Mrt 09 2011

General Amos defending the F-35B before Congress

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl om 22:35 onder Global F35 News

Last week several commandants of the US Forces were questioned about the proposed US Defense Budget for Fiscal Year 2012. Among them General Amos, fiercely defending the need of the F-35B STOVL (Short-Take-Off/Vertical Landing) variant of the JSF (Joint Strike Fighter).

Here the partly transcription of the testimony of General Amos, US Marine Corps before the House Appropriations Subcommitte on Defense on the Proposed Fiscal 2012 Appropriations for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, March 9, 2011

Questions by Member of Congress Young

YOUNG:
And now, General Amos, we’d like to welcome you again since I believe this is the first opportunity we’ve had to be officially in a subcommittee hearing since you became the commandant.

AMOS:
It is, sir. And I appreciate that. Thank you, Chairman and Ranking Member Dicks. It is my first time as a commandant, although I’ve been before this — this committee several times as just a young assistant commandant and three-star before that. So it’s good to be back.
(…)
The F-35B STOVL joint strike fighter is absolutely critical to the expeditionary nature of the Marine Corps. We deploy in places and employ our forces in areas in a manner that is not common to aviation across all the other services.
When we marched from the border of Baghdad — excuse me — Kuwait all the way through Baghdad up to Tikrit, we flew off bombed out runways or off highways. I’ve got pictures of AV-8 (ph) Harriers flying off highways that look like Interstate 95.
We’ve been on taxiways, parking lots. We have fought our way all the way — that’s the way we employ our assets, and I ask for your continued support for the F-35B.
(….)

Questions by Member of Congress Granger

GRANGER:
General Amos, we were talking about acquisition and the difficulty and the length of time it takes. Can you give us a little more information about the joint strike fighter, the future of the Marine fighter variant?
And then, also, when we met in my office, you talked about the unique position you’ve assumed in the oversight of that. Could you talk to the committee about that?
AMOS:
Yes, ma’am, I’ll be happy to. And — and I’d just like to reiterate what the CNO said earlier on when he was responding to Chairman — or Ranking Member Dicks’ questions.
I think that we have become enamored with the process up — it’s — it’s a great process, but we can speed things up, and it — and it requires oversight. It requires oversight from the service chief, which is the last point you were making, ma’am.
The F-35B — let me just give you a snapshot of where it is. We’ve got a new program manager that — Vice Admiral Venlet came in in the late fall.
The leadership — and my sense is has lined up not only within the program, within the Department of Defense — certainly within the secretariats and within the service chiefs and industry. Lockheed Martin is providing the oversight and the management to the degree necessary. So I’m encouraged.
Let me just give you a few facts that — things that have happened just this year, just since January the 1st. We’ve flown — when you take an airplane in a test mode, which is — which is what they are at that (inaudible), but we’ve got five airplanes out there.
You schedule so many sorties, and you schedule so many test points per sortie. Each sortie goes up, and it’s — it has to — it has to achieve so many test points.
We’ve got 465 test points scheduled for this year alone. We’ve already flown 191 since January. We’re almost not quite halfway to — through these scheduled test points for this year alone in the STOVL version.
We’ve flown 143 percent of the scheduled test flights. In other words, they were scheduled to fly — let’s see, 46 — excuse me — 64 and we had 45 planned. The structural repairs and the engineering efforts on the airplane are coming through. Many of the fixes are in place right now. I watch that carefully.
To my oversight on this thing, what I look for in this thing — and I’ve got metrics on my computer, and it’s real time. It’s like the New York Stock Exchange — where I get the aircraft performance. I watch the weight growth of the airplane. They’re not allowed to put a pound on the airplane that I’m not — that I’m not aware of and that I haven’t authorized.
The engineering challenges are all articulated there and the mitigation strategy, who’s responsible to mitigate that engineering challenge, and then what’s the timeline. And then one day that challenge leaves and another one comes in. And, finally, the test process.
So we look at that — I look at that every single day. That’s in — that’s in unison with Lockheed Martin. That’s in unison with the program office, so we’re all in sync.
And it’s my goal to develop a reasonable set of metrics, such that I can go back to the secretary of defense and propose that the airplane, based on these metrics and this performance — that the airplane does come off this two-year probationary period sooner rather than later. And that’s — and I have not had a chance to talk to Secretary Gates about it. It’s certainly his call, but that’s my intention, Congresswoman.

(….)

Questions by Member of Congress Calvert

CALVERT:
One last question — I’m also on the Budget Committee, which I get to serve on. But, nevertheless, questions will be brought up about defense expenditures and the defense budget, and some members are bringing up the — the procurement of the F-35, which I’m a supporter of.
But, for the record, could you point out why it’s important that we move ahead on the F-35 versus acquiring additional F-18 ENS (ph)? There’s some folks around here who believe that that’s sufficient based upon the future threat on this country. And can you point out why that isn’t the case?

MABUS:
The United States needs fifth generation air capability and from stealth, from weapon systems, and particularly to get into anti-access environments that we are increasingly facing across the world. The three versions, the A for the Air Force, the B for the Marines, and the C for the Navy, give us the widest range of capabilities.
And it is a leap in technology, it’s a leap in capability that if we are going to do the missions that we have been tasked to do in the future, we absolutely need. General Amos can do a more technical view than that.
But, overall, the Chinese, for example, when Secretary Gates was Beijing, made a test flight of their fifth generation fighter. And I think that for us to do the missions, it’s an absolutely crucial capability.

CALVERT:
Thank you. I absolutely agree with that.

AMOS:
Sir, just one comment on — on the F-35 at large. It is fifth generation. We are — there are other countries around the world that are building fifth generation airplanes. The Chinese just rolled one out not too long ago.
So I — it’s not a matter of trying to keep up with the Joneses, but it’s the prudent thing to do. We planned on it for well over 10 years. That airplane does many, many things besides doing precision bombing. But it’s also an incredible ISR, intelligence surveillance reconnaissance platform.
It has an information sharing network. Among all assets that are airborne and assets that are on the ground, too, including the young Marine corporal down there that is going to be relying on this thing, it has that capability inherently built into it. It’s got an electronic warfare, electronic attack capability that is not quite up to our current EA-6B Prowler.
But inherent in the airplane weapons system itself right now on the radar, it is reasonably comparable. In other words, it’s up there with our current state-of-the-art electronic attack airplane. So you can imagine, if you were to hang a next generation jamming pod on this airplane, you would surpass anything that’s out there today. So it has an awful lot of capabilities. It truly is a multi-function airplane.

CALVERT:
Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Source: www.navy.mil; 9-mar-2011

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