Archief van de juni, 2013

Jun 28 2013

Luke AFB chosen as main operating base F-35

Gepubliceerd door onder Global F35 News

The Air Force announced June 27 that Luke Air Force Base has been chosen as the location for 72 additional F-35A Lightning II aircraft, bringing the eventual total number of the fifth-generation fighters expected to 144.

The Air Force’s initial decision to establish an F-35 pilot training center at Luke was announced in August 2012, following a three-year process that included an extensive environmental impact analysis.

This is great news for Luke AFB and the West Valley community,” said Brig. Gen. Mike Rothstein, 56th Fighter Wing commander. “The decision to base additional F-35 fighters here ensures the long-term viability of our mission and continues our legacy of training the world’s greatest fighter pilots.”

The F-35A, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, is intended to be the Air Force’s premier strike aircraft through the first half of the 21st century. It is a multirole fighter that is expected to eventually phase out the service’s F-16s and A-10s, originally scheduled to be operational in 2011. At this moment Initial Operational Capability with full Block 3 software is planned in 2019/2020, about 8 years behind schedule.

Aircraft are expected to begin arriving at Luke in spring 2014, although exact timing will depend on production schedules. Construction on base to prepare for the aircraft is currently underway, with about $10 million of $57 million in projects already completed. The 2012 Record of Decision cited several reasons why Luke was the service’s top choice for F-35A basing, including facility and ramp capacity, range access, weather and capacity for future growth.
The base, which has been training fighter pilots for more than 70 years, also enjoys tremendous community support.

We’re surrounded by a very supportive community that is the envy of the Air Force,” said Rusty Mitchell, director of Luke’s Community Initiatives Team, who has worked with government officials and community stakeholders on behalf of the base for more than a decade. “We can’t thank our West Valley neighbors enough for how they’ve come together in support of our mission.” Around some other airbases there is an ongoing protest due to the fact that the F-35 produces much more noise than F-15 and F-16 aircraft.

In addition to training U.S. pilots, Luke will also serve as an F-35A International Partner Training site.

Source: Press Release US Air Force; Luke AFB, 56th Fighter Wing; Capt. Tristan Hinderliter/edited

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Jun 22 2013

First F-35C Lightning II deliverd to US Navy training squadron

Gepubliceerd door onder Global F35 News

The U.S. Navy’s Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 101 received the Navy’s first F-35C Lightning II carrier variant aircraft from Lockheed Martin today at the squadron’s home at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, USA.

The Lightning II is a fifth generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment.

The F-35C will enhance the flexibility, power projection, and strike capabilities of carrier air wings and joint task forces and will complement the capabilities of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, which currently serves as the Navy’s premier strike fighter.

By 2025, the Navy’s aircraft carrier-based air wings will consist of a mix of F-35C, F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, EA-18G Growlers electronic attack aircraft, E-2D Hawkeye battle management and control aircraft, Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) air vehicles, MH-60R/S helicopters and Carrier Onboard Delivery logistics aircraft.

VFA 101, based at Eglin Air Force Base, will serve as the F-35C Fleet Replacement Squadron, training both aircrew and maintenance personnel to fly and repair the F-35C.

Press Release by Commander, US Naval Air Forces Public Affairs

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Jun 12 2013

Status report LA times: F-35 is still not ready for action

Gepubliceerd door onder Global F35 News

Los Angeles Times reports: “F-35 fighter jet struggles to take off” and “After a decade of administrative problems, cost overruns and technical glitches, the F-35 is still not ready for action.”

- decade of administrative problems, cost overruns and technical glitches
- Still not ready for action
- Fewer planes
- Costs doubled last decade
- Most demanding testing still lies years ahead
- Incredibly complex aircraft
- Manufacture F-35s while simultaneously testing them, called concurrency “acquistion malpractice”
- Only 50% of testing completed by year’s end (2013)

Read more (good overview of current F-35 status): LA Times

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Jun 11 2013

Israel delivers components for the F-35

Gepubliceerd door onder Global F35 News

Israëli Company Elbit Systems-Cyclone has delivered its first advanced composite component for the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter center fuselage produced by Northrop Grumman.

This delivery is a significant milestone for the F-35 program, as it is the first composite part manufactured by a country committed to purchasing future F-35s under the U.S. foreign military sales agreement. The composite component delivered is one of 16 unique parts to be manufactured by Elbit Systems-Cyclone under a seven-year F-35 agreement with Northrop Grumman, which was signed in December 2011.

We’re anticipating receiving more than 50 component deliveries from Cyclone this year, so this is a great start and shows Cyclone’s commitment to the program,” said Michelle Scarpella, vice president of the F-35 program for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. “With the first delivery under its belt, Cyclone has demonstrated that it is equipped and qualified to manufacture and deliver quality composite parts for the joint strike fighter aircraft, 19 of which Israel has committed to purchasing.”

Source: Press Release Northrop Grumman 11-jun-2013

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Jun 11 2013

Kongsberg JSM missile fit checks completed

Gepubliceerd door onder Global F35 News

Kongsberg and Lockheed Martin have completed a fit check of the Joint Strike Missile (JSM) in the internal carriage bay of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft. This test follows just four weeks after the JSM conducted a fit check on the external pylons.

As part of this second fit check, the JSM was loaded into the JSF’s internal carriage bay and conducted a series of tests to prove the physical characteristic of the JSM complies with the requirements for internal carriage.

“JSM is a true fifth generation missile. The first long-range, stealthy and passive, sea- and land target precision strike missile developed for the JSF. The combined capability of the JSF and JSM provides JSF users with unique and innovative strike capabilities”, says Harald Ånnestad, President Kongsberg Defence Systems.

JSM is designed as a long-range, low-observable stand-off weapon able to engage both land and naval targets. It has been specifically engineered for internal carriage on the F-35A and F-35C variants of JSF to enable the aircraft to maintain its stealth characteristics.

— High probability of penetrating air defense systems through a combination of capabilities such as low radar signature, super sea-skim, variable speed, range and high-g maneuvers;
— Automated Target Recognition with Imaging target seeker for discrimination between red, white and blue ships.
— Advanced engagement planning system which exploits the geography in the area of operations.
— Target library including hit-point, fuze setting and optimal end-game.
— A two-way networking data link will provide Target Update, Re-Targeting, Mission abort and Bomb Hit Indication (BHI)

Source: Press Release Kongsberg Norway

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Jun 10 2013

Japan might delay F-35 purchases

Gepubliceerd door onder Global F35 News

In an interview with Defense News, Morimoto (Minister of Defense in Japan until December-2012) said he now believes the Defense Ministry may be forced to delay annual purchases of F-35s, due to the continuous price increases.

Defense News:
This is a very, very serious problem for the Japanese taxpayer,” said defense analyst Shinichi Kiyotani. The problem is compounded by the fact that Japan’s purchasing costs are plagued by small-lot, piecemeal procurement, meaning local production costs can be sometimes double those of US-made counterparts. “People are wondering if Japan can afford it,” Kiyotani said.

Read more: Defense News; 10-jun-2013; Japan might delay F-35 purchases

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Jun 05 2013

JSF: On Final Approach to Fighter Fiscal Sanity

Gepubliceerd door onder Global F35 News

Each year the Defense Department’s comptroller, the Pentagon’s chief financial officer, publishes a report: Program Acquisition Costs by Weapon System.

The public and Congress have a right to expect these annual reports to be complete and accurate. These reports have identified spending amounts for research and development and for procurement, plus annual production authorizations, for the F-35, since the public origins of the program in 1994.

These reports show a total of $87.5 billion will have been spent on the F-35 program by the end of 2014: $46.2 billion for R&D; $39.5 billion for Procurement, and $1.8 billion for initial spare parts, as detailed in this chart from my third post in this series:

The breakdown of each year’s procurement spending and authorized production yields an annual F-35 unit production cost. For 2014, F-35As will cost $188.5 million each; F-35Bs and Cs will average $277.9 million each, and all F-35s will cost, on average, $219.3 million.

Read more: On Final Approach to Fighter Fiscal Sanity (part 5 of 5) by Winslow Wheeler

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Jun 05 2013

First F-35A eject-and-launch test of AIM120 missile

Gepubliceerd door onder Global F35 News

An F-35A conventional takeoff and landing aircraft completed the first in-flight missile launch of an AIM-120 over the Point Mugu Sea Test Range, 5-June-2013.

It was the first launch where the F-35 and AIM-120 demonstrated a successful launch-to-eject communications sequence and fired the rocket motor after launch — paving the way for targeted launches in support of the Block 2B fleet release capability later this year (this software is years and years behind schedule).

The Air Force F-35A variant has seen significant development in training and operations recently including the beginning of pilot training at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., the delivery of the first operational test aircraft to Edwards and Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., the first operational aerial refueling and the completion of high angle of attack testing.

It’s a testament to the entire military-industry test team,” said Lt. Col. George “Boxer” Schwartz, F-35 Integrated Test Force director, who also piloted the flight. “They’ve worked thousands and thousands of hours to get to the point where we are today. It’s fantastic to see that it’s all paid off. We’re rolling into a lot of additional weapons work in the coming months to put that expanded capability on the aircraft.”

The F-35A 5th Generation fighter is designed to carry a payload of up to 18000 pounds using 10 weapon stations. The F-35A features four internal weapon stations located in two weapon bays to maximize stealth capability. The CTOL aircraft can also utilize an additional three external weapon stations per wing if required.

The U.S. Air Force has established an F-35A initial operating capability target date of December 2016. By this date, the Air Force will have fielded an operational squadron with at least 12 aircraft along with Airmen trained and equipped to conduct basic close air support, interdiction and limited suppression, and destruction of enemy air defense operations in a contested environment.

Moving into the active phase of weapons test is another large step toward delivering Block 2B software capability that will enable initial combat deployment.

We’ve spent years working on the design of the aircraft, and many months ensuring that weapons could be contained within the aircraft and dropped as designed,” said Charlie Wagner, F-35 weapons director. “This event is the result of tremendous effort and collaboration in the F-35 Enterprise, and marks a turning point in F-35 capabilities; the AIM-120 launch is one small but critical increment toward proving combat capability,”

Source: Press Release JSF Program Office; author Asif Shamim

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