Archief van de april, 2011

Apr 27 2011

New problems with JSF F135 engine reported

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

Only a couple of days after the termination of the FY2011 budget in the F136 engine development contract new problems are reported by Stephen Trimble of Flight International in the competitive F135 engine program.

Some quotes from the article “New engine snag upsets F-35 manufacturing progress”:

Pratt & Whitney confirms that a “small number” of F135 test and production engines have been replaced with spares since March. The replacements were ordered after a ground test engine was found to be mis-assembled after an overhaul, Pratt & Whitney says. Further checks identified the same problem on other test and production engines.
“These engines are being replaced by spare engines on site in Fort Worth, with no impact to the F-35 flight test programme,” the company says.
However, Venlet says the engine problem has caused a short-term interruption to the new manufacturing plan.

(…)

Venlet’s predecessor, Brig Gen David Heinz, also complained about quality control issues on the F135 engine, telling reporters in July 2009 that although individual turbine stages met quality specifications, the combined stack of stages in a completed engine did not meet tolerances for quality.

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Apr 26 2011

Canada: F-35 Politics of Procurement

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

CPAC, the Cable Public Affairs Channel, is Canada’s only privately-owned, commercial free, not for profit, licensed television service has a video about the F-35 procurement.

Summary CPAC F-35 Special: The Politics of Procurement

Canada needs a new fleet of fighter jets to replace the decades’ old CF-18s, but which aircraft at what cost? The government has already decided that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is the only one that can meet the military’s needs. The opposition is fighting the purchase because it’s being made without a competition from aircraft makers. When completed the acquisition will be the largest military equipment purchase in Canadian history.

Respected military journalist Scott Taylor will hear from all sides of the debate and gets exclusive access to some of the most advanced aerial fighter machines on the planet as he examines F-35: The Politics of Procurement.

Link to CPAC F-35 Special: The Politics of Procurement (one hour long video)

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Apr 26 2011

Canadian leader Ignatieff: “JSF is out of control”

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

Still after the the Canadian department of National Defence confirmed Monday April 26, 2011 to The Canadian Press that defence officials have been told the cost of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter jets is expected to jump, the Canadian conservative Leader Stephen Harper denies the rising cost of the JSF is a problem and says the cost of Canada’s JSF is still within budget, even after the department in charge confirmed the original price will rise. The new Pentagon report suggests Canada could pay up to $24 billion over 30 years to maintain 65 planes.

Harpert said :“Many of the reports you’re citing are comparing apples to oranges. Our experts have put out their detailed figures and everything we’ve seen is within those figures and their contingencies — the contingencies that have been allowed”.

‘This thing is out of control’

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said Harper simply isn’t telling the truth when it comes to the costs of the fighter jets: “And the thing that is so mendacious about what the government is doing is that they say to the Canadian people we can get you the plane at the right price. Let me tell you folks. Not even President Obama knows what the planes are going to cost. This thing is out of control.”

Full report at CBC.CA; 26-apr-2011; “Harper dismisses reports of F-35 cost hikes

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Apr 26 2011

Neglected US report (2008) about JSF performance…..

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

In April 2008 Geoffrey P. Bowman, LCDR, US Navy published a Case study of the Joint Strike Fighter Program for the Air Command and Staff College - Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, USA.

It is interesting to read what this US military source (not an Aviation magazine journalist) writes about the Joint Strike Fighter program at a moment that selection processes in Norway, The Netherlands, Australia were in full process. Didn’t the DMO’s of these countries know the details of this US report? Or did they neglect the contents?

This US report can be downloaded at this link.

From page 12, Chapter 3 about the Performance, Weapons and Stealth:

The Operational Requirements Document lays out a seemingly robust list of requirements that covers everything from performance to maintenance and sortie generation rates. The high visibility items such as maintenance, sortie generation, logistics footprints, and C4ISR interoperability were addressed very responsibly. The JSF requirements called for significant improvements over legacy platforms in all of the above parameters. Although it is understandable that some concessions would have to be made in the name of affordability, the services may have come up short on basic design, performance, weapons, and dependence on low-observable/stealth technology.

Performance

The overall performance of the proposed JSF is highly inadequate to be considered a “next generation” fighter. The minimal, if any, increase in performance over the legacy platforms it intends to replace, proves that designers are completely dependant on stealth technology for its success. The services asked for adequate numbers in some areas, but fell drastically short in others.
Combat radius can be viewed as adequate. The numbers certainly provide a capability to outperform current fighters and do so using only internal fuel. That being said, it is naïve to assume that the JSF will operate in that configuration. With tankers as a limiting factor for any campaign, it is reasonable to assume that planners will quickly opt to add external tanks and stores to increase the range and weapons payload for the JSF. The effect of this will be twofold: the already low raw performance of the JSF will be degraded and, more importantly, the LO/stealth capability will be essentially eliminated.

(….)

The airspeed requirements are highly inadequate. They barely provide the performance of an F/A-18 and fall well short of the F-16. They are, of course, vast improvements over the AV8B
and A-10, but that is hardly an argument for success when referring to a “next generation” fighter. The CTOL model calls for a threshold of 1.0 Mach at sea level. This requirement is for internal stores only and falls short of the capability of an F/A-18 with external stores.

(….)

Maneuverability requirements also fall short. The instantaneous and sustained G requirements are adequate, although not impressive. The AOA threshold, however, is shortsighted.
A threshold requirement for a fighter that possesses AOA capabilities “similar to” a legacy fighter platform is irresponsible at best. An aircraft that expected to have a service life well past 2060 needs to have superior raw performance in addition to advanced avionics. Software and avionics can always be upgraded, significant performance modifications can never be made.

By stating that the JSF would be a “next generation” fighter, it is assumed that performance will fall into the fifth generation category. While there can be some debate over the exact definition of a fifth generation fighter, the following is generally agreed upon: “fifth generation fighters combine new developments such as thrust vectoring, composite materials, supercruise, stealth technology, advanced radar and sensors, and integrated avionics to greatly improve pilot situational awareness.”34 Clearly the JSF can only claim two of these characteristics: stealth and interoperability through avionics. Other platforms such as the F/A-18 E/F that possess two “fifth generation” capabilities but lack stealth have been coined “4.5 generation” fighters. Without the unproven effectiveness of stealth, the JSF becomes a slower version of the legacy fighters it is attempting to replace.

About CAS capability

CAS requires special training first and foremost, but also has specific weapons needs. The ideal CAS weapons are versatile, quick to employ, and usually must have a small but precise effect to avoid collateral damage. Although JDAM and MK-80 series weapons have certainly played a role in past CAS missions, they are hardly the weapon of choice. The main targets in CAS include vehicles, troops in the open, and occasionally buildings or other hardened targets. With the exception of the latter, the JSF does not have the weapons to be truly effective.
Moving targets will provide an issue for the JSF. Although laser guided bombs have been employed against moving targets in the past, their success rate is generally low. The greatest success against moving targets comes when using a Maverick air-to-ground missile (AGM) or the gun. The JSF will not be Maverick capable and currently only the USAF variant will have an internal gun. Troops in the open are the most common target in CAS. Although one could argue that the JSF will be capable of employing cluster munitions, these are only useful when adequate separation is available.”

(…..)

The JSF team did not request the correct weapons to adequately perform a CAS role. First and foremost, they needed to require a gun on all three variants. The gun provides options when all other weapons are expended or a small precise effect is required.37 A capacity of greater than 180 rounds should have been requested; legacy fighters such as the F/A-18 and F-16 each carry over 500 rounds. Secondly, weapons such as rockets or the Maverick should have been included. Their capabilities have been proven time and time again against moving targets and can also be used in the place of an LGB or JDAM against larger targets such as buildings.
The JSF will be unable to adequately fill the CAS role of legacy strike-fighters, let alone that of the A-10. It does not bring the survivability, design, or weapons capability required to truly operate in support of ground troops in contact with the enemy. The JSF will leave a dangerous gap in CAS capability that will affect future conflicts for decades to come.

Low Observable/Stealth Dependence

The JSF has gambled much when it comes to survivability. It has put all its eggs in the proverbial stealth basket. Although this research has conceded that the JSF program will deliver on its promise of stealth technology, it is unknown whether this technology alone will be relevant in the future of combat operations. Because of the enormous investment made, the JSF needs to be the fifth generation answer for multiple services for decades to come. It may be naïve to assume that stealth technology alone will protect the JSF throughout its service life.

Many countries are currently developing technology to combat LO/stealth platforms. The USAF itself recognizes this and is currently working on the development of new versions of high-speed anti-radiation missiles for use in the F-22 and JSF. This could be a reaction to Russia’s current programs aimed at developing upgrades to the SA-21’s S-400 system.38 The USAF is further worried that as technology advances and network cabling becomes cheaper, enemy defenses will be able to link various radar types to increase their chances of detecting and engaging LO/stealth aircraft. The UK has been researching anti-stealth technology since 2001 and has even researched the ability to use cell phone tower transmissions as a detection method.

(….)

A small capability against LO may already be airborne in various platforms. In a 2003 article, David Fulghum claims that some current platforms such as the EA-18G Growler possess a capability against LO platforms such as cruise missiles and even stealth aircraft.46 Considering that there have already been significant advances in anti-stealth technology, it seems somewhat irresponsible to design an aircraft so dependant on its dominance. The F-22 is not considered the world’s most dominant fighter because of LO/stealth capability, but rather its overall performance. The services fell short by not demanding protection through additional means for the JSF.

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Apr 25 2011

GE/Rolls Royce F136 engine contract terminated

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

After five years of attempts to kill the F136 engine the Pentagon has succeeded in killing the second engine as an economy measure over what had been, until February, congressional efforts to keep it alive for competitive reasons.

The U.S. Department of Defense today notified the General Electric/Rolls Royce Fighter Engine Team (FET) and the Congress that the F136 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) engine contract has been terminated.

On March 24, 2011, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Ashton Carter directed the F-35 JSF contracting officer to issue an order to the FET to stop work on the F136 development contract. The stop work order ended the expenditure of $1 million per day on an extra engine that the DoD has assessed as unneeded and wasteful. The stop work order was put in place pending final resolution of the extra engine’s future in Congressional action on the fiscal 2011 budget.

Subsequently, H.R. 1473, the Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act for 2011 was passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the President on April 15, 2011. H.R. 1473 contains no funding for the F136 engine.

Following this action, Carter directed the JSF Joint Program Office to cease all activity on the F136 development, and the JSF contracting officer determined to terminate the F136 contract.

The FET has been instructed to preserve and deliver government property. The Defense Contract Management Agency will assume responsibility for termination settlement.

Killing funding of the F136 engine shows the US is an unreliable (industrial) partner. In the MOU-PSFD (november 2006, updated until 2010, see download) signed by the USA and all JSF partner countries one may read:
“6.2.2 The Participants may designate the F135, the F136, or both in their PPRs in such quantities and in accordance with such delivery schedules as they require.”

This one-sided decision of the USA destroys a lot of development work executed in the United Kingdom, The Netherlands and Italy and will destroy numerous jobs in these countries, because they preferred the F136 and have choosen to put most of their (engine) effort in this F136 engine.

Reuters reports 25-apr-2011 “US kills GE/Rolls Royce engine for F35 fighter

Source: U.S Department of Defense; issued April 25, 2011

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Apr 25 2011

JSF Chief: “Maintenance costs make their knees go weak”

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

Aviation Week reports; 25-apr-2011:
Vice Adm. David Venlet, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program executive officer, says he hopes that negotiations with Lockheed Martin on low-rate initial production (LRIP) lot V will progress more smoothly than they did for the previous lot.
Lockheed is putting the finishing touches on its LRIP V proposal, which will comprise 35 aircraft

And about the Joint Strike Fighter’s Key Performance Parameter “Affordabililty”:
While 2010 was focused on restructuring development and production in response to development delays, this year will put sustainment under the microscope. “We have some choices about how we sustain and support this aircraft,” Venlet says. “The service chiefs look at the estimates of the maintenance cost and it makes their knees go weak.”
Venlet says that the Pentagon is conducting a separate should-cost review on JSF sustainment in an effort to drive the price down by identifying the most substantial cost drivers. “There is an estimate,” he says. “We know that is not the right number.”
Venlet cites the estimate of more than $440 billion put forward by Naval Air Systems Command, which he led, as a starting point toward wringing cost out of maintaining the aircraft.

Read full article Aviation Week; 25-apr-2011 “JSF Chief hopes for smoother LRIP V talks

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Apr 23 2011

Super Hornet threatening delayed F-35C

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

Aviation Week reports about the silent, but steady, progress Boeing makes with marketing and sales of the F/A-18 Super Hornet. New “stealth” versions with new engines, but with proven technology may be an alternative for the Joint Strike Fighter in certain markets.
Lower prices, delivery within time and contracted price (like in Australia), lower operating and support costs are key elements in the Boeing sales campaign. And with a General Electric as Super Hornet’s F414 engine supplier, frustrated by the termination of the F136 engine, Boeing has a motivated partner to compete with the F-35 in the international arena.

Some quotes:

The program is already close to 700 aircraft, including 41 additional Navy aircraft announced earlier this year to mitigate the effect of JSF delays. Campaigns and expressions of interest in countries that are not on the JSF list — India, Brazil and the Middle East — could reach that figure.

And yet, “a number of potential Joint Strike Fighter customers” have asked for information about the Super Hornet, according to Boeing Military Aircraft president Chris Chadwick. “We see customers trying to recapitalize their tactical fighter forces and balancing that with huge budget pressures, and trying to make the best decisions going forward.” (That describes almost everybody.)

The Super Hornet is already formally pitched against the JSF in Denmark and it looks as though things are headed the same way in Japan. Chadwick calls the aircraft a “low risk, low cost, known-time offering worldwide” and Boeing officials Wednesday repeatedly observed that Super Hornets are all being delivered “on cost and ahead of schedule” — a not-so-subtle reference to delays and overruns that might possibly afflict other programs.

Read full article: Aviation Week; 22-apr-2011 “The Rhino Revenge

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Apr 22 2011

Again no F-35 at Paris Air Show 2011

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

Almost 10 years after starting the Development of the F-35, and almost 5 years after the first flight in 2006, again the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II will not be present at the international air shows around the world. So, no F-35 debute at the Paris Airshow in June 2011.

See Flight International; Stephen Trimble blog; 21-apr-2011 F-35 first airshow appearance….

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Apr 21 2011

Third F-35B Aircraft Completes STOVL Mode Flight

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. — Over an Atlantic test range near Naval Air Station Patuxent River, U.S. Marine Corps test pilot Lt. Col. Fred “Tinman” Schenk completes the first flight of F-35B test aircraft BF-4 in short takeoff, vertical landing (STOVL) mode.

The flight marks growing maturity of STOVL flight with the third F-35B aircraft at NAS Patuxent River performing STOVL test missions. BF-4 is also the only mission systems test aircraft flying Block 1.0 software to fly in STOVL mode.

The F-35B STOVL variant and F-35C carrier variant are undergoing test and evaluation at NAS Patuxent River prior to delivery to the fleet.

Source: U.S Naval Air Systems Command; issued April 20, 2011

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Apr 20 2011

Debat JSF testtoestellen; werkelijkheid laat politici onverschillig

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Aanschaf JSF

Kesteren - Op 29 februari 2008 stuurde de toenmalige regering een brief naar de Tweede Kamer met de mededeling deel te zullen nemen aan de Initiële Operationele Test en Evaluatie fase. Na drie jaar politiek debat over de JSF in het algemeen en deze testfase in het bijzonder, zal vanavond het einddebat plaatsvinden. Deelname met twee testtoestellen ja of nee? De instemming van de VVD, CDA en SGP voor deze circa € 300 miljoen vergende investering, ondanks de noodzaak tot een bezuiniging van € 1 miljard is gegarandeerd. De 180 graden politieke wending van de PVV (fel tegen JSF testfase in 2009 en 2010; nu voorstander) zorgt voor de gewenste Kamermeerderheid. Het debat vanavond (van 18.00 tot 21.00 uur) zal niet meer dan een formaliteit zijn zonder enig politiek risico voor de regering.

Wie de Kamerbrieven van 2008 en 2011 naast elkaar legt, ziet hoe zeer bij de politieke voorstanders een onverschilligheid is over de werkelijke feiten. Daarmee verzaken deze partijen een van de belangrijkste taken van de Tweede Kamer - controle van het regeringsbeleid. Hieronder wat in 2008 werd gevraagd; en wat in 2011 door het zelfde ministerie van Defensie wordt beweerd.

Duur van de IOT&E fase

Brief 29 februari 2008:
De IOT&E is gepland in de periode 2011 tot 2013 en staat onder leiding van de Amerikaanse Directeur Operationele Test en Evaluatie.

Brief 19 april 2011:
De operationele testfase zal in 2014 beginnen en ongeveer drie jaar gaan duren. Voor meer details over de planning en het aantal vlieguren moet de besluitvorming van het Pentagon worden afgewacht. Het is nog niet zeker wanneer deze besluitvorming zal worden voltooid of wanneer de nieuwe planning zal worden bekendgemaakt.

Commentaar:
In 2008 zou de IOT&E fase 1,5 jaar duren; duur is nu plotseling 3 jaar.
De testfase zou in 2011 aanvangen; is nu minstens drie jaar vertraagd en de aanvang van de testfase in 2014 is twijfelachtig, in de USA is al bekend dat dit zeker onhaalbaar is.

Kosten exploitatie IOT&E fase

Brief 29 februari 2008:
Rekening houdend met de gelijktijdige besparingen op de exploitatie van de F-16 tijdens de IOT&E worden de materiële en personele exploitatiekosten van de IOT&E geraamd op € 16,1 miljoen. De betalingen zullen in de periode 2011 tot 2013 worden gedaan. De exploitatiekosten zijn opgenomen in het exploitatiebudget.

Brief 19 april 2011:

De exploitatiekosten voor de deelneming aan de operationele testfase worden geraamd op € 32 miljoen (prijspeil 2010). (…) De raming van de exploitatiekosten zal worden geactualiseerd nadat het Pentagon de besluitvorming over de nieuwe planning heeft voltooid en een detailplanning voor de operationele testfase beschikbaar is gekomen.

Commentaar:
Een verdubbeling van € 16 naar € 32 miljoen (waarom?)
En een open eind situatie, blijkens de opmerking dat deze kosten zullen worden geactualiseerd.

Operationele beschikbaarheid

Een van de redenen was de noodzaak tot tijdige operationele beschikbaarheid, omdat de F-16’s opgevlogen zouden zijn rond 2016:
Brief 29 februari 2008:
Door de deelneming aan de IOT&E worden de risico’s bij de invoering van de JSF zoveel mogelijk verkleind en zijn de eerste toestellen in een zo vroeg mogelijk stadium, omstreeks 2016, operationeel inzetbaar (Initial Operational Capability, IOC).

Commentaar:
Uit de aankondiging van de defensiebezuinigingen blijkt dat pas vanaf 2019 F-35A toestellen verworven zullen worden, dus dat IOC in 2020-2021 zal vallen. Hoe zo, de IOT&E fase moet nauw aansluiten op de IOC voor de Nederlandse luchtmacht?

Geen Block 3 beschikbaar bij aanvang IOT&E

Situatie 2008
Deelname zal plaats vinden met operationeel geschikte toeststellen, uitgerust op Block 3 niveau

Brief 19 april 2011
Voor de upgrade van de twee Nederlandse testtoestellen naar de block 3 standaard is in het projectbudget Vervanging F-16 afzonderlijk € 4 miljoen geraamd. In de jaarrapportage van het project Vervanging F-16 over 2010 staat dit bedrag vermeld in tabel 4. De opleiding van vliegers zal in 2012 beginnen met de testtoestellen met block 1 software. Met de block 2 en vervolgens block 3 software komen meer capaciteiten beschikbaar waarvoor de vliegers aanvullende opleidingen en trainingen zullen krijgen. De operationele testfase zal in 2014 beginnen met block 2 software en de testfase zal worden vervolgd met de block 3 software zodra die beschikbaar komt. Op deze wijze heeft een geleidelijke opbouw van de capaciteiten van de F-35 plaats voor zowel de opleidingen als de operationele testfase.

Commentaar:
Hoe moet Defensie zich in alle bochten wringen om duidelijk te maken dat voorlopig met een zeer ontoereikend Block 1 toestel van start gegaan moet worden, inclusief grote vliegtechnische beperkingen, en dat het uitzicht op de beschikbaarheid van Block 3 zeer onzeker is. Het kan voor 100% zeker worden aangenomen dat Block 3 niet voor 2017 beschikbaar is en dan nog in een versie, waarvan zaken worden doorgeschoven naar een latere Block 4. En zonder Block 3 zijn tal van operationele tests onmogelijk, omdat tal van wapensystemen en sensoren dan niet geïntegreerd zijn. Voor de dames en heren politici voert dit soort detailzaken veel te ver, en dit weet Defensie. Daarom komen ze telkens weg met dit soort mistgordijnen.

De overwinning van de witte boorden bureaucraten in de Haagse burelen ten koste van hardwerkende mensen op operationele posities bij de squadrons (en hun arbeidsvoorwaarden en omstandigheden).

Onverschilligheid over de werkelijke vragen

Ingedekt door de onverschilligheid over wat de werkelijkheid is in het JSF dossier bij de Kamerleden die er over moeten beslissen.

Wat is de werkelijke planning?
Wat is de werkelijke prijs?
Wat is de werkelijke tegenwaarde voor de Nederlandse industrie?
Kunnen er werkelijk ooit 4.500 JSF’s worden verkocht wereldwijd?
Kan een failliete USA zich ooit werkelijk de aanschaf permitteren van meer dan 2.000 JSF’s?
Wat zijn de werkelijke technische problemen?
Wat zijn de werkelijke prestaties?
Wat is de werkelijke geluidsbelasting?
Wat zijn de werkelijke risico’s van de overlap tussen ontwikkelen en produceren?
Wat zijn de werkelijke kosten per vlieguur en “total cost of ownership” kosten?
Wat zijn de alternatieve mogelijkheden en wat levert dat op voor Nederland?
Kortom: wat zit er werkelijk achter het “Ponzi” schema en “JSF piramidespel” voor belangen?

Maar de werkelijkheid zal vanavond in het debat over de JSF niet aan de orde komen. Omdat politici kennelijk geen interesse hebben voor de werkelijkheid in het JSF dossier.

Onomkeerbare stap JSF vandaag gezet

Op al de vragen omtrent de “werkelijkheid” in het JSF dossier heeft deze website vanaf 2006 - en meer intensief vanaf voorjaar 2008 - proberen een bijdrage te leveren. Om zo het publiek meerzijdig te informeren over de JSF - en informatie die niet werd gepubliceerd door de algemene pers, of die door luchtvaartpers (veelal via advertenties afhankelijk van fabrikanten) niet voor het voetlicht werd gehaald - toch publiek toegankelijk te maken.
Wie de bijdragen leest van de afgelopen jaren, zal moeten erkennen dat veel van de voorspellingen die we deden in 2008 en 2009 - helaas- meer dan werkelijkheid zijn geworden. Een genegeerde werkelijkheid. En voor de komende jaren ziet het er niet beter uit.

JSFNieuws neemt voorlopig vakantie

Met het debat van vanavond kunnen we stellen dat een onomkeerbare stap is gezet; verwacht moet worden dat pas rond 2014 een nieuwe JSF discussie zal ontstaan. De redactie zal dan ook vanaf heden deze website beperkt blijven bijhouden en na drie jaar intensief publiceren - ten koste van veel vrije tijd - zich voorlopig bezighouden met andere zaken. We willen alle lezers danken voor de bijdragen en uitwisseling van opinies.

Namens redactie / Johan Boeder - Kesteren.

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