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F-35 Lightning II : News & Discussions

Discussion in 'The Americas' started by Picard, Sep 4, 2012.

  1. layman

    layman Aurignacian STAR MEMBER

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    F-35 Continues to Stumble
    (Source: Project On Government Oversight; issued March 30, 2017)
    By Dan Grazier

    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."

    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.”

    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.

    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?

    Source
     
  2. BMD

    BMD Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    http://www.airforcemag.com/DRArchive/Pages/2017/March 2017/March 28 2017/Let’s-Do-More-Shots.aspx

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    The F-35 program office is looking at adding capacity for another AIM-120 AMRAAM radar-guided air-to-air missile in each of the jet’s two weapons bays, increasing internal—and thus stealthy—missile loadout by 50 percent, program director Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan said March 22. Speaking with reporters after his speech at a McAleese/Credit Suisse conference in Washington, D.C., Bogdan said, “There is potential … to add a third missile on each side.” The upgrade would likely be part of the Block IV program of F-35 enhancements, but “that’s something I know the services and all the partners” are interested in. Bogdan said this would not require some special version of AMRAAM, but “the same AMRAAM missiles that we carry today, just an extra one; probably on the weapons bay door.” The F-35 can carry two AMRAAMs in each bay now, or a mix of AMRAAMs and Joint Direct Attack Munitions internally.
     
  3. Averageamerican

    Averageamerican Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    The Buzz
    One of America's Top Allies Has Lots to Say About the F-35
    [​IMG]
    Brendan Nicholson

    February 16, 2017

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    Within days, Australians will get to see the first of the RAAF’s new Joint Strike Fighters—just months after the jet’s noisiest critics told an inquiry it was a ‘jackass of all trades and masterful of none’. Two members of the Air Power Australia group went on to tell the Senate committee the aircraft was ‘a broken and obsolete design, unsuitable for modern combat’. The reality, say Australian fighter pilots and senior members of the ADF with intimate knowledge of the JSF’s capability, is vastly different.

    RAAF chief, Air Marshal Leo Davies, tells The Strategist that while the JSF, now officially the F-35 Lightning ll, has had its problems, it could never have got to the stage it’s reached if its critics were right. “It has flown over 70,000 flight hours, more than 200 jets are flying, the United States Marine Corps has reached Initial Operational Capability (IOC), the US Air Force has gone IOC, the US Navy is about to go IOC,” says Air Marshal Davies. “It’s incongruous to me to hear people suggest it doesn’t work. That can’t happen. Is it at its peak war fighting design and software load at the moment? No, it has got one more step to come.”


    The JSF remains a work in progress, but by the time the RAAF buys its aircraft, the next design and software upgrade should be complete and the F-35s will be significantly more capable than Hornets or Super Hornets.

    Air Marshal Davies says the results of the intense Red Flag air combat exercise in the US “absolutely cement our view that this is the right aeroplane for Australia.” US media is talking about a 15:1 kill ratio in favour of the F-35 against older generation fighters in the exercise in which RAAF air crews took part. (Though some commentators have raised questions about the significance of that figure.) The officer responsible for the Australian end of the US-led multinational JSF program says the aircraft will revolutionize the way the nation fights wars far into the future.

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    The head of the RAAF’s JSF Capability and Sustainment Group, Air Vice Marshal Leigh Gordon, says four factors give the F35 is ‘fifth generation’ edge—stealth, sensors, fusion and data sharing.

    “Two factors stand out. One is the phenomenally powerful cutting edge radar. The other is the distributer aperture system, or DAS, cameras which give the pilot a 360 degree infrared view of the world. The third element is the way all of that information is fused together to give the pilot unparalleled situational awareness.”


    A fourth element is the JSF’s ability to quickly share the vast amount of information it gathers with air, land and naval forces. “It will allow us to operate in the high threat environments we will need to operate in if we end up in a conflict.”

    Air Vice Marshal Gordon is confident that the first of the 72 JSFs on order for the RAAF will be based in Australia by December 2018 and the first operational squadron and a training squadron will reach IOC by December 2020. Three squadrons will be fully combat ready in 2023.

    Group Captain Glen Beck has been a fighter pilot all his adult life and is now director of the RAAF’s Air Combat Transition Office. He served in Iraq in 2003 as a flight commander and he’s trained many of the RAAF’s top pilots. The aim, he says, isn’t just to see aircraft delivered and hangers built for them but to get to a mature and self-sustaining system with fully trained pilots ready for operations. "With F-35 we are on a massive learning curve." He says RAAF specialists deeply embedded in the program in the US are well placed to identify any problems with the JSF. Two RAAF pilots are in the US instructing international pilots to fly the JSF and three others are training there to become instructors.

    "When you compare JSF to other options, when you look out past the 2030s, looking at the global strategic situation and where technology’s going, it is the standout choice as the best solution to Australia’s air power needs. The guys love how it flies. It’s very easy to operate."

    The JSF is designed for what the pilots call ‘BVR’—beyond visual range—combat but the Australian pilots say it can dogfight as well.

    Group Captain Beck says it’s all about what the fighter pilots call the ‘kill chain’. “Do I have more options than the bad guys to stay alive longer and then do I have more options to fight than the bad guys? I don’t care if they find me if they can’t track me and target me. ‘If they do find me, then to track me is a different problem again. But the F-35 has fantastic sensors. I will know they are targeting me and I’m not going to do nothing if I think I’m being shot at.”

    Getting the pair of highly advanced, ‘fifth generation’ jets to the Avalon Air Show will itself be a comprehensive demonstration of aviation logistics. They’ll be flown to Australia by Aussie pilots and frequently topped up along the way by a RAAF KC-30 air-to-air refuelling tanker.

    Another officer with an intense interest in ensuring that the JSF works is Army chief Lieutenant General Angus Campbell. He rejects suggestions the F-35 will not be able to provide troops on the ground with effective air support. “The JSF is an extremely advanced fighter which has extraordinary and possibly unparalleled capacities in information networking which we’ve not seen in the ADF before,” says Lieutenant General Campbell.

    Every soldier on every battlefield through modern history will want, or pray for, control of the air above him. The F-35 gives our soldiers the greatest confidence that they will have air control above them. I’m delighted we’re getting it. Only those who don’t have air control above them know the true horror of that environment and I would not want that for Australian soldiers.”
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  4. BON PLAN

    BON PLAN Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Head of US military kit-testing slams F-35, says it's scarcely fit to fly
    Gun: fail.
    Flight: fail.
    Software: fail.
    Schedule: fail.
    Budget: fail.
    Plus 270 more fails


    Now-retired Dr Michael Gilmore, until recently the Director of Test and Evaluation for the US military, has published his final evaluation of the F-35 program, and it's a treat.

    In his parting report (PDF), deliciously dated April 1*, Gilmore details a host of issues remaining with the US$391 billion-and-counting project, with everything from its combat-readiness to its wing design under the microscope.

    “The Services have designated 276 deficiencies in combat performance as “critical to correct” in Block 3F, but less than half of the critical deficiencies were addressed with attempted corrections in 3FR6”, the report states.

    Even Gilmore's most optimistic scenario regarding the aircraft's Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) is gloomy: “the program will not be ready to start IOT&E until late CY18, at the soonest, or more likely early CY19. In fact, IOT&E could be delayed to as late as CY20, depending on the completion of required modifications to the IOT&E aircraft.”

    There remain “hundreds” of critical performance deficiencies and maintenance problems, the report says; Dr Gilmore also doubts about the F-35A's ability to succeed either as an air-to-air or an air-to-ground fighter.

    In an analysis of the report at the Straus Military Reform Project, picks over the report in detail.

    The problem with the wing design makes the F-35 a challenge to fly at around the speed of sound: “All F-35 variants display objectionable or unacceptable flying qualities at transonic speeds, where aerodynamic forces on the aircraft are rapidly changing. Particularly, under elevated 'g' conditions, when wing loading causes the effects to be more pronounced, pilots have reported the flying qualities as 'unacceptable',” the report states.

    As a close support aircraft, Dr Gilmore's report says, the Electro-Optical Targeting System is hamstrung by low resolution and range. That means if pilots are trying to single out a ground target, they need a first approach that's too close to use guided weapons, so they have to blow their cover, then circle back to a safe distance before launching an attack.

    A pilot might revert to the cannon in such a circumstance, but at the moment, that doesn't work either.

    To maintain its “stealthy” radar profile, the F-35A has a door to conceal the gun. Opening the door to fire the cannon pulls the aircraft off-target :crazy:– something that needs a fix in the plane's software.

    Yes, that software. The F-35's software also comes in for criticism, with Dr Gilmore writing that the December Block 3FR6 release isn't mature enough to “complete the remaining test points”. As well as the gun aiming issue, the “Air-to-Air Range Infrastructure” remains behind schedule.

    Even if the cannon were usable, it's not much help in a ground support mission, because as Straus notes, the F-35s can only load up with a couple of hundred rounds (the A-10 Warthog carries more than 1,000 shells for its 30mm cannon).

    Flight testing “continues to be a source of significant discovery”, the report drily notes: there are fatigue problems in the tail; the arresting gear on the F-35A variant is good for one landing only; the F-35A and F-35C show excessively high air flow temperatures around the engine; and the horizontal tail overheats in a Mach 1.5 run.

    The F-35C is also problematic when launched from an aircraft carrier: “Vertical oscillations during F-35C catapult launches were reported by pilots as excessive, violent, and therefore a safety concern during this critical phase of flight.”


    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/04/03/gilmore_farewells_trump_government_slamming_the_f35_again/

    Is this the best of US engineering skill?
     
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  5. BMD

    BMD Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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  6. Averageamerican

    Averageamerican Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    Rafale carries a 1 x 30 mm (1:18 in) GIAT 30/719B cannon with 125 rounds. That's how you recognize that articles like this are really fake is when the criticize the F35 for not doing what it was never designed to do such as support ground troops with cannon fire. The F35 wasn't designed to do what the A10 does because neither the A10 or the F35 could survive gun attacks against a modern ground to air defense.
     
  7. Averageamerican

    Averageamerican Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    Testing of the F-35's Martin-Baker US16E (MKk16) ejection seat has been completed. The last test involved electromagnetic environmental effects (EEE) testing which saw the seat’s electronic controls were hit with electricity to test their functionality. The data from the EEE, helmet and dummy testing on the ejection seat will help the USAF decide whether to remove restrictions on pilots weighing less than 62kg (136lb). Lt Gen Chris Bogdan, head of the F-35 program, said that the "weight restriction could be removed anywhere from April and beyond," and that the USAF will "start modifying airplanes in April to the new seat configurations with the new helmets, so as soon as the USAF gives it the OK, that’s up to them.”
     
  8. Picdelamirand-oil

    Picdelamirand-oil Lt. Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    The Rafale can make short bursts because its gun has no inertia but the Gatling, with a short burst, does not reach its maximum cadence and the Rafale cannon needs far less shells than a Gatling of 20mm.
     
  9. Averageamerican

    Averageamerican Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    Do you really think that 125 bullets will be of much use in air combat where two planes are flying combined speeds of 3 times that of sound.
     
  10. Picdelamirand-oil

    Picdelamirand-oil Lt. Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    It's 6 short bursts or 3 long one and each of the bursts can destroy a plane.
     
  11. BMD

    BMD Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    If it doesn't jam, which it's very prone to doing.
     
  12. Picdelamirand-oil

    Picdelamirand-oil Lt. Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    You want to try?
     
  13. Averageamerican

    Averageamerican Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    In modern war fare I will be surprised if guns are ever used and certainly not in a ground to air capacity, another example of refighting world war II. With rare exceptions guns have not been used for 30 years between fighters.
     
  14. BON PLAN

    BON PLAN Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    AT LEAST THE RAFALE ROUNDS ARE GOING EXACTLY WERE THE PILOT NEEDS TO !
     
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  15. BON PLAN

    BON PLAN Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Wonderfull ! :cursing:

    Congrats ! :devilwork:

    During this time another 10 other problems appear.... :flame:
     
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