Archief van de maart, 2013

Mrt 25 2013

Marine Corps’ first “operational” F-35B conducts initial Vertical Landing

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. — Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 watched in amazement and satisfaction as the Corps’ first operational (editor: what is definition of operational???) F-35B Lightning II squadron conducted its first Short Take Off, Vertical Landing operations aboard Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz. March 21, 2013.

Maj. Richard Rusnok, an F-35B Lightning II test pilot, conducted VMFA-121’s first short landing and takeoff as well as the Corps’ first F-35B hover and vertical landing outside of a testing environment in BF-19.
VMFA-121 is the first F-35B squadron to join Marine Aircraft Group 13 which is currently composed of four AV-8B Harrier squadrons a Marine wing support squadron and a Marine aviation logistics squadron.

Rusnok was accompanied by VMFA-121’s commanding officer, LtCol. Jeffrey Scott, flying a second F-35B as a chase aircraft.
The first STOVL flight for an F-35B outside of the test environment was another milestone achieved by the Marine Corps and the Green Knights today here at MCAS Yuma,” stated Scott. “The F-35 program and specifically the F-35B have made significant progress to make this possible.”

As the squadron expands its operations and end strength, they will continue revolutionizing expeditionary Marine air-ground combat power in all threat environments through the use of MCAS Yuma training ranges in Arizona and California. VMFA-121 will be home to approximately 300 Marines and is expected to receive additional F-35s throughout the next 8 to 12 months, with a total of 16 aircraft scheduled to arrive by late 2013.

Differently from previous fixed wing capabilities across the Department of Defense, the integration of U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and coalition F-35 Lightning II aircraft on a common platform will provide the dominant, multi-role, fifth generation capabilities needed across the full spectrum of combat operations to deter potential adversaries and enable future aviation power projection.

Specific to the Marine Corps, consolidating three aircraft, the AV-8B Harrier, the F/A-18 Hornet and the EA-6B, into one is central to maintaining tactical aviation affordability and serving as good stewards of taxpayer dollars.
VMFA-121 will continue to set the pace for the F-35 program based on a common platform. The U.S. Air Force and Navy can now integrate best practices from VMFA-121 in preparation for the future operational basing of the F-35A and F-35C.

Source; headquarters Marine Corps; 22-mar-2013; Capt. Staci Reidinger; Press Release

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Mrt 25 2013

First international student-pilot flies F-35

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — The first international student aviator at the 33rd Fighter Wing, training to be an F-35B Lightning II instructor pilot, completed his first sortie in the joint strike fighter here March 19.

United Kingdom Royal Air Force Squadron Leader Frankie Buchler flew with Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron-501.
There were no surprises, the jet was fun to fly and the flight went as expected,” said Buchler. “The ground school training package at the Academic Training Center with the flight simulators prepared me for smooth flying.

The ATC is part of the F-35 Integrated Training Center hosted by the 33rd FW. It is the hub for U.S. and international partner operators and maintainers of the joint strike fighter.
We couldn’t have picked a better spring day on the beautiful Emerald Coast to set another milestone for the F-35 program,” said Col. Andrew Toth, the 33rd FW commander. “Frankie and the entire team at Eglin continue to make great strides in establishing the foundation of formal maintenance and pilot training for our services and partner nations.”

Marine Capt. Daniel Flately was Buchler’s instructor pilot who flew wingman in another F-35B during the late afternoon sortie.
Watching Buchler’s technique in the traffic pattern over the base was key along with him getting familiarized with the jet, he said.
It was a clean flight….he’s a very experienced aviator who took to the F-35 naturally,” said Flatley.

It takes ten flight hours, or about six to seven sorties, for a student pilot transitioning from other aircraft to become a qualified F-35 pilot. Buchler’s last time flying was a year ago, coming from a background with the Sepecat Jaguar and Eurofighter Typhoon.
Wing Commander Jon Millington, the senior UK officer at the 33rd FW, and a handful of British maintainers training within the Marine squadron were on the flight line to witness the historic event for both countries.
The UK team is fully integrated in the Marine unit and flying each other’s jets interchangeably according to the vision of VMFAT-501 commander, Lt. Col. David Berke. In the near future, Marine pilots can be trained by UK pilots.

Buchler is scheduled to complete his training sorties by early April and is excited about the way ahead for the joint strike fighter.
The potential I see in this aircraft is all the sensors for information sharing. The F-35 has enormous potential and will be a great compliment to our Typhoons,” said the UK pilot.
His team is hopeful for the future when a team of 12 Royal Air Force and Navy maintainers and UK two pilots transition from Eglin to Edwards Air Force Base Calif., to perform operational testing on the jets in 2014. “In 2018, the plan is for UK’s F-35 team to achieve initial operating capability in a land-based role and aboard the future HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier in 2020.”

Until then, the British element will continue to grow their skills in learning to maintain and fly the Lightning II.
Their next milestones in the program include a third UK F-35B to be delivered to Eglin this spring and the second British pilot ’s first flight in two weeks.

Source: US Air Force Eglin AFB; Maj. Karen Roganov; 33rd Fighter Wing Public Affairs; Press Release 21-mar-2013

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Mrt 25 2013

UK JSF base announced

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

The UK’s Lightning II stealth fighter aircraft will be based at RAF Marham in Norfolk, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond announced today.

The Lightning II is the most advanced jet our Armed Forces have ever operated and the decision to base it at RAF Marham has secured the future of the base. The decision will also mean new investment and infrastructure to make RAF Marham the Main Operating Base for the aircraft.
Lightning II will be jointly operated by the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy and the aircraft will operate from the Navy’s new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers as well as from RAF Marham.

The Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, visited RAF Marham this morning to view the facilities and talk to personnel ahead of the announcement.

Marham decision “makes strategic sense”

Speaking from RAF Marham, Mr Hammond said:
This is the next step in the restructuring of the Armed Forces, providing them with the world’s most capable combat aircraft. Basing the new Lightning II at RAF Marham makes strategic sense and best use of the resources available. It also secures the future of one of the UK’s most operationally-experienced bases.”
He continued:
The Lightning II is the most advanced jet our Armed Forces have ever operated, and carries on the tradition of the Harrier, while having far greater range, payload and defensive capability. Now this decision has been taken, we can start the planning and infrastructure investment required for RAF Marham’s future.”

Lightning II update

The UK’s first 2 Lightning II aircraft are currently participating in the US test programme and will remain in the US. We expect to receive front line aircraft from 2015 onwards with an initial operating capability from land in 2018, followed by first of class flights from HMS Queen Elizabeth later that year.

The original intention (announced in 2005) was to base the aircraft at RAF Lossiemouth. Following the Strategic Defence and Security Review in 2010, a number of changes have occurred that justified a further review of the basing options for Lightning II; these include RAF Lossiemouth becoming the new home of the UK’s Typhoon fleet, while the out of service date for the Tornado GR4, currently based at RAF Marham, has been brought forward to 2019.

Source: Press Release; 25-mar-2013; UK Government

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Mrt 23 2013

What the Lubbock Emergency landing of a F-35 shows……..

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Ontwikkeling JSF

Do you remember our news item of March 12, 2013 about the Lubbock Emergency landing?
You could read:
One of the two F-35A fighter (AF-23 and AF-24) jets headed to a Nellis AFB (Nevada, USA) on its delivery flight has made an unscheduled landing on March 11, 2013 at 01:40 p.m. local time on a civil airfield Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport, Texas (300 miles after take-off from Lockheed Martin Fort Worth). Airport executive director James Loomis said the plane remained on the airport’s runway apron by 5:30 p.m. Monday. The malfunction was fixed by the evening and the plane (AF-23) took off for Nevada Lubbock Airport Executive Director James Loomis reported later.”

Some inconvenient facts comes to the light; official didn’t tell the truth…

The same day local and national news papers reported (March 11, 2013 – 6:10 pm)
The aircraft took off from the Lockheed Martin F-35 production facility in Fort Worth at approximately 12:42pm for a flight to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. (../..) They tells us a maintenance team from Lockheed Martin is being dispatched to the Lubbock IA to determine the cause of the incident and repair the jet for flight….”

The next day the newsitems was changed at some websites (March 12, 2013 – 12:15 am)
The aircraft took off from the Lockheed Martin F-35 production facility in Fort Worth at approximately 12:42pm for a flight to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. (../..)
The aircraft was stationed on a ramp at Lubbock Aero and supervised by National Guard officers until maintenance crews arrived.
The malfunction was fixed by the evening and the plane took off for Nevada at 5:30 p.m., Lubbock Airport Executive Director James Loomis describes
.”
Not true, the F-35A was towed already to a hangar…….

Malfunction not fixed after 230 minutes, not even after 230 hours…….

It seems, the statement of Lubbock Airport Executive Director James Loomis was not the plain truth. The F-35 was towed to a hangar and one week later the F-35A AF-23 was still there. Why did James Loomis tell something different to the press?
Not 230 minutes, no, not even 230 hours later the F-35A was in the air again!

Interesting, but later removed, Lockheed Martin statement “AF23 currently in Lubbock”

Last week the Lockheed Martin F-35 Communications Team released the monthly “F-35 Lightning II Program Status and Fast Facts” overview.
And, slip of the pen of the LM Communication Team, we could read:
There are 3 LRIP F-35As based at Nellis AFB. Plus AF-23 currently in Lubbock, Texas”.
That is news, because it shows that the problems with the F-35A weren’t solved and it must have more than a simple “flickering warning light”. It must have been a “land as soon as possible” event since the military airfield Cannon AFB is a short distance northwest of the civil Lubbock International Airport.

Eight days after the emergency landing

On March 19, 2013 Reuters US reported:
Aside from one night in a fenced area, the plane has been kept in a guarded hangar at the airport, according to airport officials.” But no word about the misleading statement of March 11 of the airport official James Loomis that “the plane took-off for Nevada at 05:30 pm”.

Las Vegas Review Journal told this story March 19, 2013 at 7:56 pm:
Three of the $67 million jets landed at the base earlier this month, and a fourth was cleared to fly Tuesday from Lubbock, Texas, where it made a precautionary landing March 11. It was on its way to Nellis from Lockheed Martin’s production plant in Fort Worth, Texas. “There was a wire connector issue in the flight control system, but the pilot was never in danger,” Lockheed spokesman Michael Rein said. He said the plane has a triple redundant backup system for flight control. “We fixed it, powered up the airplane, and everything checked out”.”

And one day later the newsitem was updated. We can read in the newsstory:
The plane had not arrived at Nellis late Tuesday.”

Removal of the official Press Release

Last Friday March 22, 2013 the press release of March 14, 2013 with the “Status and Fast Facts” had been removed from all official F-35 websites (L-M, JPO, F-35 Canada, etc.).
It not only contained inconvenient facts about the Lubbock Emergency landing, but also, it is clear that the test flight program is far behind schedule with only about 140 flights performed until March 12, 2013 (out of a total of 210 planned flights). See: this publication of the status report by JSFNieuws. No good news.

What the Lubbock Emergency landing shows?

That we need independent news websites, bringing the facts – positive and negative.
And, what really happened during the Lubbock Emergency Landing?

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Mrt 23 2013

F-35 Lightning II Program Status and Fast Facts March 2013

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

Test activity
SDD flight test activity totals for 2013 as of 12-March-2013, are provided below:
- F-35A flight science conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) jets have flown 31 times.
- F-35B flight science short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft have completed 17 flights.
- F-35C carrier variant (CV) jets have flown 41 times.
- Mission Systems Test aircraft have flown 50 times (AF-3/AF-6/AF-7/BF-17 and BF-18)
In the first 10 weeks of 2013 the F-35 has flown 139 times. Flight testing in 2013 is behind schedule (planning about 210 flights).

Since December 2006, F-35s have flown 4.069 times and accrued more than 6.350 cumulative flight hours. This total includes 91 flights from the original test aircraft, AA-1; 2.734 SDD test flights; and 1.244 production-model flights.

Recent test flight highlights:
- On February 1, AF-3 flew the first F-35 program Infra-Red Countermeasures separation.
- On February 5, the F-35 fleet (AA-1, SDD and LRIP) surpassed 6,000 flight hours
- On February 14, the first F-35C production model (CF-6) took flight in Fort Worth
- On February 20, the first F-35 flight at MCAS Yuma was completed by BF-20
- On February 21 the JSF Program Office issued a 10 days precautinonary suspension of flight operations
after a serious engine problem with a F-35A
- On March 2, the second Netherlands aircraft (AN-2) rolled out of the F-35 production facility
- On March 4, AF-18 and AF-19 ferried to Luke AFB then to Edwards AFB on March 6 (final destination)
- On March 4, BF-17 ferried to Fort Worth and then to EDW the next day
- On March 6, AF-21 and AF-22 ferried to Nellis AFB
- On March 5, the F-35 Fleet (AA-1, SDD and LRIP) surpassed 4,000 flights
- On March 6, BF-25 and BF-26 completed their first flight
- On March 7, BF-24 completed its first flight
- On March 11, AF-24 ferried to Nellis AFB
- On March 11, AF23 makes an emergency landing at Lubbock Internatial Airport during ferry flight to Nellis AFB;
despite misleading statements of L-M and Lubbock Airport the F-35A was still in a hangar at Lubbock several days later
- On March 13, Eglin AFB flew 19 sorties, which is their highest one day total to date.

F-35 Fleet Status

F-35 Deliveries:
52 F-35s have been delivered to the Department of Defense:
- 14 System Development and Demonstration (SDD) aircraft (and 6 more static)
- 38 Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) aircraft, including two international F-35s
- No new deliveries since January 31, 2013.

System Development and Demonstration (SDD) Fleet
- 17 F-35s comprise the SDD test fleet.
There are six F-35As assigned to Edwards AFB, Calif. (4 Original aircraft and 2 preproduction aircraft AF-6 and AF-7)
Seven F-35Bs (5 SDD aircraft and 2 LRIP aircraft) along with four F-35Cs stationed at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.

Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Aircraft
- There are 22 LRIP F-35s based at Eglin AFB, Fla. (9x F-35A and 13x F-35B)
- There are 1 LRIP F-35Bs based at PAX River NAS, Maryland.
- There are 2 LRIP F-35As and 1 LRIP F-35B based at Edwards AFB, Calif. (AF-6 and AF-7 loaned to SDD)
- There are 2 LRIP F-35As at Edwards AFB for Operational Testing
- There are 3 LRIP F-35Bs based at MCAS Yuma, Ariz.
- There are 3 LRIP F-35As based at Nellis AFB
- There is 1 LRIP F-35A (AF23) currently in Lubbock, Texas)after emergency landing
- There are 3 LRIP F-35s undergoing checkout flights at the F-35 production facility in Fort Worth

Planned production quantities

Calendar year 2013 - Low rate intitial production (LRIP) 5
- 22 F-35A US Air Force
- 7 F-35B US Marine Corps
- 7 F-35C US Navy
Total 32 F-35s (32 US and 0 international)

Calendar year 2014 - Low rate intitial production (LRIP) 6
- 18 F-35A US Air Force
- 5 F-35B US Marine Corps
- 7 F-35C US Navy
- 2 F-35A Italy
- 2 F-35A Australia
Total 35 F-35s (31 US and 4 international)

Calendar year 2015 - Low rate intitial production (LRIP) 7
- 19 F-35A US Air Force
- 6F-35B US Marine Corps
- 4 F-35C US Navy
- 3 F-35A Italy
- 1 F-35B United Kingdom
- 2 F-35A Australia
Total 35 F-35s (29 US and 6 international)
(2 Turkish F-35A canceled in this LRIP7 batch, moved to future batch, to be decided)

Calendar year 2016 - Low rate intitial production (LRIP) 8
- 19 F-35A US Air Force
- 6F-35B US Marine Corps
- 4 F-35C US Navy
- 4 F-35B United Kingdom
- 2 F-35A Norway
Total 35 F-35s (29 US and 6 international)

No production increase until 2017 with low and flat number for US force.
Budget pressure by sequestration may cause further reductions.

Source: press release Lockheed Martin; 14-Mar-2013

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Mrt 14 2013

Denmark: second JSF partner country with total new fighter evaluation

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Aanschaf JSF, Andere JSF landen

UPDATED

Copenhagen DK – In an official press release Denmark confirmed it has restarted a competition to select a fighter jet to replace the fleet of F-16s of the Danish Air Force. The evaluation is part of the Danish multi-year planning 2013-2017. Planning is to prepare a final political decision in June 2015.

Denmark is a JSF partner country (development contribution in 2002), but will held an open competition. It is the second country that re-evaluatie an earlier JSF decision. In December 2012 Canada also on a re-evaluation for its fighter acquisition process though no official competition has yet been put in place and cancelled the sole-source decision (2010) to procure the F-35 after a very critical auditor and KPMG report.

The competition was frozen in April 2010, but Boeing, Eurofighter, Lockheed Martin and Saab all received an official letter Wednesday March 13, 2013 informing them that the Danish MoD resumed the purchase process for new fighters. Last autumn some preparations were done by visiting the USA manufacturers Boeing and the JSF Program Office. Remarkable fact is the confirmation that the Eurofighter Typhoon will re-enter the bidding process, after leaving it in 2007. Eurofighter withdrew in December 2007 from the Danish and Norwegian competition, as it believed that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was favored in the evaluation.

Current Fleet

The Royal Danish Air Force (RDAF or Kongelige Danske Flyvevåben) has one main operating base located at Skrydstrup with one fighter wing with two multi-role frontline squadrons (Esk 727 and Esk 730). A total of only 30 Lockheed Martin F-16AM/BM is still operational. Most of the twoseat 16BM are operated by Esk (Sqd)727 in its training role and the Esk (Sqd) 730 contributes to the NATO Rapid Reaction Force. Last operation was during the military intervention in Libya in 2011 when 6 Danish F-16 operated from Sigonella in Italy. In 2004, 2009 and 2010 the RDAF contributed to the NATO Operation Baltic Air Policing in Lithuania.

In the 1960s and 1970s the RDAF operated a number of US financed Lockheed F-104G Starfighters, North American F-100D and F-100F Super Sabres, and a fleet of Saab Draken fighter aircraft.

Low Operating and Support costs important

Danish Parliament knows a decision will have huge influence on the defence procurement budget for nearly a decade. Also the operating and support cost will affect the entire defense budget over 30-40 years ahead. Therefore low long term operating and support costs are important for Denmark.

Comeback of Eurofighter Typhoon

The comeback of Eurofighter is the most interesting fact. It may be a relatively strong candidate, because the plane is used by the close NATO allies Germany and Britain. Also Germany is a very important trading partner and the most important country for Danish export. There is some speculation about a possibility for Denmark to buying Eurofighters destined for the German Tranche 3b series or buying used Eurofighters Tranche ½ version from Germany, so that Germany can shift to the new Tranche 3b version. There were no legal or evaluation conditions that could give objections to a comeback of Eurofighter in the competition.
Eurofighter welcomed the invitation to join the New Danish Combat Aircraft Competition. Eurofighter CEO, Enzo Casolini, said: “We welcome the invitation of the Danish Government and we are pleased to enter into this international competition. Eurofighter Typhoon is the most advanced new generation combat aircraft that can fulfill the specific Danish requirements, including Arctic surveillance. We are ready to develop a strategic partnership with Denmark and provide opportunities for significant collaboration with Europe’s leading industrial nations.” In a press release they point at the fact that the Eurofighter programme has strong reliability in terms of delivery and price. “The aircraft itself is an effective, proven and trusted weapon system. A decision in favour of Eurofighter Typhoon would be a long-term investment into Denmark’s security and defence. Selecting Eurofighter Typhoon which is fully NATO-compatible would lead to reduced costs for Denmark with respect to logistics, training and interoperability during coalition missions. A total of about 650 Typhoon are ordered by Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Austria, Saudi Arabia and Oman.

SAAB claims “stronger than ever” position

Lennart Sindahl, Head of Saab’s business area Aeronautics, said in a reaction: “Our position to export Gripen to the world market is stronger than ever, particularly after the historical procurement order placed last month by Sweden for 60 Gripen and another possible 22 Gripen fighters for Switzerland“. Today Saab is in the unique postion to have a firm development contract for the next generation fighter with Sweden and Switzerland as customers. A strong competitive advantage of the new Gripen E are the low operating and support cost; NATO interoperability; long term Industrial contacts between SAAB and several companies in Denmark.
We note a great interest for Gripen worldwide and we follow the decision that has just been announced in Denmark. Now we are looking forward to receiving more information about the process,” explains Lennart Sindahl.

Dassault not invited

Dassault Aviation has not been invited to compete, and will not attempt to do so, company chief executive Eric Trappier told Defense-aerospace.com after the company’s March 14 press conference in Paris. He said that the European partners are the least likely to withdraw from the Joint Strike Fighter program. He added that this explains why Dassault did not re-compete in the Netherlands, which he said had made a lot of noise about holding a new competition but had ultimately stayed with the JSF. “It probably allowed them to obtain a better price from the Americans,” he said.

Evaluation process

Other candidates are the F-35 from Lockheed Martin; the Boeing Super Hornet and Saab’s Gripen Next Generation. There is requirement for 24-32 fighter aircraft dependent on price and budget.
The new evaluation process and final recommendation will be ready at the end of 2014. Final political decision has to be taken around June 2015.

Sources:
MoD Denmark; 13-mar-2013; Press Release “Valget af nyt kampfly starter igen”
Inside information Forsvarsministeriet and Kongelige Danske Flyvevåben

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Mrt 14 2013

Dassault: “Canada interested in Rafale amid doubts about F-35″

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

Bloomberg reporter Andrea Rothman in Paris writes about Canada reconsidering their F-35 buy:

Dassault Aviation SA (AM), maker of the Rafale combat jet, said Canada has commenced talks about an order for the plane as it reviews options amid mounting costs for the Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.’

And quoting the new Dassault CEO during the press conference after the presentation of Dassault’s annual results: “Canada was the first to raise difficult questions about the F-35 and we’ve been talking to them since the beginning of the year“.

Read more: Bloomberg; 14-mar-2013; Andrea Rothman; “Dassault Says Canada Mulling Rafale Warplane as JSF Costs Soar

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Mrt 13 2013

US Senator Leahy: “F-35 is not what our troops need”

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

In South Burlington, VT, USA there are local concerns that the F-35 will be up to four times louder than the F-16s. Airport noise has led to the need under US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines to purchase and demolish homes near the airport.

Some people asked responsible senators to discuss and change the basing of the F-35 at the Burlington airport. One of them received a a letter from US Senator Leahy with several interesting statements about the F-35:

F-35 textbook example how not to buy military equipment

“…..I have heard from a number of Vermonters who have specifically questioned the value of the F-35. The F-35 program has been poorly managed and is a textbook example of how not to buy military equipment. The causes of the F-35 program’s present difficulties are too numerous to detail in my response to your letter; however, I believe the F-35 program is approaching a point where the military services and a majority of Congress will recognize that the jet is just too costly to proceed with purchases at today’s planned levels. That recognition may lead to a decision to diversify of our future fighter jet fleet, with the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps opting to modernize their current fleet of fighter jets and substantially reduce the total number of F-35s that they plan to buy. I do not believe, because of the huge sums taxpayers have already invested and because the F-35 is our only next-generation aircraft presently in development, that a majority of Congress or military leaders will support terminating the program entirely.

Change in F-35 Program would need more support

I have pushed and continue to push for a better approach to buying military equipment. I don’t think “one size fits all,” monolithic, ultra-expensive equipment is what our troops need, but enacting a change to the F-35 program at this stage will require the support of a majority of members of Congress. Please know that I am working to find savings in this program and elsewhere in the Pentagon budget to reinvest that money in other critical areas….”

Source:
Website F-35 in South Burlingon; 12-mar-2013; Senator Leahy says F-35 is not what our troops need

Burlington Free Press; 12-mar-2013; Leahy criticizes cost of F-35 jet program

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Mrt 13 2013

Elsevier meent: “Minister Hennis-Plasschaert opent weg voor JSF ……”

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Aanschaf JSF

UPDATED

Elsevier komt met het bericht, dat minister van defensie Hennis-Plasschaert concludeert dat Nederland het beste JSF’s kan aanschaffen en dat hier voldoende budget voor is.

Inmiddels heeft minister Hennis-Plasschaert aan de Tweede Kamer verteld “dat het hele bericht van Elsevier een ‘canard’ is“. En dat er geen enkel besluit over de vervanging is genomen door de regering.

In een document dat de titel heeft “In het belang van Nederland – De krijgsmacht voor vrijheid, veiligheid en welvaart” zou worden gezegd, dat voor de opvolging van de F-16, de Amerikaanse JSF een betere keus is, dan andere jachtvliegtuigen zoals de Zweedse Saab Gripen.
Elsevier bericht tevens, dat bronnen bij het ministerie zeggen dat hiermee de weg wordt geopend voor de aanschaf van 50 tot 55 JSF-toestellen door het kabinet-Rutte II. Hoe men dit binnen het ministerie van defensie denkt te financieren, het budget bedraagt circa €4,5 miljard wordt niet vermeld. Vandaag liet het Noorse Ministerie van Defensie in een samenvatting onder een persbericht over het JSM wapen nog weten, dat met de aanschaf van 52 toestellen een totaalbedrag van € 8,9 miljard (NOK 62 miljard) gemoeid zal zijn. Aangezien Nederland het zelfde type F-35A gaat kopen, betekent een budget van € 4,5 miljard een aantal van 26 toestellen, indien wij dezelfde prijs betalen als Noorwegen.

De Tweede Kamer werd verrast door het bericht in Elsevier en was inhoudelijk vandaag nog niet op de hoogte van het rapport.
Het lekken van het rapport naar Elsevier, lijkt dan ook eerder op een poging van medewerkers van Defensie vooruit te lopen op het debat in de Tweede Kamer, dat voor begin april gepland staat. Defensie woordvoerder Raymond de Roon (PVV) liet onmiddellijk weten: “Wat mijn fractie betreft: de PVV stelt zich nog steeds op het standpunt dat de F-16’s niet moeten worden vervangen door de F-35.

Vandaag werd overigens in Denemarken bekend, dat een keuze voor de JSF niet vanzelfsprekend is. Het parlement werd meegedeeld, dat in navolging van Canada, een volledig nieuwe evaluatie zal worden uitgevoerd voor de opvolging van de F-16. Kandidaten hierbij zijn de Boeing Super Hornet, Eurofighter Typhoon, Lockheed Martin F-35 en Saab Gripen E.

Bron: Elsevier, 13-maart-2013 “Minister opent weg naar aanschaf JSF

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Mrt 13 2013

US GAO: F-35 current outlook improved, long-term affordability major concern

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl onder Global F35 News

The latest US GAO report (March 2012) reports about the F-35 program that it had made “substantial progress” on several of the fighter’s top program management priorities. However risks are still huge and long-term affordability concerns remain.

Download US GAO report

“US GAO; March 2013; F-35 Current Outlook Is Improved, but Long-Term Affordability Is a Major Concern” (PDF, 44 pages, 1.2Mb)

“What GAO Found”

The F-35 program achieved 7 of 10 key management objectives for 2012 and made substantial progress on one other. Two objectives on aircraft deliveries and a corrective management plan were not met. Also in 2012, the program conducted more developmental flight tests than planned and made considerable progress in addressing critical technical risks, such as the helmet-mounted display. With about one-third of development flight testing completed, much testing remains to demonstrate and verify F-35 performance. Software management practices are improved, but with significant challenges ahead as software integration and testing continue to lag behind plans.

Manufacturing and supply processes are also improving–indicators such as factory throughput, labor efficiency, and quality measures are all positive. While initial F-35 production overran target costs and delivered aircraft late, the latest data shows labor hours decreasing and deliveries accelerating. The program is working through the continuing effects from its concurrent acquisition strategy that overlapped testing and manufacturing activities. For example, the program is continuing to incur substantial costs for rework to fix deficiencies discovered in testing, but the amount of rework needed on each aircraft is dropping.

Going forward, ensuring affordability–the ability to acquire aircraft in quantity and to sustain them over the life cycle–is of paramount concern. With more austere budgets looming, F-35 acquisition funding requirements average $12.6 billion annually through 2037. The new F-35 acquisition baseline incorporates the Department of Defense’s (DOD) positive restructuring actions taken since 2010, including more time and funding for development and deferred procurement of more than 400 aircraft to future years. These actions place the F-35 program on firmer footing, although aircraft will cost more and deliveries to warfighters will take longer. The program continues to incur financial risk from its plan to procure 289 aircraft for $57.8 billion before completing development flight testing. Meanwhile, the services are spending about $8 billion to extend the life of existing aircraft and to buy new ones to mitigate shortfalls due to F-35 delays.

Why GAO Did This Study

The F-35 Lightning II, the Joint Strike Fighter, is DOD’s most costly and ambitious aircraft acquisition. The program is developing and fielding three aircraft variants for the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and eight international partners. The F-35 is critical to long-term recapitalization plans as it is intended to replace hundreds of existing aircraft. This will require a long-term sustained funding commitment. Total U.S. investment is nearing $400 billion to develop and procure 2,457 aircraft through 2037. Fifty-two aircraft have been delivered through 2012. The F-35 program has been extensively restructured over the last 3 years to address prior cost, schedule, and performance problems. GAO’s prior reviews of the F-35 made numerous recommendations to improve outcomes, such as increasing test resources and reducing annual procurement quantities.

This report, prepared in response to the National Defense Authorization Act for 2010, addresses (1) F-35 program performance during 2012, including testing, technical risks, and software; (2) manufacturing performance indicators, production results, and design changes; and (3) acquisition and sustainment costs going forward. GAO’s work included analyses of a wide range of program documents and interviews with defense and contractor officials.

Difficult to plan, prioritize, and budget for the future

Recent restructuring actions have improved the F-35’s prospects for success, albeit at greater costs and further delays. Many of the restructuring actions—more time and resources for development flight testing, reduced annual procurements, the recognition of concurrency risks, independent cost and software assessments, and others—are responsive to our past recommendations. Recent management initiatives, including the schedule risk analysis and the software assessment, also respond to prior recommendations. As a result, we are not making new recommendations in this report. DOD and the contractor now need to demonstrate that the F-35 program can effectively perform against cost and schedule targets in the new baseline and deliver on promises. Until then, it will continue to be difficult for the United States and international partners to ; retire aging aircraft; and establish basing plans with a support infrastructure. Achieving affordability in annual funding requirements, aircraft unit prices, and life-cycle operating and support costs will in large part determine how many aircraft the warfighter can ultimately acquire, sustain, and have available for combat.

What GAO Recommends

GAO is not making recommendations in this report. DOD’s restructuring of the F-35 program and other actions are responsive to many prior recommendations. DOD agreed with GAO’s report findings and conclusions.”

Source; US GAO, March 2013; annual F-35 report

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