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Thread: 2017 F-35 news and discussion thread

  1. #2671
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    Thanks FBW..
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

  2. #2672
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    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...
    Paywall: https://insidedefense.com/daily-news...-start-block-4
    "The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."

  3. #2673
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    ...

    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

  4. #2674
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    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)

  5. #2675
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    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

  6. #2676
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    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 at 18:49.
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

  7. #2677
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    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.”
    http://www.airforcemag.com/MagazineA...e-Pattern.aspx
    "The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."

  8. #2678
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    @BiO:
    Hence It could means That they have rejected the developed system (air collision avoidance) since it has to be developed in pair.

  9. #2679
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    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 Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by bring_it_on; 8th December 2017 at 15:08.
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

  10. #2680
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    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

  11. #2681
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    ...
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    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

  12. #2682
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    - The Air Force has started operating with F-35 from the Ørland Air Station regularly. From last Friday, 1-2 F-35 combat aircraft began to take off for a period of time, mostly daily. At the same time, there will be a number of days when F-16 takes off from Ørland, and not F-35, says Major Stian Roen, communications chief of the Air Force to the Fosna People.

    On November 3, the first Norwegian F-35 combat aircraft landed at Ørland Air Station and Norwegian soil for the first time.
    One month later, the aircraft have completed the reception control and are regularly in the air.

    Norwegian conditions
    So far, F-35 takes off and lands only on Ørlandet, although they fly in the same areas as F-16. Roen says that the new combat aircraft sometimes fly together with F-16.

    - In this phase, the pilots are investigating how F-35 works in Norwegian conditions. It's about getting to know the plane and doing training under Norwegian weather conditions. As well as getting to know Ørland and other airports in Norway, "says the communications officer at the Air Force.
    According to the schedule for when the new fighters will take over national defense preparedness tasks, it is still over a year before F-35 will take assignments from F-16.
    Google translated from: http://www.fosna-folket.no/nyheter/2...g-15728393.ece

    So it seems things are progressing according to (the updated) schedule!

  13. #2683
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    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

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    Lincoln Completes 1st F-35 Carrier Qualification


    The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) successfully completed Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) Carrier Qualifications for the F-35C Lightning II program, carrier qualifying the first nine fleet aviators in the new aircraft, while underway Dec. 7-11.

    Along with Abraham Lincoln, the "Rough Raiders" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 125, the "Grim Reapers" of VFA-101, and VX-9 accomplished many first steps including first-time use of Autonomic Logistic Information System (ALIS) aboard a carrier, and use of the Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (JPALS) in an operational setting.

    "Thanks to the tireless work from the VFA-125, VFA-101, VX-9, CVN72, and the Lockheed Team this detachment was able to successfully complete numerous milestones that will set the foundation for the future 5th generation employment of the F-35C into the Carrier Air Wing," said Cmdr. Scott Hulett, VFA-125 executive officer.

    One of those milestones achieved was with ALIS, an information infrastructure that allows operators to plan, maintain, and sustain systems over the F-35Cs. The system provides a secure way to transmit up-to-date operations, maintenance, prognostic, support, training and technical data to users and technicians worldwide. According to Lockheed Martin, the developer of the F-35C, ALIS is considered the IT backbone of current and future aircraft throughout the Department of Defense.

    Abraham Lincoln operated in inclement weather during portion of the qualification process, which gave the squadrons varying condition to test the new landing system, JPALS. The all-weather system works with the ship's navigation system to provide accurate and reliable guidance for the aircraft. Prior to this underway, F-35Cs only used JPALS for developmental testing.

    While the pilots put new systems to the test in the air, Abraham Lincoln Sailors, both on and below deck achieved important milestones. The aircraft intermediate maintenance department performed their first unassisted F-35C tire change. This accomplishment provided proven capabilities that will help ensure full and successful integration of the air wing with Abraham Lincoln.

    "We could not have achieved our lofty goals without the dedication and expertise from everyone involved. We look forward to working with the CVN72 team throughout 2018 as we continue to ensure 5th generation power projection from the sea," said Hulett.

    By 2025, the Navy's aircraft carrier air wings are forecasted to consist of F-35C, F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, EA-18G Growlers electronic attach aircraft, E-2D Hawkeye battle management and control aircraft, MH-60R/S helicopters and Carrier Onboard Delivery logistics aircraft.
    Abraham Lincoln is currently underway conducting carrier qualifications and training.


    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

  15. #2685
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    Strong last quarter in terms of deliveries given that there was a brief production halt this year which put some pressure on delivery targets -

    Lockheed Martin Meets 2017 F-35 Delivery Target


    On Friday, December 15, Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) delivered the 66th F-35 aircraft for the year, meeting the joint government and industry delivery target for 2017.


    To date, more than 265 F-35 aircraft have been delivered to U.S. and international customers. More than 530 pilots and nearly 5,000 maintainers have been trained, and the F-35 fleet has surpassed more than 115,000 cumulative flight hours."Meeting our 2017 delivery commitment is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our joint government and industry team to deliver the transformational F-35 air system to the warfighter," said Lockheed Martin Executive Vice President and F-35 Program General Manager Jeff Babione. "The team continues to overcome program challenges and achieving this milestone gives our customers confidence that the F-35 enterprise can deliver on the increasing production quantities year-over-year."

    Sixty-six F-35 deliveries in 2017 represents more than a 40 percent increase from 2016, and the F-35 enterprise is prepared to increase production volume year-over-year to hit full rate of approximately 160 aircraft in 2023.
    Based on previous reports they had their best quarter for the program till date (Q4 CY17), delivering around 22 aircraft in the last 2.5 or so months.
    Last edited by bring_it_on; 18th December 2017 at 16:07.
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

  16. #2686
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    Well known costs? Wel... Not for UK parilament...

    t is simply not acceptable for the Ministry of Defence to refuse to disclose to Parliament and the public its estimates for the total cost of the programme, and to suggest instead that we must wait until the mid-2030s (when all 138 F-35 have been procured) to be able to work out a full unit cost for each aircraft, once spares and upgrades are included. (Paragraph 93)
    https://publications.parliament.uk/p.../326/32610.htm

  17. #2687
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    well, that way they won't have to think about it and eventually change their mind (and possibly ask for some heads from the side of those who decided to buy it? )

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    The key problem that I see is that they wanted firm numbers for things like:
    once spares and upgrades are included.
    Remember that these will span 40+ years. Good luck trying to tell the future.
    "The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."

  19. #2689
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    https://publications.parliament.uk/p.../326/32610.htm


    Overall, a very balanced refutation of claims leveled by " The Times" (really the newspaper just compiled some claims from POGO and others, including DOT&E analysis from third parties).

    While it is easy to understand why Parliament is pressing for total program (total ownership cost), it is also easy to see why MoD is resistant. The current URF cost curve has a high degree of confidence, APUC as well. When you start looking at PAUC and life cycle costs, any current estimate's margin of error makes it worthless. The costs associated with procuring first 48 F-35, support, training, spares, and infrastructure are relatively stable (except that 19 aircraft aren't under contract yet, and URF is likely to be lower). Projecting a total ownership cost comes with a list of assumptions: 148 will be procured, basing, what portion of the fleet will be upgraded to new blocks over program life, fuel costs, on and on.
    Last edited by FBW; 20th December 2017 at 18:29.

  20. #2690
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    South Korea plans to buy 20 additional F-35 aircraft: report

    South Korea’s Defence Acquisition Program Administration has established a process for procuring the 20 additional aircraft, the Joongang Ilbo newspaper reported, citing multiple government sources
    Source:
    Reuters.com

  21. #2691
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    FBW - it doesn't matter though because the headlines are all shouting about how expensive, late, over-budget the F35 is (regardless of which outlet is shouting). Factual parliamentary reports don't make good headlines.

  22. #2692
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    While it is easy to understand why Parliament is pressing for total program (total ownership cost), it is also easy to see why MoD is resistant. The current URF cost curve has a high degree of confidence, APUC as well. When you start looking at PAUC and life cycle costs, any current estimate's margin of error makes it worthless. The costs associated with procuring first 48 F-35, support, training, spares, and infrastructure are relatively stable (except that 19 aircraft aren't under contract yet, and URF is likely to be lower). Projecting a total ownership cost comes with a list of assumptions: 148 will be procured, basing, what portion of the fleet will be upgraded to new blocks over program life, fuel costs, on and on.
    A good summary of the perils of looking into decades of operational costs based on assumptions and margin of errors that are too high to make any sense of the data. One can keep fixating on 100+ F-35s for the UK but until they actually order at a decent rate they won't even get there for a decade if not more. At some point the highest level partner, with a ton of industrial benefit has to step up and order aircraft and ramp up its procurement as it gets its carriers ready. That is largely a political decision as I'm sure the RAF/RN would like aircraft faster.
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

  23. #2693
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    F-35 concurrency cost drops by 24 percent over 11 months


    A new cost estimate on F-35 concurrency reveals a 24 percent drop or a reduction of $400 million over an 11-month period.

    Two primary factors have driven the cost-estimate reduction. The first is due to the removal of third-life testing teardown and inspection because that activity occurs at the end of the system development and demonstration phase, while the second component is attributed to originally forecasted issues that did not occur, according to F-35 spokeswoman Brandi Schiff.

    The F-35 joint program office considers SDD completed, however, a new strategy was established called continuous capability development and delivery to give the program a mechanism to correct deficiencies.

    Specifically, a September report to Congress notes third-life teardown and inspection costs have decreased by 89.7 percent or from $390 million to $40 million, which is beyond the scope of the concurrency efforts. The F-35 joint program office is mandated by Congress to submit a semi-annual report on concurrency cost.

    "Concurrency is a temporal issue and as we complete more and more testing, the risks and impact of concurrency will decline," Schiff wrote in a Dec. 20 statement to Inside Defense. "The majority of technical risks that drive changes and costs will have been discovered."

    For instance, in the most recent concurrency report to Congress the number of forecasted issues and known issues is leveling out, which is due to design maturation, according to Schiff.

    "The Department of Defense established the F-35 program with a planned amount of overlap between the development and production of aircraft," Schiff wrote. "These concurrent actions led to aircraft built during early production lots to undergo modifications due to discoveries made during qualification, flight, and ground tests, or as a result of engineering analysis."

    The Pentagon incentivized both Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney by sharing the costs to incorporate concurrency changes as soon as possible in the production line. Additionally, the JPO established a "Modifications War Room" that develops and maintains a comprehensive modification database for strategic planning, according to Schiff.

    Inside Defense reported in May 2015 the F-35 concurrency cost estimate increased by about 2 percent compared to the previous year's figure. The increase came after two consecutive years of declining concurrency-cost estimates.
    That would be a $400 million reduction in the estimate which was previously hovering around the $1.5-$1.8 Billion mark.
    Last edited by bring_it_on; 21st December 2017 at 19:46.
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

  24. #2694
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    The key problem that I see is that they wanted firm numbers for things like:
    once spares and upgrades are included.
    Not quite, they´ve asked "rough orders of magnitude", not "firm numbers"

    "8.The lack of transparency over the costs of the F-35 is unacceptable and risks undermining public confidence in the programme. The Department should provide us with the ‘rough orders of magnitude’ it claims to possess for the total costs of the F-35 programme beyond 2026/7. (Paragraph 94)"

    Remember that these will span 40+ years. Good luck trying to tell the future.
    The MOD and the NAO have done it before for a number of major programs, sometimes the chaps got very near of the actual numbers, sometimes they´ve blundered. Pretty much your point, predicting the future its not exactly easy.
    Normal request with a normal reaction from the MOD.

    If anyone is interested in the arcane art of HM MOD budgeting and capability requests, this place is a pretty decent place to start: https://www.nao.org.uk/search/type/r...ector/defence/

    Cheers

  25. #2695
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    At some point the highest level partner, with a ton of industrial benefit has to step up and order aircraft and ramp up its procurement as it gets its carriers ready. That is largely a political decision as I'm sure the RAF/RN would like aircraft faster.
    I would imagine that the problem is more "budget" (lack of it) than political.
    There´s a bit of problem (or an oportunity) here, with seven sqn´s of front line Typhoons till the thirties/fourties, unless the UK PLC boosts the number of front line fast jet sqns there´s no space for more than the initial order.

    Cheers

  26. #2696
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    They were given estimations but wanted more details. A simple totalcost/num-of-planes was not good enough.

    88. We asked the Minister for Defence Procurement and her MoD colleagues several times about the cost to the UK taxpayer of the F-35 programme. Pressed on the total cost per aircraft, once support and spares are included, Mrs Baldwin and her colleagues did not answer directly, pointing instead to a recent NAO report which put the total cost of the programme through to 2026, at £9.1 billion, a sum that includes the first 48 aircraft, spares, support, training and the investment in infrastructure at RAF Marham and elsewhere.

    89. When asked how the £9.1 billion figure equated to a cost per-aircraft, particularly in light of the MoD’s criticism of The Times’s estimate of £130–155 million per aircraft, MoD Permanent Secretary Stephen Lovegrove attacked that estimate as an “extraordinarily crude and misleading calculation” which, he suggested, was arrived at by taking £7.3 billion from the £9.1 billion (this £7.3 billion figure covers the production, sustainment and follow-on phase of the programme to 2026) and dividing it by 48.88 It should be noted that this is not the calculation process outlined by Alexi Mostrous during his appearance before the Committee (see paras 76–77 of this report).

    90. According to Mr Lovegrove, it is not possible accurately to divide the £9.1 billion cost on a unit-by-unit basis due to the inclusion, within that figure, of training and infrastructure costs and additional costs “associated with the design and total concept of the aircraft”.89 Instead, he suggested that one would have to “do a very complicated sum at the end of the life of the programme [the mid-2030s] and divide it by 138. Then you might be able to do it”.

    91. The Department was also unable to provide details of the total cost of the F-35 procurement programme, again pointing to the published costs for the programme up to 2026.91 The Minister told us that the MoD “have not gone” beyond those costings. Mr Lovegrove, however, suggested that the MoD had “rough orders of magnitude” for the possible costs beyond 2026/7, but which are not published for two principal reasons:
    One is that they are rough orders of magnitude, and who knows exactly what the world will look like in 10 years’ time? In fact, there are no private enterprises that estimate their costs 10 years out with the accuracy that we do, or to the level of fidelity that we do. Secondly, even the last 17 or 19 F-35s within the first 48 are still under negotiation. To reveal publicly how much we think we might be prepared to pay for those would obviously be compromising our negotiating position and compromising taxpayers’ money, so we will not be doing that.
    "The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."

  27. #2697
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    I would imagine that the problem is more "budget" (lack of it) than political.
    There´s a bit of problem (or an oportunity) here, with seven sqn´s of front line Typhoons till the thirties/fourties, unless the UK PLC boosts the number of front line fast jet sqns there´s no space for more than the initial order.
    Which for all practical purposes is a political problem since the politicians have a very big say in how the budget is allocated and how much is spent on national defense including how that is split up within different programs.
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

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    F-35 Gets Bad Report Card from UK Legislators
    After a short inquiry into the UK’s acquisition of Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II stealth fighters, a watchdog body of the British Parliament has issued a detailed and critical report. The House of Commons Defence Committee (HCDC) said it was disappointed by the responses it obtained in written and oral testimony from Lockheed Martin and UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) officials. The HCDC report was published just days before the 14th F-35B for the UK was delivered to MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina, where the first operational British squadron is working up.

    The HCDC’s inquiry was prompted by serious program failings and cost escalations that were alleged by The Times daily national newspaper last July. The newspaper repeated the F-35 shortcomings that have been reported in public U.S. documents such as Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) and Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports. But it also quoted British defense sources, some anonymously, on UK-specific issues, notably an alleged failure to provide adequate and secure communications from the F-35 to its host British QEII-class aircraft carriers, and to the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Royal Air Force’s front-line fighter aircraft.

    The HCDC said that overall, its concerns “were not alleviated” by Lockheed Martin and the MoD. The committee said that “the MoD’s failure to provide adequate cost estimates for its procurement of the F-35…is wholly unsatisfactory.” It said that “the broadband capacity on the QEII carriers will need to be beyond the reported limit of 8 megabits, and, in all likelihood, in excess of the 32 megabits currently available on the USS America, if the potential benefits of the F-35 to the UK’s future carrier strike capabilities are to be realized.” It recommended that the MoD ensure that an airborne gateway translation node is funded, so that the F-35 can pass information from its secure but discrete Multifunctional Advanced DataLink (MADL) to the Typhoons, and to the carriers.

    However, the committee’s report did concede that “the assurances about the rigorous level of cyber-testing of the F-35’s Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) software are welcome, as is the assurance that the UK will have complete and unfettered use of the software for the sovereign operation of our F-35 fleet.” But, it added, “we ask for greater clarity from Lockheed Martin on the level of protection in place for the technical data gathered by ALIS in relation to the UK’s F-35 fleet, including whether this data falls within the U.S. Government’s 'unlimited rights license'."

    The UK will receive another three F-35Bs at Beaufort next year, and one more—its 18th in total—in early 2019. Some of these jets will fly to the UK next summer so that No. 617 Squadron can begin flying trials on the QEII in the third quarter, and achieve initial operating capability (IOC) in the land-based role by December 2018. The IOC for carrier-based operations is due by December 2020. The UK keeps three test and evaluation F-35Bs at Edwards AFB, where they will remain.

    To date, the UK has bought only 18 F-35Bs. However, in January 2017 the MoD made budgetary provision for another 30 jets for delivery from 2020 to 2025. The provision was for £3 billion including initial support, which works out at nearly $134 million per aircraft at today’s exchange rate. The first 18 aircraft for the UK appear to have cost more than £150 million ($200 million) each. In its testimony to the HCDC, the MoD maintained its assertion that the UK will eventually buy 138 F-35s. Most independent observers regard this as highly unlikely. Next month, the MoD is due to reveal another round of personnel and equipment cuts, just 26 months after a Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) set a budget that was supposed to last five years.

    Beyond 2025, the UK could save on both acquisition and operating costs by buying conventional takeoff-and-landing (CTOL) F-35A versions instead. This has long been the desire of the Royal Air Force, because of the greater range and weapons load of the F-35A compared with the F-35B. Lockheed Martin has promised to reduce the unit recurring flyaway cost (URFC) of the F-35A to about $80 million in current dollars.
    "A map does you no good if you don't know where you are"

  29. #2699
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Potential defense shift may see Japan arm helicopter carriers with F-35B stealth jets

    In what could be a major change in Japan’s policy on aircraft carriers, the Defense Ministry is mulling a plan to buy F-35B stealth fighter jets for use on its helicopter carriers, government sources said.

    The introduction of F-35Bs, which have short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) capability, will be useful in countering China’s growing maritime assertiveness. They are expected to bolster Japan’s ability to defend far-flung islands in the southwest, where only short runways exist, the sources said Sunday.
    EDIT:
    “Regarding our defense posture, we are constantly conducting various examinations. But no concrete examination is under way on the introduction of F-35B or remodeling of Izumo-class destroyers,” [Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori] Onodera told reporters on Tuesday.

    The Izumo has a sister ship called the Kaga.

    Sources:
    The Japan Times.co.jp
    Reuters.com
    Last edited by TomcatViP; 26th December 2017 at 16:40.

  30. #2700
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    Typical clueless whining from a government "watchdog", this time its the HCDC.

    Much of the article has nothing to do with F-35, but everything to do with MoD's unpreparedness.

    The move to network centric warfare (NCW) is not a surprise as it has been in the works for 20 years. A key enabler for NCW is the ability to handle vast amounts of data used for situational awareness, intelligence, mission planning, targeting and coordination of forces and sustainment.

    That new QEII carriers were not built with at least 30 GB of communication bandwith is not the fault of F-35, but poor planning by MoD. (And NAVSEA screwed up too because USS Ford doesn't have high bandwidth communications either).

    That the ancient networks used to transport ALIS data are vulnerable to cyber attacks is not the fault of F-35, but poor planning by MoD.

    That MoD cannot predict F-35 O&S and upgrade costs beyond 2025 using a tool, such as the Pentagon's Visibility and Management of Operations and Support Cost (VAMOSC), is not the fault of f-35, but poor planning by MoD.

    MoD needs to step up its game.

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