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The Flying White Elephant

Discussion in 'The Americas' started by Picdelamirand-oil, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. Averageamerican

    Averageamerican Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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  2. Picdelamirand-oil

    Picdelamirand-oil Lt. Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    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.

    [​IMG]

    http://www.pogo.org/straus/issues/weapons/2017/f35-continues-to-stumble.html
     
  3. Averageamerican

    Averageamerican Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    Air Force F-35 Trains Against Russian, Chinese Air Defenses
    [​IMG]
    Kris Osborn
    Saturday at 11:47 AM / Originally published onWarrior
    The Air Force wants the F-35 to be able to elude the best enemy air defenses well into the 2030s and 2040s

    The Air Force F-35 is using “open air” ranges and computer simulation to practice combat missions against the best Chinese and Russian-made air-defense technologies – as a way to prepare to enemy threats anticipated in the mid-2020s and beyond.


    The testing is aimed at addressing the most current air defense system threats such as Russian-made systems and also focused on potential next-generation or yet-to-exist threats, Air Force officials said.

    Air Force officials have explained that, looking back to 2001 when the JSF threat started, the threats were mostly European centric – Russian made SA-10s or SA-20s. Now the future threats are looking at both Russian and Chinese-made and Asian made threats, they said.

    “They have got these digital SAMS (surface-to-air-missile-systems) out there that can change frequencies and they are very agile in how they operate. being able to replicate that is not easy,” Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, former Director of the F-35 Integration Office, told Scout Warrior in an interview. (Harrigian now leads the air war in the Middle East)

    Surface threats from air defenses is a tough problem because emerging threats right now can see aircraft hundreds of miles away, service officials explained.

    Furthermore, emerging and future Integrated Air Defense Systems use faster computer processors, are better networked to one-another and detect on a wider range of frequencies. These attributes, coupled with an ability to detect aircraft at further distances, make air defenses increasingly able to at times detect even stealth aircraft, in some instances, with surveillance radar.

    Russian media reports have recently claimed that stealth technology is useless against their air defenses. Russian built S-300 and S-400 air defenses are believed to be among the best in the world; in addition, The National Interest has reported that Russia is now working on an S-500 system able to destroy even stealthy targets at distances up to 125 miles.

    While the Air Force aims to prepare for the unlikely contingency of a potential engagement with near-peer rivals such as Russia or China, Harrigian explained that there is much more concern about having to confront an adversary which has purchased air-defense technology from the Russians or Chinese. Harrigian emphasized that, while there is no particular conflict expected with any given specific country, the service wants to be ready for any contingency.

    Harrigian explained that the F-35 is engineered with what developers call “open architecture,” meaning it is designed to quickly integrate new weapons, software and avionics technology as new threats emerge.

    “One of the key reasons we bought this airplane is because the threats continue to evolve - we have to be survivable in this threat environment that has continued to develop capabilities where they can deny us access to specific objectives that we may want to achieve. This airplane gives us the ability to penetrate, deliver weapons and then share that information across the formation that it is operating in,” Harrigian explained.

    While training against the best emerging threats in what Harrigian called “open air” ranges looks to test the F-35 against the best current and future air defenses – there is still much more work to be done when it comes to anticipating high-end, high-tech fast developing future threats. This is where modeling and simulation play a huge part in threat preparation, he added.

    “The place where we have to have the most agility is really in the modeling and simulation environment - If you think about our open air ranges, we try to build these ranges that have this threats that we expect to be fighting. Given the pace at which the enemy is developing these threats - it becomes very difficult for us to go out and develop these threats,” Harrigan explained.

    The Air Force plans to bring a representation of next-generation threats and weapons to its first weapons school class in 2018.

    In a simulated environment, F-22s from Langley AFB in Virginia could train for combat scenarios with an F-35 at Nellis AFB, Nevada, he said.

    The JSF’s Active Electronically Scanned Arrays, or AESA’s, the aircraft is able to provide a synthetic aperture rendering of air and ground pictures. The AESA also brings the F-35 electronic warfare capabilities, Harrigian said.

    Part of the idea with F-35 modernization is to engineered systems on the aircraft which can be upgraded with new software as threats change. Technologies such as the AESA radar, electronic attack and protection and some of the computing processing power on the airplane, can be updated to keep pace with evolving threats, Harrigian said.


    [​IMG]







    Engineered to travel at speeds greater than 1,100 miles per hour and able to reach Mach 1.6, the JSF is said to be just as fast and maneuverable at an F-15 or F-16 and bring and a whole range of additional functions and abilities.

    Overall, the Air Force plans to buy 1,763 JSF F-35A multi-role fighters, a number which will ultimately comprise a very large percentage of the service’s fleet of roughly 2,000 fighter jets. So far, at least 83 F-35As are operational for the Air Force.

    4th Software Drop

    Many of the JSF’s combat capabilities are woven into developmental software increments or “drops,” each designed to advance the platforms technical abilities. There are more than 10 million individual lines of code in the JSF system.

    While the Air Force plans to declare its F-345s operational with the most advanced software drop, called 3F, the service is already working on a 4th drop to be ready by 2020 or 2021. Following this initial drop, the aircraft will incorporate new software drops in two year increments in order to stay ahead of the threat.

    The first portion of Block IV software funding, roughly $12 million, arrived in the 2014 budget, Air Force officials said.

    Block IV will include some unique partner weapons including British weapons, Turkish weapons and some of the other European country weapons that they want to get on their own plane, service officials explained.

    Block IV will also increase the weapons envelope for the U.S. variant of the fighter jet. A big part of the developmental calculus for Block 4 is to work on the kinds of enemy air defense systems and weaponry the aircraft may face from the 2020’s through the 2040’s and beyond.

    In terms of weapons, Block IV will eventually enable the F-35 to fire cutting edge weapons systems such as the Small Diameter Bomb II and GBU-54 – both air dropped bombs able to destroy targets on the move.

    The Small Diameter Bomb II uses a technology called a “tri-mode” seeker, drawing from infrared, millimeter wave and laser-guidance. The combination of these sensors allows the weapon to track and eliminate moving targets in all kinds of weather conditions.

    These emerging 4th software drop will build upon prior iterations of the software for the aircraft.





    Block 2B builds upon the enhanced simulated weapons, data link capabilities and early fused sensor integration of the earlier Block 2A software drop. Block 2B will enable the JSF to provide basic close air support and fire an AMRAAM (Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile), JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) or GBU-12 (laser-guided aerial bomb) JSF program officials said.

    Following Block 2B, Block 3i increases the combat capability even further and Block 3F will bring a vastly increased ability to suppress enemy air defenses.





    Block 3F will increase the weapons delivery capacity of the JSF as well, giving it the ability to drop a Small Diameter Bomb, 500-pound JDAM and AIM 9X short-range air-to-air missile, service officials explained.





    [​IMG]


    The AIM 9X is an Air Force and Navy heat-seeking infrared missile.


    In fact, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter fired an AIM-9X Sidewinder infrared-guided air-to-air missile for the first time recently over a Pacific Sea Test Range, Pentagon officials said.

    The F-35 took off from Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., and launched the missile at 6,000 feet, an Air Force statement said.

    Designed as part of the developmental trajectory for the emerging F-35, the test-firing facilities further development of an ability to fire the weapon “off-boresight,” described as an ability to target and destroy air to air targets that are not in front of the aircraft with a direct or immediate line of sight, Pentagon officials explained.

    The AIM-9X, he described, incorporates an agile thrust vector controlled airframe and the missile’s high off-boresight capability can be used with an advanced helmet (or a helmet-mounted sight) for a wider attack envelope.

    F-35 25mm Gun
    Last Fall, the Pentagon’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter recently completed the first aerial test of its 25mm Gatling gun embedded into the left wing of the aircraft, officials said.

    The test took place Oct. 30, 2015, in California, Pentagon officials described.

    “This milestone was the first in a series of test flights to functionally evaluate the in-flight operation of the F-35A’s internal 25mm gun throughout its employment envelope,” a Pentagon statement said several months ago.
    The Gatling gun will bring a substantial technology to the multi-role fighter platform, as it will better enable the aircraft to perform air-to-air attacks and close-air support missions to troops on the ground.

    Called the Gun Airborne Unit, or GAU-22/A, the weapon is engineered into the aircraft in such a manner as to maintain the platform’s stealth configuration.

    The four-barrel 25mm gun is designed for rapid fire in order to quickly blanket an enemy with gunfire and destroy targets quickly. The weapon is able to fire 3,300 rounds per minute, according to a statement from General Dynamics.

    “Three bursts of one 30 rounds and two 60 rounds each were fired from the aircraft’s four-barrel, 25-millimeter Gatling gun. In integrating the weapon into the stealthy F 35Aairframe, the gun must be kept hidden behind closed doors to reduce its radar cross section until the trigger is pulled,” a statement from the Pentagon’s Joint Strike Fighter said.

    The first phase of test execution consisted of 13 ground gunfire events over the course of three months to verify the integration of the gun into the F-35A, the JSF office said.

    “Once verified, the team was cleared to begin this second phase of testing, with the goal of evaluating the gun’s performance and integration with the airframe during airborne gunfire in various flight conditions and aircraft configurations,” the statement added.

    The new gun will also be integrated with the F-35’s software so as to enable the pilot to see and destroy targets using a helmet-mounted display.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2017
  4. Averageamerican

    Averageamerican Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    USMC Performs POC Hot Load of GBU-32 on F-35B | Carrier Gerald R. Ford to Begin Sea Trials | Gen Dynamics Chosen by UK for $409M Morpheus Project
    Americas
    • The USMC has completed the first hot load of a GBU-32 on an F-35B fighter. Hot loading — when the Marines are performing the loading evolution while the aircraft is turning — poses several challenges as far as communicating; just creating some chaos as far as noise and a lot of moving parts, and requires five marines to perform with two to give direction, two to manually move and insert the bomb, and a quality assurance safety observer Marine to ensure everything runs smoothly. The process can save wear and tear on the aircraft, and while in combat situations, it saves time and minimizes any failure opportunities with the aircraft.
    • Aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford is to commence its first sea trials this week, paving the way for the US Naval Systems Command to take possession of the vessel by early April. The $12.9 billion warship has experienced several delays over its development, much of it due to growing pains with new technology including issues with its electromagnetic catapults and aircraft arresting gear that uses water-twister technology. Next week's testing will involve putting the ship's basic systems through rigorous checks prior to further acceptance trials after a period of downtime.
    An idea of the price is that the Carrier cost 12.9 billion and the entire defense budget of India is about 40 billion. For India to have a credible military it would need to spent about 400 billion. Even then it would not compare to the USA;...

    India Military Budget
    On analyst estimated that the military had a $400-billion equipment deficit. By this accounting, was no way in which a serious defence can be mounted on less than four percent of GDP (about what the US spends); for a first-class military (though not a super-class military like the US) India would need 6 percent of GDP. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/india/budget.htm
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2017
  5. Averageamerican

    Averageamerican Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    Saw military drone today I got a feeling US is ramping up for something.
     
  6. Averageamerican

    Averageamerican Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    F-35 Lightning: The Joint Strike Fighter Program
    Apr 12, 2017 00:58 UTC by Defense Industry Daily staff
    Latest update [?]
    [​IMG]

    F-35A & F-22A,
    Eglin AFB
    April 11/17: Negotiations on the next batch of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters could see savings of at least 5% [​IMG] [​IMG] as the unit cost per fighter looks to dip below $80 million. Current talks between the Pentagon and lead contractor Lockheed Martin are said to be for a batch of about 130 planes, 100 of which are likely to be the A-model configuration. It is on these 1... {click to expand +}

    [​IMG]

    F-35A & F-22A,
    Eglin AFB[​IMG]
    April 11/17: Negotiations on the next batch of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters could see savings of at least 5% [​IMG] as the unit cost per fighter looks to dip below $80 million. Current talks between the Pentagon and lead contractor Lockheed Martin are said to be for a batch of about 130 planes, 100 of which are likely to be the A-model configuration. It is on these 100 aircraft that between 5-7 percent, or $660 million, could be shaved off the total price in potential savings. This follows comments made by the program’s head Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan last month who said that the government hoped that by 2020 the F-35 would cost less than $80 million, a 16 percent drop from its current price. (An amazing one third of what India is paying for French Rafales)
    '
     
  7. Averageamerican

    Averageamerican Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    Air Force F-35 Trains Against Russian, Chinese Air Defenses
    [​IMG]
    Kris Osborn
    Saturday at 11:47 AM / Originally published onWarrior


    The Air Force wants the F-35 to be able to elude the best enemy air defenses well into the 2030s and 2040s





    The Air Force F-35 is using “open air” ranges and computer simulation to practice combat missions against the best Chinese and Russian-made air-defense technologies – as a way to prepare to enemy threats anticipated in the mid-2020s and beyond.


    The testing is aimed at addressing the most current air defense system threats such as Russian-made systems and also focused on potential next-generation or yet-to-exist threats, Air Force officials said.

    Air Force officials have explained that, looking back to 2001 when the JSF threat started, the threats were mostly European centric – Russian made SA-10s or SA-20s. Now the future threats are looking at both Russian and Chinese-made and Asian made threats, they said.





    “They have got these digital SAMS (surface-to-air-missile-systems) out there that can change frequencies and they are very agile in how they operate. being able to replicate that is not easy,” Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, former Director of the F-35 Integration Office, told Scout Warrior in an interview. (Harrigian now leads the air war in the Middle East)





    Surface threats from air defenses is a tough problem because emerging threats right now can see aircraft hundreds of miles away, service officials explained.





    Furthermore, emerging and future Integrated Air Defense Systems use faster computer processors, are better networked to one-another and detect on a wider range of frequencies. These attributes, coupled with an ability to detect aircraft at further distances, make air defenses increasingly able to at times detect even stealth aircraft, in some instances, with surveillance radar.

    Russian media reports have recently claimed that stealth technology is useless against their air defenses. Russian built S-300 and S-400 air defenses are believed to be among the best in the world; in addition, The National Interest has reported that Russia is now working on an S-500 system able to destroy even stealthy targets at distances up to 125 miles.

    While the Air Force aims to prepare for the unlikely contingency of a potential engagement with near-peer rivals such as Russia or China, Harrigian explained that there is much more concern about having to confront an adversary which has purchased air-defense technology from the Russians or Chinese. Harrigian emphasized that, while there is no particular conflict expected with any given specific country, the service wants to be ready for any contingency.

    Harrigian explained that the F-35 is engineered with what developers call “open architecture,” meaning it is designed to quickly integrate new weapons, software and avionics technology as new threats emerge.





    “One of the key reasons we bought this airplane is because the threats continue to evolve - we have to be survivable in this threat environment that has continued to develop capabilities where they can deny us access to specific objectives that we may want to achieve. This airplane gives us the ability to penetrate, deliver weapons and then share that information across the formation that it is operating in,” Harrigian explained.





    While training against the best emerging threats in what Harrigian called “open air” ranges looks to test the F-35 against the best current and future air defenses – there is still much more work to be done when it comes to anticipating high-end, high-tech fast developing future threats. This is where modeling and simulation play a huge part in threat preparation, he added.





    “The place where we have to have the most agility is really in the modeling and simulation environment - If you think about our open air ranges, we try to build these ranges that have this threats that we expect to be fighting. Given the pace at which the enemy is developing these threats - it becomes very difficult for us to go out and develop these threats,” Harrigan explained.





    The Air Force plans to bring a representation of next-generation threats and weapons to its first weapons school class in 2018.





    In a simulated environment, F-22s from Langley AFB in Virginia could train for combat scenarios with an F-35 at Nellis AFB, Nevada, he said.





    The JSF’s Active Electronically Scanned Arrays, or AESA’s, the aircraft is able to provide a synthetic aperture rendering of air and ground pictures. The AESA also brings the F-35 electronic warfare capabilities, Harrigian said.





    Part of the idea with F-35 modernization is to engineered systems on the aircraft which can be upgraded with new software as threats change. Technologies such as the AESA radar, electronic attack and protection and some of the computing processing power on the airplane, can be updated to keep pace with evolving threats, Harrigian said.





    [​IMG]







    Engineered to travel at speeds greater than 1,100 miles per hour and able to reach Mach 1.6, the JSF is said to be just as fast and maneuverable at an F-15 or F-16 and bring and a whole range of additional functions and abilities.

    Overall, the Air Force plans to buy 1,763 JSF F-35A multi-role fighters, a number which will ultimately comprise a very large percentage of the service’s fleet of roughly 2,000 fighter jets. So far, at least 83 F-35As are operational for the Air Force.









    4th Software Drop




    Many of the JSF’s combat capabilities are woven into developmental software increments or “drops,” each designed to advance the platforms technical abilities. There are more than 10 million individual lines of code in the JSF system.





    While the Air Force plans to declare its F-345s operational with the most advanced software drop, called 3F, the service is already working on a 4th drop to be ready by 2020 or 2021. Following this initial drop, the aircraft will incorporate new software drops in two year increments in order to stay ahead of the threat.





    The first portion of Block IV software funding, roughly $12 million, arrived in the 2014 budget, Air Force officials said.





    Block IV will include some unique partner weapons including British weapons, Turkish weapons and some of the other European country weapons that they want to get on their own plane, service officials explained.





    Block IV will also increase the weapons envelope for the U.S. variant of the fighter jet. A big part of the developmental calculus for Block 4 is to work on the kinds of enemy air defense systems and weaponry the aircraft may face from the 2020’s through the 2040’s and beyond.

    In terms of weapons, Block IV will eventually enable the F-35 to fire cutting edge weapons systems such as the Small Diameter Bomb II and GBU-54 – both air dropped bombs able to destroy targets on the move.





    The Small Diameter Bomb II uses a technology called a “tri-mode” seeker, drawing from infrared, millimeter wave and laser-guidance. The combination of these sensors allows the weapon to track and eliminate moving targets in all kinds of weather conditions.





    These emerging 4th software drop will build upon prior iterations of the software for the aircraft.





    Block 2B builds upon the enhanced simulated weapons, data link capabilities and early fused sensor integration of the earlier Block 2A software drop. Block 2B will enable the JSF to provide basic close air support and fire an AMRAAM (Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile), JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) or GBU-12 (laser-guided aerial bomb) JSF program officials said.

    Following Block 2B, Block 3i increases the combat capability even further and Block 3F will bring a vastly increased ability to suppress enemy air defenses.





    Block 3F will increase the weapons delivery capacity of the JSF as well, giving it the ability to drop a Small Diameter Bomb, 500-pound JDAM and AIM 9X short-range air-to-air missile, service officials explained.





    [​IMG]











    The AIM 9X is an Air Force and Navy heat-seeking infrared missile.


    In fact, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter fired an AIM-9X Sidewinder infrared-guided air-to-air missile for the first time recently over a Pacific Sea Test Range, Pentagon officials said.





    The F-35 took off from Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., and launched the missile at 6,000 feet, an Air Force statement said.





    Designed as part of the developmental trajectory for the emerging F-35, the test-firing facilities further development of an ability to fire the weapon “off-boresight,” described as an ability to target and destroy air to air targets that are not in front of the aircraft with a direct or immediate line of sight, Pentagon officials explained.





    The AIM-9X, he described, incorporates an agile thrust vector controlled airframe and the missile’s high off-boresight capability can be used with an advanced helmet (or a helmet-mounted sight) for a wider attack envelope.





    F-35 25mm Gun





    Last Fall, the Pentagon’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter recently completed the first aerial test of its 25mm Gatling gun embedded into the left wing of the aircraft, officials said.









    The test took place Oct. 30, 2015, in California, Pentagon officials described.


    “This milestone was the first in a series of test flights to functionally evaluate the in-flight operation of the F-35A’s internal 25mm gun throughout its employment envelope,” a Pentagon statement said several months ago.





    The Gatling gun will bring a substantial technology to the multi-role fighter platform, as it will better enable the aircraft to perform air-to-air attacks and close-air support missions to troops on the ground.





    Called the Gun Airborne Unit, or GAU-22/A, the weapon is engineered into the aircraft in such a manner as to maintain the platform’s stealth configuration.





    The four-barrel 25mm gun is designed for rapid fire in order to quickly blanket an enemy with gunfire and destroy targets quickly. The weapon is able to fire 3,300 rounds per minute, according to a statement from General Dynamics.





    “Three bursts of one 30 rounds and two 60 rounds each were fired from the aircraft’s four-barrel, 25-millimeter Gatling gun. In integrating the weapon into the stealthy F 35Aairframe, the gun must be kept hidden behind closed doors to reduce its radar cross section until the trigger is pulled,” a statement from the Pentagon’s Joint Strike Fighter said.





    The first phase of test execution consisted of 13 ground gunfire events over the course of three months to verify the integration of the gun into the F-35A, the JSF office said.





    “Once verified, the team was cleared to begin this second phase of testing, with the goal of evaluating the gun’s performance and integration with the airframe during airborne gunfire in various flight conditions and aircraft configurations,” the statement added.









    The new gun will also be integrated with the F-35’s software so as to enable the pilot to see and destroy targets using a helmet-mounted display.
     
  8. Picdelamirand-oil

    Picdelamirand-oil Lt. Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    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.”

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    Conclusion
    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.

    http://www.pogo.org/straus/issues/w...eads/the-flying-white-elephant.24105/page-164
     
  9. Averageamerican

    Averageamerican Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    I know air force personalle well enough to know they would not put up with a second rate air craft, that a French way of doing things, not the USA>
     
  10. Averageamerican

    Averageamerican Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    I still cant believe India is going to be paying 3 times the price of an F35 for Rafales that are 4th generation obsolete air craft. The French must have bribed some very important people.
     
  11. Averageamerican

    Averageamerican Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    Leaked Documents Show Foreign Cos. Paid Millions In Bribes To An Alleged Indian Middleman To Secure Arms Deals
    Two years ago the alleged middleman, Sudhir Choudhrie and his son Bhanu, were arrested as part of UK’s Serious Fraud Investigation Office investigation into Rolls-Royce, an aircraft parts maker
    01/11/2016 1:53 PM IST | Updated 01/11/2016 2:58 PM IST
    [​IMG]
    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    ADVERTISEMENT
    #ad_sharebox_260x60 img {padding:0;margin:0;}
    Leaked documents point to millions of dollars that were paid by several foreign defence companies to entities tied to an alleged Indian middleman, Sudhir Choudhrie, for securing high-profile arms deals with India, according to documents seen by several media outlets.


    The documents, which were first accessed by the Guardian and the BBC, shed light on alleged payments including about 100 million Euros or about Rs 730 crores made by Russian defence companies such as MiG Corp to firms held by Choudhrie's family in 2007-2008; and another GBP 10 million paid by British giant Rolls-Royce, which is a maker of engines in the Hawk advanced trainer aircraft used by the Indian Air Force, the Hindu reportee
    Choudhrie, who is now a resident in the UK and who was previously investigated by the CBI and later cleared, has denied the allegations via his legal counsel. His lawyers reportedly said he "never paid bribes to government officials or acted as an illegal middleman in defence deals." Two years ago Choudhrie and his son Bhanu were arrested as part of UK's Serious Fraud Investigation Office investigation into Rolls-Royce, but were also later released without any charges.


    According to an ET report, companies linked to Choudhrie's son Bhanu and a close relative also once appeared in CBI's blacklist of "undesirable" middlemen. However, Choudhrie' s legal representatives have denied knowledge of such a list.
    Russian defence firms that allegedly made the payments include airplane manufacturer MiG Corp, Rosoboronexport, an arms dealer, and NPO, reported the ET.

    According to an 2008 internal inquiry commissioned by Swiss bank Credit Suisse, which reportedly looked into certain suspicious payments, about 18 Choudhrie family group accounts allegedly received payments through bank accounts located in Seychelles, Zurich and Panama, reported BBC's Panorama, which has seen the confidential Credit Suisse report. Choudhrie's lawyers have denied knowledge of such an internal report and said any suggestions they were illegal were defamatory.

    The Credit Suisse report described the payments as "incoming funds from clients offset business." Offsets are typically negotiated by countries while purchasing foreign defense equipment, requiring them to invest a certain percentage to a local provider to boost domestic manufacturing. Recently, India's Rafale jet deal with Dassault Aviation included an offset JV contract for Anil Ambani's Reliance Group.

    According to The Guardian, a first tranche of the complicated Hawk deal contracts, was inked in 2004, followed by a second in 2010, for a total value of about GBP2.1 billion. The Guardian also reported a Rolls Royce source as saying the firm had worked with the Choudhries and the related companies during this period.

    "You had to work your way and it took time," the Rolls-Royce source told the Guardian. "We needed to have Indian partners or a sister company in India."

    The source also told the Guardian that local "fixers" would help arrange the deals before senior company official completed the deals.
     
  12. Picdelamirand-oil

    Picdelamirand-oil Lt. Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    It's just that you need an internship to improve your mathematical skills
     
  13. Picdelamirand-oil

    Picdelamirand-oil Lt. Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    It makes me think about that:

     
    Bregs likes this.
  14. Picdelamirand-oil

    Picdelamirand-oil Lt. Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    Congress is not happy with the Pentagon’s F-35 office
    BY ALEX DAUGHERTY

    adaugherty@mcclatchydc.com

    WASHINGTON
    Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are not pleased with the Pentagon office that is assigned to work with Lockheed Martin on negotiating a price for the F-35 fighter jet, the nation’s most expensive defense program.

    Inside a 372-page document explaining the impacts of the 2017 budget on defense spending is a two-page mention of the F-35 fighter jet, which is assembled in Fort Worth, Texas, by Lockheed.

    The document blasts the Pentagon office tasked with running the F-35 program as non-communicative with Congress.

    “Throughout the fiscal year 2017 budget review process, the Joint Strike Fighter Joint Program Office provided insufficient justification and incomplete information in an untimely manner,” the document reads. “It is imperative that requested information is received promptly for proper congressional oversight of this major defense acquisition program.”

    The Pentagon did not return a request for comment. Lockheed Martin declined to comment.

    “They need to be transparent, don’t they?” said Rep. Roger Williams, an Austin, Texas, Republican. “We need to have better communications, we need to demand that they watch expenses. This is taxpayer money they are spending. There should be no surprises in Congress based on what the Pentagon has done.”

    The document is part of a temporary spending bill that lasts through Sept. 30 and received the blessing of both parties after weeks of negotiations. It includes an $15 billion increase in defense spending, although not as much as President Donald Trump wanted. The spending bill is expected to be signed by Trump before midnight on Friday, avoiding a government shutdown.

    Additionally, Congress says in the report that the Pentagon failed to contract the number of F-35 that it asked for in the 2015 and 2016 budget bills, which resulted in “impeding production efficiencies.”

    “Four F-35s included in the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2015 and 13 F-35s included in the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2016 were not part of their respective low rate initial production (LRIP) contracts due to the ... contracting strategy,” the document reads.

    Richard Aboulafia, a military aircraft analyst with Teal Group, a Northern Virginia based aeronautics analysis firm, said the difference between the number of F-35’s appropriated by Congress and ultimately built by Lockheed could be due to production bottlenecks on the Fort Worth assembly line or among Lockheed’s myriad subcontractors.

    “This is clearly not a problem that can be solved by throwing cash at it,” Aboulafia said. “It might be that planes need to be modified and reworked, and trying to get the learning curve with three different planes is difficult. Production is happening at a much lower rate than we hoped for.”

    Part of the difference between Congress’ desires for the F-35 and what is ultimately agreed to between the Pentagon and Lockheed is the complexities of the F-35C, the variant of the jet designed to take off and land on aircraft carriers. The F-35C has experienced issues with excessive shaking during take off and inadequate wing strength in recent months, and those problems need to be corrected before full production ramps up.

    “It’s very telling that the Joint Program Office is not providing information Congress is asking for at this time in particular, when the program office is really working to secure a significant increase in production,” said Dan Grazier, a fellow at The Project for Government Oversight, a government watchdog group that opposes the F-35. “The program is supposed to shift into test and operation period, so this is a very concerning ... development.”

    Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis ordered a review of the F-35C in January after Trump complained that the F-35 program was too expensive. The review compares the F-35C with the F-18 Super Hornet, a plane built by Lockheed competitor Boeing. The review is still ongoing.

    While Congress provides oversight for the F-35 program and allocates money to the Pentagon, it does not have the ability to negotiate with Lockheed on a price for the jets, which recently fell below $100 million per jet for the conventional take off and landing model.

    But critics of the program, including Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., are worried that long-term costs of the F-35 program will continue to increase even as the price per plane goes down. The Government Accountability Office released a report in April saying that F-35 testing delays could cost taxpayers and additional $1 billion

    “I have been recently informed the F-35’s system development and demonstration phase has been delayed another seven months, another costly stumble that will cost the American taxpayer at least $500 million,” McCain said in a statement. “This is yet another troubling sign for a program that has already nearly doubled in cost, taken nearly two decades to field, and has long been the poster child for acquisition malpractice.”

    The F-35 is scheduled to begin full rate production in April 2019 and the testing delays put that date in jeopardy.

    But Aboulafia said there isn’t much Congress can do other than complain, unless it wants to pull the plug altogether, which is highly unlikely.

    “There are two flavors of programs in the Pentagon, one is a healthy program and the other is a death spiral,” Aboulafia said. “Unless they want to inflict a death spiral they can give the money and complain while they do it.”


    Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/politics-government/article148683464.html#storylink=cpy
     
  15. Averageamerican

    Averageamerican Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    [​IMG]
    New Marine Corps helicopter to cost more than an F-35? Really?
    By SOFREP 03.16.2017#Military History Share Tweet

    The Marine Corps has a new helicopter in the works to replace the CH-53E Super Stallion. Ok, great! The Marines need a new heavy lift chopper but here is what you may not know. The new CH-53K King Stallion, manufactured by Sikorsky/Lockheed is reportedly going to run about 22 percent above initial projections.

    Here is the big reveal…that will make each new CH-53K King Stallion come in at around $122 million per helicopter! Consider that the latest purchase of F-35 stealth fighters cost just under $100 million each!
     

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