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  • MSphere
    Senior Member
    • Feb 2010
    • 8983

    Originally posted by hopsalot View Post
    Another big vote of confidence for the F-35 program. 600-700 (404 US, ~260 international) expected to be produced over the next 5 years.

    The 5-7 percent reduction from last year is noteworthy, but given Congress's recent propensity to add extra jets to the orders I suspect that won't actually come to pass.
    The biggest vote of confidence for the F-35 program is the fact that they killed all prospects of continuing the production of the F-22. The political backing of the F-35 is so strong that it would reach series even if it was a dressed-up motorcycle.

    Comment

    • djcross
      Rank 5 Registered User
      • Jan 2000
      • 5464

      Originally posted by MSphere View Post
      The biggest vote of confidence for the F-35 program is the fact that they killed all prospects of continuing the production of the F-22. The political backing of the F-35 is so strong that it would reach series even if it was a dressed-up motorcycle.
      F-22 was given a poison pill in the 1990s when the Clinton Administration cut the development budget on 5 different occasions.

      Comment

      • MSphere
        Senior Member
        • Feb 2010
        • 8983

        In the grand scheme of things this would only have been a small hiccup for the program. All consecutive Rep and Dem governments had all means to transfer money from the F-35 to the F-22 but chose not to.. instead they let the F-35 suck all funds for upgrades on existing systems, including the F-22 and ultimately allowed Gates to perform the premature line shutdown. Even if that happened in Obama's time, for me, Gates is a relic of the GWB administration.

        Comment

        • Sens
          Rank 5 Registered User
          • Jan 2000
          • 12299

          Originally posted by djcross View Post
          F-22 was given a poison pill in the 1990s when the Clinton Administration cut the development budget on 5 different occasions.
          Nonsense. In the development of the related software and hardware, the F-22 never came close to the estimates similar to the F-35. The rising development cost did eaten up the program cost. To keep the F-22 program had not left any money for the F-35 program.
          The F-35 was choosen in the hope to have same gains from the F-22 program at least. They did learn the hard way again. To get the software in need did set the pace of the program and the related cost. To built the hardware in numbers like the F-22 or F-35 without the software in need will generate even more cost. The first blocks of the F-22 or F-35 will never be updated to the final software standard and the related capabilities. The technical changes in the production run did prevent it.

          Comment

          • SpudmanWP
            Rank 5 Registered User
            • Jan 2009
            • 5292

            Originally posted by Sens View Post
            The first blocks of the F-22 or F-35 will never be updated to the final software standard and the related capabilities. The technical changes in the production run did prevent it.
            They are already being updated in the F-35. They saw the problems with the F-22 and developed the F-35 architecture so that it would not need a complete overhaul to update.

            I can give you accurate numbers once the FY2017 numbers come out but IIRC all LRIPs are at least Block 2B.

            --------------Update--------------
            F-35A info From last year's budget
            http://www.dtic.mil/procurement/Y201...0F_PB_2016.pdf

            They have been paying for LRIP 2-6 Block 3i kits since the FY2014 budget and the kits will start arriving in FY2017 and take 3 years for the deliveries to finish (24/9/12). The first 6 kits are due for delivery in Q1 FY2017.

            Even though they have been setting money aside since FY2014, they had to wait till Block 3i was finalized before they could order the hardware.

            As far as LRIP1 goes, AF-01 & AF-02 were transferred to the SDD fleet and get updates as needed to support the SDD program. As such, there is no separate budget line item for them.
            Last edited by SpudmanWP; 8th February 2016, 23:48.
            "The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."

            Comment

            • Jessmo23
              Senior Member
              • Apr 2015
              • 572

              Ninja Discusses His F-35 Flight Across the Atlantic: The Right Stuff Italian Style*[Lots more at source URL]
              08 Feb 2016 SLDinfo

              "2016-02-08 On Feb. 5, the Italian Air Forces first F-35, AL-1 with code 32-01 and markings of the 32 Stormo Wing landed at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, at the end of the JSFs first ever transatlantic flight.

              The aircraft was piloted by Ninja,an Italian Air Force test pilot, belonging to the Reparto Sperimentale Volo (Test Wing) fromPratica di Mare, and who had successfully completed his initial F-35 flight training at Luke AFB in November 2015.

              To put this in perspective, the pilot had only 50 flight hours of F-35 flying experience.

              And the Lightning II which Ninja flew across the North Atlantic in winter had only 15 flight hours on before he took off on his historic flight. 32-01was the first plane to came off of the Italian assembly line at Cameri Italy.

              And this was done in the middle of winter, flying in and out of cloud layers over the turbulent North Atlantic against 120-knot headwinds....

              ...Question:*You flew in formation and through heavy clouds, we understand?
              Answer:*We had four aircraft total; and kept tight formation; and refueled in the clouds as well. We had two C-130s just in the case; the tanker, a Typhoon headed to Red Flag and the F-35.

              Question:*So you were in a new aircraft, single engine, flying in the middle of winter across the North Atlantic in heavy headwinds?
              Answer:*That characterizes it.

              Question:*Did you hand fly the plane to stay in formation?
              Answer:*The plane is very reliable, and I hand flew some times, but auto pilot handled a great deal of the flight.

              Question:*What about the air refueling events?
              Answer:*We had 100% success even in the clouds; the big thing here is that the plane is very stable and reliable with no problems. We had no disconnections; the F-35 is a very stable airplane....

              ...Question:*When you sit in the F-35 cockpit and flew across the Atlantic how did the various systems assist you in the flight?
              Answer:*The great thing about the F-35 is that the human-machine interface (HMI) is so good and so built around the pilot that you dont have to learn how it works. You just use it. You can configure the screens to configure for the mission.

              The aircraft is built to understand; you are building a strategy, not focusing on managing the sensors or really focused on the flying function. I was able to see the aircraft surrounding me through the clouds, such as keeping distance with my tankers, by using my helmet and the Distributed Aperture System and see the C-130s below me below the clouds.

              Question:*Did you have any problems with your helmet?
              Answer:*No. I used the Gen II helmet and the Gen III has improved the helmet, but my helmet worked flawlessly during the flight. I was able to fulfill the mission and I am here.

              Question:*How different is flying the Tornado compared to the F-35?
              Answer:*How can answer and be polite? There is no comparison. Recently, I flew the Tornado after learning to fly the F-35. It was a real shock to go back in time. I had to move my head and focus on the switches and sensors you have to manage the aircraft to fly. The F-35 is totally different....

              ...Question:*How was the airplane ergonomically?
              Answer:*I did not think about it until you asked the question. The seat is very comfortable. You can stretch your legs in front of you. The helmet was confortable, and the seat was very supportable and comfortable. With this helmet I do not have to turn my head, which makes it easier as well for the pilot....

              ...Editors Note:*The F-35 program is rapidly maturing in the hands of the pilots and maintainers. By the end of 2015, the F-35 program has achieved the following:
              More than 45,000 hours flown
              More than 16,000 sorties
              F-35 stationed at 10 bases
              F-35 completed five deployments to sea
              6 nations are currently flying the F-35
              More than 160 F-35s are in the field
              229 Jets on Contract
              150 More with LRIP 9 and 10
              More than 300 pilots and 2700 maintainers...."

              Source:*http://www.sldinfo.com/ninja-discusses- ... ian-style

              Comment

              • Vnomad
                Rank 5 Registered User
                • May 2011
                • 2859

                First ASRAAMs delivered for UK F-35 testing

                MBDA has delivered the first batch of advanced short range air-to-air missiles (ASRAAM) to the USA, ahead of planned flight trials on board the UKs Lockheed Martin F-35B Joint Strike Fighter.

                Delivered in January and supported by UK weapons-integration lead BAE Systems, the test examples of ASRAAM will be integrated to become the type's first British-built missile, and will be used during flight trials and air-launch tests this year.

                These trials will include environmental data gathering, safe separation from the aircraft, weapon integration testing, and firing trials and target engagement, and will be carried out from NAS Patuxent River in Maryland and Edwards AFB in California. The Royal Air Force's 17 Sqn is based at the latter, where it is responsible for the test and evaluation of the UK's F-35B.

                ASRAAM is a short-range, infrared-guided missile capable of flying at Mach 3, and is also carried by the RAFs Eurofighter Typhoons and Panavia Tornado GR4s.

                "The upcoming work to integrate the missile onto the F-35 Lightning II will provide a state-of-the-art weapon for both our RAF and Royal Navy pilots, says Philip Dunne, British defence procurement minister. The integration of this missile also demonstrates the success of the UK defence industry's contribution to the wider F-35 programme, he adds.

                Some 15% of every F-35 is being built in the UK, Dunne notes. This includes the manufacture of the aircraft's horizontal and vertical tails, aft fuselage and wing tips by BAE.

                The UK has an initial requirement for 48 F-35Bs, and announced in its Strategic Defence and Security Review in November, that it would commit to its plan to acquire a total of 138 of the type, and establish an extra squadron.

                Last month it was announced the F-35 will be showcased in the UK for the first time, with several examples set to appear at the Royal International Air Tattoo and the Farnborough air show in July. The short take-off and vertical landing B variant was forced to miss both events in 2014, after flight restrictions were imposed following a Pratt & Whitney F135 engine fire on a conventional take-off and landing F-35A.

                One RAF F-35B is expected to be in attendance, while both US Air Force F-35As and US Marine Corps B-model aircraft will participate in flying displays.

                Comment

                • Sens
                  Rank 5 Registered User
                  • Jan 2000
                  • 12299

                  Originally posted by SpudmanWP View Post
                  They are already being updated in the F-35. They saw the problems with the F-22 and developed the F-35 architecture so that it would not need a complete overhaul to update.

                  I can give you accurate numbers once the FY2017 numbers come out but IIRC all LRIPs are at least Block 2B.

                  --------------Update--------------
                  F-35A info From last year's budget
                  http://www.dtic.mil/procurement/Y201...0F_PB_2016.pdf

                  They have been paying for LRIP 2-6 Block 3i kits since the FY2014 budget and the kits will start arriving in FY2017 and take 3 years for the deliveries to finish (24/9/12). The first 6 kits are due for delivery in Q1 FY2017.

                  Even though they have been setting money aside since FY2014, they had to wait till Block 3i was finalized before they could order the hardware.

                  As far as LRIP1 goes, AF-01 & AF-02 were transferred to the SDD fleet and get updates as needed to support the SDD program. As such, there is no separate budget line item for them.
                  It did not work. They never thought of a delay for over a decade. For avionics it is an eternity. The testing revealed some shortcomings to deal with. The later blocks of the F-22 and F-35 too will have some structure changes in need. Just from the Rafale it is published, that most examples built already could be brought to the same F4 level and extra cost still justified. The Rafale has not the issue with stealth materials in the same way.
                  Most of the first block F-35 will end as training examples and never reach full 3f capabilities. Similar thing with the Eurofighter. Tranche 3 built examples are split into 3A and 3B to have something full combat ready right now at least. The same thing we can see repeated with 3i and 3f capabilities for the F-35. All that at a time-scale when block 4 software for the first MLU had to be under full testing already.
                  All the F-35 customers are well aware about that and no longer intrested to get the intended numbers of F-35s from the present blocks built really. From 2018 we will see F-35 blocks built to a real common standard with most childhood diseases overcome. Not learned from the testing alone but built-up hours as well. From that time-scale and all promises will come true some customers will return to fomer demands in numbers.
                  Last edited by Sens; 9th February 2016, 18:36.

                  Comment

                  • SpudmanWP
                    Rank 5 Registered User
                    • Jan 2009
                    • 5292

                    You must have missed the part in the FY2016 Budget docs where they have already bought 3i upgrade kits for LRIP 2-6. The first kit will be delivered and installed before the end of the year.
                    "The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."

                    Comment

                    • MSphere
                      Senior Member
                      • Feb 2010
                      • 8983

                      The aircraft is not tested yet but you already know there will be no mods required.. So why bother testing, at all, if the result is already given?

                      Comment

                      • Sens
                        Rank 5 Registered User
                        • Jan 2000
                        • 12299

                        Originally posted by SpudmanWP View Post
                        You must have missed the part in the FY2016 Budget docs where they have already bought 3i upgrade kits for LRIP 2-6. The first kit will be delivered and installed before the end of the year.
                        Why buying upgrade kits at all for just still 3i. When the idea of the F-35 design was to reach full 3 capabilities or 3f it is called now with just some software upgrades.
                        The first kit installed till the end of 2016 will bring first 3i examples in 2017 and later. The customer has still to pay extra money to have just a still limited 3i example in doing so.

                        Comment

                        • Ozair
                          Rank 5 Registered User
                          • Oct 2015
                          • 823

                          Originally posted by Sens View Post
                          Why buying upgrade kits at all for just still 3i. When the idea of the F-35 design was to reach full 3 capabilities or 3f it is called now with just some software upgrades.
                          The first kit installed till the end of 2016 will bring first 3i examples in 2017 and later. The customer has still to pay extra money to have just a still limited 3i example in doing so.
                          Blk 3i is a major hardware upgrade while Blk 3F is just software added to a Blk 3i configuration. Each odd major block of F-35 is a hardware change, so processor upgrades etc, which is next scheduled for Blk 5. No reason they couldnt do a hardware tech refresh earlier than that but that is the original plan.

                          Comment

                          • SpudmanWP
                            Rank 5 Registered User
                            • Jan 2009
                            • 5292

                            Originally posted by Sens View Post
                            Why buying upgrade kits at all for just still 3i. When the idea of the F-35 design was to reach full 3 capabilities or 3f it is called now with just some software upgrades.
                            The first kit installed till the end of 2016 will bring first 3i examples in 2017 and later. The customer has still to pay extra money to have just a still limited 3i example in doing so.
                            Your claim was that early LRIP F-35s were not going to get upgraded to Block 3F and would remain "training" jets. What I showed you is that not only was money set aside, but that the plan was in place from the beginning (not an afterthought). The first 3i USAF upgrade contract was awarded in July of last year. This late award makes sense due to the need to prioritise the 3i ramp-up for in-production jets. http://www.defense.gov/News/Contract...Article/612900

                            Looking at the just-release budget details the lead time is 27 months for the 3i kits which puts the first upgrade to happen in Fall of 2017, better late than never

                            btw, The cost for the final 3F software patch is a couple of thousand. They could not fly one F-35 for one day and pay for the entire base to get it's updates.
                            "The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."

                            Comment

                            • PhilipG
                              Rank 5 Registered User
                              • Aug 2010
                              • 237

                              As a point of interest how is the USAF handling having software 2B and 3i versions of the F35, are they in different training squadrons? The 3i planes have had a technical refresh so I assume maintenance systems and routines must be at least in detail different?

                              Comment

                              • Sintra
                                Rank 5 Registered User
                                • Aug 2007
                                • 3851

                                USAF 2017 Budget is out.
                                http://www.saffm.hq.af.mil/budget/

                                Good news for the F-35A, production costs seem truly (finaly) to be on a leash, bad news, USAF orders defered to the "right".

                                Quick comparison between the numbers of 2016 and 2017.

                                USAF Budget FY 2016 (Released February 2015)

                                2015 - 28 airframes - 129.059 million US$ Fly Away Unit Cost
                                2016 - 44 airframes - 114.496 million US$ Fly Away Unit Cost
                                2017 - 48 airframes - 110.178 million US$ Fly Away Unit Cost
                                2018 - 60 airframes - 102.360 million US$ Fly Away Unit Cost
                                2019 - 60 airframes - 102.132 million US$ Fly Away Unit Cost
                                2020 - 60 airframes - 91.426 million US$ Fly Away Unit Cost
                                To Complete - 1,360 airframes - 113.836 million US$ Fly Away Unit Cost

                                USAF Budget FY 2017 (Released February 2016)

                                2015 - 28 airframes - 129.144 million US$ Fly Away Unit Cost
                                2016 - 47 airframes - 109.882 million US$ Fly Away Unit Cost
                                2017 - 43 airframes - 98.994 million US$ Fly Away Unit Cost
                                2018 - 44 airframes - 101.535 million US$ Fly Away Unit Cost
                                2019 - 48 airframes - 102.406 million US$ Fly Away Unit Cost
                                2020 - 48 airframes - 99.337 million US$ Fly Away Unit Cost
                                2021 - 60 airframes - 94.548 million US$ Fly Away Unit Cost
                                To Complete - 1,342 airframes - 113.507 million US$ Fly Away Unit Cost
                                Last edited by Sintra; 10th February 2016, 19:00.
                                sigpic

                                Comment

                                • Tony
                                  Rank 5 Registered User
                                  • Jan 2000
                                  • 546

                                  Originally posted by Sintra View Post
                                  USAF 2017 Budget is out.
                                  http://www.saffm.hq.af.mil/budget/
                                  Please confirm airframe cost only and engine cost is extra to pay on top...sorry limited time so cannot download pdf
                                  Stand up for what you believe in even if you are standing alone...Sophie Scholl (9 May 1921 - 22 February 1943)

                                  Comment

                                  • Ozair
                                    Rank 5 Registered User
                                    • Oct 2015
                                    • 823

                                    Originally posted by Sintra View Post
                                    USAF 2017 Budget is out.
                                    http://www.saffm.hq.af.mil/budget/

                                    Good news for the F-35A, production costs seem truly (finaly) to be on a leash, bad news, USAF orders defered to the "right".
                                    I don't think it is bad news. Flight Global states the following which is pretty clear on where and why the cuts were made.

                                    The air forces aircraft procurement account took the biggest hit in the budget at $13.9 billion compared to $15.8 billion in fiscal 2016 a 12% reduction. The service shifted 45 F-35 procurements out of its five-year funding profile, the equivalent of four fighter squadrons. Instead, it will spend $3.4 billion to keep the Fairchild Republic A-10 operational through 2021 and the planned retirement of the EC-130H Compass Call has also been delayed to meet persistent operational demands.

                                    The decision to delay modernisation was taken in order to pay for capacity and readiness for todays fights, according to a statement from the air force. These deferments are not programme cuts; the air force programme of record remains 1,763 aircraft for the F-35A.
                                    https://www.flightglobal.com/news/ar...-budge-421743/

                                    So the cut is to support continued A-10 operations in the Middle East and other hot spots. As Deputy Sec Work stated the other day, had the Russians not annexed Crimea and the ISIL issue stayed local those A-10 cuts would have been justified. So overall its the right decision to provide capability now for the warfighter while ensuring that the USAF will in the future have the assets required for the assessed threat environment. There is a good possibility that the Congress will fund additional F-35 purchases above and beyond the budget funded items to make up at least some of this reduction but I can't see it covering the whole gap.

                                    Deputy Sec Work also stated the following,
                                    The deputy secretary foresees a return to large power competition over the next 25 years, similar to the conditions seen during the Cold War, but global terrorism remains a long-term threat.

                                    Comment

                                    • SpudmanWP
                                      Rank 5 Registered User
                                      • Jan 2009
                                      • 5292

                                      Originally posted by Tony View Post
                                      Please confirm airframe cost only and engine cost is extra to pay on top...sorry limited time so cannot download pdf

                                      "The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."

                                      Comment

                                      • Tony
                                        Rank 5 Registered User
                                        • Jan 2000
                                        • 546

                                        Thank you
                                        Stand up for what you believe in even if you are standing alone...Sophie Scholl (9 May 1921 - 22 February 1943)

                                        Comment

                                        • Sintra
                                          Rank 5 Registered User
                                          • Aug 2007
                                          • 3851

                                          Originally posted by Ozair View Post
                                          I don't think it is bad news. Flight Global states the following which is pretty clear on where and why the cuts were made.


                                          https://www.flightglobal.com/news/ar...-budge-421743/

                                          So the cut is to support continued A-10 operations in the Middle East and other hot spots. As Deputy Sec Work stated the other day, had the Russians not annexed Crimea and the ISIL issue stayed local those A-10 cuts would have been justified. So overall its the right decision to provide capability now for the warfighter while ensuring that the USAF will in the future have the assets required for the assessed threat environment. There is a good possibility that the Congress will fund additional F-35 purchases above and beyond the budget funded items to make up at least some of this reduction but I can't see it covering the whole gap.

                                          Deputy Sec Work also stated the following,
                                          I entirely agree with you. "Bad news" in terms of the JSF program, and even these are relative, if every budget document for the last decade had been like this one in terms of "costs control" half of the discussions around here (and in places like AW) would have died a long time ago. By comparison with the past those are pretty decent numbers.
                                          If this keeps going like this (!), in three years time i am going to have to say to BIO and Spud something like "about those 85 million in 2019? Yep you were right..."!
                                          (Naaahhhh, the cynic in me is saying not gonna happen )
                                          sigpic

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