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Old 26th Mar 2011, 19:01   #181 (permalink)
 
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sort of STOVL Gripen,

low observable, how does that work then ?!I appreciate the spirit of what you're saying, but as regards air-to-air stuff the Sea Harrier had AMRAAM and even the GR7/9 had AIM9L or others...
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Old 27th Mar 2011, 14:27   #182 (permalink)
 
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I did not mean to upset anyone. Writing in a bit of a hurry.

The mishap rate on Harriers is known, and I believe has remained high for its largest user.

Not that it is a bad design, but it was designed for its era and a mission. Hence lots of work on VAAC to automate the powered-lift mode.

As for air-to-air, most Harriers have not been very good at it. (Again, design/mission trades). The FA2 had a remarkably good weapon system, but still does not match contemporaries in speed and agility.

By STOVL Gripen, I meant that payload and range for the STOVL did not have to be outstanding - but that simplicity would have been desirable.
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Old 27th Mar 2011, 15:25   #183 (permalink)
 
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LO,

I appreciate what you're saying ( though the phrase 'troll' springs to mind ! ) but the Harrier is / was rather good at A/A, and the accident rate - while 1 crash is a tragedy let alone more ) was better than the type's contemporaries ? -

I was a simple berk vagueley involved in flight testing of various Harrier variants, there are people on this site much better quailified to comment.
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Old 27th Mar 2011, 15:36   #184 (permalink)
 
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UKDS 2007 - Chapter 4 - Aircraft Air Accidents, Casualties and Flying Hours
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Old 27th Mar 2011, 18:20   #185 (permalink)
 
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Wonder what they are as a proportion of their respective fleets.
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Old 27th Mar 2011, 22:15   #187 (permalink)
 
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Ahh, the age old instructors trick, trying to make me do stuff myself.

I tried that once and got told to **** off by my stude. Happy days. (And yes, they got a good mark for that cat question).
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Old 28th Mar 2011, 14:14   #188 (permalink)
 
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Correct me if this is wrong, but I believe that figures showed that 62 out of 140-some first-generation Harriers delivered to the RAF were lost, and the Marines lost 42 of 110 AV-8As - and in the mid-80s, this was the experience. The AV-8B/GR5 was only just entering service.

Also: The Pulitzer Prizes | Far From Battlefield, Marines Lose One-Third of Harrier Fleet
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Old 28th Mar 2011, 15:18   #189 (permalink)
 
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Re Harrier losses, I believe it has been commented that the early Harrier 1 accident rate - particularly in the case of the U.S.Marines - was due to pilots being trained on helicopters ' because the thing hovers, doesn't it ?!' rather than fast jets, which might have proved handy.

This is just an observation from a non-pilot, but it's interesting the Harrier and Jaguar ( and to an extent the Tornado ) were originally prototypes or 'design hangovers' for grander things, ie the P1154 and TSR2, both of which seem in hindsight to have stood excellent chances of being lemons !

It could be said the Harrier worked out rather better than the 'exercise in drag, on losing one Adour the other will get you to the scene of the accident', rarely exported, Jag'...

As for earlier designs working out well compared to more ambitious creations, I get the strong feeling there would have been a Harrier 2++, if people had known how the F-35B development was going to go !

Last edited by Double Zero; 29th Mar 2011 at 11:26.
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Old 15th Jul 2011, 15:21   #190 (permalink)
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And the cost continues to go up....

Ares: A Billion Here, A Billion There

Credit where it is due for Steve Trimble's reporting of overruns -- now estimated at $1.15 billion, or $40 million per aircraft -- on the first three low-rate inital production (LRIP) batches of Joint Strike Fighters.

A billion here, a billion there, you might say, but these disclosures, while not unexpected, are very important.

Since March 2010 -- after SecDef Robert Gates fired program director Maj Gen David Heinz, and a Senate hearing disclosed new cost estimates for the fighter, Lockheed Martin and its supporters have been arguing that the Pentagon's estimates are too high.

Their principal weapon in this fight has been a chart showing, purportedly, that "actual" JSF costs have consistently been lower than government estimates.



But as I reported last May, the "actuals" weren't actuals:
And the LRIP contracts with Lockheed Martin are only part of the answer. They don't include the engine - responsible for a large part of the CAPE increase - and none is fixed-price and none has been completed. (The LRIP-1 jets are due to be signed over in September, the LRIP-2 contract is 65 per cent complete and the LRIP-3 has 70 per cent left to go.)
It was already clear by then that the LRIP jets were late and getting later. Even in September 2009, the first two LRIPs were promised in mid-2010 (and, of course, the September 2010 date went by the board and the LRIPs are only now starting to be delivered. And delays mean overruns, both because the jets accrue overhead just sitting on the ramp, and because they reflect the fact that they are taking more work hours, and more redesigned parts, to complete.

Warnings were sounding inside the program. In March 2010 we cited Bob Cox's report on manufacturing, based on Defense Contract Management Agency reports:
They portray a manufacturing disaster, with tasks running months behind schedule and suppliers unable to meet deadlines because they were not given final designs in time. To get airplanes in the air, parts were removed from airframes further back on the production line - which in turn have to be repaired in the same time-consuming out-of-sequence manner. And the delays are already rippling into low rate initial production, with the first two deliveries slipped into the last quarter.
And so, today, we're looking at actual costs that are much more closely aligned with the estimates produced by the Pentagon's Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation office.

Next question: Why did Lockheed Martin bosses compare contract numbers with CAPE's estimates of actual costs, when they already knew the the early LRIP jets would cost far more than the contract value?

Small wonder that even mild-mannered Sen John McCain is showing signs of impatience. Meanwhile, The Economist has started to go negative on the program...
---------------------------------------------------------------

DefenseNews: Senators Question Move to Shift Funds to JSF

The top two senators from the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee are threatening to oppose the Pentagon's request to shift $264 million from other areas of the defense budget to cover cost overruns in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.

"Based on the current information submitted to the Senate, I intend to oppose the Department's 'reprogramming request' to transfer $264 million for unacceptable cost overruns on the F-35 program," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said in a statement.

In a July 14 letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, McCain and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said they need more information before they approve the request. They even want to know how much it would cost to terminate the F-35 program right now.

In addition to the $264 million, the Defense Department has told the Senate panel it needs to find an additional $496 million to pay for the remainder of the cost overruns on the first three lots of production aircraft, the letter said. "The Committee is concerned about three quarters of a billion dollars in increases in these three contracts since last year," the senators wrote.

The proposal to shift funds to the F-35 program was part of a $5 billion reprogramming request signed June 30 by Pentagon Comptroller Robert Hale and sent to Congress for approval.

For starters, McCain and Levin want to know whether the government is legally bound to pay for these cost overruns. If they do not approve the reprogramming request, they want to know what the consequences will be. The senators also want know if there are any alternatives to reprogramming for covering these costs. "How does the Department intend to prevent excessive overruns in the future and how will the Department ensure that taxpayers will not have to pay for them?" McCain and Levin wrote.

Their letter is not the first sign that the Senate panel is fed up with the growing costs associated with the Pentagon's most expensive weapon system. The 2012 defense authorization bill passed by the Senate committee in June included language that would require prime contractor Lockheed Martin to absorb 100 percent of the cost overruns for the next buy of F-35 aircraft.

It would also require the Pentagon to use a fixed-price contract for Lot 5, the buy currently being negotiated. Although the Pentagon is already using a fixed-price contract for Lot 4, it still shares the burden of any cost overruns with the contractor.

During the committee's markup of the bill, McCain put forward an even stricter amendment that would place the program on probation if costs rose by 10 percent. And, if costs continued to rise at that rate for more than a year, the program would be terminated.

The amendment never made it into the bill as the committee failed to pass it by a vote of 15-15. But McCain has promised to introduce it again when the full Senate debates the bill later this summer.
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Old 15th Jul 2011, 16:02   #191 (permalink)
 
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How many delivered to date?
If program is already at Lot 5, program cancellation appears a curious course of action ... but how many are actually out there?
Looks like Opeval and RDT & E phases still in progress.
From: http://www.dodbuzz.com/2011/04/04/21686/
2011 Q1
Quote:
The F-35As flew 82 times against a plan of 62 flights
F-35Bs flew 101 flights against a plan of 62 sorties. Performed 61 vertical landings last quarter.
F-35C carrier variant flew 16 of 18 planned flights
Two production model F-35As flew seven sorties.
30 F-35B planes in production under the LRIP 2 and 3 batches.
IOC of 2012 still not likely.

So, there was a May delivery of A model F-35 to the USAF, and up to now they've got two. OK. B model trundling along.

Some interesting comments on various web sites about FYDP wallet shrinkage for the next ten years. (Well, gee, who saw that coming? )
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Old 19th Jul 2011, 13:06   #192 (permalink)
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But, but, we're all getting the same spec.... aren't we?

Defense News: Britain, U.S. Propose F-35 Fighter Exchange

The United Kingdom has proposed trading F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft with the United States, according to a Pentagon letter to the U.S. Congress. Under the proposal, the United States would give the United Kingdom one of its carrier variants (F-35C) of the F-35 in exchange for a short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) version, called the F-35B.

The trade, which the Pentagon describes as "mutually beneficial" and "cost neutral," requires a legislative amendment to the 2012 defense authorization bill. The Pentagon requested the amendment in a June 14 letter from Elizabeth King, assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs, to Vice President Biden, in his role as president of the U.S. Senate.

The United Kingdom decided last year, as part of its Strategic Defense and Security Review, to stop buying the F-35B. Instead, the Royal Navy will only buy the F-35C, which is being designed for conventional takeoffs and landings on aircraft carriers. The cost-savings measure resulted in the U.K. having an extra F-35B on its hands. The United States, which is buying the F-35B for the U.S. Marine Corps and the F-35C for the U.S. Navy, was not scheduled to receive its F-35Bs until later. A third variant, the F-35A, is being developed for the U.S. Air Force.

Under the exchange, the United Kingdom would have to cover any costs required to upgrade its F-35B aircraft so that it would be identical to the version the U.S. had planned to buy, according to the letter.

The United Kingdom would also be responsible for any unique requirements it has for the F-35C.

Under the plan, United States would get an F-35B two years earlier. This means $10 million in additional operations and maintenance costs for the Marine Corps in 2013 and 2014. This would be due to increased flight hours, fuel, training costs, etc.........
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Old 19th Jul 2011, 13:25   #193 (permalink)
 
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I'm just glad we don't have an enemy worthy of such an expensive fighter.

GB
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Old 4th Aug 2011, 07:16   #194 (permalink)
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JSF force grounded (again....).

The failure must have violent for all ground testing to be stopped as well.

With the F-22 fleet still grounded, there must be a bit of thumb sucking going on back in the Pentagon.

Ares: Stand Away From The JSF, Please
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Old 4th Aug 2011, 07:32   #195 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ORAC
But, but, we're all getting the same spec.... aren't we?

Defense News: Britain, U.S. Propose F-35 Fighter Exchange

The United Kingdom has proposed trading F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft with the United States, according to a Pentagon letter to the U.S. Congress. Under the proposal, the United States would give the United Kingdom one of its carrier variants (F-35C) of the F-35 in exchange for a short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) version, called the F-35B.

The trade, which the Pentagon describes as "mutually beneficial" and "cost neutral," requires a legislative amendment to the 2012 defense authorization bill. The Pentagon requested the amendment in a June 14 letter from Elizabeth King, assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs, to Vice President Biden, in his role as president of the U.S. Senate.

The United Kingdom decided last year, as part of its Strategic Defense and Security Review, to stop buying the F-35B. Instead, the Royal Navy will only buy the F-35C, which is being designed for conventional takeoffs and landings on aircraft carriers. The cost-savings measure resulted in the U.K. having an extra F-35B on its hands. The United States, which is buying the F-35B for the U.S. Marine Corps and the F-35C for the U.S. Navy, was not scheduled to receive its F-35Bs until later. A third variant, the F-35A, is being developed for the U.S. Air Force.

Under the exchange, the United Kingdom would have to cover any costs required to upgrade its F-35B aircraft so that it would be identical to the version the U.S. had planned to buy, according to the letter.

The United Kingdom would also be responsible for any unique requirements it has for the F-35C.

Under the plan, United States would get an F-35B two years earlier. This means $10 million in additional operations and maintenance costs for the Marine Corps in 2013 and 2014. This would be due to increased flight hours, fuel, training costs, etc.........

Note that the F-35B for the RN was a development model, for test & training only... and the swap has it going to the USMC as a production model, for operational service.

That is where the "upgrade" comes in... production-spec aircraft have different equipment and software packages from development aircraft.
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Old 4th Aug 2011, 07:40   #196 (permalink)
 
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The aircraft was AF-4... which has had more major system failures than any other development F-35... this is its 2nd, both involving the electrical system.

That's 2 of the 4 "major incidents" in the development phase... there was another electrical system failure on AA-1, and a software bug that grounded the whole fleet (you kinda need the fuel pump to keep working above 10,000 feet).

F-35 fleet grounded after electrical subsystem failure
Quote:
The incident marks the third grounding order for the F-35 fleet since last October, and the second in five months involving the AF-4 test aircraft.
In this case, the Honeywell-built integrated power package (IPP) failed during a standard engine test following a maintenance check at 08:30 on 2 August, the JPO said.



The IPP is primarily used as both a starter for the engine and a back-up electrical system, supporting the two main generators. In March, the IPP proved its worth by activating after both generators shut-down with the AF-4 still in flight. The power generated by the IPP allowed the flight control system to keep operating until the pilot landed.



That incident also triggered a fleet-wide grounding in March until Lockheed fixed a flaw with a new generator system design introduced on AF-4. Some aircraft remained grounded for several weeks until the problem was fixed.
I wonder if the IPP was subtly damaged in the March incident.
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Old 4th Aug 2011, 14:46   #197 (permalink)
 
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I am waiting for AF-4 to be nicknamed "Christine", like one particularly troublesome F-117A...
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Old 4th Aug 2011, 16:54   #198 (permalink)

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The object of any development programme is to sort out problems before the type enters service.

As such serious failures during the programme (especially when you still have the aircraft to study the failure) are pure engineer's gold. Only programme managers think otherwise.
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Old 4th Aug 2011, 17:12   #199 (permalink)
 
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Very true... but this also underscores the good sense of stretching out JSF development, versus some former program bosses who bet on no serious problems.
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Old 9th Aug 2011, 17:58   #200 (permalink)
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And the death spiral begins.....

DoD Might Cut Jets from 5th F-35 Batch

The Pentagon might have to cut the number of F-35 Lightning II fighters it purchases in an upcoming buy to cover increased development costs in early model jets, unless Congress approves a $264 million funding transfer, according to U.S. Defense Department documents.This comes in response to threats by the top two senators from the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee who have opposed cuts to other areas of the defense budget to cover cost overruns in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program.
DoD asked Congress to approve the JSF money transfer in a 91-page, June 30 omnibus reprogramming. Congress has yet to OK the measure.

The cost overruns surround 31 of the single-engine jets purchased over the past five years, according to a Pentagon acquisition document. The aircraft were part of the first three low-rate initial production (LRIP) buys.

"If the reprogramming request is not approved, additional funding within the JSF program will be diverted to cover these costs," the document said.

The additional funds would cover development cost increases involving "both airframe and propulsion contracts," the reprogramming document said......
"Based on the current information submitted to the Senate, I intend to oppose the Department's 'reprogramming request' to transfer $264 million for unacceptable cost overruns on the F-35 program," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said in a statement.

In addition to the $264 million, the Defense Department has told the Senate panel it needs to find an additional $496 million to pay for the remainder of the cost overruns on the first three lots of production aircraft, according to a July 14 letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta from McCain and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.
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