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Lockheed Martin F-35: News ONLY topic

TomcatViP

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Switzerland :
L’offre présentée par le géant américain est à vrai dire la seule à tenir le budget établi par Berne, soit 6 milliards de francs.
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The offer presented by the American giant is, in fact, the only one to keep the budget established by Berne, namely 6 billion francs.

 

_Del_

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Relatively new fifth gen aircraft, with a new logistical supply line (with gaps in inventory and associated learning at all levels, combined with however many blocks and subtypes under the blocks out on the ramps) still has a per hour cost pretty close to the Eagle.

Parts of the program are still a fiasco, but they'd have to screw it up pretty badly in DC to not get the costs down substantially over time.
 

TomcatViP

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Say no to the Lightning whip:
What's lost on critics is when the United States and its allies use the same platform, they achieve an unprecedented level of interoperability, creating dilemmas for our adversaries. In the case of 5th generation fighters, we'd have an allied air force of F-35s more powerful and capable than the sum of its parts - a goal we've been steadily building toward, with more jets built, more squadrons declared mission-ready and more allies having achieved operational capability.

The F-35 is modern and capable now and will be for decades - a stark contrast with so many of our current weapons platforms [...].
 

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helmutkohl

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can some one explain a bit more about the new engine thats being proposed?
how much more of an improvement will it be?
 

Dragon029

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can some one explain a bit more about the new engine thats being proposed?
how much more of an improvement will it be?
There's kinda 3 engines being proposed:

The one you might have heard P&W talking about today is the "F135 Growth Option 1", which would increase thrust by 6-10% or have a 5% reduction in fuel burn depending on the stage of flight, with some kind of power and thermal upgrades that we haven't really heard numbers for. The F135 GO-1 is a drop-in replacement module that's supposed to be cost neutral - ie the cost of an F-35A's F135 engine would remain $12.3 million to purchase; P&W also stated in today's hearing that sustainment costs would be the same, though I don't know that's entirely true due to the mixed logistics that'd occur. Also obviously upgrading existing engines to the GO-1 standard would cost money.

Beyond that there's also adaptive cycle engines being developed as part of the AETP programs.

As part of that competition, GE has the XA100 engine and P&W has the XA101 engine, although P&W are calling their adaptive cycle engine for the F-35 the F135 Growth Option 2 (GO-2). GO-2 offers a 20% fuel reduciton and 15% overall thrust improvement; the F-35B would also get some kind of offering that increases the vertical thrust of either the lift fan, or or total vertical thrust by 2.5-5% (Aviation Week describes it as the lift fan's thrust, but that seems an odd metric to use).

GE's XA100 is meant to offer a 35% increased range / 25% reduced fuel burn, and at least 10% additional thrust; note however that while the XA100 and XA101 engines were designed to fit an F-35A's engine bay dimensions, there's a chance that actually integrating GE's XA100 into an F-35 could force some minor decrease in performance specs. Also note that the adaptive cycle engines (GO-2 / XA101, and the XA100) have appreciably greater capability to provide thermal management as they essentially have larger bypass ducts and can enable greater bypass flow on demand when the extra thrust isn't needed.

Costs haven't been provided for the adaptive cycle engines, but you can expect that they'd cost more to produce, and it's unclear if their sustainment cost impact would be positive or negative (less fuel burn, but probably higher maintenance costs).

So to reiterate, there's:
1. F135 GO-1 - an iterative, theoretically mostly cost-neutral upgrade
2. F135 GO-2 / XA101 - adaptive cycle engine from P&W, spec'd for the F-35
3. XA100 - adaptive cycle engine from GE, better fuel burn specs than GO-2, but possibly subject to change
 
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Colonial-Marine

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I've no idea if the F136 would have had any real edge but the competition would have been a good motivator for P&W. The same way the F100 design started seeing some significant improvements once more the more powerful F110 started to enter service on the USAF's F-16 fleet.
 

bring_it_on

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At the HASC hearing yesterday, the PEO described block 4 as featuring the integration of 14 new weapons on the JSF. I don't think they've ever put out this high a number in their past descriptions of the program . Wonder whether they've added additional weapons and if so what they are.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5U61EsmW9TM
 

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bring_it_on

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The weapons listed on the slide? Those can be counted but basically 8-9 weapons. Add things like AARGM-ER, AIM-260 and SiAW and we're still short 2-3 new weapons. What's missing? JASSMER/LRASM? Lockheed has been showing that weapon on the F-35 so perhaps they managed to get it in now that Turkey is no longer part of the program. Other Low Cost munitions? External Hypersonic weapons or other classified weapons?
 

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Directed energy? We know that an external pod is tested. It would seem as if the 35 should be a good candidate for it to be integrated.
Also effectors? If the Kratos can launch one from an iwb, there is no reason it cannot be.
 

sferrin

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It has been long abundantly clear that they should have never cancelled the F136.
how much better would the F136 engine be over the 135?
In fantasies everything works out as planned. For all we know it would have been worse than the F135 AND you'd have the additional expense of two maintenance/training strings.
 

bring_it_on

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There are probably also other effects of the decision. GE transitioned into ADVENT and adaptive engine research (at the time P&W was not funded for this program). Would this had still happened had the second engine program been open? I'd much rather we look at an early-mid 2030's replacement engine program and fund a competition for that effort as opposed to having two engines of similar technology. Let GE compete and offer their XA-100 ACE for a 2030's upgrade post Block 4. Much rather spend $$ on that.
 

bring_it_on

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Directed energy? We know that an external pod is tested. It would seem as if the 35 should be a good candidate for it to be integrated.
Also effectors? If the Kratos can launch one from an iwb, there is no reason it cannot be.

No the timelines do not align. These are weapons integration efforts and not weapon development efforts. The prototype Shield pod that is being developed won't even be fully tested to match Block 4 timeframes, let alone a program of record that may follow it in the event that it is successful. I'm interested to know whether one of the current or future Vanguard weapons are lined up for it. Low cost munitions, and future GBU-X / AGM-X type of programs that may be in the classified space.
 

GTX

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It has been long abundantly clear that they should have never cancelled the F136.
how much better would the F136 engine be over the 135?
In fantasies everything works out as planned. For all we know it would have been worse than the F135 AND you'd have the additional expense of two maintenance/training strings.
Agreed. Just like talk of alternates to the F-35 (be those the X-32 production derivatives or future replacements) people need to beware of the "grass is always greener" syndrome here as well. The GE/RR F136 was designed to be essentially a drop in alternate to the F135 so by necessity would not have differed to much in performance lest you have all sorts of operational issues.
 

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TomcatViP

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From link above
Lt. Gen. Eric Fick, the program executive officer of the F-35 Joint Program Office, said at the hearing that overall mission capable rates were up slightly for the whole F-35 fleet – and down slightly for the Navy and Marines’ portion of the fleet – but that the engine was the primary driver of non-mission capable rates.
This looks weird as both C and A share the same version of the engine.
 

TomcatViP

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Safran aerobooster, a Belgium based company (a country that ordered F-35s) had all the capabilities and ressources to takeover Turkish parts production.
 
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Forest Green

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Why is fixing the troubled software development for this program proving to be such a great challenge? Seems to have been a bottleneck for this program since AA-1 first flew.
The software fixes needed new microprocessors... At least some of the fixes. When I develope a module for a vehicle i spec out 25% excess capability than needed to avoid this problem.
Maybe too many programmers used to making Windows bloatware.
It'll be all the tracking cookies monitoring user inputs and trying to determine if they might be short on toilet paper yet.
 

TomcatViP

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[Gen. Eric Fick] said that both mission capable rates (MC) and fully mission capable rates (FMC) have gotten better. (MC means what percentage of aircraft on the flightline can perform at least one of the F-35’s various missions, Fick explained, and FMC means what percentage can undertake all the missions their unit has assigned them.)

“We have been seeing increases both MC and FMC increases between 2019 and 2020. And they’re not insignificant,” Fick said. “Across the fleet, and we saw the average in 2019 go from 63.2% from an MC perspective to 68.5%.” Fleet FMC, he added, has gone from 33.5% to just shy of 37% — a number that he called “still unsatisfying,” but nonetheless one that is “moving in the right direction.”

Fick elaborated that those cross-fleet numbers hide a vast disparity among the services.

The Air Force is seeing the best readiness numbers, he said, with an MC of above 73%, and an FMC of above 54%. Those represent “10% jumps over last year.”

On the other hand, the Navy and the Marine Corps readiness rates are pretty dismal. “As a matter of fact, I think we step backwards just a little bit with the Navy this past year — from just over 59 to just under 59 percent from an MC perspective,” Fick said.

Fick and Lockheed Martin’s Greg Ulmer both reassured lawmakers that sustainment costs also are going in the right direction (i.e., down). Between 2019 and 2020, the F-35A’s cost per flying hour decreased by 10%, Fick said, from $37,000 per flight hour to $33,300 per flight hour in base year 2012 dollars.

 
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TomcatViP

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The 10-year, nonexclusive agreement between Honeywell and GKN Aerospace will cover the entire European market and bring significant benefits to both current and future owners and operators of the F-35. This agreement will substantially reduce the logistical footprint of supporting the regional fleet with a Netherlands-based depot, thus resulting in a lower cost of ownership for F-35 operators.

As part of the license agreement, GKN Aerospace will provide repair, overhaul and maintenance of Honeywell’s wheels and brakes covering all variants of the F-35.

 

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Hayes [Raytheon's CEO] doesn’t see Defense Department adding second engine source for F-35:

Don't know why they would. Second sources for engines is an aberration not the norm (despite what the engine manufacturers, and their lobbyists/politicians would tell you).
 

TomcatViP

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FRCE's Rapid Reaction Team (RRT):

FRCE is North Carolina’s largest maintenance, repair, overhaul and technical services provider, with more than 4,000 civilian, military and contract workers. Its annual revenue exceeds $1 billion. The facility is the lead site for depot-level maintenance on the F-35B (short takeoff-vertical landing) and F-35C (carrier) variants and generates combat air power for America’s Marines and naval forces while serving as an integral part of the greater U.S. Navy; Naval Air Systems Command; and Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers.
[...]
“We deployed to two separate locations within 10 days of each other,” he continued. “Once we received notice of the need, the support team had less than 48 hours to work through the logistics of getting our artisans and the tooling to the USS Makin Island, including everything from COVID testing and orders to securing a military flight and gathering tools and consumables. It was truly a team effort.”


210318-M-UY835-1002_0.jpg
 

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