International Aerospace Discussion

All threads that are locked or marked for deletion will be moved to this forum. The topics will be cleared from this archive on the 1st and 16th of each month.
Forum Moderator
Posts: 3958
Joined: 11 Aug 2016 06:14

Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby deejay » 03 Nov 2017 15:51

Kartik wrote:Wow!

Latest Afghan Super Tucanos to cost $174.5 million

The US Air Force’s latest batch of six Sierra Nevada/Embraer A-29 Super Tucanos for Afghanistan cost $174.5 million, a price tag includes aircraft transportation, maintenance spares and advanced sensors, the service tells FlightGlobal.

The average price of an A-29 hovers around $10 million or more depending on modifications.

The six new Super Tucanos are the same variant as the previous 20 aircraft the USAF procured for delivery to the Afghan air force, an air force spokesman says.

The $174 million contract covers more than the aircraft and includes long lead parts, maintenance spares and cost of ferrying the aircraft to the training location. The six A-29s are equipped with avionics that manage the release of unguided munitions, such as Mk-81 and Mk-82 bombs, as well as guided GBU-12, GBU-58 bombs and 50-cal machine guns.

In addition to the Afghan air force delivery, Sierra Nevada and Embraer delivered the first two A-29 aircraft for the Lebanese air force on 9 October. The USAF handed over the aircraft to Lebanon’s army at the end of the October.

So a cool $74.5 million over the base price of an A-29 Super Tucano, for sensors, maintenance spares and cost of ferrying the aircraft to Afghanistan.

I have just quoted cost of ferrying a twin turbo prop aircraft from US to India by flying it for delivery at USD 90K to someone. Crating and air freight is lesser. I am just surprised they are using this amount to justify USD 175 million for a Super Tucano. Their system is more riddled than ours. Daylight robbery.

BRF Oldie
Posts: 8630
Joined: 11 Aug 2016 06:14

Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 03 Nov 2017 16:38

The original contract from 2013 put the Unit cost of the deal at approximately $20 Million. It appears the current award is an extension of the existing contract so it is possible that an extension of some of the services and contractor support of the entire fleet is also included.

Sierra Nevada Corp., Sparks, Nev., has been awarded a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (FA8637 13 D 6003) to provide both an advanced aircrew trainer and a light air support aircraft to establish air combat capability for allied countries under the Building Partnership Capacity program. Delivery Order 0001 was awarded for $427,459,708 for 20 Light Air Support Aircraft, one computer based trainer, one basic aviation training device, one flight training device, six mission planning stations, six mission debrief systems, long lead spares for interim contractor support, outside the continental United States base activation, site surveys, flight certification to U.S. Air Force military type certification standards, and data. The location of performance for Delivery Order 0001 effort is Sparks, Nev., and Jacksonville, Fla. The maximum amount that can be ordered under this contract is $950,000,000. The contract period of performance goes through Feb. 26, 2019 and Delivery Order 0001 work is expected to be complete by April 2015. This award is the result of a full and open competition, and two offers were received. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity.

BRF Oldie
Posts: 8630
Joined: 11 Aug 2016 06:14

Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 04 Nov 2017 01:04

U.S. Navy, Royal Australian Air Force solidify radar system collaboration

The U.S. Navy and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to jointly develop the latest jammer technology.

The Airborne Electronic Attack Systems and EA-6B Program Office (PMA-234) and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) will cooperatively mature the AN/ALQ-249 Next Generation Jammer Mid-band (NGJ-MB) capability from here forward.

Program Executive Officer for Tactical Aircraft Programs U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Mike Moran, PMA-234 Program Manager U.S. Navy Capt. Michael Orr, and RAAF Air Vice Marshal Cath Roberts attended the event held at U.S. Pacific Fleet Headquarters, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Oct. 18.

“This is a very important milestone for both nations,” said Orr. “PMA-234 is officially a joint program office partnering with one of our allies. It took four years of communication and collaboration to get to this point, and I commend both nations for their dedication to this partnership.”

The MOU provides the framework for communication, coordination and cooperation between the U.S. Navy and the RAAF during the NGJ-MB engineering & manufacturing development (EMD) phase.

BRF Oldie
Posts: 4452
Joined: 16 Dec 2002 12:31
Location: USA

Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby chola » 06 Nov 2017 14:14

The PRC has just leveraged their aerospace industry into the US market. The FAA automatic approval will get them not just the US market but also other first world EU and East Asian markets that accept FAA standards.

While making it easier for companies like Boeing to sell products in China, the agreement also may boost the Asian nation’s burgeoning aviation industry.

By Alan Levin
Bloomberg News

The U.S. and China agreed to recognize each other’s aircraft-safety approvals, which may boost the Asian nation’s burgeoning aviation industry and make it easier for companies like Boeing to sell products there.

The U.S.-China Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement was announced Friday, before President Donald Trump is set to travel to China from Nov. 8-10. The trade mission will include representatives from about 40 companies, with executives from Boeing among those tentatively approved to be part of the trip.

Each nation will move toward automatic approvals of aircraft designs, manufacturing and equipment, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a news release.


The agreement may also help speed international approvals for the first Chinese aircraft designed to compete against single-aisle planes made by Boeing and Airbus.

State-owned Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China, or Comac, tested its C919 jet in May. The company has orders for 730 planes pending certification from regulators. It’s designed to seat as many as 174 people.

In July, the company won approval to start mass production of a separate, 90-seat regional jet, the ARJ21.
Last edited by chola on 06 Nov 2017 14:18, edited 1 time in total.

BRF Oldie
Posts: 23387
Joined: 23 Jul 2000 11:31

Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Austin » 06 Nov 2017 14:17

US companies need the Chinese market and it is about business @ EOD

China to overtake U.S. as largest air travel market

BRF Oldie
Posts: 4452
Joined: 16 Dec 2002 12:31
Location: USA

Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby chola » 06 Nov 2017 14:31

Austin wrote:US companies need the Chinese market and it is about business @ EOD

China to overtake U.S. as largest air travel market

Yes, I know. Both Boeing and Airbus have production facilities there now. The chinis are extracting access and technology by leveraging their market.

According to East Pendulum, first C919 prototype made a two hour and then a three hour test flight within the last three days and the second prototype has just finished its engine test. They are ramping up their A320 clone program to this wide open market running.

There is just one other fast growing market in the world with a billion plus population. We must leverage the same access to first world’s markets and technology. We must play this correctly. This has spillover to the military side of things as well.

BRF Oldie
Posts: 3407
Joined: 24 Apr 2010 01:24

Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Cosmo_R » 07 Nov 2017 01:18

^^^"... The chinis are extracting access and technology by leveraging their market."
That's how you get 'ToT' and you would think we'd have it figured out by now.

Forum Moderator
Posts: 4525
Joined: 11 Aug 2016 06:14

Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby JayS » 07 Nov 2017 17:16

Cosmo_R wrote:^^^"... The chinis are extracting access and technology by leveraging their market."
That's how you get 'ToT' and you would think we'd have it figured out by now.

Perhaps we need "ToT" from China on how to extract "ToT" from Russians and the West. :lol: :lol:

Posts: 1844
Joined: 07 Jan 2006 00:37
Location: J4

Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Zynda » 07 Nov 2017 17:36

^^ :rotfl: :rotfl:

BRF Oldie
Posts: 4452
Joined: 16 Dec 2002 12:31
Location: USA

Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby chola » 07 Nov 2017 17:46

JayS wrote:
Cosmo_R wrote:^^^"... The chinis are extracting access and technology by leveraging their market."
That's how you get 'ToT' and you would think we'd have it figured out by now.

Perhaps we need "ToT" from China on how to extract "ToT" from Russians and the West. :lol: :lol:

You might need to import their entire bureacracy to do that. lol.

Every time we negotiate for ToT, the key focus seems to be offsets and local jobs and then phoren guarantee of the quality on the parts produced by our local jobs. The focus is not on the actual transfer of the tech.

So how do the TFTA firangi firm make sure the local SDREs produce proper components that the firangi firm is on the HOOK for? Send them ready-made parts that just need to be screwdrivered together.

Forget guarantees and offsets, at least don’t make them such a focus — the initial Rafale deal fell apart because of guarantees and now we have nothing but 36 off the shelf buys. Pay, even overpay, for the deep license and OEM support.

Be aggressive. Don’t be a patsy. Make ToT work for us not the firangis. When the MKI contract is up, tell the Russians that the Su-30 line and ecosystem we built will be used for an indigenous variant. Just like the J-11 (and J-15 and J-16.)

Finally, leverage and leverage HARD our billion plus market. Even on mil contracts because every aviation maker out there has stakes in the civilian market too.

Forum Moderator
Posts: 54263
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30

Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby ramana » 09 Nov 2017 03:41

BREXIT is forcing France and Germany to bury the hatchet and cooperate on fighter aircraft development.

Airbus and Dassault vie for leadership

I think Airbus would be better project manager than Dassault.

BRF Oldie
Posts: 4452
Joined: 16 Dec 2002 12:31
Location: USA

Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby chola » 10 Nov 2017 14:27

Lizard’s COMAC is ramping up testing of the C919 after the FAA pact. Three flights in the past week including a long distant ferry to Xian from Shanghai.

Interested to see how this ends up after the FAA agreement. The US could have restricted the chini liner to its home market by refusing FAA certification. Any plane hoping to fly into US airspace and land at US airports needs that cert. Certification by 2021?

The home market for this thing is guaranteed because of government directives.

It is rather pretty.


Comac has flown its first C919 prototype to Xian, marking the start of the next phase of flight test and certification work for the narrowbody programme.

Aircraft B-001A took off from Shanghai Pudong International airport's fourth runway at 11:38 local time on 10 November, and flew for 2h 24min before landing uneventfully at Xian Yanliang airport.


In Xian, B-001A will undergo a more intensive flight test regimen towards airworthiness certification.

The prototype made the ferry flight to Xian, after five flights in Shanghai, two of which were done in the past week.

The manufacturer is using six test aircraft and will be conducting flight tests across sites in Shanghai, Xian, and Dongying. It is targeting for the second prototype to make its first flight this year end.

The aim is for the C919 to achieve certification and enter into service in 2020-2021. Comac has so far received 730 commitments for the type from 27 customers.

Forum Moderator
Posts: 4525
Joined: 11 Aug 2016 06:14

Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby JayS » 10 Nov 2017 16:08

chola wrote:
JayS wrote:Perhaps we need "ToT" from China on how to extract "ToT" from Russians and the West. :lol: :lol:

You might need to import their entire bureacracy to do that. lol.


Ohh.. So just 'ToT' doesn't work...? :-? There was no * on ToT. This is cheating only. Innocent, Poor, hungry SDREs being cheated. Day light robbery.. :P

BRF Oldie
Posts: 5177
Joined: 04 Feb 2004 12:31

Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Kartik » 11 Nov 2017 01:45

Malaysia cancels its plans to buy 4.5 generation fighter aircraft in the Rafale/Super Hornet/Gripen size class and wants additional second hand classic Hornets instead

Posting from AW&St

BERLIN, KUALA LUMPUR—Malaysia has shifted its ambitions to seeking additional, secondhand BoeingF/A-18s Hornets, putting off a long-standing requirement for advanced new aircraft until the 2020s.

But replacements for jet trainers, to be bought in a separate program, will be high performance, a Malaysian official says.

The Korea Aerospace Industries T-50 is an obvious candidate trainer. For the now-defunct fighter requirement, Malaysia considered the Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale, Saab Gripen C/D and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) has suffered from the low efficiency of operating three fighter types in small numbers. Aiming to simplify the fleet, the service has begun exploratory talks with other Hornet operators about buying surplus aircraft, the official says.

“We need to increase our availability and capability,” the official said Nov. 7 at the International Fighter Conference in Berlin, the rules of which forbade the identification of speakers. “We want to improve the numbers of the same asset and lower maintenance costs.”

Poor reliability prompted a 2016 decision to withdraw from service one of the three fighter types, the Mikoyan MiG-29. The third is the Sukhoi Su-30MKM Flanker.

The RMAF has struggled to modernize. The government raised the possibility of buying advanced replacements for the MiG-29 as early as 2005; 18 aircraft were required. The economy and currency since have weakened.

Malaysia’s Hornets are two-seaters, F/A-18Ds. The air force would like to enlarge to a full squadron strength, 18 aircraft. It is open to the idea of buying F/A-18Cs, which have one seat.

“We are not going for a 4.5-generation fighter at the moment,” the official says, referring to such aircraft as the candidates for the former requirement. “We are maintaining what we have, upgrading what we have. Buying a 4.5-generation fighter is out of the question, beyond what we can afford.”

A top RMAF officer says 10 additional Hornets would be needed to cover the absence of the MiG-29s, which originally numbered 18; they were down to 10 units, including two trainers, when the decision was made last year to put the survivors into storage. RMAF chief Gen. Affendi Buang says they could be returned to service if money were available. But senior RMAF officers doubt that doing so would be worthwhile.

In looking for secondhand Hornets, Malaysia has approached Australia and Kuwait, officials say. The Kuwaiti aircraft are closest to Malaysia’s in configuration and also have plenty of remaining airframe life. Australia’s Hornets are heavily modified F/A-18A/Bs that have been flying for about 30 years.

A problem is that Kuwait’s Hornets will not be available until 2021, even if the country agrees to sell them, the top RMAF officer says. So far it has not.

Malaysia’s new plan envisions Hornets and Su-30MKMs forming what the official speaking in Berlin calls a Tier 1 fleet of combat aircraft. Following that rationalization, the air force could then take time to consider plans for a future combat aircraft that would enter service by 2030, the official says. The timing suggests a procurement program would begin in the mid-2020s.

The Tier 2 combat aircraft would replace trainers of two types—the Leonardo MB-339CM and BAE Systems Hawk Mk.108—and the single-seat, radar-equipped Hawk Mk. 208 light-attack aircraft. One or two squadrons of replacements are needed, the official says.

The replacement type should have one engine and supersonic performance, which would allow it to take on a limited air-policing function, he adds. The air force is studying options and has noted orders for aircraft of the T-50 family by Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.

The seven MB-339CMs, among eight acquired, are less than 10 years old, but the top RMAF officer says they are proving unreliable. The main problem is that they were fitted with Rolls-Royce Viper engines taken from Malaysia’s former MB-339As, which were delivered in the 1980s. Seventeen Hawks are in service.

BRF Oldie
Posts: 5177
Joined: 04 Feb 2004 12:31

Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Kartik » 11 Nov 2017 02:42

Airbus lifts veil on 5th gen air combat platform

From AW&ST

BERLIN—Airbus has lifted the veil on a new fighter concept that could form the shape of a future Franco-German combat aircraft.

Its modular future air power concept was detailed for the first time at the International Fighter Conference here Nov. 8. It combines the use of manned fighters, small unmanned combat air vehicles—it describes them as remote carriers—and the company’s Space Data Highway, a satellite-based broadband, high-bandwidth communication system.

Graphics detail a large, manned, twin-engine, cranked delta-winged fighter with canted vertical stabilizers. They feature design inspiration from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and Russian Sukhoi T-50/Su-57. The cockpit’s size suggests the aircraft could be a twin-seater. Airbus has previously suggested a two-seat heavy strike aircraft, with the rear-seater likely to be involved in the command and control of UAVs. Airbus says the aircraft will have to be low-observable, highly survivable and have extended range.

“Fifth-generation aircraft coming now will have to do some C2 [command and control], and if you operate four of them together, you can achieve some air superiority,” said Antoine Noguier, head of strategy at Airbus Defense and Space.

“This [future] fighter needs to go beyond that, with a combination of low observability and long range. It will need to crunch data internally to provide local and distributed C2 perspective on other effectors.”

Open software architectures to allow easy upgrading of onboard systems and a directed energy weapon also were necessities for the new aircraft, Noguier suggested.

Noguier says the UAVs, which could be launched in swarms from the back of an A400M airlifter, could be equipped with jammers, sensors or weapons, acting as a ride-along weapons bay teamed with the new fighter. Sensor-equipped versions could be sent ahead into denied airspace searching for targets.

Noguier says a high bandwidth communications system will be essential for any future fighter working with swarms of UAVs, given the amount of data that will be collected by future air combat platforms. High-bandwidth data also could give pilots real-time, satellite-based imagery to provide updated target information.

The aircraft also would be linked to other platforms, including other fourth- and fifth-generation fighters and intelligence-gathering assets.

In an Aerospace DAILY interview for the Dubai Airshow, Dirk Hoke, CEO of Airbus Defense and Space, said that while stealth and precision-guided weapons had transformed warfare, operating UAVs alongside manned fighters has “vast potential that has barely been explored yet.”

Airbus is now vying for a prime role in a future Franco-German fighter, details of which first emerged from a Franco-German Council of Ministers meeting held in July. Germany sees the new platform replacing the Eurofighter in the 2040s, while France likely will use the aircraft to replace the Dassault Rafale.

BRF Oldie
Posts: 5177
Joined: 04 Feb 2004 12:31

Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Kartik » 11 Nov 2017 02:43

From AW&ST

Germany Wants Fifth-Gen Fighter To Replace Tornado
Berlin puts 28-year time line on future European fighter project

Germany appears to be favoring the Lockheed Martin F-35 as the successor to the Panavia Tornado: The Luftwaffe sees the U.S. fighter as a “benchmark” among the commercially available types on the market, senior Luftwaffe officials say.

Although the decision is far from final—the Luftwaffe is also looking at advanced versions of the Boeing F-15 Eagle and the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet as well as additional Eurofighter Typhoons, a possible revival of the long-mulled Tranche 3B order—the term “benchmark” indicates there is a strong preference for the Joint Strike Fighter.

“If Germany decided to purchase the F-35, we would achieve three goals at the same time,” a senior officer said. He said the aircraft would fulfill Germany’s requirements, strengthen European cooperation and, he joked, help balance Germany’s trade surplus with the U.S.

Germany’s New Strategy

The Luftwaffe wants the Tornado’s successor to enter service in 2025, allowing the swing-wing fighter bomber to be phased out in 2030. Officials say the replacement aircraft needs to have low-observable attributes, advanced sensors and weapons and an airborne electronic attack capability (AW&ST June 12-25, p. 42).

A wish to retain Germany’s role in NATO’s nuclear deterrent plan may also be a significant motivating factor. The Tornado is the only non-U.S.-made operational platform cleared to carry the B61 nuclear weapons based in Germany under a dual-key arrangement.

Work is ongoing to allow the Tornado to carry the modernized B61-12. Early last year, Sandia National Laboratories reported it had performed environmental flight testing of the weapon with the Tornado, but integrating a nuclear weapon onto an aircraft is a costly business. Wiring the Eurofighter Typhoon to carry a nuclear weapon was discussed early in the program but abandoned.

The F-35 is the only one of those shortlisted that can meet all those attributes, and purchasing a U.S. platform to continue the deterrence mission could be a tidy solution.

Berlin has sent letters requesting pricing and availability of all four aircraft types, and Washington is expected to provide a response on the three U.S. types in March 2018.

It is unclear whether Berlin would want to replace its 85 remaining Tornados on a one-for-one basis. The program could be worth around €20 billion ($23 billion) for the winning bidder.

But purchasing the F-35—or indeed any U.S. aircraft—could be a contentious political move for Germany, given its position as one of the European Union’s key pillars and an advocate for greater European defense cooperation.

Some observers suggest it could be political posturing by the Luftwaffe to make clear its views as a new government is formed following general elections in September, but there is growing recognition of the dynamic European security situation. Germany is increasing defense spending, the army is growing in personnel, and new threats mean the Tornado, in service since 1982, may not be the deterrent it needs to be.

“At the end of the next decade, the risks and costs of [the Tornado’s] continued service become unforeseeable and unbearable,” the officer said.

There also is recognition that buying an off-the-shelf fighter, particularly an American one, is only acceptable if there is a significant project for European industry.

Less than two years ago, the German defense ministry’s military aviation strategy called for “concrete European collaboration” to replace the Tornado, but German officials realized there was not enough time to develop a clean-sheet design. They then began requesting briefings on off-the-shelf fighters and received one on the F-35 in July.

This change of approach means that replacing the Tornado will no longer be the focus of a planned new European fighter to be developed with France and other potential European partners. Instead, the new European fighter would replace the Eurofighter in the mid-2040s and probably also the Dassault Rafale.

German officials say the vast time scales are indicative of the lengthy development process for a fifth-generation-plus platform and the cost of developing a new fighter while also paying for the Tornado replacement.

As Germany’s largest defense supplier, Airbus is vying for a leading role on the project. Airbus Defense and Space CEO Dirk Hoke argues in an editorial for German defense publication Griephan Briefe that “purchasing American black-box solutions” could result in core segments of the European defense industry “drying up” and could put some countries in a “position of unilateral dependence” when adapting or updating platforms. Thus, Europe would no longer be able to “penetrate the technology of highly complex systems manufactured in the USA,” he notes, adding that development of a European fighter is needed “if the sovereignty of European states is indeed to be maintained.”

The Franco-German fighter, details of which first emerged in July during a meeting of the Franco-German council of ministers, would feature “enhanced capabilities” in terms of range, persistence, electronic warfare, survivability, situational awareness and weapons capability. Artificial Intelligence would also play a major role, the officials said.

Airbus has begun detailing its take on the German requirements with a family of manned and unmanned platforms in which the manned aircraft act as command-and-control platforms. Swarming fleets of unmanned combat air vehicles carrying sensors, jamming equipment and weaponry could be launched by Airbus A400M airlifters and directed into action by the fighter jet.

“Fifth-generation aircraft will have to do some [command and control], and if you operate four of them together, you can achieve some air superiority,” says Antoine Noguier, head of strategy at Airbus Defense and Space. “This [future] fighter needs to go beyond that, with a combination of low-observability and long range; it will need to crunch data internally to provide local and distributed [command-and-control] perspective on other effectors.”

Open software architectures to allow easy upgrading of onboard systems and a directed-energy weapon were also necessities for the new aircraft, Noguier says.

BRF Oldie
Posts: 4452
Joined: 16 Dec 2002 12:31
Location: USA

Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby chola » 11 Nov 2017 16:03

JayS wrote:
chola wrote:
You might need to import their entire bureacracy to do that. lol.


Ohh.. So just 'ToT' doesn't work...? :-? There was no * on ToT. This is cheating only. Innocent, Poor, hungry SDREs being cheated. Day light robbery.. :P

LoL. SYREs have a corrupt bureacracy just like us SDREs.

But the main difference between their rice-eating babus versus ours is how they skim. Chini babus skim off the top of projects that they keeping. The more things get done the more they can skim. Bharati babus skim by holding entire projects hostage with license raj and until bribes are paid nothing moves. Netas can work around the raj with political connections. Of course what they do are profitable to their party and that includes sops to their electing base.

Hence the constant focus on local jobs instead of true technology transfer.

BRF Oldie
Posts: 4452
Joined: 16 Dec 2002 12:31
Location: USA

Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby chola » 11 Nov 2017 17:01

Damn commies tie up with Western aerospace firms far better than we as a democratic free market.

The more I look at their industry the more impressed I become. Especially at their ability to extract ToT and their no-nonsense attitude towards a full industrial base. They don’t do single one-off moon shots like we do. They attack lower technical segments and then work their way up hitting each market segment along the way.

They have extensive work in the turboprop space with Canadian companies especially.

Harbin Y-12 with P&W PT6; 19 passengers; sold as a “bush” plane for places with underdeveloped airstrips

Xian MA60, MA700 with P&W P127; 60 passengers; turboprop regional craft; this thing crashes all over the place but it is still flown in 20 turd world nations and the latest variant MA700 has 185 pre-orders

Q-400/Dash 9; 40-80 passengers depending on variant; formerly Bombardier now owned by Cheen but had been built entirely in Cheen even under Bombardier ownership

The Y-12 and MA60 fly in the chini military with chini engines. The same will happen with the Q400 now that it is chini owned.

The jets we know more about since they are in the news, I won’t bother with pictures of them: ARJ21 (100 passengers) and C919(150 passengers). These are pretty much Western jets with chini airframes since ALL the avionics and engines come from American and European firms.

Their future projects C929(250 passengers) and C939 (up to 400 passengers!!!) are reportedly tie ups with Russian and European firms. American companies are already involved with the subsystems. ARJ21 itself is a variant of the MD-80 from the old McDonnell Douglas plant in Shanghai.

The Do 228 project should have given us a similiar ability to hit the turboprop market. But like everything else with HAL we seem bounded by contract to never expand what we learn in these tie-ups into our own products.

BRF Oldie
Posts: 8630
Joined: 11 Aug 2016 06:14

Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 12 Nov 2017 06:44

It remains to be seen which radar they pick. The sticking point has been the Japanese insistence on the AN/SPY-6 AMDR which is currently not export cleared.

Akita, Yamaguchi to get Aegis Ashore / GSDF involvement expected to strengthen missile defense

The government has been making final arrangements to deploy ground-based Aegis Ashore units, which are scheduled to be introduced to reinforce the nation’s missile defense system, in Akita and Yamaguchi prefectures, according to government sources.

The units will be deployed at facilities of the Ground Self-Defense Force near the Sea of Japan and will be operated mainly by the GSDF, the sources said.

The Aegis Ashore is a ground-based facility that has a function equivalent to that of an Aegis-equipped destroyer. The government aims to start operation around fiscal 2023.

New SM-3 Block IIA missile interceptors will be deployed at the Aegis Ashore facilities, making it possible for Japan to cover all its territory with two Aegis Ashore units against North Korea’s ballistic missiles.

From the viewpoint of avoiding duplication of defense ranges, the government is considering deploying the units in Akita Prefecture in eastern Japan and in Yamaguchi Prefecture in western Japan.

The facilities are said to require a wide land area as high-intensity radio waves are emitted by the radar. For that reason, the GSDF’s exercise areas and other sites are likely candidates for the Aegis Ashore facilities.

Under the current missile defense system, the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) carried by Maritime Self-Defense Force Aegis destroyers intercepts ballistic missiles outside the Earth’s atmosphere, and a Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) ground-to-air guided missile then shoots them down if they survive the SM-3 attack.

However, the GSDF is not currently in a position to intercept the missiles.

The plan with Aegis Ashore units is aimed at strengthening the nation’s ability to deal with North Korea’s ballistic missiles by involving the GSDF, which has the largest number of personnel among the three branches of the Self-Defense Forces, in the missile defense system, according to the sources.Speech


BRF Oldie
Posts: 8630
Joined: 11 Aug 2016 06:14

Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 12 Nov 2017 19:05

Germany Requests Pricing and Availability for the F-35

Germany has sent a Letter of Request for Pricing and Availability for the F-35 to the U.S. government. Lockheed Martin officials told AIN that they would assist in the U.S. response, which they expected would be made at the classified level. Germany received a preliminary classified briefing on the F-35 last July. Lockheed Martin brought its unclassified F-35 cockpit demonstrator to Berlin this week for The International Fighter Conference, organized by Defence IQ.

Speaking at the same conference, the chief of staff of the German Air Force (GAF) Lt. Gen. Karl Muellner said that the service is seeking a replacement for its Tornado strike fleet. With those jets due to be phased out in 2030, a successor would have to enter service from 2025. “We are considering several candidates, with the capability of the F-35 as the benchmark.”Muellner did not specify the other candidates, but AIN has learned from other sources that the GAF has been considering the Boeing F-15 Strike Eagle, the F/A-18 Super Hornet, and even a so-called Tranche 4 version of the Eurofighter. However, according to the requirements for the new fighter that Muellner listed in his conference presentation, the F-35 seems to be the key contender. The Luftwaffe chief said the new acquisition “must be survivable in a contested environment through low-observability by radar and infrared signature; have low emissions; offer stand-off capability with its sensors and weapons; and be capable of sensor fusion.

The mission set would include offensive counter-air; air interdiction; close air support; suppression of enemy air defenses; tactical reconnaissance; electronic combat; and nuclear deterrence, Muellner added. AIN believes that the last mission is a reference to the U.S. B61 nuclear free-fall bomb, which can be carried by the Tornado under NATO nuclear-release deterrence doctrine. An updated version of the B61 is due to be integrated on the F-35.

“If we bought the F-35,” Muellner continued, “it would fulfill our requirement, strengthen interoperability because other NATO members are acquiring it and make a contribution to balancing our trade surplus with the U.S.”

Muellner was asked whether the GAF’s plan was contrary to last year’s announcement by the leaders of France and Germany that they would jointly develop a new combat aircraft. He said that this would be a longer-term project, to replace the Eurofighter from 2045 with a “Fifth Generation-Plus” solution. This aircraft would offer much greater automation, make use of artificial intelligence and offer cyber capabilities. “We must certainly keep the industrial knowledge and the jobs in Europe,” he added.

Whether Germany can afford the "Trillion dollar" price tag remains to be seen.

BRF Oldie
Posts: 20610
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: India

Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Philip » 13 Nov 2017 12:02

I am posting this here becos the old JSF "Turkey of Talisman?" td. was closed. There is a lobby for the F-16 SEF which is using the JSF as a logical follow on as if it were the next best thing for the IAF and IN too,and that we should dump the FGFA for it.After reading this very detailed expose on the numerous problems affetcing the aircraft in all critical areas,one can see that it is truly a $ trillion+ disaster .After reading the problems that come with stealth fighters-and here the JSF was a from concept wrong footed,"jack of all trades but master of none",one bird for all 3 services,we too must to use a Chinese expression "hasten cautiously" with our stealth programmes,both for the FGFA and AMCA and not follow the JSF route.

I must also apologise to members on an error reg. the trillion $ disaster,sorry,now $1.4 trillion expected,this amt. has not been spent on the dev. costs so far,just a paltry $100B+ or so! But the Big Lie is that the JSF is ready and avalable ,ready to go into combat ,available at low cost-less than $100M,plus is more capable than its competitors.Read on. ... ster-19985
The F-35 Is a $1.4 Trillion Dollar National Disaster

[quote]Dan Grazier
April 1, 2017

The F-35 still has a long way to go before it will be ready for combat. That was the parting message of Dr. Michael Gilmore, the now-retired Director of Operational Test and Evaluation, in his last annual report.

The Joint Strike Fighter Program has already consumed more than $100 billion and nearly 25 years. Just to finish the basic development phase will require at least an extra $1 billion and two more years. Even with this massive investment of time and money, Dr. Gilmore told Congress, the Pentagon, and the public, “the operational suitability of all variants continues to be less than desired by the Services." :mrgreen:

Dr. Gilmore detailed a range of remaining and sometimes worsening problems with the program, including hundreds of critical performance deficiencies and maintenance problems. He also raised serious questions about whether the Air Force’s F-35A can succeed in either air-to-air or air-to-ground missions, whether the Marine Corps’ F-35B can conduct even rudimentary close air support, and whether the Navy’s F-35C is suitable to operate from aircraft carriers.

He found, in fact, that “if used in combat, the F-35 aircraft will need support to locate and avoid modern threat ground radars, acquire targets, and engage formations of enemy fighter aircraft due to unresolved performance deficiencies and limited weapons carriage availability.” :rotfl:

In a public statement, the F-35 Joint Program Office attempted to dismiss the Gilmore report by asserting, “All of the issues are well-known to the JPO, the U.S. services, our international partners, and our industry.”

JPO’s acknowledgement of the numerous issues are fine as far as it goes, but there’s no indication that the Office has any plan—including cost and schedule re-estimates—to fix those currently known problems without cutting corners. Nor, apparently, do they have a plan to cope with and fund the fixes for the myriad unknown problems that will be uncovered during the upcoming, much more rigorous, developmental and operational tests of the next four years. Such a plan is essential, and should be driven by the pace at which problems are actually solved rather than by unrealistic pre-existing schedules.

What will it take to fix the numerous problems identified by Dr. Gilmore, and how do we best move forward with the most expensive weapon program in history, a program that has been unable to live up to its own very modest promises?

The F-35 is being sold to the American people based in no small part on its mission systems, the vast array of sophisticated electronics on board the jet. A quick perusal of any of the hagiographic articles about the F-35 will find that they nearly always point to its capabilities to gather massive amounts of information. This information is supposed to come through its onboard sensors and the data links to outside networked sources, and then be merged by the F-35’s computer systems to identify and display for the pilot the specific threat, target, and accompanying force picture (i.e. “situational awareness”). This process is designed to allow the pilot to dominate the battlespace. Based on the actual test performance of these systems during developmental testing, however, it appears the electronics actually interfere with the pilot’s ability to survive and prevail.

Overall, problems with the F-35’s sensors, computers, and software, including creating false targets and reporting inaccurate locations, have been severe enough that test teams at Edwards Air Force Base have rated them “red,” meaning they are unable to perform the combat tasks expected of them. :mrgreen:

One system, the Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS), was singled out by pilots as inferior in resolution and range to the systems currently being used on legacy aircraft. EOTS is one of the systems designed to help the F-35 detect and destroy enemy fighters from far enough away to make dogfighting a thing of the past. Mounted close to the nose of the aircraft, it incorporates a television camera, an infrared search and track system, and a laser rangefinder and designator. These sensors swivel under computer control to track targets over a wide field of regard and display imagery on the pilot’s helmet visor display.

But the limitations of EOTS, including image degradation with humidity, force pilots to fly in closer to a target than they had to when using earlier systems just to get a clear enough picture to launch a missile or take a shot. The report says the problem is bad enough that F-35 pilots may need to fly in so close to acquire the target that they would have to maneuver away to gain the distance needed for a guided weapon shot. Thus, the system’s limitations can force an attacking F-35 to compromise surprise, allowing the enemy to maneuver to a first-shot opportunity. Surrendering the element of surprise and enabling an opponent to shoot first is what we want to force the enemy to do, not ourselves. :((

Another often-touted feature that is supposed to give the F-35 superior situational awareness is the Distributed Aperture System (DAS). The DAS is one of the primary sensors feeding the displays to the infamous $600,000 helmet system, and it is also failing to live up to the hype. The DAS sensors are six video cameras or “eyes” distributed around the fuselage of the F-35 that project onto the helmet visor the outside view in any direction the pilot wants to look, including downwards or to the rear. At the same time, the helmet visor displays the flight instruments and the target and threat symbols derived from the sensors and mission system. But because of problems with excessive false targets, unstable “jittered” images, and information overload, pilots are turning off some of the sensor and computer inputs and relying instead on simplified displays or the more traditional instrument panel.
Here again, the system is little better than those it’s supposed to replace.
Test pilots also had difficulty with the helmet during some of the important Weapon Delivery Accuracy tests. Several of the pilots described the displays in the helmet as “operationally unusable and potentially unsafe” because of “symbol clutter” obscuring ground targets. While attempting to test fire short-range AIM-9X air-to-air missiles against targets, pilots reported that their view of the target was blocked by the symbols displayed on their helmet visors. Pilots also reported that the symbols were unstable while they were attempting to track targets.

Then there is the matter of pilots actually seeing double due to “false tracks.” :rotfl: There is a problem with taking all of the information generated by the various onboard instruments and merging it into a coherent picture for the pilot, a process called sensor fusion. Pilots are reporting that the different instruments, like the plane’s radar and the EOTS, are detecting the same target but the computer compiling the information is displaying the single target as two. Pilots have tried to work around this problem by shutting off some of the sensors to make the superfluous targets disappear. This, DOT&E says, is “unacceptable for combat and violates the basic principle of fusing contributions from multiple sensors into an accurate track and clear display to gain situational awareness and to identify and engage enemy targets.” :mrgreen:

And as bad as the problem is in a single plane, it’s much worse when several planes are attempting to share data across the network. The F-35 has a Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL) that is designed to enable the plane to share information with other F-35s in order to give all the pilots a common picture of the battlespace. It does this by taking all of the data generated by each plane and combining it into a single, shared view of the world. But this system, too, is creating erroneous or split images of targets. Compounding the problem, the system is also sometimes dropping images of targets altogether, causing confusion inside the cockpits about what’s there or not there.

All of this means that the systems meant to give the pilots a better understanding of the world around them can do exactly the opposite. According to the report, these systems “continue to degrade battlespace awareness and increase pilot workload. Workarounds to these deficiencies are time-consuming for the pilot and detract from efficient and effective mission execution.”

F-35 boosters say it's the network that matters; what actually matters is that the network isn't working.

Ineffective as a Fighter:

The F-35 was intended to be a multi-role aircraft from its inception. This latest report provides a clear picture of how it stacks up so far in its various roles, including in comparison to each aircraft it’s supposed to replace. The news is not encouraging.

The F-35’s shortcomings as an air-to-air fighter have already been well documented. It famously lost in mock aerial combat within visual range (WVR), where its radar stealth is of no advantage, to an F-16 in early 2015, one of the planes the F-35 is supposed to replace as an aerial fighter. The F-35 lost repeatedly in air-to-air maneuvering despite the fact that the test was rigged in its favor because the F-16 employed was the heavier two-seater version and was further loaded down with heavy, drag-inducing external fuel tanks to hinder its maneuverability. F-35 boosters argue that the plane's low radar signature will keep it out of WVR situations, but the history of air combat is that WVR engagements cannot be avoided altogether. Missile failures, the effects of radar jamming and other hard-to-predict factors tend to force WVR engagements time and again.

This latest report confirms the F-35 is not as maneuverable as legacy fighters. :rotfl:

+(which means that the LCA can dispose of it with ease!)

All three variants “display objectionable or unacceptable flying qualities at transonic speeds, where aerodynamic forces on the aircraft are rapidly changing.” :(( One such problem is known as wing drop, where the jet’s wingtip suddenly dips during a tight turn, something that can cause the aircraft to spin and potentially crash.

Transonic speeds, just below the sound barrier, are the most critical spot of the flight envelope for a fighter plane. These are the speeds where, historically, the majority of aerial combat takes place. And it is at these speeds where the F-35 needs to be the most nimble to be an effective fighter.

The program has attempted to fix the maneuverability performance problems by making changes to the F-35’s flight software rather than by redesigning the actual flight surfaces that are the cause of the problems. The software, called control laws, translates the pilot’s stick commands into behavior by the aircraft. One would expect that certain force by the pilot on the stick would result in an equivalent response by the plane. Because of the software changes, that’s sometimes not the case. For example, if a pilot makes a sharp stick move to turn the plane, the control law software now results in a gentler turn to prevent problems such as (and including) dig-in. F-35 apologists try to dismiss such issues by claiming that the F-35 was never intended for close-in aerial dogfighting, a claim belied by the Air Force’s insistence that the jet be equipped with a short range air-to-air gun.

As an air-to-air fighter, the F-35’s combat capability is extremely limited because at the moment the software version only enables it to employ two missiles, and they have to be the radar-guided advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles (AMRAAMs); in the future it will carry no more than four if it wants to retain its stealth characteristic. The F-35’s capability as an air-to-air fighter is currently further limited because the AMRAAM is not optimized for close, visual-range combat. (Eventually, upgraded software versions will allow the plane to carry missiles other than AMRAAMs, but not any time soon.) This means that any fight the F-35 gets into had better be short, because it will very quickly run out of ammunition. :rotfl:

Its gun would be available in close-in fighting as well, but it’s not currently working because the software needed to effectively use it in combat hasn’t been completed. The cannon in the F-35A sits behind a small door on the side of the aircraft that opens quickly an instant before the cannon is fired—a characteristic intended to keep the aircraft stealthy. Test flights have shown that this door catches the air flowing across the surface of the aircraft, pulling the F-35’s nose off the aimpoint resulting in errors “that exceed accuracy specifications.” Engineers are working on yet more changes to the F-35’s control laws to correct for the door-induced error. Making these changes and performing the subsequent “regression” re-testing to confirm the effectiveness of the changes have delayed the actual gun accuracy tests. Until these tests occur, no one can know whether the F-35A’s cannon can actually hit a target. :rotfl:

The F-35B and F-35C will both use an externally mounted gun pod rather than an internal version like the Air Force model. Because of differences in the shape of the fuselage of the two models, the Marine Corps and Navy will use different model gun pods. Both have been test-fired on the ground, but the flight tests to see what effect the pods have on the jet’s aerodynamics are only just now beginning. DOT&E has warned that, as happened with the gun door on the F-35A, unexpected flight control problems are likely to be discovered. The fixes to these will have to be devised and then tested as well. Only then will the program be able to begin the fuller in-flight accuracy testing, which is necessary to determine whether the gun pod is accurate.

Developmental testing delays, and the process of fixing the problems that testing will likely uncover, are severe enough that the program may not have an effective gun for Initial Operational Test & Evaluation. This could not only further delay scheduled testing but also, more importantly, prevent the aircraft from reaching the warfighter any time soon.

Infective as an Interdiction Bomber:

There are several major reasons F-35s will have extremely limited interdiction usefulness—the Air Force’s and Marine Corps’ declaration of “initial operational capability” notwithstanding.

For instance, defense companies in Europe, Russia, China, and even Iran have been hard at work for years developing and producing systems to defeat stealth aircraft. And they have had some success. We saw this clearly in 1999, when a Serbian missile unit shot down an F-117 stealth fighter with an obsolete Soviet-era SA-3 surface-to-air missile (SAM), a system first fielded in 1961. Serbian air defense crews discovered they could detect the stealth aircraft by using their missile battery’s longwave search radar. Then, using spotters and the missiles’ own guidance radars, the Serbian forces were able to track, target, and kill one stealthy F-117. To show that was no fluke, the Serbian SAMs hit and damaged another F-117 so badly it never flew in the Kosovo Air War again.

Unaffected by the special shapes and coatings of modern stealth aircraft, these search radars easily detect today’s stealth airplanes, including the F-35. Since WWII the Russians have never stopped building such radars and are now selling modern, highly mobile, truck-mounted digital longwave radars on the open market for prices as low as $10 million. The Chinese and the Iranians have followed suit by developing similar radar systems.

An even simpler system that is even harder to counter than a long wavelength search radar is a passive detection system (PDS) that detects and tracks the radio frequency (RF) signals emitted by an aircraft—radar signals, UHF and VHF radio signals, identification-friend-or-foe (IFF) signals, data link signals like Link-16, and navigation transponder signals like TACAN.

A good example of a modern PDS is the VERA-NG, a Czech system being sold internationally that uses three or more receiving antennas spaced well apart to detect and track and identify the RF signals emitted by fighters and bombers. The system’s central analysis module calculates the time difference of the signals reaching the receivers to identify, locate, and track up to 200 aircraft transmitting radar signals. The VERA-NG is only one of many types of PDS used throughout the world: the Russians, Chinese, and others produce PDSs, as well, and these have been widely fielded for several years.

The beauty of a PDS, from the perspective of an adversary employing one, is that radar stealth is irrelevant to it ability to detect and track aircraft. If the aircraft has to use its radar, radios, data links, or navigation systems to accomplish its mission, the PDS stands a good chance of being able to detect, track, and identify it by these emissions. Every aircraft in the world is susceptible to PDS, stealth and non-stealth alike, and the F-35 is no exception.

The F-35’s main air-to-air weapon, the AIM-120, is a beyond visual range radar missile; as a result, the F-35 has to use a large radar transmitting high-power signals in order to detect airborne targets and then guide the missile to them. Likewise, the aircraft has to employ high-powered ground mapping radar signals to find ground targets at long range. Moreover, if the plane’s systems have to communicate with other aircraft in the formation or with off-board supporting aircraft like AWACS, it has to use its radios and data links. The F-35 is thus likely susceptible to detection by passive tracking systems. Several of these passive detection systems are significantly less expensive than search radars—and they are virtually undetectable electronically.

The DOT&E report also lists several major reasons for the limited interdiction usefulness.

One such reason is that the F-35’s Block 2B (USMC) and Block 3i (USAF) software prevents it from detecting many threats and targets while severely limiting the kinds of weapons it can carry. For example, the F-35 can currently only carry a few models of large guided direct attack bombs. None of these can be launched from a distance like a power guided missile. Rather they fall on a ballistic trajectory from the aircraft to the target, which means they can only be released at relatively short ranges in view of the target. For now F-35 pilots “will be forced to fly much closer to engage ground targets and, depending on the threat level of enemy air defenses and acceptable mission risk, it may be limited to engaging ground targets that are defended by only short-range air defenses, or by none at all.”

The small number of weapon types the F-35 can carry also limits its flexibility in combat. The current software can only support one kind of bomb at a time, which DOT&E says is only useful when attacking one or two similar targets. So, for example, when a flight of F-35s departs loaded with bombs designed to destroy surface targets, they wouldn’t be able to also destroy any hardened or bunker targets because they wouldn’t have the heavier bombs required.

The F-35 is projected to carry a larger variety of weapons as more software, bomb racks, and testing to validate these are developed—but we will not know until 2021 which of those weapons are actually combat suitable. Moreover, in order to carry something other than two large guided bombs it will have to use external weapons and racks, significantly reducing the plane’s already disappointing range and maneuverability—and, of course, more or less eliminating stealth.

The ability to penetrate heavily defended airspace to destroy fixed targets deep in enemy territory is an often-cited justification for the F-35. Of course, the F-35’s limited range—less than legacy F-16s—means that it is unlikely to be able to perform what the Air Force likes to call “deep strikes” well inside the homeland of large nations such as Russia and China.

The 2016 DOT&E report describes some official foot-dragging that has delayed putting the F-35’s penetrating ability to the test. For instance, the program is only now starting to receive the critical ground radar simulator equipment, which mimic enemy radar systems, that are needed to conduct robust testing of the F-35’s effectiveness in highly contested, near-peer, scenarios. It’s only receiving that equipment because it was sought and procured by DOT&E when it became clear that the Services and the JSF Program Office were not going to pursue a test infrastructure adequate for replicating the near-peer threats the F-35 is expected to be able to counter. Deliveries of this equipment have begun but will not complete until early 2018. The JPO has not planned or budgeted for developmental flight-testing against it.

The military does developmental and operational testing of stealth aircraft at the Western Test Range at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. The tests are conducted against the ground radar simulator equipment and surface-to-air missile (SAM) launchers. Aircraft being tested fly over these arrays to see if the aircraft’s onboard sensors—in particular its electronic warfare systems and ground mapping radar—combined with offboard intelligence provided via data links can detect the threats and respond appropriately, such as by warning the pilots, jamming the signals, or firing defense suppression missiles.

The problem is a complicated one because the radar signals that reveal the presence of a SAM, for instance, thereby allowing the aircraft to either target the SAM or avoid it, are not necessarily distinctive and often closely resemble the signals of radars that pose no immediate threat to the aircraft. The F-35 can't carry enough weapons to bomb everything. Its sensor and sensor fusion system must be able to tell the difference between enemy SAM radars that pose a genuine threat and the many innocuous radars that may be within range of detection—general purpose air surveillance radars, short-range, low-altitude air defense radars targeting weapons and not aircraft, and even nearby civilian air traffic control and weather radar systems.

Equally crippling, until the ground radar simulator equipment is in place, the F-35 program will be unable to properly develop, validate, and update the F-35’s mission-critical onboard software files, called Mission Data Loads (MDLs). MDLs are huge files specifying all target and threat locations together with their individual electronic and/or infrared signatures and all relevant mapping data. Without accurate, up-to-date MDLs, the F-35 cannot find targets or evade and counter threats—nor can it carry out the networking and sensor fusion functions that are said to be its primary strengths. The F-35 cannot go to war without its MDLs. The MDLs also need to be updated continuously with information concerning such things as threats, targets, and signals that is gathered on every F-35 mission. F-35 pilots can only be sure the MDLs they need to survive work properly after they have been tested over ranges equipped with the necessary ground radar simulator equipment.

New and complete MDLs must be created for each theater or conflict zone by a central reprogramming lab using massive data inputs from the relevant combat command. F-35s operating out of England would have different files from F-35s based in Japan, for example. Only one such reprogramming lab exists today and, due to JPO mismanagement, it is has only recently been scheduled to receive necessary upgrades to produce a validated MDL. It takes the lab 15 months to produce a complete MDL.If F-35s are suddenly needed in a new, unanticipated theater of operation, those F-35s will not be able to fly combat missions for at least 15 months. :rotfl:

Because the full range of necessary ground radar simulator equipment for the reprogramming lab is not yet in place, DOT&E stated that the earliest the reprogramming lab will be able to produce validated MDLs just for IOT&E will be June 2018. That is nearly a year after the planned IOT&E start in August 2017—and two years after the Marines declared the F-35B initially operationally capable. DOT&E further stated that F-35 MDLs suitable for combat “will not be tested and optimized to ensure the F-35 will be capable of detecting, locating, and identifying modern fielded threats until 2020.”

Ineffective as a Close Air Support Platform:

The F-35 has plenty of shortfalls performing air-to-ground interdiction missions well away from the immediate battlefield, but it is even worse in its other intended air-to-ground role directly in support of engaged troops, close air support (CAS). DOT&E concluded that the F-35 in its current configuration “does not yet demonstrate CAS capabilities equivalent to those of fourth generation aircraft.” This statement is particularly disturbing in light of the Air Force chief’s recent statements that the service intends to renew its efforts to cancel the CAS-combat-proven A-10 in 2021.

CAS is the other major mission where a lack of an effective cannon will significantly limit the F-35’s combat usefulness.

An effective cannon is essential for many CAS missions where any size bomb, guided or unguided, would pose a danger to friendly troops on the ground or where there are concerns about collateral damage, such as in urban environments. The cannon is even more crucial when our troops are being ambushed or overrun by enemies only meters away, in “danger close” situations where only pinpoint effects delivered by the most highly accurate fire can help our side and kill or disperse the enemy. Ground commanders interviewed as part of a recent RAND study said they preferred the A-10’s cannon fire even to guided munitions because 80 percent of the cannon rounds fired hit within a 20-ft radius of the aiming point, providing exactly the kind of precision that danger close situations absolutely require. Cannons are also most useful for hitting moving targets because a cannon burst can lead the target in anticipation of movement.

None of the three F-35 models in the current fleet can use cannons in combat. In fact, none of them are even close to completing their developmental flight tests—much less their operational suitability tests—for airframe safety, accuracy, and target lethality. Even worse, based on preliminary test experience, it appears that the severe inaccuracy of the helmet-mounted gunsight on all three F-35 versions that makes the cannon ineffective in air-to-air combat will also make it ineffective in CAS—and that the helmet’s accuracy problem may be technically inherent and incurable. :((

Note that the cannon accuracy requirements for CAS are considerably more stringent than for air combat: when shooting in close proximity to friendly troops, even minor accuracy problems can have tragic consequences. As mentioned before, the gun pods for the Marines’ F-35B and the Navy’s F-35C will likely add another source of inaccuracy—also possibly incurable—and remain untested for CAS. The combat suitability of F-35 cannons for CAS will not be known until the end of Block 3F IOT&E, which is unlikely before 2021. Failure to complete these CAS tests realistically—a distinct possibility given JPO mismanagement and delaying of test resources—will certainly jeopardize the lives of American troops.

In addition to the critical cannon inaccuracy problem, the error-inducing chaos of symbol-clutter in the pilot’s helmet display is particularly dangerous in the CAS role. DOT&E says the current system is “operationally unusable and potentially unsafe to complete the planned testing due to a combination of symbol clutter obscuring the target, difficulty reading key information, and pipper [aimpoint] stability.” Even when the symbols being displayed by the helmet do not obscure the pilot’s ability to see the target, the F-35’s canopy might. The jet’s canopy is a thick acrylic material with a low observable coating to preserve stealth. This makes the canopy less transparent and according to the DOT&E appears to be distorting the pilot’s view.

Further limiting the cannon’s effectiveness in each version of the F-35 is the number of 25 mm rounds it carries—182 for the F-35A and 220 for the B and C. This is grossly deficient for CAS, especially when compared to the over 1,100 30 mm shells carried by the A-10. While the A-10 has enough cannon rounds for between 10 and 20 attack passes, any variant of the F-35 will only have enough for two, maybe four, passes.

Even more limiting in the effective use of any CAS weapon, cannon or other, is the F-35’s inability to fly low and slow enough to find typical hard-to-see CAS targets and safely identify them as enemy or friendly, even when cued by ground or air observers. Due to its small, overloaded wings, the F-35 cannot maneuver adequately at the slow speeds that searching for concealed and camouflaged targets requires—and being completely unarmored and highly flammable, it would suffer catastrophic losses from just the small rifle and light machinegun hits inevitable at the low altitudes and slow speeds required. In sharp contrast, the A-10 was specifically designed for excellent low and slow maneuverability and, by design, has unprecedented survivability against those guns, and even against shoulder-fired missiles. :mrgreen:

Air Force officials have often argued that the lack of an effective gun or inability to maneuver low and slow won’t matter in future wars because the Air Force intends to conduct CAS differently—that is, at high altitudes using smaller precision munitions. But the F-35 will not be cleared to carry those weapons for at least five years.

In the meantime, the F-35 can carry only two guided bombs right now, and those are 500 pounds or larger. None of those models are usable in proximity to friendly troops. According to the military’s risk-estimate table, at 250 meters (820 feet), a 500-pound bomb has a 10 percent chance of incapacitating friendly troops. This means that within that bubble, the enemy can maneuver free from close air support fires. A 250-pound Small Diameter Bomb II is now in low rate production and cleared for use on the F-15E; even that, though, is much too large to be used near friendly troops in “danger close” firefights, and the software and bomb racks necessary to employ it on the F-35 will not be available and cleared for combat until 2021 at the earliest.
Close air support is more than aircraft simply dropping bombs on targets. To be truly effective, CAS missions require detailed tactical coordination between the pilots and the troops fighting on the ground. For decades, this has been done effectively through radio communication, and in recent years, operational aircraft have been upgraded with digital communication links for voice and data over networked systems called Variable Message Format and Link-16. In flight tests, the F-35’s digital data links have experienced significant difficulties, including dropped messages or information being transmitted in the wrong format. This has forced pilots and ground controllers to work around the system by repeating the information by voice over the radio. In a close firefight, when seconds count, this is a dangerous delay the troops can ill-afford.

F-35 defenders are always quick to point to the allegedly lethal capabilities of near-peer adversary air defense systems as justification for the necessity of using F-35s in CAS as well as in interdiction bombing. Introducing a sounder tactical and historical perspective, Air Force Col. Mike Pietrucha points out that the scenario of flying CAS missions over an area of heavy air defense threats is unlikely at best. The cumbersome, slow-moving, and logistics-intensive “high threat” missile systems are unlikely to be dragged along by a near-peer enemy conducting modern mobile warfare. Our close support pilots are much more likely to face lesser light and mobile air defenses (machineguns, light anti-aircraft guns, and man-carried heat-seeking missiles) just as they faced during WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, and the wars of the past 15-plus years.

In announcing F-35 IOC, the Marines (who used to prize CAS as part of the unique Marine heritage) and the Air Force apparently deem these F-35 CAS limitations acceptable.

But it is shameful to see close air support treated as an afterthought tacked on to the F-35 program. To provide adequate CAS, the taxpayers’ money would be far better spent maintaining the battle-proven A-10 until a significantly more effective and even more affordable follow-on is tested and fielded.

Navy’s F-35 Unsuitable for Carrier Operations:

One of the most important characteristics the Navy’s variant of the F-35 must have is that it has to be able to operate from aircraft carriers. Otherwise, what is the point of designing a specialized naval version of the plane? But the Navy’s own pilots say the F-35C doesn’t work with the ships.

Developmental testing revealed that a severe amount of jerking during catapult launches—termed “excessive vertical oscillation”—“make the F-35C operationally unsuitable for carrier operations, according to fleet pilots who conducted training onboard USS George Washington during the latest set of ship trials.”

Aircraft taking off from the confined decks of carriers require a major boost to reach the necessary speed to achieve lift and takeoff, which is accomplished with a catapult set into the flight deck. Before the jets are launched, the pilots increase the engine thrust. To keep the jets from rolling off the front of the ship before launch, they are held down with hold-back bars. The force of the thrust compresses the gear’s strut as it is being held down. When the hold-back bar is released and the jet is launched, the F-35C’s strut is unloaded, causing the nose to bounce up and down, jarring the pilot according to a Navy report that was leaked to Inside Defense in January 2017.

The severity of this can be clearly seen here:

The problem is dangerous to the pilot. The Helmet-Mounted Display is unusually heavy, currently weighing in at 5.1 pounds, and when that’s combined with the forces generated during a catapult launch, the extra weight slams the pilot’s head back and forth. In 70 percent of F-35 catapult launches, pilots report moderate to severe pain in their heads and necks.

The launch also impacts the alignment of the helmet. Pilots reported difficulty reading critical information inside the helmet, and they have to readjust it after getting into the air. The pilots say this is unsafe as it happens during one of the most critical phases of any flight. Pilots try to counter the oscillations by cinching down their body harnesses tighter, but this creates a new problem by making it hard to reach emergency switches and the ejection handles in the event of an emergency.

The F-35’s Program Manager, Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, has said he will attempt a short-term tweak to the F-35C’s nose gear strut to fix the problem, but a longer-term fix may actually be required, such as a redesign of the entire front landing gear assembly. :mrgreen: This is unlikely to begin until 2019—the same year the Navy has said it intends to declare the F-35C ready for combat. By that time, the Navy will likely have 36 F-35Cs in the fleet, each of which would then need to have the front landing gear replaced, at a yet-to-be determined cost.

The F-35C’s problems aren’t limited to the beginning of a flight. Just as a jet needs help taking off from a carrier, it also needs help stopping during the landing. This is accomplished by cables strung across the deck. When a jet comes in for a landing, a hook on the aircraft catches one of the cables, which uses a hydraulic engine inside the ship to absorb the energy and bring the jet to a halt.

The test teams have found that the hook point on the F-35C’s arresting gear is wearing out three times faster than it is supposed to. Though it is supposed to last a minimum of 15 landings, the longest a hook point has lasted in testing is 5. The program is reportedly considering redesigning the arresting gear to be more robust.

Another structural issue yet to be resolved on the F-35C involves the wings. During test flights, engineers discovered the ends of the wings were not strong enough to support the weight of the AIM-9X short-range air-to-air missile. :rotfl: The F-35C’s wings fold at the ends to save space in the crowded confines of the deck and hangars on aircraft carriers. When the missiles are carried past the wing fold, the weight exceeds structural limits when the plane maneuvers hard and during landings. According to DOT&E, until the problem is corrected, “the F-35C will have a restricted flight envelope for missile carriage and employment, which will be detrimental to maneuvering, [and] close-in engagements.” It’s more detrimental, even, than the F-35’s other inherent maneuvering limitations. The problem is bad enough that Lt. Gen. Bogdan has admitted the F-35C will need an entirely redesigned outer wing. :rotfl:

Launching and recovering planes is only one part of the challenge for naval aviation. Maintenance crews also have to be able to keep the jets flightworthy while at sea. One of the critical maintenance functions that crews have to be able to perform is an engine removal and installation (R&I). Crews performed the first R&I proof-of-concept demonstration aboard the USS George Washington in August 2016.

It took the crew 55 hours to complete the engine swap, far longer than it takes to perform the same action on a legacy aircraft. The engine on an F/A-18, for instance, can be replaced in 6 to 8 hours. DOT&E noted the crew took its time performing all the necessary steps for safety purposes, and pointed out that future iterations would likely be a little faster as the crews gain more experience. That said, the crew had full use of the entire hangar bay space, something they wouldn’t have with an air wing embarked on the ship. This likely sped up the process during this demonstration. Replacing the engine in the F-35 is more complicated than in an F/A-18. Crews must remove several more skin panels and a large structural piece called the tail hook trestle in order to remove the engine, thus requiring more space in the maintenance hangar. These parts and all the tubes and wires associated with them must be stored properly to prevent damage, also taking extra space. The maintenance crews must perform this process with a full air wing present in order to know whether the system is operationally suitable. And the process must become significantly more efficient to generate the sortie rate needed for combat.

Another problem uncovered during the trials on the George Washington involved the transmission of the massive data files the F-35C’s computers produce. The F-35 program relies on the Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS), the enormous and complex computer system all F-35s use for mission planning, maintenance diagnosis, maintenance scheduling, parts ordering, and more. To work properly, the system has to move large volumes of data across the network on and off the ship.

During the Washington trials, the crew had to transmit a moderately sized 200 MB ALIS file over the ship’s satellite network. It took two days. Bandwidth limitations and spotty connectivity had drastically impeded the transmission of the data. Many such transmissions—and even larger ones—will be required to support an entire air wing. Additionally, the fleet often operates in periods of “emissions control,” or radio silence, to avoid giving away its position to the enemy, further bottlenecking the transfer of the data necessary to keep the F-35s flying.

The George Washington trials generated plenty of fawning press coverage. And publicly at least, the Navy claimed success. However, there is evidence that the Navy is not too excited with the program because of the kind of problems discussed above and, of course, the cost: the Service has been slow to purchase the F-35Cs. While the Air Force is set to buy 44 new F-35s in 2017, the Navy will only buy 2. The Navy also requested 14 additional F/A-18s in its 2017 Unfunded Priorities (“Wish”) List and only 2 more F-35Cs. Moreover, this is the only variant the Services have not rushed to prematurely declare combat ready.

Some Pentagon leaders have said the Navy variant is the only one threatened by a review that was ordered by the Trump administration and that Secretary of Defense James Mattis is currently conducting. This may prove to be one part of the program where a viable alternative to the F-35 is sought.

Price Tag Is the Only Thing Stealthy about the F-35:

Much has been said since the election about further F-35 purchases and affordability. President Trump questioned the program’s value in a series of tweets before the inauguration, but hopes that the program would be dramatically altered were dashed when he declared he had convinced Lockheed Martin to shave $600 million from the price of the latest batch of F-35s. Lockheed Martin and their partners within the JPO had already stated the price would be lower, largely due to improved efficiencies in manufacturing. On the surface, this seems like a great development for the American taxpayers, but any money “saved” now will end up costing far more in the future because we are buying a bunch of untested prototypes that will require extensive and expensive retrofits later. And this problem will only be compounded if Lockheed Martin and the Joint Program Office get their way and Congress approves a three year “block buy” of 400 F-35s before the program completes the testing and evaluation process.

The prices quoted in the press are usually based on the cost of an Air Force conventional take-off variant, the F-35A—the least expensive of the three variants. In addition, that cost figure is only an estimate of future costs, one that assumes everything will proceed perfectly for the F-35 from here on out—which is unlikely as the program enters its most technologically challenging test phase. As this latest DOT&E report shows, the program has a long way to go before the F-35 will be ready for combat.

The Joint Program Office recently claimed that the price for an F-35A went below $100 million each in the FY 2016 contract. Yet in its FY 2016 legislation, Congress appropriated $119.6 million per F-35A.

Even this amount doesn’t tell the whole story: it only covers the procurement cost, not what it will cost to bring F-35As up to the latest approved configuration, nor the additional Military Construction costs to house and operate F-35As. And of course, the $119.6 million price tag does not include any of the research and development costs to develop and test the F-35A. The 2016 production-only cost for the Marine Corps’ F-35B and the Navy’s F-35C is $166.4 million and $185.2 million per plane, respectively.

First, they don’t include how much it will cost to fix design flaws discovered in recent, current, and future testing—a not insubstantial amount of money. Nor do they include the costs of planned modernization efforts, such as for Block 4 of the aircraft, which will be incorporated into all F-35As in the future. The Government Accountability Office estimates the program will spend at least $3 billion on the modernization effort in the next six years. For example, modifications to fix just some of the problems identified up to now cost $426.7 million, according to the GAO. Each of these aircraft were already modified and they will require more in the future. The Air Force has already acknowledged it must retrofit all 108 of the F-35As delivered to it and in the operational fleet. These costs will continue to grow as known problems are fixed and new ones are discovered, and they are an integral part of the cost per airplane.

As the program moves out of the easy part of the testing—the development or laboratory testing—and into the critical combat (operational) testing period in the next few years, even more problems will be uncovered. A good example occurred in late 2016 when engineers discovered debris inside the fuel tank of an F-35. Upon closer inspection, they found that the insulation wrapped around coolant lines had disintegrated because a subcontractor failed to use the proper sealant. And, when the GAO estimated it would cost $426.7 million to fix some of the known problems in the F-35As already in depot, the coolant line insulation problem had not been discovered. Fixes to this and other problems will all have to be devised, tested, and implemented throughout the fleet of aircraft already produced and purchased.

Second, the incomplete unit cost estimates used by the JPO, Lockheed Martin, and the Pentagon in general—their so called “flyaway” unit costs—do not include the purchase of support equipment (tools, computers for ALIS, simulators for training, initial spare parts, and more) needed to enable the F-35A fleet to operate. Quite literally, the DoD’s “flyaway” cost does not buy a system capable of flight operations.

The Pentagon has already committed to purchasing 346 F-35s since the program entered into what DoD euphemistically calls “Low Rate Initial Production.” The 798 jets the services would have at the end of the block buy of about 450 from 2018 to 2021 would be nearly 33 percent of the total procurement…all before the program completes initial operational testing and has discovered what works as intended and what doesn’t. It is important to note that the real problem-discovery process will only begin when operational testing starts in 2019, as scheduled, or more likely in 2020 or 2021 when operational representative aircraft are actually ready to be tested. The 108 aircraft the Air Force has begun to modify are only the tip of the iceberg, and that number does not include the hundreds of Marine Corps and Navy aircraft to be similarly modified.

The proposed “block buy” poses numerous additional questions. Perhaps the most relevant question of all asked by Dr. Gilmore is:

Would the Block Buy be consistent with the “fly before you buy” approach to acquisition advocated by the Administration, as well as with the rationale for the operational testing requirements specified in title 10, U.S. Code, or would it be considered a “full rate” decision before IOT&E is completed and reported to Congress, not consistent with the law?

Federal law allows multiple-year contracts to purchase government property so long as certain criteria have been met. Congress typically authorizes most weapons buying programs on a year-by-year basis to ensure proper oversight of the program and to maintain incentives for the contractor to satisfactorily perform. According to Title 10 U.S.C., Section 2306b, for a program to be eligible for multiyear procurement, the contract must promote national security, should result in substantial savings, have little chance of being reduced, and have a stable design. The F-35 seems to be failing at least two of the first three criteria and is most certainly failing the fourth.

An essential part of the question about F-35 costs is whether it makes sense to buy a large block of aircraft and worry about the costs to fix their yet-to-be-discovered problems later. It is certainly a good way to add to the cost but hide it in the interim.
And there still remains the cost of actually operating the F-35 fleet. DoD has estimated that all training and operational operations over the 50-year life of the program (assuming a 30-year life for each aircraft) will be $1 trillion, making the cost to buy and operate the F-35 at least $1.4 trillion.

The cost just to operate the F-35 is so high because the aircraft is so complex compared to other aircraft. Based on the Air Force’s own numbers, in FY 2016 each F-35 flew an average of 163 hours at $44,026 per flying hour. For comparison purposes, in the same year, each F-16 in the fleet flew an average of 258 hours at $20,398 per flying hour. A-10s flew 358 hours on average at $17,227 per hour. While these hours have never been independently audited, and it is it is impossible to know if they are complete, the available data indicates that the F-35 is more than twice as expensive to fly as the aircraft it is to replace. :mrgreen:

One of the more significant ways the Pentagon is hiding the true costs of the F-35 is that it has put off until Block 4 the development and delivery of many key capabilities that should have been delivered in Block 3. Currently planned, but not included in the official cost estimate of the F-35—or even as a complete separate acquisition program—is a four-part Block 4 upgrade costing at least $3 billion, according to the Government Accountability Office. In addition,]DOT&E reports that there are “17 documented failures to meet specification requirements for which the program acknowledges and intends to seek contract specification changes in order to close out SDD [System Development and Demonstration].” That means there are 17 key combat capabilities the F-35 program can’t yet deliver and that the program office is attempting to give Lockheed Martin a pass on delivery until the later in the advanced development process.

Although no one has publicly stated which 17 combat capabilities won’t be included now, they were all functions the F-35 was supposed to have, and for which the American people are paying full price. So we will be paying more money in the future to upgrade F-35s purchased now so they can perform the functions we already paid for. :rotfl:

The $119.6 million unit cost for the F-35A in 2016 is a gross underestimate, and the additional costs will not be fully known for years. Those who pretend the cost in 2016 is somewhere below $100 million each are simply deceiving the public.

Combat Effectiveness at Risk

In every first-rate air force, turning out superior fighter pilots requires them to fly at least 30 hours a month to hone and improve their combat skills. Here lies the single largest cause of the F-35’s lack of combat effectiveness: because of the plane’s unprecedented complexity and the corresponding reliability and maintenance burdens, pilots simply cannot fly them often enough to get enough real flying hours to develop the combat skills they need.

Pilot skills atrophy if the pilots can’t get enough flight hours. Even with superior technology, less skilled pilots could be outmatched in the sky by highly trained pilots flying less sophisticated aircraft. Inadequate flight time also creates a dangerous safety situation that threatens pilots’ lives in training. The Marine Corps suffered 9 serious aircraft crashes in the past year, with 14 people killed. The Corps’ top aviator recently said the spike in crashes is mainly due to pilots not having enough flying hours.

This trend will worsen with the F-35. Given its inherent complexity and the associated cost, it is highly unlikely the F-35 will ever be able to fly often enough to turn out winning pilots.

BRF Oldie
Posts: 20610
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: India

Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Philip » 13 Nov 2017 12:03

Can the F-35 Be Where It’s Needed, When It’s Needed?:

Even if, and this is a big IF, the F-35 could perform in combat the way Lockheed Martin says it can (to say nothing of how a competent replacement for the F-16, A-10, and F-18 should perform), the program is still next to worthless if the jets can’t be where they need to be when they are needed.

Several factors contribute to the difficulty in deploying an F-35 squadron in a timely fashion. One is the F-35’s mission planning system, a part of the ALIS network. After the details of a combat mission (such as targets, predicted enemy radar locations, the routes to be flown, and weapon load) are worked out, the data needs to be programed into the aircraft. This information is loaded onto cartridges which are then plugged into the jet. F-35 pilots program these cartridges on the Offboard Mission Support (OMS) system.

The problem, DOT&E found, was that pilots consistently rated the system used to support mission planning “cumbersome, unusable, and inadequate for operational use.” They report that the time it takes to build the mission plan files is so long that it disrupts the planning cycle for missions with more than just one aircraft. This means that when several F-35s receive a mission, they can’t go through all the pre-flight processes fast enough to launch on time if anything but a huge amount of planning time is allotted.

The Air Force conducted a major test of the F-35 program when it conducted a deployment demonstration from Edwards Air Force Base in California to Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho in February and March 2016. This was the service’s first attempt to use an updated version of the ALIS (the ground-based computer system that is supposed to diagnose mechanical problems, order and track replacement parts, and guide maintenance crews through repairs).

Whenever a squadron deploys, it must establish an ALIS hub wherever the F-35 is deployed. Crews set up an ALIS Standard Operating Unit (SOU), which consists of several cases of computer equipment. Technicians will use these to set up a small mainframe which must then be plugged into the world-wide ALIS network. It took several days for the crews to get ALIS working on the local base network. After extensive troubleshooting, IT personnel figured out they had to change several settings on Internet Explorer so ALIS users could log into the system. This included lowering security settings, which DOT&E noted with commendable understatement was “an action that may not be compatible with required cybersecurity and network protection standards.”

The ALIS data must go wherever a squadron goes. Crews must transfer the data from the squadron’s main ALIS computers at the home station to the deployed ALIS SOU before the aircraft are permitted to fly missions. This process took three days during the Mountain Home deployment. This was faster than in earlier demonstrations, but Lockheed Martin provided eight extra ALIS administrators for the exercise. It is unclear if the contractor or the Air Force will include this level of support in future deployments. When the squadron redeployed back to Edwards at the end of the exercise, it took administrators four days to transfer all the data back to the main ALIS computer. Delays of this kind will limit the F-35’s ability to rapidly deploy in times of crisis. Even if the jets can be positioned in enough time to respond to a crisis, problems like lengthy uploading times could keep them on the ground when they are needed in the sky. An aircraft immobilized on the ground is a target, not an asset. :mrgreen:
*(Hangar Queen?)

Another time-consuming process involves adding new aircraft to each ALIS standard operating unit. Every time an F-35 is moved from one base to another where ALIS is already up, it must be inducted into that system. It takes 24 hours. Thus, when an F-35 deploys to a new base, an entire day is lost as the data is processed. And only one plane at a time can upload. If an entire squadron, typically 12 aircraft, needed to be inducted, the entire process would take nearly two weeks, forcing a commander to slowly roll out his F-35 aircraft into combat.

There have also been delays with the program’s critical mission software. As mentioned before, the F-35 requires expansive mission data loads (MDLs) for the aircraft’s sensors and mission systems to function properly. MDLs, in part, include information about enemy and friendly radar systems. They send the search parameters for the jet’s sensors to allow them to properly identify threats. These need to be updated to include the latest information. They are also specific for each major geographic region.

The MDLs are all programmed at the U.S. Reprogramming Lab at Florida’s Eglin AFB and then sent out to all the relevant squadrons. The lab is one of the most crucial components in the entire F-35 program. According to DOT&E, the lab must be capable of “rapidly creating, testing and optimizing MDLs, and verifying their functionality under stressing conditions representative of real-world scenarios, to ensure the proper functioning of F-35 mission systems and the aircraft’s operational effectiveness in both combat and the IOT&E of the F-35 with Block 3F.”

Officials identified critical deficiencies with management of this lab in 2012. Taxpayers spent $45 million between 2013 and 2016 to address these concerns. Despite the warnings and the extra funds, development of the lab continues to be plagued with mismanagement that prevents “efficient creating, testing, and optimization of the MDLs for operational aircraft” in the current basic combat configurations. The lab needs to be upgraded to support each software version being used on the F-35. The lab is currently configured to support the block 2B and 3i software versions. The first full combat capable software version for the F-35 will be Block 3F. The lab requires significant changes to support this version, which will be necessary for combat testing and, more importantly, full combat readiness.

The lab is so far behind that some of the necessary equipment hasn’t even been purchased yet.
For example, this facility is also dependent on the specialized radio frequency generators mentioned earlier to re-create the kind of signals a potential adversary might use against the F-35. The lab will use these to test the MDLs before they are sent out to be loaded on the fleet aircraft to ensure the jet’s sensors will identify them properly.

In the rush to a pretend initial operational capability, the Air Force and the Marines have actually created an aircraft completely unready to face the enemy. :rotfl:

F-35 Reliability Problems:

Even if an F-35 squadron can get to where it is needed, when it is needed, what good is it if it can’t then fly on missions? This is one of the most enduring problems of the F-35 program. The fleet has had a notoriously poor reliability track record: it failed to achieve many of its interim reliability goals, and continued to do so through 2016. As the program creeps towards the all-important operational test phase, there are real concerns the aircraft will not be able to fly often enough to meet the testing schedule. There are also concerns about how often the jets will be able to fly when called up for combat service.

“Availability” measures how often aircraft are on hand to perform at least one assigned mission. The services strive to maintain an 80 percent availability rate for their aircraft for sustained combat operations, as most aircraft achieved, for example, in Operation Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf in 1991. This is the same rate the testing fleet needs in order to meet the IOT&E schedules. So far, the F-35 program has not even been able to meet its interim goal of 60 percent availability.

The fleet averaged a 52 percent availability rate for FY 2016. This is an improvement over recent years, but DOT&E cautions “the growth was neither steady nor continuous.” And the growth curve is behind schedule. The aircraft that will be used for operational testing need to be kitted out with specialized instruments to measure performance. There are currently 17 of these jets stationed at California’s Edwards Air Force Base. The average availability rate of this test fleet was 48 percent in the first nine months of 2016.

There are several factors dragging down the availability rate for the F-35 fleet. Many of the aircraft have had to be sent back to the depots for major overhauls, a consequence of the program’s high concurrency level. For instance, 15 F-35As needed to be sent back to correct the manufacturing defect where the foam insulation inside the jet’s fuel tanks deteriorated casting debris into the fuel. Other overhauls were necessary because there were basic design faults including major structural components that did not meet lifespan requirements, while still others were “driven by the continuing improvement of the design of combat capabilities that were known to be lacking when the aircraft were first built.”

Even when the aircraft aren’t away for major overhauls, they aren’t flying very much. Of the aircraft that are available, they can be broken down into two categories: the Mission Capable and Fully Mission Capable. Mission Capable aircraft are those that are ready to conduct at least one type of mission, even if it’s only a training mission; Fully Mission Capable aircraft are those ready to conduct all missions the aircraft is declared to be capable of. The latter is the real measure of a combat-ready aircraft.

The availability rates of both the Mission Capable and Fully Mission Capable F-35s went down in the last year. The Mission Capable rate for the fleet was 62 percent in FY 2016, down from 65 percent in FY 2015[DG3] . The Fully Mission Capable rate was only 29 percent, compared to 46 percent the year before. The Gilmore report cites failures of major combat systems like the Distributed Aperture System, Electronic Warfare System, Electro-Optical Targeting System, and the radar as the highest drivers of the drop in capability rates. Significantly, the systems said to give the F-35 its unique combat capabilities are the very systems that keep the F-35 on the ground—demonstrating no capability whatsoever.
On average, the Air Force’s F-35s could only fly two sorties a week in 2016 according to the recently released annual operational cost chart. (By comparison, the F-16 averaged nearly three sorties per week and the A-10 fleet averaged nearly four.) And it requires a great deal of maintenance to achieve even that. While there have been public statements in official releases saying how easy it is for maintenance personnel to work on the jets, the DOT&E report paints a different picture.

Problems with the supply chain are already forcing maintainers to cannibalize planes; taking parts from one plane to install on another in order to ensure at least one will fly. Cannibalization has the effect of increasing the total time to make the repairs, as it adds the extra step of stripping the part from the donor jet rather than just taking a new or repaired part out of the box. It also requires the part to be installed twice: first in the repaired jet and then in the cannibalized jet. For FY 2016, maintainers had to cannibalize parts for nearly 1 in 10 sorties flown, which is short of the program’s unimpressive goal of no more than 8 cannibalization actions in every 100 sorties.

The problems with supplies are likely to lessen as production increases, but fundamental design issues will endure. A prime example is the unique maintenance requirements inherent to the F-35’s stealth coatings. It takes much longer to make some repairs to stealth aircraft because it takes time to remove low-observable materials, fix what is broken, and then repair the stealth skin. These repairs often involve using adhesives that require time to chemically cure. Some of these materials can take as long as 168 hours—a full week—to completely dry.

Officials Hiding Truth about F-35’s Problems and Delays from Taxpayers

When Lockheed Martin first won the contract 17 years ago, the F-35 was expected to begin operational testing in 2008. Once they failed to meet that, 2017 was supposed to be the big year for the start of the combat testing process. We now know that this process will almost certainly be delayed until 2019…and possibly 2020.

The first page of the DOT&E report lists 13 major unresolved problems with the F-35 that will prevent the program from proceeding to combat testing in August 2017. But you wouldn’t know any of that from the public comments made by officials in charge of the program. During testimony before a House Armed Services subcommittee in February, officials neglected to raise any of these issues with Congress even though the DOT&E report had been released less than a month earlier.

The scale of the challenge yet remaining with the F-35 is easily quantified in this year’s DOT&E analysis. According to the report, the F-35 still has 276 “Critical to Correct” deficiencies—these must be fixed before the development process ends because they could “lead to operational mission failures during IOT&E or combat.” Of the 276, 72 were listed as “priority 1,” which are service-critical flaws that would prevent the services from fielding the jets until they are fixed.

Much has already been made about the F-35’s shortcomings in combat, yet structural problems still remain with the basic airframe. An example of this is a failure of an attachment joint between the jet’s vertical tail and the airframe. This has been a persistent problem, as the shortcoming was discovered in the original design. Engineers discovered premature wear in a bushing used to reinforce the joint during early structural tests in 2010. The joint was redesigned and incorporated in new aircraft in 2014. In September 2016, inspectors discovered the redesigned joint had failed after only 250 hours of flight testing—far short of the 8,000 lifetime hours specified in the JSF contract.

Testing of the F-35’s mission systems continued falling behind schedule in 2016. Program managers identify and budget for baseline test points, or “discrete measurements of performance under specific flight test conditions.” These are used to determine whether the system is meeting the contract specifications. Testing teams also add non-baseline test points for various reasons to fully evaluate the entire system. Examples include adding test points to prepare for the later, more complicated tests, to re-test the system after software updates to make sure the new software didn’t alter earlier results, or “discovery test points,” which are added to identify the root cause of a problem found during other testing.

The program budgeted for 3,578 test points for the F-35’s mission systems for 2016. The test teams weren’t able to accomplish them all, finishing 3,041 while also adding 250 non-budgeted test points through the year.

Despite the slipping schedule, the F-35 program office has expressed a desire to skip many needed test points and to instead rely on testing data from previous flights—where the test aircraft used earlier software versions—as proof the upgraded system software works. But DOT&E warns that the newer software versions likely perform differently, rendering the earlier results moot. Program managers essentially want to declare the developmental testing process over and move on to operational testing, even though they haven’t finished all the necessary steps.

This is a highly risky move. DOT&E warns that following this plan

“would likely result in failures in IOT&E causing the need for additional follow-on operational testing, and, most importantly, deliver Block 3F to the field with severe shortfalls in capability – capability that the Department must have if the F-35 is ever needed in combat against current threats.”

The program office appears to be dragging its feet with regards to testing many of the capabilities that supposedly make the F-35 so indispensable. One example is how long it has taken to develop the Verification Simulator (VSim). Lockheed Martin engineers had been tasked in 2001 with creating the VSim facility, which was intended to be an ultra-realistic, thoroughly test-validated “man-in-the-loop, mission systems software in-the-loop simulation developed to meet the operational test requirements for Block 3F IOT&E.” That is, it was meant to test in virtual reality those complex and rigorous scenarios that are impossible or too dangerous to test in real life, short of actual war.

The contractors fell so far behind construction schedule that the JPO abandoned VSim in 2015. Instead, Naval Air Systems Command was tasked with building a government-run Joint Simulation Environment (JSE) to perform VSim’s mission. The contractors are supposed to provide aircraft and sensor models, but so far “negotiations for the F-35 models have not yet been successful.” This is preventing the program from designing the virtual world where the F-35 and enemy aircraft and defenses interact as they would in the real world, causing further delays.

The F-35 cannot be fully tested without a properly prepared JSE. The simulation has to be designed based on real-world data gathered during flight tests or the simulation would only test what the contractor says the jet can do. For example, a real F-35 has to fly over a test range where the same radar systems our enemies use are active so that it can gather data about how the jet’s onboard sensors react. This data is used to verify the simulation software. It is a highly complicated process that takes time. As DOT&E reports, “Previous efforts of this magnitude have taken several years, so it is unlikely that NAVAIR will complete the project as planned in time to support IOT&E.

The program is also formulating plans to reduce the number of testing personnel and test aircraft just when the program needs them the most. These plans would see the number of test aircraft cut in half from 18 to 9 and testing workforce reduced from 1,768 to 600.

Dr. Gilmore reported shortly after the Air Force IOC declaration that the program will not be able to produce enough F-35s in the necessary final configuration to proceed with operational testing. “Due to the lengthy program delays and discoveries during developmental testing, extensive modifications are required to bring the OT aircraft, which were wired during assembly to accommodate flight test instrumentation, into the production representative configuration required,” the report states. It goes on to say that more than 155 modifications have to made to the 23 planes specifically tasked for the upcoming combat (“operational”) testing and that some of these have not even been contracted yet, meaning that the start of IOT&E will be further delayed.

Not only has the Joint Program Office failed to follow the operational testing plan it agreed to, it has failed to fund and test the equipment essential to conduct the tests. This includes no funding for flight-testing the Data Acquisition Recording and Telemetry pod, an instrument mounted to the F-35 that is used to simulate the aircraft’s weapons. This is essential for reporting and analyzing the results of each simulated weapons firing. There can be no such tests until the pod is cleared for function and safety in conditions that the plane will fly during the engagement and weapons testing.

It remains to be seen whether or not the Pentagon and the contractors will continue to ignore the unpleasant information about the F-35’s performance in testing and the seemingly unending delays and instead attempt to create a false impression in the minds of the American people and their policymakers. In the recent exchanges between President Trump and the Pentagon, it appears no one directed the president’s attention to anyone other than General Bogdan at the JPO. It is apparent he has not spoken with anyone critical of the program, like Dr. Gilmore. If he had, based on the results of this report, it is difficult to see how anyone could honestly say the F-35 is “fantastic.”

Moving Forward:

The DOT&E’s latest report is yet more proof that the F-35 program will continue to be a massive drain on time and resources for years to come, and will provide our armed forces with a second-rate combat aircraft less able to perform its missions than the “legacy” aircraft it is meant to replace. The men and women who take to the skies to defend the nation deserve something better.

Despite the conventional wisdom in Washington, the services do not have to be stuck with the F-35. Other options do exist.

1. To fill the near-term hole in our air-to-air forces, start a program to refurbish and upgrade all available F-16As and F-18s with life-extended airframes and the much higher thrust F-110-GE-132 (F-16) and F-404-GE-402 (F-18) engines. Upgrade their electronic systems with more capable off-the-shelf electronic systems. This will give us fighters that are significantly more effective in air-to-air combat than either the later F-16 and F-18 models or the F-35. Add airframes from the boneyard if needed to augment the force. Most importantly, bring pilot training hours up to the minimum acceptable level of 30 hours per month, in part with money saved by not purchasing underdeveloped F-35s now.

2. To fill the far more serious near-term hole in close air support forces, complete the rewinging of the 100 A-10s the Air Force has refused to rewing and then expand the inadequate existing force of only 272 A-10s by refurbishing/rewinging every available A-10 in the boneyard to A-10C standards.

3. Immediately undertake three new competitive prototype flyoff programs to design and build a more lethal and more survivable close air support plane to replace the A-10, and to design and build two different air-to-air fighters that are smaller and more combat-effective than F-16s, F-22s, and F-18s. Test them all against competent enemies equipped with radar missile and stealth countermeasures.

These programs should follow the model of the Lightweight Fighter and A-X Programs in the 1970s, particularly in regard to live-fire, realistic-scenario competitive flyoff tests. These programs resulted in the F-16 and the A-10, two indisputably highly effective aircraft that were each less expensive than the preferred Pentagon alternatives at the time. And they became operational after testing in less than 10 years, not more than 25.

4. At an absolute minimum, the F-35 test program already in place that both the JPO and Dr. Gilmore agreed to must be executed to understand, before further production, exactly what this aircraft can and cannot do competently. That means suspending further F-35 production until those tests are complete and honestly reported to the Secretary of Defense, the President, and Congress.


The F-35 program office has reached a crucial decision point. Bold action is required now to salvage something from the national disaster that is the Joint Strike Fighter. The administration should continue the review of the F-35 program. But officials should not just talk to the generals and executives as they have no incentive to tell the hard truth because they have a vested financial interest in making sure the program survives (regardless of capability). As this report shows, they are not telling the whole story. There are many more people lower down the food chain with other points of view. They are the ones possessing the real story. And, as the above suggestions show, there are still options. It is not too late to make significant changes to the program, as its defenders like to claim.

Dan Grazier is the Jack Shanahan Fellow at the Project On Government Oversight, where this article originally appeared.

PS:Gentlemen,you can draw your own conclusions from this exhaustive report,and there are more to follow![/quote]

BRF Oldie
Posts: 8630
Joined: 11 Aug 2016 06:14

Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 13 Nov 2017 15:57

Posting an article straight from POGO (which is yet to meet a defense system or program that it don't want chopped). Most, even moderately informed, can easily destroy some of the arguments being since a lot of them are 2b/3i transient issues which are mitigated to a very large extent with the arrival of 3F a few months ago. This will only get better as 3F matures and transitions into the full fleet. It may be a little difficult for some to understand what IOC means, and how from a maturity perspective it varies from FOC. The rest are absurd arguments - why the heck would the F-35A do CAS like the A-10? Does the F-16 do it that way? What about all other non A-10's around the world that do CAS?

While you can continue on with the lie that a Trillion + has been spent already, pretending not being able to understand what O&S and LCC means, others can quickly google up the annual, audited selected acquisition reports and find out the exact unit-fly-away cost of each batch of F-35As acquired by the US, plus look at other metrics such as Cost Per Flight Hour and how it compares to the F-16C it is replacing.

The F-35 isn't being built in Russia. Open, publicly available and congressionally required audited financials on the program are presented each and every year and can easily be accessed using some google fu. One needn't trust POGO, Sputnik, or someone known to consistently lie about the program's cost information. Go straight to them and find out exactly what each batch costs each year including this year's more than 5 dozen expected deliveries.

Philip wrote:First, they don’t include how much it will cost to fix design flaws discovered in recent, current, and future testing—a not insubstantial amount of money.

The US DOD, and the independent cost estimate authority used by it have laid out the entire concurrency bill by block for each F-35 acquired. This was congressionally required to be provided every other year until such time that the unit concurrency costs for new deliveries dropped to insignificant number (around 6 digits. Again, if you had only bothered using google you could have dug up each of those reports from years past that were updated every other year and documented known and estimated concurrency costs by LRIP block. Heck, I've even posted several here over the years. As mentioned concurrency is a sub 1% cost of the program for the US and concurrency costs for all post LRIP-5 blocks are split 50:50 with the OEMs.

Philip wrote:The cumbersome, slow-moving, and logistics-intensive “high threat” missile systems are unlikely to be dragged along by a near-peer enemy conducting modern mobile warfare. Our close support pilots are much more likely to face lesser light and mobile air defenses (machineguns, light anti-aircraft guns, and man-carried heat-seeking missiles) just as they faced during WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, and the wars of the past 15-plus years.

Yeah don't worry about S-300s, S-400s, HQ-9s, BUKs and Pantsir's,.worry about machine guns and anti aircraft guns because the enemy will be dumb enough to fight US air-power by hamstringing itself by removing some of the most potent air-defense systems from the equation. As Dan tells us, Air-Defenses are getting larger, phased array radars aren't getting better, more compact and active RF seekers aren't getting cheaper and proliferating. Nothing to see here folks!!...until of course its time to take on the F-35's stealth advantage where all these things will re-surface and rapid advances will render F-35 obsolete. But I guess plenty of idiots around the www to buy such rubbish.

Next up, the NI editor and a POGO-MJ-Reformer alumni Dave Majamdar will tell us how Russian and Chinese low frequency radars can emplace and displace in a matter of minutes..

Philip wrote:The lab is so far behind that some of the necessary equipment hasn’t even been purchased yet.

Oh Look..Dan from POGO writes something about the "labs being behind" on MDLs, and someone posts this on BR on the same day that reports emerge of the lab delivering its first 3F MDL suite to an export customer... :rotfl:

Talk about perfect timing!!

Norway became the first foreign nation to receive the delivery of Block 3F mission data from US Air Force’s 53rd Electronic Warfare Group’s Partner Support Complex last week. ... gl2obGZPzK

Yes labs were behind but it was a US DOD funding issue on account of sequestration. It had nothing to do with the OEM or the program since this is a classified, protected matter being handled by a USAF EW squadron operating out of Eglin with embeds from partner nations. But they have caught up now and are delivering capability to partners and customers.

Philip wrote:The small number of weapon types the F-35 can carry also limits its flexibility in combat.


Not included in the picture is the GBU-49 (a late 3F insert by USAF) and ALL of the block 4 weapons -

- SDB II (Multi-spectral RF/IIR/GPS/INS)
- Meteor (A2A)
- Aim-120 D (A2A)
- Joint Strike Missile (Anti Ship, and A2G cruise missile)
- SOM-J (A2G Cruise Missile)
- ER-AARGM (Long Range Anti Radiation Weapon)
- Spear III
- Powered JSOW - C (Anti Ship and A2G)

Of course there will be more..Its called Follow On Development & Modernization! With the US, UK, Israel and Japan being development partners or FMS customers, and with a projected demand of well over 2000 aircraft, the aircraft or the program won't be short on PGM diversity and availability at all class size and capabilities. This is actually a strength of the program but leave it to POGO to spin it into a weakness. :-o and for Phillips to regurgitate the information without applying any effort to see if it is even the case..Being the most mass produced 5th generation fighter and the most widely available fighter for NATO large weapons developers such as Raytheon and MBDA will strive to develop variants or new weapons compatible with it. Even with block 4 there are so many weapons lined up for integration that it is stressing the time-line available with the instrumented aircraft and range infrastructure and here we have a POGO hit piece being posted talking about a lack of weapon options..

Philip wrote:Developmental testing revealed that a severe amount of jerking during catapult launches—termed “excessive vertical oscillation”—“make the F-35C operationally unsuitable for carrier operations, according to fleet pilots who conducted training onboard USS George Washington during the latest set of ship trials.”

Care to devote 5 minutes to actually find out what has since happened in terms of flight tests knowing that the data Dan is using dates back to more than a year ago? There is an entire video presentation I had posted from actual NAVY pilots who spent time on a carrier in 2017 that could shed some light if you bother to actually watch it.

Philip wrote:The problem is dangerous to the pilot. The Helmet-Mounted Display is unusually heavy, currently weighing in at 5.1 pounds, and when that’s combined with the forces generated during a catapult launch, the extra weight slams the pilot’s head back and forth. In 70 percent of F-35 catapult launches, pilots report moderate to severe pain in their heads and necks.

The USN spent a good chunk of time over the last month or so taking the changes introduced to the aircraft and putting them out to test at sea. They appear to be satisfied. BTW, this isn't something unique to the F-35, similar adjustments also had to be made during the F-18E/F test program once JHMCS capability was introduced. That's why you test the aircraft, find and fix things you have identified. They call this testing!

The same applies to the other things mentioned in the now dated report with most stuff already having been or well on its way to being addressed. The outer wing issue has a fix and that is to replace the parts with a new design which is happening at this moment. We discussed this is an easy install done at the base itself. The strengthened design has been in flight testing since earlier this year.

The Joint Program Office recently claimed that the price for an F-35A went below $100 million each in the FY 2016 contract. Yet in its FY 2016 legislation, Congress appropriated $119.6 million per F-35A.

Do you think that the thought that the Congress appropriates for procurement of much more than a fly-away aircraft crossed Dan's mind? Probably did, but when your employer's existence depends upon patrons that require constant bashing of defense programs and investments it is bound to miss the cut.

For the n'th time, posting the cost-definitions that apply to all USDOD weapons procurement -


Philip wrote:In the meantime, the F-35 can carry only two guided bombs right now, and those are 500 pounds or larger.

It is called IOC and is a transient phase in ALL programs as I am sure DAN from POGO knows (not sure whether you know..) but pretends otherwise. Block 3-F software is now being introduced and over the next few months full 3F weapons capability will be opened up to the USAF aircraft. I believe all A2G weapons testing on the F-35A (3F) has now finished and with the software being ported over to the F-35As with the USAF it would be a matter of a few months before full weapons clearances are issued by the appropriate USAF authorities. Same with new jets being delivered to the USMC in 3F configuration.

All 3 US services clearly laid out what they wanted as far as IOC configuration was concerned. This was communicated to the OEMs and the general public and a quick search on Google will allow one to dig up the official requirements from each of the 3 US services. If you need help accessing these documents, let me know.

As it pertains to the USAF, IOC was with block 3I, 2 x 2000 lb bomb and 2xAim-120 configuration. The 3F software drop, which began occurring last month, and subsequent weapons envelope clearance would gradually allow all of the 3F capability (all 3F weapons and internal and external carriage) to be fielded after the jets receive 3F software. As described, that has begun happening and as far as the Air Force variant is concerned weapons testing (A2G) has pretty much been completed. There is a little bit of weapons testing still left on the F-35B IIRC as it pertains to the supersonic release envelope..but that should also be completed over the next couple of months.

From August, 2017 OR about a Year after DOT&E submitted its report cited by Dan -

USAF’s Block 3F F-35 conducts last weapons delivery accuracy testing surge

With Block 3F IOC the F-35A will get one step closer to full weapons capability as was envisioned for the SDD phase of the program. Block 3F software will be delivered in 2-3 phases (hence IOC specific to the variant) over the next 2-4 months.

The Problem, Phillip stems from the fact that you are posting an article written by POGO (via the Sputnik of US defense and aero media)..the entire basis of the article is a DOT&E report that was written in 2016 and filed later that year, made public in 2017 and thoroughly debated in the public with the US services, and JPO and others rebutting each and every point, demonstrating mitigation of a lot of the issues cited or demonstrating a path to how they intend on mitigating each of those issues. The entire report is talking about 2B/3I capability when in October, 2017 the program starting porting over 3F software to the jets. It is the DOT&E's role to lay out to Congress things that the JPO and its testers have discovered over a specified period (in this report's case the period was mid-late 2015 to mid 2016) and it is the JPO and the individual services and their testers job to explain what is being done about each of those specific things and whether they are even relevant or not. This is how US testing is set up. An unfortunate side effect of this nuance it provides plenty of ammo to the reformers and defense spending bashers such as POGO, Mother Jones and particularly foreign state media to bash the program by just presenting one side of this debate without spending even a ounce of that effort to explain what the experts are doing about it!.

Some of these have simple explanation -

GILMORE - Outer wings on the F-35C don't work..

JPO - We know (since you know of this from our testing..), we have identified the issue, designed a fix and are flight testing it while asking the OEM to install 32 ship sets of outer wings and cutting it into production as part of our 50:50 concurrency cost spreading agreement achieved in LRIP-5.

GILMORE - 2b/3I is buggy, has issues with data links etc etc

JPO - We have identified issues, software patches are being developed and flight tested. 3F will solve this and we expect 3F to begin porting over to the F-35 by Q3 of 2017

Sometimes, things have a simple explanation and testers and subject matter experts that work day and night on finding, and fixing identified discrepancies actually know what they are doing! Unfortunately, even with advances you still have to test aircraft across its envelope. The USN hasn't had 4-5 at ship deployments for fun..but to test the aircraft. It takes that much effort to fully put a carrier aircraft through its paces so that you have confidence when operating it. The service doesn't declare IOC on the F-35C for another year and a half so why would they be buying aircraft at a rate that is different from their plans to field squadrons on carriers that they have already laid out?

Forum Moderator
Posts: 4525
Joined: 11 Aug 2016 06:14

Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby JayS » 13 Nov 2017 20:31

brar_w wrote:
For F35, 2x is being used.

They pushed beyond to 3X (against a 2x target established by the PO). This is important because it is almost certain that the frames will serve for 10-14K hours so it is good to model for longer service life and understand what it will take in terms of SLEP/SLAP to ensure that they last that long.

-- ... e-facility

Thanks for the info. Last time I checked, was from one of the Conference seminar from Aircraft Structural Integrity Program (ASIP) conference 2014 or so on the FSDT. They have found out cracks on bulkheads and stuff like that through these tests which are duly corrected through redesigns.

Notable part is:
Kathy Nesmith, F-35 Joint Program Office Airframe Team Lead, said: “The F-35 programme requires a service life of 8,000 flight hours. This is verified through durability testing to two lifetimes or 16,000 hours. Completing third life testing on the F-35A durability article will provide us the data to enable the warfighter to maintain and sustain this aircraft beyond 2050.”

I think they will keep pushing until they hit catastrophic failure. Since this is a very costly and time consuming test, its worth going all the way through now than doing it all over again at later date. USAF has quite an extensive ASIP for all its aircrafts and they have collected huge amount of data on all sorts of airframes.

Are they also flying/planning to fly 1-2 jets beyond designed life..?

BRF Oldie
Posts: 20610
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: India

Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Philip » 13 Nov 2017 20:41

Hilarious the pic of the JSF and it's weaponry.All carried within its internal weapons bay? We regularly see at air shows aircraft with a host of weapons that they can carry, but obviously not at the same time! Even a schoolchild will be able to tell you how stealthy the JSF or any other stealth fighter will be when its loaded to the gills underwing and fuselage.

This is just one of the many problems illustrated with clarity in the voluminous report posted above.More will come later.

These are FACTS.The LIE is what the JSF touts are trying to sell to India, like good snake-oil salesmen, a Turkey...and I don't mean the Ottoman would be Sultan!

BRF Oldie
Posts: 8630
Joined: 11 Aug 2016 06:14

Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 13 Nov 2017 20:44

JayS wrote:
Are they also flying/planning to fly 1-2 jets beyond designed life..?

Goes without saying. Most types get a SLEP these days

BRF Oldie
Posts: 8630
Joined: 11 Aug 2016 06:14

Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 13 Nov 2017 20:52

Philip wrote:Hilarious the pic of the JSF and it's weaponry.All carried within its internal weapons bay?!

Notice the part of the sloppy analysis quoted? It was specificly refering to small number of weapon "TYPES".

All carried within its internal weapons bay?

Many yes including 2000 lb bombs, long range cruise missiles, long range anti-radiation weapons and long range a2a weapons are or are planned to be carried internally. For an F-16/F-18 replacement, the F-35 has one of the most diverse weapons suits on a 5th generation aircraft allowing operators to carry heavy bombs which the F-22 cannot, or more numerous smaller bombs. It unlike the F-22 is also designed to carry a pair of cruise missiles and anti-radiation weapons INTERNALLY.

Internal Bay Compliant weapons (configurations) :

* 4 Air-Air Missiles (3F) and 6 Air-Air Missiles (FOD - Expanded carriage)
* 2 x 2,000 or 1,000 pound bombs (in addition to a pair of self defense AMRAAMs)
* 2 x JSM/SOM-J class ALCMs (plus 2 self defense AMRAAMs)
* 8 SDBIIs (in addition to a pair of self defense AMRAAMs)
* 8 SPEAR class weapons (Plus 2 AMRAAMs)
* Meteor Missile
* 2 x AARGM-ERs which is a long range Anti Radiation Weapon
* New class of A2A weapons (SACM)
* New family of glide munitions (GBU-X)
* New family of hypersonic cruise missiles

Philip wrote:We regularly see at air shows aircraft with a host of weapons that they can carry, but obviously not at the same time!

What does that mean? It is called the capability to carry a diverse payload allowing its users to pick and choose the right weapons for their operational needs. Weapons are cleared by dedicated test jets out at Edwards air force based by the ITF. Full SDD Internal+External stores come with full block 3F capability (F stands - FINAL). No block 3F jet has yet to perform at an air show. Phase-1 3F was released to the fleet only in October of this year.

Philip wrote:Even a schoolchild will be able to tell you how stealthy the JSF or any other stealth fighter will be when its loaded to the gills underwing and fuselage.

It doesn't take someone very smart to figure out that when stealth is not required most stealth fighters can be armed as appropriate. Warfighters call this having the flexibility to configure as the mission demands. The F-22 does it, and so will the F-35, PAKFA, J-20 and indeed the AMCA. But when pitted against POGO and its allied stupidity, what do these designers, and pilots know!

Philip wrote:his is just one of the many problems illustrated with clarity in the voluminous report posted above.More will come later.

The POGO report. File it in the dustbin along with most of their reports. Most that are remotely well informed about US systems know how much weight to put on things that come out of POGO. They exist for one reason and one reason alone and most reasonable folks that know a thing or two about defense and aero in the US know what that is.

Philip wrote:These are FACTS.The LIE is what the JSF touts are trying to sell to India

As has been demonstrated on numerous occasions by me and others, you continue to push the LIE that a trillion dollars have been spent already. Don't take folks here to be stupid..most can easily google what that trillion dollar estimate includes and represents, something which you are clearly incapable of doing.
Last edited by brar_w on 14 Nov 2017 00:27, edited 6 times in total.

BRF Oldie
Posts: 20610
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: India

Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Philip » 13 Nov 2017 21:04

Read my intro.I apologised for the error! It is you who keep perpetrating the big lie a out the turkey which the JSF is.

BRF Oldie
Posts: 8630
Joined: 11 Aug 2016 06:14

Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 13 Nov 2017 21:14

Philip wrote:Read my intro.I apologised for the error!

Error..LOL..There are literally pages on the JSF and this thread dedicated to me or others breaking down the cost, pointing you and others to the official, audited financial reports that are produced on the program annually as is legally required by the US Congress. .I've even taken screenshots of them and posted relevant portions here and the other thread. Yet you for years have continued to push this LIE . So excuse me if I don't buy that this was an innocent error. It would take a real special case to assume that a nation spent a Trillion dollars on developing a fighter jet. In fact, given that this is a serious forum on national security and defense related matters and most, even rookie members are reasonably well informed, I am hard pressed to find another person here that would "BELIEVE" that a modern fighter took a Trillion dollars to develop. Most have a basic level of understanding on defense matters to be able to easily discern that that is absurd.

Again, instead of pushing a POGO hit piece, go through the documents that I have referred to in my earlier post. All the information required to develop an understanding on the unit and program cost across the definitions provided earlier is available in them.

As per the technical portion of the POGO article, i've rebutted most of it point by point and can continue to do it since it is really a weak assessment based now on dated information that has since been made irrelevant by progress over the last year. Everything from weapons carriage increase (3F), navy discoveries (outer wings and vibrations on CAT launch) has had changes designed, implemented and flight tested. The new lighter helmet is also flying and the OLED technology insertion is also expected to take flight shortly (if it hasn't already). Again, you would know of this if you watched the video update from actual navy pilots that I had shared.

The purpose of developmental testing is to DISCOVER and RECTIFY. That is exactly what has happened across the development phase of the program. The program is months away from concluding development and moving into Follow-On-Modernization/Development with block -4 and beyond ..

Naturally the one variant that is/was the least mature (F-35C) will have the most number of discoveries while other variants that are operational (IOC) lead in terms of test point completion, and testing. As mentioned earlier, the F-35C was and is the least mature variant with the Navy not expected to declare IOC till the mid-end of 2019. It would therefore be perfectly logical to expect discoveries on that aircraft during testing in 2015 and early 2016..things which were identified, had changes designed and tested which are now being implemented. The A and B variants went through the same process earlier. But most of testing even on the F-35C and B variants is now wrapping up and the program is really now focused on software debugging for final 3F delivery and then preparing the 23 aircraft for OT&E which happens once the product is fully developed.

Again, if you want a debate focus on the actual facts by going to official sources when available since many aspects of the program are completely transparent and regularly updated. Go to the SAR for cost, schedule, production rates etc. Read DOT&E reports and then read the JPO and operator communities response to each point since this is how US reporting works. JPO does development testing, DOTE submits a report highlighting discoveries and the JPO and services present a plan and update on what they have done to mitigate them.

But above all else, post information and data points that are relevant still and not dated items that have since been largely rectified or risk retired. At the very least demonstrate some basic understanding on things you are talking about vis-a-vis this program and aircraft.
Last edited by brar_w on 14 Nov 2017 01:54, edited 2 times in total.

BRF Oldie
Posts: 8630
Joined: 11 Aug 2016 06:14

Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 14 Nov 2017 01:34

Engine contract signals start of Bahrain and Qatar fighter procurements ;Jane's Defence Weekly November,2017

The US Department of Defense (DoD) has signalled the beginning of work on fighter procurement programmes for Bahrain and Qatar with the announcement of a USD643 million engine contract for General Electric (GE).

The seven-year Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract, which was announced on 9 November, covers an undisclosed quantity of GE F110-GE-129 engines, as well as related equipment and services. It will be complete by 8 November 2024.

This deal is the first related to Bahrain’s procurement of 22 new Lockheed Martin F-16V Fighting Falcons and upgrade of a further 20 to the same standard, as well as to the building of 36 Boeing F-15QA Advanced Eagles for Qatar. Further to the Bahraini and Qatari programmes, the DoD contract also covers Saudi Arabia, which is already in the process of acquiring new F-15SA Advanced Eagles and upgrading existing F-15S Eagles to the same standard.

Bahrain’s F-16V plans were disclosed by the US government in September. Besides the F110-GE-129 powerplant, the F-16V features the Northrop Grumman AN/APG-83 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar (derived from the F-16E/F Block 60 AN/APG-80 and also known as the Scalable Agile Beam Radar [SABR]), a new Raytheon mission computer, the Link 16 datalink, modern cockpit displays, an enhanced electronic warfare system, and a ground-collision avoidance system.

Qatar’s plans to buy the F-15QA were disclosed officially in June. The Advanced Eagle is the latest variant of the Boeing-made fighter that has also been ordered by Saudi Arabia as the F-15SA. Further to the F10-GE-129, this variant improves on previous models in that it features two additional underwing weapons stations (increasing the number from nine to 11); the option of a large area display cockpit; fly-by-wire controls; the Raytheon AN/APG-82(V)1 or AN/APG-63(V)3 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar; digital Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing Systems in both cockpits; and a digital electronic warfare system among other enhancements.

BRF Oldie
Posts: 8630
Joined: 11 Aug 2016 06:14

Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 14 Nov 2017 04:09

Forum Moderator
Posts: 4525
Joined: 11 Aug 2016 06:14

Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby JayS » 14 Nov 2017 14:20

Awesome slo-mo clip of F22 vertical take off..

BRF Oldie
Posts: 20610
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: India

Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Philip » 14 Nov 2017 14:43

The problem with the JSF touts are that they imagine that they know more than Gen.Bodgan,Gilmore,the Pentagon,etc.Like good snake-oil salesmen,they utter every conceivable falsehood about the turkey in the hope that some poor sucker of a anaion will fall for the bait.Here are some more reports citing Pentagon,etc. reports.

F-35 in crisis as Pentagon tests find 276 different faults in $400bn jet's combat system and warn full tests might not even begin until 2019
Fifth-generation fighter has been plagued with issues

$400bn development schedule has stretched to 15 years
Report claims it won't be ready to even begin full combat testing until 2019
By Mark Prigg For
PUBLISHED: 20:31 GMT, 16 January 2017 |
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has been hailed as the 'most expensive weapon in history', costing $400bn.
It has been plagued with delays, prompting Donald Trump to describe it as 'out of control' and demanding a price cut from Lockheed Martin.

Now, a new Pentagon report has warned the jet still has hundreds of faults - and won't be ready to even begin full combat testing until 2019. :rotfl:
*(Please,this is not an RT report,fake news,anti-JSF rivals,but a PENTAGON report,but then Brar and co. know better !)

The jets will first deploy as part of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 in early 2017, a Marine spokeswoman said. The Pentagon's director of testing recently warned it is 'not on a path toward success but instead on a path toward failing to deliver' the plane's full combat capabilities on time, according to Bloomberg.

Fixing the 25mm cannon which vibrates excessively
Way it is targeted by the aircraft's 'virtual reality' helmet needs work
Overheating, premature wear of components in the vertical tails and vulnerability to fire also an issue
Aircraft's 'objectionable or unacceptable flying qualities' while crossing the sound barrier - for which there are currently no plans for a fix
The crucial 'Initial Operational Test and Evaluation' tests were scheduled for August.
The deadline represents the latest in a series of pushed-back delivery milestones.

'The Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program Office (JPO) acknowledged in 2016 that schedule pressure exists for completing System Development and Demonstration (SDD) and starting Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) by August 2017, the planned date in JPO's Integrated Master Schedule,' the report says.

'In an effort to stay on schedule, JPO plans to reduce or truncate planned developmental testing (DT) in an effort to minimize delays and close out SDD as soon as possible.

'However, even with this risky, schedule-driven approach, multiple problems and delays make it clear that the program will not be able to start IOT&E with full combat capability until late CY18 or early CY19, at the soonest.'

Read more: ... z4yOV6LMLc
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Latest news:
Oct.27/2017 ... rough-week
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program Had A Pretty Rough Week
Reports of hypoxia, cyber security concerns, and the need for cost review, followed the leak of highly critical review.


Whatever you might think of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, it’s safe to say that the Joint Program Office hasn’t had a particularly good week. Reports of hypoxia, cyber security concerns, and the need for a major cost review followed the appearance of a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit, detailing significant and increasingly expensive maintenance issues, which leaked its way to the press ahead of an official public release.

By far the biggest story is the GAO report, which Bloomberg was first to reveal on Oct. 23, 2017, paints a distinctly unflattering picture of the U.S. Air Force and Marine Corps abilities in particular to keep their existing F-35s flyable, breaking down its findings into five core challenges. There’s a major delay in getting depot-level maintenance facilities up and running and a massive spare parts shortage. Beyond that, the Joint Program Office hadn’t even figured out what technical data it would need to support the aircraft going forward and the U.S. Navy and Marines didn’t have vital intermediate maintenance capabilities in place to support planned operational deployments. Lastly, there were serious concerns with the status of the Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS), the cloud-based computer network that is central to keeping the aircraft going on a day-to-day basis.

By Joseph Trevithick
Posted in THE WAR ZONE
By Joseph Trevithick

By Tyler Rogoway
Posted in THE WAR ZONE
“These challenges are largely the result of sustainment plans that do not fully include key requirements or aligned (timely and sufficient) funding,” GAO explained in it’s the final public version, which it released in Oct. 26, 2017. The Pentagon “is taking steps to address some challenges, but without more comprehensive plans and aligned funding, [the Department of Defense] risks being unable to fully leverage the F-35’s capabilities and sustain a rapidly expanding fleet.”

That’s an exceptionally diplomatic way of describing the findings, which the Congressional watchdog said were the result, in large of part, of a confluence of mismatched priorities and delays requiring program officials to divert already limited funds. Though this particular report did not mention it by name, GAO has in the past repeatedly criticized the policy of concurrency, in which the U.S. military began buying F-35s before the development cycle finished, requiring repeated and costly upgrades to existing airframes. We at the War Zone have discussed this issue in depth many times, most recently after earlier reports that the Air Force was considering stopping upgrading some of its exist jets to cut costs, but which would leave it with dozens of planes that would be, at best, suitable for limited training purposes in the future.

*(read,the world's most expensive trainers,but now many of them are twin-seat models?!) :rotfl:

At present, according to GAO, F-35s across the U.S. military were already ending up sidelined because of issues in the maintenance and logistics chains. Plans for an internal U.S. military capacity to perform depot level maintenance on the Joint Strike Fighter are six years behind schedule. As a result, when personnel remove parts from one of the jets for that type of service, they have to send it either to one of the depots that are operational or back to the original manufacturer.
The objective timeline for getting those parts, or suitable replacements, back into the logistics chain is supposed to be between 60 and 90 days. As of May, GOA found that, due to backlogs and shortages, the average timeline was more than 170 days.

This had contributed to a massive parts shortage that had a direct impact on aircraft readiness rates. Between January and the beginning of August 2017, approximately 22 percent of the F-35 fleet in total across all services on average was not available specifically due to the lack of spares on hand. At some points its was 25 percent or more. In other words, this figure is not an overall availability rate, just the percentage due to lack of spares alone.

Another contributing factor was the continuing lack of agreement between the F-35 Joint Program Office and Lockheed Martin on the transfer of technical data. The U.S. military had yet to even create a comprehensive catalog of all the data it felt it would need to operate and sustain the aircraft. :shock:

This had trickled down in the maintenance pipeline, preventing the creation of a complete set of maintenance instructions for ground crews more than 10 years after the F-35 first took to the skies. Without a clear troubleshooting, maintainers were routinely sending parts to the depot when they could’ve made the fixes on site or at an intermediate facility.
Sometimes they would identify the wrong part as the problem and order a replacement only to find that the issue was still there afterwards, requirement more downtime and delays. Personnel at one depot told GAO’s investigators that nearly 70 percent of the parts they were receiving from F-35 squadrons weren’t even broken. Due to protocols, and not knowing for sure themselves, they still had to spend 10 hours testing each one.
The lack of a well established knowledge base within the U.S. military itself undoubtedly helps explain why Naval Air Systems command announced a plan on Oct. 26, 2017 to award a sole-source contract to Lockheed Martin specifically to hire F-35 subject matter experts. The notice did not say how much the deal would cost, but did say that it would support the more than a dozen existing foreign F-35 customers, many of whom are likely dealing with a similar lack of information.

Needless to say, these issues were sucking up time and resources and costing the government millions. This was one of the many reasons why, between 2012 and 2016, life cycle cost estimates for the F-35 fleet had grown by more than 20 percent. During the 2017 fiscal year alone, the Navy and Marine Corps spare parts costs surged from the original budget request of $261 million to more than $400 million. :rotfl:
*(exposes the LIE that costs are coming down!)

It should come as no surprise that on Oct. 24, 2017, the U.S. announced there would be major review of the F-35 supply chain and its associated costs. The Pentagon may have hoped this announcement would have headed off the formal release of the GAO report later in the week.

“Lockheed is familiar with this process because we’ve done it before with them, so this isn’t something new,” Shay Assad, the Pentagon’s Director of Defense Pricing told Defense News, somewhat tellingly noting that they had gone through this process at least once in the past. “Many of the things we’re talking about are just practices that have occurred in the past, this will just be much more rigorous. … And we’ll also lay out for them: Here’s our plan in terms of your subcontractor base, and this is what we want to do, and then get off and get the work done.”

Assad specifically told Defense News that the Pentagon had a goal of further reducing the unit cost of each F-35, notably getting the price of a new F-35A model down to approximately $80 million. He did not mention the soaring sustainment costs that could easily outpace any such savings.

A electronics technician removes a broken circuit board from a piece of the F-35A's communications systems during depot-level maintenance.
We at The War Zone, along with many others, have warned in the past about the fallacy of focusing myopically on unit costs saving. GAO specifically noted that additional purchases above the 250 Joint Strike Fighters the U.S. military is already paying to sustain would only create more stress on the maintenance and logistics chains.

And The War Zone’s own Tyler Rogoway already discussed how all of this could impact the Air Force’s plan to make the first operational deployment of its F-35As – which already have debatable combat capabilities – to Japan in November 2017 and the availability of those aircraft. The Marine Corps seems to be heading toward its own set of pitfalls since a lack of funds preventing the Navy from establishing adequate intermediate maintenance facilities for the jets onboard its ships.

“Because a funded plan for intermediate-level maintenance is not yet in place, the Marine Corps will not have the desired level of intermediate-level maintenance capabilities for its initial shipboard deployments planned for 2018,” GAO noted. “Accordingly, it will be highly reliant on the currently challenged F-35 supply chain and depot repair capabilities for support, and will likely experience degraded readiness. In addition, without such a plan, it is unclear whether such capabilities will be available to support the Navy’s first planned F-35 shipboard deployments in 2021.”

Hiding in the background of all of these issues have been delays and the potential for more slips in the development of the complex, but essential ALIS computer system, which you can read about in detail here. It seems very likely that any problems with this system, which manages maintenance data and tracks the figurative “health” of the aircraft’s components among many other functions, have only compounded the lack of information when maintenance technicians attempt to diagnose a fault on any particular aircraft.

Airmen train to use the ALIS software using a virtual simulation.
It might even be one of the reasons why the Air Force has been so far unable to conclusively determine why aviators flying the F-35 at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona continue to report possible hypoxia, a term describing a dangerous lack of oxygen. In July 2017, the service said it was looking into refining the aircraft’s computer algorithm that determines how much oxygen the pilot receives from the onboard oxygen generation system, or OBOGS.

On Oct. 24, 2017, Aviation Week reported that despite the Air Force’s decision to lift flying restrictions and get pilots back in the air, along with the computer code tweak, there had been at least another five reported potential episodes. However, Colonel Ben Bishop, head of the 56th Operations Group at Luke stressed that the Joint Strike Fighters OBOGS was always provide adequate oxygen to pilots and that the system did not immediately notice their symptoms as its programming should do. He said this pointed to possible hypercapnia, or too much carbon dioxide, as the true issue, which could be the fault of a different part of the aircraft’s life support system.

“I think there might be something based on how the machine and the human are interacting that’s altering the breathing,” Bishop told Aviation Week. “So we’re obviously very interested in understanding how the valves are working and making sure our pilots can exhale comfortably.”

A US Air Force pilot performs functional flight test on an F-35A in 2016.
In 2016, GAO chided the central F-35 program office over these issues, recommending that it develop a new plan to prioritize and address problems and risks with ALIS. They did so, but in its latest report, the watchdog found that there are still significant concerns, in no small part, yet again, due to budget shortfalls.

“Emerging requirements, such as to address cyber security vulnerabilities and system obsolescence, will likely lead to changes in the Roadmap that could further delay the date when these sustainment capabilities are provided,” the report explained. “Furthermore, the requirements and associated timelines for ALIS development that are identified in this plan may not be realistic because the requirements are not fully funded in upcoming service budgets, resulting in additional risks to the program’s plan.”

The issue of cyber security is one we at The War Zone have stressed numerous times before, especially since the U.S. military expects the F-35 to operate in a networked manner unlike any other previous aircraft. This concern has impacted foreign partners, as well, including Israel, which pushed hard to secure the unique right among foreign F-35 operators to tweak the Joint Strike Fighter’s computer software to its own needs.

In June 2017, I described what a worst case cyber attack scenario could look like for the global F-35 fleet:

"The nightmare scenario would involve an opponent causing a disruption during an actual crisis by either actively feeding bad information into the ALIS system or otherwise disabling some portion of it or its overarching architecture. The interconnected nature of the arrangement might allow a localized breach to infect larger segments of the F-35 fleet both in the United States or abroad or vice versa. It’s not hard to imagine the time and energy needed to sort out real inputs and outputs from fake ones hampering or halting operations entirely under the right circumstances. Given the jet's low-observable characteristics, advanced defensive systems, and other sensors, a cyber attack would be an attractive option for any enemy force. Why would an enemy use a $500,000 air-to-air or surface-to-air and put their personnel and equipment at risk in an attempt to down an F-35 when a simple worm may be able to do the same to a whole fleet of F-35s? It could also do so with plausible deniability, something kinetic weapons are far less adept to." :rotfl:

Now the U.K.’s Royal Air Force (RAF) is hiring cyber experts to look for weaknesses in the system. The RAF’s 591 Signal Unit, a counterintelligence element that has historically focused on guarding communications equipment, will manage the cyber defense effort, according to The Telegraph. It is presently advertising for contractors to help with the work.

The United Kingdom has been having its own separate set of F-35 delays and cost overruns, which we at The War Zone have looked at in depth in regards to the Royal Navy’s new supercarrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, which presently has no fixed-wing aircraft. The problems that GAO has identified with the U.S. military’s own program could easily translate to the United Kingdom or other foreign customers, will similarly have to manage the high costs of operating a stealth fighter fleet. The British are already concerned that they will not have enough of their own F-35Bs ready in time that it has signed a deal with the Marine Corps to have its Joint Strike Fighters fly from Queen Elizabeth on her first operational patrol

F-35B, like those that will fly from the Queen Elizabeth, taking off from the USS Wasp.
In the United Kingdom's own case, the country’s flagging economy in light of its planned exit from the European Union, also known as Brexit, BAE Systems, the main U.K.-based F-35 related defense contractor, slashed some 2,000 jobs earlier in October 2017. Those layoffs that come in the company’s aviation divisions mainly involve the production of the Eurofighter Typhoon, but some will come at its facility in Samlesbury, which builds Joint Strike Fighter components.

The “F-35 program is at a critical juncture,” GAO said at the conclusion of its report. The Pentagon’s “reactive approach to planning for and funding the capabilities needed to sustain the F-35 has resulted in significant readiness challenges – including multi-year delays in establishing repair capabilities and spare parts shortages. There is little doubt that the F-35 brings unique capabilities to the U.S. military, but without revising sustainment plans to include the key requirements and decision points needed to fully implement the F-35 sustainment strategy, and without aligned funding plans to meet those requirements, [The department of Defense] is at risk of being unable to leverage the capabilities of the aircraft it has recently purchased.”

This isn't a particularly new assessment for us, unfortunately, with The War Zone noting that the Air Force and Navy in particularity are increasingly acknowledging, at least tacitly, that the initial plans to field hundreds of F-35s and do away with the bulk of their 4th generation fighter jets may simply not be sustainable. Just earlier in October 2017, Tyler Rogoway wrote:

"I have always maintained that the most crushing fiscal aspect of fielding a predominantly stealthy manned fighter force is that the cost of operation, especially as the platform ages, will be far greater than the vast majority of the aircraft they replace. Lockheed has claimed that won't be the case, but there are few metrics, not to mention little logic, available to support such a claim. Although the jet has revised, lower maintenance radar absorbent material coated skin, stealth aircraft have always been maintenance man hour hogs. Combine that with the complexity of the F-35, and it doesn't take a crystal ball to realize the USAF will have to budget more money for sustainment than it already does for its existing fighter force."

An assortment of Pentagon reports:

jsf problems pentagon report 2017
f 35 can t fly at night
f-35 performance problems
f 35 design flaws
f-35 problems 2017
f 35 joint strike fighter problems
f 35 can't fly in rain
how many f35s are in service
f-35 problems list

BRF Oldie
Posts: 20610
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: India

Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Philip » 14 Nov 2017 14:47

Alas! The situ of the poor Brits. who've bought the bird for their QE carriers...
Britain spends billions on flawed F-35 fighter jets - The Australian ... 681ad3cea4
Jul 18, 2017 - The full scale of problems facing the F-35 Lightning II can be exposed today: — The “stealth” jet cannot transmit data to British ships or older planes without ... A test pilot had to land in almost total darkness after night vision failed in the ... A Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II takes part in a flying display at the

And the cover-up of safety issues:
Program managers are also hiding key information about the safety of F-35s, as John Donnelly from CQ revealed this week. In October 2015 Donnelly reported the plane’s ejection seats posed “a heightened risk of fatal whiplash during an emergency ejection” to pilots. This risk was increased by a heavy $600,000 helmet, which could pose “a risk of severe neck injury.
Program officials assured the public in May that those problems have been addressed. But Donnelly recently unearthed an internal Air Force safety report that found the ejection seats still pose a “serious” risk of death.
Although the program says it already addressed the problem, thus far it seems to be cutting corners by forgoing testing — which would likely only cost a few million dollars — and failing to address safety concerns raised by DOT&E about the canopy as well.

Previously we expressed concerns that the concurrency in the program — the premature rush into production before development and testing is complete — would create “concurrency orphans.” These are aircraft purchased at full price that would be too expensive to fix to ever make them combat capable. Stephen Trimble at Flight Global reports that the chickens may be coming home to roost as the program office considers foregoing upgrades to aircraft purchased early in the program, resulting in 108 concurrency orphans.”

By Veterans Today

Fatal flaws within the cockpit of the US military’s most expensive fighter jet ever are causing further problems with the Pentagon’s dubious F-35 program.

Just weeks after a fleet of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters was grounded for reasons unrelated, a new report from the Pentagon warns that any pilot that boards the pricey aircraft places himself in danger without even going into combat.

In a leaked memo from the Defense Department’s director of the Operational Test and Evaluation Directorate to the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Pentagon official prefaces a report on the F-35 by cautioning that even training missions cannot be safely performed on board the aircraft at this time.

“The training management system lags in development compared to the rest of the Integrated Training Center and does not yet have all planned functionality,” the report reads in part.

In other sections of the lengthy DoD analysis, Operational Test and Evaluation Directorate Director J. Michael Gilmore outlines a number of flaws that jeopardize the safety of any pilot that enters the aircraft.

“The out-of-cockpit visibility in the F-35A is less than other Air Force fighter aircraft,” one excerpt reads.
*(JSF has "fly by thought" capability what?!) :rotfl:

Elsewhere, Gilmore includes quotes from pilots commenting after test missions onboard the aircraft: “The head rest is too large and will impede aft [rear] visibility and survivability during surface and air engagements,” said one. “Aft visibility will get the pilot gunned [down] every time” in dogfights, remarked another.

“Aft visibility could turn out to be a significant problem for all F-35 pilots in the future,” the Pentagon admits.

In one chart included in the report, the Pentagon says there are eight crucial flaws with the aircraft that have raises serious red flags within the Department of Defense. The plane’s lack of maturity, reduced pilot situational awareness during an emergency and the risk of the aircraft’s fuel barriers catching fire are also cited, as is the likelihood of a pilot in distress becoming unable to escape his aircraft during an emergency — or perhaps drowning in event of an evacuation over water.

The Pilot Vehicle Interface, or PVI, is also listed as not up to snuff. Documented deficiencies regarding the F-35 pilot’s helmet-mounted display and other aspects of the PVI are named, and the result could mean grave consequences.

“There is no confidence that the pilot can perform critical tasks safely,” the report reads.

The latest news regarding the F-35s comes less than one month after a separate incident forced the Department of Defense to ground their entire arsenal of the fighter jets. In February, jet makers Lockheed Martin issued a statement acknowledging that a routine inspection on a test plane at Edwards Air Force Base in California turned up cracked turbine blade.

“Safety is always our first consideration, and the joint inspection team is focused on ensuring the integrity of the engines across the entire fleet so the F-35s can safely return to flight as soon as possible,” the manufacture told the media. In response, Joint Program Office spokeswoman Kyra Hawn confirmed that all F-35 flight operations were suspended as a precautionary measure “until the investigation is complete and the cause of the blade crack is fully understood.” Just weeks later, though, a new report is already causing fresh problems for the F-35 program.

Each F-35 fighter jet is valued at $238 million and, according to recent estimates, the entire operation will cost the country $1 trillion in order to keep the jets up and running through 2050. :rotfl:


BRF Oldie
Posts: 8630
Joined: 11 Aug 2016 06:14

Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 14 Nov 2017 15:52

Again, ignoring any sort of debate and not going to the cost-data source as usual but relying on cherrypicking news articles. As usual. Please tell Phillip, have you accessed or seen the official financial reporting of the unit and program cost on the program? I seriously doubt it, since if you had you wouldn't be wasting your time cherry picking costing information and highlighting things that are blatantly false and distortion of the truth. Well, at least we are making progress with you having admitted that you were essentially lying for all the years when you were claiming what you were claiming regarding to_date cost.

Again for the nth time, the entire unit and program cost (Fly-Away, APUC, and PAUC plus overall life cycle O&S cost for 2500 aircraft over 55 years) is KNOWN and is delivered via the selected acq. report each and every year to the US congress and public.For anyone seriously interested to know more about the unit cost both current and projected they can very easily access the tables. Since it is so easily and readily available, I won't go into actually laying out what those figures are.

For the rest of the articles you have posted, the gun issue and the other issues cited in the January,2017 article are from the same 2016 report and have since been rectified. Gun testing on the F-35 is now complete. The Helmet issue, which btw does not cost $600,000 but $400,000 and is included in the $80-$100 Million price tag of the aircraft (not purchased separately) is also rectified as the lighter weight helmet is now flying, and the OLED panel replacement is also in advanced development. The escape mechanism restrictions on the F-35A are now largely lifted pretty much for all pilot classes that can fly on other USAF fast jets. As I have mentioned, the escape requirement for pilot weight on the F-35A was the largest margin EVER and none of the other fighters or services even allow such weight classes to fly their aircraft.

The Hypoxia -like issue is isolated to one base and with over 250+ aircraft's delivered is likely a result or some combination of technical hardware and maintenance practices at that base since it is largely restricted to Luke. Again, it is being technically addressed, fixes sought and addressed but it does not yet seem to be something prevalent enterprise wide or a systemic issue (like the F/A-18 or F-22) since given the large number of F-35s now flying daily (more than 250 aircraft in 4 continents) it has only shown up at one base for the most part. Needless to say that this is a serious matter but much like all the other "scaremongering" in the articles cited above the safety record of the F-35 has been STELLAR in a relative sense if one looks at the fact that the aircraft program has flown a cumulative of > 100,000 hours since the first prototype took flight. This clearly demonstrates that at a technical level, the teams have done a great job at mitigating risk given the developmental nature of the program and the fact that they managed to clear the entire STOVL and High AOA envelope without any major safety incident. The F-35B enterprise must be pushing towards its 1000th near perfect vertical landing. They take safety very very seriously on the program! Even at Luke, the restrictions due to the Hypoxia_like incidences have lifted and you don't do that if you feel the risk is still significant particularly as an institution that has suffered personnel losses in the recent past related to this issue. Simply put they would have been extra cautious.

Philip wrote:Needless to say, these issues were sucking up time and resources and costing the government millions. This was one of the many reasons why, between 2012 and 2016, life cycle cost estimates for the F-35 fleet had grown by more than 20 percent. During the 2017 fiscal year alone, the Navy and Marine Corps spare parts costs surged from the original budget request of $261 million to more than $400 million. :rotfl:
*(exposes the LIE that costs are coming down!)

No it does not. Your lie is still a lie and is there for all to see. Moving on, the Navy and Marines ordered more spares in 2017. So what does this have to do with unit cost? The Navy and Marines both also got more aircraft on top of their base budget requests but that little point got missed. How much spare you buy in a year is dependent on where you want your spare inventory to be, and not necessarily tallies with your annual spare consumption. All three US services, and indeed foreign partners and FMS customers are building spare inventories at the moment so expect upfront cost to built that to be there since the perfect sustainment model for the F-35 does not yet exist and likely won't till the early 2020s when enough data allows both sides to sit and negotiate a long term PBL. Right now they are doing short term hybrid Government+Industry sustainment. Buying bulk spares and increasing depot throughput is an identified DON strategy to improve readiness across its aviation portfolio. But specific to the F-35, expect all F-35 users to stock up on spare and build inventory. Production rates are increasing at a very high rate, with deliveries by the end of 2017 expected to be north of 60/year pushing to 90 / year in the next 12-24 months. This puts production pressure right down to the smallest supplier leading services to plan ahead and stock up on spares by putting their orders in and giving a good lead time to get deliveries.

Latest news:

Not news, but an editorial from an accumulator blog well known for clickbait articles.

Philip wrote:Tyler Rogoway wrote:

Why would anyone care about what this guy who is running an accumulator blog has to say? What unique qualifications does he have that warrant him to be taken seriously on national security matters?

An assortment of Pentagon reports:

jsf problems pentagon report 2017 --- DOTE Report tabled in early 2017 covers the period of mid 2015 to mid 2016. As mentioned, most issues cited have been rectified or changes are in advanced testing and/or being implemented. Rebuttals have been provided by officials to the Congress's satisfaction and I have cited them here earlier while also doing a point by point rebuttal of some of the stuff that is now practically irrelevant given where the program has come in late 2017.
f 35 can t fly at night - Bullshit to put it midly
f-35 performance problems Name the problem and I will respond but name it instead of quoting a 1000 word article. We can do it one at a time if you wish
f 35 design flaws Again, if you want to debate name the issue and we can discuss
f-35 problems 2017 WTF is that?
f 35 joint strike fighter problems Again, WTF
f 35 can't fly in rain Really?
how many f35s are in service Here is a great website for that information LINK
Last edited by brar_w on 14 Nov 2017 17:39, edited 12 times in total.

BRF Oldie
Posts: 4452
Joined: 16 Dec 2002 12:31
Location: USA

Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby chola » 14 Nov 2017 15:56

brar_w wrote:Again, ignoring any sort of debate and not going to the cost-data source as usual but relying on cherrypicking news articles. As usual. Please tell Phillip, have you accessed or seen the official financial reporting of the unit and program cost on the program? For the amount of time you dedicate to laying out hit job after hit job, you must at least know the accounting like the back of your hand?

Lol. It’s Filipov, why do you expect him to be impartial on American stuff?

BRF Oldie
Posts: 8630
Joined: 11 Aug 2016 06:14

Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 14 Nov 2017 16:34

Philip wrote:f 35 can t fly at night

Someone forgot to tell the pilots that :roll:

Hey look, F-35Is flew from Italy to Israel and landed at night. But Moscow claims is that it can't fly at night :eek:

Full Afterburner take-off on a night demonstration ..

One could literally fill pages with more photos and videos of it flying at night. HERE is a great website that I'm sure could help you find more..But I'm sure you would have gone through it before you put the claim out there :roll: given how much you value facts and the truth.

Philip wrote:f 35 can't fly in rain

DTII + Pilot carrier qualification around 2 years ago in the rain, on a carrier out at sea ! Of course if one does a BR search this video and details on DTII were probably posted here but why bother actually looking into $hit before ranting.. - :-?

Again, absurd as the claims may be they can be easily discredited by simply spending a minute on youtube.


Last edited by brar_w on 14 Nov 2017 19:23, edited 17 times in total.

Forum Moderator
Posts: 4525
Joined: 11 Aug 2016 06:14

Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby JayS » 14 Nov 2017 16:36

Philip wrote:The problem with the JSF touts are that they imagine that they know more than Gen.Bodgan,Gilmore,the Pentagon,etc.Like good snake-oil salesmen,they utter every conceivable falsehood about the turkey in the hope that some poor sucker of a anaion will fall for the bait.Here are some more reports citing Pentagon,etc. reports.

F-35 in crisis as Pentagon tests find 276 different faults in $400bn jet's combat system and warn full tests might not even begin until 2019
Fifth-generation fighter has been plagued with issues

$400bn development schedule has stretched to 15 years

Err..Philip saar. What is this..? This says $400 B wonly. Invalid article. Should be a Trillion $$ no..? :lol: :lol:

BRF Oldie
Posts: 8630
Joined: 11 Aug 2016 06:14

Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 14 Nov 2017 16:38

^ JayS, that is probably a rounding error.. You know just a simple innocent error from an otherwise totally...:lol:

Back on Earth One, as per the latest FY18 SAR published December,2017 estimate for the Constant Year (Uses 2012 BY since that was when the program was baselined) cost of the program including research and development, testing, procurement of 2500+ F-35As, Bs and Cs by the US services, procurement of initial spares and contractor support across the 2500 jets is $325 Billion. [before someone jumps up and down again, the time-frame for spending that amount extends from 2001 when the EMD contract for development of the F-35 was awarded, and 2038 when the last of the aircraft that is part of the 2500+ calculation is to be ordered. Again if one is of the opinion that the US will not buy 2500 (perfectly valid to hold those views as no-one can predict the future with 100% certainty, then they can't also in the same breath keep citing the $325 or $400 (CY vs TY) figure as it accounts for full procurement and initial spare support for those aircraft.]

They get the $400 billion figure by changing the $ to TY$ for accounting purposes. This figures usually hovers around the $390 Billion - $400 Billion range depending upon inflation factors used and the estimate updated after every batch negotiation as models are sured up with arrival of new, updated cost data.

Again, these are publicly available documents with a wealth of data and cost reporting across the definitions used by the USDOD. One can find unit recurring fly-away cost by batch and variant, and find the Average Procurement Unit Cost for the entire purchase, in addition to the the Program Acquisition Cost as well. These numbers are required by law to be published and updated each year before the budget process can formally begin in the US DOD. No US President can submit a defense budget to Congress without a supporting SAR for all Acquisition Category (ACAT) - 1 programs unless granted a congressional waiver which is usually reserved for Special access programs which the JSF isn't.

As per his other claims they are as easily debunked or put in proper context as this one lie that he perpetrated until it became untenable.
Last edited by brar_w on 14 Nov 2017 18:37, edited 2 times in total.

Return to “Trash Can Archive”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests