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F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)

MarkOttawa

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Whereas far too many Canadians neurotically obsess about the "North" and "Arctic sovereignty" ::):
https://cgai3ds.wordpress.com/?s=%22arctic+sovereignty%22

Mark
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Kirkhill

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Whereas too many Canadians cluster on the border pretending they are a better class of American.
 

MarkOttawa

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Block buy--US and foreign--may be problematic:

Why A Block Buy Of Lockheed F-35s May Not Save Any Money

The Pentagon’s chief weapons tester said Lockheed Martin‘s (LMT) F-35 stealth fighter still has important bugs to be fixed and raised doubts about pursuing a bulk purchase for hundreds of jets.

Defense acquisition officials hope a “block buy” order for up to 500 planes can cut costs for the $400 billion program. It is also a bigger driver for Lockheed, which received $1.4 billion last year for F-35 production contracts.

But a report from the Pentagon’s Operational Test & Evaluation office said a block buy could mean large batches of faulty planes enter service that will need several expensive fixes, resulting in no net cost savings...

“The department should carefully consider whether committing to a ‘block buy,’ composed of three lots of aircraft, is prudent given the state of maturity of the program,” according to the report, which was released Monday[Feb. 1]...

The F-35B variant was declared combat-ready by the Marines last year, and the Air Force is expected to declare its variant of the jet ready by the end of this year. But the plane continues to be plagued with problems.

The report reiterated problems with Block 2B version of the software in the Marines’ F-35B, including problems with electronic warfare, “weapons employment in ambiguous threat displays,” and reliance on off-board sources for accurate coordinates for precision attack, among other issues.

Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, the F-35’s program manager, has said the Marine F-35s have the necessary weapons for close air support, air interdiction and “limited suppression/destruction of enemy air defense missions.”

Bogdan said that Monday’s report doesn’t fully address all the efforts to fix the technical and schedule problems...
http://www.investors.com/news/f-35-block-buy-not-recommended-as-problems-continue/

DOT&E report:
http://www.defense-aerospace.com/dae/articles/communiques/F-35_DOTE_2015.pdf

JPO response:
https://www.f35.com/news/detail/2015-dote-report-public-response-statement

Mark
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Bearpaw

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More F-35 news:

http://nextbigfuture.com/2016/02/all-f35s-to-date-will-require.html

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MarkOttawa

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Hmm:

All the ways the F-35 is screwed up, according to the Pentagon’s top weapons tester [DOT&E]
...
Pierre Sprey, a defense analyst who was involved with designing the A-10 attack jet and F-16 fighter jet, said Wednesday that he is surprised at the amount of candor in Gilmore’s report. He noted that it was released in what is likely Gilmore’s last year as the Pentagon’s top weapons tester, considering his position is a political appointment and President Obama leaves office early next year.

“This document is probably the most extraordinary review of any weapon that has come out of the DOT&E office,” Sprey said. “The fact that this escaped from the Pentagon is extraordinary… You really need to get a sense for what it takes to put out something as critical as this in the face of a 1.3- trillion dollar monster.”..
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2016/02/04/pentagons-top-weapons-tester-airs-major-list-of-grievances-against-f-35-program/

Mark
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MarkOttawa

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Planned USAF F-35 acquisition cuts over next few years vs USN, USMC increases:

Pentagon's budget plan funds 404 Lockheed F-35 jets: sources

The U.S. Defense Department plans to buy 404 Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) F-35 fighter jets over the next five years, a net decrease of 5 to 7 percent from last year's plan, sources familiar with the plans said on Friday [Feb. 5]...

The revised procurement numbers will be released on Tuesday when the Pentagon issues its fiscal 2017 budget and the new five-year plan, said the sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly before the budget release.

The change in the Pentagon's plan for the $391 billion weapons programme defers orders for 45 Air Force jets, compared with last year's plan, while accelerating orders for the Navy and Marine Corps models of the aircraft, the sources said...

The Pentagon's plan does not include an estimated 260 international F-35 orders over the five-year period, said the sources. Those orders could rise further over the period given potential orders from countries including Finland, Denmark, Belgium and Singapore, the sources said [Canada not mentioned].

The new plan calls for the Air Force to buy 243 F-35 jets through fiscal 2021, 45 fewer than planned, as the service juggles funds to pay for a new long-range bomber to be built by Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC.N), and KC-46A refueling planes to be built by Boeing Co (BA.N).

It calls for the Navy and Marine Corps to buy 64 F-35C jets, which can take off and land on aircraft carriers, over the next five years, and 97 F-35B jets, which can land like a helicopter, the sources said...

Two sources said the plans could actually represent an increase of 21 F-35 jets for the Navy and Marine Corps over the five-year period...
http://in.reuters.com/article/usa-budget-lockheed-fighter-exclusive-idINKCN0VF01H

Mark
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MarkOttawa

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Possible Aussie challenges:

[RAAF] Classic Hornets ‘stretched beyond capability’ if JSF delayed

The danger of a capability gap in Australia’s fighter fleet is growing, with fears of fresh delays in the troubled F-35 joint strike fighter as the RAAF’s Classic F/A-18 Hornets are due to retire.

A damning report last week on the progress of the F-35, by the Pentagon’s top weapons tester, has fuelled concern that delivery schedules for the new fighter could be delayed once again.

Any further delay in the delivery of the 72 Australian F-35s would create an acute problem for the RAAF, which would be forced to keep its 71 Classic F/A-18 Hornets flying beyond their effective life expectancy.

Former RAAF group captain Peter Layton warned yesterday that the RAAF could no longer extend the Classic Hornet’s life beyond its current retirement date of 2022 without the fighter becoming “operationally obsolescent’’...

To prevent a capability gap in the face of delays to the F-35 project, the RAAF has already extende­d the life of its Classic Hornets by seven years from last year to 2022, forcing it to spend an extra $50 million a year to maintain the ageing fleet...

The Classic Hornet fleet, which dates from the mid-1980s, has undergone a series of structural refurbishment and avionic update programs since 2003.

A 2012 Australian National Audit Office audit report into the sustainment of the Classic Hornets, written when the fleet was due to be retired in 2020 rather than 2022, warned there were “wide-ranging risks inherent’’ in the management of the ageing fleet.

It found that the costs of maintaining the fleet were rising sharply with sustainment costs, which were averaging $118m a year in the 2000s, now trending towards $170m a year.

It said the Classic Hornet fleet was “accruing fatigue stress” at a rate which would require careful and continual management.
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/defence/classic-hornets-stretched-beyond-capability-if-jsf-delayed/news-story/7500bc3620f50bb15d8fcd1aee6c5e4c

As RCAF CF-18s are to be extended to 2025:
https://cgai3ds.wordpress.com/2015/09/22/mark-collins-rcaf-hornet-life-extension-costsmaller-fleet/

Meanwhile in US:

U.S. Marines to Retire Harrier Fleet Earlier Than Planned, Extend Life of Hornets
http://news.usni.org/2014/11/03/u-s-marines-retire-harrier-fleet-early-planned-extend-life-hornets

[USN] Officials extend F/A-18 Hornet service lives
http://www.navytimes.com/story/military/tech/2015/03/07/fa-18-service-life-extension-strike-fighter-f-35/24381745/

Mark
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estoguy

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To be completely hypothetical here...

So why is it that we are stuck with US or Western European choices?

Could we ever cut a deal with the Russians?  Some of their fighter aircraft are world-class too.

Just wondering. ;)
 

PuckChaser

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estoguy said:
To be completely hypothetical here...

So why is it that we are stuck with US or Western European choices?

Could we ever cut a deal with the Russians?  Some of their fighter aircraft are world-class too.

Just wondering. ;)

Just wondering, or trolling?

You can kiss using US crypto and weapon systems goodbye if we buy Chinese or Russian aircraft.
 

Good2Golf

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estoguy said:
To be completely hypothetical here...

So why is it that we are stuck with US or Western European choices?

Could we ever cut a deal with the Russians?  Some of their fighter aircraft are world-class too.

Just wondering. ;)

Aside from the crypto issue PuckChaser notes, how about Supply Chain Management (i.e. lack thereof)?
 

CougarKing

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From what I can tell in previous posts, an article on this milestone hasn't been posted yet:

Defense News

F-35 Makes First Transatlantic Crossing
By Lara Seligman 12:17 p.m. EST February 6, 2016

NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, Md. – An Italian Air Force F-35 completed the fighter jet’s first transatlantic crossing Friday, a historic event that kicks off a landmark year for the international program.

The aircraft, an Italian Air Force F-35A dubbed AL-1,
touched down here Feb. 5 after a seven-hour flight from Lajes Air Base, Portugal. The plane, which began its journey from Cameri Air Base in Italy, on Tuesday, was scheduled to arrive here on Wednesday, but was delayed due to weather and maintenance issues.

(...SNIPPED)
 

CougarKing

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ASRAAMs for RAF and RN F-35s:

Air Recognition

MBDA started deliveries of ASRAAM missiles for integration on UK's F-35B fighter jets

ASRAAM will be the first UK missile to arm the F-35 and its integration within the F-35 System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase of the programme will give the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy's F-35s a highly capable, passive, Within Visual Range air-to-air capability.

British Defence Minister Philip Dunne welcomed the news from MBDA saying: "The upcoming work to integrate the MBDA Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile onto the F-35 Lightning aircraft will provide a state of the art weapon for both our RAF and Royal Navy pilots. The integration of this missile also demonstrates the success of the UK Defence industry's contribution to the wider F-35 programme. Around 15 per cent in value of every F-35 is being built here in the UK and the work is invaluable to British industry, supporting thousands of jobs across the UK."

(...SNIPPED)
 

estoguy

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Good2Golf said:
Aside from the crypto issue PuckChaser notes, how about Supply Chain Management (i.e. lack thereof)?

PuckChaser said:
Just wondering, or trolling?

You can kiss using US crypto and weapon systems goodbye if we buy Chinese or Russian aircraft.

Wasn't trolling... and good points there.  Just asking because other countries, some that might be considered "allies" use Russian aircraft.  But I'll fully admit to not understanding all the ins and outs of aircraft procurement, including the various issues you guys mentioned. Thanks!
 

Good2Golf

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estoguy said:
Wasn't trolling... and good points there.  Just asking because other countries, some that might be considered "allies" use Russian aircraft.  But I'll fully admit to not understanding all the ins and outs of aircraft procurement, including the various issues you guys mentioned. Thanks!

Not so much procurement, as life-cycle management (a.k.a. in-service support) for a third of a century...that's a really, really, really long time when your supply chain of parts could disappear over night...  :nod:

Cheers
G2G
 

Kirkhill

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Good2Golf said:
Not so much procurement, as life-cycle management (a.k.a. in-service support) for a third of a century...that's a really, really, really long time when your supply chain of parts could disappear over night...  :nod:

Cheers
G2G

And that's assuming that the Russians are on our side....Or is that what you meant, G2G? 

I got confused there because the Russians can't find their supply chain - much less the parts - for their own aircraft.
 

Good2Golf

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Chris Pook said:
And that's assuming that the Russians are on our side....Or is that what you meant, G2G? 

I got confused there because the Russians can't find their supply chain - much less the parts - for their own aircraft.

Less that, and more like some fiduciary agreement based on some ongoing "fees for acquired services" that could become less valuable to the 'contracted supporter' than originally assessed, and thus provision of services could be withdrawn...  :nod:

Cheers
G2G
 

MarkOttawa

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USAF budget request confirms F-35A acquisition slow-down:

US Air Force Defers 45 F-35As Over Next Five Years

The Air Force is deferring 45 F-35As from its budget request over the next five years, essentially stretching out the program’s planned ramp up over the next decade.

The Air Force is re-phasing 45 F-35As in total over the next five years, according to official documents. As first reported by Defense News, the service re-phased 5 jets this year, requesting just 43 in its fiscal 2017 budget submission, down from a planned 48. The Air Force had planned to jump to 60 aircraft a year starting in FY18, but the FY17 budget documents show a slower buildup. The funding profile shows the Air Force will buy 43 F-35As in FY17; 44 in FY18; and 48 in both FY19 and FY20 before the buy jumps to 60 in FY21.

The delayed buildup to the ultimate goal of 1,763 aircraft is one of the “tough choices” the Air Force was forced to make in this year's budget negotiations, according to official budget documents. The service is partially funding Block 4 software upgrades for the jet, as well as research and development of nuclear weapons capability.

Although the cut is not hugely significant in the context of the thousands of aircraft the Pentagon intends to buy over the next decade, the near-term Air Force reduction could impact the unit price of the plane. Some analysts believe the deferral could have a domino effect on the program, causing prices to skyrocket and potentially spooking international partners...
http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/policy-budget/budget/2016/02/09/us-air-force-defers-45-f-35as-over-next-five-years/80063480/

Of course Congress does the actual funding.

Mark
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Rifleman62

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http://www.luke.af.mil/News/ArticleDisplay/tabid/3070/Article/649068/luke-pilot-flies-500th-hour-in-f-35.aspx

Luke pilot flies 500th hour in F-35


By Airman 1st Class Ridge Shan, 56TH Fighter Wing Public Affairs / Published February 03, 2016

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Arizona --
Lt. Col. Matthew Hayden, 56th Fighter Wing chief of safety and pilot attached to the 61st Fighter Squadron, made history as the first Air Force pilot to achieve 500 flight hours in an F-35 Lightning II today at Luke Air Force Base.

Hayden achieved this milestone flying his 270th sortie, a routine training mission, which took off from Luke at approximately 9 a.m. on Tuesday.

“This is a testament to Luke and all the work we’ve done here to build up our experience and operations,” Hayden said. “This is a reflection of our efforts to set up a high-quality training program for new pilots.”

Hayden is one of the most experienced F-35 pilots in the world, and has flown and instructed new pilots at Luke since the inception of its program.

“The [61st FS] Top Dogs are incredibly lucky to have an F-35 instructor pilot who has been with the program since the beginning flying with us on a daily basis,” said Lt. Col. Aaron Jelinek, 61st FS director of operations. “Lieutenant colonel Hayden's depth of knowledge when it comes to both F-35 systems and tactics add incredible value to squadron operations each and every day. This is an impressive milestone for lieutenant colonel Hayden as he continues leading the way when it comes to experience flying the F-35.”

As Luke transitions from its mission of training F-16 Fighting Falcon pilots, maintainers and support specialists to training equivalent Airmen in operation of the new F-35 platform, Hayden’s 500th hour in the air marks a significant leap of progress in the development of Luke’s F-35 program.

“When our most experienced instructor pilot only has 500 hours in the plane, it goes to show the F-35 program is still young,” Jelinek said. “However, it also shows that we are reaching a point where operations are normalizing, and we are able to transition our syllabus from training initial cadre to training less experienced fighter pilots.”

Luke Airmen are among the first in a global generation of pilots to fly the F-35, and will continue to reach milestones such as this for the duration of the aircraft’s development.

“The fabulous thing about this is that there are a lot of guys who are right behind me, who are really close to getting the same kind of milestone in their flying experience,” Hayden said.

As today’s pilots become more and more experienced with the F-35 platform, they position themselves to become the instructors and mentors of future generations of pilots flying more advanced versions of the fighter jet as they are developed and produced.

“As we build our cadre of instructors here, they’ll be able to look back at their experience flying the airplane and have credibility and a solid background that they can use to teach their students,” Hayden said.


Photo Caption: Lt. Col. Matthew Hayden, 56th Fighter Wing chief of safety and pilot attached to the 61st Fighter Squadron, inspects his F-35 before entering the cockpit and beginning take-off procedures, Feb. 2, 2016, at Luke Air Force Base. Hayden became the first Luke pilot to achieve 500 flight hours in an F-35. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ridge Shan)
 
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