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  #376  
Old 05-07-2017, 21:58
Jetex61 Jetex61 is online now
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Default Re: Lockheed Martin F35B Lightning II

And of course 207 Sqn RAF started life as No 7 Sqn RNAS, which nicely reflects the future joint RN/RAF usage of the F-35B.
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  #377  
Old 06-07-2017, 17:09
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Inside the bespoke £2million simulator where pilots are learning to land £70million fighter jets on the deck of the Royal Navy’s £3bn flagship aircraft carrier

F-35B Lightning IIs put through their paces at state-of-the-art facility before Top Guns get their hands on them next year

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/395947...craft-carrier/
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  #378  
Old 11-07-2017, 14:39
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UK orders full scale F-35 engine mockup training device

As part of support sustainment activities for the United Kingdom’s F-35 initial operational capability, training aids continue to be ordered.

According to a notice of sale:

“United Technologies Corp., Pratt & Whitney Military Engines, East Hartford, Connecticut, is being awarded not-to-exceed $7,906,242 for modification P00014 to a previously awarded cost-plus-incentive, fixed-price-incentive-fee contract (N00019-15-C-0004). This modification provides for the procurement of one F-35 Lightning II low-rate initial production II short take-off vertical landing full scale engine mockup training device to support sustainment activities for the United Kingdom’s initial operational capability.
Work will be performed in East Hartford, Connecticut (95 percent); and Indianapolis, Indiana (5 percent), and is expected to be complete in May 2019. International partner funds in the amount of $3,188,587 will be obligated at the time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.”
It is expected that the UK will build a front-line fleet of four F-35 squadrons with each squadron having 12 jets. A fifth unit, an operational conversion unit, will also operate 12 aircraft.
The structure of the Lightning force is now somewhat clear.
  • 17(R) Squadron is currently based at Edwards Air Force Base in the US and fills role of F-35B Operational Evaluation Unit.
  • 617 Squadron will be based at RAF Marham and will be the first operational British F-35 unit in 2019.
  • 809 Naval Air Squadron will also be based at RAF Marham.
  • 2 more unnamed frontline Squadrons are to be established.
  • 207 Squadron as the Operation Conversion Squadron.
Continues at - https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/uk-o...paig n=social
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  #379  
Old 17-07-2017, 12:03
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NO SMOKE WITHOUT FIRE?

As some members will be aware the UK media has been refering to a Times article which is below:

Britain spends billions on flawed fighter jets

Setbacks and hidden charges push cost of F-35 stealth aircraft to £150m each.
The F-35 Lightning II has developed numerous faults during its development, delaying its deployment and pushing it well over budget.

Britain is paying hundreds of millions of pounds in hidden costs for a next-generation warplane that will be unable to function properly because of defence cuts, an investigation by The Times has revealed.

The F-35 Lightning II, the most expensive aircraft of its kind, has been described by Sir Michael Fallon, the defence secretary, as the “most powerful and comprehensive” fast jet in history. Its American manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, has said that the aircraft will cost Britain between £77 million and £100 million each.

However, taxpayers face spending more than £150 million for each of the high-tech fighter-bombers delivered this year, analysis suggests. The extras — for items such as software upgrades, spare parts and “cost reduction initiatives” — are buried in US defence contracts and have not been included in the published figures.

Military insiders have told of fears about the aircraft, which continues to suffer setbacks described by one former senior officer as “utterly pathetic”. Britain is buying the more costly F-35-B model, which is designed to take off and land vertically. US documents reveal that four already purchased are too heavy to perform this function safely.

The full scale of problems facing the F-35 Lightning II can be exposed today:

• The “stealth” jet cannot transmit data to British ships or older planes without revealing its position to the enemy.

• Broadband on Britain’s principal aircraft carrier is four times weaker than that for an average UK household, severely hampering the jet’s abilities.

• A test pilot had to land in almost total darkness after night vision failed in the plane’s £309,000 helmet.

• Its £12 billion software system is vulnerable to cyberattack and Britain will not be able to test its security independently.

• The defence department in charge of computer networks essential to the plane’s operation must find savings of £400 million this year.

• Falls in the value of the pound against the dollar have exposed British taxpayers to more than £1 billion in extra costs.

First announced in 2001, the US-led F-35 programme has ballooned into the most expensive weapons project in history. Its £1 trillion cost has been condemned by President Trump as “out of control”. A report last week found that the estimated cost of the programme had risen by £21 billion in the past year.

Britain, which has pledged to spend more than £12 billion on the new jets and aircraft carriers by 2021, is to buy 138 F-35s. The first tranche of 48 will be the B variant — the same type that the US had to ground last month because of software glitches. The first squadron will arrive at RAF Marham next August and will be deployed on HMS Queen Elizabeth, the first of two new carriers, from 2020.

Insiders fear that a failure to invest in military communication will diminish one of the plane’s key selling points: its ability to share data from advanced sensors with older aircraft and the carrier. HMS Queen Elizabeth has a broadband connection of only eight megabits, four times weaker than that for an average British household. With such low bandwidth, the F-35 will not be able to send data on enemy threats back to ground forces while in flight.

“The real virtue of the joint strike fighter is it’s a stealthy information platform which happens to shoot down aircraft and bomb,” General Sir Richard Barrons, who was in charge of the military’s information networks until last year, told The Times. “You need enough capacity to communicate with all of the other platforms: ships, aircraft and headquarters. [The Queen Elizabeth] may look impressive as a ship but technologically it’s stuck ten years ago.”

Sir Richard, who was in overall charge of military information technology, said it was “utterly pathetic” that Britain had prioritised “metal and platforms” over “warfare in the information age”.

Sir Michael has lauded the F-35’s brainpower, which is capable of more than 400 billion operations per second. “It immeasurably improves our situational awareness,” he said.

Yet defence staff have failed to buy a critical system enabling the plane to “talk to” other aircraft while maintaining stealth capability. To communicate, it has to switch to an unsecured wavelength called Link 16, which could give away its position to an enemy.

“A lot of the value of the F-35 is its potential capability to share situational awareness with older platforms,” Justin Bronk, a defence analyst at the Royal United Services Institute think tank, said. “The F-35 can transmit in Link 16, but that is quite easy for adversaries to detect.”

Upgrading satellite broadband across the RAF and navy, and buying technology to enable the F-35 to communicate securely, would cost up to £1 billion, Sir Richard said. Without this, Britain may as well “have recycled some old Harrier jets and put them on the carrier, because you would just have a fighter.”

The F-35 is still in development, but the number of faults identified by independent experts has worried many. “It is unbelievably abnormal to have this level of problems in every aspect,” Pierre Sprey, a US aviation expert, said. “Manoeuvrability is appallingly bad. It has terrific problems trying to fly fast at low altitude. It overheats and when you detect the overheating you have to open the bomb bay doors to cool the missiles that are inside. The logistic computers are a horrible mess and it is crippling the ability to be able to move the aeroplanes from one airfield to another.”

Lockheed Martin says that the costs of the jet, which is sold to 12 countries, have fallen. Analysis of 44 contracts handed to F-35 manufacturers suggests that the total cost for every jet delivered this year is between £130 million and £155 million, when spare parts, upgrades and other extras are included. The F-35-B version bought by Britain appears to cost about £153 million.

Such figures are estimates as the full contract terms are not public. “No one outside of the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin knows what the F-35 actually costs, and even then the Pentagon can’t really say,” Giovanni de Briganti, a defence analyst, said.

Lockheed disputed the estimates. Costs published by Lockheed and the US government were never intended to include spare parts or upgrades, the company said, adding that future jets would cost less. The F-35 programme was “delivering performance and driving down cost”. The plane was “manoeuvrable, deployable and combat ready”.

The MoD said that it was committed to the F-35, which was “on time, within costs and offers the best capability for our armed forces”. It said all the issues with the plane were under “active management” and that as issues are found, solutions are developed.

As ever time will tell.


[The Canadian portion of the pie chart appears incorrect?

The Liberal government has committed to spending another $36 million for the development of the F-35 fighter jet, an aircraft Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said doesn’t work.

The Liberals intend to continue in the F-35 program to draw out benefits for Canadian companies, while at the same time buying a rival firm’s aircraft, the Boeing Super Hornet.

But defence analysts wonder how long F-35 builder Lockheed Martin, and Canada’s allies, will allow the situation to continue.

Canada will pay $30.6 million U.S., or around $36 million, in April for its continued participation in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, said Department of National Defence spokeswoman Ashley Lemire.

That covers participation in the F-35 program from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, 2017, part of Canada’s long-term commitment to the project.

From - http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/...b-3c274ff7a8f3 ]


ANOTHER VIEW:


Wing Commander Beck is one of the UK’s most experienced F-35 Lightning pilots, he has given his views on the jet.

It’s no secret that the F-35 has had severe cost and schedule issues. The F-35 programme has gone through serious teething problems, problems also experienced by the majority of complex aircraft flying today such as the F-15, Typhoon or any other modern combat jet.

The biggest issue for the project continues to be the fact it is the most expensive military weapons system in history owing to the sheer scope of the programme but that being said, aircraft costs are now coming down and will soon be similar to the cost of many aircraft it’s replacing.
Today the programme is maturing rapidly, right now much of the activity around the jet is dealing with software bugs and testing to validate the software, with most of the physical testing being to do with weapons integration and the gradual scaling up of capabilities that comes with each new software block.
Wing Commander Beck began by discussing the capabilities the aircraft will bring to UK forces:
“The F-35 is the best aircraft I’ve ever flown. It is the most advanced multi-role fighter jet out there and the aircraft most suited to the UK’s needs. With huge flexibility and cutting-edge innovation, this supersonic, stealth aircraft will bring about a generation change in the way we fight in the Combat Air arena for many decades to come.
I’ve flown over 2,000 hours with Tornados, and have completed 7 operational tours in an 18 year career flying fast jets. I set up the first UK F-35 Squadron in the US, flown entirely under UK sovereign jurisdiction, flying the F-35 for over 300 hours myself. Hands down, it is the most capable and advanced aircraft I’ve ever flown.
The F-35B is the world’s first supersonic, radar-evading stealth aircraft that comes with short take-off/vertical landing (STOVL) capability. This gives it huge flexibility, enabling it to take off from land or the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, the first of which is currently on sea trials.”
Beck added:
“The aircraft is the epitome of cutting-edge military innovation. Take the helmet: It uses Augmented Reality technology to allow pilots to look through 360 degrees, through the floor of the cockpit for example, at the ground below them. The aircraft is brimming with state of the art sensors, which provides the pilot with a vast array of game-changing information, enhancing their situational awareness so they can act rapidly and effectively. In terms of stealth, the Low Observable technology means the F-35 is incredibly hard to detect, providing a massive tactical advantage over the enemy.
The F-35 will be deployed on a uniquely wide range of operations, from air-to-air, air-to-ground and electronic combat, through to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. Traditionally managed by several specialist aircraft, this can all be done by a single F-35 squadron.
We currently have over 100 British pilots and aircrew training in the US on our 10 F-35s before coming to the UK next year. In 2018 we will begin initial flight trials for the F-35 jets from HMS Queen Elizabeth, building towards delivering a carrier strike capability for the UK from 2020.”
On the value to UK industry he said:
“It is great news for UK industry, which will provide approximately 15% by value of every Lightning aircraft to be built. We will benefit hugely from the programme, after winning a contract to be the major global maintenance hub for avionics and aircraft components.”
Wing Commander Beck concluded with:
“The Lightning aircraft will bring about a step change in our air warfare capability for years to come. Just ask the growing number of UK pilots who have flown the aircraft; they absolutely love it!
New aircraft often come under harsh scrutiny before entering service. Take the Typhoon fighter jet for instance. Before it came into service, the aircraft came under a lot of criticism from the media. But look at it now – we have 137 aircraft that have excelled in a variety of roles, from scrambling aircraft over British airspace, to reconnaissance and ground attack on a range of operations including the Falklands, the Baltics and Middle East.
Rest assured, the F-35 is the most advanced fighter jet out there and the best aircraft for the UK’s needs today and for decades to come.”

From - https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/f-35...paig n=social
Attached Images
File Type: jpg FLEET SIZE.jpg (37.5 KB, 3 views)
File Type: jpg F35 ORDERS.jpg (38.9 KB, 2 views)
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  #380  
Old 17-07-2017, 19:00
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Rob Hoole Rob Hoole is offline
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Default Re: Lockheed Martin F35B Lightning II

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pelican View Post
NO SMOKE WITHOUT FIRE?

As some members will be aware the UK media has been refering to a Times article which is below:

Britain spends billions on flawed fighter jets
Apart from the many flawed statements (including ancient history and several simplistic half-truths) in the Times article, was there no mention that the UK, as the only Tier One partner, receives 15% of the work and receipts for every F-35 sold? In fact the proportion will be even greater for the F-35B with Rolls-Royce's ingenious lift fan arrangement.

With projected sales of 4,000 F-35s worldwide, this amounts to the equivalent of at least 600 aircraft. Falls in the value of the pound can sometimes work to our advantage.

Some of us have our suspicions about the source of these views; people with a certain agenda that would not bode well for the future of the RN.
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  #381  
Old 18-07-2017, 09:34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Hoole View Post
Apart from the many flawed statements (including ancient history and several simplistic half-truths) in the Times article, was there no mention that the UK, as the only Tier One partner, receives 15% of the work and receipts for every F-35 sold? In fact the proportion will be even greater for the F-35B with Rolls-Royce's ingenious lift fan arrangement.

With projected sales of 4,000 F-35s worldwide, this amounts to the equivalent of at least 600 aircraft. Falls in the value of the pound can sometimes work to our advantage.

Some of us have our suspicions about the source of these views; people with a certain agenda that would not bode well for the future of the RN.
This blog, which seems fair and even handed, covers one of the points you raise Rob.
Certainly given the overall present and likely future financial state of this country I cannot see us purchasing all 138 F35's whether they be A's or B's.

"Which version of the Truth to believe?

The Times ran today with a story suggesting that the JSF is over budget, fails to work on a range of issues and that it is fundamentally not fit for its intended purpose. Is this fair, or is this the latest round of rumour mongering on a project that has long split opinions? More to the point, in an era of ‘fake news’, what version of the truth should we believe?

The problem with stories such as this is that they capture very specific snapshots of an issue, are roughly stapled together with some narrative to form a story, and in turn this can be spun as the author sees fit. It is clear that the Times has managed to unearth documents purporting to show big price rises, reduced capability and issues with testing, but does this mean the programme itself is at fault?

In truth the likelihood is that no one outside of a fairly tight circle really knows or understands. We have to be clear on what JSF is – it is by a significant margin probably the most complicated multi-national aviation project of all time, designed to deliver an aircraft that is as much an ISTAR platform as it is a strike and fighter aircraft, and to do so across three very different environments (carrier operations, STOVL operations and conventional). Designed in the mid 1990s it has been brought into service during an era of unprecedented technological change and capability growth.

The first thing we have to realise is that this makes for a very complicated project that in all likelihood will be in service for multiple decades to come. The pilot of the last F35 to be manufactured, let alone leave service, probably hasn’t been born yet. This in turn means there is a need for a complex testing programme to bring together the many capabilities it has to deliver.

Military aircraft testing to the uninitiated is a terrifying process – if you could see the faults encountered and experienced during the testing of a new aircraft then you’d probably never want to fly in one. But these tests exist to iron out bugs, to make sure aspiration links up to reality and more importantly fix them as they are encountered. It is by necessity a slow process, particularly when working with multiple variants of the same airframe.

If you look in isolation at documentation supporting the programme then of course it would be easy to look at tests and worry that it wasn’t working. But unless you sit inside the inner group, privy to all the data, all the tests and more importantly the planned solutions, it is difficult to make an objective assessment.

Similarly much of what F35 is capable of remains exceptionally highly classified – and rightly so. Therefore much of what goes on is known to few, and unlikely to ever be publicly discussed for fear of compromising capability. This creates a window of opportunity for naysayers without any real deep link to the project to say ‘X is broken because of Y and can’t do Z’, while those on the inside are frustratedly thinking ‘actually X isn’t broken, Y is just fine because of tweaks made to C,D and Q, and it can do Z and then some’ – but they can’t break this silence because of their obligations to various Secrecy laws across many countries.

What is clear from the twitter response today is that the article caused much frustration, and the responses boiled down to experienced operators who know the aircraft, know its capabilities (and limitations), and who know what is going on react with barely concealed frustration at the article. It was clear they felt it was not a 100% accurate interpretation of events, but their ability to comment knowledgeably was limited.

Humphrey has a couple of points that he’d apply to this and other stories that are worth considering when asking ‘who should I believe’? Firstly, always ask whether figures involving money are genuinely accurate – for instance the cost quoted purporting to show things doubling involved taking the headline purchase cost and comparing to its expected through life cost. This is akin to buying a car – if a car costs £10,000, then that’s a clear headline cost. But if you said ‘the car is lifed for five years, and will incur monthly running costs for insurance, parking permits, servicing, MOT, road tax of £100, and monthly petrol costs of £50, then suddenly that £10,000 car becomes a £19000 car once these additional costs are factored in. Always seek to question what sum of money is being quoted and why.

Secondly always ask who is providing the criticism and what is their viewpoint? The Times managed to dig out several critics of the F35 programme who attacked the information provided to them. What it didn’t do was note that these critics have been attacking just about every aircraft programme since the 1970s as being too expensive (just look at any book from the 1980s about aircraft, such as ‘New Maginot Line’ to prove this point) that some of them have personal agendas in wanting very specific types of aircraft built, and that none of them are privy to the actual full picture of what is going on. In other words, the critics are relying on their biases for ‘shock tactics’ when in fact they are hugely biased for their own views and have a clear agenda in play.

So, ask yourself – who is saying this, why are they saying this and what is their agenda? Humphrey makes a point of checking the public background information on people who claim to be ‘experts’ on issues, particularly when the media cite them as such. It helps distinguish from genuine experts who are worth listening to, to former junior RN officers who feel their knowledge of one minor part of the Service makes them an expert on all things maritime…

Finally ask yourself ‘who has leaked these documents and why’? In other words, when journalists start getting leaked documents to examine, there is usually an ulterior motive by the leaker – sometimes it is genuine concern, other times potentially hope of gain. Many whistle-blowers do so out of a deep sense of worry that something will go wrong – but often they are junior and don’t have access to the full picture. It is rare indeed for senior whistle-blowers to leak to the press on a project, perhaps because when you see the bigger picture, things become more complicated. So always ask why might specific documents have been leaked – for instance if a defence spending round is underway, the MOD is legendary for ‘cap badge politics’ of officers photocopying selectively to send to various defence journalists to advance their own Service cause – regardless of what is actually going on.

The longer term ramifications of this story though are depressing. It has undermined the Royal Navy and helps hurt morale of those serving. It feeds those on social media who genuinely now believe that the UK is buying a subspec aircraft. More depressingly it increases the clarion calls to ‘bring back harrier’ because apparently bringing a long dead aircraft without an extant supply chain, spare parts, flying training pipeline and up to date equipment is far more sensible than buying the best strike jet in the world which has massive operational and economic benefits for the UK. The damage to the RN reputation will continue for years to come with cheap jibes about ‘volvo frigates’ and ‘useless JSF’ by people who have no idea about the subject or issues at hand.

To sum up then, when you read stories like in the Times today, don’t write them off, don’t assume they are rubbish. But equally question more deeply and understand the motivations behind the story and question the story itself. If in doubt, question everything you see and read and ask yourself this simple question ‘why is it that this story is in the paper today, and why did someone see fit to leak it in order to be here’? This way you should help build your own version of the Truth."

From - https://thinpinstripedline.blogspot....o-believe.html
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  #382  
Old 18-07-2017, 18:00
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"WORK IN PROGRESS" - Another opinion

Another opinion mainly from the technical angle but includes the 'work share' aspect referred to by Rob:

The F-35 is a Work in Progress, but it is Improving and Essential for UK Airpower

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter remains a source of controversy and polarising performance claims. While problems with both the aircraft and the programme remain, there are no competing solutions that offer anything approaching the current or upcoming capabilities of the F-35 in contested airspace.

The F-35 as a concept has suffered since its inception from attempting to solve too many problems in a single airframe for too many potential users. In order to keep the programme alive and justify the enormous expenditure which has thus far been poured into the project, the aircraft’s proponents have oversold the F-35 as the answer to every Western combat air requirement.

It is true that the F-35, for example, will not be as effective as the A-10 Thunderbolt II at close air support using a heavy calibre cannon danger-close to troops on the ground. Equally, the F-35 cannot match a 4.5th generation fighter such as the Eurofighter Typhoon in raw performance terms, nor out-turn one in a within-visual range dogfight. However, the aircraft was never designed for either of these tasks.

Critics and proponents of the F-35 should not lose sight of the fact that the aircraft was designed around the core task of penetrating defended airspace with an adequate internal bomb and missile load to strike critical targets, such as air-defence nodes, while maintaining a solid self-escort capability and high survivability.

The F-35’s core strengths, therefore, are its low radar cross-section and extremely capable sensor suite and information processing capabilities, which should grant any pilot the all-important situational awareness advantage over potential opponents. It already mounts a hugely capable AESA radar, 360-degree infrared and electro-optical targeting and surveillance system, passive tracking suite and electronic warfare capabilities. Furthermore, the ability of the aircraft’s systems to fuse the data from all these sensors and present a pre-sorted and interpreted single picture to the pilot places it far ahead of most mature modern jets, with improvements coming in every software block.

The F-35 is more likely to spot any operational type of enemy aircraft or air-defence radar before it itself is detected.

Critics point out that the F-35 is not invisible to radar, and metre and decimetre wavelength radars are being actively fielded and further developed by China and Russia, which can give a rough idea of where any low-observable fighter sized aircraft is. However, it is still a huge advantage to be much more difficult to detect, track and target than traditional fighters.

The United States Air Force’s superlative F-22 Raptor and B-2 Spirit heavy bomber can both be detected by various sensor types under various conditions and their missions have to be very carefully planned and tailored so that their small radar signatures can best blend into the ‘background noise’ of other aircraft, weapons effects, jamming etc.

The F-35 is no different in this regard from an F-22, except that there will be many thousands of them built and operated by a host of NATO and allied air forces as opposed to the 187 F-22s in existence and 19 B-2s.

For the UK, it is important to remember that for the majority of missions, the RAF has Typhoon which is one of the most potent multirole fighters in the world with impressive range, weapon payload and especially air defence/superiority capability. However, for high-threat environments the F-35 – whether the B variant for joint RAF/Royal Navy operations from land or the Queen Elizabeth carriers, or the A variant if the eventual buy includes it – is the only realistic option available for the UK to procure in terms of an ability to penetrate modern air defence networks.

Typhoon is many things, but it is not designed to operate against S-300/400/HQ-9 class surface-to-air missile systems, let alone future ground-based threats. The F-35 was designed to provide that capability. While the aircraft continues to experience developmental problems, such as excessive vibration in certain flight regimes, overheating issues, bugs with the ambitious helmet and no doubt others, it is worth remembering two points.

First, almost all military jets are plagued with issues during their initial service years including the Tornado F-2/3 air-defence variants, Blackburn Buccaneer and the now world-beating F-22 Raptor. What is different about the F-35 is the scale of public and media scrutiny due to the programme’s high cost and troubled history, and the complexity of the task which Lockheed Martin is trying to achieve. Second, the problems will be fixed because there is simply no alternative for the US Air Force and US Marine Corps. The UK can and should take comfort in that fact.

It is also worth looking at the Russian T-50/PAK FA fifth-generation fighter programme, which is now down to an order catalogue of a mere six aircraft, and the telling opacity surrounding avionics, build quality and combat readiness that surround the Chinese J-20A despite industrial-scale cyber espionage by Beijing in support of their efforts on that front. Building something that looks like a fifth-generation fighter is relatively easy. Building something which works like a fifth-generation fighter is supposed to is very hard, and only the US has succeeded so far.

In cost terms, the F-35 is undeniably an extremely expensive programme when viewed in its entirety. However, the fact that 15% of the value of every F-35 built throughout the life of the programme will be accrued by UK companies, coupled with the 2,500+ aircraft estimated size of the programme means that Britain stands to gain more financially from the work share secured by our quota of 138 jets than it could possibly spend on procuring those jets upfront.

As was detailed in a RUSI report in 2016, there are significant gaps in terms of RAF/RN communications infrastructure needed to ensure that the F-35 can covertly offload the situational awareness that it gathers to older platforms rather than having to transmit via Link 16 and potentially give away its position. However, this is comparatively small extra expenditure required to unlock the full potential benefits for the UK from the F-35 in terms of enhancing the combat power and survivability of legacy assets, rather than a requirement for the aircraft to work as it should in itself.

In conclusion, the F-35’s critics are right to point to many remaining problems with the jet and the huge expenditure and delays that have dogged its long development history. However, these significant remaining hurdles should not obscure the fact that the F-35 in current Block 3i software configuration is already a very potent fighter in its own right and it has more potential for growing combat capabilities in future than anything else flying. The huge number of F-35 which will be built means that acquisition and maintenance costs will continue to fall and there is huge potential for collaborative development of tactics and operational cooperation amongst a global user community. There is also, put bluntly, no other option in town for Western airpower to operate against modern evolving ground and maritime-based missile threats going forwards.

Justin Bronk
Research Fellow for Airpower and Technology, RUSI

From - https://rusi.org/publication/rusi-de...al-uk-airpower
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  #383  
Old 20-07-2017, 17:11
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THE TIMES ARTICLE - RESPONSE BY THE F-35 GENERAL MANAGER:

"Lockheed Martin respond to claims in the Times regarding F-35

Here is the full, unabridged ‘Letter to the Editor’ of the Times from the F-35 General Manager in response to recent ‘inaccurate articles’ on the F-35.

Dear Sir,
Your coverage of the F-35, “Trouble on Deck” (July 17), does not accurately reflect the current status of the programme, the aircraft’s capabilities, nor the detailed responses we provided to your questions.
We simply do not recognise your cost estimates, nor agree with the way you arrived at them. The costs of the jet continue to fall contract-to-contract with the most recent Lot 10 contract in February representing a 62 percent reduction in the F-35A price from the first contract in 2007. The F-35B that the UK is procuring is on a similar cost reduction curve that will ultimately bring the price of a 5 th generation F-35 down to that of older 4th generation fighters.
Many of the programmatic issues raised in your coverage are historic and have long since been addressed. The performance of the F-35 speaks for itself and the best people to ask continue to be the operators and maintainers who understand the aircraft’s full potential and capability – not long time critics who have nothing to do with the programme.
For example, earlier this year the former lead of the F-35 Integration Office, Brigadier General Scott Pleus said in an interview with Business Insider that “the capabilities of the F-35 are absolutely eye-watering. The airplane has unbelievable manoeuvring characteristics that make it completely undefeatable in an air-to-air environment.”
The F-35 is combat ready and already making a game-changing difference to the defence of a number of nations. We are in absolute agreement with the assessment of Wing Commander Beck – who has had a key role in testing this jet – that it is “the best aircraft [he has] ever flown” and we are proud of the contribution the jet will make to the defence of the UK, the US and our allies around the world.
JEFF BABIONE
Executive Vice President and General Manager, F-35 Program, Lockheed Martin"

From - https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/lock...paig n=social
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Last edited by Pelican : 20-07-2017 at 17:32. Reason: Addition
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Old 21-07-2017, 17:05
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Exclamation Re: Lockheed Martin F35B Lightning II

INTERESTING?

MQ-25 Stingray unmanned aircraft to be used as a tanker

The MQ-25 Stingray is a planned unmanned combat aerial system that resulted from the ‘Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike’ programme.

In February 2016, after many delays over whether the UCLASS would specialise in strike or Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance roles, it was reported that a significant portion of the UCLASS effort would be directed to produce a Super Hornet sized carrier based aerial tanker, with “a little ISR” and some capabilities to relay communications.

In July 2016, it was officially named “MQ-25A Stingray”.

We understand that the Pentagon chose this in order to address the Navy’s expected fighter shortfall by directing funds to buy additional Super Hornets and accelerate purchases and development of the F-35C, quickly getting F-35C’s into production and promoting the concept that they can strike at things.

The use of Stringray as a tanker also addresses the carriers’ need for an organic refueling aircraft, proposed as a mission for the craft since 2014, freeing up the 20-30 percent of Super Hornets performing the mission in a more capable and cost effective manner than modifying the F-35, V-22 Osprey, and E-2D Hawkeye, or bringing the retired S-3 Viking back into service.

Although initially designated the RAQ-25, the designation was changed to MQ-25 Stingray. Stealth requirements will reportedly be “descoped” and it will still be capable of firing missiles or dropping bombs from drop tank pylons, but surveillance and destroying targets will not be its main mission.

Reducing the low-observable requirement is expected to make things easier for existing competitors and open the competition to new entrants.

See - https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/mq-2...paig n=social

But not for the QEC? "Bush was the first carrier to have an unmanned aerial vehicle to perform an arrested landing on its flight deck in 2013 in a test of the Northrop Grumman X-47B UAV."
From - https://news.usni.org/2017/06/12/nav...ueling-tankers
Also - https://news.usni.org/2016/07/15/off...st-carrier-uav
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