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2017 F-35 news and discussion thread

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    Originally posted by "Pterosaur
    Europe isnt a single country. Several different air forces needed different fighters. F-35 isnt really a different generation, its just designed for different mission then the eurocanards.
    All three Eurocanards as well as the F-35 are multi-role fighters. There's no 'different mission' in play here - the difference such as it is exists only in terms of cost (viz. Gripen) & capability (viz F-35).

    The European states basically traded economies of scale to retain design & production locally. Which is all well & good - informed choice driven by national priorities. But then to turn around and blame the competition for threatening the "European" industry is simply hypocritical.

    Comment


      Originally posted by Sintra View Post
      The exact oposite is happening.
      Every single LM ppt till three years ago had a slide with a chart in wich every single European and Boeing production line went closed till 2020, that slide looks extremely silly today. Two of the lines are secure for more than a decade, and i will be astounded if they dont get till 2030, wich will dove tail with whatever will replace the Eurocanards, manned, unmanned or both and that wont be an American product, simple has that. And if someone believes that for the foresable future the Adla and the MN will seriously consider Dave A/C, better check whatever youve been reading...
      And for christ sake, Germany is receiving classified briefings on the F-35A from ages ago, unlike the French, till the eighties the Luftwaffe was almost entirely equiped with American hardware, quite a lot of us are old enough to remember that.
      And everyone is aware of what happens with Germany spending 2% of their GDP in defense, right? A decently bigger amount of cash than what Russia spends today...
      Germany and 2%. hehe . There won't be Qatar or Chinese left to rescue them. EU as military power gone forever. you can see that in Turkish decsions with Germany.

      Comment


        If Trump survives the next 4 years in WH it will significantly increase the probability of Germany increasing defence spending significantly... it will also increase the probability of Germany wanting to build capacities independent of the US... Together with Brexit it will also increase the push for a common EU defence structure; this in combination with France realizing that they will not be able to go it alone after Rafale, implies that Germany and France will aim to build a new manned a/c to replace Typhoon and Rafale. No doubt F-35 will replace at least some of the Tornadoes in Germany. But what will replace the Typhoon and Rafale? It could be F-35 but most likely they will try to develop their own plane.

        What can kill this is of course the politicians -- they will need to give more than what they are willing to (in terms of workshare), which could easily lead to another flop like the Typhoon.

        Sweden may join them (unless they develop their own 5. gen with Brazil and/or India).

        Comment


          Capabilities still to be inducted... (air to sea, decent cas, air to groun d on moving targets, decent eair to nair payloads etc. etc.

          Comment


            Capabilities still to be inducted...
            Less than 6 months and counting......
            "The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."

            Comment


              @TangoIII
              Despite its price tag, officials prefer the F-35 Lightning II to the alternative of more Eurofighters.

              Spains Air Force and Navy have sights set on new American fighter aircraft
              Replying here to keep the "News" thread clean.

              @TangoIII, the F-35A is a lot cheaper than the Eurofighter especially to upgrade. Price on the B is likely closer to the Eurofighter but as the article states, they don't have that option.
              "The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."

              Comment


                @Vnomad

                This is just a wrong assumption from your part.
                Typhoon was conceived as an air superiority fighter, whit eventual A2G capability to be added just in the 3rd tranche production.
                This was a source of a lot of quarrels between the three main country involved: UK pushed to add an initial air to ground capabilities earlier, Germany remained stuck on their initial, very basic configuration while AMI had not the concept itself of a multirole fighter in her own doctrine (we changed somewhat idea because of Storm Shadow but still for us Typhoon is a Caccia and F-35 an Aereo d'Attacco ).
                At the contrary the French wanted a plane with good multirole capability and carrier operation capable and so they went off from the COMMON European NATO members program when it was ascertained that their own requirements (and their industrial ambitions) were uncompatible with the ones of the other partners.
                Sweden is still not in Nato nor was a member of the EU when those programs were started, so is like to put Japan and China in the same basket.

                Comment


                  thank you to put it clearly (once more) on the table.. but for some, being on a single continent is equivalent to "being one nation".. they don't (want to?) grasp the fact that different nations have different policies and, therefore, needs.. not unlike some who claim whenever possible that every nation will be dead if the don't buy the F-35 since it's so well suited for a typical US foreign policy.. ignoring the fact that besides the US, there's probably only one nation on this planet sticking as much its nose in others business and going to wars on the other side of the world on its own, and that this very nation doesn't even plan to use the F-35... I let you guess which nation it is

                  Comment


                    Also in this case , it doesn't need to be too one sided .
                    The choice of converge all into the F-35 program was also a result of a perceived gap about stealth technologies seen as impossible to cover up indipendently, more than by some diabolical plan made by bad, bad americans.
                    So jumping all on the F-35 bandwagon was considered the most viable solution by many, above all by those partecipants that have not a proper aereospace industry and would otherwise forced to buy a foreign designed plane anyway.

                    Comment


                      @Vnomad

                      This is just a wrong assumption from your part.
                      Typhoon was conceived as an air superiority fighter, whit eventual A2G capability to be added just in the 3rd tranche production.
                      This was a source of a lot of quarrels between the three main country involved: UK pushed to add an initial air to ground capabilities earlier, Germany remained stuck on their initial, very basic configuration while AMI had not the concept itself of a multirole fighter in her own doctrine (we changed somewhat idea because of Storm Shadow but still for us Typhoon is a Caccia and F-35 an Aereo d'Attacco ).
                      At the contrary the French wanted a plane with good multirole capability and carrier operation capable and so they went off from the COMMON European NATO members program when it was ascertained that their own requirements (and their industrial ambitions) were uncompatible with the ones of the other partners.
                      Sweden is still not in Nato nor was a member of the EU when those programs were started, so is like to put Japan and China in the same basket.
                      - Air-to-ground capability was introduced through the Austere upgrades to the RAF's T1s in 2007. Same for the T2 was rolled out with the P1E upgrades in 2012-2013. T3 deliveries began in 2014.
                      - The doctrinal choices of the operators don't change the nature of the aircraft. The F-15E, for example, doesn't stop being a multirole aircraft because its an evolution of the F-15.


                      With respect to the rest, like I said before, the participants could not find middle ground on the FEFA because it was trumped by their own national priorities (and yes industrial ambitions). Which is why the conspiracy theory about the F-35 being designed to 'kill the competition' is ridiculous. The competition was never seriously in the running having practically priced itself out of the market.

                      Comment


                        @Vnomad
                        Again, UK is UK i.e. just one of the partecipant to a multinational project not Europe, all others have not implemented any of such capabilities until much later. Typhoon entered service in 2003 so there were more than ten years of production before having them added.
                        -Wrong example. F-15E is not classified as a multirole plane but as a strike fighter in USAF nomenclature i.e. the same niche category of F-111 and Tornado. For the rest you are right both it work two way, multirole plane is a concept quite peculiar to USA not a worlwide standard at all.

                        Yes, I know that with this last one I'm DEFINITIVELY going pedantic but allow us poor europeans to feel quite in Dire Straits between RussianSTRONK!ism and That's Murica converging attitudes and so have to keep the point for such a long time.

                        Large multinational programmes were a way to gain scale economies and so to save our own autonomous industrial capability, they surely doesn't worked as planned as our external politics are too different (Uk are warmongers and German pacifist) , our spending attitudes are vastly different (Germans are obsessed by their budget, French by their Grandeur), our operative doctrines are totally divergent (France is practically a single plane airforce from the sixties, AMI would keep three different model of plane also with the F-35) and THANK GOD FOR THIS! as we are indipendent nations, with our own instituctions, language and even civilization, not some sort of minority partners of a multinational firm.
                        With all the problems we had and all the waste this basic objective was in any case achieved and let me add, it is not that F-22 and F-35 programs are such a so shining examples of efficiency, cost saving and timely deliver to allow someone an higher moral ground on that matter.
                        Now back to main topic, please.
                        Last edited by Marcellogo; 7th June 2017, 07:09.

                        Comment


                          Elbit awarded F-35 cockpit contract

                          Elbit Systems of America has been awarded a contract to develop a replacement cockpit display for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).The contract, which was announced by Elbit Systems on 6 June, is for the Technology Refresh 3, Panoramic Cockpit Display Unit (PCDU). The value of the contract was not disclosed, with Elbit Systems saying only that "the award was not in a material amount".

                          The F-35 is currently equipped with a single Rockwell Collins 508 203 mm (20 8-inch) panoramic projection, touch-sensitive screen (actually two half-size screens functioning as single unit). Elbit Systems and Rockwell Collins already collaborate on the F-35 Helmet Mounted Display System (Gen 3), through their ESA Vision Systems (RCEVS) joint venture.

                          Elbit Systems declined to provide any further information on the PCDU to Jane's or to supply an image.

                          The PCDU is likely based in some degree on Elbit Systems' Cockpit Next Generation (NG), which integrates a wide variety of helmet-mounted and panoramic displays with advanced algorithms, sensor and data fusion, and development tools. "It is a complete, fully customisable, multi-mission cockpit that supports aircrews improved situational awareness, reduced workload, and enhanced flight safety," the company claims.

                          Available in 22, 19, 17, and 15-inch units, the Cockpit NG is modular to enable integration into a wide variety of aircraft types and can be installed as either a retrofit or new build upgrade. The system has been developed around three 'layers': the high definition (HD) MFD, which is fully integrated with the company's latest helmet-mounted and head-up displays; an algorithm to reduce pilot workload and increase situational awareness; and a suite of tools with which to support the system.

                          Cockpit NG uses a PC card to drive the display processor, and Elbit Systems has previously asserted to Jane's that this will not affect the aircraft's flight-critical systems, which will remain driven via conventional systems (as PC's sometimes 'crash', they are not deemed suitable to operate safety-critical systems). A USB port located just under the MFD allows the pilot to download flight and mission data directly into the aircraft's display systems.

                          The colour MFD takes up the majority of the cockpit display area and is utilised to present the pilot with his primary flight information, digital moving map, sensor displays, stores and forward looking infrared (FLIR). Its slim design is aimed at reducing weight, heat, and power requirements which, as well as increasing the aircraft's performance, has the added effect of reducing operating costs.

                          Using technology developed for the latest generation smart phones, the MFD allows the pilot to drag and expand the display information to suit his or her needs. Although, ostensibly a 'touch screen', Elbit Systems explained that the pilot does not actually have to physically touch the screen. Instead, "an infrared matrix mounted in the frame [of the MFD] interprets where the pilot's finger is" and carries out the necessary inputs. The advantage of this is that it prevents scratching and other damage while allowing the screen to be used when the pilot is wearing gloves.

                          Cockpit NG also enables embedded training with simulated scenarios and targets generated to replicate specific mission scenarios, helping reduce overall operating costs for the user.
                          Description from the solicitation floated a couple of years ago -

                          DESCRIPTION: Cockpit displays for fighters have performance requirements far beyond the commercial-state-of-the-art. Full sunlight readability and night vision compatibility are mandatory but not found in commercial offerings. Drive electronics to achieve a minimum 40:000:1 dimming range and ultra-high reliability under extreme environmental conditions are needed but unavailable in mass production products. The technical challenges include leveraging on-going revolutions in high-efficiency lighting and additive manufacturing to meet this combat cockpit need.

                          The goal of this F-35 Display Technology Improvement program is identify, develop, and integrate technologies to achieve a threshold (objective) 84 Hz (108 Hz) update rate, 8 Mpx (32 Mpx) image resolution, 600 fL (1200 fL) sustained day luminance, 0.01 fL (0.001 fL) night luminance with electro-optical emissions compatible with digital and analog helmet/cockpit-mounted cameras, advanced touch screens compatible with flight-gloved hands, 2X (4X) less net power via higher efficiency materials and energy re-cycling, advanced heat transfer and storage materials, lower weight substrates and structural housings. The main focus is on improvements for the 20x8-in. primary multifunction display that can demonstrate life-cycle cost (LCC) or warfighter effectiveness improvements that would justify switching the from the current circa 2004 AMLCD designs to incorporate manufacturing technology improvements available in circa 2016 components.

                          Teaming with prime contractors for transition analysis and support is encouraged. Affordability and availability should continue to be addressed by using commercial fabrication facilities to fabricate military-unique designs.

                          Flat panel technologies revolutionized cockpits during the 1990s and were the basis for an epochal shift from electromechanical and cathode-ray tube flight instruments to the avionics-grade sunlight-readable, reliable, active matrix liquid crystal displays (AMLCDs) that now dominate crew station design. Large-area AMLCDs have enabled the realization, in the F-35 cockpit, of the combat advantage demonstrated in the 1988-1992 AFRL ATD entitled Panoramic Cockpit Controls and Displays (PCCADS). PCCADS demonstrated that a large area, integrated main instrument panel display and a digital day/night vision/cueing system would increase combat effectiveness by 45 percent.

                          Current displays have limitations that have been accepted to affordably achieve threshold levels of pilot-vehicle interfaces. Technology obsolescence problems and improved performance opportunities require new innovations.

                          Improvements in power-hungry AMLCD technologies are possible for both the main panel (currently dominated by a 20x8-in. AMLCD driven as two 1280x1024 pixel windows) and the helmet system. The see-through helmet-mounted display (HMD) design uses miniature AMLCDs reflected off the visor using classical optics. Significant advances have been made, since the time of F-35 cockpit design freeze, for both the large-area direct-view 20x8-in. display and the miniature flat panels in the HMD. The 20x8-in display and the HMD are now both over 4X less resolution compared to the current state of the art. Higher pixel densities with the same or less power are possible to provide more detailed situational awareness displays. Substrates are lighter yet stronger. And new flat panel technologies, such as active matrix organic emitting diode (AMOLED) and electrophoretic, are on the verge of becoming competitive with AMLCD for avionics cockpit applications. Other HMD component technology improvements are emerging from DoD programs like the AFRL Alternative Night/Day Imaging Technologies (ANIT) program.

                          PHASE I: Design displays in form-factors for F-35 that weigh less, incorporate improved touch/gesture control interface, optimize power/thermal management, and have higher refresh rate, resolution, luminance. Perform LCC and pilot-effectiveness analyses to determine value of improvements. Develop roadmap for feature introduction and initial technology transition plan.

                          PHASE II: Fabricate and test prototype displays in the form-factor required by F-35 that weighs less, incorporates a improved touch/gesture control interface, optimizes power/thermal management, and has higher refresh rate, resolution, and luminance. Assess production and reliable sourcing issues throughout the vendor chain involved (AMLCD fabs, system integration facilities, labs for testing to combat avionics performance requirements). Update transition plan and life cycle cost analysis.

                          PHASE III: Assess DoD market for F-35 new/replacement displays and for other aircraft. Develop a detailed Air Force Human System Integration Plan. Refine design from Phase II prototype into a production design. Establish reliable supply chain and supply chain management system. Fabricate production displays.
                          Last edited by bring_it_on; 7th June 2017, 12:03.
                          Old radar types never die; they just phased array

                          Comment


                            It is also disingenuous to include Gripen in the list of European fighter projects (given that it was only ever a Swedish project designed for Sweden, by Sweden). It's like including Brazilian or Argentine designs in "American" aviation.

                            So yes, during the Cold War France, Britain, Germany, Spain and Italy were all interested in maintaining their own aviation sectors- what a surprise.

                            The F35 cannot do everything unless you redesign it into the interdiction BAE/Cranfield model D I posted a few pages back that was studiously ignored by everyone.
                            Last edited by mrmalaya; 7th June 2017, 14:27.

                            Comment


                              The European states basically traded economies of scale to retain design & production locally. Which is all well & good - informed choice driven by national priorities.
                              When the Gripen, Rafale & Typhoon projects began, the JSF project didn't exist. The countries that built them had the choice of buying the already developed F-15/16/18 to replace their F-104S/F-4/Mirage/Draken/Viggen/F-8/Harrier or developing their own. F-35 was not an option because it did not exist, & there was no other US development programme they could join to get economies of scale. It was buy off the shelf (with local avionics, maybe - but no economies of scale there) or develop their own.
                              Last edited by swerve; 7th June 2017, 19:02.
                              Juris praecepta sunt haec: honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere.
                              Justinian

                              Comment


                                F-35 Drag Chute Testing
                                Attached Files
                                Last edited by bring_it_on; 7th June 2017, 14:14.
                                Old radar types never die; they just phased array

                                Comment


                                  Originally posted by Marcellogo
                                  @Vnomad
                                  Again, UK is UK i.e. just one of the partecipant to a multinational project not Europe, all others have not implemented any of such capabilities until much later. Typhoon entered service in 2003 so there were more than ten years of production before having them added.
                                  -Wrong example. F-15E is not classified as a multirole plane but as a strike fighter in USAF nomenclature i.e. the same niche category of F-111 and Tornado. For the rest you are right both it work two way, multirole plane is a concept quite peculiar to USA not a worlwide standard at all.
                                  I feel like we're having a conversation via Google Translate. Please don't mix the term 'multirole' (no its not quite peculiar to USA - e.g MRCA) with whatever label a particular operator puts on it. Its as ridiculous as a Greek guy turning up and claiming that the F-16 wasn't multirole because the HAF uses it for strike or that the Mirage wasn't multirole because the HAF uses it for air defence & escort.

                                  The Damocles pod was integrated onto the Rafale after 10 years in service, upto which point its function was akin to the F-22. All that reflects is the service's funding priorities not the aircraft's capability. The Rafale & EF both remain multirole aircraft today.

                                  Large multinational programmes were a way to gain scale economies and so to save our own autonomous industrial capability, they surely doesn't worked as planned as our external politics are too different (Uk are warmongers and German pacifist) , our spending attitudes are vastly different (Germans are obsessed by their budget, French by their Grandeur), our operative doctrines are totally divergent (France is practically a single plane airforce from the sixties, AMI would keep three different model of plane also with the F-35) and THANK GOD FOR THIS! as we are indipendent nations, with our own instituctions, language and even civilization, not some sort of minority partners of a multinational firm.
                                  I'm aware of the reasons and explanations for the lack of a pan-European fighter. What doesn't compute however is the loony theory about LM & the US conniving to keep the European defence industry fragmented (especially given that it wasn't 'European' to start with).

                                  With all the problems we had and all the waste this basic objective was in any case achieved and let me add, it is not that F-22 and F-35 programs are such a so shining examples of efficiency, cost saving and timely deliver to allow someone an higher moral ground on that matter.
                                  Like the F-16 before it, the F-35 is an example of the kind of costs reductions are possible by manufacturing at scale; a results of which is a stealth fighter available in the same price bracket as the existing western fighters.

                                  Comment


                                    Originally posted by swerve
                                    When the Gripen, Rafale & Typhoon projects began, the JAF project didn't exist. The countries that built them had the choice of buying the already developed F-15/16/18 to replace their F-104S/F-4/Mirage/Draken/Viggen/F-8/Harrier or developing their own. F-35 was not an option because it did not exist, & there was no other US development programme they could join to get economies of scale. It was buy off the shelf (with local avionics, maybe - but no economies of scale there) or develop their own.
                                    Well the two programs - Rafale & Eurofighter between them spent ~$50 bn in development ($16 bn + $34 bn) which is more than what the US spent on R&D for the F-22 ($40 bn). [fixed]

                                    Of course, the latter program was slashed from 750 units to 187 leading to the PAUC exploding but it would perhaps have been different if it were scaled down a bit and had a captive market for 1500 odd fighters.
                                    Last edited by Vnomad; 7th June 2017, 18:04.

                                    Comment


                                      @ VNomad
                                      I will publish there a direct excerpt of wikipedia to highlight the level of your ignorance on european fighter matters:

                                      Escadron de Chasse (Fighter Squadron) 1/7 at Saint-Dizier received a nucleus of 8–10 Rafale F2s during the summer of 2006, in preparation for full operational service (with robust air-to-air and stand off air-to-ground precision attack capabilities) starting from mid-2007 (when EC 1/7 would have about 20 aircraft, 15 two-seaters and five single-seaters).[110][115]

                                      In 2007, after a "crash program" enhancement six Rafales were given the ability to drop laser-guided bombs, in view of engaging them in Afghanistan. Three of these aircraft belonging to the Air Force were deployed to Dushanbe in Tajikistan, while the three others were Rafale Marine of the Navy on board Charles De Gaulle.[116] The first mission occurred on 12 March 2007, and the first GBU-12 was launched on 28 March in support of embattled Dutch troops in Southern Afghanistan, marking the operational dbut of the Rafale.


                                      So, the first A2G engagement of the Armee de l'Air's Rafales happened even before that its first squadron reached full operational status: you are making confusion with the Marine Nationale, whose first version featured just air-to-air capability.
                                      Armee of Air preferred to wait instead other five years without any acquisition to have a fully capable multirole fighter from the start.

                                      For the rest, if you consider the Tornado to be a multirole fighter just because the initial program phase went under the name Multi Role Combat Aircraft (that had a totally different meaning in this case) I despair that we well ever sort this thing out.
                                      Last edited by Marcellogo; 7th June 2017, 18:12.

                                      Comment


                                        @ VNomad
                                        I will publish there a direct excerpt of wikipedia to highlight the level of your ignorance on european fighter matters:
                                        Here's a tip: look up who was doing the lasing for those strikes in Afghanistan.

                                        For the rest, if you consider the Tornado to be a multirole fighter just because the initial program phase went under the name Multi Role Combat Aircraft (that had a totally different meaning in this case) I despair that we well ever sort this thing out.
                                        Seeing as Wikipedia is kosher as a source, let me quote the Wikipedia definition of multirole -

                                        A multirole combat aircraft (MRCA) is a combat aircraft intended to perform different roles in combat. A multirole fighter is a multirole combat aircraft which is, at the same time, also a fighter aircraft; in other words, an aircraft whose various roles include, among others, the role of air-to-air combat.

                                        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multirole_combat_aircraft

                                        And I don't know why you would despair if sorting this out. Ask anybody else on the forum what constitutes a multirole fighter and whether the Rafale, EF & F-15E fit the description, and that should clarify matters amply.

                                        Comment


                                          Well the two programs - Rafale & Eurofighter between them spent ~$50 bn in development ($16 bn + $34 bn) which is more than what the US spent on R&D for the F-22 ($40 bn).
                                          Hmm, the development costs of the Eurofighter were around 23 Billion US$, my source is the UK National Audit Office, and that number is consistent with quite a lot of articles that ived read.

                                          https://www.nao.org.uk/report/manage...phoon-project/
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