportunities offered by the program, I've decide to give a green light to the phase two," Guerini said during a parliamentary hearing on Thursday.

Luigi Di Maio, leader of the co-ruling 5-Star Movement, said last year that F-35 fighter jets were not a priority for the country and that the program had to be reviewed in 2019.


https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2019/11 ... e-f35.html
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Nov 28, 2019 8:16 pm

This looks like it would have bene quite the amusing exercise. They certainly haven’t gone overboard on the size of the inflatable that the aircrew will use post an ejection over water.

Royal Navy and RAF train Norwegian Air Force F-35 pilots

The Royal Navy and RAF have answered a call from Norway to help train F-35 Lightning jet pilots.

The team of survival specialists from the Royal Navy, alongside AF personnel from RAF Marham in Norfolk, travelled to Orland Air Base in Norway to join their NATO partner for a training package.

A Royal Navy spokesperson said: "The Norwegian Air Force called on the UK after visiting the Lightning Force at Marham for training aircrew on how to survive if their aircraft was downed.

"Marham’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape team, which comprised PO Matthew Williams, Cpl Richard Fuller, AB Brendan Baldwin, SAC Allan Wighton and SAC Susan Whyte, trained 24 pilots during their time at the base north of Trondheim.

"The training consisted of a simulated brief on parachuting from the F-35, moving on to a dry training brief. This included elements of the equipment used to save their lives if they were to eject from the aircraft."

...

https://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/news/u ... an-3587450

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Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Nov 28, 2019 10:00 pm

This article is a few weeks old now but some interesting comments at the end on the prevention of corrosion from operating in a heavy salt environment at RAAF Base Williamtown. In general you get a feel for what it takes to induct a new aircraft, especially in the context that the last aircraft inducted by 3SQN was the Legacy Hornet over 30 years ago.

Royal Australian Air Force personnel discuss working with the F-35A aircraft at Williamtown

Royal Australian Air Force staff gave a rare insight into the Williamtown-based F-35A aircraft at a Hunter Defence Support Network event at Merewether on Friday.

Three members of the RAAF's No. 3 Squadron - Wing Commander Darren Clare, Squadron Leader Leigh Tinker and Flight Sergeant Damian Gardiner - answered questions from the luncheon's audience about working with the F-35A.

The first of Australia's F-35A joint strike fighters arrived at RAAF Base Williamtown in December. Australia has committed to 72 of the long-awaited and controversial fighters for three operational squadrons at Williamtown and Tindal.

No.3 Squadron has been testing the aircraft in the US for several years and now has six F-35As at Williamtown.

Wing Commander Darren Clare said flying the jet was like "riding on a roller-coaster but you're in control".

"The speed, the Gs; if you think about the G-forces thrown around, we pull up to nine Gs in the aeroplane.

"Race car drivers pull four to five when they're driving.

"Physically, when we pull a lot of Gs, it is quite demanding on our body."

Commander Clare discussed the technological advances, describing the F-35A as "like a computer pretending to be an aeroplane".

"I physically log into the aeroplane with a username and a password," he said.

Flight Sergeant Damian Gardiner said the F-35A was more software-driven than past electro-mechanical jets.

"From an avionics background, I've adapted OK to it, we're still educating our workforce," he said. "We're bringing people up to speed with application-based stuff."

Squadron Leader Leigh Tinker said the introduction of the aircraft had led to a more diverse workforce.

"We're trying to be different," he said.

"We're trying to encourage the workforce to be more diverse. If you're an avionics person, let's not just do avionics, let's do everything."

Asked about the jet's corrosion issues, Tinker said learning how to manage the aircraft at Williamtown had been a challenge this year.

"The Williamtown environment has been the biggest learning curve we've got at the moment," he said. "Not that we're the only country that operates near the beach.

"We've got a wash cycle. So at two weeks we will do a wash with chemicals, like a detergent, and then we'll rinse it off the other second week just to get the salt off it."


Officials of F-35A manufacturer Lockheed Martin also spoke at the event, along with Newcastle Business School's Julia Connell.

Hunter Defence Support Network supports Defence families in the region. The organisation raises funds for PTSD-related initiatives.

https://www.newcastleherald.com.au/stor ... -aircraft/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:34 pm

France complaining about the penetration of the F-35 into Air Forces across Europe. I don’t see how France can claim European Air Forces should invest in something different given the capability difference between the F-35 and its primary competitors.

France Blasts US for Trying to Force Its NATO Allies Into Purchasing American Arms


France’s defense chief has blasted the US for trying to force its NATO allies into purchasing American arms and equipment above anything else, days after President Emmanuel Macron held Washington to blame for the Western military bloc’s “brain death.”

In remarks to French weekly newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche published on Sunday, Florence Parly renewed her criticism of US attempts to force the Lockheed-Martin F-35 fighter jet — the most advanced and expensive aircraft in America’s arsenal — on its NATO partners.
The defense minister said the NATO charter includes Article 5 — which obliges member states to defend each other — rather than “Article F-35,” under which members would be required to buy US military products.

...

https://www.albawaba.com/news/france-bl ... ms-1324681
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:57 pm

An acknowledged puff piece as the writer went on a paid by LM visit to the Fort Worth factory. I did find the below interesting and demonstrates how ease of maintenance has been factored into the F-35 design.

F-35 Lightning II: A 21st century concept

The lessons learned went beyond simply enhancing aircraft performance; the F-35 ameliorates fundamental life cycle cost issues through leveraging emerging technologies and leading-edge concepts to maximize readiness, logistic and maintenance efficiencies. In effect, the F-35 is built for sustainment.

The fighter aircraft makes use of a modular avionics architecture with fusion technology, rather than a federated architecture where Line Replaceable Units (LRU or “black boxes”) are placed in a sequence. In this manner, maintainers no longer need to remove the first and second boxes to replace the third; they simply replace an easily accessible modular LRU.

Roughly 95 per cent of the LRUs are first line removeable and virtually all first line maintenance functions are accessible through the weapons bay doors, nose wheel well, and behind panels that can be opened and closed without causing any low observable skin repairs. Ease of maintenance is further achieved from simple redesigns such as a front-hinged canopy that facilitates ejection seat removal without the need to remove the canopy.

...

At a reported six hours of maintenance per flight hour, the F-35A is at the forefront of fighter operations. Conscious design features such as internal weapons carriage and the use of pneumatic (air pressure) weapons ejection rather than explosive cartridges has significantly reduced maintenance personnel hours required to clean and service fourth generation weapons delivery systems.
Another example of manpower savings occurs in routine checks on the fuel tanks and valves, where only one F-35 technician with a Portable Maintenance Aide (a laptop computer the technician connects to the F-35) is now required to conduct the same task that requires six maintainers to perform on the F-16. In manpower savings alone, anecdotal evidence suggests a 60 per cent reduction in personnel to perform routine maintenance functions.


https://www.skiesmag.com/news/f-35-ligh ... y-concept/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Dec 04, 2019 8:59 pm

This will certainly improve training opportunities. It has been stated numerous times now that to really test F-35 aircraft they need very high threat simulations (thing that cannot be replicated in real world exercises) and being able to connect multiple together and therefore fly and fight advanced threats should improve overall capability.

Coming in 2020: A new technology to link F-35 simulators across the globe

Next year, U.S. Air Force F-35 pilots will be able to hop into a simulator and practice large-scale coordinated attacks with other F-35A users in simulators around the globe, Lockheed Martin’s head of F-35 training said Tuesday.
The capability, called Distributed Mission Training, will allow an unlimited number of F-35 simulators to be networked, enabling high-end training, said Chauncey McIntosh, Lockheed’s vice president for F-35 training and logistics.
“We’ve been testing to ensure that it’s ready to go with our first customer at Nellis Air Force Base [in Nevada]. We’ve got hardware that’s going up there this month and we’re starting our test connections, and everything is looking very well [regarding] this product,” he said during a briefing at the Interservice/Industry, Training, Simulation and Education Conference.

...

https://www.defensenews.com/digital-sho ... the-globe/
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Dec 04, 2019 10:02 pm

Leaked photo: General Atomics offers possible Japenese helicopter destroyer conversion into aircraft carrier

Pictures of a possible Japanese helicopter destroyer JS Izumo conversion into a full-fledged aircraft carrier have appeared on social media.
Japan has grand ambitions to upgrade one of its largest warship, the so-called helicopter destroyer JS Izumo, into a full-fledged aircraft carrier capable of launching the F-35C fighter jets and E-2 all-weather airborne early warning aircraft.

...

According to a leaked powerpoint slide, U.S defense and diversified technologies company General Atomics offering the concept of conversion the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) helicopter destroyer JS Izumo into an aircraft carrier with the capability to launch and recover the full spectrum of carrier-capable aircraft.

...

https://defence-blog.com/news/leaked-ph ... rrier.html

Image

There are some obvious issues with the proposal like the presence of F-35C aircraft parked along the bow that would prevent both CATS being used. Clearly Izumo is a small vessel and it would require a careful balancing act to be able to conduct continuous flight ops with the CAT positions along the middle of the landing deck. The other issues are the greater training burden, both for aircrew and deck crew for CATOBAR instead of STOVL, the much greater conversion costs to go from the current vessel to a CATOBAR carrier and some political considerations with the increased capability a CATOBAR carrier may provide.

EMALS does provide other benefits though, including the use of E-2Ds for long range radar warning and potential new UCAVs such as the MQ-25 for long range A2A refuelling and the likely strike version that will come from it.

The other interesting possibility is how this may impact US future carrier designs. While we will get at least a few Ford class CVNs how would a modified USS America class with EMALs impact future operations. It could conceivably carry a similar load of F-35Cs to current Bs but expand the capability with E-2Ds and MQ-25s as well while being a lot cheaper to build and sustain. Perhaps even a nuclear powered America sized vessel…

Interesting times ahead for small carrier design.
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Wed Dec 04, 2019 11:21 pm

The LM head of the F-35 appeared before Congress on the 13th of November and had a fair bit to say. The most interesting part though I think is contained below and covers the modernization efforts.

The big points that stuck out to me are the reference to unmanned testing, the missile defence work and technology roadmap to equip the F-35 will a new or modified interceptor that can conduct missile defence work, direct statement regarding the work with Elbit on a 600 gallon external drop tank with associated jettison-able pylon and finally the increased lethality work that involves increasing internal carriage, the use of hypersonics weapons on the inboard stations, increased payload weight and total missile number.

STATEMENT OF GREGORY ULMER VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL MANAGER F-35 PROGRAM LOCKHEED MARTIN CORPORATION

BEFORE THE READINESS AND TACTICAL AIR & LAND FORCES SUBCOMMITTEES HOUSE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE ON F-35 PROGRAM UPDATE: SUSTAINMENT, PRODUCTION AND AFFORDABILITY CHALLENGES



...

IV. Modernization Update

The F-35 is designed to incorporate both software and hardware upgrades throughout its 50+ year life cycle and efforts to modernize the aircraft are already underway. We’ll deliver F-35 modernization through the Department’s Continuous Capability, Development and Delivery (C2D2) framework for timely, affordable, incremental warfighting capability improvements. This approach will deliver more agile, continuous modernization on shorter timelines while aligning and synchronizing capability delivery across the entire F-35 Air System.

In order to maximize the investment in the F-35 fleet, it’s imperative that Congress continues to fund the F-35 modernization plan to leverage the full potential of the weapon system. Additionally, it’s important to note that many of the partner countries have made investments in modernization activities as part of their national defense policies and have established the industrial base to support these activities.

From Electronic Warfare, increased computing power, sensor capability, weapons capacity and more, we are actively enhancing all aspects of the F-35 to ensure it exceeds warfighter demands and outpaces evolving threats. Some key upgrades planned include:

• Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (AutoGCAS): AutoGCAS uses terrain mapping, geolocation and automation to detect and avoid potential ground collisions. When the program recognizes imminent impact, it will prompt the pilot to take action. If the pilot is unresponsive, AutoGCAS assumes temporary control to divert the aircraft out of harm’s way, and then returns control of the aircraft to the pilot once on a safe trajectory. Leveraging a rapid, agile development, test and contracting approach, the joint government and industry team successfully fielded the life-saving technology seven years earlier than previously planned.

• Technology Refresh 3 Upgrades: Technology Refresh 3 takes advantage of fast evolving computing power and adds an Open Systems Architecture that will enable the flexibility for Lockheed Martin and our customers to add, upgrade and update future capabilities rapidly. In addition to the Next Generation Distributed Aperture System discussed previously, the F-35’s Integrated Core Processor, Panoramic Cockpit Display and the Aircraft Memory System will all be upgraded beginning in Lot 15.

• Multi-Domain Operations (MDO): To increase the F-35’s role in MDO, we’re upgrading sensor fusion capability in Lot 13 and beyond, integrating enhanced voice and data interoperability in Lot 14 and continuing to conduct exercises to demonstrate MDO teaming. To date, the F-35 has successfully integrated with the Aegis Missile Defense system, a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS), and most recently in partnership with the Missile Defense Agency and U.S. Air Force, we successfully connected an F-35, U2, and a multi-domain ground station. The advantages of the F-35 integrated and fused sensor suite now can be made available to other airborne, air, and even subsurface warfighters. We are active now in sharing the key benefits of our 5th Generation air system with other multi-domain parts of operations.

• Unmanned Teaming: The F-35 is ideally suited for manned / unmanned teaming operations, and we are working closely with our customers to realize a future where the F-35 can command and control unmanned aerial vehicles as wingmen as well as attritable assets in a joint fighting force. Through these and related efforts, this F-35 5th Generation weapon system serves as a force multiplier for our country and allies.

• Missile Defense: The F-35 offers inherent capabilities that can significantly enhance U.S. missile defense. The F-35’s stealth and advanced sensor suite can help detect potential missile threats and provide ‘Left of Launch’ identification and engagement through entering contested airspace undetected. The F-35 can also serve as a sensor node to detect and track missile threats at a much closer distance – and connect sensor information to queue existing missile defense systems to engage an incoming threat. According to the Missile Defense Review, the Department of Defense is also building a technology roadmap to equip the F-35 with a new or modified interceptor capable of shooting down adversary ballistic missiles in their boost phase for direct engagement.

• Extended Range: While the F-35 as configured today, exceeds the specified range performance, we’re engaged in an industry-funded study with Elbit Systems-Cyclone focused on a 600-gallon external tank and an associated jettison-able pylon for the F35A to significantly increase range and loiter time.

• Increased Lethality: In addition to increasing the F-35A and F-35C’s internal weapons capacity from four to six internal weapons, we’re also working to integrate a series of new weapons to increase lethality. Additionally, the F-35 has the structural capacity on our inner wing stations to carry hypersonic weapons externally allowing the F-35 to execute deep strike missions while providing unmatched ISR capabilities. We also see a growth path in the future to add payload weight capacity and increase the total number of missiles the F-35 can carry.

As we integrate upgraded capabilities, our goal is to maintain or reduce both the unit cost to procure and the sustainment costs for F-35s across the enterprise.

...

https://docs.house.gov/meetings/AS/AS03 ... 191113.pdf
 
Ozair
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Re: F-35 news thread

Thu Dec 05, 2019 11:29 pm

The Vermont National Guard now have five F-35s and expect to have twenty by summer next year.

Vermont Air Guard takes delivery of 3 more F-35 fighter jets

https://www.wcax.com/content/news/Vermo ... 49901.html

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