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More delays for the F-35

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More delays for the F-35

Old 31st Jan 2012, 18:04
  #261 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by orca
Whilst we have one of them listening, could we ask the French for a little help?
Can you quickly explain to us why having Aeronavale pilots flying Rafale M is better than simply embarking a few Armee de l'air chaps every now and then?
In France, Armée de l'air would like to swallow Aéronavale.
They already succeeded in taking UAVs and SAMs from the Army, they developed the combat rescue (you know, when helicopters remain on standby for days, even weeks..) to keep their choppers flying, they experiment sea rescue with their helicopters, they even tried anti-piracy patrol with the AWACS... facing incredible cuts, they try desperately to take the assets from the other services.
- Aéronavale is much older and senior than Armée de l'air (first century celebrated last year) and admirals will not give away so easily.
- Air Force people just don't want to go at sea (everytime they are embarked on carriers, they need to be shuttled back home every two months - maximum - to be replace by others) For the same reason, their choppers crew prefer airfields and airbases to open country and bush camps along with the Army choppers...
- more than the plain technique of landing on carrier deck, operating at sea (maritime strike, ASW, coastal or blue ocean patrol) request some familiarity with naval operations. The majority of Aéronavale pilots are bridge-qualified, and will take a command (frigate, carrier, LPD) in the future. So they are sailors - simple as that.
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Old 31st Jan 2012, 23:04
  #262 (permalink)  
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I am reading posts regarding aircraft the F-35 will replace, one of those listed is the A-10! Rather than dig myself into a hole I will ask what are the thoughts on the F-35 as a ground attack aircraft being flown in daylight?

Originally Posted by airforce-technology
The requirement is for: USAF F-35A air-to-ground strike aircraft, replacing F-16 and A-10, complementing F-22 (1763); USMC F-35B – STOVL strike fighter to replace F/A-18B/C and AV-8B (480); UK RN F-35C – STOVL strike fighter to replace Sea Harriers (60); US Navy F-35C – first-day-of-war strike fighter to replace F/A-18B/C and A-6, complementing the F/A-18E/F (480 aircraft).
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Old 1st Feb 2012, 03:54
  #263 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by glojo
Was the F-35 selected by the United States after a 'winner takes all' elimination contest held against an aircraft built by Boeing? Why were all these MAJOR issues not picked up during these elimination tests?
Originally Posted by glojo
My question was... Why was this fundamental requirement not part of the acceptance evaluation when both aircraft were competing for this contract? Other aspects were tested to evaluate abilities so why not at the very least do land based tests to see if the thing can catch the wire?

Because the aircraft in the evaluation competition were technology and process demonstrators, NOT prototypes!
Thus the X-32/X-35 designations, rather than XF-32 and XF-35.

They were built and evaluated to show that the manufacturers had a good handle on the process of designing and building complex airframe structures with the composite materials specified, and that they were capable of producing something that came pretty close to what they had estimated it would.

The actual airframes were NOT required to be representative of the actual intended design.

Indeed this was very noticeable with the Boeing X-32, which was built and flown as a tailless delta, but when it didn't provide the predicted performance Boeing changed their proposed configuration for the actual fighter to a conventional main wing & horizontal tail design.

You think LM screwed up, think what Boeing would have done if they had won... they couldn't even get their wind-tunnel/computer flight simulations for the general configuration right, what would they have gotten wrong with the detailed design and development?
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Old 1st Feb 2012, 12:32
  #264 (permalink)  
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I hear there will be a decision this year, whether or not to proceed with a navalised gripen demonstrator, in partnership with the MoD...

As for LM screwing things up, my personal opinion is that their expectations of what the technology can deliver are higher than the maturity of said technology...for now
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Old 1st Feb 2012, 12:39
  #265 (permalink)  
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''As for LM screwing things up, my personal opinion is that their expectations of what the technology can deliver are higher than the maturity of said technology...for now''

Sean, shouldn't that be 'LM's willingness to lie and obviscate in order to keep JSF sold'?
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Old 1st Feb 2012, 12:50
  #266 (permalink)  
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"I hear there will be a decision this year, whether or not to proceed with a navalised gripen demonstrator, in partnership with the MoD..."

Think about that: built by a company with NO experience of building carrier aircraft, maybe assisted by a company whose last experience of carrier aircraft was in the 1960's with the Buccanner, with guidance from an MoD whose abilties at contract definition are minimal.
Now hows that for a project to go wrong, overbudget and get cancelled when its too late?
Especially when the buy can only be for around 50 airframes - there simply won't be any demand elsewhere, the French will be there first with the Rafale
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Old 1st Feb 2012, 13:17
  #267 (permalink)  
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Thank you Greenknight for that reply but would we not expect some type of demonstration to see if the aircraft is fit for the very basic role that is required?

Hindsight is always a useless talent but all our armchair critics seem to have this talent in abundance, however when I want to buy an aircraft to replace the F-18 then I would want to make sure the thing can at the very least take off and land on the deck of a carrier.

I assume that US Naval air stations have arrester wire capability where this could demonstrated?

I must repeat that I am a fan of the F-35 and still hope it arrives on time to join our only carrier capable of operating it.
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Old 1st Feb 2012, 13:55
  #268 (permalink)  
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Perhaps I can help here - I worked on the JSF programme with the specialist ship suitability team, and have a pretty good knowledge of the arresting hook system.

The X-35 programme was, as said here before, a demonstrator for basic technologies, and that didn't include the complex matter of testing the arresting hook system.

I worked with the team designing the hook and can confirm that the design they came up with (after a number of changes) was fully approved by the many US Navy subject matter experts from NAVAIR who conducted a string of reviews. (The US specification does not, as far as I know, specify a minimum distance between gear and hook - it does specify around 30 other parameters, all of which the design met).

The whole business of getting arresting hooks to work is actually highly complex and difficult. The USN make it look easy because they are extremely good at it.

LM are trying a redesigned hook point and a new damper to regulate hook bounce. If those don't work, they are going to have to design some form of extending hook or move it aft - and that could be a real problem. However, they are not there yet.

Finally, the arresting hook issue is not the biggest faced by the F-35 programme - read the Congressional quick-look report for the rest.

Hope this helps, best regards,

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Old 1st Feb 2012, 15:16
  #269 (permalink)  
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Hi Engines
Both your very good self and GreenKnight have certainly put forward excellent points and I hope I am not being out of order? Clearly it is unfair to be pointing a finger at any one particular party and these problems are unfortunately leaking out into the public domain.

I have read that report and as you rightly say there are some horrible hurdles to climb over.
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Old 1st Feb 2012, 16:07
  #270 (permalink)  
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GloJo - Indeed, the QLR paints a picture. Overall, probably its scariest aspect is the prediction that, since the first year of tests has invalidated the program's faith in modeling and simulation ("testing is validation" - Bunkum!), there are more mines in the waters ahead.

I suspect that it was leaked either (1) to prepare the ground for FY2013-onward budget cuts or (2) as an antidote to the saturation bombardment of propaganda, not only by LockMart but by its mouthpieces.

Fortunately, Panetta has listened, which is why production is being held flat for a few years.
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Old 1st Feb 2012, 19:34
  #271 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Milo Minderbinder
"I hear there will be a decision this year, whether or not to proceed with a navalised gripen demonstrator, in partnership with the MoD..."

Think about that: built by a company with NO experience of building carrier aircraft, maybe assisted by a company whose last experience of carrier aircraft was in the 1960's with the Buccanner
So..... no different to LM with the F-35C then
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Old 2nd Feb 2012, 14:24
  #272 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Seanthebrave
hear there will be a decision this year, whether or not to proceed with a navalised gripen demonstrator, in partnership with the MoD...
And to be tested on which ship ? HMS Ocean ???
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Old 2nd Feb 2012, 14:50
  #273 (permalink)  
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How would I know, I'm not the programme chief; I posted it in the forum as an interesting political development!
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Old 5th Feb 2012, 11:39
  #274 (permalink)  
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The F35's real cost

I didn't find an earlier reference to the lates GOA rapport so here it is,
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program office underreported the average cost per flying hour for the aircraft in the 2010 SAR. The average, steady-state O&S cost per flying hour was reported as $16,425 (fiscal year 2002 dollars). Program officials told us that the number of aircraft used in the estimate for the Air Force’s inventory was not accurate and the estimate also did not project for future cost growth above inflation. The estimate included approximately 528 extra aircraft that when calculating the average cost per flying hour, resulted in higher flight hours and lower average costs per hour. Further, according to the SAR, some of the F-35’s O&S costs were intentionally excluded from the estimate to enable comparison with the antecedent system, the F-16 C/D. Costs for support equipment replacement, modifications, and indirect costs were removed from the F-35’s cost per flying hour since they were not available for the F-16 C/D. Officials calculated that the revised cost per flying hour for the F-35 was $23,557 (fiscal year 2002 dollars), or 43 percent higher, after including the excluded costs, projecting for future cost growth above inflation, and correcting the number of aircraft. However, they noted that the total O&S life-cycle cost reported in the SAR for the F-35 was accurate because it was calculated separately from the average cost per flying hour.
From an article in a Dutch website dedicated to the F35
JSF Nieuws.nl » Laatste JSF nieuws : Kosten per vlieguur sinds 2010 dramatisch hoger
Feiten over kosten per vlieguur

Enkele andere feiten die de minister bekend zijn (op basis van Pentagon Selected Acquisition Reports):
- In 2002: costs F-35 per hour: US$ 9.145
- In 2005: costs F-35 per hour US$ 9.737
- In 2010: costs F-35 per hour US$ 16.425
- Latest numbers (US GAO 12-340) : costs F-35 per hour US$ 23.557
These numbers are not including inflation, 2002 base numbers standard.
from 9.145 to 23.557 = 2.576 fold increase in a mere 10 years timeframe.
And this for a fighter that was initially promised as being cheaper to operate than a F16 and easier to maintain (that concept also went out of the window long time ago).
Also its initial acquisition price has more than doubled, also almost 2.5 times as much as originally envisioned.
Earliest IOC for the A model now set at 2020, maybe.

A simple calculation would mean that the Netherlands without a very substantial increase in budget spending for the F35, can now afford
35 iso the originally planned 85 planes.
It seems that the JSF critics in Holland where right all along when they
claimed many years ago that they ultimately wouldn't have sufficient funds to acquire and operate more than 36 frames.
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Old 6th Feb 2012, 08:34
  #275 (permalink)  
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Here's a goodly bit of PR. Haven't seen it on PPRuNe and actually nicked it off Rum Ration.

F-35B Ship Suitability Testing - YouTube
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Old 6th Feb 2012, 09:52
  #276 (permalink)  
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Apparently there is an "outside" driver for some of the F-35 cost increases and redesign delays:

China's Role In JSF's Spiraling Costs | AVIATION WEEK

Originally Posted by aviation week and space technology
Feb 3, 2012
By David Fulghum, Bill Sweetman, Amy Butler
Washington, Washington, Washington

How much of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s spiraling cost in recent years can be traced to China’s cybertheft of technology and the subsequent need to reduce the fifth-generation aircraft’s vulnerability to detection and electronic attack?

That is a central question that budget planners are asking, and their queries appear to have validity. Moreover, senior Pentagon and industry officials say other classified weapon programs are suffering from the same problem. Before the intrusions were discovered nearly three years ago, Chinese hackers actually sat in on what were supposed to have been secure, online program-progress conferences, the officials say.

The full extent of the connection is still being assessed, but there is consensus that escalating costs, reduced annual purchases and production stretch-outs are a reflection to some degree of the need for redesign of critical equipment. Examples include specialized communications and antenna arrays for stealth aircraft, as well as significant rewriting of software to protect systems vulnerable to hacking.

It is only recently that U.S. officials have started talking openly about how data losses are driving up the cost of military programs and creating operational vulnerabilities, although claims of a large impact on the Lockheed Martin JSF are drawing mixed responses from senior leaders. All the same, no one is saying there has been no impact.

While claiming ignorance of details about effects on the stealth strike aircraft program, James Clapper, director of national intelligence, says that Internet technology has “led to egregious pilfering of intellectual capital and property. The F-35 was clearly a target,” he confirms. “Clearly the attacks . . . whether from individuals or nation-states are a serious challenge and we need to do something about it.”
The F-35 issue was ducked as well by David Shedd, deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, but not the impact of cybertheft on defense spending and operational security.

“I am not going to talk about the F-35, Shedd says. “I’d be sitting with the secretary having a counseling session. The answer is absolutely yes. The leaks have hurt our efforts in that it gives the adversary an advantage in having insights into what we’re doing. It should be clear that whether there are leaks on the technology side or that affect preemptive decision-making, they are very damaging to the intelligence community.”

Those closer to the program are less equivocal about the damage that cyberintrusions are causing the JSF program.

“You are on to something,” says a veteran combat pilot with insight into both the F-35 and the intelligence communities “There are both operational and schedule problems with the program related to the cyber data thefts. In addition, there are the costs of redressing weaknesses in the original system design and lots of software fixes.”

The subject also was addressed during Pentagon briefings about President Barack Obama’s budget for 2013.

“We are very attentive . . . to cybervulnerabilities in weapon systems, ours and those of others,” says Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter. “It’s part of the modern world. It’s a highly computerized airplane. Like all our other computer systems, we have to be attentive to it.”

In July 2011, then-Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn pointed out that a foreign intelligence agency had victimized a major defense contractor and extracted 24,000 files concerning a developmental system. That is important because a decision to redesign a compromised system depends on whether the lost information would help the intruder develop similar systems and generate methods of attack and defense. Some U.S. officials have pegged the costs at tens of billions of dollars.

There is some empirical evidence to support this concern. China has made a habit in recent years of regularly rolling out new aircraft designs, including the J-20 stealth prototype strike fighter and a series of new unmanned aircraft that look like U.S. designs such as the Global Hawk and Sensor Craft.

Nonetheless, the Pentagon’s ardor for the strike fighter has not dampened.
“We want the airplane,” Carter declares. “We want all three variants. At the same time, there is the issue of cost and the performance of the program in this difficult time when we are trying to reach full-rate production. That’s still a concern. We’ll ride up that curve to full-rate production when it’s economically and managerially prudent to do it.”

Despite the proclamation of support for the program, the Pentagon is expected to reduce by 179 aircraft the U.S. buy of F-35s through 2017 in the forthcoming fiscal 2013 defense spending request, according to a Reuters report. If approved by Congress, this would dash the hopes of Lockheed Martin to swiftly ramp up production and lower per-unit prices, a goal tied to the company’s campaign to sell the aircraft abroad. The Pentagon’s reasoning for slowing production is to reduce the impact of yet-unknown problems that could still arise from the flight-test program. In addition, the Block II software package is late. It was slated for release to the flight-testing fleet by the end of last year.

An early concern about a possible avenue for hacking into stealth aircraft, the F-35’s Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL), is no longer suspect. It was dropped as an add-on to the F-22 and B-2 that would allow stealth aircraft to communicate without being detected. Program insiders say MADL was scrubbed as a “pure money issue.” MADL was designed for high throughput, frequency-hopping and anti-jamming capabilities with phased-array antenna assemblies that send and receive tightly directed radio signals.

The F-35 program may have been vulnerable because of its lengthy development. Defense analysts note that the JSF’s information system was not designed with cyberespionage, now called advanced persistent threat, in mind. Lockheed Martin officials now admit that subcontractors (6-8 in 2009 alone, according to company officials) were hacked and “totally compromised.” In fact, the stealth fighter program probably has the biggest “attack surface” or points that can be attacked owing to the vast number of international subcontractors.

There also is the issue of unintended consequences. The 2009 hacking was apparently not aimed at the F-35 but rather at a classified program. However, those accidental results were spectacular. Not only could intruders extract data, but they became invisible witnesses to online meetings and technical discussions, say veteran U.S. aerospace industry analysts. After the break-in was discovered, the classified program was halted and not restarted until a completely new, costly and cumbersome security system was in place.

There is another view of what is affecting JSF and why. A former senior staffer for the U.S. Senate contends that the F-35 program’s problems reflect diminishing interest in manned aircraft whose performance is limited primarily by its aircrew.

“I think the biggest issue facing the JSF is that there has been a profound shift in the military’s perception of the value of manned aircraft compared to unmanned aircraft,” he says. “I’ve had long conversations with a Marine Corps forward air controller who has just returned from Afghanistan. He pointed out that an F/A-18 can be kept on call for 15 minutes, but an unmanned Reaper is there for eight hours. The day of the fighter pilot is over. There has been a seismic shift in the military’s value judgment of manned and unmanned aircraft.”

However, that is a disputed analysis.
The JSF and its mission of penetrating integrated air defense systems will not be threatened by unmanned aircraft despite cost issues, says a retired aerospace official who has been involved with the F-35 throughout its life.
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Old 7th Feb 2012, 08:54
  #277 (permalink)  
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Wot!!! ....No steam

The quality of the youtube footage is certainly impressive..

After watching this clip I had a vision of hundreds of electricians stood in a line passing buckets laden with volts all being poured into a box labelled EMALS.
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Old 7th Feb 2012, 09:14
  #278 (permalink)  
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Great video, Glojo, thanks. The B looks very stable in the hovver. It looks like there's quite a bit of sideways force on the nose leg at times - I'm sure they've noticed.

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Old 7th Feb 2012, 23:26
  #279 (permalink)  
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Great to see that the flight control laws are performing well in the STOVL regime. Many years of UK testing on the Boscombe Down VAAC and tweaking by both sides of the Atlantic. Bravo! Courtney, the side loads look large on some of those VLs but if it didn't look dangerous how would the pilots maintain the mystique of vertical ops?!!
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Old 8th Feb 2012, 02:37
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F-35C Getting Jiggy With It! F-35C Drop Test

"Uploaded by LockheedMartinVideos on Apr 9, 2010
Lockheed Martin's F-35C Lightning II carrier variant ground-test article, CG-1, undergoes drop testing at Vought Aircraft in Dallas one of 53 tests planned for CG-1 at Vought. On March 27, CG-1, was dropped 95 inches at 20 feet per second, with an 8.8-degree pitch, 2-degree roll, and 133-knot wheel speed, simulating a carrier-deck landing. During the testing, 500 sensors are monitored, with 2,500 points collected per second. The F-35C will be the Navy's first stealth fighter. In addition to ground testing, flight test continues, with more than 170 test flights logged. During the first quarter of 2010, the three F-35B test aircraft at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., outperformed flight test requirements, completing 33 flights compared to the 29 required. Twenty-eight of the flights took place at Patuxent River, with the remaining five conducted from Lockheed Martins Fort Worth plant. (Photo and Video courtesy of Vought Aircraft)"

I'm guessing the F-35B (six foot now increased to 7 foot per/sec?) RoD was deemed too gentle for drop testing? I could be rite or I could be rong...

For 'ICBM' a good ole story for your reference: Single Minded

british aerospace | lockheed martin | 1999 | 2360 | Flight Archive

Some more reading bumpf: Vertical Validation by GUY NORRIS | LOS ANGELES Aviation Week & Space Technology; October 3, 2011; pages 31-32

"...Speaking at the Society of Experimental Test Pilots symposium in Anaheim, Calif., last month, Wilson said results vindicate the simple design concept of the “unified” Stovl control mode. The mode is activated by the push of a “decelerate-to-hover” button in which the throttle commands acceleration and deceleration in the hover. In this mode, the stick commands upward/ downward vertical velocity with a backward-forward motion, while in the hover mode sideways movement of the stick commands bank angle. If released, it returns the aircraft to wings level. Pedals command yaw rate in the hover.

The fastest descent rate, as controlled by pushing the stick forward, is set at 7 fps., though the testing has included rates as low as 4 fps. and high as 12 fps.

Testing has also focused on the translational rate command (TRC) mode, which in the hover allows the pilot to make small positional corrections and which brings the aircraft to a standstill if the pilot releases the controls. “It is used to capture the current longitudinal groundspeed and is important for precise positioning in shipboard operations,” says Wilson...."

Last edited by SpazSinbad; 8th Feb 2012 at 03:14.
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