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2017 F-35 news and discussion thread

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    Not really. They proposed something else out of the RFPG.
    A 6th generation fighter?
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array


      There are no official info regarding any talks on the Belgian side. So far, ONE speaker (from the FR speaking part of the country) expressed his support to the French offer. No gov official. No member of the military.
      The MoD officially disqualified the "Letter" (and the related offer).

      Fact is that the level of activity is high, but to say who is talking to who would be another thing.


        F-35A to gain ability to strike moving targets with Raytheon's GBU-49

        Raytheon will add its GBU-49 Enhanced Paveway II to the F-35A under a Nov. 22 contract worth nearly $60 million, according to an Air Force spokesman.

        "The Air Force addressed a critical capability gap in the F-35A's ability to strike moving targets by awarding a contract to Raytheon Missile Systems for the procurement of the GBU-49 Enhanced Paveway II," Capt. Mark Graff wrote in a Dec. 1 email. "The GBU-49 will enable the F-35A to strike moving targets when integrated with the aircraft's Software Block 3F until Laser Joint Direct Attack Munitions and Small Diameter Bomb II munitions are integrated in later software releases."

        The contract covers 1,200 Paveway guidance kits -- which convert unguided bombs into precision-guided munitions -- as well as test hardware, logistics and engineering support and technical data, according to Graff. The F-35A will start flight tests with the GBU-49 this month and receive the first 400 guidance kits by the end of January.

        In July, Inside Defense reported the Air Force asked Congress to reprogram $44 million to speed fielding of "an interim F-35A weapon capability that enables engagement of moving targets by the fourth quarter of [fiscal year 2018]," according to a June 30 omnibus reprogramming request. The Air Force variant of the Joint Strike Fighter needs the GBU-49 for air-to-surface missions, according to the Defense Department.

        "Funds will procure GBU-49 Enhanced Paveway test assets, support equipment . . . and 400 guidance kits," the request stated.

        Inside Defense reported the Pentagon planned to piggyback on existing certification procedures used for the GBU-12 and United Kingdom's Paveway IV "to integrate the GBU-49 without negatively impacting the F-35 system development and demonstration schedule."
        Old radar types never die; they just phased array


          On October 16, 2014, Northrop Grumman correlated information from a ground-based and airborne infrared AAQ-37 Distributed Aperture System (DAS) from the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to detect and track a ballistic missile lifting off from Hawaii. The system was able to transmit intercept-grade targeting information via Link 16 that could have been used to shoot the missile down with Aegis, Thaad or Patriot

          I recall Northrop and/or USN officials at the time of the F-35B - SM6/AEGIS Capstone test say that additional sensors beyond the AN/APG-81 could also be brought into the fold for OTH targeting of missiles and aircraft. The way they envision linking the F-35 is by bypassing the big pipe node and beaming the data straight to a Baseline-9.0 destroyer that has a MADL antenna on board. I believe an at sea capstone of the baseline capability (using the radar i assume) is scheduled for 2018. This could then be developed later since the sensors are already fielded.
          Last edited by bring_it_on; 5th December 2017, 19:05.
          Old radar types never die; they just phased array


            There are no official info regarding any talks on the Belgian side. So far, ONE speaker (from the FR speaking part of the country) expressed his support to the French offer. No gov official. No member of the military.
            The MoD officially disqualified the "Letter" (and the related offer).
            Except prime minister sayed he would considerthe offer. When you don't know, don't talk (further more not make false assessments)...
            Last edited by halloweene; 5th December 2017, 18:50.


              IOT&E could begin and ramp up starting March or April - 2018 and last a little over a year.

              F-35 to start 'graduated plan' for operational testing in spring

              EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, CA -- F-35 Joint Strike Fighter testers here are preparing to start in the spring a graduated test effort, which allows the program to begin operational testing before all of its jets are configured with the required modifications.

              Lt. Col. Nick Ihde, commander of the 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron, told Inside Defense in a Nov. 30 interview the plan was approved last month and the program will begin conducting test exercises that count toward IOT&E in March or April of next year.

              The program is required to have 23 production-representative jets as test assets to conduct the full slate of IOT&E test events, but currently estimates modifications to its test jets will not be complete until January 2019. Retired Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, the former F-35 program executive officer, pitched the graduated IOT&E start in February, arguing that if testers start conducting a subset of events that don't depend on the full slate of capabilities before all 23 jets are modified, it could significantly speed the testing schedule.

              At the time, Bogdan said every six months of delay in IOT&E costs the program $30 million.

              Though former Director of Operational Test & Evaluation J. Michael Gilmore said the plan could put pilots at risk, DOT&E, under new leadership, has since approved certain missions to be conducted early.

              Ihde said those early missions include close-air support, reconnaissance, forward air controller and combat search and rescue. He expects that over time, as more jets are modified, additional missions will be approved.

              Ihde said approval of the plan is a positive step for the program and could mitigate additional delays.

              "If you never get your foot in the water, which is the graduated approach, then you just keep kicking the can down the road," he said.

              He noted the F-35 Joint Operational Test Team, which includes representatives from each of the services and international partners, and DOT&E have made progress in recent years that has allowed for consensus in certain key areas, like the graduated test plan.

              "We have gotten some flex both ways on what is in the realm of doable on our side, on the operations side, and what is acceptable on their side in terms of data gathering and reporting, so that we come to a consensus," Ihde said.

              The program is still working on its schedule for IOT&E. Ihde said there are a number of variables that could extend the time line, but if testing "starts clean and ends clean," it could be completed by summer 2019.

              As the program moves toward the start of testing, Ihde is working with the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis AFB, NV, to build the tactics, techniques and procedures for how the jet will be employed with the release of software Block 3F. They have built similar manuals for previous versions of software.

              Ihde expects a draft of that manual will be completed in January and then used for the early test events that start in March and April. The full manual should be completed by summer 2018.
              Last edited by bring_it_on; 5th December 2017, 20:58.
              Old radar types never die; they just phased array


                When you don't know, don't talk (further more not make false assessments)...
                Are you talking to yourself?

                And by the way, lower That tone.

                Dans une carte blanche publie ce mardi 5 dcembre dans les journaux belges Le Soir et De Tijd, la ministre franaise plaide la cause du Rafale pour remplacer les F-16 en Belgique face ses concurrents, le F-35 amricain et l'Eurofighter Typhoon europen. Mettant en avant l'offre franaise de partenariat stratgique et conomique attache au Rafale de Dassault, Florence Parly tente de contourner l'incertitude juridique lie l'absence d'une offre formelle de la France aux autorits belges, alors que Lockheed Martin et Eurofighter ont, eux, remis une offre officielle.


                In a white letter published Tuesday, December 5 in the Belgian newspapers Le Soir and De Tijd, the French Minister pleads the cause of the Rafale to replace the F-16 in Belgium against its competitors, the American F-35 and Eurofighter Typhoon European. Highlighting the French offer of strategic and economic partnership attached to the Rafale of Dassault, Florence Parly tries to circumvent the legal uncertainty related to the absence of a formal offer from France to the Belgian authorities, while Lockheed Martin and Eurofighter have submitted an official offer.

                Last edited by TomcatViP; 6th December 2017, 12:12.


                  The “Adir” (F-35I) Is Declared Operational

                  "The declaration of the squadron's operational capability is occurring at a time in which the IAF is operating on a large scale in a number of fronts, in the constanly changing Middle East", said Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin, Commander of the IAF. "The operational challenge, which is becoming more and more complex each day, receives an excellent aerial response. The 'Adir' aircraft's operational status adds a significant layer to the IAF's capabilities at this time".

                  Following a series of tests and fitness examinations, the aircraft was found fit for operational activity. “The inspection examined missions and scenarios that include all of the operational elements required to fly the ‘Adir’, from the ground to the air”, shared Lt. Col. Yotam, Commander of the 140th (“Golden Eagle”) Squadron, which operates the “Adir”. “I am confident in the division’s capability to reach operational preparedness and feel that the pressure is positive and healthy”.

                  The first two fighters arrived in Israel on December 12th, 2016. Today, the IAF has nine at its disposal, five of which were chosen for the inspection. The Israeli F-35 is the first outside of the United States to be declared operational, preceded only by the U.S Marine Corps and U.S Air Force.

                  Learning Every Day

                  “The initial operational capability inspection examined more than the squadron’s readiness to operate the ‘Adir’, it tested the entire IAF. The inspection dealt with multiple elements in the IAF: the various directorates, the ‘Golden Eagle’ Squadron, the ATC Unit, Nevatim AFB, the Central Control Unit and many more”, described Lt. Col. Yotam.

                  The IAF’s standpoint, to adapt itself to the fifth generation instead of adapting the “Adir” to the IAF, posed a new challenge every day. “The main theme that characterized the past year was learning. Every day in the past year ended with a debriefing in which we learned something new: about the aircraft, about its systems, operation and maintenance”, shared Maj. D, Deputy Commander of the 140th Squadron.

                  The 140th Squadron’s aircrew members are among the first F-35 aircrew members in the world, a fact that strengthens their sense of mission. “Flying the ‘Adir’ is exciting every time, from wearing your flight suit and unique helmet to starting the engine. Getting excited from the overwhelming thrust, the ease in which you climb and begin performing your mission”.

                  Moving Forward

                  “The integration of the ‘Adir’ is one of the largest challenges that the IAF has dealt with, mainly because of the pioneering nature of the project. 80 percent of the things we do and learn here are things we taught ourselves”, shared Lt. Col. Yotam.

                  Throughout 2018, the “Golden Eagle” Squadron is expected to integrate six more fighters, while the next aircraft are scheduled to land in Israel early in the summer.

                  “We have yet to complete our acquaintance with the aircraft. We still have tests, development of combat doctrines and extensive learning before us”, concluded Lt. Col. Yotam. “We haven’t stopped learning thinking and developing upon being declared operational. The establishment of the division doesn’t end with this inspection, it just begins. Will the ‘Adir’ participate in the next military campaign? I have no doubt. An aircraft like this brings capabilities to the IAF that it didn’t have before; it is an important strategic asset”.

                  Old radar types never die; they just phased array


                    Lockheed Martin highlights synthetic training capabilities for F-35

                    According to Scott, training programmes for legacy aircraft, such as F-16s, would have about 25% of the training tasks conducted in the simulator with the remainder done in the live aircraft. The fidelity of the F-35 trainers is so sophisticated that the balance between simulator and live training is closer to a 50:50 split.

                    The dome-based Full Mission Simulator (FMS) and Deployable Mission Rehearsal Trainer (DMRT) are the centrepieces of the pilot training system. Currently there are 50 FMS units in operation globally. This is expected to grow to 70 and 100 by the end of 2018 and 2019, respectively. Scott indicated that a lower-cost mission rehearsal training device is also in the works, and this will be aimed at countries that require full mission training capability but cannot make the investment in the FMS or do not require that high a level of fidelity.

                    Another area of focus for the pilot-training systems is enabling Distributed Mission Training capability. As Scott said, “The real power is when we start linking these simulators with other F-35 simulators, [and] also with other simulators throughout the US forces and international forces. We are in the final stages of definitising a contract for defining requirements about how we link the F-35 simulators in the networks with the USAF, Navy, and Marine Corps.”

                    He said that linking the simulators allows for training high-end scenarios that cannot be developed in a live training exercise short of an actual combat situation.

                    “In the simulator we can create a simulated air-defence system – with very sophisticated ground and airborne threats,” he noted. “Things you can’t do easily or cheaply in the real world you can do in a virtual world.

                    “It’s a controlled environment so you’re not radiating energy or releasing your tactics, techniques and procedures,” he added. “That enables large force training exercises.”
                    Old radar types never die; they just phased array


                      A few months back, people were asking how Aggressor aircraft like the F-16 and A-4 (or F-15E in some recent exercises) can replicate the threat aircraft (Su-27 and the like). Most of these arguments focused on kinematics.

                      Recent posts on "The Aviationist" site show what the services are more interested in replicating (RF, emissions, adversaries using IRST, ECM).

                      Those F-16's are intended to broadly replicate different adversaries in the electronic spectrum. The "mystery pod" in question on that F-16, is a threat simulation pod (comments section say AN/AST-4(V), could be AN/AST-9(V), could even be the new 5th gen threat emitter mentioned in 2005 ATSO powerpoint). These pods can replicate the radar emissions of aircraft, even missiles. One reason why ELINT sniffing of potential adversaries radar is so important.

                      This navy presentation gives an overview of threat simulation:

                      Brief overview of AN/AST-4 pod:
                      Last edited by FBW; 6th December 2017, 17:48.


                        Thanks FBW..
                        Old radar types never die; they just phased array


                          F-35 may get Auto GCAS before official start of Block 4
                          EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, CA -- The F-35 joint program office is considering outfitting the aircraft with an Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System prior to the start of Block 4 modernization. Auto GCAS had been envisioned as part of the service's Block 4 follow-on modernization effort, but Lt. Col. Tucker Hamilton, commander of the 462st Flight Test Squadron, told Inside Defense the program is considering installing the upgrade prior to the start of Block 4 as part of its...
                          "The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."



                            Hamilton said in a Nov. 30 interview here the program would likely make a decision at a configuration steering board meeting later this month. With approval, the program could start testing the capability next summer, he added.

                            The program's C2D2 plan is a new approach to continuous fielding of software upgrades. The plan, which would take effect at the close of the system development and demonstration phase early next year, creates a mechanism through which new capabilities can be tested and fielded and software deficiencies fixed prior to the start of the more focused Block 4 modernization phase.

                            Block 4 is slated to begin in 2019, Hamilton said, and SDD will likely close early next year. "Without C2D2, we would finish SDD now and then we would be waiting a year and a half to start Block 4 testing," he said.

                            The C2D2 plan has not yet been approved, and the program is working with the Pentagon to finalize cost and schedule details. A Defense Acquisition Board meeting to review modernization, sustainment and production plans is slated for early this month.
                            Old radar types never die; they just phased array


                              Are you sure it is not Ground AND Air collision avoidance?
                              Such system are on test aboard LM F-16. AvWeek had recently the opportunity to fly one of the bird and made an extensive report (linked here by myself)


                                new capabilities can be tested and fielded and software deficiencies fixed prior to the start of the more focused Block 4 modernization phase.
                                FINALLY! gratz


                                  Are you sure it is not Ground AND Air collision avoidance?
                                  I don't think the report or the quote from the guy who is leading the test effort could be any clearer - It is Auto-GCAS.

                                  FINALLY! gratz
                                  It is truly amazing what one can accomplish if the entire establishment decides to act in the best interest of the program to deliver capability and not the "reporting bureaucracy". The previous DOT&E was not supportive when it came to the "bridge period" approach but it was always a pragmatic and operator-centric suggestion from the previous PEO. Why move something to block-4.x when you have time, have test setup availability and have a development team already ramped up waiting to begin FOM. While the program conducts its IOT&E and before the FOM phase ramps up they can more quickly introduce changes to the SDD 3F while also adding more capability resources permitting. Things such as a new weapon, AGCAS while also patching up anything that is discovered as they wind down the SDD phase or via early IOTE. With Lord at the reorganized ATL and Behler on his way in as DOT&E, expect more negotiated approaches to emerge on how best to handle complex development and test programs in order to make the entire process more efficient.

                                  Of course the "reporting bureaucracy" wouldn't favor this approach because the PO would already have been working on, or may even have concluded patching up any deficiencies cited in the IOT&E report (even the best systems that obtain the highest DOTE recommendations come out with some deff. that need correction) since they'll be working concurrently but the operator will benefit in that they wouldn't have to wait for months to years to receive a new block upgrade. The bridge/C2D2 phase allows them to buy the operators some of that time back. The nuances of this approach involve negotiating with the testers on how you bake the assessment in knowing that some of those fixes may not be at the baseline IOTE so you will have to work out the logistics of how to evaluate them in the interim b/w current IOTE completion, and the next block.
                                  Last edited by bring_it_on; 7th December 2017, 18:49.
                                  Old radar types never die; they just phased array


                                    One of my favorite lines about the prior DOT&E:

                                    Winters said his conversations with the Pentagon’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation, David H. Duma, tell him that the organization “has taken a more reasonable approach” to clearing the 3F than that of predecessors. Although “they’re … sticklers and they’re pushing,” the DOT&E looks “at the value of where we are, and the maturity of where we are, and so we have a very good working relationship with IOT&E now.”
                                    "The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."


                                      Hence It could means That they have rejected the developed system (air collision avoidance) since it has to be developed in pair.


                                        Wanted to take this here from FBW's informative post (from the PAKFA thread) and linked articles on propulsion options on the F-35 :

                                        My impression is that this is all up in the air, there are several upgrade paths they are studying based on what the requirements are: 1. Make mods to engine and bay to fit full VCE 3rd stream, 2. use adaptive fan (similar to YF120) some parts of VCE tech like increased use of CMC and new heat exchangers , 3. Improve thrust and fuel burn of current F135
                                        I think it will be part of the broader strategy that APO/AII-X and the USAF's ECCT is looking and has looked into. We know that the focus was on current, future programs, weapons and mission areas all ranging from OCA/DCA to SEAD/DEAD and everything in between. How they push out technology as it is developed and matured by the labs would depend on where and how much money they get to focus on these key areas. Frank Kendall was all in on the Next Generation experimentation and prototyping as was Bob Work so they created AII-X and put a really smart and experienced person as its boss and funded a fair bit of experimentation though most of it on the classified side. The current administration has not yet revealed how it plans on following up in terms of focus...but needless to say the technology development is on track so whether you pull that technology into existing programs (F-35, F-22, B-21 etc) in the early to mid 2020s or first push the technology out to newer programs (PCA) first will be budget and priority dependent. The former is a relatively small investment from a cost/risk perspective, the latter is a 10-15 year commitment.

                                        What use the technology is put to may be TBD but investing in developing it is really not under any sort of dispute. There are very few DOD programs that are this immune to funding pull back and the propulsion R&D accounts keep getting pretty much what they need almost every budget cycle -

                                        USAF Unveils Future Power Research Plan

                                        The U.S. Air Force has revealed its top propulsion research priorities for the next decade, which target development of technologies for “disruptive” improvements in engines powering everything from future fighters and helicopters to hypersonic strike missiles and unmanned air vehicles.
                                        The extensive list of leading-edge technology focus areas has emerged as the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) prepares for the first phase of its newly-initiated Advanced Turbine Technologies for Affordable Mission capabilities (ATTAM) initiative. The program, which is expected to gain momentum with the solicitation of proposals in January 2018, succeeds AFRL’s long-running Versatile Affordable Advanced Turbine Engines (VAATE) program, which pioneered the era of adaptive technology for production engines.

                                        Running through 2026, Phase 1 of ATTAM is targeted at increasing fuel efficiency by between 10% and 30%, depending on the specific class of engine. The program, which for the first time is fully inclusive of integrated power and thermal technology from the outset, is also aimed at increasing power and thermal management capability by up to twentyfold. Propulsive efficiency improvement goals range from 10% to 25%. AFRL says the ATTAM program is also aimed at reducing development, production and maintenance costs.
                                        Attached Files
                                        Last edited by bring_it_on; 8th December 2017, 15:08.
                                        Old radar types never die; they just phased array


                                          Japan To Arm F-35 With JSM After N. Korea ICBM Test

                                          Japan intends to arm its new F-35 stealth fighter with the medium-range Joint Strike Missile following North Korea’s most recent intercontinental ballistic missile test.
                                          JSM is the only powered strike missile that fits internally on the F-35, enabling the aircraft to maintain its stealth characteristics in high-threat environments. With a range of more than 300 nm (345 mi.), it is considered a “stand-off” missile that can be launched from outside hostile territory.

                                          “We are planning to introduce the JSM [Joint Strike Missile] that will be mounted on the F-35A [stealth fighter] as ‘stand-off’ missiles that can be fired beyond the range of enemy threats,” Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told a news conference Dec. 8, according to reports.
                                          Old radar types never die; they just phased array