Archief van de september, 2012

Sep 27 2012

Growing F-35 fleet at Eglin AFB completes 300th sortie

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

Eglin AFB – The 20th Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II was delivered today to Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., to support F-35 pilot and maintainer training taking place on the Emerald Coast.

BF-15, piloted by U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Mike Rountree, left Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base at 10:39 a.m. CDT en route for a 90 minute ferry flight to Eglin.
The F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing jet is the fourteenth F-35 to ferry there this year. BF-15 is now assigned to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing’s Marine Fighter/Attack Training Squadron 501 with the host 33d Fighter Wing.

Both the A and B variants have flow more than 300 sorties since arriving at Eglin and can be seen in the skies over the base almost daily.

Source; Press Release US Air Force Eglin AFB and Lockheed-Martin

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Sep 27 2012

Australian National Audit Office reports about F-35

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

An audit report of the Australian Natianal Audit Office provides an Australian perspective on the Australian Government’s participation in the United States of America’s Joint Strike Fighter Program.

The Australian Government plans to replace the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF’s) 71 F/A-18A/B Hornet aircraft, which at the time of the preparation of this report were planned for withdrawal from service after 2020-2022. The F-35A aircraft are also planned to replace the RAAF’s 24 F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft from 2025. In September 2012, the total development and production cost of 100 F-35As, and other costs shared with JSF partner nations, was estimated to be US$13.211 billion.

Summary of disastrous facts since 2001

In two paragraphs (5.55 and 5.56, page 157) the ANAO gives a good summary of the key-numbers and cost increases of the F-35 project;
- Decision on Fullrate Production of F-35 aircraft has been delayed by seven years from 2012 to 2019
- Production phase has been extended by two years to 2037
- Production costs now estimated to cost US$335.7 billion (then?year dollars)
- From 2001 (start SDD) until 2012 cost increase from US$233.0 billion to US$395.7 billion (70%)
- Total number of F-35 to be produced for the US has decreased by 14% from 2866 to 2457
- From 2001 unit average cost has grown from US$69 million to US$137 million (98%)

Riscs from Australian perspective

The ANAO audit report draws attention to the wide ranging cost, schedule and performance risks inherent in advanced defence technology development and production programs, such as the JSF Program. The audit noted that the task for Defence of successfully sustaining the ageing F/A-18A/B fleet to that date, so that no capability gap arises before the introduction into service of the F-35As, was already challenging. Given the age and expected condition of these aircraft at that point, each additional year in
service will involve significant costs.

IOT&E testing completed in 2019

ANAO writes: “Although current estimates of the F-35’s performance are close to those required, performance will not be fully demonstrated until the completion of Initial Operational Test and Evaluation, presently expected in February 2019“. This means that a real Initial Operational Capability date within USAF can not be expected before 2020.

ANAO: “Only 10% of verification of F-35 version complete”

With most of the more complex issues to be tested, after 6 years of flying with the F-35A (first flight december 2006) only about 21% of the testing was completed early 2012:
In relation to the F-35A variant to be purchased by Australia, the test and evaluation program requires the achievement of 24951 test points covering all F-35A warfighting requirements needed to achieve the Initial Operational Capability milestone. By March 2012, F-35A capability testing was ongoing, and a total of 5282 test points had been achieved. This represents some 21 per cent of the overall testing required to validate Initial Operational Capability achievement.

ANAO (page 105) writes that in April 2012, the JSF Program Office’s Verification Test and Evaluation had completed 292 success criteria of a total number of 2808 success criteria. On that basis, requirements verification is around 10 per cent complete.

Software development critical

Interesting is the paragraph (page 26) about the software development:
Software is critical to the success of the JSF Program, as it provides the means by which all safety-of-flight and missioncritical systems operate, and are monitored, controlled and integrated. F-35 software is being released in three capability blocks. Block 1 software provides an initial training capability, and in the second quarter of 2012 its test phase was completed and it was released into the F-35 pilot training program. Block 2 software is to provide initial war?fighting capability, including weapons employment, electronic attack, and interoperability between forces. At the time of the audit, the initial release of Block 2—known as Block 2A—was undergoing flight testing and was scheduled for release to the F?35 flight test program in September 2012, and for release to the F-35 pilot training program in the second quarter of 2013.
The final release of Block 2 capability—known as Block 2B—is scheduled for 2015. Block 3 software provides full F-35 warfighting capability, including full sensor fusion and additional weapons. At the time of the audit, 61 per cent of initial Block 3 capability had been developed against a target of 81 per cent, and its integration into F-35 flight test aircraft is planned to commence from November 2012. Block 3 release into the F-35 fleet is scheduled for mid-2017.
At the time of the audit, F?35 software development was undergoing high?risk mitigation management.

By 2016, F-35 airborne software required for Block 3 capability is expected to reach 9.3 million software lines of code.
A lot of details about the JSF software Blocks and development can be found at page 106-109.

Report download

The ANAO report offers a lot of valuable details, tables. The information can be considered as independent and usefull. Also the JSF Program Office confirmed that they agreed with the presented information.
JPO Director David Venlet (Appendix): “I find the F-35A extract of the proposed report to be a fair and balanced portrayal of the current state of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. The professionalism demonstrated by your team during the research and writing of this report was exceptional, and I want to extend my t hanks to them for their hard work.”

The Australian Defence Organisation’s (Defence’s) management of the current Hornet and Super Hornet fleets is the subject of a companion audit in this (see PDF) ANAO Audit Report No.5 2012–13, Management of Australia’s Air Combat Capability; 27-sep-2012.

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Sep 27 2012

Denmark: return on investment in F-35 project too low

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

From Danmark the website “Politiken.dk” writes about the low participation for the Danish Industry in the F-35 production. Much lower than promised in the past.

Danish Industry is unhappy with their contracts so far: they have paid tin the development stage since 2002 a total amount of DKK 1.2 billion (US$ 207 million), but they received contracts worth a total of only DKK 790 million (US$ 136 million USD). Nett profit is approximately about 8% (average Danish industrial gross margin). Because the contribution in the development amount has to paid back from the profit, the total order amount has to be a factor 12,5 (8% x 12.5 = 100%) to win back the contribution in the order amount. At this moment the win-back factor is 0,65; and not the 12,5 to be accomplished.

Norway paid the same amount in the SDD as Denmark, but got F-35 contracts worth of NOK 2 billion (US$ 350 million) so far.

Denmark has a small defence industry, and competition between partners are tough. In addition, the fact that Denmark still has not decided yet also makes it harder for Lockheed Martin to favor Danish companies, aslso if their offers are as good as (but not better than) other partners that have committed to buying the F-35.

Source: Politiken.dk; Niels Fastrup; 26-sep-2012; “Danmark får småpenge ud af gigantisk flyprojekt”

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Sep 19 2012

Redesigned F-35 tailhook fails again

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

Aviation Week reports about the redesigned tail hook:

Lockheed Martin officials are creeping closer to a solution to problems with the tailhook design for the U.S. Navy F-35C.

(…..)

The original design failed to snag the arresting wire in early testing owing to two problems: the point of the hook was not sharp enough to scoop under the wire and securely grab it, and a dampener device was not sufficient to maintain a hold on the wire. Essentially, the hook was bouncing upon landing, reducing the likelihood of a successful arrested landing.

(….)

Lockheed Martin, the F-35 prime contractor, has redesigned the hook to address those problems. An interim version, which has a sharpened point but lacks the dampener, was tested.

Fails again

In three of five recent attempts, the redesigned hook did capture the wire. But Lockheed Martin spokesman J.D. McFarlan, Lockheed Martin’s vice president of test and evaluation for the F-35 program says that not the hook, but the (highly skilled) testpilot seems to be the problem (!): “…. the failures were due to the pilot landing the aircraft too far from the wire for a successful arresting. This testing “was highly successful in demonstrating that when presented the wire . . . it will grab the wire…. ” .

Full read: Aviation Week; Amy Butler; 19-sep-2012; “Lockheed Closer To Tailhook Design Fix For F-35C

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Sep 17 2012

US Air Force official fired public salvo on F-35 Program

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

Bloomberg reports from USA:

The new deputy head of the Pentagon’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program said his office’s relationship with plane manufacturer Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) is “the worst I’ve ever seen.”

(…)

No Money’

Bogdan said he has no intention of asking Congress for any more money for the F-35 beyond what’s already in the pipeline.
“There is no more money and no more time in the development of this program,” he said. “That is it. We will not go back and ask for any more.”

(…)

Worst relationship ever seen

Bogdan said, “It should not take 10 or 11 or 12 months to negotiate a contract with someone we’ve been doing business with for 11 years.”

Bogdan: Software huge problem - F-35 flying software computer

Bogdan confirmed that the F-35 software will be the critical factor “Calling the plane “a flying software computer,” he said that software development is behind schedule and may slip further behind as its complexity increases. ”

Full read: Bloomberg; David Lenman; 18-sep-2012; “Air Force Official Slams Lockheed Martin on F-35 Program

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Sep 07 2012

F-35A reaches ‘huge milestone’ in program development

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — Air Force officials begin their F-35A Lightning II Operational Utility Evaluation Sept. 10, an instrumental step in beginning joint strike fighter pilot and maintenance training for the service. Two 33rd Fighter Wing pilots here; along with two Air Force test pilots, will conduct the review expected to last approximately 65 days.

“The start of the OUE is another huge milestone for the Air Force and the program as a whole,” said Col. Andrew Toth, 33rd Fighter Wing commander. “We’ve been preparing for this event since the arrival of our first aircraft in July last year. So far, the men and women of the 33rd Fighter Wing have proven we can successfully execute safe and effective flying operations in addition to academic training.”

Since February’s Military Flight Release, 11 experienced fighter pilots checked out in basic F-35A operations so they can be prepared to be the military’s first cadre for the fifth generation fighter.

Maj. John Wilson and Maj. Matthew Johnston, the 33rd FW pilots going through the evaluation, are ready to be taken through a rigorous process where data will be collected from all facets of JSF training - maintenance, classroom, simulator and flights.

Leaders at the 33rd FW are confident their team of Airmen, Navy, Marines, contracted partners and civilians are ready for the next milestone in the nation’s next half-century of airpower dominance.

“We are ready for the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center to give us an outside look on the way we conduct our mission,” said Toth. “At the conclusion of the evaluation we should receive the Air Education and Training Command’s approval that states we are ‘ready for training’.”

This milestone for the Air Force will be a precursor to training other services and allies. The wing is responsible for F-35 pilot and maintainer training. Initially, 59 aircraft and three flying squadrons, one for each service/aircraft variant, will be established at Eglin.

The 33rd FW has flown more than 200 JSF sorties, both A and B variant, increasing pilot and maintainer familiarity with the aircraft, exercising the logistics infrastructure and continuing to develop aircraft maturity. These initial F-35A flights were limited, scripted and conducted within the restrictions and stipulations made in February’s military flight release.

Now that release has been updated for OUE, necessary joint program office and AFOTEC formal readiness reviews have been completed and the AETC local area operations metrics and safety reviews all support the Air Force readiness to execute OUE safely and effectively, service officials said.

Source: Press Release US Airforce Eglin AFB

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Sep 05 2012

F-35 status report until August 2012

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

Flight test activities

Cumulative flight test activity totals for 2012 as of September 5, are provided below:
- F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) jets have flown 359 times.
- F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft have completed 296 flights.
- F-35C carrier variant (CV) jets have flown 182 times.

Since December 2006, F-35s have flown 2,770 times and accrued more than 4,390 cumulative flight hours. This total includes 91 flights from the original test aircraft, AA-1; 2,265 SDD test flights; and 414 production-model flights.
- On August 1, Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, was selected for F-35A pilot training.
- On August 1, the first air-to-air MADL exchange between two F-35s was performed between AF-3 and AF-6.
- On August 6, AN-1, the first Netherlands F-35, and AF-20 flew for the first time.
- On August 8, BF-3 successfully completed the first F-35 airborne weapons separation; dropping a 1,000 lb GBU-32 JDAM.
- On August 10, CF-3 completed the Mk-7 roll-in arrestment matrix at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., (PAX) and Joint Base
McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (Lakehurst), and flew the first fly-in Mk-7 arrestment for the F-35 program.
- On August 13, a record 19 flights were accomplished in one day across SDD test sites and production (Edwards Air Force Base,
PAX, Lakehurst, Fort Worth and Eglin Air Force Base).
- BF-1 accomplished the first F-35 five Creeping Vertical Landings (CVLs) on August 23.
- BF-15, BK-2 and BF-16 completed DD250 on August 25, 30 and 31 respectively.
- On August 28, the SDD Fleet accomplished the August test point plan for each variant and completed 135 SDD flights in one
month.

F-35 Deliveries

-36 F-35s have been delivered to the Department of Defense:
. 12 System Development and Demonstration (SDD) aircraft
. 24 Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) aircraft, including two international F-35s
- This includes 3 LRIP aircraft that have completed DD250 at Fort Worth System Development and Demonstration (SDD) Fleet
- 14 F-35s comprise the SDD test fleet. There are six F-35As assigned to Edwards AFB, Calif., and five F-35Bs along with
three F-35Cs stationed at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.

Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Aircraft

- There are 19 LRIP F-35s based at Eglin AFB, Fla.
- There are two LRIP F-35s based at Edwards AFB, Calif.
- There are eight LRIP F-35s undergoing checkout flights at the F-35 production facility in Fort Worth,

Funding

Long-lead funding approved for Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) lot 5 and an undefinitized contract action (UCA) was signed on Dec. 9, 2011(approx. 30 aircraft)
- Full funding approved for LRIP lot 4 (31 aircraft)
- Full funding approved for LRIP lot 3 (17 aircraft)
- Full funding approved for LRIP lot 2 (12 aircraft)
- Full funding approved for LRIP lot 1 (2 aircraft)

Source: Press Release Lockheed Martin, 5-sep-2012

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Sep 04 2012

F-35B completes first airborne engine start tests

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – The short take-off and vertical landing variant of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter successfully completed a major prerequisite test for in-flight performance Aug. 15.

BF-2 completed the first air starts, which test the ability of the F-35’s propulsion system to restart during flight. Verifying the restart capability of the propulsion system is part of the initial flight test program for the F-35 and a prerequisite for high angle-of-attack testing, scheduled to start next year.

“High alpha, or angle-of-attack tests, are important for us to fully evaluate the aircraft’s handling characteristics and warfighting capability,” said Marine Corps test pilot Lt. Col. Matthew Kelly. “Maximizing the performance of the airplane around the very slow edges of the flight envelope is probably some of the most challenging testing we will conduct. After we get through it, we’ll know a lot more about how this aircraft will perform during combat within visual range.”

Using multiple restart methods during the tests, BF-2 successfully completed 27 air starts at various altitudes.

To execute air start testing, the F-35 Integrated Test Force (ITF) at Naval Air Station Patuxent River ferried BF-2 and an F/A-18 chase aircraft from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 to the F-35A testing facility at Edwards AFB.

“At Edwards, we have a unique testing range, which provides ideal and controlled conditions for completing air start testing. The Edwards range is comprised of 20,000 square miles of airspace, and has 65 linear miles of useable landing area on Rogers and Rosamond Dry Lakes, if required during engine out testing,” said Lt. Col. George N. Schwartz, Commander of the 461st Flight Test Squadron and Government Site Director. “In addition, we’ve recently completed air start testing on the F-35A, so we’re able to share some of our expertise with the Pax team as well.”

The core of the F-35B’s propulsion system is the F135 engine, capable of more than 40,000 pounds of thrust.

“The F135 continues to power a successful flight test program,” said Roy Hauck, Pratt & Whitney site lead at the F-35 Patuxent River ITF. “The aircraft and its integrated systems demonstrated intentional flameout and successful recovery scenarios during air start flight tests, and BF-2 and the team did a great job.”

A team of approximately 60 ITF and VX-23 personnel provided engineering and maintenance requirements for the events.

The detachment to Edwards from NAS Patuxent River overlapped with a busy summer flight testing schedule.

“In the past two months, we’ve sent detachments to Edwards and Lakehurst [N.J.], and maintained a full-tempo test schedule here,” said Navy Capt. Erik Etz, director of test for F-35 naval variants at NAS Patuxent River. “The team of military, government and industry personnel rallied to make all the events happen, and they can be proud of their accomplishments.”

The F-35B is the variant of the Joint Strike Fighter designed for use by U.S. Marine Corps, as well as F-35 international partners in the United Kingdom and Italy. The F-35B is capable of short take-offs and vertical landings to provide air power from amphibious ships, ski jump aircraft carriers and expeditionary airfields. The F-35B is undergoing test and evaluation at NAS Patuxent River prior to delivery to the fleet.

Source: Press Release US Navy; Navair News; PEO(JSF) Public Affairs

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Sep 04 2012

Turkey to buy two planes in second F-35 shipment

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

Turkey is expected to use funds from its Defense Industry Support Fund to purchase a second pair of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Lightening jets to be delivered in 2016, says a Turkish procurement official. The first pair is set for delivery in 2015

Turkey will likely order a second pair of the jointly-made, next-generation, stealth fighter F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Lightning II aircraft, as it did earlier this year following the production of the first two, a senior procurement official said over the weekend.

Source (read more): ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News

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Sep 01 2012

F-35 fighter reactivates Grim Reapers, storied Naval squadron

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

The display of Navy signal flags outside the Eglin Air Force Base building where Cmdr. David Dorn works is many miles from the nearest ship, let alone the aircraft carriers he’s used to.

The ship’s flags make Dorn and his colleagues at the landlocked Navy Strike Fighter Squadron 101 feel more at home. The aviators and ground crews are the latest incarnation of a storied and globe-trotting unit that takes pride in its nickname, “The Grim Reapers.”

Now the Grim Reapers, periodically deactivated over the years, are back and brandishing a brand new scythe. “We’re training to teach a new generation of sailors how to fly and maintain the military’s newest aircraft, the F-35 Lightning,” said Dorn, the Grim Reapers’ executive officer, or second in command. “We used to say this unit evolved from Hellcats to Tomcats, and now we’re on to an entirely new era.”

Full story: Pensacola News Journal; Rob Johnson; 1-sep-2012; “F-35 fighter reactivates Grim Reapers, storied Naval squadron

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