F-35 Joint Strike Fighter News, Videos and pics Thread

Jeff Head

Staff member
Super Moderator
Looks like the Israelis are going to make their own operational as soon as possible too:

My guess is we will see the Australians, the Japanese, the UK, all make them operational as soon as they can.

Most of those nations receiving aircraft now to their homelands, have had pilots over here getting up to speed on the simulators and the aircraft before the aircraft get to them....and of course Italy has a factory of its own for European needs.
ten or so billion photo-op in preparation:
US Marine F-35B Fighter Jet Deployment Onboard British Warship Made Official
US Marine Corps F-35Bs are to be deployed onboard the British Royal Navy’s new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier when it undertakes its first operational tour, the two governments have announced.

British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon and his US counterpart, Ash Carter, signed the deal Dec. 15 on the sidelines of a UK-hosted meeting of the coalition fighting the Islamic State group.

The intention to deploy US Marine F-35s was announced in September this year, but the formal signing confirms the deal.

Both forces will operate the F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing version of the Lightning II strike jet. It’s unclear at this stage how long the US Marine deployment will last or whether the service will also deploy V-22 Osprey aircraft as part of the package.

A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said the agreement allows for deployment planning to continue, but did not offer additional details.

In late September, Capt. Jerry Kyd, the commander of HMS Queen Elizabeth, said he would like to see US Marine Corps F-35Bs and V-22s embark for up to nine months at a time once the warship becomes operational.

“We’ll certainly see some footprint aboard the ship. The big question is: Do they deploy with us much longer term in the future, maybe for six, seven, eight, nine months from when we deploy? That’s what I would love to see,” the naval officer told reporters during a briefing.

The first of two 70,000-ton carriers is now virtually complete, and the warship is due to start sea trials in the first half of next year. If things go as planned, the first operational deployment will take place in 2021.

Fallon said : “Having British and US F35s alongside each other aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth on its first operational tour will further cement our close defense ties as Britain steps up internationally,” Fallon said. “As Britain’s preeminent operational partner, including in our current fight against Daesh, the interoperability of British and American forces is crucial.” Daesh is an Arabic abbreviation for the Islamic State group.

A second carrier, the Prince of Wales, is about two years behind the construction schedule for the first of class.
Queen Elizabeth is expected to start fixed-wing flight trials with three British F-35Bs off the East Coast of the United States at the end of the summer of 2018.

Helicopter flight trials with the Merlin and Chinook are scheduled to take place earlier in the year.

Britain axed its fleet of small carriers in 2010 as part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) and turned to the US and, to a lesser extent, the French to help maintain key operational skills until the new warships became available. UK pilots, engineers and deck handlers, who are currently operating from US Navy carriers, are already working on these skills, which will be important during the deployment of the new British carriers.

The opportunity to deploy US Marine F-35s on the Royal Navy warship has in part been triggered by Britain’s inability to fund the acquisition of sufficient aircraft to provide a credible strike force in the years immediately following the introduction into service of the Queen Elizabeth.

Kyd confirmed in September that few British jets would be available for the first operational deployment.

“We are constrained by the F-35 buy rate even though that was accelerated in SDSR in 2015, so initial operating capability numbers in 2020 are going to be very modest indeed. We will flesh it out with helicopters, and a lot depends on how many USMC F-35s come on our first deployment in 2021. But by 2023, we are committed to 24 UK jets onboard, and after that it’s too far away [to say]," he said.

In September, analysts here said embarking US jets was not just about saving British blushes due to lack of aircraft, but it had a wider operational benefit as well.

“Embarking USMC F-35s does get the UK out of an embarrassing position of having a lot of floating real estate with very little to go on it. But it’s convenient for both sides and there is operational utility in such a policy,” said Doug Barrie, the senior air analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies think tank in London.
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and to make this ten or so billion photo-op possible, the UK Military gave up tanks:
Nov 28, 2016
Army to slash frontline tanks
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Army chiefs are planning to slash the number of frontline tanks by up to a third, leaving Britain with fewer tanks than Serbia.

Under the plan, one of the army’s three tank regiments will see all its 56 Challenger 2s replaced with Ajax fighting vehicles. The cut would leave the army with only about 40 more tanks than traditionally neutral Switzerland. At the other end of the scale, Russia has 2,700 tanks.

The plan, due to be announced in coming months, has alarmed serving and retired commanders and comes as Russia introduces the T-14 Armata — a new generation of tank that some experts believe has the firepower to defeat any British or American equivalent.

Colonel Bob Stewart, who led British forces in Bosnia, said:…

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no, it was enough

and AShMs:
Nov 16, 2016
Friday at 8:42 PM

... related:
Royal Navy to lose missiles and be left only with guns

source, dated 15 November 2016 • 4:13pm,:
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EDIT plus Aug 31, 2016
refurbished for tens of millions of pounds, so it's time to scrap her
HMS Ocean to be decommissioned in 2018, MoD announces
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so that a dozen of F-35Bs can be flaunted on a supercarrier
Last edited:
Yesterday at 7:54 PM
... "Italy has taken delivery of two F-35 jets at its Amendola Air Base ...
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Lieutenant General
Registered Member
The F-35C expensive coz very few build right now, F-35B will be the most expensive because the most complex
One Rafale want around 70 - 80 mill € fly away in fact we buy to 100 millions/piece with spares etc... Typhoon more expensive about 90 mill base price.

x 1.05 US guys :)

F-35 ‘Not Out Of Control’: F-35A Prices Drop 5.5%
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Dec 12, 2016
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F-35 Chief Disputes Trump's Characterization of 'Out of Control' Program
The F-35 program is not “out of control” as President-elect Donald Trump famously tweeted this month, but more can still be done to tamp costs down, the head of the F-35 program office said Monday.

During a Dec. 19 briefing with reporters, Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, the F-35 program executive officer, struck a conciliatory tone when asked about Trump’s recent comments about the F-35 joint strike fighter. Last week, the president-elect slammed the F-35’s high price tag, warning the Defense Department and industry alike that “billions of dollars can and will be saved” on military equipment when he steps into office.

Bogdan said Trump’s desire to root out waste and efficiency is commendable, but noted that the program has come a long way since 2011, when it hit a Nunn-McCurdy breach.

“I have no doubt that given the controversy on the F-35 program over the years, that there’s a perception that this program is out of control,” he said. “That’s in the past. So, if given the opportunity, I would like to try and explain to the new administration that this is a vastly different program from 2011 on. … I’ll just lay the facts out on the table, and I’ll let them make their own judgments.”

Trump and his transition team had not been briefed on the joint strike fighter program before he made his fateful tweet, which sent Lockheed Martin stock careening down to $245.70 before rebounding back to more than $250 a share. The team has since asked for a briefing, though nothing has been scheduled yet.

For the F-35 program, 2016 has been a year of highs and lows. A recently-announced contract for lot 9 secured the lowest unit prices yet — for the most part. The contract set a price of $102.1 million per A model and $131.6 million per B model, down from about $108 million and $134 million, respectively. However, a smaller Navy order for only two F-35Cs caused unit prices to rise by $3.2 million to $132.2 million per aircraft.

At the same time, Bogdan also acknowledged that the schedule for the development phase of the program could slip as much as seven months, with $532 million in additional funds needed for completion.

“I understand the new administration’s position on wanting to get the best value for every dollar that the Department of Defense spends,” he said. “The new administration, I believe, is putting everyone on notice. Not just industry, but the department on notice. What it wants is better value for its dollar, and that can happen from both sides of the aisle.”

Because the F-35’s highly technical and cutting-edge capabilities are seen as critical for ensuring the US military’s air dominance, Bogdan advised against changes in requirements that would degrade its performance.

“Are there other things we can do to reduce the cost of this airplane? Absolutely. Are we doing some of those now? Absolutely,” he said. For instance, in fiscal year 2018, the services plan to ask Congress for permission to buy parts in economic order quantities over multiple years. That, along with a block buy for international customers, is projected to save about $2 billion according to the RAND Corp.

He also said more competition could be injected into the program at a system or supplier level.

“If you’ve got a single-source supplier of a particular component of this airplane right now, and you’re not sure if that person can build you 3,000 airplanes worth of that, you might want to open up a second source,” he said. “Once you open up a second source, now you’ve got natural competition. We should explore some of that.”

Any incoming leader is going to ask questions about costs, said Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James at an earlier event at the Atlantic Council on Monday. Once Trump is briefed on the program, he will understand the complexity of programs like the F-35 and realize it is not necessarily easy to reduce the price of the jets.

But he should still make the effort, she added.

“Can the costs be driven down more? Perhaps. I know certainly the current leadership, the JPO [F-35 joint program office] itself, they’re focused on this each and every day. I know that industry has made concessions to try to bring down the price,” she said. “Can more of this be accomplished? I would say, probably yes, and the pressure should remain on.”

While Bogdan and James were amenable to suggestions that the government has more work to do on lowering the cost of the F-35 program, they bristled against Trump’s criticisms of the “revolving door” between industry and the Defense Department, which prompted the president-elect to pitch a lifetime ban on Pentagon contracting officials from ever being employed by a defense contractor.

“I have not seen ethical issues as a source for the problems on this program,” said Bogdan, who is forbidden by law for ever working on the joint strike fighter program for Lockheed or F-35 engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney, although he could be employed by the companies in another capacity. “The problems on this program quite frankly in the past were very simple. We were overly optimistic in the technical risk of building this leading-edge fighter, and so we put unrealistic schedules and budgets together, and then when we ran into problems we did not manage them well.”

James said the restrictions on senior defense officials — which required the former SAIC employee to divest stock — are sometimes stronger than those imposed on the president.

Trump himself has been criticized for not maintaining a stronger firewall between his business affairs and emerging duties as president-elect.
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comment from me:
as I said
Jul 6, 2016
... for those who don't know the future :) it may be interesting to look into
Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)
the cost of the F-35 Program can be found out by looking BACK at Comptroller's data who counts what's really been thrown into the F-35 Program in a given year under all the contracts, and the cost of the F-35 Program cannot be found out by listening to LockMart sales talk about what "will" be the "target" cost, how "ultimately" the price "drops to ...", "eventually" be "lower than ..." etc. etc.

EDIT just check "However, a smaller Navy order for only two F-35Cs caused unit prices to rise by $3.2 million to $132.2 million per aircraft." right above
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Aug 17, 2016
minutes ago noted "The pilots are checking out the third generation helmets to ensure the brightness of the symbology displayed does not interfere with their ability to see the carrier as they land at night — they are waiting for moonless nights before doing the tests." in
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now found more:
Pilots to Test Fix for F-35 Helmet ‘Green Glow’ Problem

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while December 20, 2016 F-35’s $400K Helmet Still Blinds Pilots on Night Flights
A software fix designed to make the F-35 Joint Strike fighter’s state-of-the-art helmet easier to use for Navy and Marine Corps pilots landing on ships at night is still falling short of the mark, the program executive officer for the F-35 Joint Program Office said Monday.

One discovery made as the F-35C Navy carrier variant and F-35B Marine Corps “jump jet” variant wrapped up ship testing this year was that the symbology on the pricey helmet was still too bright and distracting for pilots landing on carriers or amphibious ships in the lowest light conditions, Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan told reporters.

During the final developmental test phase for the F-35C aboard the carrier George Washington in August, officials told Military.com
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, which can make it difficult for pilots to detect outside light sources and the cues they need to land their aircraft safely.

While testers were hopeful at the time the problem was solved, Bogdan said officials are not yet satisfied.

“The symbology on the helmet, even when turned down as low as it can, is still a little too bright,” he said. “We want to turn down that symbology so that it’s not so bright that they can’t see through it to see the lights, but if you turn it down too much, then you start not being able to see the stuff you do want to see. We have an issue there, there’s no doubt.”

Bogdan said the military plans on pursuing a hardware fix for the helmet, which is designed to stream real-time information onto the visor and allow the pilots to “see through” the plane by projecting images from cameras mounted around the aircraft. But before that fix is finalized, he said, pilots of the F-35 B and C variants will make operational changes to mitigate the glare from the helmet. These may including adjusting the light scheme on the aircraft, altering how pilots communicate during night flights, and perhaps changing the way they use the helmet during these flights, he said.

“We’re thinking in the short term we need to make some operational changes, and in the long term we’ll look for some hardware changes,” Bogdan said.

The window for making such adjustments is rapidly closing. The first F-35B squadron is expected to move forward to its new permanent base in Japan in January ahead of a 2018 shipboard deployment in the Pacific. The F-35C is also expected to deploy aboard a carrier for the first time in 2018.
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Dec 14, 2016
before everybody (me including :) forgets:

Nov 8, 2016

Sep 24, 2016

haven't heard anything yet (but soon Donald may LOL!
now F-35 Chief: Loose Bracket Sparked Fire on Marine Corps Plane
For want of a secure bracket, the F-35B weapons bay caught fire.

That line may not have been included in the famous “for want of a nail” proverb, but it explains an October mishap in which a fire broke out on a Marine Corps F-35B during a training flight at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina.

According to Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, who leads the F-35 joint program office, the root cause of the fire was a loose bracket, which —when functioning properly — holds electrical wires away from other components in the weapons bay. The bracket became loose, causing the wiring to move and chafe at its own insulation, creating a spark. Those electrical wires sit next to hydraulic lines and other flammable parts, further increasing the risk of a fire.

Thankfully, the pilot landed the aircraft safely and was not injured. F-35B flight operations have continued despite the mishap.

“We knew about this problem long before that [incident], and all of our airplanes were being retrofitted with a new bracket,” Bogdan said during a Dec. 19 briefing to reporters.

The engineering work for the bracket retrofit has been finished, but the aircraft affected by the fire, assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 501, had not been modified with the new hardware yet. Instead, aircraft with the original brackets underwent periodic inspections to check whether the bracket is still sturdy.

“It had passed its previous inspection, but the bracket still became dislodged,” Bogdan said, adding that a new inspection regiment has now been put into place as a result of the mishap.

The October incident was the F-35B’s first Class A mishap, which involve loss of life or damage of more than $2 million, reported Defense News sister publication Marine Corps Times.

Because not all aircraft have been modified, B-model pilots are flying with heightened levels of risk, Bogdan acknowledged.

“Yes, there are acknowledged risks, and that would be one of them,” he said. “And until you fix that bracket, every airplane in the B-model that doesn’t have that bracket is going to have to be inspected, and hopefully that bracket remains in place when it’s flying.”

Just a month earlier, an F-35A caught fire while still on the ground at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. According to an Air Force statement, the fire began emanating from the aft section of the aircraft and was quickly extinguished.

The root cause of the September incident has not yet been made public, but no aircraft were grounded as a result.

More details will likely come to light in the coming months. Lt. Gen. Darryl Roberson, head of Air Education and Training Command, decided this month to start an accident investigation board (AIB), a service spokesman confirmed to Defense News on Tuesday. Usually an AIB is initiated after initial safety investigations conclude, and the process results in a report delineating the cause of a mishap.
source is DefenseNews
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