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JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

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brar_w
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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby brar_w » 10 May 2015 18:17

Read the latest news about the JSF,"white elephant" claims.Still plagued with engine and software problems,costs rising.


There are 3 main issues here.

Engine : Reliability metrics were measured. Out of the 3, 2 had the engine ahead of where it was supposed to and one where it was behind. The GAO did not take into account the design changes that were being developed, and/or certified to remedy that. They themselves claim that, that they will look at those changes and their impact later next year (report that is published in Feb of 2016) since they only book a change once it has been implemented and demonstrated. The program management claims that it is under control and the changes "work". It has no impact on IOC or weapons integration for any version. How the reliability of the engine has improved through these changes (or whether it has at all) will be known next year. The program took a decision to do concurrent development and in this case, if there are design changes (minor or major) found or required during development (this jet is still in the RDT&E phase) it is introduced back into the design. Thats how they improved a host of things such as mission availability which shot up beyond 65% late last year (for in development aircraft). Its an ongoing process and the process will continue till 2018 when the development phase finally comes to a close.

Software: 2b is on time minus the MADL 4 ship which will slip from July 2015 to October/November 2015. 3I (USAF) is basically 2b software ported to faster Integrated Computers and mission systems. That is flying as we speak and its expected on time since there is no software addition to 2b. 3F could be delayed by up to 6 months, but 6 months is exactly what they built into the "IOC WINDOW" (remember IOC between July (desired) - December (Threshold)" that is mentioned in every IOC claim. Even if they go over the 6 month window, the delay for 3F is likely to be measured in weeks above that so it hardly matters since it is nothing more than a software upgrade. They aren't changing wings, or rewiring the aircraft, or swapping sensors etc for 3F. The software will be flying in combat aircraft (all squadrons) starting 2017, they will get clearance to use it in an operational context only once the testing is complete and it is certified which would be towards the end of 2018.

COST: Cost has been coming down every block. Contract details are shared and you can look up budget documents each and every year when a new block is ordered. It was over $200 Million URF when the first jet rolled out, and is at $108 Million for the CTOL variant (A). The next order that will be announced towards this year's end will be for 150+ F35's, expect the cost to be close to $100 Million (net i.e. URF for engine+airframe and components) if not below that.

Risk remains in software (most significant), production ramp rates, and weapons certification schedule..that risk needs to be managed but its no where close to where it was say 2-3 years ago. If there is a delay in software it will really have insignificant impact since its likely to be for a few weeks or a few months at the most (above the threshold) and in the bigger picture that is hardly a big deal especially since its just for software and it would have zero impact on the production rate. You may essentially need to have hundreds of jets run and fight with 2b for a few months more. Thats about the size of the impact that may have.

Both the JPO and the GAO agree that unless the software development work becomes more efficient or speeds up they are likely to see a 4-6 month delay for the final 3F version of the software build. However, do note that at the program baseline they built wiggle room for the IOC deadlines because they knew that predicting exact dates is always something that could be delayed. The JSF isn't seeking a basic air-to air capability at IOC like the F-16 or Eurocanards, it is seeking full blown multi-role capability, with full sensor fusion, electronic attack/warfare and LPI data link sharing (something that the Eurocanarlds or the F-16's don't even have NOW) from IOC and then adding to that capability at FOC before embarking on the Follow-On-Development phase beyond that (in reality follow on development phase overlaps the RDT&E phase as block 4 software work and engine_enhancement work as already begun in support block 4 capability that is slated for the early 2020's).

BTW, Follow on development has already started for future capability and Bock 4 contracts were awarded in the Financial year 2015 budget, and requested in the FY16 budget. New weapons are coming to light such as the 150-200nm Ramjet powered ARM that is to be an extension of the AARGM that is in production. That missile received funding starting FY2015, and is expected to begin its operational testing by 2019 or 2020. Its a relatively simple upgrade since the sensor, and internals have been developed already and the VFDR was already tested on the HARM a few years ago (fired from a QF4). Additionally, a New Cyber/EW stealthy pod is being developed for customers (possibly the Marines here since they need escort and SO jamming because they aren't buying growlers to replace prowlers) if required to support the rest of the fleet.


vaibhav.n
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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby vaibhav.n » 12 May 2015 23:33

Best video on the RN & JSF.... :mrgreen: :mrgreen:


Karan M
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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby Karan M » 14 May 2015 13:06

Admiral Parr :lol::rotfl:

brar_w
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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby brar_w » 14 May 2015 14:55


NRao
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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby NRao » 19 May 2015 04:24

AWST article on Saab Gripen hosting a IRST (Selex-ES Skyward-G IRST sensor) that "demonstrates its ability to detect aircraft at long range regardless of any cross-section (RCS) reduction technology they may use".

Looks like they have been at it since 1988.

brar_w
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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby brar_w » 19 May 2015 04:37

So I guess SAAB that is a partner on the Dassault Neuron and a potential partner on the Turkish 5th generation fighter will now push for a Non-Stealth design for each, instead of the current ones because they have just found the secret sauce for making Low Observability redundant and are willing to offer the entire technology for sale ;). So Swedish Tax money was wasted on studying and offering to willing partners this proposal :)

BTW, GE Aerospace (now Lockheed Martin through its acquisition of Martin Marietta) have been at it since a lot earlier ;). Also as part of the apparent Quid pro quo AWST seem to have conveniently forgotton the fact that they were essentially comparing (in the follow-up article authored by uncle Bill) a podded IRST with its entire processing, cooling and interface to a mounted IRST when it came to weight. I can bet quite a bit of money that once Selex offers a podded version of the Pirate (as they have partnered with Northrop) it will weight a lot lot more. The author doesn't use the same liberty in claiming that the AN/Apg-81 radar is a light radar because it is essentially an antenna upfront (with all the processing done by the Integrated Core Processors instead of the the traditional back-end as seen on most fighter radars). He also then goes on to compare the performance based on DOTE results conveniently ignoring the fact that IR detection and processing is a combination of the sensor, and the computing+software algos. It is entirely possible (and in fact does happen) to have the same sensor but get a huge difference in Situational Awareness when it is mounted as an integrated part of the combat system as opposed to just a strap on pod where the integration into the missions system is being carried out by a party (*cough* Boeing *cough*) that hasn't done some serious cutting edge work on fighters since a long time (F22 and F35 software was all Non Boeing). What he conveniently ignored in his two-article piece was that the IRST-21 on the Shornet is a low-cost, low-technical risk solution where the buyer (USN) wants to spend a little money to acquire pods, and then build the software and capability in blocks that it will stretch out over the long term as opposed to entering into an expensive RTD&E program upfront when it requires all its money to buy airframes. It also totally ignores the fact that the most amount of SI and development money has been spent on the EOTS (with the IRST-21 being an upgrade on the F14 IRST) which doesn't even get a mention (if it did I don't seem to recall).

Image

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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby Austin » 23 May 2015 21:55


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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby UlanBatori » 26 May 2015 06:23

Gives new meaning to the terms "Magic Carpet" and "Exercise Mat".

There are big air shows in the UK this summer. The British public may be a little disappointed, however. The F-35B Joint Strike Fighter—the stealth jet that’s supposed to be able to take off and land vertically, like a helicopter—will be on display for the first time outside the U.S. But it won’t emulate the vertical landings that the Harrier family has made routine since the Beatles were playing dodgy nightclubs in Hamburg.

U.S. Marine aviation boss Brig. Gen. Matthew Glavy has said that there are no plans for the F-35B to perform vertical landings (VLs) in the UK, because the program has not finished testing the matting that’s needed to protect the runway from exhaust heat. (The program office, the Marines, and Lockheed Martin did not return emails about any part of this story.) It may sound like a simple issue, but it pops the lids off two cans of worms: the program’s relationship with the truth, and the operational utility of VL.

The F-35B—the version of the Joint Strike Fighter that the Marines and the British are buying—is designed to take off in a few hundred feet and land vertically, like a helicopter. Its advocates say that will allow the Marines to use short runways worldwide as improvised fighter bases, providing air cover for expeditionary forces. But to do VL, the engine thrust must be pointed straight downward, and the jet is twice the size of a Harrier. Result: a supersonic, pulsating jackhammer of 1,700-degree F exhaust gas.

In December 2009, the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (Navfac) issued specifications for contractors bidding on JSF construction work. The main engine exhaust, the engineers said, was hot and energetic enough to have a 50% chance of spalling concrete on the first VL. (“Spalling” occurs when water in the concrete boils faster than it can escape, and steam blows flakes away from the surface.)

Lockheed Martin, the lead contractor on the F-35B, was dismissive. The specifications were out of date and based on worst-case assessments, the company said, and tests in January 2010 showed that “the difference between F-35B exhaust temperature and that of the AV-8B [Harrier] is very small, and is not anticipated to require any significant… changes” to how the new plane was operated.

Navfac ignored Lockheed Martin and commissioned high-temperature-concrete VL pads at four sites. At the Navy’s Patuxent River flight test center, F-35Bs perform VLs on a pad of AM-2 aluminum matting, protecting the concrete from heat and blast. Why didn’t the January 2010 tests result in a change to the specifications? How were those tests performed? The Navy has referred those questions to Lockheed Martin, which has repeatedly failed to answer them.

This isn’t the only instance where Lockheed Martin has tried to shoot the messenger on the basis of weak facts. :roll: Last year, the Rand Corporation in a report concluded that the JSF—a program that incorporates three variants of F-35, each one for a different military service—will cost more than three single-service programs would have done. Lockheed Martin accused Rand of using “outdated data,” but founded that criticism on numbers that were not in the report.

One reason the F-35 program is running behind schedule is that Pentagon overseers forced Lockheed Martin and the program office to reinstate flight tests that they had cut out, a move that the current program manager thinks was necessary. But Lockheed Martin consultant Loren Thompson accused Pentagon testing experts of “wanting the opportunity to close out their home mortgages and get that last kid through college.”

After a 2011 report showed the F-35A cost per flight-hour to be 40 percent higher than the F-16’s, program leaders asserted that the Pentagon’s accountants had misinterpreted their own numbers. Three years later, the numbers have barely budged.

The bigger issue is that the Pentagon bought the F-35B for two reasons: it can land on an LHA/LHD-class amphibious warfare ship (yes it can, but the ship will become a submarine in short order), and it can operate from an improvised forward operating location, created around a 3,000-foot runway. The capabilities are complementary. Without one of those forward operating locations, the amphibious force is limited to six fighters per LHA (unless essential helicopters are off-loaded). But a short runway is of little value unless you can use it twice.

And what Navfac calls “standard airfield concrete” is military-grade, made with aggregate and Portland cement. Many runways are asphaltic concrete—aggregate in a bitumen binder—which softens and melts under heat.

The Marines could use AM-2 landing pads. But AM-2 is not a friend to the agility that justifies the F-35B over other forms of expeditionary airpower. An Air Force study calls it “slow to install, difficult to repair, (with) very poor air-transportability characteristics.” A single 100- by 100-foot VL pad weighs around 30 tons and comprises 400 pieces, each individually installed by two people.

At the very least, that will add to the challenges of operating a complex 25-ton fighter—twice as big and fuel-thirsty as the Harrier it replaces—under canvas and off the grid, particularly in a hybrid-war situation where supplying a squadron by land may be hazardous or impossible.

Rolling or creeping vertical landings can spread the heat load over a greater area. But there is no sign that they have been tested on concrete, asphalt, or AM-2 over asphalt. What about multiple, close-together landings? Will hot asphalt debris stay off the fighter’s stealthy skin?

Nobody seems willing to say when such tests will be conducted—which is odd, because we do flight tests to prove the airplane can meet requirements. How was the requirement for the F-35B to VL on a non-standard runway framed? Indeed, was that requirement formally defined at all? Omitting the latter would have been a catastrophic mistake by the Pentagon.

At least $21 billion out of of the JSF’s $55 billion research and development bill is directly attributable to the F-35B variant, which also has the highest unit cost of any military aircraft in production. The design compromises in the F-35B have added weight, drag and cost to the F-35A and F-35C. It would be nice to know that—air shows aside—it will deliver some of its promised operational utility.


Mark IV VL All Terrain Assphalt-Ass-ist Transporter

brar_w
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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby brar_w » 26 May 2015 07:10

Rolling or creeping vertical landings can spread the heat load over a greater area. But there is no sign that they have been tested on concrete, asphalt, or AM-2 over asphalt. What about multiple, close-together landings? Will hot asphalt debris stay off the fighter’s stealthy skin?


Rolling landings including formation rolling landings have been demonstrated by multiple test and service jets and are routinely performed. Some RVL videos have been posted on this very thread including a rolling landing of two F-35B's in formation. The author of the article could have just called the Marines to find out whether any of these had been performed or not, or could have just googled them, or spent a few minutes on youtube. Either of these actions could have clarified the situation. Its sometime very easy to just drop an email to the test team, find out what they plan on testing a few months down the road and jump the gun and write an article claiming that so and so hasn't been tested yet without explaining to the reader that its up next XX weeks from now etc. Yet this seemed to cover things that have been tested already or things that are routinely performed by operational squadrons that have the F-35B currently. AM2 testing is going to take a while but it has no significant impact other than to determine what roadmap AM2 growth plays in the Marine aviation future. If fatigue on AM2 due to the F-35B over the longer time-frame then the marines would upgrade AM2 to regain the deployed life of the matting just as they have continued to modify their matting over the last few decades. The Marines have a growth plan for most of their deployment equipment and this was the reason why MATTING FATIGUE requirements weren't specified in the KPP's for the program.

This article was discussed in this thread when it appeared last year, and I had provided videos of each on of those things the article claims has not occurred even back then. 500 cumulative VL's had been performed as of last year, with more this year including routine Vertical Landings by the 6 deployed aircraft on the USS wasp (currently deployed) conducting the first of 2 Operational testing for the USMC.

The Matting has been used by the Marines in Afghanistan extensivly and I have posted pictures of how it is deployed here as well. It is integral to Marine expeditionary warfare, irrespective of how and when they deploy the F-35B. Rolling landings on regular concrete runways have also been performed, and videos of that as well have been provided on this thread including links to the runways themselves and what sort of materials they use.

The Marines do not deploy the Harrier, nor plan on deploying the F-35B by clearing out a patch of forest and landing vertically like an LZ in Nam. That is not their conops. The matting takes austere runways, or shorter less prepared runways and preps them to sustain long term ops at high tempo as was done in Afghanistan. At the moment AM2 feasibility studies are under way. As the marines have notified earlier, if AM2 needs modification, they would make those necessary changes and have the VL's on a zone of AM2+, while the taxi ways and take off's would occur on the existing AM2's. Moreover, the preferred way to sustain ops is Rolling landings because that way you can send out the jet with more ammo and bring that back. The AM2 itself has a roadmap that the marines have developed of how the product evolves over the next few decades independent of the F-35B. The Marines had no speciifc requirements when it came to meeting a particular AM2 spec (be it 2000 spec or 2020 spec AM2) as they planned on studying the development progress of the F-35B and V-22's and future vertical lift aircraft and charting out the growth capability of their matting.

F-35B, Harriers or F-18's, V-22 or CH53's, AM2 is vital to the USMC FOB concept and ultimate success. They have used this FOB capability in the Gulf War/Desert Storm ( King Abdul Aziz Airstrip), Afghanistan (FOB Dwyer), and Iraq II ( FOB An Numinayah) and have used it to generate high tempo ops for their STOVL fleet, Rotary winged assets and even for larger support aircraft such as C-130 and C-17.


http://www.sldinfo.com/the-expeditionar ... rations-2/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyuD72KRcC0

AV-8B's @ FOB Dwyer utilizing AM2

Image

F-18 @ FOB Dwyer using AM2+ Expeditionary Arresting Gear System

Image

Additionally, at this moment the Royal Navy is performing ski ramp testing at Patuxent River and rolling landings would follow as they plan on using RVL's to maximize bring back weight on the QE carriers. Expect more videos posted on those once they complete their testing towards the end of the summer.
Last edited by brar_w on 26 May 2015 10:25, edited 11 times in total.

Viv S
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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby Viv S » 26 May 2015 07:54

UlanBatori wrote:After a 2011 report showed the F-35A cost per flight-hour to be 40 percent higher than the F-16’s, program leaders asserted that the Pentagon’s accountants had misinterpreted their own numbers. Three years later, the numbers have barely budged.

This is from the 2015 Selected Acquisition Report on the F-35. The F-35's operating cost is probably comparable to the Eurofighter & Rafale. Might even be lower over the long run as they squeeze costs down further.

Image

The bigger issue is that the Pentagon bought the F-35B for two reasons: it can land on an LHA/LHD-class amphibious warfare ship (yes it can, but the ship will become a submarine in short order), and it can operate from an improvised forward operating location, created around a 3,000-foot runway.

No submarine here. Just a picture perfect vertical landing on the LHD USS Wasp.



The Marines could use AM-2 landing pads. But AM-2 is not a friend to the agility that justifies the F-35B over other forms of expeditionary airpower. An Air Force study calls it “slow to install, difficult to repair, (with) very poor air-transportability characteristics.” A single 100- by 100-foot VL pad weighs around 30 tons and comprises 400 pieces, each individually installed by two people.

30 tons. So, about two C-130J sorties.

Also, for the record AM2 matting has been around since the early 60s and is widely employed to create helicopter landing pads (even full airstrips) in austere conditions. Its also used for USMC Harrier operations.
Last edited by Viv S on 26 May 2015 08:19, edited 1 time in total.

brar_w
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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby brar_w » 26 May 2015 08:19

This is from the 2015 Selected Acquisition Report on the F-35. The F-35's operating cost is probably comparable to the Eurofighter & Rafale. Might even be lower over the long run as they squeeze costs down further.


Operational cost is user specific. Air forces that have low man_power cost generally tend to prefer low part-cost and can afford to spend high amount of man-hours on O&S. While a very few analysts have tried to take costing data and break it down to a comparable number whereby they can use something for comparison, operators do this through their own acquisition departments when deciding on a weapons system. What the USAF may include in "operating cost" may be different to what the Netherlands may include which may be different to what the IAF may include. Also deployments play a crucial role in determining overall sustainment and operating cost. A Kadena deployment costs approximately 2X than operating the aircraft from CONUS, and the cost of fuel is different as well on deployments. IHS Janes did try to take whatever data they could from various air-forces around the world and they did try to do an apples to apples operating cost comparison. The Rafale was around $16-17K, while the RAAF F-35A estimates were around $21K. Regardless, when you are talking about sustained, long term O&S cost the single largest contributor to the overall figure in then year dollar amount is how you expect to deploy the aircraft, and how you expect to train your pilots. The European Typhoon and F-35 users are already looking at using companion jets, while the USAF is looking at a combination of LVC and perhaps exploring the concept of a companion jet through the T-X RFP's, that are too "fighter-like" given their financial constraints and that seems to suggest a CJ feature for a later date. The french are shifting to a Companion trainer as well and the time will be split between the Rafale and the companion trainer for a lot of their pilots.

Mercier said a key requirement is the procurement of a new trainer, in part to allow second-tier pilots the ability to train on a cheaper aircraft than a Rafale or Mirage 2000D. The concept is for a second-tier pilot to spend 40 hours a year in the Rafale and 140 hours on a new trainer.

Mercier said he wants to start replacing many of the aging Alpha Jet trainers currently in service with a new aircraft that has embedded simulation to allow it to replicate some of the characteristics of France’s front-line fighters.

“We don’t have that capability yet. ... We need to upgrade our systems and replace the Alpha Jet. Without a new aircraft like the PC-21 and Hawk T2, which have embedded simulation, it would be difficult to train the pilots to this new concept,” he said.

Last edited by brar_w on 26 May 2015 08:39, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby Viv S » 26 May 2015 08:25

brar_w wrote:Operational cost is user specific.

You don't need to analyse user specific statistics to know that the F-16 will be cheaper to operate than the Rafale and Eurofighter. That's evident from a cursory look at the size & weight of the jet and the scale of its employment. And since operating the F-16 costs just 20% less than the F-35, one can make a justifiable inference that a generic user will find the F-35's operating cost comparable to that of the Eurocanards.

(At no point in my original post did I attempt to directly compare figures put out by two different users, who would obvious use different criteria to generate their figures.)

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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby brar_w » 26 May 2015 08:30

What I meant was that the USAF may have a different O&S cost mechanism to say Australia, or a smaller European operator for the same jet. Also, you do not deploy the aircraft the same way. If an air force under-utilizes its jets the cost per hour / per fighter is inflated in some cases due to fixed cost. Similarly, if you are deploying aircraft all around the world, shipping fuel all over the world, doing X times more tanker check sorties, or range-support sorties compared to another operator your cost structure is going to be different.

Another interesting point raised in the article is that the F-16 and F-15 are on a curve when it comes to O&S cost, while the SAR and CAPE estimates of O&S F-35A, cost are in then year inflated dollars. The question should not be whether the F-35 costs 20%, 30% or 40% more than an F-16 to operate in 2015, but how much more does it cost in 2025, 2035 and 2040. The current EW protection (defensive mostly) bill for the F-15C/D fleet is hovering around $8 Billion, add a ton of new kit on the Eagle or the Viper and you will constantly see a higher operating cost just as you have seen that cost rise as you transitioned from an F-16A, to a F-16C and beyond an even higher kitted jet in the E/F.

At no point in my original post did I attempt to directly compare figures put out by two different users, who would obvious use different criteria to generate their figures.


I never said you did.
Last edited by brar_w on 26 May 2015 08:44, edited 1 time in total.

Viv S
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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby Viv S » 26 May 2015 08:42

brar_w wrote:What I meant was that the USAF may have a different O&S cost mechanism to say Australia, or a smaller European operator for the same jet. Also, you do not deploy the aircraft the same way. If an air force under-utilizes its jets the cost per hour / per fighter is inflated in some cases due to fixed cost. Similarly, if you are deploying aircraft all around the world, shipping fuel all over the world, doing X times more tanker check sorties, or range-support sorties compared to another operator your cost structure is going to be different.

We're talking about a generic user. The O&M gap between the F-16 & F-35 is close enough that regardless of the pattern of usage, the Eurofighter & Rafale will have an operating cost comparable to the F-35.

Now whether that figure is $20K/hr, $25K/hr or $30K/hr is an entirely different matter.

I never said you did.

You were giving a lecture about something that is already well known i.e. $X/hr for user A cannot be compared to $Y/hr for user B.

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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby brar_w » 26 May 2015 08:47

We're talking about a generic user. The O&M gap between the F-16 & F-35 is close enough that regardless of the pattern of usage, the Eurofighter & Rafale will have an operating cost comparable to the F-35


Generic user will most likely not pay $32K the US expects for an F-35A Operating cost. RAAF estimates its cost at $21K, and I bet there are many F-16 operators that have a considerably lower F-16C operating cost based on how they utilize their fleet. But the general trend in cost as you state will still hold, the cost difference in an apples-apples comparison between upgraded typhoons and rafales should not be significant over the long arc of time. I agree with that point. The only aircraft that are going to be substantially lower are your generic striped down F-16's, and the Gripen. But then with those you pay for what you get. if an LWF is what you want as an operator, you can reap the rewards through a lower operating cost. But plenty of operators including the USAF want a capability in the medium sized category with performance characteristics that ensure mission success. Capability will always come at a cost, be it for the Typhoon, Rafale or the F-35.

You were giving a lecture about something that is already well known i.e. $X/hr for user A cannot be compared to $Y/hr for user B


I was merely adding to your point on operating cost, and how the author plays around with dated 2011 data in 2014 when better data was available at the time the article was published. While some F-16 operators may well have to pay a 40% higher Operating cost, the US will certainly not based on what is known in 2015 (the SAR chart). As it is, using 2010-2014 F-16 cost data is only relevant if that cost will hold steady over 10, 15 or 20 years. This has historically never happened as new capabilities are added to counter threats. The author should have known this and taken this into account. The CAPE and SAR estimates on the F-35 O&S data do cover future cost, and use inflated dollar amounts. The F-16, that is neither survivable nor capable against existing advanced threat of TODAY or upcoming future threats still costs $24K and things like a complete avionics overhaul, extensive upgrades to its self protection, engine and frames would only make its operating cost higher and not lower.
Last edited by brar_w on 26 May 2015 09:10, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby Viv S » 26 May 2015 09:10

brar_w wrote:Generic user will most likely not pay $32K the US expects for an F-35A Operating cost. RAAF estimates its cost at $21K, and I bet there are many F-16 operators that have a considerably lower F-16C operating cost based on how they utilize their fleet.

You'll notice I never said that the $32K/hr is what a foreign customer would pay. Or that operating the Rafale/EF would cost $30K+. I said it would be comparable to the F-35, based on the fact that the F-35's operating cost vs 'light weight' F-16 is quite narrow. And that this gap will be relatively narrow across users.

Another way to look at it is, if the USAF were to induct Rafales it would certainly cost them at least $29-30K/hr based on US DoD accounting systems. Which is pretty close to the F-35. And it'll be close even for an operator that's not doing a lot of out-of-theatre deployments, like South Korea for example.

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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby brar_w » 26 May 2015 09:19

Yup, not only the accounting system but also some of the costing structure because the USAF deploys its jets to bases all around the world. A small European F-16 operator operating out of a couple of bases may pay close to half of what the US spends on operating its fleet. At the larger level most take the entire O&S amount spent in a given year and divide it by the number of hours flown so if you need to deploy multiple times a year, or have squadrons that are forward deployed or on rotation then you need higher training when it comes to things like tankers, night ops etc. Add your fuel costs that can be significantly higher on deployments especially when you have to tank up much more than an average F-16 operator that flies out of an air base, does his thing and comes back (and does this repeatedly over the course of the year). This is a part of the reason why the USAF's bill for the F-16 and F-15 has grown over the last decade or so. They just operate the fleet differently and in the case of the F-16 its going to stress as an enterprise because you are operating a LWF design as a medium sized fighter configuration.

If the USAF wants to fly an F-35A at its air-base for a couple of hours, then the aircraft costs them around $17,000 an hour and an F-16C costs them around $8500-9000 an hour. But thats not what they do, they factor in the cost of operating large fleets of these aircrafts in different training, deployment and operational contexts around the world and divide it by the utilization. The F-16's costs shoots up significantly and so does the F-35's. A small operator however may do just that i.e. strip the F-16 down, no tanks, no pods, no missiles..Simple 100 hours a year from one air-base. Under that situation an F-16C may well be 40% cheaper to operate than an F-35A as the author implies, but most definitely not in the case of the USAF and the way it utilizes its fleet. So you take the Base $17K a year for the F-35A, and see that the RAAF estimate of $21,000 a year is a little more probably accounting for deployments for training, more realistic training as opposed to just flying for an hour (using the fighter essentially as an airliner) etc. I wouldnt be surprised if some of the smaller F-35A operators end up spending under 20K per hour on their F-35A's, and currently spend 10K on the Viper.

The USAF can easily spend 30-40% more on any jet compared to another NATO air-force, and this is why articles on operational cost comparisons, or even marketing material when it comes to these numbers are extremely tricky. There is a reason why most F-35 customers have maintainers and acquisition folks embedded with USMC, USAF or the ITF as these airforces have taken a long hard look at what the aircraft will cost them to operate and developed strategies to pull that cost through either LVC, companion trainers, cooperative training, common pool of spares, depots etc etc.

The author in the past has used O&S cost for various western fighters to advocate for the Gripen C and E but I haven't ever seen an article from him providing deployment context for any particular air-force or Navy. Without context any reference is of no significant use. Sure I can save 30K an hour by operating a Scorpion compared to an F-35A, but will that serve my air-force in any capacity :) and if so will it serve all mission sets. That info would be useless unless it is specified what aspects of low-end CAS the Scorpion can take over.

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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby NRao » 28 May 2015 02:06

YIKES, this is getting real, real scary .........................

After years of setbacks, the embattled F-35 fighter jet could soon be ready for combat

A plane that ate the Pentagon? Could be operational is ...................... Ju......................ly?

Ouch.

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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby NRao » 28 May 2015 02:08


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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby brar_w » 28 May 2015 02:15

The biggest lesson learned was that you cannot de-risk something and cut years in requirement when it comes to development, testing etc unless there is an institutional and cultural change which the Pentagon and large weapon developers need badly. Both the SPO and the OEM's thought that they could cut the EMD/SDD time by more than half from when the developed the F-22. Well they didn't. The F-35 will take about the same time from Prototype flight (or contract award) to IOC and around the same time to finish and deliver the overall software volume and integration. If you want to restrict the EMD/SDD phases to below a decade you need to play it smart and continue advanced development work throughout the years as opposed to start-stop kind of thing. They may be looking to do that this time around but its too early to tell. The July 1st USMC soft-IOC is a given, that date is not going to change. The more important thing for the program and the operators is to get block 3F capability, in the hands of pilots by 2017 and fully certified by 2018. That would conclude the promised Systems development phase and they can then concentrate on follow-on development, work for which has recently begun with USN contracts to Pratt and Whitney and Lockheed.

No UK Spear Cap Decision on F-35 Until 2018


UK is at that point again..They have a choice to make, do they spend a lot to develop a weapon and risk not having enough money to buy it in time and right quantity ala Meteor, or do they go in for an 80% solution that has zero development cost and that allows them to use the entire funds to procure it. Interestingly the MBDA version of Spear uses a US back end (the same that the JSOW has) and they could always collaborate with Raytheon to co-develop an SDBIII for the future.

They could find a partner to hedge the cost, Japan comes to mind and someone that they have recently signed Meteor advanced work contracts with.
Last edited by brar_w on 28 May 2015 05:31, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby NRao » 28 May 2015 02:59


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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby NRao » 28 May 2015 17:01

Noise Biggest Worry For F-35B On USS Wasp; Marines Fly Through Testing


ABOARD USS WASP: When you start getting bored during an operational test after watching the seventh or eighth F-35B float down the carrier deck and slip up into the air, you know the Marines and Navy are doing something right — or being very lucky.

The six pilots have put their planes into the air close to 100 times since Operational Test 1 (OT-1) began May 18. I was out on the USS Wasp all day yesterday.

Much of what the Marines are doing is focused on operations, in keeping with their plan to declare the F-35B ready for Initial Operating Capability (IOC) in July. Today, the F-35Bs are flying simulated operations to protect the Wasp from incoming enemy aircraft played by other F-35s. They’re trying to begin the process of generating sorties at the same pace they might have to during a war. (We heard from one pilot that the F-35Bs had already met and beaten the ship boarding rate of the Harrier fleet.) The Marines also flew the largest engine module out to the Wasp on a V-22 to ensure it would fit on the Osprey and to begin planning how to store the gear.

http://breakingdefense.com/wp-content/u ... G_3967.jpg
{A High-resolution picture}
The biggest engine module of five that make up the F135 engine for the F-35B. It’s stored on the USS Wasp

The 91 maintainers aboard the Wasp jacked up an F-35B and found they needed to come up with some new gear to do it easily and safely to manage the 32,300 pound aircraft.

But there is one aspect of the plane’s operation that raised concerns. “I’m most worried about noise” the aircraft generates, the head of NavSea (Naval Sea Systems Command), Vice Adm. William Hilarides, told me just before we left the Wasp. Earlier, a small group of reporters were interviewing F-35 maintainers in the hangar deck where the massive elevator raises and lower planes to and from the flight deck. An F-35B hovered and then landed, almost overhead. Everyone covered their ears. All conversation stopped. My head was ringing from the noise by the time the plane landed. The USS Wasp has placed microphones all around the flight deck, in the hangar deck and anywhere else that might be affected to monitor noise levels. Of course, noise is something the military is pretty effective at dealing with.

A gaggle of pilots spoke to us about the Marine’s version of the Joint Strike Fighter. There were two British officers on the panel as well, demonstrating the incredibly close working relationship between the US and British forces. After all, the biggest ship ever built for the Royal Navy, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, will routinely carry a dozen F-35Bs. We didn’t hear much news from the pilots, but the enthusiasm for the F-35 from former F-18 and Harrier pilots was impressive.

http://breakingdefense.com/wp-content/u ... S-Wasp.jpg
{A High-resolution picture}
An F-35B taxis on the USS Wasp at night on May 22, 2015.

Perhaps the most interesting tidbit we heard came from a maintainer on the ship, Staff Sgt. William Sullivan. He’s responsible for ensuring the aircraft maintain their stealth signature. Stealth, of course, depends on coatings as well as engineering. Nicks, scratches or unexpected reactions with sea water and all the chemicals aboard ship could degrade the F-35’s stealth. So I asked Sullivan how the marine environment was affecting this: “Up to now the coatings have held up extremely well.”

Perhaps the most surprising thing we heard was that ALIS (the Autonomic Logistics Information System) “is performing extremely well.” Lt. Commander Beth Kitchen of the Royal Navy should know: She’s stationed in Beaufort, S.C. with the Marines training to fly the F-35B and she is responsible for the UK’s efforts to build a maintenance force for their F-35Bs. Breaking D readers will remember that the head of the Joint Program Office, Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, has criticized the performance of ALIS and it remains one of his main areas of focus as the Marines approach IOC in July, to be followed by the Air Force in August next year.

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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby TSJones » 28 May 2015 19:16

Marines will never be able to afford all those JSF planes. you read here it here first folks. never, never, evuh. booyah.

never mind that they got complete congress critter backing on this. pay no attention to that.

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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby NRao » 02 Jun 2015 17:21

FYI.

US Air Force eyes next-generation electronic warfare, not Boeing jets

The U.S. Air Force on Monday said it aims to meet electronic warfare needs using next-generation aircraft such as Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35 fighter and a new long-range bomber, rather than older planes like Boeing Co's EA-18G Growler.

Air Combat Command Commander General Herbert Carlisle said the F-35 offered "some pretty impressive" electronic warfare capabilities - consisting of jamming enemy signals to make it easier for warplanes to bomb targets on the ground and other offensive actions - though he gave no details.

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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby brar_w » 03 Jun 2015 00:10

^ The USAF is not in the business of Stand off persistent Jamming, having signed an agreement with the USN to take over that mission when that is required. Hence the number of Growlers in the USN's inventory reflects a certain degree of "concrete squadrons" for inter-services duties. If the USAF wants a stand off Electronic attack capability, it would not be dumb enough to mount it on a fighter platform that is a tanker hog and has a very small TOS (The Navy has a Carrier constraint while the USAF does not). They would do it on a bomber, like the B-52 CCJ that they had plans to do earlier. It is hardly surprising that the USAF does not see a need for a dedicated EW platform when the F-22, and the F-35 have robust EA/EW capabilities that are complimentary to their Low Observability and the fact that General basically admitted to EW/EA capability being a part of the Long Range Bomber system as well. All these platforms have a TOS that is many times that of the EA-18G.

Similarly the USN is not in the business of supporting its Anti Shipping duties through larger concrete squadrons of Bombers based out of Guam armed with Harpoons or LRASM's, but the they have an agreement with the USAF to provide air-power to restrict ship activity in key choke points through the exercise of air-power.

The F-22, or the F-35 do not require the sort of Jamming the VAQ is a master at, for they need specific EW footprints to complement their Low Observability and get the job done. A larger EW footprint would be counterproductive to their concept of operations. The F-35 already provides an electronic attack capability through the Barracuda and Apg-81 capability and a more robust multi band capability is being developed that most likely incorporates the TERMA low observable pod and packages Gallium Nitride elements in it. Incidentally, the loosing bid (lost out due to complexity) for the Next Generation Jammer was a Northrop Grumman solution to develop a stealthy, Gallium Nitride based EW pod for the Advanced Growler Concept that was considered too costly to develop (because of the LO angle). Additionally, where the EA-18 stands out is supporting non combat aircraft through EW protection, opening RF gaps, supporting troops not he ground by jamming communications etc and the regular DDD for SEAD. The USAF had that mission through its Wild Weasel squadrons in the Gulf War but has not shrunk that mission down to its 5th generation fleet. Every 5th generation fighter has the SA and the sensors to pick up emitting threats and has the geolocation capability both active (RF) and passive (IR in the case of the F-35) to lob a weapon at the threat. For more hardcore duties the USAF may well consider purchasing the AARGM-ER that the USN is developing for its 5th generation fleet, but then again the stealth fleet is unlikely to need a 150-200 nm Ramjet missile when a legacy jet can stand off and launch it through a target cue provided by a 5th generation jet - the same CONOPS the USN is charting out for the F-35C and EA-18/SH interoperability.

This takes absolutely noting away from the fact (although the media will surely try to draw such conclusions) that the EA-18G is an amazing aircraft at what it does and it will get truly revolutionary capability with the Next Generation Jammer starting in 2020. At the moment its greatness comes from the tactics an immense experience the VAQ boys have, TTNT, and its ability to interact through NIFCCA. ItThe High Band Jamming pods are relatively new so they'll hang around for a couple of decades with the mid pods being replaced by the incredibly complex (and expensive) NGJ pods that just cleared an important design milestone. Once the Super Hornet/Growler deliveries are all through (including the ones destined for Kuwait) I expect the USN to embark on an advanced Growler program and upgrade their Growlers as NGJ's start trickling into the fleet starting 2021 or so.

Image

http://www.seapowermagazine.org/stories ... owler.html

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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby brar_w » 04 Jun 2015 18:18

90 F-35's for Production Block (still LRIP) X

United Technologies Corp., Pratt & Whitney Military Engines, East Hartford, Connecticut, is being awarded a $156,955,110 fixed-price-incentive-firm target advance acquisition contract to procure long lead-time components, parts, materials and effort in support of 90 low-rate initial production Lot X F-135 propulsions systems for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft. These systems include (44) F-135-PW-100 for the Air Force; (9) F-135-PW-600 for the Marine Corps; and (2) F-135-PW-100 for the Navy. In addition, this contract provides for the procurement of (30) F-135-PW-100 and (5) F135-PW-600 systems for international partners and Foreign Military Sales customers. Work will be performed in East Hartford, Connecticut (67 percent); Indianapolis, Indiana (26.5 percent); and Bristol, United Kingdom (6.5 percent); and is expected to be completed in September 2017. Fiscal 2015 aircraft procurement, (Air Force and Navy) funds, as well as international partner and Foreign Military Sales funds in the amount of $156,955,110 are being obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(1). This contract combines purchases for the Air Force ($64,015,312; 41 percent); the Navy ($32,345,557; 20 percent); international partners ($43,229,790; 28 percent); and foreign military sales ($17,364,451; 11 percent). The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity (N00019-15-C-0004).


Following Lot/Block X could be another much larger block buy as production ramps up to 150 aircraft a year

New Questions Facing the F-35: A Block Buy And A Block 4


http://aviationweek.com/defense/new-que ... nd-block-4

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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby brar_w » 06 Jun 2015 06:57

Photo of Last year's fire incident.

Image

Image

U.S. Air Force Air Education and Training Command (AETC) found that damage to an F-35A that caught fire last year after a catastrophic engine mishap totaled more than $50 million.With such damage, “It is likely parts will be returned to the F-35 spares inventory as appropriate,” says F-35 Joint Program Office spokesman Joe Dellavedova. “Other components of the aircraft will be evaluated for potential reuse in other aircraft or training systems.”

AETC’s accident investigation validates the findings of the Pentagon and Pratt & Whitney, the F135 engine manufacturer.


http://aviationweek.com/defense/50m-dam ... pped-parts

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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby UlanBatori » 06 Jun 2015 15:08

Image

The cause of the mishap was catastrophic engine failure. The engine failed when the third-stage forward integral arm of a rotor fractured and liberated during takeoff... Pieces of the failed rotor arm cut through the engine’s fan case, the engine bay, an internal fuel tank and hydraulic and fuel lines before exiting through the aircraft’s upper fuselage.

As expected, friction caused the failure of the third-stage rotor and its integral arm. Because the brand new jet was flying outside of the test program, it was put through a normal flight regime right after being delivered.


No problem, just $50M apparently.

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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby brar_w » 06 Jun 2015 18:02

UlanBatori wrote:Image

The cause of the mishap was catastrophic engine failure. The engine failed when the third-stage forward integral arm of a rotor fractured and liberated during takeoff... Pieces of the failed rotor arm cut through the engine’s fan case, the engine bay, an internal fuel tank and hydraulic and fuel lines before exiting through the aircraft’s upper fuselage.

As expected, friction caused the failure of the third-stage rotor and its integral arm. Because the brand new jet was flying outside of the test program, it was put through a normal flight regime right after being delivered.


No problem, just $50M apparently.


The authorities had pretty much hinted it to be a total loss soon after the incident. I guess they'll salvage what they can as far as components and move on.

Meanwhile RAW footage from the Successful Operational testing of the 6 F-35B's (Marine Squadron jets) on the USS Wasp. 108 total STOVL sorties including qualifying 4 pilots for night ops on the ship.


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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby NRao » 10 Jun 2015 06:49

Navy Air Boss: F-35C Advanced Sensors, Situational Awareness a ‘Game-Changer’

Among other things:

The advanced F-35 is touted as easy to fly, with advanced controls that enable almost a hands-free landing on an aircraft carrier at sea. That same capability – added into older aircraft via the Navy’s software project “Magic Carpet” – has been installed on some Super Hornets, Shoemaker said. It will mean pilots will have to conduct fewer Field Carrier Landing Practices, or FCLPs, before becoming proficient in the jet, and that reduction in required flight hours for training will help preserve the planes’ service life.

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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby NRao » 10 Jun 2015 06:54


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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby NRao » 10 Jun 2015 07:04


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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby brar_w » 10 Jun 2015 07:11




Its the delta flight path software that the USN Pilots spoke about at WEST in 14 or 13. I think you posted the video of that. They also have the software now being integrated onto the F-18E/F/G-



Since the video at WEST, they have obviously taken it to the carrier and acheived a perfect score without any unintentional bolters.

Another explanation here, including an explanation on EMALS

[youtube]q8Bn2GZuQCc#t=51[/youtube]

and they finally tested it onboard the ship and Super Hornet recently


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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby brar_w » 15 Jun 2015 15:06

Pratt & Whitney: F-35 Fleet Will Have Engine Fix by Early 2016

“What a difference a year makes,” Mark Buongiorno, vice president for the F135 program at the company’s military engines unit, said in an interview on Sunday. “Although we weren’t at Farnborough, we returned to flight within three weeks.

“We had expanded the envelope back to minimize any impact to flight tests,” he added. “Immediately after that, we had validated root cause and then we’ve already incorporated the fix into production. We’re in the process of retrofitting the entire fleet.”

The Joint Strike Fighter is the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons program, estimated to cost about $400 billion to purchase 2,457 aircraft for the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy. U.S. allies are expected to buy hundreds more. The engines alone are estimated to cost $67 billion, according to Pentagon budget documents.

Last year’s F135 engine fire was traced to excessive rubbing of an air seal between two stages of blades against surrounding material known as a rub strip, Buongiorno said. “It was actually designed to have that contact,” he said. “But what we actually learned from the event is … the depth of rub that occurred, it generated a level of heat that we just had not calculated that we were going to experience.”

The fix entailed cutting the air seal to have slightly more depth in a process known as pre-trenching, Buongiorno said. “You had this plate seal that was basically rubbing its way into some of the material and what that does is provides a barrier for high-pressure air to not flow back,” he said. “All we did was basically just trenched out that material so now that plate seal doesn’t rub against it and you still get that sealing benefit.”

Pratt & Whitney so far has delivered almost 230 F135 engines to the Defense Department, Buongiorno said. Of the almost 130 F-35 aircraft currently flying in the fleet, more than 50 have been retrofitted with the engine fix, he said. The rest are scheduled to be retrofitted by early 2016. The modification is now part of production, so all new engines coming off the line contain the change, he said.



http://www.dodbuzz.com/2015/06/15/pratt ... arly-2016/

VMFA-121 - Road to IOC

http://pdfsr.com/pdf/vmfa121-f35b-ioc

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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby SaiK » 16 Jun 2015 17:27

time to change the name of the topic perhaps..

Image
http://www.janes.com/article/52276/pari ... 10005886=1

Paris Air Show 2015: Lockheed Martin prepares for F-35 ramp-up to drive down costs

TONS OF DATA !! read it

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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby Viv S » 17 Jun 2015 19:45

SaiK wrote:time to change the name of the topic perhaps..


JSF Block Buy Could Reach 500 Fighters

Martin said the US Congress would want to see big savings thanks to the block buy before approving it.

"They are expecting significant cost savings. The US Congress often looks for around 10 percent," she said.

Savings would flow from the bulk buy, she added.

"The ability to tell the supplier base that you are going to get 400 plus, almost 500 aircraft, can have a huge impact," on savings, she said. The block buy would be around 460 aircraft, rising to around 500 if Canada and Denmark joined.

Knowing they were in line for savings might sway the two potential buyers, she said. "They can get a cheaper aircraft and that might help them with other stresses they might have," she said.

Martin declined to say what deadline would be given nations to decide on backing a bulk buy, but suggested it could be around a year.

During her briefing, Martin said that by 2018, half the JSFs ordered would be for partner nations. By 2019, she added, Lockheed Martin would try and reduce the price per plane to $80 million
(current forecast is $85 million), "a fifth generation aircraft for the same price as a fourth generation."

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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby NRao » 17 Jun 2015 22:22

U.S. Marines One Test From Putting F-35 Combat Jet into Active Service

Turkey ........................................................

The U.S. Marine Corps will put the Lockheed Martin Corp. F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program through one more major test before it is ready to declare the combat jet ready for war, the service’s Deputy Commandant for Aviation Lt. Gen. Jon Davis said.


------------------------------------


No, do NOT change the name of this thread.

Need doubter. Good for health.


------------------------------------

The initial Marine Corps unit would have 10 F-35 jets upgraded to the latest software and hardware modifications. If all goes well, the Marines would be the first military unit to consider the combat jet operationally ready. “It looks like it is all coming into place,” Lt. Gen. Davis said in an interview at the Paris Air Show.

A few months ago there was still concern that some of the equipment upgrades may not be ready on time, but those have abated, he said.

The F-35 is also being bought by the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy, who plan to declare their jets combat ready in coming years. Several countries overseas are also buying the plane. The Lockheed Martin jet is the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons program.

Lt. Gen. Davis said he also will put the first unit through an operational readiness inspection during which service officials not directly linked to the unit will assess whether the aircraft, pilots and maintenance staff can pass muster. If they pass that final test of 10 days to 12 days then, he said he would recommend to his superior the plane’s first operational unit, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121--“The Green Knights”--be considered operationally ready

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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby brar_w » 17 Jun 2015 22:47

IOC is merely a date and time, it frees up the Marines to do what they wish without bothering about the JPO and the controlled training they perform now because of the overall control being with the JPO even on squadron jets. As mentioned earlier, there is nothing that is going to fundamentally change between July 14 and July 16 (IOC is expected around July 15). Program management, and the three service bosses are looking at the future milestones that is getting block 3F software build delivered to the jets in 2017 and concluding the systems development phase, getting 3f tested and fully certified by the end of 2018 and trying to deliver the first two block 4 follow on upgrades by the early 2020's.

Ramp rates are holding well from what I hear, with Lockheed expected to catch up to its expected delivery days by end of August of this year. Next year they produce a fair bit more so that remains a challenge followed by the massive ramp up both at Fort Worth and Cameri. The high rate of production is going to be complicated and consume a lot of program and supplier resources. Churning out 5th generation fighters at that rate is no easy task so that has some level of risk still. Apart from that the program management seems to be concentrating on VLC Training, and even Virtual certification and lowering the O&S cost through both the overall aircraft cost (ALIS) and through the training itself.

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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby NRao » 17 Jun 2015 23:46

Italy Plans First F-35 Flight in October

The first F-35 flight outside the US will take place in October when Italy's first F-35 begins test flights after rolling off the country's final assembly line, a Lockheed Martin official said.

After entering service with the Italian Air Force, the aircraft, AL-1, will then fly across the Atlantic in the first quarter of 2016, probably via the UK and Iceland, to Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, where Italian pilots will train, said Debra Palmer, the Lockheed executive leading F-35 work in Italy.

That is the same route that joint strike fighters were due to take to reach the UK from the US last summer to appear at the Farnborough International Air Show. The appearance was canceled when the JSF fleet was grounded due to a fire in the engine of one aircraft.

Details of the pending flights emerged as activity ramped up this month at Italy's final assembly line at Cameri Air Base in northern Italy, which is owned by the Italian Defense Ministry and operated by Finmeccanica unit Alenia Aermacchi and Lockheed Martin.

The facility, the only one of its kind outside the US, was designated last year to also serve as the maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade hub for European- and Mediterranean-based JSFs.

In March, the first of Italy's planned 90 JSFs rolled off the line, and this month its engines were turned on for the first time.

"A full engine run can take two to three days but this took one day," Palmer said. "Technicians on site from Pratt and Whitney said this was the cleanest run they had personally seen on an engine."

AL-1 is now undergoing minor planned modifications before it will receive final coatings beginning the week of June 23 in the aircraft final finishes building, a process that will take about six weeks. The work will be undertaken by Alenia Aermacchi with technology transfer oversight provided by Lockheed experts for the initial planes, Palmer said.

"It is important to assure this complex technology is done flawlessly. The Italian MoD has paid for us to oversee the work to this purpose," she said.

Around Aug. 20, the aircraft will move for about two weeks to the acceptance test facility

From the start of September, software will be loaded onto the aircraft, Palmer said, before the first flight takes place in the first or second week of October.

"Lockheed Martin will do three acceptance flights before the customer makes three flights," she said. However, since Italy does not have trained JSF pilots yet, the customer flights will be undertaken by US Air Force test pilots. "It will be that way for a couple of years."

The first two Italian JSF pilots will start training in September in the US. One will stay in the US as an instructor while the second will return to Italy.

After the six test flights, AL-1 will return to the aircraft final finishes building for any touch-ups required at the end of November before official delivery takes place in December.

"Since our contract is with the US government, the plane is officially delivered to them, and then immediately on to the Italian government," Palmer said.

When AL-1 and AL-2 are ready, both will make the trans-Atlantic flight to the US early in 2016. In total, 11 Italian aircraft will go to the US for Italian Air Force and Navy pilot training. Air Force pilots will head for Luke to train on the conventional-takeoff and -landing F35A, and both Italian Navy and Air Force pilots will train at Beaufort Air Force Base in South Carolina with the short-takeoff, vertical-landing (STOVL) variant.

Italy so far has ordered eight F-35As, including three from low-rate initial production run (LRIP) 6, three from LRIP 7 and two from LRIP 8, and has said it will order 38 by 2020.

The ordering of two aircraft from LRIP 8 in the latter half of last year helped stave off an interruption in the flow of aircraft at the line, Palmer said.

"Lockheed Martin anticipates that formal negotiations will start for aircraft from LRIP 9 and 10 shortly, while long lead items have already been ordered," she said. The two lots of two and four aircraft will contain Italy's first STOVL F-35s.

Meanwhile, the first six F-35As are scheduled to be delivered by October 2016, with four more in 2017, four in 2018, seven in 2019 and 13 in 2010. That is far lower than the 24 aircraft a year the line was designed to handle, a drop due to Italy's trimming of its order.

One analyst said Cameri's future as a maintenance hub justified its existence, even if order numbers were down.

"Italy's investment of about €1 billion at Cameri is only justified if we look at the entire life-cycle of the JSF," said Michele Nones, head of the security and defense department at the Istituto Affari Internazionali, a Rome think tank partly funded by the Italian Foreign Ministry. "Strategically, Cameri has made sense. Holland is sending its planes, and there will be in the future about 700 to 800 F-35s in Europe."

In 2019, the line will produce its first Dutch JSFs, the result of an Italian-Dutch deal under which eight of the 13 aircraft produced in 2020 at Cameri will be Dutch.

Meanwhile Italy is planning ahead to Cameri's future as a maintenance, repair, overhaul and upkeep (MRO&U) hub.

"Italy is working with the JSF Joint Program Office [JPO] and Lockheed Martin to assure the facility is fully equipped to assure the sustainment demands of the forecasted fleet in Europe," Palmer said.

While Italy will have a certain amount of autonomy, MRO&U is a JSF program capability controlled by the JPO, she added.

"There will need to be a global pooling of resources," she said. "Equipment like power carts could be needed in an emergency situation somewhere in Europe, and if they are owned by the JPO, this would allow them to be easily shifted to meet operational need because they are directed by the JPO in support of all the countries of the JSF program.

NRao
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Re: JSF,"turkey or talisman"?

Postby NRao » 17 Jun 2015 23:47

ALIS: JSF Support Through the Looking Glass

Like everything about the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, the maintenance and fleet-monitoring system is a vast undertaking. To support what has been branded the world's first multinational fifth-generation fighter, Lockheed Martin is constructing a fifth-generation logistics support network. Known as ALIS – autonomic logistics information system – the project is reportedly so large that if it were separated from the overall F-35 budget it would still be one of the biggest defense procurement programs of all time.

When complete, ALIS will provide continuous, centralized monitoring of the health and performance of every F-35 in the world, down to the level of individual components. Each jet will synchronize post-mission data via deployed networking tools, creating a database of platform, subsystem and component performance that will be centrally stored and analyzed.

"If you think of a day in the life of the F-35 you have to get it ready to fly, you have to go fly it, and you have to bring it back, repair it, maintain it and turn it around for the next mission," says Jeff Streznetcky, Lockheed Martin's ALIS director. "ALIS is the single, one-stop shop that all the users of the system log in to and do their work through, so it is really a new fifth-generation capability for logistics.

"Previous aircraft [use] discrete IT [information technology] systems to manage that very complex life cycle in federated systems," he continues. "When you have multiple systems to maintain, that increases life-cycle costs. So the big thing about going to a single integrated system is it centralizes all the life-cycle costs in one area, and over the life of the program will return great savings compared to a legacy system."

Beyond IT costs, the gains provided ought to be considerable. Fleet-wide awareness of component failure, coupled with a detailed history of each individual airframe, should permit an understanding from a design perspective of the conditions that led to any issue, and enable the proactive provision of fleet-wide fixes to problems that, for many aircraft, have not even occurred yet. A feature that enables jets to download preliminary data sets while still in the air – to be implemented as part of the aircraft's Block 4 software drop – can give maintainers at the operating location advance notice of specific work required, thus decreasing time the aircraft has to spend in the hangar.

But for all its potential, ALIS also presents considerable challenges. As well as issues surrounding security (see panel opposite), the sheer scale of the enterprise means the system is among the most complicated IT projects ever mounted. Progress is, of necessity, iterative.

"ALIS is developing in parallel and concurrently with the aircraft," Streznetcky says. "The development plan was designed to release incremental blocks of capability in three major steps – an ALIS 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0. In March of 2015 we rolled out ALIS 2.0 to all sites around the globe – that includes nine sites in the U.S., our flight-test locations as well as operational locations, and the final assembly and checkout [FACO] facility in Italy. We also have an installation on the USS Wasp: that has ALIS 2.0 installed on it today. In the laboratory environment and at the flight-test locations I have a 2.0.1 version of ALIS. It is in the final stages of integration and test, and is on track to support Marine Corps IOC later this summer."

The key differences between the Marine Corps IOC version and the 2.0 ALIS are deployability and portability.

"The standard operating unit is the ALIS hardware, and it's deployed and is used to support a squadron," Streznetcky explains. "We changed the physical packaging of that kit [so that] instead of having one large server rack we broke it down into two-man liftable containers. Not only does it give them the flexibility to make it an easier deployment on land, but also it allows them to get the system down through the tight passageways and hatches you would have in a shipboard environment."

The final 3.0 release is currently scheduled for early 2017, with another gap-bridging iteration – 2.0.2 – due in mid-2016 to support U.S. Air Force initial operating capability.

"What the Air Force will be able to do is take small detachments of aircraft and personnel, and deploy them remotely," says Streznetcky. "The changes we're introducing to ALIS will facilitate that concept of operation."

As the number of operating locations increases, the operational concept for ALIS is changing. A central operations room – nicknamed Mother ALIS – has been operating at Lockheed's Fort Worth plant, but may not be the right construct to manage the growing multinational fleet. The possible creation of regional ALIS centers ­– which would handle parts ordering, spares supply and maintenance-related logistics for aircraft located nearby – is being considered, to perhaps run in tandem with a central ops room devoted to tracking fleet-wide data.

Pentagon efforts to identify cost savings in ALIS included events held in 2012 to diversify the supply chain. It is possible that regional ALIS centers could be run by entities other than Lockheed.

"I wouldn't necessarily rule that out," says Streznetcky. "The decision will be made based on what's best for the warfighter and what's the most affordable solution for all the customers."


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