Lockheed Martin F-35: News ONLY topic

2IDSGT

Ah tale yew wut!
Joined
Nov 27, 2012
Messages
371
Reaction score
0
Long article from Time. Dated 10 days in the future for some reason.
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2136312,00.html#ixzz2KsWbxuIe
 

Arjen

It's turtles all the way down
Senior Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2010
Messages
2,275
Reaction score
37
Canadian site Global News:

Auditor and budget officer's F-35 critiques watered down in Commons report

OTTAWA - Stinging criticism of the political and bureaucratic fiasco surrounding the F-35 by the country's budget officer and even the auditor general was edited out of the final version of a parliamentary investigation, a draft copy of the report shows.

The Conservative-dominated all-party House of Commons public accounts committee held seven hours of hearings and spent much more time arguing with Opposition members behind closed doors last spring and fall over the handling of the stealth fighter program.

A Nov. 1, 2012 copy of the draft report, obtained by The Canadian Press, shows some of the most pointed critiques of Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page and Auditor General Michael Ferguson — both of whom testified before the committee — were removed or softened in the report's final version.
MP Andrew Saxton, the Conservative who led the government charge during public hearings, did not return calls for comment Monday.
The leaked draft, which is supposed to remain secret under parliamentary rules, clearly demonstrates an attempt to "whitewash" the report, opposition members say.
The committee's final report was released last November.
The auditor set off a political firestorm last spring by declaring National Defence and Public Works lowballed the cost of the multibillion-dollar program and did not follow proper procedures in giving it the green light.

One of the most damning redactions involves Ferguson's observation that the governing Conservatives had seen the full cost of the plan, including the stealth fighter's estimated $10 billion operating cost — a figure that was never revealed until his audit.
The edited paragraph in the final version of the report focuses the blame for the missing figures on National Defence, while the draft copy noted that "this information was included in estimates provided to decision-makers" — meaning the Conservative cabinet.
The subtle but significant omission in the committee's public report shifts the blame for the lack of disclosure away from the politicians and on to the shoulders of the military.

The report also drops Ferguson's warning about not allowing the cost of owning F-35s to eat into the rest of the defence budget, as well as a passage of testimony from Page, who challenged the government's assumptions with his own March 2011 report about the aircraft's long-term price tag.
References to the fact the F-35 was selected without competition were also deleted, as was mention that the price tag per aircraft could climb to US $138 million, not the US $75 million touted by the government.
The notion that there was something to learn from how the F-35's industrial benefits also unravelled as a result was also left out.

"This committee believes that this lesson can be applied to future information prepared by Industry Canada," said the draft.
"It is important that parliamentarians and Canadians have a fair assessment of the anticipated industrial benefits of participating in the (Joint Strike Fighter) program."
Liberal MP Gerry Byrne, the deputy chairman of the public accounts committee, said the final report was not a reflection of what MPs heard.
"What is obvious to each and every one of us is that we are not doing the job that is expected of us," Byrne said.
"The committee is becoming very dysfunctional and I think, in my opinion, there has been a whitewashing."
New Democrat MP Malcolm Allen was equally dismayed.
"Our position was that we clearly did not agree with the majority report," said Allen, who was reluctant to talk about the leaked draft.
He noted both opposition parties wrote their own dissenting reports at the time the committee released its work.
The Conservatives have put the F-35 purchase on hold, and are currently doing a market analysis to determine whether they should call for a full-blown competition to replace the current CF-18 fleet.

© The Canadian Press, 2013
 

fightingirish

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2006
Messages
2,117
Reaction score
75
FORT WORTH, Texas, Feb. 15, 2013 – The first Lockheed Martin production model F-35C carrier variant, known as CF-6, flew its first sortie Thursday. Upon delivery later this year, the jet will be assigned to US Navy Fighter Attack Squadron 101 (VFA-101) at Eglin AFB, Florida. The unit will serve as the Fleet Replacement Squadron, training Navy F-35C pilots and maintainers. While CF-6 will be the first carrier variant jet assigned to Eglin, it will join a fleet of nine F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) jets and 13 F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) jets already on station.
Picture: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lockheedmartin/8476368814/
Source: http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/news/press-releases/2013/february/first-f-35-production-model-takes-flight.html
 

2IDSGT

Ah tale yew wut!
Joined
Nov 27, 2012
Messages
371
Reaction score
0
F-35 Costs Driven Up By Production Choice: Bogdan

A decision to start production of Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-35 fighter jet before it was fully tested has driven up the $396 billion cost of the troubled project and increased risks, the U.S. general heading development of the warplane has said.

The head of the Pentagon’s F-35 programme office, Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan, told Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) television that major challenges had been created by a production and test approach known as “concurrency”.

“A large amount of concurrency, that is, beginning production long before your design is stable and long before you’ve found problems in tests, creates downstream issues where now you have to go back and retrofit airplanes and make sure the production line has those fixes in them,” Bogdan told ABC’s Four Corners programme late on Monday...
http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/awx_02_19_2013_p0-550100.xml
 

BioLuminescentLamprey

I really should change my personal text
Joined
Jul 6, 2011
Messages
90
Reaction score
0
Majumdar at Flight Global:


"General Electric (GE) says it completed engine core testing for its ADaptive Versatile ENgine Technology (ADVENT) demonstrator earlier this month on 6 February. The prototype variable-cycle engine reached the "highest combination of compressor and turbine temperatures ever recorded in aviation history", says the company, which is working on the programme for the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)."




http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/general-electric-completes-advent-core-testing-382542/



...program seems to be moving along on schedule. This is the ADVENT demo engine that should be developed into a package that can fit the F-35s bay by around 2020, I think.
 

bobbymike

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Joined
Apr 21, 2009
Messages
8,563
Reaction score
29
Absolute Numbers: The figure of 1,763 F-35As needed by the Air Force remains the procurement objective, sequester or no sequester, said Lt. Gen. Burton Field, deputy chief of staff for operations, plans, and requirements. Speaking with reporters at AFA's Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., on Thursday, Field said the F-35 objective number could change, however, if the national defense strategy is modified, as both are a function of the funds available. The F-35 buy number didn't adjust with the appearance of Chinese and Russian stealth-like fighters in recent years, said Field, principally because the Air Force presumes those capabilities will take a long time to build, develop, and sustain. "Any advancement in some kind of capability we may have to fight is obviously worrisome," he said, "but we think between the inventory we have and our national arsenal that we'll be able to handle those kinds of threats."After decades, the Air Force is getting "pretty good" at operating with stealth, but "it's still a learning experience," said Field.Nations with stealth ambitions "have a lot of learning to do to produce and sustain those aircraft over time," he said. Still, new foreign fighters and advanced air defense systems "give us the clear vector that we need the capabilities of a fifth generation aircraft in order to operate in these sort of environments," said Field. That said, "everything is on the table" in light of the possible sequester, he noted.
 

Broncazonk

What the hell?
Joined
Aug 30, 2011
Messages
134
Reaction score
0
Pentagon suspends all F-35 flights due to crack in engine blade

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/22/us-lockheed-fighter-idUSBRE91L10U20130222

WASHINGTON | Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:18pm EST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon on Friday suspended the flights of all F-35 fighter planes after a routine inspection revealed a crack on a turbine blade in the jet engine of an F-35 test aircraft in California.

The F-35 program office said it was too early to know the fleet-wide impact of the engine issue, but it was suspending all flights until an investigation into the issue was completed. It said it was working closely with Pratt & Whitney, the United Technologies Corp unit which builds the engine for the fighter, and Lockheed Martin Corp, the prime contractor for the radar-evading warplane, to ensure the integrity of the engine and return the F-35 fleet to flight as soon as possible.

F-35 grounding latest setback for troubled program

http://www.politico.com/story/2013/02/f-35-grounding-latest-setback-for-troubled-program-87953.html?hp=r3

Bronc
 

GTX

All hail the God of Frustration!!!
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2006
Messages
2,634
Reaction score
23
Website
beyondthesprues.com

2IDSGT

Ah tale yew wut!
Joined
Nov 27, 2012
Messages
371
Reaction score
0
http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130225/DEFREG02/302250005/JSF-Findings-Expected-Week?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

JSF Findings Expected This Week

A preliminary report on the engine malfunction that grounded the entire F-35 Joint Strike Fighter fleet is expected by Friday, according to a program spokeswoman.

“We expect engineering findings and a follow-on report with better understanding of impact no later than Friday,” Kyra Hawn, a spokeswoman with the F-35 joint program office, told Defense News in an email.

“We still do not know enough to determine the root cause of the crack or project the actual impact,” Hawn wrote. “We should have initial structural engineering data collected, and associated analysis/recommendation by week’s end (if not earlier).”

The Pentagon grounded all JSF models currently in testing after a crack was found in an engine equipped on one of the F-35A conventional takeoff-and-landing models ordered by the Air Force. The grounding was extended to the Marine’s jump-jet F-35B and the Navy’s carrier F-35C because the engine, manufactured by Pratt & Whitney (P&W), is in all three variants.

Matthew Bates, a P&W spokesman, told Defense News that the damaged engine arrived at Pratt’s facilities on Sunday and that engineering teams are “hard at work” inspecting the crack.

“I could foresee the airplane back in the air in the next week or two,” Gen. Chris Bogdan, the JSF program head, told Agence France-Presse in Melbourne. “If it’s more than that, then we have to look at what the risk is to the fleet.”

The AFP quoted Bogdan say saying the fleet should be flying again “within a reasonable period of time.”
 

Arjen

It's turtles all the way down
Senior Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2010
Messages
2,275
Reaction score
37
Reuters: Honeywell to test some F-35 parts after smoke incident
(Reuters) - The Pentagon said on Monday an F-35 test plane was involved in an incident on February 14 that caused smoke in the cockpit, and it was sending the affected parts back to their manufacturer, Honeywell International Inc, for a detailed inspection.

Kyra Hawn, spokeswoman for the $396 billion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, said an initial assessment of the incident at a Maryland air base showed it was isolated, software-related, and posed minimal risk. The Pentagon has made temporary changes to prevent another smoke incident, she said.

News of the previously unreported incident comes just days after U.S. military officials grounded the entire fleet of Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 jets for the second time this year after discovering a 0.6 inch crack on a fan blade in the single jet of another test plane.
A spokesman for enginemaker Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp, said the blade assembly arrived at the company's Middletown, Connecticut, facility on Sunday evening and engineering teams were examining it now.

Honeywell builds the plane's "power thermal management system," which uses a lithium-ion battery similar to those whose failures have grounded Boeing Co's entire fleet of 787 airliners, but Hawn said there was no connection between the February 14 incident and the F-35's lithium-ion batteries.
"It has no linkage whatsoever with the lithium-ion batteries," Hawn said. She said the February 14 incident was the only one involving smoke in the cockpit of an F-35 "in recent program history."

Lockheed is building three models of the new radar-evading warplane to replace nearly a dozen fighter jets in use by the U.S. military and its allies. The Pentagon plans to buy 2,447 of the advanced fighter in coming decades.
Honeywell said it would inspect the system, which manages the distribution of hot and cold air in the F-35 fuselage, once it arrived at the company's Phoenix testing facility.

SOFTWARE ISSUE
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration grounded Boeing's 787 commercial airliner on January 16 after two separate battery failures, including one that triggered an emergency landing in Japan after the crew detected smoke in the cockpit.
Boeing's biggest rival, Airbus, a unit of Europe's EADS, has decided in the aftermath to skip using lithium-ion batteries in its new A350 airliner.
But the Pentagon earlier this month said it would continue using lithium-ion batteries on the F-35 since they were made by different manufacturers from those used on the 787, and had been found to be safe after extensive testing.

Hawn said an initial assessment of the February 14 incident involving BF-2, one of the Marine Corps' short takeoff, vertical landing variants, had linked the problem to a software issue, not a problem with the hardware on the auxiliary power unit.

The entire temperature management system was being sent to Honeywell for a closer inspection and development of a permanent fix, she said, noting that the plane was going through developmental testing specifically to find any such problems.
"This is the purpose of test, development and initial training in any program - identify discrepancies, develop fixes, and put them in place to ensure safety of operations," she said, adding that initial assessment indicated "minimal risk and (a) relatively uncomplicated resolution."
Honeywell spokesman Nathan Drevna said the company would inspect the system once it arrived at the Phoenix facility.
"The pilot landed safely. The Honeywell-related products are being shipped to our testing facility so we can quickly inspect and determine next steps with our customer," Drevna said.

SMOKE BUT NO FIRE
Lockheed spokesman Michael Rein said there was no sign that a lithium-ion battery was involved, and the battery had not been pulled from the F-35 for further review. "There is no evidence that the lithium ion batteries are a contributor to this event," he said, adding, "no battery faults were observed at any time."

One U.S. defense official familiar with the incident said the F-35 pilot reported "trace amounts of smoke" in the cockpit after he followed procedures to stop and restart the auxiliary power unit when a caution light came on.
The pilot then halted the test flight and landed safely at the base, without ever declaring an in-flight emergency, said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly, adding, "there wasn't any fire associated with the smoke incident."
Procedures have now been changed so that pilots do not restart the backup power unit in flight, the official said.

Honeywell's Drevna said the temperature control unit is part of a bigger integrated power package (IPP), also built by Honeywell, which uses a 270-volt lithium-ion battery to start the engine, and also provide emergency backup power. Only the temperature control system was being sent back to Honeywell.
Lockheed said the power and thermal system was not using the battery at the time of the February 14 incident and the battery checked out as fully functional during a post-flight review. The IPP also functioned as designed, he said.

A malfunctioning valve in the larger IPP system grounded the F-35 for two weeks in August 2011, but this was a separate issue, the Pentagon said on Monday.

(Editing by Gerald E. McCormick, Richard Chang and Matthew Lewis)
I've been mulling over this for some time now; "power thermal management system" = "heater" ???
 

GTX

All hail the God of Frustration!!!
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2006
Messages
2,634
Reaction score
23
Website
beyondthesprues.com
Arjen said:
I've been mulling over this for some time now; "power thermal management system" = "heater" ???

power thermal management system = http://www.honeywell.com/sites/servlet/com.merx.npoint.servlets.DocumentServlet?docid=D58165320-17EF-E31F-6DDC-AE4A19C2F7A8
 

jsport

I really should change my personal text
Joined
Jul 27, 2011
Messages
1,204
Reaction score
4
Quote
Meanwhile, key radar advances are already deployed in the most advanced Russian surface-to-air missile systems, and existing IRST (infra-red scan and track) systems deployed on advanced Russian and European fighters are extending enemy detection ranges against radar-stealthy aircraft. Fighter radar pick-up capability of up to 25 nautical miles by 2020 is proposed against even ultra-stealthy aircraft like the F-22, coupled with IRST ability to identify AMRAAM missile firings and less infrared-stealthy aircraft at 50 nautical miles or more.

The F-35′s lower infrared and radar stealth levels mean that these advances will affect it more than they’ll affect the F-22. Especially if one assumes a fighter aircraft whose prime in-service period stretches to 2050.


Quote
The F-35′s explicit design goal has been stated as being the F-16′s equal in in air to air combat, at a time when the F-16′s future ability to survive in that arena is questioned. The question naturally arises: what special features give the F-35 a unique ability to prevail against the kind of advanced, upgraded 4.5 generation and better fighters that it can be expected to face between its induction, and a likely out of service date around 2050 or later?


Quote
All fighters have limitations, and fighting to your plane’s strengths is a big component of good airmanship. What’s concerning is the apparent number and extent of the F-35′s kinetic weaknesses, and the structural difficulty of fixing them. The net tactical effect is that pilots will be forced to depend even more heavily on electronics like the EO DAS and APG-81 radars, and on a stealth profile that’s less effective and more variable than the F-22A’s.


Quote
“….JSF and USAF analysts stated that against Su-27 and MiG-29 fighters the Raptor had a kill ration of 30 to 1 and the JSF 3 to 1…. Against aircraft 30 years newer, such as Su-35S, PAK-FA and the Chinese J-20, and you can imagine the results are likely to be very different…. AVM [Air Vice-Marshal] Osley advised that the JSF has some 650 ways to detect and avoid such threats…. if a JSF has to leave airspace because it detects the presence of Su-35Ss, PAK-FAs or J-20s that it cannot defeat, then the enemy wins airspace-dominance without firing a shot.”

http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/The-F-35s-Air-to-Air-Capability-Controversy-05089/
 

GTX

All hail the God of Frustration!!!
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2006
Messages
2,634
Reaction score
23
Website
beyondthesprues.com
F-35 chief Bogdan to execute, not cheerlead by australianaviation.com.au February 27 2013 http://australianaviation.com.au/2013/0 ... cheerlead/

"New program executive officer for the US Department of Defense’s F-35 program, Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan has told Avalon Airshow media that the aircraft’s development program should be judged on where it is heading rather than where it has been. “The first point I’d like to make overall is: don’t expect me to be a cheerleader for the F-35 program.

That’s not my job. My job is to execute this program. If I start becoming an advocate or a zealot for this program, I lose my credibility,” he said.

“One of the biggest problems I have is an awful lot of people with opinions on this program and not a lot of people with the facts. And those opinions are based on what I would call the tragic history of this program.

This program is getting better and is better than what it was a few years ago.” Outlining a range of past problems, Lt Gen Bogdan said it was easy to see how and why the program’s past led many people to be cynical. “Since we rebaselined in 2010-2011, this is a different program and it is getting better. It is not getting better nearly as fast as I would like it to, but … since 2011, we have fundamentally met every milestone. We are stable and on-track to meet that new plan.”

Lt Gen Bogdan said that despite the problems experienced in the past, he was confident in the ability to deliver a more advanced, survivable jet to the RAAF and other partner nations. “Relative to the schedule, if the plan which Australia intends on moving forward with stays to IOC in 2020 with the [initial warfighting capability software Block] 3i, I will tell you that Australia doesn’t have much to worry about,” he said. “Why? Because in 2015 I have to deliver the same capability to the US Marine Corp. Eight months later I have to deliver the same capability to Italy in 2016, then in the middle of 2017 I have to deliver the same capability to the Israelis. Then there will be a three year wait until we deliver to the Australians.” “So even if I screw this up royally – and I do not intend to do that – I’m pretty sure I’ll meet Australia’s 2020 date.”
 

JFC Fuller

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Apr 22, 2012
Messages
3,135
Reaction score
22
Pentagon F-35 Program Chief Lashes Lockheed, Pratt http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/awx_02_27_2013_p0-553542.xml

“What I see Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney doing today is behaving as if they are getting ready to sell me the very last F-35 and the very last engine and are trying to squeeze every nickel out of that last F-35 and that last engine,”
“I want them both to start behaving like they want to be around for 40 years,” he added. “I want them to take on some of the risk of this program, I want them to invest in cost reductions, I want them to do the things that will build a better relationship. I’m not getting all that love yet.”
“Are they getting better? A little bit,” he said. “Are they getting better at a rate I want to see them getting better? No, not yet.”
“Now, you would think a company like Pratt & Whitney that was just given the greatest Christmas gift you could ever, ever get for a company would act a little differently,”
“If they take money out of development something’s going to have to give. I’m either going to have to push the program out or I’m going to have to shed capability.”
 

2IDSGT

Ah tale yew wut!
Joined
Nov 27, 2012
Messages
371
Reaction score
0
F-35 Flight Ban Should Be Lifted, Pratt & Whitney Tells Pentagon
http://bloomberg.finanza.repubblica.it/Notizie/Article?documentKey=1376-MIY6KI6VDKHX01-57KLBVGARHOPLKV1IIQ2B2C59J
 

Arjen

It's turtles all the way down
Senior Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2010
Messages
2,275
Reaction score
37
Additional information from FlightGlobal:

F-35s cleared to resume flight operations
PrintBy: Dave Majumdar Washington DC

The US Air Force officials confirm that the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has been cleared to resume flight operations after a recent grounding.
"The suspension of F-35A flight operations has been lifted for the air force," the USAF says.

USAF F-35 flight operations at Eglin AFB, Florida, will resume on 5 March because 4 March is a previously scheduled maintenance training day, service officials say. The US Marine Corps' short take-off vertical landing F-35Bs will resume flying at the Florida base on 1 March. "The Marines' F-35B will fly tomorrow afternoon at Eglin," the USAF says.
Operations at other bases are also cleared to be resumed.

All F-35s were grounded while the Joint Program Office investigated the root cause of a crack discovered on 19 February in a third-stage low-pressure turbine (LPT) blade deep inside the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine. The problem was discovered on 19 February during a borescope inspection on an F-35A at Edwards AFB, California, and confirmed by an eddy current inspection.

According to a JPO statement that was relayed to Flightglobal via P&W, comprehensive tests on the blade were conducted at the company’s facility in Middletown, Connecticut. “The engine in question is part of the F-35 test aircraft fleet, and had been operated at extreme parameters in its mission to expand the F-35 flight envelope,” the statement reads. “Prolonged exposure to high levels of heat and other operational stressors on this specific engine were determined to be the cause of the crack.”

There were no additional cracks or other signs of similar engine stress were found during inspections of the remaining F135 inventory, the JPO statement reads. The JPO adds that the engine does not need to be redesigned is required as a result of this event.
 

Grey Havoc

The path not taken.
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2009
Messages
8,686
Reaction score
82
http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/politics/AJ201303010091
 

Arjen

It's turtles all the way down
Senior Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2010
Messages
2,275
Reaction score
37
More information about engine troubles on Ares:
[...]
The crack was found in AF-2, which has been used for testing the aircraft at the edge of its operational envelope. "The engine in question is part of the F-35 test aircraft fleet and had been operated for extended time in the high-temperature environment in its mission to expand the F-35 flight envelope," according to a statement from Lt. Cdr. Kyra Hawn, an F-35 spokeswoman. "Prolonged exposure to high levels of heat and other operational stressors on this specific engine were determined to be the cause of the crack."

Officials at engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney have indicated this was a one-off issue, not jeopardizing other engines in the fleet.
No additional cracks were found in the fleet during post-grounding inspections.

However, this incident raises questions about the durability of the engine which pushed to its limits. AF-2 was used to test the new horizontal tail skin, and so it was run through many extra afterburner tests. Officials are sure to implement additional inspections and monitoring actions to understand more about the durability of these engines in extreme conditions.

Seventeen aircraft are being used for flight testing at NAS Patuxent River, Md., and Edwards AFB, Calif. The remainder are used for rudimentary flight training at Eglin AFB, Fla., and MCAS Yuma, Ariz.

The flight training birds are very limited in their operations to essentially conducting takeoffs, landings and flying in the pattern. So, there is likely less concern about their engines as they are not being pushed to extremes.
[...]
More at the link.
 

GTX

All hail the God of Frustration!!!
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2006
Messages
2,634
Reaction score
23
Website
beyondthesprues.com
Australian lawmakers confident in F-35's future
02/28/2013| 12:59am US/Eastern

Australia's conservative opposition, which is expected to win elections in September, said on Thursday it supported Lockheed Martin's troubled F-35 to be the country's next frontline warplane, despite problems and huge cost blowouts.Australia's conservative opposition, which is expected to win elections in September, said on Thursday it supported Lockheed Martin's troubled F-35 to be the country's next frontline warplane, despite problems and huge cost blowouts.

A day after the Pentagon's F-35 program chief lashed Lockheed and engine maker Pratt & Whitney for trying to "squeeze every nickel" out of the U.S. government, Australian lawmakers expressed confidence in the futuristic jet.
"The air force is supportive of the project, wants the aircraft and sees it as the future, as do we," said Senator David Johnston, defense spokesman for the opposition, which is forecast to sweep away the minority Labor government in a September 14 vote.

"It is pertinent to our immediate region and it fits into our air combat doctrine perfectly, and to some extent leads the doctrine," Johnston told Reuters from Washington on Thursday after briefings on the F-35 with U.S. officials, who told him the aircraft was "over the hump" with its development.

Australia, a close American ally, is one of the largest international customers for the F-35, with plans to buy up to 100 to replace its ageing fleet of F/A-18 Hornet fighters and already retired F-111 strike bombers, at a cost of A$16 billion.

But amid delays and development woes with the $396 billion aircraft, including the grounding of the 51 aircraft test fleet last week, Canberra is also expected to decide in June to double its fleet of 24 Boeing Co F/A-18 Super Hornets to prevent a frontline gap until the F-35 is delivered later in the decade.

That, and a decision to outfit 12 of the Super Hornets as advanced EA-18G Growlers with radar-jamming electronic weapons - means Canberra will have a mixed frontline fleet.

An announcement on the extra Hornets and the timetable for delivery of the first squadron of F-35s, also known as Joint Strike Fighters (JSF), will likely come in June with the government's release of a new defense strategy blueprint.

Johnston, the man likely to decide the purchase next year if the conservatives win, said while both of Australia's major political blocs differed on defense budgeting and timing of acquisitions, the Joint Strike Fighter had broad support.

"At this stage we are optimistic that Australia will be a customer for a very significant number, although what that number will be is still a little bit up in the air," said Johnston.

Defense analysts predict Australia might end up buying between 50 and 70 of the fighters instead of 100, although Canberra could also buy the full number but over a longer timeframe beyond 2020, depending on a budget recovery.

Australian is also closely watching the budget battle in Washington, where $85 billion worth of spending cuts are due to kick in on Friday, hitting defense and possibly orders for 2,363 F-35s among the U.S. Air Force, Marines and Navy.

Lockheed is developing three variants for the United States and eight partner countries that helped fund the plane's development - Britain, Australia, Italy, Turkey, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Canada. Two other countries, Italy and Japan, have also placed orders.

Canada in December flagged it could cut plans to buy 65 aircraft, while Italy has also scaled back orders and Turkey has delayed its purchases by two years.

Australia is the second biggest international buyer after Britain, and its small air force is one of the most technically advanced in Asia and a pointer to emerging regional defense capabilities.

But a slowing of the country's resources export boom is forcing the Labor government to look for savings.

Defense Minister Stephen Smith last May deferred an order for 12 F-35s by two years, and has so far contractually committed to buying only two.

The influential Greens party, which has the upper house Senate balance of power, failed to find support in parliament on Thursday to cancel Australian F-35 orders and put the estimated $13 billion saving into development aid.

The opposition spokesman on military purchasing, Gary Humphries, said a future conservative government would continue with the F-35, as the high-tech jet would smooth cooperation with allied air forces in Japan and possibly Singapore.

"This could be the shape of air power for effectively the 21st Century. The JSF holds much greater promise for Australian air power needs than any other alternative," Humphries said.

"If the JSF fell over entirely, it would put not just the Australian air force, but other air forces around the world in a dire position."

(Editing by Dean Yates)
By Rob Taylor
http://www.4-traders.com/LOCKHEED-MARTIN-CORPORATI-13406/news/Australian-lawmakers-confident-in-F-35-s-future-16369269/?countview=0
 

Arjen

It's turtles all the way down
Senior Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2010
Messages
2,275
Reaction score
37
Good cop, bad cop.

Senator John McCain venting his ire on Alan Estevez, President Obama’s choice to be principal deputy undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics. http://nation.time.com/2013/03/01/f-35-good-cop-bad-cop/#ixzz2MViRqTim
Found via www.jsfnieuws.nl.

SEN. MCCAIN:
Well, I'm sure you understand our frustration, which brings me to the F-35. Lieutenant General Bogdan has a pretty good reputation before this committee. He was in charge of the tanker program, which seems to be on track. And yet recently, actually a couple of few days ago, he said, quote, "What I see Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney doing today is behaving as if they are getting ready to sell me the
very last F-35 and the very last engine and are trying to squeeze every nickel of that last F-35 and that last engine," the general told reporters. Quote, "I want them both to start behaving like they want to be around for 40 years. I want them to take on some of the risk of this program. I want them to invest in cost reductions. I want them to do the things that will build a better relationship. I'm not getting all that love yet." And then he said asked if he had seen some improvement from the companies are they getting better at a rate that I want them to see them getting better, he said, "No, not yet." And, of course, now we know that with massive failures, massive cost overruns that Lockheed has earned a 7 percent profit since the program began in 2001. You have any justification for that?
MR. ESTEVEZ:
I can't address the past; I can address where we are today.
SEN. MCCAIN:
You can't address the past?
MR. ESTEVEZ:
I can't address, you know, what happened from 2001 till where I am today.
SEN. MCCAIN:
You can't -- you can't address that at all?
MR. ESTEVEZ:
Well, Senator, we've put new structures around that program. We have a new contracting process for that program. We nowhave a firm fixed price contract, incentive fee, 12 percent share. Lockheed will also pay the concurrency problems on that contract. So we've restructured the program. As you know, we brought in Admiral Venlet and now General Bogdan to run that program, two excellent PEOs. And we're working closely with Lockheed and Pratt to work through the problems that General Bogdan referenced in that news article.
SEN. MCCAIN:
So since 2001 -- and we're in 2013 -- we are beginning to work through the problem. Is that -- is that -- is that what I can tell my constituents, Mr. Secretary?
MR. ESTEVEZ:
I believe you can say over the last four or five years -- five years or so, we have restructured the program, and we believe we are now on track to get a successful program.
SEN. MCCAIN:
Now, you're sitting here before this committee, and you can tell me -- you can tell us there will be no further cost overruns borne by the federal government?
MR. ESTEVEZ:
I could not possibly do that, Senator.
SEN. MCCAIN:
You know, why can't you? Why can't we penalize companies for failure to live up to the obligations of their contracts?
MR. ESTEVEZ:
It's important to get the right structure of contract, Senator Levin (sic) –
SEN. MCCAIN:
After 12 years?
MR. ESTEVEZ:
On this particular airplane, I believe we do have the right structure of contract now, and we'll continue to get better contracts as we move into future development on
or production of this airplane
...
SEN. MCCAIN:
Well, if I sound frustrated, I say to the witnesses, it's because I am. This committee has been tracking this program for many years. We've had witness after witness. We've had promise after promise. We've had commitment after commitment. And yet the only thing that has remained constant is that Lockheed has earned a 7 percent profit since the program began in 2012. I -- excuse me. Since the program began in 2001, 12 years later. So maybe you can help me out. What am -- what am I supposed go back and tell my constituents about a billion dollar program that the Air Force
canceled and of course the most now expensive weapons system in history that has now reached a trillion dollars, and the aircraft is nowgrounded? Got any ideas for me, Mr. Secretary?
MR. ESTEVEZ:
Senator McCain, we're working very diligently -- Secretary Carter, Secretary Kendall, myself, our leaders across the acquisition community -- to change the culture, change the processes by which we buy our programs. And I know you've been briefed on what we call better buying power. That includes accountability for our PEOs and program managers. It includes managing affordability, it includes cost control, so that we can change the way we do this.
SEN. MCCAIN:
Well, according to one of the people who is very highly regarded by this committee because of his previous performance, General Bogdan, says, quote, "Are they getting better at a rate that I want to see them getting better? he asked. "No, not yet."
I'd say you have your work cut out for you, and I can just say that as strong an advocate as many of us are for maintaining strong national security, you cannot continue these kinds of incredible, total loss of the taxpayers'
dollars without there being an understandable backlash on the part of the taxpayers -- America -- of America, which I believe will harmour ability to defend this nation.
Senator Blumenthal taking a different tack:
SEN. BLUMENTHAL:
I want to begin on the Joint Strike Fighter, if I may. I know Senator McCain has raised it with you, and all of us are fully and passionately in favor of a better procurement process. I hope that we can work together on improving that process so as to cut costs and streamline the procurement and acquisition process. But as to the Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35, do you agree with Lieutenant General Bogdan's remarks on that issue?
MR. ESTEVEZ:
I can't speak for Lieutenant General Bogdan, who has a daily relationship with Lockheed and Pratt on that contract. I can appreciate his frustration and any PEO's frustration is that we are trying to get the best value, best buy for our dollar, and best capability for the taxpayer, and that puts some tension in the relationship with any contractor. We do expect our contractors and want to hold them accountable and will hold them accountable to produce.
SEN. BLUMENTHAL:
And I agree completely that they should be held answerable and accountable for the quality of the product and the costs and so forth. There's no question in your mind that this nation is committed to the F-35, is there?
MR. ESTEVEZ:
No, there is not.
SEN. BLUMENTHAL:
And that the procurement and acquisition of that plane really require us to remain as much as possible on schedule in buying the airplane because that's the best way to reduce the cost per unit?
MR. ESTEVEZ:
That's correct, Senator, though we would also say, you know, we have flattened our buys as we work through some of the issues. Now, to most extent, have resolved, but we do have some testing. Only about 50 -- a little less than 50 percent of the testing is completed. Thereare some issues that need to be worked before we ramp up production. We want to ensure that we're getting the plane that we're paying for.
SEN. BLUMENTHAL:
And the effort to test and improve the airplane really requires a close working relationship, does it not?
MR. ESTEVEZ:
It does, Senator. And it's not just at the General Bogdan PEO level. Sowe're working that, you know, up to the secretary level inside the department.
SEN. BLUMENTHAL:
My hope is that Lieutenant General Bogdan's remarks do not reflect the general attitude in terms of what that relationship has been or should be, because I know that American taxpayers would be disappointed if they believe that somehow these
contractors were in some way being disingenuous, as I think those remarks implied. And I'm not sure that the Department of Defense would agree with Lieutenant General Bogdan in that implication.
MR. ESTEVEZ:
Again, you know, I'm not going to try to speak for General Bogdan. He and I have not talked about the remarks. As reported in the newspaper, he is traveling in the world at the moment. We need and we strive to have, and I believe we do have, a strong relationship with the defense industrial base, to include Lockheed and Pratt.
SEN. BLUMENTHAL:
My own view, for what it's worth, is that that relationship perhaps could be improved. And I hope that you will endeavor to improve it but that these remarks do not reflect even the relationship as it stands now because I think there are very complex and challenging issues related to the development of this new aircraft that we
have a common interest in solving without the kind of tension that could be exacerbated by these remarks. And I have great respect for Lieutenant General Bogdan. I'm not being critical of him. As you say, these remarks were reported in a newspaper, but I know that Pratt & Whitney is fully committed to solving the technical issues and to providing the best value to the Department of Defense and the American taxpayers.
MR. ESTEVEZ:
I appreciate that. And frankly, I believe that Lieutenant General Bogdan would agree with you on that.
 

GTX

All hail the God of Frustration!!!
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2006
Messages
2,634
Reaction score
23
Website
beyondthesprues.com
F-35 Can Start to Fly Again

(Source: Norway Ministry of Defence, issued March 1, 2013)
(Issued in Norwegian only; unofficial translation by defense-aerospace.com)

F-35 is now again ready to resume training and testing.

After less than a week on the ground the F-35 is now ready to begin testing and training again, after engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney considered the cause of crack that was found in a turbine blade. The conclusion is that this is due to wear and tear on just this engine and this one plane which have long been part of the most extreme parts of the flight test program, during which the plane was pushed all the way to the limits of what it can withstand. So this is not because of a problem with how the engine is designed or built, but because of wear after extreme stress over a long time.

“This just confirms that the development of the aircraft is good and that the routines one has to control the engines and aircraft functioning as they should. [Pratt & Whitney] has gone through all the engines on all aircraft and no other has shown similar signs of damage or wear marks.

“[Pratt & Whitney] is now taking this experience into account and adding to the planning for maintenance of the F-35 in the future. The process will otherwise go no further, and work to prepare the construction of the first Norwegian aircraft that will be delivered in 2015 can continue,” says Anders Melheim, program director of the Norwegian fighter program.

-ends-
 

Thorvic

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2006
Messages
597
Reaction score
4
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/9905679/Dambusters-saved-from-axe-to-fly-new-fighter.html

The 617 Squadron was made famous for its heroics during the Second World War when bombers attacked dams in Germany’s Ruhr Valley using “bouncing bombs”. It was feared it would be confined to history when the Ministry of Defence replaces its Tornado aircraft with the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). But senior defence sources said the squadron has “privileged status” because of its history and its pilots will be the first in the RAF to operate the JSF.
 

Arjen

It's turtles all the way down
Senior Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2010
Messages
2,275
Reaction score
37
Via www.jsfnieuws.nl:

Final Industry Engagement Request: Capability, Production and Supportability Information Questionnaire, in English, on Public Works and Government Services Canada site.
Also available in French.

[...]
The IER will be conducted through two separate but related questionnaires. The first questionnaire seeks detailed information from identified companies on the technical capabilities associated with fighter aircraft currently in production or scheduled to be in production and associated support elements to sustain the fleet throughout its lifespan. The second questionnaire will request cost estimates of the aircraft and responses should be informed by KPMG's Life-Cycle Cost Framework that was commissioned by Treasury Board Secretariat. Information on the potential benefits to Canadian industry will be requested later in the process.

An analysis of the current marketplace for fighter aircraft currently in production or scheduled to be in production has identified five (5) companies with available fighter aircraft: Boeing, Saab, Dassault, Eurofighter, and Lockheed Martin. These five companies are being provided with a copy of this questionnaire.
[...]

Questionnaire 1 Section A: Capability, Production and Supportability Background Information
The information and definitions contained in this section are to be used to inform the Responses to the questions in the Capability, Production and Supportability Questionnaire.

Government of Canada Policy
The Canada First Defence Strategy (CFDS) provides Government policy guidance and sets a detailed road map for the modernization of the Canadian Armed Forces. It puts forward clear roles and core missions for the Canadian Armed Forces that will maintain the ability to deliver excellence at home, be a strong and reliable partner in the defence of North America, and project leadership abroad by making meaningful contributions to operations overseas.
The CFDS provides the Canadian Armed Forces with clear direction concerning their three roles:
[list type=decimal]
[*]First and foremost, to defend Canada;
[*]Defending North America; and
[*]Contributing to international peace and security.
[/list] Through the CFDS, the Government has accordingly established a level of ambition that will see the Canadian Armed Forces carry out the following missions, potentially all at the same time:
[list type=decimal]
[*]Conduct daily domestic and continental operations, including in the Arctic and through North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD);
[*]Support civilian authorities during a crisis in Canada such as a natural disaster;
[*]Support a major international event in Canada, such as the 2010 Olympics;
[*]Lead and/or conduct a major international operation for an extended period;
[*]Respond to a major terrorist attack; and
[*]Deploy forces in response to crises elsewhere in the world for shorter periods.
[/list] Canada will be assessing the capability of each fighter aircraft to contribute to the completion of each of the missions outlined in CFDS, noting that missions abroad are conducted in partnership with allies and coalition partners. Mission priorities are determined by the Government of Canada and are informed by the current strategic context and the three roles outlined above. It is important to note that no fighter capability contribution has been identified for the CFDS Mission - Support civilian authorities during a crisis in Canada, such as a natural disaster.
[...]
 

Arjen

It's turtles all the way down
Senior Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2010
Messages
2,275
Reaction score
37
Aviation Week reports: F-35 Ops, Engine Under Scrutiny

Most of it has already been covered earlier. The item's last page caught my eye because it has some news - to me, anyway - on F-35 software:
Bogdan is encouraging the Air Force to consider declaring initial operational capability (IOC) for the aircraft with its rudimentary 2B software package, which lacks a wider set of weapons capabilities that will come in the 3F software release.
The service risks having a growing fleet of aircraft unsuitable for operations if it does not consider this option before the 3F release is out. Last month, Field, said Air Combat Command is open to allowing for operational capability with the 2B, but an official ruling has not been made.
“Given that we're producing airplanes today—[and] the U.S. Air Force is going to take delivery of a lot of airplanes between now and 2015, 2016, 2017—if I can give them invasive war-fighting capability that at least allows them to do some missions, and they have enough airplanes out there, then I think that's a decision they need to look at,” Bogdan said. “If they don't declare IOC, then fundamentally those airplanes are going to be used for training and operational exercises.”
The U.S. Marine Corps is expected to declare IOC with the 2B software, owing to an urgency to retire its inferior and costly AV-8B Harrier aircraft. The 2B is equivalent to what foreign customers are also expecting at first to accept, though it includes a hardware update, called 3I. The final software standard, 3F, will allow the F-35 to launch up to 15 types of weapons from internal and external stations, Bogdan said. It is due to be completed with the rest of the development program on Oct. 31, 2017.
 

GTX

All hail the God of Frustration!!!
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2006
Messages
2,634
Reaction score
23
Website
beyondthesprues.com
2nd Dutch F-35 Leaves Plant
(Source: Netherlands Ministry of Defence; issued March 6, 2013)
(Issued in Dutch only; unofficial translation by defense-aerospace.com)

The 2nd Dutch F-35 Lightning II, which is to participate in the operational test phase, this week rolled off the production line at Fort Worth, Texas, where the factory of manufacturer Lockheed Martin is located.

This test aircraft, AN-2, will now begin a large number of factory tests. All systems that are needed to fly the aircraft and to control it on the ground will be tested, as will the fuel system. A new coat of paint will be applied once these tests are completed, probably by summer.

According to current plans, the F-35 will then be transferred to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida where the Royal Netherlands Air Force unit in charge of operational testing and training of pilots and maintenance personnel.
 

Arjen

It's turtles all the way down
Senior Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2010
Messages
2,275
Reaction score
37
Found at POGO: F-35A Joint Strike Fighter: DOT&E's Readiness for Training Operational Utility Evaluation of February 15
http://pogoarchives.org/straus/ote-info-memo-20130215.pdf

Executive Summary

This document reports on the F-35A Ready For Training Operational Utility Evaluation(OUE) conducted at Eglin Air Force Base (AFB), Florida, from September 10 through November 14, 2012. This assessment is based primarily on data collected during the evaluation by the Joint Strike Fighter Operational Test Team (JOTT), but is augmented by data collected for suitability analyses on F-35A aircraft at Eglin and at the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB, California. The OUE evaluated both the capability of the F-35A air vehicle and the training system to train an experienced initial cadre of pilots in the equivalent of the familiarization phase of a fighter aircraft transition syllabus. It also evaluated the ability of theF-35A maintenance and Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) to sustain a sortie generation rate for the Block 1A syllabus.

In mid-2010, the Joint Strike Fighter Program Executive Officer (JSF PEO) requested an assessment of the readiness to begin F-35A pilot training, which, at that time, was planned to begin in August 2011. In early 2011, the JSF Program Office (JPO), JOTT, and the Air Force Air Education Training Command (AETC) began coordinating plans for the assessment, which became the F-35A Ready For Training OUE. Throughout 2011 and part of 2012, the JPO and the Air Force worked to achieve a flight clearance that would allow pilot training to begin. The JOTT completed a test plan using AETC-developed evaluation criteria in mid-2011. The JSF PEO certified the system ready for test following an Operational Test Readiness Review in July 2012, leading to the start of the OUE in September.

The JOTT, JPO, and AETC designed the Ready for Training OUE to assess whether the F-35A aircraft and the training system are ready to begin transition training of pilots in the Block 1A syllabus. Transition training is for experienced pilots who have flown in other fighter aircraft and are transitioning to the F-35. The Block 1A syllabus includes basic aircraft systems training, emergency operating procedures, simulated instrument flying procedures, ground operations (taxi), and six flights in the F-35A, the last of which is a qualification and instrument procedures check ride.

The Block 1A training syllabus used during the OUE was limited by the current restrictions of the aircraft. Aircraft operating limitations prohibit flying the aircraft at night or in instrument meteorological conditions, hence pilots must avoid clouds and other weather. However, the student pilots are able to simulate instrument flight in visual meterological conditions to practice basic instrument procedures. These restrictions are in place because testing has not been completed to certify the aircraft for night and instrument flight.

The aircraft also is currently prohibited from flying close formation, aerobatics, and stalls, all of which would normally be in the familiarization phase of transition training, which typically is an introduction to aircraft systems, handling characteristics throughout the aircraft envelope, and qualification to operate/land in visual and instrument meteorological conditions. This familiarization phase is about one-fourth of the training in a typical fighter aircraft transition or requalification course. In a mature fighter aircraft, the familiarization phase is followed by several combat-oriented phases, such as air combat, surface attack, and night tactical operations. The F-35A does not yet have the capability to train in these phases, nor any actual combat capability, because it is still early in system development.

Sustainment of the six Block 1A F-35A aircraft was sufficient to meet the student training sortie requirements of the syllabus, but with substantial resources and workarounds in place. Some aircraft subsystems, such as the radar, did not function properly during the OUE, although they were not required for accomplishing the syllabus events. Had the syllabus been more expansive, where these subsystems were required to complete training, these subsystem problems would have hampered the completion of the OUE. Three additional F-35A aircraft in the Block 1B configuration were also flown during the OUE, by the instructor pilots, to meet sortie requirements.

The limitations, workarounds, and restrictions in place in an air system this early in development limit the utility of training. Also, little can be learned from evaluating training in a system this immature. However, the evaluation indicates areas where the program needs to focus attention and make improvements. The radar, the pilot’s helmet-mounted display (HMD), and the cockpit interfaces for controlling the radios and navigational functions should be improved. Discrepancies between the courseware and the flight manuals were frequently observed, and the timelines to fix or update courseware should be shortened. The training management system lags in development compared to the rest of the Integrated Training Center and does not yet have all planned functionality.
More at the links.
 

Arjen

It's turtles all the way down
Senior Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2010
Messages
2,275
Reaction score
37
Did a quick scan.
From the accompanying memo to the report:
• Sustainment of the six Block lA F-35A aircraft was sufficient to meet the relatively low student training sortie demand of the syllabus, but only with substantial resources (aircraft and manpower) and workarounds to the intended sustainment system in place.
• The demonstrated reliability of the F-35A is significantly below the program office's projected targets for the reliability it expected the aircraft to achieve at the 2,500 flight hours the F-35A fleet has now accumulated.
From the report itself:
The helmet-mounted display (HMD) system presented problems for pilots.

While the helmet-mounted display (HMD) functioned more or less adequately for the purposes of the OUE (even though it could not be used as a primary flight reference), the system presented frequent problems for the pilots. All four student pilots and one of the five instructor pilots identified a problem with the HMD on at least one of their training flights. Problems cited in the survey comments included misalignment of the virtual horizon display with the actual horizon, inoperative or flickering displays, and focal problems – where the pilot would have either blurry or “double vision” in the display. The pilots also mentioned problems with stability, jitter, latency, and brightness of the presentation in the helmet display; all of which are problems being worked by the program in developmental testing. Pilots also commented on the usability of the HMD, comparing it to the heads-up display in other aircraft; one citing that the HMD is too large of a presentation causing the heading display is to be overlaid on the canopy bow [and hence hard to see], and another citing the lack of HMD data when looking off to the side of the aircraft, such as during traffic pattern operations.

Due to the very limited scope of the Block 1A syllabus, none of the HMD issues cited by the pilots had any significant adverse impacts on the execution of the OUE itself. Based on pilot survey comments, however, it is clear that some of these issues have the potential to significantly hamper more advanced combat training and operational capability in the future if not rectified.

Due to design, the pilot-vehicle interface causes increased workload.

Deficiencies in the design of the pilot’s communication and navigation controls causes increased workload. Cited by one of the instructor pilots during the OUE and by test pilots in other venues, the touch screen used to control the radios is not readily accessible, requires more channelized attention, has no tactile feedback, and is error prone – particularly during demanding phases of flight or under turbulent flight conditions. This pilot was the only one, instructor or student, to explicitly call out an issue on controls and displays other than the HMD issues discussed previously in his OUE survey responses. Because this issue was not addressed in the end-of-course interviews with each of the primary student pilots, it is unknown whether or not, or to what extent, the other pilots may have shared his concerns. In any case, as a member of the instructor cadre, and having had enough hours to have developed a level of familiarity with the controls and displays and the mechanization of their different functions, his criticisms cannot be dismissed as being due to lack of experience. This shortfall of touch screens is well documented in the Human Systems Integration (HSI) literature, where there is not a performance problem in low-workload/low-stress situations, but can be the cause of significant failures in high stress or high workload conditions. The program should implement pilot-vehicle interface improvements.

The out-of-cockpit visibility in the F-35 is less than other Air Force fighter aircraft.

All four student pilots commented on the out-of-cockpit visibility of the F-35, an issue which not only adversely affects training, but safety and survivability as well. One rated the degree to which the visibility deficiencies impeded or degraded training effectiveness as “Moderate;” the other three rated it as “High” or “Very High.” The majority of responses cited poor visibility; the ejection seat headrest and the canopy bow were identified as causal factors. “High glare shield” and the HMD cable were also cited as sources of the problem. Of these, only the HMD cable has the potential to be readily redesigned.
In three cases, student pilots explicitly cited visibility-related impacts that could be directly applicable to the Block 1A syllabus (a largely benign visual search environment); several other implicitly did so. One student pilot commented, “Difficult to see [other aircraft in the visual traffic] pattern due to canopy bow.” Another stated, “Staying visual with wingman during tactical formation maneuvering a little tougher than legacy due to reduced rearward visibility from cockpit.”

Three student pilot comments predicted severe impacts of the visibility shortfalls in combat or in training of a more tactical nature. One said, “A pilot will find it nearly impossible to check [their six o’clock position] under g.” Another commented, “The head rest is too large and will impede aft visibility and survivability during surface and air engagements,” and, “Aft visibility will get the pilot gunned every time,” referring to close-range visual combat.

Aft visibility could turn out to be a significant problem for all F-35 pilots in the future, especially in more tactical phases of combat training than were conducted in the OUE, such as basic fighter maneuvering (BFM) and air combat maneuvering (ACM), and possibly in tactical formation as well. It remains to be seen whether or not, in these more advanced aspects of training, the visibility issues will rise to the level of safety issues, or if, instead, the visibility limitations are something that pilots adapt to over time and with more experience. Unlike legacy aircraft such as the F-15, F-16, and F/A-18, enhanced cockpit visibility was not designed into the F-35. There is no simple relief to limitations of the F-35 cockpit visibility. In all likelihood, it is partially a result of designing a common pilot escape system for all three variants to the requirements of the short-take-off and vertical landing environment.
 

GTX

All hail the God of Frustration!!!
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2006
Messages
2,634
Reaction score
23
Website
beyondthesprues.com
First Official F-35A Pilots Fly
(Source: 33d Fighter Wing, Eglin AFB; issued March 6, 2013)

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --– Some of the students of the first official class of U.S. Air Force F-35 Lightning II pilots are scheduled to make their first flights here today.

The students recently completed the academic portion of the F-35 pilot training course, which includes the kinetically-based Full Mission Simulator at the Defense Department’s world-class F-35 Academic Training Center. The ATC features advanced courseware and technology.

The combined in-class and air-time is approximately three months to grow up an F-35 pilot. While at Eglin, pilot and aircraft maintainer students are immersed in a joint and coalition environment.

This year the F-35 ATC plans to train about 72 pilots and 711 maintainers, preparing them for the challenges of working on the 21st century battlefield.

Media can expect flightline access and planeside interviews for morning or afternoon flying. Telephone interviews are also possible. Interested media are encouraged to contact the 33d Fighter Wing Public Affairs Office.
 

GTX

All hail the God of Frustration!!!
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2006
Messages
2,634
Reaction score
23
Website
beyondthesprues.com
Joint Program Office DOT&E OUE Response
(Source: F-35 Joint Program Office; issued March 6, 2013)

The U.S. Air Force conducted the Operational Utility Evaluation for its F-35As and determined its training systems were ready-for-training. F-35 operational and maintenance procedures will continue to mature as the training tempo accelerates.

The DOT&E report is based upon the Joint Strike Fighter Operational Test Team report which found no effectiveness, suitability or safety response that would prohibit continuation of transitioning experienced pilots in the F-35A Block 1A.1 transition and instructor pilot syllabus.

There are no issues identified in the DOT&E report that the Air Force and the F-35 Joint Program Office didn't already know about, and are working to resolve.

There is a deliberate process in place to validate the training system's effectiveness through advancing training blocks as they are made available to the warfighter.

-ends-
 

Grey Havoc

The path not taken.
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2009
Messages
8,686
Reaction score
82
http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2013/03/f-35-blind-spot/
 

Arjen

It's turtles all the way down
Senior Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2010
Messages
2,275
Reaction score
37
Canadians and Norwegians may find this of interest.

DOT&E report: F-35 270 Volt Battery Charger Control has a problem with temperatures below 590 Fahrenheit/ 150 Celsius.
Overnight temperatures below 59 degrees Fahrenheit, the design minimum temperature for the 270 Volt Battery Charger Control Unit (BCCU), resulted in four ground aborts and the loss of two student sorties, an unacceptable condition for combat aircraft. To mitigate this problem, maintenance crews put jets in heated hangars overnight. Moving jets in and out of a hangar to keep them warm involves five personnel for three to four hours per shift. The parking of flyable jets in a hangar also interfered with maintenance because these flyable jets occupied space that would otherwise be used for jets requiring repair. In this case, the availability of an unused weapons hangar permitted maintainers to conduct low-observable and other maintenance activities despite the non-availability of the primary hangar.
Also susceptible to low temperature: curing stealth coatings.
The cure times for low-observable maintenance increased as temperatures cooled and caused pilots to fly some sorties using spare aircraft. As noted earlier, one aircraft was not flyable because seals around a wingtip light were still curing, but it was available for a taxi event.
 

Arjen

It's turtles all the way down
Senior Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2010
Messages
2,275
Reaction score
37
Via Navy Matters.
Somebody has put a figure on how much concurrency in F-35 development and production is costing the US Navy.
From: FY 2013 Department of the Navy (DON) President’s Budget Summary http://www.finance.hq.navy.mil/FMB/13pres/FY_2013_PB_Overview.pdf
FY2013 Budget Highlights
[...]
• 765 new aircraft over the FYDP (down from 842)
o JSF reduced by 69 airframes over the FYDP to pay for concurrency and reduce need for future modifications.
[...]
69 aircraft, to be precise, over the five year period 2013-2017 inclusive.
 

GTX

All hail the God of Frustration!!!
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2006
Messages
2,634
Reaction score
23
Website
beyondthesprues.com
Engine crack that grounded F-35 traced to thermal creep

By: ZACH ROSENBERG WASHINGTON DC
06:52 6 Mar 2013
Source

Bennett Croswell, president of Pratt & Whitney's military engine division, says a problem with an F135 engine that grounded the Lockheed Martin F-35 is due to thermal creep, and is unlikely to affect the aircraft further as it returns to flight.

The issue was a crack in a third-stage turbine blade on a single engine. As a precaution, the US military grounded all F-35 aircraft until a cause was discovered.

"During [an] inspection we found about 1/6-inch (4.2mm) crack on the turbine blade," says Croswell. "We felt we could continue to fly, and we took that recommendation to the [joint programme office], but on consultation with them we both came to the conclusion it was safer to suspend operations."

Thermal creep from high-temperature, high-intensity testing was found to be the cause of the crack. The engine, the tenth built, powers the second F-35A, was tested extensively at supersonic speeds and at low altitudes, generating significantly more heat than expected, says Croswell.

"It was operating at levels four times higher than an operational mission, and four times greater than the levels we had qualified the engine for," says Croswell. "That was very good news, you don't want something like high-cycle fatigue or low-cycle fatigue." The issue is not expected to impact operational aircraft for months or years, depending on how the aircraft are flown, he says.

Fatigue leading to turbine blade cracks has twice grounded the F-35 in recent years.

Pratt & Whitney has lately come under criticism from the US military's programme office for its attitude to the F-35 project.
 

Arjen

It's turtles all the way down
Senior Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2010
Messages
2,275
Reaction score
37
Via www.jsfnieuws.nl:

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/03/10/uk-lockheed-fighter-cost-idUKBRE92900220130310
Retrofits to add $1.7 billion to cost of F-35: GAO report
By Andrea Shalal-Esa

WASHINGTON | Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:13am GMT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Retrofits of F-35 fighter planes to fix problems found in flight testing will likely top $1.7 billion, a U.S. government watchdog said in the draft of a new report about the Pentagon's Joint Strike Fighter program.

Extensive restructuring efforts and progress on technical issues have put the Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) F-35 program on a more solid footing, but the plane's long-term affordability remains a big concern, the Government Accountability Office said in the draft, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters.
It said the F-35 program, which has been subject to massive delays and cost overruns and now has a price tag close to $400 billion, met most of its management objectives in 2012. But it still faced big costs because of earlier decisions to start building planes before development and testing were further along. A final report is due out next week.

The F-35 is an advanced "fifth generation" fighter meant to serve the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marines for decades to come. But the program's soaring costs and technical complications have now put it in a critical position, where any new setbacks or cuts in orders from the U.S. military and its allies would drive the cost-per-plane up still further.

The GAO draft report offers the agency's most positive outlook yet for the Pentagon's most expensive weapons program, which has seen a spate of negative news in recent weeks, including two engine-related groundings this year.
But it also underscores concerns about the long-term future of the program given budget reductions in the United States and other countries that plan to buy the radar-evading warplane.

"Overall, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is now moving in the right direction after a long, expensive and arduous learning process," GAO said. "Going forward, ensuring affordability - the ability to acquire aircraft in quantity and to sustain aircraft going over the life cycle - is of paramount concern."
No comment was immediately available from the Pentagon's F-35 program office or Lockheed.
The program faces substantial costs to retrofit planes to address problems discovered in flight testing, GAO said.
Such "rework" would add $900 million to the cost of the first four batches of jets build by Lockheed, GAO said, plus about $827 million over the next six batches for a total of $1.7 billion.

Last June, GAO had forecast rework costs of $373 million for the first four batches of jets, but gave no estimate for the remaining batches.
Lockheed agreed in its contract for a fifth batch of jets to pay for 55 percent of any cost overruns up to a certain ceiling, and all cost overruns beyond that. Retrofit costs are now shared equally by the Pentagon and the contractor.

COST OVERRUNS SEEN REACHING $1.2 BLN

GAO said cost overruns on 63 planes built by Lockheed in the first four production batches were now expected to reach $1.2 billion, of which the government will have to pay about $756 million. That marks an increase from GAO's last estimate in June 2012, which forecast a cost overrun of $1.04 billion.

Lockheed is building 58 planes for the U.S. military under those first four production contracts, plus five for international partners who helped fund the plane's development.

The report said cost overruns were declining as production costs were coming down, and Lockheed was delivering jets faster. Lockheed signed a contract with the Pentagon at the end of December for a fifth batch of planes, and both sides hope to reach a deal for the sixth and seventh batches this summer.
The GAO report reiterated the agency's concerns about the long-term procurement and sustainment cost of the F-35. It said current plans would require the Pentagon to spend $10.6 billion each year through 2037 on the program, putting "an unprecedented demand on the defence procurement budget."
It said the cost of each plane would rise if the Pentagon cut its plans to buy 2,443 F-35s or the eight foreign partners - Britain, Italy, Australia, Canada, Norway, Turkey, Denmark and the Netherlands - reduced their plans to buy 697 aircraft.

Industry executives and military officials say U.S. moves to defer orders for 410 aircraft in recent years have already jacked up the cost per plane, and costs will rise further unless Congress averts $500 billion in mandatory defence spending cuts slated to take effect over the next decade. Those cuts began to roll in last week.

GAO said the Pentagon's Cost Analysis and Program Evaluation office had calculated that the average cost of the plane, which has already nearly doubled to $137 million from $69 million originally estimated, would rise by 6 percent if all 697 foreign orders vanished.
The cost would rise by 9 percent if Washington only bought 1,500 jets and the partners stuck to their orders. But it would surge 19 percent if Washington bought 1,500 jets and the partners bought none, according to the GAO report.

(Editing by Martin Howell and Xavier Briand)
 

2IDSGT

Ah tale yew wut!
Joined
Nov 27, 2012
Messages
371
Reaction score
0
USAF testers prepare for F-35 operational evaluation http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/usaf-testers-prepare-for-f-35-operational-evaluation-383309/

Interesting quote here:
...Having participated in the Raptor's operational test phase, Novonty hopes to incorporate lessons learnt from the F-22 programme into the F-35's forthcoming trials. "We made mistakes during the F-22 programme, as anybody does, and we've learned a lot of lessons," he says.

The pilots who evaluated the F-22 were all people who transitioned from fourth-generation fighters like the Boeing F-15 Eagle. Novotny says that one error those early testers made was that they flew the F-22 like a better performing F-15. "Initially that was ok, but then I think we realized we were holding ourselves back," Novotny says. "You really have to think about how you're going to use these jets because of the information provided to the pilot, because of the capabilities the airplane brings to the fight."

One way that Novotny hopes to avoid that trap is to recruit an operational test pilot who has flown the F-22 Raptor from the beginning of his or her career. Like the F-35, the Raptor has fused sensor systems and stealth, which require a similar mindset to operate. "We've got to get an F-22 fifth-gen baby into the F-35 programme," Novotny says...
 
Top