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F-35 Cancelled, then what ?

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F-35 Cancelled, then what ?

Old 23rd Aug 2018, 17:12
  #11541 (permalink)  
 
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Frosty:

Out of idle interest, what's your basis for saying that?
Well…..

We know (thanks to the Eastern Daily Press and Wing Commander Butcher, OC 617, that the first four jets did not turn a wheel between their arrival on 6 June and Thursday 28 June, when one flew the first sortie, to some fanfare.

My sources (sauces?) tell me they've flown 21 sorties since then - including a number of three-ships connected with the RAF100 flypast over London and Fairford, and the 617 flypast at Fairford. If true that doesn't leave many for the high tempo of training that we'd surely normally have expected in preparation for IOC in four months time, and the participation in Exercise Cobra Warrior and the ‘war week’ that are supposed to precede that.

I had thought that perhaps the pilots were busy practising all the tactics etc. that can't be flown in the real world in the synthetic environment, but of course the sims aren't up and running yet.

In the EDP interview, Wg Cdr Butcher was quoted as saying:

"But I know the aircraft took off and landed safely, and now we just need to see how the processes [that] are in place [work] now that we have done one flight.

“We need to make sure the engineers are going through the correct processes, we need to make sure the logistics and supply chain are there and in place to support us."


(I'd probably be accused of being unduly cynical if I was to opine that perhaps those are the kinds of things that are usually checked before a squadron moves into its permanent home?)

“And we need to make sure that any outstanding actions that may have come from this first flight are covered off. So it could still be a few more days before we fly again.”

Wg Cdr Butcher said the plan for the first flight was to “stay mainly local”, so that the systems could be checked, and the performance of the aircraft could be observed.

Asked why it has taken three weeks to get from the initial UK landing to the first flight, he said that “in big handfuls” acceptance checks on the jets have had to be carried out.

“We have had to move them across from the American electronic servers across to ours, and do all of the data checks and make sure all of the data is there from an airworthiness perspective, to then verify those and accept them on to the squadron,” he said.

"None of it is anything that we didn’t plan for in terms of contingency, so we have been working through those in a methodical fashion to make sure that we can get the jets into a serviceable state to take them flying in a safe manner.”

“We have had some bits of missing data during that transfer, so we have been working through that.


(I'd perhaps be accused of having a Cold War mindset if I asked whether this would have been avoided had a new RAF fighter spent a little time at Boscombe Down prior to the stand up of the first operational squadron?) But in the brave new world of today, perhaps, as Wing Commander Butcher told the EDP:

"But, this is all business as usual for us."

One wonders, perhaps, whether this is the consequence of the reported early partial (80%) availability of full ALIS functionality? Or whether the Anvil infrastructure programme isn't running a little late? Or whether the reports of the "Norfolk ploughman" accidentally digging up a major fibre optic spine with is JCB may be less fanciful than one would have hoped? Or perhaps whether bringing the jets over two months early to satisfy the Secretary of State's wish to have them in the flypast may have not had some unintended consequences?

All of that is half-baked speculation based on rumour and scuttlebutt, and I genuinely hope that there's a logical, rather less hysterical explanation. I wish that there had been a robust comms/press engagement strategy so that journos weren't left assuming the worst and asking damn fool questions. Maybe the truth is that with Marham not fully ready, and having supported the RAF100 events, someone thought quite sensibly that 617 deserved a bit of Block Leave in July and August, prior to what will, no doubt be a very busy period for the Squadron?

Or maybe it's an inevitable consequence of introducing what Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, the Chief of the Air Staff called“the most advanced and dynamic fighter jet” in RAF history, and one that represents an historic moment in British airpower, promising to “take the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy to a whole a new level of capability?”
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Old 23rd Aug 2018, 18:56
  #11542 (permalink)  
 
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Cheers Jacko. I suspect the answers are all there in the latter part of your post, to differing degrees. They did some across early and I suspect some working to get stuff finished at Marham may have been less than thrilled at the news. There's a lot to sort out and maybe folk did get some leave too. None of that speculation as to causes sounds especially hysterical to me, nor yet especially alarming.
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Old 23rd Aug 2018, 19:26
  #11543 (permalink)  
 
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How the USMC bet it's future on F35--and lost...

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/how-the-us-marine-corps-bet-its-future-the-f-35-stealth-16712


some crossover there..
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Old 23rd Aug 2018, 21:47
  #11544 (permalink)  
 
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It's a bit needy this aeroplane isn't it ?
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Old 23rd Aug 2018, 23:24
  #11545 (permalink)  
 
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Whoever dreamed up the notion of using the F-35 for CAS and binning the A-10 knows naught of CAS for sure!

The USAF Fighter Mafia is a very deep state evil thing!
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Old 23rd Aug 2018, 23:58
  #11546 (permalink)  
 
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With no Sims and little if any flying continuity, the first tour F35 pilots must be suffering. Still, plenty of SDOs and secondary duties to keep them occupied.....
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Old 27th Aug 2018, 06:28
  #11547 (permalink)  
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Last edited by ORAC; 27th Aug 2018 at 06:50.
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Old 27th Aug 2018, 06:54
  #11548 (permalink)  
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Old 27th Aug 2018, 09:10
  #11549 (permalink)  
 
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Doing what it does best.
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Old 27th Aug 2018, 15:56
  #11550 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by glad rag View Post
Doing what it does best.
Being an airshow attraction?
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Old 28th Aug 2018, 12:12
  #11551 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by glad rag View Post
Doing what it does best.
So yet one additional role for this multi-role aircraft?
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Old 28th Aug 2018, 20:52
  #11552 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by KenV View Post
So yet one additional role for this multi-role aircraft?
On the idiot box "for sure"
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Old 29th Aug 2018, 06:22
  #11553 (permalink)  
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I thought they were testing a new visual stealth mode.....
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Old 29th Aug 2018, 09:17
  #11554 (permalink)  
 
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Joking aside, what will be the modus operandi of the RAF F35 fleet, purely night ops?
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Old 29th Aug 2018, 10:17
  #11555 (permalink)  
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I’m sure the locals will love the sound of the F135 in the circuit at 3AM....
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Old 29th Aug 2018, 10:58
  #11556 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by glad rag View Post
Joking aside, what will be the modus operandi of the RAF F35 fleet, purely night ops?
Seems very unlikely.
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Old 29th Aug 2018, 11:12
  #11557 (permalink)  
 
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In that case, ken, a change of colour (color) scheme would seem to be appropriate ..
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Old 30th Aug 2018, 14:57
  #11558 (permalink)  

 
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Tony Osborne has a piece in today's Aerospace Daily & Defense Report reflecting a lot of what Jackonicko says at post #11541.
Questions Surround UK F-35 Month-Long Flying Break Defense content from Aviation Week
He also poses questions about maintaining currency, which
can be done in the high-fidelity simulators. But none of these are yet operational in the Integrated Training Center (ITC) being constructed at RAF Marham,
.

airsound
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Old 30th Aug 2018, 15:10
  #11559 (permalink)  

 
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And on the same day that the article above appears, the MoD announces
British-armed F-35B Lightning jet takes to the skies
- referring to the first F-35B flight with MBDA ASRAAMs
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/b...s-to-the-skies

But it seems from the pictures that ASRAAMS can only be carried externally. Does that make MoD's reference to
Britain's new stealth fighter
a bit optimistic?

airsound
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Old 30th Aug 2018, 15:11
  #11560 (permalink)  
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“We have had to move them across from the American electronic servers across to ours, and do all of the data checks and make sure all of the data is there from an airworthiness perspective, to then verify those and accept them on to the squadron,” he said.

"None of it is anything that we didn’t plan for in terms of contingency, so we have been working through those in a methodical fashion to make sure that we can get the jets into a serviceable state to take them flying in a safe manner.”

“We have had some bits of missing data during that transfer, so we have been working through that.
That couldn't be the unmentionable "shades of Chinook" code debacle coming back to haunt us, could it?
 

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