Archief van de augustus, 2012

Aug 28 2012

Opinion : “F-35 opens door true cooperation forces”

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

Egelin AFB - For more than a decade, engineers with Lockheed Martin have drawn upon the lessons learned over these five generations of technology to create the F-35B Lightning II, a single-seat aircraft with stealth capability, equipped with an enhanced computer technology system and capable of performing STOVL functions while maintaining the conventional operations of other airplanes. The F-35B is slated to replace the AV-8B Harrier, F/A 18A Hornet and the EA-6B Prowler for the Marine Corps.

Corporal Chelsea Anderson tells the story of the development of the F-35.

Read more: DIVDS, 28-aug-2012 “F-35-opens-door-true-cooperation-forces

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Aug 28 2012

Israeli F-35 modification contract awarded (US$ 206 million)

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Ft. Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $206,821,828 modification to a previously awarded cost-reimbursement contract (N00019-12-C-0070). This modification provides for the System Development and Demonstration Phase I Increment 1, in support of F-35A Conventional Take Off and Landing (CTOL) Air System for the Government of Israel under the Foreign Military Sales Program. This modification includes the development of the hardware and software for the Israel F-35A CTOL Air System from the initial requirements development to the Preliminary Design Review (PDR). In addition, the post PDR of hardware only, will continue through finalized requirements, layouts, and build to prints, including production planning data. Work will be performed at Fort Worth, Texas (60 percent); Los Angeles, Calif. (20 percent); Nashua, N.H. (15 percent); and San Diego, Calif. (5 percent), and is expected to be completed in May 2016. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Source: U.S. Department of Defense; Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)

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Aug 24 2012

200th F-35 sortie at Eglin

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla., Aug. 24, 2012 -

Picking Up the Pace: In a sign the Lightning II is progressing forward, U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Joseph Bachmann, pilot, VMFAT-501, completed the 33rd Fighter Wing’s 200th combined Air Force A variant and Marine Corps B variant F-35 sortie here today.

Bachmann’s flight comes 44 days after the wing accomplished its 100th F-35 sortie on July 11, 2012. The 33rd Fighter Wing completed sorties 101 to 200 in about a third of the time it took to complete flight one to 100.
The first F-35 flight at Eglin AFB took place March 6 this year. There are 19 joint strike fighters at Eglin as the fleet continues to grow and the team presses forward to train more instructor pilots and develop maintainer courses. The F-35 incorporates a wide range of new technologies for stealth, multi-mission capabilities, and sustainability.

Source: US Air Force press release Eglin AFB; 24-aug-2012

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Aug 14 2012

Eerste vlucht Nederlandse F-35: historisch moment

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Aanschaf JSF, Ontwikkeling JSF

Kesteren – In alle stilte en zonder de gebruikelijke publiciteit heeft maandag 6 augustus 2012 de eerste Nederlandse F-35 Joint Strike Fighter zijn eerste vlucht gemaakt. Een historisch moment, waarover de schaduw valt van de nog verre van complete software.

Op maandag 6 augustus 2012 maakte de eerste Nederlandse F-35A (genoemd AN-1, s/n F-001) de eerste proefvlucht vanaf het fabrieksvliegveld van Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, Texas.
Op dinsdag 7 augustus 2012 volgde de tweede vlucht en op vrijdag 10 augustus 2012 volgde de derde vlucht van het circa € 130 miljoen kostende toestel, twee jaar later dan in 2008 gepland.

Opmerkelijk: geen publiciteit

Tot nu toe is bij elke eerste vlucht van een F-35, zeker wanneer dit de eerste van een type of voor een bepaald land betrof, een (kort) persbericht vrijgegeven.
Voor diverse andere eerste vluchten van een F-35A toestel voor de Amerikaanse luchtmacht en vier F-35B toestellen voor het Amerikaanse Korps Mariniers werden de afgelopen week persfoto’s vrijgegeven.
Het is onduidelijk waarom aan dit historische moment voor de Koninklijke Luchtmacht geen ruchtbaar is gegeven. De fabrikant Lockheed Martin overlegt normaal gesproken met een opdrachtgever over persberichten, verondersteld moet worden dat vanuit Den Haag de voorkeur is uitgesproken te wachten met een persbericht, mede gelet op de reactie van Lockheed Martin tegenover de pers: “We will need to refer you the Netherlands Ministry of Defence office for specifics surrounding the first flight of the Dutch F-35.”
Mogelijk ligt de oorzaak in de politieke gevoeligheid van het JSF dossier vier weken voorafgaand aan de verkiezingen.

Eerste F-35A Koninklijke Luchtmacht

In februari 2008 werd het verzoek aan de Tweede Kamer gezonden om deel te nemen aan de operationele testfase met twee toestellen. De aanschaf van deze eerste twee toestellen en deelname aan de testfase is begroot op circa € 280 miljoen. Maar door productieproblemen zijn modificaties nodig en zullen de kosten naar verwachting verder oplopen. De toestellen zouden in 2010-2011 beschikbaar moeten komen, voor deze testfase die in 2012-2013 had moeten aanvangen.
Het tweede toestel is nog in aanbouw en zal naar verwachting in het voorjaar van 2013 worden afgeleverd.
De operationele testfase, waarvoor de toestellen zijn aangeschaft is door vertragingen in de productie en bij de software-ontwikkeling uitgesteld tot op zijn vroegst circa 2016.
Nederland is het enige land buiten de USA, dat met de F-35A versie deelneemt aan deze operationele testfase. Noorwegen, Denemarken, Italië, Australië, Canada en Turkije hebben er voor gekozen niet aan deze operationele testfase deel te nemen met eigen toestellen, maar vaardigen hiervoor wel waarnemers af.

Software nog zeer incompleet

De eerste Nederlandse F-35A maakt deel uit van pre-productieserie 3 (LRIP3) en zou worden uitgerust met Block 1 software. Deze software is alleen bestemd voor aanvangsopleiding en kent nog vele vliegtechnische en missietechnische beperkingen. Wapens kunnen nog niet worden meegevoerd en tal van elektronische hulpmiddelen voor het uitvoeren van missies werken nog niet of slechts beperkt. Vanwege ontwikkelingsproblemen is deze versie inmiddels opgesplitst in Block 1A en Block 1B. Block 1B komt de komende maanden beschikbaar voor de reeds gebouwde F-35’s.
Oorspronkelijk zou de LRIP1 preproductieserie die in 2006 van de band zou rollen al uitgerust zijn met deze software. In 2006 werd dit bijgesteld tot beschikbaar komen in 2009 voor daadwerkelijke vliegtests. Nog later werd de planning bijgesteld tot juli 2010, wat evenmin gehaald is. Inmiddels ziet het er naar uit dat alle “bugs” er eind 2012 uit zijn.
Vertraging in de eerste versie, zullen bovendien leiden tot een cascade van verdere vertragingen in Block 2 en Block 3. Oorspronkelijk zou Block 2 gereed zijn voor de LRIP4 toestellen, nu ziet het er naar uit dat het 2015-2016 wordt.

Voorlopig beperkt assortiment wapens

De Block 2 software is eveneens gesplitst in Block 2A en Block 2B; diverse vereisten zijn doorgeschoven naar een volgende software Block om de vertragingen te kunnen hanteren. Probleem is dat straks fysiek wel vliegtuigen aanwezig zijn op de flightline, maar zonder adequate software kan men hiermee weinig missies vliegen en kan bijvoorbeeld de opleiding geen voortgang vinden en de operationele testfase geen gestalte krijgen.
Pas in de Block 2B software, die in 2015 beschikbaar komt, kunnen daadwerkelijk wapens meegevoerd worden. Maar zelfs dan zeer beperkt: slechts de geleide grondaanvalswapens GBU-31 en GBU-12 zijn beschikbaar en maximaal twee AIM-120 AMRAAM lucht-luchtraketten.

Block 3 pas rond 2017 – 2018 operationeel

In de Block 3 software wordt het wapenarsenaal uitgebreid met het beschikbaar komen van de GBU-39, kan er met 4 AIM-120 lucht-luchtwapens worden gevlogen en komt de AIM-9X Sidewinder Mk.1 korte-afstands lucht-lucht raket beschikbaar. Pas in Block 3, nu al met zeker zes jaar vertraagd, zal het mogelijk zijn de interne “gun” te gebruiken. In Block 3 is stevig geschrapt. Het gebruik van externe brandstoftanks is helemaal uit de planning verdwenen, waardoor er aanzienlijke beperkingen zullen zijn voor zelfstandige lange afstandsvluchten, zeker ten opzichte van de huidige F-16’s een terugval in mogelijkheden en meer afhankelijkheid van tankers (of meer tussenlandingen). Block 3 was de versie die gebruikt is voor de Nederlandse evaluatie (en keuze) in december 2008. Feitelijk is daarmee deze evaluatie missie technisch gezien achterhaald. Alle andere wapens zijn uitgesteld naar de nog niet 100% gedefinieerde Block 4 versie, hiervoor zullen gebruikers in een later stadium – extra- moeten betalen.
Voor een duidelijk overzicht van de wapencapaciteit in Block 3: zie deze PDF download van een Amerikaanse presentatie “21 March 2012 - F-35 Program Status and Weapons Roadmap
Precision Strike Annual Review 2012
”.

Al jaren voorspeld: software wordt het centrale probleem

Al vele jaren wordt gewaarschuwd voor de desastreus verlopende software ontwikkeling.
Dit houdt een ernstig risico in voor alle JSF partnerlanden voor het realiseren van adequate airpower capaciteit rond 2018-2023.

Eerdere artikelen hierover op deze website JSFNieuws.bl

Vertragingen software voor JSF groeiend probleem (19 mei 2012)

Software JSF een probleem (14-jan-2011)

Software wordt centrale probleem (5-dec-2009)

Auteur: Johan Boeder

JSFNIEUWS120813-JB/jb

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Aug 11 2012

Canada: independent audit of real F-35 costs

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

Canadian Public Works and Government Services Canada published a (revised) request for a
bid solicitation that supersedesd a previous bid solicitation (number 24062-13-033, dated 19-June-2012). Purpose is to perform a professional audit of the JSF purchase process, due to political doubts about the independency and transparency of the selection process. The selected audit company will get the sensitive task of verifying the figures provided by the Canadian Ministry of National Defence, which was accused last spring of hiding the true cost of the multi-billion dollar program.

Intense debate since 2011

The costs of the Joint Strike Fighter have been the subject of intense debate since early 2011, when the parliamentary budget officer first questioned the Harper government’s claims. The Ministry of National Defence reported the parliament that the 65 F-35’s to be purchased would cost about CAN$ 16 billion. However the independent parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page found several flaws in the Defence calculations and reported a minimum amount of CAN$ 25 billion. His calculations and assumptions were confirmed by auditor Michael Ferguson that sent the government into a political crisis. His findings were a new hit to the Conservative government’s claim of being prudent fiscal managers.
The opposition claims that the Defence Department intentionally left the long-term operational costs out of its public estimates to influence a positive choice of the Lockheed Martin F-35A. The same accusations were subject of debates in Norway and The Netherlands.
The other candidate in the Canadian fighter campaign is the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet.

Description of the requirement

At the Public Works and Government Services Canada website this description can be found:
Canada is seeking to establish a contract for Financial and Accounting Services as defined in Annex “A”, Statement of Work, from date of award to January 31, 2013. Treasury Board
Secretariat requires the services of a team of resources composed of the Senior Auditor, Project Leader/Manager or Partner/Managing Director categories to Review of the Department
of National Defence (DND) acquisition and sustainment project assumptions with respect to the estimated costs for next generation fighter jet.
“.

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Aug 09 2012

F-35B completes first airborne weapons separation

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. – The F-35 Lightning II accomplished a significant test milestone Aug. 8 when the aircraft successfully released a weapon in flight.

BF-3, a short take-off and vertical landing F-35 variant, released an inert 1,000-pound GBU-32 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) separation weapon over water in an Atlantic test range while traveling at 400 knots at an altitude of 4,200 feet.

While this weapons separation test is just one event in a series of hundreds of flights and thousands of test points that we are executing this year, it does represent a significant entry into a new phase of testing for the F-35 program,” said Navy Capt. Erik Etz, director of test for F-35 naval variants. “Today’s release of a JDAM was the result of extraordinary effort by our team of maintainers, engineers, pilots and others who consistently work long hours to deliver F-35 warfighting capability to the U.S. services and our international partners.”

The release was the first time for any version of the F-35 to conduct an airborne weapon separation, as well as the first from an internal weapons bay for a fighter aircraft designated for the U.S. Marine Corps, the United Kingdom and Italy.
The milestone marks the start of validating the F-35’s capability to employ precision weapons and allow pilots to engage the enemy on the ground and in the air.

“[Using an internal weapons bay] speaks to how much capability the JSF is going to bring to the troops,” said Dan Levin, Lockheed Martin test pilot for the mission. “Stealth, fifth-generation avionics and precision weapons … coupled with the flexible mission capability of the short take-off and vertical landing F-35B is going to be huge for our warfighters.”

An aerial weapons separation test checks for proper release of the weapon from its carriage system and trajectory away from the aircraft. It is the culmination of a significant number of prerequisite tests, including ground fit checks, ground pit drops and aerial captive carriage and environment flights to ensure the system is working properly before expanding the test envelope in the air.

Aircraft and land-based test monitoring systems collected data from the successful separation, which is in review at the F-35 integrated test force at Naval Air Station Patuxent River.

Source: press release NAVAIR, PEO(JSF) Public Affairs

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Aug 09 2012

Pilot becomes US Air National Guard’s 1st F-35 instructor pilot

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (USA) — At Eglin’s multi-service, multi-national F-35 Integrated Training Center the integrated concept became even more evident when an Air National Guard member became the Guard’s first F-35 Lightning II instructor pilot.

Major Jay Spohn, assigned to the 33rd Fighter Wing here as the assistant director of operations for the 58th Fighter Squadron and the chief of standards and evaluation for the 33rd Operations Group, successfully flew his final of six flights 3-August-2012 becoming fully qualified and now able to teach follow-on pilots to fly the F-35A.

It felt really good,” said Spohn about the flight. “It’s what they hired me to do; today’s flight was the culmination of two and a half years of hard work,” he said.

Selected in november 2009

Spohn was selected in November of 2009 to be initial F-35A cadre and help pave the way by developing syllabus for flight training. It was March 6 this year that the first F-35A flight took place at Eglin, with an F-35 instructor pilot at the controls.

Then on 3-May-2012, the wing was issued clearance to fly initial cadre “non-test” pilots, which opened the doors to the rest of 58th Fighter Squadron operators to begin qualifying as F-35 instructor pilots.

Now being able to add more F-35A pilots to the ranks gives Spohn a sense of satisfaction he said. “I think everyone feels that same excitement….it feels good to be contributing.”

This week Spohn is scheduled to train another 58th FS pilot, Lt. Col. Michael Ebner on the same five instructional sorties and one check ride that Spohn helped develop as initial cadre and then flew as a student of his own curriculum.

Along with getting a feel for how the aircraft handles and several approaches to the runway, Spohn’s first flight included some “touch and goes” he said. And there to cheer him on was Lt. Col. Randal Efferson, the other Florida National Guardsman assigned to the 33rd Operations Group.

His stellar performance represented years of dedicated service and preparation,” said Efferson. “The entire Air Force Reserve Component is proud of Major Spohn’s accomplishment.”

The second and third flights included a lot of the same plus instrument approaches. On the fourth flight, Spohn flew with a wingman.

On the fifth flight, “the wingman and lead pilot switch roles and the IP [instructor pilot] verifies you can teach,” he said. Then on the last flight, there is an evaluation that includes the student again assuming an instructor role, plus dozens of tasks now graded, like ground operations, take-off and departure to the air spaces, instrument approaches and post landing to list a few.

Spohn became the second “non-test” pilot qualified in the F-35A for the 58th, but the third overall since the squadron recently qualified a Defense Contract Management Agency Marine Corps member from Lockheed Martin, Ft. Worth, Texas, to be able to perform F-35 acceptance flights on behalf of the government, said Efferson.

Spohn is truly embedded in this active-duty flying wing, said Lt. Col. Lee Kloos, commander of the 58th who flew as Spohn’s evaluator. But being a guard member is of no consequence for performance.

He’s up to the task to train our next pilots,” said Kloos. “In fact, being in the guard was not even a consideration or thought. Recently Spohn was key in the success of the wing receiving an excellent in our Unit Compliance Inspection.”

Eglin: International coalition training campus

In the near future Spohn will be immersed in a coalition environment as well at the training campus.

So for the future, Spohn will soon be sharing the skies not only with the U.S. Marines and Navy but the British and Dutch as well and he said he looks forward to training with the partner nations.

“It is always a tremendous opportunity, both personally and professionally, to train with pilots that have a different background than you,” said Spohn. “I hope my A-10 and F-15C background allows me to bring something unique to the table that will make the Dutch students better and I know that their vast fighter experience will make me a better IP and F-35 pilot “

And that forward-looking attitude seems to be the right stuff for Spohn having been hand-selected for the F-35 team.

The success of Major Spohn is proof of years of effort put into our current F-35 program,” said Toth. “We have a lot of confidence in the training systems and we have a lot of confidence in him. In fact, he’ll soon be helping to train me in qualifying in our nation’s fifth-generation fighter jet.”

Source: US Air Force, Eglin AFB, Florida, USA (by Maj. Karen Roganov - Team Eglin Public Affairs)

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Aug 08 2012

All F-35B’s of third low-rate production series flying

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

All F-35B’s of the third low-rate initial production series (LRIP-3) are flying.

Four F-35B’s completed their first flight

The F-35B BF-15 (US Navy Bureau Number 168311) with Bill Gigliotti (testpilot L-M) at the controls made its first flight on 13 July 2012 from NAS Fort Worth JRB, Texas.
The same pilot flew with the F-35B BF-17 (US Navy Bureau Number 168313) on its inaugural 1.2-hour flight on 24 July 2012 from NAS Fort Worth JRB, Texas.
With Lockheed Martin test pilot Al Norman at the controls the F-35B BF-16 (US Navy Bureau Number 168312) flew the first time on 26 July 2012 from NAS Fort Worth JRB, Texas.
Lockheed Martin test pilot Al Norman flew F-35B BF-18 (US Navy Bureau Number 168314) on the first flight on 8 August 2012, completing the last series of F-35B first flights.

All these aircraft will be assigned to USMC training squadron VMFAT-501 at Eglin AFB, Florida.

First test of ground attack weapon capability

NAVAIR announced that on 8-aug-2012 the first-ever F-35 weapons release test flight was carried out at a test range near NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, USA.
An F-35B, called BF-3, flown by Lockheed Martin test pilot Dan Levin released an inert GBU-32 Joint Direct Attack Munition (1.000 pound) while flying at an altitude of 4,200 feet with a speed of 400 knots. This milestone marks the start of validation of the F-35’s capability to release precision ground attack weapons from the internal weapons bay.

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Aug 08 2012

BAE System completes static test programme F-35

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

After successfully completing the static test programme on the F-35 (known as AG-1) BAE Systems has now returned the aircraft back to Lockheed Martin, Fort Worth.

The static test programme broke all records for the speed of testing having applied more than 150 different loading configurations in just over nine months.

Having proven the strength of the aircraft is now beginning the 4500 mile journey back to the US after almost three and a half years in the structural test facility at Brough.

Static testing the F-35 means that the aircraft has been ‘flown’ to its limits with loads applied to it replicating the effect of high gravitational forces far beyond any conditions likely to be flown in actual flight. This is done with the airframe nesting in a multi-million pound rig kitted out with over 4000 strain gauges, 170 actuators and over 50 miles of wiring at our Brough site in Yorkshire. Brough is home to a world leading facility for putting aircraft through their paces to ensure they are strong enough and resilient enough to perform in the harshest environments in the world.

Tim Bramhall runs the F-35 structural test programme at Brough said “We certainly don’t give the aircraft an easy ride here. We push it to its limits so that we can be confident that each of the 3000+ aircraft that have been ordered will perform safely and effectively. The real challenge is keeping aircraft weight at a minimum whilst maintaining the strength of the plane within certain specified limits”

With this set of tests complete Tim added “We still have another F-35 CTOL airframe in the facility undergoing fatigue testing along with the remaining horizontal and vertical tails from the Carrier variant. Work on those continues on schedule and are shining examples of the long term future the structural test facility has ahead.”

About the F-35 Programme
Over 3,000 F-35 Lightning II aircraft stand to be produced, based on current requirements from the US and other international partners.

Source: Press Release BAE

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Aug 07 2012

Lockheed Martin gets US$ 210M F-35 spare parts contract

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a not-to-exceed $209,800,000 modification to a previously awarded contract (N00019-10-C-0002). This modification provides for the manufacture and delivery of initial air vehicle spares in support of 32 F-35 Lightning II Program low rate initial production Lot V air vehicles.

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas (35 percent); El Segundo, Calif. (25 percent); Warton, United Kingdom (20 percent); Orlando, Fla. (10 percent); Nashua, N.H. (5 percent); and Baltimore, Md. (5 percent), and is expected to be completed in June 2015. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Source: US DoD; Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)

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