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    F-35 Development and News Thread:

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    JohninMK
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    Re: F-35 Development and News Thread:

    Post  JohninMK on Wed Mar 09, 2016 11:36 pm

    That up and down site War is Boring has got hold of that DoD 2015 report on the F-35's progress and extracted the worrying, if you are a F-35 customer, bits. It is clear that the only winners in this development are Lockheed, its sub-contractors and anyone outside that may be showered money or employment from it, the customers are not on that list.

    One can imagine that some, non-customer, governments are laughing like drains whilst they learn the lessons.

    It is a long read, the astonishing thing is that this document is not top secret and that the Pentagon does not dispute the contents, just the emphasis. This is a sample to wet your appetites.

    Then-Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Joe Dunford — now Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — announced on July 31, 2015, that the Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 at Yuma, Arizona, “has 10 aircraft in the Block 2B configuration with the requisite performance envelope and weapons clearances, to include the training, sustainment capabilities and infrastructure to deploy to an austere site or a ship.”

    In other words, the Marine Corps claimed to have 10 F-35s ready for combat and enough spare parts and maintenance personnel to support the squadron.

    But DOT&E found that significant combat deficiencies remain. “If used in combat, the Block 2B F-35 will need support from command and control elements to avoid threats, assist in target acquisition, and control weapons employment for the limited weapons carriage available (i.e., two bombs, two air-to-air missiles).”

    The report also states that “if in an opposed combat scenario, the F-35 Block 2B aircraft would need to avoid threat engagement and would require augmentation by other friendly forces.” This means the F-35Bs the Marine Corps said are ready for combat would need to run away from enemy planes while other aircraft would need to come to their rescue.

    Air Force officials have repeatedly stated their plans to declare Block 3i of the F-35A — the Air Force’s conventional take-off model — combat ready as scheduled in August, with a December fail-safe date. Block 3i configuration has a newer computer but the same extremely limited weapons and combat capabilities as the 2B.

    On the current schedule, the Air Force will declare initial combat capability with planes that, like the Marines’ variant, will have to run from enemy fighters, need other airplanes to help find targets and avoid threats, and carry only two air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons.

    Testing has actually revealed that the newer hardware and software used by the Air Force is sometimes in worse shape that the earlier Block 2B used by the Marines. This is especially troubling because officials had written the Block 3i testing plan simply “to confirm Block 3i had equivalent capabilities to those demonstrated in Block 2A (for 3iR1) and Block 2B.”

    The testing office originally planned for 514 baseline testing points. During the baseline testing, another 364 additional “discovery” testing points were identified. This means that during testing, 364 additional tests had to be added to try to fix newly discovered problems in a system that was already supposed to work and only had added a new computer.

    For example, DOT&E reported the unacceptable “instability” — that is, frequent crashing — of the Block 2B computer-based radar. In fact, Block 3i radar performance was found to be “less stable” than Block 2B. The 3i radar now crashes 7.5 times more often than the earlier version.

    The F-35A will be hampered with limitations on both basic flight and weapons employment. The same problem preventing F-35s from taking off in a lightning storm also prevents them from performing hard maneuvers with full fuel tanks. Fully fueled F-35’s are limited to only three Gs because harder maneuvering could increase the pressure in the siphon tanks beyond their limits.

    The plane is also limited from opening its weapons doors to fire at speeds above Mach 1.2 due to concerns about structural vibrations called “flutter.” This is less than the plane’s maximum allowable speed of Mach 1.6. Since the F-35 was sold as a supersonic fighter, this restriction negates one of the major capabilities used to justify the massive bill to the American people.


    http://warisboring.com/articles/the-f-35-joint-strike-fighter-is-still-a-huge-mess/

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    The U.S. May Build 500 Jets Before Finding Out If the F-35 Works

    Post  nemrod on Tue Mar 15, 2016 5:25 pm

    2016 seems to be the year when US will abandon the JSF, as it was in 2008 for the controversial F-22.


    http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-01-29/pentagon-risks-building-500-f-35s-before-completing-combat-tests


    The U.S. May Build 500 Jets Before Finding Out If the F-35 Works
    Tests of how Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 will perform in combat won’t begin until at least August 2018, a year later than planned, and more than 500 of the fighter jets may be built before the assessment is complete, according to the Pentagon’s test office.

    “These aircraft will require a still-to-be-determined list of modifications” to be fully capable, Michael Gilmore, the U.S. Defense Department’s top weapons tester, said in his annual report on major programs. “However, these modifications may be unaffordable for the services as they consider the cost of upgrading these early lots of aircraft while the program continues to increase production rates in a fiscally constrained environment.”

    The Defense Department plans a fleet of 2,443 F-35s for the U.S., plus hundreds more to be purchased by allies, including the U.K., Italy, Australia and Japan. The costliest U.S. weapons program, at a projected $391 billion, the F-35 is being produced even as it’s still being developed, a strategy a top Pentagon official once called “acquisition malpractice.”

    Despite the plane’s many problems, “F-35 production rates have been allowed to steadily increase to large rates,” Gilmore said in his annual report to congressional defense committees.
    Buying More

    The Pentagon wants to increase the number of F-35s purchased for the U.S. to 92 annually by 2020 from 38 last year. The number jumps to 120 a year when foreign sales are included. For this year, Congress added 11 aircraft to the 57 requested.

    Marillyn Hewson, Lockheed’s chairman and chief executive officer, told analysts on a Jan. 26 earnings call that the company expects to increase F-35 deliveries to about 100 in 2018 from 45 last year.

    Gilmore, whose full weapons report will be posted on his office’s website on Monday, said the delay in testing stems from flaws in the “3F” software that gives the F-35 its full combat capability. Testing of the software isn’t likely to be completed until at least January 2018, or 15 months behind the October 2016 date set when the program was reorganized in 2012, he said. The F-35 is a flying computer, with more than 8 million lines of software code.

    Joe DellaVedova, spokesman for the Defense Department’s F-35 office, said in an e-mail that the program “continues to aggressively execute development and testing of Block 3F capabilities with the objective of delivering” them about mid-September 2017. He said the program office doesn’t intend to take any shortcuts.

    The F-35’s $55 billion development phase is evaluating how well aircraft and systems meet contract specifications and military requirements. Combat testing, which takes at least a year, puts all the pieces together to stress the aircraft in realistic war-fighting scenarios -- such as how well a four-jet formation detects and shares data about sophisticated Russian or Chinese air defenses during realistic mock missions.
    Full-Rate Production

    The Pentagon will need the results of the testing before proceeding with full-rate production, the most lucrative phase for Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed, the largest U.S. contractor. Full-rate production is currently scheduled for April 2019.

    The next milestone for the F-35 is supposed to be an Air Force declaration by August that its version of the F-35 has initial combat capability. The Marines declared their version’s initial capability in July.

    The Air Force last month told a Joint Chiefs of Staff weapons review group it rated that date as jeopardized, or “red,” because of “inherited deficiencies” with its “Block 3i” software and “new avionics stability problems,” Gilmore wrote.

    DellaVedova said that the 3i “software has been continually improved.” Deficiencies in air-to-air and air-to-ground mission sets “were addressed and resolved,” he said.

    Other F-35 flaws cited by Gilmore in his report:

    A fuel system deficiency on all three models of the plane that limits their maneuverability when carrying a full load of gas.
    A diagnostic system, called “ALIS,” that continues “to demonstrate poor accuracy and a high false alarm rate.”
    Cracks in wing spars discovered in October on the Navy version of the F-35 and “damage to a significant number of fasteners and grommets” found during testing of the Marine Corps model.
    A lack of high-fidelity simulators to rehearse combat missions and specialized data for each major geographic area that pilots will use to test sensors and track enemy radar.
    A pilot escape system that could kill ejecting pilots who weigh 136 pounds or less by breaking their necks. DellaVedova said the program office plans improvements by November to fix the neck-stress issue.

    Gilmore’s report also contained signs of progress:

    A new helmet made by Rockwell Collins Inc. has shown improvements in reducing jittery or misaligned images displayed on the pilot’s visor.
    Failures caused by Lockheed-supplied parts have decreased, showing the most improvement of all reliability measures.
    F-35s were available 51 percent of the time required for training and flight tests in 2015, an increase from 37 percent in 2013 and 2014 but still short of a 60 percent goal for the year.

    (An earlier version of this story was corrected because of a misspelled name in the second paragraph.)


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    F-35 Officials Prove Need for Cyber Testing by Cancelling One

    Post  nemrod on Tue Mar 15, 2016 5:28 pm


    http://www.pogo.org/straus/issues/weapons/2015/f-35-officials-prove-need-for-cyber-testing.html



    F-35 Officials Prove Need for Cyber Testing by Cancelling One
    By: Dan Grazier | December 7, 2015

    Realistic weapon testing has come under assault yet again.

    The troubled F-35 recently hit another snag when, as first reported by Politico, the Joint Program Office (JPO) refused to proceed with the required cyber security tests of the F-35’s massive maintenance computer, tests needed to determine the computer system’s vulnerability to hackers. The JPO argued that such realistic hacker tests could damage the critical maintenance and logistics software, thereby disrupting flights of the approximately 100 F-35s already in service. But that simply raises obvious and disturbing questions about what could happen in combat. But on the broader question of how DoD buys weapons today, this is a clear demonstration of the folly of approving production on expensive systems long before they have been fully designed and thoroughly tested, a now common practice on almost all major Defense procurements.

    The scheduled cyber tests target the vulnerability of the F-35 Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS). According to Lockheed Martin’s website, ALIS “integrates a broad range of capabilities including operations, maintenance, prognostics and health management, supply chain, customer support, training and technical data.” ALIS is designed to be a “single, secure information environment” that connects the plane’s on-board failure diagnostics with its maintenance management and the logistics supply system. In theory, ALIS would identify a broken part, order a replacement through the logistics system, and tell the maintenance crews what to fix. Cyber tests are particularly important for the F-35, which is commonly referred to as a “flying computer.” The plane has approximately 30 million lines of software code controlling all of the plane’s functions, from moving flight surfaces to creating images in its infamous $600,000 helmet. All this is tightly integrated with the ALIS program, which many consider to be the plane’s largest vulnerability. Should an enemy hack the ALIS system successfully, they could disable F-35 systems in combat, cause disastrous crashes, or ground the entire fleet.

    The ALIS software and computer has seen its fair share of problems already. Last year, Joint Strike Fighter Program Executive Officer, Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, had to admit that the software was “way behind.” Maintenance crews supporting the Marine Corps’ F-35 demonstration aboard the USS Wasp this summer found themselves going off base to transfer ALIS computer files to their laptops over a commercial Wi-Fi network when the ALIS system proved incapable of handling the massive data files. Elsewhere, maintenance personnel report that 80 percent of the issues identified by ALIS are “false positives,” reporting parts as broken when they weren’t. Determining which ALIS reports are real and which are not is a time-consuming process for maintenance crews, adding significantly to their workloads when they are already overburdened by the F-35’s significant reliability shortfalls.

    Realistic cyber testing is required of all military systems “capable of sending or receiving digital information,” according to a 2014 memorandum from the Department of Defense’s top weapons tester. “The cyber threat has become as real a threat to U.S. military forces as the missile, artillery, aviation, and electronic warfare threats which have been represented in operational testing for decades,” wrote Dr. Michael Gilmore, Director of Operational Test & Evaluation. “Any data exchange, however brief, provides an opportunity for a determined and skilled cyber threat to monitor, interrupt, or damage information and combat systems," he added.

    Dr. Gilmore proscribed testing of such systems to be completed in two phases. The first is an internal assessment by the program’s designers to attempt to identify potential problems and security gaps through an “overt and cooperative examination to identify all significant vulnerabilities and the risk of exploitation of those vulnerabilities.”

    The second phase brings in outside “Red Teams” to simulate hacker attacks on the system to identify vulnerabilities. DOT&E uses adversarial teams certified by the National Security Agency to “act as a cyber aggressor presenting multiple intrusion vectors consistent with the validated threat.” Tests of this kind are often referred to as penetration or “pentesting” in civilian circles. By using highly skilled teams of computer hackers to break into the system, the combat user, weapons buyer, and designer learn if and how the system can be disrupted or exploited—and whether its vulnerabilities can be fixed.

    It’s not as if this is a theoretical threat. The Department of Defense admitted in 2013 that a foreign power had hacked into unclassified F-35 subcontractor systems and stolen large amounts of sensitive information about the aircraft. The DoD would not say which foreign power stole the data at the time, but earlier this year, documents released by Edward Snowden confirmed the Chinese stole the information from Lockheed Martin in 2007.

    The Air Force’s investigation into the breach was initially resisted by the F-35’s prime contractor, Lockheed Martin, Shane Harris described in his book @War. They were only able to determine that the company’s networks had been breached repeatedly after the Air Force generals in charge of the program at the time insisted that Lockheed and its subcontractors cooperate. The stolen information included vulnerabilities of the aircraft and its software.

    Left unsaid is whether the program office would rather have operations disrupted now by friendly testers or later by hackers when the planes are engaged in combat.

    The F-35 program office may have inadvertently confirmed the gravity of the concerns about software vulnerability with their statements regarding the testing delay. A program spokesman says the office “did not initially approve a cyber-vulnerability test due to the lack of a risk assessment related to operational F-35 assets.” In other words, the office fears the tests could end up disrupting real-world flight operations of the F-35s already in service. Left unsaid is whether the program office would rather have operations disrupted now by friendly testers or later by hackers when the planes are engaged in combat.
    Concurrency Increasing Software Risks and Vulnerabilities

    This speaks to one of the major, fundamental failures with the F-35 program: its unprecedented level of concurrency. Concurrency is the overlapping of development, testing, and production in an acquisition program. Advocates of the strategy claim it is a way to shorten the time necessary to field a weapon system. In reality, concurrency has historically slowed down the acquisition process and greatly increased costs.

    Highly concurrent programs increase the risk that systems built early in the process will require expensive fixes or retrofits after problems are identified during subsequent testing. The Defense Department’s Undersecretary of Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics reported to Congress that the costs of concurrency for the F-35 program last year were $1.65 billion. These costs include “recurring engineering efforts, production cut-in, and retrofit of existing aircraft.” The report hardly painted a flattering picture of the practice.

    Concurrent software development issues are hardly new. Frank Conahan, an assistant comptroller with the then-named General Accounting Office, warned against the practice in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee in 1990. Even then, nearly a decade before the Joint Strike Fighter program began, Mr. Conahan correctly identified software development as the one of the biggest risks to success in highly concurrent programs. “If the software doesn’t work, then the weapon system as a whole is not going to work the way it should,” he said.

    The practice is becoming increasingly entrenched for several reasons. Defense contractors and the Pentagon tend to understate costs and overstate performance. Hence they have a strong motivation to spread subcontracts across as many congressional districts as they can (known as “political engineering”) and sell the Pentagon as many units as possible before an under-performing program becomes obvious to everyone. Those with a vested interest in the program then have a great deal to lose if a system does not perform well during testing. A recent example is the now famous dogfight test between an F-35 and the older F-16 the F-35 is designed to replace. The F-16 performed much better and prompted many to question the value of the entire Joint Strike Fighter program.

    But because the F-35 is already in multibillion-dollar production employing thousands of people in hundreds of congressional districts, the plane has a great deal of political support. At least, that is the image Lockheed Martin wishes to cultivate. Parts of the aircraft are built in factories all across the country before eventually arriving in Fort Worth for final assembly. Lockheed Martin says the F-35 relies on suppliers from 46 states and provides an interactive map touting this fact. The reality is the majority of the work is done in only two states, California and Texas. Several states counted in the 46 have twelve or fewer jobs tied to the F-35. Still, there are precious few politicians willing to cast a vote that will be portrayed as “killing jobs” when campaigning for reelection.

    The military services and defense contractors have a long history of working and lobbying to avoid realistic operational testing of new weapons systems.

    A much better way of doing business is known as “fly before you buy,” the almost universal buying practice in commercial, non-defense procurement. Former Director of Operational Test & Evaluation Tom Christie says when done properly it “will demand the demonstration, through actual field testing of new technologies, subsystems, concepts, etc. to certain success criteria before proceeding at each milestone, not just the production decision.” In other words, acquisition decisions can be made based on performance achieved rather than capabilities hoped for.

    The military services and defense contractors have a long history of working and lobbying to avoid realistic operational testing of new weapons systems. A common claim is that testing of this kind is too expensive and adds unnecessary delays to an already lengthy weapons acquisition process. In fact, the most recent industry effort to avoid realistic testing resulted in a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act requiring DOT&E to “ensure that policies, procedures, and activities implemented by their offices and agencies in connection with defense acquisition program oversight do not result in unnecessary increases in program costs or cost estimates or delays in schedule or schedule estimates.” However, these claims are false. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released an audit showing that operational testing does not cause significant cost increases or schedule delays in major weapons programs.

    The Pentagon and defense contractors will continue to avoid independent, realistic testing out of their own self-interest. The GAO said it well in its recent report: “postponing difficult tests or limiting open communication about test results can help a program avoid unwanted scrutiny because tests against criteria can reveal shortfalls, which may call into question whether a program should proceed as planned.” This is why Congress created the independent DOT&E in 1983 with broad, bipartisan support (the amendment creating the office passed 95-3 in the Senate)—one of the most important and lasting achievements of the military reform movement of the 80s. To this day, the office provides a vital service to strengthening national security and protecting the men and women in combat who must actually use the equipment the Pentagon buys.




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    5 Reasons Why Our F-35s Are Too Dangerous to Fly

    Post  nemrod on Tue Mar 15, 2016 10:49 pm

    Another interesting point of view. U can notice that most serious POV -those without undergoing pressure from industrial lobbies- have near all the same opinion about JSF, and F-22.
    http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2016/01/5_reasons_why_our_f35s_are_too_dangerous_to_fly.html


    January 17, 2016
    5 Reasons Why Our F-35s Are Too Dangerous to Fly
    By David Archibald

    The F-35 has been around as long as global warming. The aircraft had its origin in the Joint Advanced Strike Technology (JAST) program started by the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy in 1993. The word "Strike" in the designation of this program indicates that it was oriented toward developing a light bomber. The following year, the JAST program absorbed the Common Affordable Lightweight Fighter program and a separate short take-off/vertical landing program. This became the Joint Strike Fighter program, with the aim of producing a common airframe and engine across the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Marine Corps. This aircraft was claimed to be 20 percent cheaper to acquire and operate than legacy aircraft such as the F-16. That was the intent. Lockheed Martin won the flyoff against Boeing in 2001.

    Many years then passed. The production prototype F-35 first flew in 2006.

    The flying characteristics of an aircraft can be determined from its statistics – that is, things like the weight divided by the wing area, weight relative to thrust, etc. The F-35 was still a light bomber. Its engine is optimized for operating at about 20,000 feet. By 2008, simulations had shown that the F-35 was not fit to be a fighter aircraft. This was in a RAND study by Dr. John Stillion, which concluded that the F-35 "can't turn, can't climb, can't run."

    Now, ten years after the F-35 first flew, it remains in development, though 180 have been built. None of those aircraft can operate in combat; all will have to be modified if and when the final design has been settled on. There is not much point in doing that, because the F-35 has a number of show-stoppers that would kill it instantly in a rational world. These include:

    The F-35's engine is failing at too high a rate, and its reliability is not improving fast enough to be approved for operational use. The F-35 has a poorly designed, unreliable engine – the largest, hottest, and heaviest engine ever put in a fighter plane. It is a highly stressed derivative of the F119 engine, which powers the F-22. Because of the need to drive the F-35B lift fan, it is about 2,000 lbs heavier than other combat jet engines of comparable thrust. The project recognized the engine's limitations in 2012 by announcing an intention to change performance specifications for the F-35A, reducing sustained turn performance from 9.0g to 4.6g and extending the time for acceleration from 0.8 Mach to 1.2 Mach by 8 seconds. As in September 2014, the Government Accountability Office reported that "[d]ata provided by Pratt & Whitney indicate that the mean flight hours between failure for the F-35A engine is about 21 percent of where the engine was expected to be at this point in the program." But engine reliability is not improving; it has flatlined.

    The F-35 requires a runway at least 8,000 feet long to operate from. By comparison, the F-16's minimum runway length requirement is 3,000 feet.

    The F-35's operating cost of $50,000 per hour means that we won't be able to afford to give its pilots enough flying time to be fully proficient. The same problem afflicts the F-22 with its $70,000-per-hour operating cost. Raptor pilots get 10 to 12 hours per month in the cockpit when 20 hours are needed to be able to make split-second decisions in combat.

    Being designed as a light bomber, the F-35 is less maneuverable than fighter designs up to 50 years old and will be shot out of the sky by modern fighter aircraft. Thus, it wasn't a surprise when an F-16 outflew an F-35 in mock combat in early 2015, a result entirely predictable from simulation. What is telling is that the F-35 is not being flown against other aircraft types on an at least monthly basis. The latest derivative of the Su-27 Flanker, the Su-35, is expected to be able to shoot down 2.4 F-35s for every Su-35 lost. China is in the process of acquiring 24 Su-35s. In combat, those 24 Chinese Su-35s will shoot down 58 F-35s before all being shot down themselves. The Russians have followed the Su-35 with the T-50, which will be close to the F-22 in combat effectiveness but without the cost of maintaining the radar-absorbant material (RAM) coating.

    The F-35 uses its fuel for cooling its electronics. The aircraft won't start if its fuel is too warm, making deployment in warmer regions problematic. At the Yuma and Luke U.S. Air Force bases in Arizona, fuel trucks for the F-35 are painted white, parked in covered bays, and chilled with water mist systems because the jet won't even start if the fuel is already too warm to cool the electronics.

    The F-35 has a logistics system (ALIS) that requires an internet connection to a centralized maintenance system in the United States. ALIS is kept permanently informed of each aircraft's technical status and maintenance requirements. ALIS can, and has, prevented aircraft taking off because of an incomplete data file. If the internet link is down, the aircraft can't fly even if there is nothing wrong with it. This is one of the more bizarre problems. It could lead to a situation in which enemy aircraft are inbound and the F-35s are refueled and ready to go but can't take off to meet the threat.

    Those are the known show-stoppers; the F-35 has many other mere deficiencies. Embarrased by having 180 aircraft that can't actually fight, the head of the F-35 program, General Bogden, has decided to make December 2016 the make-or-break date for the program.The Department of Defense has started backing away from it and is contemplating buying more F-15s and F-16s to fill the USAF's capability gap.This may be the year that the F-35 nightmare ends.

    David Archibald is the author of Twilight of Abundance (Regnery 2014).


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    The Pentagon's long-awaited fighter plane just had a massive setback

    Post  nemrod on Wed Mar 16, 2016 11:37 am

    It is highly probable that the F-35 will be abandon this year, leaving US with just its IV° generation fleet of fighters, like Russia, France, UK, and China. Moreover US Air Force does not want more F-22, this says a great deal about this other V° generation. Do not forget that the F-22 was supposed to give an US supremacy in the air. It was said supremacy, and not superiority. More than never Russia is now in strong position to take back its assets that were lost during the ugly Yelsin's era.


    http://www.businessinsider.com/pentagons-f-35-program-has-setback-2016-3?IR=T

    The Pentagon's long-awaited fighter plane just had a massive setback
    Jackie Leo, The Fiscal Times

    If you were the CEO of an airline business and got a negative report about your new, very expensive aircraft that has been in development for a number of years, what would you say to your engineering and production managers?

    The report highlights look like this:

    Key Tests Have Been Delayed Repeatedly
    Flight Controls Impact Maneuverability
    Serious Safety Concerns Remain
    Significant Logistics Software Problems
    Deferring Cyber Security Testing Leaves Aircraft Vulnerable
    Maintenance Problems Keep Aircraft Grounded
    Simulation Facility Failure Threatens Testing Program

    At the very least, people would be fired for incompetence and the contractors would be held accountable.

    The details above are not about a commercial aircraft. They are from the latest forensic analysis of the $1 trillion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which has been in flight tests for more than 10 years. Each unit costs about $100 million, and so much is money is riding on this aircraft that it’s been deemed “too big to kill.”

    The F-35 was redesigned in 2004 because it weighed too much. So Lockheed Martin put the plane on a diet and shed 2,700 pounds —at a cost of $6.2 billion. In 2010, the Pentagon admitted that the F-35 program had exceeded its original cost estimates by more than 50 percent.

    The delays are especially costly since pre-orders from multiple countries can’t be filled until the aircraft is combat ready.

    And now an independent watchdog group is saying that the long list of unresolved problems means that the F-35 won’t be ready for combat until 2022. The watchdog group, the well-respected Project on Government Oversight, is basing its analysis on a recent Department of Defense report that found numerous serious problems with the fifth-generation fighter.

    The watchdog analysis comes after one of the three F-35 variants has already been declared combat ready. The F-35B, designed for the Marines, was declared ready to go in July 2015. However, the jet has not been used by the Marines in combat, despite plentiful opportunities in Syria and Iraq. And the Project on Government Oversight maintains that the declaration was premature, and that official testing proves that the jet is not ready for active duty. Some analysts have speculated that the Pentagon is trying to buy hundreds of planes before testing has been completed.

    The Joint Strike Fighter Program Office has pushed back against the most recent analysis by the watchdog group, citing a long list of achievements for the program. The office reminded its critics that “the F-35 program is still in its developmental phase” and that there are “known deficiencies that must be corrected.” But that’s exactly the point: The plane that was supposed to be flying combat missions in 2012 is still costing taxpayers billions to develop, with no end in sight.

    This story was originally published by The Fiscal Times.


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    Re: F-35 Development and News Thread:

    Post  max steel on Sat Mar 19, 2016 10:13 am

    How Lockheed Martin's Grand Plan for the F-35 Fell Apart

    Lockheed Martin, Making Money the Old-Fashioned Way

    Lockheed Martin held its annual media day this week, and CEO Marillyn Hewson assured those attending that the company was financially sound and poised to lead the industry in developing the next generation of military technology, from military lasers to hypersonic weapons. But the bulk of the company’s revenues rely on old-fashioned techniques — buying up other companies, profiting from the sale of big-ticket weapons systems, and pushing foreign sales.

    The news of the year was the company’s purchase of Sikorsky from United Technologies, a move that will make Lockheed Martin the primary source of helicopters for the U.S. military. It was the company’s largest acquisition since the 1990s, when Lockheed and Martin Marietta merged, aided by hundreds of millions in taxpayer subsidies to pay for such questionable items as golden parachutes for executives impacted by the merger.

    Lockheed Martin wasn’t the only company to grow through merger during that era — Boeing bought McDonnell Douglas, Northrop and Grumman merged, and dozens of other deals were made. At the time, the argument for allowing — and subsidizing — these combinations was that it would reduce overhead and result in better weapons prices for the U.S. government. But as former Pentagon official Lawrence Korb noted at the time, “past history indicates that these mergers end up costing rather than saving the government money.” And so it has been, as Lockheed Martin has racked up multi-billion dollar cost overruns on major programs like the F-35 combat aircraft and the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS).

    Rather than saving money, the mergers created industrial behemoths with greater leverage over the Pentagon. With only a handful of major firms to turn to in the procurement of major weapons systems, the Department of Defense’s ability to keep a lid on mushrooming weapons costs has been diminished. And a company like Lockheed Martin, which has $46 billion in revenues and claims to have a presence in every state in the union, has enormous financial and political clout. This gives Lockheed Martin the ability to prolong programs that serve its corporate interests whether or not they are in the national interest.

    A case in point is the F-35 program. If it goes forward as planned, Lockheed Martin will end up being the only supplier of fighter aircraft to the U.S. government, leaving the taxpayers in a “take it or leave it” position with regard to the company’s product. A recent analysis by the Project on Government Oversight has catalogued the myriad performance problems with the F-35. Most importantly, even as the Pentagon accelerates spending on F-35s and assures us that the plane is ready for prime time, the Pentagon’s office of independent testing has noted that it won’t even be known whether the aircraft will be sustainable in combat until 2022. Thus far, test aircraft at Edwards Air Force Base have only been able to fly about six sorties per month due to excessive down time for maintenance. The high tech testing simulator that is supposed to assess the F-35s capabilities has itself had serious development problems. And the aircraft coming off the assembly line now have even more problems than the ones that came before.

    Given this reality, entrusting the entire future of this segment of the combat aircraft industry to this one company makes no sense. This is particularly true when one considers that, as a 2015 report by the National Security Network has shown, the F-35 is destined to be inferior to the aircraft it is replacing.

    Despite all of the above, the Pentagon wants to push forward a 400-plane “block buy” of F-35s that would put billions of dollars in Lockheed Martin’s coffers without providing evidence to suggest that the aircraft being purchased will perform as advertised. Over the next few years, Lockheed Martin will almost certainly put more effort into securing this funding bonanza than it will to creating innovative new products.

    Rather than throwing all of its eggs in one basket, the Pentagon should scale back the F-35 program and fill in any gaps in fighter numbers with upgraded versions of current generation F-16s and F-18s. Not only would this save billions of dollars per year, but it would dilute Lockheed Martin’s emerging monopoly over the fighter aircraft market and provide an insurance policy in case the F-35 continues to have debilitating problems that raise questions about its ability to serve as the aircraft of the future for the Air Force, Navy and Marines. Expect Lockheed Martin to fight any movement in this direction tooth and nail. Instead, the company will lobby get even more F-35s funded than the Pentagon is requesting. One of Marillyn Hewson’s proud proclamations at this week’s media day was that fact that Congress appropriated funds for 11 more F-35s last year than the number called for in the president’s original budget request. Expect more of the same this year.

    Defense companies thrive when global conflicts drive up military expenditures, and Lockheed Martin is no exception. The company has made increasing its exports a top priority. In her media day speech, Hewson pointed to turbulence in Europe, the Middle East and Asia as good signs for Lockheed’s export prospects. She wasn’t so crass as to point out that war is good for business. Instead, she said that “It’s clearly a complex threat environment our customers are facing, and we want to remain well-positioned to help them address these unprecedented challenges.”

    One step in helping its customers cope with “a complex threat environment” has been the expansion of production facilities for the company’s Hellfire missile system, which is used on Predator and Reaper drones as well as on helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. Lockheed Martin has no expectation that peace will break out and undercut this burgeoning market. As company vice-president Frank St. John put it in an interview with Defense One, “I don’t see events in the world changing dramatically over the next couple of years . . . [T]he conflicts that are requiring the use of our systems are lingering, so anticipate that we’ll be producing at a pretty high level for some period of time.”

    The Hellfires are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of Lockheed Martin’s foreign sales. Attack helicopters and combat ships for Saudi Arabia and missile defense systems for European allies are the biggest moneymakers on the horizon.

    Pushing costly, untested weapons systems and profiting from foreign conflicts is hardly innovative. If we are going to realign Pentagon spending with the realities of current challenges and rein in dangerous arms transfers to regions of conflict, Lockheed Martin will have to adjust its financial strategies accordingly. Explaining how it will do so would be an excellent topic for one of the company’s future media days.

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    Re: F-35 Development and News Thread:

    Post  Militarov on Fri Mar 25, 2016 11:58 pm

    Bogdan noted that this delay is an improvement over the JPO’s projection a year ago, and is not expected to impact the Navy’s ability to declare its F-35C jets operational in 2018. The four-month delay will also have no impact on coalition partners’ capabilities, he wrote.

    The schedule risk is primarily due to software “stability” issues, seen in both Blocks 3i and 3F. In essence, a timing misalignment of the software of the plane’s sensors and the software of its main computers are causing a “choking” effect, where the jet’s systems shut down and have to be rebooted. "However, the JPO and contractor Lockheed Martin have identified the root cause and plan to flight test an updated software load at Edwards Air Force Base, California, sometime in the next few weeks, officials have said.

    The program office has established a “Red Team,” made up of experts from the Navy, Air Force and outside the Pentagon to take an in-depth look at the issue, Bogdan told reporters after the hearing. The Red Team has already begun its study and will report back in about a month, he said.

    “We brought them together and we’re sending them down to Lockheed to try to figure out, do we have the root cause analysis right on these problems? Are we going after the right issues?” Bogdan said. “Because it’s very easy to just make a fix to the software, but if you don’t fix the fundamental issues going on those fixes only will last so long and they will pop up again.”

    Success of Block 3F mission systems hinges on the program office resolving the problems with Block 3i, Director of Operational Test and Evaluation Michael Gilmore wrote in his written testimony. The stability and functionality problems in the initial versions of Block 3F, inherited from Block 3i, were “so significant that the program could not continue flight test,” he wrote."


    Source: http://defence-blog.com/news/f-35-full-combat-capability-will-be-four-months-late.html

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    Re: F-35 Development and News Thread:

    Post  max steel on Fri Apr 01, 2016 11:52 pm

    Lockheed Nabs $18.5M for F-35 Follow-On Development

    Lockheed Martin won an additional $18.5 million to continue work on developing an F-35 upgrade program, the Defense Department announced this week.

    The Pentagon awarded Lockheed a $18.5 million modification to a previously awarded cost-plus, fixed-fee contract for development efforts for the F-35 Block 4 modernization program, according to a March 28 announcement.

    The work, which is is expected to be complete in May 2017, will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, where Lockheed builds the jets.

    The contract includes $7.4 million, or 40 percent of the total, for the Air Force’s F-35As; $3.7 million, or 19.5 percent, for the Navy’s F-35Cs; $3.7 million, or $19.5 percent, for the Marine Corps F-35Bs; and $3.7 million, or 21 percent, for the international partners.

    Although Lockheed’s work will apply to all F-35 variants, the contracting authority is Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, Maryland.

    The Block 4 modernization program is expected to cost $3 billion over the next six years. The effort will include upgrades to maintain viability against evolving threats, as well as a switch to a so-called open systems architecture that would make it easier to swap out sensors and other equipment on the jets in the future.

    Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, chief of the F-35 joint program office, said earlier this month he expects a contract award for Block 4 in late 2018. He also said the Pentagon’s Joint Requirements Oversight Council will likely approve a road map for Block 4 this summer.








    The Pentagon Wants Autonomous Fighter Jets to Join the F-35 in Combat

    The U.S. Air Force Research Lab is moving ahead with an initiative to turn aging F-16 fighter jets into unmanned, autonomous combat aircraft. The pilotless planes will fly alongside the newer aircraft like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

    Speaking at a forum in Washington, Wednesday, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work said he expects to see the autonomous aircraft plying the skies alongside manned jets before driverless vehicles enter service on the ground. Work spoke specifically about U.S. Air Force efforts to create autonomous wingmen for its fighter pilots that gave new life to older planes imbued with autonomous piloting technologies and teamed with next-generation aircraft.

    “You take an F-16 and make it totally unmanned,” Work said. “The F-16 is a fourth-generation fighter, and pair it with an F-35, a fifth-generation battle network node, and have those two operating together." "Fourth-generation fighter" generally refers to fighters in service from the 1980s to the present day (including the F-15s, F-16s, and F/A-18s that make up the bulk of the U.S. military fighter fleet), while "fifth-generation" refers to the latest generation of stealth fighters like the F-22 and F-35, which are built by Lockheed Martin .


    The concept of teaming unmanned combat jets with piloted fighter aircraft has circulated within the Pentagon for years. It's even got a name: "Loyal Wingman." The Air Force has experimented with the idea for some time, and the high-profile mention from the Department of Defense's second-in-command signals that the rest of the Pentagon is taking the idea seriously as well.

    As it happens, the Air Force already owns a fleet of unmanned F-16s. In 2013, Boeing outfitted a number of retired F-16s (which are built by Lockheed Martin) into pilotless target drones. Such remotely piloted aerial drones themselves are nothing new; prior to the F-16s, the Air Force used retired Vietnam-era F-4 Phantoms for live target practice.

    But remotely controlled aircraft and autonomous piloting are two vastly different things. The Air Force isn't just looking for an unmanned aircraft that can be piloted from afar, but a robotic aircraft that can pilot itself, taking cues from a human pilot in another aircraft. "The onboard autonomy must be sufficient for the Loyal Wingman to complete all basic flight operations untethered from a ground station and without full-time direction from the manned lead," the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) explained in a request for industry input published earlier this month.



    As indicated by that request, the AFRL is in the process of taking things a step further, developing autonomy algorithms that would imbue F-16s or other older aircraft with the "brains" to serve as autonomous wingmen to future fighter pilots. A formal program is in the works for 2018, FlightGlobal reports, with flight demonstrations planned through 2022.

    Those autonomous wingmen would serve as a way to stretch U.S. military capabilities via better technology, rather than through increased manpower--a long-term Pentagon strategy known as the "third offset." Rest assured, Work told the audience, that "we will not delegate lethal authority." That is, humans--not machines--will always make the critical decision to release weapons.

    But the spread of autonomous technologies and platforms across the battlefield is an inevitability, Work told the audience. "This is something that is inexorable," he said. "It is going to happen."

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    Re: F-35 Development and News Thread:

    Post  max steel on Sat Apr 02, 2016 8:06 am

    United Technologies' F-35 Engines Found to Have Recurring Flaws

    United Technologies Corp.’s performance building engines for the F-35 fighter has been beset by “recurring manufacturing quality issues,” according to the Defense Department’s annual report on its costliest weapons program.

    The contractor’s Pratt & Whitney military aircraft unit met the goal for delivering engines last year, but quality deficiencies in “turbine blades and electronic control systems resulted in maintenance activity to remove suspect hardware from the operational fleet,” according to the latest SelectedAcquisition Report sent to Congress and obtained by Bloomberg News.

    Pratt & Whitney “has taken action to improve quality surveillance within their manufacturing processes,” and manufacturing quality experts at the Defense Department have worked to ensure improvements are in place as production of the single-engine aircraft accelerates, according to the report prepared by Pentagon acquisition officials with help from the F-35 program office.

    Pratt & Whitney, the sole maker of engines for the F-35, is under pressure to hone its quality processes as the Pentagon plans to spend almost $49 billion buying as many as 2,457 engines for the fighters built by Lockheed Martin Corp. Congress has approved $6.7 billion in engine funding so far, according to the report. The Pentagon has requested money to buy 63 engines next year, increasing to 105 by 2021.

    ‘Continuous Improvement’

    Pratt & Whitney spokesman Matthew Bates said in an e-mail that its quality management “is designed to ensure safe, reliable products” and the company “is investing significant resources in advanced quality inspection techniques and continuous improvement in our supply base, which has lead to year-over-year improvement.”
    The reliability of installed engines is exceeding 90 percent “which is well ahead of 2020 requirements,” he said.

    Mark Woodbury, a spokesman for the Defense Contract Management Agency, said in an e-mail that Pratt “has quality improvement plans in place and continues to work closely with DCMA to continually improve.”

    Joe DellaVedova, spokesman for the Pentagon’s F-35 office, said in an e-mail that “while there is still work to do, Pratt has shown that they have made progress reducing the number of quality escapes,” the majority of which come from its subcontractors. The DCMA defines a “quality escape” as a process or product deviation that doesn’t meet contract requirements.

    Engine Fire

    A quality issue that DellaVedova described as minor was a second-stage engine part called a stator that had to be redesigned after a June 2014 engine fire that led to the temporary grounding of 97 F-35s from test flights. The fire’s aftermath prevented the fighter from making its international debut at the Farnborough Air Show in the U.K.

    Last August, according to the contract management agency, Pratt & Whitney had five instances of engine quality deficiencies, including in a low-pressure turbine blade, a high-pressure turbine and a “roll-post actuator.” That was most reported in a month because the “historical average is eight a year for the last four years,” the agency said.

    Separately, the agency cited Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc, a subcontractor to Pratt & Whitney, in July “for failure to notify the government of known non-conformances on drive shafts” from one of its suppliers. Rolls-Royce spokesman George McLaren said in an e-mail that “no F-35 production or flight interruptions occurred.”

    “We have evaluated procedures and processes and will continue to work closely” with United Technologies to ensure there are no recurrences, he said

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    Re: F-35 Development and News Thread:

    Post  max steel on Sat Apr 02, 2016 8:29 am

    F-35 begins qualification flights of Raytheon Raytheon's AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) among its list internally carried munitions after “cleanly” releasing the 475kg (1,050lb) inert glide bomb during a trial off the coast of Maryland.




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    Re: F-35 Development and News Thread:

    Post  JohninMK on Tue Apr 05, 2016 1:15 am

    Gets it away in a quiet corner of the US. Cold as well which will help with the heat transfer/fuel issues.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The US military chose an airbase in the state of Alaska to host its first fully functioning F-35 fighter jet, the US Air Force said in a press release on Monday.

    "Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, was selected as the new home for the Air Force’s first operational overseas F-35A Lightning IIs," the release stated. Air Force officials chose Eielson after weighing operational, environmental and cost-related factors, the release noted.

    The base is projected to host two squadrons of F-35A fighter jets slated to arrive by 2020, according to the release.

    The F-35 program has been beset by technical problems and cost overruns, pushing its expected total project cost to some $1.5 trillion over its 55-year lifespan, making it the most expensive US weapons program.


    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/military/20160404/1037479432/first-f35-alaska.html#ixzz44tgwWrJM


    Also today


    In its ongoing struggle for competency, the F-35 Lightning II conducted its first test of a air-to-surface Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW). Lockheed Martin’s F-35 has had a long list of setbacks, but last Thursday, the Pentagon announced that the beleaguered aircraft had conducted its first test launch of Raytheon’s AGM-154 JSOW, a 1,000-pound bomb.

    "The F-35 Lightning II Pax River ITF joint team, assigned to the Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 aboard Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland, released one JSOW during the flight," stated the US Navy press release. "Test aircraft, CF-05, cleanly released the 1,000-pound air-to-surface guided glide bomb from an internal weapons bay, thereby maintaining the stealth characteristics of the aircraft."

    The Navy plans to conduct several additional JSOW tests throughout the year. "Working on the multi-phase testing of the F-35 block 3F capabilities, are US government, military and contractor personnel, and industry partners from Raytheon Systems Ltd," the statement reads.

    The Pentagon offered no specifics on what was targeted during the test. With a range of roughly 80 miles, Raytheon’s JSOW C-1 is described as a flexible weapon meant to "engage moving maritime targets, while retaining its robust capability against stationary land targets," according to a company statement.

    The bomb also includes "a weapon datalink radio and modified seeker software to increase capability for the anti-surface warfare mission."


    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/us/20160404/1037477990/f-35-bomb-test.html#ixzz44u0uDwLN


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    Re: F-35 Development and News Thread:

    Post  Militarov on Tue Apr 05, 2016 10:52 pm

    "A report from Defense News says Israeli defense and industry sources are hoping to design and build conformal fuel tanks for the F-35. Right now, Lockheed Martin is working with Elbit subsidary, Cyclone Ltd., for external fuel tanks to mount on the F-35A."

    Source: http://alert5.com/2016/04/05/israel-wants-to-develop-conformal-fuel-tanks-for-the-f-35/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

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    Re: F-35 Development and News Thread:

    Post  George1 on Tue Apr 12, 2016 12:36 pm

    US Spends Another $1Bln on More Engines for F-35 Jet - Pentagon

    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/military/20160412/1037850409/us-military-spending.html#ixzz45biTuCMt


    _________________
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    Re: F-35 Development and News Thread:

    Post  max steel on Wed Apr 13, 2016 10:15 pm

    Pentagon, Pratt Reach $1.4B F-35 Engine Agreement

    The Pentagon has reached an agreement with Pratt & Whitney for the ninth low rate initial production (LRIP) lot of F135 engines, which power the F-35 joint strike fighter.

    The agreement, worth an estimated $1.4 billion over the life of the production lot, covers 66 engines, as well as spares, extra parts, and support from the Connecticut-based engine manufacturer. Specifically, the breakdown is 53 conventional takeoff and landing engines, used in the F-35A and F-35C models, and 13 short takeoff and vertical landing models used for the F-35B model.

    The engine lot also includes engines for five international partners and customers: Italy, Norway, Israel, Japan and the United Kingdom. Engines under this contract should begin delivery before the end of the year, according to a Pratt statement.

    The company also notes it expects to be on contract for LRIP 10 by the end of this month.

    The agreement is not a surprise, as the Pentagon said it had an agreement in principal with Pratt in January. At the time, Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, the F-35 program head, said that unit prices the CTOL engines dropped 3.4 percent between LRIP 8 and LRIP 10, while unit prices for the STOVL engines decreased 6.4 percent.

    “The latest agreement with the F-35 Joint Program Office continues a reduction in costs associated with engine production, and demonstrates our commitment in providing affordable and dependable propulsion for the global F-35 program,” said Mark Buongiorno, Pratt’s vice president for the F-35 Engine Program, in the statement.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    UK receives final F-35 test aircraft

    The United Kingdom has taken delivery of its fourth and final pre-operational Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), the Ministry of Defence (MoD) told IHS Jane's on 12 April.

    Aircraft BK-4 arrived at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River in Maryland in February, before being delivered to 17 (Reserve) Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB) in California for operational test and evaluation (OT&E) duties in the second week of March.

    With the handover, the UK's F-35B fleet now comprises BK-1 and BK-2 (OT&E), BK-3 (training), and BK-4 (OT&E). Further to these first four trials and training aircraft, 10 of the first 14 operational jets that have been authorised by parliament under the Main Gate 4 approval process have now been contracted. The first four to be built under the Lot 8 production contract, with the second batch of six following in Lot 9.

    The first operational unit - 617 'Dambusters' Squadron - will begin standing up with the first 14 operational aircraft and BK-3 at Beaufort Pilot Training Center at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Beaufort, South Carolina, later in 2016. This unit will transfer to its future home station at RAF Marham in the United Kingdom in 2018, and in December of that year initial operating capability - land (IOC - Land) will be declared for the F-35B force.

    The second unit - the Fleet Air Arm's 809 'Immortals' Naval Air Squadron (NAS) - will be created ahead of the start of sea trials aboard Queen Elizabeth in 2018, with the full operating capability (FOC - Land and Maritime) for the type being declared in 2023.

    As announced in the November 2015, the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), the Royal Air Force (RAF), and Royal Navy (RN) are to get all 138 aircraft that were originally requested over the life of the programme.

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    Re: F-35 Development and News Thread:

    Post  max steel on Wed Apr 13, 2016 10:41 pm

    Testing at AEDC assists in further integration of the Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missiles

    In February 2016, missile manufacturer Matra BAE Dynamics Alenia announced that the first Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missiles were delivered to the U.S. for integration and testing on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Lightning II.

    Store separation testing of the Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile has been conducted in the wind tunnels at the Arnold Engineering Development Complex here. Separation testing of the ASRAAM, also known as the AIM-132, with the F-35 was last performed in the 4-foot transonic aerodynamic wind tunnel at the Propulsion Wind Tunnel facility in 2008.

    The objective of the test was to investigate the separation characteristics of several armaments, which included the AIM-132 as well as the AIM-9X, AIM-120C, AGM-154 Joint Stand-off Weapon, GBU-32 (1,000-pound Joint Direct Attack Munition) and Paveway IV, from internal and external weapons stations of the Short Take-off and Vertical Landing and Carrier Variant versions of the JSF aircraft.

    Test data included store freestream, pseudo-freestream (i.e. aircraft model in tunnel), aerodynamic grid, captive trajectory and captive loads.

    Results from the test have supported internal and external weapons separation characteristic evaluations and structural analyses for various aircraft weapons loadings.

    According to the recent release by MBDA, the ASRAAM is intended for the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy's F-35Bs and will provide British Lightning IIs with a "highly capable, passive, within visual range air-to-air capability."

    Integration and test efforts at Edwards AFB, California, and Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, will include captive carry and safe-separation tests that will eventually lead to live shots against representative targets. The ASRAAM integration is anticipated to be a step toward the RAF and RN declaring initial operational capability with the F-35 by end of 2018. The UK has committed to purchasing at least 138 of the strike fighters.

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    Re: F-35 Development and News Thread:

    Post  max steel on Thu Apr 14, 2016 12:21 am

    Air Force Tests F-35 against Russian, Chinese Air Defense Technology

    The U.S. Air Force is using “open air” ranges and computer simulation to practice F-35 combat missions against Chinese and Russian air-defense technologies, officials said.

    The testing is designed to prepare the Lockheed Martin Corp.-made aircraft, known as the Joint Strike Fighter, for current and future threats, according to Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, Director of the F-35 Integration Office.

    Back in 2001, when the JSF program started, the threats were mostly European-centric and took the form of older Russian surface-to-air missile systems, or SAMs, known in NATO reporting as SA-10s or SA-20s, Harrigian said. Now, the threat picture is evolving, he said.

    “They have got these digital SAMs out there that can change frequencies and they are very agile in how they operate,” Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, director of the F-35 Integration Office, told Scout Warrior in an interview. “Being able to replicate that is not easy.”

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    Re: F-35 Development and News Thread:

    Post  Grazneyar on Thu Apr 14, 2016 1:42 pm

    1.4 billion for 66 engines is ~20 million per engine. The corrupt military industrial complex in US is doing great business.

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    Re: F-35 Development and News Thread:

    Post  AlfaT8 on Fri Apr 15, 2016 2:42 am

    max steel wrote:Air Force Tests F-35 against Russian, Chinese Air Defense Technology

    The U.S. Air Force is using “open air” ranges and computer simulation to practice F-35 combat missions against Chinese and Russian air-defense technologies, officials said.

    The testing is designed to prepare the Lockheed Martin Corp.-made aircraft, known as the Joint Strike Fighter, for current and future threats, according to Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, Director of the F-35 Integration Office.

    Back in 2001, when the JSF program started, the threats were mostly European-centric and took the form of older Russian surface-to-air missile systems, or SAMs, known in NATO reporting as SA-10s or SA-20s, Harrigian said. Now, the threat picture is evolving, he said.

    “They have got these digital SAMs out there that can change frequencies and they are very agile in how they operate,” Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, director of the F-35 Integration Office, told Scout Warrior in an interview. “Being able to replicate that is not easy.”

    I'd say it's damn near impossible without Russia's help. Rolling Eyes

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    Re: F-35 Development and News Thread:

    Post  max steel on Tue Apr 19, 2016 8:48 am

    ASRAAM missile tests for F-35 underway

    U.S. Air Force officials are pressing ahead with testing of the British-built Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missiles for the F-35 Lightning II.

    Service officials have conducted store separation testing of the AIM-132 Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile, or ASRAAM, at the Arnold Engineering Development Complex at Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn.

    "The objective of the test was to investigate the separation characteristics of several armaments, which included the AIM-132 as well as the AIM-9X, AIM-120C, AGM-154 Joint Stand-off Weapon, GBU-32 Joint Direct Attack Munition and Paveway IV, from internal and external weapons stations of the Short Take-off and Vertical Landing and Carrier Variant versions of the JSF aircraft," according to a service statement.

    Results from the separation tests have supported "internal and external weapons separation characteristic evaluations and structural analyses for various aircraft weapons loadings," on all variants of the F-35, U.S. Air Force officials say.

    Ongoing ASRAAM testing at Arnold Air Force Base, as well as Edwards Air Force Base in California and Naval Air Station Pautuxent River in Maryland, "will eventually lead to live shots against representative targets," service officials say.

    Initial deliveries of the AIM-132 missile from European missile-maker MBDA began in February. Once operational it will be the first British-built missile to be integrated onto the F-35 fighter. The British version of the jet is expected to hit full operational capability by 2018.

    Other F-35 partner nations include Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, Turkey, Australia, Norway, Denmark, Israel and Singapore.

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    Re: F-35 Development and News Thread:

    Post  Militarov on Tue Apr 19, 2016 11:15 am

    "Hadlines haven’t been kind to Lockheed Martin‘s (LMT) F-35. “America’s Most Expensive Fighter Jet is Also Its Worst,” Maxim wrote. “Report: The F-35’s Pilot Eject System Could KILL You And Definitely Will Maim You,” according to the Daily Caller. “The Pentagon’s Official F-35 Bug List is Terrifying,” said ExtremeTech.

    Government reports of the $400 billion program have also been scathing. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain is a major critic, and Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has said he’d consider dropping the program if he gets elected. But a Marine pilot who has been flying the F-35 for nearly four years feels differently, even if some bugs still need to be worked out.

    “I love the airplane, and it’s great to be flying something that’s newer,” Maj. Brendan Walsh told IBD. He previously flew F/A-18C Hornets, which debuted in the 1980s, but he’s now flying a so-called fifth-generation fighter with stealth technology. “Even in today’s battlefield and even with what some people call immaturities on the F-35, I would hands down rather be in an F-35 than an F-18 in just about any situation,” Walsh said.

    Preparing For Deployment

    The Marine Corps declared the F-35B variant combat ready in July, and Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121, the “Green Knights,” became the first squadron to become operational with an F-35. Since then, the Marines have been preparing for the F-35’s first deployment to Iwakuni, Japan, next year.

    A short, expeditionary runway comprised of metal sheets was used at a Marine Corps base in Twentynine Palms, Calif., to practice short take-offs and vertical landings (STOVL). “The STOVL is awesome,” said Walsh, who is the operations officer for the Green Knights. “We can deploy fifth-generation platforms in decentralized areas that make it hard for the enemy to target.”

    The F-35 has come a long way since Walsh started flying it four years ago. For example, it now takes Walsh eight minutes to hit the runway for take-off, comparable to the F/A-18, and down from two hours when he first started flying the new jet.

    He is also impressed with the F-35’s stealth, among other features, and is confident that even more advanced capabilities will come later.

    “The radar has performed well, the surveillance systems and electronic surveillance systems have performed very well, even in this configuration of the airplane, and they are only going to get better,” Walsh said.

    The Fight Over Dogfighting

    But while Walsh prefers the F-35 over his old jet, a dogfight in the new aircraft could be problematic. Last year, the military blog War Is Boring reported that an older General Dynamics (GD) F-16 outmaneuvered the F-35 in an air-combat test, setting off a firestorm of criticism.

    But the Pentagon has since said the F-35 wasn’t equipped with its full array of avionics, helmet mounted display or compete stealth coatings. It also is trying to downplay dogfighting, saying that’s not the F-35’s main mission.

    Another fifth-generation stealth fighter, Lockheed’s F-22 Raptor, was designated primarily as an air superiority fighter. But it was canceled less than halfway into its production run as costs soared, leaving the Air Force with only 187 operational planes.

    The F-35, which will have three versions for the Air Force, Navy and Marines, is seen as a multirole fighter, with production expected to hit 2,443 for the U.S. services and more than 900 for international customers. Meanwhile, China has been developing the J-31 fighter, which is believed to be made from stolen F-35 plans, and a new long-range air-to-air missile. Russia also has been expanding its radar and weapons capabilities.

    But given its advanced features, Walsh doesn’t see the F-35 doing much turning and burning against other fighters. “If you’re in a dogfight in this airplane, you did something wrong, because you should have killed everyone way before you got there.”

    Still, he said, there have been “better performances recently” in dogfighting match-ups, based on what he’s heard from operational testers, and those tests are still ongoing.

    More Work To Be Done

    Other issues continue to hang over the F-35 program. Last month, at a House Appropriations Committee hearing, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller said that he has “concerns about where the software was” and wanted Lockheed to hurry up with fixes.

    The Pentagon’s chief weapons tester has pointed out glitches in the Autonomic Logistics Information System, which helps manage diagnostics, maintenance and supply-chain issues. Walsh’s squadron tested the troublesome system, considered the “brains” of the F-35, in December, and it set up the complex server in a remote area in Twentynine Palms.

    “I have full confidence that we can deploy the server and go somewhere if we have to,” Walsh said. “I had no issues with it from a pilot’s point of view, getting into the system and signing for the aircraft and screening it as appropriate for flight.”

    An evaluation of the ejection system also found that it’s possible lightweight pilots could break their necks while ejecting. A fix is in the works, and Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work recently said he is confident ejection issues with lightweight pilots will be resolved. Also, until a software upgrade next year, the F-35 can’t fire its 25 mm cannon.

    But the evaluation of one warfighter who would fly the F-35 into combat is clear: “I feel way more survivable and way more lethal in the majority of mission sets in this airplane than with anything the Marine Corps has in the air right now,” Walsh said."



    JohninMK
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    Re: F-35 Development and News Thread:

    Post  JohninMK on Tue Apr 19, 2016 1:02 pm

    Keeping on message like that, Major Brendan Walsh is obviously a man with a bright future in the Marines Laughing

    JohninMK
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    Re: F-35 Development and News Thread:

    Post  JohninMK on Sun Apr 24, 2016 12:02 am

    Just reading the latest W-i-B go at the F-35 when I noticed the small set of steps in this photo. Just look at the design and engineering that went into that 'simple' product. With costs like that no wonder the US military is bankrupt.



    https://warisboring.com/f-35-chief-critical-logistics-software-not-really-that-critical-29842814eeba#.yb1et9nk5

    max steel
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    Re: F-35 Development and News Thread:

    Post  max steel on Sun Apr 24, 2016 1:41 am

    Should avoid War is Boring. Biased FS

    Militarov
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    Re: F-35 Development and News Thread:

    Post  Militarov on Sun Apr 24, 2016 3:06 am

    JohninMK wrote:Just reading the latest W-i-B go at the F-35 when I noticed the small set of steps in this photo. Just look at the design and engineering that went into that 'simple' product. With costs like that no wonder the US military is bankrupt.



    https://warisboring.com/f-35-chief-critical-logistics-software-not-really-that-critical-29842814eeba#.yb1et9nk5

    My friend in military that serves in Serbian Air Force still told me first hand that back in like 2010. or so, when Serbia said they would accept some preliminary offers for future fighter got documented offer regarding EF2000, where they listed prices including pilot ladders with price tag of 15.000 euros.



    KoTeMoRe
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    Re: F-35 Development and News Thread:

    Post  KoTeMoRe on Sun Apr 24, 2016 4:57 pm

    20/100 bln additional cost.

    LockMart Strategy on USAF...µ

    http://www.memecenter.com/fun/1434419/let-me-love-you


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