Archief van de mei, 2013

Mei 31 2013

Initial Operating Capacity planning F-35 announced

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

The F-35 joint strike fighter will be operational for the US Marines in December 2015, followed by the Air Force in December 2016 and the Navy in February 2019. The initial operating capacity (IOC) dates were delivered to Congress on 31-May-2013.
IOC will be achieved for each service when they “acquire enough aircraft to establish one operational squadron with enough trained and equipped personnel to support the various missions prescribed by each service,” according to a Pentagon news release. The size of each squadron varies from service to service, with 10 aircraft for the Marines, 12 for the Air Force and 10 for the Navy, according to their service-specific releases. F-35 pilots can drop a maximum of two GBU-12bombs and fire a maximum of two AIM-120 missiles from the F-35 with the very restricted Block 2B software, that will be available in 2015 (when there are no further development delays).
Original IOC was planned in 2011/2012 and later postponed several times. In fact the IOC was planned with the more capable Block 3 software, however, this software will not be available (and tested) until 2019. Total F-35 project delay is about 8 years at this moment.

JSFNieuws130531/JB

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Mei 29 2013

F-35B celebrates one year at Eglin AFB

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

The Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron-501 celebrated the one-year anniversary of flying the F-35B Lightning II on May 22, 2013, by continuing to train up the pilots and maintainers on the nation’s newest fifth-generation fighter .

This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get to write the first chapter in a story that will last 50 years and beyond,” said Lt. Col. David Berke, the commander of VMFAT-501 located at the 33rd Fighter Wing’s F-35 Integrated Training Center.

The low-observable fighter is designed to meet the needs of the services for the next half a century, making use of integrated sensors, the active electronically scanned array radar, and the distributed aperture system. Combined they provide the pilot with increased situational awareness and survivability. Being able to fly such a technologically advanced fighter brings great responsibility for cultivating tomorrow’s defenders of freedom. “We owe it to our country to get it right,” said Berke. Under his charge, the unit is laying the foundation for pilot and maintenance training at Eglin and providing the fleet with highly-trained people as it moves forward toward providing the Marine Corps with an initial operating capability.

Since 22-May-2012, the unit has flown 833 local training sorties and logged more than 1.100 flight hours executing about 40 to 50 sorties a week. “This is a bounding leap from the three or so sorties flown a week last year at this time,” said Berke.

Other accomplishments include verifying joint technical data for weapons loading, thus paving the way for instructions for all three services and the partner nations; authoring more than 1,000 maintenance procedures; and collaborating with industry and other F-35 sites to mature the jet, he said. A senior leader with the F-35 program since flying the X-35 prototype aircraft in the early years and who is now the 33rd Fighter Wing’s vice commander as well as an F-35B instructor pilot agreed.
If you look at what they have accomplished in air-to-air refueling training, ground hot refueling, multi-aircraft missions, first fleet pilots trained … you don’t just see one-time events,” said Marine Corps Col. Arthur Tomassetti. “What you see is a pattern of not just demonstrating new capability but turning it into repeatable and routine operations.

By being able to refuel with a truck planeside while the jet is running has allowed the unit to “increase its ability to turn sorties by 40 percent,” he said. The hot refueling allowed eight F-35s to fly 16 sorties in three hours recently. In addition to the unit accomplishments made locally, VMFAT-501 has been the catalyst to accomplishments at Marine Fighter Attack Squadron-121 at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz.

VMFA-121 is the first operational fleet squadron anywhere in the world for the F-35 and comprised of flyers and maintainers trained at Eglin, according to Berke. Just last week a pilot trained here made his first vertical landing at Yuma. This feature allows the pilot to hover the fighter and set it down much like a helicopter. “The ability to land in austere conditions is a key difference with the B variant of the F-35,” said Berke. The Marines are planning to train the same way at Eglin in the fall.

For the upcoming year of flying, the Eglin unit also looks forward to receiving more jets to include its first Block 2A aircraft which means a software upgrade and increased capability, he said.

We’ll grow to 18 jets by this time next year,” said Marine Corps Capt. Mario Valle, a maintenance officer at the training squadron. “And in the next couple weeks we are ready to welcome a third United Kingdom pilot and UK jet.”
The Marines set another first this past year by hosting the first international pilots and maintainers imbedded at an F-35 training squadron. There are 14 maintainers and two pilots from the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy working seamlessly with the unit, said Valle. As Valle reflected upon the past year he cited the team efforts by Lockheed Martin, Pratt and Whitney, Rolls Royce, the Marine Corps, Navy, the Air Force and operational test as key to past performance and the outlook for the future achievements.
Our success has been based on relationships.”

Source: Press Release US Air Force; Eglin AFB, 33rd Fighter Wing Public Affairs, author Karen Roganov

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Mei 22 2013

F-35A instructor pilots qualify in aerial refueling

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

The initial cadre of F-35A Lightning II instructor pilots qualified in aerial refueling last week, adding another capability for student pilot training at the 33rd Fighter Wing’s F-35 Integrated Training Center.
Eleven pilots had flown 14 refueling missions across the boom with the help of a KC-135 Stratotanker based here all last week,” said Col. Andrew Toth, the commander of the 33rd Fighter Squadron. “Prior to this, only test pilots had done so.”

The pilots discovered refueling the F-35 was an easy process, given the stability of the jet in flight and the preparation they received flying aerial refueling missions during ground school with the high-fidelity F-35 full-mission simulator.
Pilots have said there were times they forgot they were in a simulator, given its realistic feel amplified by a 360-degree view of the air and ground projected around the pilot.

This was the easiest tanking event I’ve had in my career,” said Toth, who besides spearheading efforts for three branches of service and internationals here, is also an F-35 instructor pilot. “The aircraft is very stable and smooth, making it easier to connect with the boom than I had experienced with flying other weapons systems.”

Toth said he foresees the new lieutenants, fresh out of initial pilot training, to have the same positive experience one day as well — But for now, the seasoned operators and maintainers are carrying the load.

Laying in a pod in the belly of the KC-135, the operator maneuvering the boom to offload gas to formations of fighters chimed in with the same observations about the Lightning II and the pilots’ performance.

He basically parked the aircraft 50-feet behind us at 310 knots,” said Staff Sgt. Joe Parker with the 336th Air Refueling Squadron at March Air Reserve Base, Calif. Parker has refueled about 30 different aircraft, ranging from “F-16 (Fighting Falcon)s to C-5 (Galaxies) and everything in between,” in his almost 10-year career. This includes the F-35s performing test missions at Edward Air Force Base, Calif. “The F-35 is like a breath of fresh air when they come up to refuel because I know they are going to be an incredibly stable platform in the air refueling envelope,” he said.

With the instructor pilots trained, the 58th Fighter Squadron has incorporated the aerial refueling capability into their fourth F-35A Student Pilot Class, which began training May 20, and is anticipated to be complete in approximately two months, Toth said.
Students execute the flying curriculum in the latter month. Those F-35A pilots who have graduated will get top-off training to fly aerial refueling at their unit — just like the test pilots who recently graduated from Eglin AFB and are assigned to Edwards AFB.
For the future, flying unit members here said they welcome the new capability because they can now train longer and in essence “knock out two training sorties,” Toth said. “A formation can conduct air-to-air combat training, go to the tanker, get gas and conduct an air-to-air or air-to-ground training mission,” he said.

Pilots and other aircrew alike seem to be impressed with the expanded training events and the performance of the joint strike fighter. “It’s always a privilege to work with any new airframe,” Parker said. “I am fortunate enough to also be a part of F-35 flying.

Source: US Air Force; Eglin AFB; 33rd Fighter Wing Public Affairs by Karen Roganov

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Mei 20 2013

Introduction USAF F-35A in 2016 with less capable software

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

Chicago Tribune reports:
The US Air Force’s decision to accelerate its introduction with a slightly less capable version of the F-35 software package means the planes will carry fewer weapons at first, although the software will later be upgraded to the final version, said the sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly.”

Read more: Chicago Tribune 20-May-2013; U.S. Air Force to move forward target date for F-35 use

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Mei 11 2013

Chinese hackers trying to steal JSF secrets

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

Daily Mail (UK) reports:
Chinese hackers caught trying to steal secrets of our new stealth fighter as tens of thousands of cyber attacks are launched on jet manufacturer (Lockheed) every week.”

(……)

The latest allegations of Chinese cyber theft follow a report last week from the US defence department, which accused the Chinese of launching attacks on Pentagon computers.
In the report, officials said: ‘In 2012 numerous computer systems around the world, including those owned by the US government, continued to be targeted for intrusions, some of which appear to be attributable directly to the Chinese government and military
.’

Read more: Daily Mail; 11-May-2013; Chines Hackes trying to steal secrets

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Mei 09 2013

First F-35A at Eglin Training Base

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

The Air Force took another step forward with its newest fighter jet when an advanced F-35 Lightning II landed at the service’s lead training base, home to the largest fleet of F-35s worldwide.

The new stealth fighter kicks off a major training effort at the F-35 schoolhouse on an aircraft with unmatched capabilities.

The F-35 is the military’s newest stealth fighter jet. Students from all military branches who are learning to fly the plane go through the schoolhouse at Eglin, including some from international services.

In addition to a few design improvements, the major difference between the new aircraft and others is sensors and software.

For example, pilots for the first time will begin training on a capability that gives them a 360-degree view around the jet.

Sensors that act like highly sophisticated cameras that can detect heat and other information are embedded in the front, sides and back of the F-35.

When in use, the pilot basically can see everything around them near and far, a capability not found in any current military fighter, said F-35 instructor pilot, Major Jay Spohn.

The system was designed to see other aircraft, people on the ground, missile launches, and more, and share that information with other aircraft and command centers on the ground.

Other new capabilities include a weather tracker and an enhancement of a system known as ALIS, or autonomic logistic information system, which transmits aircraft health and maintenance information and makes use of a portable computer planeside for the maintainer.

“This system is a game changer,” said Senior Master Sgt. Eric Wheeler, production superintendent, 33rd Aircraft Maintenance Unit. “It combines real-time data collection and trouble shooting in one system, eliminating the need for carting out stacks of binders and paper forms to the jet, as well as having to dual annotate once on paper and again later in the office on a computer.”

The latest system software, which has a better user interface and enhanced capability to download, is another step along the track in fixing problems in less time, which can be critical in time of conflict, Wheeler said.

The new F-35A will share the skies over Eglin’s training ranges with the Navy VFA-101 flying squadron here, which is slated to get their first two F-35C aircraft later this month along with another United Kingdom F-35B assigned to the Marine Corps VMFAT-501 flying squadron, scheduled to arrive here in about a month.

Source: US Air Force; Eglin; Public Affairs, press release by Joel Fortner

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