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F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)

MarkOttawa

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At Air Force Times on ALIS:

Problems plaguing F-35's next-gen maintenance system
http://www.airforcetimes.com/story/military/2015/04/15/problems-facing-f35-maintainers-automated-system/25781075/

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MarkOttawa

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Back to Marines:

Marines overhaul air-to-air combat tactics while integrating F-35 fighter jet
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2015/04/20/marines-overhaul-air-to-air-combat-tactics-while-integrating-f-35-fighter-jet/

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CougarKing

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More Super Hornets on the way because of F35C model delays?

Military.com

Navy Leans Toward Building More Super Hornets After F-35C Delays

The Navy is considering extending production of its F/A-18 Super Hornet beyond 2017 because of delays in production of the Navy's carrier-launched F-35C and increased demands on the Hornet fleet, service leaders said.
Navy leaders had planned to halt production of the F/A-18 Super Hornet at Boeing's St. Louis plant in 2017 as the service prepared to replace Hornets with Joint Strike Fighters.

In order to reduce operational risk, Navy aviation leaders have said the service needs two to three additional squadrons of Super Hornets as older F/A-18As, Bs, Cs and Ds reach the end of their useful service life.

(...SNIPPED)
 

Oldgateboatdriver

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I was under the impression that the USN had retired all of its 18-A's and B's and only had C's and D's of the non-super bug type left.

Can anyone confirm (or deny) that?
 

WingsofFury

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Oldgateboatdriver said:
I was under the impression that the USN had retired all of its 18-A's and B's and only had C's and D's of the non-super bug type left.

Can anyone confirm (or deny) that?

They have a total of 100 A's and B's in service currently.  They are similar to the upgraded CF-18's that we fly which I believe are identified as CF-18AN's, or something to that effect...

Supersonic Max can confirm...
 

MarkOttawa

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Looks like USN and USMC may well get some of what they want:

HASC Subcommittee Recommends Additional F-35Bs, F-18s in FY 2016 Defense Bill

The House Armed Services tactical air and land subcommittee supports filling the Navy’s and Marine Corps’ unfunded requirements for additional Boeing F-18E/F Super Hornets and Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters (JSF), committee aids told reporters on Wednesday.

Though the recommendation is subject to change between now and next week’s release of the full committee section of the annual defense bill, “the subcommittee does support, as members have said, additional F-18s and some F-35s,” a staffer said.

The Navy and Marine Corps had requested 12 additional F-18Fs, six F-35Bs and eight F-35Cs beyond what was included in their Fiscal Year 2016 budget proposal. The subcommittee’s recommendation to the full committee supports the Super Hornets and the Marines’ B variant. The staffers could not say how many of each might be added – the funding for these additional planes would have to come from other subcommittees as well and therefore is a full committee discussion to be had next week – but they did note that several subcommittee members want to support as much of the Unfunded Requirements list as possible. The request for additional aircraft carrier variant JSFs was not supported, however…
http://news.usni.org/2015/04/22/hasc-subcommittee-recommends-additional-f-35bs-f-18s-in-fy-2016-defense-bill

More:

HASC AirLand Bumps Up F-35B, F-18, & Stryker; No F-35Cs Added
http://breakingdefense.com/2015/04/hasc-airland-bumps-up-f-35b-f-18-stryker/

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MarkOttawa

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Usual copyright disclaimer:

Navy Leans Toward Building More Super Hornets After F-35C Delays

The Navy is considering extending production of its F/A-18 Super Hornet beyond 2017 because of delays in production of the Navy’s carrier-launched F-35C and increased demands on the Hornet fleet, service leaders said.
Navy leaders had planned to halt production of the F/A-18 Super Hornet at Boeing’s St. Louis plant in 2017 as the service prepared to replace Hornets with Joint Strike Fighters.

In order to reduce operational risk, Navy aviation leaders have said the service needs two to three additional squadrons of Super Hornets as older F/A-18As, Bs, Cs and Ds reach the end of their useful service life.

“We have looked at the F-18 inventory as part of our overall inventory management. The CNO (Chief of Naval Operations) has testified that looking at our inventory from now into the mid-2020s and 2030s — we need about two to three squadrons of Super Hornets to really reduce risk going forward as we procure F-35Cs,” Rear Adm. Michael Manazir, airector of air warfare, told Military​.com in an interview…

The Navy had been planning for the Super Hornets to serve well into the 2030s, but now service leaders say that timeline will need to extend into the 2040s [emphasis added]. Manazir explained that the Navy plans to begin buying 20 F-35Cs a year by 2020…

The Navy is considering a series of upgrades to the F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft designed to increase the range and performance of the aircraft, Manazir added.

These proposed upgrades include the use of conformal fuel tanks, avionics enhancements and an external weapons pod designed to reduce the aircraft’s radar signature.

If the Navy decides to pursue these Boeing-funded upgrades to the aircraft, it is possible the Navy could also buy more than the 563 proposed, Navy officials said. Citing affordability concerns, Manazir said it was unlikely that all of the proposed upgrades would take place simultaneously…

The Navy is also involved in an ongoing joint study to assess the need for E/A-18G Growler jamming or electronic attack aircraft.

“We have enough Growlers to support the Navy mission, but what joint airborne electronic attack missions will we need to support in the future? Right now, we have 153 of them. If the joint fight requires more Growlers, then those would also come off the same line,” he explained.

The rapid technological improvement of potential adversaries’ air defense systems has created a circumstance wherein the F-35C’s stealth technology will at times need to work in tandem with the support of Growler electronic jamming aircraft.

“Maneuvering inside all of the bands of the spectrum is very important. If there is a strike fighter that is optimized for a certain part of the spectrum, you have to worry about dominating the rest of the spectrum,” Manazir explained. “If you are going to operate against high-end integrated air defense systems, you will have to have a combination of low-radar cross-section and probably some kind of jamming characteristics.”..
http://defensetech.org/2015/04/22/navy-leans-toward-building-more-super-hornets-after-f-35c-delays/

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MarkOttawa

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Bloomberg:

F-35 Engines From United Technologies Called Unreliable by GAO
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-04-27/f-35-engines-from-united-technologies-called-unreliable-by-gao

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Stars and Stripes:

Federal auditors rate reliability of F-35 engine 'very poor'
http://www.stripes.com/news/us/federal-auditors-rate-reliability-of-f-35-engine-very-poor-1.342744

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MarkOttawa

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Full House Armed Services Committee approves:

The House Armed Services Committee (HASC)…wants to clear the Navy and Marine Corps to buy additional fighter jets…

“…the chairman’s proposal authorizes 12 additional F-18s for the Navy and six additional F-35Bs for the Marine Corps,” according to the committee…

The panel proposes an additional $1.15 billion for the…dozen Boeing-made F/A-18 Super Hornets above the number requested by the Navy, and an additional $1 billion for the six extra Lockheed Martin-manufactured F-35Bs…
http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/policy-budget/congress/2015/04/27/hasc-ndaa-a10-thornberry/26463849/

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MarkOttawa

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As for USAF:

Air Force: Keeping A-10 means F-35 delays, F-16 cuts

If not allowed to retire the A-10, the Air Force says it will have to send F-16s to the boneyard and delay plans for the F-35 because there aren't enough airmen to maintain both fighters.

If lawmakers succeed in passing a bill requiring the Air Force to keep the A-10 in its fleet for another year, too few maintenance personnel would available to stand up the first operating unit of the F-35 at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, and even fewer to continue maintenance of the F-16, the service told congressional staff in a recent briefing. The base is expected to begin receiving F-35s later this year.

The Air Force plan, if authorized, would be to move F-16s from Hill to replace retiring A-10s at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, and Fort Wayne Air National Guard Base, Indiana.

But if that plan is blocked, the Air Force cannot move the F-16s from Hill. Meanwhile, the Falcon units would lose maintenance personnel to the new F-35 units, causing the F-16s to "lose deployable capability," according to an Air Force talking paper obtained by Air Force Times.

Thus, moving forward with the F-35 "requires the retirement or transfer of assigned Hill AFB F-16s in late FY15/early FY16, " the paper says.

Nevertheless, it is looking more likely that the Air Force again will be directed to keep the A-10s flying. House Armed Services Committee chairman Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, in his markup of the defense bill included $682.7 million for the fleet. The bill will go to the full committee Wednesday, and multiple senators have also vowed to keep the planes flying...
http://www.airforcetimes.com/story/military/capitol-hill/2015/04/28/air-force-keeping-a10-impact-16s/26519547

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MarkOttawa

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After GAO on engine problems,
http://milnet.ca/forums/threads/22809/post-1364003.html#msg1364003

now the Pentagon's Inspector General:

IG faults management of F-35 engine program

Management of the F-35's engine program is deficient in dozens of ways, and the blame lies with both the manufacturer and the Pentagon office overseeing the aircraft program, the Defense Department Inspector General said in a report released Monday.

The report comes two weeks after another report, from the Government Accountability Office, questioned the engine's reliability based on a lack of flight testing and engine availability in fiscal 2014. The House Armed Services Committee, in its tactical air and land forces subcommittee markup of the fiscal 2016 defense bill, is calling for additional oversight of the program

Engine maker Pratt & Whitney, however, says that the reports do not show a full picture of the engine's reliability, and that the company has fixes in place that, in its own projections, show the engine will meet reliability requirements in the near future...
http://www.airforcetimes.com/story/military/2015/04/28/dod-ig-review-f35-engine-program/26461887/

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tomahawk6

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Nice pictorial of the 3 F-35 varients.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/theres-nothing-americas-most-expensive-124300220.html
 

MarkOttawa

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House Armed Services Committee approves 50 USAF F-35As for LRIP 10, FY2016 starting Oct. 1 2015:

The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) shot down Rep. Jackie Speier's amendment to trim the Pentagon's F-35 buy, but not before the California Democrat sparred with Rep. Mike Turner.

During Wednesday's HASC markup of its 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Speier offered an amendment that would have trimmed six F-35s from the Air Force's proposed buy of 44 Lockheed Martin-made jets...
http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/policy-budget/congress/2015/04/29/ndaa-2016-f35-hasc/26577951/

LRIPs:

...
Lockheed's entire operation is gearing up for full-rate production in 2019, before which the number of jets is set to expand from 62 in LRIP 9 to 98 and 168 in lots 10 and 11, respectively...
http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/analysis-hurdles-ahead-as-lockheed-works-to-meet-full-rate-f-35-407970/

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CougarKing

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Ha!

But then again, this only means more potential customers for China's J31, the F-35 knockoff.

Military.com

White House Says F-35s Not For Sale to Gulf Arab States

May 12, 2015 | by Richard Sisk
President Obama's Camp David summit with the Gulf Arab states on Thursday will seek to boost arms sales to the Gulf neighbors but the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has been taken off their wish list.

White House officials on Monday sought to tamp down speculation that King Salman of Saudi Arabia canceled his attendance at Camp David when the U.S. made clear that his country would not be permitted to buy F-35s.

"We do not and never anticipated this to be a summit that only focused on one capability, like the F-35, for instance," said Ben Rhodes, the deputy National Security Advisor to Obama.

"What we're focused on is the capabilities that are most relevant to the current security challenges that the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) faces," Rhodes said in a conference call with other administration officials.

(...SNIPPED)
 

MarkOttawa

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1) SASC Markup Whacks LRS Bomber; Adds 12 Super Hornets, 6 F-35Bs

WASHINGTON: The Navy won and the Air Force lost in the markup of the Senate Armed Services Committee...

What didn’t the Navy get? Hmm. Well, they did get: $1.2 billion for 12 new F/A-18E/F Super Hornets (Boeing), $1 billion for six more F-35Bs (Lockheed), the same amount the House Armed Services Committee added; and $170 million for something that’s a bit mystifying: “upgrades jamming protection for F/A-18E/F and E/A-18G.” Since the G model is the electronic warfare plane, one wonders...
http://breakingdefense.com/2015/05/sasc-markup-whacks-lrs-bomber-adds-12-super-hornets-6-f-35bs/

2) U.S. Air Force eyes possible competition for F-35 upgrades

The U.S. Air Force is considering opening to competition future upgrades of the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jet in the Pentagon's costliest arms project, the Air Force's top acquisition official said Friday.

William LaPlante said the service was assessing costs to transform the airplane's software into a so-called "open architecture" system that would make it easier to plug in future equipment upgrades.

"It's not been decided that we will do it, or won't do it, but it has been decided that we're going to try," LaPlante told reporters after a breakfast hosted by the Air Force Association.

The Pentagon's F-35 program office is looking at how to structure Block 4, the first software upgrades scheduled after the F-35 completes developmental testing in 2017...
http://in.reuters.com/article/2015/05/15/lockheed-fighter-upgrades-idINL1N0Y61QD20150515

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Ostrozac

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S.M.A. said:
But then again, this only means more potential customers for China's J31, the F-35 knockoff.

Highly unlikely. The Gulf State Air Forces don't buy Chinese -- Chinese and Russian equipment is still perceived as being for a working man's air force (Pakistan and India, especially). The regions Royals want something with a bit more cachet. If they can't get Lockheed Martin, then they'll buy Boeing, or Dassault, or Eurofighter. Chinese stuff just doesn't impress the locals on the King's birthday the way that western stealth fighters would.
 

MarkOttawa

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New missile, not just for USN:

Navy Develops Autonomous Air-Launched Missile for F/A-18

The Navy is working on a deal with Lockheed Martin to integrate its new, autonomously guided Long Range Anti-Ship Missile onto an F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft, giving the fighter an increased ability to identify and strike targets at longer ranges from the air, service and Lockheed officials explained.

In development since with the Navy and the Pentagon’s research arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, the so-called LRASM weapon is being developed as a long-range air, surface and submarine-launched missile able to track and destroy targets autonomously or semi-autonomously.

Not much detail about its seeker technology, range or guidance systems is publically available – as much of the program is secret. However, Lockheed officials have said the weapon has an unclassified range of 200 nautical miles, a distance which is likely to be well short of its actual range.

Also, LRASM does use an autonomous guidance technology designed to allow the weapon to avoid obstacles in the air while in flight, Lockheed officials explained.

The Navy plans to have LRASM operational on F/A-18s by 2019; the Navy, Air Force DARPA and Lockheed have conducted at least three demonstrations of the LRASM thus far...

The weapon has some similar characteristics to an existing air-launched weapon called the Joint Air-to-Surface-Standoff Missile, or JASSM. This similarity will likely help make production of LRASM easier because some of the dimensions are comparable to JASSM.

Eventually, the LRASM will likely fire from surface ships such as destroyers, submarines and aircraft such as F-15s, F-35 joint strike fighters and other platforms [emphasis added], Mourad explained.
http://defensetech.org/2015/05/15/navy-develops-autonomous-air-launched-missile-for-fa-18/

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MarkOttawa

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Meanwhile that USMC IOC:

Hitches with F-35 logistics won't delay summer launch: Lockheed executive

Lockheed Martin Corp said on Monday it is working to resolve "relatively minor" issues with a portable version of the F-35 fighter jet's automated logistics system, but the problems should not impede a Marine Corp milestone this summer.

Jeff Streznetcky, the Lockheed executive in charge of the logistics system known as ALIS, told Reuters the company was working with the Pentagon's F-35 program office to fix the software that runs the new version of ALIS. He said the system remained on track to be deployed in late June or early July.

"I'm not expecting any showstoppers that would cause me any alarm," Streznetcky said in a telephone interview. He stressed the system would not be deployed until it was ready to meet the Marine Corps' operating requirements.

ALIS enables daily operations of the F-35 fleet, including mission planning, scheduling for flights, repairs and routine maintenance, and tracking and ordering of parts...
http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/18/us-lockheed-martin-fighter-logistics-idUSKBN0O321M20150518

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MarkOttawa

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More Marines and IOC:

The F-35 Won’t Be Going To War Against ISIS Just Yet

The U.S. Marine Corps will declare its vertical-flight Joint Strike Fighter ready for war in July, but a top general says it’s unlikely the jets will head to Iraq any time soon...

f I had my druthers, I’d rather not deploy it right away, because I’d like to build some momentum in the program and build the instructor base,” Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, the Marine Corps deputy commandant for aviation, said Tuesday at a Defense Writers Group breakfast.

The Marines plan to declare 10 of their F-35B jets battle-ready in July. But the Corps is still racing to train instructor pilots on the short-takeoff-vertical-landing aircraft, and sending any of them off to war would disrupt the carefully planned training pipeline.

Davis didn’t completely rule out the possibility that the F-35s might be quickly deployed against the Islamic State in Iraq. “It could have a very great capability out there against the ISIS targets out there,” Davis said. “If they wanted to deploy it that way [and] we want to deploy it that way, we could.”

Meanwhile, there are a few hurdles left to clear before the F-35s can receive their certification...
http://www.defenseone.com/threats/2015/05/f35-wont-be-going-war-against-isis-just-yet/113188/


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