Mrt 16 2011

Pentagon/JPO Admiral Venlet about TBR, fatigue testing and software

Gepubliceerd door om 19:32 onder Global F35 News

The hearing of March, 15 2011 of the Subcommittee of the Armed Forces of the U.S. House of Representatives about the US Navy and US Marine Corps, and Air Force Tactical Aviation Programs was opened by testimony of the Honorable Ashton Carter, Under Secretary of Defense for Acqusition, Technology, and Logistics of the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Second speaker was Mr. David M. Van Buren, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition of the U.S. Air Force and next was Vice Admiral David Venlet, Program Executive Office, F-35 Lightning II Program of the U.S. Department of Defense and responsible since June 2010 for the progress of the F-35 program.

They prepared a written statement to support their testimonies. Here some interesting words from their statement.

About the Technical Baseline Review (TBR)

Following the JSF Nunn-McCurdy criteria certification in June 2010, the F-35 Program Office conducted the most comprehensive review of the JSF program ever accomplished. A Technical Baseline Review (TBR) assessed the cost, schedule and technical risk of the work required to complete the F-35 System Development and Demonstration (SDD) program. The TBR was heavily dependent upon the technical strengths of Naval Air Systems Command, Air Force Aeronautical Systems Center and the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
The TBR involved more than 120 technical experts and differed from previous Joint Estimating Team (JET) assessments conducted by the Department’s Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) office in 2008 and 2009. While the JET reviews were top-down technical program cost and schedule assessments, the TBR was a bottoms-up technical review of detailed plans at the lowest levels. It also drew on knowledge from the aircraft and engine contractors as well as the government test bases, to gain a thorough understanding of the content of the work required to complete the development program.
TBR subject matter experts formed sub teams across the various technical disciplines of test and engineering. They completed assessments of approximately 80 percent of the remaining SDD costs via interviews and detailed analyses of program data and performance artifacts.
The TBR became the basis for additional program restructuring in the FY12 PB. The FY12 PB called for an additional $4.6 billion to complete the development effort, held F-35 procurement in FY12 at 32 aircraft, and reduced procurement by 124 aircraft over the FYDP in the FY12 PB. This restructure puts the program on solid ground, with realistic development and production goals and significant reduction in concurrency. As a result of the FY12-16 restructuring, the Air Force F-35A variant has been reduced by 57 aircraft, and the Department of the Navy F-35B and C variants have been reduced by 67.
The TBR drove several program changes to lower schedule risk associated with testing. The program has adjusted the flight test program to make temporary use of 6 LRIP aircraft in addition to the original 12 planned SDD airplanes, do now total 18 aircraft for use in flight test. The flight science portion of flight test has decoupled the three variants so that they may all proceed at their best pace and not impact any of the others. However, the mission system avionics (radar, electro optical/infrared sensor, data links, Communication and Navigation) is common for all three variants and is not being decoupled. Development testing of the common mission system and flight sciences for CTOL and CV is now scheduled to complete in the first quarter of 2016. The flight science testing for STOVL extends into the last quarter of 2016.

About the fatigue testing; stopped until October 2011

In November 2010, durability testing on the STOVL fatigue test article, BH-1, found stress cracks on the Station 496 bulkhead. In LRIP lots 1 through 4, there are 29 US STOVL aircraft in production flow. Different modifications (a blend, strap modification or new design dimensions) based upon access to the target location are required for STOVL aircraft depending on the state of manufacturing of each aircraft. Durability testing will re-commence in October 2011 after the fatigue test article is repaired. The delay in durability testing will not impact the flight test schedule, and the changes for production are anticipated to be incorporated in the current manufacturing plan and delivery schedule.

About the several issues with software development

The development of F-35 Mission Systems software, a component of the Air System Software, is proceeding according to a schedule adjusted as an outcome of the TBR. As a matter of fundamental process discipline, no new software blocks were created, no functionality was pushed to later blocks, and no capabilities were removed as a result of the TBR.
Pay attention to the used formulation, “no new software blocks created; no push to later blocks as a result of the TBR. True, but misleading by its suggestion. Indeed, the push of key functionality, needed for the warfighter, was pushed to future software blocks long before this TBR.

The Mission Systems Block 1 software has demonstrated stable performance in flight test, and will be delivered with LRIP 1, 2 and 3 aircraft. We have demonstrated, in the initial Block 1 release to flight test, expected functionality of the primary sensors, including radar, electronic warfare, Electro-Optical Targeting System, Distributed Aperture Sensor, and Integrated Communications, Navigation, and Identification. Block 1 maturation will continue through 2011, with an update this fall to include Multi-Level Security capability. Block 2 software, planned for delivery in LRIP 4 and 5 aircraft, introduces multi-ship network functionality, with the first release to flight test planned at the end of 2011. Block 3 software, having just completed requirements review, will complete the SDD development stream and provide full Operational Requirements Document (ORD) compliant capabilities. Final Block 3 software is planned to deliver to flight test in 2015, to allow completion of the mission system development in the first quarter of calendar 2016.
Mind the latest words, they forget telling the HASC the software is delayed for over 4 years and that this means that in fact the IOT&E stage cannot start before Q1-2016 and it means that the early birds ordered by UK, USAF and RNLAF to support the IOT&E could have been ordered one or two years later, saving lots of money in the crisis-hot defence budgets.

Source: David Van Buren / Vice Admiral David Venlet; JPO Statement HASC Testimony 15-mar-2011

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