Military AircrewA forum for the professionals who fly the non-civilian hardware, and the backroom boys and girls without whom nothing would leave the ground. Army, Navy and Airforces of the World, all equally welcome here.
ncidentally, the RN pilots currently flying Hornets in the states are not really on 'exchange' per se, are they? Instead they are filling slots that the MoD pays the USN extremely handsomely for. While it made an awful lot of sense to build up a seedcorn of cat and trap experience when the UK was lined up to buy the C model, is this massive expense another one that can be culled (maybe not completely) to deliver further savings to the cash-strapped MoD?
The RN are paying only for the training of these pilots (and the living costs as per an exchange Officer) so the figures involved are not as astronomical as you indicate. Plus, its not just about the landing and taking off part of the carrier they are learning. It is whole maritime operations that they are being immersed in, experience which will be invaluable to the UK with F35.
How many Harrier Sqns had a night CVS capability for example? None
I seem to recall that our pilots on 3(F) Sqns were day and night CR
There is a difference between being night CR and being night boat qualified. That said, it untrue to say that no Harrier Sqns had a night CVS capability. The Harrier force, even at the end, had a cadre of night CVS qualified pilots.
Last edited by Justanopinion; 25th Jun 2013 at 13:08.
Just to be clear, the planned Nov 10 Ark Royal deployment was when the Harrier Force was due to get its 'rubber stamp' as having a deployable night CVS capability, but as we all know that never happened.
Throughout the Herrick years JFH's CVS capability declined, quite understandably, to a level that was dangerously low. You could count the number of night LSO's on one hand excluding your thumb! The point I make is that there is a big difference between having a few guys who now and then can pop on and off the 'boat' and having a genuine fully deployed maritime capability. Without wishing to sound like a stuck recored JFH was in the process of regenerating that, but that took time and effort in the post Herrick stand-down.
What concerns me about the proposed set up on the QE Class carriers is how do you train for a rolling landing on a carrier, so you can bring back some weapons etc, without constant practice? I am aware that most likely it is not as hard to do as catching a wire on a pitching deck the skill level needed though is in my view much higher than doing a vertical landing be it during the day or at night, when it is perfectly possible to practice vertical landings on shore. This brings the concept of a surge of aircraft to the carrier during times of tension, something of a safety concern does it not? Unless someone is going to tell me that LM has it all covered and the rolling landings are all going to be done under 100% software control....
A lot of the training is/will be simulator based. Warton already has a simulator set up for SRVL, there may even be a Yout*be video of it (check the main F-35 thread).
The bigger issue is getting everyone else to be ready for a large, busy flight deck. At least there is a team of people looking into this issue and both deckcrew, aircrew and engineers are being appropriately positioned to give them some exposure to this dangerous environment prior to QEC.
All we need to see is a signed document from CAS saying that he will embark his jets as soon as the CO indicates his ship is ready in all respects to conduct aviation.
The second sentence will indicate that he will disembark them only when the Air Management Organisation is fully up to speed, the Air Group is fulfilling ATO tasking, the Air Weapon supply team have produced weapons to surge capacity and these have been loaded on jets and dropped, the Yellow Coats can marshal, chain and chock a fourship in all weathers, whilst another fourship is taxying for take off. The jets will remain embarked until every Fighter Controller in the fleet has worked a fourship through Red Crown procedures and the JFACCHQ have established resilient comms for a week or two and Flyco have exercised being b#ggered about from dawn to dusk. Repeat all for night ops. When all this is crimped the TG in its entirety will take part in a COMAO based exercise of Neptune Warrior type scope and we'll call it good.
The third sentence will indicate that the jets will be back as soon as any of the above notice any degree of skill fade and the process will start again.
So come along CAS, a quick scribble and we'll all know that the RAF is up for MarStrike and all it entails! And at that point the RN may well shut up! Should only take 6 months a year embarked at the outside.
By the way - loved the Typhoon multi role stuff, not a dry eye in the house!
The state of auto landings today will be improved by JPALS and better software for F-35B/Cs in future, including Bedford Array and indications via ship to aircraft for optimal landing spot as seen via HMDS III down the axial deck WOD (no crosswind) CVF.
Last edited by SpazSinbad; 26th Jun 2013 at 03:20.
The USN has just carried out a successful catshot with a UAV. Landings have been carried out for some time. The writing is and has been on the wall for some time. The era of manned aircraft for military purpose is nearing the end.
In addition, aircraft carriers are more and more vulnerable from a long range missile attack.
Spaz and White Ovies, thank you for your replies, I appreciate that it is part of Plan A that a large amount of training will be done in Sims, this would of course be fine if anyone knew how the F35B and indeed the other types did actually perform in flight. As I understand it there was a simulator that allowed F35Cs to catch a wire on a QEC carrier, as far as I am aware it had not been demonstrated that the F35C can catch a wire on a carrier. Once the concurrent flight testing and development has been completed, the software is a war fighting version and the computing hardware in the plane is as planned updated, as well as the actual proof of concept of SRVL actually having been demonstrated and exhibited reliably on a QEC or other large deck, I am sure that an accurate sim can be programmed and used as a training aid. I am not 100% sure that I would like to see a pilot make his first night landing on a pitching deck when bringing back a heavy and expensive weapons load. Only time will tell what is the safest way to ensure that pilots can land safely on a QEC in any conditions.
I'm not going to feign unwarranted concern. SRVL trials with UK F-35Bs aboard CVF will not occur until 2018. Until then the concept will be tested as much as possible in both simulation and ashore - with some obvious limitations. It is best to keep in mind that the fall back IF SRVLs became an accepted practice aboard CVFs (this is not clear today but may be in the future as indicated) then given conditions that make an SRVL not safe - a Vertical Landing will be carried out. Best to dump a cheap weapon than put the ship, the crew, the aircraft and the pilot at risk during an SRVL when a good ole VL will do it every time. Those conditions will be worked out. I take comfort that this SRVL has been under development now for more than a decade. It is obvious to me that if it was not a worthwhile operation that interest in it would have waned by now. There are many years to go until an SRVL can be conducted on CVF with wind straight down the axial deck (a limitation of shore based SRVL practice for a start).
It has been stated that SRVLs will be safe in Sea State 6 conditions (possibly only by day but who knows). All this will be sorted by practical experience in five years time.
It has also been made clear time and time again now by all the pilots who have used the FMS then flown the actual aircraft that the simulations are as accurate as they have ever experienced. There has even been comment that a VL in the sim is more difficult than the real life VL. I can only go on these public statements myself.
'PhillipG' said: "...I am not 100% sure that I would like to see a pilot make his first night landing on a pitching deck when bringing back a heavy and expensive weapons load...." Why on earth do you think a pilot will ever be in this situation? Pilots will be tasked according to their experience and ability - which will improve over time. A pilot making their first night landing will be carrying out a VL. After that will come night SRVLs if these are warranted. Before that will be many simulation rides and of course daytime flying before going out there at night.
Bear in mind the 'day for night' capability of the HMDS II/III night vision which will improve pilot confidence in what they can see out there compared to how it is all black (without NVGs) these days. Factor in the JPALS assisted Bedford Array gizmos which may well supplant IFLOLS even on CVNs if it is so deemed, then things look great for all round day/night any weather (within defined limits) F-35 ops.
Of course every aspect of F-35 ops will be refined with more testing and experience. It is a marvellous time for F-35 pilots and they know it.
Last edited by SpazSinbad; 26th Jun 2013 at 12:51.
Spaz, I was trying to pick up the point that ORCA was making, if there is a surge of planes and pilots to the carrier in time of tension, it is perfectly possible that a pilot takes off heavily laden in the day light goes some distance, the plane exhibits a fault/ the conflict comes to an end / he is retasked from his primary mission and needs to reconfigure and returns to a carrier in sea state 6 with say Storm Shadows under his wings and 1,000 bombs both on the wings and carried internally. As I understand it there is no way this plane can land back on a CVF vertically, a rolling landing is called for. Woops sorry never done one for real, sorry I will have to dump two Storm Shadows and 4*1,000 lb smart bombs to get back to the carrier. Carrier crews need to be carrier qualified is what I am saying, yes the Falklands showed that RAF crews could deploy to Hermes and Invincible, where all Harrier landings were vertical as was practiced regularly by the RAF. As far as the software and other aids, yes I am sure that they help going down the experience curve of attaining carrier landing skills, I do assume though that you are not suggesting as you post seems to that hands free landings are possible in all conditions, or are you?
I think it's a fair assumption that it'll never bring back 1000lbers as that weapons days are very limited. And to bring back a SS it has to be integrated onto the platform before it's OSD...lets wait on that one too...
'PhillipG' the F-35B/pilot combination will dump down to carry out a VL if the conditions for SRVL are beyond aircraft/pilot limitations. What these are we - the public - do not know - yet. Simulations will be carried out along with dry land simulated flights to a CVF deck but with variable winds, unlike CVF at sea steaming directly into the wind OR as required within limitations (determined by testing beforehand or during 2018).
'orca' is a making a point about limitations of wind whereas I'm making the point that unlike angle deck landings, with wind down the angle - that angled flight deck is moving away to the right all the time during a conventional angle deck approach, making lineup just that more difficult compared to an axial deck SRVL, where the option will be to have the wind straight down the centreline at all times, making lineup that much easier for the SRVLer.
IF the VACC Harrier carried out the first completely automatic VL back in May 2005 (with a beginning iteration of JPALS in use) then I foresee the F-35B being able to do a lot when JPALS (soon in use) will be available. We see the X-47B using the almost finished JPALS now for completely automatic conventional landings on CVN. Way to go if needed. As for a completely automatic SRVL on CVF - probably not because of the braking precision required by the pilot but I will wager the SRVLer will be able to take over from an automatic approach quite close to touchdown. We'll see.
I do concur that an axial landing would prevent the continual input of right corrections to keep up with a deck mis-aligned by 10 or so degrees to the way it's moving.
Or indeed the temptation to line up in the STOVL manner only to find yourself well left of centreline with the LSO shouting at you to come right. (Errr...might have done that once or twice!)
I was actually just being flippant about the (small) task the bridge has of aligning boat with wind and the fact that the only time they manage it is when the CO's in the Lynx and the nav track takes you straight onto a rock...or similar!
(I will admit to not being an expert here - I have never flown a Lynx or crashed into a rock.)
Keep it going, you still have the ability to "stir it up" in a very reasoned manner. Upsetting a few people is one of those things that we can all do, it does not mean anything on a personal basis, as well you know!!
I now confess to all other PPRuNe posters on this topic that I was Sharkey's QFI/Flt Cdr when he went through the JP course at Linton in the late 60's. Not the perfect stude (is there ever one?) but I wish that there had been more like him!
For 'PhillipG' above worried about F-35 Sims: Recent praise for F-35 Simulators...
F-35C Pilots Praise Simulator’s Capabilities 24 Jun 2013 RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
“ARLINGTON, Va. – The Navy’s first F-35C Lightning II joint strike fighter squadron commanding officer instructor pilot says the aircraft’s cockpit simulator will be “light years ahead of earlier simulators.”
“The simulator is very good,” said Capt. John Enfield, commanding officer of the Navy’s F-35C fleet readiness squadron Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 101. “Given the advanced capabilities that this aircraft brings to the fight, there are a lot of things that are best trained in the simulator anyway. From a basic flying skills standpoint it’s great, and from an advanced combat standpoint it is light years ahead of anything we’ve seen previously.”...
...“The simulator here is unlike any simulator I’ve flown before,” Tabert said. “It’s high fidelity. All the tasks that are required to safely operate the aircraft can be done in the simulator. It’s very close to how the airplane actually flies. You have full 360-degree views. You can tank [aerial refuel] in it. We won’t have an issue training pilots predominantly in the simulator and having less time in the airplane.”..."
Spas, yes Sims can be very good for training pilots and others, my point is that there are major uncertainties about the way the plane flies and the actual war fighting software has not been written, the probe of concurrency. It will be interesting to compare and contrast the abilities of the F35 according to the SIM now and the abilities of the F35 in the SIM when the aircraft's final flight characteristics are programmed in. I assume the Sims were designed to replicate the as promissed by LM performance, not the as yet delivered performance. The project has as we all know suffered much death by PowerPoint, let us hope that pilots expectations of the real plane are not raised too high by unrealistic sessions in the initial Sims.
'PhilipG' I think you have said this: "... let us hope that pilots expectations of the real plane are not raised too high by unrealistic sessions in the initial Sims." in error? What part of the phrase in quote from Tabert above is misunderstood? "...It’s very close to how the airplane actually flies...."
There are plenty of quotes elsewhere that support this pilot experience in the sims. There are other sims not flown by line pilots which test actual control laws which are very accurate.
Any changes to aircraft control software / characteristics are replicated in all the sims as required.
Last edited by SpazSinbad; 27th Jun 2013 at 19:26.