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-   -   The F-35 thread, Mk II (https://www.pprune.org/military-aviation/630295-f-35-thread-mk-ii.html)

SLXOwft 19th Jan 2021 16:39

Slightly Stale News

On 6 January MDBA announced receiving a £550 million contract for production of SPEAR3 "the main medium-to-long-range strike weapon of the UK F-35 combat aircraft, enabling them to defeat challenging targets such as mobile long-range air defence systems at over-the-horizon ranges in all weathers and in highly contested environments." Production scheduled for 2023.

Press release here:
https://www.mbda-systems.com/press-r...ruise-missile/

I am interested in seeing if the SEAD version gets taken up for the UK's F-35s, seems a sensible idea to have missile(s) in the networked swarm that can jam enemy sensors when not mounted on a manned or remotely piloted aircraft. Especially if the other missiles are intending to take out the ground AD systems.

"The core of SPEAR-EW’s payload is Leonardo’s advanced, miniaturised Digital Radio Frequency Memory (DRFM) technology, which offers the most advanced and future-proof electronic jamming and deception available on the market today."
(Source: https://www.mbda-systems.com/press-releases/17630/)



Buster15 20th Jan 2021 14:18


Originally Posted by ORAC (Post 10968234)
https://breakingdefense.com/2021/01/...e-cycle-costs/

NGAD Could Replace F-35 Program


WASHINGTON: The F-35 fighter jet’s exorbitant life-cycle costs means the Air Force cannot afford to buy as many aircraft as it needs to fight and win a war today, which makes the Next-Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program all the more important, says outgoing Air Force acquisition czar Will Roper.

“I think the F-35 program is a long way from being at a sustainment point that we need. I think it’s a long way from being an affordable fighter that we can buy in bulk,” he told reporters today.

“That’s the reason why Next-Generation Air Dominance is so important to the Air Force,” he said. “It doesn’t just represent a next-generation fighter with bells and whistles that we will need in warfighting. It doesn’t just represent a completely different acquisition paradigm. It also represents a chance to design an airplane that is more sustainable than the F-35 if, in fact, the F-35 cannot get its cost-per-flying-hour down.”

Roper would not be drawn on whether the Air Force was considering downsizing it plan to build a total inventory of 1,763 F-35s — with the Air Force requesting 48 aircraft in 2021, and planning to ask for the same annual buy for the foreseeable future, according to a study last month by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “But what I can say is we’re not at the sustainment price point we need to be for a very large fleet. So, the next few years are critical for the F 35 program,” he added.

He seemed to suggest that, all things considered, perhaps the answer is to turn to NGAD to more rapidly build a wartime-fit fighter fleet.........

But at what cost. If the economy of scale of the F35 programme cannot yield a cost effective product, how does he know that some other product would??

Asturias56 20th Jan 2021 15:57

Exactly - the F-35 was supposed to be purchasable in large numbers but by the time it came into service...

you always get mission creep, gold plating, nice to have add-ons - it suits the USAF /USN and it suits the defence contractors and teh politicians in Congress

t43562 20th Jan 2021 22:54

I read somewhere that SPEAR requires the Block 4 upgrade. Perhaps that is not true. Then I read that 1 upgrade costs millions. I see the Lockheed Martin business model now.....

ORAC 21st Jan 2021 08:19

https://www.defensenews.com/global/m...on-f-35-sales/

Just hours before Biden’s inauguration, the UAE and US come to a deal on F-35 sales

WASHINGTON —The United Arab Emirates on Jan. 20 signed off on a deal to purchase up to 50 F-35 joint strike fighter aircraft and 18 MQ-9 Reaper drones from the United States.

According to Reuters, which broke the news, the agreement was one of the final acts of the Trump administration, occurring just an hour before President Joe Biden was inaugurated.

A source with knowledge of the situation confirmed separately to Defense News that the U.S. and UAE officials on Wednesday signed a letter of agreement, which solidifies the terms of a foreign military sale between two nations.

The departments of State and Defense did not immediately respond to requests for comment........

It’s unclear whether the incoming administration will seek to undo the deal.

Biden’s pick for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, told reporters in late October that the sale is “something we would look at very, very carefully,” due to U.S. obligations to preserve Israel’s qualitative military edge.


Asturias56 21st Jan 2021 09:02

"Biden’s pick for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, told reporters in late October that the sale is “something we would look at very, very carefully,” due to U.S. obligations to preserve Israel’s qualitative military edge."

that was before the election......................

SLXOwft 21st Jan 2021 16:56


Originally Posted by t43562 (Post 10972348)
I read somewhere that SPEAR requires the Block 4 upgrade. Perhaps that is not true. Then I read that 1 upgrade costs millions. I see the Lockheed Martin business model now.....

I have see £22 million per airframe. Given the low total buy I can't see how it would make sense for another Tornado F.2 - Typhoon Tranche 1 2 seaters style RTP programme. Running a mixed fleet of Typhoons with several squadrons of Tranche 1s in AD or ACT roles makes sense but not IMHO doing with F-35s.

F-35s will be Block 4 from lot 15 in 2023 this coincides with the DAS swap - I think the statement below implies the Block 4 upgrades to the UKs earlier airframes will now happen.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) told Jane’s on 7 January that the UK has decided to fall in line with the wider F-35 programmatic effort to swap the current Northrop Grumman AN/AAQ-37 DAS with a new system to be developed by Raytheon. Previously, the UK government had said that no decision would be made until it understood the time and cost implications of the upgrade.

“All F-35 production aircraft produced from 2023, for all F-35 partner nations including the UK, will be fitted with a new DAS. There will be a retrofit programme to modify partner nation aircraft delivered before 2023 with the next-generation DAS,” an MoD spokesperson said.
Source: https://www.janes.com/defence-news/n...35-das-upgrade


Regarding SPEAR requiring block 4:
Jane's Missiles and Rockets 18 January 2016

"Key Points

  • The integration of Storm Shadow on the F-35B as part of UK follow-on development has been dropped
  • The UK is looking to integrate the Meteor BVR air-to-air missile and the SPEAR Cap 3 stand-off precision guided weapon as part of Block 4"

ORAC 21st Jan 2021 19:53

That was in January 2020 - the UK position changed in June 2020.....

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zon...e-of-its-f-35s

British Government Says It Might Pass On $27M Upgrade For Some Of Its F-35s

The U.K. government has disclosed for what appears to be the first time that it is not necessarily committed to eventually upgrading all 48 of the F-35B Joint Strike Fighters that it plans to buy with the still-in-development and increasingly costly Block 4 package. Jets without the updates would be left with more limited capabilities. This also raises questions about how existing and future F-35 operators might approach the same question.

Jeremy Quin, the U.K. Minister for Defense Procurement and member of the country's Conservative Party, offered this note about upgrading the F-35Bs in response to a question from Kevan Jones, a member of parliament from the opposition Labor Party, on June 23, 2020. Jane's Gareth Jennings noted the exchange in Hansard, the official record of the proceedings of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, on Twitter.

Jones asked "whether the F-35 Block 4 upgrade is already (a) costed and (b) budgeted for in the existing F-35 programme budget for the U.K.; how many aircraft will be upgraded; and what the forecast programme cost range is."

"The F-35 Block 4 upgrade has been included in the U.K. F-35 programme budget since its inception," Quin responded. However, "decisions on the number of aircraft to be upgraded will be made on the basis of military capability requirements."
The clear implication here is that while Block 4 has been a factor in the U.K. government's budgeting around the F-35, that doesn't mean that it plans to upgrade all 48 of the jets it expects to receive. Quin also declined to offer a figure for the total project cost of the upgrades.....

If the U.K. government does expect the unit cost of the upgrade package to be around $27.4 million, that would amount to increasing the purchase price of the jets by roughly a quarter or more. There have already been questions about whether there might be cuts to the planned British F-35 fleet in the face of other budget uncertainty in recent years.

Joint Strike Fighter operators could certainly use aircraft without the upgrades for training or test and evaluation roles, just as the branches of the U.S. military have done with their older aircraft. However, for smaller operators, relegating some of the handful of jets they have to primarily non-combat missions would reduce the overall combat capacity of their F-35 fleets and would result in mismatched fleet management.

All told, the U.K. government's ambiguous statement about whether or not it will upgrade all of its F-35Bs with the Block 4 package only further underscores the difficulties and growing costs that Joint Strike Fighter operators will continue to have to mitigate and defray as time goes on in order to get the most out of their F-35 fleets.....

SLXOwft 21st Jan 2021 20:30

ORAC - major brain fade on my part - I thought "Previously, the UK government had said that no decision would be made until it understood the time and cost implications of the upgrade." meant the statement you highlight and didn't register the year.

However, given the timescale of the UK purchase not upgrading the majority makes little sense IMHO. The cost of the upgrade would surely be partly offset by savings in the cost of maintaining incompatible sub-systems?

ORAC 21st Jan 2021 21:34

I could make the case in many circumstances where money spent up front will save money in the long term.

Unfortunately the record of the armed forces is to make cuts in the present, whether by cancelling spares or slipping purchases - and hoping something will come to pass in the future to fill the hole....

Non Linear Gear 21st Jan 2021 22:31


Originally Posted by ORAC (Post 10973071)
I could make the case in many circumstances where money spent up front will save money in the long term.

Unfortunately the record of the armed forces is to make cuts in the present, whether by cancelling spares or slipping purchases - and hoping something will come to pass in the future to fill the hole....

Been reinforced over the last 11 years.

tdracer 22nd Jan 2021 19:32

$27 million per airframe for an upgrade? That's half of what the F35 was supposed to cost out the door!!!

golder 23rd Jan 2021 18:53


Originally Posted by ORAC (Post 10973009)
That was in January 2020 - the UK position changed in June 2020.....

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zon...e-of-its-f-35s

British Government Says It Might Pass On $27M Upgrade For Some Of Its F-35s

The U.K. government has disclosed for what appears to be the first time that it is not necessarily committed to eventually upgrading all 48 of the F-35B Joint Strike Fighters that it plans to buy with the still-in-development and increasingly costly Block 4 package. Jets without the updates would be left with more limited capabilities. This also raises questions about how existing and future F-35 operators might approach the same question.

Jeremy Quin, the U.K. Minister for Defense Procurement and member of the country's Conservative Party, offered this note about upgrading the F-35Bs in response to a question from Kevan Jones, a member of parliament from the opposition Labor Party, on June 23, 2020. Jane's Gareth Jennings noted the exchange in Hansard, the official record of the proceedings of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, on Twitter.

Jones asked "whether the F-35 Block 4 upgrade is already (a) costed and (b) budgeted for in the existing F-35 programme budget for the U.K.; how many aircraft will be upgraded; and what the forecast programme cost range is."

"The F-35 Block 4 upgrade has been included in the U.K. F-35 programme budget since its inception," Quin responded. However, "decisions on the number of aircraft to be upgraded will be made on the basis of military capability requirements."
The clear implication here is that while Block 4 has been a factor in the U.K. government's budgeting around the F-35, that doesn't mean that it plans to upgrade all 48 of the jets it expects to receive. Quin also declined to offer a figure for the total project cost of the upgrades.....

If the U.K. government does expect the unit cost of the upgrade package to be around $27.4 million, that would amount to increasing the purchase price of the jets by roughly a quarter or more. There have already been questions about whether there might be cuts to the planned British F-35 fleet in the face of other budget uncertainty in recent years.

Joint Strike Fighter operators could certainly use aircraft without the upgrades for training or test and evaluation roles, just as the branches of the U.S. military have done with their older aircraft. However, for smaller operators, relegating some of the handful of jets they have to primarily non-combat missions would reduce the overall combat capacity of their F-35 fleets and would result in mismatched fleet management.

All told, the U.K. government's ambiguous statement about whether or not it will upgrade all of its F-35Bs with the Block 4 package only further underscores the difficulties and growing costs that Joint Strike Fighter operators will continue to have to mitigate and defray as time goes on in order to get the most out of their F-35 fleets.....

They might want to read the MOU they signed, in regard to updates and cost of development.

ORAC 24th Jan 2021 14:51

https://aviationweek.com/defense-spa...uisition-shake

U.S. Air Force Talks New F-16 Orders In Latest Acquisition Shake-Up

U.S. Air Force officials are talking about ordering new Lockheed Martin F-16s two decades after signing the last production contract.

A review of the tactical aircraft portfolio now underway is set to deliver another Air Force acquisition shake-up in the fiscal 2023 budget request, with F-16s, Boeing F-15EXs, a new breed of so-called attritable aircraft and a next-generation fighter competing for a pool of production funding once monopolized by Lockheed’s F-35A.....

The F-16 remains in production in Greenville, South Carolina, where Lockheed transplanted the assembly line in 2019 to support continued international demand for the 50-year-old design.....

The reasons for the shift in resources has evolved in public statements over time. When Air Force officials requested funding in 2019 to order the first eight of up to 144 new F-15EXs, they justified the unexpected move as a response to an urgent need. Recent inspections had determined that an aging fleet of F-15Cs require new wings to remain airworthy, and the existing training pipeline and infrastructure made F-15EXs a more expedient option than the F-35A.

But the tactical aircraft fleet review could establish a permanent combat role for nonstealthy fighters for decades to come. The F-15EX not only represents a convenient option for an urgent F-15C replacement, but its centerline weapon station with a 7,500-lb. load capacity also may fill a gap in the Air Force’s force structure for a tactical aircraft that can carry a rocket-boosted hypersonic glide vehicle.....

The review opens the possibility that the Air Force could order four different fighters—the F-35A, F-15EX, F-16 Block 70/72 and a next-generation fighter—while continuing to operate the Lockheed F-22 and the A-10. The Air Force also would be splitting orders between two Lockheed designs.

“We are proud to partner with the U.S. Air Force across our portfolio, including the F-16 and other fighter platforms,” says Danya Trent, Lockheed vice president for the F-16 program.

As new roles are being considered for nonstealthy jets, a long-standing frustration with the costs of operating the military’s stealth fighter fleet is being exposed at the highest levels of the Pentagon. Asked by a reporter on Jan. 14 for his thoughts about the F-35, then-Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller referred to his department’s largest weapon system program as a “piece of shit.”....





tdracer 24th Jan 2021 21:41


Originally Posted by ORAC (Post 10975224)
https://aviationweek.com/defense-spa...uisition-shake

U.S. Air Force Talks New F-16 Orders In Latest Acquisition Shake-Up

As new roles are being considered for nonstealthy jets, a long-standing frustration with the costs of operating the military’s stealth fighter fleet is being exposed at the highest levels of the Pentagon. Asked by a reporter on Jan. 14 for his thoughts about the F-35, then-Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller referred to his department’s largest weapon system program as a “piece of shit.”....

The cynic in me is wondering if this has just as much to do with "spreading the wealth" to different parts of the country to maintain congressional support for the USAF budget as it does with any shortcomings of the F-35...

ORAC 24th Jan 2021 22:29

I thought that was why F-35 sub-contracts had been spread liberally across the country, especially in areas with influential congress members.

I recal the saying: “Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan”...

NutLoose 27th Jan 2021 01:20

Pilot reports on what’s good and bad about the f35 cockpit,

https://hushkit.net/

Asturias56 10th Feb 2021 16:28

I see from the latest copy of Flight that they availability is still well under 65%

chopper2004 16th Feb 2021 08:53

Ride of the Valkyries
 
It’s official what the 495th be called

https://www.lakenheath.af.mil/News/A...aLyxCii-6Oji8/

and stirring up memories of


cheers

ORAC 3rd Mar 2021 09:00

https://www.snafu-solomon.com/2021/0...-via-navy.html

Delivering an F-35C power module via a Navy CMV-22B Osprey


https://cimg7.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune....079f6b500.jpeg



https://cimg6.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune....4abd35c16.jpeg



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