Author Topic: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)  (Read 1647656 times)

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Offline Rifleman62

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Re: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)
« Reply #4375 on: February 20, 2019, 11:23:25 »
https://theaviationist.com/2019/02/16/the-first-reports-of-how-the-f-35-strutted-its-stuff-in-dogfights-against-aggressors-at-red-flag-are-starting-to-emerge/#disqus_thread

The First Reports Of How The F-35 Strutted Its Stuff In Dogfights Against Aggressors At Red Flag Are Starting To Emerge
- 16 Feb 19
    Red Flag 19-1 has just come to an end and, based on official reports, once again the F-35 held its own against the Aggressors

You may probably remember what happened in 2017, when the first F-35A jets, belonging to the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings at Hill AFB, Utah, deployed to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, to take part in the type’s first Red Flag exercise. During that iteration, designated RF 17-1, the U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II, who had just been declared IOC (Initial Operational Capable) achieved a resounding score in mock aerial engagements against Aggressors: while early reports suggested a 15-1 kill ratio a subsequent Air Force testimony by Lt. Gen. Jerry D. Harris, Vice Commander of Air Combat Command characterized the kill ratio as “20-1” meaning that, for one F-35A “lost” in simulated combat in a high threat environment that the aircraft destroyed 20 simulated enemy aircraft.

This is what we wrote about the impressive F-35 performance:

Three words summarize the role of the F-35A during this Red Flag exercise; stealth, integration and flexibility. To a greater degree than any previous aircraft in U.S. Air Force history the F-35A Lightning IIs from Hill AFB acted as sensors, guidance platforms and strike assets almost simultaneously, and they did so in a threat environment that would have been previously impenetrable without significantly greater loses. They also performed in an air-to-air role: although we don’t know the ROE (Rules of Engagement) in place for the drills nor the exact role played by the F-22 Raptors that teamed up with the Lightning II throughout the exercise, the results achieved by the F-35, appear to be impressive, especially considering the 5th Gen. aircraft’s additional tasking during RF.

Indeed, while early reports suggested a 15-1 kill ratio recent Air Force testimony by Lt. Gen. Jerry D. Harris, Vice Commander of Air Combat Command characterized the kill ratio as “20-1” meaning that, for one F-35A “lost” in simulated combat in a high threat environment that the aircraft destroyed 20 simulated enemy aircraft belonging to the “Red Force”.

Two years later, with the subsequent Block 3F software upgrade available that provides 100 percent of the software required for full warfighting capability, the F-35s have once again put their skills to test as part of the “Blue Force” at the Air Force’s premier air combat exercise held at Nellis AFB: an “exponentially more challenging” Red Flag, according to the airmen from the 388th Fighter Wing’s 4th Fighter Squadron. The squadron brought 12 aircraft and more than 200 Airmen to the three-week exercise – pilots, maintainers, intelligence officers, weapons crews, and support personnel, including reservists from the 419th Fighter Wing.

The three-week exercise has just come to an end. However, as expected, some initial details about the results achieved by the F-35s have started to emerge in public statements and news releases. “The first time I came to Red Flag in 2004, our tactics were the same as they had been since the early 1980s. Now, the threat and complexity are at a whole different level,” said Col. Joshua Wood, 388th Operations Group commander, in a 388th FW Public Affairs article. “It’s no longer assumed that we will gain and maintain air superiority. That’s a big shift.”

We have provided details about what taking part in a RF means to an airman and how this exercise has changed throughout the years in this past article written by a pilot who went twice to Red Flag. Here’s an excerpt:

In 2002 we had a well-defined set up, we knew where the enemy was, how it would react to our presence, where the threats were located etc.; in 2010, we faced a “border line” scenario with enemy elements embedded in friendly forces or civilian population, where CDE (Collateral Damage Estimation) was extremely important, where target VID (Visual IDentification) or EOID (Electro Optical IDentification) were the main success factors in the simulated air campaign. In other words, 8 years apart, the RF scenario had evolved to adapt to the ever-changing “combat environment.”

The most recent RFs prove that the exercise continues to change. For instance, while maintaining the standard coalitions scheme (Blue and Red forces), RF 17-1 had the two teams involved in a “crisis” instead of a war situation. On top of that, not only does the scenario has introduced the latest and most sophisticated and capable threats that require a change in tactics, but it has also moved on a higher level, focusing on the importance of  “battlefield information management,” a kind of task the much debated F-35 is going to master.

Today, taking part in a RF means joining pilots, ground forces, intelligence analysts, cyber and space operators, for testing and training operations at Nellis as well as the Nevada Test and Training Range north of Las Vegas. All the participants have only one goal in mind: working together to FITS “Find, Identify, Track and Strike” the adversary, to attack forces in a multi-domain battlefield which is based on what we have encountered so far in theater and what we may expect to find in the future wars. This is the real core business and the big change of the most recent RFs.

A RF mission is usually made of 20-25 adversaries: not only aircraft, but also ground-to-air threats, moving and unknown threats etc. In other words, the old fixed scenario has become much more “dynamic” requiring a real-time “combat battlefield” coordinator. Therefore, the most recent RF scenarios aim to develop the ability to fuse all the combat capabilities. In this context, the F-35 brings to the package the ability to penetrate deep into the most complex and “unknown” environments providing the “overall control” of the battlefield. The F-35, as well as any other modern aircraft with similar sensor fusing ability, can also work in a complementary fashion with the 4th generation fighters, sharing the information with all the other “players” while providing its own amount of fire power to the team.

Stealth technology (capability to survive and operate effectively where others cannot) combined with 5th generation features (i.e. superior information management), were pivotal to achieve the overall RF’s mini-campaign results.


Therefore, Red Flag keep changing, and F-35s play an important role in missions flown in “contested or denied” environments with active electronic attack, communications jamming, and GPS denial. “Those situations highlight the fifth-generation capabilities of the F-35. We’re still able to operate and be successful. In a lot of cases we have a large role as an integrated quarterback,” said Lt. Col. Yosef Morris, 4th Fighter Squadron commander. “Our ability to continue to fuse and pass information to the entire package makes every aircraft more survivable.” Indeed, we have often explained how the role of the F-35 is the one of the “combat battlefield” coordinator that can collect, manage and distribute intelligence data, while attacking targets: when they have expended all their ordnance, Lightning II pilots can support the rest of the team by collecting live battlefield data and passing it to older 4th generation fighters via Link-16. According to the airmen of the 388th FW, during the first week of RF 19-1, the F-35 pilots flew in a larger force of Blue Air in a counter-air mission. More than 60 aggressor aircraft were flying against them, blinding many of the fourth-generation aircraft with “robust” electronic attack capabilities.

Here’s how Col. Joshua Wood recalled the mission, providing a few details about the performance of the stealth aircraft in the latest exercise (that saw the participation of thirteen pilots in the squadron who had never flown the F-35 in Red Flag, including four who had just graduated pilot training):

“I’ve never seen anything like it before. This is not a mission you want a young pilot flying in. My wingman was a brand new F-35A pilot, seven or eight flights out of training. He gets on the radio and tells an experienced, 3,000-hour pilot in a very capable fourth-generation aircraft. ‘Hey bud, you need to turn around. You’re about to die. There’s a threat off your nose.’” The young pilot then “killed” the enemy aircraft and had three more kills in the hour-long mission. “Even in this extremely challenging environment, the F-35 didn’t have many difficulties doing its job, that’s a testament to the pilot’s training and the capabilities of the jet.”

Therefore, Wood did not provide specific details about the type’s overall kill ratio against the Red Air, but at least we know a young pilot, with just a few missions in the Lightning II, achieved four (simulated) kills in a RF mission: whatever the ROE (Rules Of Engagement) and the role of other aircraft teaming with the F-35s, it’s an interesting result, suggesting the aircraft can be lethal even in the hands of recently graduated pilots.

“With stealth, the F-35 can get closer to threats than many other aircraft can. Combined with the performance of the fused sensors on the F-35, we can significantly contribute to the majority of the missions. As this aircraft matures, we continue to see it be a significant force-multiplier in a threat-dense environment. Red Flag was a success for us and has made our younger pilots more lethal and more confident,” 1st Lt. Landon Morris, a new F-35A pilot said.

Most probably, more details will be made public in the next weeks, so stay tuned for some more analysis and coverage!

Photo Caption:

An F-35A Lightning II pilot from the 388th Fighter Wing’s 4th Fighter Squadron prepares to launch during Red Flag 19-1, Nelllis Air Force Base, Nev., Feb. 6, 2019. Pilots and maintainers from the 388th Fighter Wing’s 4th Fighter Squadron and 4th Aircraft Maintenance Unit are participating in Red Flag 19-1 at Nellis AFB, Nevada. This is the wing’s second Red Flag with the F-35A, America’s most advanced multi-role fighter, which brings game-changing stealth, lethality and interoperability to the modern battlefield. Red Flag is the Air Force’s premier combat exercise and includes units from across the Air Force and allied nations. The 388th is the lead wing for Red Flag 19-1. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)
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Offline MarkOttawa

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Re: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)
« Reply #4376 on: February 21, 2019, 15:22:28 »
But that's the name of a Navy/Marines fighter ( http://www.aviation-history.com/grumman/f9f.html )! Will their pilots adopt it too? Anyway, shades of the "Viper"!

Quote
The F-35’s New, Much Better Nickname is “Panther”
Nobody likes the F-35’s real name. Nobody.

Some of the best defense news in weeks—or maybe even months—is that U.S. Air Force pilots have nicknamed the F-35A fighter the “Panther.” This follows a long history of American warplanes receiving nicknames that become much more popular than their official names, and is a nice switchup from the plane’s poorly received official name “Lightning II.”

According to The War Zone U.S. Air Force pilots at Nellis Air Force Base refer to the F-35A as the “Panther.” The article features a patch from the service’s 6th Weapons Squadron with the words “Panther Tamer”, referring to the F-35A. Of course, everyone knows the official name of the F-35A is the Lightning II, but at Nellis it’s “Panther.”

One of the most understated problems with the F-35—a plane with many problems—is the name. The F-35 was named after not one but two planes: the Lockheed P-38 Lightning fighter of World War II, and the English Electric Lightning jet fighter of the Cold War. Like the F-35, the fork-tailed P-38 was also built by Lockheed Martin, and the United Kingdom would be one of the largest overseas customer of the Joint Strike Fighter.

The resulting name, “Lightning Two” is a nice gesture to history, but it’s also deeply unpopular. Nobody other than the Pentagon uses it. Reporters writing about the F-35 often go entire articles without using the name, preferring F-35 or the older "Joint Strike Fighter." Many people with a casual interest in the F-35 may not even be aware of the official name.

Why is it unpopular? For one, the name is too long. The best warplane names are short and sweet: Sabre and Viper are examples. A nice cadence can make a longer name, like Tornado or Phantom, roll more easily off the tongue. A long but mighty name like Strike Eagle can force acceptance from sheer coolness. Lightning Two has none of these qualities.

Another reason Lightning Two is so disliked is because it is a sequel name. People dislike sequels, which are often uninspiring messes piggybacking off the popularity of the original. Many outside observers would have said the same thing about the F-35 in the late 2000s, and some would still say so now. Original names fare much better: the F-22 Raptor is the first jet bearing the name Raptor and, for the sake of originality, hopefully the last for a very long time.

Fortunately, the pilots who fly any given planes ultimately get the final say. In the late 1970s, Air Force pilots flying the first F-16s became enamored of the show “Battlestar Galactica,” which featured “Viper” space fighters. The name stuck, and today nobody calls the F-16 by its real name, the Fighting Falcon...
https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/aviation/a20789594/the-f-35s-new-much-better-nickname-is-panther/

I was always rather partial to "Voodoo" myself--though would probably be banned today as insensitive cultural appropriation :tsktsk:

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Re: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)
« Reply #4377 on: March 01, 2019, 16:02:15 »
Singapore buying in, question is what mix (if mix it is) of F-35Bs and Cs:

Quote
Singapore to order four F-35s, with options for eight

Singapore plans to place a firm order for four Lockheed Martin F-35s, with options for an additional eight aircraft.

“We have announced our plans to replace our F-16s, which will face obsolescence post 2030, with the F-35s,” said defence minister Ng Eng Hen in a parliamentary speech.

“This will mean the RSAF fighter fleet will consist of F-35 and [Boeing] F-15SGs if plans come to fruition a decade or so from now [emphasis added].”

He added that Singapore will issue a letter of request for four aircraft and options for eight. He stressed that the US congress must approve the sale, but the deal has the blessings of the both President Donald Trump and the US Department of Defense.

“President Trump wrote to Prime Minister Lee last month, welcoming Singapore’s plans to acquire the F-35,” said Ng.

Ng made no mention of which variant Singapore will obtain, although the country is believed to be interested in the F-35B short take-off vertical landing (STOVL) variant [emphasis added]. He also did not say when the Republic of Singapore Air Force will receive the jets.

The remarks are consistent with Singapore defence ministry statement in January that said a “small number” of F-35s would be obtained for assessment purposes.

Singapore is set to become the first F-35 operator in Southeast Asia, and the fourth in Asia-Pacific after Australia, Japan, and South Korea. It will also become the first Southeast Asian air force equipped with a stealth aircraft.

Ng also tweeted a presentation slide of Singapore’s planned military equipment for “2030 and beyond.”

The F-35 and F-15SG were the only two fixed wing fighters displayed. Also included where the C-130 tactical transport and Fokker 50 maritime patrol aircraft.

Cirium Fleets Analyzer shows that Singapore has 10 C-130s in service – five C-130Hs, four KC-130Bs, and one KC-130H – with an average age of 45.8 years. Its five Fokker 50 MPAs have an average age of 24.6 years, and its four Fokker 50 transports are on average 25.8 years old.

Singapore has been tight-lipped about its plans for both fleets, but both will increasingly face obsolescence.

The graphic also shows the Airbus Helicopters H225M and CH-47F. In 2016 Singapore announced that the H225M will replace the RSAF’s AS332 Super Pumas, and the CH-47F its CH-47SDs.


[any CAF salivation in order?]
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/singapore-to-order-four-f-35s-with-options-for-eig-456243/

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Re: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)
« Reply #4378 on: March 04, 2019, 13:22:01 »
Sigh we will be a "near peer" to Singapore

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Re: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)
« Reply #4380 on: March 07, 2019, 17:33:27 »
Their buy may involve up to 12 aircraft. I think they would be wise to buy a half dozen P8's as well. But the F35's allow them to operate a networked force.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/the-message-to-china-behind-singapores-us-f-35-jet-plan/ar-BBUtj12?ocid=spartanntp

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Re: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)
« Reply #4381 on: April 01, 2019, 15:56:26 »
Israelis hard at it, showing their tech expertise:

Quote
Revealed: Israel’s Top Secret F-35F JSMF
April 1, 2019

Secret Two-Seat Variant Uses Additional Crewmember to Counter Anti-F-35 Social Media Posts.

Israel has unveiled their previously classified F-35F Nebekh Joint Social Media Fighter (JSMF). The new rear seat position in the two-seat F-35F Nebekh is occupied by the SMO or Social Media Officer. The modification is in response to threats to the F-35 in the social media space. Gen Hadir Uffani of the IDF told reporters, “The F-35’s primary threats exist in the social media space, so we have made a special variant of the Joint Strike Fighter to counter this threat in real-time.”

The SMO suite consists of integrated sensor fusion that monitors Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat for flamers leveling criticism against the Joint Strike Fighter program. When critical social media posts from internet know-it-alls and trolls are detected, the system can respond in real-time by assigning a massive arsenal of cat memes to interdict the threat. The cat memes are stored in a special, low-observable internal hard drive in the aircraft’s stealthy weapons’ bay...


Newly released image of Israel's top-secret F-35F Nebekh Joint Social Media Fighter (JSMF) first seen on April 1, 2019. (Photo: via Facebook)
https://theaviationist.com/2019/04/01/revealed-israels-top-secret-f-35f-jsmf/

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Offline Rifleman62

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Re: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)
« Reply #4382 on: April 09, 2019, 09:41:41 »
https://theaviationist.com/2019/04/09/japanese-f-35-lightning-ii-stealth-aircraft-reported-missing-over-the-pacific-ocean/

Japanese F-35 Lightning II Stealth Aircraft Reported Missing Over The Pacific Ocean
- 9 Apr 19
      The aircraft has disappeared at around 19.27LT. The status of the aircraft and its pilot is unknown.

According to several Japanese media outlets, an F-35A Lightning II belonging to the Japan Air Self Defense Force is currently reported as missing during a mission over the Pacific Ocean. The F-35 launched from Misawa Air Base, in Aomori Prefecture, in the norther part of the country. Misawa is the home of the 302 Hikotai (Squadron), the unit previously operating the F-4EJ “Kai”, that has officially moved to Misawa air base to operate the JASDF F-35A 5th generation aircraft after retiring its last Phatom on Mar. 26, 2019.

According to the JASDF, the aircraft had taken off from about 7 minutes, as part of a 4-ship formation, when it disappered on Apr. 9, at 7:27PM LT on the Pacific Ocean about 135 km east of Misawa. Japan Maritime Self Defense Force search and rescue vessels have been dispatched to the area where the aircraft disappeared.

If confirmed, the Japanese loss would be the second involving the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters. The first one occurred on September 28, 2018 when a U.S. Marine F-35B Lightning II crashed near Beaufort, South Carolina. The pilot ejected safely. As a consequence of that mishap, almost all the F-35s were shortly grounded on Thursday, October 12, 2018 for safety inspections of their fuel flow systems.

Japan’s program of record is 147 aircraft says the official Lockheed Martin website. “In December 2018, the Japan Ministry of Defense announced its decision to increase its procurement of F-35s from 42 to 147. They stated the aircraft will be a mix of 105 F-35As and 42 F-35B STOVL (Short Take Off and Vertical Landing) aircraft.”

13 F-35A are currently based at Misawa AB, based on Japanese media reports.
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Re: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)
« Reply #4383 on: April 16, 2019, 14:37:28 »
But Marine F-35Bs were there first, last year and in combat (see 2)):

1) F-35 deploys to Middle East for first time

Quote
The Air Force’s most advanced fighter jet has, for the first time, been deployed to the Middle East.

U.S. Air Forces Central Command said in a release that F-35A Lightning IIs from the 388th Fighter Wing and the 419th Fighter Wing, both at Hill Air Force Base in Utah, arrived at Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates Monday.

The F-35′s arrival comes a little more than a month after B-1B Lancer bombers completed their deployment at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, which left the Air Force with no bomber presence in the Middle East. The joint strike fighters will bolster the Air Force’s firepower in the region as the coalition carries out airstrikes against the Taliban in Afghanistan and scattered remnants of the Islamic State.

"We are adding a cutting-edge weapons system to our arsenal that significantly enhances the capability of the coalition,” said Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella, commander of AFCENT, in the release. “The sensor fusion and survivability this aircraft provides to the joint force will enhance security and stability across the theater and deter aggressors.”..
https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/your-air-force/2019/04/15/f-35-deploys-to-middle-east-for-first-time/

2) First Marine F-35B Combat Deployment Hints at New Roles for Amphibious Ready Group
https://news.usni.org/2019/02/27/first-marine-f-35b-combat-deployment-hints-at-new-roles-for-amphibious-ready-group

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Re: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)
« Reply #4384 on: April 23, 2019, 16:11:40 »
F-35A vs F-15X?
Quote
The US Air Force, not Turkey, is frustrating Lockheed execs on the F-35 program

Turkey’s purchase of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 is in jeopardy due to its order of a Russian air defense system, but Lockheed executives on Tuesday appeared unruffled by the dispute.

Rather, they signaled that an inconsistent demand by the U.S. military — particularly the Air Force — is a bigger long-term concern.

During an April 23 earnings call, one Wall Street analyst asked how Lockheed is dealing with shifts in the F-35 production rate caused by fluctuations in U.S. demand and the uncertainty of future orders with Turkey, Canada and Italy...

In the fiscal year 2020 budget, the U.S. Defense Department plans to buy 78 joint strike fighters for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. However, the Air Force, the F-35’s largest customer, requested just 48 F-35As in FY20 and intends to buy only 48 F-35As annually over the next five years — a far cry from the 60 jet buy rate that Air Force officials had previously held as a goal...



By FY20, Lockheed will be able to offer an F-35A conventional take off and landing model at a cost of $80 million or less, Possenriede said. The company is also working to lower sustainment costs to $25,000 per flight hour by 2025, which is on par with the cost of flying fourth generation fighters.

However, it remains to seen whether that will be enough to entice the Air Force to increase its buy rates, especially as it also plans to begin procuring the F-15X from rival Boeing in FY20.

Defense Department officials have maintained that the F-35 program of record remains the same, and that overall quantities aren’t in danger of being slashed if the services buy the jets more slowly...
https://www.defensenews.com/industry/2019/04/23/the-us-air-force-not-turkey-is-frustrating-lockheed-execs-on-the-f-35-program/

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Re: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)
« Reply #4385 on: April 30, 2019, 11:47:42 »
The F35 is in the news as it should be as we face off with potential foe's China and Russia.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/International-relations/US-scrambles-to-keep-F-35-s-secrets-safe-from-Russia-and-China

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Re: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)
« Reply #4387 on: May 01, 2019, 09:54:19 »
Now Poles:

Quote
Polish defense minister: F-35 acquisition ‘not far away’

Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said April 29 that the Polish government aimed to sign a deal to station U.S. troops in Poland this year, and a contract to purchase F-35 fighter jets was “not far away” from being signed.

Blaszczak’s announcement in an interview with local broadcaster TVP indicates that Warsaw could aim to negotiate on the potential troop deployment in parallel with the aircraft acquisition. Poland has pitched for the United States to build a permanent military base in the country, offering to pay at least $2 billion toward the project, dubbed “Fort Trump.”

On April 25, during her visit to Warsaw, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said that a U.S. Air Force team was to be sent to Poland in May to demonstrate the capabilities of the F-35 to Polish defence ministry officials, as reported by local news agency PAP.

Last February, Blaszczak said the planned acquisition of 32 fifth-generation aircraft [emphasis added] would be carried out as part of the country’s military modernization program. Under the initiative, Warsaw aims to spend 185 billion zloty ($48.5 billion) on new weapons and equipment by 2026.

The envisioned procurement is part of Poland’s efforts to to replace its outdated Soviet-designed Sukhoi Su-22 and Mikoyan MiG-29 fighter jets.
https://www.defensenews.com/global/europe/2019/04/30/polish-defense-minister-f-35-acquisition-not-far-away/

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Re: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)
« Reply #4388 on: May 02, 2019, 13:32:55 »
Upping the internal missile load:

Quote
Lockheed ‘Sidekick’ Will Raise F-35 Missile Capacity

A device called Sidekick will allow a U.S. Air Force or Navy version of the F-35 to carry six AIM-120 missiles internally instead of four, a Lockheed Martin official says.

The comments by F-35 test pilot Tony Wilson on May 1 come as the program continues to define the details of a 10-year modernization program for the F-35 called Block 4 [emphasis added]. The upgrades are expected to allow the F-35 to carry improved sensors and new weapons.

But it’s also possible that the F-35 will be able to carry more air-to-air weapons in the internal bays, which preserve the aircraft’s ability to avoid being tracked by an enemy’s fire control radars at long range.

“What we’ve done is essentially completed trade studies, design and development” of Sidekick, a Lockheed spokesman added. “What is left to be fielded would be things like software integration, weapons separation testing, flight testing and airworthiness testing.”

Lockheed hasn’t released details of the design of the Sidekick mechanism. The F-35A and F-35C are equipped with two internal bays, with each carrying two AIM-120s or a single AIM-120 and a large bomb such as a 2,000-lb. GBU-32 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM). The lift fan aboard the F-35B limits each internal bay to carrying either two AIM-120s or one missile and a 1,000-lb. JDAM.

It’s possible the Sidekick replaces the AIM-120 launch adapter in the high section of the internal bay with a mechanism that can store two of the Raytheon-built, radar-guided missiles in the same space as one now...

Separately, an Air Force F-35A deployed to the United Arab Emirates completed an airstrike on an Islamic State target in Iraq on April 30 [emphasis added]. The pilot released a JDAM on the target, which included a tunnel network and weapons cache, according to a statement by Air Forces Central Command. The military statement did not describe the results of the strike.

Last year, Israel’s Air Force commander revealed that an F-35I was used in combat for the first time in 2018 in the Middle East. The U.S. Marine Corps also announced last September that the F-35B had dropped a weapon on a Taliban target in Afghanistan.
https://aviationweek.com/defense/lockheed-sidekick-will-raise-f-35-missile-capacity

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Offline MarkOttawa

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Re: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)
« Reply #4389 on: May 03, 2019, 15:25:33 »
Things still not going that swimmingly:

Quote
Pentagon Says F-35 Flight Hour Stretch Goal Unachievable

The Pentagon admits its $25,000 flight hour stretch goal for the Lockheed Martin F-35A is unrealistic to attain by fiscal 2025.

There are several studies ongoing surrounding F-35 flight hour cost at the Pentagon and there is no path to get to $25,000 by fiscal 2025. Currently, the F-35A cost per flight hour is $44,000, Bob Daigle, Cost Assessment And Program Evaluation (CAPE) director, told the House Armed Services tactical air and land forces subcommittee May 2.

“That’s a target and it’s not our projection of where we’re actually going to be,” Daigle said.

Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin said in February the company was committed to the $25,000 cost target goal by 2025. “I have a lot of confidence we’re going to get there. And every day I see the actions of that partnership,” said O.J. Sanchez, sustainment innovation and operations vice president.

The F-35 enterprise highlights flight hour cost targets in its lifecycle sustainability plan (LSP) that was approved in January. The LSP has eight lines of effort that assess cost per flying hour, cost per tail per year and overall ownership cost, Vice Adm. Mat Winter, F-35 program executive officer, told reporters May 2 after the subcommittee hearing.

“All of those levers that are in the LSP give us the confidence that we can go from $44,000 a flight hour to $34,000 a flight hour in 2024,” Winter said.

The LSP has the $25,000 flight hour stretch goal by 2025 in the document. “That will be very, very hard to meet but it’s FY ‘19 right now and we have a number of years,” he said.

On average the cost per flight hour for the F-35 must be reduced by 7-12% each year. “The 25 by 25 wasn’t generated by the program office nor the CAPE. It was stretch goal given to us by our leadership,” Winter said.
https://aviationweek.com/defense/pentagon-says-f-35-flight-hour-stretch-goal-unachievable

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Offline Jarnhamar

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Re: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)
« Reply #4390 on: May 03, 2019, 16:48:15 »
Quote
the F-35A cost per flight hour is $44,000

Wow. At that price wouldn't it be cheaper to just bribe enemy pilots to defect?
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Re: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)
« Reply #4391 on: May 08, 2019, 13:41:46 »
Would almost be cheap-ish by time we might end up buying:

Quote
Price Drop: Lockheed Pitches $80M F-35A to Pentagon

 That’s the cheapest price yet for the Air Force version of the fifth-generation jet.

Lockheed Martin is offering to come down more than 10% on the price of the least-expensive F-35 as it negotiates the largest sale yet of Joint Strike Fighters.

The company is offering to sell the Pentagon about 100 F-35As — the version flown by the U.S. Air Force and most allies — for less than $80 million each, down from $89.5 million apiece in the deal signed last September. That price point suggests the company will meet its 2020 price targets for the warplane, whose lengthy development and higher-than-expected initial costs have drawn much criticism.

The 100 F-35A are part of a block buy of three production lots of the jets — in all, roughly 450 jets. The order will include F-35Bs for the Marine Corps, F-35Cs for the U.S. Navy, and a variety of the jets for allies.

“We currently have an offer submitted to the Department of Defense for Lots 12-14 that is below the $80 million F-35A for lot 14 in 2020, per our longstanding commitment,” company spokesman Mike Friedman wrote in an email Tuesday. “This represents equal or less than the procurement cost of legacy jets, while providing a generational leap in capability.”

The latest round of F-35 negotiations come as the Air Force is planning to buy new Boeing-made F-15 Eagle fighters for the first time in two decades. While the new Eagles would replace existing F-15s, Lockheed has argued the F-35 is a cheaper alternative and offers stealth and other technology that comes standard in a more modern, fifth-generation warplane.

The proposed purchase of three batches of jets simultaneously is meant to get a better price than past years’ annual purchases of a few dozen of the jets. A 2018 Rand study put the potential savings at more than $2 billion...
https://www.defenseone.com/business/2019/05/price-drop-lockheed-pitches-80m-f-35a-pentagon/156825/#

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Offline tomahawk6

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Re: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)
« Reply #4392 on: May 08, 2019, 16:16:27 »
Buy the vstol version [Marine version] so as to operate in austere conditions or get the F15x.

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Re: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)
« Reply #4393 on: May 08, 2019, 18:52:31 »
Wow. At that price wouldn't it be cheaper to just bribe enemy pilots to defect?

You should ATIP the current CF-188 cost per flight hour...

Offline MilEME09

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Re: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)
« Reply #4394 on: May 09, 2019, 00:50:05 »
Can we get a block buy of 100?
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Re: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)
« Reply #4395 on: May 09, 2019, 07:26:55 »
USMC variant is shorter range, more maintenance intense, and more expensive to operate.

Good to see cost per airframe going down, but total acquisition cost is a more important figure.
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Re: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)
« Reply #4396 on: May 10, 2019, 15:29:53 »
Pentagon not ready for block buy yet:

Quote
Ellen Lord: Lot 12 Contract For F-35s Soon
The Pentagon says a new F-35 deal is coming this summer, and promises more costs savings even as the program struggles to get needed spare parts.

The US will soon sign a new contract to acquire more F-35s, even as it scans the globe for alternate suppliers for parts currently being made in Turkey in the event the NATO ally is removed from the program .

“We would like to have a contract award in the June/July time frame,” Ellen Lord, the Pentagon’s chief acquisition official, told reporters Friday. That means it may well come in time for the Paris Air Show, held in the third week of June. The contract would be for Lot 12, following September’s $11.5 billion Lot 11 deal for 141 aircraft.

Under that deal, the price per F-35A aircraft fell to $89 million, and Lord said she expects costs to continue to slide for the next Low Rate of Initial Production (LRIP) lot.

There has been some talk about the Pentagon issuing multi-year contracts for future lots of the stealthy aircraft, including lots 15 tough 17, but Lord refused to offer predictions for the future of the program. “I’m not sure I would call it a goal,” to enter into multi-year contracts, she said. “It’s under consideration. There are questions about the benefits of doing that as well as the negatives of doing that [but] any decision I make will be a data-driven decision.”

A total of 14 countries participate in the F-35 program, but only one — Turkey — is in danger of being booted from the pack. The tension between Ankara and the rest of NATO only continues to grow the closer the country gets to purchasing the Russian S-400 air defense system, which the US and NATO has said would force them to exclude Turkey from the F-35 team.

That’s a problem not only for the segment of the F-35 industrial base that resides in Turkey, but also because taking the 100 F-35A aircraft Turkey plans to purchase out of the mix would likely increase unit costs for other customers. Overall, Turkish companies are expected to perform about $12 billion worth of work on the aircraft in the coming years.

Last month, the Pentagon confirmed that it had stopped F-35 parts shipments to Turkey in retaliation for the impending S-400 deal...

The aircraft is facing other issues, including suffering a shortage of hundreds of spare parts each month, causing production line slowdowns and cost increases. Appearing on Capitol Hill again earlier this month, Winter said he was “hitting a stagnant plateau with Lockheed Martin because they are 600 parts a month behind on average — 600 parts not on the production line when I need them.” Now that more than 400 of the aircraft are deployed, Winter said he needs parts “to fix the airplanes” out populating air wings.
https://breakingdefense.com/2019/05/ellen-lord-lot-12-contract-for-f-35s-soon/

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Offline Colin P

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Re: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)
« Reply #4397 on: May 23, 2019, 14:47:19 »
If Canada falls out of the program and loses the part contracts, they will be in a world of hurt I suspect. they might extend those contracts until a suitable supply is up and running.

Just on the 30% discount from FMS sales and the parts contract, the F35 is the best bet for us. Although i think the new F15 is a better fit.

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Re: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)
« Reply #4398 on: May 28, 2019, 11:15:19 »
Now the Poles, will please Trump:

Quote
Poland plans to buy 32 F-35A fighters: minister

Poland plans to buy 32 Lockheed Martin F-35A fighters to replace Soviet-era jets, Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said on Tuesday, amid the growing assertiveness of neighbour Russia.

“Today we sent a request for quotation (LOR) to our American partners regarding the purchase of 32 F-35A aircraft along with a logistics and training package,” Blaszczak tweeted.

The United States is expected to expand sales of F-35 fighters to five nations including Poland as European allies bulk up their defenses in the face of a strengthening Russia, the Pentagon said last month. reut.rs/2ExdnD1

Poland is among NATO member countries that spend at least 2% of GDP on defence. Warsaw agreed in 2017 to raise defence spending gradually from 2% to 2.5% of GDP, meaning annual spending should nearly double to about 80 billion zlotys ($21 billion) by 2032...
https://www.reuters.com/article/SOMNIA-idUSKCN1SY0NQ

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Offline MarkOttawa

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Re: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)
« Reply #4399 on: June 10, 2019, 16:54:16 »
Terribly clever of Justin Trudeau to keep delaying decision on new RCAF fighter until F-35A cost came down a bunch, eh?

Quote
Lockheed, Pentagon reach handshake agreement on next F-35 lot, paving the way for an $80M jet next year

Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Department of Defense have reached a handshake agreement on the next lot of F-35 joint strike fighters, an agreement that for the first time includes options for customers to purchase additional aircraft over the next few years.

In a statement, Pentagon acquisition head Ellen Lord called the agreement, worth $34 billion over lots 12, 13 and 14 for 478 aircraft, a “historic milestone.”

The agreement includes 157 jets in lot 12, and comes with an estimated 8.8 percent Unit Recurring Flyaway cost savings from the previous lot. While the Pentagon did not provide costs per aircraft in its news release, that would amount to about $81 million per F-35A conventional takeoff and landing model compared to $89.2 million for an F-35A in lot 11.

Lord estimated that the cost will drop around 15 percent from lot 11 to lot 14 across all variants, which could peg an A model at around $76 million.

“This framework estimates the delivery of an F-35A for less than $80M in Lot 13, one year earlier than planned," [emphasis added] Lord said. "This agreement symbolizes my commitment to aggressively reduce F-35 cost, incentivize Industry to meet required performance, and to deliver the greatest capabilities to our warfighters at the best value to our taxpayers.”

The price of the F-35B short takeoff and landing variant and F-35C carrier variant also dropped in lot 12, said Greg Ulmer, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 head.

“With smart acquisition strategies, strong government-industry partnership and a relentless focus on cost reduction, the F-35 enterprise has successfully reduced procurement costs of the 5th generation F-35 to equal or less than 4th generation legacy aircraft,” he said in a statement. “The handshake agreement, once finalized, will represent the largest F-35 production contract and the lowest aircraft prices in program history.”
https://www.defensenews.com/air/2019/06/10/lockheed-pentagon-reach-handshake-agreement-on-first-f-35-multiyear-buy/

Plus:

Quote
$34B = Biggest Procurement In History As Lockheed, DoD Handshake Deal for 478 F-35s
The deal for hundreds of new F-35s will drive the cost per airplane below $80 million for the first time.
https://breakingdefense.com/2019/06/34b-biggest-procurement-in-history-as-lockheed-dod-handshake-deal-for-478-f-35s/

Mark
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« Last Edit: June 10, 2019, 16:57:37 by MarkOttawa »
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