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The F-35 thread, Mk II

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The F-35 thread, Mk II

Old 14th Feb 2024, 13:15
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Flying Hrs

What level of flying hours per month are our F-35 pilots at ?
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Old 14th Feb 2024, 18:24
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Originally Posted by ORAC
https://theaviationist.com/2024/02/1...-while-parked/

Exclusive: U.S. Marine Corps F-35C Suffers Nose Landing Gear Collapse While Parked
That will probably buff out.
Originally Posted by Martin the Martian
I don't see that statement meaning anything, if I'm honest. I'd love us to buy 138, but I just can't see it happening.
I think it might be fun to go back to the F-35 original thread, posts around 2011 through 2012, and see how the sentiments have changed. There was a lot of "not loving this" sentiment to be had.
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Old 23rd Feb 2024, 13:42
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https://www.airandspaceforces.com/po...025-fms-costs/

Potential F-35 Cuts in 2025 Won’t Be Made up by FMS, May Drive Costs Higher

Rumored cuts to the Pentagon’s F-35 buy in its fiscal year 2025 budget request would not be mitigated by recent Foreign Military Sales and are likely to drive prices higher, DOD and industry sources told Air & Space Forces Magazine.

The Department of Defense outlined plans to buy 83 F-35s in 2025 in its latest future years defense plan, but now the Air Force expects to cut six F-35As and the Navy eight F-35Cs, sources said.

If the proposed cuts go through, the Air Force would buy 42 F-35As; the Marine Corps would buy 16 F-35Bs, and the Navy would buy just 11 F-35Cs. However, sources cautioned that those numbers stem from leaked documents that may not be the final word on what the Pentagon will submit in its 2025 budget proposal next month.

Reuters previously reported on the possible cuts.……
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Old 23rd Feb 2024, 16:07
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Originally Posted by ORAC
If the proposed cuts go through, the Air Force would buy 42 F-35As; the Marine Corps would buy 16 F-35Bs, and the Navy would buy just 11 F-35Cs. However, sources cautioned that those numbers stem from leaked documents that may not be the final word on what the Pentagon will submit in its 2025 budget proposal next month.
I'm still surprised about the Navy's Reluctance with the F-35. Compared to F-18 it would give them a massively more survivable and superior Combat Aircraft in both A2G and A2A. Plus the Navy may in the first phase easily be on its own in a combat. And they heavily rely on Aircraft to project power. Whereas for the Marines who seem much happier to move to the F-35 the Aircraft are more 'Icing on the cake'.
Can anyone shed some light on this?
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Old 28th Feb 2024, 21:16
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BREAKING: Singapore's defence minister says in Parliament that the Republic of Singapore AF will accelerate its F-35 program, and will acquire 8 F-35As in addition to 12 F-35Bs already on order, joining the US, Italy and Japan in operating both variants.
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Old 29th Feb 2024, 11:57
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Good news, and quite the change of sentiment as compared to the tone 5-6 years ago.
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Old 9th Mar 2024, 02:49
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EXCLUSIVE: F-35A officially certified to carry nuclear bomb 08 Mar 2024
"The designation marks the first time that a stealth fighter can carry a nuclear weapon, in this case the B61-12 thermonuclear gravity bomb." & "...The F-35A is certified to only carry the newer B61-12 variant, which will replace the older models. The certification additionally does not extend to the stealth jet’s sister variants, the short takeoff and vertical landing F-35B and carrier-launched F-35C...." https://breakingdefense.com/2024/03/...-nuclear-bomb/
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Old 13th Mar 2024, 18:28
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F-35 Program Achieves Milestone C and Full Rate Production 12 Mar 2024
https://www.f35.com/f35/news-and-fea...roduction.html or
https://www.defense.gov/News/Release...te-production/
"Earlier today, the Milestone Decision Authority, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, Dr. William A. LaPlante, approved the Milestone C / Full Rate Production (MSC/FRP) of the F-35 Lightning II aircraft with the signing of an Acquisition Decision Memorandum (ADM) after a meeting with the Defense Acquisition Board (DAB)...." PHOTO: https://www.f35.com/content/dam/lock...-35BHeadOn.jpg
_________________

"...The decision came more than four years after the Pentagon originally planned, and followed multiple years of delays due to troubles setting up the necessary Joint Simulation Environment tests...."
https://www.defensenews.com/air/2024...te-production/
_____________________

"...Although the designation is in some ways moot—the F-35 production enterprise is already operating at a rate close to its capacity—the designation means the Joint Program Office can now negotiate multiyear contracts for the fighter...." https://www.airandspaceforces.com/f-...te-production/
_____________________

"The Pentagon has finally approved the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter for full rate production, five years later than originally anticipated...."
https://breakingdefense.com/2024/03/...-5-year-delay/


Last edited by SpazSinbad; 13th Mar 2024 at 20:00. Reason: jpg + txts
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Old 14th Mar 2024, 10:59
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"...The decision came more than four years after the Pentagon originally planned, and followed multiple years of delays due to troubles setting up the necessary Joint Simulation Environment tests...."
https://www.defensenews.com/air/2024...te-production/

"The Pentagon has finally approved the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter for full rate production, five years later than originally anticipated...."
https://breakingdefense.com/2024/03/...-5-year-delay/
Actually, was originally planned for 2015, so 9 years later.
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Old 14th Mar 2024, 23:50
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More on the F-35A + B61-12 here.

F-35A doesn't need TR3 to carry it.

F-35A Is Officially Certified For Nuclear Strike | The War Zone (twz.com)

Looks like the RNethAF will be the first to get FOC with it using the NATO Nuclear Sharing program stockpile as they have already passed the unit evaluation.

Johan van Deventer on X: "#ACC “Ready for Operations” was de uitslag van het 🇺🇸 team dat ons deze week inspecteerde. Hiermee hebben we onze initiële certificering voor de afschrikkingstaak met de F-35. Een belangrijke stap in de transitie.
Mogelijk gemaakt door Teamwerk 👊 🐯@VlbVolkel @F35_CFTT https://t.co/dlFDAUZWgd" / Twitter

“Ready for Operations” was the result of the us this week. This gives us our initial certification for the deterrence task with the F-35. An important step in the transition. Powered by Teamwork
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Old 18th Mar 2024, 08:11
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70% Or More Of F-35s May Not Be Combat-Capable

A September 2023 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the F-35 revealed some shocking statistics on just how unready hundreds of billions of dollars worth of F-35s are to provide actual combat power.

In fact, the report indicated that only 15 to 30% of F-35s may be capable of combat…..

However, there is another metric that is more useful: “full mission capable.” It turns out that “full mission capable” F-35s are supposed to be able to perform all the missions for which they were contracted, including combat-oriented missions, surveillance, training, testing, show of force, etcetera.

This metric is not often publicized, but in the case of the F-35, the watchdog side of the GAO actually did a detailed report of the problems and issues with the F-35 that included how the F-35 fleet looked from the “full mission capable” perspective.

Even for someone who is an F-35 realist, the results are shocking. Not only is the F-35 fleet’s full mission capable rate in the neighborhood of 30 percent (see table on page 96 of the report), the full mission capable rate of the Marine Corps’ F-35B was a miserable 15.5 percent in March 2023….


​​​​​​​
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Old 18th Mar 2024, 08:16
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How F-35s Deployed To A Narrow Highway In California 14 Mar 2024
[USMC F-35Bs in EABO RVLs & STOs on US HiWay (get your kicks on route 66)]
https://www.twz.com/sea/how-f-35s-de...-in-california
"...In the new system in the software load of the jet, we've updated the software with some of these pilot relief modes that help you land in confined sites and execute slow landings. It made it substantially easier to do this in a controllable manner.”

“We have two that we are able to use. One is called Delta Flight Path [DFP] and the other is Auto Top Rudder [ATR]. So with Delta Flight Path, essentially you program into the performance state of the jet, the glide slope that you want to shoot. For the Rolling Vertical Landings [RVL] we did, we were doing a four-degree glide slope to land and that's a four-degree flight path all the way to touchdown at 75 knots ground speed. So I've programmed that in and then when you initiate Delta flight path, what will happen is the jet will automatically set a four-degree descend to land flight path, so that all you need to do a apply slight stick pressure to modulate up and down to be higher or lower to adjust your aim point but it sets the flight path for you.”

Capt. Mayberry decided not to use DFP on this landing since he often does a lot of flight path corrections on his own and every pilot has different ways they like to do RVLs. The newer way to do them is Auto Top Rudder (ATR). ATR continuously updates the jet’s flight control corrections for crosswind so that all you need to do is put your flight path marker (or a velocity vector in other aircraft) on your intended point of landing, and as you fly down it kicks the rudder and other flight controls back and forth to just keep you flying in that direction.

Mayberry explained “You don't have to do any manual crabbing [his words not mine ] of the aircraft one direction or the other. ATR updates that continuously as you come down to land which is a new update as of this software build. That allowed me to touchdown. I think they measured 18 inches right of centerline and then I was almost immediately on the brakes. We stopped at 1140 feet and it was very controllable all the way from the initial approach all the way to touchdown and then stopping on the centerline.”...

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Old 18th Mar 2024, 08:39
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Originally Posted by SpazSinbad
"..we've updated the software with some of these pilot relief modes that help you land in confined sites and execute slow landings...”
All this so that the pilot can stop off to relieve himself?

Sorry
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Old 18th Mar 2024, 09:36
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Hence Relief Landing Ground…..
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Old 18th Mar 2024, 11:19
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Originally Posted by ORAC
70% Or More Of F-35s May Not Be Combat-Capable

A September 2023 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the F-35 revealed some shocking statistics on just how unready hundreds of billions of dollars worth of F-35s are to provide actual combat power.

In fact, the report indicated that only 15 to 30% of F-35s may be capable of combat…..

However, there is another metric that is more useful: “full mission capable.” It turns out that “full mission capable” F-35s are supposed to be able to perform all the missions for which they were contracted, including combat-oriented missions, surveillance, training, testing, show of force, etcetera.

This metric is not often publicized, but in the case of the F-35, the watchdog side of the GAO actually did a detailed report of the problems and issues with the F-35 that included how the F-35 fleet looked from the “full mission capable” perspective.

Even for someone who is an F-35 realist, the results are shocking. Not only is the F-35 fleet’s full mission capable rate in the neighborhood of 30 percent (see table on page 96 of the report), the full mission capable rate of the Marine Corps’ F-35B was a miserable 15.5 percent in March 2023….

Normal piece without context. when you take out the ones that aren't combat coded. It's a different story.
Schmidt Testimony.pdf (house.gov)
War on Readiness
The F-35 Enterprise is driving towards continued improvements to our sustainment system, with the objective to improve availability rates. As the FY22 Annual DOT&E Report indicates – the F-35 "combat coded fleet" achieved its 65% target for monthly average availability for the combined twelve months ending in September 2022. Still, readiness challenges remain, as indicated in multiple GAO findings.
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Old 3rd Apr 2024, 05:38
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https://www.defensenews.com/air/2024...me-in-4-years/

F-35A Lightning cleared to fly in lightning for first time in 4 years

The Air Force’s version of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter can fly in lightning and thunderstorms again after the service lifted a restriction that had been in place for four years.

The F-35 Joint Program Office confirmed in an email that the 2020 standoff restriction placed on the aircraft, officially called the Lightning II, was lifted on March 19…..

The military stopped F-35As from flying within 25 miles of lightning after a problem was discovered with its Onboard Inert Gas Generation System, or OBIGGS, which is meant to keep the jet safe from strikes. OBIGGS pumps nitrogen-enriched gas into the F-35′s fuel tank to render it inert, and keep the fuel tanks from exploding if struck by lightning.

In 2020, maintainers conducting depot maintenance on an F-35A at Hill Air Force Base in Utah found that one of the tubes that distributes the gas to the fuel tank was damaged. Subsequent inspections found problems with tubes in multiple other F-35s, and the military restricted it from flying near lightning until a fix could be developed.

F-35Bs and Cs were not affected by the lightning problem and did not have their flying restricted……

The JPO said the fix included “a more robust” design for the fighters’ OBIGGS hardware, as well as updates to its software. The modification was tested both in the lab and in flight…..

The JPO declined to further detail how the system was fixed, or how many F-35As have been modified, due to operational security concerns…..
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Old 3rd Apr 2024, 06:37
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Navy and Air Force fighters to train as a joint force in NAWCAD’s Joint Simulation Environment 02 Apr 2024
https://www.dvidshub.net/news/467560...on-environment
"...NAWCAD installed a division of four U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor cockpits into the Navy’s premier simulation test and training facility alongside its division of eight F-35 Lightning cockpits in January....

...The new addition of fifth-generation fighter simulators brings Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and allied partners into the hyper-realistic digital range that consists of cockpits, domed simulators with 4K projectors, and aircraft software to enable pilots to fly wartime scenarios in a near-exact virtual environment. Tactical groups training in NAWCAD’s JSE fly more sorties over one week than they do over a year on open-air ranges....

...The JSE was initially designed to support F-35 Lightning’s operational testing as there was no way to safely and adequately represent real-world conflict on an open-air range. Today, the DOD is scaling the Navy’s technology for additional digital range facilities supporting programs like F-35, F-22, and E-2D. In addition, the DOD has made training in the JSE a formal part of the Navy’s Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor Program—commonly known as TOPGUN...."
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Old 3rd Apr 2024, 16:24
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Royal Netherlands Air Force participation in Ex RED FLAG 24-2.

They deployed 8 x F-35A from Leeuwarden + Volkel and also had students participate from the FTU (OCU) at Luke AFB, AZ who brought over another 5 x F-35A.

Article here - Google translate available Deelname Red Flag mijlpaal 5th Gen-transitie | 01 | de Vliegende Hollander (defensie.nl)

I also know they won Best Mission Commander and Best Intel Lead Awards.
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Old 6th Apr 2024, 19:53
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Is the F-35 going to remain viable for much longer?

It's terribly bad form to blow one's own trumpet, but as the author of this piece, I was fascinated by what 'Smithy' says - he is probably Britain's leading fifth gen expert, having been an F-22 and F-35 pilot and an F-35 tactics development desk officer and capability manager, and now working on GCAP with Leonardo.

He says that by 2035 the F-35 will be where Typhoon is today. Still relevant, but not the 'apex predator'. Still useful, but as an adjunct to the next generation, and not as the ‘star’ of the show.

The LO configuration makes it hard to upgrade in any meaningful way (you can’t add new antennas or apaerures, as does the avionics infrastructure. TR3 and Block 4 are already proving difficult, while it's hard to see the kind of agile iteration of mission data that we already see on Typhoon ever becoming a reality on the F-35.

And the F-35A lacks the range and the combat persistence for tomorrow's peer-, or near-peer, conflicts. Nor can new weapons be easily or quickly integrated, and they can't be integrated on a sovereign or national basis at all.






It's no coincidence that the US, Britain, Italy, Japan and Korea are all already looking beyond F-35A - developing new sixth gen platforms and systems of systems is not easy, or cheap, and were F-35 adequate, no-one would be spending money doing so.
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Old 7th Apr 2024, 03:11
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Originally Posted by Jackonicko
Is the F-35 going to remain viable for much longer?
It's no coincidence that the US, Britain, Italy, Japan and Korea are all already looking beyond F-35A - developing new sixth gen platforms and systems of systems is not easy, or cheap, and were F-35 adequate, no-one would be spending money doing so.
History will show just how clueless you are. I won't bother to post statements about how the f-35 will be the cornerstone. You also left Australia out of the list. We too are looking at getting 6th gen. Also you forgot France, spain and Germany developing their own. If you think the F-35 is dear, wait till you see the price tag on a 6th gen.
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