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Old 22nd Nov 2010, 17:22   #101 (permalink)
 
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OK, I was looking at corrosion in maritime environment, and somewhat str to wt, but put on that footing of Max Gross Weight, and weight issues that VSTOL have to deal with, makes sense. Thanks.
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Old 22nd Nov 2010, 18:09   #102 (permalink)
 
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I would not be surprised if cost is another driver, not only to buy but to machine. If the stress calcs say its ok to use ally of course.
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Old 22nd Nov 2010, 19:35   #103 (permalink)
 
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However, in my view, to go from this to talk of cancellation shows either a bias or a lack of understanding of this programme. What do you feel is the alternative to sorting it and using it for 40 years or so?
What are the French planning for the next 40 years or so?

I suspect, given that we have just signed a 50 year strategic defence agreement with France, our own nebulous, short-term, opportunistic defence planning is being rapidly re-aligned with the clear, long-term, strategic defence planning of France.
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Old 23rd Nov 2010, 08:30   #104 (permalink)
 
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Aluminium is about 55% the density of Titanium; given that the bulkhead is a pretty hefty item, I would expect the weight saving to be considerable...
On the other hand Ti is about twice as strong as Al, so one only needs circa half the amount...
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Old 24th Nov 2010, 03:41   #105 (permalink)
 
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... The performance is only equivalent to that of the F-16 ..

Wrong, simply wrong,.

... and the value of it's stealth performance against recent radars and SAW is increasingly questioned. ...

"Is increasingly questioned" by anonymous amateurs on the Iternet and by Av. Week scribblers who don't know anything technical to write about in any depth. Stealth skeptics --> citoyens of countries with no stealthy aircraft. ( Bill Sweetman -- a Brit expat? )

...

Similarily, there are those in the USAF who would prefer to buy more F-15Es and reopen the F-22 line for AD aircraft.

No, you don't understand. The F-35 is to the F-22 as the F-16 is to the F-15. The two single-engine aircraft are designed to have higher wing loading and therefore better performance at lower altitudes than their twin-engined team mates. In some respects, F-22's are not as good as F-35A's at lower altitudes.

This is a basic point that the Karlo Kopp Klaque and tail number spotters posting on the Internet don't grasp.

Air Force magazine says the USAF would like to re-open the F-22 line? There's a back issue of Air Force mag that sez the Air Force would like to re-open the B-2 final assembly plant at Palmdale! Hasn't happened yet.

The only force wedded to the F-35 are the USMC

Wrong again, the Air Force is very loyally wedded to the F-35A.
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Old 24th Nov 2010, 07:14   #106 (permalink)
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DODBuzz: Venlet Likes JSF Second Engine

Ever since Defense Secretary Robert Gates canned the head of the JSF program, Marine Maj. Gen. David Heinz, Capitol Hill aides have hinted that substantial support remained within the Air Force for a second engine for the Joint Strike Fighter. Now we have proof.

A November 19 letter signed by leaders of the House Armed Services Committee cites testimony by Adm. David Venelet, program executive officer for the JSF program. The letter was sent to Rep. Norm Dicks, chair of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee and asked him to include funding for the F136 in whatever spending measure the House might pass to fund the government once current appropriations run out on Dec. 3.

The letter, first reported by my colleague Jason Sherman at Inside Defense, says: “As you are well aware from testimony to the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Secretary Gates’ most senior military advisory and acquisition official on the F-35 program, [Vice] Admiral David Venlet, has stated that he believes in competition in the F-35 engine program.”

It is signed by outgoing HASC chairman, Rep. Ike Skelton, his replacement, Rep. Buck McKeon and four other senior HASC members.

What I find most interesting about this is how Gates will react, especially given the fact that F-35 costs have continued to rise on Venlet’s watch. Many people believe Heinz was fired by Gates largely because of his support for the second engine, although Gates cited rising program costs when he made his Feb. 1 announcement.

Here’s what Gates said when he fired Heinz: “One cannot absorb the additional costs in this program and the delays without people being held accountable.” Nothing has yet leaked out about yesterday’s Defense Acquisition Board on the F-35 but all indications are that program costs continue to rise and schedules continue to slip, none of which should be very surprising in this phase of a program like the F-35. Do we follow the logic of Gates’ February comments at the time and conclude he will fire Venlet, one of the most senior military leaders to lead a weapons program? Will Gates order Venlet to shut up or to change his publicly stated position?

Finally, let us all congratulate lawmakers and their aides on keeping this letter so quiet for so long. They may well have wanted to keep it quiet for as long as Gates remains in office. General Electric and Rolls Royce, makers of the F136, remain remarkably silent.
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Old 24th Nov 2010, 13:36   #107 (permalink)
 
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Modern Elmo -

Bloviation and attacks are not a very good substitute for facts.

"F-16 and F/A-18 class" flight performance are the basis for the JSF KPPs in those areas. Two of the F-35 variants are 7 g aircraft, wing loading and T/W are no advance on the Viper and Hornet, top speed is M=1.6, acceleration KPPs are unspectacular - why is it wrong to say so?

Eurofighter has made a logical case that while stealth is valuable, it also costs - in weight, complexity and money. The F/A-18 community advertises a doctrine of balanced survivability, including observables, reduced vulnerability, situational awareness and jamming. They are competitors, but you might want to challenge the basis of the argument rather than simply dismiss all criticism as unqualified.

There are clearly reasons in very recent history for the AF's official, public statements to reflect the SecDef's current line. And are you implying that the Air Force speaks as one on all issues? I would call that viewpoint naive at best.
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Old 26th Nov 2010, 07:13   #108 (permalink)
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Joint Strike Fighter Delayed? Not a Big Deal for the U.S. Navy
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Old 9th Dec 2010, 09:02   #109 (permalink)
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Dutch parliament shocked as cost of F-35 fighter rises to $120 million

LONDON — The cost of the Joint Strike Fighter now exceeds $120 million.

A leading partner of the U.S.-led JSF program has determined that the F-35 fighter-jet would cost at least $121 million per unit. The Netherlands said this marked an increase of 20 percent over the last year.

"This estimate includes the average price of the three versions of the F-35 over the entire production period, and estimated U.S. investments including ground equipment, simulators and includes initial spare parts," the Dutch Defense Ministry said.

In a Dec. 2 statement, the Dutch ministry issued a rare non-U.S. estimate of the aircraft's rising costs. JSF prime contractor Lockheed Martin has insisted that the F-35 would not cost more than $100 million.......

On Dec. 2, Dutch Defense Minister Hans Hillen told parliament that the sharp rise in JSF costs reflected development and production delays. Hillen also cited the rise in costs of raw material, equipment and salaries, which were expected to further increase.

Several parliamentary factions have demanded that the Netherlands, which plans to procure 85 aircraft, withdraw from JSF. The Labor Party urged the government to purchase an existing aircraft to help control procurement costs.

"As assumed last September, the adjusted estimate of the investment for the F-16 replacement project is significantly higher than the current project budget," Hillen said.

Italy Shuffles JSF STOVL Schedule, Mulls Cut In Numbers

Italy may reconsider its planned order of STOVL Joint Strike Fighters for its Air Force and has scrapped a plan to take delivery of the STOVL variant before the conventional JSF, a senior government official has said. The doubts over the Air Force's purchase STOVL JSFs and the decision to push back planned delivery of the aircraft were prompted by the UK pull out from the program, fears over costs and doubts raised over the aircraft's future in the U.S., said defense undersecretary Guido Crosetto.

"We may yet decide not to order the STOVL JSF for the Air Force, and instead order only conventional JSFs," Crosetto said. "We are discussing it right now."

The Air Force has envisaged buying 40 STOVL JSFs to replace its AMX fighter bombers, alongside 69 conventional JSFs to replace its Tornado aircraft. Currently. the Air Force retains the STOVL variant as a firm requirement, suggesting one alternative scenario could be a reduction in the STOVL order by the Air Force, as opposed to an outright cut.

The Italian navy is meanwhile seeking to buy 22 STOVL aircraft to replace the AV8s due to fly from its new carrier the Cavour.

"The UK decision and the rumors from America do not leave us indifferent," said Crosetto, who has represented the Italian government on talks over Italian JSF work share and the construction of a final assembly line for the aircraft in Italy. "Italy wanted the STOVL for both Navy and Air Force. The first thing we need to do is look closely at those we wanted for the Air Force, mainly because it costs 30 percent more and it is difficult to be the only one left sustaining it while other countries are making reductions and even the Americans are reconsidering it."

"For the navy and for the Cavour it is essential. For it to be of use, the Cavour needs STOVL aircraft. But I believe the Marines will need it, so at the end of the day the aircraft will probably be built," he said. "However, the concern is that if fewer are built, the costs will rise and we are now asking the Americans for details."

Crosetto said that in order to accommodate hold-ups of the STOVL program in the US and give time for the discussions about the type in Italy, the Italian government is scrapping a plan to request its first four deliveries in STOVL format in 2014, and will ask for conventional aircraft instead. "The first four aircraft we will take delivery of will be conventional JSFs, and we will see how the STOVL program advances," he said. "We have had informal contacts with the Americans about taking the conventional aircraft first."

Italy's original delivery plan envisioned an initial delivery of four STOVL aircraft in the Low Rate Initial Production 6 stage in 2014, with further deliveries of STOVL aircraft in 2015, 2016 and beyond. The first conventional JSF deliveries were envisaged in 2017. Switching those deliveries to 2014 means bringing forward the delivery of Italy's first conventional aircraft by three years.

An Italian defense source said that studies were now being made to reschedule the first STOVL deliveries. "But we need to see how discussions on the program proceed in the U.S.," he said.
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Old 9th Dec 2010, 09:21   #110 (permalink)
 
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A leading partner of the U.S.-led JSF program has determined that the F-35 fighter-jet would cost at least $121 million per unit. The Netherlands said this marked an increase of 20 percent over the last year.
Well, well,well.

How many stations have to close, how many (more) ships have to be scrapped, how many people (purple) are to be flung on the dung heap to justifythe purchase of this (ludicrously expensive accident waiting to happen) airframe?
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Old 9th Dec 2010, 17:02   #111 (permalink)
 
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the Cavour needs STOVL aircraft
Do they fancy getting some Harriers instead? Newly upgraded, combat proven, available right now...
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Old 17th Dec 2010, 15:04   #112 (permalink)
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Hmmm. tell me again about the corrosive environment at sea and aircraft having to be designed to withstand it......

Ares: Rust and Stealth - GAO on F-22 vs F-35

Costly corrosion problems on the F-22 caused by stealth materials and coatings have been addressed on the F-35, but risks remain, concludes a report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

The GAO's presentation to Congress on its review of the DoD's corrosion evaluation report on the F-22 and F-35, completed at the end of September, says:

"Corrosion of the aluminum skin panels on the F-22 was first observed in spring 2005, less than 6 months after the Air Force first introduced the aircraft to a severe environment. By October 2007, a total of 534 instances of corrosion were documented, and corrosion in the substructure was becoming prevalent. For corrosion damage identified to date, the government is paying $228 million to make F-22 corrosion-related repairs and retrofits through 2016."

Lessons learned have been applied, the GAO saying:

"The F-35 program is mitigating corrosion risk associated with conductive gap filler and paint by using a gap filler that is less galvanically dissimilar from aluminum, an alternative to the conductive paint, a design with fewer seams that require gap filler, and more representative verification and qualification testing. Many of the F-22’s corrosion problems were linked to problems with gap filler materials and paint. The F-35 drainage design is significantly improved with more, adequately sized drain holes. Drain holes in the F-22 were found to be too small to enable good water drainage."

But remaining risks identified include:

"Environmental and occupational health concerns drove the initial use of a nonchromated primer on the F-22 that did not provide corrosion protection, and the program later switched to a chromated primer. The F-35 has also chosen to use a nonchromated primer that has never been tested on an aircraft in a corrosive operating environment.

- No operational-level test for corrosion was conducted on the F-22 prior to initial operating capability, and none are currently planned for the F-35.

- The length of the F-22 full-scale climatic test was cut in half, and the program office for the F-35 is currently considering reducing its full-scale climatic test."

And the GAO cautions:

"The corrosion study concluded that, if the F-22 program had accomplished testing earlier in the program, many of the corrosion problems could have been addressed at greatly reduced cost and the associated readiness issues avoided. If the F-35 conducts tests that are planned and conducted properly and in full, these tests could reveal many corrosion-susceptible areas on the aircraft."

On the issue of why corrosion was allowed to become a problem, the Congressional watchdog says:

"...neither aircraft had a corrosion prevention user requirement that would drive CPC [corrosion prevention and control] as a design requirement. Further, the program offices for both aircraft only required “corrosion resistance” within the system specifications, a poorly defined and nonspecific term that is difficult to ensure incorporation into aircraft components and to verify.

And on why the F-35 should be different, it says:

"While not necessarily due to lessons learned from the F-22 program, the study identifies several important differences between the programs. For example, the F-35 program:

- has several technical performance metrics, such as sortie generation rate, that are indirectly driving actions to improve supportability, while the F-22 program did not;

- has a more robust corrosion design largely due to inclusion of more stringent Navy corrosion qualification tests;

- has a longer service life requirement (30 years vs. 20 years fo rthe F-22); and

- has a Corrosion Prevention Advisory Board where corrosion issues are discussed in detail and both the contractor and the government display a willingnessto address these issues."
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Old 18th Dec 2010, 08:46   #113 (permalink)
 
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Let's face the facts

Carrier strike capability

On a military aspect, if you want to have proper strike capability you have to go cats and traps (not ot mention AEW). Although history can provide with a few counter-examples (one..?) it is as simple as that.
On a power projection/diplomatic aspect, if you check the navies that have traditional carriers, if you check which way are going the countries seeking to have that capacity, you'll reach the same answer.

F-35

1- The whole program is pretty bonkers :
- financially : adding billions every couple of months for whatever good reason Lockheed puts up. And govts are slowly realising they are not willing to put up with it. IMHO I will not put a penny on the fact of seeing any operationnal F-35 launching from the deck of a carrier ever...
- technologically : it surely is the 8th wonder, no doubt about it (or is there...I seem to recall the F-22 was already supposed to be the 8th wonder...). However who needs this kind of technology? Surely you always want to stay ahead of the rest (especially for our friends from across the pond), but as someone put it in this thread what we are lacking today is more kalashnikov-style aircraft, able to operate with limited support from distant fobs... Surely we need to be ready for the old-fashioned BVR stuff, however again IMHO pouring all those billions in an aircraft which is going to be outdated by UAV technology during its lifetime, no matter how hard it is to accept it by the jet jockeys..., seems to be quite irresponsible.
- the b****y thing will not be operationnal (if ever) before loooong loong time. It is already late in many respects and checking recent history (Merlins, Rafales, NH90, Typhoon) ALL recent programs have been late by MANY years

2- Where do we go from here?

After all the above, the sensible solution seems to go for :
- F-18 : pretty good capabilities, pretty cheap (at least compared to the F-35), can last until 2030 (and probably beyond as is usual) plus you get to keep the "special relationship"...
- Rafale: same good capabilities, can last till 2040 and beyond, goes in the current strategic mood, you just need to get used to the garlic...
- forget about "navalising" Typhoon. It doesn't work (Jaguar...). Btw Rafale was designed as a naval aircraft and then adapted for the Air Force.

Dead simple isn't it...??

Enjoy xmas
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Old 18th Dec 2010, 10:13   #114 (permalink)
 
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"After all the above, the sensible solution seems to go for :
- F-18 : pretty good capabilities, pretty cheap (at least compared to the F-35), can last until 2030 (and probably beyond as is usual)"

Aircrew trained/training on the type on US Navy exchange postings. Super Hornet can be wired for EW (as requested by the RAAF) and can also be configured for AAR in addition to the strike and air defence roles. We would obtain cost savings if bought off the shelf along with the US Navy's continuing orders from Boeing. It's available as either a one or two seater depending on the customers requirements.

The issue is not cost but that a buy brings no benefit to UK industry. So to handle this delicate political issue, why not seek offsets like some bare airframes from Boeing to then fit, if practical, at least some of the electronics paid for but now being left over from MR4A?

But the F-35 is next generation and has first day of war capability I hear you say?

Now where did I put those pills
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Old 18th Dec 2010, 19:11   #115 (permalink)
 
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What the hell does first day of war capability mean exactly? Sounds like more jargon to me meaning simply "very good"? What kind of aeroplane will we require for the second and third days then??

FB
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Old 18th Dec 2010, 19:26   #116 (permalink)
 
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FB,

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What kind of aeroplane will we require for the second and third days then??
One good enough to survive Day One's IADS unless you're prepared to wait for Uncle Sam to go in there and clear out a double-digit threat for you.

S41
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Old 18th Dec 2010, 22:22   #117 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by Lonewolf 50
What is it about Ti that is less attractive than Al for the structure? I am having trouble accepting that it's a weight issue alone.
Maybe because Aluminium is generally easier to work than Titanium - and much cheaper.
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Old 19th Dec 2010, 07:03   #118 (permalink)
 
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The fundamental issue here is that the UK 'Government' has apparently abandoned any further attempt to produce its own military aircraft at sensible cost. European collaboration (Tornado, Eurofighter) has been proven to be inflexible and no less costly than going it alone, surprise, surprise. American collaboration ditto, perhaps even moreso, given the phenominal cost (albeit providing phenominal capabilities) of current USA design philosophies.

Yet another UK manufacturing industry heading for oblivion, in the same sad fashion as home-produced motor cars, motorcycles, commercial aircraft, trains, ships, etc etc etc. Yet another nail in the coffin encasing the corpse of the UK economy. Its all downhill from here.
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Old 19th Dec 2010, 07:20   #119 (permalink)
 
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One good enough to survive Day One's IADS unless you're prepared to wait for Uncle Sam to go in there and clear out a double-digit threat for you.

S41
Sounds like the economic route....
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Old 19th Dec 2010, 09:32   #120 (permalink)
 
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Glad Rag,

That's the point. We could have got BAe to bang out Gripens for us and accepted that we were not going to try and keep up with the USAF in stealth but continue to provide a legacy PGM bomb truck and escort platform at lower cost or in greater numbers for the same cost. The downside was that we couldn't reasonably take on a modern IADS alone and it would've been less "prestigious".

The flip side of this is that we have a tiny front line who's scale is too small to provide any serious flexibility.

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