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The F-35 thread, Mk II

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The F-35 thread, Mk II

Old 7th Apr 2024, 03:29
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Originally Posted by Jackonicko
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.

{you didn't need to repost all of the pictures}
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.
Mr Smith is undoubtedly in a good position to know, but I dare say his public pronouncements maybe heavily influenced by the commercial interests of his current employer Leonardo, who have a vested interest in suggesting the GCAP aircraft program and purchase is vital as F-35 is yesterdays aircraft.
Perhaps I am too cynical.

Last edited by T28B; 7th Apr 2024 at 13:27. Reason: clutter removed
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Old 7th Apr 2024, 05:59
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And every military aircraft ever built is heading toward being obsolete as soon as the design is finalised.
Even if the F-35 was the greatest aircraft ever it would still be heading to obsolescence.
What lessons learned from the F-35? Dont make 3 versions? Or faff with VSTOL .
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Old 7th Apr 2024, 06:05
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Originally Posted by Bug
Mr Smith is undoubtedly in a good position to know, but I dare say his public pronouncements maybe heavily influenced by the commercial interests of his current employer Leonardo, who have a vested interest in suggesting the GCAP aircraft program and purchase is vital as F-35 is yesterdays aircraft.
Perhaps I am too cynical.
Not cynical enough.

Smith can say what he likes. It was Jackonicko who did the hit piece. The truth is that if the euro 6th gen (I still haven't seen the tech that would qualify it as 6th gen yet) is as good as the F-35, compared in the same year. They would have achieved something, I though they would struggle with. As to it being as good as the USAF 6th gen, they would be dreaming.

Last edited by golder; 7th Apr 2024 at 06:16.
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Old 7th Apr 2024, 06:18
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Anglo-Japanese, the European 6th Gen is FCAS…..
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Old 8th Apr 2024, 21:23
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Originally Posted by typerated
And every military aircraft ever built is heading toward being obsolete as soon as the design is finalised.
Even if the F-35 was the greatest aircraft ever it would still be heading to obsolescence.
What lessons learned from the F-35? Dont make 3 versions? Or faff with VSTOL .
Well one lesson is to design for rapid upgradeability from the start, as Saab have done with Gripen E, for example. Segregating flight control and mission software. Making provision for adding apertures and antennas.
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Old 12th Apr 2024, 12:31
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Originally Posted by ORAC
Anglo-Japanese, the European 6th Gen is FCAS…..
Anglo-Japanese-Italian and flowing from the Anglo-Italian-Swedish work on Tempest/FCAS, so it's understandable that someone should think of it as being European?

The Franco-German-Spanish programme is perhaps best referred to as SCAF to avoid confusion?
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Old 12th Apr 2024, 13:10
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Originally Posted by golder
Not cynical enough.

Smith can say what he likes. It was Jackonicko who did the hit piece. The truth is that if the euro 6th gen (I still haven't seen the tech that would qualify it as 6th gen yet) is as good as the F-35, compared in the same year. They would have achieved something, I though they would struggle with. As to it being as good as the USAF 6th gen, they would be dreaming.
I would hope that it isn’t a ‘hit piece’. Smith has an interesting perspective, and his background lends his views a certain weight and credibility. What he had to say challenged my preconceptions, and was, I thought, very compelling.


Smith justifies his claims in the piece and he really should know, as a former F-22 and F-35 pilot, ex-CO of the TES, former F-35 Requirements Manager and F-35 tactics honcho with the AWC. If he says that the F-35 will not be sufficient by the mid-2030s, I’d be inclined to at least consider his point and not reject it out of hand.


Nor was it an exercise in 'knocking' the F-35. Smith himself says that the F-35 is the best fighter out there as of right now (and will remain so for some years), but says that it's not going to remain well suited to the emerging and evolving A2/AD threat, and that its upgradeability is limited (look at the problems with integrating TR3/Block 4), not least by the avionics architecture, vendor lock, and its LO airframe. You can't even iterate new mission data with anything approaching agility.

Were the F-35 likely to be adequate in the mid-2030s and beyond, no-one would be spending money developing new sixth gen platforms and systems of systems. The USAF clearly doesn't think the F-35 will be the 'cornerstone' in the future – if it did it would not be developing NGAD and CCAs (and B-21) at huge cost.


I’d also very respectfully suggest that it would be a mistake to assume that the UK, Italy and Japan will ‘struggle’ to do better than the F-35 by 2035, or that Euro industry can’t come up with a step change in technology – that’s exactly what JAGUAR and ISANKE promise. Bear in mind that the ISANKE system will include a radar from the same people responsible for ECRS2 – a bleeding edge AESA with a repositioner and formidable EA capabilities – a radar that is in some respects better than APG-81, and part of a programme (with ECRS Mk 0) that suggests that it would be a mistake to under-estimate Europe. Just occasionally, Europe can and does come up with the goods - Meteor, Brimstone, Storm Shadow, the A330 MRTT all spring to mind as perhaps being unequalled by any US product? Nor should one write off the Japanese, remember that their F-2 was probably the first operational fighter with a purpose-designed AESA, and they have produced some interesting missiles, too!


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Old 13th Apr 2024, 08:29
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"Were the F-35 likely to be adequate in the mid-2030s and beyond, no-one would be spending money developing new sixth gen platforms and systems of systems. "

Not so - even LM would be spending cash (preferably taxpayers) to keep their design and development teams busy

And there are always armed forces who will specify a new threat that requires new and better and more expensive kit - if only to create jobs in planning. mission offices and contractor liaison. The whole system is set up to keep the production of new stuff running. It wasn't called the Military-Industrial Complex by Eisenhower for no reason

Look at the cash being expended on the Tempest - when the RAF can't even afford to buy the F-35 in penny packets
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Old 14th Apr 2024, 00:46
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‘True sense of fear’: US military expands pilot training at virtual test range created for F-35 By Jan Tegler 13 April 2024
https://www.flightglobal.com/fixed-w...157737.article
"US Navy (USN) officials revealed this week that a virtual test range originally created to assess the mission effectiveness of Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters has also quietly been in use since 2022 to provide American and international fighter pilots with advanced training that cannot be replicated in the real world....

...The unique, realistic training provided by the JSE already led the US military to add F-22 cockpit simulators to the system. Officials are also working to bring Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler and Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye simulators online.

“Just two weeks ago, we went over 1,000 F-35 pilots trained in this environment,” Summers says....

...Pilots who train at the JSE come away understanding its value as the only training environment “short of war” that realistically simulates how they would fight peer adversaries in actual air combat, Summers says.

“Often, the operators say this is the first time sitting in a cockpit [that] they have had a true sense of fear,” he adds. “That’s because the threat representation is high quality. That F-35 operator is getting visible and audible warnings. They’re getting engaged with weapons. They’re getting punished if they make mistakes tactically.”"

JPG: https://d3lcr32v2pp4l1.cloudfront.ne...773_789137.jpg “The USN’s JSE provides a “hyper-realistic digital range” and includes actual fighter-jet cockpits (an F-35), allowing pilots to experience a “near-exact virtual environment”, the USN says” Source: US Navy/Terri Thomas

This USN-released video says the Joint Simulation Environment "can create endlessly complex, dense and specific scenarios through a high-speed, adaptive, physics-based environment". Source: Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division

F-35 Joint Simulation Environment - One Night

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Old 17th Apr 2024, 17:11
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UK contingent at the Australia, Canada, UK Reprogramming Laboratory (ACURL) which prepares the mission data packs for the F-35 is now collectively known as 80 Sqn RAF. Australia's RAAF contingent symbolically also picked their own 80 Sqn as their identity.

https://www.raf.mod.uk/news/articles...ian-air-force/

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Old 17th Apr 2024, 22:28
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Accepting the B-52 is expected to reach 100 as a high level stand-off bomb truck…. The F-35 first flew in 2006, that means 62 years until retirement.

Thats as if the Soowith Camel flew in front line service until 1979, the Spitfire until 1998 or the EE Lighting till 2016…

I presume the lower annual costs will be achieved by increased simulator use until pilots only fly a monthly check flight….

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2024...says-watchdog/

F-35s to cost $2 trillion as Pentagon plans longer use, says watchdog

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s total cost is expected to top $2 trillion over its entire life span given the U.S. military plans to fly it longer, inflation is rising, and the Pentagon’s efforts to rein in expenses are largely falling short, a government watchdog said Monday.….

In the new report to lawmakers, GAO said the Defense Department now plans to fly the F-35 through 2088, 11 years longer than services most recently anticipated…..

The reason services are making progress toward meeting their affordability targets is partly because projected flying hours have been reduced, GAO said.

In 2020, the JPO expected the F-35 fleet would fly more than 382,000 hours per year by the mid-2030s. But that estimate has now dropped to a little more than 300,000 hours per year, GAO said, due to lower-than-expected use of the F-35 so far and revised estimates about how much it will be flown in the future.….
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Old 18th Apr 2024, 16:56
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ORAC, I don't really disagree with anything in your post, but as a point of comparison, the F-15 first flew in the early 1970s, and more than 50 years later the USAF is still buying some (granted, considerably changed/improved from the original).
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Old 18th Apr 2024, 18:40
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Latest is here:
'
https://armedservices.house.gov/hear...g-tactical-and

The meat is in LTG Michael Schmidt's written statement, but there's more in the video, particularly after 2:11.10.

The tl;dr as the kiddies say is that part of initial Block 4 is now expected in Aug/Sept, almost a year after the Jan 2023 schedule for the complete initial Block 4. And it won't be combat-ready for another 12-16 months after that.

The whole multi-year Block 4 plan has been deemed unattainable and is being "reimagined" (their very word) to be slower and include fewer capabilities.

And don't talk about the corrosion issues. Or the fact that MC rates have been declining since 2020.
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Old 19th Apr 2024, 13:27
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Business as usual for the F-35 program: late.
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Old 19th Apr 2024, 17:29
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Originally Posted by Lonewolf_50
Business as usual for the F-35 program: late.
This feat it shares with all bleeding edge projects. If it's not late you can assume you buy old tech.
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Old 24th Apr 2024, 07:48
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https://www.defensenews.com/air/2024...til-next-year/

First upgraded F-35s won’t be ready for combat until next year

The first F-35s to be delivered with a set of upgrades known as Technology Refresh 3 will initially be used for training flights, but will not be ready for combat until 2025, Lockheed Martin said in an earnings call Tuesday.

Lockheed chief executive Jim Taiclet told investors the company is focused on fully implementing TR-3 — a set of upgrades to the F-35′s software and hardware, including better displays, computer memory and contracting power — and has made progress in recent months.

But TR-3 is already a year overdue, and is not likely to be ready until at least the third quarter of 2024. Lockheed Martin is still building F-35s intended to have TR-3, but since last summer the government has refused to accept delivery of those jets without the upgrades.….

The F-35 Joint Program Office confirmed to Defense News in November it was considering a strategy of loading interim versions of the TR-3 software into the jet as a way to speed delivery before the upgrades are completely done.

Schmidt told lawmakers the “truncated” software would lack some combat capabilities at first. The “first realistic chance” at getting an F-35 delivered with a partial version of TR-3 will be this July, he said, though some experts think August or September may be more realistic….

And the significant advancements in the F-35′s capabilities — the jet is intended to receive a subsequent upgrade called Block 4 that will add even more abilities — have proved to be challenging, Taiclet said.

“What we’ve run into on TR-3 is, the level of complexity and executing a [capability] increase that’s pretty dramatic,” Taiclet said. “We are wringing out all of the software through all of the new hardware, and integrating into all of the aircraft’s other systems, and that’s taken longer than our team predicted.”….
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Old 24th Apr 2024, 12:11
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LockMart confirming what was covered in Congress a week ago (at which hearing HASC chair Rob Wittman expressed frustration about having heard about the last delivery delay on an LM earnings call).

One major reason that non-combat-capable F-35s are to be accepted is that LM needs the money and the customers don't have a choice.
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Old 24th Apr 2024, 18:58
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LM must be running out of space to park undelivered, non-accepted F-35s...
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Old 25th Apr 2024, 16:49
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Originally Posted by Jackonicko
LM must be running out of space to park undelivered, non-accepted F-35s...
It would be quite a sight somewhere, which no doubt is why they are not saying where they are. And wherever it is, has to be secured.
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Old 25th Apr 2024, 19:26
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80 Sqn stands up

80 squadron has stood up at Eglin along with 80 Sqn RAAF albeit it appears to be Australia, Canada and United Kingdom Reprogramming Laboratory.

https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-an...32hEt_Qb9wTaYr




cheers
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