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The F-35 Discussion Topic (No Holds Barred II)

Triton

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"Italy’s Air Force Chief On The F-35, Eurofighter And Predator
By Robbin Laird on October 12, 2015 at 2:16 PM

Source:
http://breakingdefense.com/2015/10/italys-air-force-chief-on-the-f-35-eurofighter-and-predator/

Italy’s Air Force, like that of Britain, is undergoing a double transition as they bring together the F-35 and the Eurofighter.

I met with Air Force Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Pasquale Preziosa and discussed Italy’s way ahead. For Preziosa, the close relationship with the British is important in learning how to accomplish both Eurofighter modernization and working with the F-35.

In the Italian case, the new Cameri facility is a key element for the Italian Air Force. Located on an Italian Air Force base, the Italian government has built a 22-building facility to support the F-35.

The support comes in three parts. First, there is a Final Check Out and Assembly facility, where there is the possibility for assembling Italy’s F-35As and F-35Bs, as well as those for other European F-35 partners, with the first one being the Netherlands.

Second, there’s a wing construction facility where Italy will build a minimum of 835 full wings for the F-35 program. The first wing has already been installed on an American F-35A. Third, there are 22 buildings with more than a million square feet of covered work space to build out support for F-35s operated by the US and allies in Europe.

Given how busy the Mediterranean and the Middle East are as operational areas, the Cameri facility can provide significant operational support to the F-35 fleet in the area.

The general and I started our conversations by focusing on the recent first flight of an Italian-built F-35 in Italian airspace. It also marked the first flight of an F-35 outside of the United States.

“The quality of the aircraft which has come off of the Italian line clearly demonstrates the competence of our industry and the importance of our strategic partnerships with U.S. and global defense industry,” Preziosa said. “The fact that the Dutch Air Force will buy planes from the Italian line is also a recognition of the quality of the Italian effort.”

For Preziosa, the F-35 is really a different type of plane in ways probably not well captured by the term fifth-generation aircraft. “The F-22 and the F-35 are called fifth-generation aircraft, but really the F-35 is the first airplane built for the digital age, we are rapidly moving from the dog-fight concept to the data-fight evolution of the broad utilization of air power. It was conceived in and for that age, and is built around the decision tools in the cockpit and is in fact a ‘flying brain.’

“It is a multi-tasking aircraft, and fits well into the iPhone age. Other aircraft – with the exception of the F-22 – are built to maximize out as multi-mission aircraft, which execute tasks sequentially and directed to do so.

“The F-35 fleet thinks and hunts and can move around the mission set as pilots operate in the battlespace and leverage the data fusion system,” the general said. “It is a battlespace dominance aircraft; not a classic air superiority, air defense or ground attack aircraft. It changes the classic distinctions; confuses them and defines a whole new way to look at a combat aircraft, one built for the joint force age as well. The Army and the Navy will discover, as the F-35 fleet becomes a reality, how significant the F-35 is for their combat efforts.”

Among the things that set the F-35 apart from other fighters, General Preziosa focused on its passive sensors.

“The passive sensing capabilities of the F-35 fleet is largely ignored in the public discussion of the F-35; but this unique combat capability will be crucial in the period ahead to establish air dominance and the kind of combat effects we want to shape and execute,” he said. “Related to and separate from this is what can be called the ‘off-boarding revolution’ whereby the F-35 operates in the battlespace and enables the payload deliverers whether in the Air, Sea on Land to deliver the kind of kinetic effect we would want.”

For Italy, the Eurofighter mustl be modified to work more effectively with the F-35. The payload evolution of the Eurofighter is significant, and weapons modernization will support both the F-35 and the Eurofighter in providing new tools for air operations.

“There is nothing static in airpower; there is always a fluid dynamic, and the F-35 provides a benchmark for now for air power excellence and for several decades moving ahead we will leverage the decision tools and multi-tasking capabilities of the F-35 as well add capabilities to our Air Forces,” the general said.

We discussed the recently announced deal with Kuwait to buy Eurofighters. He said the professionalism and competence of the Italian Air Force were key factors in the final decision.

Preziosa noted that the Kuwaitis were clearly aware of the work the RAF and Italy were doing to ensure that F-35 and Eurofighter would be able to work together. They also focused upon the training infrastructure in Italy and the maturity of the Eurofighter support structure as important elements of down selecting the Eurofighter for the Kuwaiti Air Force.

And, of course, the Saudi use of Eurofighter and their own positive views of the Saudi experience in current Middle Eastern operations played a part as well. The Saudis have relied heavily on the Eurofighter in current air campaigns in Yemen.

A final topic for discussion was the operation of Predators by the Italian Air Force in Djibouti. Here the Predator enterprise (if one might call it that) had already shaped ways to share data, and the data sharing arrangements with Predator presaged some of the ways the F-35 fleet will also share data: “Predator is an important building block moving forward in 21st century air operations, and our data sharing capabilities have provided crucial information to shape combat decisions.”

It should be noted that Italy is the only NATO Air Force to have performed all NATO Interim Air Policing (IAP) missions in Slovenia, Albania, Iceland and the Baltic.
 

Triton

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"An Update on Eurofighter Modernization: The Perspective of a Former Italian Air Force Pilot"
2015-10-12 By Robbin Laird

Source:
http://www.sldinfo.com/an-update-on-eurofighter-modernization-the-perspective-of-a-former-italian-air-force-pilot/

During my visit to Europe in the early Fall of 2015, one of the subjects of interest was the cross cutting modernization of the Eurofighter with the introduction of the F-35.

Clearly, the Royal Air Force and the Italian Air Force are key players in this process, but I was also able to visit Munich to talk with some key Eurofighter personnel as well.

One of those personnel was Raffaele Beltrame who is the Eurofighter Project Test Pilot for Airbus Defence and Space, Germany.

Previously, he was a Tornado pilot in the Italian Air Force and clearly understands a key element of the Eurofighter transition, namely, the subsuming of Tornado missions within the Eurofighter for the RAF and the IAF.

He has been involved with Eurofighter since the introduction of the plane to the Italian Air Force in 2004.

He highlighted that with the Tornado they could load 2 Paveway GBUs but with Eurofighter they can load 6, and clearly from this standpoint, the aircraft represents an upgrade.

We discussed the upgrade process and the evolution of the Eurofighter as well as Beltrame providing demonstration of developments in the cockpit simulator which is tied in with the situation room at the Eurofighter facility in Munich, where scenarios are worked through for the pilot to work through.

Beltrame provided a number of key takeaways from our discussion.

First, the inclusion of the air to ground mission sets in the Eurofighter are progressing well.

This was not part of the original 1990s design but modifications of the Eurofighter are allowing for this evolution.

The program has implemented a number of aerodynamic improvements to the aircraft which allow for a better execution of both the air to air and air to ground mission sets.

Second, given the ability to hold six air to air missiles along with the air to ground missiles, the pilot can be focused on the air to ground but have available systems to protect himself in the air against intruders.

Third, the organic capabilities of the aircraft are expanding, and with the expansion of capabilities, the effort is to improve the capability of the pilot to manage those expanded tasks.

This is being done by enhanced automation, the use of voice commands, and an improved helmet and pilot interface to manage the information more effectively for the targeting task.

Fourth, the Eurofighter is designed to work in a network.

The further evolution of the Eurofighter is focused on improving its ability to work in a network,, notably one being reshaped by the introduction of the F-35.

For Beltrame, a major change in air combat was underway, whereby the classical C2 structure makes no sense with the coming of the F-35 and the expanded capability of the Eurofighter to execute tasks.

As he put it: “A hierarchy certainly remains; but he who has the best situational awareness should be directing the execution of the missions.”

He also saw a clear trend to enhance the ability of the ability to leverage automated systems to can better domain knowledge to make better decisions, and this was clearly part of the evolving air combat capabilities of 21st century forces, which in turn drove demand for a different kind of C2 system as well.

He focuses as well on the challenge for air power leaders to command a fleet of F-35s and Eurofighters, which would be capable of mixed mission operations over the spectrum of warfare.

The shift from limited and sequential targeting to dynamic targeting of an interactive fleet would be a major challenge moving forward.

In other words, shaping an effective C2 system for a dynamic fleet operating in a fluid battlespace has little in common with the slow motion war which we have experienced over the past 20 years.
 

sferrin

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Triton said:
"F-35 Fatal Ejection Fear Riles Congress"
By Lara Seligman 3:06 p.m. EDT October 5, 2015

Source:
http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense-news/2015/10/05/f-35-fatal-ejection-fear-riles-congress/73219260/

WASHINGTON — Concern is mounting on Capitol Hill after recent tests revealed a lightweight F-35 pilot's neck could snap when ejecting at certain speeds.

The fears focus on the Martin-Baker US16E ejection seat. During testing of the new Generation 3 helmet this summer, testers discovered the risk of fatal neck injury when a lighter pilot ejects during slower-speed flights, according to a source with knowledge of the program. Testers discovered the ejection snapped the necks of lighter-weight test dummies, the source said.

Until the problem is fixed, the US military services decided to restrict pilots weighing under 136 pounds from operating the plane, Defense News first reported Oct. 1.

Since the issue emerged, lawmakers have vowed to push for increased oversight of the F-35, with one congresswoman condemning the program for "malpractice." Rep. Jackie Speier, ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee's subcommittee on oversight and investigations, slammed the Pentagon for rushing tests to field the plane prematurely.

"We're seeing these flight restrictions because the F-35's ejector seats weren't tested to the level they would be on a normal aircraft, and the Pentagon rushed to field them prematurely. This is yet another example of the kind of procurement malpractice we should be avoiding," the California Democrat said in an email to Defense News last week.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the House Armed Services subcommittee on tactical air and land forces pledged to hold an oversight hearing on the issue.

"We're having an F-35 hearing scheduled for Oct. 21. I'm certain it will show up then," Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, said, noting that he was not previously aware of the ejection seat concern. "I am going to have an oversight hearing on this."

At least one F-35 pilot is affected by the weight restriction, according to Joint Program Office spokesman Joe DellaVedova, who added that the rule was announced Aug. 27. He said the issue does not affect the first and only female F-35 pilot, Lt. Col. Christina Mau, the 33rd Operations Group deputy commander.

"The bottom line is they have to get into the realm where the seat allows that weight of a pilot less than 136 pounds [to] safely eject out of the airplane," Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, the F-35 integration office director, told Defense News last week.

"They found some areas that, particularly at slower speeds, they were concerned about, so that drove the restriction that we have right now."

The ejection seat issue is not related to the new Generation 3 helmet, built by Rockwell Collins and delivered to the JPO in August, DellaVedova said. But a source with knowledge of the program said the added weight of the new helmet compared to the Gen 2 version aggravates the ejection seat issue.

A standard ejection is a two-stage event, according to Lockheed's F-35 website. First, an explosive charge or rocket motor integrated with the seat breaches the windscreen canopy. Second, the seat and pilot are launched upward via a rail system through the opening at a jarring rate of 12-14 Gs.

In August, testers discovered that when a lighter pilot is ejecting, the Martin-Baker seat rotates forward a bit too much, according to the source. That forward motion combined with the force of the ejection proved too much for the lighter dummies, snapping their necks.

"It's that light pilot and the center of gravity of the seat," Col. Todd Canterbury, who was commander of the 33rd Fighter Wing until June, told Defense News last week. "It all has to do with getting that center of gravity kind of located within the window, we call it, for safe seat-man separation."

Canterbury, who flew F-35 software versions 1B, 2A, 3i and 2B, stressed that the weight restriction is an interim fix and the JPO is working closely with Martin-Baker and aircraft builder Lockheed Martin on a permanent solution.

The Air Force expects that industry will provide a solution to meet the requirement, according to Lt. Col. Christopher Karns.

"We are interested in a solution that is viable for all our pilots and to ensure their safety to the maximum extent practical," Karns said. "It is vitally important to ensure the F-35 community has the safest ejection seat possible. We owe it to our warfighters."

In the meantime, very few pilots appear to be impacted by the problem. The three F-35 pilots at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, are not affected by the restriction, according to Maj. Brad Matherne, assistant director of operations for the 34th Fighter Squadron.

"To be honest, it doesn't affect us at all because all our pilots weigh above 136 pounds, and to my knowledge there is only one Air Force pilot that weighs less than that, at Eglin," Matherne said in an Oct. 1 interview.

For at least one international partner, the new weight restriction is not a concern. None of Norway's F-35 pilots beginning to train on the country's new jets at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, are affected by the weight limit, according to Col. Jarle Nergård, program manager for operations with the Norwegian F-35 Program Office.

Since the Norwegian Air Force has even tighter weight restrictions on its current F-16 fleet, "there isn't a single fighter pilot in the Norwegian Air Force that is affected" by the 136-pound restriction, Nergård told Defense News in an email.

Nergård also said discoveries like this are to be expected in a test program, and that the F-35 is meant to accommodate a greater range of pilot body types and weights than legacy fighter aircraft.

"The incredible amount of force involved once you have an ejection means that you are playing at the limits of human tolerance," Nergård said. "As partners, we do support the interim actions by the US Air Force as they are directly affected by the issue. We all have the safety of our pilots as our No. 1 priority."

Pilot safety is the services' top concern, US officials said.

"Safety is our No. 1 concern and we want to make sure that we give the warfighter the safest ejection seat capable out there," Canterbury, now the chief of the F-35 Integration Office Operations Division, said on Tuesday. "As we discover things, we can weigh the risk of what's acceptable and what's not, and right now, until we fully understand the implication of the seat, safety is our No. 1 priority."

Martin-Baker could not be reached for comment, and Lockheed Martin referred questions to the JPO.
Gotta love it when opportunistic politicians leap up on their soap boxes over matters they are clueless on. Gotta grab that limelight with both hands.
 

Triton

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"American F-35, Russian PAK-FA Are India’s Fifth Generation Fighter Options"
Source : Pinaki Bharracharya with bureau inputs ~ Dated : Tuesday, October 13, 2015 @ 09:30 AM

India may have delayed participating in the Russian Fifth generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) project to explore other options, namely the Lockheed Martin built F-35.

A talk in the corridors of South Block, headquarters of the ministry of defence (MoD) goes that the reason the IAF and the MoD is seeking to reduce the numbers of the Russian FGFAs is to have an option of purchasing another variety of fifth generation aircraft.

A former senior air force officer told Defenseworld.net, “they have made the offer indirectly,” referring to the American F-35. He refused to elaborate on what that ‘indirect offer’ was. Some other sources opined that ever since the US lost out on the medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) contract, it had been trying to get India interested in the F-35.

The ministry’s response to the American feelers is not yet known. But the fact remains that the prototype development contract for the Russian FGFA, PAK-FA or T-50, has not yet been concluded despite pressure from Russia to sign the contract. In December 2010, India had earmarked $295 million for getting the project started. The prototype development contract entails an investment of US$350 million.

India slowed down its participation in the prototype development and reduced its original order for 166 single-seater and 48 two-seater fighters to 127 single-seater PAK FA which was further bought down to about 35-55 units.

The latest information is that India might order the PAK-FA in a fly away condition after Russia completes its development schedule of the aircraft putting in all the technologies and weapons it originally promised including super-cruise and a high degree of radar immunity.

http://www.defenseworld.net/news/14277/American_F_35__Russian_PAK_FA_Are_India___s_Fifth_Generation_Fighter_Options#.Vh1dMZRHarU
 

kaiserd

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Triton said:
"American F-35, Russian PAK-FA Are India’s Fifth Generation Fighter Options"
Source : Pinaki Bharracharya with bureau inputs ~ Dated : Tuesday, October 13, 2015 @ 09:30 AM

India may have delayed participating in the Russian Fifth generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) project to explore other options, namely the Lockheed Martin built F-35.

A talk in the corridors of South Block, headquarters of the ministry of defence (MoD) goes that the reason the IAF and the MoD is seeking to reduce the numbers of the Russian FGFAs is to have an option of purchasing another variety of fifth generation aircraft.

A former senior air force officer told Defenseworld.net, “they have made the offer indirectly,” referring to the American F-35. He refused to elaborate on what that ‘indirect offer’ was. Some other sources opined that ever since the US lost out on the medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) contract, it had been trying to get India interested in the F-35.

The ministry’s response to the American feelers is not yet known. But the fact remains that the prototype development contract for the Russian FGFA, PAK-FA or T-50, has not yet been concluded despite pressure from Russia to sign the contract. In December 2010, India had earmarked $295 million for getting the project started. The prototype development contract entails an investment of US$350 million.

India slowed down its participation in the prototype development and reduced its original order for 166 single-seater and 48 two-seater fighters to 127 single-seater PAK FA which was further bought down to about 35-55 units.

The latest information is that India might order the PAK-FA in a fly away condition after Russia completes its development schedule of the aircraft putting in all the technologies and weapons it originally promised including super-cruise and a high degree of radar immunity.

http://www.defenseworld.net/news/14277/American_F_35__Russian_PAK_FA_Are_India___s_Fifth_Generation_Fighter_Options#.Vh1dMZRHarU
It will be interesting to see if F35's for India becomes a more concrete prospect.
At this stage may well just be spin to try to get concessions from Russia re: costs and timescales of their tailored PAK-FA (FGFA).
Russia's seriously throttling back on the PAK-FA must be very concerning for India's military and politicians given their financial and political investment in the FGFA and the practical impossibility of a domestic back-up given the ongoing fiasco of the LCA.
However given that the Rafale ultimately proved too expensive for Indian tastes except for a small limited order (36, perhaps to be topped-up with further small orders) doubt there will ever be the appetite for a F35 purchase except for similar limited numbers.
And that's before you get into the politics for the US re: Pakistan and re: China associated with an Indian F35 order.
 

sferrin

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Given the outrageous demands India has made of others I sure hope we don't offer them the F-35.
 

sferrin

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Triton said:
sferrin said:
Given the outrageous demands India has made of others I sure hope we don't offer them the F-35.
The "Make in India" campaign?
Make in India, transfer 100% tech, and then guarantee all planes made in India meet spec. Sure, we take all the risk and they get all the rewards. No thanks.
 

LowObservable

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In no particular order:


I wouldn't go as far as too say that India will never get the F-35, but unless its AF is to contract drastically it needs to take care of other things first. Maybe it will be on the table in 2025...


"Clueless"? Team F-35 signed a contract to deliver a certain capability and so far has failed to meet it, and nobody on the procurement side is holding them to account for it.


And there are some people out there who could interview Kate Upton and come back with a load of quotes about conflating Z-axis battlesphere hyperconsiousness in the interconnected karmic RC/F/F/A/EA theater...
 

sferrin

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LowObservable said:
"Clueless"? Team F-35 signed a contract to deliver a certain capability and so far has failed to meet it, and nobody on the procurement side is holding them to account for it.
Sure, there's not a single person in the government riding LM like a rented mule. ::) Just because they haven't cancelled the program doesn't mean they're not being held accountable. And hell, look at what Team Typhoon is getting away with. They've delivered so many broken jets that Germany has refused to continue accepting them. How many years has that program been "in service" now? Glass houses.

http://www.defense-aerospace.com/articles-view/release/3/167781/germany-suspends-eurofighter-deliveries-after-discovering-new-defect.html

Or. . .maybe, just maybe, modern jets are complicated. Nah, that can't be it. Clearly all defense manufacturers are crooked and incompetent.
 

SpudmanWP

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I seem to remember LM missing certain annual goals and not getting hundreds of millions in contract bonuses.

Sounds like being held accountable to me.
 

Triton

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LowObservable said:
Team F-35 signed a contract to deliver a certain capability and so far has failed to meet it, and nobody on the procurement side is holding them to account for it.
Were you hoping for a federal lawsuit against Lockheed Martin?
 

Triton

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"Norway proposes F-35 funding increase for 2016"
13 October, 2015 BY: Beth Stevenson London

Source:
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/norway-proposes-f-35-funding-increase-for-2016-417698/

Building on its release of a Strategic Defence Review publication on 1 October, Norway has proposed a 9.8% real-term defence budget increase for 2016. This would see a near doubling of funding for the Lockheed Martin F-35, plus an authorisation request for six more.

Presented by the government on 7 October, the proposed budget will see the F-35 financially bolstered following the Norwegian chief of defence’s commitment to acquiring a planned 52 conventional take-off and landing F-35As.

The 2016 budget proposal includes a request to authorise procurement of an additional six aircraft, for delivery in 2020. The Norwegian parliament has already authorised the procurement of 22 of the 52 F-35s that Norway plans to procure, covering deliveries up to and including 2019.

“The majority of the increase comes from a near doubling of the funding related to the Norwegian acquisition of the F-35, which ensures that the Norwegian procurement of the F-35 will proceed as planned,” the government says.

“The overall priorities in the government’s budget proposal are in line with the recommendations presented by the chief of defence on 1 October in his strategic military review, and helps increase the defence budget’s share of Norway’s GNP to a projected 1.54%.”

The F-35 aircraft acquisition, alongside associated infrastructure – namely the development of its new base at Ørland Main Air Station – has been offered an allocation of NKr8.6 billion ($1.05 billion), from the total NKr49 billion (a rise of NKr4.29 billion from 2015 in real terms) proposal for 2016.

“While this proposal includes NKr1.1 billion re-allocated from the 2015 budget due to planned payments that have been postponed, this nevertheless constitutes a near doubling of the 2015 level,” the government says.

Norwegian Defence Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide adds that the funding for the F-35 and its base at Ørland represents Oslo’s commitment to protecting the nation in light of the security situation in Europe, as well as its ability to deter the use of force against Norway’s NATO allies.

The nation's Lockheed P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft will also receive additional funding to help bolster the patrol capability of Norway in the high sea, ahead of a planned phasing out of the aircraft between 2017 and 2020.

The budget proposal includes NKr35 million in additional funds for the six-strong Orion fleet, to facilitate longer and more frequent patrols in the high north.

Also included in the proposal is NKr82 million of additional funding to support the deployment of one Lockheed C-130J tactical transport and staff officers to support the UN’s Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali mission, for an additional 10 months.
 

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http://www.defensenews.com/story/breaking-news/2015/10/14/f-35s-heavier-helmet-complicates-ejection-risks/73922710/

More info on the ejection seat issues & helmets:

Gen II weighed about 4.7lb; Gen III weighs 5.1lb. They're looking at a Lightweight Gen III which would be 4.67lb.

Failures occurred at 160kt and at both 103lb and 136lb.

Obviously helmet weight is a notable factor (these ejection envelopes weren't an issue with the Gen II), it's been identified however that the main issue is that when the main recovery chute deploys (when the ejection seat falls away and the pilot is flying feet-first into the airstream), it's the action of the head snapping back which causes the spinal damage. You can see this motion in this video, at about 0:59 (just step through it frame-by-frame or use YouTube's playback speed feature):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6HoIRoYlXM

In addition to designing a lighter helmet, the JPO is looking into two other fixes to reduce the potential for an increased risk of neck injury, DellaVedova said. First, the team is working on installing a switch on the seat for lightweight pilots that will delay deployment of the main parachute. Also, the program will mount a "head support panel," which is a fabric panel sewn between the parachute risers that will protect the pilot's head from moving backwards during the parachute opening. These two fixes will be introduced when the next upgrade of the ejection seat comes online near the end of 2016.All three fixes will be fully implemented by summer 2017, DellaVedova noted.
 

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:eek: Ejection videos...those aren't test dummies, I'm betting.
 

Dragon029

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They are dummies; you can see this in particular with how they go completely limp after the seat drops away.
 

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sferrin said:
LowObservable said:
"Clueless"? Team F-35 signed a contract to deliver a certain capability and so far has failed to meet it, and nobody on the procurement side is holding them to account for it.
Sure, there's not a single person in the government riding LM like a rented mule. ::) Just because they haven't cancelled the program doesn't mean they're not being held accountable. And hell, look at what Team Typhoon is getting away with. They've delivered so many broken jets that Germany has refused to continue accepting them. How many years has that program been "in service" now? Glass houses.

http://www.defense-aerospace.com/articles-view/release/3/167781/germany-suspends-eurofighter-deliveries-after-discovering-new-defect.html

Or. . .maybe, just maybe, modern jets are complicated. Nah, that can't be it. Clearly all defense manufacturers are crooked and incompetent.

And why do we know about this story? Because the customer stood up in public and said "this is unacceptable and by the way we don't care very much about what this does to your export sales." It'll get fixed faster that way.
 

sferrin

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LowObservable said:
sferrin said:
LowObservable said:
"Clueless"? Team F-35 signed a contract to deliver a certain capability and so far has failed to meet it, and nobody on the procurement side is holding them to account for it.
Sure, there's not a single person in the government riding LM like a rented mule. ::) Just because they haven't cancelled the program doesn't mean they're not being held accountable. And hell, look at what Team Typhoon is getting away with. They've delivered so many broken jets that Germany has refused to continue accepting them. How many years has that program been "in service" now? Glass houses.

http://www.defense-aerospace.com/articles-view/release/3/167781/germany-suspends-eurofighter-deliveries-after-discovering-new-defect.html

Or. . .maybe, just maybe, modern jets are complicated. Nah, that can't be it. Clearly all defense manufacturers are crooked and incompetent.

And why do we know about this story? Because the customer stood up in public and said "this is unacceptable and by the way we don't care very much about what this does to your export sales." It'll get fixed faster that way.
I note that the other countries are content to continue accepting them. And just imagine the stink that would be made were this happening to the F-35. Will I get to read an article by you breathlessly gesticulating about how poorly the Typhoon program is being run and what a travesty it is that they still can't manage to get it right after declaring in service for X number of years? Of course not. Instead we get to read about the UK being Beta testers for the F-35. (I guess that would make Germany unhappy Beta testers for the Typhoon eh? ;))
 

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sferrin said:
http://www.defense-aerospace.com/articles-view/release/3/167781/germany-suspends-eurofighter-deliveries-after-discovering-new-defect.html

Or. . .maybe, just maybe, modern jets are complicated. Nah, that can't be it. Clearly all defense manufacturers are crooked and incompetent.
Planes delivered with violations of manufacturing specifications is QM incompetence, not a case of 'complicated tech'.

Similarly, some defects of the NH90 were about such non-high tech issues such as too brittle floors.


Aviation companies that sell to military procurement agencies are not working nearly as well for those customers as for civilian customers. Corruption, politics, de facto blackmailing, bureaucrats with insufficient ambitions for their work and lying officers are the ingredients of the typical military aviation, shipbuilding or AFV procurement mess.
One of the msot obvious examples was the A400M, where Airbus pulled hundreds of the best engineers out in order to strengthen the A380 program and then displayed the most brazen and arrogant behavior to the public customers, expecting price growth coupled with not meeting promised specs. They only grew that antisocial once they knew it was too late for politicians to switch to one of the alternatives.
You won't find a display of incompetence or arrogance of LM about the JSF before the Boeing team was shut out. Later on it's no challenge at all.
 

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Dragon029 said:
They are dummies; you can see this in particular with how they go completely limp after the seat drops away.

I'm betting they're cadavers. Mary Roach's book Stiff covers how cadavers are used for crash/ejection testing. http://www.maryroach.net/stiff.html
 

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lastdingo said:
Planes delivered with violations of manufacturing specifications is QM incompetence, not a case of 'complicated tech'.
Not even sure what to say about that. The mind boggles.


lastdingo said:
You won't find a display of incompetence or arrogance of LM about the JSF before the Boeing team was shut out. Later on it's no challenge at all.
You have some evidence to back your claims right?
 

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When someone claims absence of something the burden of proof is never on him because absence of something cannot be proved in any but the simplest cases. Feel free to point at LM arrogance or incompetence during the bidding phase if you want to falsify my claim.

Meanwhile, if you don't know about LM arrogance or LM incompetence post-winning the tender, you won't see it no matter how one points you at it, so why should I vainly repeat the obvious?
 

sferrin

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lastdingo said:
Meanwhile, if you don't know about LM arrogance or LM incompetence post-winning the tender, you won't see it no matter how one points you at it, so why should I vainly repeat the obvious?
If it's so easy to come by you shouldn't have any problem producing it then should you? Run along now. Gather the evidence to support your claim.
 

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As previously mentioned in Post #1214. ;)
 

marauder2048

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sferrin said:
As previously mentioned in Post #1214. ;)
More conditional language in that AvWeek piece than in the entire F-35 SDD contract. I found the comparison to how Saab manages the Swedish Air Force Gripens particularly irrelevant
along with the Block 60 and F-15K comparisons as those EW systems were and are unique to those countries (the UAE may actually own the design rights to Falcon Edge). And asking the RAF about F-35 has as much informational value as asking the RAF about Trident.
 

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sferrin said:
I note that the other countries are content to continue accepting them. And just imagine the stink that would be made were this happening to the F-35. Will I get to read an article by you breathlessly gesticulating about how poorly the Typhoon program is being run and what a travesty it is that they still can't manage to get it right after declaring in service for X number of years? Of course not. Instead we get to read about the UK being Beta testers for the F-35. (I guess that would make Germany unhappy Beta testers for the Typhoon eh? ;) )

What do you care about what happens in other countries to other aircraft? You are not buying Typhoons, it's not your tax payer dollars being used for it.
More importantly, how do Typhoon program troubles absolve LM from delivering a product in accordance to what was contractually stipulated? there is no law of physics that says that if one program is poorly managed, then all other programs around the world will befall a similar fate.

European governments should hold TYphoon management accountable, just like the US government and military branches should hold LM accountable.
 

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"F-35 Customers Funding U.S.-Based Software Update Labs"
Oct 16, 2015 Bill Sweetman | Aerospace Daily & Defense Report

Source:
http://aviationweek.com/defense/f-35-customers-funding-us-based-software-update-labs

Foreign air forces using the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter are being compelled to build and fund $150 million software laboratories, based in the U.S. and almost 50% staffed by U.S. personnel, that generate data crucial to the fighter’s ability to identify new radio-frequency threats.

This regime is more stringent and far-reaching than earlier U.S. fighter export deals. Those usually withheld key software — known as source code — from the customer, but in most cases allowed local users to manage their own “threat libraries,” data that allowed the electronic warfare (EW) system to identify radio-frequency threats, with in-country, locally staffed facilities.

For the U.K. in particular, the reliance on U.S.-located laboratories looks like a pullback from its earlier position. In 2006, concern over access to JSF technology reached the national leadership level, and prompted a declaration, by U.S. President George W. Bush and U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, that “both governments agree that the U.K. will have the ability to successfully operate, upgrade, employ, and maintain the JSF such that the U.K. retains operational sovereignty over the aircraft.”

That promise seemingly contrasts with the severe limits now being imposed on non-U.S. access to the system.

Concerns about the lack of sovereignty and access to the core system — since customer laboratory personnel will not be co-located with operating units — are being voiced. A retired senior officer with the Royal Air Force comments that “the non-U.S. operators are going to have to take a very great deal on trust. Further, ‘rubbish in – rubbish out’ is still going to hold sway and I doubt that the non-U.S. customers will be able to check what is going in.” Security arrangements “seem to go a lot further and deeper” than on earlier platforms, he says.

Another source close to the U.K. user community notes that Lockheed Martin has advertised the capability of the “fusion engine” — the software that combines inputs from different sensors and datalinks — to identify targets and implement rules of engagement automatically. But if the logic of the fusion engine itself is not understood at the U.K.’s operational level, he says, “You can imagine that this slaughters our legal stance on a clear, unambiguous and sovereign kill chain.”

The restrictions are also likely to be cumbersome. By contrast, “Swedish air force Gripens are often updated between sorties,” a Saab spokesman says. Signals intercepted and recorded by the fighter’s EW system on one sortie can be analyzed and the system updated in hours.

It’s not clear who, ultimately, would control the use of the foreign-funded laboratories, which will depend on host U.S. bases for power, communications and access. Lockheed Martin referred all questions on this topic to the JSF program office (JSFPO), which did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

But even the current security regime is the result of a compromise by the U.S. In September 2014, JSFPO director Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan indicated that the foreign-owned laboratories would allow the operators more access to the system than they would otherwise have enjoyed. This suggests that the initial U.S. position was that foreign nationals would not be involved with reprogramming at all.

The JSFPO will not be the final U.S. authority on security measures. That is the Low Observables/Counter Low Observables Executive Committee (LO/CLO ExCom), the third and highest level of a special process of reviewing stealth technology transfers, managed by the Defense Technology Security Administration. Of about 700 requests for the export of stealth-related technology each year, only around 30 require the attention of the ExCom, with the rest approved or rejected at lower levels.

The mission data files (MDFs) generated in the U.S. labs are sensitive because they are essential to the aircraft’s stealth characteristics. They include information that allows onboard software to build a so-called “blue line” flightpath that avoids exposing its less-stealthy viewing angles to hostile radar. This process is based on a highly detailed model of the aircraft’s radar cross-section against all known threats and at all aspect angles, so any compromise of that data would be potentially catastrophic.

The MDFs also include target models that the sensor system uses to fuse radar, passive electronic and electro-optical signals into a single set of target tracks. “Reprogramming used to be about survivability,” says RAF Air Commodore Linc Taylor, assistant Chief of Staff of Capability Delivery for Combat Air and Air ISTAR, “Now it’s about survivability and effectiveness.”

The MDFs are twice as large as the equivalent data load in the F-22, the Air Force has said. There are 12 packages covering different regions.

The Pentagon’s director of operational test and evaluation, Michael Gilmore, has stressed the importance of the MDF process to the F-35’s capability and warned of delays. “Mission data load development and testing is a critical path to combat capability for Block 2B and Block 3F,” Gilmore said in his fiscal 2014 report. “Accuracy of threat identification and location depend on how well the mission data loads are optimized to perform in ambiguous operational environments.” Software and hardware used to create the MDFs was held by Lockheed Martin at Fort Worth for three years after its planned delivery to the first government reprogramming laboratory, delaying its delivery, DOT&E says.

The JSF program is standing up two centers to produce and update MDFs, at Eglin AFB, Florida, and NAS Point Mugu, California. The western center will host a lab to support Japanese and Israeli F-35s. An Australia/U.K. facility and a laboratory to support Norway and Italy will be established at Eglin. Lockheed Martin was awarded a contract to build the Australia/U.K. facility in April. According to an Australian government document, the lab will have a staff of about 110 people, of whom 50 will be U.S. nationals, and the international partners will cover all its operating costs.

Until now, even the most advanced EW systems exported by the U.S. have included provisions for local updating. The United Arab Emirates uses a system of “object codes,” a form of middleware that allows its operators to program threats into the Northrop Grumman EW system on the F-16 Block 60. South Korea has an in-country reprogramming tool for the F-15K’s ALQ-135M that allows its air force to create, modify and maintain mission data and to produce mission data files, according to Northrop Grumman.
 

quellish

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Triton said:
At least one F-35 pilot is affected by the weight restriction, according to Joint Program Office spokesman Joe DellaVedova, who added that the rule was announced Aug. 27. He said the issue does not affect the first and only female F-35 pilot, Lt. Col. Christina Mau, the 33rd Operations Group deputy commander.

Did the JPO just call one of it's pilots fat?


(note: I myself do not think Lt. Col. Mau is fat)
 

marauder2048

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quellish said:
Triton said:
At least one F-35 pilot is affected by the weight restriction, according to Joint Program Office spokesman Joe DellaVedova, who added that the rule was announced Aug. 27. He said the issue does not affect the first and only female F-35 pilot, Lt. Col. Christina Mau, the 33rd Operations Group deputy commander.

Did the JPO just call one of it's pilots fat?


(note: I myself do not think Lt. Col. Mau is fat)
Sounds like the JPO outed one of their male pilots for having an eating disorder. No way the guy is that thin naturally.
 

Triton

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I can imagine that the weight restriction could be misinterpreted as a form of gender discrimination. This is probably the reason that Lt. Col. Christina Mau is mentioned specifically.
 

marauder2048

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Triton said:
I can imagine that the weight restriction could be misinterpreted as a form of gender discrimination. This is probably the reason that Lt. Col. Christina Mau is mentioned specifically.
The only victim of discrimination so far is the ACES 5 ejection seat. Keeping the Brits on board has its costs...
 

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"MBDA's new air-to-air missile could provide S. Korea with air superiority over N. Korea"
2015/10/13 18:18

Source:
http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2015/10/13/92/0301000000AEN20151013008400315F.html

SEOUL, Oct. 13 (Yonhap) -- A newly developed airborne missile by European missile manufacturer MBDA will provide South Korea with "air superiority" over North Korea and other powerful neighbors if they are loaded onto the F-35 combat fighters to be delivered to the country in the coming years, the firm's official said Tuesday.

Under a deal signed last year, South Korea will bring in 40 F-35A jet fighters, the fifth-generation platform with stealth capacities from Lockheed Martin, from 2018 to 2021 to better guard against North Korean threats.

The F-35A fleet will initially be equipped with the U.S.' AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM), but through software integration, the jet fighters could gain compatibility with MBDA's new missile Meteor, export sales executive Leo Alfano said in a press roundtable in Seoul.

The most notable of Meteor's functions is its superior no-escape zone, or operation range, which is about three times larger than that of the U.S. AMRAAM, Alfano said.

With Meteor's expanded range, three combat jets equipped with the missiles could cover the entire length of the inter-Korean land border, which is more cost effective despite the higher per-unit price of the Meteor, according to the MBDA official.

Asked how many combat jets are needed to perform the same job with AMRAAM missiles, he said about a dozen will be needed.

The introduction of the Meteor will provide South Korea with "air superiority" over the advancing air power of North Korea and other neighbors like China and Russia, he noted.

With funding from Britain, MBDA has developed the technology to integrate the European missile to the U.S.-made F-35 and if South Korea chooses to adopt it, MBDA will provide the integration technology, he said.

The Meteor is a strategic weapon developed under a six-nation joint program involving Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Sweden, to equip their fleets of Eurofighter Typhoons and F-35s.
 

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lastdingo said:
... as if South Korea hadn't already air superiority over NK once it merely lifts a little finger...
That was my thought as well on the A2A front. But the DPRK IADS is no joke.
 

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Why? What do they have that's still to be expected to be in working order?
They've had huge cash shortages since the early 90's, after all.

All I saw so far was about the having SA-2, -3, -5; that's 60's equipment, without even the famous SA-6 of Yom Kippur War fame.
Their SA-7 are likely defective by now, and were rather harmless 30 years ago already.

I wouldn't be surprised if they cannibalised old SAM solid rocket fuels for other missiles or converted SAMs into SRBMs with chemical warheads.
 

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lastdingo said:
Why? What do they have that's still to be expected to be in working order?

Artillery. Lots of it.
 

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That's not going to help much. Even 57 mm is no real threat above 4,000 m, and Western air power (as available to South Korea) routinely engages ground troops from above 4,500 m.

edit: Much AAA does of course limit the use of helicopters in daylight, which is pretty bad over a mountainous terrain.
 

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lastdingo said:
That's not going to help much. Even 57 mm is no real threat above 4,000 m, and Western air power (as available to South Korea) routinely engages ground troops from above 4,500 m.

edit: Much AAA does of course limit the use of helicopters in daylight, which is pretty bad over a mountainous terrain.

I did not say "Anti Aircraft Artillery". I said artillery.
 

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F-35C Completes Sea Trials Aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower

Published on Oct 16, 2015

The F-35 Lightning II Pax River Integrated Test Force (ITF) completed its second F-35C developmental test (DT-II) phase Oct. 10, 2015. DT-II was conducted aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). During the tests, the team completed 66 catapults and 66 arrestments across 17 flights, logged 26.5 flight hours and achieved a total of 280 flight test points and 17 logistics test and evaluation test points. The testing was completed six days ahead of schedule.
https://youtu.be/Y4bX8k6UdM4
 

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quellish said:
I did not say "Anti Aircraft Artillery". I said artillery.
lastdingo had been asking what was left of their IADS.
 
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