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F-35 Cancelled, then what ?

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F-35 Cancelled, then what ?

Old 19th Dec 2012, 18:25
  #601 (permalink)  
 
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LW50 - The Marines are doing things differently. They are going for an early IOC using an interim software standard (Block 2B) that only runs on pre-2016 jets, so as it stands they have about enough to equip one squadron, which is forming up with hand-picked pilots. 2B also has Mach, speed, altitude and g restrictions and has internal weapons only - JDAM, LGB and AMRAAM.
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Old 19th Dec 2012, 20:46
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LO: noted.

The weapons system (as with most things, part of a life cycle acquisition process) will get revisions and fixes throughout its life. I seem to recall a problem with the first or second F-14 in hydraulics, which lost the plane. For a long time the engines were subject to stall at high angles of attack during certain high demand maneuvers.

Did that make the aircraft NOT ready to deploy?

No.

When the F-14 finally got the better engines (and as some put it, the engines they should have had in the first place) that problem went away, but it had already been providing fine service before that.

I do appreciate the software issue being a potential show stopper. I am modestly familiar with CH-60 (now MH-60S) comms short comings early in its life, familiar with SH-60 block upgrades, and slightly familiar the weapons systems delays for AH-1Z. (Systems integration issues).

Each had a different impact on schedule and deployment, for sure.
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Old 19th Dec 2012, 22:34
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PWe - I assume you're aware that the core of the 32000 pound thrust GE F110-GE-132 is originally from the B-1's F101, and that the F101 core was also the basis of the CFM56? And that GE had a notion in the 1990s to develop a 40000 lb thrust fighter engine with the upgunned CFM56-7 core?

No I wasn't but thanks for pointing it out. Its academic, given how close the F-136 came (and went) and the planned future engine developments.
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Old 20th Dec 2012, 00:12
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LW - The problem is that it takes a long time to fix that stuff. There were 700 F-14s built and only 140 (new-build or retrofit) ever had the F110 engine. Out of 563 F-111s, 200 E/F versions were the only models deployed long-term overseas by TAC. The F-22 entered service with a huge wish-list of upgrades of which only a few will be done by 2020.
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Old 20th Dec 2012, 00:38
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Off topic on F-111Ds...

LO -

As ever, very interesting. I may have gotten my wires crossed, but in the dim and distant past, I always thought that Cannon's F-111Ds were involved in DESERT STORM? I'd heard that the D's avionics were a maintenance nightmare, but that when they worked, it was very impressive.

S41
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Old 20th Dec 2012, 03:28
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Originally Posted by LowObservable
LW - The problem is that it takes a long time to fix that stuff. There were 700 F-14s built and only 140 (new-build or retrofit) ever had the F110 engine. Out of 563 F-111s, 200 E/F versions were the only models deployed long-term overseas by TAC. The F-22 entered service with a huge wish-list of upgrades of which only a few will be done by 2020.


I so wish that there was a way of thanking or recognising posts worthy of praise.

Low Observable has highlighted perfectly just how statistics can be altered or modified to justify just about any side of a debate.

Great points and thank you for taking the time to post them.

Last edited by glojo; 20th Dec 2012 at 03:30. Reason: Awful spelling miss steaks
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Old 20th Dec 2012, 08:30
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Lonewolf_50
"JSF fan, I am reasonably familiar with how the US Navy and US Air Force fill the billets in Fleet Introduction squadrons.

You first take pilots who fly something else, run them through a conversion course (which typically involves a lot of OEM experts, folks from the Test Center, folks who were involved in RDT & E, and so on) and from that create a training cadre for your first classes to go through and begin to populate / man / standup your line squadrons.

With most new aircraft, the FIT team itself (and what the USAF call it, I forget their term) is still in a learning mode after a number of classes have gone through.

I may just be a nitpicking old fart, but the term "expert" looks to me to be a bit of hyperbole.
How many Fleet Introduction Teams have you been on, JSF fan? "

I have no problem with what you wrote, however the topic is training the 36 instructors and not just pilot conversion.
I have no issue with the article saying ""paving the way for 36 expert pilots to be trained next year as instructors for the new stealth warplane"

Infact would be very surprised if the the 36 future f-35 instructors weren't already 'expert' qualified instructors or have reached an 'expert' standard deemed suitable to become instuctors. Average pilots don't become instructors as I see it.
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Old 20th Dec 2012, 08:51
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"Average pilots don't become instructors as I see it. "

And that quote clearly shows how little knowledge of aviation you really have.
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Old 20th Dec 2012, 11:32
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I have no great knowledge of the F-35 programme, nor am I either a fan or detractor, but I would offer the following general advice:


Several years ago I was in the position of visiting many aviation companies, both aircraft manufacturers, and sub contractors building everything from radars to wheels. Generally we were always met/briefed by one of three distinct types:

1. The recently retired (actually not normally very senior) ex-military type, recruited for his experience and social networking contacts - whose pitch was along the lines of "hello mate, you know me, so can trust me when I say this is a great piece of kit...."

2. The boffin or scientist who did actually have patches on the elbows of his jacket, and looked like he should have a piece of chalk behind his ear. Brain the size of a planet, and very enthusiastic about his subject. His main problem was being able to open the door to get in and out of the room.

3. The "company man". The phrase that springs to mind is "snake oil salesman"!

My point, one that hopefully is obvious to anyone with half a brain - treat what the company says with a heavy degree of scepticism. As a rule they only ever tell you the good news, and reluctantly tell you the bad (with a good spin) when it has become blinding obvious to everyone.


One other point I would make, the more software dependent (and system integrated) modern aircraft become the more a new series of problems, configuration, documentation and testing become, to the extent that operating cost comparisons might well be skewed such that modern aircraft actually become more costly to maintain than older generation ones - its just that the costs are not as apparent. Older generation aircraft costs are easier to appreciate if you see them sitting u/s on jacks in a hangar. More modern aircraft may look more effective, sitting serviceable on the flight line, but if they can't fly because of a software fault and you're literally burning far more money developing and testing your software which is the best option in reality?

In the world of computer software actually writing it is the sexy part, which people want to do. Correctly documenting it, preserving configuration and especially thorough testing is the cinderella part of the industry that it is difficult to find anyone who wants to do. Thorough testing of software (F-22 crossing from 179E to 179W?) is extremely difficult, if not actually impossible (given time and money constraints) to achieve, and normally needs repeating for even very minor changes.

I once knew a guy whose mantra was "there's no such thing as a simple software change", and I personally believe he wasn't very far from the truth!

Last edited by Biggus; 20th Dec 2012 at 14:39.
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Old 20th Dec 2012, 14:17
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Wise words, brother.
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Old 20th Dec 2012, 15:01
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S41 - the D's never went to Desert Storm. The E/F versions had a detuned version of the avionics on the D. There is a great history at this link:

https://acc.dau.mil/CommunityBrowser.aspx?id=37599

There was a plan to fit the FBs, Ds, Es, and Fs with a common modernized avionics suite in the 1980s, but I believe that the post-Cold War drawdown cut it off before many actual mods had been carried out.
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Old 20th Dec 2012, 16:02
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Originally Posted by JSF Fan
Average pilots don't become instructors as I see it.
I did. I claim no greater skill than average pilot. I think my instructor tours made me a slightly better pilot.

I will concede that when a new aircraft comes on line, depending on what's afoot, there may be competition for the billets to get into the new community, or community managers may be able to influence assignments branch to require a screening or a "pack plus" performer for such assignment, or even above average pilots.

The 36 are the cadre I reffered to, if your go back and look at my post.
You first take pilots who fly something else, run them through a conversion course (which typically involves a lot of OEM experts, folks from the Test Center, folks who were involved in RDT & E, and so on) and from that create a training cadre for your first classes to go through and begin to populate / man / standup your line squadrons.
We all become as expert as we can.

OK, my grumpy response to PR stuff is ended.

Thanks, LO. Nicely framed point.
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Old 20th Dec 2012, 16:46
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Biggus

One of many perceptive posts....

Correctly documenting it, preserving configuration and especially thorough testing is the cinderella part of the industry that it is difficult to find anyone who wants to do.
In 1987 I inherited all development, production, repair and PDS activity at a certain well known company. They had only one such software engineer covering the activities you list, because it was so difficult to find anyone. He was a Type 2. His wages were paid entirely from the MoD PDS contract, which covers the configuration work you mention and, ultimately, maintains the Safety Case.

In 1992, when the RAF Chief Engineer directed that such activities were to cease forthwith, and slashed funding, the company had no option to give him notice of redundancy. He was in the middle of doing a safety upgrade to Sea Harrier Nav Systems. I moved heaven and earth, transferred money around, cancelled lesser priority contracts and sold my mother to keep him in a job. I told the company to book his hours to something else. When the CE’s lackeys at Harrogate sought confirmation the work wasn’t being done, we all lied through our back teeth and assured them that, as instructed, the work wasn’t being done and the kit no longer safe.
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Old 21st Dec 2012, 02:35
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Don't let's forget that there are instructors and there are instructors...

There's one bunch that can fly on the numbers, present a stall package so polished it hurts your eyes to watch and who think that nought in military aviation is more important than the upwind turn. These people are a necessary evil and are essentially just the aviation equivalent of the broody hen. Cock all use but for the first bit of training (which ends when you fly a warplane)....and they even have ranks of uselessness, from B2 all the way to A1 - which only shows how long they've been off the frontline. (Some of the blighters haven't even flown a front line jet!)

I heard a rumour that F-35 didn't need any of these chaps. Allah be praised.

On the other hand there are the Air Warfare Instructors, Qualified Weapon Instructors, WTIs, Weapon School grads and other 'patch wearers'. They are experts.

Anyway...back to the thread.
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Old 21st Dec 2012, 14:05
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OK, I'll bi--

Sod it, no - Merry Xmas instead
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Old 21st Dec 2012, 14:34
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Who am I to argue?
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Old 23rd Dec 2012, 08:12
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Biggus wrote:
In the world of computer software actually writing it is the sexy part, which people want to do. Correctly documenting it, preserving configuration and especially thorough testing is the cinderella part of the industry that it is difficult to find anyone who wants to do. Thorough testing of software (F-22 crossing from 179E to 179W?) is extremely difficult, if not actually impossible (given time and money constraints) to achieve, and normally needs repeating for even very minor changes.
Nail, meet hammer

Having said that, as a software/systems person (and yes, quite heavily involved with some aspects of certain JSF equipment) a cautionary observation: not all software faults are software related. It's often a convenient label to obfuscate an issue. It is amusing to watch software bugs being addressed by swapping PCBs/LRUs and reloading the original software...

Last edited by Cyberhacker; 23rd Dec 2012 at 08:13.
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Old 23rd Dec 2012, 09:03
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To give an indication, from personal experience, of the issues.

I worked on a large government programme where software changes were first raised at a software engineering review board; if successfully passed it would then proceed to a sub-system engineering review board; then a system engineering review board and finally a programme design review board.

At each stage about 10-12 different departments were represented who would raise questions and issues which would have to be actioned, reviewed and closed before proceeding to the next step. If things went without issue it might take a year, some changes were still being reviewed after 2 years - and this without the work actually starting.

On another programme changes were further graded by priority as the funding and engineering team size were both limited. Emergency and priority 1 changes would be added to the build list; priority 2 would be placed on a wish list; priority 3 would be dropped as it was accepted they'd never be implemented, always be pushed down by new emergency/priority 1 changes.

Once that was out of the way the changes then had to be added to a build list for a planned configuration change and into it's test programme.

And by the time all that had been done, the change may have been rendered either unnecessary because of a further software change, or another change required it to go back to stage 1.

The same went for documents. I worked on system interfaces and had to produce/update ICDs, the weeks and months involved attending boards, updating and changing minor changes such as acronym, data dictionary and name changes, let alone substantial changes.

We had an entire, substantial, team who dealt with nothing except configuration control. We even had involved processes for defining under which category a document/change should be listed and numbered and 4 levels of change numbering.

Last edited by ORAC; 23rd Dec 2012 at 09:05.
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Old 23rd Dec 2012, 10:10
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and if the balloon went up somewhere all that "process" would be canned instantly and the hardware put into action...

sad really
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Old 23rd Dec 2012, 11:21
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ORAC, you put up this link a few pages ago...did you read it?
in summary, the middleware cuts it back from 3-4 years to 6 months

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter leverages COTS for avionics systems - Military & Aerospace Electronics
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