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

Hey, if they want to buy those Russian S-400s let em, but I think I'd seriously consider pulling the plug on the F-35 deal, and relocate that service center ASAP!
LOL careful about "pulling the plug", F-35 is politically engineered not just over the US:
Jul 23, 2016
the success story by
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Industrial Participation
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In total for Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney, F-35 Production Industrial Participation opportunities for Turkish companies are expected to reach more than $12 billion.

Below are details on the 10 Turkish companies who have supported the development and/or production of F-35 / F135.

Alp Aviation has been supporting the program since 2004 and currently manufactures F-35 production airframe structure and assemblies, production landing gear components and over 100 F135 production engine parts to include titanium integrated blade rotors.
Aselsan is developing manufacturing approaches for advanced optical components, which are part of the F-35 Electro Optical Targeting System. They are also working with Northrup Grumman on the F-35 CNI Avionic Interface Controller and will initiate full scale production activities in the near term.
Ayesas currently is the sole source supplier for two major F-35 components – missile remote interface unit and the panoramic cockpit display.
Fokker Elmo manufactures 40 percent of the F-35 Electrical Wiring & Interconnection System (EWIS) and will also deliver and support TAI with all center section wiring systems. Fokker Elmo is also developing the EWIS for the F135 engine, for which a major share is produced in Fokker Elmo Turkey in Izmir.
Havelsan has been supporting the F-35 training systems since 2005. Additionally, Havelsan has been instrumental as the Turkish lead for developing the construct of the future Turkish F-35 Integrated Pilot and Maintenance Training Center (ITC) and associated training systems in Turkey.
Kale Aerospace has been supporting the F-35 since 2005. In conjunction with Turkish Aerospace Industries, they manufacture and produce F-35 airframe structures and assemblies. Kale Aero also supports Heroux Devtek as the sole source supplier for all three variants landing gear up lock assemblies. Additionally, Kale Aerospace has also established a joint venture in Izmir with Pratt & Whitney and is manufacturing production hardware for the F135 engine.
MiKES has supported the F-35 Program during SDD delivering F-35 aircraft components and assemblies for BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman
ROKETSAN and Tubitak-SAGE are the Turkish joint leadership team who strategically manage the development, integration, and production of the advanced precision-guided Stand-off Missile (SOM-J) which will be carried internally on the 5th Generation F-35 aircraft. Additionally, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control has partnered with Roketsan, through a teaming agreement, to jointly develop, produce, market and sell the advanced, precision guided Stand Off Missile – Joint Strike Fighter (SOM-J).
• Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) has been strategically supporting the F-35 Program since 2008. The company currently supplies production hardware that goes into every F-35 production aircraft. In conjunction with Northrup Grumman, TAI manufactures and assembles the center fuselages, produces composite skins and weapon bay doors, and manufactures fiber placement composite air inlet ducts. Additionally, TAI is strategically manufacturing 45 percent of the F-35’s including Air-to-Ground Pylons and adapters which is Alternate Mission Equipment (AME).

Additionally, Turkish Industry are going to have significant Industrial Participation role supporting Lockheed Martin and Pratt and Whitney for F-35 aircraft sustainment and F135 engine production and sustainment. Turkey has been given the approval to build its own F135 engines and was also selected to have the first European Regional F135 Engine depot overhaul capability. Both the engine production and overhaul will take place at the 1st HIBM in Eskisehir. Additionally, TAI has also been assigned to represent the organic depots of the Turkish Armed Forces within the Autonomic Logistic Global Sustainment (ALGS) system and Havelsan has been assigned as the Turkish Integrator for the National Integrated Training Center (ITC).

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Saturday at 8:22 PM
yeah, instead of dreaming I wait for the new DOT&E report on how F-35 is doing
and it's coming:
Why the Pentagon Isn’t Happy With the F-35
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  • Costliest weapons system reviewed by Pentagon’s testing chief
  • ‘No significant improvement’ in aircraft available in years

Efforts to improve the reliability of
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.’s F-35 are “stagnant,” undercut by problems such as aircraft sitting idle over the last year awaiting spare parts from the contractor, according to the Pentagon’s testing office.

The availability of the fighter jet for missions when needed -- a key metric -- remains “around 50 percent, a condition that has existed with no significant improvement since October 2014, despite the increasing number of aircraft,” Robert Behler, the Defense Department’s new director of operational testing, said in an annual report delivered Tuesday to senior Pentagon leaders and congressional committees.

The F-35 section, obtained by Bloomberg News, outlined the status of the costliest U.S. weapons system as it’s scheduled to end its 16-year-old development phase this year. Starting in September, the program is supposed to proceed to intense combat testing that’s likely to take a year, an exercise that’s at least 12 months late already. Combat testing is necessary before the plane is approved for full-rate production -- the most profitable phase for Lockheed.

Pentagon officials including Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and chief weapons buyer Ellen Lord have highlighted the need to reduce the F-35’s $406.5 billion projected acquisition cost and its estimated $1.2 trillion price tag for long-term operations and support through 2070. Still, the Defense Department is moving to accelerate contracting and production for the fighter despite the persistence of technical and reliability issues disclosed in the current phase of development testing.

Flawed Software
A final version of the plane’s complex software has gone through 31 iterations and has yet to be deployed because of “key remaining deficiencies,” the report found. The troubles also include more mundane issues, such as tires on the Marine Corps version of the plane, the F-35B, that are proving less than durable.

The upcoming testing, “which provides the most credible means to predict combat performance, likely will not be completed until” December 2019, according to the testing office.

By the end of the testing needed to demonstrate that the F-35 is operationally effective and suitable for its missions more than 600 aircraft already will have been built. That’s about 25 percent of a planned 2,456 U.S. jets; 265 have been delivered to date.

Joe DellaVedova, spokesman for the Pentagon’s F-35 program office, and Lockheed spokeswoman Carolyn Nelson did not respond to requests for comment on the new testing office report.

In an earlier statement, Nelson said Lockheed’s 66 F-35 deliveries in 2017 represented “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.”

Host of Issues
Behler’s report lists a host of unresolved issues that will carry over into the F-35’s combat testing unless they’re resolved before its planned start in September:

  • About 1,000 unresolved deficiencies with the aircraft, the latest version of its software, and the primary flight-maintenance system known as ALIS that’s crucial to keep the aircraft flying “will likely have a cumulative effect” on the aircraft’s capacity during the combat testing.
  • The final version of the software known as 3F is likely to have “shortfalls in the capabilities the F-35 needs in combat against current threats.”
  • Aerial refueling will be restricted for the Marines’ F-35B and the Navy’s carrier-based F-35C model.
  • The pilot’s helmet display that depicts vital flight and and targeting information is flawed.
  • Classified “key technical deficiencies” affect the firing of AIM-120 air-to-air missiles, and “system-related deficiencies” mar the dropping of air-to-ground weapons to support ground troops
  • It will be late 2019 before developing, testing, verifying and deployment is complete for all the needed on-board electronic files, or “mission data loads,” that identify the types of Chinese, Russian, Syrian or Iranian radar and air defense systems an F-35 pilot may encounter.
  • The problem of planes waiting for replacement parts is exacerbated by an immature diagnostic system that detects “failures” that “actually have not failed.” The misdiagnosed parts are sent back to the original manufacturer then “returned to the supply chain,” adding to the backlog in “an already overloaded repair system.”
as I've said before, I generally don't post about stuff below 100m; this is going to be one of exceptions:
US Navy contracts Orbital for AARGM-ER missile design work
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The US Navy has awarded Orbital ATK a $9.5 million contract to start design work on the new and improved Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile used by the US Navy and Marine Corps to defeat enemy air defense installations.

The new missile will also fit inside the internal weapons bay of the F-35.

The design contract will see Orbital mature the configuration of the AARGM-ER in preparation for the engineering and manufacturing development phase.

According to a defense department announcement, Orbital will be in charge of designing, developing and qualifying an Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) anti-radiation homing (ARH) and millimeter wave (MMW) executive processor circuit card assembly as a form, fit, and functional replacement of the existing AARGM ARH and MMW.

The AGM-88E AARGM, currently in full rate production, is a supersonic, air-launched tactical missile system that upgrades legacy AGM-88 high speed anti-radiation missile systems with advanced capability to perform destruction of enemy air defense (DEAD) missions.

The AARGM-ER incorporates additional upgrades to improve operational capability including extended range and survivability. The AARGM-ER integrates existing AGM-88E AARGM sensors and electronics with an upgraded rocket motor and tail control system. The AARGM-ER will be compatible with the F/A-18E/F, EA-18G and F-35 with internal weapon’s bay-carriage.

“This contract is a major step in Orbital ATK’s ongoing commitment to advancing AARGM’s counter-air defense capability for the US Navy,” said Cary Ralston, vice president and general manager of Orbital ATK’s Defense Electronic Systems division of the Defense Systems Group. “We are committed to increasing the effectiveness of the warfighter to suppress and destroy enemy air defense threats while remaining safe.”

The AGM-88E AARGM is currently deployed and supporting operational requirements for the US Navy and US Marine Corps. The missile is employed on the F/A-18C/D Hornet, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft.

Work for the AARGM-ER contract will be performed at Orbital ATK’s facilities in Northridge and Ridgecrest, California.
A model of the AARGM-ER inside the F-35's internal weapons bay. Photo: US Navy

Jeff Head

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Super Moderator
...adding a little more verbiage and a pic to the announcement of Lockheeds COmbat System for the new RAN subs:

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Naval Today said:
The Australian defense ministry has awarded Lockheed Martin a AU$700 million contract to design, build and integrate a combat system for the Royal Australian Navy’s future submarines.

Announcing the contract on January 25, Australian defense industry minister Christopher Pyne said the contract with Lockheed Martin Australia would create 200 new jobs, majority of which will be based in South Australia.

“This contract will cover work to 2022, including the design of the combat system and procurement activities to select subsystem and component suppliers,” Pyne said. “The future submarine program remains on time and on budget, further demonstrated by this milestone event.”

Lockheed Martin Australia was selected as the future submarine combat system integrator in September 2016.

A total of 12 Shortfin Barracuda submarines will be built for Australia by French shipbuilder Naval Group at a cost of AUD 50 billion.

Construction is expected to start in 2022–23 once 85 per cent of the design work is completed.
Yesterday at 8:46 PM
Yesterday at 8:04 PM
... starting at p. 31:
Pentagon’s Director, Operational Test & Evaluation 2017 Annual Report
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and Pentagon’s weapons tester slams new F-35 modernization plan as unrealistic
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The F-35 program office plans to close out the joint strike fighter’s development phase this year and begin moving into modernization, but it could face an uphill battle, the Pentagon’s head of weapons testing warned in a report released Wednesday.

The F-35 Joint Program Office has known since 2016 that it likely wouldn’t be able to make its October 2017 goal post for wrapping up developmental test flights, instead estimating it would take
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to finish those tests and end the system development and demonstration, or SDD, phase.

That means initial operational test and evaluation, or IOT&E — the last milestone before full-rate production starts — won’t be able to begin until late 2018, Robert Behler, the Defense Department’s new director of operational test and evaluation, said in his office’s annual report.

Behler laid out several roadblocks that could hinder the program as it heads out of development and into the start of IOT&E, including:
  • A fully verified mission data load for jets with the latest 3F software, which will include detailed information about threats, won’t be available for IOT&E until this fall at the earliest.
  • Although the program office completed all accuracy tests of bombs and missiles planned for 2017, it is still analyzing those events. The Operational Test & Evaluation Office of the Secretary of Defense, or DOT&E, is concerned that if deficiencies are found, the JPO will have to take additional time to develop and test corrections.
  • While the report estimates that the mission systems testing necessary to complete development will be complete in February, “the program will not be able to completely mitigate the many open deficiencies by the end of SDD, resulting in shortfalls in fielded Block 3F capabilities.”
The report also raised questions about how the JPO could execute the next phase of F-35 development, formerly known as “Block 4 follow-on modernization” but now termed
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or C2D2.

Vice. Adm. Mat Winter, who heads the F-35 JPO, first discussed the C2D2 proposal at the Defense News conference in September, where he compared the strategy to running app updates on an iPhone. The idea was to continually push out new software upgrades instead of packaging them together with other capabilities released more slowly.

The plan, however, has been criticized by some — including DOT&E — who see C2D2 as a way for the program office to defer some planned 3F capability into 2019, even as full operational capability will be declared this year.

The JPO plans to start C2D2 this calendar year, beginning with a number of 3F software patches through 2019 and then gradually introducing planned Block 4 capabilities (like new weapons and sensors) with software changes to the jet anticipated every six months.

DOT&E warned that the C2D2 plan first offered by the program office was “not executable” for several reasons, including not enough test aircraft and not enough time for flight-testing software changes.

The report also called into question the quick six-month software production cycle, which is much shorter than other fighter aircraft and does not take into account updates to other parts of the F-35 enterprise like its logistics system or mission data files.

The C2D2 strategy and timeline was under review at the time the report was written, and Behler recommends the program office “re-plan C2D2 to have a more realistic schedule and content that include adequate test infrastructure (labs, aircraft, and time) and modifications while aligning the other fielding requirements, like mission data, training simulators, and airworthiness.”

Asked Thursday about the report, Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said in a statement that “the Department is reviewing the report, and we’ll take appropriate steps to work with our partners to find implementable improvement opportunities with the Joint Strike Fighter program.”
now a supposed success story Italy receives first F-35B assembled outside the US
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Italy has received the first F-35B fighter jet to be assembled outside the U.S., which is destined to fly with the Italian Navy.

The Italian Ministry of Defense took delivery of the aircraft Thursday at Cameri Air Base, northern Italy, where the country operates an F-35 final assembly line.

The line, which is operated by Italy’s Leonardo and the American firm Lockheed Martin and employs 800, will turn out 60 F-35A and 30 F-35B aircraft, which Italy currently plans to order.

In a statement, Lockheed said that to date, nine F-35As and one F-35B have been delivered by Cameri, which is the only F-35B assembly line outside the U.S.

Four of the F-35As are being used for international pilot training at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, while five are operational at Italy’s Amendola Air Base in southern Italy.

The F-35B was first rolled out at Cameri last May and was due for delivery in November 2017, making it two months late.

Last May, Lockheed said the aircraft would fly to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, for “Electromagnetic Environmental Effects certification.” It was expected to then join pilot training in the U.S.
noticed (dated 25 January 2018) USMC continues expeditionary roll-out of F-35B with first sloped landings
The US Marine Corps (USMC) is continuing to develop the tactical operating capabilities of the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), with the first sloped-surface landing announced on 22 January.

Aircraft and personnel from the F-35 Patuxent River Integrated Test Force (ITF) performed vertical landing trials of an F-35B on a specially constructed sloped surface at Marine Corps Auxiliary Landing Field Bogue, North Carolina, on 16 January.

As noted by the US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), the trials were focused on simulating expeditionary conditions as the programme moves towards its initial operational test and evaluation phase.

“The [US] Marine Corps is an expeditionary force capable of deploying on short notice to crises around the world – even to the most austere environments, and the F-35 has an exceptional expeditionary capability,” Major Michael Lippert, F-35 Paxuxent River ITF test pilot and detachment officer-in-charge was quoted by NAVAIR as saying.

The ITF’s goal is to ease current sloped surface vertical landing requirements for the F-35B. “We hope to be able to relax the landing pad certification limits in terms of maximum slope/gradients in the context of expeditionary pads – existing and future,” said Bob Nantz, F-35 Paxuxent River ITF Performance/Environmental Technical Specialist.

The Paxuxent River ITF will analyse nearly 200 data test points to assess how well the F-35B operates on varying slopes, the impacts of head and tailwinds, and the effect of aft centre of gravity in conjunction with ground slopes.
... and the rest is behind paywall at Jane's
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An F-35B performs a vertical landing on a sloped surface as part of a wider US Marine Corps effort to develop the expeditionary capabilities of the platform. Source: Lockheed Martin
"People say it is a ‘fifth-generation aircraft’ and they are referring to it's stealth characteristics and all the nominal mission systems capabilities on board but it is also a generational advance in pure-control law flight control system, and reduction in workload for the pilot." etc. etc.:
Inside F-35B flight test
26 January 2018
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Thursday at 8:46 PM
Yesterday at 8:04 PM
... starting at p. 31:
Pentagon’s Director, Operational Test & Evaluation 2017 Annual Report
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and here's what BreakingDefense had to say:
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Perhaps the most damning thing a director of Operational Test and Evaluation can say about a weapon is that it is not “operationally suitable.”

Here’s what the
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, says about the F-35 Joint Strike fighter in his office’s latest annual report:

  • The operational suitability of the F-35 fleet remains below requirements and is dependent on work-arounds that would not meet Service expectations in combat situations (emphasis added). Over the previous year, most suitability metrics have remained nearly the same, or have moved only within narrow bands which are insufficient to characterize a change in performance.
  • Overall fleet-wide monthly availability rates remain around 50 percent, a condition that has existed with no significant improvement since October 2014, despite the increasing number of new aircraft. One notable trend is an increase in the percentage of the fleet that cannot fly while awaiting replacement parts – indicated by the Not Mission Capable due to Supply rate.
  • Reliability growth has stagnated. It is unlikely that the program will achieve the JSF ORD (Operational Requirements Document) threshold requirements at maturity for the majority of reliability metrics. Most notably, the program is not likely to achieve the Mean Flight Hours Between Critical Failures threshold without redesigning aircraft components (emphasis added).
While the majority of the testing done occurred before Behler was approved by the Senate, he says in his introduction to the annual report that he reviewed the contents — and you can be sure he reviewed the F-35 information especially closely.

Among the other significant issues the program faces, the program is unlikely to enter the legally-required Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) milestone until late this year because developmental testing may not finish until as late as this May.

The biggest problem it faces right now are ones that have been remarkably persistent. Here’s what Michael Gilmore, the previous DOTE, told the House Armed Services Committee in March 2016:

“Significant, correctable deficiencies exist in the U.S. Reprogramming Laboratory (USRL) that will preclude development and adequate testing of effective mission data loads for (software) Block 3F.”

Those problems have not changed much, according to Behler’s report:

“The U.S. Reprogramming Laboratory (USRL) continues to operate with cumbersome software tools and outdated or incomplete hardware. The lab began creating Block 3F mission data les (MDFs) in the summer of 2017, and it will take 12 to 15 months to deliver a fully-verified mission data load (MDL), made up of a compilation of MDFs, for IOT&E.” This is the F-35’s threat library, with which Breaking D readers are very familiar.

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remains vulnerable to cyber attacks, Behler writes. They and the threat to the system are so bad “the F-35 program and Services should conduct testing of aircraft operations without access to ALIS for extended periods of time.” Behler says the plane can operate up to 30 days at a time without hooking up to ALIS. We hear the program is doing all it can to plug the cyber vulnerabilities. While there is certainly an endless cycle of threat, fix, new threat, fix etc, ALIS has been identified as an important cyber vulnerability for the F-35 for years and the program must do something to alter this cycle.

F-35B Tires
The heaviest of the three aircraft, the F-35B, didn’t only shake apart under stress-testing more quickly than the other two aircraft (see below), but, as the DOTE notes, “The program has struggled to find a tire for the F-35B that is strong enough for conventional high-speed landings, soft enough to cushion vertical landings, and still light enough for the existing aircraft structure. Average F-35B tire life is below 10 landings, well below the requirement for 25 conventional full-stop landings. The program is still working this problem, which will not be resolved within SDD.”

Finally, Behler’s report point to a refueling problem faced by the F-35B and F-35C.

The air refueling probe “tips are breaking too often, resulting in squadrons imposing restrictions on air refueling. The program is still investigating this problem.” I hear that the program is focussing on improved maintenance for the hose reel mechanism, as well as design changes to the probe.

There’s another important problem which will make it very difficult for the Air Force to argue that it can replace the A-10 with the F-35A, as planned: “The F-35A gun has been consistently missing ground targets during strafe testing; the program is still troubleshooting the problems.” The gun shoots “long, and to the right.”
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and the Navy’s F-35C guns, which are not built in, are apparently performing better. “Initial accuracy testing of the F-35B and F-35C podded guns showed better results than that of the F-35A model,” Behler writes. “Both the F-35B and the F-35C gun pods exhibited the same right aiming bias as the F-35A, however the long bias is not manifested in the podded gun systems.”

The other bad news here is that “delays in completing the remaining gun testing and correcting gun-related deficiencies within SDD, especially for the F-35A, are adding risk to the IOT&E schedule,” the report says.

F-35B Structural Test Failures

The F-35B being used to see if the plane will survive the 8,000 hours it’s required to last pretty much fell to pieces last year and needs replacing. “The effect of the failures observed and repairs required during the first two lifetimes of testing on the service life certification of the F-35B aircraft is still to be determined,” Behler writes. “The service life for all three variants is planned to be 8,000 hours; however the F-35B service life may be less than that, even with extensive modifications to strengthen the aircraft already produced.” And that’s consistent what we understand the program believes.

I also hear that Lockheed Martin is studying just how much of the plane will need to be tested. They and the Joint Program Office try to limit costs by using only those parts of the plane — the bulkhead perhaps and where the wings connect — and no one is sure what the best approach is yet.

One bit of aircraft testing that is underway seems to demonstrate a change in tone from the last DOTE to this one. In his introduction to the annual report, Behler says he plans to be “flexible with integrated testing” and points to his granting approval for pre-IOT&E cold weather testing, which I hear is already underway.

Below is the OTE chart showing F-35 availability.
As the report notes, “the F-35A FMC rate of 34 percent was significantly higher than other variants, with the F-35B at 14 percent and the F-35C at 15 percent.
“The average monthly utilization rate measures flight hours per aircraft per month. The utilization rate was 16.5 flight hours, reflecting the stable but low availability rate. The F-35A fleet averaged 18.0 flight hours, while the F-35B and F-35C fleets averaged 14.1 and 15.1, respectively.”

... and items "in table" get scattered here, so just the link:
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