Archief van de mei, 2014

Mei 29 2014

Tindal RAAF base upgrade to F-35A readiness will benefit and cost Katherine, mayor says

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

ABC news publicized an article Tuesday, May 27th, 2014 about upgrade costs for the proposed two  major RAAF fighter bases: Williamtown in New South Wales and Tindal in the Northern Territory. It will cost the Australian taxpayer almost 1.6 billion Australian Dollar (currently € EUR 1.085 billion for two airbases) to make both bases ready for the JSF. Another interesting note is that both bases will need widening and lengthening of the airstrip.

 

Tindal RAAF base upgrade to F-35A readiness will benefit and cost Katherine, mayor says

By Mark Di Stefano

However, Ms Miller said the widening and lengthening of the airstrip would make it too expensive for the council to maintain.

….

Tindal’s $470m upgrade timed for F-35A aircraft

The upgrade comes after the Federal Government announced last month it had approved funding for the next tranche of 58 F-35A aircraft and associated support equipment and facilities work, with a total budget of $12.4 billion.

The approval included about $1.6 billion in facilities upgrade work to be conducted at locations around Australia, the majority of which is to be spent at Australia’s two major RAAF fighter bases: Williamtown in New South Wales and Tindal.

According to Air Vice-Marshal Kym Osley, Defence expected about $470 million to be spent on the facility upgrade at Tindal.

“In addition, some minor upgrade work will occur at RAAF Darwin (up to about $1 million),” he said, adding that the work was in the detailed planning stage, and construction was expected to begin in 2017. 

Air Vice-Marshal Osley said Tindal was a key base for the F-35A, just as it has been for the F/A-18A/B Hornet. 

The RAAF expected that the ongoing presence of an F-35A fighter squadron at RAAF Tindal from 2022 would “continue to provide a similar financial benefit to that provided by the current F/A-18A/B squadron to the local Katherine community, and to the Northern Territory more broadly”, he said.

He said the RAAF expected the Number 75 Squadron based at Tindal to have begun the transition from the F/A-18A/B to the F-35A in late 2021. 

Read the whole article here!

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Mei 29 2014

Turkey, Pratt & Whitney Agree On Fighter Engine Center

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

Defence-aerospace.com today published two interesting press releases. One from the Turkish Undersecretariat for Defence Industries; issued May 20, 2014 and a second of the Anadolu news agency; issued May 20, 2014

Some question remaining: what about the Maintenance Valey Woensdrecht? What about Dutch support to all “European” partners/users? 

JSF Press Release

Turkish Ministry of National Defense - Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) and Pratt & Whitney signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) today for the establishment of a National-level F135 Final Assembly and Check- Out and Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul and Upgrade Capabilities in Turkey.

Upon the receipt of related approvals from US Government, this LOI is an important milestone of a long-term cooperation between SSM and P&W and also shows Turkey’s commitment to Joint Strike Fighter Program, as well as Pratt & Whitney’s trust in Turkish capabilities.

Turkey has a long-lasting experience in fighter engine final assembly and maintenance, repair, overhaul and update operations from F-16 Program and has a long term vision to sustain this experience and provide benefit to the F-35 program.

Turkey believes that the capabilities to be established in Turkey will result in mutual benefits for both parties. Turkey wishes this LOI will accelerate the efforts and lead to the successful establishment of the subject capabilities.

Turkey’s primary aim is to provide benefit to the program by assembling F135 engines and providing service to the F-35 users in the region via these facilities to be established.

Turkey, which is in the JSF program from Concept Development Phase phase, has contributed to System Development and Demonstration and Production Sustainment and Follow on Development phases as a partner nation.

Turkey has recently placed the order for the first two F-35 jets of an overall 100 F-35A fleet on 6 May 2014 and plans to deploy the aircraft in Turkey by 2019. (ends) 

Turkey, Pratt & Whitney Agree On Fighter Engine Center

(Source: Anadolu news agency; issued May 20, 2014)

ANKARA — Turkey’s Under-secretariat for Defense Industries and American aerospace manufacturer Pratt & Whitney have signed a letter of intent for the establishment of an F135 engines center for F-35 fighter jets in Turkey.

The deal covers the final assembly, check and maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade capabilities for the engines in Turkey, and has been approved by the US government.

The Turkish Under-secretariat for Defense Industries said in a statement on Tuesday that the “letter of intent is an important milestone of a long-term cooperation between the Undersecretariat and Pratt & Whitney and also shows Turkey’s commitment to a Joint Strike Fighter Program, as well as Pratt & Whitney’s trust in Turkish capabilities.”

“Turkey’s primary aim is to provide benefit to the program by assembling F135 engines and providing service to the F-35 users in the region via these facilities,” the statement said.

Turkey has had much experience in fighter engine handling from an F-16 program and has a long-term vision to sustain the experience and provide benefits to the F-35 program.

Turkey, which has been in the Joint Strike Fighter program from the Concept Development Phase, has contributed to System Development and Demonstration and Production Sustainment and Follow-on Development phases as a partner nation.

Turkey has recently placed an order for the first two F-35 jets of a fleet of 100 F-35A aircraft on 5 May of this year, and plans to deploy the aircraft in Turkey by 2019.

-ends-

Read the original on Defence-aerospace.com

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Mei 29 2014

IHS Janes reports: Australia could buy F-35B

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

Julian Kerr wrote an article for IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly about Australia considering buying the short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

….

The spokesman told IHS Jane’s that acquisition of the F-35B “would be considered within the construct of the Defence White Paper”, which is due in the second quarter of 2015.

The spokesman was responding to media reports that Prime Minister Tony Abbott has instructed planners working on the White Paper to examine the possibility of buying F-35Bs to operate from the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN’s) two Canberra-class landing helicopter dock (LHD) amphibious ships.

It is unclear whether any F-35B acquisition would be in addition to the 72 CTOL variants or be subtracted from that number.

COMMENT

Informed sources confirmed the prime minister’s interest in the STOVL aircraft but pointed out that significant upgrades would be necessary to the LHDs to operate F-35Bs on anything more than a cross-decking basis with the US Marine Corps and other partner nations.

These upgrades would need to include heat-resistant deck coating for extended operations, additional fuel and weapons bunkerage, and enhancements to the command and control facilities, which are now focused on amphibious operations involving helicopters and water craft.

Read the whole article here!

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Mei 26 2014

Ottawa urged to bypass competition for purchase of fighter jet

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

Daniel Leblanc wrote an article for theglobeandmail.com  about Canadian companies – that are participating in the F-35 fighter jet program – are urging the federal government to bypass a competition and return to its original plan to sole-source the purchase of the U.S.-based Lockheed-Martin aircraft.

“Using a competition to simply delay making a decision is costly, unnecessary and not in the interests of Canadian taxpayers or Canadian industry. That is bad management, bad policy and bad for business,” the industry group made up of 35 Canadian firms said in an open letter.

But other voices are rising, arguing that the best way to find the aircraft that suits Canada’s needs is to launch a competition that would pit the single-engine F-35 against its rivals, including the twin-engine Boeing SuperHornet.

The debate is at the heart of the choice facing the Conservative government as its seeks a replacement for its aging fleet of CF-18s. Armed with detailed technological information on four fighter jets, the cabinet will have to decide in the coming weeks whether to launch a competition, or to proceed with the untendered purchase of F-35s.

Duff Sullivan, a retired major-general and former fighter pilot, said in an interview that there are lingering questions about the F-35’s ability to fulfill one of the key tasks expected of the fighter jet, namely patrolling the Arctic and participating in the defence of North America.

….

 “A competitive process is absolutely required,” he said. “It’s vital for the selection and the framing of any new fighter aircraft that we are going to get. Why we are not embracing this competitive process is beyond me.”

The opposition parties in the House are also urging the federal government to conduct a competition, pointing out that the sole-sourced process was ripped apart in 2012 by the Auditor-General. The project is estimated to cost at least $45-billion over the new aircraft’s lifespan.

Still, the firms that form the Canadian JSF Industry Group said there is much “inaccurate information and rhetoric” behind the calls for a competition. The group said hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts are at stake if Canada does not proceed with its plans to buy the Lockheed-Martin aircraft.

“The short-term reality is that current Canadian F-35 contracts and jobs will very soon start going to countries that are today buying the aircraft,” the group said in its open letter.

Read the whole article here!

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Mei 22 2014

Antwoorden Kamervragen De Roon over stealth eigenschappen F-35

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

Antwoorden op de vragen van het lid De Roon (PVV) over het bericht dat de Joint Strike Fighter niet onzichtbaar is voor moderne Russische en Chinese radarsystemen (ingezonden 2 mei jl. met kenmerk 2014Z08100).

Vraag 1:
Kent u de berichten “JSF niet onzichtbaar voor Russische en Chinese radar” en “New U.S. Stealth Jet Can’t Hide From Russian Radar” ?
Antwoord 1:
Ja.

Vraag 2:
Welke gevolgen gaat u verbinden aan de aanschaf van de Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) indien vóór de definitieve bestelling van het aantal JSF-toestellen blijkt dat het toestel niet beantwoordt aan de toegezegde stealth eigenschappen?
Antwoord 2:
De F-35 zal moeten voldoen aan de gestelde operationele en technische eisen, waaronder die betreffende stealth eigenschappen. Het F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) ziet er op toe dat dit gebeurt. Er is - zoals ook uit de door u geciteerde artikelen blijkt - sprake van een voortdurende wedloop tussen radarsystemen en technologieën waarmee radardetectie kan worden vermeden of geminimaliseerd. Deze wedloop zal ook in de komende jaren worden voortgezet. De keuze voor de F-35 is mede gemaakt op grond van de toekomstbestendigheid van het toestel. Het toestel kan worden doorontwikkeld om in te spelen op toekomstige ontwikkelingen op het gebied van radartechnologie.

Vraag 3:
Bent u bereid navraag te doen bij Lockheed Martin en het Amerikaanse ministerie van Defensie over de berichtgeving dat moderne Russische en Chinese radarsystemen de JSF stealth eigenschappen waardeloos maken? Zo nee, waarom niet?
Antwoord 3:
In beginsel ben ik daartoe bereid, maar de berichtgeving geeft daarvoor geen aanleiding. Defensie heeft doorlopend contact met het Amerikaanse ministerie van Defensie, in het bijzonder het JPO over de ontwikkeling en capaciteiten van de F-35 en beschikt daardoor over actuele en uitgebreide kennis van de operationele capaciteiten van het vliegtuig, waaronder de stealth kwaliteiten. Daarnaast volgt Defensie de ontwikkelingen op het gebied van militaire technologie, zoals radarsystemen, op de voet.

Vraag 4:
Hoe beoordeelt u het gegeven dat de Amerikanen kennelijk dermate weinig vertrouwen hebben in de stealth eigenschappen van de JSF dat ze het toestel bij aanvalsmissies alleen op pad willen sturen met een speciale versie van de F-18, om zodoende een zwaar beveiligd luchtruim binnen te kunnen vliegen?
Antwoord 4:
In dit artikel, dat specifiek gaat over de Amerikaanse marine, komt de EA-18G Growler van Boeing aan de orde. Dit toestel is ontwikkeld voor elektronische oorlogsvoering en wordt sinds 2007 geleverd. In het operatieconcept van de Amerikaanse marine opereren F/A-18E/F toestellen samen met de EA-18G Growler.
In het artikel staan uitspraken van een bron uit de industrie die de capaciteiten van de EA-18G Growler beklemtoont. De F-35 zal in staat zijn zelfstandig missies uit te voeren in zwaar beveiligd luchtruim, het toestel is daarbij niet afhankelijk van de EA-18G Growler. De Amerikaanse luchtvloot is samengesteld uit verschillende type vliegtuigen, waaronder de F/A-18E/F/G. Dat zal zo blijven. Voor elk type missie kan Amerika dus een keuze maken uit (een combinatie van) de beschikbare typen toestellen die elkaar ondersteunen. Uit het artikel blijkt echter ook dat de Amerikaanse marine geen structureel budget voor extra EA-18G Growler toestellen heeft gereserveerd. Het artikel moet worden gezien in het licht van de congressionele behandeling van de Amerikaanse defensiebegroting.

Vraag 5:
Deelt u de mening dat de JSF inmiddels niet meer het toestel is dat stond in de verkoopcatalogus, waar dit kabinet zich zo blind op staarde? Kunnen we nog wel spreken van een vijfde generatie gevechtsvliegtuig?
Antwoord 5:
Nee. Afgaande op de reeds gemaakte vorderingen in het F-35 programma zal het toestel, dat nog wel in ontwikkeling is, voldoen aan de gestelde operationele en technische eisen. Het JPO ziet er op toe dat die eisen worden gehaald. Zodoende zal het toestel de zes door Nederland bepaalde missie-typen kunnen uitvoeren.
Ja, de F-35 is een vijfde generatie gevechtstoestel.

Bron: brief Ministerie Defensie aan Tweede Kamer; 22 mei 2014

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Mei 19 2014

Pietrucha, USAF: “Consider cancelling the F-35″

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

Summary of an opinion article in Air & Space Power Journal, May-June 2014:

The Air Force intended eventually to replace much of the post-Vietnam fighter fleet with the F-35A. This stealthy aircraft possesses advanced technology and was intended to be no more expensive than the aircraft it was designed to supplant.
The Air Force sought to buy 1,763 F-35As—the number required to replace every F-16, A-10, and F-117 then in service. Rather than an affordable, capable fighter aircraft operational in large numbers by 2015, the F-35 continues to arrive late and cost more than anticipated.

Program delays, unmet performance requirements, and spiraling costs have recently run full tilt into an austere budgetary environment. Budgetary realities should serve as an impetus to reexamine the Air Force’s participation in the F-35 program and the future of the fighter force. The Army’s treatment of the Comanche program offers an example of a bold move in aviation which allowed that service to both modernize and recapitalize. This example shows a potential way forward and should serve to remind Airmen that the Air Force is essential for national security, that the F-35 is not, and that we should be wary of risking the former in our pursuit of the latter.

Conclusion

It is time for a rational discussion of the F-35. Such a dialogue would have to be free from the vacuum of a notional volume of contested airspace and consider the context of the complete CAF enterprise and its application across the globe. The F-35 program has long since passed the point where we can expect it to provide a substantial improvement in a broad war-fighting context over its predecessors. Designed for a European conflict that did not occur and a threat environment less advanced than the present one, the F-35 program offers little improvement over its predecessors and demands vast resources from diminishing funds.

Following the example of the Comanche program, we should consider cancelling the F-35 in favor of a robust, modernized CAF that emphasizes broad capabilities rather than occupying the short-range stealthy niche. Facing a decade of reduced budgetary authority, we must follow a prudent path towards recovery after more than 20 years of continuous combat operations. Doing so will help address a number of collateral issues, including force readiness, global reach, and the inventory of fighter/attack aircrews. Viable alternatives to the F-35 exist if we have the courage to examine them

Read more:
PDF-Download here: “PDF - The Comanche and the Albatross: About Our Neck Was Hung

Source:
Air & Space Power Journal; June-2014; Volume 28; Issue 3; Col Michael W. Pietrucha, USAF; “The Comanche and the Albatross: About Our Neck Was Hung

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Mei 19 2014

Britain ’should consider scrapping F-35 stealth fighter’

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

According to the British Newspaper the Telegraph a senior US Air Force officer says Britain’s new stealth jet may be no better than existing aircraft:

Britain’s long-delayed £70 million stealth fighter may need to be cancelled because of its poor performance, according to an analysis by a senior American air force officer.
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter being built for British and US forces is based on outdated ideas of air warfare, it is claimed. The aircraft could be unable to evade enemy radar and be too expensive for long campaigns.
The critique in the US Air Force’s own journal concludes that the new fighter may even have “substantially less performance” than some existing aircraft.

(….)

Specifically, its performance has not met initial requirements, its payload is low, its range is short, and espionage efforts by the People’s Republic of China may have compromised the aircraft long in advance of its introduction.”
Advances in Russian and Chinese radar defences mean it is not clear the stealth technology will still work, the analysis warns.
“These facts make the risk calculation involved with prioritizing stealth over performance, range, and weapons load out inherently suspect - and the F-35 might well be the first modern fighter to have substantially less performance than its predecessors.”

The author, Col Michael Pietrucha, suggests the F-35 programme should be put on hold and the US Air Force should instead look at a mix of fighters for the future.

Source:
the Telegraph; 18-May-2014; Ben Famer; “Britain ’should consider scrapping F-35 stealth fighter’

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Mei 17 2014

US Senator: Don’t Burn JSF Partners US Will Need Later

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

Defense News about the last opinions of several US Senators in the F-35 debate.

The F-35 believers:
The Republican Party is trying out a new line in defense of the embattled F-35 fighter jet. It goes a little something like this: Burn Washington’s partners on the program now, and building coalitions of the willing will be harder later.

In recent weeks, two senior Republicans have suggested the US should avoid buying fewer of the Lockheed Martin-made fighter jets or significantly altering the often-troubled program, which has been plagued by technical, development and testing problems.”

And the warning opposition:
And some experts say oversight is drastically needed.
“In truth, the future of the F-35 program remains clouded, and most cloudy of all is the ultimate unit cost of the aircraft and the impact of that cost, as its reality unfolds, on existing and future buyers,” said Winslow Wheeler of the Center for Defense Information.

Read more:
Defense News; 16-May-2014; John Bennett; GOP’s New F-35 Line: Don’t Burn Partners US Will Need Later

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Mei 17 2014

Australia considering future buy of F-35B jump jets

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

Australian Defence Minister David Johnston told The Weekend West _the Government was considering buying the “B” model of the F-35 - a specialised variant of the stealth jet being built to operate from aircraft carriers.

Read more:
The West Austrlian; 17-May-2014; Nick Butterly; “Jump Jets on Defence radar

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Mei 17 2014

The Comanche and the Albatross… A voice of reason from the USAF

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

This blog has been writen by Doug Allen and was published on bestfighter4canada.blogspot.ca. The basic startingpoint of Doug Allen’s blog is that CANADA MUST DECLARE AN OPEN AND FAIR COMPETITION TO REPLACE THE CF-18. JSFNieuws.nl wishes the same for the Netherlands.


 

With the all-or-nothing attitude toward the F-35A, combined with the insistence that the A-10 is no longer a useful platform, one wonders if the USAF still has its head on right.  Surely, with all the JSF’s issues and controversy, not to mention the threat of budget cuts, they would at least be considering a “plan C”, wouldn’t they?

Well, thankfully for the USAF, it would appear as though someone is questioning 
General Mark Welsh’s insistence that “there is no other choice” for the USAF but to acquire over 1,700 F-35As in order to replace the bulk of its fighter fleet.

Colonel Micheal W. Pietrucha of the USAF has written a well thought out piece on the F-35, some of its more glaring tactical issues, as well as proposals for viable alternatives.

The piece can be read in its entirety here.

Pietrucha compares the JSF to another ill-fated stealth aircraft program, the 
RAH-66 Comanche.  The result of the Light Helicopter Experimental (LHX), the Comanche was to take a predominant role in the U.S. Army, performing a strike reconnaissance role.  The Comanche was cancelled abruptly in 2004, however.  It was felt that the aircraft would not be cost effective, nor would it be survivable given the threat environment.  Funding for the Comanche was instead diverted to existing platforms, like the AH-64 Apache, as well as UAVs.

Part of the issue with the RAH-66 was the ever-expanding list of requirements, leading to increased cost and weight.  It was said that a fully equipped Comanche would be incapable of lifting its own weight.  While the LHX program started with a great amount of promise and potential, the resulting aircraft was unquestionably a dud.

Is the F-35 a dud?
Some would say yes.  Others wax poetic about its heretofore untested superiority over current and emerging threats.  Whatever the case, there are several factors about the F-35 that are impossible to ignore:


  1. Its development has taken far longer than expected, and it still has a way to go.
  2. It is dangerously over budget.
  3. Its performance is lackluster.
  4. It may be partially obsolete before it enters service.
  5. Its very existence is threatened by budget cuts.

 

With any other military procurement program, this would seem to be enough to discontinue funding, or, at the very least, make significant cuts.  The JSF program is a juggernaut of momentum however.  Its very nature assured a great deal of commitment by all parties before a single aircraft took to the air.  The “all-or-nothing” commitment to the JSF means that the only true alternatives to the F-35 are aircraft designed during the Cold War.

Pietrucha argues that these alternatives may still be more desirable. While Pietrucha does not go so far as to suggest killing the JSF outright, as it would be a near impossibility at this stage, he does suggest greatly reducing the F-35A fleet to an amount sufficient to replace the now defunct F-117.  He also suggests recovering some of the “sunk cost” by using some of the F-35’s advanced systems to upgrade existing aircraft like the F-15 and F-16.  This would include restoring the USAF’s suppression of enemy air defense / electronic warfare (SEAD/EW) capability by the development of a F-15G “Strike Weasel”.

In the long term, Pietrucha suggests taking advantage of the T-X program to develop a low cost “light combat aircraft”, dubbed the “FT-X”.  (Wait…  
That sounds familiar…)  This aircraft would be “good enough” for most threats, and make up the majority of the Air National Guard’s fighter fleet.

 

Instead of adopting a “one size fits all” mentality, Pietrucha makes an argument for a more flexible USAF, consisting of more varied and specialized aircraft types.  Doing so, he envisions a modern USAF that is just as comfortable engaging low-end enemies as it is much greater threats.

It’s a great read, and one that it is very hard to disagree with.  Colonel Pietrucha may just be sticking his neck out a bit, given the current USAF’s infatuation with the F-35, but I wish him the best of luck.

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