Archief van de februari, 2014

Feb 28 2014

The plain truth on why the F-35 is being forced on the US Navy.

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

Reposted with permission from SNAFU! “A Marine Corps centric blog, with a view on all things military…” (with thanks)

 

See this Factbox: How Pentagon’s 2015 budget affects key weapons programs, source Reuters.

 

A senior military official said it did not make sense to cancel the Navy variant outright, since that would drive higher cost of the remaining airplanes to be purchased by the Air Force and the Marine Corps, and could unsettle international partners on the program.

 

Read the entire article, see link (just a rehash of yesterdays news).

 

Make no mistake about it.  For the first time the unvarnished truth about the F-35 and the Navy was just said publicly.

 

Long story short?

The Navy doesn’t want it.  The program is nervous about costs.  The program is worried about losing partners.  So everything must die so that the F-35 can live.

 

My prediction?  More proof that Navy leadership will continue with as low a rate production as possible to keep the shit wagon going.  They will push all purchases to the right when they’re able and in the end the F-35 will never be an important part of carrier aviation.

 

This airplane is the modern day F7U.  It might look futuristic.  It might even be kinda cool, but it will never be a suitable airplane for its proposed role.  Like the F7U the F-35 will be left on the beach more times than it makes it to the ship.

 

Note.

I would pay good money to know who the “Senior Official” was that made such a matter of fact statement.  I’d also pay good money to know if he got reprimanded for the crime of daring to speak the truth and not spewing the program office talking points!

 

Read the original blog and comments on it here.

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Feb 28 2014

Benelux nations look towards integrated air force

Gepubliceerd door Christiaan Meinen onder Global F35 News

Het onderwerp van dit evenement was: Future Airpower: Benelux Air cooperation in a European Context Kortom een blik op de toekomstige samenwerking tussen de BENELUXlanden en hun Luchtvaart eenheden. (luchtmachten bestaan niet meer…)


Het artikel van Janes 360 bracht enkele opmerkende quotes naar voren over het evenement dat georganiseerd werd door IES en HCSS.


The three ‘Benelux’ countries of Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg aim to push their military air forces far closer together, with the commander of the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) calling for a “fully integrated” Benelux air component within a decade..


Niet alleen samenwerking dus maar in de toekomst ook volledig geïntegreerde samenwerking? Dat zou dus verder gaan dan de Nederlands Belgische marinesamenwerking. Waarbij er wel volledig samengewerkt wordt op de gebieden Fregatten en Mijnenbestrijding vaartuigen en bijbehorende opleidingen en technische ondersteuning… maar over de Onderzeeboten en de Mariniers hebben de Belgen geen bevoegdheden.


To exemplify their intentions, the two generals pointed to the latest bilateral development between their forces - a letter of intent (LoI) signed on 23 October 2013 by the Belgian and Dutch defence ministries to combine the two countries’ air policing functions. Gen Van de Voorde said: “we are in legal negotiations at the highest political level to come up with a treaty to cover things such as political control of the air assets, common RoE [rules of engagement] and other sovereignty issues” to ensure similar lines of action by either Dutch or Belgian pilots.


Regarding where their air force co-operation may be headed, Gen Schnitger said: “co-operation in itself is not a panacea; it must lead to a win-win situation for both partners and it has to be open-book and strategic. Thus, we are looking at integration of our air force survival schools, helicopter commands and air transport units.”

Wat de win-win situatie recies is is niet volledig duidelijk. Ook is niet geheel duidelijk wat dan de afspraken over gezamenlijke policing missies inhoud, als dat betekend dat we gedurende bepaalde tijden zelf geen QRA de lucht in zullen brengen… dan vraag ik me sterk af waar de kritiek op Zwitserland precies over gaat. Dat is namelijk eenzelfde samenwerkingsverband, om kosten te besparen. Ook hebben de Belgen, in tegenstelling tot Nederland, nog geen keuze gemaakt over de opvolger van de F16. Duidelijk is dat in geval van keuze voor de JSF België nog minder toestellen zou kunnen aanschaffen als Nederland, tenzij ze het budget zou verhogen. Vooralsnog lijkt de samenwerking vooral gericht op de integratie van overlevingsopleidingen, helikopter eenheden en luchttransport eenheden. Betekent dit dan ook samenvoeging en/of verplaatsing van eenheden over en weer?


http://www.janes360.com/article/34077/benelux-nations-look-towards-integrated-air-force


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Feb 26 2014

Why The F-35 Is Essential For Canada Part 3

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

(taken from the Ottawa citizen with permission)

Procurement Costs

The biggest issue that has many Canadians worried is cost. However, it should be noted that no modern fighter is cheap. Using the most reliable figures that are publically available, there is no real cost savings from choosing another fighter compared to the F-35. Furthermore, as much information regarding how an particular aircraft costs is kept secret, it is very hard to determine accurately the costs from reliable sources.

Based upon the current figures available from public sources, the fly away costs of the following fighters are below:

Gripen NG: $110 million USD for a Gripen E per the Swiss evaluation17

Eurofighter Typhoon: $120 million USD per latest German contract and the British National Accounting Office.18

Rafale: Depends on the report. The French government says $88.8 million excluding VAT,19 but if the latest Indian reports are to be believed, it is as high as $120 million dollars USD.20

F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet: The last Selected Acquisition Report for the Super Hornet (FY 2011) provides definitive guidance on costs. The per- unit reoccurring flyaway cost (basically the aircraft with no ancillary equipment or spares), comes to $82.88 million per the last SAR.21 This however does not include the foreign military sales and research and development fees levied by the US government on exports of fighters.

F-16 Block 60: When the UAE bought their Block 60?s, they paid about $6.4 billion for 80 aircraft back in 2000, or roughly $80 million dollars in year 2000 dollars. Adjusted for inflation, a brand new Block 60 would cost $108.23 million dollars today.22

F-35A: The latest Selected Acquisition Report for FY2012 for the F-35 provides guidance on the costs on the F-35. Per the report, the Program Acquisition Unit Cost (PAUC) was around $108 million dollars, while the Average Procurement Unit Cost (APUC) was $88 million as an average of the costs of the three variants of the F-35 as of FY2012.23 As the production rate increases, the target price for an F-35A in 2019 is expected to be around $83.4 million USD.24

Armament

There are a number of criticisms that are being leveled against the F-35. Namely, these criticisms surround internal weapons carriage and weapons variety.

In regards to internal weapons carriage, the F-35 current is able to carry four medium range air to air missiles internally in a typical air superiority configuration. This configuration it should be stressed, is identical to the primary legacy fighter it is replacing, the F-16 Fighting Falcon, and in comparison to Gripen. A planned upgrade will allow F-35 to carry six internal medium range air to air missiles internally, making F-35 more than competitive with many other fighters available.25

Furthermore, F-35 has a tremendous external weapons carriage capability which is available in a low threat environment. In addition to the four internal mounts, F-35 has another six external stores located on the wing, for a total of 18,000 pounds of ordinance on the aircraft:

More critically, F-35 does not have to sacrifice weapons payload for fuel unlike other fighters, meaning that F-35 can fly further with more heavy ordinance than many legacy fighters today.

Regarding weapons selection, F-35 is being designed and cleared for a variety of weapons. In addition to the AIM-120 medium range air to air missile , F-35 will be capable of using two different short range air to air missiles (AIM-9X and AIM-132 ASRAAM), six different air to surface missiles, two different anti-shipping missiles, and nine different types of guided and unguided bombs.

Furthermore, F-35 will be the first fighter introduced into service from the start with a revolutionary software integration package called the Universal Armaments Interface (UAI).26 UAI allows new weapons to be integrated onto F-35 without requiring the need to have a major development program requiring the need to reprogram the aircraft’s computers, do extensive software verification tests, and then physical integration and clearance tests, which creates risks and increases costs. Essentially, UAI will allow for the first time, plug and play weapons.

Continue reading the whole story: http://blogs.ottawacitizen.com/2014/02/26/why-the-f-35-is-essential-for-canada-part-3/

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Feb 25 2014

US FY2015 budget forecast: A-10 retired; more future F-35 cuts likely

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

US Secretary of Defense Speech about the Fiscal Year 2015 budget, some extracts.
As Delivered by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Pentagon Press Briefing Room, Monday, February 24, 2014

Today I am announcing the key decisions I have recommended to the President for the Defense Department’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget and beyond.

These recommendations will adapt and reshape our defense enterprise so that we can continue protecting this nation’s security in an era of unprecedented uncertainty and change. As we end our combat mission in Afghanistan, this will be the first budget to fully reflect the transition DoD is making for after 13 years of war – the longest conflict in our nation’s history.

Repositioning USA strategic focus

We are repositioning to focus on the strategic challenges and opportunities that will define our future: new technologies, new centers of power, and a world that is growing more volatile, more unpredictable, and in some instances more threatening to the United States.

The choices ahead will define our defense institutions for the years to come. Chairman Dempsey and I worked in a pragmatic and collaborative way to build the balanced force our nation must have for the future. I worked closely with the Chairman, Vice Chairman, Service Secretaries, and Service Chiefs in developing these recommendations, in a process that began with last summer’s Strategic Choices and Management Review. I also want to recognize today the senior enlisted leaders in each of the services for their contributions and their involvement and their leadership and what they continue to do every day for our country, but in particular their help and input in crafting this budget.Our recommendations were guided by an updated defense strategy that builds on the President’s 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance. As described in the upcoming Quadrennial Defense Review report, this defense strategy is focused on:
• Defending the homeland against all strategic threats;
• Building security globally by projecting U.S. influence and deterring aggression; and;
• Remaining prepared to win decisively against any adversary should deterrence fail.
(…..)

Given these realities, we must now adapt, innovate, and make difficult decisions to ensure that our military remains ready and capable – maintaining its technological edge over all potential adversaries. However, as a consequence of large budget cuts, our future force will assume additional risks in certain areas.
(…..)

We chose further reductions in troop strength and force structure in every military service.
(……)

Further reductionin Europe

DoD has already been reducing infrastructure where we can. In Europe, where BRAC authority is not needed, we have reduced our infrastructure by 30 percent since 2000, and a European Infrastructure Consolidation Review this spring will recommend further cuts which DoD will pursue.
(…..)

U.S. Air Force: rising costs F-35 means the end of the A-10 Warthog

For the Air Force, an emphasis on capability over capacity meant that we protected its key modernization programs, including the new bomber, the Joint Strike Fighter, and the new refueling tanker. We also recommended investing $1 billion in a promising next-generation jet engine technology, which we expect to produce sizeable cost-savings through reduced fuel consumption and lower maintenance needs. This new funding will also help ensure a robust industrial base, a very strong and important industrial base – itself a national strategic asset.

To fund these investments, the Air Force will reduce the number of tactical air squadrons including the entire A-10 fleet. Retiring the A-10 fleet saves $3.5 billion over five years and accelerates the Air Force’s long-standing modernization plan – which called for replacing the A-10s with the more capable F-35 in the early 2020s.

(….)

In addition to the A-10, the Air Force will also retire the 50-year-old U-2 in favor of the unmanned Global Hawk system. This decision was a close call, as DoD had previously recommended retaining the U-2 over the Global Hawk because of cost issues. But over the last several years, DoD has been able to reduce the Global Hawk’s operating costs. With its greater range and endurance, the Global Hawk makes a better high-altitude reconnaissance platform for the future.

More cuts of F-35 possible……

If sequestration-level cuts are re-imposed in 2016 and beyond, however, the Air Force would need to make far more significant cuts to force structure and modernization. The Air Force would have to retire 80 more aircraft, including the entire KC-10 tanker fleet and the Global Hawk Block 40 fleet, as well as slow down purchases of the Joint Strike Fighter – resulting in 24 fewer F-35s purchased through Fiscal Year 2019 – and sustain ten fewer Predator and Reaper 24-hour combat air patrols. The Air Force would also have to take deep cuts to flying hours, which would prevent a return to adequate readiness levels.

US Navy and Marine Corps

If sequestration spending levels return in 2016 and beyond, we will be forced into much tougher decisions on the Navy surface fleet. Six additional ships would have to be laid up, and we would have to slow the rate at which we buy destroyers. The net result of sequestration-level cuts would be ten fewer large surface combatant ships in the Navy’s operational inventory by 2023. Under sequestration spending levels, the Navy would also halt procurement of the carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter for two years

Source: US DoD Press Office; 24-feb-2014; US Secretary of Defense Speech FY2015

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Feb 25 2014

Why The F-35 Is Essential For Canada - Part 2

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

(taken from the Ottawa citizen with permission)

Wing Loading

Many critics cite the wing loading of the F-35 as being particularly weak, and thus have proclaimed the F-35 as being unmaneuverable. The main issue is that wing loading is a particularly poor way of measuring aircraft performance today. Wing loading was a useful metric decades ago when fighters were basically designed as tubes with wings attached to them. Today, more advanced research has resulted in designs that employ lifting body research into the basic design of fighter aircraft, and the F-35 is no exception to that.

Situational Awareness

Compared to any fighter in existence today, save for the F-22, the F-35 has unparalleled situational awareness compared to its opponents.

The F-35 is equipped with the Northrop Grumman AN/APG-81 AESA radar. This radar is a development of the F-22’s AN/APG-77 radar, with many features and systems of the AN/APG-81 radar back fitted to the F-22’s radar. Unlike the radars of the three European fighters, the AN/APG-81 is not a mechanical or an PESA radar retrofitted with an AESA antenna. Furthermore, F/A-18 Super Hornet’s AN/APG-79 radar according to the most recent DOT&E report, has issues with software instability that has plagued the radar’s reliability for over seven years, and has not yet demonstrated its capabilities to perform an end-to-end multi-AIM-120 missile shot to take on multiple opponents.8

The AN/APG-81 has demonstrated its capabilities and maturity during the Northern Edge 2011 exercise onboard the BAC 1-11 test aircraft. The radar demonstrated its electronic protection, electronic attack, passive maritime and experimental modes, and data-linked air and surface tracks capabilities, and searched the entire 50,000 square- mile Gulf of Alaska operating area for surface vessels, and accurately detected and tracked them.9

The F-35 is the first fighter to incorporate a 360 degree, spherical situational awareness system in the form of the AN/AAQ-37 Distributed Aperture System. This system, composed of six infra-red sensors placed strategically around the aircraft, is capable of providing the pilot with unobstructed spherical sensor coverage, allowing the pilot to literally see through the aircraft. This means that an F-35 pilot can literally see and detect any object in the general vicinity of his aircraft and track it.

The AN/AAQ-37 has also demonstrated a number of advanced capabilities, such as the ability to detect and track ballistic missiles to ranges exceeding 800 miles,10 and be able to detect and track hostile ground fire.11

As a result, with F-35, there is absolutely no way for an enemy to try to sneak up, take a shot at it, and NOT be detected and tracked immediately. The range of AN/AAQ-37 is likely far enough, to where the F-35 will know of an enemy aircraft, before a missile is fired (especially when combined with third party information, and the advanced AN/ASQ-239 ESM system, which is based off the F-22’s ESM system), and be able to respond to the threat accordingly.

The F-35’s key advantage is its sensor fusion capabilities. Basically, an F-35, much like the F-22, can take information from a variety of data sources, either from the aircraft’s own sensors or off board from other platforms, and integrate the information into a unified picture for the pilot to see on either the contiguous 8 x 20- inch colour display or on the helmet’s display itself.

Continue reading the whole story: http://blogs.ottawacitizen.com/2014/02/25/why-the-f-35-is-essential-for-canada-part-2/

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Feb 25 2014

Why the F-35 is essential for Canada – Part 1

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

(taken from the Ottawa citizen with permission)

Editor’s note: Last week Defence Watch ran a three part series on why the F-35 wasn’t the right aircraft for Canada. This week Defence Watch runs a three part series on why the F-35 is essential for Canada. The article is written by Edward Wu, who is based in Vancouver. He answered the Defence Watch request to pen a defence of the F-35. He noted that he is not associated with any defence or aerospace contractors, nor any political parties or government.

By Edward Wu
Defence Watch Guest Writer

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has been much maligned in the press recently, some of it fairly, and some of it unfairly. In order to separate what is important to Canada, one does need to take a step back and look at the empirical evidence to make an accurate assessment of the choices available to Canada.

Speed
The F-35 was designed primarily to replace the mainstay of the USAF and USN tactical aviation fleet; namely, the F-16 and F/A-18 Hornet. A number of criticisms take issue with the F-35’s supposed lack of speed. It should be noted that the F-35’s top speed of Mach 1.6 is achievable while carrying a militarily useful load; meaning that a F-35A that’s configured with a pair of 2000lb bombs, two air to air missiles, and enough fuel to fly to a target 300nm out and back will be able to achieve its top speed.

Other legacy fighters, such as the F/A-18, F-16, Rafale, Eurofighter, F-15, Gripen, etc cannot achieve their top speeds with any external ordinance. The reason for this is that external ordinance creates parasitic drag, degrading aircraft performance. Furthermore, the top speeds of many legacy fighters can only be achieved for very short durations because of the low internal fuel fraction of these aircraft. The F-35, as a percentage of its maximum take-off weight, can carry over 26% of its maximum take-off weight as fuel internally, meaning that the F-35 can sustain its top speed for longer.

Acceleration
A number of criticisms have been leveled against the F-35 for missing acceleration performance targets. It should be noted that the acceleration performance targets were written based on clean-configuration F-16 Fighting Falcon and F/A-18 Hornet, meaning an aircraft with no weapons or any external fuel tanks or ordinance.1 When flying with the F-16 chase aircraft, some test pilots have reported that the F-35 will out accelerate the F-16 chase aircraft while flying in the high subsonic range.2 Other pilots have reported that the F-35’s acceleration is comparable to an F-16 Block 50 as well.3

Furthermore, stealth fighters, such as the F-22 and F-35 carry their weapons and their fuel internally compared to legacy aircraft. This means that the F-22 and the F-35 has the same configuration unloaded as it does loaded with weapons and fuel, thus rendering any comparison to a legacy aircraft invalid because a legacy fighter’s configuration drastically changes when loaded with weapons, external fuel, targeting and jamming pods.

Thus, from the information that can be gathered, the F-35 acceleration performance is on par or superior to the F-16, and thus is competitive compared to other legacy fighters.

Continue reading the whole story: http://blogs.ottawacitizen.com/2014/02/23/why-the-f-35-is-essential-for-canada-part-1/

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Feb 22 2014

F-35 jet orders and industry, promises fading away……

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

Washington Post writes about the trimming back of the F-35 fighter jet orders in FY2015

The fiscal 2015 request, to be released 4-March-2014, will include:
- 26 F-35As (US Air Force model)
- 6 F-35Bs (US Marine Corps’ short-takeoff and vertical-landing jets)
- 2 F-35C (US Navy’s version for aircraft carriers)
This means about 8 less than planned one year ago and more than 40 in comparison with the planning of 2008. As part of the original plan (2002), USAF should have been ordering 110 F-35s this year.
In 2001 total production planning until 2019 was about 2000 jets with a production start in 2005 and 5 Low rate Initial Production Series. At this moment the are speaking about 12 or 13 Low Rate Initial Production series and in 2019 (on condition that no further trimming will take place) the production will be about 550 aircraft. A difference of 1400 aircraft in comparison to Original promises to the international industry.

In 2006 the US Air Force extended the buy timeline for all of its F-35 full-rate production per year from 110 per year to 80 per year due to cost climb. This changed the final buy time from 2027-28 to 2037….. Planned production from 2010/2011 during one decade was lowered from 230 per year to about 170 per year (including all international sales).

Still in 2007 the planning was that from 2012/2013 during one decade a continuous production rate of 170 aircraft per year would be maintained. The whole global production chain and investments in production facilities were based on this planned production rate. But in 2008 the USAF boss told “that the USAF could only afford to buy 48 F-35s per year” and full-rate production would start (again “planning” in 2014).

Therefore, return on investment will be very low and one would suppose that losses in the industry due to not used production capacity will be considerable at this moment and for years to come.

Source: Washington Post; 16-feb-2014 “Pentagon to trim plans for F-35 jet order

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Feb 22 2014

Will bulkhead cracks also influence the F-35A?

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

Fatigue tests show problems with the main bulkheads, not only the F-35B, also the F-35A (Air Force) version may be influenced.
Some problems with the main bulkheads were reported before. The problem is caused by the weight saving program 2004/2005.

The Bloomberg news reported us yesterday:
The crack was not predicted to occur by prior analyses or modeling,” Jennifer Elzea, spokeswoman for the Pentagon test office, said in an e-mail. “We can’t know all the changes that must be made to the structures until the testing is complete, and it is not surprising when discoveries like this occur.”

However, back in the DOT&E report FY2010 reported the problem already: (see JSFnieuws January 2011)
Results for a loading equivalent to one aircraft lifetime (8,000 hours) were expected in mid-FY11 for the STOVL aircraft and early FY12 for the [Conventional Take-off and Landing] CTOL aircraft. However, a major fatigue crack was found in the STOVL test article at approximately 1,500 hours flight hours. Failure of the bulkhead in flight would have safety of flight consequences. The program stopped fatigue testing on both the STOVL and CTOL test articles and began root cause analysis in November 2010. The STOVL bulkhead is constructed of aluminum alloy. The CTOL and CV bulkheads have a similar but not identical design and are made of aluminum. The difference in bulkhead material is due to actions taken several years ago to reduce the weight of the STOVL aircraft.

Source: Bloomberg; 21-feb-2014; F-35 fighter for Marines face year’s test delay
JSFnieuws140222-JB/jb

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Feb 22 2014

Lockheed F-35 for Marines Delayed as Test Exposes Cracks

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

( From Bloomberg.com with permission)

Feb 21, 2014 6:00 AM GMT+0100 


On-the-ground stress testing for the U.S. Marine Corps version of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 jet may be halted for as long as a year after cracks were found in the aircraft’s bulkheads, Pentagon officials said.

Testing of the fighter’s durability was stopped in late September after inspections turned up cracks in three of six bulkheads on a plane used for ground testing, said Joe DellaVedova, spokesman for the F-35 program office.

The previously undisclosed suspension of the stress testing may increase scrutiny of the Marine Corps’ F-35B, the most complex of the three versions of the plane, during congressional hearings on the Defense Department’s fiscal 2015 budget. The department plans to request funds for 34 F-35s, eight fewer than the 42 originally planned, according to officials. Six of those planes would be for the Marines.

“We consider this significant but by no means catastrophic,” Frank Kendall, the Pentagon’s undersecretary for acquisition, said in an e-mailed statement. While the program office is still performing an assessment, “based on preliminary analysis, a redesign” of some F-35B structures will be required, said Kendall, who has a master’s degree in aerospace engineering.

 http://www.bloomberg.com/image/iqdKBeOo9LvE.jpgPhotographer: Simon M Bruty/Getty Images


A Lockheed Martin F-35.

Michael Gilmore, chief of the Defense Department’s weapons testing office, said in his annual report last month that during ground testing in late September “the cracks continued to grow” until a “bulkhead severed and transferred loads, which caused cracking in the adjacent” bulkhead.

Weight Gain
Redesigning the bulkheads could cause the Marines’ F-35 to regain some of the weight saved by using aluminum bulkheads instead of the titanium ones in the Air Force and Navy models. That move was part of an effort in 2004 and 2005 to lighten the increasingly heavy Marine Corps version.

The test office said in its annual report that the Marine Corps model gained 37 pounds (17 kilograms) last year. Changes to the bulkhead risk adding more weight to a plane that’s now within 202 pounds of the 32,577-pound maximum specified in the contract for it. “Managing weight growth with such small margins will continue to be a significant program challenge,” Gilmore wrote in his report. The cracking “is significant enough to warrant changes to the design” of the bulkhead, Jennifer Elzea, spokeswoman for the Pentagon test office, said in an e-mail. “This is a new defect that must now be addressed through a production change and a retrofit plan.”

‘Not Surprising’
“The crack was not predicted to occur by prior analyses or modeling,” she said. “We can’t know all the changes that must be made to the structures until the testing is complete, and it is not surprising when discoveries like this occur.”

The purpose of “durability testing is to intentionally stress the aircraft to its structural limits so we can identify any issues and corrective actions needed to fix them,” the Pentagon’s DellaVedova said in an e-mailed statement. “These discoveries are expected and planned for in a developmental program.”

The F-35 program office and Lockheed are making repairs with a goal of restarting testing by Sept. 30, DellaVedova said. The Bethesda, Maryland-based company concurs with his statement, spokeswoman Laura Siebert said. Redesigning the bulkhead to make it more durable “would take some time,” George A. Lesieutre, a professor of aerospace engineering at Pennsylvania State University, said in an e-mailed statement.

Extra Margin
Ground testing stresses an airframe to simulate flight conditions and determine whether a plane can reach its projected lifetime, which in the case of the Marines’ F-35B is 8,000 flying hours.
To provide an extra margin of assurance, the Marine, Air Force and Navy versions of the F-35 are all required to undergo tests for the equivalent of 16,000 flight hours. The Marine version was supposed to complete its second 8,000 hours of testing by the end of this year. The ground testing aircraft had accumulated 9,480 hours “when testing was stopped to conduct root-cause analysis on discovered bulkhead cracks,” DellaVedova said.

“Because of the high hours accumulated,” this “discovery does not affect current F-35B flying operations,” he said, adding that the suspension of ground testing won’t affect the Marine Corps’ goal of declaring its first squadron operational no later than December 2015.

Richard Aboulafia, a defense aerospace analyst with the Fairfax, Virginia-based Teal Group, said the testing halt is a “setback for the program, but this is the Marines’ version, and they have absolutely nowhere else to go” because they need the aircraft in order to operate from amphibious vessels.

Rising Cost
The Pentagon projects that an eventual fleet of 2,443 F-35s will cost $391.2 billion, a 68 percent increase from a 2001 estimate for 409 more planes, measured in constant dollars. The testing office has repeatedly questioned the plane’s progress, finding last month that it wasn’t sufficiently reliable in training flights last year.

The Marine Corps plans to buy 340 of the F-35B, which can take off like a conventional fighter and land like a helicopter. While the ground testing is suspended, pilots can continue development and training flights on the 38 fighters already delivered, according to DellaVedova.

The Defense Department plans to request funds for nine Marine Corps planes in fiscal 2016 and 20 in 2019, according to internal budget figures. The short takeoff and vertical landing model is also being bought by the U.K. and Italian militaries.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tony Capaccio in Washington at acapaccio@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Walcott at jwalcott9@bloomberg.net


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Feb 22 2014

JSF: De kunst van het niet beantwoorden van Kamervragen….

Gepubliceerd door Leon Steyns onder Global F35 News

Het valt niet mee om je als Tweede Kamer lid op een fatsoenlijke manier te laten informeren. Naast de vele zaken in het nieuws die je moet volgen moet je goed oppassen welke lobbyisten je welke “waarheid” proberen te verkopen. Ook moet je heel scherp zijn op het feit dat je van ministers op lastige dossiers op een zo summier mogelijke of anderszins verhullende manier antwoorden krijgt. Antwoorden die soms helemaal geen antwoorden zijn. Of reacties die slechts ten dele de vraag beantwoorden. Je moet precies aangeven wat je bedoeld en beantwoordt wilt krijgen, anders wordt je met een kluitje het riet ingestuurd.

Een voorbeeld.

http://www.rijksoverheid.nl/documenten-en-publicaties/kamerstukken/2014/02/18/beantwoording-kamervragen-over-de-f-35.html?ns_campaign=documenten-en-publicaties-over-het-onderwerp-vervanging-f-16-%28f-35-lightning-ii%29&ns_channel=att

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